Chat with Andy Katz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com senior basketball writer Andy Katz stops by to chat about the early season tournaments, whose schedules are released this week.
In addition to covering college basketball on a daily basis and breaking news for the site, Katz pens the "Daily Word" and "Weekly Word."
Send your questions now and join Katz Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET!
Andy Katz (2:38 PM)
Here to chat for 30.
What will it take for Purdue to get some respect this year? It seems people are assuming they will just have an average year in the Big Ten. They get Hummel back. Lewis Jackson is going to be one of the best PG's in the Big Ten. Smith is a lockdown defender and a sharpshooter from behind the arc, and they still have numerous role players. Also watch out for Terone Johnson this year.
Andy Katz (2:38 PM)
Purdue will be in the mix. But we have to have some reservation with Hummel coming back from an injury and plenty of unknowns with Moore and Johnson gone. The Puerto Rico Tip Off Classic will be big for this squad.
Lewis (San Francisco)
You do know the e in Crabbe is silent, right? Guess you didn't follow Cal too much last year.
Andy Katz (2:41 PM)
ThanksI have a mental block on that one. I'm making that mistake too much. Thanks for staying on top of it.
What chance do you think UVa has of making the Tourney this year and finishing in the upper-half of the ACC?
Andy Katz (2:43 PM)
The ACC is incredibly weak beyond Duke, UNC and Florida State. There is plenty of room for Virginia to move up and finish fourth ahead of Miami and Clemson. If the Cavs can do that then yes they can make the NCAA tournament (of course that would also mean having some quality wins outside of the league and it would help to knock off FSU and other like teams in the ACC).
monique (north carolina)
MR.KATZ, IS SYRACUSE FOR REAL THIS YEAR?
Andy Katz (2:44 PM)
YES I DO BELIEVE SYRACUSE IS FOR REAL THIS YEAR. Just kidding on the all caps. I'm picking Syracuse slightly ahead of UConn for the Big East title.
What do you expect from Temple? They're loaded in the backcourt. Does it all hinge on Eric and Lee's development in the post?
Andy Katz (2:45 PM)
Agree but replacing Lavoy Allen is no small feat. Temple will be hard pressed to duplicate his efforts in the post.
TB (Canton, OH)
Andy,I am assuming Jim Calhoun has decided to UConn for another season. How do you assess the incoming freshmen talent for the 2011-2012 season? Thanks.
Andy Katz (2:51 PM)
Yes. Calhoun will be back. I never doubted that for a second. I still contend that whenever he retires it will be in the fall. Kevin Ollie should and will likely be the successor. Ryan Boatwright will be an impact guard and DeAndre Daniels will help immediately inside. The Huskies should be a top three team in the Big East from the outset. That's as much a reflection of the reshuffling of the league.
stephen ((sacramento, ca))
Hey Andy, who do you see winning the Pac-12 this season? Who will make it from the conference into the tournament?
Andy Katz (2:52 PM)
I do like Cal. But sleeping on Arizona, Washington, UCLA and Oregon would be a mistake. This might be the most wide open race the Pac-10 has seen (I don't see the two new members of the Pac-12 making it a race).
What do you think is ultimately going to happen with the Big East? Major changes within 3 years?
Andy Katz (2:55 PM)
I'm not a believer in it splitting apart. The basketball portion makes too much money for the league and the league wouldn't be what it is without DC/Phily/Providence/New York markets (don't give me Rutgers takes all of New York because it doesn't). I think the league will expand in football in one of two ways -- go 18 members overall with a full member (a team like UCF, although South Florida would try to block it) or go with a better solution and that's get Army and Navy for football only and make sure the Big East had the ability to market the rights to that game.
Nick (Foxboro MA)
Can Seton Hall sneak into the upper half of the Big East this year?
Andy Katz (2:55 PM)
I don't see it.
Stephen (Duluth, Ga)
Andy, when will Ga Tech be relevant again.
Andy Katz (2:56 PM)
Sooner than later and that's because the talent is too strong in the Atlanta region. And the ACC just isn't what it used to be and a team can move up rather quickly in the ACC below Duke/UNC.
Andy, have you heard anything on the possible scrimmage between W.Virginia and Illinois in Italy? I think it would be a good experience for two young teams to get a feel of D1 ball.
Andy Katz (2:56 PM)
I have not.
JESalukIL4ever (Decatur, IL)
Do you see the Illini competing for the Big Ten tilte and making a deep run in the NCAA's? Or do the even make the NCAA tourney(if not will there be some changes at U of I)?
Andy Katz (2:57 PM)
I don't. The Illini lost too much. But it might be good for Bruce Weber to have more of a clean slate after some frustrating seasons in Champaign.
Jon Doe (East Lansing)
Lots of talk about the UNC this offseason being the clear cut best team in college basketball. With the 11-11-11 game having a very unusual atmosphere for a player, any way the Spartans sneak a big win under the radar?
Andy Katz (2:58 PM)
That game will be something special. I wouldn't rule out the upset. But the Spartans are clearly going to be a team that excels more later in the season. UNC brings back too much at the outset.
The Tigers of Memphis are filled with young talent but they are mostly unproven, other than March of last season. They have high preseason ratings, but do you see them having a chance of winning the highly competitive Maui invitational? Thanks
Andy Katz (2:59 PM)
The format allows for upsets in Maui. Three games in three days can provide plenty of challenges for all of the teams (never know about illness, injuries, fatigue, etc.). I do know this: Memphis will come out of Maui a tougher and better team as well as picking up plenty of quality power-rating points.
The Hodger (Dinkytown, MN)
Andy,You're an excellent college basketball reporter, and trust me that's difficult for me to say to a Badger! (just kidding) Being a rival Gopher fan, naturally my question is about the Old Spice Classic. ... who do you see as the favorite in this extremely weak field?Keep up the excellent work.
Andy Katz (3:01 PM)
Thanks. I picked Minnesota over Fairfield in the final. The Gophers should win the event. The talent of Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III is the best in this event. Guard play will be inexperienced. If the Gophers can exploit the advantage they have upfront then that should help tremendously.
Andy, who do you think will ultimately have the toughest OOC schedule? I personally think St. John's especially because all they have is freshmen on their roster. Who do you think it might be?
Andy Katz (3:02 PM)
Still early. We will break it down once we get the full list. St. John's is tough, though, especially for a young squad.
Who will have to be the go to guy on BYU without Jimmer in order to be a great team?
Andy Katz (3:03 PM)
That's still to be determined. If Brandon Davies is eligible then the Cougars will definitely feature him in the post. The Cougs won't know until September if he's been readmitted.
Andy, which program has the most upside, GT, ILL or UVA?
Andy Katz (3:05 PM)
Tough call. In the immediate future I'll go with UVA. Illinois has the best recruiting area and probably can get the players in the easiest. I would go Georgia Tech next. Ultimately, Illinois should be the best job of these three if all things are equal.
Brad (Milwaukee, WI)
Andy, no review of the Paradise Jam by ESPN? How will my Warriors fare in that tournament and for the season, especially against the hated Bad-gers.
Andy Katz (3:06 PM)
We will look at the other tournaments here soon once we have all the brackets (Atlantis too). We were previewing the nine that are on our air first.
Matt (The west)
Yesterday your colleague (Dana) said that either the Zags or Arizona would be the best teams out west. Agree?
Andy Katz (3:10 PM)
Interesting.Tough call.I could go with Gonzaga. But Cal is in there, as well. Arizona did lose the No. 2 pick and its starting point guard. Wildcats will be in a fight for the Pac-12 title with UCLA, Washington, Cal and Oregon. The MWC will be down with New Mexico likely the top team. BYU and Saint Mary's will chase the Zags.
Andy Katz (3:10 PM)
Thanks for the questions this week and following our unveiling of our tournaments on ESPN.com. Thanks for visiting the site as always.