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January 13, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana O'Neil
  (3:01 PM)

Greetings from chilly Hartford where I'm anxious to see a much better than expected Pittsburgh team against Connecticut tonight. What's up?

Delroy (RI)

Hey how do you feel about URI's chances in getting into the big dance this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:03 PM)

Tough loss against Temple at home but URI has some decent wins - Oklahoma State, Providence - but no eye popper. Still plenty of time in a very good A10 to make up ground and more than earn their due.

Joe Dondanville (Peoria, IL)

Dana, Marquette has had some closes misses early in Big East play against high ranked teams. With the back have of their schedule loaded with unranked teams, do you think they can/should finish in the top half of the conference and possibly still get an NCAA bid assuming they take care of business with these teams?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:08 PM)

Ok the computer hates me. Hold please.Joe, did I answer?

Jim (Vienna)

Dana, Does the selection committee take things into account such as the following: Tennessee, if they were to have a losing record in conferece (because of their player depth problems) yet they did well with them to this point, does the committee give them slack? Or like is with West Virginia, that Kilici had that ridiculous suspension, if they play better with him being back would that affect their seeding?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:10 PM)

Jim: It's called the Kenyon Martin rule, after Martin broke his leg before the tourney, so yes extenuating circumstances are taken into account. Not sure about West Virginia's case. It's not like they had him and lost him. Certainly Tennessee's will be a slight factor. The real obvious one: the losses Ohio State had sans Evan Turner. Fuhgettabout em.

Roller (Kentucky)

Dana: I love that UK is undefeated but do you think its gonna hurt them if they keep rolling and get beat later in the year or do you think they are mentally strong enough to shake it off before going into March Madness?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:11 PM)

Roller: The Kentucky team I watched last night is plenty mentally tough enough. I was so impressed that such a young team made big shot after big shot on the road. So many times in games like this guys make bad choices, take silly shots or fall apart. Kentucky didn't rattle a little bit. I don't think they need to lose at all.

Chris (Buffalo)

Dana, what's your take on Syracuse? Are they really a final four threat, or did they just happen to expose all the pretenders for what they were but aren't that great themselves? Here's hoping it's the former!

Dana O'Neil
  (3:12 PM)

Chris: Oh I think the former, for sure. The team I saw was playing with such a great efficiency on offense. Selfless players, content in their roles. I don't think that's fraudulent at all.

MIZZOU Matt (Charleston, SC.)

Missouri has a big chance to make a statement this week with 2 road games with Texas Tech and Oklahoma. If they pull off those wins, don't you think they should be considered a threat in the 12 along with Texas, KU, and K-State (which they already beat)?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:13 PM)

Mizzou: I'd say they're already a very dangerous team. I'm not sure they are as talented as last year w/o Carroll and Lyons but the way they play hasn't changed at all. Zaire Taylor, Kim English and JT Tiller are not a bad core to have back. I'd say the Tigers could scare a lot of people frankly.

david (provo)

tell me cougs of byu are going to the ncaa tourny and winning a game or so there? this has to be the year right?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:15 PM)

David: Can you guarantee 50 from Jimmer? Seriously... I'd say the Cougs look like a very scary tourney team.

Boone (Yonkers)

Dana, It seems like mid-majors that got off to a rough start are finally on a roll (Butler, Siena)...Ive noticed these teams usually hit their strides late in perfect time for March. Are there Sweet 16, Elite 8 hopes for these squads??

Dana O'Neil
  (3:16 PM)

Boone: Agree w/ you. They often take their lumps early and sometimes on purpose, with brutal schedules to toughen them up come March. I think you named two teams worthy of consideration. Butler's fall from preseason heights has sort of stuck them on the backburner. People aren't talking about them. That's not a good idea.

Ryan (UNC)

Who do you think wins tonight at Clemson? UNC or Clemson?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:18 PM)

Ryan: Saw on twitter that Tyler Zeller is out? Not sure if that's entirely true. Been driving all day. Clemson is always so unpredictable but this year, the Heels are equally tough to pin down. I'm giving the home team the edge - Tigers win.

Dustin (Austin)

Can the Horns go undefeated in their very hard stretch until the kansas game in feb? If they lose to which team (@KSU @CONN TTU Baylor @OKST and the big KU game)

Dana O'Neil
  (3:20 PM)

Dustin: Boy that's a hard run to win em all. I'd be stunned if they did it to be honest. If I had to pick one, I'd go with the first one. Kansas State will be majorly pumped for this game and with Connecticut behind them, that could be a tough one for the Horns. Since I said that, they'll win them all.

Ricky (CT)

Dana, Analysts are always talking about toughness in basketball. Villanova showed its toughness and ability to win games despite a hostile Louiseville crowd and a deficit of 17 points in the first half. If you were to rank the top big east teams in terms of toughness how would you rank them?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:21 PM)

Ricky: Interesting question. Agree Villanova pretty much survived that game and showed a great deal of poise in a seriously ugly game. So I'd put them at the top of the toughness poll. I'd put Pitt right behind them. They're always so nasty to play against, regardless of the personnel.

David (Columbus, Ohio)

Can you name a player who means more to their team then Evan Turner, the Bucks don't even sniff the NCAA Tournament without him.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:22 PM)

David: I"m probably not the one to ask. I'm a HUGE Evan Turner fan. Had the pleasure to meet him and his mother in New York earlier this season and came away so impressed. But to your question, I'd probably put John Wall alongside him but Wall has a pretty nice cast.

Julius (Atlanta)

Simple, quick question. What team can win the championship currently no one is talking about? I'm thinking Michigan State, Villanova are 2 just off the top of my head.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:23 PM)

Julius: Funny you ask. I picked Michigan State at the start of the season and for a while, felt like a moron. Chances are, I'll still be a moron but I also think that give Tom Izzo time and ignore his team for a while and watch out. I also think Syracuse could have an outside shot.

Doug (Chicago)

What are some of you're favorite college arenas besides the obvious choices?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:24 PM)

Doug: Not sure it's an obvious choice but my answer is always the same: the Palestra. You can smell the history in the place.

Alex (Chicago)

Does Iowa State have the chance to pull off the upset tonight at home?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:25 PM)

Alex: A chance? Sure. Do I see it happening? I don't.

steve (dc)

can you answer that marquette question, pretty please. where do you see them finishing the in big east? are they tourney bound?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:26 PM)

Steve: Sorry. Answer got lost in cyber hell. I'd say they are a firm bubble team. The close losses are heartbreaking but they remain losses. Marquette is going to be one of those teams clogged in the middle of the Big East, fighting to distinguish itself from the pack.

Joseph (NY)

After a weekend of upsets and another loss by Purdue yesterday, there's gotta be a ranked team that is going to lose tonight. Who is it going to be(excluding UNC/Clemson, Pitt/UConn)?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:27 PM)

Hmmm.. Not sure one jumps off the page as a Pick me! But if I"m going to throw a dart at one, maybe Northwestern at home. Why not? They're charmed this year (or at least compared to their usual cursed stature).

Katelyn (New York)

What is the best conference in college basketball? In the past, the ACC seemed to get all the love and while they're #1 and #2 (Duke and UNC) have certainly been great, isn't the Big East more competitive from top to bottom?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:29 PM)

Katelyn: Are you asking of all time or this year? I think you mean all time. I think it's hard to argue with the top heaviness of the ACC but if you're going team for team, I'd have to give the edge to the Big East: Connecticut, Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown all have been to recent Final Four (and I think I'm forgetting someone else). So I'd say there's strength in that diversity.

Blake (Madison)

Do you think that Wisconsin can continue to contend for the Big 10 title after the Leuer injury?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:31 PM)

Blake: I never want to count out Bo Ryan, but that's a very big loss. They have such a great team chemistry and to remove one part is tough.

Michael (Greensboro NC)

What do you think about Duke? Its obvious that they need at least two of the three S's to perform good, against GT we only got 1. Do you think this was just a tough game against a great defense on the road, and just one L, or do you see this happening more?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:33 PM)

Michael: I think it was a hiccup. No more, no less.

joey (tx)

Damion James of Texas. GO!

Brent (Lexington, KY)

What do you think about coaches being able to leave a school whenever they want? I don't have a problem with it (but my Cats benefited from it), but I think that maybe the NCAA needs to change it's transfer rules a little bit. Thoughts?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:35 PM)

Brent: It's unfair but I"m not sure what the solution is. If you let kids transfer at whim, it would be bedlam. Kids would be wooed and courted to leave or jump because they weren't getting enough minutes. I get your point, but I'm not sure how it can be fixed without turning it into open season.

Brian (Rochester, NY)

Dana, Any chance Wesley Johnson wins national POY? Any chance anyone not named John Wall wins?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:36 PM)

Brian: I suppose if John Wall were abducted by aliens someone else might. I'd put Wesley Johnson in the top 5 list with, in no particular order Damion James, Evan Turner, Jon Scheyer and Scottie Reynolds and the person I forgot that everyone will yell about in three...two...

Chris (St. Louis)

How many teams will make the NCAA Tournament from the Valley? What do you think of Northern Iowa? R they for real or being overhyped?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:38 PM)

Chris: Valley is interesting this year. No one is really talking about them, which is odd. They don't have any holy smokes wins, which is probably why but I think Northern Iowa is legit. I could make a case for 3 but it's early.

Wes H. (FOOthills, MO)

Dana, You have to answer a Gonzaga question!! What are you thoughts on this team? Any seed guesses come March?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:40 PM)

Wes: Another team nobody is talking about, which is unusual. Zags played a brutal non-conference season, which is reflected in the losses but I also think will be reflected in the kind of team that shows up in March. Wouldn't want to play em

Marc (Charlotte)

Some genius Clemson driver hit the Carolina Team Bus on the way to shootaround.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:42 PM)

Marc; Seriously?

Nick (Pittsburgh)

Prediction for your game tonight? Win for pitt would be huge.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:43 PM)

Nick: Win would be huge for Pitt. Pitt is a different team w/ Jermaine Dixon and Gilbert Brown. Ran into Tom Herrion here in the lobby and he said it's like adding men to the team. Exactly right. Those guys have experience. So that's a long-winded way of saying, I like Pitt.

Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)

A little premature, but does Syracuse have to be the overall number 1 seed to get the chance to play in Syracuse during the regional round of the NCAA Tournament?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:44 PM)

Katelyn: Actually they can't play in Syracuse. Teams aren't allowed to play in their home arena.

Jason (Kentucky)

Miss O'Neil, whos the lucky team this year that serves the wildcats up their first loss if anyone?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:47 PM)

Jason: I'm not sure they lose until February. Maybe South Carolina, but not feeling that entirely. I get the feeling that someone weird will get them, someone you wouldn't expect. I don't know why, just do. Maybe Vandy at Vandy? But that's forever away.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:47 PM)

Jason: I'm not sure they lose until February. Maybe South Carolina, but not feeling that entirely. I get the feeling that someone weird will get them, someone you wouldn't expect. I don't know why, just do. Maybe Vandy at Vandy? But that's forever away.

Patrick (Philadelphi)

NC State has had some bad luck recently with the Florida miracle and missed opportunities against Arizona and Virginia. Do you think their win @ #25 FSU be the springboard to give this young team the confidence to close out games and perhaps sneak into the NCAA Tournament? I think they need to go 9-7 in the ACC to have a shot.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:48 PM)

Patrick: Maybe. Heaven knows they needed the in pretty desperately. Not exactly an easy run coming up - Duke, Clemson, Maryland, UNC in some order or another.

Mike Anderson (Columbia)

Am I in the running for back to back coach of the year awards?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:49 PM)

Mike: If I were voting today, I think I'd give it to Jamie Dixon.

Doug (Chicago)

Can you address the DePaul fiasco?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:51 PM)

Doug: I don't get it, to be honest. I mean the time to fire Jerry Wainwright was at the end of last year. They were winless in the league, so there's plenty of cause. Bring in a new guy, let him get his system in place and recruit. Now this year is like a mulligan. The only thing I can figure is maybe Wainwright just had enough.

James N. (New York)

Do you think Mouphtao Yarou will be able to contribute as a solid inside presence for Nova this year? I think he is a key piece to the puzzle as they lack depth in the frontcourt.

Dana O'Neil
  (3:51 PM)

James: I think he can contribute, absolutely and I agree he is a key piece. Villanova needs depth inside and he would provide it.

James (East Lansing)

With Purdue suffering their 2nd loss, Wisconsin losing their best player and OSU already having 3 losses, MSU has to feel good about their chances to win the Big Ten right?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:53 PM)

James: They are sitting in the driver's seat for certain. Still a lot of games left but they have the fewest issues.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Could Jim Boeheim's name get tossed into the ring for COY? Who would have had them ranked in the top five at this point of the season?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:53 PM)

JB: Sure. That's a good name. I certainly didn't see that coming.

Doug (Illinois)

who has a better chance of going undefeated and running that table in the NCAA tourney? Texas or Kentucky and why?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:54 PM)

doug: I'd say Kentucky. The SEC isn't as tough as the Big 12.

MM (South Carolina)

What do you think about Frank Martin hitting a player's hand over the weekend? Is the coaches going to far or is the media overreacting?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:55 PM)

MM: Thought it was much ado about nothing. He didn't grab the kid in a horsecollar for heaven's sake. He didn't open-hand slap him. And he apologized.

Elias Harris (BlackFOOt, Canada)

Dana, Enough will all this John Wall obsession!! I am a great freshman too! He may be a little better, but I'm nba bound soon too ya know!

Dana O'Neil
  (3:56 PM)

Elias: Wow. Long commute from Canada, huh? Yes, you are a great freshman, too and deserve your kudos. You just have the unfortunate timing of being a freshman the same season that there's a once in a generation player in your class.

John (NY)

can we take down stephenson and the bearcats tonight and put together a decent season?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:57 PM)

John: The only thing I can say is you better. Seat is going to be en fuego for Norm Roberts otherwise.

Delena (Indianapolis)

Im wanting to go to the final four, if you had to narrow it down to 8 of who could make it, who would those 8 be?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:59 PM)

Delena: Ok this is literally off the top of my head.The obvious: Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, Purdue.The second tier: Michigan State, Syracuse, Duke, Vilanova.Others to consider: West Virginia, Ohio State.Yes, I cheated. That's 10.

Dana O'Neil
  (4:00 PM)

OK folks, gotta get my act together for the game tonight. Thanks for all the questions. We'll catch up again next week.