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September 11, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana O'Neil
  (2:00 PM)

Greetings, everyone. Long time no chat!

Stephen (Pensacola, FL)

Do you think the Indiana Hoosiers are the best team in the country going into the season?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:01 PM)

Stephen: I think they are the best team with the most concrete answers, yes. There are a lot of great teams out there, but IU has reliable, experienced players, and of course Cody Zeller

Bryant (KC)

Dana! Do you see the Jayhawks having a legitmate chance at returning to the national championship this season? Also, is Bill Self the most underrated basketball coach of our time?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:04 PM)

Bryant: TRob is an awful lot to replace, but every time we say that about Kansas, they seem to find a way, don't they? Excited to see how good the freshmen will be. As for Self, I'm not sure if underrated is the right word. Maybe underappreciated? Because it's Kansas, everyone assumes they'll be great but they always are regardless of the turnover.

Alex (Anaheim)

The Pac-12 has to be better this year, right?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:05 PM)

Alex - Yes, yes it does. And yes it will. Course we have to see how things shake out with UCLA right now but you've got to like Arizona too.

Greg (New York)

Dana, thoughts on Penn State's back-court this year? Tim Frazier is a stud PG, but the guy no-one seems to talk about is DJ Newbill. For a team that relied heavily on guard play last year, do you think this combo can lead to an NIT season?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:06 PM)

Greg: Agree it's a pretty good backcourt and finally Tim Frazier has some help. I like the goal. Seriously. Baby steps first.

Tim (San Francisco)

Hey Dana - glad to you have back to the chats!! I can't remember - when are schedules released? And what is your prediction for Syracuse? Seems like Jimmy has a good balance of veterans and young stars - do you think they should be considered one of the top 10 threats for the championship? Top 5?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

Tim: Glad to be back, thanks. Definitely some interesting players at Syracuse again this year. A lot to replace, especially in terms of experience. Michael Carter-Williams, I suspect, will be fantastic but don't underestimate replacing Fab.

Brett (St. Louis)

How do you see the loss of Majerus affecting SLU, if at all?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:09 PM)

Brett: Well fortunately they have an experienced guy like Jim Crews to take over. He won't reinvent the wheel and they've got tons of pieces. But losing your head coach is losing your head coach. It's not easy.

Andrew (Philly)

How about our Phillies???

Dana O'Neil
  (2:10 PM)

Andrew: I'm a Yankee fan. And yes, I know, it hasn't been pretty lately

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Has Rodney Purvis of N.C.State been cleared yet by the NCAA to play this season? Are the Wolfpack still the favorite in the ACC if he's ruled ineligible?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Tony: Not yet. He's in school but can't play as yet. So how that goes down will certainly affect the answer to your second question.

Ryan Holmgren (Omaha, Neb.)

What's your outlook on the Creighton Bluejays this season?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:12 PM)

Ryan: Very good, needless to say. Always scary/dangerous to be that sort of It mid-major darling but having Doug McDermott ought to make that easier to handle. He's flat-out fabulous.

Jimmy (Liberty)

Your Eagles look a little shaky this year...

Dana O'Neil
  (2:12 PM)

And I'm a Giants fan. Who also look shaky.

Dillon (Louisville, KY)

Which UK recruit do you see as being the most productive? Noel, Poythress, Or Goodwin?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

Dillon: Well if he's as good as advertised, it has to be Nerlens. I sat at Peach Jam two years ago and watched him and watched college coaches literally gasp.

Mark (Miami, FL)

Will the addition of Dez Wells help Mark Turgeon get the Terps back in the NCAA Tournament this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

Mark: Well that will depend if the NCAA clears him for a waiver to play immediately. That's a big big step and a very dicey one for the NCAA to handle. It sounds like the kid did not get a fair shake with the Xavier process,but then again can you clear a kid accused of sexual assault who was expelled ?It's tricky.

steve (valley forge, pa)

Dana - I really see addition by subtraction at Villanova. Wayns admitted he was auditioning for the NBA, and Cheek was such a defensive liability. Arcidiacono, Ochefu and Chennault will be team-first guys, allowing Jay Wright to get back to his defense-first mindset. I am VERY optimistic that the Cats will surprise.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:16 PM)

Steve: That's a good line of thinking and I don't discount entirely. Ultimately, of course, someone has to score reliably. Chennault being able to play immediately is huge for that reason.

matt (cincinnati)

what do you expect from Xavier this year? i think a .500 season would be a heck of an accomplishment at this point

Dana O'Neil
  (2:16 PM)

Matt: Phew, it's going to be some tough sledding there. That school seems to have a way to pull a rabbit out of the hat all the time but it's a big uphill climb for Chris Mack right now. Losing Wells is just awful for that team.

Spencer (Owensboro KY)

Hey Dana, I was as jazzed as anyone when UK won the title in April. But I support ALL Kentucky teams and am totally fine if they don't cut down the nets this year. (I just think they're PAINFULLY young this year, albeit wildly talented). I'm actually looking forward to seeing Louisville nab the trophy. Question: long way out notwithstanding, what seed do see UK getting when it all shakes out?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Spencer: You, my friend, must be in a very tiny pool of folks who can root for Kentucky and Louisville. Wow. Impressive. As for a seed, who knows? So much has to shake out between now and then.

Arnold (Chantilly, VA)

Have we seen the last of Jim Calhoun on the Connecticut sideline?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Arnold: Not to my knowledge, no.

Rodney (Boston)

How do you see things shaking out in the A-10? Top 4? Number of selections?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

Rodney: Weird year with all the changes and issues at Xavier and St. Louis. Like SLU still. Like the newbies, VCU and Butler. Think St. Joe's will be much improved. Never discount Temple.

William (Atlanta, GA)

How does Billy Gillespie still have the Texas Tech job?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

William: He's on sick leave and the AD hasn't met with him and cannot do anything until that's over. That could be the only reason.

Kevin (PA)

Is it possible that Duke could actually be underrated going into this season?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:21 PM)

Kevin: Relevant to typical years, maybe. There's a lot of question marks for the Blue Devils, hence the lack of super high expectations. Still think they win a ton of games and are a dangerous team come March myself.

Justin (St. Louis)

Can you email all your co-workers and tell them to pick someone besides KU to win the Big 12 this year? It usually works out pretty well when everyone picks against the Jayhawks.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:21 PM)

Justin: I'm on it. I'll go with Texas Tech. Sorry. Couldn't help it.

Jimmy (Liberty)

Could this be the year Mizzou finally does something in the tournament (i.e. Final Four) for the first time ever? Last year was supposed to be Zou Orleans and all...

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

Jimmy: Interesting team. They lost a bunch but yet have so much back thanks to transfers and Laurence Bowers. I'm very curious to see how this team comes together. They all were around last season, so that helps in terms of familiarity.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Dana, your Flyers look a little shaky this year as well. :)

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

Tony: Yep and 'my' Knicks too.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:23 PM)

Oops meant Sixers.

Adam (Denver)

Gonzaga has the potential to be a very strong team this year. Are they in the conversation as the top team out West? Final Four threat?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:24 PM)

Adam: Agree a sort of sleeper team hanging out there on the Coast. I think the top team on the West Coast will be tabled until UCLA knows who it does and doesn't have but I have to think a lot of people will like the Zags as a sleeper of sorts.

Aaron (Lexington, KY)

What are the chances of Nerlens Noel being ruled ineligible this year at UK?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Aaron: I don't know but if I'm guessing (which I am) not high.

Lee (Syracuse)

Just curious but how can universities which claim high academic standards offer courses like "How to Tie My Shoes 101"?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:26 PM)

Lee: I think every campus has classes that are easier than others and everyone on those campuses know what classes those are. Doesn't mean they're entirely fraudulent but just less taxing than others.

Ryan (Bonner Springs)

I bet Matt Dougherty never thought he would be replaced by another legend at SMU of all places. The guy can't catch a break, and I actually think he is a pretty good coach.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:27 PM)

Ryan: Well, yeah, but I'd argue that Doherty's bigger problems are what he's done at his stops as opposed to who followed him through the door. If he'd done well, Larry Brown would be unemployed.

Sean Miller (Tucson)

With Mark Lyons how far can he take my Arizona WildCats come March?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:27 PM)

Sean: I like the team but still think Lyons can be a wild card. If he is a good teammate, a good worker, he's a huge huge benefit. Otherwise, it can all blow up easily.

feeney (Dc)

How you do you think the young hoyas will be this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:29 PM)

Feeney: Pretty good, frankly. I dunno. Seems like we always think the Hoyas are going to be rebuilding and it doesn't occur. Love Otto Porter

Frank (New Orleans)

Tennessee Jarnell Stokes showed incredible promise last season. What's the ceiling for Stokes? What kind of season can we expect from him?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:30 PM)

Frank: The ceiling is ridiculously high, I'd say. Always harder when everyone knows you're coming, of course and EVERYONE in the SEC knows Stokes is coming but he's a legit talent.

Greg (NY)

Most improved team in the nation this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Greg: UCLA, if everyone gets the OK to play. From trainwreck to top 5? Pretty good jump,

Chris (Cincinnati)

To begin an investigation, the NCAA must send Duke a notice of allegations, but they must have legitimate evidence to support it. So, as long as Thomas and the jeweler stay quiet (and they have every reason to), the NCAA?s hands are tied. So, Thomas and Duke, may very well get off scot free. Agree?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Chris: Well sort of. The NCAA needs some sort of evidence to charge a violation and obviously the key parties in this, Thomas and the jeweler, are not required to cooperate. But the lawsuit in and of itself could provide information, or if someone else is lurking about that could be an issue, too. IT's not open and shut, though, no.

Marcus (Chesterfield)

Withey - from riding the bench to All-American? Seems about right for a Bill Self post player.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:33 PM)

Marcus: That would be pretty impressive but there's no doubt he was a major major surprise and development for KU last year.

Steven (Pittsburgh)

Have you seen Steven Adams play, and is he as good as advertised? (Noel called him the toughest competition he's played against) Do you see him getting significant playing time this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:34 PM)

Steven: I have not seen him in person, no but have heard he's awfully good.

Chris (Cincinnati)

Do you think the NCAA uses selective enforcement?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:36 PM)

Chris: I don't, honestly. I know why people think that but I also know that what smells bad and proving what is bad are not necessarily one and the same.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Will Grant Jarrett surprise many and take home PAC-12 ROY honors over some of the more hyped newcomers in the conference?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:37 PM)

Tony: Well, since two of them aren't cleared to play yet, that's a definite possibility. Also think he has the luxury of having a little less pressure out of the gate at Arizona. So not out of the question, no.

Ryan (Bonner Springs)

What will Wichita St. look like this year? I imagine replacing the 7 footer Stutz won't be an easy task.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

Ryan: Well they'll be young, for sure, and no 7-footers don't walk through the door every day. But if the freshmen are as good as they've been ranked, I still think the Shockers will be a factor.

Ro Ro (Top City)

If coach K and Duke are found to be in violation...would they be striped of their title and would the season's victiories be striped too (just like coad Cal's ) thus making coach K 2nd winningest coach still?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

Ro: That's a possibility, yes. If Lance Thomas is deemed ineligible - big if - then that Final Four would have to be vacated as would the wins from that year.

LeMarcus (Columbia)

Kentucky is our new rivals. KU dont mean nothin to us no more

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

LeMarcus: Careful what you wish for, my friend.

Cameron (Murfreesboro,Tennessee)

Do you think Josh Pastner can lead the Tigers to a Sweet 16 or a Elite 8 apperance this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:44 PM)

Cameron: I know folks are getting itchy in Memphis right now, so I understand the question. He's got a ton of talent, there's no doubt. Dont' think Sweet 16 is insane.

Dexter (Chapel Hill, NC)

Will I be able to provide solid PG play and leadership to the UNC backcourt to help my team win and alleviate some of the pressure from freshmen Marcus Paige?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:45 PM)

Dexter: Depends. How you feeling?

Derrin (Plano, TX)

How crucial a year is this for Rick Barnes and his future leading the Texas program? Does he seat warm up exponentially if the Horns don't make it to the second week of the NCAAs in 2013?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:48 PM)

Derrin: Interesting question and I have to preface it by saying up front that I really really like Rick Barnes as a person. OK, so yeah, it will get hot. Here's the thing. Texas is Texas, so it's always going to be football first, which allows hoops to fly under the radar a bit but Texas is Texas and likes to be good at everything. Barnes has not been bad by any means, but he's got to start producing more with the talent he gets.

Russ (New York)

Houston has a couple good recruits coming in. Any chance they make some noise in CUSA?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:48 PM)

Russ: They do and they could, for sure. Which is crazy insane to say, isn't it?

Carl LaFong (Warsaw In)

Dana, would you agree that the Big Ten is the top conference this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Carl: I 100 percent would, yes. Very good teams at the top, a very solid middle and the bottom is making moves, too. Think it will be a fun league to watch beginning to end. You've got Indiana facing expectations for the first time; Michigan State back again as always. Michigan will be great, with one of the best backcourts around. Aaron Craft and OSU... I'll stop but it will be great.

Kyle (Chicago)

Is it just me or is MSU AD Mark Hollis just a step above every other AD in the Country?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Kyle: He is certainly with the top flying in rarefied air. He's terrific.

Dave (Livonia, NY)

Dana - with all the scandals & controversy nowadays do you think being the championship runner up is even more important with the possibility of sometime a champion being forced to vacate? Improprieties or allegations follow Calipari everywhere, it seems, rumors of UConn's recruiting etc. Now, the trouble with Duke and UNC, of all programs. These are the past 4 National Champions. Your thoughts...?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:51 PM)

Dave: Sort of but it's not like being the runner-up to Miss America where you get to spend the year with the crown while Vanessa Williams hovers in a corner. People still call the national champion the national champion, even if it's been vacated.

Mike (Birmingham)

Will this be another year of underachievement in Waco? Some people think that it might actually be a good thing Perry Jones is no longer on the team.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

Mike: An awful lot of talent there again (still) so they ought to contend for the BIg 12 without a doubt. I don't think I can place the blame squarely on Perry Jones. I know he was the focal point but it wasn't entirely his fault.

Jason (Gainesville, FL)

Dana,I think UF has a very good shot at winning the SEC this year, what do you think?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:54 PM)

Jason: Not sure I'd go with a good shot but they definitely have a shot. It's a very good team returning, though replacing Brad Beal is still a big deal (ooh. I rhymed).

Brad (Utah)

Is Dave Rose at BYU looking for a rebuilding year or will they be one to compete in the West Coast with Gonzaga?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

Brad: I think somewhere in between. I think BYU will be better than folks think. Brandon Davies is still awfully good. But as good as Gonzaga? Not sure I can go there.

Seth (Durham)

Seems like the NCAA might regret this precedent of "strict liability" now that they see how often it can be applied. Punishing programs for violations that even the NCAA acknowledges they had no way of knowing about seems more than a bit foolish.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:57 PM)

Seth: I never liked the rule, frankly. It seems like they want to use it to punish people they think knew but can't prove. Now, however, it has to be applied literally and so teams/schools/people are held accountable even if it would be impossible for them to know.

Russ (New York)

What's your take on the situation at Harvard right now?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:58 PM)

Russ: Well, it's a mess of an institutional problem, not just athletics but for basketball it hurts them badly, needless to say. You can't lose your best player at Harvard and just look down the bench for your next high school All American.

Kellen (Dallas)

Speaking of Baylor, will they still have the ugliest uniforms this year or does some other team come out of nowhere to take that title?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:58 PM)

Kellen: Oh I thought Louisville gave em a run for their money last year, so I'm not counting that race over just yet.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:59 PM)

Alright folks, gotta run. Thanks for the questions. Looking forward to more down the road. Barely a month left til the season begins!