Good to be back doing chats with you. We will do this every week through the rest of the season. i am excited to be calling the Duke-NC State game on Saturday. NC State has won nine in a row after a slow start. Duke is unbeaten but Ryan Kelly will be sidelined indefinitely with another foot injury. I think the real big games start now. This is an exciting time of the year. Can Duke and Michigan get through the weekend unbeaten. Kelly is a valuable player to be out and they will miss his versatility, look at what happened last year. NC State had so much hype early and thet can send a message with a win. Michigan has a tough test at Ohio State and the Buckeyes are talented. These are the type of games that create basketball interest.
Dickie V, what is up with UNC this year? Can the Heels right the ship and make the NCAA tournament?
I think people have to understand the quality players lost to the NBA -- John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes, four NBA first rounders. They will find a way to string wins together and win enough to make the tournament. James Michael McAdoo must b the star they need inside, he has been good but he has to be great. Roy Williams is a Hall of Famer for a reason. Tonight vs. Miami will be an interesting game. That is one they have to win as Miami is without Reggie Johnson inside.
Do you think this might be the year Gonzaga finally makes the final four and possibly a championship.
Gonzaga is a legit threat come March. They can beat you in many ways and they have great balance. I am looking forward to seeing them in person next week against Butler and those are two quality teams. I think Gonzaga has a chance. Mark Few has done a super job again.
Is Trey Burke the best guard in the nation?
I certainly love what he has done, averaging seven assists a game. He is a catalyst for Michigan and the best thing he did was return to school. I have Burke on my midseason All-America team. He is one of the elite guards in America.
Thoughts on UCLA playing better these days?
They are on a road trip and Ben Howland is happy with the way they are playing. The diaper dandies have been playing very well. Shabazz Muhammad has played up to expectations. Kyle Anderson leads them in rebounding. Jordan Adams has played well. They are playing like a team and have bought into the defensive concepts.
Hello Mr. Vitale. Big win for the Gophers last night although the next two games will be even tougher. This team has the ability to absorb large runs, counter with their own, and put away a ball game as opposed to previous years. I feel that they can be dangerous in the NCAA Tournament and make a run. Thoughts?
Tubby Smith has done a good job and th only loss is to Duke. They have two tough games ahead with Indiana and Michigan. Minnesota is healthy and this is Tubby Smith's best team. Hollins and Coleman are doing well. Great win at Illinois last night. Mbakwe has been a force inside. Life in the Big Ten is tough game after game. Minnesota has not won an NCAA tournament game since Clem Haskins was coach, they should win this year.
Do you consider Duke the best team in college basketball right now? Do you think they will win the NCAA tournament?
Duke has great chemistry and they understand how to share the ball. Winning teams understand shot selection and how to play at the end of the game. They have the resume so far but the loss of Kelly is big. Duke has one goal-- winning the championship. They need him back. They can win, but it is tougher if Kelly is on the sidelines. Are they the most talented team in America? Probably not but they know how to win as a unit
Kudos to Steve Alford's kids beating a goo UNLV team. They contained Anthony Bennett who has been one of the best freshman in America. Kirk has a good game inside. Also out west, Washington dominated against Cal, which has been a disappointment in the Pac-12 so far.
Who d you think will win the Mountain West Conference.
Did UConn get treated fairly, being left out of the Big East tournament?
They created their own problem and you have to adhere by the rules. The Big East did not want a situation where the Huskies could win the tournament and not be eligible for the big dance. Kevin Ollie will sell the program in a positive way and he has such a passion for the program. I really like what I have seen from him, including the loss to NC State.
I know this year is not OVER and I know the CATS will do good and make another run in the NCAA...........But with the class that KENTUCKY is putting together for 2014.....how would you rate the class and what could they do in the NCAA next year
They have some great youing players now. They can beat legit teams. Ryan Harrow is starting to develop. Poythress has to step it up, being aggressive and physical. Noel has to score inside. Kentucky, Missouri and Florida are the best teams but the SEC is really down overall. Kentucky will make some noise this yeat, and next year's class is off of the charts, maybe the best freshman class coming to a campus in 30 years.
I know you picked Louisville to win it all at the start of the season. Do you still feel that way?
I really do. They have a great chance when all of the players are healthy. Dieng is back from his broken wrist. Behanan is out but will return. Pitino belongs in the Hall of Fame. Smith and Siva give great backcourt play. I like them on a neutral court. Remember, this is not four out of seven like the NBA. It is one bad game and you go home.
Do you think Jonny Jones will be able to turn LSU around? He has a GREAT class coming in next yr but wasnt left any talent this yr. in my opinion, the program is a sleeping giant.
LSU has the potential to win some games. I like Johnny Jones and he has a passion for the school since he played there. Give him some time to bring in his own players and he will do well. Again, the SEC is down this season.
It's very sad watching Jim Boeheim make one last trip around the Big East, last night in Providence. I know the Big East is finished and SU is going to the ACC, but shouldn't the league have acknowledged Boeheim's 903 wins?
Interesting point. It is sad to see what is going on in college athletics. It is all about dollars. Boeheim should be honored for his accomplishments and all he has done for the big East as one of the original coaches.
Hello Dickie! You da man. Do the Rays have the bats this coming year? Also please share your thoughts on Marquette this year. Thanks. Go Rays!
Tampa Bay will always stay around with its pitching. I hope the bats come around. I like what they did at SS, but they need to add a little more punch. Marquette plays the way coach Buzz Williams performs on the sidelines. This is a tough team, go ask Connecticut and Georgetown. Marquette will win its share of games in the conference.
Hello Mr. Vitale. i just wanted to say how much i appresiate all your BBall knowledge. My questions for you is, how far do you see my Arizona Wildcats go in the turney in March? do you see them playing in April? and what need to be done for them to make it that far?
Sean Miller has done a solid job and this has been a comeback story when you look at wins over Florida, San Diego State and Colorado. Tonight against Oregon on the road will be a very difficult game. Winning close ones may help. Aa for the tournament, the experience of Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill will help. They have the potential to win a few games in the tournament.
How do you rank the Big10 right now and how many go to the dance?
The Big Ten is clearly the best conference in America and they will beat each other up night in and night out. Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State ... wow. Don't think that going to Madison is easy. Iowa has improved. The league will get plenty of teams in, but more importantly, they will have a number of them in the Sweet 16. I rate the Big Ten first, followed by the Big East when you look at Louisville, Syracuse, Notre Dame, etc.
Mr Vitale. I have not seen you do a game in a while? Will you be doing play by play for the Michigan vs Minnesota game next Thursday on ESPN?
Yes I will be there. I am looking forward to it.
Micheal Carter-Williams, Trey Burke, Phil Pressey or Peyton Siva and why?
Four exceptional guards. Burke can do it all so I would pick him. Carter-Williams has taken advantage of his opportunity and leads the nation in assists. Pressey and Siva are winners too. Basketball is really keyed by guard play and you need good guard play to succeed these days.
I am looking forward to doing some great games over the next week and a half. Duke-NC State, Michigan-Minnesota and Gonzaga-Butler. This really excites me as college basketball is so unique and so special. I have been lucky to have the best seat in the house and doing this now for 34 years. I feel the passion when I am in these buildings doing these games. I need a favor from the fans out there. You can get a chance to win a new red Mercedes and help with cancer research. Go to dickvitaleonline.com and click on the car and you can buy a chance to win, as there are only 1500 chances to win. It is a beautiful vehicle and you can help fight the dreaded disease. Tickets are going fast for the Dickie V gala on May 17th in Sarasota at the Ritz-Carlton. This year we are honoring Kansas coach Bill Self, former Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun and former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden. Call 941-350-0580 and ask for Mary for more details on tickets. We have to raise the dollars for cancer research. See you next week.