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December 10, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana O'Neil
  (2:00 PM)

Hey everyone, been a pretty interesting week with some good games this weekend. Let's hop to the questions.

Garrett (Richmond, VA)

Which team in the SEC West has the best chance of winning their side of the conference?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:02 PM)

Garrett: Got a dartboard? Arkansas looks good early but when Mississippi State gets Bost and Sidney rolling, that could change.

Barry (Phoenix, AZ)

What is the latest on Kyrie Irving?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:04 PM)

Barry: Andy Katz reported yesterday that they are going to monitor the situation and consider every option before deciding what to do. My guess - and it's only a guess - is that they try and see if a boot helps over the next couple of weeks but if it doesn't, he'll have surgery. It's a shame. Don't care if you hate or love Duke. Losing one of the game's best players in December hurts the game.

Geoff Filinuk (Collingswood, NJ)

What are your thoughts on the tournament expansion to 68? Does the NCAA realize we are not interested in these additional games and the 1st round starts on Thr, Mar 17 for 90% of fans.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:05 PM)

Geoff: It beats the alternative of 96. I think if the NCAA makes those games compelling, with interesting bubble teams from the big conferences going at it, they could be good. But I also think it was fine just the way it was. Can't get my head around saying the Field of 68

Kyle (Idaho)

Will BYU's defense stop Derrick Williams this Saturday? Or will Arizona's defense stop Jimmer Fredette? Predictions on the game?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:07 PM)

Kyle; Game is on the B card a little bit this weekend and shouldn't be. I think it will be a terrific game, myself. Game is at BYU, I think, so that's a nice advantage there for the Cougars. Think BYU wins but Arizona makes it interesting. Derrick Williams one of the best players in the country with the least hype.

Matt (Philly)

Was it just me, or were you bothered a little by Temple rushing the court? Both teams started the year in the bottom half of the top 25, it's just the G'town had a hot start and Temple faltered. Last year, Temple was a five seed last year and G'town a three. Unless they came back from 25 down and won on a half-court shot, I just don't see it as being appropriate for a program like Temple.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

Matt: Yeah thought it was a little ridiculous and borderline pathetic myself. You beat a decent team in the Big East in December. Whoop-di-do. You were ranked. Your game is at home. You should win.

Ryan (Houston)

Do you think Perry Jones III will have a break out game, even though he has a huge supporting cast at Baylor?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:09 PM)

Ryan: He's certainly capable of it but you gotta credit a freshman who is not forcing things and playing within the context of his team.

Kasey (Plymouth)

I know we'll find out more tonight, but what do you think the odds are Michigan goes dancing this year, they are young but there is a lot of shooters with Beliens system, they are at least better than last year.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Kasey: Not seeing it yet. Don't have a decent win as of yet. Yes beating Utah would be nice but not gigantic. And remember they have to get through the Big Ten. They'll need some league upsets to state a case.

Tom Crean (Bloomington)

We're going to win tomorrow, right? Right?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:12 PM)

Tom: Umm... at Rupp? Hey, you're getting great recruits. Team looks better. Don't get greedy.

Scott (Atlanta)

When will the next college basketball podcast occur. It has been over a month since the last one.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:12 PM)

Scott: Funny you should ask. Eamonn Brennan and I will be teaming up for a weekly podcast this season. Haven't got a start date yet but will be soon. Promise. And thanks for letting me toss in the promo.

Matt (Philly)

Most of the ACC has been down compared to expectations this year, but BC and UVA have looked pretty good (outside of that Yale game). With a mediocre ACC, could one or both of them end up with 9 or 10 conference wins and possibly get in to the tourney?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

Matt: Yikes, I doubt it. The ACC is down. Not sure who will finish second, let alone third. But I'd be stunned if either of those teams made it. Nothing good on the resume.

J.R. (CO)

Dana, do you think New Mexico will be able to contend with the big three right now in the MWC? They are still a steady team, but young and the top three are pretty stout. Thanks

Dana O'Neil
  (2:14 PM)

J.R. Tall order for a young team in a very, very good conference. Can they compete? Sure. Can they dislodge someone? Not so sure.

Geoff Filinuk (Collingswood)

It appears that Gonzagas run of NCAA appearances is over. Not that Gonzaga is a sleeper any more but do you have a cinderella (N.Iowa or Cornell) that we should watch for this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

Geoff: Does San Diego State count? Really, really good team. Wichita State is good. Murray State will be, too. Morehead has a great player in Kenneth Faried who could turn heads if they get in.

Drew (Seattle)

I know it's early, but how many PAC-10 teams do you predict will to make the big dance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Drew: I have a hard time making a case for anything more than 2 right now, Washington and Arizona. Wazzu has a nice record, but hasn't really beaten anyone. Yes, USC beat Texas, but the Trojans lost to Rider and Bradley.

divinehammer (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tennessee and PITT..........great matchup....any thoughts?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:18 PM)

Looking forward to seeing the game in person. Headed out to Pittsburgh in the AM. Definitely a good game. Tennessee has to cut down turnovers and work like crazy people on the boards. Think Pitt is too fundamentally sound, though. Calling Panthers. Heck, the Big East has to win one of these, no?

Craig (St. Paul, MN)

Thoughts on the start of the McCaffery era in Iowa City? As a Hawk fan I can say that the games (win or lose) at least are a heck of a lot more fun to watch.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

Craig: THink that's all you should expect right now. He is monumental work to do. But once he gets a more attractive style going and players recruited to play it, could improve.

NCAA (Indy)

Can we put you down for a seat at the first three Champions Classic's?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

NCAA: Yes, please. I'd prefer center court.

Eric (KY)

Would you say that Terrance Jones has a shot at POY? He has already played through, for the most part, the toughest part of UK's schedule.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:20 PM)

Eric: I'd put him in the mix, albeit not among the frontrunners just yet. It's so, so early for all of that talk.

David (Chicago)

Looking at Joe L's brackets, I was surprised to see 7 ACC teams in. Is that because some of the strongest mid-majors (Gonzaga, Butler) are down and not seizing at larges, leaving more slots of the Big Six conferences?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

David: Far be it from me to argue with Mr. Lunardi bout brackets, but that sort of stuns me, too. I hope that the selection committee might award some mid-majors who fare well in their more competitive conferences, to be honest.

J.B. (PA)

Dana: Dare 'Cuse fans dream of cutting down the NCAA Championship nets this season? Nice start against some quality teams.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:23 PM)

J.B. Well I put Cuse in the national championship game in my preseason picks. I felt insane until Tuesday night in New York. That was a team that was really clicking... and Boeheim still didn't like how they were shooting. Which means they can get better.

Tom Crean (Bloomington)

Ok, I'll ask nicely this time: Can we PLEASE win tomorrow? (It's not greedy if you say 'please' right?)

Dana O'Neil
  (2:23 PM)

Tom: I think even if you put a cherry on top it wouldn't work, but as a mother, I appreciate the manners. Nicely done.

Kyle (Idaho)

Dana, just for your information the BYU game is not at BYU (Provo) it is considered on a "neutral floor" (Energy Solutions Arena where the Jazz play in SLC) Does that change your prediction?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:24 PM)

Kyle: Oh, ok, thanks. Nah, it doesn't. I stink at geography but I believe Salt Lake City is closer to BYU than Arizona! Neutral in name only

Matt (Philly)

For UVA, I thought a road win at Minny is pretty darn good. That could be the best win an ACC team not named Duke has right now.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Matt: Yeah but I'm not sure one win makes an NCAA bid. Especially since Minnesota was w/o starters.

Austin (Indianapolis, IN)

How does Duke react with absence of Kyrie Irving? Some more magic from Coach K?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:26 PM)

Austin: Well it's not like they have crummy backups. More workload falls on Andre Dawkins but the good news is, he doesn't have to score 20. He's got Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler to help

Charlie (Bethesda)

Yesterday's Temple win makes Maryland sweat a little bit less. Do you think they'll be able to get some quality wins in the ACC season and get to the tourney? Is Stoglin going to be starting over Bowie in the next few weeks?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:28 PM)

Charlie: I think Maryland is one of the teams that can finish second/third in the ACC, which means they ought to get some quality wins. And yeah, the Temple loss looks a lot better.

Mike Anderson (Columbia)

Is there a better team to watch for excitement then my Tigers? We can't guard anybody so we are due to give our fans a mini stroke by the end of this season.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:28 PM)

Mike: Since I'm not a season ticketholder, I'll give you props. Would be nice for a little shutdown-ability, however.

Enes Kanter (Lexington, KY)

Do you think my odds got any better for reinstatement using the "Cam Newton" approach? Optimism seems higher this time around, plus I still have an appeal. Rumor is a decision by end of next week.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:30 PM)

Enes: I still say it's a longshot. Situations aren't entirely similar, since Cam was never found to take any $$ and his was rumored to be coming from a shady source. Your university already agreed to $33k and it's coming from a professional team, with presumably some kind of documentation. Can't blame you from trying, though. Will be called the Cam Rule soon.

Ryan (Louisville, KY)

Do you think Louisville's weak non-conference schedule (minus UK) is going to hurt them in the long run?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Ryan: It's pretty abysmal, I agree. A win against UNLV tomorrow helps. The good news, though, is the Cards have to play in the Big East. That will ratchet up their RPI considerably. If they can win enough there, they're in.

dot (NC)

Which team has been underrated? Which team has been overrated?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Dot: Underrated: San Diego State (despite ranking, off the radar), Connecticut early, clearly. Overrated: Butler, Virginia Tech and depending on whether it's win over Kentucky is real or a fluke, maybe Carolina? Jury still out on that one.

Shawn (DC)

MSU is really out of sync, part of it is the injuries, but Im honestly kind of surprised considering how veteran this group is. The TOs i cannt for the life of me understand.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:33 PM)

Shawn: Yeah, I actually thought Tom Izzo was going to shoot lasers out of his eyes in NYC. Silly turnovers, not from effort, which is really odd. BUT Izzo's teams rarely look as good in December as they do in March and with Kalin Lucas' healthy, I think this team's upside is even bigger than normal.

Randy (Madison)

WHo wins the Battle for Wisconsin? Marquette or Wisconsin?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:34 PM)

Ryan: I'd have to go with the Bo(s)

Nick (LA)

Isn't it a little early to declare what is/isn't a quality win/loss? You can't declare, "Nothing good on the resume" for BC or Virginia when none of us have a clue about the final records for the teams they've beat or lost to. BC is Texas A&M's only loss so far, for example.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:35 PM)

Nick: to an extent, yes, but I"m willing to go out on a limb and say wins against Holy Cross, UMass, St. Francis and even Providence aren't going to turn any heads for BC and similarly, Radford, USC Upstate and William & Mary aren't helping Virginia.

Geoff (Rochester, NY)

Dana- do you think St. Bonaventure has a chance to surprise some people (finish top 4) in the A-10? I know their bench is thin, but Nicholson is a stat and I think Xavier is down this.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:37 PM)

Geoff: I've had plenty of people tell me Nicholson is an NBA player and that's the difference maker you need in a league like the A10. Xavier is down, what with injuries, and Dayton hasn't turned my head yet, either. So I'd say there's a chance the Bonnies could surprise, yes.

Drew (Seattle)

Any idea how the Big East works next season with 17 teams?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

Drew: I don't exactly, though I've been told it's doable. The more difficult question is the Big East Tournament. Do they do a play-in game? And do we just pencil in TCU and DePaul now? Sorry... couldn't resist.

Ted (Wilmington)

Hi Dana,Who do you like coming out of the CAA this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

Ted: Definitely VCU, and I liked ODU til that loss to Delaware. Still think they have a shot. Terrific team.

Jay Wright (Villanova)

Why won't Corey Fisher just do what I tell him? I think I miss Scottie....

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

Jay: The answer begins and ends with Maalik Wayns. Best player on the team. GIve him the ball. Apologize to Corey later.

Justin (Brainerd, MN)

how many big ten teams get into the big dance? how many makes the sweet 16?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:41 PM)

Justin: Hmm... Ohio State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin and why not ? Northwestern (trumpets sounding, please), that's my early prediction.

Geoff Filinuk (Collingswood, NJ)

What do you think about TCU joining the Big East? They have NEVER been to the NCAA tournament and it won't get any easier now. Plus, they are going to log a ton of miles.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

Geoff: How about their poor soccer teams and cross country? Hope the football cash cow can cover all those expenses and hope the athletes get frequent flyer miles. Don't get it. Know it's football driven, but not sure how the crummy Big East helps TCU and how TCU adds that much cache to the BIg East.

NAGLE-MOORE (Big Apple)

How many conference W's does Ed DeChellis need to keep his job?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:44 PM)

Nagle: In the real world, I'd say enough to get at the very least to the NIT. At Penn State, who knows? You're assuming the administration remembers it has a basketball team in the midst of hammering out JoePa's deal through his 101st birthday.

Walt (KC, MO)

Who has a best shot to de-throne the Jayhawks as Big XII chamops this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:45 PM)

Walt: Still like Kansas State, myself. Teams that fall off the radar that fast can be dangerous. Not sure they can do it, not after seeing Kansas in person.

Matthew (Madison, WI)

Hey Dana if, God forbid, Kyrie Irving missed the rest of the season, do you think he'd be back next year and if so, would Duke have the best back court in the history of college basketball with Irving and Rivers plus Curry and Dawkins?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:46 PM)

Matthew: Very interesting question, made all the more complicated by the lockout. If the lockout looks season-long, yeah, he'll be back. If it's just the summer, I'd still guess he'd go. He'll be a top five pick, regardless.

Dave (Orlando)

Regarding Kanter... If the family is willing to refund the money that was deemed excessive by the NCAA (a la Selby), what's the harm in letting him play? Especially considering the NCAA never specified a threshold that states payment shall not exceed X dollars.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:47 PM)

Dave: Because if he was paid to play, he wasn't an amateur and whether we believe these kids are truly amateurs any more or not, technically they're supposed to be. Selby received what can be construed as extra benefits. He didn't play professionally.

Matt (Cincinnati)

Dana,Bigger win last night for xavier or bigger loss for butler?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:47 PM)

Matt: Good question. I'd say bigger loss for Butler. Not sure it will boost Xavier much, considering how bad Butler looks.

Drew (Seattle)

Dana: who's the best shooter among the bloggers for NCAAB at ESPN.com?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:48 PM)

Drew: Hmm... I'd got with Eamonn, only because I know he still plays and he's younger than the rest of us!

Geoff Filinuk (Collingswood, NJ)

Do you think the UConn women streak should be compared to the UCLA men streak? I think both are very impressive and shouldn't be compared.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Geoff: Tricky question. I think both are outrageous and impressive and should be appreciated on their own merits. My problem with comparing them is simple: How many really good teams are there in women's basketball ?10? Maybe? The line between haves and have nots is so much bolder in the women's game that if you're UConn, it's a lot easier to roll through everyone. That's not at all meant to diminish what they've accomplished. To go night in and night out and know that you're everyone's Super Bowl and annihilate everyone is absolutely amazing.

Matt (AZ)

Dana, you're one of my favorite ESPN writers and I love reading your chats. You never cut them short. What games are you traveling to this year that you're looking forward to the most?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

Matt: Well, thank you. Though if my puppy (yes I'm the idiot who got an 8 week old puppy at the start of hoops season) starts to grumble and rumble, my run off on-time chats ends. To be honest, haven't peaked too far beyond the end of this month schedule wise. I know there will be some great ones. Looking forward to Pitt-Tennessee this weekend. Got Villanova-Temple on the horizon.

Drew (Seattle)

You picking Oregon or Auburn?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

Drew: Oregon, though the score could be 65-63. In other words, more than most Big Ten basketball games will average.

Mike (Cincinnati)

With the bearcats now 7-0 do you think the talent is there to finally have a big run in the Big East this year or do you think they will fail to dance once again?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:54 PM)

Mike: Think we'll know a lot more about Cincinnati once we enter the Big East schedule. Haven't really played anyone terribly terrific, so hard to gauge the legitimacy of that start. Curious to see if this is an addition by subtraction, are the Bearcats better without Lance Stephenson than with him?

Greg (Philly)

Any chance of a Big East split? As a Villanova fan, should I be worried if they don't move up in football?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

Greg: You mean and boot the non-football team? I guess it could happen but I'd be awfully surprised. The people who run that league are embedded more with basketball than football, that's the league roots.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

Is Philly the best town in which to be a college b-ball writer?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

Cosmo: I'm sure people in Kentucky or Carolina would argue, but I'd say it is. Where else can you find six D1 programs basically within 20 miles of each other?

Anthony Van Langen (San Diego)

If San Diego State is able to go 15-0 before they start conference play, do you think they will be worthy of a top 10 ranking?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:58 PM)

Anthony: You're preaching to the choir here. I love San DIego State. Think they are legitimately good and yes, if they get to 15-0 why not top 10?

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

Forget the silly bowl games - how long until the first Thursday/Friday of the tourney? The best 2 days of the sports year!!!

Dana O'Neil
  (3:00 PM)

Cosmo: Amen. I'll tune in the bowl games in the background (except the big one and Penn State-Florida to watch the 46 year old retire and the 84 year old keep coaching).

Dana O'Neil
  (3:01 PM)

And with that folks, my time is up, my puppy is ready for a walk and I've got to bolt. Enjoy the games this weekend. Catch you later.