Dick Vitale continues quest to renew Indiana/Kentucky series

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Ever since it was announced that Indiana and Kentucky would be ending its series over differences related to where the games would be played, more than a few college basketball fans have wondered what it would take to get the two storied programs back on the same floor.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari prefers that the games be played on neutral courts, while Indiana’s Tom Crean wanted a home-and-home setup. And with neither side willing to budge on its stance, a return to the court seems unlikely for the time being.

One of the people aiming to change this is ESPN color commentator Dick Vitale, who’s been passionate in his appeals to get Indiana and Kentucky to renew acquaintances on the basketball court. And according to Rick Bozich of WDRB Louisville, Vitale has an idea for the series: donate the funds generated by the game to pediatric cancer research.

Vitale said that he left long, passionate messages for both coaches, alternately encouraging and admonishing them to work out the scheduling impasse. In fact, Vitale wants to put an exclamation point on the series when the Wildcats and Hoosiers eventually play again by creating a cause:

He wants the game to generate $250,000 for a grant in his battle against pediatric cancer. If anybody can make that happen, Dick Vitale can make that happen.

That’s certainly a good cause to get behind, and it’s one that affects every fan base in America. So why not get together in the name of helping those who can use the help?

Obviously it isn’t this simple however, and it’s certainly debatable if the two storied programs need to play each other as neither has an issue scheduling marquee non-conference games. But the Indiana/Kentucky series is one that college basketball would be enhanced by if resumed. Hopefully at some point the two programs reach common ground, and if it can benefit children as well that would be even better.

Congratulations to Dickie V on 35 years of broadcasting (VIDEO)


Today marks the 35th anniversary of Dick Vitale’s first broadcast as a color-commentator for ESPN, and in a video that the network released today, we get a chance to see Vitale’s first pregame intro.

A couple things stand out:

– In his first broadcast, Vitale still managed to drop some nicknames. “The Kiddie Corps, T’n’T, dy-no-mite!”

– Watch the face of his partner while Vitale is going on his 1:40 long rant. Hilarious. I’d love to know what he was thinking then. “No way this guy lasts a month” would be my guess.

– 35 years ago Dick Vitale still didn’t have a single strand of hair on the top of his head.

Vitale’s a polarizing announcer. There are those that love him and those that cannot stand him. Me? I think he’s like Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty. You’re never quite sure what he’s talking about, but it’s just not the same when he’s not around. His enthusiasm for college hoops in unbridled and unparalleled, and I’m including myself in there.

But the most important thing to remember with Vitale is that the man has raised millions upon millions upon millions for the Jimmy V Foundation’s fight against, as he says it, “CAAAN-suh”. So judge away at his broadcasting if you must, just realize that the man has a great and generous heart.

(h/t Norlander)