Exclusive Q&A: Dick Vitale discusses March Madness
As part of the fourth annual Allstate March Mayhem Challenge, Dick Vitale is going up against one of the smartest minds in the world and the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, to see who will have the better NCAA men's bracket.
While Vitale's expertise in college basketball is unmatched, Aldrin is hoping to defeat the legend in his very first bracket attempt since the Tournament's inception in 1939.
Every year, more than 60 million consumers fill out tournament brackets whether they deem themselves "experts" or pick winners based on team mascots. While Dick may know the game, Buzz's bracket strategy will rely on a more fact based approach, including looking at patterns that have emerged throughout tournament history and analyzing different matchups using the Mayhem Bracket Predictor. He may not know a lot about college basketball, but his space travel background has made him an expert at identifying the best resources for predicting the unpredictable.
No matter which expert reigns supreme this March, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, Allstate will make a donation to the Space Center Houston and the V Foundation for cancer research on behalf of each competitor.
As a part of this exclusive sports vs. science showdown, Vitale discussed his personal bracket picks for the 2016 NCAA tournament, talked about challenging the former astronaut and weighed in on insights into possible game upsets and tourney favorites.
Check out the Q&A below:
Q: So, tell us about this fun campaign, and what does it entail?
A: This is the Allstate March Mayhem Challenge. I've battled dolphins, I've gone up against a groundhog, I've done it all. But this time they put in a heavyweight -- a real icon. Buzz Aldrin, we went head-to- head with our picks, and I gotta say, I have competition here. He used probabilities and statistical backgrounds, so he made some great picks. I'm nervous!
Q: You had picked Kansas, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Kentucky for your Final Four. Are you still confident?
A: The only difference is Buzz has UNC in place of Kentucky. The Tar Heels should be favored, but we'll see what happens. It was so much fun. He's a terrific human being and I can't thank Allstate enough. Everybody wins!
Q: What makes Tom Izzo so good in March?
A: There's a lot of great coaches, but he has unique ability to get kids to buy into playing tenacious and hard in the postseason. One little slip and the party is over. It's one and done. But he gets the kids to handle that. It's a combination. He has the talent, plus the coaching, and it equals winning. Certain components exist to win a title and they have all of them.
Q: Looking at the bracket, what would you say is the biggest upset that's going to happen?
A: I don't know if it'll happen, but Indiana-Kentucky in that second round could be exciting. Saying that, I'd be also concerned about Chattanooga too. They've won, like, 29 games this year. They're dangerous. It'll be interesting.
Q: Will we ever see a 16 beat a one?
A: People say maybe this year, but it won't happen. The ones are too strong.
Q: Ever, though?
A: It probably will. I don't know if it'll happen in my lifetime, but as I sit back and think about it, I think it will happen someday.