Chat with John Gasaway
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com Insider John Gasaway stops by to chat about college basketball.
Gasaway covers college hoops for ESPN Insider and has written for Basketball Prospectus since its inception in 2007. He has been covering basketball since 2004 for many outlets including the New York Times.
Send your questions now and join Gasaway Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
John Gasaway (2:00 PM)
Yo, hoops nation! The NBA season's finally over, the governor of Ohio has made honorary Ohioans out of the Dallas Mavericks (seriously!), and that whole professional basketball thing's been put to bed. Let's talk college hoops. What's on your mind? I'm all ears.
Palmer (Ridgefield, CT)
John, does UCONN have a shot at back to back titles?
Bret Bearup (Denver)
What about Michelle Bachman?
John Gasaway (2:04 PM)
She has what etymologists in white lab coats term "misspellability." I haven't seen two names easier to misspell back to back since "Gregg Doyel."
John Gasaway (2:07 PM)
And getting back to that UConn question, for some reason the Chat dog ate my answer. Let's try again: Take last year. Butler tied for the regular-season Horizon title, but together the other three Final Four teams finished, on average, three games out of first in their respective leagues. In such a world there aren't many teams this side of DePaul that don't "have a shot" at a title. Lamb will have to keep developing at a startling rate, which I think he can do. Oriakhi will have to keep altering shots and cleaning the offensive glass. It would also help matters if DeAndre Daniels lives up to his billing.
Jeremy (Albany, OR)
What will be Brandon Wood's impact on Michigan State this year?
John Gasaway (2:09 PM)
Very nice import from Valparaiso. He makes twos, and last year Lucas, Green, and Summers all saw their percentages dip inside the arc. Wood was named first-team all-Horizon last year.
Jonathon Spunar (Livonia, MI)
Will Michigan finally make the leap over Michigan State in-state and in the Big 10?
John Gasaway (2:10 PM)
Hey, pause to gaze in wonder at last year. The Wolverines finished tied with MSU in the Big Ten and were alive in the NCAA tournament after Izzo'd already been sent home. If I'd said that before last year I would have been, uh, doubted. Severely.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear JohnWhere could you see Navy this season?
John Gasaway (2:12 PM)
Middies lose Chris Harris, aka the Patriot Jimmer. Good news is the Harris-led offense wasn't all that good, so maybe the hole can be filled. Bad news is the D wasn't great either. If I'm Ed DeChellis I see what Jordan Sugars can do with some of those newly available possessions.
We all know that Duke will have firepower from the guards next season, but how much do you see the Plumlees and Ryan Kelly improving and contributing?
John Gasaway (2:14 PM)
I think your question holds its own answer. As of this season there are three -- count 'em! -- Plumlees and a Kelly. And one school of thought would hold that all those four guys have to do is sum to one Brian Zoubek/Josh Harrellson type. Play D, clean the offensive glass. I trust the points will come from others.
Duvall (Arlington, VA)
Can North Carolina really be considered to have a top-five backcourt if they continue to give twenty minutes a game to the terrible Dexter Strickland?
John Gasaway (2:16 PM)
"Terrible" might be a bit strong for a kid who never shoots but makes half his twos when he does, but my rating was based on Marshall and on the advance billing given Hairston.
How Big of an impact do you think Ashton Gibbs will have on Pitts offense.
John Gasaway (2:18 PM)
Well he's been the Man ever since Blair, Young, and Fields left (though I'm not sure anyone necessarily saw that coming at the time). I expect that will continue.
Ryan Mann (St. Louis, Missouri)
Do you think VCU will have another great year and make a run in the tournament? Or was that all a fluke?
John Gasaway (2:20 PM)
No fluke at all about the way the Rams were playing in March -- ask Purdue -- but Smart loses a ton of experience from that team. Almost everyone except Burgess, actually.
I'm surprised you didn't at least mention Josh Gasser in Wisconsin's backcourt. Had the first triple double by a B1G freshman since Magic. If you look at WI guards since Bo took over, most get much better from freshman to sophomore year. Did he just slip your mind?
John Gasaway (2:23 PM)
Yeah, my piece was north of 1.6K words as it was, and I left a lot of names out. Not just Gasser, but Bruesewitz and Mike Rosario (Florida) to name two other omissions. Anyway, I'm good with my emphasis on Taylor. He's pretty good.
JE SalukIL4ever (Illinois)
Whats your thoughts on the up coming year for the fighting illini?
John Gasaway (2:24 PM)
I would like to see them win consecutive games, plural, after New Year's. That proved frightfully difficult for Weber & Co. last season.
jamal (rancho cucuamunga)
i miss Jimmer!! who is the next jimmer this year that will captivate college basketball?
John Gasaway (2:26 PM)
There is no next Jimmer. He was sui generis, although Stephen Curry was kind of a pre-Jimmer with a better story (spurned by ACC, sent to plucky little mid-major) and a more normal name.
John, with the addition of Zeller to the Indiana squad will they start a move back to respectability in the Big Ten?
John Gasaway (2:27 PM)
Yes, with Zeller and a full season from Creek.
who will start for kentucky this year ?
John Gasaway (2:29 PM)
Ah, let's see, Davis, Lamb, Jones, Teague, Gilchrist? Who'd I miss?
I could be a little biased considering that I am from Kentucky, but while looking at your front-court ratings I totally agree with North Carolina at #1 but why do you consider Ohio State to be ahead of Kentucky? Just curious because I would go with Davis, Gilchrist, Wiltjer, and Jones being better overall as a group than Sullinger.
John Gasaway (2:30 PM)
I think Sullinger could (repeat: could) have the best season by any D-I big man since Kevin Love's criminally under-appreciated 2007-08.
Im a big Kentucky fan and curious on your thoughts about Florida. Everyones talking about the three guards in Walker, boynton, and Beal, but i think Mike Rosario is greatly underrated. Does Florida is stacked at guard, but do they have enough down low to compete with Kentucky?
John Gasaway (2:32 PM)
Rosario's numbers were not especially easy on the eyes at Rutgers. It's true that was in the death throes of the previous coach's administration, but I'm still taking a wait and see approach here. McDonald's can be wrong. Not saying they were in this case, just waiting for the proof that they weren't.
John, What do you think of Vandys backcourt of John Jenkins Brad Tinsleyand new comers Kedren Johnson and Dai-jon Parker? John Jenkins in my eyes is the most underrated player in the country your thoughts??
John Gasaway (2:33 PM)
Jenkins is like the golfer with the swing that's poetry in motion. I would rather watch Jenkins shoot than any other D-I player. Also: those shots very often go in. Key benefit.
Lou (Rockville, MD)
Does Patrick Chambers really have the chops to recruit 4-star level recruits to the middle of PA?
John Gasaway (2:36 PM)
You never know until the mid-major coach gets his shot. There is just no telling. (Who knew Thad Matta was going to be Thad Matta?) Anyway, location ain't everything. Syracuse, NY, isn't exactly a tourist's first choice between November and March, and the coach there does OK with recruiting.
I believe the SEC will be one of the top 2 conferences next yr, how about you ?
John Gasaway (2:39 PM)
I'll go with "vastly improved," and they were already better than people realized. I spent the better part of last year yelling and waving my arms that both Kentucky and Florida were better than everyone was saying. Vandy, Alabama, Rotnei Clarke is still in Fayetteville. Yeah, should be fun.
Stan (Columbia, SC)
If Vandy doesn't have a top 10 backcourt, it has to be in the top 20 with Jenkins and Tinsley, as well as the two freshmen (Dai-Jon Parker and Kedren Johnson) coming in, right?
John Gasaway (2:40 PM)
Will (Chapel Hill)
Why does Duke get a pass for playing extremly weak OOC schedule? they play no big name schools like UT, KU, UCLA, or syracuse
John Gasaway (2:41 PM)
Fortunately this is the sport where the schedule doesn't matter. We have a tournament. Let us rejoice that the Department of Justice doesn't have to send out letter about (AHEM) our sport.
does Kansas have a shot to win when it travels to MSG ?
John Gasaway (2:42 PM)
I have no clue and neither does Bill Self. He says this team will be like 2008-09, but that group had Aldrich and Collins, after Aldrich had played Tyler Hansbrough tough in the Final Four, no less. This group does not have comparable known quantities. No clue.
Will Baylor's zone be good enough to win the Big 12 next yr
John Gasaway (2:43 PM)
Relates to previous answer! There's more blue sky in the Big 12 than there's been in a long, long time, put it that way. And I love that everyone will play everyone twice now.
Zach (Minneapolis, MN)
What are Minnesota's chances in returning to the big dance this season and what does their success hinge on?
John Gasaway (2:46 PM)
Gophers have an excellent shot at being one of the best 68 teams in D-I (Mbakwe! Sampson!), and their success will hinge on getting more offense. Their perimeter shooting last year (in-conf) was the worst in the Big Ten.
With Glover and Machado back how good will IONA be in 11-12
John Gasaway (2:49 PM)
To everyone out there reading along, if you want to sound more knowledgeable about college hoops than you are, just say two little words: Michael Glover. The man's a beast. I mean, 61 percent on his twos at 6-7! I trust this is the year he gets some love.
John, what are your thoughts on XU's chances of reaching the final four this year, afterall guard play gets you there, and XU has plenty of that?
John Gasaway (2:51 PM)
Final Four might be a bit ambitious, even for a program with as much recent success as Xavier's had. My love for Holloway is spelled out in today's piece on top 10 backcourts.
John,Do you think the PAC Ten (12) will be a better conference this year?
John Gasaway (2:52 PM)
Derrick Williams is a huge loss, but overall yes. We talked about this last week in the chat but the Pac-10/12 has seen an unusual amount of coaching turnover the last five years. As coaches simply stay where they are, the league will regain its natural footing.
Do you think Kentucky should apologize
John Gasaway (2:52 PM)
Jeremy (New Orleans)
Where would you rank 'cuse's backcourt of jardine and triche?...lot of experience there even if not top level talent.
John Gasaway (2:54 PM)
If Triche's perimeter shooting ever aligns with his accuracy at the line, that would be a huge plus, yes.
DePaul Fan (DC)
Why are you taking shots at DePaul?
John Gasaway (2:56 PM)
No shots, just needed an illustrative benchmark and got one from a team that went 1-17 last year. I had Cleveland Melvin on my list of top 25 freshmen last January.
DePaul Fan (DC)
Ouch! Hey OP is getting us turned around right?
John Gasaway (2:57 PM)
Nick Knieling (Michigan)
What do you think Coach K will do with his starting line up, in particular the starting point guard role, do you see Austin Rivers improving his game to be a PG playmaker or a battle between Thornton and Cook? Thanks!
John Gasaway (2:59 PM)
Or maybe some or all of the above will split the duties, a bit like Scheyer and Smith in the NC year. The Blue Devils' trip abroad should help bring clarity.
what are your thoughts on omitting Syracuse from the list of top ten backcourts? they're returning jardine, triche and waiters, and bringing in a mcdonald's all american in michael carter williams and another sharpshooter in trevor cooney.
John Gasaway (3:00 PM)
Orangemen were right there.
Will (Storrs, CT)
Won't Uconn still have one of the better backcourts in all of college basketball with Napier, Lamb and Boatright coming in?
John Gasaway (3:01 PM)
Yup, wrote about it last week. My love for Lamb is a matter of record. Pull up my pieces from March and April.
Do you see Louisville beating UK! What about winning the Big East or Big Dance! THEY'VE GOT A CHANCE JOHN!
John Gasaway (3:01 PM)
I AGREE, JOE!
Thad Matta (Columbus, OH)
Obviously I'll have a strong starting 4 of Craft, Buford, Thomas, and Sullinger next year. But since I can only play a total of 6 players for the entirety of the season, who should the other lucky 2 be that get to have a spot in the most prestigious and exclusive rotation in college basketball?
John Gasaway (3:04 PM)
Actually, coach, John Thompson III is equally, uh, selective in awarding minutes. Only time will tell, but the fact that you only play six does make setting the rotation easier.
Tim (Columbus, Ohio)
Hi John,What are Ohio State's chances of winning it all this year? Is there any chance of this happening. We need some good news down here.Thanks
John Gasaway (3:06 PM)
Related to previous question! Yes, you do need some good news. You are about to see a season more like 2009-10, where a big huge star (Evan Turner then, Sullinger now) sees how far he can take his team. Not that Buford's chopped liver, plus I like Thomas more than most OSU fans seem to.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
The ACC has been down the past few years other than Duke and Carolina. What schools have the potential to step up and restore the conference to its prior glory with traditional powers Wake, N.C.State, and Maryland struggling so miserably?
John Gasaway (3:09 PM)
Am I the only person who thinks Miami might actually be kind of (gulp) good this year? Scott, Grant, and then there's Reggie Johnson. If he can just stay on the floor....Larranaga may have picked a good year to come.
Tom (New Mexico)
Any teams that missed the NCAA tournament that you expect to see get there this March?
John Gasaway (3:10 PM)
How competitive will WVU be in the BE this year with being a pretty young team with only two seniors and one junior with any real playing time?
John Gasaway (3:14 PM)
I think the Mountaineers could actually surprise some folks. That was an absolutely horrible shooting team Huggins had last year, albeit one that played good D. (They made less than 45 percent of their twos in Big East play.) With merely normal accuracy from the field WVU could come close to their 2011 performance.
LeBron James (Miami)
Isn't it about time you got back to dealing with your daily problems?
John Gasaway (3:15 PM)
Did you know that the governor of Ohio, apparently, is still mad at you?
Ben (Albany, NY)
how many future pro players will be playing in the matchup between UK and UNC... 10? 11?
John Gasaway (3:15 PM)
Love this question. I'll go with a slightly more conservative but still ostentatious 9.
Dave (W. LA)
Hi, John. What's your opinion on Memphis Tigers? My expectation is sweet16 or elite 8. Do you think it's doable for Pastner's squad?Thanks.
John Gasaway (3:18 PM)
I really want to see Memphis early in the year to see if last year's freshmen look markedly better. Then again in the tournament last year those same freshmen came within a possession of beating the team that hammered Duke. Yes, there's potential there.
Chris (Lexington, KY)
Do you believe the media unfairly puts UNC and Duke at the forefront of college basketball?
John Gasaway (3:20 PM)
No. Jimmer got more pub than both teams combined last year, and he was holed up in Utah, or so I'm told.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
You mentioned the PAC-12 earlier as being better overall as a conference. A strong year from UW iwould be necessary for that to be true. Will Tony Wroten be available for Washington and Coach Romar?
John Gasaway (3:20 PM)
Coach Romar hopes so.
Ben (Albany, NY)
Which team would you like to see matched up against UK in the SEC/BigEast matchup
John Gasaway (3:21 PM)
John Gasaway (3:22 PM)
Ten-minute warning. Get those questions in!
Chris (Erlanger, KY)
Calipari either puts his players in the NBA, overseas professionally, or graduates them but gets flack from so many. Why?
John Gasaway (3:23 PM)
Because two of the three teams he's coached to a Final Four had their seasons vacated after the fact.
Chris (Durham, NC)
Do you think the charge circle will keep Duke players from flopping?
John Gasaway (3:25 PM)
It wasn't a flop -- the contact was real -- but I really wish the circle had been in place in the 2010 NC game on that Scheyer-Hayward play. Not that it would have changed the outcome, just that in real time I actually yearned for some paint at that moment.
Chris (Lexington, KY)
How does Calipari continue to get the #1 class every year. He must be cheating, right? Right?
John Gasaway (3:26 PM)
Why? Is Roy Williams cheating? Is Krzyzewski? Self? They've been known to get some talent.
S.G (Nashville, TN)
Belmont this year, over/under 30 wins?
John Gasaway (3:29 PM)
Over. Lot of experience coming back -- and a lot will be expected of them. And on that ominous note I'm going to sign off. Thanks, hoops nation. As always, the questions were smart and the answers, well, you got them as fast as I could type them. Let's do it again soon. Ciao!