A Short Baseball Break for March Madness


vitale.jpgESPN’s Dick Vitale showed up at yesterday’s Phillies game against the Pirates at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, so I asked him a few hoops questions.

I kind of felt bad doing it. I mean, I’m sure the guy gets bombarded with questions every day about who he likes and doesn’t like in college basketball. But the heck with it. Villanova and Temple made the NCAA tournament, so I thought I’d get his take on them (and my Minnesota Gophers):

Question: Can Temple beat Cornell?
Answer: I like Temple. I know a lot of my colleagues are picking Cornell. Cornell is going to be a severely tough challenge. They’re going to shoot the three, make 10 a game. I think Fran Dunphy‘s defense … plus, they’re not going to sneak up. Cornell snuck up on people, played Kansas tough, played Syracuse tough. Obviously, Temple is going to know that. I think it’s a whole different scenario. I’m going to look for Temple to move on.

Question: How deep can Villanova go?
Answer: I picked Villanova as one of my Final Four teams. I like them a lot.

Question: Even though they lost 5 of 7 to finish the season?
Answer: I know that, but it was in the Big East. Now I think playing different people, their style of play can really bother people. Their guard play … I look for them to meet Duke in the finals of that region and I give the edge to Villanova because of their athleticism.

Question: Can Minnesota beat Xavier?
Answer: I like Xavier. I’m very surprised Minnesota got in. Really.

I wanted to ask Vitale if he thought Temple got hosed and Villanova got a huge break in the seeding. Keep in mind I don’t watch much college basketball, so my opinion on this means little (although I totally agree with it). But we ran out of time. Next time.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

1 Comment

Your Gophers are actually 1-point favorites over Xavier in Vegas. Don’t know if that makes you feel better or not. I have them in my Sweet 16 — I think the A-10 turned out to be overrated (went from a 6-bid league to 3 bids in a matter of a month and a half), and the Big 10 is more solid than people think.

Plus, Pitt is the hugely overrated Big East team. Minnesota can beat them, and Tubby Smith is a good tournament coach. I’m a Penn State alum, but I’ll definitely be pulling for the Gophers.

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