Chat with Eamonn Brennan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com college basketball blogger Eamonn Brennan will be here to chat some college basketball.
Brennan started with ESPN.com in December 2009. He writes for the College Basketball Nation blog.
Send your questions now and join Brennan Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Eamonn Brennan (3:00 PM)
Greetings, college hoops chatters. Let's do this.
How is Shurna not mentioned in your All-American grades as a possible replacement for an All-American? So far this year, he is in the top ten in points per game, not to mention shooting over 60% from the field and from 3 point range. Without a doubt, he is at least the best in the big ten so far - right?
Eamonn Brennan (3:01 PM)
Shurna has been very good, yes, but I think it would be a stretch to put him in at forward over Jared Sullinger, Jon Leuer, or JaJuan Johnson. A major stretch, in fact. Northwestern needs to play someone with a marginal chance at making the NCAA tournament before we can crown their, well, you know. Same deal with Shurna.
Ian Cornelison (San Diego)
San Diego State is not a regular to the NCAA's and the few times they have gone all end the same, first round exits. What do you think their chances are of being a sweet 16 or beyond team this year?
Eamonn Brennan (3:02 PM)
I think they're very good, actually. SDSU has been thoroughly impressive thus far. They deserve their ranking, and barring some major change in their season trajectory in the next few months, there's no reason to think they can't do damage in March.
Hello Mr. Brennan. I know this is a hot topic, and the folks over in Durham are keeping a tight lid on the specifics. But have you heard anything in regards to a more concrete timetable for Kyrie Irving's return, if at all? Thanks.
Eamonn Brennan (3:04 PM)
No, not really. The closest thing we've gotten lately is Coach K's statements on his radio show, which I actually blogged about earlier today: (http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/19936/coach-k-says-irving-out-for-long-time)From the post: "Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Wednesday during his XM Radio show that freshman point guard Kyrie Irving will be out "a long time." Krzyzewski has said there is a chance Irving will miss the entire season, although he didn't elaborate during his radio show on what "a long time" meant. Krzyzewski said during his radio show, "Basketball and Beyond with Coach K," that specialists are meeting to plan Irving's rehabilitation and recovery." In other words, no specifics, but it's not looking like Kyrie will be back anytime soon.
Caleb (Macon, Missouri)
What do you think of the missouri tigers? Are they a team that people forget about that could dominate the big 12?
Eamonn Brennan (3:06 PM)
Do I think the Tigers are good? Yes. Do I think they can dominate the Big 12? No. Do I think they are being overlooked? Not really. Missouri is ranked right about where they should be, given their performance on the floor. And you can make the case that, given their tempo-free stats, the Tigers are even just a tad overrated at this point.
Although not necessarily your area, how will the NBA labor discord affect underclassmen declaring for the draft? As a follow-up, Kyrie Irving was thought to be a one-and-done, if he doesn't play again this year, does he declare for the draft?
Eamonn Brennan (3:09 PM)
You're right, not really my area, but I don't think anyone, NBA guys included, really know how the labor dispute is going to play out. If there's a lockout, or the serious threat of one, you might see a lot of otherwise understandable NBA declarants go by the wayside. And I think Irving will probably be drafted just as high whether he plays again this year or not. I can't see the injury affecting his draft stock or decision all that much.
John (Indianapolis, IN)
Given the losses @BC and @UK, how do you see the Hoosiers fairing in the Big Ten this year?
Eamonn Brennan (3:10 PM)
About the same as I would have predicted before the season began: eighth, ninth, somewhere in there. The Hoosiers are clearly much improved from last season, but that's not exactly a high bar to hurdle, and there are still serious issues on this team -- lack of a true big guy, turnovers, etc. -- that will keep them from leapfrogging one of the Big Ten's seven putative tourney teams.
Enes Kanter (Lexington, KY)
NCAA ruling today at 5 pm (check my fake Twitter)
Eamonn Brennan (3:11 PM)
Thanks for the update, Enes. Fake Twitter accounts are just SO hilarious, aren't they? (For those wondering what this is, I quoted a fake Enes Kanter Twitter page two weeks ago because the tweet was innocuous and I for whatever reason discarded the time-tested "don't believe anyone on the Internet ever" rule. My bad.)
Should Terps fans plan on a 2011-2012 season with no Jordan Williams? Late LAST season he was already looking like a late lotto pick, but now........
Eamonn Brennan (3:13 PM)
All that stuff hinges on the lockout and the draft and so on, but yes, Jordan Williams is looking like a very promising NBA draft selection.
Greg (Rutland, VT)
Do you think that the 'Cuse has enough (i.e. Shooters on the perimeter) to make a deep run in the tourney this season?
Eamonn Brennan (3:15 PM)
Their shooting will definitely have to improve. Syracuse is struggling from deep right now, and few teams make the NCAA tournament with outside shooting this poor, let alone do well once they get there. That doesn't mean Syracuse can't; they might very well have enough scoring that they don't need outside shooting anyway. But Jardine and Triche should improve their accuracy, and all things considered, the Orange should be fine.
Chris (Florence, KY)
Can you please let everyone know there is no evidence that Calipari aided and abetted Camby and Rose. So, many bring it up everyday on the boards that Calipari is a cheater even though HE has 0 NCAA documented infractions.
Eamonn Brennan (3:16 PM)
My advice would be to stop trying to win message board arguments. Plus, don't Kentucky fans dominate message boards with this exact sentiment on a daily basis?
Is this Hewitt's last season at GT (I bleeping hope so)? Are there any good replacements out there that could recruit in the Atlanta area... and coach at the same time?
Eamonn Brennan (3:19 PM)
The contract that never ends is still haunting Georgia Tech fans to this day. Still, if GT doesn't vastly improve, it's hard to imagine Hewitt lasting another season at the helm. I have no good off-the-cuff coaching recommendations, but I bet Billy Gillispie would campaign hard for the gig. Mike Davis is another interesting candidate, especially among those who can recruit the Atlanta area well.
Do you think the Memphis tigers can pull it together by March for a nice run?
Eamonn Brennan (3:20 PM)
Sure. Lots of young talent, beset by injuries, but should be able to come together by March. It depends how you define "nice," of course, but Sweet 16 isn't out of the question by any means.
What do you think about the SEC East? Toughest Conference division in the nation? Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt .
Eamonn Brennan (3:21 PM)
Throw in Georgia and South Carolina, both of whom will be pushing for NCAA tournament bids this year, and I think we have a winner, yes.
What do you think of PITT's chances to finally break into the Final Four?
Eamonn Brennan (3:22 PM)
Very good. Pittsburgh isn't a lock-down defense yet, but they rebound their own misses better than any team in the country. That was the defining trait of nearly every Elite Eight teams last season. Bodes well for Pittsburgh in March.
Greg (Salt Lake City)
Who do you think wins BYU vs. UCLA tomorrow?
Eamonn Brennan (3:22 PM)
I'll take BYU. Fear the Jimmer.
Hummel (W. Lafayette)
Although Purdue is 9-1, it sure seems like they are a 5th place team in the Big Ten. Can you remember a team doing well in a power conference with only 2 scoring threats? Beyond Purdue's incredible defense, if an opponent takes away either Moore or Johnson, the Boilers are done.
Eamonn Brennan (3:24 PM)
It's certainly going to be tough sledding in the Big Ten season, but the Boilers don't need to score that many points to win games. Their defense is that good, and Moore and Johnson are capable enough to do the rest. Given that, fifth place seems low. But when you look at the rest of the Big Ten a fifth-place finish might end up being an admirable performance.
Spencer F (Chicago)
Does Mizzou have a chance against the Illini without Michael Dixon? I'm a Mizzou student and would love to see the Tigers beat the Illini to rub it in my friends who go to Illinois faces.
Eamonn Brennan (3:26 PM)
Ah, schadenfreude. The sweetest of the sporting nectars.
Eamonn Brennan (3:26 PM)
To answer your question, yes, I think Missouri can be fine, but they're going to need to get much better stuff from freshman guard Phil Pressey. He drew raves in the offseason from his coach and teammates, but he's been pretty underwhelming on the floor thus far.
The Gophers have looked pretty good so far this year. This is most talented and deepest team in quite some time. Is winning the Big Ten and a top 10 ranking a possiblilty in your mind?
Eamonn Brennan (3:28 PM)
Winning the Big Ten? Doubtful. The Gophers have looked good, but they're still battling Al Nolen's injury. Even if that gets settled by the time conference play begins, Minnesota will have to exceed even the most optimistic expectations to jump over Ohio State, Michigan State, and Illinois in the conference title race. That's a tall task.
Herbert (Asheville, NC)
Let's say you are watching Kansas State, and Frank Martin's stare induces some kind of fainting spell on your part. After you regain consciousness, you find that you have no idea who you are or how you voted on yesterday's power rankings. Do you immediately think "This team in the purple is really good" or are surprised to find they are the sixth best team in the country?
Eamonn Brennan (3:31 PM)
I'd probably be a bit surprised. At this point, I think people are ranking Kansas State so highly (and I'm one of them) for two reasons: 1) They haven't lost to anyone but Duke, and it's hard to downgrade a team based on that even if there haven't been too many other quality non-conference opponents on the sked and, 2) We know Jacob Pullen is better than this. If he's better, K-State's better. It's that weird perception vs. reality thing we see all that often in rankings, and it's important to tease that stuff out. Good question.
Do you think OSU can make a legit final four push, I love their team but I'm skeptical because of the weak OOC so far
Eamonn Brennan (3:32 PM)
Yes, I can. Can't penalize the Buckeyes too much for beating everyone they've played, even if only one of two of those games can be deemed "quality" wins (at Florida, at FSU).
Matt (The West)
Gonzaga/ Baylor. Who wins?
Eamonn Brennan (3:34 PM)
It's awfully tempting to pick the Zags. They've been tested constantly to begin the season, they've had a little break from the brutal schedule, and they're desperate for a quality win. Baylor, on the other hand, hasn't played anybody. But the combination of Baylor's sheer athletic skill, mixed with the Dallas locale, makes me think the Zags are 4-6 by the time Saturday is over.
BK (Needham, MA)
Since when is FSU a quality team?
Eamonn Brennan (3:35 PM)
I didn't say they were. Merely that beating them on the road counted as a quality win, which it did. Besides, OK, so no, FSU hasn't beaten anyone ranked. But they're one of the best defenses in the country again this season, and they'll be heard from once ACC play begins for that reason alone.
Dave (Phoenix, AZ)
Is New Mexico forgotten in the MWC this year? Last time i checked they are the defending champs and playing without their best post player. Shouldnt they be considered as a threat?
Eamonn Brennan (3:37 PM)
I can buy that. Losing at Cal is a little bit ugly, but New Mexico's entire non-conference slate has been played without the benefit of UCLA transfer Drew Gordon. If Gordon plays up to his ability, the Lobos could challenge SDSU, BYU and the rest for the MWC crown.
Seth (The Real 'ville" Poseyville, IN)
Once Brandon Knight realizes he doesn't have to force shots do you see him becoming a better distributor of the rock?
Eamonn Brennan (3:39 PM)
I love the fact that Poseyville residents call themselves the real "ville." Well played, Seth. And yeah, regarding Knight, sure, that would seem to follow. The thing is, Knight isn't really a true point guard in the distributorship mold. He's more of a scorer who also initiates the offense. I'm not sure that's going to change all that much over the next three months.
Putting Duke aside, I only see a handful of mediocre/semi-decent teams in the ACC. Is it recruiting, or players leaving early, etc?
Eamonn Brennan (3:40 PM)
It's a combination of disappointing performances (UNC, NC State, Virginia Tech), recruiting, coaching transitions, and players leaving early. It's also just one of those cyclical things. Don't sound the death knell for the ACC just yet.
In your opinon, what is the hardest/most intimidating arena to play at in the west?
Eamonn Brennan (3:42 PM)
My West Coast colleague Diamond could answer this better than I, but I've heard good things about the Kennel, the Pit, Wazoo, and, when Oregon was competitive, their old arena. Now sure how the new palace stacks up, but it's hard to test when the Ducks are this bad.
Is Duke still the best team in the country, even without Irving?
Eamonn Brennan (3:45 PM)
It's the million dollar question. My answer: Duke is still a very good team, one of a handful you could see winning the NCAA title. Are they still clearly the best team in the nation? I don't think so. Kansas has already proven themselves even without Selby, and if Selby is as good as advertised, I think the Jayhawks deserve the nod. And is an Irving-less Duke team that much better than Ohio State? Or Michigan State? Or Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Syracuse? I struggle to see it.
What is the deal with some of these upsets this week? Also, there has been some near upsets. Is it because it is finals week for a lot of schools?
Eamonn Brennan (3:47 PM)
That's an interesting theory. That might have something to do with it. I'd also throw in the letdown factor: Tennessee had just come off a big win at Pitt; Louisville a big win over UNLV. Then both teams had to play in what is usually a dead hoops week. And both teams played capable squads, too. Throw all that stuff in, and you tend to get upsets.
Benny the Bull (Chi-town)
Who is the most NBA ready?
Eamonn Brennan (3:47 PM)
You are. I've seen you shoot those backwards, one-handed half-court shots far too many times to know that Benny isn't a baller.
Eamonn Brennan (3:49 PM)
Among college hoops players? Well, that's a little bit more difficult. I'd probably go with Kemba Walker. If he has that jump-shot going off consistently, he's going to be very hard to guard at any level.
Maybe it's just me, but has anyone considered Pullen isn't playing so well because he's not good enough to carry the load? I thought all off-season that Pullen would not be as good this year without Clemente. Mainly because Clemente was the creator in that offense last year, and drew defenses away from Pullen thereby giving him open shots. Now that the pressure is on Pullen to produce he just can't handle it. Any thoughts?
Eamonn Brennan (3:52 PM)
That's the concern going forward. Is Pullen just not shooting the ball well enough? Being too passive in attacking the rim? Or is he that much better off the ball that Clemente's graduation is hurting him this much? I don't think it's a matter of not being able to handle pressure; Pullen is as grounded and determined a leader as any player in the country. But the Clemente loss could be hurting him more than we anticipated.
Eamonn Brennan (3:53 PM)
At the same time, I think Pullen's main problem right now is assertiveness. He needs to get to the rim far more often. If he does that, he'll be just fine.
If SDSU and BYU go into their first match up undefeated will they both be in the top ten at the time? and who do you see winning?
Eamonn Brennan (3:55 PM)
Yes. That means BYU will have won at UNLV, which is far from a guarantee. But if both teams make it that far without losing, they'll certainly both be in the top 10. And in Provo, I tend to like BYU. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Which PG do you see being the next Rose, Tyreke, Wall caliber right now?
Eamonn Brennan (3:56 PM)
Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker are the two players that have a chance of following in the recent point guard talent glut in the NBA. Both are hyper-athletic; Walker is a better shooter, but Kyrie is as good as any player in the country at creating and distributing for teammates.
Chris (Burlington, KY)
IF Kanter is eligible, is UK a contender?
Eamonn Brennan (3:57 PM)
I'd think so. Kanter plus Terrence Jones is downright scary.
Eric Gordon (LA)
Yo Brennan, we share one of the worst records in the NBA right now. If we keep this up, we might have a chance at the #1 pick. Who's the best fit for our team?
Eamonn Brennan (4:00 PM)
I'm not always good with this, because I'm the kind of guy who thinks of drafting in the NBA the same way I do on NBA2k11. (I.e., my guys are going to keep getting better, so I have to draft to fill a need no matter what.) So if you're the Clippers, do you draft a top flight point guard, even though you've got the shell of Baron Davis and a promising young player in Eric Bledsoe? Is Irving/Walker/whoever that much better than what you have on the floor? Or do you go with need, which, assuming Kaman is healthy, would be a small forward type?
Eamonn Brennan (4:01 PM)
(And in case you guys were wondering, yes, I love me some NBA, too.)
LeBron James (Miami)
My boy, Jared Sullinger, has been tearing it up so far at OSU. Is he the real deal?
Eamonn Brennan (4:02 PM)
Speaking of NBA, it's LeBron! Hey, LeBron! How are the talents doing? Yes, Sullinger is the "real deal," if by "real deal" you mean he's a dominant interior forward in the college game. Because he is.
Nathan (Portland, OR)
Should the Pac-10 be worried that other conferences like the Moutain West is starting to perform better then them recently and it continues...
Eamonn Brennan (4:04 PM)
Worried how? From a pure, on-court competitive standpoint, sure, I guess it's not great to see that "mid-major" conferences like the MWC are lapping you. But we know where the football money is, and football money rules in college sports even if we like to pretend otherwise. Plus, college hoops conference strength goes in cycles, and this just happens to be a down cycle for the Pac-10. Similar to the ACC this season. It happens. I wouldn't worry too much.
John Stockton (Utah)
Jimmer Fredette won't run the point in the NBA, but he's going to be a heck of a shooting guard!
Eamonn Brennan (4:05 PM)
There you go, folks. Heard it here -- and from an NBA legend himself -- first.
All this talk about Selby and Kantor but nothing on Tony Mitchell? Have you heard anything?
Eamonn Brennan (4:06 PM)
Nope. No one has, and that includes Missouri coach Mike Anderson. (Unless there's some behind-the-scenes stuff Anderson isn't sharing, which is pretty doubtful given the way the NCAA handles these eligibility cases. Missouri is still waiting, and so are we.
Bob (Worcester. MA)
Happy Holidays to all! I have a friend who's head is slightly smaller than your that I have to get a Duke hat for, would a size 9 & 3/4 be about right?
Eamonn Brennan (4:09 PM)
Better play it safe and go with the 10. Can't be too careful when large craniums come into play. I would know. (And for what it's worth, everyone keeps telling me I need to change my headshot because it makes my head look way bigger than it is. Maybe my head isn't that big after all, you guys! OK, yeah, it probably is.)
Rickey Henderson (Hall of Fame)
Eamonn Brennan you are great, but Rickey think that Tom is the greatest Brennan of all-time
Eamonn Brennan (4:09 PM)
Thanks for that, Rickey. Eamonn think Rickey pretty great, too.
Stacey King (Chicago)
Eamonn, who is your favorite play by play announcer for college basketball?
Eamonn Brennan (4:11 PM)
With the caveat that play-by-play announcers in general amaze me with their ability to sound totally natural and composed during otherwise hectic affairs (I can't even write during a good college basketball game, let alone cogently discuss it) I have to say I love me some Gus Johnson. Who doesn't? Dan Schulman, Sean McDonough, and Ian Eagle are all fantastic as well.
Nolan (Racine, WI)
This may sound off but would you put Steve Donahue in your top 10 coaches in college basketball?
Eamonn Brennan (4:12 PM)
Uh, yeah, you're right. That does sound off. Not that Donahue isn't a good coach, but, you know, give the guy some time, right?
Phillip Smith II (Chicago)
I bet a friend of mine a large sum of money that Indiana would have a better conference record than Northwestern. What do you think about my chances?
Eamonn Brennan (4:13 PM)
I think you must not like your money very much. Or that you bet with your heart and not with your head. I hope you weren't wagering on Indiana football this season, too.
What is Bill Selfs reasoning on not letting his players wear headbands? Tyshawn Taylor asked to wear last year and coach didn't like that idea and now Josh Selby who has always worn one said he's not going to. I know this is really picky ,but do you know why coach Self will not let the players wear one?
Eamonn Brennan (4:17 PM)
I quickly Googled around to see if I could find any concrete reasoning, and the best I can come up with is that Self has a thing where his players don't wear headbands. It's not completely unheard of: Plenty of coaches like their players to conform to a specific dress code, whether that's by wearing team shoes, or a certain length of socks, or whatever. My high school's coach forbid headbands, too. I'm not sure there are good reasons for that sort of ban beyond "I said no headbands, because it's my team, so no headbands." If you're a player, you're probably better off letting it go.
Eamonn, speaking of Gus Johnson, I just got Madden 11, after not getting it for a few years, and come to find out Gus Johnson is the voice of Madden! Best thing to happen to a video game since its creation
Eamonn Brennan (4:17 PM)
Yeah, it's pretty great. If only Madden 11 was as fun as Fifa or NBA2k, I'd have played it for longer than two days before letting it collect dust. Bad purchase.
Is there a way DePaul ever gets competitive in the Big East?
Eamonn Brennan (4:20 PM)
Let's define "competitive" as: Capable of a plus-.500 record in conference play. In that sense, yes, I think DePaul can be competitive. It's a matter of landing one or two key recruits from the Chicago area. Oliver Purnell has been canvassing Chicago since he landed here in March. He has to build an environment in which talented Chicago kids think about DePaul when they think about college basketball. Not all of them need to commit, but it needs to be top of mind. Land one or two, other recruits start seeing it as a viable option, and then you're off to the program-building races. It's a lot, LOT easier said than done, but it can happen.
Kemba Walker (CT)
You think I can carry Alex Oriakhi and 3 freshman to a final 4?
Eamonn Brennan (4:21 PM)
I don't, no. UConn will have to find you some legitimate help if you have your sights set on an appearance in Houston.
Christopher Hanley (new york)
How bout the providence friars this year with breakout seasons from Brooks and Council. Any thoughts on 10-6 in the big east and first birth in the dance since 2004?
Eamonn Brennan (4:22 PM)
I'm not buying the Friars at all yet. That non-conference schedule is just too ugly -- and the Friars have losses to La Salle and Boston College mixed in with a Rhode Island win and nothing else -- for me to jump on the Providence bandwagon. Check back in late January.
Do you think Kyle Singler will be a good NBA player?
Eamonn Brennan (4:24 PM)
I think he will be a solid-to-marginal NBA player. If he can become a legitimate knockdown shooter, there's no reason why someone with his size can't play in the NBA forever. (See: Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush, any other sizable small forward with outside touch.) But I don't think Singler's a future NBA All-Star, if that's what you're asking.
What is wrong with the Zags? Was Matt Bouldin that important?
Eamonn Brennan (4:26 PM)
Bouldin was important, but not as important as Elias Harris, and this year we haven't seen anything remotely resembling the Harris that broke out for the Zags last season. Harris has been hampered by nagging injuries, so he could still turn it around, but I think you put the crux of Gonzaga's early issues on his flagging play thus far.
Herbert (Asheville, NC)
I always seem to get Don Chaney and Lon Chaney confused. Which one played Wolfman?
Eamonn Brennan (4:28 PM)
That would be Lon. And yes, I used Google, because I was born in 1985 and had no idea what you were talking about. I also have no idea why this question was asked, but I couldn't NOT post it, right?
Jimmer Fredette will be a nba point guard, no reason he cant be a stephen curry kind of a play, future allstar
Eamonn Brennan (4:30 PM)
Definitely ambitious, but I have no major issues with this prediction.
Will MSU be able to get back to top form. Better yet will there big men be able to stop other forces in the big ten?
Eamonn Brennan (4:31 PM)
I'm sure there will be much more wailing and gnashing of teeth in East Lansing before it finally happens, but yes, I do think Michigan State will eventually be the Final Four-level team we all pegged them as to begin the season. As for their post players, they'll have issues with some of the stronger players in the Big Ten -- I'm thinking Sullinger, Mbakwe, and JaJuan Johnson -- but Izzo has a lot of depth on the bench to use in tough interior defensive situations.
Think Drexel will get into the tourney and do they have the chance to get into the top 25?
Eamonn Brennan (4:34 PM)
Far too early to answer this. Winning at Louisville is nice, but it doesn't make you top 25, and it doesn't mean you're going to beat out VCU and ODU for the Colonial's top spot (or do enough to earn an at-large bid on your own). Wednesday's game at Syracuse will tell us much more about Bruiser Flint's squad and whether they're a real-deal force to be reckoned with or if this year will look far too much (big early wins followed by a fade down the stretch) like last season.
Is Cleveland St for real? And do you think they will knock off West Virginia?
Eamonn Brennan (4:35 PM)
You've got your questions in the wrong order. If Cleveland State knocks off West Virginia, then we can start talking about them as "for real." Whatever happens Saturday, I think the Vikings have a chance to pressure Butler in the Horizon League this season. Whether they're the "new Butler," as we pundit types are so fond of saying, is another matter entirely.
Can bc make it to the big dance this year after their great 8-2 start?
Eamonn Brennan (4:37 PM)
Uh, sure! BC has looked much improved. Maybe the most important thing is their conference's apparently weak non-Duke lineup. That might hurt a few ACC teams with marginal NCAA tournament resumes come March, but it also might help a team like BC, who in a normal ACC year wouldn't crack the conference's top four or five teams. That appears to be in reach this season, and a tourney big could result.
From what you have seen from Richmond so far this year, do the Spiders look like a team that can get to the second weekend of the tourney in March?
Eamonn Brennan (4:38 PM)
Oh, absolutely. I was incredibly impressed by Richmond in their win over Purdue at the Chicago Invitational. Kevin Anderson is a game-changer, especially in a tournament setting, because he's a one-man scorer, distributor, and pressbreaker, and that takes so much pressure off the rest of the Spiders during crunch time. Scary first-round team, those Spiders.
Are you going for a Bill Simmons record? How stupid is the SEC/Big East "challenge"
Eamonn Brennan (4:39 PM)
No, definitely not going for the record today. Besides, I chatted for 25 hours straight during the tip-off marathon, and if that doesn't get me into some sort of ESPN.com record book, then the record book is as tainted as Major League Baseball's. (Oooh! Barry Bonds slam! Bet you didn't see that one coming!)
Eamonn Brennan (4:40 PM)
And how stupid is the SEC/Big East Challenge? Eh. It is what it is. There's no ideal format for two conferences with such lopsided quantities, but if it gets fans interested and produces some more good true road non-conference games, what's wrong with that?
Nick (Albany NY)
Where do you see some of the middle of the pack teams in the Big East falling this year, specifically SJU, Cincy, and Providence? Can you see them making a run at Notre Dame and Louisville for a better postseason position?
Eamonn Brennan (4:43 PM)
St. John's, no. This is the same team as in 2009-10, and that team wasn't very good. Providence? Answered above, but yeah, still not buying at all. The Friars need to beat someone first. Undefeated Cincinnati is a more intriguing possibility, but it's not like the Bearcats have any particularly impressive wins, either. Until they notch a few, Notre Dame and Louisville are clearly a step above that group.
St. Paul (St. Paul, MN)
Sneaky good one-on-one battle within a game will be on Jan 4 and Feb 6. Trevor Mbakwe vs Jared Sullinger. I'll buy Sullinger as a stud if he can deal with Mbakwe's strength and length. Mbakwe is like Dwight Howard 2.0!!
Eamonn Brennan (4:44 PM)
Now that's an ambitious comparison. (Have you seen Dwight Howard, St. Paul?) Anyway, the point stands; that's a great match up and a circle-worthy date even for non-Minnesota/OSU fans.
Herbert (Asheville, NC)
Tomfoolery aside, does the NCAA feel any sort of urgency to adress possible revision to its recruiting regulations, limits on phone calls for instance, and, on a larger scale, its concept of amateurism? (Just read Gasaway's excerpt.) Or, if you prefer, I can ask another Lon Chaney question. I have several.
Eamonn Brennan (4:49 PM)
Herbert is referring to this piece by Basketball Prospectus editor and ESPN.com Insider extraordinaire John Gasaway. It's from this year's College Basketball Prospectus (which you should totally buy and read), and it's quite good: http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1343.
Eamonn Brennan (4:49 PM)
To answer your question, I think the answer is yes, the NCAA is feeling something resembling urgency on a lot of this stuff. The Cam Newton decision has caused a wide-scale reappraisal of recruiting restrictions in many ways; NCAA president Mark Emmert admitted as much this week.
Eamonn Brennan (4:50 PM)
The phone call rules are bound to go by the wayside, because phone calls and text messages vs. Skype calls and email and Facebook message and Twitter and just-think-of-all-the-ways-we-communicate-these-days-etc. is just much too difficult to tease out in the way the NCAA has attempted thus far. (Which has been to differentiate between forms of communication: e-mail and Facebook messages are unlimited; text messaging is prohibited; phone calls are limited.) I don't think that model works anymore.
Eamonn Brennan (4:51 PM)
As for the NCAA's concept of amateurism? No sir. That's going to stay the same as long as you and I are alive, it seems. That's an admirable, if unrealistic, position, but it's the one the NCAA is going to continue to live by in perpetuity.
Eamonn Brennan (4:52 PM)
All right, well, this seems as good a time to end as any. I apologize if I didn't get to your questions, except to those of you who keep posting your questions over and over again, as if a) no one has ever tried that method before, and b) that won't make me more likely to completely ignore you. Because it will.
Eamonn Brennan (4:53 PM)
And still, I love you all. Thanks for the questions and comments, and be sure to check back tomorrow, as I'll be live-chatting for most of the afternoon during Saturday's best hoops action. Join me, and we'll do this all over again. Peace, peeps.