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February 20, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Dana O'Neil

Dana O'Neil
  (2:00 PM)

Greetings everyone. Fun games last night, no?

John (Tennessee)

If you had to pick 2-3 mid-majors (I know it's hard without matchups) that could make the Sweet 16, who would they be?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:01 PM)

John: You only need to ask the same question once, not 26 times. But to answer... does Gonzaga count? OK, then Gonzaga. If not, certainly hard to deny St. Louis after last night's game. Think there are others, too: still say Wichita St and Creighton are dangerous. Ditto Belmont, Ohio and Bucknell with Mike Muscala.

Jon (Chicago)

Your frustrations with Villanova this year have been well-documented. At this point in the season, what do you think they need to do to make it to the dance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:02 PM)

Jon: Not frustrations. They are what they are. Learning. Think they are in good shape but really could use a home win this weekend against Marquette. It's a great chance for another resuem builder.

Scott (College Park)

Hi Dana, what happened to Maryland last night? do they have to beat UNC and Virginia now to get in the big dance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:03 PM)

Scott: I think prayer is a better stance right now. That was a debacle, a horrific loss at a really bad time. Definitely need to win those two and not go out early in the ACC Tourney.

Mike (Lawrence)

What's your prediction for the KU/OSU game tonight?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:04 PM)

Mike: Good game. Think Kansas wins, but not easily.

Brent (Indiana)

Which games remaining on the regular season schedule are you most looking forward to?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:05 PM)

Brent: so many still. I've got Georgetown-Syracuse this weekend, which will be great. The last one at the Dome. Indiana-Michigan, of course. Michigan State's final fun through the hellacious schedule. Curious about Illinois-Ohio State, Creighton-Wichita State, Butler-VCU, Miami-Duke... A lot of good ones.

Brandon (Lexington)

UK got a HUGE reality check in Knoxville. Will this wake up the CATS to try and make a run to get back into the field of 68?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:05 PM)

Brandon: Good question. They should win tonight against Vandy at home. They will beat Mississippi State. Now, Mizzou, Florida, even at Arkansas are tough. Not much wiggle room.

Jeremy (Blacksburg)

Why isn't Erick Green getting any respect in POY polls? Not saying he should win, but if he doesn't score 30 points, we lose by 50.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:06 PM)

Jeremy: Hurt by the quality of his team. Unfair maybe, but that's the reality. He's a terrific player but no one is talking about the Hokies, so no one is talking about him.

Adam (Chicago)

After beating ohio st and mich st on the road, Indiana is the clear favorite to win the ncaa championship, right? Also, everyone is jumping on the oladipo for POY bandwagon, but from my seat, Zeller way more important to this team, and is quietly putting up monster numbers every game. Zeller for POY?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

Adam: I honestly think it's going to come down to the two of them, which is pretty wild. I voted Oladipo this week in our straw poll but reserve the right to change my official vote later. The caveat might be: can Oladipo be Oladipo without Zeller? Not sure he can. But Zeller can probably still be Zeller.

Craig (San Diego)

Has slu gone from underrated in national perception to overrated this morning? Brad Stevens says this is a final 4 team...

Dana O'Neil
  (2:08 PM)

Craig: Well I'll give you the first. Flyign way under the radar, for sure. Especially lately. As for Brad... I'd never argue with the man, but we might want to simmer down on that. Be a helluva story though.

RebelYell (Las Vegas)

No love for the best team on paper...your UNLV running rebels?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:09 PM)

If we were playing a paper tourney, sure.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Are the Tar Heels a tournament team this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:09 PM)

Tony: Yeah I think so but partially due to the soft bubble. They aren't a great team or even a very good team, but they'll get in.

Ned (DC)

The Pat Chambers experiment at PSU appears to be a failure. Don't get me wrong, I think he is a great coach, but the team has gone backwards under his watch. What can they do or who can they hire to replace him to become relevant in the toughest conference in the country?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Ned: They don't have their best player in the toughest league in the country. I'm not sure you can blame Pat Chambers for this. At all.

Tyler (Detroit)

Is Michigan State still a title contender despite their loss at home last night?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Tyler: Absolutely. Tough loss at home, but still a very good team.

Evan (Philly)

Better freshman: Ben McLemore or Marcus Smart?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:11 PM)

Evan: Eek, tough question but I might lean Marcus Smart. He does EVERYTHING really well.

Jason (Phoenix)

Which postseason tournament will be most exciting?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:12 PM)

Jason: Hmmm... well the best basketball will be in the Big Ten, but in terms of desperation and chaos, it might be the SEC, the Valley and the A10. Those three have teams trying to prove their worth, and some stacked very closely together. The Big East, also, never disappionts. Ever.

Glass Half Full (Jefferson City, MO)

If you're ever having a bad day, just remind yourself: The tournament nearly expanded to 96 teams a few years ago.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

Haha. No doubt! Dear god.

George (Syracuse)

when are you coming to the dome ?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:13 PM)

George: I will be there on Saturday. Like trying to find Waldo with that many people, though.

Kody (Atlanta)

What do you make of UCLA going forward?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:14 PM)

Kody: I wish I could say. THey could be out in the first round and out badly or they could make the Sweet 16. Wildly unpredictable, which really shouldn't be the case anymore.

Alex (Madison)

Who should win Big 10 coach of the year? I say it should be Bo Ryan. He loses his starting PG a week or so before the season and he still has Wisconsin in contention for the league title.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:14 PM)

Alex: I'd agree with that. I know people will look at Crean, Beilein and even Thad Matta, but it's harder to win without. Either Bo or John Groce.

Ned (DC)

I don't blame PC for the loss of Tim Frazier, but he would really be the difference between 0-13 and respectable?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

Yes

victor (Monroe)

When will we see lsu back in the ap top25 in basketball? we have not made the polls in 3 years and i want to get in the polls before my birthday.yourcomments.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:15 PM)

Victor: I'd ask for a less complicated present.

Craig (San Diego)

Opposite of the slu question, seems people are diving off of the VCU bandwagon. Do you think that is justified or is this still a team capable of winning a few games in the tourney?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:16 PM)

Craig: Well the knock on the Rams is they haven't really beaten anyone lately, so I understand the question. I also would not count Shaka Smart out of anything. I don't think you need to abandon ship just yet.

Sarah (New York)

Who would you give the "letdown team of the year" award to at this point? UCLA? Kentucky? UNC? Or a different team?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:17 PM)

Sarah: I'd lean UCLA out of that crew. Kentucky has an excuse, at least now; UNC we knew would just be average but the freshmen at UCLA just haven't come together at all.

Dan (Bloomington)

Biggest shock of this year?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:18 PM)

Dan: Doesn't it have to be Florida Gulf Coast over Miami?

Dom (Scranton)

If Nova loses to Marquette Saturday...better shot at beating Pitt or Gtown to get into tourny?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:18 PM)

Dom: Neither is easy, since PItt is at Pitt and Georgetown is really good. I'd say beating Pitt, simply because I think the Hoyas are clicking.

Adam (Chicago)

Do you think that Gary Harris is kicking himself for choosing Michigan State over Indiana right now?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:18 PM)

Adam; Nope.

Joe (Austin, TX)

How do you see the A10 shaking out?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

Joe; Um, confusing. I'm still not sure who's going to win it, who's going to make the tourney. I"m glad i'll be able to get to Brooklyn a little bit. I think Butler wins it but don't say that with absolute certainty.

Derek (Dallas)

If you built a fantasy college team, who would be coaching it?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:19 PM)

Derek: Phil Jackson? Otherwise... of the current crop of coaches, top 3 would be Krzyzewski, Izzo and Brad Stevens.

Dom (Scranton)

Big east coach of the year? Gotta go to Kevin Ollie right?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:20 PM)

Don: He would get my vote, yes. Buzz Williams/JT3 tied for second.

David (Boston)

How about some love for Olivier Hanlan? Odds on ROY for the ACC. Donahue is building some talent in Chestnut Hill.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:21 PM)

David: Simmer down, a bit. He's a good player but one win over a head in the clouds Maryland team shouldn't have you going off the deep end. BC still has work to do.

Dwight (Cleveland)

Where does K-State fall into your tournament prediction? Early loss or a run to the Final Four?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:21 PM)

Dwight: Somewhere in between. Don't think they're a first round victim. Don't think they're a Final Four team. Good team that Bruce Weber is getting the max out of.

Steve (Boston)

Will Kentucky make noise in the NCAA tournament?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

Steve: Gotta get there first. Otherwise the only noise will be from their sofas.

Steve (Valley Forge)

Dana - TCU over Kansas was way more shocking, especially at that point in the season.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:22 PM)

Steve: Yeah, good point.

Phil (Washington D.C)

No one giving Davidson love this year? While they still have to win their coneference tourney they still are a very disciplined team coached by McKillop. Could you see them causing havoc if they get in the dance?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:23 PM)

Phil: Absolutely. Great point. No one is talkign about Davidson and Bob McKillop is a terrific coach. They could be an eye opener in March.

Ty (Missouri)

Dana, whats the likelihood of the selection committee putting Kansas and missouri in the same region?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:24 PM)

Ty: They truly don't set it up that way. It could happen but they won't plot to make it happen. Honest.

Gary (Virginia)

How good are UVA's chances of getting into the tournament if they lose against duke?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:24 PM)

Gary: I still say they have a shot. Their resume is baffling, though. They lost to 3/4 of the CAA which ought to eliminate you from the conversation.

Russell (Cheney, WA)

Does Gonzaga get a #1 over Duke or Florida?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:25 PM)

Russell: Interesting question. I'd say if either of them lose again - a possibility if not probability with Miami ahead for Duke and Kentucky at Rupp for Florida - it gets interesting. To me, the Zags would deserve it.

brian (California)

will the real Cal Bears please stand up

Dana O'Neil
  (2:26 PM)

Brian: Amen, but you could say that about a lot of teams, right?

Matt (DC)

Thoughts on Arizona? 21-4 with better wins than most teams ranked ahead of them. East coast bias much?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:26 PM)

Matt: Um, no. Better wins in November and DEcember, not much to show for it in league save some bad losses. Good team but I don't trust them for the long haul of March.

john david ( trinity)

What kind of noise comes from sofas -- besides things that probably shouldn't be mentioned?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:27 PM)

Dear Lord. Screaming and yelling at the TV.

Dan (Kansas)

I know they played a tough nonconference schedule but I just don't get the hype over Minnesota. They haven't looked good to me at all in conference play.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:27 PM)

Dan: I 100% agree with you. I've been sort of baffled by it, too. I thikn they're good but really don't get it.

markus (nowhere)

what are your thoughts. on colorado they are a very hard team to figure out they beat oregon on the road dominate arizona then lose at home to arizona st i think if they play to their potential they could go to th sweet 16 your thoughts?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:28 PM)

Markus: Definitely another headscratcher team. Think they are a good team, though. The kind that maybe no one is talkign about but can sneak up on people.

Ivan (Omaha)

Creighton or St Mary's this weekend?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:29 PM)

Ivan: Good game. I haven't been that impressed with Creighton lately, so I'll say the Gaels.

Brandon (Seattle)

Is Louisville still a Final Four contender? Feels like they've dropped off the radar recently.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:29 PM)

Brandon: They definitely have but I still think they are a legit contender. THeir defense is too good and remember, their offense was worse last year and they still made it to the Final Four. They just have to learn to finish games.

Brandon (Greensboro)

NC State has won 3 in a row, and are better than all teams remaining on the schedule. Do they run the table?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:30 PM)

Brandon: They should but don't know that they will. They've been fairly rollercoaster, especially on the road.

Tom (Chicago)

If said sofas are in East Lansing, I'd imagine a tiny screaming sound as they are set on fire...

Dana O'Neil
  (2:30 PM)

Tom: haha. very true.

josh (washington st )

does Iowa make the tourney with a good finish in the big ten and a couple wins in the BTT

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Josh: In that scenario, yes. But they have to execute said scenario.

Jake (MO)

Hey Dana, just curious... if Mizzou and St. Louis were to play each other in the tourney who you taking?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Jake: St. Louis. Mizzou makes my head hurt this year.

Otto (Syracuse)

If Syracuse wins the big east tournament do you think Boeheim will step up to the podium and say "the big east is closed."

Dana O'Neil
  (2:31 PM)

Otto: That would be TREMENDOUS, but I seriously doubt he would.

Kevin (Reno, NV)

If you could onlly have one, who would you take, Burke or Smart?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:32 PM)

Kevin: Delta or Maxwell? Maxell. Trey or Marcus? Yikes. I'd gladly have either but probably lean Burke.

Joe D. (Clayton, NC)

Could Ryan Kelly be back in time for their date in Durham with Miami. or the ACC tourney, or NCCA tourney? What is your gut telling you? Duke is one Ntl Title favorite with Kelly back....agree?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:33 PM)

Joe: I honestly don't know but I think Doris Burke made a great point the other day. Just because he's cleared doesn't mean he's automatically as he was and inserted easily into that lineup. They've got to readjust and he has to get back to game ready. I'd say if he plays, they are more a favorite Stretches defense, takes pressure off of Plumlee.

Say-Ruh (Durham, NC)

How's this for a laugh... back in October, in deciding which game from our DUKE season ticket book to go to (the rest go to my brother), I narrowed it down to NC State and Miami and then chose Miami because of the following reasoning: "I don't want to go to NC State because I'm afraid DUKE could lose, so I'll choose Miami since I know that's a cupcake game." Wow.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:34 PM)

Well at least you can admit to it and really in October, that was pretty good logic. Don't bet on the Derby this year, though.

Brett (St. Louis)

What are your thoughts on Jim Crews? Could he keep our program at this level for years?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:35 PM)

Brett: Were it not for Jim Larranaga, he'd win Coach of the Year in a landslide. Amazing job under incredibly impossible circumstances. And yes, he could keep it going. He's won that group over, clearly.

Jeremy (NJ)

Will this be the year a 16 seed beats a 1? I'm feeling with all the regular season craziness that this could be the year...

Dana O'Neil
  (2:35 PM)

Jeremy: Who knows? I'd still say not likely because while there is no clearcut No. 1, there are about 6 to 8 really good teams.

Rob (Memphis)

What do you think about Memphis? A ton of talents... Lost those 3 quality games early. They are not steam rolling teams in CUSA and have climbed into the top 25 for the past 2 weeks with a RPI of 24. In your eyes, is Memphis "back"?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:36 PM)

Rob: Maybe. Like what they're doing but I also know C-USA isn't much, so I'll reserve final judgment. Definitely headed in the right direction and I completely agree with the talent. THey've got it in bunches.

Henry (Georgia)

Didn't you pick West Virginia to win the Big 12 this year? What happened there?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:37 PM)

Henry: Alien abduction that day.

john (fargo )

dont ya think wolters should atleast get mention for player of the year the numbers he is putting up are unreal without him the jack rabbits have a losing record thoughts?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:38 PM)

John: Yes and I suspect he'll be on most final cuts. Tough to win it from his spot but he's fantastic. And he could be Steph Curry-like come March. Wherein everyone knows his name (insert Cheers theme here).

Kristen (Philadelphia)

Who are you going with this week to win the NCAA tournament?

Frank Haith (Columbia, MO)

How can I teach Phil to stop chucking treys in last minute possessions?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

Kristen: THank you for the quantifier of this week because it does change that often. This week is the same as I've gone most of the season, Indiana.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:39 PM)

Frank: I don't know but when you do, call Rick Pitino. He'd like the same advice for bad shots for Russ SMith.

Tyler (Charlotte)

Who do you think will come out of the Big South Conference?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

Tyler: Go with the hot hand and pick High Point.

Ben (Oklahoma)

Who you got tonight Colorodo st or UNLV

Dana O'Neil
  (2:40 PM)

Ben: CSU.

Robert (Ann Arbor)

trey burke vs. victor oladipo, who wins?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:41 PM)

Robert: In what? HORSE? Burke. In a fullcourt game? Oladipo. Quote war: Oladipo.

Vijay (Nashville)

Dana: What do you think is the ceiling for Georgetown? Sweet 16? I worry about their lack of depth without Whittington and their poor rebounding.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:41 PM)

Vijay: Legit issues but I actually love how they're playing right now. Great defense and Porter is phenomenal. They could easily be a Sweet 16 team.

Mario (Philadelphia)

Dana: What are La Salle's chances of making the tourney and what do they have to do to solidfy an at-large bid?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

Mario: THink they're in control of their own destiny, honestly. And that's huge, right? I covered La Salle in the lean end of the Speedy run. Big doings. Like their backcourt. Like that team.

TheRudesterNy (ny)

I just saw your post that Ryan Kelly was "cleared" to play???? When did that happened?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

What? Uh no. I said if he's cleared to play.

Dan (Kansas)

Who's the smartest player you've ever interviewed?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:42 PM)

Dan: Justin Tortolani, a Princeton lacrosse player who was literally splitting atoms in a summer internship.

mike (detroit)

After further review, it looks pretty clear that Zeller pulled Nix's arm into his who-hahs in an attempt to get Nix a techinical. Suspension worthy?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

Really? Who does that? I mean, c'mon. Who does that?

McNeill (Astoria)

Forget Player, Coach and Team of the Year... so far, what has been the PLAY of the year? We all know what the near-play of the year was (Oladipo's dunk) and frankly, I won't blame you if you still say that was the play of the year- even though he missed it.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:43 PM)

McNeill: That was up there but the best I saw was Roosevelt Jones intercepting the Gonzaga inbounds.

Steve (LA)

Would a Jamie Dixon move to USC make sense for anyone?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:45 PM)

Steve: Maybe for Jamie Dixon. He's from California and I'm not sure how the ACC will sell for Pitt. They get so many players from NYC. Does that still happen? Not saying he'd leave but I'd be less surprised this year than any other.

oscar (california)

this year the NCAA champ will be an unexpected team, i'll have to say the favs: indiana, kansas, michigan, florida, lousville will not get to the final four. i like miami and zona

Dana O'Neil
  (2:45 PM)

Oscar: Ok. Glad one of us knows! I'm still all over the map.

John (Pittsburgh)

Whats the best home crowd youve seen this year, and you cant say Duke or Kansas because that is always everyones answer. I was impressed with Mizzou's crowd last night, and NC States crowd earlier this year.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:46 PM)

John: Can I withhold judgment until I walk into the Orange field at the Carrier Dome on Saturday? Have a feeling that's going to be bananas. Think the Izzone brings it every game, too.

Terry (Missouri)

What has been the best game to watch this season? I still have Gonzaga @ Butler as my #1.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:46 PM)

Terry: Eye of the beholder, right? There are so many great games this year so it depends on who you like.

John (Loboville)

Dana, please ..please..please for the love of all thats good in college basketball, tell me the Lobos will go to their first ever sweet 16! please! we have been waiting for sooooooooo long!

Dana O'Neil
  (2:47 PM)

John: I can tell you but it doesn't mean it will happen. Best chance, though. Does that help?

Andrew (Centereach, NY)

Could the 4 #1 seeds come from only 2 conferences? (ACC/Big10)

Dana O'Neil
  (2:48 PM)

Andrew: They could but I still say if either Louisville or Syracuse wins the Big East and the Big East tourney, they'll have a say. As will Florida, without future slides. As will Gonzaga. I'd say 2 from the Big 10 is a certainty. Question is which 2? Indiana and which Michigan school?

Doug (North Carolina)

How close are the Illini to be considered a lock for the tournament?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:48 PM)

Doug: Pretty close, I'd say.

Brian (Cedar Falls)

If UNI wins out and makes it to the MVC championship game, could you see them sneaking into the tourney?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:49 PM)

Brian: Yeah I think they could. They need some things to go their way -winning out and no major crazy upsets in other would-be one bid leagues. It's not out of the queston.

Zach (Michigan)

Chances TCU pulls off another upset of Kansas on Saturday?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:50 PM)

Zach: I have a better chance of becoming the next Kate Upton. Nil.

Ed (Dallas)

Will Northwestern EVER make the tournament?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:51 PM)

Ed: Well sure someday. Maybe.

Ron (Indiana)

ASU and Cal are currently on the bubble but don't play each other down the stretch. Conceivable that they could both make the tourney giving the Pac-12 six teams. You might have to start paying more attention to that conference beyond Zona and UCLA.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:51 PM)

Ron: I agree that there are more teams to look at now. I think the Pac 12 tourney will determine a lot for teams like ASU and Cal.

Neil (New York)

Real quick... One of the best Indiana teams you have seen? Also B1G coach of the year should go to Tom Izzo hands down. Bo Ryan has nothing on him.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:52 PM)

Neil: Best ever? Well, there was that undefeated crew... but this is a special group, no doubt. Still think Bo getst he nod over Izzo.

Russ (New York)

Would you be a fan of an NCAA Tournament of the BEST 68 teams (as in no automatic qualifiers)?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

Russ: No because then we'd have no little guy, no Cinderella, no upsets and nothing that essentially makes the NCAA Tournament what it is.

Peter (Florida)

Is Creighton going to make the tournament? Seems like they've been slipping lately.

Dana O'Neil
  (2:53 PM)

Peter: Yes to both. Yes they'll make it. Yes, they're slipping. Could just be February blues.

Ted (Iowa)

We all know the B1G is the best bball conference this year, but is the PAC-12 the worst of the power six? Or the SEC?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:54 PM)

Ted: I think it's the SEC. There's a lot of ick, ew in that.

Neil (New York)

Seeing Duke as a number 1 seed shows ESPN love for Duke, I think it should be Indiana, Miami, Florida, One of the Michigans

Dana O'Neil
  (2:54 PM)

Neil: Fortunately for those of you who think ESPN controls the world and puppets Duke's success, we don't pick the bracket.

Matt (Needham, MA)

Dana,What's most important at the Mid-Major level - recruiting or X's and O's?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:55 PM)

Matt: Both but in different ways. Recruiting in that you have to find the hidden gem, which is really hard to do. And then the X's and O's because you know going in you don't have the stars everyone else does. I also think experience is huge.

Marshonn (brooklyn)

last question- any way my friars can beat cuse tonite?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

Marshonn: Yes it is the last question because I have to run. Very tall order but not crazy. If the Friars can shoot the ball well - which can happen against the zone this year - and not commit turnoveres, they have a chance. it's a longshot but not impossible and when was the last time Providence got to think that way?

Dana O'Neil
  (2:56 PM)

Alright folks. Gotta run. Thanks for the questions. Talk to you all next week.