This has been one of the wackiest seasons of college basketball in my 34 years of calling games for ESPN. Don't tell me that the regular season doesn't mean anything when you see how hard kids play and how many surprises there are. It is so tough to win on the road--go ask Michigan, which lost at Penn State. How about Arizona falling to USC, Florida losing at Tennessee, Memphis being dropped at Xavier. It has been the best and most competitive season that I have seen in the last 20 years, one sensational game after another. It has been incredible and the Big Ten has been off the charts. Last night with Michigan losing to Penn State shows you have to come to play every night. I have said it and I feel that officiating has to change. We need full-time referees especailly at the high level BCS schools. Just look at the Iowa State-Kansas game. We need officials paid full time and were devoted to evaluating and looking at film. I feel too many great players are on the sidelines with questionable calls. We need to increase the foul number from five to six. Sometimes people making the rules shouldn't just look at the NBA and say we are different. Why not, take the best rules out there to help the game. There is too much at stake for coaches and players.
What did you think of that UT/OU game?
Phenmenal comeback by Texas and Kabongo takes them up a notch now that he is back. This is a win they can cherish. Tough one for an Oklahoma team trying to build the resume. Shining moment coming back from 22 down with under eight minutes left.
Huge game between Virginia and Duke tonight, but everyone is hyping up the Miami rematch, which is a shame. Could you predict the Virginia Duke game?
Virginia will be tough. People rush the court when they beat Duke. Duke has such a high standard that when you beat them, it is a resume win. If Miami wins Saturday it will be a sweep. One common denominator at Duke, they always focus on the current scenario and that will be the case at the beautiful John Paul Jones Arena. If Virginia wins it will be because of their performance tonight.
Should I be concerned about the Gators?
Not really, You have to understand they have not had their full team. Michael Frazier stretches the defense, Will Yeguette is so important. When they have their full cast come tournament time, they will be dangerous.
Is Baylor going to make the tournament or has that door officially closed?
The door is not officially closed. They are a typical on the bubble team as they have been up and down. They had a magical moment when they ende Kentucky's 55-game home win streak, winning at Rupp. Big win over West Virginia last night and out Joe Lunardi has them right on the fence.
Who is your favorite to go all the way when it is all said and done?
When it is all said and done, I think the BIg Ten has five teams that could win six games in a row. Also keep an eye on Louisville come tournament time. Rick Pitino has a way of pulling magic acts come tournament time. Calipari, Izzo, Self, Coach K, over the years they have had great success at tournament time. They get the most out of their people.
Is this the year that the Lobos make a deep run in the NCAA Tourney?
What a job Steve Alford has done, as I tweeted today. He and Jim Crews have been super and both were Indiana guys under the general. New Mexico beat San Diego State last night and the Lobos can definitely be dangerous.
I see the Lobos as a Sweet 16 team.
If Andrew Wiggins signs with kentuckys already great class coming in next year and we bring back 3 to 4 players, how good do you think kentucky can be next year?
Let em tellyou, if I had hair I would be a superstar. They are in the running for Wiggins and other quality schools are in the hunt like UNC, Kansas and Florida State. It is nice to dream and my gut feeling is they have a better shot at Julius Randle. If they got both, take Kentucky and just put them as an expansion team in the NBA. Randle has quality schools after him too. Kentucky already has a dynamite, major class. Big Blue Nation has won 20 games this year but they have not had consistent, outstanding guard play. They will have that with the solid gold Harrison twins next season.
How about some love foe the Hoyas? Otto Porter should be Biog East Player of the Year.
Porter would get my vote and h has been sensational. Remember they lost Whittington earlier in the season. Porter has raised the level of his game a la Oladipo at Indiana. Porter's game at Syracuse was as good as it gets. He had the winning basket last night at Connecticut. Georgetown is a legit threat in the big dance/
Did Michigan just through away a number one seed?
I do not know about that. Give Penn State credit for playing their hearts out. Michigan is in trouble for a number one. Patrick Chambers' kids played hard. You make too much of the number one seeds. You still have to win six games. John Beilein is not worried about a number one seed, he is concerned about Michigan State coming to Ann Arbor this weekend. If you don't win six in a row, you go home and the school prepares for baseball and track and field, baby!
Can the Bruins make the tournament and if not, is Ben Howland in any trouble???
I think they should be in the tournament and they have a chance to sweep Arizona. That would be a major step. The win over Arizona State helped. Unless they go in a real dive...they are young and talented like Kentucky, trying to develop that chemistry and consistent rhythm on both ends of the court.
How much fun was Akron-Ohio last night?
Big win for Akron, 19 in a row. I just wrote about them on ESPN.com. Keith Dambrot has done a great job.
Do you think Boeheim has given MCW too long of a leash this season? Cuse fans pulling their hair out over very questionable decision-making lately (while also realizing how important Michael is to the success of the team).
Remember this is his first year of really playing. H has to understand decision making and good shot selection. I am sure thast those fans criticizing him now did not say that when he made the big plays in the win at Louisville.
Do you feel that Kansas has their mojo back and can make a run at the National Championship?
Don't ever count Bill Delf'skids out. Ben McLemore, Jeff Withe and company can make a run. Everyone evaluates every single game...they should study the whole year.
Today is Dean Smith's 82nd birthday. What is your fondest memory of the Coach?
Happy birthday to Dean, one of my favorite coaches of all time. Nobody was better in late game situations that he was. He has been going through some tough times and I want to wish him all the best.
Is Lou Henson going to be put in the Hall of Fame before its too late? I mean seriously Dick, if you compare his record to MANY coaches already in, its no contest. He deserves it, and you are a strong voice that can help get it done. This is very important to all Illini fans. Also, what do you think of the Illini? Thanks
First Guy Lewis, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian are up this year.
What team has had the most disappointing season this year: NC State, UCLA, or Kentucky?
I would say how good Minnesota was and how they slipped for a while. They became mediocre and they hav great potential. If they play with intensity, they could cause havoc come tournament time. Hollins on the perimeter and Mbakwe on the glass, watch out. NC State is the same way, they ahve toughness, inside-outside play. Both could be tough in the tournament.
I am looking forward to Miami-Duke. Remember last time it was layup after layup. Miami will get Duke's best shot. I feel Miami is legit and they can prove to everyone else they are a heavyweight because they will get Duke's best shot. A win would mean they are a notch above. Shane Larkin has been one of the best point guards and the guards have to be better after going 1-29 the first time. The good news for Duke fans is Ryan Kelly should be back soon. I cannot wait to call the game with Dave O'Brien and Doris Burke. People, please help me as we battle cancer. I just met a young lady named Lacey who is fighting it. Also, you can help battle cancer by going for a Mercedes, go to dickvitaleonline.com and get your chance at the car. This should be another electrifying weekend of college basketball and I am thrilled to just be a little spoke in the wheel, I am so proud of ESPN as it has become a giant in the world of sports. See you next week.