Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 9, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Eamonn Brennan

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:00 PM)

Hey everyone! Let's get this thing started, shall we?

Brian (Chicago)

With Burke back, is UMich B10 favorite? Or still IU?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:03 PM)

Indeed, Michigan point guard Trey Burke is returning, which to me makes Michigan almost a co-favorite with Indiana at this point. Depending on what happens with Christian Watford (who is testing his draft stock but, if I had to guess, will probably return), I'd still give Indiana the slight nod, if only because of the mix of returning talent AND a deep, impressive recruiting class. But Michigan will be up there, with Burke and (probably) Tim Hardaway Jr. and incoming freshman Mitch McGary. Going to be a fascinating race at the top of the Big Ten next season.

Steve (New York)

With the impact that freshmen have these days do we automatically assume that Arizona and Kentucky will both be national title contenders considering they are bringing top tier talent?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:05 PM)

I think so, yeah, especially in Kentucky's case. Of course, it depends on the freshmen, and it depends on the coach, but Calipari has proven he can bring guys in and take swings at national titles each and every year. Sean Miller, less so ... but Miller's still a great coach who will have his fair share of success with a hugely talented group next season. Now let's see if Josiah Turner gets his act together in time to come along for the ride.

Billy (Taylors S.C.)

UNC fan....still completly depressed (about everything)...can you say anything to cheer me up?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:05 PM)

Um ... Game of Thrones is back?

Aneesh (West Lafayette, IN)

Will this Baylor situation pan out like the Kelvin Sampson-IU saga?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:07 PM)

It's important to remember Sampson was already on probation at the time, and Scott Drew/Kim Mulkey aren't, so there's that to consider. But the "major violations" distinction, and any failure to monitor associations/penalties, could get ugly.

Casual (New Orleans, LA)

I'm about to bet the farm that Nerlens Noel commits to Georgetown. Good wager or will I need a new farm come Wednesday?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:08 PM)

Mr. Casual -- I would wager something far less than your farm. You may be right, but anytime the words "top recruit" "considering" and "Kentucky" are being used in the same phrase, you have to tilt the odds in the direction of Mr. Calipari.

Jon (CT)

Prior to last season, I thought Wisconsin was a bit overrated. Just didn't think they had enough outside of Jordan Taylor to warrant a top 15 ranking. Man was I happy to be wrong........but now that Taylor is gone, what do you expect out of the Badgers this season?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:10 PM)

I'm not entirely sure, but I do know this: Wisconsin will finish no worse than fourth in the Big Ten. Because Bo Ryan has never finished worse than fourth in the Big Ten. It's like the trees changing color, or Kim Kardashian finding ways to remain relevant ... there are just some things we know we can look forward to each and every year.

Theo (NYC)

Eamonn, what do you think about Duke's prospects next year if they don't end up get any commitments out of the remaining recruits?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:11 PM)

They'll probably look a lot like this year's team: Very good offensively, particularly on the perimeter, but defensively challenged. That's the best guess unless something drastic happens in recruiting. And obviously a lot depends on the Plumlees -- on whether Mason leaves, and whether Marshall is ready to take the mantle as a sophomore.

Michael (Florida)

Who is going to die next in Game of Thrones? (The best show I have ever seen) I really hope it's that little twit Jeffrey. He just gets under my skin...ya know?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:13 PM)

This is why you don't make a teenage boy king. If only real-life medieval culture had figured this out, we could have had the renaissance like 400 years earlier, probably, and by now we'd be fighting Reapers on Mars. (Mass Effect 3 AND Game of Thrones references -- this chat is a great representation of what I've been doing since I got home last Tuesday.)

Joey (SW Illinois)

Bigger returnee: Trey Burke or Deshaun Thomas?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:14 PM)

Burke, because Michigan's before/after scenario with and without him is much greater, in my opinion, than OSU's would be based on Thomas's decision. Beilein needs a great point guard for his offense to truly flourish. Burke makes Michigan go. Thomas is a great scorer and all, but he's not quite that integral. Make sense?

Scott (Chicago, IL)

A lot of publications making IU way early pre-season #1. Shouldn't IU worry about winning the Big Ten and finishing above 5th in the conference first?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:15 PM)

Well, yeah, obviously. The thing about that is, it's the way-early No. 1, and it's based on what we know now, and as of right now, IU has the best collection of talent returning in the country. By the time October rolls around, they won't be No. 1 in many preseason polls, I'd wager. The too-early polls are not to be taken seriously. (Even less seriously, that is, than normal polls.)

Tommy (Liberty)

After watching PJ3 play this year, do you think the Cavs are glad he decided to stay in school?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:17 PM)

Probably, because they got a gem in Kyrie, and I have to admit I did not see that coming. Jones III could be a great pro. He's not a transformative one, by any means, and he's a bit of an NBA tweener -- Chad Ford wrote on Twitter today that NBA GMs aren't quite sure whether he's a low-post guy or a wing. To be honest, I'm not sure either. But it's clear he wouldn't have been ready to contribute last season, and he probably still needs a franchise willing to be generous in his development curve and patience level. Such a talented, frustrating player.

Hank (Worcester, MA)

Am I allowed to talk mid-major hoops around here, or is this reserved for the big boys only?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:18 PM)

All are welcome.

Sean (Ohio)

Do you think "mid-majors" such as Xavier,Butler,Vcu etc. should make their own conference?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:19 PM)

Well, Butler may be joining the A-10 anyway, and ... no, no, not at all. Why compete against each other when you can dominate your league and get to the NCAA tournament every year? Far better that way, right?

Chad P (Chicago, IL)

Oh Mighty EB...what will become of my WVU Mountaineers next season without the real Big East Player of the Year, Kevin Jones?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:21 PM)

To be honest, I don't really know. I know two things: Huggins has to get better defense out of his teams to be successful (WVU was ranked No. 11 in the Big East in points allowed per poss. last season), and that you should look on the bright side: Truck Bryant won't be there, either. Your favorite team's bad shot quotient will plummet.

Greg (East Lansing)

All this talk about Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State in the B10 next year...let's not forget Sparty isn't going anywhere, am i right?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:22 PM)

Indeed. Izzo has to figure out Derrick Nix's situation, but whatever happens there, the Spartans still have Keith Appling, Brendan Dawson should be back from injury, Adreian Payne, good young recruits, etc. ... the Spartans made a rather noisy national comeback this season, and they're not going anywhere in 2012-13.

cyle (ohio)

Does KENTUCKY get shabazz, noel, and Bennet? What are your thoughts?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:24 PM)

I'm just going to answer this once: I don't know. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. (OK, so I answered it four times.) Paul Biancardi and Dave Telep are the gents to ask about this, but I'll reiterate what they've said: All three players' statuses are uncertain, but you can't count UK out on any of them, particularly after Calipari's first national championship. It's a nice recruiting tool added to a place that already outrecruited everyone in the business. Look out.

John (Chi)

John Groce.... good hire? Will Illini be competitive next year?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:25 PM)

All in all, decent hire. Groce is well respected in the profession, comes highly recommended, all that good stuff. I think Illinois will be middlingly competitive next season, and we'll see how Groce brings guards into his guard-oriented style in the years to come. The coaching search was a mess, and Illinois came out on the other side incredibly dinged up, but at least the Illini got a decent coach out of the deal.

Brian (Ann Arbor)

Is the B10 going to be crazy good again next year? Or will it be a little worse at the bottom than it was this year?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:27 PM)

I think it's going to be really good. Iowa should be better, Illinois won't be horrible, Minnesota will get Trevor Mbakwe back, Northwestern will be Northwestern, Penn State will still have Tim Frazier ... maybe the only truly awful team will be Nebraska. And then there's the top, with Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, and even Wisconsin. That's a really good league.

Tom (Chi)

At least Illini fans wont have to listen to Bruce Weber yell for 40 minutes straight. Have fun with that, KSU fans.

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:28 PM)

Bruce Weber is the king of yelling explicit directions to his players for the entire 40 minutes. Sitting courtside is a trip. "Demetri, PASS! Now SCREEN! SCREEN, DEMETRI!" Coach ... these guys should know your offense by now, right?

Andy E. (LA)

The PAC-12 can't be as bad next year as they were this year, can they? CAN THEY?!

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:29 PM)

Don't test the Pac-12! It will find a way! Arizona will be a lot better, and that will help with perception, and I think UCLA might be in line (especially depending on Shabazz's situation) for actual, legitimate improvement, but the rest of the league is still looking awfully shaky. It's a project out west.

Adam (Denver)

Props to Mark Few and his coaching ability. Gonzaga rarely gets Top 100 recruits yet the Zags are still one of the best teams out west year in and year out. How do you like the Zags chances next year?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:31 PM)

If Elias Harris stays, they're a top 15 team, I think. Kevin Pangos was great as a freshman; he's going to be a fantastic career guard and probably much improved as a sophomore. The immediate future remains bright.

Mike ( Ohio)

Tony Parker headed to Ohio State?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:32 PM)

Why? Is Brent Barry's wife taking a graduate seminar? (Oh ... you meant the other Tony Parker. The senior-in-high-school Tony Parker. Oh. I don't know, man.)

Jerry (NYC)

With a name like Eamonn I'd expect you to be a lax bro

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:33 PM)

No way bro, I played soccer. Won two state titles, and I can kick the ball all the way past them mountains over there.

Justin (KC)

How much money do you think Sullinger lost after Jeff Withey dominated him and his draft stock in the Final Four?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:36 PM)

A decent chunk, but not too much. To me, Sullinger is still what he was last season: A very good, big-bodied low-post scorer who has to become a more complete player to make up for his height/athleticism disadvantages on the low block. His ceiling is probably Jazz-era Carlos Boozer, or a poor man's Kevin Love (Love used to be my go-to comp but he's averaged like 26 and 13 or something crazy this season, so forget that). Boozer can't score over length either, but he figured it out. That's an NBA career. Nothing wrong with that.

JT (Boulder)

More exciting: Conference Tourneys or Maui Invite?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:37 PM)

Maui, if only because November basketball in Hawaii is always so shiny and new and exciting. I'm always doing Bubble Watch during the conference tourneys and I just want the bad man to stop hurting me in time for the gloriousness of the NCAA tournament to begin. So, yeah, definitely Maui.

Friend of Casual (Washington, DC)

What is the chance that Otto Porter declares for the NBA Draft?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:38 PM)

I'd guess relatively minimal. If I'm Porter, I'm seeing how much more damage I can do to the Big East in the next couple of seasons. I'm also seeing an NBA draft lottery utterly stocked with talented, lanky, tweener-type wings, and I'm staying away for now.

Hank (Worcester, MA)

More exciting: Bristol, CT or the Great Alaskan Shootout?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:38 PM)


Kevin (Reno, NV)

Who needs high schooler Tony Parker more, Kansas or Ohio State?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:40 PM)

Can it be a tie? Both are losing great power forwards, but both have bigs ready to step up. KU has Withey and Kevin Young, who was great in the tournament. OSU has Thomas and Amir Williams, who was the No. 4 center in last year's class and should be ready to contribute next season. So, a tie, maybe?

Deven (New York)

Hi Eamonn. What do you make about John Calipari's legacy as a basketball coach?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:42 PM)

Hi Deven. It's still way too early to tell -- the guy has a lot of basketball left to coach. But if he were to retire today, I'd go with this: Great coach, even greater salesman. No one has ever understood the modern high school recruit better, and marketed more precisely to said kid, in the game than Calipari. If newspapers had half his marketing/PR foresight Instagram wouldn't be worth more than the New York Times Co.

Dennis (MI)

Why did shaka and brad turn down the illini? it surely wasn't because of $$

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:44 PM)

It's because that's a tough job with arguably outsized expectations, and both guys already make enough money -- about a million per, a little more here and there -- that they don't fit the classic profile of a mid-major coach making $300k who can't possibly turn down $1.5 a year-plus at a high-major. Cost-benefit-wise, it didn't make sense for either.

Brant (NC)

Is the BracketBuster still a viable event?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:45 PM)

I think so, and not just because I work for the company that organizes it. This past year's games weren't the most ideally scheduled, but they still provided some great stuff -- how else are we going to get Murray State and Saint Mary's together in the middle of the season? Sometimes it hurts mid-major tourney bids, but just as often (and maybe more often) it helps. So sure, it's still viable.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Is N.C.State the favorite in the ACC next year with the guys they have returning, and monster recruits they have coming to Raleigh (Purvis, Warren, Lewis)?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:46 PM)

I'd rank them like so: 1. UNC, 2. NC State, 3. Duke. For now. But depending on how quickly that Wolfpack team congeals this summer I am leaving said status subject to revision.

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:47 PM)

And lest we forget, Florida State is in there somewhere too. Maybe ahead of Duke. I don't know. It's April. We'll predict the ACC later in, I don't know, July. Cool?

Jerry (NYC)

If the Heels can grab Oriakhi I'd argue they are still the favorites...Paige, Strickland, Bullock, Hairston and McDonald are a formidable backcourt

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:48 PM)

Agreed. With all the injuries it's easy to forget that the Heels do have some real backcourt depth when (if) everyone is healthy. Also: Stillman White! No? OK, let's move on.

Chris (Houston)

With the way Miss State struggled to find a coach, how bad of position is LSU in? Should they just fold the once proud program?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:49 PM)

I almost didn't approve this comment because it was too depressing. But ... yeah. Ouch.

al (omaha)

thoughts on creighton heading into next year? should be a pretty strong team only losing Young.

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:51 PM)

I fully expect Doug McDermott to have his Jimmer year. I know statistically, last year was really that year; McDermott was one of the nation's most prolific AND efficient scorers, all at the same time. But in 2012-13, I want YouTube parodies. I want epic Facebook threads. I want fake Twitter accounts. I want "McDermotted!" to become a verb. I want Jimmer Vol 2.0: The McDermott Redemption. Anything less will be a letdown.

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:51 PM)

In conclusion, that is my prediction for Creighton in 2012-13.

Randy (Bham)

Odds on UK going back to back, taking they sign Shabazz and Noel, Teague and Lamb return as well.

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:53 PM)

Well, Teague and Lamb aren't coming back, so that's easy. Thing is, Kentucky could go back to back without either player returning, depending on if Shabazz and Nerlens both commit, and if Ryan Harrow picks up the point guard spot as quickly as I'd expect. We'll see. (But no, neither Teague nor Lamb are coming back.)

Jerry (NYC)

Stilman is on a Mormon mission for the next 2 years....

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:54 PM)

Ah, that's right. I knew that. Best of luck to Stillman, and our UNC projection changes ... not at all, actually.

Jonny (denver)

Hey, is calipari going to leave the pressure of the bluegrass for greener pastures ($) in the association within the next few years?maybe after 2 titles?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:56 PM)

I can not divine the future, unfortunately -- if I could I would be living on an island in the Maldives like a less evil Biff from Back to the Future II -- so I really don't know. Can I see it happening? Sure. Do I have any insider knowledge to that effect? No. But if one of the best NBA jobs came hunting Calipari, and made him a huge offer he couldn't refuse, it's hard to imagine him at least not taking a really long look before he said no.

That Guy (USA)

When will this Coach Cal NCAA title be vacated?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:56 PM)

Yep: You are officially That Guy.

Jacob (Louisville)

Is Louisville the BE favorites?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:57 PM)

Yeah. I think Behanan is in for a star season, Dieng is going to be leaps and bounds better on the offensive end, Blackshear is going to take Kuric's minutes on the wing ... this could be a really, really good team.

Roy Williams (Chapel Hill)

I'm gonna miss my dadgum players...ya think Harrison will skype me from the dadgum NBA?

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:58 PM)

Aww. I'm sure he will, Ol' Roy. I'm sure he will.

Eamonn Brennan
  (3:59 PM)

OK, that's going to do it for me today. You guys were great. Be sure to tip your waiters and waitresses and swing on over to the blog, where we're back running things on a semi-normal schedule, trying to amuse ourselves in the joyless morass that is the offseason. Catch you guys there. Thanks everyone!