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January 21, 2014

Coffee: I'm done with Dickie V.

OPINION - I have an idea how to make college basketball a better product for the players, coaches and fans.

My idea is designed to make the TV viewing of college games more enjoyable and a better experience for the hardcore fan and the casual viewer.

Get rid of Dick Vitale as a color commentator for ESPN broadcasts.

At present Vitale does the analysis of the "Primetime" game on Saturday nights with announcer Dan Shulman. Vitale has been around for a long time - too long if you ask me. His flamboyant style was colorful at first but has begun to wear thin on those of us that like to tune-in for a good college basketball game.

My disdain for Vitale runs the full gamut from his obnoxious comments to his 'know-it-all' attitude. First of all, it is difficult to understand much of what he is saying. The "senior rasp" that seems to affect many 74-year olds has infected Vitale, and his voice inflection goes from yelling to almost a whisper making it impossible to properly adjust the sound for his broadcasts. He is also prone to mumbling.

Instead of making intelligent comments about the game he has a tendency to try to 'be cool' and use phrases that are unprofessional or trite. In the recent Louisville-UConn game he used several juvenile comments such as "trouble city" and "nothing but nylon, baby". He is not above making inane and illogical comments during games, some of which, unfortunately, become part of college basketball lore such as something he said over and over in the Louisville game, "The two early fouls on Daniels took him out of the game."

In all my years of playing and watching basketball I have found the opposite to be true. If a player misses part of the first half he or she becomes more anxious to perform in the second half and also makes him more rested.

Vitale also thinks he is an expert on everything basketball and anything else. During the Louisville game he told the players how to play, the coaches how to coach and the referees how to ref. For someone who coached successfully at the University of Detroit for four years but failed miserably after one year in the pros he has hardly had the experience to tell others about the game. He also made comments about when certain players should go pro, who was a good baseball coach and which schools had the best arenas.

Based on his commentary in the Louisville-UConn game, I believe he may have a problem seeing the action in the game. Blind in one eye since childhood, Vitale watches much of the game on a monitor, and seems to have trouble seeing what goes on during the game. When a UConn player ran over Stephan Van Treese, Vitale referred to it as "something happened that required a call". A few seconds later when Hancock was grabbed by a UConn player, Vitale claimed that it was a bad call and had to be corrected.

To me, Vitale is too opinionated and makes too many derogatory statements about others, including the NCAA. In his mind, his stature as the resident "expert" on college basketball has made him too arrogant and a bane to those of us that enjoy a good game on TV.


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