Chat with Myron Medcalf
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, college basketball writer Myron Medcalf stops by to chat about the tournament.
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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Myron Medcalf (2:02 PM)
Hello all. Let's chat. Thanks for joining me.
flsku (Lawrence, KS)
Did you take more out of the 3 bad halves of KU hoops, or the one outstanding one?
Myron Medcalf (2:04 PM)
The three bad halves. I think Kansas is talented as any team in the field. Who can deny that? But I'm still trying to figure out what triggers these bouts with mediocrity. That second half over UNC was definitely impressive. But the other games were so-so. I think Kansas has a lot to prove this week.
Coach Darin (Hancock)
Honestly Myron, you're a Minnesota native-do you think the Minnesota program can actually improve from what Tubby had them as? Be real with me.
Myron Medcalf (2:05 PM)
First thing, I'm not a Minnesota native. I'm from Milwaukee, but I covered Tubby for four years. ... Can the Gophers get better? Maybe. The university doesn't invest in basketball. Things won't change until they do. Gophers need a new arena and a practice facility. Coach needs better resources for recruiting. I think this is a very overrated job.
I'm early Myron. With no NCAA tournament on tv, what am I supposed to do for the next 3 days?
Myron Medcalf (2:06 PM)
Watch replays on CBS Sports. They'll play all week.
how will michigan match up against kansas?
Myron Medcalf (2:08 PM)
That depends on Mitch McGary. If McGary is tough inside on Withey, on both ends of the floor, I think it's a great matchup that favors Kansas. Slightly. But there are certainly some similarities. Two tough backcourts for sure. I think Releford's defensive versatility could be the difference in a real battle for both teams.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How much has Ben McClemore wilting under the bright lights damaged his draft stock? And will the fact that he admitted to doing so publicly raise a flag to some front office personnel?
Myron Medcalf (2:10 PM)
I think it hurts only because it's happened multiple times in the past. ... I think McLemore continues to prove that he could develop into a solid complimentary player at the next level but he won't necessarily carry your team. And that's fine in this draft. I don't think you have many (any?) stars. Great player who will be still be top 3 regardless. His greatest asset? His youth.
Did Minnesota and Norwood Teague (AD) make the right decision in firing Tubby Smith?
Myron Medcalf (2:13 PM)
All depends on who they bring in and what they're willing to invest in the program. Minimal investment thus far. Gophers need facilities. Recruiting resources.
Dennis P (Evansville Indiana)
I feel like my Hoosiers just dodged a Slow Tempo'd bullet to the head (Temple) :) I also feel like they are going to be extremely sharp versus the Zone of the Orange. Your thoughts!
Myron Medcalf (2:15 PM)
The bullet they dodged was a young man named Khalif "The Truth" Wyatt. Wow. What a performance. The Hoosiers couldn't stop him. That was surprising. I think there's value, however, in seeing a team weather early adversity. I think it helps in the long run and I think it says a lot about a team's potential when you see how they react to those situations. Indiana made late stops and plays that champions make. ... They only excel against the zone if Zeller gets inside of it, Oladipo creates in the middle of it and Crean's shooters hit 3s. They have to attack it at various points.
I know this isn't a tourney question, but what is your opinion on the firing of Ben Howland and who do you realistically think UCLA will hire?
Myron Medcalf (2:18 PM)
I'm not surprised by it. Expectations rise when you're successful. Folks forget that sometimes. And that Final Four streak gave Howland security but it also gave the team's supporters a taste for another title. That was the only reasonable follow for the decisionmakers. And with this recruiting class, it seemed like he had to make a run in 2013. That's the way it goes. ... Who will they hire? Not sure. But it has to be someone who can handle the pressure.
Myron, an obvious blown call against ISU yesterday, Your thoughts on Crafts positioning and the focus more on his feet placement rather thna his timing with the offensive player already ariborn?
Myron Medcalf (2:19 PM)
I think it's a tough call for any human being to make, even a trained official. And I honestly blame the system. We have to give coaches a chance to challenge those calls in critical moments. We need a red flag system like the NFL. Hoiberg throws the red flag, officials review the play and maybe, just maybe, they get it right. The issue I have is the fact it was not a reviewable play.
Frank (New Orleans)
What was your biggest disappointment in the first weekend?
Myron Medcalf (2:19 PM)
Myron, what do you make of another Georgetown early exit? Does this reflect an inability for JT3 to motivate his teams? Or does it say something else to you? Besides the other team wanting it more...
Myron Medcalf (2:21 PM)
I think the "wanting it more" theory is overrated. I'm sure North Carolina wanted to win. But the Tar Heels didn't. .... I think the loss says that Georgetown was a superb defensive team that relied on one player to get its offense going. Otto Porter struggled and things fell apart. That was the bigger issue. Who do you turn to when the man isn't playing like the man? That's an issue every team in the field must answer at some point.
Randy (St. Paul)
Since you covered the Gophers you should know that Tubby had the talent to win more games in the B1G. He even said this year's team was his best and they went 8-10 in the B1G. A change was necessary.
Myron Medcalf (2:22 PM)
I'm not defending the move. I'm saying the university has to invest in the program. That's all. That's just fact. Minnesota is operating on a 1980s model for success. That's why it hasn't really worked since the 1980s.
This FGCU team is fantastic! What are their chances against Florida?
Myron Medcalf (2:24 PM)
I'm not betting against Dunk City. When Florida is dominant, it's really dominant. But FGCU might have destiny on its side. Fun to watch. .... But Florida, with three days to prepare, will be a very dangerous opponent.
The Spartans are rolling. Can they roll over Duke and Louisville and get to Atlanta?
Myron Medcalf (2:26 PM)
Yep. Spartans are playing like an Izzo team, right? Here's my thing. If you're not ready for a fight, you're going to lose to Michigan State. And they're playing the physical style that makes opponents uncomfortable. Nix, Payne and Harris are playing well. Defense is solid. And now Izzo gets three more days to prepare. Michigan State can reach Atlanta.
any thoughts on oregon?
Myron Medcalf (2:28 PM)
I think it's easier to see how good the Ducks were throughout the regular season. They lost Artis and they remained competitive. Once they were healthy, they were the best team in the Pac-12 again. They're very deep. And their speed and athleticism has been a matchup problem thus far. Louisville will be a different animal, though. But Ducks have been impressive. Should not have been a 12-seed.
Myron, How'd those bold predictions work out for you? Pretty sure you're 0-8 so far.
Myron Medcalf (2:29 PM)
Wrote about that today. Hasn't gone well. ... I' m not the only person who's made bold predictions. My predictions are just public. Wouldn't have it any other way, though. Happy to admit when I'm wrong.
Hasn't worked since the 1980s? Pretty sure Minesota made a Final Four in 1997...
Myron Medcalf (2:30 PM)
Google "academic scandal" and "the NCAA ignores that entire era now."
What do you think will be the best game next weekend?
Myron Medcalf (2:32 PM)
Kansas-Michigan. So much talent on the floor. Michigan's inconsistent defense. KU's inconsistent offense. Something has to give. McGary v. Withey is worth the price of admission. Good game.
If you had to guess, do you think Doug McDermott will go pro or stay for one more year?
Myron Medcalf (2:34 PM)
Depends on what he wants. If he wants to help his Dad make another run, he stays. But I don't think he's going to elevate his draft stock. This is as high as it will be, IMO. He is who he is. He's never going to be an elite defender at the next level. But he's a big scorer who could help a lot of teams. If it's just about the basketball, why stay?
What needs to happen for Ohio State to have a chance to win the NC? I know....win 4 games, but what do you feel is outside of their control and needs outside intervention... Louisville to lose pre NC game?
Myron Medcalf (2:36 PM)
A Louisville loss would certainly help everybody in the field. I think the Cards are the best team in the country. But I really think Ohio State needs to maintain its current momentum. The Buckeyes are doing a lot of things right. ...Biggest issue will be the offensive consistency of players who are not named Deshaun Thomas. Ohio State has a shot. Given the uncertainty within the field, this could be Matta's best shot.
Tracy P (Charlotte)
Who would you say is a Lock for the Elite 8? Wichita State or Lasalle? Personally I think the Shocks are playing as good as anyone in the country right now.
Myron Medcalf (2:38 PM)
No "locks" right now. A pair of strong teams. Galloway is my x-factor, though. Matchup nightmare for the Shockers, I think.
I did Myron, and found this nice tidbit from wikipedia "The Gophers had great success in the early years of basketball, but have been largely overshadowed by other programs since the end of World War I"
Myron Medcalf (2:38 PM)
Sounds about right, John.
Of the remaining 16 you reseeded, which of the last 4 has the best chance to get to Atlanta this year?
Myron Medcalf (2:40 PM)
Marquette simply because the Golden Eagles have defeated a lot of really good teams throughout the year. But this first weekend just reminded me of the multiple times that things could have gone the other way for Marquette. Not just this weekend. This season. A lot of close calls for Buzz.
Can anyone stop Louisville?
Myron Medcalf (2:41 PM)
For the sake of my bracket, I'll say no. .... But I honestly don't think there's one truly "unstoppable" team in the field. Not one team that's on Kentucky 2012's level right now. But the Cards are close. It will take an amazing effort to knock off Louisville.
Myron Medcalf (2:43 PM)
Just FYI: University of Minnesota just announced the firing of Tubby Smith. It's official. Can't say I'm that surprised.
Jeff (Bloomington, IL)
Thoughts on John Groce's first year with the Illini? I thought he got all you could ask for out of the team this year and am extremely optimistic going forward. He seems to have the "it" quality that you see in the game's great coaches.
Myron Medcalf (2:44 PM)
Wow. That's my first thought. I doubted him. I really didn't doubt him, I doubted the situation. The Chicago recruiting issue. The resources issue. But Groce really proved that he's the man for the job this year. He's going to build something in Champaign if this continues.
Myron, can all you "experts" finally agree that UofL is the great team NCAA was looking for all season. Look at what we've done last 12 games for pete's sake.
Myron Medcalf (2:44 PM)
I picked them to win the national title. Check my bracket. ... http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/en/entry?entryID=4688788
Myron Medcalf (2:45 PM)
Folks, I have to go. Thank you for your time. Thanks for joining me. ... If you're in Los Angeles this week, say hello. I'll be there for the games. ... If I missed you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter at @MedcalfByESPN