Chat with Dick Vitale
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale stops by to chat about the Final Four.
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 (11:02 AM)
In my 30-plus years at ESPN, I don't think a semifinal game has been as hyped as this. The hype for the Louisville-Kentucky game is off the charts. People better realize that the winner of the Kansas-OSU game will not be cupcake city. So, the winner of Louisville-Kentucky is not the champion, they still have another game to play!
Dick Vitale (11:03 AM)
I'm on my way to the Final Four today. We're all ready to rock and roll in the Big Easy with all of the crew. We have four goliaths. All of the Davids have been put to sleep.
In the Ohio St-Kansas game, how do you think the bigs will match up? Robinson-Sullinger is a good match, but i have heard people saying Withey is the right match up for Sullinger. What do you think?
Dick Vitale (11:03 AM)
I think they'll change it up, not just one guy. But Robinson-Sullinger gives you Ali-Frasier, Tyson-Holyfield. They're a step up in the post.
do you think with the powerhouses in the Final Four that we've returned to "normal" this year with the NCAA tournaments and not so many Cinderellas?
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
I don't know about normalcy, because the midmajor programs are legit. This year, these teams were a step above. My heart goes out to Syracuse and UNC fans, because we never saw those teams at full strength. We might have had three or four No. 1 seeds. But you have to credit Kansas and Ohio State, they took advantage.
Yo Dickie V! I've got a question for you. Is Kentucky the safest bet to win the national championship, or is there another team that can win it all?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
I think Kentucky is clearly the favorite, but the beauty of college basketball and what makes it so special, it's not best 4 of 7. If I'm Rick Pitino, the first thing I would have done on Monday after getting to the Final Four, I would have shown them highlights of Jimmy V beating that great Houston team, Georgetown in '84. It's all about those 40 minutes. Four of 7, nobody beats Kentucky, but in one game? Absolutely.
Eddie S., Erie, PA [via mobile]
Do you believe that the Orange of Syracuse would have had a better chance vs. Ohio St. with Fab M. in their lineup?
Dick Vitale (11:09 AM)
Absolutely. With Melo, you have size in that 2-3 zone against Sullinger. Sullinger took the game over. With Melo there, he wouldn't be able to do that.
Are you surprise at what louisville is doing in the tournment?
Dick Vitale (11:10 AM)
I'm not really surprised. They beat quality teams. To beat Davidson, New Mexico, Michigan State, Florida, those are four quality teams to get where they're at. It shows how important these tournaments are, they played well in the Big East, just ask UConn how much that helped last year.
is NCAA more of a guard's game?
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
Guards have become invaluable. There are three major factors to win: Sensational guard play; great 3-point shooter; a team taht defends. And for a fourth factor: having a star who can make the big big play in the last few minutes. That formula equals championships.
Whos the biggest match up problem for kentucky if the make it to the finals, kansas or ohiostate?
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
I both teams will come in riding high. Their makeups are similar. I look more at the offensive weapons when I look at OSU. Thomas, Smith, Craft, Sullinger, etc. The one X-factor who hasn't been himself in the tournament and isn't a superstar, but needs to elevate his game is Buford. Johnson at Kansas. Kentucky, I don't think the key for them is centered around the point guard play of Teague.
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
I haven't heard anyone mentioning in the Louisville-Kentucky game that Kentucky went 65 of 81 at the free throw line in their two games. It gives you points. It gets people in foul trouble. It gives them time to rest, as they're not that deep.
Stephen (New Jersey)
hey, what type of player do you think jared sullinger can be in the NBA?
Dick Vitale (11:15 AM)
He won't be a superstar, but I think he's a 10-year solid NBA player. You want him in your lockerroom. He's intelligent. He's a good all around solid basketball player.
Is this Davis' time to shine?
Dick Vitale (11:17 AM)
I think he's been shining all year. His presence is unbelievable. Just ask Baylor. In one minute they went from being up to down 10. He's an incredible force that you have to be so concerned abuot.
Do you think anyone will give UK as "close" of a game as IU did in the sweet 16 throughout the rest of the tournament? Prediction for IU next season assuming Zeller stays?
Dick Vitale (11:18 AM)
I don't think there's any doubt about it. All of those teams are capable on any given night. They're not going to be intimidated. They'll be playing with passion. They're well coached. It's not an automatic for Kentucky.
What's the key for a louisville win?
Dick Vitale (11:19 AM)
The key is turning the ball over, creating offense, getting penetration. You want to give yourself a chance to win. Also, getting a good start. Negate the spurts of Kentucky.
What makes john calipari so successful. seem like everywhere he goes he builds a contender
Dick Vitale (11:20 AM)
People have to start to realize he's the complete package. It starts with players and recruiting. If you don't have great players, you can't win. He does a phenomenal job in recruiting. He does a great job of getting players to understand roles. He gets them to be concerned about end results, the win. He handles the game and practices very well. Bottom line, look at the results.
do you think ohio state having the deeper bench would be enough to wear out the wildcats if they get by kansas?
Dick Vitale (11:21 AM)
Yeah, I don't think the bench play is as big as some people think. Teams get conservative this time of year and they play their best players as much as they can. The timeouts are longer. They've played so much by this time of year. That's all for talk. You have to play. I don't think the bench will be a factor.
Will Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague, Terrence Jones, and Darius Miller all get drafted this year?
Dick Vitale (11:23 AM)
As long as Calipari's there, you'll see the constant turnover with all of the NBA prospects. Next year will come another group that will all be potential NBA players as well. It's a way of life. Players see the track record. They see John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose.
Dick Vitale (11:23 AM)
The way he could sell UMass the way he did, he can certainly sell Kentucky.
What are Michigan State's chances for next year after losing Draymond?
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
Preseason all-Americans don't count, it's the post season and he made that team as well. He's classy in every way. Represented his school with great pride. It's been an honor for me to call his games. It's been an honor to call games for Zeller. It's been a thrill to be a part of all of that. They've represented their schools in a first class manner.
What about Perry Jones III? He struggled at times down the strech and it makes you wonder what happened. What did happen to him? It seemed like he didn't show up when Baylor needed him most.
Dick Vitale (11:25 AM)
I really hope that he comes back to school. I think he needs Baylor more than Baylor needs him. I saw too many games where he wasn't a part of the scene. He can handle the ball. He can shoot. He needs to be more consistent. Another year of college can help him.
Who the best guard in the final 4?
Dick Vitale (11:27 AM)
You're not going to get to the Final Four without great guard play. You have to have leadership. Shot selection is vital. You can't win without taking good shots. I look at Teague. He's a big factor. He's a young kid. Craft. Taylor was brilliant against UNC. Siva. It's hard to pick one over the other. But it's no question that guard play will be important for a win.
Dick Vitale (11:29 AM)
We're going down to the Big Easy for the Final Four. Thank you so much all year long. After this, I'll move on to baseball. My Rays baby! To all of you Yankees fans, remember the names of those Rays pitchers. That will be the difference this season ... wait a minute! I got to talk basketball. My Final Four predictions: Kentucky 74, Louisville 67. OSU 74, Kansas 71. Setting up a titanic battle of Sullinger against the 'Cats. Sorry Buckeyes this magical moment goes to Kentucky as they cut down the nets.