Chat with Andy Katz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com senior basketball writer Andy Katz stops by to chat.
In addition to covering college basketball on a daily basis and breaking news for the site, Katz pens the "Daily Word" and "Weekly Word."
Send your questions now and join Katz Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
What do you think of the Lobos? They've had a tough non conference schedule and have done very well. Do you think they can keep it up and win the mountain west to make it to the big tourney?
Andy Katz (11:05 AM)
Steve Alford is one of the favorites for national coach of the year. He's done a tremendous job with this crew. But there is talent. This is not an overachieving group. Darrington Hobson can pass and score. Roman Martinez is a savvy, veteran player and A.J. Hardeman can be a monster in the middle. UNM has done quite well with quality wins and a loss that is acceptable at Oral Roberts. This is an NCAA team. I'm not sure you could say that in Albuquerque in January too many times in the past.
Xavier (KC, MO)
What do you see happening with the Tennesse players who are being suspended for their latest lapse in judgement? Should they be allowed to play again or do you think they will play as soon as the Kansas game this weekend?
Andy Katz (11:10 AM)
I would be in favor of suspensions for the rest of the season if the facts in this case are correct. There is no excuse for carrying guns and marijuana in a rental car. Where were they going on New Year's Day? This was also a clear lack of respect for the rest of their teammates and the coaching staff. These are the type of decisions you make the day afte a game? Tennessee would be better off in the long run by shedding the bad eggs and moving on. The program is bigger than these four players. If all the facts are correct then no one will miss them. Life moves on. There are consequences for your actions, whether it's a misdemeanor or a felony. If it were a felony, Bruce Pearl said that is cause for dismissal. I'm not sure the misdemeanor suddenly makes everything right, either.
All Jamie Dixon's teams do is win. not really a question, but a reminder. think the rest of the nation is waking up to that reality yet?
Andy Katz (11:13 AM)
Is that Brad Pitt or just Brad from Pitt? I'll guess it's the latter. Yes, I laughed when I saw Pitt was picked ninth in the Big East. I understood it based on who was returning but I just knew there was no way a Jamie Dixon coached team would finish that low. The Panthers are a different squad with Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon complimenting Ashton Gibbs. Pitt is earning its bid in the Big East and essentially needs seven more wins to get a bid. Dixon is my early favorite for Big East coach of the year.
John Wall is overrated.
Andy Katz (11:14 AM)
Really? He's got more size than most point guards. He can elevate as well as any. He understands time, score and pace of a game. He does need to become a better shooter, but that's probably the most correctable issue for a player. I don't think you'll say that once he's in the NBA producing.
Ryan (Boston, MA)
Andy, do you see BC making a run at an NCAA bid if they can start beating the teams they SHOULD beat?
Andy Katz (11:16 AM)
The Eagles have to make up a lot of ground after losing to Maine. That means picking up some quality road wins in the ACC. If the Eagles get nine more ACC wins -- that' 10 overall -- then they will get a bid. Let's see if they can pull that off. I'm not sure 9-7 gets them a bid this season, but 10-6 would earn a spot.
Is this year's Texas team better than the Final Four team led by TJ Ford?
Andy Katz (11:17 AM)
It's not better at the point. Ford was a much better scorer and leader at that position. But this Texas team is deeper and more productive on the wings. And this Texas team has a better shot to win the national title than that Texas team.
Is Texas now a "destination" job? Or is there still a possibility we lose Rick Barnes eventually?
Andy Katz (11:18 AM)
It's one of the top 10 jobs in the country. The Longhorns needed someone like Barnes to find that out. No offense to Tom Penders but the timing wasn't the same. Basketball in the Big 12 has increased its profile since Barnes took over, the facilities have improved dramatically and so has the interest. Texas can recruit locally and all over the country. Barnes loves biking, yoga, and the clean air. He's not going anywhere sooon.
Nate (Cedar Falls, IA)
If Northern Iowa wins at Southern Illinois and Illinois State this week do they get into the top 25? That would make them 14-1 with 13 straight wins.
Andy Katz (11:19 AM)
They should. The Panthers have been quietly flying under the radar and are a legit top 25 team at this juncture. If I had a vote I'd vote for them if they were 14-1.
Nate (South Bend)
Where do you see Notre Dame Ending up this year, do they make the tourny?
Andy Katz (11:20 AM)
I'm not feeling it. The Irish don't have a signature win yet. There is still time to accomplish that goal but I'm not expecting it to occur. The Big East is once again proving daunting and I'm not sure the Irish can pull off enough quality wins to earn a bid.
Jeff Statz (Oconomowoc, WI)
What you just said about Calipari running guys out of their schools after they take over a program is sad. Think about how Bo Ryan at Wisconsin took 8 or 9 scholarship players after Dick Bennett/Brad Soderberg left and molded them into a Big Ten Champion. Bo took what was given him at the time, adhered to what was promised to those young men and made them into champions. Since then he has recruited his players and made them equally as sucessful as Dick or Brad's players. Bo Ryan epitomizes the words "coach" or "teacher". I, as an Alumni of UW am proud to have him as a representative of my alma mater. If he was like so many other coaches, a player like JP Gavinski would have long been "cleaned" as you put it. No, Mr. Gavinski will be a Badger for a full five years if he so desires because that is what he was promised when recruited and that is what is delivered by the UW. JP will be a proud Badger like me for many years to come. We may not win it all and may not be an annual top-10 inhabitant but we do it the right way, recruit good people, and make them into proud alumni, Give me JP Gavinski, Alando Tucker, Tim Locum, Devin Harris, and Darin Schubring over Vander Blue any day because they are proud of their university and can sleep well at night with or without a #1 ranking or championship game. Thanks for listening and I know it is tough for you not to be a homer but please don't legitimize a guy like Calipari when you have guys like Coach K, Ryan and Knight to set the standard. To me, any mention of the UK program must always be accompanied by a statement regarding the extremely checkered past of its leader.Jeff StatzOconomowoc, WIjstatz_10@yahoo.com
Buzzmaster (11:55 AM)
Hang on folks. Some technical difficulties.
Andy Katz (12:00 PM)
You have to put every situation in context. First off let's not romanticize the plight of the players who were "run off." Kevin Galloway had been to mulitple schools. AJ Stewart, according to Kentucky, was going to be academically ineligible for the fall semester. When you hire a new coach at an elite school you are not expecting him to coach the previous coach's mistakes. These are athletic scholarships based on performance. Remember, the coach goes out and recruits the player, not the professors. Let's deal in reality here. Kentucky is not the same as Bryant. At Bryant, they are all taken from a similar pool and coaching is not going to change the situation that much.
Andy Katz (12:00 PM)
At Kentucky, and places of that same level, there is an expectation that the players will be elite of the NBA-bound variety. There aren't 24,000 fans waiting to see a team that can't compete for a national level. That's the system. There are different rules for different schools. If the players aren't performing at a high level, and even if there was a recruiting mistake, then they can get over recruited. As long as Kentucky made an attempt to place these kids, which I was told it did, then that is the system they live in. They are not obligated to play them. Now, if you want to tweak the system you could ensure that the school keeps the player on academic scholarship but isn't on the team if they recruit better players. If it were my son and there was a coaching change and he wasn't going to play and wanted to play then I would advise him to go where he felt he would maximize his abilities. Every player wants to play.
Andy Katz (12:00 PM)
sorry about the delay had some technical issues with the chat.
Andy Katz (12:01 PM)
Much like the country my page was frozen.
Mike W (Chicago)
IU has had some good wins against Pitt and Michigan as well as some bad losses like Loyola (MD), where do you see this team in the Big 10 and which postseason tourny, if any, do they go to?
Andy Katz (12:02 PM)
Mike has been very patient.The win over Michigan was quite remarkable, just days after losing Maurice Creek. But I can't see the Hoosiers sustaining it to make the NCAA tournament. But if the Hoosiers can get over .500 then I would highly recommend them going to the CBI or CIT if the NIT is out of the question.
The Hokies have a legit chance to make it to the Dance?
Andy Katz (12:03 PM)
Yes if the Hokies can play well in the ACC. Virginia Tech had a stellar non-conference record but the best win came last Saturday against Seton Hall in Mexico. I'm withholding judgment until I see Va Tech perform in the ACC.
Marilyn (Walla Walla, WA)
So what is your take on the officiating at the end of the first OT during the WSU-Oregon game. It seems that it could have easily been a no call situation. Do you think this loss will come back to bite the Cougars at tournament time?
Andy Katz (12:04 PM)
I will address this in my blog later Tuesday. The right call was made based on the information the officials had. It's unfortunate but it was the call to make. Wazzu needs to win some road games to make up for that loss.
Louisville has been very inconsistent all year, do you still see them making the tournament this year?
Andy Katz (12:09 PM)
I do. I think the Cards will find a way to win enough Big East games. They showed toughness in the Kentucky game, handling the crowd and coming back. Samardo Samuels must be more of a force, but the guard play showed it could compete in a rough environment.
Is Baylor a sleeper top-3 or top-4 Big 12 team? They have some quality road/neutral wins (ASU, Xavier, Arkansas, S.Carolina) and are really flying under the radar.
Andy Katz (12:10 PM)
They are. The Big 12 is the best conference in the country. Baylor will be an interesting case for the committee if it gets to .500 in the Big 12. The Bears have proven to be a quality road/neutral team this season.
Sean (Salisbury, NC)
Andy, why is UNC traveling to Charleston for a road game? Regardless of if the two head coaches are friends or not.
Andy Katz (12:15 PM)
I give Williams credit for going on the road. He does it a few times a season and the Tar Heels can get pushed. In this instance they got burned and lost in overtime. I'd rather see that then these teams play at home all the time.
Do you think UNC should be worried after that OT loss?
Andy Katz (12:15 PM)
Not having Marcus Ginyard and Will Graves to defend those 13 3s Charleston hoisted was the issue. Defending the perimeter will be the difference for this squad when it is healthy.
Quinn (Richmond, VA)
How many teams do you see the A10 getting into the tourny and what are your thoughts on my Spiders potential? Quite frankly, I dont believe that they have played their best basketball yet. Thank you.
Andy Katz (12:16 PM)
Temple, Xavier, Dayton, Richmond, Rhode Island and Charlotte are all on the board. I can easily see three of them earning enough wins to warrant a bid.
Let's get back to Bo's Badgers. How do you see them faring in East Lansing and home vs. Purdon't this week? Real big opportunity to put their name in the bright lights this week.
Andy Katz (12:17 PM)
Never doubt this squad. Never. I could see a split or 0-2 and still be fine come March.
Do you think the toughest game this year on the remainder of the schedule for UK will be Tennessee?
Andy Katz (12:17 PM)
No. Going to Florida, Vandy and Mississippi State. Ole Miss also has the guard play to cause problems at Rupp.
Andy Katz (12:18 PM)
Thanks for all your time and questions today. We'll chat again next week.