Chat with Eamonn Brennan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com college basketball blogger Eamonn Brennan will be here to chat about the NCAA tournament.
Brennan started with ESPN.com in December 2009. He writes for the College Basketball Nation blog.
Send your questions now and join Brennan Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (4:34 PM)
Eamonn will be here in five minutes!
Eamonn Brennan (4:37 PM)
Hey guys! Running a little late, finishing up a post on Bruce Pearl's last days at Tennessee. Hit me with your questions and we'll get them going as quickly as possible.
Can you break down the matchups for the BYU/Florida game? Florida has almost the same crew as last year. How different of a team are they this year and who do you like in this game?
Eamonn Brennan (4:43 PM)
The matchups are pretty similar to last year's game, but nearly every one of the players on the floor -- especially for Florida -- has improved. The Gators also added a key reserve forward in freshman Patric Young, the kind of bruising player BYU simply doesn't have. In other words, I think the matchups are very favorable for Florida. Yes, BYU has Jimmer, and yes, he is basically unstoppable. But Florida has the guards to run him around and double him on the perimeter, and it has a long, lanky forward in Chandler Parsons that I think should draw the Jimmer assignment for most of the game. Florida will dominate on the low block; BYU was never a great interior team, and without Davies that weakness is magnified. Florida has to play the game at their pace. If this game is played in the half-court, and Jimmer doesn't have a legendary night efficiency-wise, it's hard to see Florida losing.
Squall (Balamb Garden)
Four double-digit seeds in the sweet sixteen...which one has the best chance of making it to the final four?
Eamonn Brennan (4:45 PM)
VCU. If you didn't see the number next to that name, you would assume the Rams were a No. 1 seed. They don't look like a mid-major -- former Wake transfer Jamie Skeen is the sort of athletic, versatile forward we usually don't see at mid-majors -- and right now they're the hottest non-Ohio State team in the country on the offensive end. What they did to Purdue Sunday night was silly. Look out for the Rams. They're supremely dangerous right now.
How good are Richmond, VCU and Florida St. I would think if they are good enough to beat Notre Dame, Purdue and Louisville that we shouldn't be punching our tickets to Houston just yet.
Eamonn Brennan (4:47 PM)
I'd agree with that. I think Kansas will be able to get by Richmond, because Kansas is one of the few superior teams that can match up with what Richmond does on offense (lots of versatile, rangy forwards, Justin Harper's outside-in attack). And I think Kansas is clearly the best team left in the Southwest. But if Kansas gets VCU, and VCU is still has hot as they've been in the first two rounds, that's far from a guaranteed win.
What is your thoughts and prediction of the Ohio State and Kentucky game friday and is there anything to worry about if your Ohio State? Alos who was your final four pick?
Eamonn Brennan (4:48 PM)
I picked Ohio State, and I haven't seen anything that challenges that prediction yet. OSU was just about flawless against a good George Mason team Sunday. The key for Kentucky will be Josh Harrelson on the inside. If he can guard Jared Sullinger with something resembling effectiveness -- he doesn't have to stop Sully, but he does have to be good enough that Kentucky won't need to double-team -- then UK can hang with the Buckeyes on both ends of the floor. But if Sullinger goes wild, uh oh.
Can you please clarify if the Jardine backcourt call was the correct call?
Eamonn Brennan (4:50 PM)
It was not. As most hoops fans know, you're allowed to catch the ball in the backcourt on a inbounds play even if the inbounder is positioned in the frontcourt. Jardine caught the ball with his foot on the line, but he didn't establish himself in the frontcourt after the catch and then go back over the line. It was the wrong call. What's funny is that if Jardine had caught the ball with both feet behind half court, or both feet on the line, the ref probably wouldn't have blown the whistle. Instead, Jardine sort of panicked, and the referee was quick to the (incorrect) trigger.
Eamonn, So I understand your predictions for Florida/BYU, but I think thats easier said than done. I thought Gonzaga did a great job of guarding Jimmer for the first 10 minutes until they started getting into foul trouble. I could see the same thing happening with Florida. Also, do you think the Florida big men will be able to run the floor with BYU? I think that whoever is able to control the pace of this game will win.
Eamonn Brennan (4:52 PM)
Yep, like I said, pace is a big deal. Florida has the obvious advantage inside, as will most teams that face BYU from here on out. But if BYU can keep the pace brisk and spread Florida's big men out -- who, exactly, is going to guard Noah Hartsock? -- then BYU could be really effective on the offensive end.
Do you think that morris from Michigan could have made it 9 out of 10 times if it was not a game deciding shot
Eamonn Brennan (4:53 PM)
Ehhhh ... maybe. It wasn't the easiest shot; he did have a defender in his face, after all, and he was leaning in the middle of the lane. But that's about as good of a game-tying look as you could have ever expected in that situation. Brutal miss for Michigan fans.
John W (Pensacola, Florida)
What's your thoughts on FSU's chances?
Eamonn Brennan (4:55 PM)
It depends on two things: How well FSU corrals Joey Rodriguez on the perimeter, and whether FSU can keep up some semblance of the outside shooting they used to bumrush ND Sunday night. If they do both of those things, the Seminoles could very easily win. But containing Rodriguez is tough, and the VCU press could cause huge issues for FSU's guards. I think VCU is the favorite, if only slightly.
Andrew (Wishing i was in Durham, NC)
What do you think about Kyrie's addition as a detriment to the Blue Devils' chemistry? Could sitting him be the right play here?
Eamonn Brennan (4:56 PM)
I mean, the guy did make the game-winning shot Sunday. I don't think Duke looked out of whack because of Irving ... I thought Duke looked out of whack because they stopped attacking Michigan's 1-3-1 zone. How many times did Smith and Irving stand at half court and stare down the zone like it was suddenly going to turn into man-to-man? It was a bit baffling.
3 possible new coaches at Tenn. right off the top of your head?
Eamonn Brennan (5:00 PM)
If I had to guess, I'd say Tennessee is going to go hard after VCU coach Shaka Smart, Richmond coach Chris Mooney, and Marquette coach Buzz Williams. The issue is whether any of those coaches, or any of the other potential candidates, are going to want to take a job that is going to be riddled with NCAA nonsense in the year(s) to come. Pearl helped transform Tennessee into a top-25 job, but there might be better offers out there.
Cris (Washington D.C.)
It seems your quick to brush off the Spiders chances, but they too beat Purdue this year (on a neutral court) and took down VCU by 12. The fact that they have only 9 turnovers so far in this tournament and boast 5 different players who can shoot the ball at 40% from deep doesn't give Kansas any pause for concern?
Eamonn Brennan (5:02 PM)
Trust me, I love me some Spiders, and I have since I saw them beat Purdue in Hoffman Estates in November. I really, really wish I would have manned up and taken them to the Sweet Sixteen. But I do think Kansas gives them the toughest matchup possible. Those Jayhawks forwards are as versatile and rangy as any in the country, which is an issue for Richmond's style, I think. But that doesn't mean I think it will be a blowout. Far from it. And in close games, anything can and usually does happen.
For all the Big Least lovers who were chirping pre-tourney about how it would be harder to win the Big Least than the NCAA, where are you now? Can't hear any crickets. Some facts: The Big Least is 3-7 in tourney games against other conferences in which they don't hold a 10+ seed advantage. The Big Least lost 6 games in which they held a 5 seed advantage (rest of field combined --- 3). The Big Least had 5 Top 4 seeds and FOUR of them failed to make even the sweet sixteen. OVER-RATED. OVER-RATED.
Eamonn Brennan (5:03 PM)
A few things here: 1. I have no idea where all this conference loyalty comes from. I've honestly never understood it. It's like saying that because you're a Bulls fan, you root for and take pleasure in seeing other Central Division or Eastern Conference teams do well. Huh?
Eamonn Brennan (5:04 PM)
2. Conference superiority or inferiority is not decided by the NCAA tournament. The NCAA tournament is a small sample size. The non-conference and conference seasons are much larger and more data-rich, so to speak. It's a little unfair to judge a conference's entire season strength based on one weekend of sporadic play.
Eamonn Brennan (5:05 PM)
3. All of which is not to excuse the Big East for its NCAA tournament woes. No question, this conference has underperformed. But if anything, that is less a barometer of the conference's relative strength/weakness than it is a barometer of just how crazy things get in March.
Conference loyalty is a real thing, I think. As a Kentucky fan, when an SEC team plays against a non-conference opponent, I root for the SEC team. Why? Because a win makes my conference stronger, which by the transitive property, makes my team look better. Even if by a slight margin.
Eamonn Brennan (5:06 PM)
I guess that makes sense.
So happy today to see Pat Forde acknowledge Rick Barnes' failings in the tournament. This guy's been bothering me for years - always as loaded with talent as anybody, never does significant damage. Yet people mention him with the top coaches - there's only so much the public can tell about who's really a good coach, but can we all admit this guy's a pretty severe underachiever based on his talent level? Thoughts?
Eamonn Brennan (5:09 PM)
There's no question Barnes has had a consistent string of disappointing tournament performances recently. Frankly, I think most fans, even casual fans, recognize this. I had a roommate, who doesn't really follow hoops until the tournament, tell me that he would have picked this Texas team to go to the Final Four if it wasn't coached by Barnes. That might be a little unfair -- the guy has gone to two of the last six Elite Eights -- but when you recruit as well as he does, and you suffer late-season slides like 2010's, it's probably fair to hear some questions about your coaching ability.
That ref who called the 5 second violation needs a 101 course in counting.
Eamonn Brennan (5:10 PM)
Truth. Or a seminar in a local kindergarten class. Texas did plenty to lose that game -- what is Jordan Hamilton doing with that timeout, exactly? -- but the Longhorns should have had possession after Joseph called the timeout on the inbounds. Immense screwage by the referee there.
What are the chances that the Badgers, with Leuer and Taylor, make the Final Four?
Eamonn Brennan (5:11 PM)
Pretty good, I'd say. The rest of that region, while very good, looks eminently beatable, especially for a team that can control the game and finish with free throws the way Wisconsin does.
Conference Loyalty started for me when my Conference was about to be ravaged by two other conferences for money while leaving several high caliber schools in the dust like the Jayhawks. I'll refrain from saying what I think about the Big 10 and Pac 10 in a public forum.
Eamonn Brennan (5:11 PM)
That makes sense, too. Conference realignment breeding conference rivalry -- I admit I hadn't thought of that one.
Do you think the ACC has proven to be under rated and the Big Least Overrated?
Eamonn Brennan (5:13 PM)
Uh, no. From February on, we knew that two ACC teams were very good and one was pretty good, and that's basically what we've seen in the NCAA tournament. As always, the tournament is about matchups, and Florida State was a terrible matchup for Notre Dame. That doesn't mean Florida State was better throughout the season than was Notre Dame. That doesn't mean the ACC was better than the Big East. It just means FSU was better than ND on one night in March.
Eamonn Brennan (5:16 PM)
A lot of people think I'm a Big East homer because I argued the conference deserved 11 teams throughout Bubble Watch, but don't get me twisted: I was raised in Iowa, went to school in Indiana, and I live in Chicago. I have Big Ten country all around me, and I've heard nonsense about East Coast bias since I was shooting hoops on my Fisher-Price. But the bottom line is the Big East was the deepest conference in the country this season. We all expected the Big East to be down in the preseason, and the conference proved its chops in the nonconference and only got better as the season went along. None of the teams that made the NCAA tournament deserved to miss it. (Marquette was the last Big East team in, and the Eagles happen to be in the Sweet Sixteen.) I just think it's silly to make sweeping generalizations about conferences based on a weekend or two of play in the NCAA tournament. Things don't work that way.
So say VCU loses Smart, any way possible that Capel returns?
Eamonn Brennan (5:18 PM)
I have no idea, honestly. But if it does happen, he should have a baboon hold him out over the crowd at his introductory press conference as the theme song from the Lion King blares over the loudspeakers. "It's the circleee of lifeeeeeee ..."
Do ou think that Pitt was overrated and if so what seed should they have got
Eamonn Brennan (5:19 PM)
No. Pitt was correctly rated and seeded. They were really good all year long. They lost to another good team by one point after a close game and a really, really, REALLY bad decision by Nasir Robinson. End of story.
Captain Ahab (Around)
Coach K said when asked about his 900 wins that there will be a lot of guys who get there, eventually. Obviously, the comment was just a humility thing, but do you believe that, at ALL? I've learned never to question Coach K, but I think that comment sold himself and Bobby Knight short - Only a handful will ever reach 900, and K may put the record just about out of reach if he wants to. You agree?
Eamonn Brennan (5:22 PM)
I haven't seen that quote, but I'd guess Coach K was just being a bit humble. 900 wins is a remarkable accomplishment. I mean, consider the sustained excellence that requires. If a coach averages 25 wins a season, it takes 36 years -- 36 years! -- to reach 900 wins. That's *crazy.* I think a handful of other coaches will get there (Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun are potential candidates but not locks, both are getting up there in years) but it won't be "a lot." And as to your second question, yes, if Coach K wants to put the record out of reach, he certainly has the opportunity to do so. It's up to him, really. Four or five more years could put him at 1,000, and Duke shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Eamonn Brennan (5:24 PM)
In fact, consider what Coach K has done in his early 60's: Coach USA Basketball to a gold medal in Beijing, won a national title, won a World Championship with USA Basketball's "B" squad the following summer, and returned to lead Duke to a No. 1 seed and a legitimate chance at back-to-back national titles. Plus, his recruiting classes just get better and better. It's a remarkable run, especially for a guy most people seemed to be counting out just a couple of seasons ago.
Do you give Marquette any chance to take down the Heels?
Eamonn Brennan (5:27 PM)
I do. Some chance, at least. Marquette's offense is very efficient, and while I've had worries about the Eagles' ability to close out games on the defense end, they've alleviated those concerns of late. The question for me is whether Marquette can get good looks in the teeth of UNC's defense; Henson and Zeller are tough to shoot over, especially when your tallest player is Jae Crowder. But it would be a mistake to count out the Eagles now.
Aaron (St. Louis)
Do you see BYU ranked in the preseason even with the loss of Jimmer and Jackson Emery? Also, where do you see Jimmer going in the NBA draft now that he was truly shown how in-freaking-credible he can play on the national stage (aka CBS not the MTN)?
Eamonn Brennan (5:31 PM)
I don't know about that preseason ranking. I tend to doubt it. As for Jimmer's NBA stock, everything I'm hearing suggest scouts are torn. Some love Jimmer and see him as the second coming of Mark Price/Stephen Curry. Others think he isn't athletic enough to get his shot in the pros. I tend toward the former camp. I don't think he's going to be an NBA All-Star, and he'll be a defensive liability in the league, sure. But if he plays for a team where he can get open looks -- even if he's just a corner spot shooter -- he could be lethal. I'm not sure Jimmer has taken a truly uncontested three all season. Imagine him a team like the Bulls or the Heat, where stars are drawing all the defensive attention? Plus, plenty of really good players (Curry, Steve Nash, Derrick Rose until this year) are defensive liabilities.
Eamonn Brennan (5:32 PM)
Bottom line: If J.J. Redick can make himself a legitimate NBA contributor, so can Jimmer Fredette. He should be drafted accordingly. That probably means he's in the late lottery, mid-first-round, somewhere in there.
President Obama (Washington, D.C.)
My Bracket is better than yours.
Eamonn Brennan (5:33 PM)
Truth. You probably didn't have Texas in the Final Four. And you probably didn't have Washington in the Elite Eight. Then again, I don't have a staff of people assigned to research and construct my bracket so I can focus on important things like Libya. So it's not really fair, Mr. President. (Yeah, OK, I get paid to watch college hoops for a living. You win. Fine. Grrrr...)
How would you try and stop Ohio State?
Eamonn Brennan (5:35 PM)
Pagan rituals and animal sacrifice? Devoted prayer to a higher being? I'm not sure there's a good answer. Guard them straight up, and Sullinger takes you. Double Sullinger, and Diebler makes you pay. Shade toward Diebler and Lighty, Buford, Craft and even Deshaun Thomas are waiting for their turns at open looks. Those Buckeyes are a machine, and far smarter men than me (Jim Larranaga, Bo Ryan, et al) don't have an answer, either.
How did Richmond get a 12 seed anyway. Seems like a pretty big slap in the face based off their history. Also unfair to Vandy.
Eamonn Brennan (5:37 PM)
Agreed wholeheartedly. That was one of the shockers of the bracket, in my opinion. I had the Spiders in the tournament BEFORE they beat Temple and won the A-10 title, but a No. 12 seed insinuates that the committee considered them roughly equivalent to Memphis. Huh? And yes, that was unfair to Vanderbilt, too.
Will Jon Threebler be able to play in the NBA? I think he can put him on a Heat team where he is left open all the time because teams are focusing on the big 3. What do you think?
Eamonn Brennan (5:38 PM)
I do, yeah, for exactly the reasons you describe. You're telling me Threebler can't be a Kyle Korver/Jason Kapono/Mike Miller/sorry I'm naming all white guys I don't really mean to-type spot-shooter in the NBA? I don't see why not.
How is Bill Self so successful year after year. Here's to me hoping he's our Coach K.
Eamonn Brennan (5:39 PM)
Because he's a fantastic x's and o's coach with a top-flight recruiting acumen and the resources of one of the nation's truly elite programs behind him. Simple enough. Hard as hell to find.
Tom (San Diego)
can you please give us a couple of key points and who you think will win in the SDSU/UCONN game?
Eamonn Brennan (5:42 PM)
I think San Diego State wins, and here's why: The Aztecs have experience defending a high-volume shooter, and I think they have the athletes (D.J. Gay and Kawhi Leonard should split Kemba duties) to do so. Throw in the advantages of having UConn travel all the way to Anaheim -- historically, teams that travel 1500 miles more than their opponents have a much larger likelihood of losing -- and I think you have to give SDSU the nod. But it'll be a good one. Kemba won't go down without a fight.
Stop using the term "mid-major." Its lazy. There is no need to categorize teams/conferences. It serves no purpose.
Eamonn Brennan (5:44 PM)
This is just so wrong. The term itself may not be everyone's favorite, but it is important to distinguish the haves and have nots in college basketball. The haves -- teams from power-six leagues with gigantic athletics revenues -- are entrenched favorites to win every year for precisely those reasons. They have every built-in advantage. The have nots -- teams from non-power-six leagues, with individual exceptions like the C-USA, A-10, and teams like Gonzaga and Butler thrown in -- have to fight supreme uphill battles for recruits, recognition, and NCAA tournament spots. And, to make it even worse, (almost) every time a true mid-major gets good enough to break through all those barriers, its coach is poached by a school with deep pockets.
Eamonn Brennan (5:46 PM)
We don't have to call them "mid-majors." If you prefer "non-power-six", fine. But the fact is that mid-majors and high-majors or whatever you want to call them SHOULD be categorized, because it reminds us that all is not fair and equal in college basketball. When mid-majors succeed, they do so despite the system, not because of it. That deserves recognition and distinction. Classification is one such way to do so. In fact, lumping all 344 Division I teams in together would be far lazier.
K Stater (KS)
How do you think the K-State Wildcats will do next year with the loss of Jacob Pullen and who do you think will take his place...I think Will Spradling is going to be a canidate for this.
Eamonn Brennan (5:49 PM)
It was hard to see Pullen play his last game Saturday. He played like a champion -- carrying his team with 38 points -- and lost down the stretch anyway. Just another brutal reminder of the inherent cruelty of the NCAA tournament. In any case, I think Spradling is going to be a solid player for K-State, though I'd be loathe to put him near Pullen's stratosphere anytime soon. Fact is, the Wildcats probably don't have another Jacob Pullen waiting in the ranks. Those players are hard to find. But I do think this team and program will continue to benefit from Pullen's leadership this season long after he moves on to professional hoops (whether in the NBA or overseas).
Mid Major Fan (World)
Get him Brennan!! Mid major isn't an insult (except maybe to Purdue today)
Eamonn Brennan (5:50 PM)
Killer mid-major bees on the swarm ...
Alan (Charlotte, NC)
5th time asking a question! OK! SO first if Duke was to lose who do you see them losing to, and second how far could North Carolina or Butler go?
Eamonn Brennan (5:52 PM)
Alan! OK! Frankly, I think Duke can -- repeat: can -- lose to Arizona. Who is going to stop Derrick Williams, exactly? Texas' superior frontcourt couldn't do it, and I'm not sure the Plumlees and Ryan Kelly have the chops to keep Williams at bay. Duke will also get a tough matchup with SDSU in Anaheim, provided the Aztecs get past Kemba and Co. But more than anything, I think Duke's most likely loss comes to Ohio State in the Final Four. That's not a very bold prediction, but it does feel like the right one.
Tom (The schoott)
Am I wrong for thinking craft is the must important piece of this team? If he gets in foul trouble it hurts us more on both sides of the floor then anyone else? ps can you imagine his defense in 4 years, its going to be unreal.
Eamonn Brennan (5:54 PM)
You're not wrong, and here's why: Before Aaron Craft proved he was ranked WAY too low in recruiting circles, Ohio State didn't have a point guard. The plan was to play PG by committee, but as we've seen this year Buford, Lighty and Diebler aren't really the guys you want in charge of breaking presses and initiating the offense. Craft gives them a solid legitimate point guard, not to mention another great perimeter defender and that has been a key in this OSU run. And yes, in four years, Aaron Craft will be a Chris Kramer-level defender. He's not that far off now.
Everyone from everywhere has a point though. Using a blanket term to describe all the non-bcs conference teams is inaccurate. Gonzaga, Memphis, etc aren't the same as others.
Eamonn Brennan (5:56 PM)
Right, which is why the intelligent hoops fan recognizes those teams aren't really mid-majors. Frankly, the C-USA and A-10 aren't mid-major conferences. Their athletics revenues are on average much more in line with conferences like the Big East. And individual occurrences like Gonzaga and Butler are worth recognizing as well. But pretty much the rest of the non-power-six, non-CUSA/A10 Division I hoops picture falls into the "mid-major" category, and using that term to describe, say, VCU isn't an insult at all. If anything, it should be a point of pride.
BBall Fans (Everywhere)
What % chance that we get more JIMMER after Thursday?
Eamonn Brennan (5:58 PM)
I'll say 53 percent. If BYU is favored against Florida, it's only by a hair.
Luke (Charlotte, NC)
Personally speaking, I don't see Harrison Barnes going pro due to his slow start. But, everyone else does, what's your opinion?
Eamonn Brennan (6:00 PM)
Dude's going to be a top five pick. Even when he was struggling, he was still projected to go top ten. I don't think it would be the worst thing in the world for him to come back and put together a full, dominant season, but Barnes is as much a businessman as any top recruit we've seen in recent years, and it's not hard to run a cost-benefit analysis on turning down a shot at going in the top five in the NBA draft for another season of college hoops.
Everyone (Your House)
I am assuming the Mountain West is also not mid-major if CUSA isn't, would that be wrong? At the very least BYU, Utah, TCU, SDSU, UNLV, UNM are not.
Eamonn Brennan (6:00 PM)
Right. MWC is not a mid-major. Some really big athletics budgets out there.
Ben D. (Cambridge, MA)
That cost-benefit analysis gets iffy when you consider the threat of a lockout...
Eamonn Brennan (6:03 PM)
I was just about to add as much. The only thing that makes this draft hard to read is the looming threat of an NBA lockout. Would draft picks still get their money? Will there even play their rookie season? Wouldn't it be better to go back to school and enter the draft next year? You also have to toss in the simple fact that this draft class is far less deep than the 2012 class, and the fact that Barnes' stock could drop if he has a so-so year as a sophomore. All of that plays in. But I still think it would be tough to turn down.
Its pretty amazing that Kansas could win the championship this year without facing a team lower than an 8 seed (Richmond, VCU, Butler, Marquette).
Eamonn Brennan (6:04 PM)
It is amazing, but keep in mind that in 2008 Kansas got to the Final Four by beating No. 8-seed UNLV, No. 12-seed Villanova, and No. 10-seed Davidson. So it's not without precedent, even in Lawrence.
James (Spanish Fork, Utah)
If BYU plays Florida like they did against Gonzaga they _____.
Eamonn Brennan (6:05 PM)
What about Derrick Williams staying vs. going? He's a consensus top 5 this year but might fall a bit next year.
Eamonn Brennan (6:06 PM)
Yeah, I think Williams has to go this year too. Especially given how he's played in the tournament. The iron is hot; the time is now.
Despite KU's "rangey" characteristics, wouldn't it be a bit foolish not to at least recognize Richmond's quasi-true Princeton setup -- all the while catching teams who have not seen anything close to such a scheme thus far this season -- potentially baffling to even the most "complete" teams in the tournament? I see this as being something that might come into play that not only gives Richmond a chance to not only keep the game close, but also (as you've said), offer a potential opportunity for an upset on any given night... Thoughts?
Eamonn Brennan (6:07 PM)
Yeah, like I said earlier, I think Richmond could be a major challenge for the Jayhawks, and I do love me some Spiders, not to mention some Princeton offense. But if you had to pick a top team to play against that sort of style, you'd pick the Jayhawks.
I don't understand why everyone is picking San Diego State over UConn. Am i missing something here? That homecourt advantage didn't do much against Temple... I left that game extremely unimpressed. And after seeing what Jimmer did to them, twice, what's to say Kemba won't do the same thing? Uconn's been rolling. Thoughts?
Eamonn Brennan (6:09 PM)
All good points. The problem is that the Jimmer-Kemba thing isn't exactly analogous, because the other four Huskies won't all be spreading the floor at any given time the way BYU does. It might be a bit easier to trap Kemba up top and make him give up the ball. But let's be real: It's not like SDSU is running away with this game. It's going to be close either way.
Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)
My team only shot (5-20) 25% from the three point line, and we still won. Is that a good thing for us to win a game like that considering people say we live and die by the three?
Eamonn Brennan (6:11 PM)
Well, in some ways, those people were right: You were two inches of rim-meets-ball away from blowing a 15-point second-half lead to Michigan. For as much as the Wolverines improved this year, they are not Arizona, SDSU, UConn, or (yikes) Ohio State. It's good to get that win, sure. But I don't really think you can call it a positive sign unless you had blown Michigan away, which obviously didn't happen.
Where do you see VCU falling? Do you think they have a shot at a final 4 like George Mason back in '06?
Eamonn Brennan (6:11 PM)
I do indeed. Look how well they've played. They're ROLLING people. It'd be foolish to say they can't keep it up.
bruce pearl (unepmloyed)
Can I find another job in college basketball?
Eamonn Brennan (6:12 PM)
Probably not anytime soon. Definitely not if the NCAA gives you a show-cause, which it has precedent for in cases when a coach knowingly lies to NCAA investigators. If I had to guess, your next job will be on television, where you will be excellent. It might be a while before you're allowed back on the sidelines.
richard (north carolina)
what is your opinion of the way the game end yesterday against washington and north carolina.
Eamonn Brennan (6:14 PM)
A combination of dumb plays, bad execution, and horrific officiating. UW deserved more time on the clock at the end, but wouldn't have been in that position had Venoy Overton not overthought the impending foul and gotten cute from half court. Nor would it have been an issue had UW not tried to inbound the ball to the three-point -- from the baseline -- over Henson's crazy-long reach.
is anyone impressed with fsu like i am?
Eamonn Brennan (6:15 PM)
I am! The Noles guard like crazy. Their future tournament success hinges on whether they can get a few buckets to take some pressure off on the defensive end. They did that against Notre Dame early, and the Irish were never crawling out of that hole against that kind of defense.
Max (San Diego/ Chico)
Besides slowing Kemba down, what is the key for SDSU to beat UCONN?
Eamonn Brennan (6:16 PM)
Winning the battle with Oriakhi on the block. Malcolm Thomas has to have a big game; if UConn is getting buckets inside, it's trouble for the Aztecs.
did AZ win the game, texas lose it, or the ref(s) blow it. you can only choose one.
Eamonn Brennan (6:17 PM)
Why can't I say all three? Hamilton called a terrible timeout, Texas couldn't get free on the inbounds play, the refs screwed -- SCREWED -- Cory Joseph out of a timeout, and Derrick Williams made a brilliant play to win the game. All three are true.
John ` (Lexington)
Liggins for Kentucky will shut down any Ohio State three point shooter. Buckeyes are going to choke!
Eamonn Brennan (6:18 PM)
"I disagree. While Mortal Kombat is a very good game, I believe Donkey King is the best game ever." "Donkey Kong sucks!" "You know something, you suck!"
Eamonn Brennan (6:18 PM)
"I disagree. While Mortal Kombat is a very good game, I believe Donkey King is the best game ever." "Donkey Kong sucks!" "You know something, you suck!"
I would like to take a stab Chris (Tucson)'s question. Simple Texas blew it by Jordan Hamilton calling a stupid time out.
What happend to the upset picks from Oakland, Utah St, and Belmont? All three were picked to upset their opponent by many and all three were handled easily. Why is this?
Eamonn Brennan (6:20 PM)
The NCAA tournament is hard to predict? The sexiness of each pick outshining the bad matchups each faced? Some combination of the two?
"Why can't I say all three? Hamilton called a terrible timeout, Texas couldn't get free on the inbounds play, the refs screwed -- SCREWED -- Cory Joseph out of a timeout, and Derrick Williams made a brilliant play to win the game. All three are true."Eamonn - You forgot that Williams clearly fouled in the last second and wasn't called for it.
Eamonn Brennan (6:20 PM)
Well, there's that, too.
wade garrett (portland)
Did someone just really ask why some upsets didn't happen?
Eamonn Brennan (6:21 PM)
Yeah, I think that just happened.
Jeff (Los Angeles)
How come no one is talking about the fact the J'Covan Brown had an abnormal amount of fouls called in his favor, there were a few palys he launched himself in to Arizona defenders and got the call. As much as the refs missed the 5 second call they also helped Texas come back.
Eamonn Brennan (6:22 PM)
Not an invalid point, either. Brown got the benefit of plenty of calls down the stretch. Frankly, I'm a little exhausted with all this referee talk. Both teams probably deserved to win. Both teams put themselves in position to do so. It's no surprise that winning in the NCAA tournament is a combination of talent, seeding, geography, and luck. So let's move on.
Who do you like in the Wisconsin v Butler game? (what a great game that should be!)
Eamonn Brennan (6:25 PM)
I'm terrified to pick a winner there. Expect lots of offense -- both teams are efficient on offense and overrated on defense -- with Ronald Nored hassling Jordan Taylor for 40 minutes and Jon Leuer doing his best to get Matt Howard into foul trouble early. I cannot wait.
How hot is the hot seat after another disappointing tournament run by both Rick Barnes and Jamie Dixon? Why does Pitt and Texas consistently underachieve come tourney time?
Eamonn Brennan (6:26 PM)
Sorry, Lauren, but that's not a serious question. Rick Barnes is tied for the longest streak of tournament appearances in the country with Coach K. Jamie Dixon has more wins in the first eight years of a tenure than any other coach in the history of college basketball. Neither are going anywhere, and neither should. They're both very, very good at their jobs, tournament letdowns notwithstanding.
Eamonn Brennan (6:27 PM)
That argument is like when people hated on A-Rod because he hadn't won a title. It's dumb. You don't dismiss Hall of Fame careers based on small postseason sample sizes.
Clutchest play of the tournament so far???
Eamonn Brennan (6:28 PM)
I'll nominate Derrick Williams's last-second three-point play Sunday vs. Texas. Any other nominees?
shelvin macks foul that led to the win. haha
Butler's lay up leaving 2.2 seconds on the clock.
Brett (Newport Beach)
2nd that DWill nomination
Clutchest play easy Kyrie Irving's first field goal against Michigan
franklin (boston, ma)
who has longer arms? john henson or inspector gadget?
Eamonn Brennan (6:30 PM)
Henson. But Gadget has a higher vertical.
Eamonn Brennan (6:31 PM)
All right, we're two hours in, my fingers are starting to get a little tired, and we're starting to get a lot of the same questions over and over. So let's wrap this up with the quintessential March question ...
Nick (New York)
How's your bracket doing, Eamonn?
Eamonn Brennan (6:34 PM)
Well, OK. I have 430 points in ESPN.com's Tourney Challenge, which is second-place among my group of friends, who spent all weekend complaining that it wasn't fair for me to be in a pool with them. That said, I lost my two big value/risk picks in Texas (Final Four) and Washington (Elite Eight) Sunday, so my bracket is only going to look worse and worse by the end of next weekend. We'll see if I can hang around based on early strength, but I tend to doubt it. I'm not busted yet, but I probably will be soon.
Eamonn Brennan (6:35 PM)
OK, that'll do it for today. Thanks to everyone for your questions. I wish you nothing but the best of bracket luck. Be sure to check in on the blog and the men's hoops page for the rest of your tourney hoops analysis needs, and I'll talk to you all soon. Cheers.