Chat with Dana O'Neil
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com basketball writer Dana O'Neil stops by to chat about the college basketball season.
O'Neil joined ESPN in 2008 Neil after working for the Philadelphia Daily News.
Send your questions now and join O'Neil Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Dana O'Neil (3:01 PM)
Hello all - What's on your mind?
What has to happen for Duke to be a 1 seed?
Dana O'Neil (3:02 PM)
Josh: For starters, they have to win the ACC Tourney and then they need one of the Big East teams in front of them to wobble a little bit. It's not out of the question. Villanova in particular has a really hard backstretch in the conference season.
I will be attending Butler vs. Siena game this weekend. Are you jealous? Any game you would rather be at this weekend? What will I see?
Dana O'Neil (3:03 PM)
Zach: Very jealous! Pat Forde will be there for us. I'll be at Pitt-Villanova, which ought to be good on a different level. You're going to see a great game, I'd guess. Think Siena's sting by Niagara may have woken them up a bit, but tough to win at Hinkle
Simple Question: POY...Turner or Wall?
Dana O'Neil (3:03 PM)
Brandon: Complicated answer: Right now, I have Turner. By season's end, it could change. Five times.
Justin (Arlington, TX)
Dana, I feel that Baylor should be getting a little more recognition for their win last night. I mean, one more block by Ekpe Udoh and his stat line is on the front page of every sports website today (he finished with 13 pts, 11 boards, 9 blocks in a Big 12 game!). Not to mention LaceDarius Dunn had 30 points (9-13 FG, 8-9 FT) and Tweety Carter had 12 pts and 11 assists as Baylor dismantled a formerly legitimate bubble team in Texas Tech. In the second half they played like a team that's able and determined to win some games in March. Thoughts?
Dana O'Neil (3:05 PM)
Justin: Get your point and would argue that Udoh could make a decent case for Big 12 POY. Might be tough w/ the name cache of Collins and Aldrich, the numbers from James Anderson but if you're going solely on contributions to the team, he's definitely a serious candidate. The Bears are flying under the radar a little bit here, but I'm not certain that's a bad thing. Could be a scary team in the tourney.
This time of year people tend to argue mid-major vs. team in the middle of the power conferences. How about power conf vs. power conf? Most people have VA Tech in and UConn out. Yet they have similar RPI (44 vs 50) and very different SOS (180 vs 1). UConn could easily have 21 wins vs. VT's schedule and I'm not sure VT could have 15 against UConn's. Thoughts?
Dana O'Neil (3:07 PM)
Mike: I hear what you're saying but the committee can only judge based on what's in front of them. Tech doesn't have a horrible loss except against UNC (who'd a thunk I'd ever type that sentence) and has come on strong late - that's big bonus points in the eyes of the committee. Meantime, Connecticut has some bad losses and has been very helter skelter.
Who wins the A-10? I want a straight answer, name 1 team.
Dana O'Neil (3:09 PM)
Rob: Not even a coin flip? Based on schedules - which I just glanced at very quickly - I'm giving the slight edge to Charlotte. Got a favorable finishing roster.
pat (New York City)
Do you think Syracuse's 2-3 zone would mess up kentucky?
Dana O'Neil (3:09 PM)
Pat: I think it could, yes. Certainly playing zone against Kentucky has proven fruitful for a lot of teams and for Syracuse, the zone isn't a gimmick they roll out in desperation. It's their bread and butter.
What is going on with NCAA fans this year? We've had West Virginia fans use idiotic behavior (in more then one occasion) and now Mississippi State fans throwing bottles. How does the NCAA handle this before someone gets hurt?
Dana O'Neil (3:11 PM)
MM: Had this conversation recently w/ someone and here's the thing: I think the individual schools need to take ownership. Have people by the student sections who find the knuckleheads - cuz it's not everyone by a longshot - and toss them and revoke their privileges. To put the onus on the leagues, the NCAA or the officials is unfair. It's the administration at the university who's being embarrassed. They ought to stop it.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Who currently has your vote for coach of the year and player of the year?
Dana O'Neil (3:12 PM)
Peter: My POY right now is Evan Turner, though I have the right to change my mind. My COY I've waffled on, but think I'm sticking w/ Jim Boeheim.
I'm going to the MIZZOU-Texas game tonight, who do you like in this crucial Big 12 game?
Dana O'Neil (3:13 PM)
MM: Certainly a touch more critical for Mizzou, I'd say. Texas is playing to right its rapidly declining seeding. Think the fastest 40 minutes could give the young backcourt for Texas fits. Think I may go w/ the home team Tigers in the pseudo upset.
Hey im in spanish class right now and I got a quick question. Is Gordon Hayward better than Robbie Hummel?
Dana O'Neil (3:14 PM)
Chaz: No hablo espanol. I'm not sure he's better pound for pound on talent but he's close and he's certainly every bit as valuable to his team as Hummel. Great, great player.
Hi Dana, big Northeastern Huskies fan here...What do you think the chances are they make the big dance, and if they do make the tournament, how far do you think they could advance?
Dana O'Neil (3:16 PM)
Tom: Another fun buster game w/ La Tech this weekend. Colonial is another tight race like the A10 and to me, a league with teams deserving extra bids. I'd much rather see 3 from the Colonial than an extra middling team from the Big East or the SEC. That's just me.
What makes you so sure that the Jayhawks are the best team in the nation? Doesn't Syracuse have a better resume and more quality wins?
Dana O'Neil (3:19 PM)
Tristan: Think most people would agree there are a handful of teams that separated themselves from the pack - Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Villanova, and to an extent Purdue/Ohio State (whoever wins tonight). The differences between them is minute.
Why do you hate UConn? Is it Jim Calhoun? Is it the players?? fans??? There is definite bias on your part.
Dana O'Neil (3:20 PM)
Jesse; Really cuz I just argued w/ a colleague that all this talk about Calhoun ought to quit is ridiculous. The man was in the FInal Four last year. It's not like his team is deteriorating rapidly over the last few years. That said, I don't think this particular team is very good but that doesn't mean I hate UConn.
charlie (new york)
with jon leuer back in practice, how good will wisconsin be with him?
Dana O'Neil (3:21 PM)
Charlie: Need to give him a little time to get back to full strength. But he's a huge, huge piece back in the mix for a team that has done a more than adequate job to hold down the fort. Certainly by the tourney he'll be full strength and that will make Wisconsin a very good team to back.
Purdue / OSU tonight. Whats going to happen? Its a huge game with the Big Tens finest players! Im pumped
Dana O'Neil (3:22 PM)
Ramaar: Definitely a big game, though I was stunned when someone told me that Ohio State had a buy-one-get-one promo for tickets. That's pretty pathetic. Evan Turner has to be out of his mind (which he usually is) to keep the Buckeyes in it, I'd argue. Should be a fun game.
Dana, the past few years during their runs in the tournament Nova has had very good to great defense despite their short stature. This year they seem to be in a pure offensive mindset which hurt them against uconn. Do you think Jay will change and fix that before the tournament? Is it even possible with this group?
Dana O'Neil (3:23 PM)
Matt; That's been my one question mark w/ Villanova all year. Not their lack of a big man. They've always dealt w/ that. It's their defense. They play scrappy and hard but they can't rely on just outgunning everyone. I'm sure if Jay could have fixed it, it would have been fixed. He's not the kind of guy who wants to win in the 80s.
Ray G. (Richmond)
Is it safe to assume that Richmond has earned its bid in the NCAA tourney? If not, what do they have to do in their remaining games to make sure they get a bid?
Dana O'Neil (3:24 PM)
Ray: I would think so. Played a tough non-league schedule and did very well w/ it, have finished strong, all things the committee tends to like. BArring an epic collapse, I'd think the Spiders are in.
brandon (Lancaster, KY)
Dana, what did you think about the chaos last night at The Hump?
Dana O'Neil (3:25 PM)
Brandon: Pretty pathetic, I think. I know people are frustrated w/ the officials and I get that, but it totally demeans a well-played and hard-fought game. Who is talking about how well an undermanned Mississippi State played? No one. Everyone is talking bout the fans' boorish behavior.
Pat (Lawrence, KS)
What will K- State have to do earn a 1 seed?
Dana O'Neil (3:26 PM)
Pat: Think it would be tough, personally. A lot of teams in front of them would have to really fall apart and I'm not sure that happens. Regardless of seed, KState has been my sleeper team since October. Think they could be a very dangerous team in the tourney.
Who wins the Big Ten? I want a straight answer, name 1 team.
Dana O'Neil (3:27 PM)
Ian: Wow. You people are demanding today. Right now as of this moment, Purdue. And then they'll lose to Ohio State in approximately five hours.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Dana: What is going on with the Nittany Lions? Instead of building off of that NIT title they've almost completely regressed. Will they ever be a consistently good program?
Dana O'Neil (3:29 PM)
JB: I was there this weekend and it wasn't pretty. THey had around 14,000 and that was the best crowd all season I was told. It's really troubling that they haven't built off that NIT run. I know it's the NIT but at Penn State, honestly that's huge. I like Ed DeChellis a lot personally, but not sure if he can turn it around. Talor Battle can't beat 5 guys alone.
bac2therac (New Brunswick)
Last week you said Fred Hill was in deep doo doo. Care to change your mind? I am going to cut the sleeves off my t-shirt for Saturday's game to show support for FHJ!
Dana O'Neil (3:30 PM)
Bac: Ok that was a stunner. Was driving home from Syracuse and getting scores from the RAC and wasn't sure it wasn't an early April Fool's joke. I would love it if Fred got another chance. He's a good man and hasn't had a whole lot of time. I'm hoping they put together a nice strong finish here at the end - and w/ their schedule they could - to make it a more difficult decision.
Chris (Murray, Ky)
Now that Murray State is finally receiving some exposure they deserve do you see them getting an At-Large spot if they win out and lose on the OVC Championship game. That would put their record at 30-4. Can the NCAA really leave a 30 win team out of the tournament.
Dana O'Neil (3:32 PM)
Chris: Love the Racers! I wish they had one really great win to hang their hat on but if a team loses one game between December and the end of February I'm not sure how they can be left out. I'd suggest they win the OVC and not complicate the issue.
Chris (Orem, UT)
What do you think the chances are that BYU will make it to the Elite Eight, especially if they get to play in Salt Lake?
Dana O'Neil (3:33 PM)
Chris; Certainly Salt Lake would be a big of an advantage. I'd put BYU in the sleeper category to make the Elite Eight. It's not necessarily probable but not out of the question, either. Jimmer Fredette could light up anyone.
Roy (Chapel Hill)
Sigh... Dana, Dana, Dana.... it's been a rough go of it... what's it going to take to get my Tar Heels back on track?
Dana O'Neil (3:34 PM)
Roy: If I were you, I"d just be rooting for the end of the season at this point. Pack up the gear and hit the links for a while. This is a major mulligan.
Dan (Who Dey, Ohio)
Which current team has the most NBA players?
Dana O'Neil (3:35 PM)
Dan: Kentucky. Possibly four first rounders w/ Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe and Patterson.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
why not do a buster game that is a 'mid major' vs a 'major'? braketbusters to me is like BSU v TCU, no real winner
Dana O'Neil (3:36 PM)
Hayden: That would be fun: UConn versus Murray State! THe reason it doesn't exist: the majors would never agree to it. Midseason non-conference game against an opponent that could make them look bad? Never gonna happen. But wow, would be fun.
How long before Mark Fox turns it around at UGA?
Dana O'Neil (3:37 PM)
Garrick: The fact that they are even competitive this season ought to give every Georgia fan serious hope. He's done an amazing job this year. He will turn it around. Soon.
Dana, why no love for Scottie Reynolds? Why are you laying low on Scottie all year?
Dana O'Neil (3:38 PM)
Paulie: Just voted him third in a straw poll ballot for POY.
I saw you stuck with Memphis What do you think about Pastner so far this season?
Dana O'Neil (3:39 PM)
Jeremy: I'm not giving up the ship on the Tigers. I refuse and based on what they did to Tulsa, who know? I think Josh has done a good job in a really really hard situation. Give him credit for keeping things together, for taking a hard line w/ Pierre Niles, all of it. Anyone who thought he was just a boy genius w/ no clue has been proven wrong.
Dana - Please clarify in public so I don't look like I accused you of bias. I certainly wasn't. I thought Tim Higgins was chatting. And he HATES UConn...
Dana O'Neil (3:40 PM)
Jesse; Ha! That's pretty funny!!!
Brandon (Lancaster, KY)
Kentucky has trips to Tennessee and to Vandy as well has home games left against SC, Georgia, and Fla. Will they lose? And if not, that has to be a pretty good resume for a #1 seed, right?
Dana O'Neil (3:41 PM)
Brandon: NO question, Kentucky is going to have to really fall apart to play itself out of a No. 1 seed and I don't think that's going to happen. Could they lose another one? Yeah, they could and I don't think that would really kill them, to be honest. They aren't losing all of them.
"Proving ground" week for Pitt (@ Marquette, Home for 'Nova). Lunardi has them as a 5 seed as of right now. What do you think is the seeding difference if they go 0-2 this week vs. 2-0?
Dana O'Neil (3:41 PM)
Mike: The thing any team wants to avoid right now is limping into the tourney. The committee looks at last 10.
Scott (Tucson, AZ)
What does Arizona have to do to make it 26 years in a row in the NCAA tourney. Is the only option winning the conference tournament at this point?
Dana O'Neil (3:43 PM)
Scott: Yeah, I'd say so. The Pac 10 looks like a one-bid league to me. Still.. give credit to Sean Miller. He's done a solid job in his first year there
Who do you think will be the four #1 seeds?
Dana O'Neil (3:43 PM)
Greg: I'm not seeing a lot of movement over the obvious: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Villanova. I suppose one of the last 2 could get knocked off and maybe a Purdue or whoever wins the Big 10 make a push.
Dana O'Neil chat... on ash Wednesday... on the day Notre Dame plays on ESPN(2)... surely this is a joke?
Dana O'Neil (3:44 PM)
Richard: Hey... I got my ashes!
Brandon (Lancaster, KY)
Word on the street is Billy Gillispie to DePaul... What have you heard and is it a good fit?
Dana O'Neil (3:44 PM)
Brandon: Really? Hadn't heard that. Odd fit, I'd say. I know he was at Illinois but wow, that's a tough tough job.
Tribester (Sandusky, OH)
Catch any of the W&M/GMU game last night? What does the Tribe have to do to get an at large the rest of the way, considering their trifecta of wins over Wake/MD/Richmond in nonconf. play!
Dana O'Neil (3:46 PM)
Tribester: Like I said earlier, I think there are 3 teams in the Colonial that deserve serious consideration. Can all three get in? Probably not. If 2 don't, it's dead wrong. Certainly the Tribe's early wins help but they have to finish strong too.
Adam (Portland, OR)
If Gonzaga gets a seed that puts them playing in Spokane, do you see the Zags making a deep run in the tournament? Possible to the Elite 8 or Final Four?
Dana O'Neil (3:47 PM)
Adam: Another very obvious sleeper team, if you ask me. Elias Harris has been incredible all year and absolutely no one is talking about the Zags. Not at all out of the question that they make a deep run.
Mike (San Francisco)
What do you think of Cal's chances of making the tournament?
Dana O'Neil (3:48 PM)
Mike: Cal(ipari)? Pretty good. Kidding. Cal, the team. Same answer to Arizona: win the Pac 10. One-big league all the way, in my opinion.
What about Steve Alford for COY? Any chance of that happening, and what would it take?
Dana O'Neil (3:49 PM)
Adam: He deserves a look, sure. New Mexico wasn't expected to be very strong and is instead very good. I just think Syracuse has really surprised a lot of folks (myself included) after they lost so much. Or what looked like so much.
Peter Little (Dallas, TX)
do you think cincinnati has any chance against Villanova, Georgetown, or West Virginia to get a signature conference win?
Dana O'Neil (3:51 PM)
Peter: I know this much: the Bearcats need at least one. It also would be a convenient time for Lance Stephenson to start taking over like everyone thought he would. Been something of an enigma all year.
you never answer my question ever... some of these questions people ask are retarded and you answer those. You even answer the same question twice.... all I want to know is, if Florida State wants to make the tournament what can they afford not to do?
Dana O'Neil (3:52 PM)
Jon: They can't lose a lot. Seriously. With the schedule they have left they really can't afford a hiccup.
Isnt Demarcus "Big CuZ' Cousins getting a bad rep unfairly, teams provoke him on purpose, and Varnardo reacted much worse on the fouls called than cuz.
Dana O'Neil (3:54 PM)
Daniel: Well what happened w/this phone was reprehensible for sure. But on the court? It's not provocative if he doesn't react. And it's not just to calls. It's to Calipari, to everyone. He is a ridiculously talented player who has come further in one season than anyone I've seen in a long time. He just needs to control his emotions better and he'll be unbeatable.
Pete (West Lafayette)
I know this is a pipe dream, Dana but bear with me: Purdue runs the table and wins the Big 10 tourney to run their record to 30-3. Is there still a chance they wouldn't get a 1 seed?
Dana O'Neil (3:55 PM)
Pete: Some dream and since it's your dream, is Syracuse or Villanova waffling? If so, yes the Boilers can get a 1 seed.
This feels like were setting up for a wild NCAA Tournament, should i use the magic 8 ball to fill out my bracket this year?
Dana O'Neil (3:56 PM)
David: I prefer to have my dog put her paw on her choice and go w/ that. But I like the magic 8 ball approach. Would definitely work. And I agree: could be a very entertaining tourney. At least I hope so!
Dana O'Neil (3:57 PM)
OK folks, I have to cut out a little early. School bus coming home and my kids aren't tall enough to navigate the snow mountains alone. Chat w/ you next week. THanks for the questions.