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March 4, 11:51 AM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana O'Neil
  (2:04 PM)

Hey everyone. can't believe it's the last chat of the regular season already. What's up?

Andy (NJ)

How far do you believe Duke will advance in the tourney this year? I personally think they will not make it past the second round considering last season they lost to West Virginia in the 2nd round and nearly lost to Belmont in the 1st round and the season before they didnt even make it past the first round loosing to Virginia Commonwealth if i were Krzyzewski i would be quite concerned about this knowing that my team has not performed well in the past 2 years in the tourney.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:05 PM)

Andy: I understand your point but this Duke team seems much better to me. More experienced, play solid defense and are really adept at handling the ball. Would be stunned if they were gone early again.

Kenson(Greensburg,KY)

Dana, Do you think that if Louisville ties or wins the Big East regular season title/ or wins the the BEAST Tourney Championship will they get a number 1 seed. And if they do both will they ultimately get the overall number 1?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:06 PM)

Kenson: I do think that, barring a surprise entry, the winner of the Big East Tourney will get a No. 1 seed. Wouldn't be surprised if that team was Louisville and if we're presuming they win out here with their last 2, a #1 No. 1 isn't crazy talk.

Parker (Fl)

Thoughts on the Rhode Island Rams? Why is no one talking about them?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:07 PM)

Parker: Good question. I think the Rams are a good sleeper team, to be honest. Jimm Baron is a great scorer, the kind of kid who could blossom into a household name come March.

Brad Stevens (Butler)

Any chance I win Coach of the Year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

Brad: Sure there is. You've done a great job w/ a very young team. Right now I'm waffling between three guys - Mike Anderson, Bill Self and John Calipari.

Illini Fan (Long Beach,Ca.)

Hey Dana! Help me out here. Forde stated in his chat yesterday that he didn't think Illinois would make any noise in the NCAA Tournament. I'm a little confused here?? I can understand they scored 33 and 36 against Penn State and Minnesota.. but isn't this the team that swept Purdue and has a great record against the RPI 100? Let's not forget that Bruce Weber almost lost his job and this team is at 23 wins and counting. What damge can you see them doing? They are great defensively and tough to match up with. Thanks

Dana O'Neil
  (2:10 PM)

Illini Fan: I think Illinois is a team that could make some noise because of their defense. Not sure this is a team suited for a deep run though.

Allen (NY)

How could anyone not be excited about this time of year. For the next month it is do or die hoops. all games meaningful...any chance you need some help covering games during this time?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Allen: Agree wholeheartedly (and I'd better or I need a new job). As for help? How's your typing and coffee fetching?

Mat (Richmond, VA)

Dana, currently BCS conferences make up only 19% of NCAA D1 hoops (6 of 31 conferences)....yet 4 of the 10 members of the selection committee are BCS...next year will be 5 of 10. In a world of George Mason's and a supposed "parity" in hoops...what's with the BCS taker? Are they not killing what makes college hoops so exciting?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:12 PM)

Mat: That doesn't concern me because I believe the selection committee is comprised of people who want to make a good tourney, not reward their self interests. That may be naive. But remember, it has been chaired in the past by members of mid majors, so I think they try to get a cross section of people.

Tony (College Park, MD)

Whose loss last night hurt the most for their tournament chances - Maryland, Georgetown, or Cincinnati?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

Tony: They all hurt but to me, Georgetown was in a rough spot to begin with, Maryland at least lost to a very good team. The Cincy loss is a killer, to a lower ranked team in your conference when you're trying to make a case for consideration.

Barrett Louisville,ky

If you had to pick 6 teams that could win it all.Who would they be?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:14 PM)

Barrett: 6? hmm this isn't in any order.... Louisville, Oklahoma, Memphis, North Carolina, Connecticut and Pittsburgh

Disco (Chicago)

Does Davidson have to win their conf. tourney to get in?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

Disco: think so. the in-conference losses coupled with real standout non-conference wins would add up that way.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Could Penn State lose to Illinois and still get an NCAA Tournament bid with one or two wins in its conference tournament?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:16 PM)

JB: That would be the end-around route. Penn State is a real bubble team right now and I don't think losing at home will help their cause.

Chatmaster

Dana, who ya got tonight OU or Mizzou?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Master: Ugh... I was floored by the Kansas locomotive that hit Mizzou. Not sure if that was an aberration or what. I've liked OU all year, so I'm sticking w/ the Sooners. Expect it to be a good game, though. At least I sure hope so!

Disco (Chicago)

Where do you seed Gonzaga? They have breezed through their easy conference again.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:18 PM)

Disco: I'm curious to see what hapens w/ the Zags now that Patty Mills is back for St. Mary's. I don't think winning the conference is a walkover anymore.

Ry Flynn (Pa)

HUUUUGE Temple fan!! Is there any chance they can get into the dance without winning the A-10? Thanks, and we miss you here in Philly!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:20 PM)

Ry: The loss to La Salle was a killer. They absolutely have to win their last two and need at least a strong run in the A10 tourney, I think.

Greg (Lexington)

What seed (if any) do you see UK getting?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:20 PM)

Greg: If they get in, to me they're a classic 10 seed, spots usually reserved for the last teams in. And they could be dangerous from there.

CJ (Kansas City)

So you were floored by the Jayhawk Express that ran Mizzou out of the Fieldhouse: What did that do to your thoughts on KU? Do you give them a chance to make a Final Four run?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:21 PM)

CJ: Boy, it's hard to say no after that game. I was really impressed w/ Aldrich. You know what you're going to get from Collins. I'm not sure bout Final Four. Still a young team, but this is a team I think that could be around for a while longer than anyone expected in March.

Steve (Chicago)

Hey Dana, Is Ohio State in with a win over Northwestern Sunday, putting them at 20-9, 10-8 in the B10? Thanks!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

Steve: Probably, though there's no wiggle room for bad losses in the Big 10 Tourney.

Robb (Colorado)

Hi, Dana, Thanks for chatting! What happened to ND? I think they were a little overrated, but I did not see this coming. McAlarney has been very inconsistent. Does Gody come back?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:24 PM)

Robb: Boy, I'm not sure but they look s-l-o-w to me. Watching that Nova game, it was like Villanova said Oh right, we're better than they are and zipped into another gear. Not sure bout Harangody. I'd like to see him come back.

Disco (Chicago)

Dana, do you think the Bracketbusters helped any team(s) get in? I watched Niagara take apart Ill. State and Siena the past 2 weeks, how about them?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Disco: Man I feel for Niagara and not just because Joe Mihalich is one of my favorite people. Seems to me schools like that do all that is asked of them, fighting the uphill battle of getting BCS type schools to play them, and there are no rewards on the back side. I hope if they make the MAAC final they'd have a shot but logic tells me no.

Electric Slide (CA)

Just wanted to see if my name would get me on your chat?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:27 PM)

Sure, but not a big fan of your dance. it's been relegated to the 12 year old set at weddings and lasts approximatley 45 minutes too long.

Matt (Hartford)

Dana, What do you think of Villanova? Potential final four sleep or candidate for an early exit?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:28 PM)

Matt: Would be a big sleeper for the Final Four. I think Jay has done his best coaching of his career w/ this team, really maximized his talent, so I don't see them as an early exit team. Play good defense and they're awfully tough. Anxious to see the matchups they'll get.

Mike

Dana, give a dedicated fan some love here. I'm at home fighting off the flu. What's the deal with Michigan State? Why so inconsistent? One minute they look like a national champ, the next they look like a first round out.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:29 PM)

Mike: This is no time to be sick, man. Get yourself to the pharmacy and get healthy. Michigan State is a puzzle to me. Could understand early when Morgan was sick and when Roe wasn't 100 percent but that effort last night was bizarre. I give IU credit for playing as hard as it did, but still.

henry (ny, ny)

what do you think of n.d. state and vmi in the tournament assuming they both win their conference tournaments?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:30 PM)

Henry: Because of the way they play and their talented individual players, I think they're the type of teams no one will want to see opposite their school on the bracket line.

Dom (Albuquerque, NM)

With a win over Utah last night is it time for you all to start talking about the Lobos [20-10 (11-4) RPI 63] who is tied for 1st place with Utah in the MWC?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Dom: Agreed. Mountain West tourney is going to be crazy fun, I imagine. That was a huge win for the Lobos and will definitely put them into the conversation.

Jacob (Anchorage

WHy no love for Washington? No one talks about them and they have been disrespected by the polls all year.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Jacob: The Pac 10 has been so wildly unpredictable and Washington is part and parcel of that. I like the Huskies. Isaiah Thomas is fun to watch and Brockman is a monster.

Ryan (CT)

Providence in or out? Keno Davis Big East COY?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:34 PM)

Ryan Still to be determined. If they can finish up with a win at Villanova and a decent Big East tourney finish, they're in. As for COY he's a candidate certainly but I also would add Jay Wright to the list. As I said earlier I think he's done a phenomenal job w/ that team this year.

Bob Knight (few cubicles over)

Do you see Indiana making any kind of tournament run next year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:35 PM)

Bob: Sorry, I'm not in Bristol so can't see you at the cubicle. Next year? That could still be a tall order. I'd say the Hoosiers are still two years away from a viable NCAA tourney team.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

What is your LEAST favorite aspect of college basketball? The horrible officiating? The 65th team in the tourney?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:36 PM)

cosmo: Good question. The officiating doesn't bug me in the least. Don't get the point of hte 65th team but it doesn't annoy me too much. Hmm... maybe the FT march at the end of the game. I get it, puts the pressure on but technically THOSE are intentional fouls, right?

Arizona Fan

What else can go wrong for us-noone wants to coach us and now sanctions on the horizon?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:37 PM)

Arizona fan: You may not want to ask that question. Or if you do, ask it and duck. Man what a mess!

nathan (Brooklyn)

How far do you see Syracuse going this year. With Flynn do you think they can surprise and make the elite 8???

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

Nathan: I'm still not a fan of Syracuse's lack of defense but on talent, they absolutely have the stuff to knock off a few teams.

Adam (Charleston, SC)

Carolina-Duke on Sunday, who wins it?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

Adam: At Carolina, going Carolina.

Mount an Eer, (Gainesville VA)

Oh so it takes a clever name to get answered?! So do Huggins and WVU have a chance to mix it up in the NCAA Tourney? I know they are young and the future looks bright, but why wait?!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

No, it doesn't take a clever name but your persistence helps. West Virginia has been flying under the radar this year so they could be a sleeper in the tourney. .I have a hard time going all in without Mazzulla.

Tod w/ One D (Green Bay, WI)

Dana - Can my Phoenix knock off the Bulldogs in the Horizon?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

Tod: Don't you remember me? I was your beat writer when you were an assistant at Rider? Boy, I'm crushed. Anyway... could happen, sure but a mighty tall order at Hinkle.

Frank (Boston)

What's more likely to happen: BC gets beat by 20 in the first round, or BC makes a Sweet 16/Elite 8 run?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:41 PM)

Frank: Can i say neither? They may lose in the first round but I don't see them getting blown out. I also don't see them in the Elite Eight.

Jeff (Memphis)

Really having a hard time understanding the Calipari talk for COY. Its not his fault, but they play absolutely nothing in conference, and don't have any really exceptional out of conference wins. It sems to me they've done what they probably should have done. That's not COY. Guys like Self, Anderson, Trent Johnson are much better choices.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

Jeff; Those are all good names, but think of everything that Memphis lost on a team that went to the national championship game. And they aren't beating teams. They're killing em. I know they weren't good early but they've gotten better and better, so I think Cal deserves at least consideration.

Tommy (THE VILLE)

Dana, yesterday I saw Pat Forde say that he'd like to see a dunk contest involving T-WILL, Gerald Henderson, and Blake Griffin. Who do you like as the winner?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

Tommy: Wow. I know I'd like a front-row seat. I'm going w/ Griffin based on nothing more than sheer power. Wouldn't mind adding DeJuan Blair to the crew too.

Joel (Tucson)

Both in the daily paper and on ESPN it was reported that the NCAA is looking into Arizona. From what I understand Zona self reported the "2nd tier" violation - does the NCAA have nothing better to do, don't they still have a mess at USC to clear up? What are they going to do take away recruits we dont have?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:45 PM)

Joel: If they've sent a letter of inquiry, that indicates to me that this is more than the secondary violation. As for taking away recruits you don't have, go ask IU what else they can do. Not saying it's that dire though. .I don't know.

Matt (Pittsburgh)

Who wins tonight, Pitt or Marquette? I have a feeling The Grizzly Blair goes off for a 20/20 game tonight.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:47 PM)

Matt: Pitt is awfully tough to beat at home, so I think the Panthers win. As for Blair, he certainly could go off but I'd be careful to sleep on Lazar Hayward. He's tougher than people give him credit for.

Nate (Brooklyn)

I like your articles. What do you think is the most gratifying story you have written this season.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:48 PM)

Nate: Thanks. Gratifying? Probably the one about Tanner Smith, the Clemson player who started a charity for kids w/ cancer. Really, really good people and his charity has gotten a ton of donations thanks to the story.

Mike (Kansas City)

Dana, I'm disappointed that you think Mizzou is in trouble after one loss. Pitt lost to Providence badly and no one bailed on them. It happens in basketball, especially at Allen Fieldhouse.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

Mike: Oh I don't know that they're in trouble. Said I'm not sure if that game was an aberration or what. But I think following that up with OU is a tall order.

RJ - Dallas

This week, Tennessee, in or out?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

RJ: Could be the most up and down team in the country. Probably in. Today. Check back at 5 pm.

Dana (PA)

Did you find it hard to make it in such a male-dominated field?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Dana: Nope. I've been fortunate to work w/ really good people and I learned a long time ago if you work hard, mean well and develop a thick skin you can survive.

Colby - DC

Say something good about the Aggies. With these other bubble teams busting do they have to beat Mizzou to get in on Saturday or will a couple wins in the Big 12 tourney suffice?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:51 PM)

colby: would be helpful if they could finsih strong w/ the win against Mizzou. With the exception of Texas this run hasn't really included the cream of the Big 12. They can certainly play their way in, though.

John (Georgia)

Florida in or out?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

John: Can I answer that at about 5 pm Saturday after they play Kentucky? That game is going to go a long way to decide the fates of each team, if you ask me.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Will you be heading to the Big Ten Tournament?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

JB: Nope, Pat Forde has that one. I'll be in New York for the bloodbath that is the Big East Tourney.

Billy Clyde (Lexington)

What are the odds I end up regretting leaving Aggieland for Kentucky because they do better in the tournament than me, again?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

Clyde: I'd be surprised if you thought that way. Coaches don't usually have buyer's remorse.

Charlie (Ann Arbor, MI)

Dana: Nationally, not much was made of the Manny Harris benching in Iowa a couple weeks ago. As it stands today, that decision may cost Michigan a tourney spot. Does Belein's decision hold any weight with the committee, or do they simply look at the schedule and see "Loss at Iowa"??

Dana O'Neil
  (2:55 PM)

Charlie: The committee takes into account whether a team lost a game without its best player. The old Kenyon Martin rule. Now when that's a coach's decision it could be a little trickier. But i also don't think just that one loss will keep Michigan out. Body of work is the motto of hte committee.

Pete (NC)

What's your take on the automatic bids? It seems the regular season doesn't matter if a Davidson destroys their conference but loses their conference tournament and doesn't make the big dance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

Pete: I don't see it that way at all. You play the regular season to set up your position for the conference tourney and to argue your case for selection. I understand in the one-bid leagues how that can get tilted maybe, but remember it's body of work. If Davidson had won some of those bigger non-conference games earlier we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Randy (St. Paul)

Biggest Big Ten bubble game of the season so far tonight: Wisconsin at Minnesota, who do you have?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

Randy: Definitely bubble game, you're right. At home, going w/ Minnesota. And relax Badgers fans. I've been wrong often.

Bill Self (Lawrence, KS)

Should I let up and let some other people win the Big 12?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

Bill: Nah. Enjoy yourself.

Dj Cuse

IS this going to be a record low # of bids for the mid-majors? Does not seem to be many with resumes that warrant getting in?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:58 PM)

DJ: agreed. it looks like a tough road for the mid majors to argue multiple bids. I hope that's not entirely the case. To me that's the flavor and fun of the tourney.

Travis Ford (Stillwater)

You know your stuff Dana, are my Cowboys in or out?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:59 PM)

Travis: Flattery gets you everywhere. I'd say on the bubble, leaning toward in w/ a good showing at the Big 12 tourney.

T-WILL Louisville Ky

Dana, what are the odds I get to a triple double tonight?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:59 PM)

T-Will: Wouldn't put it past you even a little bit.

Tommy (THE VILLE)

Dana, how did you get to be the lucky one to cover the Big East tourney? Or is there another conference tourney you would have rather got to cover?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:00 PM)

Tommy: Nope, I'm very very content. For one, it's not far from home. Been covering it for years and it's always entertaining. This year I expect it to be off the charts.

Question

Dana of the top 10 teams in the land (current rankings) which one do you see making the earliest exit from the tournament

Dana O'Neil
  (3:01 PM)

going by this week's rankings and based on recent up and down play, I'd say Wake Forest. I really like their talent but they've been very unpredictable.

Matt (Manhattan Beach)

Dana, your thoughts on the new format for the Big East tourney (aka The Fred Hill invitational)?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:02 PM)

Matt; Love it. More games, more chaos and maybe more upsets.

ACC

Hi we aren't getting questions answered. K thanks

Dana O'Neil
  (3:02 PM)

ACC: Sorry, didn't see any. Your league is crazy. How's that?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:02 PM)

Alright folks, gotta get ready to get to a game tonight. Enjoy champs week!!