Welcome to the chat. Let's get started.
Who has the toughest road to the Final Four?
Of the No. 1 seeds, I think Michigan State has it pretty darn tough. Beating Louisville - who won the Big East conference tournament - won't be easy. If the Spartans get by Rick Pitino's squad there's a good chance it'll face Marquette, which has two of the best players in the tournament in Darius Johnson Odom and Jae Crowder.
Assuming UNC is able to get past Ohio in the midwest, which makes for a more interesting subplot / storyline for the TV commentary: Kansas vs UNC (with Roy Williams connection to each) or NC State vs UNC (4th game between rivals and the close game in the ACC Tourney)?
I'm sure local fans would rather see the UNC vs. NCST. But nationally, everyone is crossing their fingers for another Roy vs. Kansas game. I think the Tar Heels would have the upper hand in this one - even without Kendall Marshall.
Can IU hang with Kentucky this time around, away from Assembly Hall? I'm thinking a 15-20 point win for the Cats, agree?
I tend to agree with you. The neutral court will make a huge difference. And Kentucky is a much better team now than it was then. The loss of Verdell Jones III is a factor, too. I'm thinking UK wins by 9-13 points.
Care to take back your initial "guess" that KU would lose 10+ games this year and the streak of 7 would not make 8?
Sure. Kansas has done a phenomenal job this year and certainly surpassed my expectations - and the expectations of their own coach, who laughed when I told him his team was picked in the top five in the preseason. Make sure to send me your preseason picks. I'd love to see them. I'm sure they were 100 percent accurate.
NC State vs Kansas? Who you taking? Kansas is deeper and has more talent, but NC State has the motivation and determination.
I'm not sure I'd say KU is deeper, but I'll pick the Jayhawks in a close game. They'll play much better than they did against Purdue. But I expect NC State to play well, too. Heck, it's been a while since the Wolfpack DIDN'T play well.
So, will you be chatting longer than your co-worker yesterday? I think he set a record for the shortest chat in the history of ESPN. Real question....wanting OSU to break their Sweet 16 barrier, and at least make it to the Final Four. What are the chances I won't be disappointed?
Oregon State didn't make the tourney this year, Jeff. Oh wait ... you mean Ohio State? haha. Yes, I think you can feel good about the Buckeyes' chances of getting past a pesky Cincinnati team and playing either Syracuse or Wisconsin (I'm going with Cuse) in the Elite Eight. I actually have Ohio State getting to the national title game and losing to Kentucky.
Who goes down first, Syracuse or Ohio State?
Syracuse - to Ohio State in the Elite Eight.
What does Xavier have to do to beat Baylor?
Right now, the key to stopping Baylor is to slow to slow down Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson from beyond the arc. Baylor is also doing a much better job lately of rebounding on the offensive end and scoring on second-chance points. The thing that makes Baylor tough is its depth. Jackson, Heslip, Quincy Miller, Quincy Acy and Perry Jones III can all go off for 20 points on any given night. Baylor has a tendency to try to play AAU ball at times, and it usually means they end up taking bad shots or turning the ball over. If they do that, you'll stay in the game.
Im a heart broken Mizzou fan. Please tell me we have some hope with next years team.
I think Missouri will be good next year. Not as good as this year, but still very good. Michael Dixon and Phil Pressey are back. Laurence Bowers will be healthy. Earnest Ross, the Auburn transfer, is the real deal. So is Keion Bell from Pepperdine. The player fans should really be excited about, though, is Oregon transfer Jabari Brown. He's a stud. I think Missouri could finish anywhere between No. 2 and No. 5 in the SEC.
Where would u rank the illini job?? Alot of people R sayin it is an elite job? Also who would it take to hire to keep Meyers around??
I think the Illinois is a top 10-15 job - mainly because it pays well, the fans are passionate and it's near a fertile recruiting area (Chicago). They'll have a chance to keep Meyers if they hire a coach with a good track record of developing big men. my guess is that he leaves, though. could be wrong.
Do you still think T Rob is NPOY?
Oh yes. Very much so.
If there's one guy left who can carry his team to the title, who is it? Green, Robinson, Zeller, other Zeller, Davis, Sullinger, Crowder?
That's tough. Any of those guys could do it. Michigan State is really, really dependent on Green. If he doesn't play well, they'll struggle. Same with Robinson at Kansas and Cody Zeller at Indiana The other players have much better players around them who can make up for an off night by their star.
I think the only way IU has a chance vs. UK is if Anthony Davis gets in foul trouble again. Agree?
Absolutely. And even then, I'd like UK's chances. Something tells me UK is going to step on the gas pedal in this one.
Can syracuse cause enough turnovers against wisconsin? To me, its strength vs. strength and a huge key to the game.
I think this game will be low-scoring. Wisconsin averages few possessions per game than any team in the country - and Bo Ryan likes it that way. I think Syracuse wins, though.
Did you find it different from previous years that KU didn't fade, but survived...will that help them going into this weekend?
I think that was very telling. It illustrated this team's toughness. They played poorly on offense, but I never felt like they played scared or tight. Purdue just did a nice job of taking them out of what they wanted to do and forcing them to miss shots. Still, it says a lot when a team can play "ugly" and still win. Past KU teams would've crumbled under the pressure when things weren't going well. I loved that Johnson was out there smiling in the final minutes. Kid wasn't nervous at all.
How do you see the KU vs. NC State matchup? Is NC State similar to anyone else in the Big 12?
NC State is very, very talented with guys like C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown. Lots of long, athletic players. They're not very good at point guard and they don't have a lot of bulk in the paint. But it's a good team with a lot of momentum right now. Not sure who I'd compare them to in the Big 12. They have a few Baylor-type athletes. But they're not as deep as the Bears and not as good on the perimeter.
Was Creighton "dirty" against UNC? Also what did you think of Grant Gibbs winking at the bench after Henson got a technical foul?
The last thing Creighton is is "dirty." If anything, I thought Creighton may have been a little too nice/soft this season. Gibbs is the nicest guy on the entire team. Very religious guy. Courteous, respectful. He's not dirty. I can see why UNC fans are upset, but questioning the Bluejays' character is just flat-out wrong.
So far, who is the most outstanding player(s) in the tournament?
Jae Crowder has been the most impressive thus far, although Norfolk State's Kyle O'Quinn had a game for the ages against Missouri. And let's not forget about Brady Heslip's nine 3-pointers against Colorado.
Which 1-seed is on upset alert?
I like all of the No. 1 seeds to win in the Sweet 16. But I've got Ohio State over Syracuse and Marquette over Michigan State in the Elite Eight.
Tell me we are going to beat the inbreds from UK again!!!
Sorry, Frank. Can't see it happening this time
What should mizzou fans going to do with their Zou Orleans t-shirts? God knows they love their t-shirts...
Ha. Hadn't heard about that. Hilarious.
Jason, which Sweet 16 game intrigues you the most and why?
Michigan State-Louisville. Rick Pitino has never lost a Sweet 16 game and Tom Izzo has never had a Sweet 16 team not make the Final Four.
I'm not feeling good about it. I don't think so.
Just to be clear: a UNC team that is ranked behind KU in Kenpom WITH Marshall has the upper hand WITHOUT Marshall? Please explain the logic behind this statement. Remember, without Marshall in the starting lineup UNC was headed to a very low seed in the NCAA or the NIT, again.
Both previous meetings this year were lopsided either way. What are your thought's on tonight's NIT matchup between Oregon and Washington?
Wish I had time to watch. Washington is obviously the more talented team and should win. But Oregon is well-coached and on an upswing.
Syracuse faces a stingy offense in Wisconsin. If the Orange can't turn over the Badgers and get out in transition, do you have faith in their ability to win with their other weapons?
Yes, I do. I think talent usually wins out at this time of year and Syracuse is the more talented team with more weapons. Remember, the Orange have a pretty good coach, too. Boeheim will find a way to get it done.
Both previous meetings this year were lopsided each way in both games. What are your thought's on tonight's matchup between Oregon and Washington?
Forgot to post this question about tonight's NIT game between washington and oregon a few questions back. sorry.
You act like the NPOY is Robinson and it's not even close....How foolish will you look when Davis wins that one too?
Thanks for putting words into my mouth. I NEVER said it wasn't a close race. It's the closest race I can ever remember. Look foolish? For giving it to a guy that averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds (second nationally) on one of the top five teams in the country? A guy who didn't even start last season. A guy who faces double and triple teams every night and STILL puts up great stats in a league that (sorry) is MUCH better than the SEC? People may disagree with the pick, but no one can say it's a foolish one.
Thoughts on Iowa State's season and their ceiling for next year if Royce comes back?
I think Iowa State would finish in the top three of the Big 12, just like I did this year. but I don't think he's coming back.
Who do you like in the Big East vs Big Ten battles on Thursday evening?
Michigan State, Syracuse and Ohio State.
It seems like there has been a lot bigger problem this year with the courts getting slick. Is there a reason for this? Did you see how bad the court was causing people to slip during the Big East Conference tourney? Maybe they need fewer logos and just the basic wood instead.
Not sure what the problem is. Some of these courts have hockey rinks under them, and a lot of people have complained about the logos.
Which Ohio teams will make it to the Elite Eight?
Choice: Kentucky or the field. I know you have UK in your bracket but are they that much of a favorite that you'd take them over a 'field' pick?
Man, that's tough. I'll still go with UK.
How come a 67 yr old half way around the world that didn't get to see most of the field prior to the tourney is beating 5 out of 6 of ESPN's bracket challenge people ? :-)
Haha. Congrats Alan. Sometimes we tend to over-analyze things around here instead of going with what should be obvious. I'm in a 300-person bracket pool with some friends. Right now an 12-year-old girl is in first place.
You said Missouri could be between 2 and 5 in the SEC. Can you give us your thoughts on the rest of the top 5 in the SEC?
That's tough to do since I'm supposed to answer these questions as quickly as possible. But Kentucky will obviously be good once again. Florida is always tough. Unfortunately, i"m guessing the Gators will lose Beal. But they'll still be good. Tennessee was coming on strong at the end of the year. They'll be an upper echelon team.
I'd love to hear your rationale for taking UNC over KU without Marshall, who's back-up is a walk-on.
I'll give you several reasons, and they're all about 6-foot-11 or taller, and they're all future lottery picks: Zeller, Henson, McAdoo. Want another reason? Harrsion Barnes. I'd kinda like the Barnes-Teahan matchup if I were UNC. They've also got a few guys named Bullock and Hairston who are decent.
Do you see Marquette running into any problems with their size(none taller than 6'8" with Gardner) or have they been tested enough that it isn't a problem since they played against several bigs in the Big East? I'm looking at Florida and then past them.
As you mentioned, Marquette's size has been an issue all season and they seem to have done just fine with a small lineup. Luckily, Florida isn't all that big, either. And remember, sometimes small teams actually have an advantage when it comes to match-ups. That's how Missouri was able to win 30 games this year.
What double-digit seed left has the best chance to make the final four?
NC State could beat Kansas and North Carolina. They almost did it in the ACC tournament (and probably should've).
Now that FSU is out of the run, does Cincy have a chance at a possible Final Four run, or will OSU stop their hopes?
I like Ohio State in that game. But let me say this: Mick Cronin has done a PHENOMENAL job with that team. Absolutely phenomenal. One of the best coaching jobs in the country this season.
Jason, you've spoken highly of Marquette all year and I read your piece where you ranked them 3rd among remaining teams. I can picture scenarios in which they could beat Florida and MSU, but is there any chance in the world they could beat Kentucky if they could beat Izzo?
I can't see them beating Kentucky, but you never know. If Vanderbilt and Indiana can beat UK, so can Marquette (or baylor, for that matter). All it takes is one off night. And the Wildcats are young.
With a 9-2 record heading into the Sweet 16, did the Big Ten solidify themselves as the best conference this year?
I definitely think the Big Ten was the best conference this year. I haven't heard too many people try to argue that point.
Purdue was a mediocre (83rd in KenPom Eff) defensive team. Where did that performance come from?
Matt Painter is an excellent coach, and Kansas plays poorly against smaller teams that spread you out. In that style, Self is forced to put Withey on the bench and play with four perimeter players. Now guys like Conner Teahan and Naadir Tharpe and Kevin Young are playing more minutes than they probably would/should
With the Marshall injury (he's irreplaceable), but isn't it time for Harrison Barnes to take this moment and become the star of starts in this tournament. He's been awesome, but I feel like this is his calling...right?
It would certainly be nice if Barnes took on a "beast" role and did even more to help his team win. I'm sure he has a larger skill set than we've seen - not that what we've seen has been bad.
What are the chances of Cody Zeller leaving early for the NBA? If he stays, with the great incoming class, does Indiana have a chance at the national title next year?
I think Zeller will stay another year. A national title may be a bit far-fetched, especially for a team that will depend on a lot of young guys. But with Zeller and Watford leading the way, anything is possible. It'll be interesting to see where Indiana is ranked entering the year.
IF baylor and Kentucky both win on Friday night, how does Baylor matchup with Kentucky?
I think Baylor would matchup just fine in terms of talent (although they certainly don't have a player anywhere near as dominant as Davis). I think Kentucky is tougher, though. People forget this team leads the country in field goal percentage defense. I can see UK going on a big run and breaking Baylor's will
What does it say about the Pac12 when Colorado saves the league from going 0-for-the-tournament?
The same thing we've been saying all year: it stinks.
Did you see the orange and blue tie that Shaka wore during the WSU-VCU game? Why would he do that if he were going to spurn the Illini? That's poor form, isn't it?
I don't think it's happening. We'll see, though.
Thanks everyone. See you next week.