Good to be with you this morning for another chat. If you don't believe this is an unpredictable and wacky season, just look at what happened at TCU last night. Kansas was on top of the Big 12, while TCU was winless in league play. My friends, it was shock city. It shows how wide open college basketball is and you have to come to play every night. This may send a message to Indiana that Illinois will come to play as the Illini will be desperate at 2-7 in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, I had a great game earlier this week as Michigan edged Ohio State in overtime. I am looking forward to going to South Bend this weekend to see Louisville against Notre Dame.
Mr. Vitale,Last week you stated Oladipo has the skill set of MJ. How well of a player do you think he can be in the NBA. GO HOOSIERS!!!!!!!!!!!
Let's not worry about the NBA. I said he is a mini version when Michael was on the collegiate version. He exploded when he went to the NBA scene. I want people to understand that. Oladipo has a lot of work to do in college still, he is a terrific college player who is getting better and better.
Who is your pick for Player of the Year right now, Trey Burke or Doug McDermott?
Today I would go with Trey Burke. He has had such an impact on the Michigan team. McDermott is right up there despite the loss to Indiana State. You can see my super seven on my page on espn.com
What is the best game that you have ever seen?
The one that was most dramatic was watching my buddy win the national championship because of what was at stake and the underdog role in the eyes of people, Jimmy V. vs. Phi Slama Jama in Albuquerque.
Whart happened to Kansas?
You have to stay focused and you cannot take anyone lightly. When you are a team like Kansas, you have a target on your back and everyone gives their best shot. If there was ever a time to storm the court, last night was it. To beat a top five team for the first time, to get your firrst Big 12 win by beating the top team in the league. Kansas also had a horrific first half shooting the basketball.
Can Gonzaga win the national title?
Absolutely. They are in the hunt like anyone else. They have perimeter play, balance and a tough kid inside in Kelly Olynyk. Gonzaga is right in the mix with a number of teams.
Why is baylor on a downfall?
Up and down, very inconsistent team. They are very athletic but you have to be consistent. They have had good moments, like going to Kentucky and snapping the homecourt winning streak. Then they have some bad moments, losing to some teams that they shouldn't. Last night vs. Oklahoma State was a tough one for Scott Drew.
Did you think ODU should have fired Blaine Taylor during the season? I know they are 2-20, but why not let him finish the season, they were not going to the conference tournament anyway.
I don't buy coaches being fired druring the season unless it is a moral situation. Don't fired him over wins and losses until after the season. I especially don't like it when a guy has given so much to the university as he did.
It's obvious you like Aaron Craft. Do you really think he can go to the next level? I know he can facilitate offensivley but does't he need to develop an outside shot?
I said he can be a role player and make a roster. If he ever improves his shot, watch out. He is a tough, competitive winner who is unique and special. He makes players around him better. His liability is his shot.
Who do you think is National Coach of the Year at this point? Can anyone stop Jim Larranaga?
Larranaga is certainly in the mix. There are a lot of good candidates. What about the job Krzyzewski and Duke given Ryan Kelly being out. Billy Donovan has done a solid job at Florida despite the loss the other night at Arkansas. Bruce Weber has had a rebirth at Kansas State. There are a lot of guys in the running and it is still early. Does anyone realize the job Larry Eustachy has done at Colorado State? 19 wins already and they may be ranked soon. It is still early.
Is Tennessee one of the biggest disappointments this season?
They lost a key player in Maymon, and his absence changed the whole look of that team. I do not think I would go as far as to say one of the biggest disappointments. I am sure Cuonzo Martin wishes he had a better record, especially in SEC play.
Can Michigan State make the Final Four
Yes, Tom Izzo's team can certainly win the Big Ten again, they are right there knocking on the door. Izzo is a fierce competitor who got another good win last night. He would battle you in checkers and chess. I am looking forward to going to East Lansing to sit next to Magic Johnson, who is one of my favorite players of all time. What he has done with his life after basketball is an amazing success story and he is so special.
Dick, what's your take on many of the top 10 teams having legitimate struggles recently, Duke, UL, KU, etc. Do you think it's a legitimate possibility that about 30 teams have a shot to win it all this year due to the mediocrity?
I will tell you, I would say about 15 that could win it all. It is as wide open as ever. When you are talking about winning six game sin a row, you separate some teams out of there.
Do the Hogs have a chance at an NCAA Bid- if they can start putting some wins together?
They have to package what they do at home and then win on the road. The victory over Florida opened some eyes but now they have to keep winning.
Hey Dickie V., I went to your basketball camp at W. Bloomfield H.S. with Bob Lanier! Where is the Dobber at now?
Dobber is in Phoenix working in the NBA office in an executive capacity. I hope you learned something from the camp and Bob and I were there every day. We loved working with kids.
What job is Coach K doing without Kelly? They are flawed and lost by more than any #1 ranked team ever - and they will not challenge the better teams from other conferences. The ACC sticks right now. Keep up the good work.
Bottom line is he has done an amazing job. They did get blown out of a game and that happens. Carolina got blown out by Florida State and then went to win the title. Kelly is a key guy and obviously you are a Duke hater and are absolutely thrilled when Duke comes up short. To knock Coach K is an absolute joke; we should all do what Coach K has done in his career. He is an outstanding hmanitarian who is so dedicated to help raise money in the battle for cancer at the V Foundation. Obviously anything he does will not please you. He has done a great job this season and his team is in the top five, with wins over the likes of Louisville and Ohio State. Give me a break.
have you seen VT's Erick Green play this year? If so, do you think his play relates well to the NBA?
Green is a talented player who has the potential to make it in the NBA. He has a scorer's mentality.
How can N.C. State get back on the right track,? I know they've struggled with some injuries too.
Lorenzo Brown's injury certainly hurt as he is the floor general for Mark Gottfried's team. NC State still has a legit shot to get it together. Miami has been the creme de la creme in the ACC so far obviously, but come tournament time, the Wolfpack have enough talent to contend.
Has Kevin Ollie done a good job so far? I think he has.
Yes, he has. Even with the loss last night, he inherited a tough situation with Connecticut out of the Big East tournament and NCAA tournament this season. I think that now with his new deal, there is some job security and he will be able to recruit. Ollie will be there for a long time.
Dickie V., what are your thoughts on Otto Porter, Jr. as a BE POY candidate and do you think the Hoyas can make some noise in March?
I called a couple of his games earlier this season. He is a very talented player and Georgetown has such great length on defense, I believe they will cause problems for teams in the big dance.
How big is this game for Belmont tonight if they want an at large spot
The Murray State-Belmont game in the OVC is a very good one tonight. Isaiah Canaan vs. Ian Clarke, these two teams are winners. Belmont came into the OVC this season and has been dominant. Should be a good game. Both of these teams can put up their resumes and be happy.
How excited are you about calling the national championship game?
I am thrilled to be calling a national semifinal and the championship game for ESPN International. It will air in some 10 countries. I just hope my buddies in Italy will hear me! It will be special and I am very excited about this. I have never called the final game and it will be so special.
Indiana with 2 big road games this week, Illinois tonight and OSU this weekend. Do they make it through the week without a loss and still number 1?
Worry about Illinois first as it is a dangerous game. At 2-7 in the Big Ten, John Groce's team needs a victory badly. Hard to believe that is a bubble team after beating Gonzaga and Butler earlier.
Can my Ducks make a deep run in March--if they get Artis back soon?
He is an important piece of the puzzle. They are a different team without him. Again, it is so wide open it is hard to dismiss anyone at this point among the top teams in the polls.
You're a man with alot of clout, how about influencing the selection committee to ensure that Arizona, Gonzaga, and New Mexico all end up in the West Region (#1, #2, #3 seeds?). Then perhaps we'd be able to see who the Best Out West really is!
The west has a lot of talent. Don't forget about teams like San Diego State and UNLV. There is such great balance.
I have my seven impact players posted on espn.com/dickvitale. Trey Burke is first on the list, having a super season. I also want to send my regards and wish all the best of happiness and health in the future to Raleigh News and Observer columnist Caulton Tudor, who is retiring. We ahve shared moments together over the years and I appreciated his dedication to the world of sports. He wrote so many great pieces on basketball in the triangle. I can't wait for Louisville-ND as six of the last eight meetings have been decided in overtime or double-overtime. Louisville is starting to get things together. Rick Pitino belongs in the Hall of Fame, period.
Please help us out as we battle of beat the dreaded disease of cancer. Go to dickvitaleonline.com for more info on how to win a new Mercedes and help raise money for cancer research. See you next week.