Good morning and it is great to be back chatting with you. It is Jimmy V week and this is a special time as we try to win the battle against the dreaded disease. Jimmy's legacy is that fight. I know he is looking down from heaven, excited to see NC State facing Connecticut and Georgetown battling Texas in the Jimmy V Classic next week at Madison Square Garden. Jimmy's legacy was not cutting the nets down, it was raising over $100 million for research. He has made an impact on so many lives with the dollars raised for this battle. I got a chance last night to be on the court with the number one team in basketball and today I am at the campus of the #1 team in football, Notre Dame. I will be doing the Kentucky-ND game tomorrow. Indiana showed why it is number one last night, they have great balance, outstandign shooting, and three vital parts of a championship team. Interior play with Zeller, guard play with Hulls and Ferrell, and exciting players like Watford and Oladipo. They have the ingredients to win it all, plus a driven coach in Tom Crean.
How did you and Jimmy become friends?
We got to know eqch other throught he basketball world from our coaching days. It really grew when we worked together at ESPN.
I was a big fan of Jimmy V when he was at Iona. How special was he? Seemed like he would be a great guy.
He was a fun-loving guy. He could have been a star in a sitcom. He oculd take command of a room, and I would be in awe listening to story after story. He was Seinfeld before their was Seinfeld.
It's been so long since Jimmy passed away, how do you keep his memory fresh in your mind?
Every day, raising dollars and remembering his unbelievable speech. I have lived by what he said in his speech at the ESPYs. We must go out and beat this thing. I am proud to be a Board Member of the V Foundation.
Do you think Coach Cal set the tougher early schedlue for UK to challenge his freshmen, and to really see what he has to work with this season?
He has a blend of some cupcacke city teams and tough games liek Duke and Notre Dame in a tough environment. Notre Dame is 40-1 in itslast 41 home games and this will be a test to see how much Kentucky has progressed. This is a veteran Irish team with all five starters back.
Who do you like tonight between my Dukies and the Buckeyes???
I give the edge to Duke because they are playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium. I also think there is a revenge factor after being blown out last year in Columbus. I love the scoring ability of DeShaun Thomas and the guard play of Aaron Craft. That said, I think the key will be Mason Plumlee up front. I would love to see a Plumlee-Zeller matchup.
Did you see last night's Indiana blowout over UNC coming?
Not to that extent. This is a UNC team that is being put together and people have to understand what they lost. It is not easy to do, especially early in the season. The Tar Heels have good athletes and they will get better but they met a buzzsaw that played really tough defensive basketball. Give Indiana credit for a great performance last night.
They can never play the Jimmy V speech enough for me. It's amazing that it brings so much emotion even after watching it over and over. Did he write the speech or was it just things that came to him while he spoke? Did you know what he was going to say?
Jimmy was a great motivational speaker and he mentally put things together. He had a concept of what he was going to speak about. He was absolutely brilliant.
Hey Dick! What teams have surprised you the most in the early goings this year?
I am disappointed in UCLA and NC State. It is early in the season and they will have time to redeem themselves. Indiana is playing to its billing, Duke is playing even better after beating VCU and Louisville in the Battle4Atlantis. Oklahoma State and Georgetown are two that have played better than anticipated. Colorado even though it went double-overtime last night, has been a surprise too, beating Baylor.
You're a legend! It's an honor to talk sports with you! How much competition do you think (if any) the addition of MD & Rutgers will add to the conference for the Big 10 in the future?
Thanks. I am at the point that I don't want to discuss what is going on with realignment. You cannot blame schools, but you need a scorecard now and it is chaotic and wacky. It is all about $$$$, and to tell you the truth, I am sick of it. Now Louisville is going to the ACC, and you don't even know who is in the Big East. It is hard to keep track of all of this.
What do you think is the ceiling for the Zags this year? Legitimate Final Four threat?
I absolutely think they are a legit Final Four contender. Mark Few does a great job with them and I love the backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. Elias Harris does a super job up front. Yes, they are a legit contender.
What do you remember most about the 1983 Wolfpack?
Cardiac kids, doign the ACC tournament. Had to beat Virginia with Ralph Sampson, Jordan, Perkins and company plus a good Wake Forest team just to make the tournament. Then they beat several teams in close games, where Jimmy came up with the survive and advance concept.
Dickie V, can I get your argument for Manti Te'o to win the Heisman?
I gave my argument to Eddie George on radio. To the victor goes the spoils. Would Notre Dame be 12-0 without the defense. It is like when they honored Charles Woodson. Teo has earned it and I know people go bananas for QBs, but if he is not in the lineup, there is no way they go 12-0. He is a winner on and off the field. He gets my vote, case closed.
how big of an impact did Jimmy V make on you and on the world, from your perspective
Anytime you affect peoples lives, with over $100 million raised through his Foundation. We still need more so please call 1-800-4-JIMMYV. Or you can help by getting my new book on motivation, which is available on dickvitaleonline.com. All of my proceeds will go to V Foundation.
As of today, who are your #1 seeds in the big dance?
A little too early for that. Indiana would be number one.
Do you think Miles plumlee is a dual threat ?
The thing I like about Duke is their veteran leadership and winning experience. Plumlee, Seth Cirry and Ryan Kelly have been there before and it shows. Plumlee has looked really great going up and down the floor. He is a tough defender and a force in the paint of the offensive end.
Where do you see my Louisville Cards since Dieng is out right now? (I'm still hurt by the news) How do you feel about them going to the ACC?
As I said earlier, I am tired of talking about college re-alignment but the bottom line is this is far from over. As for Dieng being out, that is a major blow because of his shot-blocking ability in the paint. Louisville has quality depth and Rick Pitino, who should be in the Hall of Fame, will figure things out while Dieng is sidelined.
How tough will the big 10 be this season?
I believe it is the best conference in America when you look at Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State. Wisconsin is always tough under Bo Ryan. Minnesota has been solid early. I think this is the top league.
Is it possible for the NCAA to take control and to do do a new re-alignment path for all schools and lock it down for ten years? This is out of hand and as a UCONN I am extremely bummed about what happened to a great basketball conference.
That is not the NCAA's job. It is disappointing to see what has happened to the Big East. It was a great basketball conference and is still is good, but let's remember, footbal drives the bus on these moves.
do you like smart for freshman of the year?
There are a lot of super diaper dandies out there and Marcus Smart of the Cowboys has to be among the elite. Look what his team did against NC State, for example. I had Smart among my premier diaper dandies going into the season, so I am nto surprised. He is a leader and solid all-around performer for Travis Ford.
Is this the year Coach Beilein makes his first Final Four trip?
Michigan is certainly legit and it helps when Trey Burke plays the way he did last night with 18 points, 11 assists and no turnovers. The supporting cast is going to be a key and the Wolverines have good talent. I believe John Beilein's team will be a legit contender to make it to Atlanta.
Whats your take on Ben McLemore and the Kansas Jayhawks? He seems to be a star in the making!
I agree, he is a rising star and the fans in Lawrence will love him. I know Bill Self is thrllled to have his talent on the court.
Who do you see as the best team in the A10 this year? Very deep league
Very deep and underrated league. St. Joseph's was impressive in beating a veteran Notre Dame team. Butler looked super against North Carolina. VCU plays so hard. Great league.
I am looking forward to the Kentucky-Notre Dame game tomorrow night. Manti Teo will be sitting at the table with us for a four minute segment. I think the place will go nuts when the football team comes in. Notre Dame is number one in football and number one in graduating its players, that is quite a feat. It shows that you can win with players who think there is more to life than just playing. This is Jimmy V week and anything you can do, any amount will help in this battle. Call 1-800-4-JIMMY V. You may ultimately help save the life of somebody you love. I will be chatting weekly again starting in January. God bless.