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March 26, 11:36 AM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach
  (2:03 PM)

OK, here we go. Hope everybody had a great weekend and is looking forward to the Final Four.

Mike (Chicago)

How do all the analysts at ESPN feel today after they all said that MSU was going to get demolished? Constant disrespect for the Big Ten and now MSU has shown you that defense wins games, not a flashy offense!

Mark Schlabach
  (2:04 PM)

Come on, going into the NCAA tourney, did you think Michigan State was going to the Final Four? They had a chance because of Izzo, but Morgan was struggling and they didn't look very good in Indy. Great coaching job and game plan yesterday.

Dan (Buffalo, NY)

Mark, was the Lawson injury a blessing in disguise? It slowed him down just a tad and now he looks better than ever. This team appears to be on a mission after what happened last year, what do you think?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:05 PM)

That's exactly what Mark Few said about Lawson after the Sweet 16 game. Said the injury made him slow down just a little bit, where he's much more under control and waiting for things to come to him. I think UNC is very, very focused going into Detroit.

Mike utah [via mobile]

Is john calipari going to stay or go?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:05 PM)

My guess is he leaves. But that's just a guess at this point.

mike (pitt) [via mobile]

Mark, what odds would you give each of the four teams to win the title?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:06 PM)

I'd say UNC is the favorite, followed by U-Conn, Nova and Michigan State. I do think the Tar Heels are the team to beat.

Darrius Alabaster, Alabama [via mobile]

How do u think Alabama will do with their new coach?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:07 PM)

I think Grant is very, very good. He showed he can coach this year, and everybody already knew he could recruit his tail off. Look, Florida was going to hire him two years ago when Donovan was going to Orlando. The Florida AD hasn't made many mistakes (although Zook was probably a big one).

Bobby Peterson (Jackson mississippi [via mobile]

I bleed blue and have wanted a fast pace offense for a long time . Is john calipari the right fit at uk?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:08 PM)

Can be. If he recruits like he did at Memphis, the Wildcats will be back on top pretty quickly. If he can persuade Patterson and Meeks to come back, UK will be very good next year. But Cal does a nice job of coaching defense, too. Memphis was pretty stout on defense until it played Mizzou.

Dan (Buffalo, NY0

Mark, given how much trouble Louisville gave Nova when the turned up the pressure, do you see Roy throwing up some full court pressure or just sticking with what got them to Detroit?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:09 PM)

I'd be surprised to see him change much this late in the game, but UNC has the athletes to put some pressure on Nova. A lot of fast and long athletes on that team. UNC is a very good defensive team when it wants to be. They had stretches during the regular season where they weren't very good, but they've been pretty stout during the tournament.

Mike (Happy Valley, Pa)

Would you call me crazy if I told you that I'm taking Michigan St to beat UConn?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:09 PM)

No, after what the Spartans did against Louisville, I wouldn't be surprised. It also helps playing in your home state.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Mark, what do you think about the addition of the CBI and CIT tourneys?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:10 PM)

Haven't watched much of either one, but the NIT has been pretty entertaining. I'm all for teams getting to play in the postseason. Kind of like having 32 bowl games. The more the merrier in my book.

kunal (Forest Hills) NY [via mobile]

Looking to next year, is UNC going to be a top 25 team next season?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:11 PM)

Assuming Lawson leaves, along with Psycho-T and Green, UNC should still be pretty good. Especially if Ed Davis comes back.

Matt (Hartford, CT)

What would be the bigger upset? Nova over UNC or MSU over UConn?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:12 PM)

I'd say Nova over UNC at this point. But both would be pretty big upsets. I think UNC and U Conn are playing the best right now.

brett ( the ville) [via mobile]

Mark what are the chances pitino leaves for tucson, or any other program?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:13 PM)

I'd be surprised. But there are certainly worse places to live than Tucson. But that program is facing a two- to three-year rebuilding job after Hill, Budinger and Wise leave.

kyle: San Francisco

Obviously the big news today is Cal to Kentucky. Have you heard anything on the coaching front for Arizona? Isn't Arizona almost as good of a job?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:14 PM)

Haven't heard as much on that one. Heard some big names -- Jamie Dixon, Jay Wright, Pitino, Tubby, etc. But again, it's a pretty big rebuilding job.

Matt (Hartford, CT)

Jay Wright: National Coach of the Year?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:15 PM)

He's be on the short list, along with Bill Self of Kansas and Calipari and Jamie Dixon.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Mark, are you surprised by how fast Craig Robinson has changed the culture at Oregon St.?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:16 PM)

He's done a great job in a short amount of time. And the Beavers are a perfect example of why the lesser postseason tournaments are a good thing. Oregon State got great experience from playing in the postseason this year.

Mike (Chicago)

Mark, Yes i honestly did think that Michigan State was a final four caliber team. Everyone at ESPN got caught up in hyping the Big East and ACC and forgot about the other conferences. MSU won the Big Ten by 4 games. Definitly not suprised they are in the Final Four and I have had them there in my bracket since day 1. Go Green!

Mark Schlabach
  (2:17 PM)

Well, you're smarter than I am. I think a lot of people were blinded by the low scores in the Big Ten. Figured MSU wasn't very good. Again, they had illness and injuries this season, but did a great job of overcoming adversity. I didn't think they'd beat Louisville, though.

Billy (NYC)

Ive heard some complaints about officiating being too tight yet I watched a couple games where I felt the refs didn't call anything. Your thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:18 PM)

The calls have been pretty tight. I almost think Scottie Reynolds got to the hole too easily because the Pitt guys were afraid of fouling him. Couple of ticky-tack fouls in UNC/Oklahoma, too. Overall, though, I think the officiating has been pretty solid.

matt (new york) [via mobile]

The rumor is that virginia hired a coach today, but no names have surfaced yet. Have you heard anything about this?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:20 PM)

Dave Odom? Sorry. That was from my former life. Katz and the guys and gals are chasing now.

Andrew (Albuquerque)

Who do you think would replace Cal at Memphis?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:20 PM)

Gillispie? I still think Billy lands somewhere. He's a good coach. They'll be able to attract a good coach because they're willing to pay and have a great arena in a nice city.

clay ny [via mobile]

Why would coach C leave Memphis when he has a killer recruting class coming in yet again? I know the SEC is weak and could be dominated, but C-USA is even worse.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:21 PM)

How many of those guys have signed letters of intent, though? They can follow him to UK. I know the kid from Bama hasn't signed yet.

Chris (Marquette, mi) [via mobile]

What are the chances of tom izzo leaving Michigan state for UK?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:21 PM)

None....

JR (Vegas)

Mark - while watching the games on TV, it appeared to me that there were a large amount of empty seats. Obviously the economy even effects March Madness. Any idea on how attendance this year compares to attendance in years past?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:25 PM)

Haven't compared the numbers. I was in Memphis and the arena was half-empty for the first part of the Syracuse/Oklahoma game, but UNC fans filled it up before the Heels played Gonzaga. I saw a quote from the Memphis AD in the Memphis paper in which he said the Univ. of Memphis sold more tickets to the regional games than any of the participating schools. It was a good crowd yesterday, but it felt like a UNC home game.

Greg Columbia

Where does Mike Anderson rate among the coach of the year candidates? Took a team from probation to the final eight with a Big 12 title and he has zero big time players like the rest of the schools and he does it the right way unlike Calipari (proving to pay players) and Calhoun(illegal calls)? I wouls rather be good and honest then great and cheat like these other baffoons?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:26 PM)

Anderson is definitely on the list.

John james [via mobile]

How do you think the rebels of olemiss will end up next year . They were really competitve this year and yet three starters were hurt. Your thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:26 PM)

They're going to be pretty good with Warren coming back. They're not going to have much size, but they have some talented guards and wings. Kennedy is doing a nice job there.

James (detroit)

I think the most over looked thing about this MSU team is their ability to hinder the other teams strengths. Walton completely shut down Williams yesterday and Sutton held Samuels (as well as Taj Gibson) to zero points. Do you think they can do the same to AJ Price and Thabeet?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:27 PM)

They're as good on defense as any team in the country. Walton completely shut down Williams even though he was giving up quite a bit in height. They're very, very tough. You always see that from Izzo teams.

Mike (Elyria,OH)

After the performance against Louisville, and the overall defense of the Big Ten, would it be fair to say Michigan St. would pose a very high threat to Nova, and be a problem for UCONN?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:28 PM)

Again, Michigan State will guard the heck out of U. Conn. I keep thinking Morgan is going to have to score for the Spartans to win, but they're getting it done without him doing much.

brian (de)

So what is your take on Seth Curry joining Duke? Will he be real good going against the tougher competition night in and night out?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:28 PM)

I think it will help him sitting out a year to get stronger. He's as confident as his brother. I think he'll be a nice addition for Duke, and they'll need some wings.

Bill (Louisville) [via mobile]

Do you think Gillispie could have done better if given more time at Kentucky, or was he destined to fail from the start?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:29 PM)

I think he's a good coach. I think he did a good job at UTEP and Texas A&M. I don't think he handled the pressure at UK very well. There were obviously a lot of problems behind the scenes. But I think with one or two more years of bringing in his own players, he probably would have gotten the job done.

Luke Thompson (Louisvile ky) [via mobile]

Any update on the john calipari change? I've been searching for updates and remembered your the best so I decided to try you.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:33 PM)

I think he's weighing his options. Reportedly met with Memphis players this morning. Memphis was trying to come up with a counter-offer to keep him. My guess is he's heading to UK, but it's just a guess.

Mike (pitt) [via mobile]

Is tom izzo the best tourny coach since his teams seem to do more with less talent than any other team

Mark Schlabach
  (2:33 PM)

Five Final Fours in 11 years? I'd say he's the most underrated coach in recent college basketball history.

Andrew (Albuquerque)

Gillispie for Cal at Memphis? Would that go over well losing your elite level coach and then hiring the guy that he replaced?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:34 PM)

Probably not. But Billy will land on his feet somewhere. If Memphis is willing to pay someone else as much as they paid Cal -- or somewhat close to that much -- they won't have much of a problem finding a replacement.

Lexigton, Virginia [via mobile]

Who is UVA looking at for there next basketball coach?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:35 PM)

I would think Tubby Smith and Jeff Capel are on the list. We'll see.

Joe carol stream il [via mobile]

Hi mark what do u think about north carolina winning it?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:36 PM)

I think they're the team to beat. So much depth and so many weapons. Shoot foul shots well and they're very good when Ellington and Lawson and Green are knocking down 3-pointers. I'm not sure any other team has as much inside-outside balance. Obviously, they'll have to continue to play well, but I do think they're the team to beat in Detroit.

Pete (NC)

Has the Big East underperformed in your opinion? Louisville and Pitt were the juggernauts with UConn and Nova afterthoughts. I know they had 5 teams in the Elite 8, but if neither make the Championship game, it's all for nothing, right?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:37 PM)

Half the Final Four and five teams in the Sweet 16? That's not underachieving. Louisville losing was an upset, but I think the Big East showed it's the best league in the country.

Matt (Hartford, CT)

Jay Wright's repeated over and over he is incredibly happy at Villanova with the current AD and President in place. Are you buying this or do you think he may bolt for a bigger paycheck?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:37 PM)

I think he's very happy where he is. Same thing with Izzo and guys like Mark Few and Jamie Dixon and Sean Miller. Why leave when you have one of the best jobs in the country?

mike (pitt) [via mobile]

Mark, if you had to pick one remaining player to hit a game winning shot who would it be?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:38 PM)

Lawson? Reynolds? Price? I would have gone with Fields, but Pitt lost.

chuck big 12 [via mobile]

How did you feel the big 12 fared in the tourney and what are the outlooks as you see them for griffin collins and aldrich

Mark Schlabach
  (2:38 PM)

I thought the Big 12 did very well in the tournament. Kansas will only get better. I think Oklahoma will have to rebuild, especially if Willie Warren turns pro.

brian (baltimore) [via mobile]

with penn state in the NIT final four, MSU in the real final four, and other big ten teams winning games they weren't supposed to in the tourney, how much stronger does the big ten look now compared to when the season started?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:39 PM)

Stronger than most people thought. Purdue and Michigan State played well. Michigan knocked off Clemson. Illinois was a disappointment.

ukfanbws [via mobile]

Can cal take his recruiting class with him if he leaves?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:40 PM)

As long as they haven't signed a national letter of intent. If they have, Memphis would have to release them to sign with Kentucky. I'd be surprised if that happens.

Atlanta, GA. [via mobile]

Who is the next coach for the Bulldogs?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:40 PM)

They're aiming high for someone like Jeff Capel or Mike Anderson. We'll see. I think you see a lot of movement on that search this week.

Nico san antonio,tx [via mobile]

hey mark, love your blogs a lot just wondering if you could take the time to answer how good the texas longhorns will be next year without abrams and possibly damion james. thanks much appreciated!

Mark Schlabach
  (2:41 PM)

Have to get better at point guard. That's the one position really holding them back.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Mark, outside of UNC, the ACC has been a huge disappointment. Would you agree?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:42 PM)

For the most part, yes. Clemson lost in the first round again. Maryland won a game, but wasn't very good. Wake Forest laid a huge egg. Overall, not a great year for the ACC. But they can still win the national title.

john (memphis, tn) [via mobile]

Why would coach Cal want to leave Memphis when he has such a good thing going?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:42 PM)

Kentucky is still one of the top five jobs in the country. It's like managing the Yankees or coaching football at Notre Dame.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:43 PM)

Folks, sorry I have to run. Trying to track a couple of things down. I'll be in Detroit this weekend, and I'll be chatting again next Monday. Enjoy the Final Four.