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January 16, 11:44 AM ET
Chat with Kyle Whelliston

Kyle Whelliston
  (3:59 PM)

Hey all you college basketball people, I'm Kyle Whelliston and I'm here to talk mid-majors with you. It's a new timeslot, it's not just a holiday thing. Thanks for coming over on your day off, and all MEAC and SWAC questions go to the front of the line.

Chris (Bloomington, IL)

Is Jackson State the Favorite in the swickety-SWAC? It's hard to tell who's really good because they all have bad overall records...

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:01 PM)

That's, of course, because of all the guarantee games they play, getting checks to help fund football. I think Jackson State is the best team in the SWAC, because of that front line they have... teams with skilled bigs tend to do well in that guard-heavy conference. Big game at Prairie View tonight, which is shockingly 4-0.


How about some love for Radford out of the Big South? RU has won five in a row, six of seven (played Wake Forest close for 33 minutes) and the Highlanders are now tied for first with VMI (whom they host on Wednesday). How do you like their chances? Keep an eye on their frontcourt. Thanks.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:03 PM)

I think the reason they're not getting talked about as much is because of the schedule. The teams they've beaten are likely going to be the ones playing road games in the BSC tourney. But this is a gigantic stretch coming up: VMI, then a tough three-game roadie. By Groundhog Day, we'll know what they're really made of.

Chris (Concord, CA)

What the heck happened to Valpo this season?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:06 PM)

The shooting has just gone out the window. I mean, these are guys who shot for good percentages last year, there are two or three guys who have just gone into season-long slumps. Add lots of turnovers to that, and you have a disaster.

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Kyle Whelliston
  (4:09 PM)

My man! I like the big Y, like Kanye does. Xavier is playing with fire right now with turnovers, I can definitely see Dayton winning either the regular season or tourney. As for the Southland, Stephen F. Austin is playing really well. It's either them or San Antonio.

Mike (Albany, NY)

Kyle, Siena is (14-5, 8-0 MAAC) do you think they can run the table in the league?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:11 PM)

After their road sweep this weekend, I'm going to say a big yes on that one. But they don't have to -- they're not getting in as an at-large. So if they can get through this without dropping one or two, it would be a pride thing.

Garrett (Fargo)

Who wins the Summit League?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:12 PM)

North Dakota State is really doing great in its first postseason-eligible year... redshirting an entire class so they'd be ready for this shot is paying off big time. Sweeping the western trip (Southern Utah, UMKC) is about the hardest thing you can do in the Badlands Conference, and they just did it.

Jerry H (Saline MI)

Belmont won by just four at SC-Upstate while Jacksonville continues to merrily roll along. Can I tell my JU-alum buddy Heather that this is the year the Dolphins loosen the Bruins' hold on the A-Sun autobid?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:14 PM)

Don't forget about East Tennessee State... that team has guards that can just shoot the crap out of the ball. There's a huge matchup tonight between the Bucs and Belmont, and it's shaping up to be a great three-team race.

Bob - North of Worcester, MA

Hey Kyle, Love the new time slot. Big Week for my Crusaders. At Navy on Wednesday. Home against American. What's the key for HC to beat Navy and the key to beat AU? Bally says hello!

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:18 PM)

I like this slot too. I think the Navy game will be an easier time of it, HC just has to do what it does best: force turnovers. American's offense is so improved and more dynamic than last year's, but it's the same key: stop them before they shoot.

Ponce (Hackensack, NJ)

Kyle - UTSA looks much improved this season...can they win the Southland?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:21 PM)

I think the difference over last year, other than everyone finally being healthy, is the level of athleticism. They can play high-tempo ball and get into the 80's. It's like Texas State, but with better athletes.

Deron S (Macon Ga)

What do you think of Mercer chances to win the Atlantic Sun Conference? Was the tough out of conference schedule a good idea?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:23 PM)

It was a great idea, because they won big games and got a lot of pub for it. Then the book came out on the Bears: press and trap them, and they fold up. I think they'll finish fourth behind the current big three.

Frank of Triangle, NY

Can you go back to saying Binghamton is horrible? I think you jinxed them with your Friday chat praise.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:25 PM)

They're not that horrible! They just can't hang with teams with solid bigs, and lose when they can't compensate for being killed on the glass. And they're getting killed on the glass. BU went +19 on them.

Pat (Boston, MA)

What do you make of the America East? It seems like no one's taking charge in the conference. Both Boston U and Binghamton appear to be inconsistent. Vermont is a mystery wrapped in a riddle surrounded by an enigma. Hartford has injury woes, New Hampshire is too reliant on the "3" and Albany is a big unknown.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:28 PM)

The fascinating thing about that league is that everyone has at least one giant fatal flaw, and games are coming down to exploitation of those flaws. Binghamton can't rebound. Vermont can't hold on to the ball. BU can't hit free throws.

Chris (DC)

Kylie, who are the top 3 mid conferences this season, and which ones have the best chance at multiple bids?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:30 PM)

I hope that was a typo. As for excitement, the Horizon, MAC and Atlantic Sun. Nobody knows what's going to happen next. Bidwise, it's the WCC, CAA and Horizon. Although the last two are getting iffier by the day.

Chris (Destin, FL)

I watched several Butler games this year and I like them a lot but they are very young, not real big, but like all Butler teams they play great team D. Do they have enough offense to get to the sweet 16?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:33 PM)

Butler always plays defense and limits their own turnovers. They had juust enough offense to go S16two years ago, and they often shot 33% from the floor that season. The difference with this squad is that they rebound. Nobody's going to be too surprised if they make it to the second weekend this time.

Winnemucca, NV

You attend a staggering amount of games as evidence by, do you ever get frustrated with the officiating at games?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:36 PM)

Like anything, good officiating is a commodity that's controlled by those in power. I accept that. What frustrates me is that mid-major leagues don't figure out that they can get the good refs if they play on Sundays, Tuesdays or Fridays, when most of the BCS conferences aren't playing.

david( springfield, mo)

What are your thoughts on the job Cuonzo Martin is doing at Missouri State in rebuilding that program?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:37 PM)

That team is struggling, no doubt about it. 1-6 in the Valley. This is a wash year, because there are all these young guys combined with seniors that are square pegs in the style that Coach Martin wants to run. Any real analysis starts this coming November.

Kevin (Long Beach)

Kyle, with Long Beach State beating preseason favorite Northridge this weekend and now at 5-0 in the Big West, do you see 2nd Year Coach Dan Monson's 49ers winning the league and maybe making some noise in the tournament? His 2nd year at Gonzaga wasn't too shabby....

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:41 PM)

LB's played some great defense since getting into league play... and a lot of the preseason darlings are having a lot of trouble. They could get through this with only a loss or two, but they won't get much of a seed because of the weakness of the league. Whether Coach Monson would stick around at Beach after a big season is a different topic altogether.

Justin (Logan, UT)

Would you agree that Utah State deserves to be ranked this week being 17-1?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:43 PM)

Who cares... polls are dumb.

Wong (Nutley, NJ)

Why don't the 11 independent schools form a makeshift conference? I know it wouldn't be geographically ideal, but it would better better than the situation they are in now. NJIT RULES!

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:44 PM)

Wong, your dreams have already come true. Google "Great West Conference." And I want a t-shirt that says "NJIT Rules" on it.

Jerry H (Saline MI)

Kyle, noticed you're a fan of David Byrne & Brian Eno's "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" album. So what day on the mid-major calendar is that title the best metaphor for: BracketBusters Saturday? The first Thursday of the NCAAs? Something else?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:46 PM)

Some people just know how to get a second question in. I think that's a great metaphor for any given Saturday, with over 150 games nationwide. After they're all completed, nothing has changed, but nothing's the same.

Orlando (Elizabeth, NJ)

Yes, polls are dumb...but being in the top 25 is a recruiting tool that very few schools like Utah St. can leverage. The polls are dumb to you, but this isn't a Kyle-centric world.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:49 PM)

Wait a second... you just said polls are dumb in OrlandoWorld too. I think we can still be earth-friends.

Scott (Reno)

Has Nevada finally gelled Kyle?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:50 PM)

I think the biggest thing with Nevada is that they've found a way to overcome bad shooting. They'll outrebound anybody, but they're not sending teams to the line as much. That's going to be big down the stretch, especially in the Utah State tilts.

Constantin Popa (Miami)

Your beard sucks and falls far short in coolness when compared to my goatee.

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:52 PM)

That's an old picture. I don't have the beard anymore.

Josh (Indianapolis)

Is Butler's Matt Howard a poor man's Tyler Hansborough? He's great finisher at the basket, has a great "motor", and seems to always be in mix for a rebound?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:54 PM)

I'm going to flip that and call Tyler Hansbrough an overrated man's Matt Howard.

Hector Savage (Detroit)

What happened to UMBC? Tourney last year, unconvincing performances against conference foes, yet a Nebraska win?

Kyle Whelliston
  (4:57 PM)

They miss Cavell Johnson in a big way. They're the same team with the same strengths (especially ball control... Jay Greene is one of my favorite PG's) but they have no serious low-post presence to speak of this year.

Mert (Milwaukee, WI)

It has been interesting how the Horizon League is shaping up. Do you think GB or Milwaukee have a shot at winning the league, or is Butler a lock? Milwaukee is pretty young. Are they still a year away from Coach Jeter's team stepping out of Bruce Pearl's shadow?

Kyle Whelliston
  (5:00 PM)

I saw the Cleveland State-Milwaukee game on Saturday, and the Panthers' youth showed in the way they led CSU back into that game. But the farther they go this year, multiply it by a whole bunch for 2009-10. Jeter is finally getting things together at UWM, with his players, with the system he wants to play.

Kyle Whelliston
  (5:01 PM)

OK, that's it for me, got to get on the Metro and into the bedlam that is DC. Thanks to everyone who dropped by, sorry if I missed your question, I'll see you from Valley country next Monday!