Chat with Kyle Whelliston
Kyle is the founder of midmajority.com and is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.
Send in your questions now and join Kyle right here for all the answers on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.
Kyle Whelliston (12:59 PM)
Helloooooo Hoops Nation, welcome to another season of exciting mid-major basketball excitement. I'm your host, Kyle Whelliston, and I'm here in Carbondale, IL eagerly awaiting your questions.
Kyle, do you think UMass can run SIU ragged late in the game tonight, given that they are playing back to back and aren't used to a fast pace?
Kyle Whelliston (1:01 PM)
UMass has looked a little shaky in their exhibition and opening games, they're still getting the hang of the Kellogg-Wahlberg system. SIU certainly won't give them a fast pace, but from what I saw last night vs. Arkansas-Monticello, a little forced patience will do them good.
Wade (Findlay, IL)
I'm a Missouri Valley fan who enjoys watching Southern Illinois do their thing. My concern is that the Salukis are too young to really have an impact on the league (specifically Creighton!) and the rest of the nation this year. What do you think?
Kyle Whelliston (1:02 PM)
Don't count the Salukis out. Among the five freshmen they have, there are some of the most potent offensive players they've had in years. Booker and Dillard are going to be MVC stars.
ray gordon reid fernadina beach fl 32034
question;s to kyle whelliston at 1.10pn hi kyle who wins missouri valley sun belt
Kyle Whelliston (1:04 PM)
Ray, the season couldn't have started without you, glad to have you back. I'm going with Creighton (and its depth) and Middle Tennessee (with its relatively stability in a conference with a lot of graduations).
Mike (Marlton, NJ)
I guess Temple qualifies as a Mid Major. Can they overtake the big dog(actually cat) Villanova and claim Philly's Big 5 Title?
Kyle Whelliston (1:07 PM)
That, of course, is the only league that matters in that area, my old home. Villanova has everyone back, Temple has some major scoring to replace with Tyndale's departure.
Can we get the obligatory WAC question out of the way? Who you got? As much as I love Nevada, I'm leaning USU right now. Best home court in conference, best X's and O's coach, and Wilkinson fits their pre-Jaycee game plan perfectly as the top senior in the WAC.
Kyle Whelliston (1:09 PM)
Obligatory? Ha! Nice to see you back, Scott. I'm leaning USU as well, and Wilkinson will have all the double-doubles he wants this season. If Nevada assembles itself correctly, it could be a two bid league again. But watch out for San Jose State, that's a serious team.
How much worse off is Davidson this year with the PG graduating?
Kyle Whelliston (1:10 PM)
It'll be interesting to watch. Point was Curry's position in high school, and he was really like a second 1 out there directing traffic last year. But he had 8 turnovers in an exhibition last night.
Mike (Tampa, FL)
Which transfer to a mid-major will have the greatest impact this season?
Kyle Whelliston (1:12 PM)
The MAAC, in particular, will be a league where that's a major storyline. Jonathan Huffman (Louisville -> Iona) and Rob Garrison (UConn -> Niagara) are a couple that could put up some nice numbers.
Can Beantown do a double dip this year with Northeastern and BU claiming CAA and America East crowns?
Kyle Whelliston (1:15 PM)
If there's anything Boston needs, it's more championships. Both are serious contenders, but I like VCU and Vermont in those leagues.
Kyle, can my Siena Saints live up to the hype? Do you see them knocking off one of the big boys on their schedule?
Kyle Whelliston (1:17 PM)
This far out, Davidson and Siena look like the teams from this level best suited for a Sweet 16 run. I like their chances against Tennessee, they have the same kind of balanced scoring that gave the Vols fits last year against Butler.
Jeff (Moraga, CA)
Nobody wants to come to our little gym, and St. Mary's was much better at home last year. Should the fans be worried that the team will be on the road for most games/all big games before we get to conference? Or should we fare well enough that we can just focus on this making us "ready for March"
Kyle Whelliston (1:18 PM)
A lot of people make fun of that little gym, but I love going there. It's noisy, and there are a lot of Australian flags. Unfortunately when you get good at this level, the home schedule usually starts in January.
Bill (Providence, RI)
Kyle: Are there enough basketballs to keep Maurice Joseph, Mike Trimboli, and Marqus Blakely happy in Vermont? Or should we play Montreal Rules and add another?
Kyle Whelliston (1:20 PM)
A lot of it has to do with the camaraderie level between Blakely and Mojo, which I hear is excellent. Hopefully they'll share the stage. Trimboli should benefit from a more clearly defined role.
What are your predictions on VCU this year? What chances do you think they have of making it to the 2nd or 3rd round of the ncaa tournament?
Kyle Whelliston (1:23 PM)
First they have to get out of the CAA, which may not be at a two-bid level again yet, but there won't be a night off against a 2-12 team or anything. Very balanced conference. The key is how they show in their BracketBuster and how they finish... they won't get too many mega-difficult tests before March, but a lot of consistently strong ones.
Guy (Norfolk, VA)
4 straight post-season tournaments... can Old Dominion make it 5 in a row?
Kyle Whelliston (1:25 PM)
As long as the CBI's around, everything's possible for everybody. But I like ODU for second behind VCU and ahead of Northeastern. Lee is a machine, and they've moved some of those 33%-shooting guards out of the system.
Is UMass' Bonner @ center (I'd say backcourt but having watched Gaffney all last year I think he's highly underrated) such a liability that even with Lowe and Harris leading the team they aren't considered more of a force in the A-10?
Kyle Whelliston (1:28 PM)
With this system, I don't think he's the major issue, just as long as he can run up and down the floor. I think the defense is why they aren't picked higher, and it sprung some leaks last night. UAM had an athletic big guy who could drive from 10 feet out, and there are a lot more of those in UMass' future.
Ok Kyle, I'm giving you a heads up now. Don't sleep on the UE Purple Aces in the Valley this year. For the first time in quite awhile there is experience AND depth. Marty Simmons will have these guys playing hard and they will be a factor in the race. They won't win it, but they'll probably prevent someone else from winning it. You heard it here first!
Kyle Whelliston (1:30 PM)
I'm in agreement on that one, Jeff. I saw them several times last year, and it rally was an open audition. There will be a number of tough .500 teams in the Valley this year, and the Aces could claw up to that level.
Brian (Newton, MA)
Hypothetical Boston Basketball Beanpot: Who actually is the best in the hub? Rebuilding Boston College, Fully-Loaded Northeastern, Face-Lift Harvard, or Stingy Boston University?
Kyle Whelliston (1:31 PM)
Not a bad idea. I think Face-Lift Harvard is playing the Paradise Rock Club next month.
Nate (Des Moines)
Burning question from here in Valley-land: Does the MVC return to multi-bid status this year?
Kyle Whelliston (1:32 PM)
I say yes, but it might be a needle-threader. Creighton and SIU look most likely to go, but it could be a regular-season/tourney split (again).
Nevada has a good schedule and will take some lumps early. We have UNC, S. Illinois, and UNLV at home. CAL and San Diego on the road. Do you think that it will be enough to get ready for the WAC.
Kyle Whelliston (1:35 PM)
I think 9-4 would be a good mark to have heading into conference play. If the bottom of the league is as soft as it appears to be, Nevada could ring up some big numbers starting in January.
Hi Kyle. I noticed that WCC contender Santa Clara is traveling across the country in January to play at Harvard and UNH. It seems a little unusual for a team to travel three time zones to beat up on weaker competition. Are there no cupcakes out west?
Kyle Whelliston (1:38 PM)
They are playing two non-D1's. But it's a decent idea, taking a long road trip to a very cold place right before WCC season. Give the team a chance to do some bonding right before a race in which they'll need it. Gonzaga, SMC and San Diego is going to be a tough trio to crack.
Andy (Latham, NY)
Hi Kyle - Love your website and can't wait to read your book. A bunch of midmajors have been getting a lot of attention in the preseason (namely, Davidson and Siena) Which midmajor program do think is flying under the radar a bit and has a chance to be this year's, well, Davidson or Siena? Thanks, Andy
Kyle Whelliston (1:41 PM)
Thanks, Andy. Belmont was almost in that mix if not for that botched final minute against Duke, and they have a lot of senior leadership this season. Don't be shocked if they make it to the second round in 2009.
Diana (Asheville, NC)
How sad is it that UNCA's big man Kenny George is out for the season??
Kyle Whelliston (1:44 PM)
It was heartbreaking news. When Kenny played, he made the entire court look small, and it took a mental adjustment from the viewer to process his bigness. If you go back and watch the video of Kurtis Blow's "Basketball" with the shot of the player dunking on the undersized basket from above, that's what it was like to watch. I'm still verklempt about it.
Bill (Providence, RI)
Binghamton Bearcats - College Basketball team, or the reincarnation of the team that the Charlestown Chiefs had to play in the final game of Slap Shot?
Kyle Whelliston (1:47 PM)
Old Time Basketball! That school has made its decisions about how it wants to build its basketball team, and I disagree with every one. But they want to win yesterday, so they're not skimping on the background checks.
MAC DADDY - Ohio and Michigan
Talk about the MAC. Who is the top teams and top players this year?
Kyle Whelliston (1:49 PM)
I'll end up talking a streak about the MAC this year, believe me. Kent, Miami and Western Michigan look real good, and Al Fisher and Michael Bramos and David Kool are all going to make a lot of headlines. Lots of new coaches and positional experiments, so this conference is going to be fun.
Are the terps on Mid Major level now?
Kyle Whelliston (1:50 PM)
"Mid-major," as I define it, is a conference that builds from the bottom up and isn't afforded any natural advantages. Power-conference teams have TV coverage, lots of money, great buildings and silver spoons, and if they can't make the most of their ready-made advantages, tough luck. So no.
Bob F (Chicago)
Where to next after C'Dale?
Kyle Whelliston (1:51 PM)
Peoria, where I'm sure they'll be thrilled to see me.
Why not any props to Osiris Eldridge from Illinois State in your top ten players to watch?
Kyle Whelliston (1:53 PM)
O was literally on my list, but I wanted to spread the love around and try to mention something about every conference. Sorry, Southland and Patriot League, I failed.
Rusty(Long Beach, NY)
Need some MAC!!! What about Buffalo. Can Greg Gamble handle the point this year?
Kyle Whelliston (1:56 PM)
I don't think any coaching staff is dependent on the performance of any player this season at our level. If it works, Witherspoon is a genius. If it doesn't, he's looking for work before the NCAA Tournament even starts.
Charlotte is the REAL DEAL with Lutz ... Watch Out
Kyle Whelliston (1:59 PM)
Harris and Wilderness make for a pretty sweet combination on the court too. I think they'll hold their own and knock off a couple of the A-14's top dogs this regular season.
Barry (Moraga, CA)
Since we are talking about your travels this year, will you be making it out to the little gym in Moraga any time this year? February 12 wouldn't be a bad time, moreso if we steal the first one at Gonzaga and the hunter is the hunted!
Kyle Whelliston (2:02 PM)
I alternate between SoCal and NoCal every season, this is an odd/southern year. I get to see the Gaels in Indianapolis against Southern Illinois though. It'll be like old times... well, 2005, anyway.
Kyle Whelliston (2:04 PM)
The hour is up, and too soon. Once I get a regular timeslot for the year, I'll negotiate for a half-hour of overage like last year. On your behalf. I appreciate the opportunity, see you next week from New Jersey!
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