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January 14, 9:52 AM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana O'Neil
  (3:27 PM)

Hey everyone, I'll do my best to make this as entertaining as Jodie Meeks was against the Vols

John, Lansing, MI

Hi, Dana. I am a die hard Crimson Tide and I don't like players to get injured. But could the Ronald Steele injury be a blessing in disquise? I know Alabama's success and Coach Gottfried's job was tied to Ron's health, could this be the end of of Gottfried? I really do think it is time for a change in Tuscaloosa.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:28 PM)

John: Twisted logic, but I like it in a twisted way. There's no doubt Bama should be better right now. Tide isn't awful but they aren't, in my mind, NCAA caliber yet either and should be. If they don't make it I gotta think the heat will ratchet up on Gottfried

John (Syracuse)

Dana, who've you got tonight, Cuse or Georgetown?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:30 PM)

John: Think Georgetown is struggling to find its way a bit here. Like the Cuse mostly because I like their guards a bit more.

Joe (St. Louis)

Dana,love your work! As a UConn grad, it was extremely satisfying to see AJ Price snap out of his shooting funk at Cincinnati over the weekend. As insanely competitive as the Big East is this season, do you feel UConn will have any shot at the conference title without Price being his pre-injury self and Stanley Robinson being far more assertive on offense? Thanks.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:31 PM)

Joe: I put UConn in the top 3 of the league, which means they definitely have a shot to win it. I do agree, though, that AJ Price is the key. We saw what happened in the tourney last year without him and see what happens now when he's on.

Erik from Florida

How is Arkansas not ranked after beating texas and oklahoma?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:32 PM)

Erik: Were headed that but the home loss to Mississippi State was a clunker. Take heart in this - Hogs are MUCH better than anyone expected.

John (Chicago)

Hey Dana, Is Carolina still the favorite in the ACC? Isn't it going to be an uphill battle to pass Duke AND Wake after starting 0-2? Throw in Clemson and I really don't see it happening. Then again, it Carolina, the best college basketball team ever assembled according to alot of experts...

Dana O'Neil
  (3:34 PM)

John: Definitely have dug themselves a hole. On talent they should be the favorite and there's a ton of games left to play but I 'm not certain they'll win the league. Kinda liking Wake, reminds me of Purdue last year in terms of young, fresh attitude.

Chris (Kalamazoo, Michigan

Are Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims the best one-two combo in the country right now? Also, do you see Michigan winning Big Ten road games?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:35 PM)

Chris: Definitely up there, though Meeks and Patterson made a strong case for themselves last night. Michigan showed me a lot against Indiana. Know IU is dreadful but 20 points down is 20 points down. Think definitely will be a player in the Big 10

Matt (Milwaukee)

Hi Dana - you're my favorite CBB writer on ESPN - keep up the good work! Do you think Marquette can remain close to the top of the Big East all year or do you think their lack of size and depth will eventually wear them down. How deep can they go in the tourney?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:36 PM)

Matt - Thanks. I'm cutting that check right now. I have no problem w/ Marquette's lack of size. Covered Villanova when it went to the Elite Eight with four guards. As long as the guards are crazy talented, and Marquette's are, can go far. I see them in the Sweet 16

Jon(CT)

Dana, im a confused and frustrated nova fan, any words of wisdon or advice?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:37 PM)

Jon: Hang in there? The guards have got to play better. Stokes and Fisher have to be productive, it can't just be Scottie and Dante. Liked what I saw out of Pena against Louisville and like the defense. I don't think you can count Villanova out of hte mix just yet but the Coreys to me are the secret.

Todd (Boston, MA)

Does South Carolina have a shot to take the SEC and/or make it as an at large bid?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:38 PM)

Todd: to me, the SEC is fairly wide open. I think right now I give the edge to Kentucky, but no one is head and shoulders above. That said, I think it's asking a lot of Darrin Horn to get this crew in the tourney

Larry (Lexington, Ky)

What, no questions about Jodie Meeks? Here's one, is Jodie a first Team AA right now and how does he and Patrick Patterson stack up as the best 1-2 punch in the Country.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:40 PM)

Larry: THANK YOU!!! Was thinking the same thing. Good god, that was incredible. I don't see how he's not a first team AA and also don't see how he's not at least in the POY conversation... if he keeps going like this. He and Patterson are as good a 1-2 as you're going to find. If one more guy could be consistent, Wildcats be very hard to beat.

DJ Cuse

Is it possible for the Mizzou Tigers to go a year without someone getting suspended? Do you like what Mike Anderson is doing with the program?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:41 PM)

DJ: Well, at least it was only unpaid parking tickets. I do lilke what Mike Anderson is doing with this team. And I even like his discipline. After the chaos of last year, you need it

Jack (Dallas)

What will it take to make you a believer in Baylor this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:41 PM)

Jack: Ask me at midnight. I'm in College Station for the game tonight. Don't dislike Baylor, just don't see any dramatic improvement from last season rright now.

Chris (Baltimore)

Do you think the Terps might be able to get the Hurricane monkey off their back and get a road win tonight?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:42 PM)

Chris: Crazy Morgan State loss notwithstanding, I still like the Terps. They really could use this win, not just on the road, but to separate themselves from the Canes.

Ben (Carrollton, GA)

How warm is Paul Hewitt's seat getting? Will a commitment from Derrick Favors tonight save his job?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:43 PM)

Ben: He's been in a tricky spot, losing guys to injury; losing guys early to the NBA. Of course, lots of coaches have the same problem. I'd say the seat is hot. Favors would help but you can't keep promising tomorrow. Gotta deliver now.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Big clunker out of the Nittany Lions the other night. Was it just a bump in the road or signs of things to come?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:44 PM)

JB Major clunker. Just did not play well at all. Next few games are key. Tonight, I think, is an impossible task but they absolutely have to win at Indiana. You know the Hoosiers are looking that as one they might get. Can't happen.

Petey(ny, ny)

Memphis got away with one last night...they don't have the out of conference wins like every other year and they don't look too impressive. Any chance they miss dancing?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:45 PM)

Petey: Be stunned. Thoroughly and completely stunned. For starters, probably gonna win their league again. and they still have Gonzaga and Tennessee to play. They'll get in.

Matt (Bethlehem, PA)

Dana, Is Oklahoma the class of the Big 12 or will Texas or KU have a say in who wins the league?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:46 PM)

Matt; I'm not liking Texas right now and I did early. Was at the game on Monday and wasn't impressed at all. Atchley was nowhere ( know about the tongue), Abrams shoots and shoots and shoots, but that can't be the offense. I'd say Oklahoma is the best, yes. Not sure it's a walkover, what with going to Austin yet but I'd say this is the Sooners league to lose.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

Meeks just hit another 3. I know the man was in a zone, but don't you think Pearl did a horrible job of getting the ball out of his hands? Typical UTenn game.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:47 PM)

Cosmo: Absolutelyl did. Loved what Pat Summitt said when they asked what she'd do against a guy scoring like that. She said, 'no touch. he wouldn't touch the ball.' not a bad idea.

spencer Erie Pa

do you think pitt will actually make it past the sweet sixteen, or get upset early like usual?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:48 PM)

Spencer: Be stunned if they got upset again. This is a veteran team and a very talented team, also a team that knows it's past history. Legit crew I'd say

Mike Z (Las Vegas, NV)

Hi Dana, what is your take on UNLV, how come they're not getting any love from the nation?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:49 PM)

Mike: You know I don't have a great answer for that. I put them in my power 16. I know the Louisville game was neutral court, but it's still impressive.

Chris NJ

Whats your outlook on tonights ACC matchup? Dukies vs. Gtech

Dana O'Neil
  (3:49 PM)

Chris: Duke, Duke, Duke. Can't imagine it any other way

Corey (Chicago, Il)

Dana, Michigan State is coming around and everyone is finally healthy now (Suton and Roe). If they can get past a dangerous Penn State team in State College tonight, why shouldn't we win the big ten? We are way overdue with the talent on our roster (Lucas, Morgan, Summers, Allen, Suton, etc).

Dana O'Neil
  (3:50 PM)

Corey: Hey I picked the Spatans in the Final Four, so you don't have to sell me on the Big Ten. Definitely think they are the class of the league by a long shot and are getting better and better.

Chris (Abilene, TX)

I wish I was in College Station for the Baylor game too. How do you see this one playing out tonight?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:51 PM)

Chris: I give the caveat tht those games were on the road but I see what you're saying. The league is OK. It' s not great this year.

Michael (Little Rock, AR)

Dana: Great article on Nolan. Do you see the Hogs bouncing back at Ole Miss tonight? This young team could use a road win!

Dana O'Neil
  (3:52 PM)

Michael: Thanks. Was interesting to write. This game will tell a lot about a young team. Winning on the road is very tricky and these guys need it.

Jay (Fargo)

Hey Dana. With the way the Gophers are playing do see them being a lock to make the tourney?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:53 PM)

Jay: I'd say right now, they're in certainly but they're in that precarious spot where they can't go out and lay any eggs. Good team, a little bit unproven still.

James: (Philly, PA)

Hey Dana. BIG game in Louisville on Saturday. I know the Card's and their fans will be PUMPED UP to play my #1 Pitt Panthers, but I see DeJuan Blair stepping up (as always) and Pitt wins in a somewhat close game. What's your take?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:55 PM)

James: Boy I don't know. Definitely DeJuan Blair versus Samardo Samuels/Terrence Jennings will be a big big factor but I'm also anxious to see Edgar Sosa handle Levance Fields. I'm really liking the way the Cards are playing right now. Defense is very good and at home, I'd say they're gonna be tough to beat. Definitely a close, close game, but I may have to give the edge to Louisville.

Steven (Little Rock, AR)

So do the Hogs win? You dodged the question!

Dana O'Neil
  (3:56 PM)

Steve: I prefer evaded to dodged. Yes, Hogs win.

Bill (Philly)

Who you got in the Big 5 matchup tonight, Temple or Penn at the Palestra? Dunph finally get a win on his old home court against the Quakers?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:56 PM)

Bill: Temple wins. Penn is not very good.

Robert (Thomasville, NC)

Where's the A-10 talk?? Xavier's run last year was impressive, but do you think they can repeat their performance?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:57 PM)

Robert: A10 talk is down because the league is just OK. I'd say Xavier is favored to win but I'm not sure they're talented enough for another great run like last year.

Jordo

Who do we like from the Big Ten?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:58 PM)

To win it? Michigan State.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Can you see the Big East getting two number one seeds in the NCAA tournament?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:58 PM)

JB: Absolutely could see that happening. .

Billy (TX)

Why do you hate Xavier so much these days? As apparent in you power ranking. They seem to finally be clicking on offense. Do you even think they will win the A10?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:59 PM)

Bill: Hate is a strong word. They're getting better, I agree but I can't gaga over wins against Robert Morris, St. Louis and Fordham.

Nick (Boston)

Any chance the Deacs fall in Chestnut Hill tonight? That would be quite the resume, albeit an inconsistent one, for the Eagles.

Dana O'Neil
  (4:00 PM)

Nick: Would be a big resume builder for BC and I have a hard time counting them out at home, but I think Wake wins tonight. Teague is an absolute monster.

Chris (NJ)

Who has Pitt played to desrve a number 1 over the Dukies?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:02 PM)

Chris: They haven't lost for starters. They won at Georgetown, very difficult to do, at Florida State. I have no problem with their ranking.

JP (Pittsburgh)

Very good article on Nolan Richardson. I much prefer your writing to your chatting.

Dana O'Neil
  (4:02 PM)

JP Ok, well you don't have to read these then. You're excused.

Steiny (NYC)

Any chance Jeff Teague wins ACC Player of the Year?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:03 PM)

Steiny: I'd say pretty good chance. I know it's hard to overlook Hansbrough and Singler and the other usual candidates but if he keeps playing like this and the team keeps winning, I'm not sure how he gets pushed back.

Phillip (New York)

Great article on Nolan Richardson. When does the Hoosier nation get to see the same article about Coach Knight?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:04 PM)

Phillip: You'll have to ask the IU administrators if they ever intend to welcome him back. THAT would be a story

chris (buffalo)

Monday night, Onauku vs. Blair, both had pretty pedestrian games in last years match up. who do you like this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:05 PM)

Chris: Going to be there for that one. Anxious to see Syracuse in person. I would say at home, I'd give the edge to Pitt but I can't fully answer that til I know how they do Saturday against the Ville. Monster turnaround

Daniel (Pennsylvania)

Greivis Vasquez...hate him or love him... one of the best players in the ACC... little respect for the Terps?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:06 PM)

Daniel Gave some earlier. Said despite the silly Morgan State loss, still like the way the Terps have been playing this year.

Joel (Oklahoma)

Is Blake Grifiin a lock for player of the year?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:07 PM)

Joel: Nope. I'd have him in front of the pack right now but it's going to be interesting. Everyone presumed this was a 3 man race between him, Hansbrough and Curry. May have to roll Meeks in there and what if Wake outruns Carolina? What about Teague? Still too much ball to be played to rule anyone out

Justin (NY, NY)

What are your thoughts on Michigan at this point in the season? How far do you think they can go?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:08 PM)

Justin: I agree w/ John Beilein (i'm no dope). This is a good team, a talented team but a young team. I think they have the looks of a tourney team but i also know that rollercoaster rides aren't uncommon among young teams.

Mike (Pittsburgh)

Dana, no one cares about college b ball until March. Who you got in the Super Bowl?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:10 PM)

Mike: Well I care about college basketball before March but Super Bowl? I live in Philly, though I'm not an Eagles fan by birth. I sense some sort of crazy cosmic and karmic shift going on. Phillies almost out, then in the playoffs and win the thing. Eagles following the same path. So I'll give D-Mac the edge and then await armageddon.

Pete (NC) [via laptop]

Before the season I asked Andy Katz who from the ACC would join UNC in the Final Four this year. He didn't see 2 ACC teams in the FF, rather 2 Big East teams instead. How would you answer this question now?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:11 PM)

Pete: Hmm... If you go by pure logic and talent alone, there will be 2 ACC and 2 Big East teams in the Final Four. We all know the NCAA Tournament isn't logical. But I have no problem seeing any combination of Duke, Carolina and Wake in teh Final Four.

Seriously?

No answer to the A&M-Baylor game question? You're covering it tonight. Surely you have an opinion.

Dana O'Neil
  (4:14 PM)

Sorry. Lost the question. Very similar teams in a lot of ways. After his 0-for against Okie State I expect Josh Carter to score a bunch tonight. Giving home squad the edge.

Brian (Charlotte, NC)

Is Tennessee a 10 seed headed for a first round exit or do I hope for my Vols to turn this season around?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:15 PM)

Brian: You can hope but the team I watched last night couldn't defend a CYO squad. Freshmen are just OK. Not loving guards. I'd say if you get the 10 seed, based on how they're playing right now, be happy.

Roy williams Chapel Hill NC

Dana i really must say that Duke is overrated i mean it not like they have play any great team as of yet.Puting Duke in top 5 in the AP it crazy if you ask me

Dana O'Neil
  (4:16 PM)

Roy: I would expect you to say no differently.

Dan, Columbia,Missouri

Dana, Is Mizzou a tourney team this year? Will you please answer this question...

Dana O'Neil
  (4:17 PM)

Dan: Since you said please I will. Thought they were earlier. Now I'm not so sure. Losing to Nebraska doesn't help your bubble status. Can they play their way in? Yes. Are they in right now? No

Mark (Lexington, KY)

Quick KENTUCKY question. With the resurgence of Meeks and the consistent play of Patterson....Do you think Kentucky will not only make the NCAA tournament...but possibly make a run deep into the tournament???

Dana O'Neil
  (4:18 PM)

Mark: Define deep? Sweet 16, sure I could see that happening. Billy Gillispie is a very very good coach, so I suspect this team will continue to get better. But Final Four deep? I don't see that just yet.

Phil (NY)

Do you think Duke would struggle against most of the big east teams who tend to have a big bruiser below the hoop? (harngody, onuaku, monroe, blair, etc)

Dana O'Neil
  (4:19 PM)

Phil: That doesn't bother me as much. Get your point but the way these guys can handle the ball, shoot the ball and get to the rim, I may turn it around and wonder if bigger Big East teams would have a hard time handling them.

Jesus (Heaven)

What do you think about Greivis Vasquez form Maryland? First Team ALL ACC or will his mouth prevent that?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:20 PM)

Wow didnt know they had internet Up There. Cool. Players who are sometime dodos haven't been denied before. The bigger question is can he break through to first team when you have the pack of guys from Duke, Carolina, Wake and Clemson in front of him..

Pete (NC) [via laptop]

Clemson has never won in Chapel Hill in 50+ years. That is a very impressive record for the Heels but I am VERY nervous about the Tigers this year. Does the streak continue in your mind?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:23 PM)

Pete: I think I'll have a much better feel about how legit Clemson is after Saturday when they host Wake. They're good enough to win there but at some point I gotta think Carolina is going to start playing like Carolina is supposed to play

Justin Walsh (Dallas, Texas)

Is Tyreke Evans one of the most overrated freshman ever? He gets praise for having good games against cupcakes Marist and Tulsa, but nobody talks about the fact that he turns it over way too much, his jumper is like a shot-put. Why does ESPN ride his bandwagon when you could ride Courtney Fortson, Jrue Holiday, Demar Derozan, Al Farouq Aminu....

Dana O'Neil
  (4:24 PM)

Justin: Tyreke has been an interesting case. Early on he played like he had to hit a home run every shot, which isn't unusual. Think moving him to the point is the best thing for the team but not sure it's best for Tyreke. I guess it's fair to say he's not living up to expectations but this freshman isn't class isn't last year's. I hope, at the very least, Tyreke sticks around. He needs to

Dallas (Richmond, VA)

Which conference is better? The ACC or the Big East?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:26 PM)

Dallas: pound for pound, gotta go Big East. The depth, all the way down to 9 and 10 schools, is incredible.

Tommy (THE VILLE)

What do you think about T-WILL? Is he the best all around player in the BIG EAST, country maybe?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:27 PM)

Tommy: Single greatest quote in college basketball this year. Love him. I wish he could shoot a little better but I love the fact that he does everything well. He looked phenomenal against Notre Dame.

John (Dallas) [via desktop]

Dana, thoughts on this weekends AZ schools visit to UCLA?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:28 PM)

John: No doubt ASU team that could challenge UCLA but I think the Bruins are best in the league.

Jeff (MPLS)

How do you see the B10 playing out behind MSU (assuming they're favorites to win)? Mich, Minn, OSU, Ill, PU and Wisc all seem to be vying for that 2 spot

Dana O'Neil
  (4:29 PM)

Jeff: Agree it is a big crowd behind them, with no one rerally distinguishing themselves yet. I may have to go with Purdue, simply based on fact they've been there but honestly could make a case for any of them..

kevin, fort smith, arkansas

great piece on nolan. i honestly believe that in 5 years, if billy hasnt won a championship in kentucky...he will be out. i think they will pursue john pelphrey and he will leave us at arkansas...then we bring nolan back and 40 min of hell returns. what do u think?

Dana O'Neil
  (4:29 PM)

Kevin: Now there's a vision. Wow!

Dana O'Neil
  (4:30 PM)

Alright everyone, I have to get organized here in College Station. Catch up with you next week. Thanks as always for the questions.