Welcome back everyone. Let's get going.
Hey Jason, would you be willing to agree that it?s looking like Duke, not UNC, will win the ACC because it appears that they are currently at about the same level but while UNC is basically the same team from last year and will be the same team come March, Duke has a much larger upside and room to grow and get better?
Actually, Matthew, I wouldn't agree on that one. I'm not too down on the Tar Heels. They still have a first-round draft pick at every position. I definitely think Duke is going to get a lot better - but North Carolina is, too. The Tar Heels are simply more talented this season. Certainly doesn't mean Duke isn't a top-10 team.
Does Syracuse deserve the top ranking? No games outside of New York??
I guess you could say they "deserve" it because they're undefeated. But I don't think they're the top team in America. I would rank Kentucky, Ohio State, UNC and Baylor ahead of them.
Who wins--Mizzou or Illinois?
Mark it down. Write it on your wall. Burn it into your brain. San Diego freshman guard Johnny Dee will become the next mid-major guard to captivate the country ala Jimmer.
I think MIzzou wins. They're too fast and athletic for Illinois. Too many scorers. I'm big on Mizzou right now.
Sounds good to me. I'd love a trip to San Diego.
My 49ers are 6-2 (Losses at Lamar w/o best player, and buzzer-beater to ETSU) and just ran a Davidson team that hung with Duke and Vandy off the court. They are getting better and gaining momentum going into the Atlantic 10, can they give Saint Louis, St. Joe's, and Temple a run for their money in conference play?
They'll be competitive, without question. But I still have Xavier penciled in as the A-10 champion.
Who will win the Big 12? How will Missou's guard centric team fair against Baylors long front court?
It's hard to pick against Kansas. The Jayhawks have won seven years in a row, they have one of the nation's top home-court advantages and they're always good on the road. That's where they really separate themselves. Baylor, without question, is the most talented team in the team. And they're one of the few teams that has the athleticism to get back and defend Missouri in transition. One of the best things about Baylor is that the Bears' bigs are as fast and agile as most guards. If some of those guys develop a mean streak, Baylor could be a scary team. Sometimes I think their bigs (not Quincy Acy, though) play a little soft.
Apparently I started my chat an hour early. Oops. I'll be back at 3 EST/2 CST
OK ... I'm back.
How is Syracuse not the best team in the country after going through the toughest off court issue this season? All they do is win, unc losing to UNLV was a joke!
You're right, those narrow wins against Eastern Michigan, George Washington and Colgate, unranked Virginia Tech and Pac-12 power Stanford - all in their home state - were really impressive.
My Ole Miss Rebels are sitting at 8-1 and I believe we can make the tourny. Are we getting any respect right now? Or is it a wait and see?
Ole Miss is one of the more pleasant surprises of the season, IMO. I'm not ready to catapult them into the top 25 or anything, because they really haven't beaten anyone significant and they were trounced by the one high-level opponent they played (Marquette). Still, they haven't stumbled agains weaker opponents, either, and there's something to be said for that. I think they have a chance at the NCAA Tournament, but there is a ton of work to do. They need to pick up some quality wins against upper echelon opponents in the SEC. Having Jelan Kendrick will help
Have you ever seen someone be scrutinized so much for talking as Tu Holloway is being right now? I, for one, do not condone anything he has said. However, I also feel as if the media has jumped right on it as an opportunity to make him look bad. It's a good story for the media. His words were not acceptable, I get that. I just have never seen someone get put down so much because of his mouth. I keep hearing that Holloway deserves a much larger suspension than is being handed down to him. What are your thoughts? Has anyone ever been so scrutinized for their choice of words/trash talking (which I believe is part of the game)?
I think Holloway deserves much more than a one-game suspension. His trash-talking set the tone for that whole fight, and one camera angle shows that he threw one of the first punches. I think a lot of people - media included - are disappointed in him, because there are so many things to like about Tu Holloway, but his ridiculous comments spoiled everyone's perception of him. I also think it's ridiculous that Chris Mack let all that trash-talk occur. He had to know it was going on. Some people blame the refs for not stopping it. That's a cop-out. THe coaches should've stopped it.
Jason, I know it is hard to skip over the brawl... but try and do so for a second. Xavier completely dominated UC on the court Saturday... was that the kind of performance we can expect from the musketeers from now on? (post suspensions)
I think so, as long as they put the "brawl" behind them. Unfortunately that's going to be difficult. It's a story that will hover over them all season. If they can channel everything out they have the potential to be a Final Four team. But there will be a ton of people nationally rooting for them to lose.
any chance mizzou can pull out a number 1 seed by tourny time?
I don't see why not. They may not lose again in the non-conference and they'll have quality wins over Cal, Villnova and Illinois. If they can finish league play with 2 or 3 losses and notch at least one win each over KU, Baylor and Texas A&M - a very real possibility - then they'd be more than deserving of that honor.
Who do you like to win the Big 12 POY? Marcus Denmon, Thomas Robinson, Perry Jones, or other?
Man ... that's a tough call. Jones is the most talented, Robinson is the most dominant and Denmon has great numbers and is super-clutch. I think a lot of it will depend on which team fares the best. Right now I'd take Denmon, just because he's one of the leaders of that team and has helped Missouri navigate what could've been a difficult transition. I could change my mind, though. It's early
What are your thoughts on Gonzaga so far? We don't really have a quality win and struggled versus Illinois/Michigan St
Tough to tell. I think the Zags are a work in progress. I was surprised by the Illinois loss.
Do you think that there is any way that Xavier/UC can repair their reputation? Specifically Holloway and Gates?
No, not really, and that's unfortunate. If they were younger and had more time in school, maybe. But by the time people get over this, they'll be gone.
Do you think BYU could make the tourney, even though the are playing out of WCC?
Sure they could. A victory over No. 7 Baylor Saturday and a WCC championship would certainly help.
Are the Cal Bears taking home their second conference title in three years?
There are no guarantees in that league. It's seriously one of the hardest conferences to figure out that I can ever remember. I think Cal is the slight favorite, and I say that only because they're experienced and Montgomery is an excellent coach.
You could list off the same cupcakes for any of the top teams. Syracuse SOS is currently 12. They may end up with the #1 toughest schedule by the end of the year.
I'm not criticizing Syracuse. I just don't think they're the best team in America. I look at more than a win-loss record. If that's all that mattered, why watch the games?
Have you seen Syracuse play? The defense has been outstanding and the team has more offensive options that they can go with who is playing the best. I don't think the Orange would be an underdog to any of those teams you mentioned.
Absolutely love Syracuse's team, their discipline and the way they play defense. Amazing that some people get so upset when you rank a team No.4.
What are the odds the Hoyas can make a deep tourney run?
The NCAA tournament all depends on match ups. Georgetown has the talent to beat just about anyone, although I'm not sure I'd like their chances against most of the teams in the top 3-4. Henry Sims needs to play well consistently for Georgetown. He's the x-factor.
Will it come down to having to win the WCC tournament for Gonzaga to make the tournament? we haven't beat anyone so far and struggled versus Illinois/Michigan St
quite possibly, although wins against Arizona, Butler and Xavier might help.
After Indiana's big win over Kentucky, how high do you realistically think they can finish in the Big 10?
I think they could finish anywhere between third and seventh. Can't see them finishing ahead of Ohio State or Wisconsin, but there is a ton of parity in the league after that and the Hoosiers are right there the mix.
As a fellow Kansas Citian, can the Big 12 tournament last here without Missouri in it? It seems like Kansas and Kansas State have enough fans to keep it afloat.
True, but fans of those schools don't want to pour a ton of money into a state (Missouri) that doesn't have a Big 12 representative.
Were you more surprised by KU beating Ohio St. without Sullinger or the fact they shot 58% in doing so?
The shooting percentage surprised me, the win didn't. Kansas doesn't lose much at Allen Fieldhouse, especially to undermanned teams.
Since you are a Kansas man, thoughts on this past Saturdays game? Kansas seemed to be hitting everything and still was only up by 4 against Ohio State who looked to be lost. As Big East guy, it seems if Ohio State can be that close to Kansas playing amazing, then they are by far the best team when Sully comes back. Agree?
I wouldn't say "by far" but, yes, I'd agree with you. For now, at least. Remember, it's early. Other teams (i.e. Kentucky) are going to get a lot better over the next few months.
Virginia is 8-1 and not ranked. UM (who UVA beat rather soundly) has two losses is still in the top 20. Why?
Great point. That TCU loss really hurt UVA, and Michigan has that nice win over Memphis.
iii think duke will wind up being the kind of team that the were when they won there last national championship
I think they may be a year away. their ceiling is definitely high
How do you think the young Hoyas will do in Big East play?
Anywhere from 3rd to 7th
As I was looking at ESPN/USA Today poll I was shocked to see Xavier move down a spot after dismantling Cincinnati as well as haven pretty good wins over Purdue and Vanderbilt. They were jumped by a Missouri team that has only one standout win over Cal. I can only see the reason for this being the brawl Xavier was involved in. Is this a fair assessment?
MIssouri also killed Villanova and Notre Dame.
What are your thoughts on the New Year's eve matchup in the bluegrass? Do you think Pitino has enough firepower to overcome the cats?
I don't see it happening, especially in Lexington. Kentucky just has too much talent. Then again, I said that before they played Indiana, too.
You mentioned that Sean Miller was who these "name programs" should consider when jobs open up. Do you not consider Arizona a "name" job?
Oh, I do. But I think there are a handful of programs that are better than anyone (Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, UCLA, North Carolina). Arizona is definitely near the top of that second tier.
So exactly how many games does UNC need to loose before everyone see's them as good not great. No outside shooting is going kill them come March! Duke now has the inside play to go with the outside play. Duke top 10-expected, Duke top 3-only thing I'll accept!
Two losses - including a one-point setback on the road against the country's top-ranked team - really isn't something to get too down about.
Are you a fan of the Charlie Weis hire for KU?
Don't love it but i understand why they did it. It was a risk they had to take IMO.
How about a little credit to the SU players who have gone out and gotten the job done amidst all the controversy?
Great, great point. And Boeheim, too.
Better Frosh??? A. Rivers or A. Davis?
I'll go with Anthony Davis, for now.
Do you think that Louisville deserves their number 4 ranking? They have yet to have a signature win (other than maybe Vandy, who still didn't have Ezeli). And if you do not think they deserve it, do you think they have what it takes to be a top 5 team?
No and no. Louisville is an excellent team that is very well coached. But they're not a top-five caliber teams thanks, in part, to a handful of injuries that would cause most program's to crumble. PItino is doing an excellent job.
Do you feel like UK's loss was more bc of the environment or was it something else?
that was part of it. but Terrence Jones' disappearing act contributed too.
Why is Murray State not ranked in the espn poll?
Not sure, it's a coaches poll. Guess they haven't bought in yet.
Jason, is there any sort of extra credit that you are offering? I'd like to get that 'F' you graded me on today turned into a 'C' if possible... p.s. I don't condone fighting, I was coaching a game at the time of the brawl and was not aware of the extent of the altercation. Please keep that in mind when finals come around.
Hadn't seen the fight? OK, and I still believe in Santa Claus.
Were you surprised Sullinger didn't play against Kansas?
No, back spasms are a painful thing. One thing I won't ever question about Sullinger is his toughness.
Has Long Beach St. had the most brutal schedule so far?
Can't imagine anyone else has played a schedule with the likes of PIttsburgh, Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina - all on the road. OK, Dusty ... gotta answer some people's questions now. lol
Care to explain why you'd rank Baylor so high? I haven't seen them play this year, but kenpom has them ranked 19th. The only decent game on their schedule so far has been a home win over SDSU.
Just based on talent. Not many teams have two top 10 picks in their starting lineup like Baylor does with Perry Jones and Quincy Miller. Baylor's 28-point beatdown of Northwestern in Evanston last weekend was a decent win.
For Shannon... Syracuse's SOS is rated 234 on KenPom.
Hey Jason, I already see you've gotten some questions about Xavier/UC. But I guess my question is...Xavier has seemingly not had any problems with Tu Holloway until now. In fact he has become the the face of the University. Do you think his actions/words the other night reflect directly on who he really is? Or do you believe it was a spur of the moment situation that he should have never been put into, like no player should ever be put into?
Spur-of-the-moment, young guy trying to act tough around his friends. He should definitely be given a second chance, and i think he will be by his own fans. What he did/said is not unforgivable. What I think is bad is that Mack didn't do more to stop if from happening (both during the game and before the press conference).
Where were you for the Watford shot?
In the Kansas media room, writing my column from KU-Ohio State. We all paused to watch it. Place went nuts. Not in celebration or anything. Just one of those moments where you love college hoops.
If Jared Sullinger were not to play the rest of the season, where would you rank Ohio State?
Probably between 8-12
Oklahoma State is off of to a disappointing start. Do you see them getting into gear come conference play?
Oklahoma State has never played with much discipline under Ford. They have a special talent in Nash but letting him run wild isn't the answer. I see them finishing between fifth and eighth in the Big 12.
Cody Zeller is ranked 12th on ESPN's draft boards. Does he stay or go?
I bet he stays. No inside info. Just a hunch.
Now that Jimmer is gone from BYU would you say that Noah Hartsock is the new go to guy on this different look team?
I'll let you know after i watch them played Baylor Saturday.
Jason,Syracuse fans are mad at you because you are taking away from the fact that they are ranked #1. What do think of the Mountaineers after last weeks performance?
I know. Touchy, touchy. Watched the entire West Virginia game. Tons of toughness in a tough environment. That win was huge for them. K-State isn't great, but winning on the road like that isn't easy.
I have to question the obsession with Syracuse's nonconference schedule. Does the nonconference portion worth more? Why should a team in an extremely tough conference load up with even more tough teams? In a five day stretch SU plays Georgetown, Uconn and Louisville. SU also plays UConn and Louisville both twice, and in Marquette who should be top 10, that is 5 games against Top 10 teams. Is there another school who will play more in their conference schedule, as well as playing one, UF, in the nonconference?
Oh I was just having a little fun. Syracuse's non-conference schedule isn't all that terrible. I just don't think beating Stanford, Virginia Tech and Florida is reason enough to declare yourself as the clear-cut No. 1 team in America. Kentucky, for instance, has played Kansas, North Carolina and Indiana. To me, coming out of that stretch with one loss is more impressive than beating three so-so teams.
As I recall a few years ago Baylor's Brittney Griner punched an opposing player in the face and ended up breaking her nose... The punishment? 1 game suspension. The amount of negative attention this Cincy-Xavier brawl and the consequences that were given seems to be exponentially higher. Why can a female basketball player get away with a one game suspension for punching an opposing player when Tu Holloway gets smashed in the media for talking trash?
I believe she got two games (one from the school and one from the league) but I could be wrong. You raise a great point, though. One difference was that the Texas Tech player Griner punched was attempting to rip her arm off. In some ways, she was defending herself. Still inexcusable. But it's not as if she wasn't physically provoked.
I'm making the road trip to Memphis for New Year's Eve, can the 49ers beat the Tigers?
Winning at FedEx Forum is a tough task, but hey, Murray State digit.
if Murray State were to run the table and go undefeated and somehow lose their ovc tournament, do you think theyd get an at large bid into the ncaa tournament based off having 3 wins against C-USA Teams, 1 of which who was ranked?
I definitely think they'd be in strong consideration, yes.
Does BYU stand a chance against Baylor this Saturday in Provo?
Yep, Baylor traditionally is not a good road team - especially in environments like the one the Bears will face in Provo
What teams in the Big 10 will challenge OSU for the title?
It appears to be a consensus thought that Louisville are imposters in the top 10. I have trouble understanding this sentiment.They have taken care of business on the court, have upperclassmen leadership, young talent, and a top coach, while dealing with countless injuries. Even with all this, they are singled out as posers, while the media absolves trendier teams of losses. Thoughts?
I think it's mainly because Louisville doesn't have any wins against top-tier teams other than Vandy.
Although they don't look as dominating as last year, does Steve Fisher and the San Diego State Aztecs have a shot at making a tourney run this year?
Maybe a Sweet 16, which would be quite an accomplishment.
I don't see why many people are so high on Wisconsin. The team is not that good--Jordan Taylor has struggled a little and their offense is mind-numbingly bad. I'd take IU and Michigan (and probably MSU and Purdue) over Wisconsin.
Good points, but they've lost two close games to excellent teams (UNC and Marquette).
You have officially been placed on the Naughty List
That's OK. I never get anything good anyway.
Who has the best overall athletic program in the state of Texas?
Right now it's Baylor - the only school in the country with top 25 teams in all three major sports (men's and women's hoops and football). Some guy named RG3 just won the Heisman and forwards Britney Griner and Perry Jones are NPOY candidates.
Who is your front runner for Big East POY? I like Jeremy Lamb, Darius Johnson-Odom, Ashton Gibbs, and my sleeper is Henry Sims who is the best offensive rated PF/C in the country right now.
I'm a huge Henry Sims fan but i want to see him produce with some consistency. Jason Clark is also incredibly underrated - as is JT3. The Big East POY? If the season ended today I'd go with DJO.
How many Pac-12 team could make it to the tourney this year? Any chance for UCLA after such a bad start?
Ummm, no chance for UCLA. I can't see more than 3 Pac-12 teams making it
Jason, I just wanted to congratulate you for officially being part of ESPN, as noted by your use of "Syracuse hasn't left NY yet" You are officially a drone!
And a very good day to you, sir.
Where do you think Michigan State will finish at the end of the year in the tough big ten?
Between second and fourth
Predictions on the next coach of Syracuse?
As long as Jamie Dixon is on the sideline they have a chance
Do the Pitt Panthers have what it takes to repeat as Big East champs
sorry about the flip-flop there between Q and A
OK - going overtime today ... 10 more questions
Is Ed Cooley the greatest thing to happen to PC basketball or what?
yep - what took 'em so long?
Best freshman gaurd? Beal or Rivers
I'll go with Beal - for now.
If Mizzou can take out Kansas could we be talking about a top 5 ranking?
yep as long as they don't turn around and lose to Texas Tech three days later.
Curious on your speculation of a MWC CUSA merger, and how good of a basketball conference do you think that would be?
I hope it happens. Memphis, New Mexico, UNLV, Marshall, UCF, UAB, etc ... helluva lot better than the Pac-12
Flip Pressey or Kendall Marshall, right now...?
Marshall without question
Hey what are your thoughts on the gators?
I'm not too down on them. They lost two to a pair of top four teams - both on the road.
Vegas odds have Louisville tied as the 5th most likely team to win it all. Yet all I hear from the pundits is how much of an imposter they are. They have done everything they can on the court, have skill at every position, senior leaders, and some elite young talent, tied together by a great coach. What gives?
"elite" talent is the one place you're mistaken. everything else was spot-on
Do you think the MVC can get 3 teams in this year?
I think it'd be a travesty if at least 3 MVC teams don't get in.
I understand everyones' feelings that louisville is not a top 5 team, but they did beat Long Beach State and looked better in doing so than both Kansas and UNC. Thoughts?
To me, that win is more impressive than the Vandy win. Long Beach State is GOOD!
Just wanted to stop by and say hi Jason
The great Eamonn Brennan, ladies and gentlemen. Rough crowd today.
Fnally ready to give Mizzou credit? in the beginning of the season you said they are not worthy of a top 25 spot
I've been pippin the Tigers big time the last 3 weeks, Andy. WHere have you been?
Best steak-house in the country?
Craft at MGM in Vegas if you wanna spend 200 bucks for a steak ( I wasn't buying that night, BTW). The Capitol Grille (various locations) is great and, if you're slummin', go to Texas Roadhouse. lol
Which school did the brawl effect the most? From public perception and team chemistry standpoints.
Cincinnati - mainly because Gates landed his punch.
Best conference top to bottom in your opinion? Also, best mid-major conference in your opinion?
I like the Big East the best, although most of my colleagues would vote for the Big Ten. I look at it like this: How many Big East teams could you easily see in the Final Four? For me it's Syracuse, UConn, Marquette and Pittsburgh and Louisville (if the Cardinals get some of their pieces back). That's five teams. Now let's go to the Big Ten. I count one team (Ohio State). That's the criteria I use. Others disagree.Atlantic 10
KU's win over Ohio State - Still a solid win even w/o the all american present? One player doesn't make a team right?
Very, very solid win and one to feel good about - but it definitely needs an asterisk.
Is Kidd-Gilcrest the most important Wildcat? He's the engine to that machine right?
Long Beach State: good team getting beat by better teams or is this a case of big schools playing down to that level?
I think he can affect the game in more ways than any other Wildcat.
Sorry - back to the Long Beach State question - very good team. If opponents play "down" they'll lose
If you had to take a right hook from any player in the nation who would you pick?
Probably Ryan Harrow the former NC State guard who is redshirting at Kentucky. Not a very big guy. I still don't think it'd be pleasant, though.
At the rate Ben Howland and UCLA keep going, should I be worried about Brad Stevens leaving Butler?
Not sure that'd be a good fit for Stevens.
MVC 3 teams in the dance what do you think
WSU, UNI and Creighton
Will you say something nice about Mississippi State?
Outta time but read my King's Court column today. I took care of it there.
Looking forward to doing this again next week. Thanks for stopping by