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December 17, 12:17 PM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana O'Neil
  (2:02 PM)

Doesn't seem fair to have to follow Coach Gillispie, but I'll do my best.

Zach (DC)

Great article on Chris Wright. Where do you see the Hoyas finishing in the Big East this year? They have shown a lot of promise and a starting five that can play with anyone.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:04 PM)

Zach: Thanks. I was very surprised and impressed by Georgetown. Much faster w/ Monroe instead of Hibbert. My one concern, particularly in the Big East, is their depth. They need to get more off their bench but I imagine they could be a top five team in the league

Jeff (Nashville)

Game this Saturday you are most looking forward to watching? Game this Saturday that will be the most interesting?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:05 PM)

Jeff: This is going to feel like March. I'm covering Xavier-Duke and I'm very anxious for that one. Like Xavier a lot but biggest win is against a Memphis team that hasn't gotten its act together, so I'm curious to see how it goes against Duke. Otherwise, Purdue-Davidson for the pure joy of watching Steph Curry and Gonzaga-UConn. UConn hasn't been really tested at all. THis should be one. Gonna need a DVR!

Lisa (Bloomington, IL)

How does the loss to Tennessee impact Marquette's resume with upcoming Big East play? Thoughts from the game?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:07 PM)

Lisa: Concerns from that game are twowfold- foul trouble and big men. Marquette obviously couldn't resurrect itself from all of the fouls and can't afford that again. But the way Chism was able to go off worries me even more about their inside game. I've seen teams that have relied on great guards go far but those teams usually had bigs who did all the little things very well - defense being tantamount.

Steve (Philly, PA)

Dana, How good is Temple this year? They have beat Tennesse and had a close game versus Clemson, but they have losses against Miami(oh) and Buffalo. Should be a good game versus your Villanova Wildcats in a couple of weeks!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

Steve: I've liked Temple from the start, ugly losses notwithstanding. Think Dunph will get this team together as he did last year and the Villanova game will be interesting. Going myself to check out the new point guard for Temple, Juan Manuel Fernandez. if he's half as good as advertised, Temple is going to be very tough in the A10.

dave provo utah

are the byu cougars for real? 10-0 with games at Arizona state at Tulsa and home against Wake Foretst coming up. They do own the nations longest home winning streak 53. Can they beat Wake?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

Dave: I think they are, but certainly this weekend we'll know better. Cummard is a very good player and I can't imagine picking against them in conference.


Where do you see Kentucky finishing in the SEC?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:10 PM)

Marcquel: Should have asked Coach Gillispie! They're getting better and I haven't been sold yet on Florida, so I'm going with second in their division behind Tennessee

Dave (Crystal Lake)

Hey Dana, What do you think the valley's chances are at getting back to a two-bid conference this year? ISU and Creighton both look like viable teams.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Dave: Hope you're right. Love the Valley and agree that those teams in this early going deserve to be in. But it's early...

Petey(ny, ny)

Hey Dana, What do you make of Cuse's loss to Cleveland St? Just a bump in the road or something more then that? If we lose Dorf for the year, do you still see us as a definite tourney team or more of a bubble team again?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

Petey: You could line up 300 people and 299 of them won't ever make that shot. Bigger problem is how poorlyl Syracuse played all game at home. Can't afford lapses like that. Losing Devendort will hurt, particularly in the Big East, but I still think the Orange are good enough to get in.

Dan (Columbia, MO)

Can Mizzou finally end the streak against Illinois? This Tiger team looks pretty good so far, can they finally make the tournament again?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:14 PM)

Dan: Mike Anderson finally has a team and not a soap opera. Their defense is ver good and will keep them in most games. Think they can get Illinois, yes. Can they get in? Bubble right now but they can certainly play their way in.

Ryan (Ferndale, MI)

Hi Dana, How will Laval Lucas-Perry impact Michigan after he suits up Saturday? Can they better challenge for a top spot in the Big Ten?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Ryan: Huge impact. Scorer, can run the point and immediately makes them better. Not sure if Michigan is at the top of the leauge yet but a whole lot closer than anyone expected.

Joe (Storrs, CT)

I enjoyed reading your article on Stanley Robinson. How important do you think he'll be to the team going forward?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Joe: Thanks. Intersting story, nice kid. He's a big impact. Good shooter, good rebounder and another great player to roll into the mix.

Jeff - Cincy, OH

Dana, Since you will be at the Duke-Xavier game, who do you like in the matchup? Also, if Xavier wins, will they be a top 5 team?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

Jeff: If Xavier wins, they gotta jump up considering Duke is ahead of them. Hard game for me to call but have to give a very slight edge to Duke simply because it has a strong backcourt. Xavier will give them fits on the boads and on defense. I don't expect a walkover... and I hate to say that because I've been wrong a bunch of times with that prediction.

RAYGORDON reid east rutherford nj o7370

question to dana'O NEIL AT 2.15 PM HI DANA PIITSBURGH AT FSU

Dana O'Neil
  (2:20 PM)

Ray: Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh.

Jon (Charlotte, NC)

Hey Dana, people overlooked Stephen Curry coming out of high school because of his lack of size, then he dominated and every school in the country wishes he was on their team. Why in the world, would colleges turn around, and do the same thing to Seth Curry? Sould Seth lead Liberty to the big tourny?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:23 PM)

Jon: My thoughts exactly. Have to be the most underrecruited family in the history of college basketball. Wouldn't someone at least take a flier on Seth? Like say, Virginia Tech? And I see no reason why Seth can't work the same magic at Liberty his brother has worked at Davidson

Heather (Chicago)

State of Illinois college hoops doesn't look too bad this year. What team do you think is the top in the state?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Heather: Good question. Right now gotta be Illinois State, no?

Matt (DC)

How about Arizona? Jordan Hill has to be one of the most underrated players in the country, right?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:26 PM)

Matt: Very impressed with Arizona. Have talent, no doubt but to come through the mess they had and play well is stunning.

Mark Few (Seattle)

I hear our game against the Huskies on Sat is not going to be the national game on CBS at 4pm. How could CBS not show a matchup of 2 top 10 teams to the national audience? I know Curry is great, but isn't this a great matchup of potential final four teams ????

Dana O'Neil
  (2:26 PM)

Mark: I hadn't heard that. Seems an odd choice to me as well.

Justin (NJ)

Dana, who are the most overrated teams in the top 25?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:30 PM)

Justin: When I say overrated I don't mean don't belong, I mean currently overvalued. Still need to see more out of Villanova. Good team but the game against Texas still their only real test (and I'm going to get killed here in Philly for saying that). Think Memphis has a lot of work ahead of itself. Will get better because have great players but no point guard and horrific shot selection.

Chris (Connecticut)

Dana, I've been dying to get an expert's opinion on whether the new Big East tourney's format is going to help teams in the NCAA's or hurt them. Your thoughts?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Chris: You mean with everyone in? Not sure it will be a huge factor because the last four in aren't very likely to pull any upsets. Certainly if they do, it makes things interesting but the bottom four are pretty BOTTOM

Will J (Portland, OR)

Dana, in your opinion is there a team that has been some what of a disappointment so far?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Will: Maybe Michigan State. Think they'll get better when Suton and Roe are healthy but their losses are incredibly one sided.

Mark (Clark, NJ)

Are you going to be hanging around for the Nets game after covering the Xavier/Duke game?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:33 PM)

Mark: Uh, no. Not unless they bring it to my driveway and maybe not even then with all the good college games on.

Steve (Dallas, Texas)

One question a week on this - at least until you rank Baylor. Baylor still not in your top 25. The team they beat, Arizona State, is your #16. Their only loss is to Wake, your #10. They are ranked in the Coach's, AP, and in the overall ESPN Power Rankings. So if they beat the #16 team on a neutral court, did better than that #16 team last year (picked to NCAA tourney, Az State not), and returned just as many players as that team - why rank Arizona State so much higher and not rank Baylor at all?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:34 PM)

Steve: They'll be in this week. Better?

Randy (St. Paul)

Hey Dana, I'm glad to see the Gophers are finally playing someone this week when they play Louisville. Do you think they can win, or is Louisville really that much better?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:35 PM)

Randy: I do think they have a shot. Louisville has been all over the map, so it' s not like they look to come in running anyone over. Would be a huge win for Tubby for 1,000 reasons

Jeremy (NYC)

Dana - who is the best ncaa player in the state of Carolina?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:36 PM)

Jeremy: Same guy I picked for preseason player of the year, Steph Curry

Sal (Long Beach,Ca.)

Dana, what about Illinois getting some respect in the state. They are 9-1 with there only loss coming to Clemson by 2 points. I know they don't have a very difficult schedule but I don't think anyone gave them a chance before the season started.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:37 PM)

Sal: Absolutely agree. Schedule hasn't been much but this team is clearly better. Be good to see them against a decent team and a tough team like Missouri

Matt- Cincy

Can we please get the Big East to reformat, 18 teams is just too freakin' much. Wouldn't the league benefit from matching up the rivals twice a year rather than the current setup?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

Matt: I don't love it but not sure what the solution is. Divisions, like the SEC? How do you split them? It's a monster but at lesat this year everyone plays each other once. That helps.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

Jason (Pittsburgh)

Hey Dana! Loved the article on Pitt and their physical style of play. Do you think Sam Young may be the most underrated star in the Big East if not the country??? He has taken his game to another level this year on both ends of the floor and is now the leader of this team. He was absent from just about every preseason All-American list after winning the MVP of the Big East tourney and is never mentioned by the so-called analysts among their top players. Your thoughts on "Super" Sam???

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

jason: first of all, Sam Young is one of those interesting, thoughtful kids you just love to talk to. And his game has improved dramatically over the past year and a half. I think Pitt's style of play keeps him under the radar but there's no doubt he is a phenomenal player.

Jeff Ft. Worth

How do you see my Memphis Tigers matching up against the Orange?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

Jeff: Think the Syracuse matchup zone could give an undisciplined team like Memphis a lot of headaches. The Tigers commit unforced errors so they could really struggle against good defense.


Who will win the Big East?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:41 PM)

Phil: Hmm.... I had Louisville early and I hate to go back on that despite how they look. Think Pitino will get them together by season's end. If not I may have to go with the obvious, UConn.

Matt (Bethlehem, PA)

Dana, Another gaudy record at the start of the season for Clemson. How good are the Tigers?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

Matt: It does look familiar but think this Clemson team is pretty legit. the game at Miami will tell alot.

Jeremy (Memphis)

What do you think about UAB now?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:44 PM)

Jeremy: Eek, what a mess. But in my defense, couldn't predict they'd be down to 6 players in December

Mike (Massachusetts)

Dana, what do you think is the best conference this year? ACC seems to be better top to bottom than the Big East.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:44 PM)

Mike: Right now, that's probably true. Big East has had some silly and ugly losses and hasn't lived up to the preseason beastly expectations out of conference.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

How 'bout those Nittany Lions? They are much better than I expected.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:45 PM)

Cosmo: They are indeed. Haven't played a stellar schedule but the win at Georgia Tech was incredible, especially after they tried desperately to blow it at the end. Talor Battle is a very good player.

Jeff (Piscataway, NJ)

Saturday - Who wins sat Huskies or Bulldogs?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:46 PM)

Jeff: Can I tell you on Sunday? Guessing not. Think home crowd, aggravation over loss to Arizona gives the Zags the edge.

Nick (Fulton, KY)

Dana do you feel days of programs like Kentucky being feared are now over due to mid major programs stepping up and improving each year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:47 PM)

Nick: To an extent, maybe. I don't think the really good mid majors walk in expecting to get blown out or in awe of anyone. But the money and the access to better players still gives the big powers such a competitive edge.

David (New York City, NY)

If UNC fails to win the national championship, will it be considered a failure? With their returning players, and recent trip to the final four I would say it would be a major disappointment.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:48 PM)

David: I don't see it that way. The NCAA Tournament is such an unusual beast, where quirky, weird things happen. If they don't make the Elite Eight, definitely. If they don't make the Final Four, maybe. But not winning it all? Not sure I'd call that an abject failure

Brian (Sacramento, CA)

How bout them Trojans, BIG win over Pepperdine! Back on track right? LOL

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

Brian: HUGE win over Pepperdine. Good heavens.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

I know he's a local guy for you, but do you think that Phil Martelli is a good x's and o's coach?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Cosmo: I do, though I know the end game against Villanova would say otherwise. Not sure what happened with that final inbound or with Nivins on the ballscreen when Reynolds drove the lane. Not sure that' s on Phil

Jon (Malvern)

Any sane Villanova fan knows they team shouldn't be ranked that high. Should we be concerned about the Cheek firing and the possibility of the Sixers going after Jay Wright? Or will the top recruiting class, Taylor King and his returning players be enough to keep him away from thinking about moving to the NBA.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:51 PM)

Jon: I'd imagine Jay could be on the list but I would have been more concerned if Larry Brown were still in town. Also not sure if Jay is ready or willing to make that jump yet. He's got a pretty good thing going

Tim (Chicago)

Happy Holidays Dana. Long time, no talk. Please say something nice about the Badgers. Thanks in advance.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

Tim: Same to you, thanks. Know no one is talking about Wisconsin but they haven't exactly lost to dogs. And anyone who ever counts out a Bo Ryan team is crazy. They'll be a factor

Zach Stein Bloomfield Hills Michigan

Is Goran Suton for Michigan State going to play tonight for Tom Izzo's Spartans and how many minutes is he going to play.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

Zach: Not positive. Heard he could. If he does, gotta think Izzo will manage his minutes. No one loses anything in December in college basketball.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

Non-hoops question - if you get a 3 year contract extension when you are 80 years old, will you be happy or depressed?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:54 PM)

Cosmo: Awesome question. And one that as a Penn State alum has me a bit puzzled, gotta say. I think I'd be jumpin for joy

Chris (High Point, NC)

Dana, great piece on Chris Wright of Georgetown a couple days ago. What do you know of his pal Greg Monroe sticking around, as he has implied (I know , they all do). Is he "one and done"?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:55 PM)

Chris; Boy, I hope he sticks around. He's a very good player but no way is he ready for the NBA just yet.

RJ - Dallas

It looks like Tennessee's youth can be hurtful to them early in the year, like their Jekyl and Hyde performances against Temple and Marquette, but they could mature by the end of the season and be a big threat come tourney time. Am I way off? Or do they have a run in them

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

RJ: Their youth and the way they play - very free style, is a nice way to put it - will always make them subject to upsets but Tennessee is a very good team, clearly the best in the SEC. And remember, Prince didn't play.

David (New York City, NY)

Dana, you are definately the fastest typist out of all the NCAA BBall ESPN experts here! Who would be the fastest NCAA guards?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

David: Aced my timing tests in high school typing class, what can I say? Never put them on a timer, so hard to say. Ty Lawson, maybe?

Steven (Lewisburg, OH)

The Big 10 is currently rated #2 by the RPI behind the ACC. Are people just dismissing them too early? Who do you think is the class of the conference so far?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:58 PM)

Steven: I'm not a big believer in the RPI. Some of those schools haven't exactly played a tough schedule and others, particularly Northwestern, are OK now but will they be in February? It's better, definitely. Class of the league? Oh boy. Despite losses gotta go with Purdue right now and then Michigan State.

Seattle, WA

How is it the Dayton Flyers can beat up on Marquette and still not be ranked when they are?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:59 PM)

It's not always that simple and remember Marquette JUST lost to Tennessee last night.

Matt (College Park)

Dana, I loved your Stanley Robinson article a few days ago. Did he actually seem like a humble and good kid because Calhoun has recruited some "thugs" in the past. But Stanley seems sincere.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:00 PM)

Matt: thank you. I liked Stanley, yes. Seemed like a genuinely good kid to me.

Matt (Farmington,CT)

What do you think of Tyler Hansbrough braking the UNC scoring title Thursday against Evansville? Where does he rank among the ACC Elite?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:01 PM)

Matt: hard not to put him among the greats. Records, the way he plays, success of his team, he has to be among the conference's elite.

Matt (College Park)

College Basketball is the greatest sport in the world. Do you know how lucky you are to have this job? I'm jealous.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:01 PM)

Matt: Yes, I do know how lucky I am. And on that, gotta go write a little bit more about it. Enjoy the week and thanks for the questions.