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December 17th, 2016

My wife, Lorraine, and I love hosting a Christmas Party for over 300 kids at the Sarasota Boys and Girls Club. It was so rewarding seeing the beautiful smiles on their faces as they get their gifts. It is a day we always look forward to as there is nothing better then bringing joy to a child.

Happy Holidays!

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December 12th 2016

I had a lot of fun in Las Vegas recently. I was out calling the Duke-UNLV game, and while it was not close, it was great to see Duke getting healthy. Grayson Allen looked like the player he was last season, scoring 34 points against the Rebels.

For UNLV fans, it is going to take some time to rebuild the program. I suggest patience as the Rebels only have three players back from last year's team and the talent level is not up there with a Duke. UNLV will be able to recruit with th beautiful new T-Mobile Arena, which seats 18,000 for basketball.

I also had a great time seeing shows, including Jennifer Lopez, Reba McIntyre with Brooks and Dunn, and Jeff Dunham.
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December 7th, 2016

Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden was so special. The Jimmy V Classic included a good game between Duke and Florida with Luke Kennard (29 points) and Amile Jefferson (24 points, 15 rebounds) keying the Blue Devils' victory.

It was a great night because we raised money and awareness for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Jimmy Valvano and my buddy John Saunders were smiling in hoop heaven.

This was the first time that John was not at the Jimmy V. Classic and he was sorely missed. We are raising money for a research grant in his honor to be given out at my gala in May.

I was honored to give a speech at halftime of the Duke-Florida game. I talked about the need for more dollars to help pediatric cancer research. I have met so many kids that have fought the dreaded disease. It is so tough on the families.

If you can help, please donate to the V Foundation at jimmyv.org/Saunders. That money will go to the research grant in honor of the great John Saunders.

 

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December 5th, 2016

There was a lot of drama over the college football playoff system all year long. Then the final week, it became very predictable. Clemson and Washington won their conference championships and grabbed the two spots opposite Alabama and Ohio State.

Penn State, Oklahoma, Michigan could all state their case but it was not enough as Washington grabbed the last spot. Now the Huskies face Alabama!

Clemson vs. Ohio Stat should be very exciting too.

There are a handful of intriguing bowl match-ups like USC vs. Penn State and Michigan vs. Florida State to name two. College football is ready for its postseason excitement, baby!
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November 28th, 2016

I had a great time calling a semifinal and the final at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

The championship game turned into a classic, with Gonzaga holding on after squandering an 18-point lead. Iowa State had a chance to win the game but missed a shot at the buzzer.

I was really impressed with the Zags and their balance. They have so many players capable of beating you. Deonte Burton of Iowa State was the star of stars, getting the Cyclones back in the game, but it was not enough.

I also enjoy spending time coaching Mickey Mouse for a piece on television. Disney is a great place for Thanksgiving weekend.

 

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November 21st, 2016

I called the Rhode Island-Duke game at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on Sunday.

I was very impressed with both teams. The Rams will be right up there in the A-10. I loved watching EC Matthews and Hassan Martin.

Duke found a way to get to the winner's circle despite a number of injuries. Luke Kennard was outstanding against the Rams, making big shots. Every time Rhode Island rallied, the Blue Devils had an answer.

When Coach K gets Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Marques Bolden in the line-up to help Amile Jefferson up front, this Duke team will be special.

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November 16th 2016

I was so excited to start my 38th season calling college basketball game for ESPN.

Kentucky looked very good in all facets of the game, beating Michigan State by 21.

Big Blue Nation is going to love this edition of Kentucky basketball.

The Wildcats are deep, quick, can score in transition, defends well and will get better and better. John Calipari lost so much talent from last season: Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere, Alex Poythress. Calipari is a recruiting machine and he has reloaded.

Remember, this squad has been together for about a month. It is young but oh so talented. They play well as a team and a size advantage against the Spartans was a small factor.

This Wildcat club can run baby run! They have tremendous athletic ability and goes from the defensive end to the offensive end so fast. This has the making of a very special team.

Going into the game Tuesday, there were questions about Malik Monk's shooting ability. My friends, what I saw on Tuesday was star ability as Monk hit trifecta after trifecta. He had rhythm, touch and range.

John Calipari looks like he has a Final Four contender once again.

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November 14th, 2016

It was upset Saturday in college football as the race for a playoff spot is filled with drama.

Clemson, Washington and Michigan fell from the unbeaten ranks. Alabama and Western Michigan are the only two FBS schools with a zero in the loss column.

Now back to the race for the four playoff slots. Alabama is a lock, then you have five teams battling for the last three spots. Ohio State has looked great the last two weeks and the lone Buckeye loss came on the road to a Penn State team that is now in the top 10. Louisville struggled for three quarters against Wake Forest and then broke the game open.

Clemson, Washington and Michigan are the other three in contention despite losing Saturday. Clemson lost at home to a Pittsburgh team that had been struggling. Washington lost at home against a hot USC squad that has won six in a row. Michigan lost at Iowa on the game's final play.

Stay tuned, there is a lot of excitement still ahead.
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November 7th, 2016

I am so proud to be associated with the Dick Vitale Intercollegaite Tennis Classic. There were representatives from 22 different schools competing last weekend, it is was so special.

The event brings so many young and talented players to face off. The women's singles champion was Anna Danilima, a junior at the University of Florida. The men's singles champion was a diaper dandy, freshman Robert Levine of Duke. Florida also won the women's doubles championship, while Central Florida won the men's doubles crown.

Congratulations are also in order to Larry Wade, who helped raise over $90,000 in sponsorship banner sales. I also want to thank Paul Lederman, the Director of the Lakewood Ranch Tennis Club which hosted the event. His ard work paid off. Also a salute to head pro Chris Marquez. who handled the organization of the event.

Besides the players and fans in attendance, the big winner was the V Foundation for Cancer Research, which will get a check for over $70,000 for research in the fight of pediatric cancer. That money will go into the research grant in the honor of my late buddy John Saunders from ESPN.

I cannot wait for next year, when we put on the eighth annual Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Tennis Classic!

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November 4th, 2016

We were thrilled Thursday night to be honored by the Tampa Bay Lightning as they presented us a check for the V Foundation in the amount of $60,000. This was all due to uniting with Coach Jon Cooper in a big event that he put on. Jon put together a fishing tournament and had me as the guest speaker at their banquet. Together we raise money for the V Foundation to help kids battling cancer.

I can’t thank the Tampa Bay Lightning enough.  As they are a first class organization starting with their owner Jeffrey Vinik and the head of the Lightning Foundation Elizabeth Frazier, and all the people involved administratively and in terms of the coaching staff and players.

They are awesome baby with a capitol “A”.

 

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November 3rd, 2016

It was over a century of waiting, but the Cubs finally did it, winning another World Series.

Game 7 was so special, so the 108-year wait was worth it. The Cubs had a winning attitude and so did the Indians. Terry Francona and Joe Maddon did great jobs.

Ben Zobrist won MVP of the World Series and I was so happy for him. I used to watch him with the Rays and he is a winner.

Congrats to both teams on a classic. Congrats on the Cubs for getting that gold trophy. Coming back from 3-- down in the series was special.
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November 2, 2016

My wife and I had a great time at the University of Notre Dame for a football weekend verse Miami. We were also joined by my daughter Sherri and her husband Thomas who are both graduates of the university. In fact, they were student athletes, Sherri played tennis and Thomas played football. They are proud graduates of this prestigious university.

They had a fantastic weekend. Also accompanying us were my three grandchildren, Ava, Connor and Jake. They had a fabulous time touring the campus and seeing the various building and just enjoying the entire festivity. Football weekends at Notre Dame are absolutely unique and special. We love them dearly.

What made it an even greater weekend was that the Irish found a way to win late in the game and to beat Miami and get a big win which they needed badly.

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October 31,2016

If you thought it would be easy to go through an undefeated season, look at what happened last weekend.

Four schools that were previously unbeaten lost, all on the road. Texas upset Baylor; West Virginia fell to Oklahoma State; Nebraska lost at Wisconsin; Boise State was stunned by Wyoming.

Also, Michigan did not have an easy time at Michigan State. Clemson struggled but got past Florida State,

You really have to earn your way to the college football version of the Final Four!
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October 28th, 2016

I was thrilled to be the speaker for the Middle Tennessee St. University Tip Off Luncheon. A sell out crowd of 700 attended, as the Blue Raiders, who upset Michigan St last year during March Madness, were introduced. I was brought up to speak by Coach Kermit Jr. Davis who has done a quality job during his 15 year tenure. I also enjoyed being part of Murphy Madness during the evening show.

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October 24th, 2016

This should be one of the most interesting World Series match-ups. Terry Francona and Joe Maddon have been there before, and it will be a chess match between two great baseball minds.

The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908. The Indians also have a long futility streak. One will end here.

It is fun to see Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller in this series. Both came to their respective teams in deals from the Yankees around the trade deadline.

There is so much young talent in this series. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and the list goes on and on.

I will go on a limb and pick the Cubs to win it in seven thrilling games.
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October 18th, 2016


Which team is the best in the NFL? We will determine that at the Super Bowl, but for now, there is a short list of contenders.

The Dallas Cowboys moved to 5-1 with an impressive win at Green Bay. The Patriots also climbed to 5-1 by beating the Bengals.

The Minnesota Vikings are still unbeaten at 5-0 but had a bye this weekend.

The Seattle Seahawks moved to 4-1 by edging the Falcons. Buffalo, Washington, Oakland, Denver and Pittsburgh are all 4-2, as is Atlanta.

Things are pretty wide open in the NFL, which means excitement galore.
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October 17th, 2016

We had a great time at the Notre Dame Stanford weekend. It didn't turn out as we would have liked as the Irish lost to Stanford and are now sitting at 2-5. However, it was a great time that I shared with some great people who were vital in my early career. I took with me three former players who played for me at East Rutherford High School. Joe Solimini, Dwight Hall, and Charlie Rusconi were three major contributors to our two championships.

We had a fantastic time sharing many memories. Also joining us was Brian Roberts, former major leaguer of the Baltimore Orioles, and he brought along his father in law Dan. We had a great time talking about many of his great moments in his career.

It was a wonderful weekend that my wife Lorraine and I got to spend at Notre Dame.

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October 11th, 2016

I had a blast last night speaking at a big event put on by Jon Cooper, head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, as he put together a fishing tournament to raise money for the V Foundation and pediatric cancer research. He is a great coach who cares very much about young people.

Tony Colton, who is a 16 year old cancer survivor,  gave an outstanding speech sharing his courageous struggles over the past 5 years.

Also in attendance was Hall of Famer, Phil Esposito, as well as one of the best owners in all of sports, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik.

It was a fantastic night and the tournament takes place tomorrow with Tampa Bay Lightning player`s on each boat.

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October 10th, 2016

Another weekend of college football is in the books. The race for the top four spots in the playoff in pretty competitive,

Right now, I see six teams leading the way for the four spots. Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson, Washington, and Texas A&M stand out to me. Washington and Michigan each put up 70-plus points on the board last weekend.

This will play itself out. College football fans are the big winners.
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October 3rd, 2016

The major league baseball regular season is over and now it is playoff time.

It should be excitement galore in the Big Apple as the Giants and Mets meet in the NL wild card game. Toronto and Baltimore meet in the AL wild card game.

Noah Syndergaard and Madison Baumgarner are scheduled to meet in a thrilling pitching match-up in the NL wild card.

The second season is here and it will be thrilling, baby!
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Quote of the Week

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

 -Dick Vitale