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 (11:06 AM)
Good morning and welcome to the first chat of the new year. I love interacting with the fans. First of all, Happy Birthday to Looie Carnesecca of St. John's. I miss seeing him on the sidelines. Also, sad to hear of the passing of College Hall of Famer Gene Bartow. He meant so much to the world of basketball. He had great passion for the game, built the UAB program from scratch. Bartow was a true gentleman. I was also proud to be a part of Disney Kick Buttkowski, doing voiceover work. Other stars like Alyssa Milano, Dwight Howard and Ed Byrnes also being on. Today I am thrilled to be a mystery guest speaker at a big convention in Atlanta, Georgia. I have been so blessed. I will sneak in the back door. The fans will be great.
JR (VEGAS BABY)
Do you think Rice can lead UNLV to the MWC Championship in his first season?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
It will not be easy as San Diego State and New Mexico are quality basketball teams that can certianly create problems. Saying all that, Rice has done a fantastic job and is a candidate for Coach of the Year. Rice is one of my leading candidates for Coach of the Year, which I have up on my website right now, so check it out.
your alma mater Seton Hall is now 13-2. What are your thoughts on their season so far?
Dick Vitale (11:10 AM)
Kevin Willard has done a phenomenal job and the kids are playing with confdience. Play and win and enough of quotes from players. They have to learn to win some on the road, and they are going in the right direction. Kevin is a good guy who learned well from his dad and from Rick Pitino. You have to be doing something right when you beat Connecticut.
When do you think..if ever, the NCAA will move the three point arc out? It has become almost a "chip shot" for most college players now. Ans part two..when was it instituted?
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
It came in in 1987. I think it is in a good place and is valuable to college basketball. I like it the way it is and you have to be a pretty good shooter to make it with defense on you. It has helped lead to upsets and leveled the playing field.
Andy (Washington, DC)
Can the Hoyas win the Big East? How impressed are you wiuth JT III
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
I like that Georgetown team. They showed a lot of guts and fortitude to come back from 15 down to beat Marquette last night. I like its makeup, athleticism and mental toughness. I had them against Louisville and I was impressed.
Do think Syracuse's team right now is better than they've ever been. And if so can anyone beat them? Plus what do you think of Fab Melo?
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
I really do. They are lethal with so many weapons. The development of Melo has taken them to a different level with his shot blocking. This is a special Syracuse team and it will be tough to put them in the L column. Joseph is tough up front and I love their perimeter play with Jardine, Triche and Waiters.
What's wrong with Texas A@M? Losing Roberson didn't help any and now Branch transferring.No scoring is it all the distractions or they are not as good as expected?
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
I just think they are running into tough competition. They are a good basketball team but can be beaten by quality teams. They were not expected to be dominant and they will win some games that they were not expected to and they will lose some to tems they weren't supposed to.
Dick, How do you think my bulldogs will fare in conference play? With better play coming from R. Sidney the past few games (other than that late game tech in the Baylor game, of course) and good decision making from the SEC's best PG, Dee Bost, I think we can make a decent run at an SEC crown. That game on February 21st is gonna be huge. Mark it on your calender Dickie V.!! Thanks.
Dick Vitale (11:18 AM)
They will be tough to beat in Starkville and have to win some on the road. I like their frontcourt with Moultrie and Sidney. I like the diaper dandy Hood too. Rick Stansbury's team can beat anyone on any given night, even Kentucky. They have to bring their A game each night against the likes of Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt and Alabama.
Alex Cincy [via mobile]
What do you think of Cincinnati? Mick seems to have rallied the troops and put people in their place. Players seem to have responded to his (and wrights) leadership. Can they win the big east?
Dick Vitale (11:21 AM)
Cincinnati has been playing better well. My respect and feelings on Mick Cronin have grown big time. He pulled no punches and handled the Xavier situation so well. He has challenged them, they won seven in a row, six without Gates. Notre Dame is not a cupcake and they beat Pittsburgh on the road. His stock has gone up, up and up in my eyes.
Scott (San Antonio)
Dickie V, who do you have as you top three diaper dandies so far season?
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
I have my top six diaper dandies at midseason on my website right now. I have Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller as my top three. You can certainly make a case for some others like Tony Wroten, who has been super out at Washington, or Austin Rivers.
How about the Atlantic 10 this year, Dick? Prior to the start of the season, everyone assumed it was Xavier and then everyone else. Temple, St. Joe's, LaSalle, St. Louis, Dayton all look like potential Tournament teams. Can you talk about this often overlooked league and the fact that they were able to beat some of the best teams across the country.
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
The league is certainly stronger. Even Fordham's win over Harvard stands out. St. Joe's has had some quality wins, as has Saint Louis despite a loss last night. Temple's victory over Duke had to draw a lot of attention across the nation. I think this league can send several teams to the big dance and the quality of play in the conference is up and up.
Thomas Robinson is a beast! He's a one man team (similar to those Danny Manning years!). Any chance he gets player of the year honors?
Dick Vitale (11:25 AM)
I have him as my midseason Player of the Year leader. Robinson has been super and the win over Kansas State last night was a very good win as Frank Martin's team works so hard and is so tough. Bill Self has done a great job as well. Robinson is such a force on the glass too.
Dick, what's your take on the Terps new regime and season thus far. Seems like they can sneak up on some folks. Thoughts?
Dick Vitale (11:27 AM)
The addition of Alex Len makes such a big difference, plus the return of PeShon Howard is a major plus for Mark Turgeon. The ACC has a few very good teams but the middle of the pack is up for grabs and Maryland can certainly win a few games in league play to make some noise.
How come no love for Murray State coach Steve Prohm for coach of the year? First year coach who's team is picked 3rd in the OVC. Now they are 15 and 0.
Dick Vitale (11:28 AM)
I think Murray State is getting some love. The win over Memphis was big to get the Racers national attention. Obviously he has done a great job as his team is unbeaten as you said. He is getting some love -- just look at the rankings, baby!
Jessica (WASHINGTON) [via mobile]
Give me your thoughts on Gonzaga. In and out of the top 25 and now a big helping hand from sophomore Sam Dower. Where do you see them going in the tournament or see them the rest of the season?
Dick Vitale (11:30 AM)
Mark Few's team has once again played a rugged schedule and it pays off. This is a very good team though it will not be easy to win the WCC because St. Mary's is there too, plus the addition of BYU. Gonzaga has several offensive weapons and needs a healthy Robert Sacre up front. I think Gonzaga will be heard from come tourney time.
Good morning Dick, What do you think of UVA and how Tony Bennett has done so far this year? My only question is can they compete with and challenge Duke and North Carolina for the ACC Championship? Do you see them getting to the big dance?
Dick Vitale (11:32 AM)
It helps to have Mike Scott back in the lineup. They were pretty good last year until he was hurt. Bennett has brought a defensive mindset there and in his third season, it is paying off. I will be calling the Virginia-Duke game on the 12th and it should be a good one. Zeglinski has been shooting well lately as well. Bennett can falt-out coach, my friends. I still think the Tar Heels are the team to beat in the ACC.
Chad (Big Blue Nation)
Do you thing the refs in the UK-Lville game were a little whistle happy i mean all the fouls and the 2 techinals in my and im sure in many others opinion that just ruined the game is this something we are goin to see for the rest of the season because of the Xavier Cincy game
Dick Vitale (11:33 AM)
I think that was an intense game with an unbelievable environment, so I feel the officials wanted to keep control of the game. The Xavier-Cincinnati situation was a bad one, but I do not think officials look at that and say they ahve to call things tighter.
Have you noticed that Washington is off to a good start in the Pac-12? Can they win the league?
Dick Vitale (11:35 AM)
Lorenzo Romar's team got two quality wins over the Oregon teams last week and I love Tony Wroten and CJ Wilcox. This will be one of the premier teams in the Pac-12. Yes I have noticed the recent success.
With the matchup problems Missouri creates using their small lineup, is that a big enough advantage to carry them deep into March? Or is their matcup issues with bigger teams of greater concern to them?
Dick Vitale (11:36 AM)
Missouri has been one of the most impressive teams this season and the Tigers to not have much depth up front. Ricardo Ratliffe has done a solid job on the boards but this is a perimeter oriented teams with Denmon, Dixon, English, the Presseys. Frank Haith is in his first season there and he has done a super job. Missouri can compete for great things in the big dance.
Thoughts on Xavier?
Dick Vitale (11:38 AM)
Some teams respond well to handling adversity. It looks like Xavier has not. Tu Holloway had a rough shooting night in the loss to LaSalle last night and this team has really struggled since the Cincinnati debacle. There is time to turn things around and Chris Mack has a challenge on his hands. This is still a very talented team that had several good wins earlier in the season.
Randy (E. Fishkill, NY)
Hey Dick! BIg follower of ... you. I love your commentary. A friend of mine lives near you. Maybe I;ll see you at the ?Broken Egg? one day...I am a Michigan State alum. And I think, as always, MSU is under-valued. I rarely read/hear any comments about the stellar season they are having, considering they lost their first two games to outstanding programs. At this point, they are on a 14 game win streak and have beaten the likes of Indiana (everyone?s new ?darling?) and Wisconsin-- in Madison!! I would love to hear a comment from you about MSU.
Dick Vitale (11:40 AM)
Tom Izzo said he was happy with his team's progress early on and I love the fact he plays sucgh a tough non-league schedule early. A lot of coaches would not embrace the challenge of Carolina and Duke right away. This team has better chemistry than last year and good leadership with Draymond Green. The win at Madison was a big one, as was the victory over Indiana. Last season was tough for Izzo but his team is looking very good this season. Come on down to the Broken Egg, baby!
Mark (Knoxville by address (Iowa by heart))
Iowa Hawks with 2 early Big Ten road wins (Wisconsin and Minnesota). Hawk fans are excited. You? Happy New Year Dick!
Dick Vitale (11:42 AM)
Thanks for the New Year's wish. Fran McCaffery's team has been a pleasant surprise early in Big Ten play. I had the Wisconsin win as my Shock of the Week and the Hawkeyes program appears to be getting back on track and the future is bright with a great recruiting class coming in.
How good is Baylor? What do you think of Perry Jones III?
Dick Vitale (11:43 AM)
Jones is obviously a talented player and Baylor is a very good team. Scott Drew's will have some challenges in the Big 12 but this is certainly a top 10 team so far.
Dick Vitale (11:46 AM)
I hope that you will keep following me on twitter. I am closing in on a quarter of a million followers, about three thousand away so please tell your friends. When I get to thast milestone, I will pick a few members of my Twitter family and they will win some special prizes. My friends, I love doing twitter, baby! I am looking forward to some great basketball this weekend. It has been a fun season so far with its share of surprises. I hope that you keep enjoying the great season of hoops happenings. See you again next week.