Dick Vitale does his best to explain why Duke, Michigan State and Kentucky will in all likelihood shockingly miss the NCAA tournament.
Raise your hand if you had Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State missing the NCAA tournament in 2021. Keep ’em up if you had Kansas getting swept by Texas and North Carolina fifth in the ACC behind Virginia and Virginia Tech … no disrespect to the Cavaliers and the Hokies.
This has been a college basketball season like no other which is why we need a Hall of Famer to do his best to explain what has happened. Enter Dick Vitale who sees two major factors why the traditional powers are having historic bad years.
“Kentucky lost a bunch of close games,” Vitale told FanSided. “I’ll bet you if those 23,000 were in the crowd, the passionate Kentucky fans, what an advantage that is. You still have a slight home-court advantage. You’re sleeping in the same bed, you’re shooting at the same baskets the vision that a home-court advantage to a certain extent but it’s not the same as you’re getting that edge with the crowd there giving you that lift when you’re struggling.”
No surprise that the energy machine treasure Vitale sees the impact of many empty or sparsely attended stadiums even though Vitale does not need 20-thousand to get him ready to call a game. And yes, there is more to it than just the fans in the stands.
“The pandemic has been a problem because many of these teams are young,” Vitale said. “The top three teams in recruiting last year were Kentucky, Duke and Carolina. When they got in conference they’ve all been struggling because they couldn’t have those cupcake games part of their season, play five or six games guys get familiar with one another. You learn a little bit about college basketball, get acclimated to what they are going to face.”
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The season has set up well for schools that normally don’t have players jumping to the NBA early in their college careers.
“You look at Baylor and Gonzaga they’re great, they’re skilled, they’re talented, but they’ve got veterans, they’ve got players who have been through it,” Vitale said.
Speaking of experience, Vitale is 81-years young. He plays tennis multiple days a week, raises money to fight cancer, does hot tub videos on Instagram. His enthusiasm for life and basketball is as strong as ever.
“My goal is to be the first guy in broadcasting ever at 100 years of age to walk out at courtside,” Vitale said. “It’s awesome baby! I mean why not. You gotta think big, you’ve gotta have some goals. I still write goals down, I’ve still had dreams and things I want to do.”
Vitale also works tirelessly to help children battling cancer. Click here if you would like to learn more on how to help.