Chat with Dana O'Neil
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Dana O'Neil (1:00 PM)
DO: Greetings from sunny Arizona where chaos rules.
Last chat wrap: "Dana O'Neil: (2:27 PM ET ) Mike: At the risk of ticking off Xavier nation, I have Portland State in the upset." Xavier Nation is upset with you. Pitt has shown its weaknesses this year, how do you like the chances of the Musketeers moving on to the Elite Eight?
Dana O'Neil (1:02 PM)
Ivanhoe: I was waiting for this so might as well take it first. I was wrong. There I said it. As for beating Pitt, still tough draw for Xavier but certainly Pitt hasn't looked unbeatable.
Tony (Villanova, PA)
What's your take on Villanova? How far can they get? Will they beat Duke on Thursday and then upset Pitt (who they beat already this year) and advance to the Final Four?
Dana O'Neil (1:04 PM)
Tom: Wishing I could see the game, but I'll be watching Memphs-Missouri. Should be a very interesting game. I actually think Villanova will win tonight and then it's a push against Pitt.
What do you know about Billy Gillispie's future at Kentucky? It dosen't look good...
Dana O'Neil (1:06 PM)
Jordan: Doesn't look good at all, especially considering what isn't being said these days. Neither the university president nor the athletic director has said Billy is fine, he's our guy. If you want to diffuse rumors, that's the easiest path and it's not happening.
Brian (Washington, IL)
Who do you have going all the way and winning it all?
Dana O'Neil (1:06 PM)
Brian: I had Louisville in November, so I'm sticking w/ them in March. .Their free throws - or lack thereof - are making me uneasy, though.
What are your views on Blake Griffin getting beat up game after game after game and what steps should the refs take to reduce this? I think it is getting way out of hand.
Dana O'Neil (1:07 PM)
Kasey: Agree. I hate the cheap shots, especially. Totally ruins the game and Griffin doesn't deserve it. I give him a lot of credit for not retaliating.
John (Spokane, WA)
Do you think they can and what do you think the zags will need to do to take down UNC friday night in memphis?
Dana O'Neil (1:07 PM)
John: I think the Zags can IF they play up their talent, which they haven't really done all year. They've got the bodies and the style of play to hang w/ Carolina.
Elliot (athens, ga)
which one seed looks most impressive going into the round of 16, UConn or UNC now that Lawson seems ready to go?
Dana O'Neil (1:08 PM)
Elliott: gotta say UConn. Barely broke a sweat in the first weekend, just bulldozing teams offensively and defensively.
Quez [via mobile]
Dana...do you think that Jim Calhoun has 2 accept more responsibility for these recent NCAA allegations. It seems he wants to sweep it under the rug saying he knows that someone is looking into it. He is afterall the HEAD coach...will he have to answer ?
Dana O'Neil (1:09 PM)
Quez: I think if there are charges and he's implicated certainly he'll stand up and be counted. Right now I think there are accusations, so it's premature to raise your hand and say, I did it. I do know that the NCAA looks into a coach's control as well as institutional control - ie he should know what's going on w/ his program.
Do you give the Cuse any chance against Okla and then possibly against UNC
Dana O'Neil (1:10 PM)
Con: In my purely for entertainment purposes only pool, I actually have Syracuse beating Oklahoma. I liked OU all year but they've been a little disjointed the last few weeks and I think Jonny Flynn will be tough for their guards to handle.
Which tiger team do you have and how far do you think the winner will go? Do you think there are any teams left that play better defense than these two team?
Dana O'Neil (1:11 PM)
Patrick: Second half of the question first. Absolutely not. Memphis and Mizzou are clearly the best defensive teams in this tournament, with Louisville a close third. As for the game tonight, I have Memphis going forward but I expect it to be a game.
Cyrus (San Francisco, CA)
Duke doesn't bring a lot of size to the table, which is Nova's major weakness. Considering the Nova guards athletic superiority, aren't the Blue Devils tailor made for the Cats?
Dana O'Neil (1:13 PM)
Cyrus: Somewhat. I think Villanova's dribble penetration will be hard for Duke to handle. Corey Fisher is much quicker than anyone Duke has. On the flip side, Gerald Henderson is a handful. Curious to see if Dwayne Anderson or Reggie Redding gets the assignment. Both can do it but they're going to have to be careful of fouls. I also think Villanova has to be careful guarding the perimeter. They aren't always great out there.
Aubrey(TheVille) [via mobile]
Hi Dana. How was T Will not a Naismith candidate? His numbers might not be as high as others but they are across the board. He's not limited to just a couple ares.
Dana O'Neil (1:14 PM)
Aubrey: Totally agree. Honestly if I had a vote, he would have been Big East Player of the Year. Not only are his numbers ridiculous, the value he brings to that team is unlike anyone else save maybe Blake Griffin.
Now is your chance. after watching the first two rounds would you change your original final four, and we all know you picked L'ville but now's your chance to step up and make a change...
Dana O'Neil (1:14 PM)
Mike: The only one I'm hedging on - and not enough to switch - is Villanova. The beatdown they gave UCLA blew me away.
Honestly, Dana, what's the mood like out there in Zona? Specifically surrounding UConn...
Dana O'Neil (1:15 PM)
Chris: It's weird. I mean, business as usual on the court but all of us reporters skulking around and just the sort of simmering undertones. Thought Calhoun seemed uncomfortable - understandably so - yesterday. Don't know that this will 'distract' this team. Really can't see that happening.
tucson [via mobile]
What do u think of arizona chances friday?
Dana O'Neil (1:16 PM)
Tucson: Tough matchup, I'd say but the Wildcats are playing w/ house money so enjoy it.
UCLA was not that good all year long, the margin was a surprise, but i would have picked nova to win that game by at least 12-13 anyway.
Dana O'Neil (1:17 PM)
Michele: The point differential was one thing but it was the way they manhandled UCLA that floored me. Villanvoa hasn't played that kind of in your face defense in a month. They need it and it's great to see it back.
Billy G (KY)
Hi Dana, while you're in Arizona, do you mind letting them know I would love to coach those Wildcats next year. Just covering my bases
Dana O'Neil (1:18 PM)
Billy G: Duly noted, Clyde.
Jacob (Corpus Christi, TX)
With Indiana going 1-17 in the Big Ten, Notre Dame missing the tournament, and Butler getting bump out in the first round, is Purdue "The" basketball school in the state of Indiana?
Dana O'Neil (1:19 PM)
Jacob: These days it certainly is. I expect Indiana to rise from the ashes at some point, which should make the rivalry fun again.
Lj (Memphis) [via mobile]
What's happening Dana. If Memphis survives the defensive chess match against Mizzou, do you think they have what it takes to beat UConn, provided they get past the Boilermakers?
Dana O'Neil (1:20 PM)
LJ: I absolutely do. Got depth, speed and great defense. Plus the motivating factor of Cal versus Calhoun. Would be, I think, a helluva game.
Do you think the yahoo story was an attempt to sabotage UCONN's tourney? And why were these guys ever investigating UCONN in the first place? is there an ax to grind here?
Dana O'Neil (1:22 PM)
Scott: Absolutely not. I know people think we reporters have personal vendettas against coaches and programs but that isn't the case, not among the professional and Dan and Adrian are at the top of the professional list. Yahoo is doing a series of stories investigting agents and their role w/ college hoops. Someone or somehow they got tipped off to this and like good reporters do, they followed it. THey didn't receive the Freedom of Information Act info from UConn until 2 weeks ago, so they wouldn't have been able to write it prior to.
Have you heard any rumors about Virginia filling their opening
Dana O'Neil (1:22 PM)
Tom: Not of any substance, though Jeff Capel going back home is intriguing.
Jeff (Raleigh, NC)
Where does Seth Curry end up? (sorry, not an NCAAT question but I had to ask)
Dana O'Neil (1:23 PM)
Jeff: No good question and I honestly don't know. But whoever gets him among the millions of schools that missed on him first time will be VERY happy.
Tricie (Cleveland OH)
What is the chance of all foru #1 seeds advancing to the final four again?
Dana O'Neil (1:24 PM)
It's certainly viable, though last year was the first time it's happened so odds would say it wouldn't happen again. I'd say other than UConn all looked a little wobbly the first weekend at points but that doesn't mean they don't power their way to the Final Four.
Dana, UConn has been playing the best basketball of any team in the tournament thus far. Yet, with Chris Kramer, one of the best defenders in the country, covering AJ Price, doesn't UConn have to try to throw it inside to Thabeet some more? Thabeet can handle himself on defense, but offense has been a struggle for him. This seems to be a decent defensive match up for Purdue. Do you think we could see the first one seed fall?
Dana O'Neil (1:25 PM)
Phil: I don't think this is the cakewalk everyone is expecting. Kramer will be all over Price but I'm also curious to see on the other end if Johnson tries to pull Thabeet out a little bit. If he can, that opens things up a lot for Purdue.
Can Arizona be this years George Mason?
Dana O'Neil (1:26 PM)
John: Hmmmm.. not sure a team with a national championship can bill itself as the out of nowhere Cinderella story. BUT... the Wildcats certainly have done far more than I ever expected after their soap opera start to the season. Kudos to them and Russ Pennell. Someone ought to hire that guy!
Matt (Needham MA)
Hey Dana, With the coaching vacancies already in place (Georgia & UVA) and the possible changes still to come, will Fran McCaffrey still be Siena's coach next year and if not, where will he be when all the dominoes stop falling?
Dana O'Neil (1:28 PM)
Matt: Was talking about that w/ my former Phila. Daily News colleague, Dick Jerardi (Fran is a Philly guy for those who don't know). We're both stunned that he hasn't been snapped up before. Maybe he's content, don't know but anyone watching him against Louisville had to be impressed. His team never stopped coming, played incredibly hard and smart and when things got chaotic he was the perfect picture of calm. If he's not a candidate for a bigger job I'd like someone to find me someone better.
Dana, which of the four #1 seeds do you think will be forced to play out of their comfort zone this week?
Dana O'Neil (1:29 PM)
Will: In my purely for entertainment purpose pool I had Connecticut falling to Memphis. Waffling slightly on that, mostly because I think Pittsburgh looks a little more susceptible right now.
Charles (San Jose)
How is it that two sons of a successful NBA player ended up in conferences below their ability level? Especially the second after people saw how underrated Stephen had been.
Dana O'Neil (1:30 PM)
Charles: One of the 7 wonders of the college basketball world, my friend. I said all year, OK you missed on Steph. But after seeing him don't you at least take a flier on Seth???? Crazy.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Ms. O'Neil: It seems like the preconceived notions about the conferences entering the tournament were about right. Have any of the conferences either overachieved or underachieved in your opinion and if so, which ones?
Dana O'Neil (1:31 PM)
JB: Well the ACC has underachieved, I think that's pretty clear. And even though the Big East was touted even I'm slightly stunned to see 5 teams from the league in the Sweet 16.
Elliot (Athens, GA)
Dana, which potential title game matchup would you most like to see?
Dana O'Neil (1:34 PM)
Elliot: Here's what I'd love... an all Big-East Final Four. They move it out of Detroit (yeah!) and into the Garden. Villanova beats Syracuse in 5 ots and Louisville gets by Connecticut in 3. The national championship comes down to a buzzer beater by T-Will over Dante Cunningham, they carry Mike Tranghese down Broadway and Mike Krzyzewski grudgingly admits the next day that he was wrong and Obama was right. And with that little insane fantasy (all really a ploy to move the Final Four out of Detroit) I gotta bolt. Sorry for the quick chat but logging tons of hours out here w/ more to do. Enjoy the games tonight...