We start now where the dream to reach the Final Four becomes real. We have some surprise teams. It will be interesting to see how those teams do. It will also be interesting to see how the Big Ten does, because all four teams have major, major matchups. Syracuse and Indiana. Ohio State and Arizona. Tough, tough matchups. We'll see if the Big Ten can advance to the Elite Eight. It's the greatest time of the year. Love it!
How does IU attack Syracuse's zone D?
First of all, I spoke this morning on SportsCenter with Jay Harris and we talked about that. You have to work inside-out. Zeller needs to be effective on the interior. If he is, then it will open up areas and angles for them to attack.
Good Morning Mr. V, Do you think that with mid-major (is there such a thing anymore) coaches such as Few, Stevens, and now Smart staying put, that this has narrowed the gap between the Power Conferences and the Mid-Major as much as roster experience??????
They're only mid-major in names. All three of those are not mid-major on the court. These guys are in their comfort zone. They're well taken care of at their schools. It's a great situation. Jimmy V always said to me, you don't mess with happy. You don't go chasing the next thing when you're happy.
can u believe tht my Ole Miss rebels beat a team like Wisconsin (after evebody said they wouldn't), and then lost to La Salle how good is La Salle
Beaten Ole Miss, they made big plays at the end of the game. They got good play from their big time players. They're a dangerous team even during the year. They aren't really a Cinderella. They beat some quality teams during the season. They're well coached by John Giannini.
I think of Tom Gola when I think of La Salle. He could pass, shoot, he had size.
If IU establishes Zeller inside, does that mean that the 3 ball becomes the dagger that puts IU on top?
Absolutely. If you go inside-out, you have to make some shots and that falls into their hands. They're capable from the outside. Oladipo beating the zone before they set up in transition is another factor. They have some guards that will create some problems. This is a very tough game for the Hoosiers. They had a very tough game beating Temple.
But you need those kinds of wins along the way in marching to a title.
how good is Miamifl
They have great backcourt play. The loss of Reggie Johnson hurts, with the loss of the inside presence. He's a big body. The burden gets put on the other bigs. I think their backcourt is as good as any in the country. The key has got to be for Marquette to try and contain Larkin from penetrating and getting into the 3-second area. When he gets in there, a lot of good happens for Miami.
Speaking of survive and advance, that epitomizes Marquette. They keep marching on. That's what Jimmy V always said.
What are your thoughts on UCLA firing Ben Howland and where do you see him landing?
My thoughts are very simple. We live in a day and age, and I get riled up about this, it's all about today. I get amazed how each year we get enamored with the flavor of the month. A coach wins two games and they're the greatest ever. Tubby Smith, no one looks at his career overall. Those are two quality leaders. Two guys you want around kids. They're teachers, they understand the game and they run a first class program. I'm disappointed to see guys like that sent to the sidelines. If we do in our jobs half as good as these guys have done in their careers, this country would be in a lot better shape than it is. It's all about what have you done for us in the moment. It's unbelievable the scrutiny. That's why I do what I do, I'm undefeated. I haven't lost a game in 34 years!
If you could only watch one game in the Sweet 16, which one would it be?
The game that intrigues me is Michigan State and Duke. Two teams well coached and talented. It will be an interesting matchup.
How much pressure is on the Gators to end FGCU's historic tournament run tomorrow?
I think there is no doubt that is Goliath v. David. A buddy of mine told me that Billy Donovan's salary is more than the entire FGCU basketball budget. I guarantee you before the tournament that Florida was never, ever thinking about playing FGCU in the tournament. But you have to salute and tip your hat to those kids.
What does ku have to do to beat michigan
Kansas presents a major obstacle with their defense. They're the best team in America as a team. You always have a chance to win when you play defense at that level. Jeff Withey really creates problems. It's important for Michigan to continue to play for the level they're at. They're probably playing their best basketball coming into this game. Kansas presents some real challenges.
Should KU fans be more worried about the Jayhawks' first three halves of the tournament, or more encouraged by the most recent one?
They just played a great half. The second half was off the chart. Whatever you do in the first half, the bottom line is what the end result is after the second half. That's what you want to put away and store away. They just came out and dominated. That just becomes contagious.
How good are my Wildcats right now? Do they have a legit chance at upsetting Ohio State and making a Final Four appearance?
Arizona is an interesting situation when you think about Sean Miller and Thad Matta. They were on the staff of Herb Sendek. Now Sean's doing a great job at Arizona. They face the best defensive perimeter player in America in Aaron Craft. What a winner he is. He's becoming a hero in the Columbus area. Some say he's like Justin Bieber out there.
So far, how does this tournament rank compared to the last few years? I can't remember the last time I enjoyed the tournament this much.
Every tournament, when you look back, will have their special moments. This one has incredible moments. Wichita State beating Gonzaga. FGCU making the Sweet 16. But then you still have some of the power players in there. The Big Ten has 4 teams in the Sweet 16. Duke is there. I always think March Madness is the greatest three weeks of sports. The thrills.
How good is Aaron Craft right now? I love watching that guy.
He disrupts a lot with his defensive pressure. He has unbelievable effort. He never takes a play off. He's their key on defense.
Do you agree that Brandon Dawson is the key to Michigan State beating Duke? Duke does not have a player with his size and athletic ability. He could be a monster on the offensive glass
He has great size and athletic ability, but there are some other key players. For example, Nix and Plumlee inside. Those guys have to be careful not to get into foul trouble. I like Michigan State from the first time I saw them. I thought they would be a threat come tournament time, even though they lost that first game I saw. But playing Duke is tough. And it's no secret, you have to contain the three. Kelly will make shots. You can't get help, because they reverse the ball for an open three. You play off him and he'll hit a shot.
Which of the remaining "cinderella" teams have the best shot at reaching the Final Four?
Wichita State. I don't classify them as a Cinderella, because they can play. But they have a saying, play angry. They really get after it. They have great coaching that gets them to understand how to play as a team. The Shockers would not shock me if they get to a Final Four.
Good morning Mr. Vitale. In your opinion, who is the best college basketball team in the country at this point.
If you look at numbers, winning both of their games by 40 points, it's Michigan. Robinson III is 31 of 39. My edge right now would be Michigan, they're playing the best.
What do you expect from your Tamar Bay Rays this year?
I expect them to win the division. They have great pitching. They have a talented shortstop now and he'll be a big big help for them.
Thoughts on the officiating so far in the tournament? I realize it is a difficult job, but boy, some very questionable calls to say the least
We could watch every game and moan and groan about the officiating. But they're fine. I would like them to do what the NBA does with the arc under the basket. A line call, over the line or touching the line, they should be able to take a look at it.
They do a good job. We can easily pick a play here and there to talk about.
I say this is the game that Ryan Kelly wakes up out of his shooting slump, what do you think?
Ryan Kelly is a long range shooter that stretches the defense. He's a vital reason that they've lost only one game when he's in the lineup. He's also a good defensive player.
Get ready to watch some rock and roll and some phenomenal basketball. It's a great time of the year.
To change the subject, go to DickVitalOnline.com to help me reach my goal of raising $1 million to fight childhood cancer. You can buy a raffle ticket to win a new car. Or maybe you want to make a donation or attend my gala where we will have a bunch of coaches visiting. A special, special night. It's hoops madness baby!