The road to the Sweet 16 wasn’t very sweet to millions of brackets. Powerhouses fell, brackets were busted and drams of winning office pools were shattered. If this all sounds familiar, Dick Vitale has some words that may comfort you.
“You’re not the only one. Come on now, nobody could really project what’s happened; it’s been unreal,” Vitale told Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro during Afternoon Drive on Mile High Sports Radio. “Louisville getting knocked out early, Duke getting knocked out, Florida State gets pummeled, it’s unbelievable, Virginia gets routed. It’s been a wild tournament.”
The thing that all the teams Vitale mentioned had in common? They all play in the ACC, a conference that was overvalued by many.
“We all sang the praises, because we did so many of their games and we thought they were so good, [of ] the ACC,” Vitale said. “There was nine teams and only one is left [North Carolina] and you know what? That one is barely left, when you think about how they had to survive in that situation against Arkansas.”
Vitale has seen plenty of tournaments. He called ESPN’s very first college basketball game on Dec. 5, 1979 and has been at it ever since. A seasoned veteran in the world of bracketology, it should come as no surprise that many his picks are still alive and well’ including the aforementioned UNC, who Vitale envisions cutting down the nets.
“Well, I like, winning everything, my first pick has always been, from day one, is North Carolina,” Vitale said; “and they didn’t play well at all and Arkansas did. They were lucky to survive that game; but they survived.
“I’ve got my picks, and they’re still alive. On Selection Sunday, I told the nation, when it’s all said and done, I have Carolina beating Gonzaga for the national title.”
For Vitale, Gonzaga are the most interesting storyline left, after all, despite criticism, he has been a supporter of theirs all season.
“I’ve been on the bandwagon for Gonzaga. I said, ‘you know what? I can’t get off the bandwagon.’
“Will Gonzaga finally break it and get to the Final 4? Will Mark Few be able to add that to his resume?” he asked. “It’s the only thing missing from his resume, really. He’s got a terrific record over the years. Been a terrific coach, good person. So this is the year, will it happen? And to get there, it’s not gonna be Cupcake City. That game in San Jose Man, when he plays West Virginia…their trapping defenses, they can be suffocating.”
Catch the entire interview with Dick Vitale, including some thoughts on the NBA and how you can help childhood cancer research, in the podcast below.
Catch Afternoon Drive with Goodman and Shapiro every weekday from 4p-6p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.