Hello and welcome to the last chat before Selection Sunday -- we've been anticipating and speculating on the NCAA tournament for weeks, and now it's almost a reality. Fun time. Let's fast break to the questions with a little more alacrity than UConn is currently showing against St. John's.
Best part of the march madness? in your opinion
Sal: The upsets, especially watching one unfold in person. Watching these young guys do something special, often playing at a level they never had achieved before. Then, if it's a true Cinderella team, I love going into the locker room and hearing their backstories, finding out about guys you really didn't know much about before the game. Great case in point: Cleveland State last year after mauling Wake Forest.
Do you think that UTEP can make a fun in the big dance?
Matt: I think UTEP can make a run, and perhaps even a fun run. (We kid because we love; I've made a lot of typos in my life.) But, yeah, I like the Miners. They seem to have a lot of pieces, both inside and outside. All depends on the draw, but they'll be dangerous.
Do you think Michigan State can make a run in the tournament again like they did last year? I think they are being overlooked again...
Ryan: It's true that Michigan State is being overlooked again -- but I think that's justified right now. I just haven't seen the Spartans play much great basketball this year, especially in the last month. I'll be looking for something from them in the Big Ten tourney to make me believe they're more than a Sweet Sixteen team.
Can OSU's Turner win player of the year given all the hype surrounding John Wall?
Jon: He got my vote in my column today. He has Jeff Goodman's vote from Foxsports and Gary Parrish's from CBSSports as well. I think Turner will win the major awards.
If I gave you a team wit ha 28-3 record, a top 7 RPI, a 7-0 record against ranked teams, an outright conference championship, and a top 10 out of conference SOS would you give me back a #1 seed in the tourney?
Phil: From Albuquerque, huh? I have NO IDEA who you might be referring to. What if I gave you back a team with a loss to Oral Roberts and a #40 Pomeroy ranking? Not a No. 1 seed. Been a great year for New Mexico, but I'd say a
What do you think about Purdue's chances in the tournament? I know Robbie Hummel got hurt, but I think they are still a good team.
Ryan: Still a good team, but far from a great team now. I don't like Purdue's chances of playing on the second weekend of the tournament. Very tough break.
How many teams do you think the WAC will have in the tourney? Chance for two?
Cody: Yes, a chance for two if Utah State makes the WAC final and loses. The bubble is so weak right now that I'd like to see a Utah State team that has had a great season get its chance over somebody from the SEC West or a ninth team from the Big East or an Illinois.
Love that you are jumping on the IU bandwagon for the Big11 tourney. What are your thoughts on the timing of letting asst. coach McLeod go?
BK: I wouldn't say I'm jumping on the bandwagon; just scouring for any potential early upsets and settled on the Hoosiers because they're playing a team they just beat and, potentially, a Purdue team that has lost a key part. As for the McLeod firing: very odd timing; it sounds like a simmering situation that came to a boil under the stress of a losing season.
hey pat , how far does duke have to go in the tournament to shut everyone up?
Blake: Final Four.
How many Pac-10 teams do you think get in? I'd say 2 maybe three if UW can make a run in the tourney this week.
Ryan: Two for now. Problem the league has is that Washington-Arizona State are set up in a potential elimination game in the semifinals. Best thing for the league would be if Washington wins it all, Cal gets in and maybe ASU squeaks in as well. But man, that's a lousy league this year.
Do you think UAB still has a chance to make the tourney, even after getting swept by Memphis and UTEP
Brett: Very slim chance now. Last week was a bad week. Better make the tourney final -- and to be sure, better win it.
Over/Under on 15 minutes for Kyle Kuric tomorrow night?
Boose: Over. How can you not give him an extended shot to replicate that crazy performance in Freedom Hall?
Kevin Stallings is coach of the year as named by the coaches in the SEC. How does he win over Calipari and Pearl? Does this show a lack of respect for these coaches?
Daniel: It may well show a lack of respect, or some kind of issue with Calipari. Would be worth asking around at the SEC tournament for writers who will be there. (I am going to ACC.) My pick was Calipari in my column today.
Lets talk Baylor--How far can they go? Is a fun run in store?
JP: I am HUGELY bullish on Baylor as of this writing. That may change by Sunday night, but I love the Bears right now. Could be the story of the tournament.
With the ETSU Bucs making their 9th NCAA appearance and their 4th under head coach Murry Bartow is there any truth to the rumors that East Carolina may be trying to steal him away?
Miss D: Good question! If I were Murry, why would I leave? What does East Carolina have to offer that I'm not already getting at ETSU? Slightly better conference -- but ECU is near the bottom of it. Perhaps some more money, but wins are what buy happiness, and he's gotten plenty of those in Johnson City. I don't see the allure personally -- but it's not my decision to make.
Who is the best major not named Gonzaga New Mexico or Butler?
Ryan: Mid-major, you mean? (Which, truth be told, it's not fair to call those teams mid-majors.) But, let's say, outside the big-six conferences. Well, Xavier, Temple and Richmond are all really good. In terms of true sleepers, though, I loved what I saw from Kent State last Friday night. That was a revelation.
Damn Mizzou grad..answer my KU question
Michael: Can't find 'em, bud. Re-send. Got about 400 flowing through so far.
Can Murray State win an NCAA tournament game? They're not going to be able to go to the half with a lead on UNC this year, but can they bring it and win a game?
Brian: Murray has great balance and has had a tremendous year -- no 30-win team is going to be completely outclassed in the first round. I'd say a lot depends on the matchup, but the Racers look dangerous right now.
What are your thoughts on Georgetown this year? They are inconsistent but they can beat anyone.
Lee: Inconsistent is an understatement. They're incomprehensible with the swings in their play -- not even game to game, but half to half. Bizarre. I have no idea what to expect from the Hoyas this week or next, to be honest.
Pat, what's with all the love for maryland this week after trashing college park last month?
Rob: College Park was trashed by sports writers who responded to my poll on the best/worst towns in each conference -- not by me. But I happen to agree -- not my favorite place to visit. However, that doesn't mean I "hate" Maryland, or Maryland's team, or Maryland's mascot or bookstore or parking meters. If the team is doing well, we write nice things about it. Kinda how it works in this business.
Pat, What are your thoughts on UNI, their seeding, and how far they can go? I think a 6 or 7 seed and Sweet 16 at least. And why are so many people hating on UNI?
UNI: Very dangerous team that figurs to be seeded anywhere from 7-10. I'd be very surprised if they don't win at least one game. That said: I haven't heard anyone hating on UNI; think you have rabbit ears.
As bad as the field is this year, can you imagine how bad it would be if the tournament were expanded to 96 teams? There's no better reason to not allow any more teams in than this year alone.
OK Tiger, here it is....Why do all analysts keep saying there is know dominant team this year like UNC was last year. Last I checked, Kansas had a better record, and spent more weeks at number one than UNC did last year. Is the east coast media using revisionist history in stating how dominant UNC was last year compared to KU this year?
Michael: Maybe this is the Mizzou J-School in me, but ... "no" dominant team, as opposed to "know." Now that we've established that: There probably is some revisionism going on, because UNC was perceived as dominant even when it was dominating, then the Heels turned it on at tournament time and lived up to all the expectations. In my mind, KU is a clear overall No. 1 seed and the team to beat.
Pat, Based on your minutes, Should Purdue even play any of their remaining games this year, or are they done? Cause you give off the idea that they are just plum aweful now...
Jared: The column probably did have a little more doom-and-gloom tone for the Boilers than they deserve. They're not awful -- but they're pretty significantly compromised at this point.
Kansas, Cuse, or Kentucky?
Dan: Kansas, pretty clearly.
MIP in the nation: Tim Abromiatis from ND?
John: Very good choice. Also Kris Joseph of Syracuse.
BYU in the Sweet 16. Potential? or wishful thinking?
Chesh: Cougars have some proving to do after repeating first-round flameouts.
how will 5 seeded missouri do in the big 12 tournament
DMA: Tigers will be more dangerous the deeper they go, because of style of play. They'll wear down opponents playing on back-to-back days -- witness last year. That said, Mizzou is enough of an errant shooting team that it could lose its first game.
Pat, Will Louisville win the Big East Championship? And if so, will they get a 5 or 6 seed?
Pink: Louisville hasn't played four consecutive really good games all season. I don't see it starting now. Could win a couple, but I'm not feeling four.
Pat, hold up now. You answered Michael the whiner's question but agreeing that Kansas is a clear overall No. 1 seed and the team to beat...you serious? And Syracuse is yesterday's leftovers?? You really think Kansas that THAT much better than Syracuse? Really????
Iman: I believe Kansas is better than Syracuse, yeah. I did not stutter.
Cousins or Favors or Whiteside?
Tomas: Cousins. In a landslide.
Why is there so much media love for the Big East? The last 2 years, they kill each other in confence but are given a free pass on losses becuase their conference is "so tough". Who exactly did Syracuse beat that wasn't in the Big East? The last 2 seasons, they start the season over-hyped, and have no accountability for losing to the rest of their league.
Cody: A lot of love for the Big East because -- oh, I don't know -- it's good? You saw last year, right? Two teams in the Final Four, four teams in the final eight? You were with us then, I assume?
Hi Pat, thanks for the chat. Obviously no one knows where all the teams will fall in the bracket until Sunday but which matchup of teams would you most like to see in the tourney?
Ryan: Tough to forecast right now, but I'd like to see a super-patient team like Northern Iowa against an up-tempo team like a Louisville or Missouri -- just to see which style of play wins the day. And there could be some juicy second-round matchups in the brackets fall right.
Let's say West Virginia, Duke and Ohio State win their conference tournaments. Who would you give the nod to for the final #1 seed? I would have to say West Virginia, do you agree?
Brett: I would be inclined to agree. Winning the Big East tourney would be a more impressive feat than winning the ACC or Big Ten -- and winning it Saturday night would give the committee plenty of time to make that call, as opposed to on Sunday.
Pat I do see your argument with Cody there for loving the Big East. However, you do see that both the ACC and the Big Ten have more final four appearances than the Big East in the past decade?
Max: If we're writing about the past decade, that would absolutely be a relevant point. But if the question is which conference is better now, I'm taking the Big East.
How many teams can C-USA get in the big dance?
Brett: Max three. UTEP seems in. Memphis might be just barely in. UAB needs to at least make the final. Everyone else definitely needs to cut some nets Saturday.
You really think KU can beat UK? Can you elaborate on your reasoning?
Randy: We're a long way from seeing that matchup, but I'd put Kansas ahead of Kentucky right now based on body of work this season. Kansas has more quality wins.
Hey Pat, could the selection committee pair a possible UL/UK rematch in the 2nd round if UL gets an 8 or 9 seed and wins.
Ryan: It's not out of the equation. Would the state melt down over that possibility or what?
Is the Big 12 the clear-cut second best conference in the nation?
Brock: Yes. And very close to being #1 in my book. Pretty clear drop-off after the top two conferences.
Is UConn playing its way out of the tourney (should they go on to lose to St. Johns today)?
Moondog: UConn is WAY out of the tournament as it stands. And trailing by 12 right now to the Johnnies only firms that up.
What seed do you think Saint Mary's will get in the tournament?
Michael: I'm not a licensed bracketologist, but maybe a 9-10-11? Great performance by the Gaels last night, really impressive.
I hope you are brave enough to answer this: What are your Final Four picks today?
LB: Can't make Final Four picks without a bracket.
Any chance Virginia Tech is this years Cinderella? Maybe Sweet or Elite?
Billy: I'll be in Greensboro for the old eyeball test this week and might have a better idea on that right now. But I'm not feeling that at present.
Is Texas out of it or whats the deal havent had a chance to keep up?
David: Now is the time to catch up, my man. Get with it. Texas will get a bid and enter the tournament as one of the biggest underperformers in recent years -- unless something drastic changes in the Big 12 tourney.
How about those Terriers! What seed is Wofford looking at?
Jeff: Yes, salute to the Terriers on the first bid in school history. As for seed? Low -- like a 14, maybe. Tell the coach to get his David-and-Goliath material ready.
How many teams do you see getting in from SEC? Do you think Murray Stae could be a tough out?
Tim: Kentucky is in. Vandy is in. Tennessee is in. After that, Florida needs to win 2-3 games to have a chance, and everyone else needs to win the thing.
Pat, I know this is a dumb question, but do you value any of the (Blank) wins tournament games theories? Guards? Experience? Talent? Coaching? Or is there no clear trend in your mind?
Pat: Good question. Start with talent -- let's face it, the more talented teams win the vast majority of the games. But the upsets often occur based on A) experience and B) guard play. By no means disregard coaching as a part of the equation, because that matters a bunch as well. But the teams that make truly remarkable runs (George Mason '06, Kent State '02, etc) usually had a bunch of juniors and seniors who played really well together and were mature enough to handle big-time pressure.
Talk to me about Ryan Rossister. Is he the kind of guy that can take Sienna deep into the Dance?
Dan: No. He is the type of guy who sets screens for the guys who can take Siena deep into the dance (Edwin Ubiles, Ronald Moore, Clarence Jackson).
Hi PatMarcus Morris has to be in the MIP discussion. He has played a huge role in KU's success this season. He needs to play well and take some pressure of Cole for the Jayhawks to go deep in the tourney.
Gabe: Yes, good point. He's had a great season and has punished teams for overloading on Aldrich.
Any chance Paul Hewitt loses his job if GT doesn't make the tournament? Or does his contract make him unfireable?
Matt: I have heard the contract is weighted heavily in Hewitt's favor and would make it costly for Ga Tech to make a move. He's clearly not been able to sustain success at GT since that '04 national title experience.
any chance for the a&m aggies to make a run to the sweet 16 or further?
Gary: A&M has had a great season -- probably overachieved a bit to get where it has. I put the Aggies among about 25 teams that could go anywhere to first-round knockout to Sweet Sixteen depending on how they play in the moment and what the matchup is. Truly have to see the bracket to get a feel for what will happen with them.
Pat, dou you think that either Dayton, Rhode Island, or St. Louis have to win the A10 tourney for that team to get in?
Mark: Yep. All three of them need to win it I believe.
MSU has not lost to UM in football or basketball 857 days and counting. CBS showed that sunday, thought some other UM haters might like to kno. GO GREEN
Sparty: There you go, Big Blue. Unfortunately, I think they've all moved on to spring football in order to forget this basketball season as quickly as possible.
Can Ohio State win it all with essentially only playing 6 players?
Connor: I don't think so. That's too much to ask -- especially with the lack of depth inside.
Why is Illinois considered in when Minnesota has about the same resume and beat Illinois in Illinois? It doesn't make sense?
Joel: Who says Illinois is in? Not in my bracket, if I were to construct one right now.
OK folks, thanks for all the questions -- about 1,000 of them in the bank. Enjoy Champ Week and the unveiling of the brackets on Sunday!