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April 8, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Buzzmaster
  (2:09 PM)

Dana is having technical problems but hopes to be chatting shortly.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:12 PM)

I'm here. Apparently the summer weather has confused my wireless. Apologies.

Josh (Maryland)

So Duke is in good position between Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Singler (hopefully he stays), Andre Dawkings, and Seth Curry for guards/small forwards but can the Plumlee brothers or Joshua Hairston step up so Duke can have a shot at another final four next year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

Josh: I absolutely think they can. A lot has to happen - Singler has to stay and the Plumlees need to continue to improve - but it's hard not to put the Devils at or near the top of the early top 25.

Jerry (Ky)

Who all do you see going to Kentucky next year? Also, do you see Patterson coming back b/c he has not officially declared according to Mrs. Patterson?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:14 PM)

Jerry: Heard the obvious names - Brandon Knight, Josh Selby. I'm sure there won't be any shortage of players. As for Patrick, I'd be really surprised if he came back, to be honest.

Pat (Indianapolis)

Hey Dana - Love the work you do. Just wanted to ask about the Bulldogs' chances of making the Final Four again next year, given Stevens and Hayward come back. I know that everyone says "Matchups", etc., but wouldn't you think that they would have to be considered a favorite to go back and, quite possibly, win the whole thing?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

Pat: How can you not expect the Bulldogs to be in contention, especially if Hayward returns? Sure matchups matter, but look at what they did to get to the Final Four - ran through Syracuse, Kansas State, Michigan State and gave Duke all it could handle. That's not chopped liver. The interesting thing will be to see how the Bulldogs handle the bullseye.

Charles (Springfield, VA)

As a Wake fan, I thought it was the right move to hire Dino 3 years ago. I also think it was time for a change because he didn't get improvement out of his young players. The timing of the move didn't make sense to me though. Seems like they should have done it two weeks ago if they were going to do it.I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Charles: Seems a little sudden if you ask me. I know he's had really good talent and little NCAA success but 3 years isn't exactly enough time to really form a body of work. I couldn't help but think they already had a backdoor deal in the works, but now that doesn't seem the case so the timing does seem strange as well .

Nick (Connecticut)

Which school made the best coaching hire?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:18 PM)

Nick: Still a few to be filled but it hasn't exactly been the sexy, exciting carousel of years past. I'd say BC got the right man for the job in Steve Donahue.

Matt (Philly)

What are your thoughts on Coach K's call to intentionally miss the last FT. I think that people might be affected by how close it actually came to going in, but it's still a low percentage shot. I don't think that its smart to argue that "losing is brought into play" as I'm sure Memphis received no consolation from losing in OT as opposed to regulation. Duke's starters had played ridiculous minutes and were in major foul trouble. I think Butler would have had an advantage in OT. Either way, I think its a tougher call than some experts have made it out to be.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

Matt: I was equally stunned as everyone else and actually don't get it still. It worked out, I know, but if Butler scores the brilliance of Coach K takes a serious hit and rightfully so. Basically you're conceding OT In a game with countless lead changes. Don't agree with it myself.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Dana: Is it OK for me to revel in five players bolting Kentucky and Coach Cal? That said, what will this mean in terms of his off-season recruiting and how it might change?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:20 PM)

JB: You can revel, but it's not like they're running for the hills. They're running toward a paycheck. Orton and Bledsoe surprise me a touch, but if they can get first-round $$, they go. I think he'll simply look to reload in the offseason, though I don't think a class like this one is out there.

Michael (Evansville, IN)

Would you agree that if the NCAA expands the tourney to 96, they absolutely can't grant auto bids to BOTH the regular season and conference tourney champ? Teams like Jackson State, Quinnipiac, and Lehigh would hav earned auto bids as regular season champs. Then going into their conference tourney there would be virtually no incintive to win the conference tourney and a huge incintive for their respective conference if they LOSE in the conference tourney (the conference would get a second team and a second share of tourney revenue plus two chances to advance instead of one). This would lead to teams from low major conferences basically throwing their conference tourney games in order to get a second team in and more money for their conferences. It would make a farce of championship week.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

Michael: Well, for starters I'd be stunned if it happens. The NCAA wants nothing to do with two MEAC schools in its field. I don't, however, see teams throwing conference tourneys just so they could get cash for their small conferences. The field of 96 is a joke for 10,000 reasons. To me, that's not one of them.

Paul (New York, NY)

Who do you see as the favorite in the Big East next season?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:23 PM)

Paul: I'd say early favorites are Pitt and Villanova. The Panthers surprised a lot of people this year and should be very good next year. The Wildcats have a lot in reserve with Dominic Cheek, Maalik Wayns and a healthy Mouph Yarou.

brice ((new york))

what do you think about Memphis next year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:24 PM)

Brice: I think Memphis is going to be very, very good. The lean years aren't lasting very long.

Phil (Chicago )

What are your thoughts on Oliver Purnell to DePaul? Can he, or anyone for that matter, turn the program around?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Phil: I think it's odd on both ends. Not sure why DePaul wants a coach who is 0-for-6 in the NCAA Tourney (not that DePaul is troubled by the NCAA Tourney often) and not sure why, besides $$$, Purnell wants to take a really hard Big East job considering how he's had it going at Clemson. So that's a long way of saying, no, I'm not sold on the idea that he's the right guy to make it right there.

Doug (NYC)

The thing, Dana, I don't get about the FT is would it really have been a much easier chance to score off the out-of-bounds play than off the rebound? With only 3.5 seconds, it's going to essentially be a heave either way...no?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:27 PM)

Doug: It's not easy either way, no, but by intentionally missing you're basically giving them a chance to beat you. If Zoubek hits the second free throw, worst case you're in OT on a make of a lower-percentage 3-pointer.

Collin Bush (Liverpool,NY)

No news on Wes Johnson lately.. any chance he comes back to school with his eyes on a title?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:28 PM)

Collin: Just saw that he tweeted he was in LA. Didn't say why and maybe it's spring break, but that's a long way from Syracuse. I'd be STUNNED if he came back.

Luke (Wichita, KS)

If Kansas loses in the early rounds of the tournament again next season does that put a serious blemish on Bill Self and how good of a coach he really is? Yes he did win a National Championship but he has been upset in the tournament 3 times now.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:30 PM)

luke: it shouldn't but we were talking about this at the Final Four. If Memphis hits its FTs or Calipari uses the timeouts in his pockets and the Tigers win, what would KU fans think of Self after that loss to Northern Iowa? It's amazing how fragile the line btw hero and goat is. I think the man can coach and I think he had a team that was missing something - intangible, not a player - this year.

Kevin (Phoenix)

Is the Big 10 Conference going to be a good as it has ever been next season with Michigan State, Purdue, and Ohio State being Final Four contenders?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Kevin: Definitely think Michigan State and Purdue are at the top of the heap. No Evan Turner, little tougher for Ohio State but still very good team with addition of Jared Sullinger. Need the bottom of the barrel to improve. A lot.

Justin (Kansas)

Who do you see as the favorite in the Big 12 this coming year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Justin: Early pick would be K-State. Know Texas has a lot of talent coming in, but Texas had a lot of talent this season. Didn't work out too well.

mike (harrodsburg, ky)

As a Kentucky fan I think it was great having the players we did even if for just one year! Do u think Cal can really build the team that he wants with all the one and dones? I think it will be hard to make final four runs with a new team every year but what do u think?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:33 PM)

Mike: I agree with you. I think it's awfully hard to build continuity with virtually all one-and-dones. Even his great Memphis teams had guys who had been around a while - like CDR. I think you need a mix, personally. I mean, no one would blame him for taking the guys he got. He'd be an idiot not to. But not sure you can build a program's foundation on guys who are never around for more than one season.

Chris (DC)

Dana, alot of the conference expansions seems to be talked about on the football side of things. I was wondering what the general feeling was towards conference expansion was on the basketball side of things? Such as ND, Syracuse, UConn, Pitt, Mizzou, plus any number of other possible condidates potentially going to the Big10.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:35 PM)

Chris: Oh, I think it's coming, just not sure when. My guess is the Big 10 will poach some teams - Rutgers and maybe Syracuse among the real possibilities - and then the dominoes start falling.

Brandon (Waukegan)

Any love for the Illini next year with Richmond and Leonard coming in?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:36 PM)

Brandon: Not sure i agree with you that he's better than Harrison Barnes, but I certainly think the Illini - right there at the end of the season - ought to get over the hump with a good class.

Keary (Brooklyn)

Hi Dana- My best friends's a suffering PSU alum (bball, natch). What does your/his alma mater need to do to make a diff in the Big10. Is it fair to say it can't happen until JoePa finally retires? Or does the AD's M/W success in vball prove that it can happen independently of FB. Thanks!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:37 PM)

Keary: I don't think Joe is the roadblock, unless he's telling top players to not come to Penn State. They need better players, plain and simple. Talor Battle can't do everything by himself despite his best efforts. And if he leaves for the draft? Tell your friend to become a women's volleyball fan. Less pain and suffering.

John (Ny)

Wes is in LA for the Wooden award presentation. He is still attending classes at Syracuse.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:37 PM)

Thanks for the clarification. My bad. But I still would be stunned if he came back. Pleasantly, but stunned.

Paul (LA)

Dana, how much heat are you taking from Duke fans this week?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

Paul: Not much at all and hey, I was on record as saying this team played better because it played differently. Found its strengths and ran with them, Brian Zoubek among them.

Brad Stevens (Eugene, OR)

Should I make a possibly career-limiting move and sign on the dotted line or keep a good thing going back in Indianapolis? Those millions are awfully tempting.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

Brad: Ask Todd Lickliter. The grass isn't always greener (not even when Nike is designing the hideously green Duck uniforms).

DJ (Cuse)

What are your thoughts on the future of the Mizzou Tigers? I thought the hire of Mike Anderson was not a smart one but now we are stuck with a coach that does ont coach at all.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

DJ: Seriously????? I think he's a great coach and he's done great things with that team. Remember everything Mizzou lost before this season and how well it played by the end. And remember where Mizzou was before Mike Anderson. Need I remind you of the Ghost of Quin Snyder?

JT (Texas)

Your way to early Top 5 for next season?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

JT: Way too early is right. 1. Michigan State (Izzo is ticked. That's a good thing)2. Duke3. Butler4. Purdue5. Kansas State

Jeremy (NC)

What do you know about Seth Curry? Do you think he wil do well at Duke?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

Jeremy: I know he's a very good player from watching him when he was at Liberty. The good news, he doesn't have to be his brother. he's got a very, very good team surrounding him so the pressure will be off.

Chris (Buffalo)

Dana, lifelong Syracuse fan here. Why would Syracuse go to the Big 10, and why as a fan would I get excited about it? No offense intended to the Big 10, but why would they shake up a great thing?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:44 PM)

Chris: They'll shake up a great thing for the same reason the NCAA will ruin the tourney: cash. I don't know that Syracuse will go or should go but it's a school that's been out there. Someone will jump.

Bret (Indy)

Do you know if the NCAA is contemplating any scholarship limitations on universities who have players leave early for the NBA draft AND where those players are leaving with failing grades in the spring?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:46 PM)

Bret: That's actually one of the off-season issues I want to tackle: the addition of a mid-semester grade check. Kids who know they are leaving stop going to class in December and why not? There's no penalty. But if there was, say, a February grade check that would determine a player's ability to play in the NCAA Tourney, that would change. Football players get tagged for bowls all the time. Seems only fair.

TAnner (TN)

How do you think Tennessee is gonna b next year with Tobias Harris, Jordan Mcrae, and Trae Golden coming in and maybe Josh Selby. The losses of Maze, Chism, and Prince will hurt but everybody else will be back and a top 5 recrutuing class is not bad either

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

Tanner: Will be an adjustment, I think. Great players coming in, no doubt, but I think the loss of Prince and Chism is an awful lot. Chism, to me, was underappreciated.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

Tanner: Will be an adjustment, I think. Great players coming in, no doubt, but I think the loss of Prince and Chism is an awful lot. Chism, to me, was underappreciated.

El Jefe (NYC)

"Paul: Not much at all and hey, I was on record as saying this team played better because it played differently. Found its strengths and ran with them, Brian Zoubek among them."Dana, you picked against them three straight rounds, including confidently saying Baylor would take them out in the round of 8. Seriously? That's revisionist.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

Yes I did pick against them but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate what they did to get back. And I haven't heard from any fans, but I'm sure I will now. Thanks a bunch.

Cody (Morgantown)

Do you think Devin Ebanks will be back next year or will he enter the draft?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Cody: Haven't heard either way, to be honest. Would think he might test the waters sans an agent.

Chris (Buffalo)

Dana, someone earlier mentioned NOT taking the tournament and regular season champs from the lower-tier conferences. I personally think that if they HAVE to expand to 96 teams (and I still hate the idea), maybe they should mandate that every D-I conference have 2 teams in the NCAAs. Wouldn't more Sienas and Kent States add more drama and excitement than more big-schools?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:51 PM)

Chris: That's what I think would be great, too, but I'd be stunned. I think the NCAA would like more of Virginia Tech and less of Kent State. Want the name brands to attract eyeballs, which I think is pretty narrow minded myself. We'll see soon, I suppose.

OM (Baltimore, MD)

Where do you see the Ivy League going next season? Can it be relevant next year? Who do you think is favored?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

Not as relevant as this year, I don't think. There is no Cornell a coming again. I'd say Princeton might be an early favorite. Playing much, much better and fairly young team if memory serves me.

MATT (SPOKANE)

Quick thoughts on Gonzaga next year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

Matt: Presuming Harris is in the mix, should still good. Losing Bouldin hurts

Jason (Chicago)

Dana, we know you were just picking with your head against Duke, Pat Forde on the other hand . . . It is always good to give you experts a hard time. Does Duke repeat if Singler is back?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:54 PM)

jason: I'd say if Singler returns, Duke is among the favorites to win it all, yes. As we all know, repeating is really hard, though.

MIKE (CHICAGO)

WHAT KIND OF YEAR SHOULD XAVIER EXPECT TO HAVE NEXT YEAR, PROVIDING THAT CRAWFORD DOES INDEED LEAVE?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

Mike: Well it's Crawford and Love, right? That's a stinger, but with Jackson and Holloway and the way Xavier is never out of the mix, hard to bet against the Musketeers, if you ask me.

Ian (Chicago)

Where do you Florida next year after this years return to the tourney?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

Ian: Just heard Austin Rivers decommitted. That hurts. Thought the Gators were fortunate to get in, so need to get a lot better to be a factor.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

With an expansion to 96 teams, can you see Madison Square Garden being given an opportunity to host any games? Seems like the NIT will become extinct and it might be a nice gesture.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:58 PM)

JB: A lovely thought, but the sites I believe are already set more or less. They wouldn't add any, just hold teams over at one site longer is my understanding.

Ed (East Lansing)

Dana, a few weeks ago you suggested you might be a moron for picking MSU in the Final Four at the beginning of the season. Are you mad at yourself for wavering and totally voiding your great preseason prediction?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:59 PM)

Ed: Completely disgusted with myself. Not to mention allowing myself to be talked out of putting West Virginia in my preseason Final Four (yes, I legitimately considered it), which would have made me 3 of 4. Next year, I'm going to stick to my guns, idiocy be damned.

Ashish (SF)

As a Duke alum, I cringed while watching the intentional miss, and originally agreed with your assessment...but being an alum of the engineering school, I did the math (confirmed by the guys at Basketball Prospectus) and when you take into account that Zoubek had a 50% chance of missing anyway and you probably have a 50% shot in overtime (maybe worse because of foul trouble - which actually makes intentionally missing better), it is a good call if you think that taking the 3 off the inbound will double the chances vs. taking it off a miss. If you assume about a 10% shot of making it off the miss and 20% off the inbounds (both still tough shots, but reasonable), it is a coin toss on the intentional vs. not...no question here, so I assume this won't make it on...

Dana O'Neil
  (3:00 PM)

Hey, I have to post this. My math skills don't exist sans a calculator, so I think your logic wins.

Paul (LA)

Early top 5?

Dana O'Neil
  (3:01 PM)

1. Michigan State2. Duke3. Butler4. Purdue5. Kansas StateAnd with that I have to go. THanks for all the questions.