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Dickie V’s Early Sweet 16 Baby

1. My preseason No. 1 is Kansas. After four second round exits in the last five NCAA tournaments it looks like Bill Self has assembled a lineup that can make a deep run. The addition of perimeter shooting should help in an area that was lacking last season.
a. Returns three of top six scorers in Hunter Dickinson, KJ Adams and Dajuan Harris.
b. Additions of AJ Storr (Wisconsin), Rylan Griffen (Alabama) and Zeke Mayo (South Dakota State) and Noah Shelby (Rice)
c. Two top 50 High School prospects in center Flory Bidunga (17 ESPN 100) and guard Rakease Passmore (32 in ESPN 100)

2. Alabama – The return of Mark Sears makes Alabama an immediate contender to return to the Final Four. Nate Oats brought in some interior depth to aid fifth-year senior Grant Nelson with the addition of All-Big Ten big man Cliff Omoruyi from Rutgers.
a. Returns three of top five scorers in Mark Sears, Grant Nelson and Latrell Wrightsell
b. Additions of Clifford Omoruyi (Rutgers) and Aden Holloway (Auburn)
c. Three top 30 freshmen in Derrion Reid (11 in ESPN 100), Aiden Sherrell (21 in ESPN 100) and Labaron Philon (30 in ESPN 100)

3. UConn – Dare I mention three-peat? Dan Hurley certainly has the semblance of a team that can make another run with St. Mary’s transfer Aidan Mahaney joining Hassan Diarra in the backcourt. Alex Karaban headlines the front court and is the early front runner for Big East Player of the Year.
a. Returns five of top nine scorers in Alex Karaban, Hassan Diarra, Samson Johnson, Solomon Ball and Jaylin Stewart
b. Additions of Aidan Mahaney (St. Mary’s) and Tarris Reed (Michigan)
c. Five-star freshman Liam McNeely (No. 9 in ESPN 100) along with Ahmad Nowell (34 I ESPN 100) and Isaiah Abraham (58 in ESPN 100)

4. Houston – Kelvin Sampson and Houston made a big impact in their first season in the Big 12 and there’s no let up in year two as shot maker LJ Cryer returns along with Emanual Sharp for one of the premier backcourts in the nation.
a. Returns eight of top 10 scorers with a backcourt of LJ Cryer and Emanuel Sharp. Ja’Vier Francis and J’Wan Roberts anchoring the frontcourt.
b. Addition of Milos Uzan (Oklahoma)
c. Freshmen Mercy Miller (68 in ESPN 100) and Chase McCarty

5. Iowa State – With a veteran lineup, the Cyclones look to move past the Sweet 16, a spot it reached in two of the last three seasons. Returnee Tamin Lipsey is the guts of TJ Otzelberger’s offense and Milan Momcilovic is primed for a breakout sophomore season.
a. Returns top for scorers with Tamin Lipsey, Keshon Gibert, Curtis Jones and Milan Momcilovic
b. Additions of Nate Heise (Northern Iowa), Dishon Jackson (Charlotte), Brandton Chatfield (Seattle) and Joshua Jefferson (St. Mary’s)
c. Freshmen additions of four-stars in Nojus Indrusaitis (67 in ESPN 100) and Dwayne Pierce.

6. North Carolina – With fifth-year senior and national player of the year candidate RJ Davis returning, Hubert Davis likes the foundation for this Tar Heel team. Once the two highly touted freshmen in Ian Jackson and Drake Powell gel in the preseason, North Carolina will be the front runner in the ACC.
a. Returns five of eight scorers in RJ Davis, Elliot Cadeau, Seth Trimble, Jae’Lyn Withers and Jalen Washington
b. Additions of Cade Tyson (Belmont) and Ven-Allen Lubin (Vanderbilt)
c. Gets Five-star prospects in Ian Jackson (7 in ESPN 100), Drake Powell (13 in ESPN 100) and James Brown (66 in ESPN 100)

7. Baylor – After being courted by Louisville and Kentucky, Scott Drew elected to stay at Baylor. One look at the roster and you can see why he likes this contending club. Getting transfers Jeremy Roach from Duke and Norchad Omier from Miami is huge. Also, with three top 50 ESPN 100 recruits led by one of the top freshmen in the country in V.J. Edgecombe, the Bears will be a dangerous team come March.
a. Returns three of top seven scorers in Langston Love, Jayden Nunn and Josh Ojianwuna
b. Additions of Jeremy Roach (Duke), Norchad Omier (Miami) and Jalen Celestine (Cal)
c. A top 10 recruiting class with top 50 players in five-star wing VJ Edgecombe (3 in ESPN 100), Robert Wright III (23 in ESPN 100) and Jason Asemota (48 in ESPN 100).

8. Gonzaga – A team that made a late run and another Sweet 16 appearance under Mark Few is poised to return to the nation’s upper tier. Ryan Nembhard, Graham Ike and Nolan Hickman provide a strong nucleus. Arkansas transfer Khalif Battle has the ability to be a big time scorer out West.
a. Returns Graham Ike, Steele Venters, Nolan Hickman, Ryan Nembhard, Braden Huff, Ben Gregg and Dusty Stromer
b. Additions of Michael Ajayi (Pepperdine), Khalif Battle (Arkansas), Emmanual Innocenti (Tarleton State) and Braeden Smith (Colgate)
c. Ismaila Diagne (Real Madrid)

9. Duke – I join the rest of the nation in wanting to see the No. 1 prep player in the country, Cooper Flagg, in a Duke uniform. He is a prime-time player who is a diaper dandy in name only. With a young team, Jon Scheyer is going to rely heavily on Tyrese Proctor and Caleb Foster.
a. Returns two of top six scorers in Caleb Foster and Tyrese Proctor
b. Additions of Maliq Brown (Syracuse), Mason Gillis (Purdue), Sion James (Tulane)
c. Boasts No. 1 prospect in forward Cooper Flagg (1 in ESPN 100) and the projected No. 1 pick of the 2025 NBA draft. Also added top 30 freshmen in Isaiah Evans (14 in ESPN 100), Kon Knueppel (18 in ESPN 100), Pat Ngongba (25 in ESPN 100), Darren Harris (29 in ESPN 100)

10. Auburn – A consensus third team All-American Johni Broome is the anchor Bruce Pearl needs to get this team moving past a first round upset to Yale last year. The addition of JP Pegues who averaged 18.4 points per game at Furman gives the Tigers some scoring punch.
a. Returns three of top five scorers in Johni Broome, Chad Baker-Mazara and Denver Jones
b. Additions of JP Pegues (Furman), Miles Kelly (Georgia Tech) and Ja’Heim Hudson (SMU)
c. Five-star freshman Tahaad Pettiford (33 in ESPN 100) and four-star Jahki Howard (60 in ESPN 100)

11. Purdue – Matt Painter likes his big men, and he has another on deck in 7-3 freshman Daniel Jacobsen. Given time to develop, he can be an impact player in the Big 10. Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer return as one of the best guard duos. The offense will look a lot different in the post-Edey era.
a. Returns five of top eight scorers in Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Tray Kaufman-Renn, Myles Colvin and Camden Heide
b. No transfers
c. Freshmen include Gicarri Harris (88 in ESPN 100), Raleigh Burgess, and Daniel Jacobsen.

12. Arizona – Tommy Lloyd got a big boost when Caleb Love and KJ Lewis opted to return. With those two back, Lloyd hit the transfer portal hard bringing in Horizon Player of the Year Trey Townsend from Oakland and adding Anthony Dell’Orso from Campbell who averaged 19.5 points per game last season.
a. Returns four of top eight scorers in Caleb Love, KJ Lewis, Motiejus Krivas and Jaden Bradley
b. Additions are Horizon Player of the Year Trey Townsend (Oakland) and Anthony Dell’Orso (Campbell), Tobe Awaka (Tennessee)
c. Freshman Carter Bryant (19 in ESPN 100) and Emmanuel Stephen (93 in ESPN 100)

13. Arkansas – John Calipari has built this team from ground zero. Three Kentucky players join him in the move from the Bluegrass state, including projected NBA Draft pick DJ Wagner. Veteran guard Johnell Davis from FAU joins up with true freshman Boogie Fland. Three top-40 freshmen join a solid core group that should see the Razorbacks dancing in March.
a. Returns one player in Trevon Brazile from last year’s roster
b. Additions of Johnell Davis (FAU), DJ Wagner (Kentucky), Jonas Aidoo (Tennessee), Adou Thiero (Kentucky) and Zvonimir Ivisic (Kentucky)
c. Led by heralded freshman Boogie Fland (15 in ESPN 100) along with Karter Knox (26 in ESPN 100) and Billy Richmond (38 in ESPN 100).

14. Texas A&M – One of the most dynamic players is Wade Taylor IV who will once again be leaned on to guide the Aggies. Buzz Williams added a couple of impact transfers in Zhuric Phelps from SMU and Pharrel Payne from Minnesota who should fill out the lineup.
a. Returns four of top five scorers including reigning SEC Player of the Year Wade Taylor, Henry Coleman III, Solomon Washington, Manny Obaseki
b. Additions of Zhuric Phelps (SMU), C.J. Wilcher (Nebraska) and Pharrel Payne (Minnesota)
c. Freshmen Andre Mills, George Turkson, Rob Dockery

15. Kentucky – With no Sweet 16 appearances since 2019, the Kentucky Wildcats are looking to make a huge jump with new coach Mark Pope. With the most transfers and three freshmen, the Wildcats need time to mesh and gain confidence but should be primed come March.
a. With no returning players Kentucky is building from the ground up.
b. Additions include nine transfers including Jaxson Robinson (BYU), Otega Oweh (Oklahoma), Koby Brea (Dayton), Amari Williams (Drexel), Lamont Butler (San Diego St.), Andrew Carr (Wake Forest), Brandon Garrison (Oklahoma St.), Kerr Kriisa (West Virginia) and Ansley Almonor (Fairleigh Dickinson).
c. Freshman Travis Perry (74 in ESPN 100) is a Kentucky Mr. Basketball, Collin Chandler (32 in 2022 ESPN 100), and Trent Noah.

16. St. John’s – After being so close to the NCAA Tournament in Rick Pitino’s first season with the Red Storm, St. John’s has revamped and filled some needs with the No. 1 transfer in the portal in Kadary Richmond from Seton Hall. They now have one of the best back courts with Richmond and Deivon Smith.
1. Returns RJ Luis, Simeon Wilcher, Brady Dunlap, Zuby Eljiofor, Sadiku Ibine Ayo
b. Additions All-Big East First Team selection Kadary Richmond (Seton Hall), Deivon Smith (Utah) and Vince Iwuchkwu (USC), Aaron Scott (North Texas)
c. Freshman Jaiden Glover (72 in ESPN 100), Khaman Maker, Lefteris Liotopoulos, Ruben Prey

dv2

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May 5th, 2024 - GALA UPDATE

I pinch myself thinking about raising $24.8 million last night at our Gala for Pediatric Cancer Research for The V Foundation.

The kindness of ALL was so special but the highlight was @themarkpentecost  challenging the crowd to help us reach our goal of $12 million & that if we did he & his wife Cindy would match up to 12 million- we raised $12.8 plus with the $12 million match we now have raised  $24.8 million in 2024 thus giving us a total of $93.1 for pediatric research since we started the Gala. 
Thanks to ALL OF U THAT HAVE DONATED!Every dollar helps the cause -
It was #awesomebaby.
Now we start our fundraising for next year!
Just DONATE at v.org/pediatrics or at dickvitale.com 

 

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March 14, 2024 - March Madness Baby!

Dick Vitale’s All-Rolls Royce Teams

 

March Madness is awesome, baby! It's that exhilarating time of the year filled with buzzer beaters, heartbreakers, and upsets.
And what a year we’ve witnessed. The reigning national champion UConn Huskies are poised to etch their names in history as they strive to become the first repeat champions since Billy Donovan's tremendous teams of 2006 and 2007.
Behind a formidable defense, the Houston Cougars seamlessly transitioned to the Big 12 and clinched a conference title in their inaugural year.
Zach Edey of Purdue continues to assert his dominance as the premier post player in the nation. He’s on track to secure back-to-back national player of the year honors, a feat last achieved by Virginia's Ralph Sampson in the early 1980s.
While some preseason favorites faltered, others rose to prominence, such as the South Florida Bulls under the guidance of first-year coach Amir Abdur-Rahim and the South Carolina Gamecocks, picked last in the Southeastern Conference, finished in a tie for second.
The preseason all-stars showed brightly, while the new crop of Diaper Dandy’s kept the excitement of the game going.
Now, without further ado, let's unveil my 2023-24 Dickie V All-Rolls Royce and Diaper Dandy teams.
My pick for Player of the Year is none other than Purdue's Zach Edey, a tremendous talent who has earned every individual award and now needs that team title to complete his trophy case.
Reed Sheppard of the Kentucky Wildcats earns the title of Diaper Dandy of the Year. His knack for clutch plays and all-around contribution makes the Wildcats a formidable force in the postseason. He also secures a spot on my All-Star Second Team.
When it comes to defensive prowess, look no further than Houston's Kelvin Sampson, my National Coach of the Year. His ability to consistently mold winning teams is unparalleled.

 

And now, the rest of the Dickie V All-Rolls Royce teams

Player of the Year: Zach Edey, Purdue Boilermakers

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats

Coach of the Year: Kelvin Sampson, Houston Cougars

First Team

Zach Edey, Purdue Boilermakers

RJ Davis, North Carolina Tar Heels

Dalton Knecht, Tennessee Volunteers

Jaedon LeDee, San Diego State Aztecs

Jamal Shead, Houston Cougars  

Second Team

DaRon Holmes, Dayton Flyers     

Kyle Filipowski, Duke Blue Devils

Tyler Kolek, Marquette Golden Eagles     

Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats                          

Baylor Scheierman, Creighton Bluejays

Third Team

Hunter Dickinson, Kansas Jayhawks

Johni Broome, Auburn Tigers      

Caleb Love, Arizona Wildcats      

Tristen Newton, UConn Huskies

Mark Sears, Alabama Crimson Tide

Diaper Dandy’s

Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats                          

Markus Burton, Notre Dame Fighting Irish            

Stephon Castle, UConn Huskies                                 

Isaiah Collier, USC Trojans                                            

Rob Dillingham, Kentucky Wildcats

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February 29, 2024

Purchase Dick Vitale's new book.  Click to Order!

FINAL until my last breath COVER front png copy

Until My Last Breath: Fighting Cancer With My Young Heroes
Those are the words of a three-time cancer survivor determined to inspire the world. Yet anyone who knows Dick Vitale – or Dickie V as he’s better known – understands that he is hardly a man of few words, especially on the topic of fighting cancer. The Hall of Fame broadcaster is known by millions from his four decades (and counting) with ESPN, where he’s built a one-of-a-kind connection with college basketball fans. In his new memoir, authored with USA Today writer Scott Gleeson and with Coach Mike Krzyzewski penning the foreword, Vitale chronicles his own harrowing experiences with cancer and the childhood battles that inspired him along the way. 
Vitale felt imprisoned in his own body while unable to speak for four months battling vocal-cord cancer, but still managed to find his voice through the pages of this book. With his signature enthusiasm and a sensitive tone, Vitale visits the homes of a dozen pediatric cancer survivors and shares the lessons of hope and perseverance he learned from these remarkable children who have overcome the fight of their life. 
In the most intimate look at Vitale’s family life to date, his wife, Lorraine, and their daughters, Terri and Sherri, tell a story of fighting cancer through family togetherness. Go behind-the-scenes with Vitale’s doctors, as he opens up about the emotional battles that accompanied his lymphoma in 2021-2022 and his vocal-cord cancer in 2023 – all setting the stage for a gradual return to broadcasting NCAA games in a record 45th season with ESPN. 
The 84-year-old Vitale takes a baton from his dear friend, Jim Valvano, who famously told the world of his own cancer battle, “Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up!”® Until My Last Breath: Fighting Cancer with My Young Heroes is a touching tribute to the motto, capturing the oversized heart of Vitale, the comforting impact he has on cancer-affected families, and the overarching inspiration of children. 

Click to Order Now!

 
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February 9, 2024

Dickie V's Super 6 Point Guards

To win big in today’s game, it is beneficial to have an extension of the coach on the floor with a quality point guard. As a former coach, the two things I looked for in a player in that role are those that can effectively create shots for their teammates and those who can contain penetration defensively. Certainly, the ability to make perimeter shots is a big time plus, but court vision and the ability to disrupt plays are keys on every possession.

Likewise, big time point guards are the floor generals who are relied upon to make the offense efficient while making sure the team is in the correct defense on the other end. That’s why having a PTPer at the point guard spot is key.

And so, here’s my All-Dickie V Super 6 Point Guards in alphabetical order:

Dajuan Harris, Kansas Jayhawks

An agile and skilled point guard, Dajuan Harris is one of the top assist-to-turnover ratio players in the Big 12 with solid defensive skills. He’s increased his assists per game total every year, topping at a career-best 6.6 this season.

PPG: 7.4, RPG: 2.0, APG: 6.6, SPG: 1.5

Tyler Kolek, Marquette Golden Eagles

Tyler Kolek is one of the top skilled playmakers who can shoot and pass the ball. He’s been outstanding at distributing the basketball throughout his career and runs the point to a tee. He’s a bit too unselfish, but he has a solid feel for the game.

PPG: 15.1, RPG: 4.8, APG: 7.2; SPG: 1.7

Tristen Newton, UConn Huskies

Not only is he a tall playmaker who can score in a variety of ways, but Tristen Newton is one of those PTPers who I love to watch pass the ball. He can score off the dribble and has the athleticism that makes him a solid rebounder.

PPG: 15.9, RPG: 6.8, APG: 5.7; SPG: 1.2

Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats

Reed Sheppard is that rare combination that excels at both guard positions. We knew he could score and pass but has proven to be a better athlete. He’s still learning the college game but has been a shining star among the freshman class.

PPG: 12.3, RPG: 4.3, APG: 4.2; SPG: 2.3

Braden Smith, Purdue Boilermakers

Braden Smith continues his improvement on the floor, especially in 3-point shooting at 42%. He’s raised his profile in every major stat category and makes Purdue’s high-powered offense run.

PPG: 12.4, RPG: 5.4, APG: 7.3; SPG: 1.5

Isaiah Stevens, Colorado State Rams

Isaiah Stevens is another in a long line of athletic, skilled playmakers who can score in many ways. He’s improved his ability at the point and is getting better at defending.

PPG: 16.6, RPG: 3.0, APG: 7.1; SPG: 1.5

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January 4th, 2024

Dickie V’s Elite 8 Mid Majors to Watch!
The first half of the college basketball season has been nothing short of exhilarating, marked by thrilling matchups, unexpected upsets, and the emergence of powerful mid-major programs that are poised to make a significant impact in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
The parity in the college basketball landscape has never been more evident, as mid-major programs, armed with talent, depth, and a fearless mindset, have consistently challenged the status quo. These teams have not only secured impressive victories but have also demonstrated a level of consistency and resilience that makes them dangerous adversaries as the season progresses.
As the first half concludes, I eagerly await the opportunity to witness these emerging mid-major powerhouses take on the established giants. The unpredictability of college basketball has been the defining narrative, setting the stage for an exhilarating second half and a tournament that promises to be filled with surprises, upsets, and the potential for mid-major programs to make deep runs and etch their names into the annals of March Madness history.
Here’s my picks to click on the road to the tournament.
Florida Atlantic Owls, American Athletic Conference – It’s been an up-and-down pre-conference journey for the Owls who enjoyed the success of knocking off the Arizona Wildcats on their home floor and neutral site win over a highly regarded Texas A&M Aggies squad to a couple of head scratching Quad 4 losses to the Bryant Bulldogs and the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. With a solid top 20 NET ranking, FAU is favored in every game until the final four games of the season when it faces off twice against the Memphis Tigers for what will likely be for the regular season title.
Princeton Tigers, Ivy League – The class of the Ivy League Princeton Tigers are sitting solidly in the top 30 NET rankings with a 12-1 non-conference record and three Quad 2 wins. The Tigers, who made a Sweet 16 run last year, are looking to make back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances for the first time since three straight from 1996-98. Princeton’s 9-0 start was its best in more than 100 years.
Indiana State Sycamores, Missouri Valley Conference – The Sycamores are on pace to do something that hasn’t been done on the quiet Terre Haute, Ind., campus in over 20 years and that’s post back-to-back 20-win seasons. It’s also on pace to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. Last year’s 23-win season gave this team confidence to compete, and they are the favorites to win their first MVC regular season title since 2000. With a top 40 NET ranking, they are solidly in the field and will try to rise up above the No. 12 line in Joe Lunardi’s projections.
Colorado State Rams, Mountain West Conference – The Rams captured their best wins of the season over the Creighton Blue Jays and rival Colorado Buffaloes and are 5-1 versus Quads 1 (2-0) and 2 (3-1) opponents. They also own a neutral site win against the Washington Huskies. Their only loss came to St. Mary’s. Life on the road is tough, so look for CSU to be tested at Nevada, San Diego State and New Mexico. Projected a 5-seed by Joe Lunardi, the Rams need to keep winning to hold that line.
New Mexico Lobos, Mountain West Conference – in his third season at New Mexico, Richard Pitino has brought the Lobos back to relevance on the national scene. Jamal Mashburn Jr., who came with Pitino from Minnesota, returned to the lineup after missing seven games due to injury. With a top 40 NET ranking, the Lobos are positioned to rise about their projected 11-seed .
Nevada Wolfpack, Mountain West Conference – Nevada is another team that rolled through its non-conference schedule and collected a pair of Quad 1 wins over the Washington Huskies and TCU Horned Frogs. The Wolfpack, who find themselves solidly on the No. 8 line in tournament projections with a top 40 NET ranking, will have to hold serve at home and steal a road win or two.
James Madison Dukes, Sun Belt Conference – By far the best team in the Sun Belt Conference, the Dukes have a chance to go undefeated in the regular season and become the first team since Gonzaga in 2021 to enter the Dance without a loss. I know that’s saying a lot in January. Since the season-opening overtime win at Michigan State, the Dukes have put on a scoring clinic, ranking third in the nation with 91.8 points per game, having scored under 80 points one time in the pre-conference slate. With a one Quad 1 win and a NET ranking of 31, JMU needs to run the table to rise into a single digit seed line for the NCAA Tournament.
Grand Canyon Antelopes, Western Athletic Conference – As the only WAC team with a top 50 NET ranking, the Lopes are poised to be the lone conference representative in the latest NCAA tournament projections. Thanks to a challenging non-conference schedule, GCU owns three Quad 1 wins and one Quad 2 victory. Bryce Drew enters conference play on a nine-game win streak and is favored to complete a perfect league slate. Drew, took the Lopes to the NCAA tournament in 2021 (No. 15 seed) and 2023 (No. 14 seed), could see this team boast its highest seed ever.
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November 13, 2023

 

The Timeless Magnificence of Cameron Indoor Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse: Pilgrimage Sites for College Basketball Enthusiasts

For lovers of college basketball, there are a few must-have experiences to add to your bucket list. Mark your calendar and seek out the home game schedules to accomplish the goal of securing tickets to a pair of my favorite places as you take in the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse. These venues are exceptional destinations for basketball lovers, akin to the revered status of Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field among diehard baseball fans.

Cameron Indoor Stadium: Where Tradition Meets Intensity
Nestled in the heart of Duke University, Cameron Indoor Stadium is not just a sports venue; it is a home where basketball history thrives. The electric atmosphere, as the Blue Devils take to the court, is unparalleled. The tightly packed arena amplifies the intensity of the game, creating an atmosphere that can only be described as spine-tingling. The fervor of the Cameron Crazies—Duke's zealous student section—is infectious, creating an environment that rattles even the most composed opponents. They have so many chants that they hand out cheat sheets before big games.

What truly sets Cameron Indoor Stadium apart is its rich history. The echoes of legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest floor general in NCAA Division I men's basketball history, reverberate within its walls. It's where basketball icons like Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, and many more left an indelible mark in the sport's annals. The aura of greatness that permeates this stadium is not just a result of the banners and trophies but the unwavering pride and passion that every Duke fan exudes.

Allen Fieldhouse: A Mecca of Basketball Tradition
In the heart of Lawrence, Kansas, stands the iconic Allen Fieldhouse, a monument of basketball tradition and undying spirit. As the home of the Kansas Jayhawks, this revered shrine is steeped in an unparalleled legacy. The deafening roar of the Jayhawk faithful’s “Rock Chalk” chant reverberates through its hallowed halls, making it a fortress where opposing teams need to beware of “The Phog.”

What sets Allen Fieldhouse apart is its palpable sense of history. The likes of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, coached at Kansas. The court is where basketball legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning, and many others cemented their place in the sport's lore. The fans, with their unwavering loyalty and passion, create an atmosphere that not only energizes the players but pays homage to the rich legacy of the sport.

Why Every Basketball Fan Should Visit
The allure of Cameron Indoor Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse extends beyond the games themselves. These venues serve as living testimonials to the devotion and pride of their respective fan bases. The passion exhibited by the Cameron Crazies and the Jayhawk faithful is infectious, creating an experience that goes beyond merely watching a basketball game.

Visiting these meccas of basketball allows fans to immerse themselves in the deep-seated traditions and history of the sport. It's a chance to witness firsthand the energy and fervor that make college basketball such a beloved and incomparable spectacle. Thus, every college basketball fan should endeavor to witness the magic, the legacy, and the unmatched enthusiasm found within the walls of these storied arenas.

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October 25th, 2023

 Dickie V’s Super 6 Conferences for 2023-24

 

Screenshot 2023 10 25 at 2.02.48 PM
My VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index)
  1. Big 12
  2. SEC
  3. Big East
  4. Big 10
  5. ACC
  6. Pac-12
In making my choices, I don’t just factor in the upper echelon teams, but look at the conference from top to bottom. Let’s face it, in many cases, it is remarkably close. But, I give the edge to conferences that not only have national championship contenders, but also analyze the strength of the league in respect to its depth.
Big 12
We’ll begin with the Big 12 which has expanded by four schools. But it’s still the Kansas Jayhawks that are the team to beat. That added depth with the Houston Cougars, Cincinnati Bearcats, BYU Cougars, and the UCF Golden Knights makes winning this league even more arduous. With the departure of the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners after the season, the additions of the Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State Sun Devils, Colorado Buffaloes and Utah Utes make this league even more powerful on the hardwood in the upcoming years.
But enough about the future, let’s talk about this season. The Big 12 has ranked No. 1 or 2 in the top leagues for the past five seasons and this year is no exception. With eight members in the postseason last year (7 NCAA, 1 NIT), that total shouldn’t diminish this season. 
Kansas won the transfer lottery by snagging Michigan Wolverines’ Hunter Dickinson out of the portal. The three-time All-Big Ten performer will be featured more in the Jayhawks’ system and given them stability down low.
Impactful freshmen to watch are Ja’Kobe Walter from the Baylor Bears who might be the answer to their back court questions. I also want to see the physical nature of the Iowa State Cyclones’ Omaha Biliew on display. At 6-8, 210 pounds, he’s a versatile finisher. And not least, Kansas’ Elmarko Jackson, a 6-3 penetrating point guard should pair nicely with Dajuan Harris.
After years of success in the American Athletic Conference Houston rejoins four of its old Southwest Conference rivals this season and even with the loss of three starters from last year’s Sweet 16 team, the Cougars aren’t as vulnerable as you might think. With plenty of bench experience, look for Terrance Arceneaux’s role to increase as well as Emanuel Sharp to light it up from the perimeter.
I’m excited to see how one of the leading scorers the past three seasons will translate to a power conference as Max Abamas makes the move from the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles to Texas. Additionally, watch for another Longhorn as Dylan Disu is a potential all-conference caliber player.
Grant McCasland is the new head man at Texas Tech, while Josh Eliert is the interim head coach at West Virginia.
SEC
Do you enjoy the ups and downs of conference play? Well, then pay attention to the SEC this year. The Tennessee Volunteers are one of the oldest teams in the country and are listed as the odds-on favorite. But four other teams – Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Kentucky Wildcats, and Texas A&M Aggies - are poised to make a run at the top spot.
In contrast, John Calipari’s Kentucky squad is one of the youngest and most talented in Division I. But it’s veterans Antonio Reeves and Tre Mitchell that must guide these Diaper Dandies through the gauntlet.
There was no deeper league in the country last year as the SEC sent 10 of its 14 teams to the postseason, including a record-tying eight to the Big Dance of which three advanced to the Sweet 16 (Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama). There’s no reason it shouldn’t get 7-8 teams in again.
If you’re looking for an inspirational story of hard work to reach the top, look no further than Aggies’ Wade Taylor IV who has steadily progressed into one of the sport’s best guards. Not listed on anyone’s top 100 in the class of 2021, his development has been fun to follow.
As far as newcomers to watch, take your pick from Kentucky’s crop of Diaper Dandies in Justin Edwards, a strong contender to be the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NBA Draft, as well as DJ Wagner, Aaron Bradshaw, Reed Sheppard, and Robert Dillingham. Don’t discount Auburn’s Aden Hollway. He’s an elite shooter as an undersized point guard.
More underrated players to keep an eye on include Tennessee’s Tobe Awaka, who excelled for Team USA this summer, Alabama’s Rylan Griffen, and Florida Gators’ Riley Kugel, who’s primed to be one of the league’s top scorers.
The only new coach in the conference is former Texas Longhorns coach Chris Beard who is taking over the Ole Miss Rebels. 
Big East
The casual basketball fan may not realize that the Big East Conference has averaged nearly five teams in the NCAA Tournament over the last 10 seasons. Add to the fact that the defending national champion UConn Huskies reside in the in league, having won their fifth title since 1999, there’s a lot of positive buzz around this conference.
The Marquette Golden Eagles weren’t having any of the 2022 preseason projection as the ninth-place team as it pulled off the double-double by winning the regular season and tourney titles. No one is overlooking the Golden Eagles this year, especially with reigning Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek leading this Final Four contender.
It’s not just a two-team race between UConn and Marquette though. The Creighton Blue Jays and Villanova Wildcats will vie for top spot as well. Creighton was a play away from the Final Four last season and with a stopper like Ryan Kalkbrenner in the middle, they might take that final step. After missing the tournament last year, a trio of transfers in T.J. Bamba, Tyler Burton and Hakim Hart are expected to put Nova back in the Dance.
Excitement is sweeping through Queens where coaching legend Rick Pitino overhauled the St. John’s Red Storm roster and are projected to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019.
Expected to dazzle all season is 6-6 wing Stephon Castle from UConn. His size and dynamic play make him a possible one-and-done, but let’s just enjoy his on-court performance this season.
Others I like are Villanova’s Mark Armstrong who was part of Team USA in the U19 World Cup, Xavier’s Demond Claude, and Marquette’s David Joplin, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year.
Two coaches joined the league in Kim English with the Providence Friars and Rick Pitino at the St. John’s Red Storm. Ed Cooley moved from Providence to the Georgetown Hoyas.
B1G
Is this year the Big 10 finally breaks through and wins its first national title since 2000 when Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans took home the crown? Since then, the league has finished as a bride’s maid seven times, most recently with the  Michigan Wolverines in 2018.
Preseason headliners Purdue Boilermakers, Michigan State and the Illinois Fighting Illini might be in the early spotlight, but the rest of the league should not be overlooked as it is jammed with teams that have realistic chances to make the postseason.
With consensus preseason conference Player of the Year in 7-4 center Zach Edey leading Purdue, be on the lookout for some of the top guards in the country. Highlighting that list are Terrence Shannon (Illinois), Jahmir Young (Maryland Terrapins), Boo Buie (Northwestern Wildcats) and the outstanding Michigan State duo of A.J. Hoggard and Tyson Walker.
Edey has a chance to become the first player since the Virginia Cavaliers’ Ralph Sampson (1981-83) to win consecutive National Player of the Year honors.
Look for McDonald’s All-Americans Mackenzie Mgbako (Indiana Hoosiers), Xavier Booker (Michigan State), and Jeremy Fears Jr. (Michigan State) to lead the parade of newcomers.
Also keep an eye on these under the radar players: Michigan State’s Jaden Akins, Northwestern Wildcats’ Brooks Barnhizer, Purdue’s Trey Kaufman-Renn, Michigan’s Tarris Reed, and Rutgers Scarlet Knights’ Derek Simpson.
Penn State Nittany Lions’ Mike Rhodes is the only new coach in the league.
ACC
Highlighting the ACC’s depth over the last decade was the surprise run of the Miami Hurricanes to the Final Four last year as it marked the fifth different league team to reach the national semifinals since 2015. Even with that deep run, none of the other four teams to make the NCAA Tournament field (Duke Blue Devils, Pitt Panthers, Virginia Cavaliers, NC State Wolfpack) got past the second round. Hopes are high to place more than five teams in the Dance this go-around.
If some faces look familiar, but the uniform doesn’t, it’s because a record 10 players transferred from one ACC team to another during the offseason. One player that didn’t move is North Carolina Tar Heels fifth-year senior Armando Bacot who is the school’s all-time leader with 1,335 rebounds and 68 double-doubles.
Last season’s ACC Rookie of the Year, Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, who turned down NBA money to return, is the odds-on favorite to unseat Purdue’s Zach Edey for National Player of the Year honors.
Be on the lookout for UNC’s Elliot Cadeau as one of the top freshmen along with Duke’s sharpshooting Jared McCain and gamer Caleb Foster among the top newcomers.
I also like Duke’s Tyrese Proctor who is ready to explode this season and could find a spot on an All-America team. And a guy with a great name, Wooga Poplar down in Miami, needs to be a consistent scoring threat on the perimeter for the Hurricanes.
There are three new coaches in the conference in Adrian Autry (Syracuse Orangemen), Micah Shrewsberry (Notre Dame Fighting Irish), and Damon Stoudamire (Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets).
Pac-12
In the final year of the Pac-12 before most of the teams bolt after the season, the league looks to improve upon last year’s showing in the postseason as it failed to have a team make it beyond the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season.
Arizona is once again the class of the conference, even after regrouping and replacing four starters through the transfer portal. But the anchor on the block is returning center Oumar Ballo, who averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds. Expect those numbers to rise if they want to make a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Overall play in the league should be high as it welcomes back five first team All-Conference selections [Ballo, Brandon Carlson (Utah Utes), Tristan da Silva (Colorado Buffaloes), N’Faly Dante (Oregon Ducks), Boogie Ellis (USC Trojans)], the most since 2007-08. Also keep an eye on Westwood for the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in UCLA Bruins’ Adem Bona, who withdrew from the NBA Draft, is one of the best defensive players in the league.
The top Diaper Dandy in ESPN’s Top 100 also resides in Los Angeles in USC Trojans’ Isaiah Collier. He’s also in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Joining him in USC’s lineup is Bronny James (20th in ESPN Top 100) whose health and well-being was the offseason story. If James does play, it would be a substantial boost for the Trojans.
Colorado made waves as well by bringing in the highest-rated recruit in school history in guard Cody Williams (7th in ESPN Top 100). The brother of NBA star Jalen Williams could spark a deep tournament run by the Buffaloes. 
A few more breakout players are UCLA’s Dylan Andrews, an all-conference caliber guard, USC Trojans’ Kobe Johnson is a great perimeter defender while Arizona’s Kylan Boswell takes over a point guard for the Top 25 Wildcats.
California Golden Bears’ Mark Madsen is the lone new coach in the conference.
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August 20, 2023

Dazzling Dozen Diaper Dandies
I’ve listed my preseason All-Rolls Royce Team and Top 25. Now it’s time to announce my Dazzling Dozen Diaper Dandies for the upcoming season. These are players who are hitting the college hardwood for the first time and will make an immediate impact for their teams with their skill, passion and maybe some showmanship. The transition is never easy, but there’s a fierce competitive spirit each of these players brings in a new era of athleticism.
This might be one of the deeper classes of impactful freshmen I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m so excited to watch them develop into PTPers. All 12 are projected starters and eight are considered NBA lottery picks, which could make the 2024 draft one of the youngest on record.
It was frightful to see Bronny James get sidelined, but I’m keeping him on this list with the hopes we get to see his talent displayed at some point this year. Get well young man.
 
Here’s the Dazzling Dozen Diaper Dandies:
Xavier Booker, Michigan St.
Elliott Cadeau, UNC
Stephon Castle, UConn
Isaiah Collier, USC
Justin Edwards, Kentucky
Kwame Evans, Oregon
Bronny James, USC
Jared McCain, Duke
Mackenzie Mgbako, Indiana
DJ Wagner, Kentucky
Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor
Cody Williams, Colorado
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August 9, 2023

Dick Vitale’s Preseason Top 25
As you know, I eat, sleep and breathe college basketball year-round. And this year is no exception. Now that the transfer market has settled down and teams are finishing up summer tours, I thought I’d share my projections for the upcoming season. 

Check out my new post at V's Views

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July 31st, 2023

 
2023-24 All-Rolls Royce Teams
There’s nothing better in the preseason than looking at the new rosters and getting a feel for what might be in store. I had to wait for the dust to settle with all the player and coach movement during the offseason. With 13 of the 18 returning players that averaged 19+ points last season transferring and six of the top eight 20-point scorers on the move as well, the roster shakeup was noticeable across the board.
I enjoy watching the progress of youngsters that move from role players to PTPers. With only four of the 19 players returning that made first, second or third-team All-America last year, it’s been a joy to dig deep and project the stars for the upcoming season. I don’t put freshmen on these teams as they haven’t played yet.
So, here’s my All-Rolls Royce teams for the season. It’s full of proven stars, some on the rise and all-around ballers.
Purdue’s Zach Edey leads my squads as one of the dominant post players last year and had the Boilermakers rolling until they got untracked in the first round by 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson. The Boilermakers will once again be the favorite to win the Big 10 and finally make a deep run in March Madness.
North Carolina got a huge boost with Armando Bacot returning for his fifth year of eligibility. As the Tar Heels’ all-time leader in rebounds and double-doubles, he’ll be the anchor in hoping to lead North Carolina to its glory days of deep tournament runs.
Bruce Pearl puts together solid teams annually and Johni Broome looks to lead the Auburn Tigers on a deep NCAA run after they surrendered a 10-point halftime lead in a second-round loss to Houston in the Big Dance. He’s a powerful inside player capable of averaging a double-double just like he did during his sophomore campaign.
Tyler Kolek and four other starters will be returning to Marquette for the 2023-24 season, bringing about another case of unfinished business that coincided with a second-round loss to Michigan State. The reigning Big East Player of the Year is one of the top returning guards in the country.
A Bob Cousy Award finalist last season, Boo Buie returns for his fifth season as a Wildcat after scoring the third-most points in school history last season with 588. His leadership should put the Wildcats in the Dance for a second straight season, a program first.
 
Here’s the ALL-ROLLS ROYCE TEAMS

 

First Team
Zach Edey, Purdue
Armando Bacot, North Carolina
Johni Broome, Auburn
Tyler Kolek, Marquette
Boo Buie, Northwestern

 

Second Team
Hunter Dickinson, Kansas
Dillon Jones, Weber State
DaRon Holmes, Dayton
Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois
Wade Taylor IV, Texas A&M

 

Third Team
Kyle Filipowski, Duke
Adem Bona, UCLA
Tolu Smith, Mississippi State
Tyson Walker, Michigan State
Max Abmas, Texas
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June 22, 2023

 
Now that the 2023 NBA draft is completed I will share some observations in analyzing what transpired. First, it is a draft filled with many young players that will need time, in many cases, before making a strong impact.
No doubt the “Star of Stars” is 7-4 Victor Wembanyama who was a consensus No. 1 selection according to all the draft experts. He is a legit multi-skilled talent who has received so much national PR similar to 2003 when LeBron James arrived on the scene from high school to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Obviously, the San Antonio Spurs are hoping Victor can do the same. The previous two bigs that went No. 1 to the Spurs, Tim Duncan and David Robinson, played vital roles in leading them to NBA titles and are now in the Hall of Fame. It is pertinent that the Spurs add other talented people to help Victor reach his potential and achieve stardom.
This draft, in particular, is filled with so much POTENTIAL and it’s important that teams have PATIENCE with the young talent assembled.
The biggest surprise was Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, who was considered a top 10 selection, sliding down to 21. The Houston Rockets will benefit as Whitmore is an explosive talent who dropped according to insiders due to a lack of effort at times during evaluations. He could be the steal of the draft as some thought he would go as high as No. 5. This should really motivate him to show that he is the real deal.
On a sad note, after brilliant collegiate careers, three dominating college stars were not drafted at all. Yes, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, and UConn’s Adama Sanogo, though super on the college level, didn't have the skills and talent needed in the NBA according to the evaluators.
It will be interesting to see if they can sign on as free agents and prove all the critics wrong by earning a spot on an NBA roster.
Overall, this crop of 58 players features plenty of potential stars, high-end starters, quality reserves, some risk-reward projects and, yes, probably a few busts.
Two teams on the outside of the playoffs who made some huge pickups were the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trailblazers. Luka Donic got help as the Mavs traded down to get Duke’s Dereck Lively to help defend the paint. Then they traded for Marquette’s Oliver-Maxence Prosper and acquired veteran center Richaun Holmes from the Kings for added defensive depth for Donic and Kyrie Irving.
Taking Scoot Henderson at No. 3 was an easy choice for the Blazers as they added one of the older players in the draft in Iowa’s skilled power forward Kris Murray and a long-term project with another overseas star in defender Rayan Rupert. Murray is a big 3-and-D wing who will play from Day 1 in the league.
Now, we sit back and see what happens with those first round selections and watch the drive of some second-round choices who want to prove they should have gone higher.
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June 5, 2023

The NBA finals saw two games in Denver. TNuggets rolled. In game on, while Miami evened the series by three in game two.
The Stanley Cup finals began in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights scored three goals in the third period to take a 1-0 series lead over Florida.
The Oklahoma wimen’s softball team won its 50th straight game, blowing out Tennessee.
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May 29, 2023

The sixth game of the NBA Finals had a dramatic close. Miami was down 10, rallied to take a one point lead. Then Derrick White hit the winning follow-up to set up game seven.
The Florida Panthers clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup final, beating the Carolin Hurricanes.
I was thrilled when Notre Dame made the national lacrosse championship. By beating Virginia.
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May 22, 2023

The NBA playoffs have been surprising. Miami and Denver are up 3-0.

The NHL playoffs have also surprised as Florida and Las Vegas are impressive.

One of the greatest players in NFL history, Jim Brown passed away. RIP.

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May 15, 2023

The NBA playoffs had lots of excitement. The Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, knocked out the defending champion Warriors. The Celtics got a brilliant 51-point performance by Jayson Tatum in a game seven win over the Sixers. The Nuggets knocked off the Suns, costing Monty Williams his job. The eighth-seeded Heat advanced over the Knicks.
The Florida Panthers continued to play Cinderella. First they beat Boston and then took out Toronto.
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May 8th, 2023

The NHL playoffs have seen some surprises but the Florida Panthers are a Cinderella story. They beat the top team in the regular season, the Bruins, then jumped to a 3-0 lead on Toronto.
The NBA playoffs have been wild.The Celtics and Sixers are tied and could go seven in an intense battle.
I’m thrilled that we set a record $12.4 million for pediatric cancer research at the Dickie V gala.
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May 1, 2023

The NBA playoffs saw a few surprises. The Miami Heat as an eight seed stunned top-seeded Milwaukee. Jimmy Butler was dominant with back-to-back40+ point games. The seventh-seeded Lakers knocked off the Memphis Grizzlies.
The NFL draft saw Bryce Young go number one to Carolina. Will Levis of Kentucky fell out of th first round.
The NHL playoffs also saw drama. The Florida Panthers won game seven in overtime in one of the biggest shockers in NHL history. They beat a Bruins team that set a win record in the regular season. The Seattle Kraken, in its first playoff ever, beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche."
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April 24, 2023

The NBA playoffs have provided lots of excitement. The New York Knicks took a 3-1 lead over Cleveland. The Celtics took a 3-1 lead over Atlanta. The Lakers took a 2-1 lead over Memphis.
Baseball has seen the Tampa Bay Rays remain on fire. They jumped out to a 19-3 record/ Pittsburgh won seven in a row while the Orioles won six straight.
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April 17, 2023

The NBA playoffs got underway. DeAndre Fox and Malik Monk, former Kentucky teammates combined for 70 points as the Kings won a playoff game for the first time since 2006. The Knicks won game one in Cleveland.

The Boston Bruins finished with 65 regular season wins and 135 points. It was truly a special season.

The Tampa Bay Rays saw their season-opening win streak end at 13 games. It was a nice start!

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Quote of the Week

 
 Keep battling and fighting to achieve your goals! - Dick Vitale