Chat with Andy Katz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com senior basketball writer Andy Katz stops by to chat.
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 5 p.m. ET!
Hey Andy-Thoughts on Tony Bennett and how he will do at UVA?
Andy Katz (5:04 PM)
He'll do fine. He will make the Cavs a winner in the ACC. Not sure that he'll be able to make them a title contender in the league but they will be much improved this season and next. I don't see that as a problem. I believe in Bennett!
Why do you think Villanova is overrated?
Andy Katz (5:05 PM)
Why is Missouri, which got to the Elite Eight, barely getting a sniff in the polls. Missouri returns its backcourt, just like Villanova. I think the losses up front of Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson is huge. I will say right now that 'Nova won't win the Big East. That doesn't mean they won't have a very good season. But the Cats won't win the Big East.
Dan (Cleveland, OH)
Andy, two inferior teams and two blowouts, but how good does Carolina look? The backcourt is a work in progress and TO's are a small concern, but the uptempo game that Roy likes will always have TO's, right? Can this team's frontcourt get them back to the Final Four?
Andy Katz (5:06 PM)
Not sure. The Tar Heels won't rely on the freshmen, that much I know. The Tar Heels are turning the ball over too much, though. I was impressed with Larry Drew and I love the frontcourt depth. But I'm not sold on whether or not this is a Final Four team yet. I still have Carolina winning the ACC, though.
I haven't seen anyone say much about Clemson. What's your take on the tigers this season?
Andy Katz (5:08 PM)
I would have put Georgia Tech or Maryland ahead of Clemson in the ACC. Losing Terrence Oglesby and K.C. Rivers is a huge hit to this team. I know Noel Johnson will be a big help, but I'm not convinced this team will be able to score well enough on 3s and/or be as much of a pressing team as Oliver Purnell likes defensively.
Dan (Niagara Falls, NY)
Andy, can you explain the difference between the punishments of Dez Bryant (one year) and John Wall (nothing)? Didn't they basically do the same thing with Bryant's infraction being a one-time even as opposed to Wall's?
Andy Katz (5:10 PM)
I could be wrong here but I thought the major difference was telling the truth. The NCAA always goes harsher on anyone who isn't forthcoming with information.
Patrick J. (Orlando, FL)
No John Wall for UK tomorrow night. You giving Morehead St. (a tourney team) any chance against the Cats in Rupp?
Andy Katz (5:10 PM)
I'll be there, yet I'll still say I don't see how.
Michael (Idaho Falls, ID)
How far can WVU go this year? Lots of buzz about potential final 4 team
Andy Katz (5:11 PM)
It can happen. The Mountaineers are my pick to win the Big East and make an Elite Eight type of run. I love the Devin Ebanks and Da'Sean Butler combination.
Disco Stu (Chicago)
Andy who's the ROY so far Tyreke Evans or Brandon Jennings? Do you think more kids will do what Jennings did seeing his success?
Andy Katz (5:14 PM)
It's soooooo early. But yes Jennings is the leader after a few weeks for ROY. But keep in mind Blake Griffin hasn't played yet and could grab that award with dominating play. I still firmly believe that if given the choice high school seniors would rather play in college than be beaten down playing for a European team. Players love the big stage that the NCAA tournament offers. Jennings wasn't eligible when he made his decision. Had he been eligible I still think he would have been at Arizona.
James (The Illadelph )
Andy, What gives? I see that you have ranked 'Nova 8th in your initial power rankings, which is several places lower than many of your colleagues. Didn't last year's team teach you anything? You showed the program no love until late in the season and look what they did. If Jay Wright has established anything, it's that he can flat out coach and that he gets the most out of the kids he has on the floor. Nova has one of the most talented and experienced (not to mention, the deepest) back courts in the country.
Andy Katz (5:18 PM)
I admit I was wrong last year but I would also tell you that Jay Wright agreed when I saw him in New York early that he wasn't sure how good that team would become. They clearly improved. I still think 'Nova will be a top tier team, likely finishing second in the Big East behind West Virginia. It's not like I picked the Wildcats to finish last.
Lucas (Lexington, KY)
Do you think Eric Bledsoe has a chance to 'share the spotlight' with John Wall this upcoming season? Or is it just the way it is, having the #1 prospect in the country playing the same position?
Andy Katz (5:20 PM)
I do. I think there will be times when Bledsoe has his moments and is the star of a game. But Wall will dominate the headlines on this team with Patrick Patterson a close second.
Can you see at some point this season 5 or 6 teams from the SEC being in the top 25?
Andy Katz (5:23 PM)
Let's see: 1. Kentucky; 2. Mississippi State; 3. Tennessee; 4. Vanderbilt; 5. South Carolina; 6. Ole Miss. Yes, I could definitely see all of them in the top 25 and possibly at the same time.
Is this the year the Big Ten finally wins the ACC-Big Ten Challenge? It seems like they will be favored in a lot of those games. And what do you think of Thad Matta's recruiting haul considering what he has no seniors of note on this years team.
Andy Katz (5:30 PM)
Yes it could.Let's go over the matchups:Ohio State could beat Fla StateNorthwestern should beat NC State Michigan State could and maybe should beat North CarolinaPurdue should beat Wake Forest Michigan could beat BCI think Duke will beat WisconsinI think Illiniois will beat ClemsonI think Maryland will beat IndianaI think Va Tech will beat IowaMinnesota-Miami could be a tossupSo as you can see it's wide open as to who will win the challenge.
Is Kentucky a final four team?
Andy Katz (5:31 PM)
Will Heimbuch (Ames, IA)
I have a question what about Iowa State??? I mean they aren't an elite team but they should at least MAKE the tourney. Craig Brackins is a returning All-Big XII PF and possible NBA Lottery pick. Plus they added Marquis Gilstrap the Big XII preseason newcomer of the year. As well as returning most of the team from last season, as well as adding a very talented looking Freshman PG in Chris Colvin. If their young players mature during the season this isn't only a team that will make the tourney, but could be a team to be reckonded with.
Andy Katz (5:32 PM)
I do think Iowa State could be a sleeper team for the tournament. We'll know a lot more about Iowa State if the Cyclones can beat either Notre Dame or Butler at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago and then in December possibly take out Duke at the United Center. I love the Brackins-Marquis Gilstrap combination.
Scott (Schenevus, NY)
Andy: The first "big game" of the season may be #12 Cal vs. #25 Syracuse. Who wins Pac10 or BEast and why?
Andy Katz (5:35 PM)
Cal wins Pac-10.West Virginia wins Big East. The Bears and Mountaineers have the most experience and the best scoring guards/wings.
Earl (Princeton, WV)
Hey Andy, Most folks are picking Nova to win the Big East. What is it about WVU that you see that most folks don't? I saw your Big East preview pick, WVU wins the Big East by 2 games. Nice pick by the way...........
Andy Katz (5:37 PM)
Rebounding and defense. I like the Mountaineers better. It's not a crime yet people make it seem like I'm one of the few that feels this way. I'm not alone, though. A number of Big East coaches told me they agree as does my friend and colleague Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News.
Chris (South Carolina)
Andy, I just wanted to give you fair warning before it is too late. Clemson is going to be good this year. Really good. K.C. was good last year but his leadership skills were overrated since he was more of a quite guy. We don't miss T.O. at all.......at all! Noel is the real deal and Tanner Smith has stepped up his game big time. Do yourself a favor and look into Clemson, don't just say the most common excuses for why Clemson won't get it done this year. I don't want to hear we lost good players, so did everyone. I don't want to hear we haven't won a NCAA tourney game. I'm not saying we will win the NCAA or the ACC tournament but we will definitely be better than Maryland, Wake, BC, and probably GT ....maybe even Duke. I'm giving you fair warning, repent now and wise up and take note of the Tigers.
Andy Katz (5:39 PM)
That's fair. I hear you. I just disagree at this point. I'll see for myself in a few weeks in Anaheim.
and Iowa state would either play ND or North Western.. not Butler
Andy Katz (5:40 PM)
Thanks I meant to type in Notre Dame or Northwestern. Northwestern plays Butler earlier in an unrelated game.
David (Raleigh, NC)
Andy... it seems that the top 4 of MSU, Texas, Kansas and Kentucky (according to Lunardi's first bracket) are huge favorites. If you can't choose one of those 4 teams, who do you have as this year's champion?
Andy Katz (5:41 PM)
My next group of teams are: North Carolina, Purdue, West Virginia.
Even less respect being given to mid-majors this year than in previous it seems. Are we gonna see even less of them in tourney than last (4 at large). Do you consider the MWC a mid-major?
Andy Katz (5:42 PM)
No I don't. I don't like the term but it is force fed. BYU is the leader of the MWC and then San Diego State and UNLV in some order.
Doug (Bowling Green)
Who is the best mid major team, I like Western Kentucky, what about you?
Andy Katz (5:42 PM)
Once again I don't like the term. But Butler and Gonzaga will be the best teams OUTSIDE the power six conferences with Dayton and BYU next in some order.
What are some sleeper teams to watch for in the ACC this year?
Andy Katz (5:45 PM)
BC and Wake Forest. The Eagles won't miss Tyrese Rice. They will be able to score with Reggie Jackson and Rakim Sanders able to handle the big-shot role. If Josh Southern can board then they'll be fine. Biko Paris can be a lead guard. Wake has an outstanding leader in Ish Smith and the bigs of David Weaver, Chas McFarland and Tony Woods are all legit. Don't forget Al-Farouq Aminu is one of the better scorers in the country, too.
Andy Katz (5:45 PM)
Thanks again for the chat. I know we'll be doing this on a weekly basis. Enjoy the start of hoops this weekend in full force.