Wednesday night was a typical North Carolina-Duke battle. There is a reason why this is the best rivalry in all of college sports. These two schools are separated by just eight miles. They have dominated the ACC over the years, combining for nine national championships. They currently have a total of 35 players in the NBA. Both coaches – Coach K and Roy Williams – are in the Hall of Fame. When these two teams meet, forget about the records. You will see all the passion and emotion which makes college basketball oh so special. This time around, you can break down the game by one simple fact. Down the stretch, the Dukies made free throws and the Tar Heels struggled from the foul line. Coach K is now 38-37 against Carolina. That shows how close this series is. The Tar Heels fought hard, led at halftime, but the Blue Devils got to the winner’s circle because of foul shooting. I cannot wait for the rematch, baby!
I was absolutely heartbroken with the news that Kentucky big man, Nerlens Noel, will be out for the rest of the season. He suffered a torn ACL last night against Florida. The injury occurred on a hustle play, trying to stop a Gator from getting a layup. Noel is a quality kid. I spoke to him last year when he was in high school, and also this year. It is a shame that he is done for the season. Kentucky will have to get more out of Willie Cauley-Stein. Others will also have to step up. I still believe that John Calipari’s team will win enough games to make it to the big dance. There are not that many tough games left on the schedule, but the Wildcats will have to make adjustments with Noel out of the lineup.
Are you serious? The Louisville/Notre Dame game on Saturday night was unbelievable. To be honest, it was tucked away, start up the bus, Rick Pitino and Louisville leaving South Bend with a W. Then it was the Jerian Grant show. He had 12 points in less than a minute to rally the Irish. Notre Dame had a bunch of kids that played with so much passion and emotion. It was one overtime after another, and then absolute pandemonium as the Irish won in five OT’s! Garrick Sherman, who came off the bench in overtime and finished with 17 points and six boards, was sensational. Eric Atkins played 60 of the game’s 65 minutes. Pat Connaughton played 56 minutes despite an ankle injury. I really believe this was the biggest win for Mike Brey at Notre Dame.
The Michigan-Ohio State game lived up to its billing. It was a real dogfight, and the Wolverines pulled out what I felt was a must game for them. Coming off the loss at Indiana Saturday, plus games at Wisconsin and at Michigan State ahead, this was a huge win for John Beilein’s team. Tim Hardaway, Jr. was outstanding hitting the trifecta in the second half. Trey Burke controlled the offense, ran the show and hit a big three pointer in overtime. Thad Matta’s kids were so tough, coming back time after time. Just another tough one in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have Indiana next…
Just another great Saturday of college basketball, baby! I had a great time calling the Michigan-Indiana game. Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and company got to the winner’s circle over a determined Michigan squad. Indiana did a great job at the foul line to wrap up the hard fought victory. This coming week, the Hoosiers will be my choice for numero uno. I am putting Florida in the number two slot as Billy Donovan’s team has been pulling off blowout city to all comers in the SEC land. Michigan will be at number three in my rankings. My friends, February is going to be special as a prelude to an incredible March Madness.
I had a blast at Twin Lakes Park, attending the Fantasy Camp where the 1983 World Champion Baltimore Orioles were participating. What a group of players in attendance, led by Hall of Famer Eddie Murray. There was Rich Dauer, Mike Boddicker, Al Bumbry, Rick Dempsey, Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez, Gary Roenicke, Mike Devereaux, and Jim Dwyer. Another former Oriole who was there was my buddy, Tom Niedenfuer. There were 90 fans taking part and each received one of my videos, Winning in the Game of Life. The coaches got a copy of my 50 Greatest Players and Moments in College Basketball books. It was quite a day at the ballpark!
What an exciting time at the Coronado Hotel on the Disney property. I was speaking to representatives of Firestone, with over 3,000 of them present. It was a real blast as I was with a number of sports celebrities, including Jim Palmer of baseball fame, former NHL scoring star Phil Esposito, race car driver Helio Castroneves, defensvie lineman Cortez Kennedy and golfer Paula Creamer.
Villanova knocked off Syracuse. Georgetown edged Louisville. Iowa State beat Kansas State. Wisconsin edged Minnesota. All of these so-called shocks featured ranked teams losing on the road to unranked squads. Just another Saturday in college basketball, baby! I know that some will look at these results, the term upset is overrated. Is it really shock city when you lose on the road in college basketball? It is not easy to get a W in a hostile environment. The fans are rooting hard for their host school. You feel the enthusiasm, energy and passion and feed off of it. I really feel that the toughest thing in sports is to go on the road and win a college basketball game.
Miami entered Wednesday night 0-6 lifetime against number one teams. The Hurricanes did not look worried about that as Jim Larranaga’s team outplayed the #1 Blue Devils. In all of my years calling games, I cannot remember seeing Duke struggle like that. Miami was able to penetrate and get layup after layup, dunk after dunk. It was a true M&Mer, a mismatch. Miami fans were excited going into the game and for good reason. The team got a lift with the return of Reggie Johnson. Durand Scott, Shane Larkin and Kenny Kadji were outstanding. In the end, Duke will use as a teaching moment. Thursday’s practice should be pretty intense, my friends. Give credit to Miami on a job well done.
Thank you to all my fans who participated in the Awesome Photo Caption Contest. There were so many great entries! I have selected my three favorite captions!
First place-$500: Pav Castaneda
‘If cats have 9 lives, how many do Butler Bulldogs have, America? Yes, they pulled a real Houdini act against the Zags! Brad Stevens’ kids are flat-out winnahs baby!!”
Second Place-$300: Melody Holmes
“I thought you said “fetch the stick,” not “pose with Dick.” Is this even in my contract?”
Third Place-$100: Mia Morrison
“Keep Calm & Bulldog On. THAT’S the Butler Way.”
Congratulations to the three lucky winners!
I love what I do! And I love my fans! This contest will give my #1 fans the chance to win BIG cash prizes by adding their very best captions to one of my recent fan favorite photos. Post a creative, clever, and humorous caption for a chance to win $500, $300, or $100!
How to play:
A fan photo will be posted Monday, January 21st at 2pm. Fans will have until Thursday, Jan 31st at 5pm to submit a caption of the photo in the comments section. Captions will be reviewed and posted throughout the day following their approval by Tandem Enterprises. On Friday, February 1st, Dickie V will announce his top three favorite captions and winners of the Awesome Photo Caption Contest!
First place: $500
Second place: $300
Third place: $100
Rules & Regulations:
- Contest will run from Monday, January 21st through Thursday, January 31st. Three winners will be selected by Dick Vitale and Tandem Enterprises and announced on Friday, February 1st.
- All comments will be reviewed and approved by Tandem Enterprises. Any comments deemed inappropriate will not be posted and will result in disqualification. Tandem Ent. has the right to disqualify anybody at anytime.
- All spam/spammers will be disqualified at Tandem Ent. discretion.
- Entrants may submit no more than three captions and must use a valid email address to be eligible to win.
- This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Each participant is providing information to Tandem Enterprises and not to Facebook.