Dick Vitale dropped some 2012 NCAA Tournament knowledge on a phone conversation with me today
ESPN's face of college basketball, Dick Vitale, took part in a conference call with the Bleacher Report today regarding the 2012 NCAA Tournament. After roughly 45 minutes of college hoops knowledge being regurgitated at what seemed to be a-mile-a-minute, I was left armed with a plethora of tips in order to help me fill out my bracket.
The good news for college hoops fans out there is that you too can benefit from the information given to me by one of the brightest and funniest commentators that sports broadcasting has ever seen.
From Kentucky's youth, to Murray State's ability to compete with the "big boys", to Connecticut's sleeper potential, here are 12 tidbits of knowledge that will have you ready for all the madness of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Because, as we all know, "MARCH MADNESS IS AWESOME, BABY!"
According to Dickie V, the Detroit Titans sophomore star could have his 15th seeded team in the Midwest Region on the brink of taking down the mighty Kansas Jayhawks.
He described the NBA talent as a "special kid" who has had a great second half of the season for the surging Titans.
He enters the game Friday night averaging 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He is also an outstanding defensive player who averages almost two steals per contest.
What is most special about McCallum is the heart that he plays with. He is always giving his team momentum boosts, whether it be with fast break dunks or nifty passes that lead to scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Beware of the Detroit Titans, and more specifically, Ray McCallum Jr.
The Florida State Seminoles raced to a 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title, and in the process, beat Duke in the semi-finals and North Carolina in the championship.
However, according to Mr. Vitale, beware of what you saw the Seminoles accomplish last week. While they are "one of the deepest teams in America", the Blue Devils and Tar Heels were both missing key players in their defeats.
Duke was missing combo forward Ryan Kelly, who stretches the defense with his outside shooting. North Carolina was missing star 6'11" power forward John Henson, who might be the single most important player on the Heels' roster.
Would it have mattered if either one of those players would have played against the Seminoles? We will never know. What we do know, however, is that they are a bit of an uncertainty at this point if they play another top 20 team in the tournament.
While the Florida Gators have struggled shooting the ball recently, most specifically Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker, when the Gators guards are feeling it from long range, they are "absolutely dangerous".
They love to create pressure on the defensive end while continually getting after it on the offensive end. They have a star diaper dandy in Bradley Beal, as well as a quality big man in Patric Young.
While this team has beaten Florida State and Vanderbilt, two quality teams that could do damage in the tournament, they also have puzzling losses to Georgia and Rutgers.
Much like the Seminoles, they are a "buyer beware" pick.
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies earned their ticket into the 2012 NCAA Tournament field by riding the broad shoulders of their star forward, Andrew Nicholson.
The 6'9", 240-pound future NBA draft pick has been a monumental player at the New York school. According to Dick Vitale, he quite possibly could be "the best player at the school since Bob Lanier." That is quite high praise for Nicholson, considering Lanier is an NBA legend.
He is averaging 18.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and will be a match-up nightmare for the Florida State Seminoles in the second round of the tournament.
It's a given that the Kentucky Wildcats will make it to the third round of the tournament, but the University of Connecticut must get by a dangerous Iowa State team in round two in order to create an epic showdown with the Wildcats.
The ninth seeded Huskies have a team that matches up favorably to Kentucky. According to Vitale, they have "two future lottery selections in Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond". They also have national championship game experience with Shabazz Napier, Alex Oriakhi, and Roscoe Smith.
While they have played extremely inconsistent basketball this season, UCONN showed glimpses in the Big East tournament that they could be ready to start a journey similar to last season's NCAA championship run.
If you watch any games where Dickie V. is broadcasting, he has made it very clear all season long that he believes that Kentucky freshman star Anthony Davis is a "special" player.
The 6'11" power forward is an absolute shot-blocking machine, and Vitale believes he could be the first player in college basketball history to sweep all five major postseason awards.
He very well could win national player of the year, national freshman of the year, national defensive player of the year, SEC Conference player of the year, and 2012 Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Can you pick against against the Kentucky Wildcats with a player this incredible in their lineup?
The 6'1" freshman point guard makes the Bulls' offense go. According to Mr. Vitale, he is an absolute "diaper dandy". As we all know, that is his way of saying he is one of the absolute best first year college basketball players in the country.
While the majority of South Florida's offense can go through prolonged scoring droughts, Collins is very adept at scoring the basketball.
He averages only 8.5 points on the season, but has scored in double figures in four of the Bulls' last five games and is a solid outside shooter. He also dishes out 5.3 assists and made the 2012 Big East All-Rookie Team.
Even though he only plays for the Ohio Valley Conference's Murray State Racers, point guard Isaiah Canaan is an All-American, according to Dick Vitale.
He is averaging 19.2 points, 3.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds each game. On the defensive end of the floor, he averages almost one-and-a-half steals each contest.
While they have to get past the Colorado State Rams in the second round on Thursday, a third round match-up with Marquette seems inevitable.
It would be wise for the Golden Eagles to prepare diligently for the Racers, because they are good, and so is their All-American guard.
By now, we all know that Iona point guard Scott Machado is one of the premier point guards in America. He led the nation in assists this season with a 9.9 average. The scary part? He is only one of the Gaels' three-headed monster.
Forward Mike Glover is a 6'7" power player who averages 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds each game, and is also on the radar of many NBA scouts.
The other NBA-level talent on the roster is Lamont "MoMo" Jones, a transfer from the Arizona Wildcats. He was the starting point guard on the Wildcats 2011 Elite Eight team last season, and is a fierce competitor and scorer.
A mid-major team with three potential NBA players is extremely dangerous for any team in the bracket to face.