Good morning and I am excited about this time of year. Ciollege basketball continues to amaze me. Marshall upsets West Virginia after the Mountaineers beat Purdue. There is going to be a great run for Player of the Year between Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette, Nolan Smith and Jared Sullinger all in the conversation.
Do you think UNC gets back to the big dance this year?
I really do. I think they will ahve wins, they have a quality win over Kentucky. They got hurt by the transfer of the Wear brothers because it happened so late. It took away some of the flexibility up front.
Can you come back and coach the Pistons?
Check my record with the Pistons. My record is unbeaten on TV for 32 years. The Pistons don't want me and I don't want them.
Just how far can Kentucky go this year with 6 contributors (3 being freshment)?
Whenever you look at a young basketball team, they can be very good or very average. The transition of different players is chalelnging. A lot depends on the pairings or matchups. I would say Sweet 16 right now. I have debated John Calipari about this. I don't think you can win a national championship with changing personnel each year and it creates a problem with chemistry when you ahve 4-5 new guys. You are always teaching and you eventually run into veteran teams like Pittsburgh. I am amazed how much they win.
I know you called a few Texas games this season so do you like Jordan Hamilton and what do you think of Kansas-Texas thisweekend?
I love Hamilton's ability, his versatility, athleticism, ability to shoot the 3. Texas is coming off a great win over A&M and now Kansas is going to be tough. The Jayhawks play to the ability of the competition and I think they will beat Texas. Bill Self is my Coach of the Year right now. They lost Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins and Xavier Henry and those are three great players and the league was supposed to be tough. It is not easy, and Kansas has rolled. I love going to Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk land.
With Gameday coming to West Lafayette, I was wondering how far you think Purdue can go. Do they still have realistic aspirations of a Final Four appearence even without Hummel? (what a tragedy)
I just spoke to Matt Painter and they have different personality as a team. Moore came out of his shooting slump last night. They need Moore and Johnson to both be effective. I just think about where they would have been with Hummel. Mackey is a great environment and it it important for both teams. If they want to think about winning the Big Ten, they have to win, especially when Ohio State is playing so well.
Thanks for coming to the Oakland Zoo on Monday. Hope to see you back here next year! Do you think Pitt could pull off last year's WVU run in both tournaments? (can't believe I'm comparing those two)
Pittsburgh is certainly a legit candidate to make it to the Final Four. I love their experience, athleticism and ability to dominate on the glass. Jamie Dixon's team is unselfish, leading the nation in assists and assist to turnover ratio. I was very impressed early on Monday, That 19-0 run was as good a showing as I have seen all season. Gibbs and Wanamaker are among the best backcourts in America. This team can make it to Houston.
Really, after last night you won't even mention JaJuan Johnson in the NPOY "conversation"? Apparently the main criterion for that is to hit last-second, game-winning shots...at least for Kemba.
Johnson has put up big numbers but it it tough to overcome Walker, Fredette and Sullinger. Johnson was in my midseason Super Seven and he is having a great season.
Dick, in your opinion, will we see Kyrie Irving again in 2011?
I am not a doctor and I can only base it on things I have heard. I would doubt it. We are talking about a guy rated in the top five for the draft. Duke is certainly a different team without him. With him, Singler and Smith they would have been almost unbeatable. Duke still has a shot but it will not be easy.
How about your boy Calipari. Great language the other night. What a true leader of men.....
Obviously it was uncalled for and not needed. He certainly apologized about it. Unfortunately it happens in the heat of the battle and a locker room mentality. It is a very emotional game. There is no excuse and no place for it for a kid to be ripped in public.
How many Big East teams will make it to March Madness this year DickieV?
They are beating each other up now. Emotionally it is so tough to play at a fever pitch. I think you will see some teams fall out. St.John's got beat up by Louisville last night. West Virginia lost against Marshall. Teams get physically worn down. I think when it is all said and done I think nine will go fromt he Big East.
Does Tennessee win the Big East if they win Saturday? Already have wins vs Pitt and Nova
They can make a claim for it. They get beat by Oakland and Charleston but beat those teams (Nova and Pittsbrugh), win at Georgia, beat a good Vandy team, etc. They are a veteran team that can cause damage come tourney time. They will play at intense level on Saturday and Pearl will be on the sidelines. Connecticut will have to play its A game. Williams has been playing in a positive way and Hopson has a lot of talent.
Mr. Vitale: What would you do so that kids aren't just playing one year of college ball before heading to the NBA? Why not just let them go pro right out of H.S. if they have no real desire to get an education, especially when there are so many kids who can't afford one?
Very simply, a kid like a John Wall should be allowed to go right away. Other kids who are not as highly ranked should go to college for three years like the baseball rule. Kids that want to be in college should be there.
Mr Vitale, after last night its pretty obvious that the Lobos are in a bad situation at the moment. They are young, but there seems to be issues with their motivation as well. They dont seem to be playing with any fire in the last two weeks or so. What is going on in ABQ? Thanks.
The Lobos lost to Utah last night. Losing on the road is not shocking because that is a underrated conference. The Mountain West is a quality league and over the years many teams have left Salt Lake City with an L. Steve Alford's team needs a few big wins.
What are your thoughts on FSU? Also who do you have in the big game this weekend vs FSU VS BC
Florida State is coming along. I was very impressed with the defense against Duke. Singleton is getting better offensively, They are winning at the right time and they are making noise in the ACC when the league is a bit down. They can do damage in the NCAA too.
Give Derrick Williams some love Dickie V! He's a no doubter for 1st team all america and a lottery pick. Arizona might be back!
Big game tonight with Arizona vs. Washington. He is one of the premier players in the country. I have them in my top 25. Sean Miller has this program back in a short time. Washington losing Gaddy was a big blow for them.
I don't care about NPOY for Jimmer, but will BYU beat SDSU in Provo next week?
That will be a huge game. If San Diego State can win there, I feel there is a legit shot they could run the table and go into the Mountain West tourney unbeaten.
Are you surprised that NC State has struggled a bit this season?
I really am because the conference is down and I thought the return of Tracy Smith would be a difference maker, especially with diaper dandy CJ Leslie. Sidney Lowe needs a few big wins to quiet some of the critics out there.
Do you see Pearl coaching Tennessee next season?
Let me say this about Bruce Pearl. Chris, obviously he is a winner and his energy has been fantastic for the Vols. He has taken the team to five straight NCAA bids, nobody else has done that in the SEC. He has done so much for charity in the community, he and hie wife. He has built equity and that is why AD Mike Hamilton is 100 percent behind him. That said, it doesn't change my feeling that I stated during the Vandy game that a large majority of coaches would have been fired immediately for lying to the NCAA, as he admitted. Many Vol fans only see it in Orange, their own way. They cream about John Calipari. Let me respond to that, Bruce Pearl's situation and my statements are based on FACTS. Calipari has never been charged with violations and it is perception. Massachusetts and Memphis vacated their Final Fours because of what the NCAA stated, violations transpired without his knowledge. One critic screamed about me protecting Roy Williams in 2005 while at Kansas when he given a secondary violation for giving gifts to a couple of senior players at a banquet. How do you compare that to lying to the NCAA. People hear and believe what they want. Let us see what the NCAA decides. Tennessee people want Pearl on their sidelines. I understand that and I don't blame them. He is a terrific coach.
What do you think about Southern Miss this year? and the future with darnell dodson trasnfering here from kentucky along with som really good juco guys coming in? Thanks
Larry Eustachy has done a great job with that program. Southern Miss had a tough loss on a late basket by Memphis last night. Conference USA has been interesting with Central Florida out early, and now it has shown more balance. Southern Miss will be a contender and it is tough to beat them in Hattiesburg.
Can someone please explain what is up with the SEC this year? Was Alabama beating Kentucky a fluke or should we start to take the SEC west seriously?
It is hard to explain. The SEC East is as good as it gets. Look at Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia and South Carolina and those teams will beat each other up. It is tough to win on the road in the conference ... just ask Kentucky about losing at Georgia and Alabama.
In your opinion, will Ohio State remain unbeaten after Saturday's game at Illinois?
That is going to be a challenge as Illinois has momentum after beating Michigan State. The Buckeyes have won a number of close games in the league this season, so I would not be stunned if the Illini won. Thad Matta has all the parts to get to the Final Four and a win at Champaign would say a lot. It should be a great game.
Texas- Texas A&M. What do you think the Aggies did wrong? if you watched...
Why not give credit for what Texas did right and the job Jordan Hamilton did? Mark Turgeon's team is having a great season and losing on the road one night shouldn't take away from that. It just was not the Aggies' night.
Would you say that freshmen PG Aaron Craft is the one the more important players for the Buckeyes that will play a bigger role in March?
Craft has had a major impact off the bench already. He can handle and distribute the rock and he is a steal machine (seven last night I believe). He will have a big role for Matta.
I am not too sure who is in charge of recruiting the tall, versatile big men that Wisconsin lands every year but has Marquette ever considered going hard after a player like that? I understand that Marquette runs a much different system than Wisconsin but can you imagine how much a 6'10" power forward would help Marquette when they face teams with a bigger front line?
I am sure Marquette and Wisconsin have at times gone after the same player. I will say this, both of those schools are very well coached. I have a lot of respect for Bo Ryan and Buzz Williams and I feel a lot of teams would not want to see them come tourney time.
When does the NCAA Men's College Basketball & the NBA Switch Announcers for one day?
I have not heard about that happening this season.
What do you make of the season Penn State is having and can the Nittany Lions ever be relevant in college basketball?
Beating Michigan State and Illinois and coming within one at Purdue makes Penn State relevant and I am not talking about Joe Paterno and football, baby!
Dick, I'm not entirely convinced that Duke has kicked the bug that did them in against Florida State, but last night seemed like a step in the right direction at least in terms of dealing with some of the issues exposed in Tallahassee. Is consistent contribution from Duke's 'role' players the ultimate key to their success?
Last night was a good win over NC State. I think having Singler and Smith, Duke is capable of beating anyone. Getting more from the interior would help too.
I love chatting with all of the fans. It is one reason that I am so passionate about the sport I love. Thanks so much for being involved in this each week. I hope you can help me reach my goal of raising $1 million for cancer research. Go to dickievonline.com and find out how you can help in the battle against the dreaded disease. You can also help by purchasing my new book, also available on dickievonline.com. It is a children's book and all of my proceeds go to cancer research...See you next Thursday and I hope you catch me on Saturday with Michigan State at Purdue.