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November 13, 2:11 PM ET
College basketball marathon chat!

Howie Schwab
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning and welcome. This is a lot of fun, No I did not watch everything since midnight, got a little sleep, saw a little Memphis, and see second half of Hawaii-Idaho State. Could not believe it went into OT! Idaho State threw the ball away with 1.4 seconds left in regulation and Hawaii almost scored inside, no foul call. Hawaii tried to give it away in OT but hung on. Long trip for Joe Tessitore! This Drexel-Penn game is fun and it is greater to hear John Saunders and Bobby Valvano doing the game. Kansas, North Carolina, Purdue, Oklahoma-Davidson, BC-St. John's (my alma mater) all on the family of networks today...great stuff. I am ready to talk hoops for the next hour before handing off to Jay Bilas...fire away.

Dale (Louisville)

who's the #1 team going into the season?

Howie Schwab
  (11:04 AM)

Clearly it is North Carolina because of its depth and returning talent. I know Tyler Hansbrough and Marcus Ginyard are out tonight and Ginyard will be out til mid-December, but both should be back in time for the important parts of the season. Having the chemistry of Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington in the backcourt, plus returning veterans like Danny Green and Deon Thompson, not to say anything about the incoming freshmen like Tyler Zeller, this team is loaded. There are a lot of talented teams out there. I was impressed watching Oklahoma already, the favorite in the Big 12. OU-Davidson should be a good game tonight. Can Stephen Curry lead the Wildcats to an upset? The first half and early second half of the Connecticut game was a bit surprising last night...UNC clearly number one though.

Roger (Detroit)

What's your early take on the Spartans? Between the exhibition games and the opener, they are scoring in droves (and a lot of fun to watch) - but getting outrebounded by Idaho isn't all that characteristic of an Izzo coached team.

Howie Schwab
  (11:05 AM)

I think Tom Izzo has a lot of young talent. I know Raymar Morgan has to be a veteran leader but I expect a lot from Kalin Lucas and certainly Summers went nuts in the exhibition game. The rebounding will come in time as Izzo's teams are almost always among the nation's leaders in rebound margin. I think it is a toss-up between Michigan State and Purdue to win the Big Ten this season.

Steve (NJ)

MOrning Schwabbie. You're going to get a lot of questions about the top 25, but let's look at a marquee program on the rebound: Indiana. I'm saying 11 wins, and Crean is considered for Coach of the Year (but doesn't win.) please, give a brother something to root for this year!

Howie Schwab
  (11:08 AM)

I think this will be a tough season in Bloomington, but that should not be a surprise given the talent lost/pushed away from the program. This is a transition year and Crean is the perfect coach to rebuild. It will take a little time since the roster was depleted but there is some young talent and you know a Crean-coached team will work hard. I would say in a year or two Indiana will be back in the hunt in the Big Ten...just look at his recruiting class for next season. The fans at Indiana are so passionate and they need to support these kids and Crean this season. Crean is a great guy in the community too, a perfect hire. I think he would be happy with 11 wins given a non-league schedule that includes the trip to Maui with Notre Dame first, plus Texas and UNC in the field.

Steiny (NYC)

Does Davidson have a shot to win the National Championship?

Howie Schwab
  (11:11 AM)

I think that would be difficult. Last year was something special, beating Georgetown and Wisconsin in the tourney and almost beating the eventual champion Jayhawks. The loss of Jason Richards in the backcourt could make a difference in bigger games. I know Stephen Curry has looked good so far, putting up impressive assist numbers (10 last night to go with his 33 points). Tonight vs. Oklahoma will be an interesting test. I think Bob McKillop has done an amazing job there and it is shocking that no big-time program has stolen him away, and that is not a criticism of the program by any stretch.

Kevin (Baton Rouge)

Yes or no, LSU makes the NCAA Tournament

Howie Schwab
  (11:14 AM)

Yes, I think the Tigers will make it back to the big dance after a hiatus. I like the pick of Trent Johnson as coach. If Anthony Randolph didn't leave early it would be a no-brainer. The return of Tasmin Mitchell from last year's injury will help. The SEC looks interesting this year but Tennessee and Florida are the only truly dominant teams. South Carolina already lost Raley-Ross for a month or so...Kentucky lost to VMI so you have a concern. Alabama was stunned by Mercer. Hmm.

Spencer: (NJ)

Howie who's your surprise team and player heading into the season?

Howie Schwab
  (11:15 AM)

I think Auburn could be a surprise in the SEC. Perhaps Cincinnati can make a better showing in the Big East though the loss of promising Cashmere Wright hurts. Surprise player... hmm. Let me think about that one.

Curtis, Oak Hill,WV

West Virginia is gonna take the Big East this year and will go further in the Ncaa Tournament we have the deepest bench ever and I just dont see how they arent ranked?

Howie Schwab
  (11:17 AM)

I have a lot of respect for coach Huggins, but I cannot agree. You don't lose a talent like Joe Alexander and get better overnight. I know there is depth and balance, but the Big East is murder. I do see the Mountaineers making the NCAA tourney, one of nine from the conference in my opinion. Winning the league -- I would say Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh have a better shot, sorry.

K. Ross (Jackson, MS)

Will Tyreke Evans be a dominant player? Sure he gets his points but last night he took a lot of shots and didnt seem to get comfortable until a lead was established

Howie Schwab
  (11:19 AM)

I think for most freshmen it takes some time to get comfortable. You go from being the superstar of your high school team, the big man on campus, to facing guys physically stronger, with much more experience on the college level, which is clearly a factor. Coach Calipari will rely on Evans the same way he relied on big things from Derrick Rose. It is tough at Mermphis because losing Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey, that is a lot of talent. Evans will be one of the premier diaper dandies with DeRozan of USC, Samardo Samuels of Louisville, BJ Mullens at Ohio State...there are a handful of impact newcomers for sure.

Jennifer (Florida)

Hey Schwab, be nice and answer a question from a chick... how do you think the Gators will do this year? Sweet 16 a possibility?

Howie Schwab
  (11:21 AM)

Hello Jennifer. I think the Gators have the nucleus to go to the Sweet 16 though the loss of Jai Lucas, who decided to transfer, is a blow. I am a big believer in team chemistry and playing as a unit, gaining experience together and his absence is a blow. Nick Calathes will have a super soph season.

Devlin (MN)

Schwab is the NCAA Tourney the best month in sports, including the Super Bowl, BCS, World Series, etc

Howie Schwab
  (11:22 AM)

Yes, there is nothing like the entire month of March Madness. There is so much drama, so many storylines, David vs. Golaith. The Super Bowl as a one-game scenario is obviously very dramatic but the big dance has a special magic.

K. Ross (Jackson, MS)

Do you think any conference can match up with the Big East team for team?

Howie Schwab
  (11:23 AM)

Depth wise, no. You can make a case that UNC and Duke could compete with Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. This group of Big East teams is incredible. There is so much talent, super coaching, experience...it is the deepest conference I can remember.

Trent (Rio Oso)

Will Michigan basketball ever be relvent again?

Howie Schwab
  (11:25 AM)

I think John Beilein is the right coach to bring the program back. I know it has been a while since the Wolverines made the tourney--Brian Ellerbe was the coach. If you look at Beilein's history, at Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia, he has built up the programs in a relatively short time. To take that West Virginia team to the Elite Eight a few years back was impressive.

Howie Schwab
  (11:26 AM)

By the way Michigan has a good test against UCLA at MSG on ESPN Thursday night. May be a little too tough to beat the Bruins. I like Manny Harris a lot, arguably the best player in the Big Ten.

Rich (NYC)

Howie, can Siena get further in the dance this year? They blew out Boise State last night by 30 to start the season and have a tough OOC with Pitt, Kansas and Tenn.(among others at the Old Spice)

Howie Schwab
  (11:28 AM)

I want to see how Siena does down in Orlando. I like the job done by Fran McCaffrey, the former Digger Phelps second lieutenant. That tourney is loaded with Tennessee first, and a field with Michigan State, Georgetown, Maryland and an improved Wichita State, among others. I like Siena to get back to the big dance and the experience of last year will help. By the way, for those not watching, Penn has come back and cut the Drexel lead to four.

John (Watertown, NY)

What are St. John's chances of making a postseason appearance this year?

Howie Schwab
  (11:31 AM)

They are in the men's soccer tourney. The women's volleyball team is very good. Oh, in hoops. Last night was a good win over Ivy favorite Cornell, and tonight at BC is the kind of early test that could lead to some confidence with an upset win. I think DJ Kennedy and Justin Burrell are solid, and the guard play seems to be improved. It is just so tough in the Big East, so I think the best you could hope for is an NIT berth, to be honest. Norm Roberts has added a couple of top-notch recruits for next year, so as a member of the SJU class of 1982, I am optimistic of a revival down the line. No Mullin or Berry around these days, but these kids are young and they play hard.

James (Randleman, NC)

Is there any way that Kentucky could pull off an upset with a hurting UNC team tonight?

Howie Schwab
  (11:32 AM)

I don't see it. Kentucky had 25 turnovers against VMI and shot 3 of 16 on threes. One key is Patrick Patterson, who had four shots from the floor the other night. Jodie Meeks is not getting 39 tonight, nor should he ever take 27 shots from the floor. Talent wise I don't see Kentucky winning but I can see it being closer than a three-touchdown game if you know what I mean. I hope it is closer.

K. Pearson (Marion, IN)

So Schwab...can you tell me if there is a better young coaching talent in America than Matt Painter? How far do you think he will take the no longer "baby boilers" this season?

Howie Schwab
  (11:34 AM)

Painter did one of the best coaching jobs in America last season. As for this year, this is one of the most talented, still relatively young TEAMS...they play as a great unit. I am a big fan of Kramer and I am not talking Seinfeld. Great defender. The difference this season is Purdue is not going to sneak up on people and mentally they will get the best shots of all opponents. Purdue is a Sweet 16 team in my book.

Kyle (Davie,FL)

How is FSU looking this year? can they make March Madness this year?

Howie Schwab
  (11:36 AM)

I keep waiting for Coach Ham to put something big together. There has been some talent but the lack of consistency is bothersome in evaluating this program. I am looking forward to seeing Chris Singleton play. Toney Douglas is certainly a star and those guys have to be effective night in and out. Again, the depth of the conference makes it tough to make the big dance. Wake, Clemson, solid teams...Va. Tech off to a slow start in two wins...UNC and Duke in a different stratosphere.

Mark (Bham, AL)

Speaking of David vs Goliath, you think UAB has a chance tonight vs Arizona? How can UAB do this year? Thanks!

Howie Schwab
  (11:37 AM)

I was a little surprised UAB struggled against Santa Clara the other night. On paper, with Vaden and a healthy Delaney UAB has a shot. Arizona looked bad in the first half of their exhibition game when I watched. I think there is still an adjustment period since Lute Olson retired. The players know they have to step up in this game and it could get physical. Chase Budinger keys a close Arizona win.

ray gordon reid brentwood tn 37027

QUESTION TO howie SCHWAB AT 11.,40 AM HI HOWIE LATER RICHMOND AT SYRACUSE WHO DO YOU LIKE

Howie Schwab
  (11:38 AM)

Syracuse.

Tommy (ATL)

How many teams do you see getting in the Tourney from the A10? My prediction is 2 (Xavier, and Dayton). What do you think?

Howie Schwab
  (11:39 AM)

I think Xavier and Temple will make it.

Tommy (ATL)

How many chips would you give this chat?

Howie Schwab
  (11:40 AM)

9...having fun so far.

John (Dallas)

Howie, if both UCLA and Duke advance to the final game in CvC how do you see the game playing out?

Howie Schwab
  (11:41 AM)

Great question. I think I would rather answer that after I watch the semis on Thursday but this chat is live now, so I will go out and say I like Duke because of the overall experience factor. It should be a great one, if it happens, and I think it should.

Jared (Winston Salem, NC)

I personally think that Wake could be a legit team this year. I believe that they could make it as far as anyone with their talent. They are deep, good point guard if he can get healthy, fast, slasher guard in teague, height, and strength. I know they are young, but I seriously think that they could make a very deep run in March, like possible final four story. Do you agree?

Howie Schwab
  (11:42 AM)

I agree that Wake is going to be legit -- young but legit. I feel that this group will grow together as a unit. I see Dino Gaudio's squad making the big dance and not being an easy out. Teague, Johnson and Aminu is a nice nucleus.

Matt (Cincinnati,Ohio

How deep in the tournament do you believe Xavier will go, if they improve. Also, will it help if Crawford is eligible to play.

Howie Schwab
  (11:44 AM)

Xavier lost a lot of talent but Sean Miller's roster is still solid. I think Crawford, who transferred from Indiana would be a big plus. By the way, the NCAA is taking its time with the Crawford situation and the Stepheson situation out at USC...come on, the season has started.

Jimmy, New York, NY

Hey Schwab. There has been a knock on Roy Williams throughout his career in that he struggles as a game time coach. Its clear he's one of the best recruiters, and superb at creating team chemistry, but it seems like in big games (ahem Kansas), he has trouble motivating players. Thoughts?

Howie Schwab
  (11:45 AM)

Roy Williams' teams have made adjustments in the past and I think your criticism is unfair. Yes, the Kansas loss to Arizona, which is what I think you are referring too when Vaughn, Pierce and LaFrentz were the big favorite to cut down the nets was disappointing.

Mike (Storrs, CT)

I was at the UCONN game last night and was as surprised as you the way they came out of the gate. Do you think it was just a case of them looking ahead to the sun and sand (and quality teams) of St. Thomas and the Paradise Jam? When they woke up out of their funk they dispatched Hartford rather easily.

Howie Schwab
  (11:47 AM)

I think part of the credit goes to Hartford for playing hard and part goes to the Huskies being sluggish. Thabeet played well in the first game of the season and should have dominated against the smaller Hawks last night. That happens in non-league games and I am sure Jim Calhoun was not thrilled early and with the first few minutes of the second half. Maybe the absence of AJ Price was a small factor too. I like Kemba Walker by the way though freshmen playing at point make mistakes at times...he was there because of Price's injury.

Toni (Lexington)

What do you think the chances are that this is the year UK breaks its NCAA Tourney streak?

Howie Schwab
  (11:48 AM)

I think Kentucky will bounce back from the VMI loss, though not with a win tonight. Remember Kentucky was 7-9 last year and then bounced back and made the tourney.

Jarroll (KC)

What do you think of Creighton so far this year with a big 55 point second half comeback on a talented New Mexico team

Howie Schwab
  (11:49 AM)

I noticed that score. I like Creighton to win the MVC and maybe win a game in the NCAA...Sweet 16 at best but Dana Altman does a very good job.

Mike(NY,NY)

O.J. Mayo was a star at USC along with Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett. Do you think DeMar DeRozan can step up and help them beat teams like UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State.

Howie Schwab
  (11:50 AM)

I like UCLA and Arizona State over the Trojans, but Tim Floyd's team will make the tourney and will be dangerous.

Jeff (Raleigh, NC)

What did you think of the Duke game vs. Rhode Island? Was it Duke is not that great or Rhode Island played very above average for them? I go with the latter, I watched the game twice, and they just played good. Baron hit it with good defense on him. Will this kind of game motivate Duke?

Howie Schwab
  (11:51 AM)

I did not see the game and was totally stunned by the score. That's what happens when a guy gets hot and Jimmy Baron, son of the coach, was on fire from long distance to keep the Rams right there. Coach K will use this as a learning experience and the non-conference homecourt streak continues.

Lee (Malibu)

What do you think of John Pelphrey at Arkansas?

Howie Schwab
  (11:52 AM)

The Beverly situation was a major blow. I think this is not the season to evaluate Pelphrey. I think this will be a tough season down there as the roster doesn't have much experience. I feel he is a good coach with good mentors like Rick Pitino for example.

K (philly)

I think Jimmy was referring to UNCs dismantling by Kansas in the Final 4 last year.

Howie Schwab
  (11:53 AM)

OK...

redskin45 (north augusta SC)

does georgetown have any promising players this year that could possibly help them get to the big game/championship

Howie Schwab
  (11:53 AM)

Keep an eye on newcomer Greg Monroe up front. I think a key for the Hoyas will be Sapp in the backcourt. Hoyas make the NCAA tourney.

Ben (Madison, WI)

Schwab, you need to tape a new season of Stump the Schwab. I've seen the old ones so many times I know the questions before they're asked (and Stu's terrible jokes). Anyways, do you think the Badgers are primed for a run to the Sweet 16? They lost 14 feet of big white guy, and I don't know if they can make up their vertically challenged-ness.

Howie Schwab
  (11:55 AM)

Bo Ryan is one of the best coaches in America. His teams will always play hard and succeed. I think the Badgers will make the tourney and depending on thre draw, the potential is there to make it through a round or two, sure.

Shafe (Cincinnati)

Do you think the College Basketball season is too short, long, or just right, with regard to # of games played?

Howie Schwab
  (11:56 AM)

I think it is just right though I know some feel it is too long. It started in mid-November, not the first week like it did a couple of years ago. Then again, I could watch the sport 12 months a year.

Bill (Boston)

Where do you see BC finishing in the ACC? Do they make the tournament?

Howie Schwab
  (11:57 AM)

I think Al Skinner's team will make the NIT and fall short of the NCAA. Tyrese Rice is certainly one of the better scorers in the ACC and I like Sanders up front. Again it is a matter of the strength of the conference. Obviously I am not rooting for the Eagles tonight against the Johnnies.

Matt (ohio)

Do you feel Louisville has a shot at being the best/#1 team at any time during the season? This team close to the 1996 Pitino term? What do you think of Samardo Sammuels?

Howie Schwab
  (11:59 AM)

Louisville will be one of the top teams in America. The addition of Samuels is a big positive up front. There is solid backcourt talent and depth. Rick Pitino is one of the best coaches in America and he is optimistic about this team. We should see the Cardinals at Ford Field in the Final Four. Thanks for the questions. I will hand off to Jay Bilas now. Enjoy the hoops marathon.

Jay Bilas
  (12:01 PM)

Hey everybody! This is Jay Bilas, and thanks for joining my part of this Marathon Chat. I doubt I am in shape for a Marathon, but I think I can handle it. Let's go!

Alex, New York, NY

Jay - I found out today that I get espn360 at work. I think I'm going to get fired. What do I do?

Jay Bilas
  (12:02 PM)

Polish up that resume. I have already done mine. I have been expecting a pink slip for quite some time now.

Randy (lexington)

Do you think Jodie Meeks of Kentucky can be SEC player of the year?

Jay Bilas
  (12:04 PM)

Randy: If Meeks scores 39 points every once in a while he can! I tend to think that Tyler Smith will take the trophy, but it is always up for grabs. Patrick Patterson will be in the mix before Meeks, I would think. Against UNC, they won't forget to get him touches. That will be a different game than VMI. UNC has to rebound, and UK needs to get back in transition, protect the ball, and get in inside and let Patterson go to work.

Jay Bilas
  (12:04 PM)

Randy: If Meeks scores 39 points every once in a while he can! I tend to think that Tyler Smith will take the trophy, but it is always up for grabs. Patrick Patterson will be in the mix before Meeks, I would think. Against UNC, they won't forget to get him touches. That will be a different game than VMI. UNC has to rebound, and UK needs to get back in transition, protect the ball, and get in inside and let Patterson go to work.

JIM (Seattle)

I been very impressed the in the way Uconn is playing,do you see them winning the NCAA finals

Jay Bilas
  (12:06 PM)

I would not be shocked in the least. UConn has size and good guards, and they can really defend. WIth shotblocking, the UConn guards can get out and pressure and force turnovers. Plus, they have good experience. I really like Kemba Walker. He will have a big year. I like UNC, UConn, Louisville and Michigan State to make it to Detroit.

Tyler (Westlake Village, CA)

Hey Jay. John Beilein teams have given arguably more talented and definitely more experienced Bruin teams a lot of trouble over the past few years. How worried should I be about our matchup with Michigan on Thursday?

Jay Bilas
  (12:07 PM)

Worry if you want to, but it won't do any good. UCLA is the better team, but the Bruins are thin up front. The problem with Michigan is that they are very inconsistent and don't yet have an identity. I think Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims are really good, but UCLA has much better guards, and much more experience. I like UCLA to win, but Michigan is getting better and better.

Spencer: (NJ)

Jay, who's the "Dark Horse" team in the ACC?

Jay Bilas
  (12:08 PM)

Virginia Tech. With Jeff Allen and AD Vassallo, the Hokies have good players and really had a surprising year last year. But, I think that dark horse means third this year. Watch out for Wake Forest and Clemson as well.

David, Seattle

UW lost to Portland State, how on earth did this happen? Will they rebound and make the tourney? Or will this be another disappointing season?

Jay Bilas
  (12:10 PM)

Washington needs more consistent and better guard play. Stability in the backcourt is really important. Plus, Quincy Pondexter needs to be consistent at a high level. I know Jon Brockman willl be....every play. It is one game. Certainly not a good start, but not the end of the story.

Randy (lexington)

Do you think that Kentucky can turn the season around after the loss to VMI?

Jay Bilas
  (12:11 PM)

Yes. But, this is not a great team. This is a good UK team. They are a long way from great. Did I just take two questions from you, Randy? You need to share the rock!.

Bobby (tacoma, wa)

whats your take on Gonzaga? are they good enough to stay in the top 10?

Jay Bilas
  (12:14 PM)

Yes, the Zags are good enough. I think that Gonzaga has had some really good chances to advance to the Final Four, and this year is one of them. But, they are not a favorite to do so. That is one great program. It is hard to believe that they are so good every year without having big conference power behind them. Amazing. Pargo, Daye and Heytfelt have to be leaders and stars this year, and defense and rebounding have to be a priority.

andy (Winston-Salem, NC)

Who you like tonight? Davidson vs. Oklahoma, and UNC vs. UK?

Jay Bilas
  (12:15 PM)

OU because of Blake Griffin and UNC because of depth and Ty Lawson. Watch for Curry tonight. His decisions with the ball will the the entire key. He can get 40 and OU can still win. OU needs to shut down easy stuff for the others.

Gray (Chicago)

Who is Jimmy Baron and how come I had never heard of him before?

Jay Bilas
  (12:18 PM)

Probably because URI is hardly every on television. Baron can really shoot it, and he made some really difficult shots. But, lets remember, while some were comparing Baron to J.J. Redick, and he made some Redick type shots, Redick averaged 30ppg in ACC play his senior year. That dude could really drill shots in college. Other shooters to watch for that you may not know are Josh Akognon of Cal State Fullerton and A.J Abrams of Texas.

john (east lansing michigan)

with drew neitzel gone....who takes the big shots in crunchtime for the spartans?

Jay Bilas
  (12:19 PM)

MSU has a lot of weapons, which is why I have them as a Final Four team. Durrell Summers, Chris Allen, Raymar Morgan, Kalin Lucas and Goran Suton are a good start, and Delvon Roe will get better and better. I really like this team and its potential. They need to guard and rebound, and the offense will be there for them.

Christian (Scranton, PA)

Jay - Why do people continue to ask you questions about who would win between a Mid-Major and a BCS school when we all know that you will say the BCS every time?

Jay Bilas
  (12:22 PM)

Not true. There can always be upsets and really good mid-major teams. But, if we are speaking generally, you would get laughed out of any court if you tried to argue to a jury that mid-majors are generally just as good as the top teams in major conferences. Having really good mid-majors beat the bottom teams in big conferences is not the point you are trying to make, is it? Last year, I picked Davidson and Western Kentucky as two teams that were sleepers.....and they woke some people up. But, which teams were in the Final Four? The big conference teams. It doesn't mean that they cannot get beat. They can.

Eric (Indy)

Hey Howie. Do you think my Hoosiers this season could become the next "Milan"/"Hickory Huskers"?

Jay Bilas
  (12:24 PM)

Howie Schwab is not walking through that door!!! Jimmy Chitwood is not walking through that door!!! I'm sure Tom Crean can be a Norman Dale, but who on his staff will be Shooter?!!

Spencer: (NJ)

Jay, who is your breakout player this year in the ACC? .... Please don't say Nolan Smith.

Jay Bilas
  (12:24 PM)

Jeff Teague from Wake Forest. Also, watch Trevor Booker from Clemson. He teams with a great shooter in Terrence Oglesby.

Eric (Indy)

I meant Jay

Jay Bilas
  (12:25 PM)

Too late. I'm insulted. Howie is REALLY insulted!!

Shawn (Carbondale, IL)

What do you think about SIU? They have a lot of young players, but are they good enough to make it back to the ncaa tournament?

Jay Bilas
  (12:27 PM)

Very good team. I think that Carlton Fay is the key to really being able to score this season. You know that SIU will guard people. Duke will have a fight, but can SIU score enough points?

Jason (Lawrenceburg, KY)

Jay, What good does it do Kentucky to schedule teams like VMI this early in the season. It only hurts your RPI and your chances at the end of the season of getting in the tournament. If UK wins, so what they are supposed to. BUT, if they lose......it just looks bad. It seems like a lose/lose situation to me.

Jay Bilas
  (12:28 PM)

Fair point. But, there is no excuse for losing that game and giving up 111 points. The reason you schedule that game is to give your team a game against a different style that you will have to play later on, perhaps in the NCAA Tournament. But, if you lose those games, you might not have to worry about it. UK is still building. Give Billy G. some time.

Jay (Hershey Park,PA)

With Cornell's loss to St Johns last night do you think the Ivy League is more wide open then previously perceived?

Jay Bilas
  (12:30 PM)

Cornell is still the best team in the Ivy, but because the Big Red is the best team in the Ivy doesn't mean that they are as good as the bottom of the Big East. I think that Harvard, Penn, and Yale will be pretty good, but Cornell is still the best team. Louis Dale and Ryan Whittman are top shelf guards.

Sam (Knoxville)

Hey Jay, what do you think Tennessee's chances are this year of finally making a deep run in the tourney. Even without Chris Lofton, I like this roster. And who is this Re Woolridge in the starting lineup? Why not Scotty Hopson or some of the other heralded freshman?

Jay Bilas
  (12:32 PM)

It depends upon Bobby Maze. Last year, UT ran into Louisville and struggled with the pressure having JP Prince handle the ball. WIth Maze, UT will have a better chance with more stability. Prince looked good against UTC, and really did a nice job of coming in and providing energy and length. When Scotty Hopson figures it out, UT will be really good. I like the way they play.

Ryan (Philadelphia, PA)

Hey Jay. What are your thoughts on Villanova. They are returning almost everybody and have some good young talent on the rise. Any chance they sneak into the top 5 during the season?

Jay Bilas
  (12:34 PM)

I was one of the lone voices in the wilderness last year that said Villanova was an NCAA team. Look what they did when they got there. This year, I think that Jay Wright again has great guards, but Dante Cunningham and Antonio Pena can score. Heck, Cunningham had 31 points last night. I didn't know the Nova forwards were allowed to shoot....not since Mark Plansky, anyway. And you couldn't stop Plansky from firing it up!

Robert Clarksville, In

If Kentucky shocks the nation with a win tonight, what does that do for their season, and what does it mean for UNC?

Jay Bilas
  (12:35 PM)

How about that....Kentucky shocking the nation. Why would a UK win be a shock? UNC is the better team, but having Hansbrough out is kind of a big deal. No team can make up for the loss of a National Player of the Year and be the same.

Marshall (Provo, UT)

How far will BYU go this year? Are they better than last year?

Jay Bilas
  (12:37 PM)

Lee Cummard is the real thing. He had a great start against LBSU. Having Tavernari hitting shots helps and having the middle a big more open will help too. BYU was pretty darn good last year. I thing the MWC is a better league this year, too.

Mark (Naperville, Illinois)

Jay, Syracuse - Donte Greene + Devendorf and Rautins =?

Jay Bilas
  (12:38 PM)

Better team. Not because of Green, but because Flynn is a great point and Devendorf and Rautins can open things up by scoring. More threats equals more wins and an NCAA bid.

Mike (Boston)

Bigger shocker so far, Utah, Alabama or Washington?

Jay Bilas
  (12:38 PM)

Utah. The others were close. It is no fun to lose those games. People never forget them.

Alexander(Madison, WI)

Most under rated program in the country....gotta be Bo and my Badgers right?

Jay Bilas
  (12:41 PM)

Holy cow, Alexander....don't you guys get tired of thinking of yourselves as "underrated"? How many Big Ten titles do you need before you think we give you enough press? GameDay is coming to Madison, we praise Bo, we say that the Kohl Center is a bear to win in, and you want to be underrated and slighted?! Start a new one.....be the overrated team. UW is really a great program. And, Bo looks exactly like the Badger. Exactly.

Marcus L (Madison, Wi)

Will I ever get the respect nationally that I deserve?

Jay Bilas
  (12:42 PM)

You sir, are underrated. Just ask Alexander. He gets it.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

What is wrong with Alabama they will be playing some good team in maui will they some how win one there?

Jay Bilas
  (12:44 PM)

Give Alabama a little time. Steele is back, Gee is working as a forward now, and JaMychal Green is just getting started. Alabama is trying to play faster, and not having Hendrix is an adjustment. The Tide will be good. Give them a chance.

Tom (Alabama)

Can UAB overtake Memphis as conference champs this year?

Jay Bilas
  (12:45 PM)

I doubt it, but UAB can beat Memphis. With Vaden, Kinnard and Delaney, Mike Davis has good pieces. Memphis still has more talent overall.

Ben (Madison, WI)

Is Digger going to breaking down games today? I haven't seen the highliter/tie combo in a while.

Jay Bilas
  (12:46 PM)

Digger is just going to break down.

Marc, Charlotte

Jay, Are you going to be in Chapel Hill for Gameday and if so is Digger gonna be dancin' with the coeds again?

Jay Bilas
  (12:46 PM)

I'm in Chapel Hill now. Digger will be dancing with cheerleaders. If the word gets out, they may not show up.

Gregg (Tempe, AZ)

Will James Harden be the player of the year in the Pac 10?

Jay Bilas
  (12:48 PM)

He has a great chance to be. I think that Harden is the best pro prospect in the league, but I think that Jon Brockman could very well be the POY. DeMar DeRozan of USC is the best freshman.

Thomas (Plymouth Meeting PA)

Being enrolled at Ron Moore's old high school, I have to wonder do the Siena Saints have another solid year in them?

Jay Bilas
  (12:49 PM)

Best team in the MAAC. WIth Edwin Ubiles and Kenny Hasbrouck back, Fran McCaffery has another really good team. They are NCAA good.

UCLA LEWIS

JAY ALL THIS TALK ABOUT HOW THIN WE ARE UP FRONT, IF I DO REMEMBER CORRECTLY DIDNT WE TAKE THE SAME TYPE OF TEAM TO TWO DIFFERENT FINAL FOURS SO WHAT HAS CHANGED IN PEOPLE'S PERCEPTION SINCE THEN?

Jay Bilas
  (12:51 PM)

It ain't perception. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is a major loss. He was one of the nation's top defenders and rebounders. I did not suggest that UCLA wasn't really good or going to get better. But, the UCLA guards are better than the UCLA big men. That's it. Still VERY GOOD. Be careful, you may morph into a Wisconsin fan!

Trey (Louisville, KY)

Jay, What are your thoughts on UofL's replacement for David Padgett? Do you think the trio of Samuels, Clark, and T-Will and a point gaurd by committee can lead the Ville to a Final Four and overcome the Tar Heels in a rematch of last year?

Jay Bilas
  (12:52 PM)

Samardo Samuels will live at the free throw line. He is the strongest freshman in the nation, and he will score a lot of points and grab a lot of rebounds for Rick Pitino. He can make up for Padgett's production, it is the leadership that will really be missed.

Matt (Normal, IL)

how far do you see Marquette going this year?

Jay Bilas
  (12:53 PM)

I really like that team. Wesley Matthews has gotten off to a great start. The key will be up front. Marquette is a little bit small, but they are tough and know how to win.

Jonathan (Cullowhee, NC)

Will Davidson beat Oklahoma tonight? If so who has a bigger night between the two all-americans?

Jay Bilas
  (12:54 PM)

I like OU to win in a close game at home. Curry will have over 30, but so will Griffin. The key will be the other Davidson players. Can OU limit them and make Curry do it all himself?

Ryan (Chapel Hill, NC)

What's the offensive strategy for UNC tonight? Fast paced obviously, but will we more more inclined to take jumpers instead of challenging Patterson with Tyler out?

Jay Bilas
  (12:56 PM)

UNC will not change offensively. Secondary break, run at every opportunity, run their sets and freelance and get the ball inside. The key will be on the defensive end and on the glass. UNC has to outrebound UK and must force turnovers and keep the ball out of the paint to Patterson. UK will be much more resolute to get the ball inside, especially with Hansbrough out. This can be a good game.

Tom (Chicago)

Hi Jay, I'm an Illinois State and Valley fan. What are the chances the MVC gets multiple bids this year and do my Redbirds have a shot?

Jay Bilas
  (12:58 PM)

Decent chance at multiple bids. Creighton is an NCAA team, and perhaps SIU. I like Illinois State, and think that Osiris Eldridge is a truly outstanding college player. Tim Jankovich is a really good coach, and he has done an outstanding job in Normal.

Jay Bilas
  (12:59 PM)

Thanks for joining my part of the chat! That was fun. See you soon. Best, Jay Bilas

Andy Katz
  (1:03 PM)

I'm here to take the pass from Jay.

Marc Birmingham, AL

What are your thoughts on UAB and Arizona tonight? Do Vaden and Delaney pull the upset?

Andy Katz
  (1:04 PM)

I really wouldn't term it an upset. Paul Delaney III and Robert Vaden are better than what Arizona has on the perimeter. The key will be can they defend not just Chase Budinger but keep Jordan Hill off the boards. I'll predict a UAB win.

John (Dallas)

Andy, I saw that you didn't think Collison was an all-american, why?

Andy Katz
  (1:05 PM)

Not a first team all-American. Right now I'm leaning toward Patty Mills. Maybe this is an NBA-Olympic bias, but Mills was an Olympian and will be a higher draft pick than Collison. He has more on his shoulders to deliver than Collison.

Josh Mebane,NC

How many teams do you think the ACC will get into the NCAA tournament? How many from the Big East do you see getting in?

Andy Katz
  (1:09 PM)

Here are my locks in the ACC NC Duke Miami Wake I'm fairly confident that Va Tech will get there. I like Clemson to find away, leaving a cluster of BC, Ga Tech, FSU, NC State and Maryland. One of those teams is going to get a bid. I can see 10 coming out of the Big East with the 10th being a battle between Cincinnati and Providence.

Aaron (Richmond, Va)

How many teams do you think will come out of the CAA?

Andy Katz
  (1:11 PM)

Ultimately only one this year with my pick being Northeastern.

Tommy (ATL)

What gym do you think has the best atmosphere to watch an NCAA basketball game out of all the Mid Majors?

Andy Katz
  (1:13 PM)

Saint Mary's (I'm not including Gonzaga here). The McKeon Pavilion is as tough a place to win as any in the country when the Gaels are good.

Dan (Pullman)

Andy- Whats your thoughts on Washington State? Can they duplicate last years success?

Andy Katz
  (1:14 PM)

I'm back on the WSU bandwagon. The Cougars will finish no lower than fourth. That's my bold statement of the day. WSU's defense is once again solid. They still have two of the more veteran, solid players at their respective positions in the Pac-10: PG Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes and a system that keeps on working.

Michael (Evansville, IN)

How does the NCAA selection committee evaluate a loss such as Utah's to Southwest Baptist? For computer ratings (like RPI) purposes, they aren't factored in, right? Wouldn't it make since to give all non-DI schools a certain RPI score (say each game played against one of those teams counts the same as a game against the last placed RPI team)? Otherwise, how in the world can you take into consideration those loses. Say, for instance, that your RPI was 30 at the end of the season but you had a non-DI loss also. Well, in reality your RPI shouln't be anywehere near 30.

Andy Katz
  (1:16 PM)

Good question. The non-DI games won't hurt the power rating but they do show up on the schedule sheet when the committee evaluate who a team has lost to during the season. So it won't help.

john (cincinnati)

andy, the palestra in philly is a great place to watch a game, especially between big 5 teams. what are your thoughts on the mac getting more than one team into tourney...i think the mac is very comparable to a-10 which usually gets more than one team in???

Andy Katz
  (1:18 PM)

I agree but when I've been there the place hasn't been packed. Yes, for sheer sight lines the Palestra is top notch. Don't see a MAC team this season being good enough to get an at-large berth if they were to lose in the conference tournament. I have been impressed by Miami so far but the RedHawks haven't been able to close out.

John (Davidson, NC)

What do you see happening in the Davidson-Oklahoma match-up tonight?

Andy Katz
  (1:20 PM)

A great game. Not sure Davidson can keep Blake Griffin off the offensive backboard. But if they can somehow limit his dominace then they have a shot. I fully expect Steph Curry to go off for 20 to 30.

Bob Charlotte, NC

How about the Buckeyes what is your opinion for them in the Big Ten and NCAA, Thanks

Andy Katz
  (1:22 PM)

We probably haven't talked enough about the Buckeyes in the preseason. B.J. Mullens should be the top rookie in the Big Ten and get the Buckeyes in position to be an NCAA team. The ACC-Big Ten Challenge game at Miami should be a good indicator of where the Buckeyes are this early in the season.

Casey(Lexington, KY)

Whats the best college backetball environment

Andy Katz
  (1:25 PM)

This is a tough call between Kansas and Kentucky. I'm going to lean toward Kansas because of the design of Phog Allen over Rupp. The noise inside Phog Allen is piercing. Kentucky's house is imposing but I would give the slight edge to KU. Both fan bases are tremendously loyal, too.

Josh Mebane,NC

Andy, How big of an impact do you see Aminu having on Wake? Do you think that he could be a second team All-ACC?

Andy Katz
  (1:27 PM)

Why not? He probably will be rookie of the year in the ACC. But the player that can excite the most on that squad may be Jeff Teague.

Tommy (ATL)

I hate Duke, but how can you not pick them as the best environment for a game?

Andy Katz
  (1:28 PM)

Without hesitation. I've been to Cameron plenty of times and I would still take KU over Duke. The "Rock Jock Jayhawk," chant should be used by a hypnotist.

guinness

Kansas and Kentucky over UNC and Duke? The environments at both the Dean Dome and Cameron are insane!

Andy Katz
  (1:29 PM)

They are in my top group, but I still would lean to KU and Kentucky. This could be a good debate point for us this season.

Jeff (Nashville)

I'm guessing since we haven't heard from the NCAA on Crawford's status Xavier should just move on? Also, how would you rule in this situation?

Andy Katz
  (1:31 PM)

I am on record that I wouldn't grant him a waiver. The NCAA hasn't ruled on Indiana yet. He bailed before there was any knowledge of a further penalty. If Crawford gets eligible at Xavier then IU should get Jeremiah Rivers eligible from Georgetown. If you grant Crawford eligibility then you would have to give other Indiana players like Armon Bassett (UAB) and Eli Holman (Detroit) the same thing and countless other transfers.

Jason (ny,ny)

Hi Andy, so far its been nearly a three hour chat and not a question on the Gators. Have they really fallen that far off of the national radar?

Andy Katz
  (1:31 PM)

Nope. This is the first one I saw. Talked to Billy Donovan last night. Expect the Gators to rely heavily on the 3-point shot this season.

Alec (East Lansing, MI)

Katz, whos the best in the big ten, and who comes in second. Also which big ten team goes deepest come march?

Andy Katz
  (1:33 PM)

1. Michigan State 2. Purdue 3. Michigan State gets to Detroit.

Mike (Lexington, KY)

What is your take on DeMarcus Cousins tactic of making UAB put in writing that if Mike Davis is not the coach next season (for whatever reason) they will allow him to get out of his National Letter of Intent? This seems a very reasonable request for Cousins?

Andy Katz
  (1:36 PM)

Nothing wrong with the player trying to take advantage of a situation. But most schools are letting players out of their NLIs anyway if a coach leaves. I don't expect Mike Davis to go anywhere else in the near future.

Matt (Lynchburg, VA)

Andy: After having an opening game of 23 and 8 steals, do you think Seth Curry can do for Liberty U, what his older brother Stephen did for Davidson?

Andy Katz
  (1:38 PM)

That would be asking a bit much. Liberty will allow him to get plenty of shots. Ritchie McKay firmly believes Seth has all-star potential but the Flames would probably struggle to put similar talent around Seth Curry that Davidson was able to do around Steph Curry. Also the Southern Conference is deeper, larger and more talented than the Big South. Liberty also doesn't get any where close to the national games that Davidson can and has landed.

Mike (Boston)

You're the NCAA hoops Czar for a day, what do you do? Cut back on the number of DI teams? Add more teams to the NCAA's? Fix this transfer mess?

Andy Katz
  (1:40 PM)

There are so many things. I would cut down summer recruiting extensively. You're not going to cut out the sneaker and middle men powers but I would try to limit it as much as I could. I have no issue with the players playing the games, but the recruiting aspect should re-directed to the academic year. I'd like to see one signing period in the spring. I'd also like to see one set opening date.

Scott (Cleveland, OH)

What impact will Tyree Evans have at Kent state, will this get them poised for a cinderella run

Andy Katz
  (1:42 PM)

Well, according to reports today, Evans won't be eligible until mid-December at the earliest. So we'll have to wait and see.

Bob F (Chicago IL)

Don't understand the remark you made in your blog yesterday "Pac-10 schools should be strong enough to open on the road only at comparable-level schools." They are strong enough to open on the road against comparable level schools but some PAC-10's can't seem to beat mids on the road....I'm puzzled by this.

Andy Katz
  (1:44 PM)

It doesn't help these teams to open up at Yale, Howard and Portland. If you're going to open on the road get more bang for the power rating by playing at a higher level school. If you lose the game then it's much more of a respectable loss.

Giovanni (naples, fla)

What teams do you see contending for the Big 12.

Andy Katz
  (1:48 PM)

Ultimately it will be a two-team race between OU and Texas. Kansas, Baylor and Texas A&M are in the next tier. The reason KU does have an outside shot is because of the schedule. The Jayhawks only have to play Texas, OU, Baylor and Texas A&M one time. That's a huge advantage this season.

Matt (Fort Collins)

You're the only one that had UNLV in their top 25 and we've gone this whole chat without any thoughts. Can you enlighten everyone on what they're missing out on?

Andy Katz
  (1:56 PM)

Lon Kruger has done an outstanding job of building a consistent winner. Wink Adams will be a stud for them all season. I have no reservations that UNLV will be competing against BYU for the MWC title.

Barry (Norfolk, VA

Will all the Lute Olson drama, do you see the wildcats making it to the big dance for the 25th time. And who do you see as the front runner for the job.

Andy Katz
  (1:57 PM)

It will be close with Arizona. Close. Arizona will talk to three people first from what I have been told: Jamie Dixon, Mark Few and Tom Izzo in some order and then will work from there if it doesn't pan out.

Dan (West Coast)

Andy- As a contributor are you responsible for a particular region? You seem to be a lot more knowledgeable about the west coast teams than your co-workers.

Andy Katz
  (1:58 PM)

I worked on the West Coast for nine years and frequently travel to the West Coast. But no, we don't have particular regions that we have to cover.

Mike (Lexington, KY)

From the top down the SEC looks pretty weak this season. How many teams do you project they will get into the tourney?

Andy Katz
  (1:59 PM)

I still see six. Florida Tennessee LSU And then I still think Kentucky gets there and Alabama will find a way, leaving Miss State, Ole Miss and Vandy for my last spot.

Andy Katz
  (2:00 PM)

I'm going to hand off to my colleague Dana O'Neil now and make my way from the ESPNU headquarters in Charlotte to Chapel Hill for the Kentucky-North Carolina game. Thanks Andy

Dana O'Neil
  (2:01 PM)

Great day. Seth Curry coming on soon. Like March in November.

Billy G (Lexington)

Andy please give my fan base some hope. Tell them they will be fine after losing to VMI.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:02 PM)

Billy G: Define fine. In Kentucky, losing to a lower level team in the season opener... again... is never fine. don't see a season-long disaster but this wasn't the foot you needed to start on.

jim (NY)

Why is Jonny Flynn getting no love nationally?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:02 PM)

Jim: Probably because Syracuse, thanks to injuries, fell off the radar last year. Expect the Cuse to be back and I personaly think Flynn is phenomenal.

McDoogle (Robbins NC)

Is Davidson a real contender in the big picture.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:03 PM)

McDoogle: Absolutely. And anyone who disagrees didn't watch the NCAA tournament for a split second.

JL (Hoboken, NJ)

Dana! No one is answering my questions about Vandy! I think if Festus Ezeli and Jeff Taylor play well they will be very good again. In fact they're probably a more balanced team than last year as they can still hit the trey but won't be relying on it as much with two huge guys in the interior. Your take?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:04 PM)

JL Sorry, pal. Lots of questions on the board. Vandy will be good, yes but will have to claw to make it into the tourney this yearr, I think.

Chris Fairfax, VA

Why is everyone calling VMI that low a team? They are no Gardner-Webb. They have lead the nation in scoring the past 3 seasons and made 14 three-pointers against UK. I mean that will win you the game every time!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:05 PM)

Chris: So they'd beat Carolina? And UCLA? And make it to the Final Four? sure, they're a nice team. Holmes twins are great scorers. But they played Kentucky. That's not supposed to happen.

Robert (Atlanta, GA)

Dana, I know everyone is talking about Curry and Griffin (and rightfully so) in the Davidson-OU matchup, but I think those two will get their stats, but the game will be decided by everyone else. How do you see the matchups of the non-All Americans in this game turning out? Also, can you reprimand 65% of "SportsNation" for wanting to watch UK-UNC over Davidson-OU (per the ESPN poll question). I understand the allure of the names on the front of the jerseys, but this won't be a close game. Davidson-OU matches 2 top 25 teams and 2 pre-season All-Americans. Besides die-hard UK and UNC fans, why would ANYONE pick that game?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:07 PM)

Robert: I'm with you. My TV will spend a lot of time on the deuce tonight at 930. Think the key is the backcourt and i know that includes Curry. If Oklahoma can keep him in check (less than 50?) and play smart, the Sooners get the slight edge.

Matt Charlotte, NC

Dana, UNC is clearly the top team in the ACC, but can a team like Duke even contend for the regular season title? They don't seem to reload anymore like UNC does seemingly every year.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

Matt: UM, it's Duke. They reload quite nicely, I'd argue. Most teams would love to have a roster that includes Plumlee and Smith as their 'youngsters.' So yes they have a chance to win the league.

Greg (Champaign, IL)

How does Bo Ryan and his interchangeable parts do this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:10 PM)

Greg: Think Marcus Landry is one of the most undervalued players in the country and if history has taught us anything, Bo Ryan's teams will always be around in March.

craig (Baltimore, MD)

Please tell me Stanford can survive the talent drain of 2 top 20 picks as sophmores, their coach, their beloved ex-coach to a bitter rival. Who has had worse off season

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Craig: I'd say Tom Crean would raise his hand for that one. Not going to be a good year at Stanford this year, but give Johnny Dawkins some time.

Hammer (Pittsburgh)

If a Big East team manages to win it all could they be considered on of the best teams of all time? Look what they would have to do just to accomplish that feat...Conference schedule, conference tournament, 6 games in the Dance.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:12 PM)

Hammer: Toughest road for a team, for certain. Best team, probably not.

Travis (east lansing, mi)

In the Big Ten outside of MSU, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Ohio State; who looks like the biggest threat?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

Travis: OUtside of that group?No one. Michigan will be better but that's the group to worry about.

Roger (Syracuse)

Realistic chances Syracuse can get back and win at least one game in the Big Dance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:14 PM)

Roger: I'd say very good. No one is talking much about Syracuse, which surprises me. Tough league, I know, but with Devendorf and Rautins healthy and Jonny Flynn, hard not to expect big things.

David (Lawrence, Ks)

Even with winning it all last year, I"m still upset at losing the 2003 national championship. Is this okay; how long is too long to be angry at a college basketball game?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

David: Well considering I'm still angry that Penn State got locked out of a shot at the national championship in 1994, i'd say you're statute of limitations is far off. Be angry.

Chase (Waco)

What is your outlook on Baylor this season? Big 12 Champs maybe a Sweet 16 visit?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

Chase: Think Texas is the class of the league, with OU on its heels. Baylor should be in the second tier and in the dance. Not sure I can go Sweet 16.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

Chase: Think Texas is the class of the league, with OU on its heels. Baylor should be in the second tier and in the dance. Not sure I can go Sweet 16.

mohamed Seattle,WA

do you think the Spartans will make it to the Final Four

Dana O'Neil
  (2:16 PM)

mohamed: That was my pick. Know they're fairly young but I like the way they play and I always have high expectations for Izzo's teams.

Nate (LA)

The Pac-10 is boung to get 5 or 6 teams in the tourney. So, who are your picks after UCLA, USC, Az St.?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Nate: Think Washington State is better than people expected.

John (Richmond, VA)

Dana, I know the Kentucky lost to VMI was not good, but how come no one is ragging on UCLA for almost losing at home to Miami of Ohio, or Duke almost losing at home to Rhode Island. Yea those two won their games, but their both topo five teams, where's the criticism against them.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

John: You answered your own question. They won.

Joe (Greensboro, NC)

What do you think UNC's biggest (if at all) weakness is and what odds do you give them to win the championship given the parity of NCAA basketball today....any given night.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

Joe: Same as last year, defense. They are so insanely talented offensively that it doesn't matter all the time but when it matters, will they have the defensive mindset to win a game? As for winning, they're very clear favorites for good reason but the NCAA Tournament is the great equalizer. And I picked Louisville.

David (Lawrence, Ks)

oh my, you used a legal term to answer my question. I'm sitting in the library at KU's Law School right (now pretending to study).

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

David: you get a hall pass for the day.

Kyle (Towson, MD)

Do you think the Big East will get ten teams into March Madness?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:20 PM)

Kyle: They easily could. The wildcards to me are Providence and maybe West Virginia, though I think WVU will be pretty good.

Troy:(Richmond,Va.):

What are Memphis chances of going undefeated in C USA?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

Troy: I picked UAB this year and got a ton of heat for it. Think Memphis is very very good but they can't win the league forevere and they can't win every game. To me this is the year between great Memphis teams and maybe the year someone else sneaks in. UAB has the talent to do it. When I'm wrong I'll take the email firing squad.

Ryan (seattle, wa)

Andy, how far do my Zags go this year? Final Four bound?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:23 PM)

Ryan: Not Andy, but I'll answer anyway. I think Gonzaga is very good this year. They should be around the second weekend of the NCAA Tourney

Tony (Greensboro, NC)

What teams have the best depth this year at all positions? Without TH, does UNC really deserve the number 1 spot?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:24 PM)

Tony: Sure they do. Ellington, Lawson, Frasor, Green that's a pretty darn good quartet even without Hansbrough.

Faysal Columbus Ohio

is there any chance Ohio State makes to the tournament

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Faysal: I think so. BJ Mullens is very talented and not enough attenion is being paid the Buckeyes.

Matt (Bethlehem, PA)

Dana, Who is the biggest challenger to Cornell in the Ivy League this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Matt: Andy Katz saw Yale and liked the Bulldogs a lot. I'd have to go more obvious and say Penn.

Charlie (NY)

How do you like Pittsburgh chances this year? Fields is back sooner than anyone thought and is playing real well at the point - granted it was against less competition.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:26 PM)

Charlie: Really like Pitt a lot and it was very good to see Fields back. He's a huge difference maker. Mix him in w/ Sam Young and Dejuan Blair and that's a very very good team.

Eric (Rochester, NY)

Dana, how does the SEC shape up this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:27 PM)

Eric: I'm not as high on it as everyone else. Tennessee and Florida look like legit NCAA teams right now. Kentucky probably will be but need to get the house in order after the VMI mess. After that maybe Alabama. Maybe Vandy.

BenOD (Michigan, St.)

Dana, Can anyone beat Michigan St. in the Big 10 this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:28 PM)

Ben: I like Michigan State to win the league. That said, think they've got a few very good contenders in Purdue, Wisconsin and maybe a longshot in Ohio State. Won't be a walkover.

Nolan (Sacramento CA)

Does Duke challenge UNC for ACC supremeacy this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:29 PM)

Nolan: Challenge yes. Win the league? I don't think so.

Chris (DC)

Any chance for my Hoyas to win the Big East this year? Sweet 16?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:29 PM)

Chris: Think winning the league will be very very hard. Sweet 16 goes back to matchups. Greg Monroe is a very good player but this is a really young team so that might be a stretch.

shane: myrtle beach, sc

purdue's chances at a title run?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Shane: Not sure the Boilers are good enough to make the title game. Think going to be very interesting to see how they handle the attention this year. Tourney team, yes. Title, not in my opinion.

Barry (Norfolk, VA)

With all the drama going on in Tucson, do you see Arizona making it to the big dance for the 25th time in a row. And who do you see as a right fit for Arizona.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Barry: They still have a lot of talent in Wise and Budinger but there is so much to overcome. I'd be stunned if they made it. If I'm wrong, Russ Pennell deserves an award. As for the right fit, they'll go after Few and Dixon, I'm sure.

Bob F (Chicago IL)

How do you see the Valley shaping up? Consensus seems to be Creighton but ISU and SIU both appear to be good as well. Back to a multibid conference this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:33 PM)

Bob: I agree with you. Creighton seems to be the odds on favorite. I'd put Southern Illinois in the spot for contention for a second team and ISU maybe as a longer shot for a third.

David (Lawrence, Ks)

KU's non con schedule includes: florida or syracuse (in cbe classic in KC) and then later, ends non-con play with he following games (in this order): Umass Temple Arizona, albany, Tennessee, Siena, Michigan St And all with a very young team; toughest non-con in the country?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:34 PM)

David: Can't say without studying the rest but certainly that's a decent non-league slate.

Franklin (Memphis, TN)

Dana, Florida is getting a lot of preseason love, particularly from Lunardi's preseason bracketology. I personally see a pretty large gap between Tennessee (at the top) to Forida (2nd), and then an even larger gap to whoever is the 3rd best team in the SEC. Agree or disagree?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:34 PM)

Franklin: completely agree. Until Florida plays consistently I think the jury is still out. They have the talent but they did last year too.

Amaru (Anchorage, AK)

Is the Great Alaskan Shootout dead? What are the chances of big name teams (i.e. UNC) coming to the Last Frontier?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:35 PM)

Amaru: Not feeling good about the survival, not with the slate of teams this year. Doesn't bode well. Think the tourney has been done in by warmer and easier places to travel. A pity, I think. Have covered the tourney and think it's great.

Kevin (Illinois)

What do you see for Minnesota this year? Tourney team?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:36 PM)

Kevin: Outside chance.

Phil (Indianapolis, IN)

Dana: What is your all no name team. Players who we don't know now but will be household names by March?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:37 PM)

phil: Kenny Hasbrouck from Siena; Ryan Wittman from Cornell off the top of my head. Does Seth Curry count?

Drew (St. Louis)

Do you think the Billikens have a shot at winning the A-10?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

Drew: Don't think so. To me the top tier is Xavier, Temple and Dayton right now.

jason (houston)

what are the chances texas and tech finishing 1 & 2 n the bcs and playin for a nat'l title and neither played for their conference title..

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

jason: ask pat forde or ivan maisel.

John (Watertown, NY)

Any chance at all that St. John's makes any noise in the Big East this year? If not, how soon can I expect them to be a contender again?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

John: Don't see them anywhere near a tourney team this year. Just don't have the players for that league.

Tom Crean (Bloomington, Indiana)

Dana, I'm worried I should have stayed at Marquette. Did I make the wrong move?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

Tom: hard not to have buyer's remorse this year. Marquette is going to be awfully good. Three of the best guards in the country.

Joc (Knoxville, TN)

Dana: Who is the front runner for SEC Freshman of the year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

Gonna have to go obvious with Scotty Hopson at Tennessee

mitch (wi)

can you tell me why you think dominic james is good, becaise i dont think he is.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

Mitch: I agree he wasn't very good last year but he also had chronic wrist problems. If you go back the year before he was very good. Expecting him to return to that player.

jason (houston)

who's gonna be tha team from tha big 12

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

Jason: Think Texas will win the league but OU will be right there with them.

Andrew(CT)

How Do You like The NEC this year? I know they are not a superior conference but I was wondering if you think "The Mount" would become back-to-back champions.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

Andew: Kind of like Rider. Know they lost Jason Thompson but his brother is very good.

Rojail(Farmington, CT)

Dana, who is going to be big east poty, some say Gody, others say AJ? who's gonna be?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:44 PM)

Rojail: Gonna go out on a limb and say neither. Terrence Williams from Louisville. From what I hear he's running the show there.

Boston, MA

Hi Dana - Can you please explain why Connecticut is an early favorite to reach the final four or why they're ranked so high? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this more or less the same squad that hasn't won a postseason game (conference tourney included) the past two years?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:46 PM)

Boston: AJ Price got hurt last year. Team is loaded with depth and that's before Stanley Robinson comes back. Think the pick is legit.

Sam (Lafollette, TN)

Dana: Who is left standing as the best team in the state of Tennessee?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:47 PM)

Sam: Memphis. Didn't pick em to win league, I know, but still think they're best team in state.

Ryan (AZ)

Gonzaga has the toughest nonconference schedule= Old Spice classic (Okla St and possibly Tenn, Mich St, Georgetown, Siena), @Wash St, @Arizona, @Tenn, UConn, and Memphis! Tell me who has a tougher non conference schedule than that! Dana- How many of these games can they lose and still considered Top 15/Four Seed or better?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:48 PM)

Ryan: You're right.. Insane schedule and it will do them well w/ the committee, especially the games on the road. I'd say they lose 3 and take care of business in league, they're OK

Bill (Philadelphia, PA)

Dana, who is the best team in Philly this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

bill: Villanova

Andrew(CT)

Northeast >> Stats | Schedule | Standings Central Connecticut State >> Stats | Schedule | Roster Fairleigh Dickinson >> Stats | Schedule | Roster Long Island >> Stats | Schedule | Roster Monmouth >> Stats | Schedule | Roster Mount St. Mary's >> Stats | Schedule | Roster Quinnipiac >> Stats | Schedule | Roster Robert Morris >> Stats | Schedule | Roster Sacred Heart >> Stats | Schedule | Roster St. Francis (NY) >> Stats | Schedule | Roster St. Francis (PA) >> Stats | Schedule | Roster Wagner >> Stats | Schedule | Roster I'm sorry to inform you but Rider is not in the NEC. Who out of these teams do you like?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Andrew: Brain took a minute off. They used to be in the NEC when I covered them. Wow. Too much hoops. Thanks... I'd say the Mount and maybe Quinnipiac but you'd be way better served asking Kyle Whelliston, clearly.

Steve (Little Apple)

Do you see Kansas State being relevant contender in the Big 12 in the post Beasley/Walker era?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:51 PM)

Steve: Not this year, I don't. Next season's class, however, looks good.

Brant (Raleigh, NC)

will my Wahoos ever be contenders again or is it hopeless? I'm about ready to take down my Ralph Sampson posters.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

Brant: Cant' say I blame you. Thought they'd be much better than they were last year. Hang on to the poster for good memories.

Truehart (Austin, Tx)

The Longhorns Basketball team is ranked in the top 10, but can anyone pick up the slack now that DJ Augustin is gone? I like AJ Abrams as a shooter, but I don't think he's a true point guartd. He's a spot up shooter.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

Truehart: I disagree. I think he's a true point guard and will do just fine.

Bryan (Lexington, Kentucky)

Dana, the poll question on ESPN right now, Which program is more prestigous UK or UNC. What's your opinion? the country seems to be split!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:54 PM)

Bryan: Wow, great question. If we're defining prestige by the now, clearly it's UNC. If we're going wtih long-term history I'm gonna have to go with Kentucky.

Jeff (Nashville)

Does Xavier have a chance to win the Puerto Rico Championship this weekend or is the tournament Memphis's to lose?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:55 PM)

Jeff: Anxious to find out. I'll be there. The big game, clearly, will be on Friday (if it pans out) between Memphis and USC. I'd say the winner of that has the edge.

Kyle (Towson, MD)

Everyone is saying that UNC is the favorite to win it all. If that is yours who do you think has the next best chance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

Kyle: Wasn't my choice. My choice was Louisville.

Gary Williams (College Park, MD)

I'm heading back to the Tourney this year, right? At least I'll beat Youngstown State tonight, right?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

Gary: You better beat Youngstown State. I'll say that. As for the tourney, I'd say decent shot but no lock.

Scott Madison, WI

Why do you think Bo Ryan of Wisconsin goes unmentioned as one of the best coaches in NCAA basketball?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

Scott: Probably because his teams rarely have big-name stars. they play a fundamentally sound team game which isn't as sexy.

Mike (Omaha, NE)

Is Bill Self the best recruiter in college today?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:58 PM)

Mike; I'm gonna have to go John Calipari on that one

matt(louisville)

Who do you predict will win the Big East and are the Cards a legit championship contender?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:59 PM)

Matt: PIcked the Cards to win it all, so like em in the Big East. Think Samardo Samuels is a beast, Earl Clark is underrated and Terrence Williams is going to be the guy to make the team go.

Mark (Boston)

How many titles has John Calipari's recruiting gotten him? Maybe it isn't as good as you think.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:00 PM)

Mark: Point taken. But there's no arguing that he attracts the best talent consistently. What happens once it gets there is a different question

Bob F (Chicago)

Kyle, Ky-uhl, KY-Uhl, KY+UHL, Ky-Lee, To-ga (whoops), Ky-uhl. No offense Dana but its been like 3 hours of this all-BCS-all-the-time ESPN agenda. Time for a midmajor takeover.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:01 PM)

Bob: Have at it. At least Kyle won't have Rider in the NEC as my addled brain did. Or the old East Coast Conference for that matter. Enjoy the games, folks and thanks for the questions.

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:04 PM)

Thanks, Dana! Don't worry, Rider is NEC is a lot of sports, just not hoops.

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:05 PM)

OK, I'm here live at Drexel University ready to do this anchor leg on this marathon chat. From here on out, it's mid-majors only. What do you have, marathon warriors?

RJ (Clarence,NY)

Kyle, For some reason I always love watching and following the Colonial. Who do you pick to come out of that conference, and are there any players to keep an eye on?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:06 PM)

It's a fantastic league to follow, you get a lot of different styles and this year's version is very well-balanced. I like VCU (I think everyone does), and Janning (N'Eastern), Lee (ODU) and Maynor (VCU) are my favorite players from the conference.

Sears (Omaha, NE)

The Creighton Bluejays HAVE to be your top pick for a mid-major this year, right??

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:08 PM)

Creighton, Davidson and Siena all look like teams that could make it through to the second weekend. The Bluejays are really deep and dangerous, and that was a fantastic win against New Mexico the other day.

Chris (Bristol, CT)

Kyle, last night Hartford went toe to toe and hung in there with Uconn for 25 minutes, you think their lack of size will hurt them in conference play?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:10 PM)

Make no mistake, the America East is a guard league, so good perimeter players will get you very far. That's a hard-nosed bunch that should still be around when the AEC tournament turns the TV cameras on in the semifinals.

Travis (Springfield Mo)

I am in Valley country and knowing that the best thing this season for the Mo State bears was opening the new arena with an Eagles concert,Do you think the valley can get more than one in the big dance this year.

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:11 PM)

That will be a good team in a year or two, don't worry. Cuonzo Martin is really respected all across the league. If the MVC gets two, it's likely to be SIU. I think those five freshmen will grow up a lot in the next few months.

Ryan (AZ)

Creighton? I think people not on the west coast tend to forget what St. Marys and San Diego did last year. USD returns all of their starters and St. Marys has Patty Mills.... Think a repeat is in order for the WCC? Or do you think USD will be on the outside looking in?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:14 PM)

Two's a safe bet, but there's little chance that USD would have snuck in if the tourney was somewhere else. It was a perfect storm, but the Toreros are back with the benefit of all that plus the UConn win. St. Mary's also has Ben Allen, who will be a bigtime newcomer. That's just a fantastic league.

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:15 PM)

Sorry I'm a little slow today, the DAC has very thick walls and I'm on tether-net. So if I drop out for a minute, please don't alert the authorities.

Fat Charlie (fresno)

Is there anything encouraging you can say about fresno st and all there youth? Did you catch Fr. Paul george posterize the kid from st. mary's? what a jam!

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:17 PM)

Fresno had so much riding on Cleveland's second year, the year they came eligible again, there were all those seniors. Last year was unwatchable, and this year is really wait-and-see. But have you been reading Tark's blog? It's sensational.

Scott (Reno)

Thoughts on the San Diego vs Nevada game tonight Kyle? Should give good insight on both teams, given all the suspensions(5 combined).

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:19 PM)

It's my G!O!T!N! if I can get the internet to work right and let me post it. All that experience on USD's side, all that young talent and questions with Nevada. These are both postseason teams, but tonight will be the first step in determining if either are on the 65, 32 or the 16-team bracket come March.

Ian (Sumter, SC)

What do you think of the Big South situation? Everyone is losing key players, my High Point Panthers lost AZ Reid and got bombed by Duquesne, Winthrop has looked shaky so far after losing a few key players and Coastal after losing Jack Leasure lost to a non-Division I team in their home opener by 21. Yet VMI loses Reggie Williams and beats Kentucky. How do you see things playing out?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:22 PM)

The all-newcomer and all-league teams could be the same! Winthrop will be there at the end because of its defense. VMI might be on the verge of a magic season, Baucom has filled in his system with the players he wanted. And don't forget Radford. The Highlanders could be surprise champions.

Chris (Concord, CA)

Kyle, What do you think of the WCC's decision to move its Conference Tournament to a neutral site, and do you think the WAC will eventually do the same thing?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:24 PM)

I'm still curious as to how all these folks from religious schools are going to handle Vegas. The WAC has all these great arenas already, and hosting helps out the schools... so I don't think that's going to change.

raygordon reid jaciksonville fla 32277

question TO KYLE WHELLISTON AT 3.25 PM RAY HI KYLE WHO WINS Metro atlantic

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:25 PM)

RGR! Always great to see you and your zip code. I think Siena wins easily, but Rider will be right there if the younger Thompson stays healthy.

Bobby (MD)

My buddies and I are thinking about traveling to a conference tournament site to take in all the games. Which venue do you recommend in terms of quality of the play?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:26 PM)

If you're in Maryland, drop down to Richmond and watch the Colonial. Stay for all four days, and trust me, you'll be hooked.

David (Kent, OH)

Kyle, how much do you like Kent State this year? Is Maryland transfer Tyree Evans going to be the scoring threat that we need to help take pressure off of Fisher?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:30 PM)

Scoring points won't be a problem for the Flashes. I want to see how they replace Haminn Quaintance, who was my favorite player in that league last year. A human intangible. If they can outmuscle teams like Miami and do all the little things, no reason to think the 20-win streak won't continue.

TOM (CT)

Boo mid majors Horray beer!!

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:31 PM)

Who said you can't have it all?

Scott (Reno)

Kyle, how about VMI!? Love those guys' style, hope they make it to their conference finals every year just so I can see them play.

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:34 PM)

I would drive through a blizzard to get to a VMI game, which is not an abstraction because I've done it. The Big South has an online TV package called "BSC Edge," I'd highly recommend it if you need a VMI fix.

Comrie (Hartford)

Have you seen enough in Holy Cross's two wins at home against Sacred Heart and St. Joseph's to bump them up closer to American in the Patriot League? The two freshman guards at HC (Evans and Brown) are playing real minutes and looking good.

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:36 PM)

We knew that an influx of real talent was coming beforehand, but I had them mid-pack. All I've had to go on are numbers so far (sorry I missed that ceremony while I was on the road), but I'm looking forward to seeing Holy Cross play.

Clifford (Baltimore, MD)

I'm interested in catching some good mid-major basketball, but can't take off time to see a whole conference tournament. Which team here in Baltimore do you think will be best to watch this year?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:40 PM)

If UMBC stays good, that will be a fantastic environment to watch a game in this year. Crowded, loud, and a great band.

D Pete

Kyle, Can St Bonaventure get by the welding scandal and actually have a winning season?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:42 PM)

Not this year, in that league. Too many newcomers and wild cards as well. Give Schmidt a few years, he made Robert Morris good.

Jordan (Pittsburgh)

Who ya got tonight? I like Davidson, I think that OU is overrated, although Griffin is a BEAST!

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:44 PM)

Oklahoma was in my NCAA pod in March, I got to see them twice. They just throw solid bodies at you 24/7. This is exactly the type of test Davidson needs right now. If the Wildcats can hit from outside, they'll hang.

Brian (Madison, WI)

Kyle, most of us only care about the mid-majors come tournament time, so how are you going to convince us to come over to your side?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:46 PM)

I don't do much salesmanship. But if you like programs that build themselves up from scratch instead of being defined by their failures, this is a fun ride to be on.

Patrick (memphis)

do you think that Memphis new jerseys look dumb?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:49 PM)

I think most teams' new jerseys look dumb. Everybody's trying to look like they're from the future. Miami-OH's are great... no names, huge numbers, two colors, total old school.

Sarge (Lee's Summit, MO)

It looks like the Atlantic Sun may be wide open this year with Belmont looking like they took a step back to the pack. How do see the ASun turning out?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:51 PM)

I disagree, Belmont is as dangerous as it's ever been. All those seniors that have been to the NCAA's three times already, think they don't know what it means to win in March? Jacksonville will be right there again. And even before they beat Alabama, I liked Mercer as a dark horse. Lots of talent, and an uptempo system that'll work great in the A-Fun.

Robby (Las Vegas, NV)

What ever happened to the term "low major"? All of the sudden every team is either a major program or a mid-major.

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:54 PM)

I helped kill it. "Low major" was used for conference that never did anything at the NCAA's, but did you notice how people started calling the Atlantic Sun "mid-major" after all those upsets last year? There are two kinds of Division I college basketball, defined by resources: haves and have-lesses.

Purcell (Newport News, VA)

Kyle, which HBCU has the best team this year?

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:58 PM)

I like Jackson State a lot, Purcell. A lot of known entities from last season, including Grant Maxey, and the best coach in either the MEAC or SWAC, Tevester Anderson. They might be a bit short of being the kind of team that could shock at the NCAA's, but they're good.

Jordan (Pittsburgh)

Is VMI that good or Kentucky that bad? How about Rhode Island, too? That good or is Duke overrated (like usual)

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:02 PM)

I don't think it's a question of good or bad. Both Gardner-Webb and VMI (and San Diego to a lesser extent) gave Kentucky something it was either not used to or fully prepared for. My personal observation is that it was the latter, and that kind of hubris should be punished. And it was.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:05 PM)

Since it's top of the hour, anybody who was expecting PTI Pregame, an indoor-football chat or a "Love Boat" rerun... sorry. I'm Kyle Whelliston and I'm talking about mid-major college basketball until 5 PM ET.

Matt (Lynchburg, VA)

what is the future for Liberty Flames basketball?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:07 PM)

Saw they just lost to UNC Asheville. There's considerable talent coming in (Stephen Curry's bro, for example), and there's a smart coaching staff there. Last year's team was very watchable, they'd switch everything up on a dime to keep opponents off balance.

Kurt (Akron, Ohio)

Do you see the MAC getting more than one team. I feel they are a very underrated conference every year. Teams like Kent, Akron, Miami all have had great season recently but it comes down to 4 days in Cleveland every year. Could this change this year.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:10 PM)

There are so many X factors in the MAC this year. New coaches at places like Ohio, Toledo, Kent... Ohio and Akron are so young. I like Miami and Kent to fight it out, with Bowling Green as a rising force with all those seniors.

Drew (MD)

Kyle, I was raised on a steady diet of "major" basketball, and though I consider myself a basketball purist, admit I generally fall for the glitz and glamour of, as you put it, the "haves" in terms of resources. Give me your argument, if you would, why I should seriously consider mixing in a healthy portion of mid-major into my winter diet.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:15 PM)

You don't get the feel for it if you just watch a game or two. Basketball at this level is all about building and struggle and the long haul, and following a mid-major team that goes 15-15 then makes the NCAA's the following year is unlike any other fan experience in American sports. It's sorta like "Hoosiers." You like the "Hoosiers," right?

Mike (SF, CA)

Will people finally know where Moraga is after this season?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:17 PM)

Honestly, Mike, I don't know where it is... and I come by for a game once a year. Usually, I just drive around until I find it.

Chief Osceola (Florida)

homecoming 2008 WOW!!! what a crazy,silly,ridiculos a** game!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS MY MESSAGE TO FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY AND ALL MY SEMINOLES. YOU SHOULD BE EMBERASSSED AND DISGUSTED THAT FOR THE 3RD TIME WE HAVE WORN UNCOUNQERD AND LOST!!!!!! WHAT !!!!! YOU HAVE THE GAUL TO DISRESPECT THE NAME OF CHIEF OSCEOLA AND THE GREAT NAME OF THE SEMINOLE TRIBE WHO WERE TRULY UNCOUNQUERD! THE IS NOT A HATE MESSAGE ONLY TRUTH. WITH RESPECT TO HAVING THE HONOR TO HAVE THE NAME OF THE BRAVE SEMINOLE TRIBE IS AN HONOR NOT A PRIVILEGE! BOBBY TIME TO GET THESE BOYS RIGHT FOR THE LAST STAND THERE IS STILL HOPE. WE STILL HAVE SOMETHING TO FIGHT FOR LET OUR FIRE BEGIN TO GROW WE GOT GATORS TO DEAL WITH!!!!!!!!

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:18 PM)

Drew, you also don't get much of this.

Art Vandelay, Los Angeles

Kyle, is Davidson still considered a mid-major? Seems like they're riding that fine line with all the national adoration. How will they match up against Purdue if they meet?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:22 PM)

Think of it this way, Art. Nobody ever expected anything from Davidson, nobody gave them anything to work with. Everything they've accomplished, they've earned. Also consider when Curry leaves, or when McKillop is given an offer he can't refuse in the ACC, Davidson has to completely rebuild. Basically, it's not UNC.

Andy (Paris, France)

Kyle, I'm outta the country...can you tell me anything positive about my Evansville Purple Aces (still a top 5 team name right?)

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:25 PM)

Hey Andy. I'm jealous because you get to see Ligue 1 games. Evansville will be better this season, this is the second year of the new regime and last year was sorting through scraps. Maybe they'll live up to the sleeved jerseys someday. And Ace is definitely a top 5 mascot. I wish I had a white suit and a cane.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:26 PM)

[aside] Thanks, Suits.

Tim (Gainesville, FL)

Afternoon, Kyle. How are my Ohio Bobcats looking this year under new coach John Groce? Are they boon or bane for the MAC?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:29 PM)

Well, afternoon, Tim. Would you accept "boooane?" I was there on Sunday; Freeman and Orr were firing from outside, and Tillman was banging down low effectively. It'll be tricky to keep all three cylinders firing, but they could hang around if they all score in double-figures all year.

Jeff (LA)

Why does it say 2005 National Champions on the sideline @ Baylor?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:30 PM)

Women's team. (And that's my token high-major question of the day.)

Kaley (Maryland)

Hi Kyle, If you had a son who could play at any mid-major in the mid Atlantic region, where would you want him to play -- not just in terms of wins and losses, but also in terms of personal development?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:33 PM)

Hi Kaley. I wish I got more hypotheticals in these chats. I'd trust a son to Jimmy Patsos at Loyola-Md. He'd grow up fast.

Kevin (Bowling Green)

Is WKU's reign on the Sun Belt over with the loss of Courtney Lee and the coach and who do you see cruising in the NCAA from this conference...S. Alabama?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:35 PM)

WKU is having a world of trouble scoring baskets. I think most Topper fans are resigned to an in-between year, that it only hurts because the football team is so bad. Since we're dealing with paper teams, I like Middle Tennessee. Everyone's back, and they came so close last March. If they don't start slow like last year, they should have a lot of momentum coming into Belt season.

Andy, (Chicago, IL)

How quickly does Butler contend again in the Horizon?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:38 PM)

Another recently good mid-major that's taking a year to rebuild. Having a big guy like Matt Howard will keep them in a lot of games, but there are a lot of teams in this league that have two or three solid pieces... think Cleveland State, Green Bay, Valpo, and maybe Loyola is for real after last night's roll over Dawg Nation.

Matt (Fort Collins)

Kyle, any thoughts on the MVC vs MWC slate proposed in the future? Does it damage the MWC trying to make a claim at major status? Thanks

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:41 PM)

I don't read much into it, except that it's a way for both leagues to get some games on TV. I do consider the Mountain West a cut above the teams I talk about, because of all the advantages (large budgets, BCS football, its own TV network, etc). There's no good reason why there shouldn't be three bids a year out of that conference, they have the resources.

Bob (Near Worcester)

Kyle, hypothetical. If you come to a Holy Cross game at the Hart Center this year, would you sit with me and my family?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:43 PM)

Sure, Bob. The Worcester media members on the row aren't particularly chatty.

William (Chesapeake, VA)

Big ODU fan here. I feel like we're spoiled with the tenure of Blaine Taylor, and I hope he stays for many more years. I think being the fan of a mid-major and remembering tough seasons makes an extended stretch of high-quality character and basketball that much sweeter.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:45 PM)

You're lucky there to have a great building and fans who'll show up even when they're bad. Students get to come to games, be in a great atmosphere, have memorable moments with their friends and be a part of the ongoing traditions. Even if one of those is the "Ice Cream and Cake" dance.

Damon (Indianapolis, IN)

No question that Cleveland State is a contender in the Horizon League this year. But the real question, Kyle, is which mascot do you prefer? The "new" viking that appears to be peeking over a wall...or the "old" viking which is clearly a blood-relative to your very own Mid-Majority mascot, Bally?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:49 PM)

Old Viking is definitely Bally's cousin, from the side of the family that was all green. New Viking is one of the tens of logomarks that are designed to look tough, but just give power-conference fans more reasons to make fun of us. Seriously, what is this? Naughty Norse peek-a-boo? Please.

Justin (Old Pueblo)

2 WAC teams this year, right? The Wolfpack, and whoever knocks them off in the Reno final. (NMSU, hint, hint).

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:51 PM)

For the sake of the blood pressure of all my friends around the conference, I hope so. I think Utah State is that other team. NMSU will be interesting, I've said it often but I really respect Coach Menzies' no-bull policy in running that program.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:54 PM)

OK, two or three more and then we'll wind down this College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon chat so you can go back to watching the games on TV.

Aaron (Chapel Hill, NC)

What can we expect Stony Brook to be this season? They've got a bunch of Freshman guards as well as that new forward from England. How good are these new guys and will this be the year the Pikiell finally gets to .500?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:56 PM)

Give it another year, most likely. But there are a lot of new pieces, and I always think this is the best time to be a fan. Getting pumped for wins and depressed by losses is one thing, but watching something being built from scratch is always more interesting.

Nathan S. (Noblesville, IN)

Do you think IUPUI has a shot at beat IU?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:59 PM)

I was at the Northwestern State game, and noticed that IU has intensity on its side, and... not much else. When that fails, they're very ordinary. IUPUI looked a little rough last week at the CvC, but if they shoot well and disrupt Indiana, that could be an interesting finish.

Kyle Whelliston
  (5:01 PM)

It's a 5 o'clock world when the whistle blows, and this chat is over. I've got to get up the road to LaSalle to see them play Florida State. Thanks for all your questions, sorry to everyone I couldn't get to, and I'll see you in my regular TBA timeslot.

Kyle Whelliston
  (5:01 PM)

Hoops!