Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

ESPN announcer Dick Vitale will call his first Final Four game during the Wichita State-Syracuse national semifinal. / Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA ?? Come Saturday evening, ESPN announcer Dick Vitale can cross one more item off his list of career accomplishments: For the first time, Vitale will call a game at the Final Four.

Amazingly, despite his laundry list of awards, recognitions, big games called and memorable moments witnessed, Vitale has never brought his voice and flair for college basketball to the sport's biggest stage. He and broadcast partner Brad Nessler will call the first national semifinal, Wichita State and Syracuse, for ESPN's international television broadcast.

"You know, you're shocked how many people have come to me and have said to me, 'We cannot believe that you have not done a (Final Four) game in 34 years,' " Vitale said in a conversation Saturday with USA TODAY Sports.

"So I'm really excited about it," he said. "I feel like we've been involved with the NCAA every year since 1983, for me, because that was the first year I went to the Final Four as part of ESPN's coverage, when my buddy Jimmy (Valvano) cut the nets down.

"Anytime you can sit at courtside and be part of a national championship, it's a thrill."

The Final Four presents a greater stage for Vitale, while the broadcast itself presents a conundrum: Should he alter his inimitable broadcasting style, perhaps making things simpler to understand for his international audience?

"I'm going to do what's been good to me for 34 years," Vitale said. "A moment will describe what I'm watching. People say, how are you going to react? You react to the moment. You react to what you see.

"I'm going to treat it like I'm doing any game, whether it be Kentucky-Florida, Carolina-Duke, Michigan-Michigan State ?? it's a basketball game. It's a lot at stake, but we're going to be as honest as I can be and just record what I see. There's a lot at stake for these kids. It's a great moment for them and you want to treat it as such."

This is the same approach Vitale has used throughout his entire career, he said. "If there's one thing I'm really so proud of, I have so many people come up to me and say, 'Man, you make that game sound like a national championship game.' And it might just be a game between two mediocre teams. Well, that's a tremendous compliment. Because for those kids playing on that given night, that is their moment."

While the stage is larger, Vitale isn't nervous ?? because he's never nervous.

"I've done a lot of big games. I don't get nervous," Vitale said. "But anxiety, I definitely feel that. Every big game I do."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: ESPN's Dick Vitale prepares for his first Final Four call

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

THU
30
FRI
31
SAT
1
SUN
2
MON
3
TUE
4
WED
5

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX