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January 18, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana ONeil
  (2:00 PM)

Greetings everyone. Another interesting week in the books.

Matt (NJ)

Hey Dana, I'm a Seton Hall Pirates fan and I was wondering what the chances are that they make the NCAA tournament this year

Dana ONeil
  (2:01 PM)

Matt: I'll have a good answer tonight. Going to see the Pirates at Seton Hall. Don't think one loss to South Florida will be the end of them. Still a good team.

Todd (Madhouse on the Mesa (Aztec Nation))

If Fisher won the Coach of the year award last year, what does he deserve for this season's work? To do what SDSU is doing with only 9 scholarship players is incredible. Thoughts?

Dana ONeil
  (2:02 PM)

Todd: Agree. Incredible job by Fisher this year without so many great players. Still need to see the Aztecs take their Show on the road but I'm impressed.

Dave (Albany,NY)

Dana, It looks as though the selection committee will have an easier time selecting the field due to expansion.With so many teams playing themselves off the bubble,do you see this as a welcome consequence, where so few teams have a reason to gripe that it kind of helps the selection committe avoid the heat that they have taken in years past? thanks for your time.

Dana ONeil
  (2:03 PM)

David Well the committee will take heat regardless. Remember, they still have to seed Murray. But it is a fairly clear cut year this year, at least so far.

Mark B (San Diego)

Great piece on Beal. What to make of Florida? Some nights they seem unbeatable, others very average. Too susceptible to cold shooting nights?

Dana ONeil
  (2:04 PM)

Mark: That and I think sometimes the guards can be a little to out of control or selfish. So talented and when they get it together, a very good team.

dylan (amherst)

is umass in the conversation to make the big dance?

Dana ONeil
  (2:05 PM)

Dylan Not yet. Not a good enough non-conference resume. Still Derek Kellogg is doing a terrific job with this team. The A10 is wildly unpredictable so you never know.

Shannon (louisville)

Who rights the ship this weekend, Pitt or UL?

Dana ONeil
  (2:05 PM)

Shannon: Got a coin? I'd have to lean Pitt, simply because Louisville is so beat up.

Ben W (Lancaster, PA)

What program is better stabilized for the future--Providence (no significant playing seniors, only 2 significant jrs., plus 2 top 100 recruits for next season), or Rutgers (great group of current frosh, no significant seniors, only 2 juniors as well)?

Dana ONeil
  (2:07 PM)

Ben: Think both are headed in the right direction. Right now I think Rutgers is a little ahead of the curve thanks to this particular class of freshmen.

Dan (Cincinnati)

Dana, how far do you see the Bearcats going this season and do they have a shot at home against Syracuse?

Dana ONeil
  (2:08 PM)

Dan: Well I'll be there, so I hope it's a game. I thought the Bearcats were going to be good from the beginning, then that loss to Presbyterian made me feel quite foolish. So I still think Cincy is a good team, a tourney team. As for Cuse, at home, sure there's a shot but they can't make foolish mistakes and they have to shoot it well.

Tim (San Francisco)

Hey Dana! Who do you think the best team in the nation is? Not the most talented, not playing the best right now...but who do you think overall is the best team in the nation?

Dana ONeil
  (2:10 PM)

Tim: I actually think it's the team at the top of the poll. I've watched Syracuse a ton and haven't found a weakness yet, save maybe spotty outside shooting. They're deep, play good defense, tough inside, tough in the backcourt.

Marcus (Topeka, KS)

Your thoughts on KU after watching them vs Baylor?

Dana ONeil
  (2:10 PM)

Marcus: Some day we'll say that Kansas is rebuilding and we'll be right. Someday. Not this day. Bill Self always figures it out. So impressed with the job he's done this year.

Matt (Memphis)

Dana! Love your work.How significant if the loss of Adonis Thomas for the Tigers? Still a chance to win CUSA or are they looking at 2nd or 3rd place? At large bid or will need to win the CUSA Tourney? Thanks!

Dana ONeil
  (2:11 PM)

Matt: Huge blow, obviously and I'm not sure the resume is good enough, frankly, for an at-large. If you're assuming a second or thid place finish in C-USA, you gotta mean there are some not so impressive losses there.

Tom Cornett (NC)

Dana, gr8 piece on Nova and Pitt. Had a bet going w rmoye that I'd crack her (DPO's) chat like shooting fish in a barrel, but anyway. Without stirring the pot too much, do you think Jay and Jamie are in danger of getting roasted? These programs are not used to this type of failure and some people might not miss them if they were to go.

Dana ONeil
  (2:13 PM)

Tom Roasted as in fired? No way. One bad year shouldn't cost you a job. There are reasons, whether we like them or not and bad years happen. And those people who would not miss them, I'd like them to look around the rest of the country and try to find better models of consistency.

Dusty (St. Louis)

Big night of games in the MVC. Wichita St. vs. UNI and Creighton vs. MO St. Who wins those games?

Dana ONeil
  (2:14 PM)

Dusty Definitely a fun night. Two very good games. I'm going chalk with Wichita and Creighton.

Brian (Minneapolis)

Dana -- love your coverage of the college hoops scene, thanks so much for keeping us fans informed. With the major changes coming to the Big East, do you think it will make schools like Georgetown a less likely destination for top recruits? Love what JTIII has going in D.C. and would hate to see the program suffer because the conference lost its luster.

Dana ONeil
  (2:14 PM)

Brian: Good question but I think not. I still say there is some name branding there w/ schools like Georgetown. And the league will be not as good but still pretty good. Plus it's a 'basketball school' and kids like that.

Pete (Albuquerque)

UNM has SDSU visiting tonight, who do you have winning this game and who do you think wins the MWC?

Dana ONeil
  (2:15 PM)

Pete: Interesting game. Everyone has been busy talking bout San Diego State and UNLV and kinda forgot about UNM. Think they get the home game tonight and make the Mountain West even more fun

Matt (Dayton, OH)

Hey Dana, the A-10 is still up for grabs. A huge game Saturday, and one of the most underrated rivalries in the nation with Dayton and Xavier. Who do you like in that game? Why?

Dana ONeil
  (2:16 PM)

Matt: No doubt. A10 is bananas. Think Xavier is starting to be Xavier again. Give the Musketeers the edge there.

Tom(North Carolina) [via mobile]

Do you think the heels will be able to find the "killer instinct" or do you think they are too nice? And we know nice guys finish last.

Dana ONeil
  (2:18 PM)

Tom: I'm not sure they're too nice so much as they just don't have that go to guy. They've got a lot of great players but who's the one that gets them going?

Brian (Lexington)

Dana, who are your midseason picks to make the final four?

Dana ONeil
  (2:21 PM)

Brian: Oh boy, this is getting tougher and tougher. I think Syracuse and Kentucky get there. After that, I'm not sure. Some days I say Missouri. Some days I say Ohio State. Some days I think it will be a wild card like Creighton. It's more wide open than I anticipated.

Dana ONeil
  (2:21 PM)

Hold please. Need to find new movie for sick 7 year old home from school.

Dana ONeil
  (2:22 PM)

OK, I'm back. Thanks

George (Indy)

Does Indiana get back to winning this season with a win on the road against Nebraska tonight?

Dana ONeil
  (2:23 PM)

George: Lordy, they better! I anticipated a little drop for the Hoosiers. Maybe not one quite so hard like that but something.

Curtis (Illinois)

What are your thoughts on the Northwestern-Wisconsin game tonight? Can Northwestern carry the momentum of their last win forward?

Dana ONeil
  (2:24 PM)

Curtis: Not out of the question. Wisconsin is something of a mixed bag, I'd argue, and Northwestern knows it has to build its resume.

Eric Watkins (Philly)

Cheaper by the Dozen works, or Sandlot

Dana ONeil
  (2:24 PM)

Sandlot is a big favorite. Don't have it, though!

Joe (Troy, NY)

First to lose, Orange or Racers?

Dana ONeil
  (2:25 PM)

Joe: Can I answer after Murray plays at Morehead tonight? I think Murray is the logical choice to go undefeated. The Big East, needless to say, is a tougher league but this isn't your typical Big East, either.

chris (nc)

do you agree with Roy Williams leaving the court vs FSU?

Dana ONeil
  (2:26 PM)

Chris Nope, not even a little bit nor do I buy that he didn't realize he left his walk ons on the floor. Isn't it his responsibility to make sure all of his players are present and accounted for? Bad move.

Mark B (San Diego)

Dana: regarding your final four picks, you need to remove Syracuse. Whoever was doing the Georgetown game yesterday (Raftery maybe?) said "Syracuse would have to implode in order to not win the tournament." Consider them fully jinxed.

Dana ONeil
  (2:26 PM)

Mark; The curse of Raf!

Alex (Anaheim)

Could St. Mary's be better than Gonzaga, or was the last game a product of playing in Moraga?

Dana ONeil
  (2:27 PM)

Alex: It's a close race. I still think Gonzaga is better but you gotta give it to St. Mary's. I don't care if it's home or not. Big win.

Devin (Indy)

Could Syracuse's 2nd unit win the Pac 12?

Dana ONeil
  (2:27 PM)

Devin: Haha. Maybe.

Dana ONeil
  (2:27 PM)

Hold again. Wrong movie. Erg. I hate technology.

Dana ONeil
  (2:29 PM)

OK, sorry. I'll go to my death unable to run a DVD.

Brian (Baton Rouge, La)

Hey Dana, love your work you do! Hey I am a big LSU Tiger fan...and wanting the men's basketball team to do something this year...they have had a couple of good wins...including one against Marquette...do you see them making a run at the "Big Dance" or headed to the NIT?

Dana ONeil
  (2:30 PM)

Brian: I think baby steps are in order. Right now the Tigers look like an NIT team to me but there's no shame in that. It's huge progress for LSU.

John David (Preston)

Dana,Can anyone hang with Kentucky if they play like they did last night? Each game they're looking a little better.Thanks,John David

Dana ONeil
  (2:31 PM)

John David: If Anthony Davis plays like that, there are some NBA teams that would struggle. No doubt the Cats are the most talented team in the country. Talent, of course, doesn't always win out, that's the catch.

Dusty (St. Louis)

Is Bill Self finally entering into the COY conversation? There can't be any coach in the country that has done a "better" job this year can there?

Dana ONeil
  (2:32 PM)

Dusty: It's funny, the curse of Bill Self, I suppose. He's rarely mentioned because it's 'Kansas,' as if the team coaches itself. Truth is, he's done as well with as little as anyone in the country. He'd be on my ballot.

Jake (St. Louis)

If the Billikens make the tournament could they be a strong sweet 16 sleeper team?

Dana ONeil
  (2:32 PM)

Jake: Certainly never discount a Rick Majerus team, especially one that is playing his style like the Bilikens are right now. Raw team, still, hence the struggles in the A10 but could be a dangerous one in March.

rob (SC)

Does Duke have a decent chance at making the final 4 this year? Also, do you see Rivers as a one and done?

Dana ONeil
  (2:33 PM)

Rob: Not loving Duke right now. Think Rivers is a bit too selfish and the bigs are good finesse guys but not great power guys. Still lots of talent and time to get it together.

mark (san diego)

Yo Dana- I love your work. A quick sidenote, do the folks in Philly eat more hoagies or cheesesteaks? When I was growing up in North Philadelphia way back when, it seemed like 3-1 hoagies...

Dana ONeil
  (2:35 PM)

Mark: I agree. Known for the cheesesteaks but the hoagies are more of a staple, especially with a WaWa every 22 feet.

Hunter (PA)

Bill Self...as much with as little?? Steve Fisher and Tom Crean disagree!

Dana ONeil
  (2:35 PM)

Hunter: I'll give you Steve Fisher but Crean has been building toward this with veteran guys. Adding Zeller was the final piece. Meantime Self has had to rebuild again and again and again. yes, with good players but still it's not easy to do. I'd be OK with Crean. Just arguing Self's case.

Cody (Philly)

Dana: Just read an interesting stat the Jim Boeheim has only been past the Sweet 16 2 times since 1989! Always considered Boeheim a HOF'er and one of the greats...my opinion has changed drastically after reading that!

Dana ONeil
  (2:36 PM)

Cody: I need to double check that. Not doubting just sounds crazy.

Greg (Pitt)

Dana, when will my Panthers turn it around?

Dana ONeil
  (2:37 PM)

Greg: I honestly don't know, mostly because I'm so perplexed with how bad they are. Getting Woodall back eventually will help but it's not the cure all of everything.

Kevin (NYC)

Dana do you agree with the NCAA's ruling in the Ryan Boatwright situation, guilty until proven innocent?

Dana ONeil
  (2:38 PM)

Kevin: That's just the way the NCAA works, unfortunately. If it were the beginning of the season, he'd be held out. Now he's pulled. It stinks, especially if they find nothing but it's how they work, forcing a school to err on the side of caution. What's really awful is that he's gone through this twice now. I'm not sure it's in the 'best interest of the student-athlete' to jerk him around so much.

Danny (Kansas City)

Mrs. ONeil,Despite the KU's large margin against Baylor, I think the Big 12 is pretty balanced at the top. How many losses does the eventual champ suffer, and whose your pick?

Dana ONeil
  (2:40 PM)

Danny: I agree it is pretty balanced. I think the winner could have 2, maybe 3 losses. Who is my pick? I would have said Missouri but not I'm torn. I find it hard to pick against Kansas until somehow truly unseats the Jayhawks.

Bill (Kentucky)

You probably wont believe this, but word is out today that Louisville's Kevin Ware is out with a meniscus injury. Your thoughts on all the injuries?

Dana ONeil
  (2:41 PM)

Bill: Seriously? My thoughts... Pitino definitely should not bet the Derby this year. Talk about cursed.

Oliver (KC)

Is Vandy the 2nd best team in the SEC?

Dana ONeil
  (2:41 PM)

Oliver: Hmm... not sure bout that. Still think it could be Mississippi State or Florida.

Jezz (Melbourne, Australia)

The stat about Syracuse and the Sweet 16 is true Dana.Don't the sportswriters get used to their usual 15-0 starts and early collapse in the tourney ???

Dana ONeil
  (2:42 PM)

Jezz: Well they said Bill Self couldn't win it all for years and then he did. Said the same about Boeheim. Winning the tourney is hard. Really hard and I think this Cuse team is really loaded.

John (CA)

Hi Dana! Which program do you think has the most upside, UVA, GT or ILL?

Dana ONeil
  (2:44 PM)

John: For the immediate future, I'd say Virginia. Mostly because there's more wiggle room in the ACC to climb the standings (until you get to spots 1 and 2, that is) and Tony Bennett is going after a unique sort of player with a unique style. Illinois has access to great talent but they've got to share Chicago with a lot of folks. And yes, I said Illinois before but now I'm changing my mind.

Matt (Dayton)

Can you talk about the job Archie Miller is doing at dayton. Best rookie coach in the country?

Dana ONeil
  (2:44 PM)

Matt: Well, no, that goes to Steve Prohm at Murray. But certainly Archie is doing a very good job in what was supposed to be a mulligan year for Dayton. Good hire.

Knish (NJ)

Speaking of Cheese Steaks...Ever been to Chinks in Philly? Best cheese steaks in Philly...

Dana ONeil
  (2:45 PM)

Of course it is. Hands down.

Devin (Indy)

Trey Burke or Cody Zeller for B1G FOY?

Dana ONeil
  (2:45 PM)

Devin: I"d lean Zeller, not just on numbers but he's the single most critical cog for a top 25 team there is out there.

vic (omaha)

How much of Doug McDermott (Creighton) have you seen? Do you think he's a legit Player of the Year candidate?

Dana ONeil
  (2:46 PM)

Vic: Haven't seen him in person but seen him enough. He's not a terrific defender but neither was that Jimmer dude. He's a ridiculous scorer on a team that would be toast without him. So I definitely think he belongs in the top 3.

mike (boulder)

im a cuse fan and i think they are most likely to lose their first game at cincy or at rutgers. your thoughts?

Dana ONeil
  (2:46 PM)

MIke: Maybe Cincy. Tough environment, strong team. Rutgers... I mean I know the RAC has been tough but I'm not sure I can see those young freshmen handling the zone and the press combo.

Matt (Phoenix)

Who would be your pick to finish 2nd in the Big East? I think that Marquette could be a dark horse to actually take it.

Dana ONeil
  (2:47 PM)

Matt: I have to do the Big East power rankings every Sunday and every Sunday my No. 2 pick changes. It's impossibly confusing. I still think it will be Connecticut, though the Boatwright wrench makes it tricky.

John (Omaha)

UNC vs. Creighton in the championship...Creighton is lead by rising star Doug McDermott that has lead his team to one of the biggest runs in tournament history...UNC, a power house, boasting future NBA star Harrison Barnes...It goes down to the wire...Creighton's buzzer beater is GOOD!!! This would be the best movie ever created by humans.

Dana ONeil
  (2:48 PM)

John: I saw that game. Gordon Hayward missed.

Rafa (NKY)

My favorite ESPN sports mom reporter, What teams so far do you think have underachieved/overachieved, and been as good as advertised?

Dana ONeil
  (2:49 PM)

Rafa: Small pool :) Underachieved is easy: Pitt. Overachieved, Mizzou and Kansas.

Joe (Raleigh)

The knock on Cuse is that they haven't been tested on the road. UNC has played 3 times on the road... At UNLV, at UK and at Florida St. Since they lost all 3, what does it say about them?

Dana ONeil
  (2:49 PM)

Joe: Good point and Cuse will go on the road in the Big East which is as tough as any road there is. Certainly playing at home for 40 days did the Heels no favors.

ncaaball69.0 (nova nation)

Dana,better date night, game at Penn Palestra or Nova"s DuPont Pavillion?

Dana ONeil
  (2:50 PM)

Oh please, if a date took me to the Pavilion, I'd be asleep. And there'd be no second date. Brie and wine cheese outside of the student section. The Palestra has history to walk around and see and smell and feel, bad uncomfortable bleachers, good neighborhood bars within walking distance.

DJ (Cuse)

What do the Tigers have to do to beat the Baylor this weekend with the incredible size difference?

Dana ONeil
  (2:51 PM)

DJ: Everyone keeps asking about Mizzou's size and it's not mattered terribly much. They have to shoot the ball well, that's the antidote. They have to be disruptive. They have to rebound.

tim (tempe)

VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION!! What DVD did your 7-year old settle on?

Dana ONeil
  (2:51 PM)

Tim: Tornado Chasers from Discovery. I have a wacky son.

Billy (Columbia)

Best pure point guard in America...Who do you think?

Dana ONeil
  (2:52 PM)

Billy: Well I suppose a lot of folks will say Kendall Marshall and that's not a bad choice. I'd add Iona's Scott Machado to the list.

Michael (Iowa City)

What are your thoughts on the Mountain West? They certainly should get 3 teams into the tournament, do you think a fourth (CSU or WYO) is a possibility?

Dana ONeil
  (2:53 PM)

Michael: I'd say it's a stretch without one of them winning the MW tourney. Not sure the non-conference resume stacks up well enough.

Kevin (Philly)

Dana, Who is winning the big game on Broad Street tonight, La Salle or Temple?

Dana ONeil
  (2:54 PM)

Kevin: Good game tonight, for sure. I think La Salle might get the upset. Gotta hit their 3s though.

Mark B (San Diego)

Should Waiters be considered for POY in the Big East? Can any Syracuse player win an accolade like that, given the time sharing that is going on?

Dana ONeil
  (2:55 PM)

Mark: He absolutely should be in consideration. Kevin Jones will deservedly get a lot of attention but Waiters is as important to that team as anyone.

Brendan (Buffalo)

The Atlantic-10 should get 4 bids this year. Agree or disagree?

Dana ONeil
  (2:55 PM)

Brendan: Disagree. The league is killing itself and not in a good way. A lot of teams with some bad losses.

Oliver (KC)

Has Tyshawn Taylor finally figured out how to get out of his own way?

Dana ONeil
  (2:56 PM)

Oliver: This week, yes. Next week? We'll see.

phil (puxatony)

If Murray State goes undefeated in the regular season, what tournament seed do they end up with?

Dana ONeil
  (2:58 PM)

Phil: It's Punxsatawney, I believe, Mr. Ground Hog. I looked back at St. Joe's. They beat just one top 25 that season - in the first game against Gonzaga. Granted the A10 was tougher than the OVC, but they got a 1 seed, despite losing to Xavier in the A10 tourney. And much to Billy Packer's ire. I'd have no problem with the same for Murray. It's really really hard winning every game and that is the object, isn't it?

CT (Gainesville)

Beal-Possible freshman player of the year if he manages great games to finish out the season?

Dana ONeil
  (2:58 PM)

CT: No, unless aliens abduct Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

phil (puxatony)

I'm from Puxatony, Idaho. It's an actual city. I'm allergic to groundhogs so I can't go to Punxsatawney.

Dana ONeil
  (3:00 PM)

So you probably get the groundhog thing a lot, huh? Sorry.

Patrick (Chicago)

What does UCLA do with Howland? Took em to 3 straight Final Fours, but the wheels seem to have come off a bit with the Reeves Nelson fiasco and the Josh Smith disapperance.

Dana ONeil
  (3:00 PM)

Patrick: An excellent question and I'll be curious to see how it ends myself. No doubt it's a pickle. But past history is in the past.

Dana ONeil
  (3:01 PM)

Alright folks, I have to go tend to the wee little sick one and then abandon him for Villanova-Seton Hall tonight (there goes the Mother of the Year award again). Thanks for all the questions. Enjoy the week.