Chat with Myron Medcalf
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, college basketball writer Myron Medcalf stops by to chat about the hardcourt.
Medcalf joined ESPN.com in 2011 after a four-year stint covering colllege basketball for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. His relationship with ESPN began in 2004, when he was an intern for ESPN the Magazine in New York City.
Send your questions now and join Medcalf Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Myron Medcalf (3:00 PM)
Hello everyone: Thanks for joining me for this college basketball chat. .. First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with the folks on the East Coast who've been hit by Sandy. Hoping for the best.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What College Basketball Teams do you think will be the Best in the 2012-2013 Season?
Myron Medcalf (3:02 PM)
Overall? Louisville, Indiana are obvious. I'm higher on Michigan than a lot of folks. I like Michigan State/Syracuse/North Carolina State as Final Four contenders, too. Midmajors: Creighton, Lehigh, North Texas, Middle Tennessee, Ohio, Belmont, Illinois State ... definitely teams to watch all season.
matt (gardens fl)
why is florida so underated
Myron Medcalf (3:04 PM)
The Gators are ranked 10th in Associated Press preseason poll. How is that underrated?
Jux Berg (Bellingham)
Is there a more overlooked guard in the country than Cashmere Wright of Cincinnati? He is one of the best shooting point guards out there, he's smooth as silk... and his name is Cashmere! If he played for UNC or Kentucky, he would have a cult following with a name and game like he has. CBS Sports released their Top 50 point guards and he wasn't even on the list!
Myron Medcalf (3:06 PM)
He's definitely talented but let's see if he's more consistent this season. And you can say that about a lot of players. Not a sound argument. If he leads Bearcats to the top tier in the Big East, folks will notice. But they already do.
I'm in a fantasy college basketball league drafting today. Any sleeper picks I should consider?
Myron Medcalf (3:07 PM)
Need more information about the league. Teams? Players? If it's teams, check out North Texas ... if you're talking midmajors. High majors: Iowa and Colorado.
Dom Johnson (Des Moines, Iowa)
Hey Myron, I'm a Minnesota kid who read all your StarTrib stuff when you were the Gophers beat reporter, but I'm going to test your knowledge of the Valley now that I'm a Drake student:What will teams have to do to beat Creighton? And I'm not talking UNI, who I think can give them a run for the money, but the Drakes, Evansvilles, Indiana States, etc. of The Valley.
Myron Medcalf (3:09 PM)
Prayer. Lots of prayer. ... Just kidding. Well, four of the six teams that defeated Creighton last season scored 77 points or more. So keeping pace offensively is a good start. I know Creighton will be good. Just not sure how the loss of Antoine Young changes things in Omaha. I think teams will try to force other players to create. And that could be a challenge. Young was a vital playmaker a year ago.
Hey Myron. Give me your 1 or 2 games that are must see games for this season.
Myron Medcalf (3:12 PM)
Tough question ... Midmajors? High majors? ... I'll stick with midmajors. I like North Texas. A lot. Its nonconference slate starts with a matchup against Creighton. Huge barometer for both teams. No guarantees. Can't wait to see Creighton battle Wisconsin.
Dom Johnson (Des Moines, Iowa)
And now to see how in-depth you get with The Valley...How important is the return of Seth VanDeest to Drake after sitting out last season with shoulder injuries. He is a bigger guy now... but he looked a little out of shape in our midnight madness scrimmage.
Myron Medcalf (3:13 PM)
Certainly helps. Legit big man. Talented. Should be a double figure guy. ... But let's be honest. Biggest question at Drake: What on earth will they do without Rayvonte Rice? His transfer to Illinois changed everything for 2012-13. Not sure how they recover from that.
how far can you see gonzaga going this year?
Myron Medcalf (3:16 PM)
Oh man. I've been asking myself that question a lot this offseason. I go back and forth. On one hand, the Kevin Pangos-Gary Bell Jr.-Elias Harris trio is potent. Certainly talented enough to win the WCC. If the Bulldogs play to their potential, I think a Sweet 16 berth would be expected and an Elite Eight run a strong possibility. Big if. Will they be tough enough down the stretch? Always the question in Spokane.
What chance do you give SDSU of beating syracuse in the battle for the midway?
Myron Medcalf (3:18 PM)
Well, I'm not an oddsmaker. But I like SDSU's chances. They'll give the Orange a game. But that size and athleticism advantage might be too much for SDSU to overcome. .... I'm not picking a winner yet. But I can't wait to watch that one.
bob hogan (Omaha)
Do you see Creighton's Greg Echinique having a break out year?
Myron Medcalf (3:20 PM)
I don't think he has a choice, right? If this Creighton team is going to live up to the hype then it can't be a one-man show. Gibbs is a part of that equation, too. But Echenique has to be a consistent threat inside and balance that offensive attack. He has to make plays on defense, too. They can spread the floor on both ends if he's effective each night.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think the Wolfpack can handle the preseason hype and take the ACC this year?
Myron Medcalf (3:21 PM)
Yep. I'm not backing off the early praise. I saw them in Columbus. And I just think that team (I'm assuming THAT C.J. Leslie shows up) plus the other returning players and freshman Rodney Purvis will find a way to outplay Duke and UNC....I reserve the right to change my mind in the coming months.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will the PG play of Yogi Ferrell be the determining factor in the Hoosiers quest for another FF appearance and national title?
Myron Medcalf (3:22 PM)
It's not all on Yogi. I mean, Indiana is No. 1 because Cody Zeller is arguably the best player in America and he has a strong supporting cast. But Yogi has to "get it" early. He can't make crucial mistakes. He can't play outside of himself. He has to help. Jordan Hulls' experience will allow him to develop over time. But he won't get a ton of time. By year's end, I think he'll be the starter. Let's see how he performs in March.
Myron, am I the only one who thinks Jarnell Stokes of Tennessee is being underrated? Kid reminds me of Big Nasty Corliss Williamson 2.0. He scares me in the SEC.
Myron Medcalf (3:26 PM)
First, your comment made me pause for a moment and remember the fearlessness of Big Nasty. What a force for Nolan Richardson. ... On Jarnell Stokes, I'm with you. You mention Jarnell Stokes and the response is usually "Oh, yeah ... I forgot about that guy." I like his game. He didn't even play a full season and he was effective, essentially playing in the SEC as a high school senior. Cuonzo Martin has a young gem, IMO.
Chris (Burlington, KY)
KenPom has UK rated preseason #1. How is that possible given they lost 6 players from last year?
Myron Medcalf (3:29 PM)
Because they brought in like six more NBA guys. ... On paper, I can't argue against it. I don't have them that high but the talent is there. Nerlens Noel, Poythress, Ryan Harrow ... it's a nasty mix. ... Here's my challenge with it. I think last season's Kentucky team was a special unit in its ability to blend. Not the first time Calipari had NBA-level players. They were aggressive and physical. Anthony Davis was thin but he challenged you. MKG challenged you. .... What's the attitude of this year's Kentucky team? I don't know yet. But I think we'll realize how special last season's crew was as the season unfolds. It's not just "NBA talent plus Calipari equals title."
Myron, what do you think about BB here out west? I think it is getting better and if the big boys would break down and play teams from the MWC, Big West at their home courts instead of making them come to theirs, they would be surprised to see how hard it is to play at some of those places,ie the Pit here in Alb, The T&M in Vegas, and the hime courts in the Big West. Do you think it will happen?
Myron Medcalf (3:31 PM)
No. I don't. The teams you're talking about are dangerous. And the power players know it. That's why Long Beach State racks up the frequent flier miles. ... But I think that's just the national trend. Tough for those squads to get true home games, especially with 10 new tournaments being unveiled each season. Teams would rather go neutral. Don't really see the value in playing in some of those places.
Chris (Lexington, KY)
How is UK ranked #3 preseason with little to no returning experience? I know the Freshmen are uber talented, but still.
Myron Medcalf (3:32 PM)
I responded to that. But are they freshmen or future millionaires? You decide.
A lot of Terps fan are miffed as to why Dez Wells got the shaft from the NCAA. Can you shed some light to this situation? And how does it affect Maryland's prospects this season assuming he isn't allowed to play. Can jake Layman step up and be on the answers?
Myron Medcalf (3:34 PM)
It definitely affects projections. Tough league. And although they'll be more balanced without Stoglin, they also need to identify a few playmakers early. Seems like a lot hingest on Len's development.
There are always a couple crazy people that think KU won't win the Big 12. What goes through the heads of people like yourself when you are making these predictions, Myron?
Myron Medcalf (3:35 PM)
You didn't read the article if you think that. You just didn't. I predicted that Kansas WOULD win the Big 12. I just listed a few reasons to doubt that prediction. That's all. Yes, Baylor and Oklahoma State could be legit. Would I pick either over Kansas? No. ... But I said all that. Folks read headlines. Have to keep reading sometimes.
Jeff Withey (Lawrence)
Do you think you could get a shot up against me?
Myron Medcalf (3:36 PM)
Wouldn't need to. I'd just dunk.
Mike (Overland Park)
What should the expectations be for Ben McLemore this year?
Myron Medcalf (3:37 PM)
I think McLemore will be a stud and the top scorer for KU by the start of Big 12 play. A lot of buzz around his scoring ability. Jayhawks need that explosive playmaker with Tyshawn gone.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Does James Michael McAdoo have a breakout season for Carolina in 2012-13, similar to what we saw from Thomas Robinson last year, resulting in All-ACC and All American honors?
Myron Medcalf (3:38 PM)
Yep, I could see that.
Eric (Florence, KY)
Have you been enjoying All-Access Kentucky? Pretty sweet show.
Myron Medcalf (3:38 PM)
Yep, good stuff. Great inside look at things. ... Just wonder how ESPN will handle the 1000 requests from other coaches who (secretly) want the same thing.
I was just kidding Myron. I read the article, and yes KU does have some question marks this year. Keep up the good work.
Myron Medcalf (3:40 PM)
Haha. Well, I apologize. And thanks.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Is Wayne Blackshear a potential first team All American this year, if he can keep his mouth shut, and stay out of Pitino's doghouse?
Myron Medcalf (3:41 PM)
I saw him in high school. Thought he'd be a star right away. Then, he got hurt. Healthy, conditioned Wayne Blackshear can be an all-Big East type, maybe more. ... I can't say first team All American right now, though.
Ryan (Louisville, KY)
Do you think UofL has enough offense to win a title?
Myron Medcalf (3:43 PM)
Well, the Cardinals certainly have enough defense. What they had last season was enough to reach the Final Four. And now, they have healthy Blackshear. Strong, more versatile Dieng. Siva's back. Behanan. They have scorers and playmakers. They can control the pace and clamp down. .. I think the question is "Does Louisville have enough consistent scorers?" They played a lot of tight, low-scoring games that were decided by one or two plays.
Steve (Las Vegas)
Myron, Is there a new level of BB now? I always thought that if you did not belong to a BCS conference, you were a mid major? What is the A-10 and MWC considered if you don't have them but the WCC as one and an argument can be made that the WCC is almost equal to the others? Please explain.
Myron Medcalf (3:44 PM)
There's an editor's note attached to the primer. .. It's not going to change.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Who is your pick for BIG XII Rookie of the Year (Austin, Smart, Mclemore)?
Myron Medcalf (3:46 PM)
Austin for me. I think he's versatile and unique. Thin ... he'll get pushed around a little bit. But he can bring the ball up the floor, hit the 3, post up and defend as well as any player in the league. Yes, he'll be on Withey's level as a freshman. ... But you could make strong cases for Smart and McLemore.
How does the Horizon look--this year and looking into the future--without Butler? Thanks and Go Ramblers!
Myron Medcalf (3:47 PM)
I think it's a three-team race. I like Detroit to win it. Ray McCallum Jr. really came into his own late last year. Valpo will obviously challenge for that title. And 7-1 center Alec Brown and Green Bay could shake up those plans.
Myron Medcalf (3:48 PM)
I think Butler was the league's identity. ... That's probably its toughest challenge. When folks think Horizon League, who will they think of? Perhaps one of the three schools I mentioned, if they find success in March.
which conference is going to be the strongest this year?
Myron Medcalf (3:49 PM)
Big Ten. No question. Eight, nine teams with NCAA tourney potential. Four national title contenders, potentially. A nationally ranked Wisconsin. Dangerous league. ... But can a Big Ten team win it all? Hasn't happened in more than a decade.
Phil (Berkley, MI)
All reports are that Branden Dawson is essentially back to 100%. Do you think he can perform at a First Team All Big Ten level this year?
Myron Medcalf (3:51 PM)
I think Branden Dawson is at that level. Let's see how he's recovered. He's crucial for Tom Izzo, especially on the defensive end. I asked Izzo about Michigan State's struggles in the tournament. He said Dawson was the guy who could guard one through four. Without that, it disrupted things defensively for the Spartans. Critical element for Michigan State.
how many bids does the big east get
Myron Medcalf (3:52 PM)
I'll say seven right now. Right now.
What should Shocker fans expect this year? Obviously a rebuilding year, but do you think they can make some noise come conference season?
Myron Medcalf (3:53 PM)
You said it. Definitely a rebuilding year. Lost so much from last season. So many contributors. The Van Vleet kid is legit, though. But Creighton and Illinois State will be tough to overcome with so many new, young faces.
Will the loss of PJ3 actually help Baylor? It seemed like the team always expected him to be a leader type and then would just kind of fall in line with his lackadaisical approach.
Myron Medcalf (3:55 PM)
I don't know that losing a first-round pick tends to help many teams. It's just a different team. Losing PJ3, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy affects Baylor's ballance more than anything. Ricardo Gathers and Austin are tough. But young. A lot of pressure on Heslip and Pierre Jackson to guide the Baylor.
You seem to be sleeping on Texas. Beware! When Rick Barnes has a true post player, and PG, he does well. Ridley will be Big12 ROY.
Myron Medcalf (3:57 PM)
Nah, not sleeping on them. Barnes could have an NCAA tourney team for sure. But we're still waiting on the Kabongo ruling. That's critical.
Is this the year a MAC team gets an at-large?
Myron Medcalf (3:58 PM)
I don't see it. But Ohio should get back to the Big Dance. Few chances for huge wins in its nonconference slate. Akron will have changes to rack up solid/quality wins. But no guarantees Zips will secure them.
Myron Medcalf (4:00 PM)
Folks, thank you for taking time out of your day to chat about college hoops. I think we're in for something special in 2012-13. .. If I missed you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ... Or find me on Twitter (@MedcalfByESPN). ... Thanks again. It's been real.