January 26th, 2014

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, January 14

The Wolverines are on fire, winning nine in a row. The latest W for John Beilein’s team came at East Lansing on Saturday. 

I had a blast calling the game with Dan Shulman and Shannon Spake. Nik Stauskas remained hot for Michigan. Derrick Walton Jr. showed why he was highly-recruited out of the state of Michigan.

Beilein has done a tremendous job. Mitch McGary is out for the season following back surgery, yet this team has made the necessary adjustments.

Michigan State was without Adriaen Payne (foot, fifth straight game missed) and Branden Dawson (broken hand). When they come back, watch out. Tom Izzo almost got a victory despite being shorthanded.

January 21, 2014

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, January 14

Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks have looked great lately. 

With Monday’s win over Baylor, Kansas has won five in a row. It is an impressive list of victories — Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Baylor.

Joel Embiid has shown tremendous improvement. He should be the #1 pick in the draft. Diaper dandies Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden and Frank Mason have matured and played great team basketball.

Give Self credit for playing the toughest schedule in America. There have been some bumps in the road, but the Jayhawks are playing well now.

Watch out for the Jayhawks as they go for another Big 12 title. This could be a #1 seed in the big dance.

January 20, 2013

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, January 14

We had our first Saturday night Gameday contest, with Connecticut hosting Louisville.
The atmosphere was electric in Gampel Pavilion, which is one of the best on-campus places to see a college game. It was a big one for both teams, seeking a quality win.
Louisville got the victory as Russ Smith came through big-time in the second half. The play that will be remembered most was a shot attempt by Niels Giffey of the Huskies. A replay showed he was clearly fouled, no call was made, and Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie went nuts. He was given two technicals and ejected.
I understand why Ollie was upset. The officials blew the call and compounded it by tossing him. Ollie was simply defending his players.
The bottom line is, Hall of Famer Rick Pitino got collegiate win number 680.

January 11, 2014

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, January 14

It is award season, baby! The VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) mid-season college hoop awards, that is.

Let’s give kudos to the crème de la crème, the best of the best so far in this college hoop campaign.

COACH-JIM BOEHEIM

There are so many great candidates, like Sean Miller of Arizona, Bo Ryan of Wisconsin, Fred Hoiberg of Iowa State. I am picking Boeheim because he had to replace his starting backcourt of Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche. They were good enough to get to the Final Four last season. The Orange remained unbeaten with an impressive win over North Carolina Saturday.

PLAYER-DOUG MC DERMOTT

I considered a number of players, like CJ Fair, Jabari Parker, Nick Johnson. McDermott does everything well and is a difference-maker at Creighton.

I know a lot of people have given publicity to freshmen, but McDermott is my pick.

DIAPER DANDY-JABARI PARKER

Names like Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins and Tyler Ennis have popped up all season. Even though Parker has struggled a bit lately, he rates the nod.

MARCO POLO- DE’ANDRE KANE

There are so many important players who transferred. TJ McConnell, Rodney Hood, Joseph Young, and the list goes on and on. Kane has been superb, putting up 30 on Baylor recently. Unfortunately he hurt his ankle at Oklahoma Saturday.

SURPRISE TEAM-WISCONSIN

The Badgers were supposed to have a decent season, but Bo Ryan’s club has been among the elite. Iowa State, despite Saturday’s loss, is a close second in this category.

DISAPPOINTING TEAM-MARQUETTE

The Golden Eagles were in the preseason Top 25. Marquette was also favored in the Big East, but currently sits at 10-7 overall, 2-2 in conference play after edging Seton Hall.

TOP CONFERENCE-BIG TEN

I thought the ACC was going to be the best this season, but the Big Ten has dominated. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State have been up in the rankings all season long. Illinois has been better than advertised despite the loss at Wisconsin.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER-AARON CRAFT

The Buckeyes’ guard in always in the face of the opposition. His tenacity was displayed late against Michigan State.

BEST FRONTCOURT-ARIZONA

Aaron Gordon, Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley and company have been super this season.

BEST BACKCOURT-MICHIGAN STATE

Gary Harris and Keith Appling provide a great 1-2 punch when healthy.

 

January 10, 2014

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, January 14

Louisville and Memphis have been rivals for a long time. They were together in the Metro, in Conference USA, and now in the American Athletic.

The Tigers got a big victory at the Yum Center Thursday. Josh Pastner’s team closed on a 7-0 run to get the W. I love watching the passion and intensity of Joe Jackson, and he came through down the stretch.

This was a big game for the Cardinals. They were seeking a quality win to enhance their resume. Russ Smith and Luke Hancock tried, but they fell just short.

Jan 7, 2014

Written by blueadmin. Posted in Blog, January 14

Congratulations to Florida State for going undefeated and winning the national championship.

The Seminoles had to come back from a 21-3 deficit to beat a game Auburn team. There were two key plays by special teams that made a big difference. Coach Jimbo Fisher gambled and went for a fake punt on fourth down that worked, leading to a late first-half touchdown. A 100-yard kickoff return gave the Seminoles the lead in the fourth quarter.

Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston came through in the final seconds in a great drive. He completed six-of-seven passes to get the Seminoles to the winner’s circle.

Dec. 28, 2013

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, December 13

Saturday was a great day for college hoop fans.

Syracuse-Villanova and Kentucky-Louisville headlined the action. The Orange fell behind 25-7 but turned things around to get a convincing win over Jay Wright’s Wildcats. There was a question about the Syracuse backcourt before the season, but not now. The tandem of Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis totaled 41 points in the win.

Big Blue Nation was celebrating New Year’s a few days early. A big key was the play of the Harrison Twins, especially in the second half. Kentucky grew up in a hurry against the Cardinals, even with Julius Randle sidelined for much of the second half.

Rick Pitino has to wonder about guys like Chane Behanan, who failed to score on Saturday.

League play starts to heat up this week.

Dec. 18, 2013

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, December 13

Tuesday’s Florida-Memphis game lived up to its billing.  There were two ranked teams, great flow and tempo in the game.  I loved the athleticism and the way they went up and down the court.  They also hit three-pointers.  There was so much passion and emotion.  The Gators got to enjoy the flight home, escaping Madison Square Garden with the W.  Billy Donovan’s team gained confidence by winning another close call.  Florida missed a few free throws down the stretch, giving Memphis a chance.  The Gator defense prevailed in the final sequence when the Tigers had a chance to tie or win the contest.  More importantly, the Jimmy V Classic raised money in the fight against cancer.  If you want to help, call 1-800-JIMMY-V.

Dec. 17, 2013

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, December 13

It was that time of year again – time for our annual Christmas party at our home! For the past several years, my wife and I have opened our home to a handful of youngsters from the Sarasota Boys and Girls Club.  They come for an afternoon of food, fun and presents! This year we had a surprise visit from Santa at the house. The kids had a blast ripping open their gifts and enjoying time with Santa.  There is nothing better than being able to bring a smile to youngsters during the holiday. I have been so blessed in my life and I feel fortunate to be able to give a little something back.

Dec. 16, 2013

Written by Dick Vitale. Posted in Blog, December 13

Two traditional powers hooked up on Saturday in Chapel Hill.  I had a great time calling the Kentucky-North Carolina game with Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Jennine Edwards.  The Tar Heels showed once again that they are capable of big things.  Roy Williams’ squad now has wins over Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State.  On the flip side, there were losses to Belmont and UAB.  UNC has been without veterans P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald due to eligibility issues.   The NCAA has taken a long time to make a decision on their eligibility.  I believe the NCAA will come out with a ruling in the near future.  With those two, Roy Williams has a team capable of beating anybody.  Kentucky has passionate fans, but they have to be patient.  There were some talking 40-0 before the season, but that was unrealistic.  The Wildcats have a lot of young talent and it will take time for the squad to play as a cohesive unit.  There are so many players that won championships and were stars in high school.  They have to adjust to losing a few games.  You will see the real Kentucky team later in the season with more experience.