Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 28, 10:41 AM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana O'Neil
  (2:00 PM)

Looking forward to some cabin fever relief here in snowy Philly. What's on your minds?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:00 PM)

Looking forward to some cabin fever relief here in snowy Philly. What's on your minds?

Kris IL

Do you think that the Michigan Wolverines will make the ncaa tourney? and How many Big 10 teams will make the tournament?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:02 PM)

Kris: The Wolverines don't have a huge margin for error. The non-conference wins against Duke and UCLA are huge but they can't fall apart in the league. Right now I'd say they're on the right side of the bubble, but teetering. As for the rest of the Big Ten, weird league. Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois are in. Minnesota is in now but could fade and play its way out. Penn State is a dark horse

Jeff (Chicago, IL)

Hi Dana, how many more teams does Marquette have to beat before they are no longer characterized as an over rated team?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:03 PM)

Jeff: I think Marquette is legitimately good. The questions, I think, are because they've played the softer portion of the Big East. The win at Notre Dame was huge; a win against Georgetown would be equally big.

Eric (State College, Pa)

Dana, please give some love to Penn State. We're selling out the BJC, the students are showing up, and we've got a really exciting team right now. How is it that no one has them in the big dance right now?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:05 PM)

Eric: There's no doubt that this is by far the best Penn State team in ages. Thrilled to hear there's juice and a buzz on campus. To me, that's a sleeping giant. The reason no one is giving them huge NCAA love is they played a ridiculously soft non-conference schedule. When your best win is at Georgia Tech, you ain't got much. That said, if Penn State can pull some upsets in the Big Ten, finish near the top of hte standings, they have a shot to get in. I hope so for Cormley's sake. Great player, great kid.

Margie (Norfolk, VA)

Hey Dana, what do you think of the Hokies' chances against Clemson tomorrow night?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:07 PM)

Margie: Hokies are playing a LOT better right now, seem to be finding their groov. Playing at home, I think they can pull off the 'upset' and legitimately get themselves off the bubble.

John (Chicago)

Dana, Cutting to the chase, Wake or Duke tonight and what's the key factor that decides the game?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

John: Yikes... I'm having a hard time with this one. My gut says Duke but at Wake, that's a hard call for me. Key will be defense - as in Wake needs to play some unlike what it did against Virginia Tech.

Joe (NJ)

Dana Please help me out. Is Bobby Gonzalez going to be out after this year or will he get a chance to try and win next year with all the transfers he brought in?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:09 PM)

Joe: His antics don't do much to curry favor, that's for sure. But he has 7 scholarship players, I think so I'm not sure how much can be expected. How that team beat Georgetown, I have no idea. My guess is he'll be around but he's also one circus act performance away from big trouble. So tomorrow against Rutgers, I suggest he shake Fred Hill's hand after the game.

Andy (Rochester, NY)

Dana, great piece on 'cuse after the pitt loss. Do you agree with Paul Harris that tonight is a "must win" for the Orange? I know the Big East is tough for most teams but this stretch has GOT to be the toughest for cuse- they can't even catch a team who's struggling.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Andy: Absolutely brutal stretch and without Rautins, even harder. I'm not sure a loss absolutely kills Syracuse but you don't want to go on a skid in January. Not good for the psyche or to impress the committee. I'd say it's an important win more than a MUST win. Semantics, I know.

Corey (Chicago, Il)

I just bet a guy $20 that Michigan State will be a 2 seed in the tourney come March. If we win the big ten and the tournament title, aren't we looking pretty good for that 2 seed?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

Corey: You're not planning to lay more eggs a la Northwestern, right? presuming no, I could see a 2 seed for the Spartans, yes. No one from the SEC is grabbing one; no one from the Pac 10 looks that way right now. Oklahoma is headed for a 1, I'd argue. so sure...

Gary Williams (College Park)

This is going to end badly for me, isn't it?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:14 PM)

Gary: Yea, it doesn't look good, not when you're in a public he said,she-said in the middle of the season about players who aren't even on your team. Oh and you're team is flopping

Alex (Princeton)

Will you be venturing out into the snow/ice/rain to see the last college basketball game at the Spectrum tonight? Should we expect another Nova tease?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:16 PM)

Alex: I will indeed. Doubt it will be good as the Kentucky-Duke game, but hopefully it will be fun. I can't figure out Villanova at all. Thought they'd get blown out by UConn, but theyr'e in it. Thought they'd run roughshod over South Florida, they struggled. I think this is a big order for the Wildcats. Tough defensive team, smart guards, great big man and a deep, deep team.

Roy Williams Tallahassee Florida

Dana would you please answer my question that i sent early?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:18 PM)

Roy: Shouldn't you be getting ready for your game, sir? I think you wanted to know why your team is being disrespected? Seriously? You're Carolina, No. 6 in the country. I'm not sure who you think you ought to jump to vault to No. 2 and No. 3. Oklahoma? Pitt? UConn? I can't see that. Beat Duke on Feb. 11 and we'll talk. now go run a shootaround or something.

Joe (NYC)

Hi Dana, what should I think of my Hoyas? Can we legitimately use the excuse of having a freshman center and "freshman" PG (Chris Wright only played a few games last yr) for their problems?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

Joe: It's more than just that. Guys who were role players - DaJuan Summers and Austin Freeman, for example - have been handed a heavier load this year. I thought Georgetown was overachieving early. A good team but playing better than I thought. No excuse for losing to Seton Hall. None.

Joe (boston)

is BC in or out of the dance right now? if not then what do they have to do to get in?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:21 PM)

Joe: Closer but not yet, I don't think. Good to see the Eagles rebounding from the fiasco dip there but they need to start beating some of the top ACC teams - again - to lock up a spot.

Chris (Tyler, TX)

What do you think of Texas this year? They seem very young and inconsistent but very talented.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

Chris: You said it. They are very talented but painfully inconsistent. I wish I could say why. Sometimes I think too much of the offense goes through AJ Abrams. Sometimes Johnson and James disappear.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

Dana, What did you think of Mark Gottfried resigning Will we get a big name coach like our football coach Nick Saban?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:23 PM)

Brad: I was surprised by the timing of it. Thought he was in trouble but it's an odd time of year to back out. As for replacements, Alabama hoops isn't Alabama football. Should get a good coach but you aren't getting a million-dollar star.

James (Houston, TX)

I know the SEC is down, but Arkansas did beat the top 2 teams in the Big 12 and can't get a win in the league so it might not be too terrible--I'm just saying the league should get 4 bids--UK/Florida/Tennessee/ andwhoever comes out of the west--Your Thoughts?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:24 PM)

James: We see things differently. I don't love Florida or Tennessee. If they get in, don't see either sticking around long. The league is down this year.

Kellen (Boston)

So OU is in the top 5, but I'm not sure they are really considered a team likely to make the Final Four. What are your thoughts on the Sooners, besides the obvious (e.g. Griffin for POY)?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Kellen: I think they have a very good shot at making the Final Four, so long as Austin Johnson keeps playing the way he has. Team plays good defense, has solid role players in guys like Taylor Griffin, can shoot half decently from outside and then they have the best player in the game. What's not to like?

Wilbur(tucson)

Dana, First if you had to bet your house, who would you bet on as the next arizona coach? And second any shot of them making the big dance. Thanks and BEARDOWN!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:27 PM)

Wilbur: In these economic times, I can't afford to bet my house. My family wouldn't fit well in a cardboard box. I've heard Tom Izzo. As for the Cats, boy they're in a tough spot right now. League isn't great and neither is their record. Gonna have to turn it on here to make it in.

Justin( Arizona)

Do you think LSU can go to Tennessee and pull off the upset?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:28 PM)

Justin: Is that an upset? I mean, the Vols aren't exactly killing anyone.

Josh(valdosta, ga)

Is this the year for FSU to finnaly make the big dance? After beating North Carolina tonight 76-69)

Dana O'Neil
  (2:29 PM)

Josh: Not sure about beating the Heels but it would be a massive meltdown if the Seminoles didn't get in this yearr.

Dallas (Richmond, VA)

Why doesn't Virginia Tech get as much respect as Miami or Clemson? They are one of the top teams in the ACC every single year. No matter who is on the team.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:30 PM)

Dallas: Probably because they still come up short come tourney time and this year started so slowly.

Sean (Eugene)

Dana, My Ducks are sinking this season. Even though 5 freshmen log significant minutes, is this Ernie Kent's last season at Nike U?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Sean: Tough call. Playing such a young team is an automatic out for coach's with struggling team but the Ducks are really awful. I'd say Ernie is feeling the burn.

Kellen (Boston)

Will ESPN throw a party when Oklahoma becomes the first school to ever have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and basketball POY winner? (Plus it could be a threesome when Courtney Paris wins the women's POY award)

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Kellen: Sure party's at my house. Juice boxes and pb&j for everyone. but that would be pretty wild...

Michele IL

Are Singler and Henderson one of the best duos in college basketball this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Michele: One of. Last night notwithstanding, like the Meeks-Patterson duo as well.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Are you surprised at what my man Craig Robinson has done at Oregon St. so far? I know they had nowhere to go but up, but they've already won 3 conf. games so far.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:33 PM)

Will: I'd go with stunned more than surprised. Definitely nowhere to go but up but that team is playing with some magic pixie dust right now. Good for him. .Great man, and that's not just because he has an interesting brother in law

George (Iowa City)

So I know that everyon thinks that Michigan State is the class of the Big 10, but what about Purdue? Do you think that they will be getting more respect nationally, or will we have to wait for a win over MSU or Illinois? Oh and what are the chances of MY hawkeyes upsetting MSU tomorrow. I still have last years game fresh in my mind...

Dana O'Neil
  (2:34 PM)

George: I'm having a hard time figuring out Purdue. Pulled one out last night. They're good but not great, so I'd say they need to show some stuff against the Spartans. Sorry but don't like your Hawkeyes pulling the upset again.

Reese (Charlotte, NC)

Dana, to date, who do you think the best player is in the ACC?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

Reese: Sorry internet crashed. Not sure I answered. Would be tie between Teague and Henderson, giving Teague the edge by a nose.

Tom (Austin)

If you could take one team's offense and combine it with one team's defense, which two teams would they be?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

Tom: Notre Dame's offense and Louisville's defense.

Mike (OR)

Do you expect Washington to stay at or near the top of the Pac10?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

Mike: I can answer that a lot better on Sunday. If they can sweep this weekend - they key game being ASU - then yes, I do.

Jeff(Darien, CT)

Hey Dana, Let's suppose Davidson runs the table including the Bracketbusters game and go on to lose in the Southern Conference tournament finals. Will they get an at large bid? Do they deserve an at large bid?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:41 PM)

Jeff: I'd say they do on the quality of their non-conference schedule.

Justin (Cincinnati)

Dana, Kentucky's loss last night any reason for concern, or just a regular bump in the road diuring conference play?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

Justin: I'd say it's a bump in the road during conference play. Not many games where Meeks will go without a field goal in the first half.

Tom (Austin)

Notre Dame!!!????? Ken Pomeory doesn't even have them in the top 20 for offensive efficiency!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

Tom: Great outside shooters; good inside player who can also step outside. If Louisville had Kyle McAlarney, they'd be insanelyl good. if you ask my opinion, don't yell if you disagree. It's why it's called an opinion, right?

Ali (Austin, TX)

Dana, I love that you were one of few who had confidence all along. Is Louisville back or what?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

Ali: See now that's what I like. Someone who will brag for me. Yes I did and yes they are.

Cody (Dayton)

So Dana, What do you think of Dayton's chances of beating Xavier in the regular season, winning the A-10 and making it to the Big Dance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:45 PM)

Cody: It certainly could happen. Seems to me those are clearly the best two teams in the Atlantic 10 and with a fierce rivalry, anything can happen. As it stands, those are the only teams right now that can make a strong case for an at-large bid.

James (Philly):

Dana! AWESOME article on DeJuan Blair. I'm going to have everyone on campus read it. Anyway, how do you see Pitt faring tonight against Nova? Should be a great atmosphere, and, fittingly, I see Blair taking control on the boards and leading Pitt to the win.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:45 PM)

James; Thanks. Had a great day with a great kid. I'm not sure that Villanova has hte stuff to handle him. Cunningham and Pena cannot afford foul trouble. This is the kind of game where the Wildcats will miss Casiem Drummond.

Jordan (Indianapolis)

Is Butler the best team in Indiana?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:46 PM)

Jordan: Yep.

Fran (New York City, NY)

Dana, I've had season tickets to the Garden since Louie C. was still rocking sweaters on the sideline, but it's getting almost unbearable for me to watch the St. John's team out there, especially with Norm Roberts still at the helm. With Madison Square Garden threatening to oust the Johnnies if they don't turn it around, and the Big East deeper than ever, how much longer do you see Norm as St. John's head coach?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:47 PM)

Fran: Excellent point. More than the losses, that might be Roberts undoing - chronic disinterest in the program.. I know he has excsues without Mason but this team has been a non-factor in the league for a long time. Equally damning, the best players aren't just leaving... they're leaving for other Big East teams. I can't imagine him surviving. They need a young coach with some juice to get that place going again.

Bob

Anad, od ouy kniht uozzim lliw ekam eht tnemanruot?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

i can't type forward let alone backwards. I think the Tigers have some work to do still but yes, they can play their way in and I expect they will.

Matt (NC)

Arent you forgetting some guy by the name of Hansbrough for your best player in the ACC?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Matt: No, I'm not forgetting him. He's phenomenal but right now if I was asked who is the player of the year, I'd go with Henderson and Teague. Could change.

Ben (Houston TX)

What do you think about the Aubrey Coleman incident last week at Arizona?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Ben: Classless and thanks for the apology, but I don't know how you accidentally stomp someone on the face.

Harry (PA)

Is it imperative for college basketball to have a successful team in the NY area? It seems like college hoops is great even though our more important city doesnt care a lick about college hoops.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:51 PM)

Harry: THe sport won't fold, no but I think New York would wrap its arms around a good program and would only boost the sport overall.

mike (east lansing)

Hey Dana, how do you fell about MSU possibly getting the fourth number 1 seed in the NCAA tourney?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

Mike: Not sure I can go there. Too many teams in the Big East and ACC to put ahead of them, plus Oklahoma.

Craig (Providence, RI)

What do youthink of the Friars chances tonight against the Rautinsless Orange????

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

Craig: I'd say Providence needs this slightly more but even without Rautins, I think Harris and Flynn are too good.

Jeremy (Memphis)

If Memphis wins out do you think they could get a 2 seed?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

Jeremy: Nope, I don't. No eye-bugging non conference wins, average conference.

Tom (Garden City, NY)

Hey Dana, Do you see Siena making a run in the NCAA tournament this year? They have a perfect conference record and have played some top teams tightly.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:54 PM)

Tom: That was the hot pick early and then they didn't fare as well in Orlando as expected but I still think they could. Veteran team and as you said, battle tested.

Andrew (Louisville, Ky)

How long do you see Louisville's unbeaten streak lasting in the Big East?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:55 PM)

Andrew: That UConn game on Monday jumps out at me. .Not saying the Ville can't win but that's going to be a tough one.

James (Durham, NC)

Dana, place your odds on Notre Dame going to the NIT this year.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

James: They are a mess right now and honestly that team annoys the bejesus out of me. If they could just play a teeny weeny bit of defense, that's all I ask. They'd have to tumble pretty far considering the strength of their schedule and conference but right now even if they made it, can't see them sticking around too long.

Tom Izzo

FYI, I'm staying put.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

Tom: Excellent, Tom. Is that on the record?

Christian (Cincy)

Are you finally going to put XU in your power rankings after their win at LSU?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

Christian: I did last week.

Brett Banks(Youngstown,OH)

Hey Dana.Do you think the Horizon League could get 2 or 3 teams in the Big Dance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:59 PM)

Brett: Maybe two. Big maybe. You gotta remember, at-large bids are gonna be at a premium this year, what with the depth of the Big East, Big Ten and ACC.

Tom(Harrisburg,PA)

With so many returning players wouldn't you think UNC would be playing more inspired/determined/consistent D than they did last year when their defense was the only thing that held them back from what they all claim they want, a national championship?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:00 PM)

Tom: You'd think but I've always been told defense is a mindset. It's not a whole lotta fun and if you're not into it, not good at it, you can't just turn it on. They are better, though, much better.

Pildor (Ohio)

Is NJIT a final four contender now that they've shown they can win a game?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:01 PM)

Winning the whole thing. Shocking the world. And on that, gotta bolt. Off to watch Pitt-Villanova close out the Spectrum's college basketball run. Thanks for the questions.