Greetings everyone. What's on your mind?
How much do you regret picking West Virginia over Kansas to win the big 12?
Ryan: Hmm... well daily and hourly, I suppose. Or whenever I'm reminded which is sometimes daily, other times hourly.
Hi Dana. Looking into your crystal ball, what do you see the new league being formed by the "Catholic 7" looking like in, say, 2016. Teams? Name? I'm a big fam of your writing -- you could make cricket interesting. Thanks.
Thank you, sir, though I know little about cricket. Or crickets. As for the Catholic 7, I think the wish list is pretty obvious - Butler, St. Louis, Xavier, maybe Dayton and Creighton? I'd imagine ideally they'd go 10 or 12, with a presence in the midwest to make things better for Marquette and DEPaul.
Im a huge Missouri Valley Conference fan, do you believe Creighton or Wichita St. has the best chance of a deep tournament run and why?
Mike: So impressed with both teams, honestly but I always like a team that has a transcendent player in thse deals (a la Steph Curry and DAvidson), so I'd have to lean slightly toward Creighton. No one will want to see either team on their opposing bracket line.
Dana: The Bearcats are Top 10 in defense and rebounding. Mick Cronin has an experienced backcourt that can score, defend and lead, he has an X-factor in 4-man Titus Rubles (7 pts, 6 rebs, 2+ assts/gm) and he has tons of size up front. Why can't Cincinnati make a run to Atlanta?
I'm not saying they can't but I think they need more reliable play from their bigs to go deep. Their guards are terrific but 3s don't always go. Still an interesting team.
Dana, it's hard to narrow down what to ask about this team so I am just going to put it this way...ILLINOIS?
Nathan: Yeah now you know how Bruce Weber felt. I think this team is what it is and always has been. They rode some unexpected pixie dust early but reality is crashing in with this group. Still think with Groce the future is bright.
Who is closer to being an NCAA worthy team, Kentucky or UNC?
James: If you're going strictly eyeball test, Kentucky looks more like one. On resume, it's close. Don't have RPI numbers in front of me. What's interesting, UNC will have more opportunities for 'signature wins' than Kentucky going forward.
Do you see Virginia as a tournament team?
Forrest: Going to be very interestign going forward. They have some absolutely horrid losses to overcome.
Hey Dana after louisville downfall last week do you think they are still one of the best teams in the country?
John: Stubbornly yes, I do. I think they may be going through a slump in part because of how they play. Which is to say so stinking hard. They have to in order to win. And maybe it's catching up to them a bit now.
Only 30 days left until the most wonderful time of the year. Based on what you have seen, who will the 4 #1 seeds?
Kevin: Wow, that close. Today (and that's today only) it would be Michigan, Kansas, Florida and probably Indiana or Duke?
Does Coach Larranaga have another team with Final Four potential?
Will: NOt sure about that but I am so impessed with what he's done with the Canes. Would not be surprissed at all if they won the aCC and went deep. Amazing job. Amazing coach.
Dana, what did you say to the Arizona players that caused them to fall asleep for the first 5 minutes of the UCLA game?
Charles: Haha. Not my fault! but yikes that was weird.
For EzEd: Get 12 teams in that Catholic conference & just call it the Apostle's conference.
Very nice. Or the Big Priest, I've heard. Though Butler is not a Catholic school.
Hi Dana,We recently saw a case at UNC with the Martin report detailing 200+ unauthorized grade changes for athletes, along with bogus classes created to keep athletes eligible. Yet Emmert says its strictly an academic issue and refuses to investigate UNC even though schools have suffered for this in the past for a mere fraction of the violations(see below). Should the NCAA come back and if so, why arent they"The committee found that university staff members arranged for fraudulent academic credits for eight football players from the 1999-2000 to 2004-05 school years by changing their original letter grades without the approval of the Alabama State U administration. Six of those athletes avoided ineligibility status due to the grade changes."http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2008/12/ncaa_hits_alabama_state_footba.html"The committee found that university staff members arranged for fraudulent academic credits for eight football players from the 1999-2000 to 2004-05 school years by changing their original letter grades without the approval of the Alabama State U administration. Six of those athletes avoided ineligibility status due to the grade changes."http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2008/12/ncaa_hits_alabama_state_footba.html
Harry: HOnestly I can't read all of this here but here's my stance on the UNC case: I don't get it. I dont' get why it's not an NCAA issue. I know they are sayign essentially that the fraudulent classes were offered to the general population and not just students, but not sure why that's OK. To me academic fraud and flat out payign players ought to be Nos 1 and 2 on the NCAA docket.
The Ducks have been shooting up the polls for good reason the last month. They are in position to be a 3 seed for the tournament...with their soft remaining schedule, can Oregon claim a #2 seed if they keep winning the way they have been so far this season?
Noah: Gonna depend on what others do in front of them. You're right. The Pac 12 won't do them a lot of favors, but they will be positioned well if they finish out. Great job by Dana Altman. Heckuva name, too.
Whats your thoughts on South Dakota State and Nate Wolters? Whos your favorite to win the Summit League Tournement?
John: He's terrific. Just put him on my list of top non power league players for Jason King's King of the Court poll. And I think, as I said earlier a la Doug McDermott, when you have a guy like that, he's the difference maker. Give SDSU the edge to win the Summit.
Dana, As a Philly local, how close do you think Villanova is to getting back to the tournament?
Pat; Still work to do. They did lose to Columbia, remember? They can make hay in the BIg East, but still got work to do. Much better team now though.
Hi Dana. Do you see Marquette's lack of a pure go to scorer hurting their chance of making another sweet 16 run? Do you think a Vander Blue or Junior Cadougan could emerge by March, or will Buzz let the hot hand take the shots on a given night?
Joe: I don't think that's a bad thing. They've won that way before. But I also think Vander Blue is starting to emerge in that role more and more.
The YURT! Will be rocking on Feb 9th when Memphis comes to town, who do you like in that game Southern Miss or the Tigers? Also do you think the Golden Eagles go dancing again this year?
JB: That's also my birthday, so have a slice of cake for me. I'm sensing some C-USA changes this year. Think Southern Miss takes the win and the leageu. Then it gets interesting for Memphis.
Pick a B1G sleeper: MSU, OSU, Wisky, someone else?
Bill: Said Michigan State in October. Still saying Spartans.
As a Mizzou Tiger fan today feels like Christmas with Bowers back? Pressey has been lost without his security blanket. How far can this team go it they click like they did earlier in the year?
DJ: Definitely have missed him. The offense is not the same without him at all. They're so different from last year's team, so it's hard to get a read on them. Think it's a very good team. Not sure about them entirely though. Need more proof.
What are your favorite 3 Final Four sites? Are you excited for Atlanta this year?
Bausch: In my opinion, and no offense Atlanta, the Final Four should rotate between Indy, San Antonio and New Orleans. But I'm always excited for a Final Four, so that means I'll be excited for Atlanta.
If you were giving an award for best defensive player, who would you give it to?
Brian: Based on last night, Nerlens Noel. To have the gumption and the intelligence to play as he did with four fouls is crazy. Jeff WIthey is in the running, too. And differently, Aaron Craft.
With the Big !0 being so loaded this year, is there any way two teams grab #1 seeds?
Ryan: Sure. Indiana and Michigan very easily could do that.
If getting Bowers back feels like Christmas to a MU fan, what do you think actually making their 1st Final Four would feel like?
Marshall: Lemme guess. You're a Kansas fan?
Michigan or Indiana on Saturday? Who's your to win the Big 10?
Malay: Oof such a hard call. I still think the Hoosiers are tough to beat at home (unless you're Bo Ryan), so I lean toward IU.
Duke is so overrated its not even funny..I would bet on me getting a date with dana then duke making the elite 8 (soft defense, streak shooting, no go to scorer)
Greg: Well the list of teams they've beaten would argue against you. But it's an unfair bet without Ryan Kelly. And besides, my husband would probably be against the date, so really it's invalid on all points.
Do you think Indiana State has a good chance of receiving an at large bid? They had a huge win @ Wichita St last night. They've beaten Ole Miss and Miami, but also have lost to Morehead St, Southern Illinois, and Illinois St.
Corey: You summed up the committee's conundrum right there. Good wins, bad losses. Think one thing they can't afford to do - suffere another bad loss or leave the Valley tourney early. They also need to hope some others falter.
We keep hearing about how there are no great teams this year, and that might be true. Is that because the level of talent is spread out among several (or dozens of) teams, or is the overall talent level just down this year?
Russ: Good question and I"m not sure I know. Guys leaving early always hurts and these freshmen are not as crazy good as last year's. But I also think it's parity to a large extent. Guys go all over the place to play, which is good for the greater good of the game.
Can anyone beat Florida for the SEC crown?
Brian: Honestly, I don't think so.
Not counting career wins, who are your top 3-4 coaches in CBB?
Marshall: As in currently coaching? Wow. There are a lot. Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo are at the top of my list. And then in no order, John Beilein, Bob Huggins, Bill Self... talking tacticians here mostly.
Gut feeling: If UCLA doesnt at least make it to the Elite 8 is Ben Howland gone?
Diallo: Wow. That would be hard, wouldn't it? I mean is there shame in the Sweet 16?
I WILL eclipse the legend of Gerry McNamara!!!
Ryan: That's a large legend to eclipse. I was at the Carrier Dome for his last game. Schoolchildren sang a song in honor of him and women wept. I'm not making that up.
What do you think the ceiling is for this year's Pitt squad? They have come close in their few big tests, the computers like them, beating Syracuse Saturday would be nice.
Michael: Much more like a Pitt team. Very good on defense. Still need some asterisk wins but could be avery dangerous Big East Tournament team and beyond because of the D.
Will Calipari ever in a coach of the year award at Kentucky?! Let's say magic happens and his team gels this year and they win the SEC.. would that be enough or is the hate for UK and the amount of talent just too overwhelming?
Jacob: Didn't he already? He should have when he went to the first Final Four. I know I voted for him then.
Nova or the Irish tonight?
Matt: Irish. I think on the road that's a tough win for Villanova. Plus ND doesn't beat itself.
Say something nice about my LaSalle Explorers. Are the going to the make the tourney???
Mike: So much better. Unreal. I covered them an eon ago, when Speedy Morris was still coaching. Dr. John has the program up and running again. I think they can play way into the conversation, absolutely. And Mike Sielski is a grad. That's big.
Is Kelly Olynyk a 1st Team AA? or possibly POY?
He's on the list, though not likely to win it, if you ask me. But if there were a most unexpectedly improved, he'd win. Having a tremendous year for a very good Gonzaga team.
If Syracuse and Missouri make the Final Four, wouldn't most of Media Row have a conflict of interest? (Pat Forde, I'm talking about you)
John: Fortunately I can be Switzerland. Penn State, I'm fairly certain, will not be there.
Who do you have for your Freshman of the Year?
Ryan: Probably Ben McLemore, though I reserve the right to change my mind. Often.
What do you think about Syracuse right now? Now, Coleman is out with injury, only seven scholarship players are available. Can SU go through tough Feb schedule without losing?
Hyun: That's tough. I think the real problem is Southerland. Triche needs to establish himself as a legit and consistent outside scorer to stretch defenses.
How far does gonzaga go? Back to the Elite Eight and beyond or do they fizzle out in the sweet sixteen again?
LB: Good question. I think this is one of the better teams Mark Few has had. Was really impressed with them at Butler, errant inbounds notwithstanding. I could see them in the Final Four. Easily. But then again, there are a lot of teams that could be there!
I still contend that Villanova is the 6th best team in the Philadelphia. Thoughts?
I don't live in Bristol.
Dana, please answer my question, if you did not see it here it is again.What are the changes that Arizona Wildcats get the No1 Seed in the West? If it wins out. RPI is in the Top5. And I would expect Michigan and/or Indiana to lose ,maybe two more games (each).
George: Here's the difference, though. The Pac 12 isn't goign to do much to bolster that RPI where the Big Ten will. So still think a 1 seed is a tough one for Arizona. What they need? Mark Lyons to either play his veresion of a point guard or not at all. He tried to be somethign he isn't against UCLA and it was a disaster.
Do you ever find it hard working in college basketball and taking an unbiased approach towards your favorite team?
Not at all. I have reserved a few rooting interests that don't affect my work covering hoops, so that's plenty.
Kyle Wiltjer's 40 time?
John David: Same as mine?
Where are you for the first round of the tournament? Vegas?
Lew: Nope. Happy to say that Philly has a subregional. I'm home.
Dana, I'm having fun coaching this team and I'm working them as hard as I can..Are we on path to make the Tournament?
Roy: Check back with me in a week, Roy.Should win two more before heading to Miami. Then we'll know.
Dana...what was the outcome of Gerry Mac's last home game in the Carrier Dome, where the children sang and the women wept?
Tom: Villanova won but women wept before the game. Trust me.
Who do you see winning the Mountain West this year?
James: Eek. So hard to predict. I'm saying San Diego State.
The most successful schools historically (let's say last 20 years or so) have been what people refer to as "Basketball schools." Duke, Kansas, UCLA, UNC, Kentucky, etc. The one big exception I see is Florida. What's their secret? Or is there really no connection between the great basketball schools not having top-level football programs?
Russ: We've bandied the topic about for a possible story. Why can some make it work and not others? Florida is the most obvious success story, but then again Ohio State, Michigan State have been fairly consistent. Michigan is back. Oregon is growing. Ditto UNC (in football) and FLorida State maybe. I think it's about admininstrative support and $$.
On March 2nd, who wins Butler or VCU? And will the winner of that game determine who wins the A-10?
Joe: Wow. I do not know but hope to be in attendance.
How long until people start including me in the discussion of elite coaches in the country?
You should be. My bad.
How dangerous of a team could Maryland be come March?
Don: They gotta get their first and not sure they will just yet.
When is the next podcast from Dana and Eamonn? It's like you two have been forgetting to make them.
Johnny: We've been on hiatus for production reasons. Hoping to reboot before season is out. Thank you for noticing!
Dana, as a fellow PSU Alum, I've always wondered why they cant recruit any better on the men's side. Great Conference, great facilities, large fan base, and lots of talent in PA, what's wrong? Do they just need a big name coach?
JIm: Just hard to get a foothold in recruiting. On the Eastern side of the state, you knock heads with the Big East. In the midwest, you're up against the Big Ten. No tradition, so you're askign guys to take a leap of faith. Think Patrick is the right guy.
Dana, how about a little MAAC talk. My Purple Eagles are 9-1 in Conference and they start 3 sophomores and a freshman, can I start getting excited about the "Young Purps"?
Jeff: You absolutely have my permission in part because I adore your coach. And he's really good, too.
Do you have nightmares about Archidiacano burying threeballs with no time left?
Joey: No, only having to say his name on the air 5 times in a row.
Who are your top 5 candidates for POY?
Corey: I will leave someonen off. Trey Burke, Doug McDermott, Mason Plumlee, Victor Oladipo, Russ SMith (sometimes and sometimes not), DeShaun Thomas, ...
Dana - Marquette looking good so far tied for lead in BE - you think they can make a 3rd straight Sweet 16?
Matt: Definitely looking much better. Big one this weekend at Louisvile but this strikes me as a typical Buzz Wiliams team. No one talks about them and then hey, look, they're in the Sweet 16.
Can you spell Arcidiacano out phonetically for us. I always forget how to say it.
Does my team have any shot of breaking the Jimmy Carter curse tonight in my brothers old stomping ground?
ARchie Miller: The Jimmy Carter curse? Ok. This would be the year to break it, for sure.
Of New Mexico, San Diego St. and UNLV, which team do you see going further in March? Any Sweet 16 appearances or better for the MWC?
Rob: OH I think yes, there's a Sweet 16 in there somewhere. Hard call. Most likely? I think I still lean San Diego State.
The Catholic 7 aren't doing so hot this season. Do you think they will be a power conference when the do split from the BE?
Bill: Well, Georgetown and Marquette are fine. Villanova and St. John's are improving. I think the fact that they are basketball first and last will make them extremely attractive to a lot of players.
Who do you think the second best team in the Big 12 is? It seems no one can stand out above the others. (Baylor, K-State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St.)
Corey: I agree. It's like picking the prettiest of Cinderella's stepsisters. I'd lean Kansas State.
Is Miami the best in the acc or is that just what the standings say in your opinion?
Nick: If Ryan Kelly doesn't come back, I think they very well may end up there.
If you had to be our national champion today, who would you bet on?
Brian: Ugh. Indiana.
what do u think of last night's win by UK and do u think its s season changer for them to live up to preseason hype
Nick: Very impressed. Hostile crowd. Blown lead. Foul trouble. Win. I want to see how they do in College STation. If they win there, watch out.
With St Joes failing to meet expectations this season do you think Martelli will be on the hot seat?
Nope. Not at all.
I've come to realize that my main problem is that I'm too nice. What should I do Dana to bring out the Beast?
Patric: poke yourself in the eye? Have your roommate hurl insults at you? Not sure.
Have you ever used deer antler spray?
Tom: No but I think my dog might have. They sell deer antlers for dogs to gnaw on and she's strangely addicted. I'll keep an eye on her.
Alright folks, I have to run. Appreciate all the questions. Have a good week. Some great games this weekend, so enjoy!