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 (11:02 AM)
The greatest three weeks in all of sports begins shortly. You can talk World Series, Super Bowl, NBA, NHL, but there is nothing that captures America like the run for the gold trophy in college basketball. I still get goosebumps and a thrill when it all starts.
Carl Rogers (Louisville, Ky.)
Hey Dickie V, what do you think about a possible Cards and Blue Devil elite eight matchup?
Dick Vitale (11:03 AM)
I think Duke will run into a buzzsaw in Michigan State. It's not even a cupcake game today against Valpo. I'm giving a slight edge to the Spartans in that game. They're tough. They can defend the perimeter.
Does Miami have enough firepower to bring home the chip?
Dick Vitale (11:04 AM)
Yeah, they are definitely one of the clubs that can. There are about 15-20 teams max that can win 6 in a row. You separate the contenders from the pretenders after you get past the first two games and Miami is one of them. Come tournament, perimeter play becomes essential.
mike poweleit (cincinnati oh)
How far do you think the UC bearcats can go?
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
They have a situation in round 1 with Creighton that's tough. Defending McDermott is tough. If they can get consistent play, they have the ability to beat Creighton. It will be a chance for them to get redemption after a good start to the season, but not so good finish before the tournament.
Big Sutty (Deerfield IL)
Mr. Vitale: Why is everyone so down on Cody Zeller? He is not a big leaper, but he is the most active big man in college basketball. No 7-footer runs the court like him.
Dick Vitale (11:07 AM)
He's the premiere post player in college. Efficient offensively, defensively. I'm not down on him. He has to be a little more aggressive, more active and want the ball more. But he's defintely one of the premiere players in the nation.
What game are you looking forward to seeing the most on Day 1?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
I think Day 1 is always exciting to see the upsets. To see how the elite, Goliaths do against the Davids. Davidson-Marquette is a matchup like that. Valpo-Duke. Davidson, can they play with Marquette?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
That's what makes March Madness so special, seeing a Davidson get its chance.
For the last 5 years, at least one 11, 12, and 13, seed wins their first game Which 11, 12, and 13 seed have the best chance to do it again this year?
Dick Vitale (11:09 AM)
I think Minnesota can create some problems. I think they can beat UCLA, if they play their game. They beat Indiana playing well. They have a good possibility to advance. Davidson-Marquette is interesting too.
Samuel (Saint Louis)
What do you think about SLU's chances to get to the Sweet Sixteen?
Dick Vitale (11:10 AM)
Saint Louis has the parts. They have an inside-outside presence. They're playing with emotion. They are a dangerous basketball team. I wouldn't be surprised to see them advance. They were 15-1 in their last 16. Very dangerous team.
Josh (Columbia, MO)
Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas. How far can those two take Ohio State? Do they find a consistent 2 scorer down the stretch?
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
I love the Buckeyes. They're one of my picks to go to the Final Four. Craft is one of the best defensive players in college basketball. Thomas is a scorer. They have the best perimeter defense in the nation. They finished strong, won their last 8 in a row.
Tommy (St. Louis )
Who is do you think the most overrated team is this year?
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
Once you get to the tournament, I think the teams have all earned their spots. Minnesota and NC State didn't play up to their expectations during the regular season, but now have a chance at redemption in the postseason. Some people would say Gonzaga is overrated as a No. 1 seed, but I don't buy that. They played a tough pre-conference schedule.
Jose Juan (Ponce, Puerto Rico )
which number one seed is more likely to lose first ?
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
When you look at the No. 1 seeds, I look to Kansas, they have a tough road. Michigan has a battle on their hands in the first round, then a tough battle potentially against VCU. If Michigan and Kansas play in the Sweet 16, that's a tough game for Kansas.
JESalukillini (Decatur, IL)
Does the "fighting illini" have a chance against Miami IF they can beat Colorado?
Dick Vitale (11:15 AM)
Illinois has a chance against anyone. But they have to focus on Colorado. That is not going to be an easy game. Illinois beat Gonzaga at Gonzaga. They beat Butler in the Maui Classic. They struggled a little bit after a great start.
I think Gonzaga is vulnerable, and Pitt is underseeded...what chance do you give Jamie Dixon of getting the Panthers to pull the upset?
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
That's a legit possibility. I can buy that argument. Pitt will have a chance. If they play well on the interior they have a shot. But they better concentrate on Witchita State. They're not a cupcake.
Big Sutty (Deerfield IL)
How long do you think Kentucky's one-and-done system is going to work? Is this in the true spirit of "college" basketball?
Dick Vitale (11:18 AM)
I think they'd tell you they're so disappointed this year. I firmly believe that we all overrated Kentucky, based on the fact that John Calipari has had so much success with the one and dones. This group just never meshed. But I think next year's class will really be terrific. They were inconsistent on guard play this year. They were up and down. Next year with the arrival of the twins, those guys are legit perimeter players. Add the other guys and that will be a dynamite team. It will be interesting to see where the kids from this year go. They have a real dilemma to think about, because I don't know if they'll be able to start next year or not. Kentucky is a proud program and a year from now they'll be right up there again, where they usually are.
I have the Gators winning the South. What say you?
Dick Vitale (11:19 AM)
Florida is one of those teams that's in the group of 15-20 teams that can win it all. They have to have more consistency. They defend well. Patrick Young needs more touches inside. The bottom line is they're a very solid team and has a chance to win that region. But it don't be easy.
Dick Vitale (11:21 AM)
Nobody is talking enough about Duke in the Midwest. People better realize that they're 18-1 with Ryan Kelly. I'm telling you that's when Coach K and his kids are at their best. If they didn't have that slip up against Maryland, everyone would be talking about them, because they'd be up on the 1 line.
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
I don't want to hear about me being a Duke lover, that's absurd and ridiculous. I've been on ESPN for 34 years and you don't last that long in this business without stating facts. They've been a great program. Winning national titles, player of the years, defensive player of the years. I'm not biased, I just tell the facts. Coach K is a hall of fame coach. I get tired of hearing about it. If you want to say that, you're wacky and you don't really follow basketball.
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
what chance does a big ten team wins the national title?
Dick Vitale (11:23 AM)
Oh man! It's a great chance. I have three Big Ten teams in the Final Four! I think there are five teams capable of winning 6 games: Ohio State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State.
what is the biggest upset you predicted in tournament?
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
Minnesota-UCLA. Davidson over Marquette wouldn't surprise me one bit. Bucknell over Butler wouldn't shock me. Arizona fans better watch out for Belmont.
how excited are you to be calling the games for International?
Dick Vitale (11:25 AM)
I'm really excited. Thrilled. First time sitting courtside for NCAA games. Working with Brad Nessler. I'm thrilled. I just did some interviews and it was really neat because there were writers from Australia, UK, Israel. I was so impressed with their knowledge of the game.
Can Wisconsin make a strong run?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
Absolutely. They're a very dangerous team. I'll tell you this: they could as easily go deep or lose in the first round. That Ole Miss team is dangerous. Getting past the first round won't be easy for Bo Ryan and his kids. But I like the way they shoot the three. I like how they control tempo.
Last year Duke got knocked out in the 1st round by a 15 seed. What's different about this team that tells me that they are ready to make a run?
Dick Vitale (11:27 AM)
This team is much more experience. It's an extra year for Plumlee. They didn't have Kelly last year. He's a stretch four on the perimeter. They have a freshman who can be sensational. This is a different Duke team.
Can NC State run with Indiana?
Dick Vitale (11:29 AM)
I really do think so. They have to worry about Temple first. They've been so inconsistent. They better not be thinking about Indiana. They're a team that has a chance to redeem themselves. I had them in the top 10 in the country in the preseason and they haven't lived up to that. I was so impressed when I was sitting courtside and watched them beat Duke when Duke was undefeated. They're a very dangerous team. If I were Indiana, that's one team I would be afraid of. Indiana fans better cheer for Temple.
Joe (San Jose)
Why isn't Kansas getting the same mentions as the other number ones?
Dick Vitale (11:29 AM)
That's a good question. They had a little slip up earlier in the year and people got down on them then. They really are a legit threat. However, I look at that region and they have it tough with Florida, Georgetown and Michigan.
Do my Belmont Bruins have a chance to win a couple games?
Dick Vitale (11:31 AM)
Well, Game 1 will be tough. Arizona is a solid team. But Belmont, with shooting 3's have a chance. I don't think fans realize how good they are. They better not talk about a couple of games, more like the 40 minutes with Arizona.
Tommy (Knoxville, TN)
What team is not getting enough love as a legit national title contender?
Dick Vitale (11:32 AM)
I think there are some teams out there, like a VCU or Butler that have that ability. It's wide open. This year, in my 34 years, the competitiveness was the greatest I've seen. I could make a list of a lot of teams that have a legit shot.
John (san diego)
I have New Mexico in the final four. What are the chances?
Dick Vitale (11:33 AM)
That can happen. They won 29 games. You could have made an argument for them as a No. 2 seed. They're a very dangerous basketball team. Steve's kids come after you defensively. People out there look at them as a legit threat.
Dick Vitale (11:34 AM)
Get ready now to watch the best three weeks of all. You're going to see some exciting big time exciting basketball. Look for teams that have good guard play, good defense. Look for teams that have a strong 3-point shooter. And you better have a team that can make shots at the charity stripe.