ESPN
ESPN

March 27, 2017

March Madness has given us a clear path to Arizona, baby! The Final Four is all set.

Gonzaga sent a message to the naysayers who claimed that their WCC schedule did not prepare them for the NCAA tournament. The Zags beat Florida, Iowa State, Arizona and Saint Mary’s three times and that was impressive enough for me. Mark Few is finally in the Final Four and this team is not finished making noise.

Few has done a great job blending in transfers to form a cohesive unit. Nigel Williams-Goss from Washington, Jordan Matthews from California and Jonathan Williams from Missouri have been part of Transfer U.

Oregon lost shot-blocker Chris Boucher to a late-season injury and many experts thought the Ducks would fall apart. Dana Altman’s team proved it could play, beating Kansas in Kansas City to reach the Final Four. Jordan Bell was a shot-blocker and double-double guy. Tyler Dorsey had seven straight games with 20 or more points. Dillon Brooks has performed well

inside and outside. The defense held the Jayhawks to 1-for-15 on three-pointers in the second half of the regional final.

South Carolina may be the true Cinderella as a 7th seed in the Final Four. Frank Martin’s team has improved its offense in the NCAA tournament and came through down the stretch in the East regional final against Florida. The Gators did not make a single three-pointer in the second half of that contest and the Gamecocks continue their tenacious defense.

Sindarius Thornwell continues to show why he is so vital. The SEC Player of the Year puts up big numbers in leading the Gamecocks.

Few, Altman and Martin are coaching in their first Final Four. The fourth participant, Roy Williams, has cut down the nets as a national champion before. His Tar Heels edged Kentucky in the South regional final in Memphis.

Luke Maye has become an unsung hero for the Tar Heels. He hit the winning shot against the Wildcats. Justin Jackson and Joel Berry are one of the best backcourts in college basketball and they want to make up fror last season’s last-second loss to Villanova in the national title game.

Continue reading

March 20, 2017

How many people would have thought the ACC would have just one team (UNC) in the Sweet 16? The conference was the best one n the sport this season. Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame, Florida State and Duke all lost in the second round.

The Big Ten (Michigan, Purdue and Wisconsin), SEC (Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina), Big 12 (Kansas, West Virginia and Baylor) and the Pac-12 (Oregon, Arizona and UCLA) each have three teams in the Sweet 16.

Xavier, even without injured Edmund Sumner, has impressed with wins over Maryland and Florida State. Trevon Blueitt has been solid for Chris Mack’s team.

Gonzaga has advanced to the Sweet 16. Two more wins and the Zags will make their first Final Four.

Continue reading

March 16, 2017

I had a very busy week, going from Florida to Nashville, then to New York for the Allstate media tour. I did six hours of interviews on the big dance, with organizations like CNN, Fox and Friends, The Sporting News and others.

Then it was off to Las Vegas for the ESPN Bracket marathon. I loved being on with Brent Musburger, Sean Farnham and Adam Amin.

I also got to speak before a great crowd at The Venetian, speaking for Aetna Insurance.

What a wild week it has been.

Continue reading

March 12, 2017

Today I was able to call the SEC Championship between Kentucky and Arkansas. The Big Blue Nation fans have to be excited as their Wildcats are going into March Madness with an eleven game winning streak. John Calipari, coach of the Wildcats, has to be extremely pleased as his team has gotten better and better as the season progresses. Calipari’s Kentucky team will be a threat in the NCA tournament because they are now getting contributions from their veteran players helping out their young Diaper Dandies.

The Wildcats player De’Aaron was the star of the tournament, he was the most valuable player as he was brilliant making winning play after winning play throughout the entire tournament. Its been a fun journey here at Music City Nashville and the Kentucky Wildcats lead with their third consecutive SEC.

Continue reading

March 7, 2017

Last Friday night, we had a special evening at the Mercedes of Sarasota showroom, benefiting the V Foundation.

We had celebrities in attendance: auto race driver and Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was there. Bucs president Brian Ford and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald joined us. Florida Gulf Coast assistant coach Tom Abatemarco was also there.

The event was catered by Main Events and Capital Grille. A special thanks to Ernie of Mercedes for helping put on such a wonderful event raising funds for cancer research. We had a number of courageous young boys and girls there, winners in the game of life as they have battled cancer.

It was an emotional evening.

Continue reading

March 6, 2017

March Madness is in full swing, baby!

I am excited to be calling the Gonzaga-Santa Clara WCC semifinal, and then the league title game. Then it is ff to the SEC tournament.

We have punched several tickets to the big dance. Congrats to Jacksonville State, Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State and Winthrop. The whole field will be set next weekend.

March Madness will be special as this year’s tournament will be great.

Continue reading

February 28th, 2017

Senior night is so special in college basketball. It is emotional to see players taking the court for the final time.

Cameron Indoor Stadium is one of my favorite places to call a game, right up there with Allen Field House in Kansas and Rupp Arena in Kentucky. Cameron is to college basketball what Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are to baseball.

I had the opportunity to see Duke's senior night on Tuesday against Florida State. Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones and reserve Nick Pagliuca completed their careers with the Blue Devils.

I had special guests join me for the game, including Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and Mike Valdes, a long-time supporter of the V Foundation.

  

Continue reading

February 27th, 2017

This is an exciting time of the college basketball season. Championship Week will help determine champions in a lot of one-bid leagues. Teams striving to make the big dance will get their shot.

It is also time for bubble teams to improve their resumes. There are a number of teams that will be sweating until Selection Sunday. They can finish well and improve their stock, or make some noise in conference tournaments.

This will lead to one of the greatest roads to the Final Four ever. There are a number of teams capable of cutting down the nets in Arizona in April.
Continue reading

February 24th 2017

My wife Lorraine and I had a great time in Cleveland as we were the guest of Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Basketball team. We were Dans guests in his suite and got a chance to see the Cavaliers play the NY Knicks. The Cavaliers responded in a positive way behind the great play of LeBron James.



I was also in Cleveland to be the keynote speaker at a kickoff breakfast at the Cleveland Auto Show. Spoke to 700 dealers and salespeople in the auto industry. I was really thrilled to see the warm response from the crowds.  We had a tremendous time meeting many quality people.



The show will go on for ten days. There will be over a half a millions visitors during that period of time exploring the new models and learning what is transpiring in the Auto Industry.

 


Continue reading

February 20th, 2017

We are less than a month away from Selection Sunday, and this year's Committee seeding the field of 68 will have several difficult tasks.  There are so many teams on the bubble that have pretty even resumes. There are big wins, suspect losses and tough decisions ahead. I believe championship week will help clear some of these things up.

Another factor is going to be injuries. A number of teams that could be in the field have been hampered by injuries. Earlier performances and success may be overshadowed by key players lost for the season. How will the committee evaluate the potential of a team which is without a key star.

Here are some examples from the weekend:

I saw an injury firsthand as Georgia's Yante Maten suffered a knee sprain early in the game against Kentucky. Georgia was on the outside looking in, but losing the third-leading scorer in the SEC is a major setback. The Bulldogs fought hard but fell short to Big Blue. JJ Frazier with 26 points was brilliant in defeat for Georgia.

Michigan State, which has been plagued by injuries all season, suffered a blow when Eron Harris was injured. He required season-ending knee surgery. The Spartans were a bubble team and the committee will have to evaluate Michigan State without a starting guard.

Injuries are a part of the game.

 
Continue reading

February 11th, 2017

Friday was a special day in Detroit. We celebrated the 40th anniversary of the U. Of Detroit Titans team which won 21 straight games and beat eventual NCAA champion Marquette.

I really enjoyed catching up with all of the former players. Terry Duerod had his jersey retired and that was tremendous, a well-deserves honor.

Now it is off to call Florida State vs. Notre Dame on Saturday!

 

Continue reading

February 6th, 2017

It was a miracle Super Bowl championship for the Patriots, Down 28-3, New England kept fighting, scoring the last 31 points to win in overtime.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will go down in history as the best coach and QB combo in NFL history. Brady was MVP for the fourth time, throwing for a record 466 passing yards. He now has five Super Bowl rings.

Hey, where were all the fans that screamed stick to hoops when the Falcons led 28-3. They were getting on me because VBDI said before the game 38-31 Patriots!
Continue reading

January 30th, 2017

I worked the Florida-Oklahoma game over the weekend. The Gators won a blowout, but it was a special game. I was calling the game for the final time with an icon, a legend, Brent Musburger.

I have known him for over 25 years. When he calls a game, he paints a picture for the fans.

Brent has decided to retire from television after Tuesday's game at Kentucky. I was fortunate to have one more game with him and it was a blast. Because it was a one-sided contest, we were able to talk about sports, his career, etc.

Thanks for the memories, Brent. You will be missed by sports fans. Good luck in your next endeavor.

Continue reading

January 23rd, 2017

I had a great time calling the Florida State-Louisville basketball game last Saturday.

My friends, Tallahassee was rocking and rolling. It is more than a college football town. The Seminoles are enjoying a special season, challenging for the ACC lead.

Leonard Hamilton has a deep and talented team. He goes out and uses 12 players, putting fresh bodies on the court. Sometimes that hurts the team's rhythm, but at the end of the game, Florida State is in good position.

I have been very impressed with Jonathan Isaac and Dwayne Bacon. This team will be a tough out come tournament time.
Continue reading

January 16th, 2017

The NFL's version of the Final Four is set. The AFC and NFC Championship match-ups are in place as these teams are one win away from the Super Bowl.

The New England Patriots are in the AFC title game for the sixth straight year. Tom Brady and company held off the Texans to advance. Dion Lewis scored on a kickoff return, pass reception and rush. Now the Patriots host the AFC title game, looking for another Super Bowl trip.

The Atlanta Falcons were impressive in beating the Seattle Seahawks. Matt Ryan threw for over 300 yards and the Atlanta defense put a lot of pressure on Russell Wilson. Next up is a battle against the surprising Packers and Aaron Rodgers. What a great finish in the upset of Dallas. Jared Cook made an incredible catch to set up the winning field goal.
Continue reading

January 12th, 2017

I had a great time hosting a party for the Notre Dame lacrosse team, which was working out at IMG Academy. The Irish will play an exhibition game against the USA national team on Sunday at 1 pm.

Coach Kevin Corrigan is excited about Notre Dame this season as the team is ranked fourth nationally in the preseason poll.

I know someone else who is excited about the Irish. My son-in-law, Dr. Chris Sforzo, played lacrosse at Notre Dame and loved his time in South Bend.

Continue reading

January 9th, 2017

I had a great time calling the Tennessee-Florida game last Saturday. Don't be misled by the final margin as the Gators had to battle against a young Vols squad.

Tennessee loves to run and has great depth. Experience was a factor for Florida, plus outstanding three-point shooting in the second half, going seven-of-seven from long range. The Gators got solid performances from KeVaugh Allen, Justin Leon and Kasey Hill.

It was also fun for me calling the game with Tom Hart. Twenty years ago, I met Hart and told him to chase his dreams. He thanked me for that advice and did a great job on play-by-play.

I love seeing the Rowdy Reptile fans down in Gainesvile. They have renovated the O-Dome and Florida is the one team that can give Kentucky a challenge in the SEC.
Continue reading

January 2nd, 2017

Football fans are closer to finding out about champions in the NFL and college football.

The playoffs are set in the pros. The Patriots clinched home field throughout the AC playoffs. The Chiefs earned the second seed with a win over the Chargers and a Raiders loss at Denver. Green Bay and Detroit both made the playoffs, making Sunday night's game a little less important.

The NFC is loaded with Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Green Bay and the Giants in the playoffs.

College football has a rematch for the national championship. Alabama gave up a touchdown against Washington and then proceeded to score the next 24. Clemson humbled Ohio State, handing Urban Meyer his first shutout with the Buckeyes.

Alabama and Clemson will meet in Tampa on January 9th for the title. I cannot wait, I will be there.
Continue reading

December 26th, 2017

While many NFL fans are looking ahead at the playoff picture, I want to commend three teams for their effort last weekend.

The Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers were three of the worst teams in the league based on record. Yet all three got to the winner's circle.

The Browns beat the Chargers. The Jaguars dealt a major blow to the Tennessee Titans, while the Niners rallied to beat the Rams.

Combined those teams entered last weekend with a total of four wins. They didn't stop trying and they combined for three victories last weekend.
Continue reading

December 19th, 2016

What a weekend in the world of sports. Bowl games got underway, Malik Monk put on quite a show, the Patriots and Tom Brady continued to roll and the Raiders clinch a playoff berth for the first time in over a decade.

Monk scored 47 for Kentucky in a win over North Carolina. Purdue beat Notre Dame and Butler got past Indiana in a couple of other key weekend games.

Brady and the Pats won at Denver to clinch another AFC East crown. The Raiders beat the Chargers and locked up a playoff spot for the first time since 2002.
Continue reading

Quote of the Week

“Rick Barnes and Tennessee got a statement win over Gonzaga."

 -Dick Vitale