Chat with Dick Vitale
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale stops by to chat some college basketball.
Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style.
Send your questions now and join Vitale Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Dick Vitale (11:04 AM)
I want to start by wishing St. John's coach and my former ESPN colleague Steve Lavin all the best as he is scheduled to undergo prostate cancer surgery today. I have been in contact with him and he is a fighter and he had early detection and will win this battle. Early detection is a key for beating prostate cancer and breast cancer. It is also a sad day in America with the passing of a true icon, Steve Jobs, who also passed away from that dreaded disease of cancer. We have got to beat this disease in this lifetime. That is why I am so passionate about raising the dollars for cancer research. It is so tough when I see young people and their families affected by the disease. It strikes everyone, be in white or black, no matter what religion, rich or poor...It was an amazing weekend for me going back to New Jersey and it was special when East Rutherford mayor Jimmy Cassella dedicated the playgrounds after me, that is so incredible. Cassella gave me my start.
Are you going anywhere for Midnight Madness in a few weeks? It will be awesome with a capital A!
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
I will be doing a fee things for ESPNU. Midnight Madness is so special with the tip-off of the season. How about Kentucky fans tipping off with over 24,000 fans, selling out in less than an hour. I will be introducing Mike Brey and Muffet McGraw the weekend of the USC football game.
Thomas (Missou fan)
How big a loss was Bowers to the Tigers?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
Bowers was a very valuable player. Any time you lose a starter who averages double figures in scoring you don't want to lose his chemistry. It is tough to replace him especially because he was a good defender and rebounder. Missouri wants to go to a hgiher level this season, more than just making the tournament, they want to go a lot further, so this is a setback.
Who is the best college player that you ever saw play? They didn't necessarily have to be a success in the NBA, but they could have been.
Dick Vitale (11:10 AM)
Wow, that is a good question. If we are talking prior to ESPN, I would say Oscar Robertson. He could do it all. If you had to prepare to play Georgetown, Patrick Ewing took away cutting to the basket and interior passing. Ewing was so special. Along with Oscar before I was on TV, I would say Lew Alcindor. They changed the rules because of the big fella.
Tom (The Bronx)
down by 1 who are you giving the ball to, Kemba or Laettner?
Dick Vitale (11:12 AM)
I love Laettner. I know Kemba was terrific, but Christian Laettner was so tough and he made so many big plays. If you don't believe me, go ask the fans at Kentucky about the play he made against them, baby!
How good will Duke be this year? It seems they are going to face a very tough schedule. Also will Austin Rivers make a big impact like Irving did last year? I know Irving got hurt but.....will Rivers explode onto the scene in Durham? Thanks!
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
Duke is a top 10 team. Rivers will be a dominant player. A key will be the consistency of the Plumlee brothers. They have good perimeter play with Rivers, Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins. They have one other factor, a guy named Coach K..this just in, he is pretty good.
Meka (East Lansing,Michgan)
How will roe not playing bball affect the Spartans
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
It hurts them physically, leadership, chemistry. A lot of guys have gone down alreayd and injries change rotations. I just did a piece on ESPN.com on that. I feel Roe will be successful int he most important game of all, the game of life. Tom Izzo will certainly miss his inside presence this season.
Love you Dickie V...thanks for doing these chats. Who do you see winning the Pac-12?
Dick Vitale (11:17 AM)
The Pac-12 is going to be interesting. Ben Howland has them moving uptown and the Bruins will be getting better. Arizona has a nice nucleus even with Williams and Jones gone. Sean Miller is the perfect guy to get them back to the Lute Olson days. Hoops hysteria is back with Solomon Hill inside, Kyle Fogg and Lavender back plus what some consider to be the best recruiting class in America next season. Washington will be heard from as well though the Huskies lost Isaiah Thomas and Amaning.
I know this is more of a football question, but with the Memphis Tigers having a horrible football program, how much does that hurt the Tigers in basketball trying to get into a top tier league.
Dick Vitale (11:19 AM)
Obviously football becomes a viable commodity to the conferences. Why can't they have their program elevated with the right commitment. The basketball program is a high-profile commodity and the fans in Memphis are outstanding but they won't come out for a second-rate football program. Memphis is still valuable if a conference wants them, that basketball program is top 10.
Hey Dickie V! I was wondering your thoughts in Virginia's Cavaliers this year in the ACC? With Mike Scott back and Tony Bennett getting this team moving in the right direction....could they be in the NCAA tourney this season?
Dick Vitale (11:21 AM)
Scott was a double-double man before his ankle injury last year and he is a big plus. They can be up here in the mix for number three in the ACC. We know North Carolina and Duke will bve 1-2. They could be up there with Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Clemson, etc. for number three in the league.
Rick (Champaign-Urbana baby!)
How much pressure is there on Bruce Weber this season? I think the Illini will surprise some people.
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
Changing the administration means they have to have a good yera. He is a throwback who loves to coach, to be in the gym and work with kids. Jereme Richmond came in last year and never materialized and then went into the NBA and was no drafted. They have a good nucleus to build on this year with Brandon Paul, Meyers Leonard, Richardson and company. There will eb some pressure on him this season adn sometimes the expectations in Champaign get crazy.
Dick, you know you can't have a chat without having a KU question. Where do you see the Hawks in the Big 12 standings when it's all said and done?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
I think the one thiong you have to respect is their pride and tradition. They will be tough to beat at the Phog. They may not be as talented as some Kansas teams of the past, but they will contend in the Big 12. I love Thomas Robinson and feel he will have a really super season. Bill Self has done a great job in Lawrence and the fans will be chanting rock, chalk, Jayhawk for another winning team this season.
Dick, from what you've seen how good can this Drummond kid be when all is said and done?
Dick Vitale (11:29 AM)
Based on reports I am getting from people I respect, he will have a big impact. One kid not getting much publicity is Ryan Boatright. Jeremy Lamb will be one of the top scorers in the Big East. They will be better in the standings in the Big East, no .500 this year, better overall recored but that doesn't lock up a national championship. This team will be talented, I have them in the top three in my preseason rankings. Drummond can defend, pass inside and is an instant impact diaper dandy.
Jeremy (Blacksburg, Baby!)
Dickie V-- Is this the year Seth Greenberg finally gets my Hokies to the tourney? The past few years have been heartbreaking
Dick Vitale (11:33 AM)
Virginia Tech lost a lot of talent in Malcolm Delaney ad Jeff Allen. One key will be Erick Green, who I feel is an underrated commodity. The difference will be if the players coming back from injury like Dorenzo Hudson and Thompson can contribute. I felt Greenberg had a legit argument to be in the big dance a couple of times. Last year's win over Duke was a big one and the Hokies were still left out. Tech can be in the running for the top three in the ACC.
whatdoes your preseason poll look like?
Dick Vitale (11:34 AM)
I have North Carolina first, Kentucky 2d and Connecticut third. I am going to do an updated list in the next week.
Joe M. (Morgantown, WV)
Do you think that WVU has a chance of winning the BIG EAST this year with "Truck" Bryant and Kevin Jones?
Dick Vitale (11:36 AM)
Bob Huggins will always have his team in the hunt. He has the veteran experience is Bryant and Jones. The Big East will be loaded once again.
If Vandy beats UK for the SEC title would that be considered an upset? Vandy is pretty legit and might have more talent than KY? your thought??
Dick Vitale (11:38 AM)
Vandy is a top 10 team. John Jenkins is one of the best players in America. Festus Ezeli is a quality big man an Jeffery Taylor is an outstanding athlete. Kevin Stallings has a legit contender as the Commodores are going to be right there in the SEC. I don't know if that would be an upset.
Dean Smith (Heaven in Chapel Hill)
Hey Dickie what unusual things will we see from Roy And Izz during the Carrier Classic? Will they wear suits or a military-tribute type outfit? Also, will they do anything 'extra' for the troops who are present- perhaps extended autograph session, scrimmage/free throw contest or something? My well wishes extend to Steve Lavin and profound condolences to the family of Steve Jobs...
Dick Vitale (11:39 AM)
I am sure there will be a lot of special moments at the Carrier Classic. I agree with your comments about Lavin and Steve Jobs. I am looking forward to the game.
BigBlueBagel (Auburn, AL)
Dick, just wondering what your thoughts are on Tony barbee and what he is doign at Auburn. Can he turn the Tigers into contenders?
Dick Vitale (11:41 AM)
Barbee has a tough job at Auburn. The football team is doing well. I will say the new facility down there will help attract recruits. It is not easy to win in the SEC with likes Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Florida, Alabama.
I know you don't watch any games played west of Durham, but I was wondering if you think Wisconsin has enough talent to win the Big 10? Thanks.
Dick Vitale (11:43 AM)
I favor Ohio State with Jared Sullinger, William Buford, Aaron Craft and company. Bo Ryan gets the most out of his talent and with Taylor and company. Brusewitz is an underrated player. I think Wisconsin is a top 15 team.
What do you think of Cuonzo Martin at Tennessee? Quite the rebuilding job ahead of him. Can he pull it off? Recruit at a high level?
Dick Vitale (11:44 AM)
It will take him some time but I believe he was a good hire to rebuild the Vols. He did a nice job at Missouri State and he is a quality person to take over the Tennessee program.
Dick Vitale (11:52 AM)
I am a baseball lover and it was sad to see my Rays go down to the Rangers in four. Now we will see who will play Texas in the ALCS? I like the Yankees at home to win tonight. Ivan Nova has been magical and to me he is the Rookie of the Year in the AL. Doug Fister plays right into the Yankees' hands because he throws fastballs and guys like A. Rod., Teixeira and Granderson will have a field day against the hard stuff. Should be excitement galore with the pressure of a game five. I love the Ian Kennedy-Yovani Gallardo matchup tomorrow as Arizona has fought back. Kirk Gibson is a lfat-out winner though Milwaukee has been super and sensational at home. Tony LaRussa has done a great job with the Cardinals, but aI have to go with the Phillies and their ace, Roy Halladay.
Dick Vitale (11:52 AM)
I cannot wait for this weekend. I am speaking at a convention in Indianpolis on Saturday and one in Sioux City on Sunday. In between I am going to see Notre Dame take on an Air Force team which won a physical game against Navy last week. The Irish are playing well, baby! When we chat again next week, it will be right before Midnight Madness and there is so much excitement across America with the college season tipping off. To the NBA guys who may not have basketball, come watch the collegiate game. There should be quality galore at the college level since guys like Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones and Terrence Jones all decided to return to college. Talk to you next week.