Chat with Pat Forde
Send your questions now and join Forde in The Show Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Pat Forde (4:01 PM)
Hello and welcome to the inaugural hoops chat of '09. On inauguration day. Cool, huh? Let's roll!
why is duke ahead of wake forest? this is a prime example for all of college sports of how big-time schools get more respect. I'm still miffed about utah.
Pat Forde (4:02 PM)
Cam: Wake is ranked #1, right? So I think it is getting its just due. I'd rank the Demon Deacons No. 1 myself.
Ryan (Louisville, KY)
If Selection Sunday were today who are your #1 seeds?
Pat Forde (4:04 PM)
Ryan: Thankfully it's not today, because we're still lacking clarity in the big picture. But as of today I'd probably have two from the ACC (Wake and Duke) and two from the Big East (Uconn and Pitt). With Oklahoma on deck.
Hey Pat! Michigan State has won 11 in a row since the blowout to North Carolina. Is this team capable of returning to Ford Field in March?
Pat Forde (4:08 PM)
Drew: Yes, the Spartans have that capability. I've been impressed with the bounce-back. Getting Goran Suton back in the lineup has certainly helped, and Delvon Roe should only get better and provide more help on the glass and in the interior. I like Michigan State's team and its upside as the season progresses.
Byrne (Chicago, Il)
Lunardi is currently projecting Western Michigan to be the MAC champ & a 16 seed. Would they be the best # 16 seed ever & have a solid chance to be the 1st 16 seed to ever win in 'the dance'?
Pat Forde (4:09 PM)
Byrne: that would be remarkable to see a MAC team at #16. Probably not a good indication of the current strength of that league. But yes, I'd give them a chance to shock the world if it came to that.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Pat, after the win against Pitt, can Louisville make a run at the Big East title with all the talent they have?
Pat Forde (4:11 PM)
Sprung: Absolutely. Louisville is 4-0 in the league and playing really well right now, especially on defense. There will be some losses ahead, and the Big East champ probably will lose 3-4 times, but the Cardinals look as good as anyone in that league right now.
Andy (Lexington, KY)
Would you explain to me why a surging UK team does not deserve to be in the top 25? I know they lost VMI (who happens to be pretty good), but their other losses are to legitimate teams including an 18 point win at UT. Thanks.
Pat Forde (4:12 PM)
Andy: Kentucky needs to keep piling up victories -- preferably some against quality competition. Winning at Tennessee was huge -- but Tennessee itself has fallen out of Top 25. Other than beating West Virginia, UK doesn't have much to brag about in its non-conference body of work.
When Ginyard comes back to the UNC line-up do you think that will help re-establish them as the dominant squad come march?
Pat Forde (4:13 PM)
Jonathan: Ginyard clearly will give Carolina some of the defensive help it needs, and that might be enough to push the Heels back into the favorite's role. In fact, that's the way I'd bet it right now -- but strange things already have happened this season, and will surely continue to happen.
Dan: (Olean, NY)
Hey Pat. I'm a junior at St. Bonaventure and I was wondering if you've had any chance to check out our vastly improved basketball team. Coacn Mark Schmidt has done an incredible job of coaching and recruiting and suddenly we're out of the shadows of our scandal and have an 11-6 record with 2 wins in the A-10. Plus, freshman Andrew Nicholson is already being talked about as an NBA prospect. Have you had a chance to get a look at our team this year and, if so, what are your impressions?
Pat Forde (4:15 PM)
Dan: I have not seen the Bonnies yet, but they're certainly improved on paper. Beating a Big East team was a big win, even if it was only Rutgers. It's been a long climb back, but Bona appears to be going in the right direction.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Pat, how is it you can manage to write about college hoops and football, when both are in season? Is it difficult to keep up with college hoops in November/December?
Pat Forde (4:16 PM)
Will: Yes, it is difficult to keep up with hoops in November/December. But I try. Living in a basketball town like Louisville helps, because hoops talk is all around me all the time.
Forde- Kings of Leon is in Louisville tonight. You going to be there?
Pat Forde (4:17 PM)
Ben: I will be at my 9-year-old's swim practice. But give the Kings my best.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Forde: Should a team with an overall record of under .500 even be eligible to play in the Field of 65? I think if a sub-.500 team wins its conference tournament that conference should lose a bid and if it means their only bid then so be it. Thoughts?
Pat Forde (4:19 PM)
JB: Nope, can't go there with you. The great beauty of March Madness is that everyone has a place at the party -- even the underdog team from the bad conference. Far, far better than the exclusionary exercise that is the college football championship chase. Now: you can question whether conference tournaments are a good thing, since they basically subject the best teams to double jeopardy and open it up for a team that gets hot for just the right three-four games, but again, that's part of the unpredictability that makes March so fun in my book.
RAY GORDON REID RICHMOND VA 23219
QUESTION TO PATFORDE AT 4,25 PPM HI PAT FORDE TOMORROW UCONN AT VILLANOVA UNC AT CLEMSON
Pat Forde (4:20 PM)
Ray: UConn and UNC. Besides, I think the Clemson-Carolina game is in Chapel Hill, and we know Clemson NEVER wins there.
Pat - If you could change one thing about college basketball, what would it be? I'd increase the foul-out number to 6 so that players who pick up two quickies aren't relegated to the bench for the rest of the half.
Pat Forde (4:21 PM)
Jeff: That's a good one, I like it. I'm still appalled at watching Oden and Hibbert sit at the Final Four two years ago because of early fouls. I'd love to see teams get two fewer timeouts per game, so the players would have to figure things out for themselves without micromanaging from the coaches and more stoppages in play.
Will J (Portland, OR)
What do you make of the possible minor (recruiting)infraction by Bill Self? I think sometimes, these small allegations a little ridiculous.
Pat Forde (4:24 PM)
Will: I don't think it's ridiculous, no. And I guarantee, neither does John Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, Ernie Kent or any other coach in the hunt to get John Wall. Self broke a rule that he knew perfectly well and did it in a brazen manner. I hope the NCAA takes a good look at that, and at Kansas' recruitment of Wall.
Chris (Boca Raton, FL)
Hey Pat, Do you think that FSU can keep winning these close games and make it to the tournament?
Pat Forde (4:26 PM)
Florida State has had an amazing ability to find ways to miss the tournament in recent years, so I wouldn't take anything for granted in January. But wins over Cal, Florida, Maryland and NC State help. If the Noles can do better than .500 in the ACC it might be enough to make everyone forget losing to Northwestern.
Charlie (New York)
what are your thoughts on cuse getting blown out of their first two conference road tests?
Pat Forde (4:27 PM)
Charlie: Cuse has a LOT of talent but still appears mentally fragile. I'm disappointed in the no-show performances on the road. I expected better and still do.
Is Illinois basketball back on the map after a few seasons away? They spent the better part of the last decade being as a deciding force in the Big Ten, does BRUUUUUCE finally have them back?
Pat Forde (4:29 PM)
Greyson: I believe Illinois will give chase to Michigan State the rest of the way. Bruce Weber is a really good coach who took more heat than he should have when the Illini missed on some recruits and struggled the last coupld years. I beieve Illinois is back among the competitive, though not yet among the national championship contenders.
Pat- why don't coaches in major conferences learn to play at least 2-4 marquee games in the non-conference? Even if they lose a few of those games, it does wonders come Selection Sunday. Look what good scheduling does to RPI's of Duke & Michigan State compared with Florida and Stanford.
Pat Forde (4:30 PM)
Drew: Amen, brother. I know the SEC office has been pushing its teams to schedule better out of conference and it should.
Matt Lownes New York
Is Penn State basketball worth caring about this season. They are 13-3.
Pat Forde (4:31 PM)
Matt: Yes, I believe the Nittany Lions are worth watching and caring about. Penn State is playing well and has a big game against Michigan this week. PSU could be the Big Ten sleeper -- unless Minnesota already has locked up that honor.
Pat why do people care where their team is ranked? Don't they realize this isn't FBS and they actually play for a championship?
Pat Forde (4:32 PM)
Ken: Because fans always care about where they're ranked, and almost always think they're ranked too low. But you're obviously right, it doesn't matter much in the grand scheme. Just good debate fodder in January.
Nick (LA, CA)
What do you think of the job Johnny Dawkins is doing with Stanford? Beating Mike Montgomery on his return trip to Maples with the Cal Bears was a nice start.
Pat Forde (4:35 PM)
Nick: That was a biiig win, I'm sure, for all the Stanford community. I think Dawkins is off to a really good start, given the loss fo the Lopez twins. Would've been nice if they'd pulled out the split up in Washington, but Stanford is a team to watch the rest of the way in a conference with plenty of room to move up.
The Valley (Valley, MO)
Do you see the Missouri Valley getting more than 1-Bid this season?
Pat Forde (4:38 PM)
Valley boy (or girl): It is by no means a banner year in the Valley -- not like the halcyon days of 2006 or so. With no teams currently in the Sagarin Top 50 (I don't have RPI immeidately handy) I'd say the Valley is looking at one bid for now. Maybe if someone gets really hot and then loses in the championship game, it gets two teams in.
Tommy (THE VILLE)
Pat, you can't really think that Gerald Henderson is a better athlete than T-WILL can you?
Pat Forde (4:39 PM)
Tommy: Yes I do. Though not by much. It's like trying to decide whether Steph Curry or Jodie Meeks is a better shooter -- they're both really good.
Nick (Bloomfield, NJ)
Is it possible the Big East could get 10 or even 11 bids?
Pat Forde (4:40 PM)
Nick: I doubt it. There will be too many teams knocking each other off and ending up with bad league records for that to happen. I'd say nine is the ceiling, unless something wild happens (i.e., Cincinnati winning the league tournament or something).
Tyreke Evans, Memphis
We're better now with me at point...right?
Pat Forde (4:43 PM)
Tyreke: Probably, if only because it seems to have improved your shot selection and shot volume. Bold move by Cal but it could be the best thing for the team in the long run.
Pat, what is up with the Gators? It is hard to figure them out because they haven't played anybody. Will they at least make it to the Dance?
Pat Forde (4:44 PM)
Jennifer: I couldn't agree more -- mystery team because Florida hid out in Gainesville and ducked top competition almost all of November and December. That puts a lot of pressure on Florida to play well in the league -- but so far, so good. Nick Calathes is one of my favorite players. I think Florida does make the dance and possibly wins the league.
Big Joe (Trenton, NJ)
My friend keeps telling me that the SEC will probably only send 3 teams (Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida). I keep telling him that if some teams get hot and play well in the SEC tournament that we could get in 5. Who is more correct?
Pat Forde (4:46 PM)
Big Joe: I'm thinking four. The three you mentioned from the East and whichever team gets hot and pads its record in the West. (Leading candidate right now is Mississippi State.) But we've got a loooong way to go.
Curry is SUCH a better shooter than meeks! Really Pat? Let Meeks stay in the national spotlight for more than 2 weeks and then we'll discuss this.
Pat Forde (4:46 PM)
Mike: Curry is hands-down a better PLAYER than Meeks. But is he a better shooter? I don't know. Maybe a little, but not by much.
John (Hamden, CT)
Rank your top 10 teams in order of who you'd bet on come March.
Pat Forde (4:49 PM)
John: Hmmmmm, good/tough question. I'll go thusly: 1. UNC, 2. Duke, 3. Louisville, 4. UConn, 5. Pitt, 6. Michigan State, 7. Wake, 8. Oklahoma, 9. Texas, 10. Gonzaga/UCLA
Which team do you think is the best defensive team in the country? Don't talk to me about numbers, just tell me which team you would want on the floor if you knew you needed some big stops in the last 4 minutes of a game in March.
Pat Forde (4:51 PM)
Tom: I've got to go with Louisville given what its done the last two games. Completely locked up #1 Pitt in the final nine minutes saturday night -- Pitt went 1 for 16 down the stretch. In the previous game against a Notre Dame team that can shoot the blazes out of the basket, the Irish finished the game 1 for 14 from the field. Louisville is long, athletic, extremely well conditioned and deep enough to keep throwing bodies and pressure at an opponent until they wilt.
What are some teams that could be NCAA tourney busters?
Pat Forde (4:52 PM)
Braxton: Early guesses: Utah State, Siena, and of course Davidson.
With the recent woes of the Wolverines, would you agree that they aren't good enough to make the NCAA Tournament?
Pat Forde (4:52 PM)
Ryan: I wouldn't say that yet. Let it play out a big more and see if the Wolverines can win a road game or two somewhere tougher than Bloomington.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Forde, Calhoun's is a terrible choice for BBQ. Knoxville is generally bereft of good BBQ, though. Still, the BBQ at Texas Roadhouse (an Indiana chain I don't even like) is better than at Calhoun's. Of course neither compare to the real deal, all-around deliciousness that is actual Texas BBQ. Calhoun's does have good beans, though.
Pat Forde (4:53 PM)
Josh: It's far better than terrible. Not saying it's the best barbecue in America, but Calhoun's is a good spot. Glad you like the beans.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
I'd like to add any team that plays Syracuse in the first two rounds as a bracket buster. As a 'Cuse fan, just trust me on this one.
Pat Forde (4:54 PM)
JB: Haha. I can still picture that Vermont game clearly from a few years back.
Hunter (Bloomington, In)
How many seasons will it take Coach Crean to bring his Hoosiers back to a top 10 program?
Pat Forde (4:54 PM)
Hunter: I'd say IU should be back in the NCAAs in year three for Crean, and back in the top ten by year five. That work for you?
Georgetown Fan (DC)
It's a CONSPIRACY I tell you! Yah right, I'm sick of hearing my fellow fans blame recent losses on the refs( Duke cough cough). What a joke, we didn't play well enough to win that game. We have some improvements to make and need to get stronger on the boards. Am I right?
Pat Forde (4:55 PM)
GTown fan: Yes, you are correct. Hey, the Hoyas are good -- but Duke in Cameron is better. Even with a questionable T factored in.
Sam (Lynchburg, VA)
Pat, why will no one in the media step up and publicly acknowledge that the Big East simply has many more teams than any other conference in the nation. Pundits constantly ooze over the Big East's supposed "depth," mindlessly and endlessly repeating both the number of teams they have ranked in the top 25 and the number projected to be included in the NCAA tournament field. Of course you'd expect a conference with 18 teams to have more teams ranked than a conference with 12, no matter how good the conference with 12 might be. Finally, "experts" from all networks have thus far refused to address the weakness of the bottom 5 or 6 teams in the Big East. There are easy wins on the Big East schedule the likes of which simply do not exist in the ACC.
Pat Forde (4:57 PM)
Sam: I will step up and publicly acknowledge that the Big East has more teams than the ACC. Wow, that was a difficult acknowledgement. And I will also take this opportunity to correct your math: the Big East has 16 teams, not 18. And the tail end of both leagues is pretty soft.
General question about fundamentals and basic basketball instinct. I know that Thabeet is still only in his 5th or 6th year of organized basketball. As much progress as he's made, I still just don't understand why he can't grasp simple offensive post moves. In almost every game he plays, he is at least 4 inches taller than anyone he is guarding. Is it just a confidence thing or what? He should be able to do up-fake/drop step/slam pretty easily by now shouldn't he?
Pat Forde (4:59 PM)
Mark: The world is full of gray-haired coaches and fans who have aged prematurely waiting for big men to improve their offensive skills. It's simply harder than it looks to develop an offensive game when you don't have much feel for one. I wish I had a dollar for every great athlete who didn't have a jumper and everyone said, "Just wait until he learns to shoot, he'll be a pro." Then they never learn to shoot and spend their time dunking in the D League. Offense is tougher than it looks, which is why watching a brilliant offensive performer like Steph Curry is such a joy.
Pat Forde (5:00 PM)
OK folks, I'm done for today. Thanks for dropping by. Good to get the hoops chatter going! Talk to you soon. Pat Forde