HONDO: Obviously the Final Four is a symbol of prominence, so using that crystal ball who do you see in Dallas?
DICK VITALE: Right now I really like Michigan State. I like their experience. I love Tom Izzo in tournament play. He has that special way of getting people to play at tournament time. I like them a lot. I like Syracuse. I like their size. I like their athleticism. And I love the development of their guard play with Ennis and certainly Cooney. They have really done a better job than I ever anticipated prior to the season. I knew they’d be strong on front court. Fair has been terrific, as Dave mentioned with the McDermotts and with the Smarts and all those guys. But CJ Fair could be right up there as a legitimate first Team All American. You look inside at (?)…so I love Syracuse possibly. Those two teams jump at me. After that, I think you gotta talk Arizona obviously. Arizona’s backcourt is very, very good. The kid McConnell has been a great asset. I wonder sometimes about a little scoring droughts about them. But Arizona will be a team obviously that will be in that mix. You know, I’m chalk city right here. But don’t count out, don’t count out the Shockers. I know they shocked everybody last year. The kid VanVleet and (?) are unbelievable than these guys to me are as good as a team as you’re gonna see. (?) and Marshall does a terrific job. They defend, they score. And Wichita State…they are legitimate. I would not be shocked to see them in Dallas either. But I’m not making predictions now. It’s too early. There’s so much hoops that has to be played. I just only hope, I only hope that we can match the drama of what transpired in football. That was unbelievable. It breaks my heart to say this because I fight with Fowler and I argue about how college basketball is light years ahead because of our system that we have and the BCS and the critic of it. But you know what…you gotta eat some crow sometime. This year in BCS, those bowl games were unbelievable. Whether it be the game with Michigan State/Stanford… I’m a football lover. I love football. I just hope we can emulate what transpired in that Florida State/Auburn game.
HONDO: Is Keith Appling one of the most underrated players in the country?
DICK VITALE: I think their backcourt is as good as any backcourt in the nation. Appling and Harrison…Appling made that big 3 (against OSU). Let me tell you, beating Craft is not easy. He’s a defensive dynamo who really gets up in your face and is really tough to deal with. But Appling…he’s not underrated to me. I know he can flat-out play. I look at some of the great backcourts out there…you look at Smart at Wichita State, Forte at Oklahoma State. You think about Memphis with backcourt depth in Jackson, Dixon and company; think about Florida with Wilbekin and company. Arizona with McConnell, and certainly with Johnson. I like that Harris/Appling combination.