The Associated Press men’s basketball poll was released earlier today. There are two new teams atop the rankings – No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Oklahoma – who will meet tonight in an ESPN Big Monday Big 12 showdown (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).
ESPN veteran college basketball analyst Dick Vitale will be on the call of the game from Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. and will be joined by longtime play-by-play announcer Brent Musburger, who is fresh off the call of the Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day.
Front Row talked with Vitale as he enters his 37th season calling conference games on ESPN networks.
Where does your passion for calling basketball come from?
My passion comes from living every day to its fullest and always attacking the day with a glass-half full motto. I look at the goals I set forth and try to reach them, including calling games for ESPN.
As a child, my mom and dad taught me to be a good person, and people have been good to me, so that really drives me. My age  does not reflect my energy and I continue to be young at heart, and that is where my pride and passion come from!
What does Brent bring to the telecast?
Brent is one of the all-time greats to ever grace a sideline in any sport – both in studio and calling games. When he starts a telecast, I get goose bumps and I am glad to be sitting next to him again on the sideline tonight. There are so many pros calling games each night, but Brent has an unbelievable background with loads of greatness that make him one of the best!
Describe the feeling of calling a meeting of No. 1 versus No. 2 game.
We hear so many people talk about how Oklahoma and Iowa State are the best this season out of the Big 12, but you still have to go through Lawrence and take on the Jayhawks. Anytime I call a game at Allen Fieldhouse, it’s so special and unique; you just feel the adrenaline and excitement in the building. It defines what college basketball is about. It is going to be an incredible night witnessing No. 1 versus No. 2.