Chat with Pat Forde
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com columnist Pat Forde stops by to chat some college basketball.
Among other things, Forde covers college football and basketball for ESPN and ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Forde Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET!
Pat Forde (1:31 PM)
Howdy everyone, thanks for dropping by 30 minutes earlier. You can almost feel March Madness in the air, but first we have another 11 days of February Frenzy. And that's not a bad thing. Let's get to the questions.
We all know about Big East domination, but who is better ACC or SEC?
Pat Forde (1:33 PM)
Brandon: I'll take the ACC. So will Jeff Sagarin and Ken Pomeroy. Duke and North Carolina both look better than anyone in the SEC, and even though the rest of the ACC is uninspiring I believe it's at least solid. There is a ton of bad basketball in the SEC West.
JP (El Paso)
Pat--With UTEP losing last night to Southern Miss, what has to happen for them to make the tourney? Win out? Is CUSA a 2 bid league like last year?
Pat Forde (1:34 PM)
JP: Damaging loss for the Miners. Think UTEP must win the CUSA tourney now, and I'm not sure that's a two-bid league.
If you had to pick two teams out of the top ten with the best defenses, which teams would you select? And shouldn't those teams be favorites to at least reach the Final Four?
Pat Forde (1:35 PM)
David: I'd say Florida State and Alabama, and just typing those names is an indication that great defense is not enough to get a team to the Final Four. Gotta be able to score. FSU is really cooked, given the injury to Chris Singleton. And Alabama is overachieving just to be on the fringe of the Top 25.
Who are your most underrated and overrated coaches for this season?
Pat Forde (1:37 PM)
Ryan: Not sure this is the same as underrated and overrated, but the guy doing the best job might be Mike Brey at Notre Dame, and the guy doing the worst job is undoubtedly Rick Stansbury at Mississippi State.
You misread my question...which two teams in the TOP TEN have the best defenses.....
Pat Forde (1:38 PM)
OK, you said "out of the top 10" and now "in the top 10." So we'll go with IN the top 10. To which I'd probably answer Texas and Duke.
Did Bo Ryan take the right approach by saying "Deal with It" in relation to Jared Sullinger perhaps getting spit on by Wisconsin fans? Wasn't there a better approach or better words and would the reaction be the same if a student-athlete was punched or stomped on during a court rush?
Pat Forde (1:39 PM)
Stephanie: I did not think that was the right approach, no. Bo seemed to be rather strongly implying that he didn't believe Sullinger and thought the young man was making excuses or changing the subject. I thought it was a poor response by Bo.
BYU hasn't performed with success in the tourney since Danny Ainge played (back before Jerry Sloan started coaching the Jazz). How far can the Jimmer carry them this year? Since they'll probably be a 2 seed, I'd imagine at least Sweet 16. Could they go further?
Pat Forde (1:41 PM)
Alex: If they're a 2 seed they'd better at least make the Sweet Sixteen or it would be a major disappointment. I'm not necessarily sold on BYU as a Final Four team, but it's a watered-down year and strange things happen in the tournament. It's a good thing going in to have a star who can carry a team if necessary -- but how far he carries BYU, I don't know.
How critical is the Richmond game tonight at Temple? Win and in for the Spiders? If they don't are their at large chances done?
Pat Forde (1:43 PM)
Jim: A win would be huge, very nice to pair with beating Purdue on a neutral court. Might be enough to get in. A loss isn't fatal, but Richmond would probably need to win out in the regular season and win at least two in the A-10 tournament. No bad losses allowed at this point.
Jackson (West Lafayette, IN)
I expect Purdue to win on Sunday. What are your thoughts?
Pat Forde (1:44 PM)
Jackson: I don't see it. Not after watching Ohio State demolish the Boilers in Columbus. Big turnarounds happen (see Kansas vs. K State), but they're the exception more than the rule.
Was Georgia's loss to Vanderbilt a bubble buster?
Pat Forde (1:46 PM)
Vinnie: It sure hurt. Puts the pressure on now to win one of three very difficult road games -- at Tennessee, at Florida or at Alabama. Win one of those three, protect home court, get one game in the SEC and I bet Georgia is in.
Who do you have this Saturday? Utah St or St. Marys?
Pat Forde (1:48 PM)
Tony: I had Saint Mary's ... until last night's fiasco against San Diego. Maybe the Gaels have renewed vigor to face the Aggies, because their solid at-large footing now looks a bit slippery.
What are your thoughts about the Pac 10? Should Sean Miller get serious consideration for COY and D WIlliams as player of the year?
Pat Forde (1:49 PM)
Rob: Bad league with a great player (Williams), a very good coach (Miller) and a good team (Arizona). Not crazy about the rest of it. As of now, Zona should win POY and COY awards for the league.
Despite being the dean of SEC basketball, Billy D has never won SEC Coach of the Year... Is this the year he breaks the schneid? Bonus Question - What are realistic expectations for UF in the Tourney?
Pat Forde (1:52 PM)
Groundhog: COY has to be either Billy or his former assistant, Anthony Grant. Nobody else need apply. As far as tourney expectations: Could easily be a Sweet Sixteen team. More than that might be asking too much.
Lets talk Butler. Are they going to make it to the NCAA's? As an at-large or automatic qualifier? Thoughts?
Pat Forde (1:52 PM)
Kyle: I still have a feeling Butler wins the Horizon tourney. And it better, because otherwise it will be tense times on Selection Sunday.
Should the CAA get two bids? And how far could you see ODU/GMU go in the tourney?
Pat Forde (1:54 PM)
Matt: Think there's a chance, but if GMU wins the league tourney it will be dicey. I think GMU is close to locking up an at-large, so if anyone else wins the tournament then it's two bids.
can unc be a team that can scare people in the tourney, how far do you see that going
Pat Forde (1:55 PM)
David: Carolina looks like a very scary tournament team to me. Playing much better now, undeniable talent, size, athleticism, and getting very good PG play from Kendall Marshall. I expect the Heels to beat Duke in the rematch in Chapel Hill and perhaps give us a good rubber game in the ACC tourney.
VT, can they get hot enough to make a final four run?
Pat Forde (1:57 PM)
Adam: Slow your roll. Let's make sure VT gets in the Dance first. I expect that the Hokies will, but things have a way of getting interesting with Seth's boys.
If you know Bo Ryan, I think he was mostly just trying to say "it's over and done with, let's move on to the next game."
Pat Forde (1:58 PM)
Nick: I respectfully disagree.
What does psycho B have to do to win Big East POTY? Is it just going to come down to whether ND, UCONN (Kemba) or GTOWN (Freeman) finishes stronger as a team?
Pat Forde (1:59 PM)
Tim: Good question. Kemba was awfully big last night in an awfully big game -- going to be tough to dislodge him at this point. But if ND finishes alone in second or even makes a run at first, Hansbrough will get some support. He's had a phenomenal year of improvement.
Which conference tournaments (2 or 3) are you looking forward to the most?
Pat Forde (2:01 PM)
Sean: Big East should again be awesome -- the quarterfinals in that league are as good as it gets. ACC and Big Ten have both elite teams and a fair amount of bubble drama. Also like the possibility of more Texas-Kansas and SDSU-BYU, plus the Colonial semis.
does roy williams get consideration for coach of the year honors, for making such a yong team play unc style basketball
Pat Forde (2:01 PM)
David: Not on my ballot. Carolina is about where I expected it to be -- and it took a while getting there.
Not to make this about spitgate, but I still don't understand how the media just believes Sullinger's tweet. How does he get spit on before the game, and why does he wait until well after the game to announce it to the world via twitter? An 18 year old bitter after a loss....wouldn't be the first time. I think it was more in response to the unkind chants directed at Diebler.
Pat Forde (2:03 PM)
Noah: If you read my column after the game -- and my mention of it again Tuesday -- you'll see that I used the terms "alleged" and "if true." I don't know of any media outlets who have declared it as truth. So I'd go re-read some things if I were you.
How impressed are you with the job Chris Mack has done this year with the Musketeers? The team is hitting its annual February stride and could be playing inh its 4th straight sweet 16 next month...thoughts?
Pat Forde (2:03 PM)
Matt: He's done a fantastic job. I don't know if Xavier is a Sweet 16 team, but Mack has done superb work.
Here's a curveball: Who's your all american DEFENESIVE team of the year? Pg to center
Pat Forde (2:06 PM)
Chris: I like the question, but I don't know that I can do a rock-solid five right now. A few guys who stand out: Chris Singleton, David Lighty, most everyone at Pittsburgh ... Tristan Thompson is excellent for a freshman.
Andrew (Provo, UT)
Other than BYU and SDSU, what team in the MWC is going dancing?
Pat Forde (2:07 PM)
Andrew: UNLV has best chance, but needs to avoid stumbling. Colorado State and New Mexico need a miracle.
Pat, I tend to look at what happened to KU on Monday and feel it was a perfect setup (#1 ranking, road game, desperate team, etc), yet even at 24-2 KU may have some serious issues. Break it down por favor.
Pat Forde (2:09 PM)
Mike: I agree on both counts. Trap game, but still have some concerns about Kansas. Jayhawks might be overly emotional -- too many guys who easily get upset, get angry, get lackadaisical. And the ability to create off the dribble from the perimeter is an issue as well, with Selby's struggles.
What are your top 5 freshman so far this season?
Pat Forde (2:11 PM)
Chris: Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, Tristan Thompson, maybe Harrison Barnes after a slow start.
Tony (Wilmington, MA)
Given their recent slide, where do you see Nova (8-5) ending up in the Big East? (@ DePaul, Cuse, St Johns, @ ND, @ Pitt) And how far will they go in the tourney?
Pat Forde (2:14 PM)
Tony: Nova has been a bit disappointing lately. Some banged up players probably account for some of it, but I'm expecting a bit more. I see Nova winning three of the last five, then we'll see what happens in NYC and what the draw looks like for the Big Dance.
Pat, thanks for always producing high quality material. Who do you see taking SEC POY? Also, do you see any SEC team making it past the sweet 16?
Pat Forde (2:17 PM)
Grant: I was discussing that very question with Jay Williams off-air at the Experts on Tuesday ... and we were pretty much at a loss. John Jenkins, Terrence Jones, JaMychal Green ... Chandler Parsons? Guess we have to see the final couple weeks play out before making that tough call. As for past the Sweet 16: Kentucky has the talent, but so far not the maturity. Florida maybe, but needs smart guard play and to involve its big men more productively.
Spencer (Owensboro KY)
Hey Pat, one of the following teams WILL be in the Final Four: North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Indiana. I consider them the Big Six, in terms of basketball tradition. Since 1986, at least one of those teams has made the Final Four every year. Just sayin'.
Pat Forde (2:18 PM)
Spencer: I don't have time to check your stat work, so I'll take your word for it. Nice job. I'm pretty sure Indiana won't be making it, so that cuts it down.
What do you think is wrong with Michigan State? Will they even make the tournament?
Pat Forde (2:19 PM)
Chad: More upheaval than usual for an Izzo team -- Chris Smith, Korie Lucious, seems clear that there are some issues with Durrell Summers. Even Izzo himself and his dalliance with the Cavaliers may be a factor, if he has non-buyer's remorse about staying. This team is lacking on the interior offensively and has not rebounded and defended like typical MSU teams. That said: beat Purdue Feb 26, and there's still a shot.
You said earlier your top 2 defensive teams in the top ten were Duke and Texas. You also said when asked who would be on your all american defensive team, you responded almost anyone from Pittsburgh. Do you still feel that Duke and Texas are better defensive teams then Pittsburgh?
Pat Forde (2:20 PM)
Luke: Yes I do.
DAVID (North Carolina)
how well do you think cuse will do in ncaa tourny? you think they can make a run??
Pat Forde (2:22 PM)
David: Cuse is not looking great these days. Zone nowhere near at vintage quality. Rick Jackson needs more help inside. Triche coming on, so that will help. But still something missing.
What do you think of Aaron Craft. Is he a elite PG ?
Pat Forde (2:23 PM)
Chris: Yes, I believe he is. Or will be. Loved his defense all year -- until Jordan Taylor blew him up. Jay Williams pointed out that Craft seemed to get stuck on every screen in that game, so he probably needs to work on that part of his game -- or it could be that he's wearing down, because one of the telltale signs of fatigue is slowing down fighting through screens.
Josh (Champaign IL)
How far does Illinois have to go for Bruce Weber to stay on as coach?
Pat Forde (2:24 PM)
Josh: If Ron Zook is safe, Bruce Weber should be safer. Period.
Mike Brey (South Bend)
Why do we never get mentioned as a potential final four team? Don't we most of the tools to succeed in the tourney: Solid guard play, senior leadership, and we actually play defense this year. Why no love?
Pat Forde (2:24 PM)
Mike: You must have missed my column from last week after the Louisville game. I suggest reading it.
Cincinnati's win vs Louisville last night definitely helped their at- large chances, but what do you think they need to do in their final 5 games and in the Big East tourney to get a spot in the field for the first time since 2005?
Pat Forde (2:27 PM)
Ryan: Biiig win for the Bearcats, but none of the five remaining are easy. Cannot afford to go 1-4 down the stretch. If they get to 8-8, with wins over Xavier and Louisville and probably one other quality team in the regular season, that MAY be enough. But best reach the Big East quarters to make sure.
Charles (San Diego)
The Big Ten will definately get __ teams in the tourament. They could get __ depending on how the final few games go?
Pat Forde (2:28 PM)
Charles: I'd say the only definites right now are Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin. I expect at least two more to get in, but nobody should feel too secure right now. That tourney could be full of bubble drama.
Tom D. (Houston, TX)
Guess for the #1 seeds?
Pat Forde (2:29 PM)
Tom: Texas, Ohio State, Pitt and let's say Duke.
Pat Forde (2:29 PM)
OK folks, thanks for the voluminous, high-quality questions. Good work today. Stay in your defensive stance, don't reach, box out, make the extra pass and I'll see you all next week.