Great to be with you again this morning. I cannot wait to go to Bloomington this weekend as the Wolverines and Hoosiers meet, number one vs. number three and it should be a great game. Hoosier fans have to be excited about the performance against Purdue last night, winning on the road by 37. Michigan had a good win over Northwestern, so we are set for this showdown. We are now separating pretenders and contenders. We have had so many fantastic game sin conference play already. Gameday will be there, all fired up. Saturday night, Dan Shulman, Shannon Spake and I are excited to be courtside. We just want a really good game. The last time a #1 came to Bloomington, it was electric as IU beat Kentucky on that Watford shot.
If you had to pick the National Champion today, who would it be?
If I had to pick one today, I really like Michigan. It would not surprise me if Indiana won at home Saturday. Michigan has great balance, defend, can shoot on the perimeter, versatile players.
I've noticed throughout the year, you've voted Florida a little lower than most of the other voters in the power rankings. They are crushing SEC teams right now like I haven't seen in a long time. Florida plays the best defense in the country and even when up by 46 points, they still play hard. I bet they are ranked #1 in the country by the end of the regular season. Thoughts?
I have them in the top four. I think they defend well, score, and they are dominating in a league that is a bit down this year. I love Florida, the Gators would be in my Final Four right now, so I do not understand...I have a lot of respect for Billy Donovan and his team.
Does NC State stand a chance against Miami if Lorenzo Brown's injury keeps him out of the game?
I think they would be in trouble without him. He sets the tempo and is one of the premier point guards in the country, especially in transition. His absence was a big factor in the Virginia game. Miami will be a tough opponent.
What is wrong with Mizzou? Bowers finally came back and then we go down to LSU and lose to the last place team in the SEC.
I do not think they are defending like they are capable of. They ahve some good athletes, very dangerous team but very inconsistent right now.
Please tell me Kansas didn't hit their peak in Decemeber. Their defense has been amazing, but their offense has struggled lately. Bill Self always seems to have something up his sleeve, so do you see them turning it on in time for the tournament?
I have one concern about them, it is offensively. They have not been living up to their capabilities. This team finds a way to win, a tradmark of Bill Self teams. The defense has been solid, but the offense, as we saw against West Virginia the other night, has been a bit down.
Love to hear your thoughts on Marshall Henderson. I have been an Ole Miss BB fan for over 40 years. I understand why other teams hate him, but we love him. He has so much passion and enthusiasm for the game that he reminds me of you. We are in for a tough stretch going to Gainesville Saturday and we lost 2 key players in the UK game so I'm sure everyone will say that we were overrated. But this team has played great up to now and please tell Jay Williams that Marshall DOES play good defense. He's averaging 1.4 steals per game.
Marshall Henderson is everything you said, passionate, emotional, but sometimes out of control. They lost a tough one against Kentucky with too much Noel blocking shots, and Saturday will be tough. Henderson has been a special player this season and Mississippi has had legit wins.
Big east fan here. Did lousiville's three game losing streak cost them a shot at getting a number one seed? Also, without southerland does su have any chance to make the final four if he does not come back?
Still a lot of basketball to be played. It depends what happens with Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Kansas. You do not think about the #1 seed on Febtruary 1st, it is the least of Rick Pitino's concerns. Just go out and win ballgames.
Tony Bennett is the man, what a great coach. I think UVA is headed to the tourney and will advance in it. What do think about this?
He does a phenomenal job getting the most out of his people. It was a great win over NC State, also beat UNC at home. He has done a great job and Virginia controls tempo in the game. He is a chip off the old block as his dad did that at Wisconsin.
What do you think Marquette's chances are of winning the Big East regular season title?
They are on a roll right now. Vander Blue had 30 vs. South Florida. Buzz Williams gets those kids to play with such passion and emotion. Marquette is right up there right now, but the league is so competitive.
Which is a bigger surprise, Oregon in the Pac-12 or Mississippi in the SEC?
I think Mississippi is the bigger surprise. Oregon is in a league that is wide open after Arizona and UCLA. By the way, that is a abd loss to USC last night. They are talented enough to win those games. Oregon got blown out by Stanford, a 13-8 team now as Johnny Dawkins' team tries to build on the W. Andy Kennedy has done a super job with Mississippi. Terrific win for the Trojans by the way. Coach Cantu will be big man on campus.
If Indiana wins on Saturday it will be because of _________?
Zeller and Watford inside, getting to the foul line, consistent guard play. Home court advantage should play into it too.
Big win on the road for my Lobos last night...if hitting on all cylinders are they an elite 8 or better contender?
Give Steve Alford's team a lot of credit for a good road win. New Mexico is one of several teams that can contend for the Sweet 16 and maybe beyond. That is one thing about this season; there are a lot of good teams, not as many great ones.
I am assuming that Kentucky will sneak in. If they get on a role to end the regular season, what the highest seed do you think they could receive. Lets says they finish 14-4 in the SEC. I am thinking maybe a 6 seed.
I think the win over Mississippi was a big one for Big Blue Nation. We will have to see about record, but if the Cats finish that well, a decent seed would not shock me. Right now, this team is not a 6-seed quite yet.
How about the Hoosiers blowing out Purdue in West Lafayette? Amazing performance on the road. Cant wait for the Wolverines on Saturday. Could be the game of the year!
That was a great win for Indiana as it is never easy to win at West Lafayette. I cannot wait for this weekend.
How good is Michigan State and can they make it to the Final Four?
Tom Izzo always seems to have his teams ready come tournament time. Michigan State played pretty well at Indiana. I think Izzo has all the pieces to make a deep run. Like I said, there will be a lot of quality teams in the tourney.
Under Bill Self, Kansas has won or shared 8 consecutive regular season Big 12 titles and KU has now gone over 260 games without losing 2 straight games (seven years!) - in this era of college basketball where so many players leave early, how incredible is their consistent excellence and doesn't it deserve more attention?
I think Kansas gets attention and the numbers speak for themselves. The Jayhawks played for the national championship last season, I don't think people forgot about that. Bill Self has done an incredible job year in and year out, especially considering the players lost to the NBA. By the way, we will be honoring Coach Self at our Dickie V. gala in May.
Is there anyone else you would rather have take the last shot than Michael Snaer? He's a PTP'er baby!
Snaer has been Mr. Clutch, hitting the shot vs. Maryland last night and earlier in the season. That was a big win for Leonard Hamilton.
How big was Mason Plumlee last night, did he retake the top spot for POY?
Plumlee is up there with Trey Burke and Doug McDermott. I think those are the top three right now.
Does it seems like Memphis is a forgotten team these days?
Memphis has put up a decent record and I think Josh Pastner's team can do a little damage in the tournament if it keeps playing well.
Should DeAngelo Harrison come back to school?
He has shown more maturity this season, playing with a young team. He may feel his stock is up, so we will have to see. St. John's has been playing well lately, now 6-3 in the Big East. The tougher portion of the schedule in the Big East is still ahead.
Indiana State beat Miami and won at Wichita State. Could the MVC get a third team in this year and can the Sycamores make it?
The MVC deserves to have more than just Creighton and Wichita State. Those were two quality wins for Indiana State, and let's remember the Sycamores were tough down the stretch last season. The victory at Wichita State was an eye-opener and I am sure the selection committee will look at that one. There is still a lot of basketball to be played.
With the breakup of the Big East as we know it, do you hear if there are efforts to preserve some of the traditional rivalries going forward (Syracuse vs. Georgetown and UConn, for example)?
Syracuse and St. John's just announced that they will play the next two years, one at the Carrier Dome and one at Madison Square Garden. Hopefully we will see more of those things happen in the future. It is sad to see so many conferences going through upheavel in college hoops.
Dick, where do you expect Wisconsin to finish this season in the Big Ten? And are you surprised with how consistent Bo Ryan has been since coming to Madison?
Wisconsin plays so hard and Ryan gets the most out of his players. Beating Indiana in Bloomington and Minnesota are two examples of why this team cannot be counted out ever. The Big Ten has been the best conference in America, so I believe seven will make it to the big dance. I would put the Badgers in that group.
Why so much love for Duke in your part? talk about Arizona, nobody does. and they are one of the best team in America and they beat Florida, the team most people think is the best.
Duke is a different team with Ryan Kelly on the sideline. I think you have to look at the total resume and realize this is a team with wins over Louisville, Minnesota, VCU, Ohio State, etc. That si why I ranked them among the elite, but there are really 6-8 teams that are above the rest at this point. That doesn't necessarily mean that a surrpise team cannot sneak in and surprise like we have seen from Butler and VCU in recent years.
My friends, you can help us in the fight against cancer. We have a raffle for a new, 2013 Mercedes. You can find out more info by going to dickvitaleonline.com. I am so excited to go to Bloomington this weekend. Dan Shulman and I hav talked about how great the environment will be. I am also bringing tennis legend Nick Bolletieri with me and he is looking forward to it. This should be a great game. See you next week, thanks for all of your questions.