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 2 p.m. ET!
Eamonn Brennan (2:02 PM)
Happy chatty Friday, everyone. Let's leave it all on the floor.
Mike (Lexington, Ky)
After having scored lower level tickets for the UK-UNC game tomorrow how can I get to sleep tonight? I was thinking about counting blocks.
Eamonn Brennan (2:03 PM)
That may be your best bet. That or the liberal ingestion of sleeping aids. It's like Christmas. You'll be up at 6 a.m. reading previews and scouting reports like the kid who wants to open "just one present" before his siblings rise. I empathize, believe me.
I know Sparty probably wont win the National Championship or even make the Final Four this year, but know I see why Tom Izzo loves this team so much. This team reminds me of the early 2000 teams that were tough, played defense, rebounded and with heart.
Eamonn Brennan (2:06 PM)
Yep. The biggest improvement this team has made -- and it has been quick and comprehensive -- is on the defensive end. The Spartans are ranked No. 4 in adjusted defensive efficiency this season and No. 8 in opponents' offensive rebounding percentage. Those are two things Michigan State did not do well in recent years, in large part thanks to personnel, but Izzo's new guys (forward Adreian Payne and guard Keith Appling especially) are both much better rebounders and defenders than anyone the Spartans had in the lineup last season. That attitude was missing from recent teams, even those that found March success, and especially from last year's disappointing group. Michigan State may not always be pretty to watch this year, but they have re-adopted that Izzoian attitude. Spartans fans should be thrilled.
Is Aaron Craft in the discussion for best pure point guard in America?
Eamonn Brennan (2:08 PM)
If he keeps up his sudden offensive improvement, then yes, he is. The main reason: His defense. I don't think there's a better defensive point guard or perimeter player in the country, honestly. Craft is a huge factor on that end of the floor. And he appears to be developing into far more than mere game manager on offense, too.
Is there a reason why there have been no headlining article(s) on ESPN stating that the Big Ten won the Challenge this week? It was shouted from the hilltops every year that the ACC was the best when they dominated for a decade.
Eamonn Brennan (2:10 PM)
That's probably a fair criticism, and I probably should have written a Big Ten-focused recap of the proceedings, but honestly, I think it would have been a little bit redundant. Everyone knows the Big Ten is much better than the ACC this year. Right now, top-to-bottom, it's the best conference in the country. Shouting it from the rooftops feels a little bit unnecessary. Is there anyone who doesn't know this already?
Eamonn, I've been saying for months UCONN is highly overrated. Everyone seems to forget this is a team who went 9-9 IN CONFERENCE last year, and lost their best player. And they have looked really unimpressive thus far this season. They won't get a 1 seed or make the elite 8. You heard it here first.
Eamonn Brennan (2:12 PM)
I hear you on the conference record and loss of Kemba Walker, and I do think Walker's absence is the biggest problem for Connecticut right now -- there isn't a clear vocal leader on that team (aside from the Hall of Fame coach on the sideline, that is). So sure, UConn may struggle a little bit. They certainly have already. But this team has so much talent that it's hard to write them off this way so early in the season. Give them time. I think they'll figure it out.
Does Purdue have a chance this weekend @Xavier?
Eamonn Brennan (2:14 PM)
Sure. It's going to be tough, particularly because I don't think Purdue has bigs that match up well with the likes of Kenny Frease, and it's going to be difficult for Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith (and Purdue's backup guards) to contain Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons at the same time. They may stop one, but both is a challenge. That said, Purdue is an efficient offensive team, and Robbie Hummel creates a lot of mismatch problems with his ability to play outside-in on the perimeter (and the freedom he gets to float in space on the offensive end). Xavier should be the favorite, but Purdue has a shot, sure.
Eamonn, is Scott Machado of Iona an "elite" level PG? He's averaging 18ppg and 12 apg so far.
Eamonn Brennan (2:15 PM)
Yes. Machado has been fantastic thus far; he's in the discussion as the best point guard in the country and one that will get a lot of attention from NBA scouts gong forward.
so what's more critical to determining the outcome of the Syracuse-Florida game? the battle between Patric Young and Fab Melo in the frontcourt, or the battle between all those talented guards in the backcourt?
Eamonn Brennan (2:16 PM)
I think it's the guards. Florida is at a disadvantage on the low block; Young will battle, but Syracuse has so much athleticism and strength in the post that he'll occasionally be overmatched by the numbers. If Florida wants to win, those guards are going to have to score over and within Syracuse's 2-3 zone. If they can shoot over Syracuse efficiently enough to extend the zone, then I think they can score with the Orangemen. But it will be an uphill battle.
Which is more difficult and prestigious...to have an undefeated championship season in college basketball or the NFL?
Eamonn Brennan (2:18 PM)
Hmmm. Can we call it a tie? Accomplishing such a feat in college hoops is nigh-impossible, which is why I was tempted to lean that way -- it's just so incredibly difficult to win so many games when even the most talented teams face such a deep and competitive array of players twice a week. But the NFL is as parity-driven as any major sport in America, and when you consider how frequently teams go from worst-to-first and vice versa, what the Packers are doing this season is really quite remarkable.
Do you think that Syracuse has what it takes to beat Florida tonight with all that is going on? Do you think that Boeheim should still be the head coach
Eamonn Brennan (2:19 PM)
I don't think the off-court distractions will affect Syracuse much, honestly. They haven't seemed to yet, anyway.
Eamonn Brennan (2:22 PM)
As for Boeheim, my stance is in line with what seems to be the consensus: He should have been far more careful with his comments defending Bernie Fine and accusing Bobby Davis of pursuing this story for financial reasons. That was incredibly insensitive, and I can understand why victims of child abuse and the organizations that represent them would be so outraged. But I can also understand why Boeheim responded the way he did. He was defending a friend -- at least a friend he thought he knew. I don't think his comments were a fireable offense. And unless Boeheim knew something we're not yet aware of -- and again, let's give this thing some time -- he doesn't deserve to lose his job.
I know it early but it's refreshing to see my Hoyas as young as they are handle themselves in games against Kansas, Memphis & Bama
Eamonn Brennan (2:25 PM)
If I had could write a paperback edition of my disappointments/surprises column (http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/7301821/a-look-back-november-college-basketball), I think Georgetown might get the nod for most surprising team in the country. The Hoyas were largely written off as rebuilding this season, but they've looked very good in every game they've played this season. A win at Alabama is no easy feat. Really impressive stuff.
I know conference play will be difficult, but this is the best Northwestern has looked in ages, right?
Eamonn Brennan (2:28 PM)
Agreed. John Schurna is off to a rollicking start -- 21.8 points, 6.5 rebounds,2.3 assists, a block and two steals a game while shooting around 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. In the meantime, the Wildcats are off to an undefeated start. The competition hasn't been great, and we'll learn a lot about whether this team can get over the hump against more athletic and talented squads when Baylor comes to town Sunday, but as of now it's fair to praise NU for what it's done so far. Let the inexorable tournament bid speculation begin!
Brandon Knight was the go-to guy for UK last year. Who is that guy this year?
Eamonn Brennan (2:29 PM)
I think it has to be Doron Lamb. That seems a little strange with all that talent there -- and I think you can make an argument that Terrence Jones is the man for the job -- but when I think "go-to guy," I think of a guy that can hit a big shot with confidence in the closing moments of a game. That's Lamb.
Dusty (St. Louis)
Why are you writing so many short novels for answers today?
Eamonn Brennan (2:30 PM)
Because I'm trying to deliver an attractive value proposition to my chatters. Put another way: I stay on my grind.
Eamonn Brennan (2:31 PM)
I devote my future battles with carpal tunnel syndrome to you guys. You're welcome.
Tom (Stratford, CT)
Can Marquette win at Wisconsin? Seems that if the Badgers keep it mired in a half court slogfest, it will be tough for the Golden Eagles. What do you think?
Eamonn Brennan (2:33 PM)
It's almost impossible to beat Wisconsin in the Kohl Center, and if UNC can't speed up the Badgers in Chapel Hill, the chances of the Eagles doing so in Madison seem nonexistent. The best bet is hoping for a low-turnover, efficient offensive game, while pressing and hassling Wisconsin out to 30 feet as much as possible.
Do you wear a member's only jacket when accessing the detailed statistics on Ken Pomeroy's site? Because I do. My grandma even ironed a basketball patch on the sleeve. It's pretty sweet.
Eamonn Brennan (2:34 PM)
I think you just gave Ken a tremendous promotional idea. Sort of like when ESPN used to give you a logo fleece for subscribing to the magazine.
Eamonn Brennan (2:35 PM)
In the meantime, John Gasaway needs to sell t-shirts that say "Rebound Margin Must Die." Plain white with a unicorn on the front. Swag.
Let's talk Missouri Valley. Is a multi-bid year possible? And how about that Doug McDermott?
Eamonn Brennan (2:37 PM)
McDermott is quietly putting himself in position to get looks for national player of the year awards. He's been brilliant. As for the MVC, I think Creighton, UNI, Wichita State and Indiana State have all looked like they'll be in the at-large mix in time for BracketBusters. Following league play in the Valley should be a lot of fun this season.
What is going on with Villanova? Is it possibly something Jay Wright is doing? Seems like they have the talent, just aren't putting it together.
Eamonn Brennan (2:39 PM)
It's defense. The Wildcats can score, but they get no pressure on ballhandlers -- they're ranked No. 305 in the nation in opponents' turnover rate and they're in the middle of the pack in opponents eFG%. Until they decide the guard someone, they're going to excel at times and struggle at others.
With the Big Ten looking so strong, how many tourney teams do you predict? I can count 8: OSU, Wisconsin, MSU, Purdue, Michigan, Indiana, Northwestern, and Illinois. Could that be possible?
Eamonn Brennan (2:42 PM)
It's definitely possible. All of those teams have looked good so far this season, and with a few more nonconference wins spread around the group the Big Ten shouldn't take too much of a chunk out of any of the marginal inclusions like Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern or Illinois. Plus, with an expanded tourney, a down ACC and a down Big East, there are more bids out there than usual.
Dusty (St. Louis)
If the Morri had stayed at Kansas instead of declaring for the draft, would KU be ranked #1 right now?
Eamonn Brennan (2:43 PM)
Maybe not No. 1, but they'd be among that elite group. I was thinking -- well, where would Thomas Robinson play? Problem solved: Put Robinson at center, Markieff at power forward, and Marcus as an oversized three. Marcus had those face-up and deep shooting skills (though the three in Self's system typically requires more of a guard type) and man, that starting lineup just absolutely shred the glass.
What are your thoughts on the start to Indiana's season?
Eamonn Brennan (2:46 PM)
I have to say, I'm impressed. I'm still curious as to how good this NC State win really is -- I need to see the Wolfpack a few more times to figure them out. But Indiana's ability to withstand pressure on the road and come out with a win in a tough environment is something that program hasn't had in three years. Their only other true road win in the Crean era came in November at Evansville. That's a significant milestone for a team that has struggled so mightily in recent years. They're playing with confidence, and they'll be a very tough out at home. Promising stuff.
Anthony Davis, Jr (UK)
Eamonn Brennan (2:47 PM)
Last month during Kansas-Kentucky, I was thinking of politely tweeting that the brow needed to go. But the more I hear UK fans lay claim to it (and wear t-shirts in its praise), the more I think Davis should just own it. Make it a trademark, even. It certainly is distinctive. Ahem.
Can I get some love for Oregon State hoops? We're a last second shot from being undefeated
Eamonn Brennan (2:48 PM)
Along with Stanford, the surprise early-season team of the Pac-12. Craig Robinson has really struggled there, but things seem to finally be on solid footing going forward. Consider the love granted.
Scandal aside, SU has impressed me so far this season. I know after tonight's game you will be able to answer this question slightly easier, but as a pre-game prediction, can the Orange win a national championship?
Eamonn Brennan (2:51 PM)
Yeah, you know, I didn't place Syracuse among that elite title-contender group (UK, UNC, UConn, OSU in some order) to begin the season because I was skeptical of the Triche-Jardine combo in the backcourt. But with Waiters stepping into a guard role so well and all that frontcourt depth and talent, I think the Orange might be in that category. We'll learn a little more tonight.
Eamonn Brennan (2:52 PM)
It's worth noting that this is Syracuse's first real test, and it comes at home against a team that is very good offensively and very mediocre defensively. So it might not be revelatory. But it's something.
Ze Mitero (Cincinnati)
Does Xavier have legit final 4 potential?
Eamonn Brennan (2:52 PM)
Yes. The Musketeers are balanced, they defend and rebound, and they've got one of the best (if not the best) backcourts in the country in Holloway and Lyons. That's a huge boost to the chances of a deep tournament run.
Chris (Erlanger, KY)
Looks like Marquis Teague is starting to figure things out at UK. 18 assists and only 4 turnovers his last 3 games.
Eamonn Brennan (2:54 PM)
The importance of that stat can't be understated. One of the few things that could derail this Kentucky team is scattered, sped-up guard play from Teague, a la the first half against Kansas. If controls himself and picks his spots efficiently, where, exactly, is this team's weakness?
Jeremy H (Minnehopeless)
As a Tarheel fan I think the key to the game tomorrow is going to come down to how well Teague can handle the ball, make smart decisions, and limit his TO's. If he can do that it will be hard for UNC to beat UK @ Rupp....Thoughts?
Eamonn Brennan (2:55 PM)
Great minds, Jeremy and Chris. Great minds.
Craft reminds me of a lot Kramer, ex Purdue PG. You agree?
Eamonn Brennan (2:56 PM)
Absolutely, especially on the defensive end. But it's looking like Craft has developed a bit more offense than Kramer ever had, and he's also the primary ballhandler and offense-initiator (which is a silly new basketball term I just made up, and I love it), which makes him even more valuable to his team.
Does Vandy have a chance tonight without Festus or will there be no party for "the rest of us"
Eamonn Brennan (2:58 PM)
I think Louisville should be the favorite, because Vanderbilt's strengths on offense -- perimeter shooting in particular -- happens to be where Louisville guards best on defense. And without Ezeli, there won't be many (or any) opportunities for second-chance points. The Fest(iv)us celebration may have to be delayed.
What do you think about ODU's coach saying Kentucky isn't a great defensive team?
Eamonn Brennan (2:59 PM)
Considering the Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing just .82 points per trip, I would politely disagree. Strange comments from Blaine Taylor there.
You're playing pick up at a Zeller family picnic. Who are you taking? Cody or Tyler? And how awesome is the potato salad?
Eamonn Brennan (3:01 PM)
Wow. That's tough. I think I might take Tyler right now, if only for the psychological big-brother little-brother advantage that I used to great effect in so many battles with my own younger brother as a child. You can really rattle the younger siblings. But if we're asking who the better college player is right now, I think it's Cody. And I think his ceiling is immeasurably higher.
Eamonn Brennan (3:02 PM)
Also, I hate potato salad. But I will take another one of those homemade brownies.
Eamonn Brennan (3:03 PM)
We're at the hour mark, but there are some good questions rolling in. I'll stick around for a bit. You guys in?
With respect to Saturday's Illinois-Gonzaga outcome, and perhaps Illinois-UNLV outcome, how do you see Illinois matching up against Missouri in their clash?
Eamonn Brennan (3:04 PM)
Illinois has some talent, and Meyers Leonard should give the Tigers some trouble on the boards, but given what we've seen from Missouri so far I find it hard to imagine Illinois holding that team back for 40 minutes.
Always in for more chat. And more brownies.
Eamonn Brennan (3:06 PM)
All of us, each of us.
Chris (Erlanger, KY)
Who on UK guards Harrison Barnes? Lamb???? I see Gilchrist guarding Marshall using his length to disrupt Marshall like Liggins did last year. Teague guarding Strickland. Jones guarding Zeller and Davis guarding Henson.
Eamonn Brennan (3:07 PM)
Hmm. I think you have to put Kidd-Gilchrist on Barnes -- the two know each other's games well, and Gilchrist matches up well in terms of versatility and size. Why not put Teague on Marshall? Teague can be a disruptive defender in his own right. And that way you don't have to rotate Jones over to guard Barnes and can leave him with Zeller instead. Of any UNC player, the one you don't have to worry about much on offense is Dexter Strickland.
Dusty (St. Louis)
There are a lot of people around KU that are questioning Bill Self's ability to recruit lately. This is just crazy talk right?
Eamonn Brennan (3:08 PM)
Such short memories. Self has been recruiting the best players in the country since he arrived at KU. Every coach has the occasional down class or two. It happens. No reason to ring the alarm here.
Can we ask #browdown if he will come play for Zona during his off days, we need a center.
Eamonn Brennan (3:09 PM)
Unfortunately I believe that would be in violation of NCAA rules. You're going to have to do it the old-fashioned way -- by seeing if Luke Walton still has collegiate eligibility.
Dayton, W. Virginia, Miss. State, have all lost to MAC teams at home. MAC has been impressive...who gets the bid? shot for two?
Eamonn Brennan (3:10 PM)
Lots of really good wins for the MAC early this year. If there's a shot for two bids, I think they'll go to Akron and Kent State. If it's one, those two teams are the favorites. But you never know what the mysteries lie ahead in regular season and conference tourney play.
Why isn't the Syracuse zone as good as usual? Is Beal gonna eat some cake tonight, or will Boeheim have em ready?
Eamonn Brennan (3:12 PM)
Oh, I think the Syracuse zone is actually very good -- maybe better than usual. The Orange force a ton of turnovers, block a bunch of shots and rip a bunch of steals. The only problems thus far have been on the glass, but that's always a concern in the zone. Besides, it's still early. A lineup this long and athletic could become a bear in that scheme.
Who do you think wins the Baylor vs Northwestern game this Sunday?
Eamonn Brennan (3:13 PM)
I'll go with Baylor; I'm just not sure how Northwestern competes on the glass or keeps the Bears from just throwing lobs over that 1-3-1 zone to Quincy Miller, Quincy Acy and Perry Jones. Northwestern will really have to lock up and keep the game as slow-paced and turnover-free as possible if they want to overcome all that NBA talent.
Eamonn Brennan (3:15 PM)
Also, the Quincys -- Miller and Acy -- need to have some sort of nickname. What about The Founders? A John Quincy Adams reference? No? It's a working title.
Speaking of Cuse's zone, I play in a men's league and Hakim Warrick is in it. He can't report back to Phoenix soon enough
Eamonn Brennan (3:16 PM)
He has to average like 15 blocks a game. I bet he has a blast.
Will Memphis get their act together and start rebounding and playing better defense?
Eamonn Brennan (3:17 PM)
That's the big question and I don't know. We'll see. Until they do, this team won't be better than the sume of its parts. I think there's reason for optimism, because a) this team is still pretty young, all things considered, and young teams get better and b) if anyone in the world recognizes these issues, it's Memphis coach Josh Pastner.
Hey Reb (Las Vegas)
UNLV for real or pretnding?
Eamonn Brennan (3:19 PM)
That depends what you mean by real. If real is "a very good team that should win the Mountain West and make a bit of noise in the NCAA tournament" the answer is absolutely, yes. I don't think UNLV is better than UNC on a nightly basis, and I don't think they're at that elite level by any means, but there's still a lot of talent in Vegas this season, and they've bought in to new coach Dave Rice's uptempo overhaul.
Upvote for The Founders
Eamonn Brennan (3:19 PM)
One vote for The Founders. Zero votes or nominations for anything else. Founders wins!
It's too bad that Acy's last name doesn't start with an E, because then they could be Quincy M.E.
Eamonn Brennan (3:20 PM)
What a shame, because that is well-played, sir. I doff my cap. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074042/
Tyler (Fort Wayne Indiana)
Not that it matters too much in December, but wouldn't Ohio State deserve the number 1 ranking over UK next week based on resume so far?
Eamonn Brennan (3:22 PM)
Well, you're right: It doesn't matter in December. But for the sake of argument, it will probably depend on what Kentucky does this weekend. If they beat UNC at home, they'll deserve to remain No. 1. It's important to remember, despite how impressive Ohio State has been, that the Buckeyes have yet to beat (or even play) a quality opponent away from home.
Mark (Madison, WI)
You're going to lose your cred around Bloomington for not remembering IU's win @ Penn State in 2010.
Eamonn Brennan (3:23 PM)
Blast. How could I forget?
Reese (Charlotte, NC)
Eammon, Who is the best player on a team that is not currently ranked in the top 25? Thanks.
Eamonn Brennan (3:26 PM)
Creighton somehow missed out on the AP top 25 this week (they are in the coaches poll) so I'll go with Doug McDermott. He's been marvelous. Honorable mentions: Purdue's Robbie Hummel, Georgetown's Hollis Thompson, Northwestern's John Schurna, Texas's J'Covan Brown, and probably like five other guys I forgot to mention.
Daniel (Bizarro World)
Will we ever get a BCS system for basketball? Seems hopeless sometimes.
Eamonn Brennan (3:28 PM)
File under: Things No One Has Ever Said Unironically. Right next to "Will Kanye West ever come out of his shell?"
Peter (New London, CT)
Eamonn, is this the year Gonzaga can finally make it all the way to the final four?
Eamonn Brennan (3:29 PM)
Too early to tell. I really like the Zags' frontcourt, obviously, and the addition of Pangos was exactly what this team -- which was held back by guard play last season -- needed. But we haven't seen enough yet. Gonzaga has a tough stretch coming up, beginning with Saturday's game at Illinois. We'll have a better idea in a couple of weeks.
Andy (Somerset, KY)
Everyone agrees that UNC gets the types of looks they do because of Marshalls incredible ability to distribute the rock. A player as long and athletic as Kidd-Gilchrist could certainly disrupt the assist machine that is Marshall. Any chance this happens and Calipari turns to Miller for his size and ability to guard Barnes?
Eamonn Brennan (3:31 PM)
Sure. Both configurations would work, and Marshall would have really tough time working around Kidd-Gilchrist. That's the biggest thing with holding Marshall back on offense -- you have to pressure him and make every pass tough. If you let him catch the ball in space on the break with guys running at the hoop you might as well just tack on two points and inbound the ball and try again. Your proposed strategy seems sound enough to me.
Ricky (The Woodlands, TX)
How many games does Baylor lose in Non-conference, can they go undefeated while facing @NW, Neutral site West Virginia, Neutral site Miss. St., and @BYU?
Eamonn Brennan (3:33 PM)
Those are all games Baylor *should* win. That said, it's always tough to play on the road, and it's not hard to imagine Northwestern's tricky stuff working at Welsh-Ryan. Keep an eye on that Mississippi State game. The Bulldogs don't have the size to match Baylor's, because almost no one does, but they do have a pretty solid frontcourt presence in Arnett Moultrie that can at least make things difficult. But in sum, the Bears can really make a statement by winning all four. You need to beat the teams you should beat at this point in the season.
Dusty (St. Louis)
So my ex-girlfriend wanted to hang out tonight. Broke up cause she hates watching basketball. Told her "hell no, this is a big weekend." Good choice right?
Eamonn Brennan (3:35 PM)
Excellent choice. Frankly, I have no idea how anyone could *hate* basketball. Maybe it's not your No. 1 preference for leisure viewing -- perhaps she prefers Top Chef, or bad rom-coms, or the NFL, or who-knows-what -- but actively hating hoops? I could never be with a girl like that. Excellent choice. It's not meant to be.
Andy (Somerset, KY)
Who gets more blocks? Davis or Henson?
Eamonn Brennan (3:37 PM)
Tie. Unstoppable force meets immovable object. Game ends in a 0-0 tie and goes to &#8734; overtimes, the only logical outcome for two players of such otherworldly physical attributes.
Loyola Marymont. Two wins over ranked teams. Is this there year to move up the WCC? Also, is this a multi-bid year for the WCC?
Eamonn Brennan (3:38 PM)
LMU could definitely cause the likes of St. Mary's and BYU some problems, but I think Gonzaga is too much for them. We'll see. I don't know if the WCC can get multiple bids this season, but it once BYU gets its footing in the post-Jimmer era it should be a multi-bid league for years to come.
Dusty's Ex (St. Louis)
Glad you've finally found someone Dusty - I hope you and Eamonn have a nice weekend together...
Eamonn Brennan (3:38 PM)
Don't tell us our business, devil woman.
Peter (New London, CT)
Eamonn, which team in the SEC, Alabama, Florida, Miss. St. or a healthy Vandy poses the best threat to Kentucky?
Eamonn Brennan (3:40 PM)
I think it's Florida, closely followed by Alabama, if only because those two teams have the best mix of athleticism and skill to keep things close. Florida deserves a slight nod there, too, because they have so many weapons that can score in crunchtime in a close game.
Matt S (Indy)
I avow that the Stetson Hatters have one of the best nicknames in college sports. It's as beautiful as the Hot Dogs of Frankfurt High School here in Indiana. What are some of the great nicknames you've seen covering this sport?
Eamonn Brennan (3:44 PM)
Wow. I have to give some love to Campbell, not only because it's 5-1 with a win over Iowa in the rearview, and not only because Campbell forward Eric Griffin is shooting 70 percent (!!) from the field through six games. Campbell also happens to be the Fighting Camels, which I absolutely love. Then there's the Presbyterian Blue Hose, the VMI Keydets, the UC San Diego Tritons, the SE Oklahoma State Savage Storm, the San Fransisco Dons (BAWSE), and one the Indiana natives will love, the Rose-Hulman Engineers. Rose-Hulman is an engineering school in Indiana, and at some point they just decided to make their mascot the end goal for the degrees they confer upon their students. Hilarious.
Eamonn Brennan (3:45 PM)
There are a ton of good nicknames out there. Wikipedia has a fantastic list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_college_team_nicknames_in_the_United_States. "The Puerto Rico Mayaguez Tarzans and Janes." Amazing.
After watching Duke get crushed against OSU this week, in retrospect that makes Florida's game with them that much better. They could have won that game with improved free throw shooting. Are you willing to call for a Gator upset tonight?
Eamonn Brennan (3:46 PM)
Florida's game in Columbus definitely looked better after the Duke-OSU win. But let's not get too liberal with the transitive property. I still think Florida has a tough matchup, especially on the interior, against Syracuse. But if enough outside shots go down over that zone, they definitely have a chance.
I went to high school in Maryville, MO and we were the Spoofhounds. ESPN Mascot Hall of Fame
Eamonn Brennan (3:47 PM)
Eamonn Brennan (3:47 PM)
All right, a couple more and we'll wrap this thing up.
James (Dublin, Ireland)
Eamonn, firstly, being located in Europe during basketball season is not conducive to maintaining healthy sleep patterns. Second, after last night's when at Alabama, how high is Georgetown's ceiling this year?
Eamonn Brennan (3:49 PM)
Had to get the question from Dublin in. You're a trooper, James. (Though you do get to live in Dublin, so I don't feel remotely sorry for you and your sleep patterns.) Georgetown's ceiling looks much higher now than at any point in the preseason. This is certainly a tournament team right now, and a deeper run into the heart of the field may well be in the offing.
Steve (Santa Barbara)
Eamonn, I'm so down that my Gauchos couldn't pull out the win versus San Diego State or UNLV. Does this team have the goods to be dangerous in March or are they lacking something?
Eamonn Brennan (3:51 PM)
Those are brutal losses, if only because UCSB was so close. The Gauchos have to get to the tournament first, but yeah, I think they have the goods. Orlando Johnson is a legit NBA talent, the kind that can carry you in big tournament games.
Peter (New London, CT)
Who would you rather have on your team; Jared Sullinger or Anthony Davis?
Eamonn Brennan (3:53 PM)
In college basketball, Sullinger, because he does so much more on the offensive end and is a much more complete player right now. He's a great leader, all of that. In the NBA, I'd take Davis, because his potential is limitless and at the very minimum you know you are getting a ridiculous shot-blocker. But you can't go wrong with both.
Peter (New London, CT)
Can Missouri really keep this up with virtually no inside game, or will they struggle once they run into a team like Baylor?
Eamonn Brennan (3:54 PM)
They may struggle a bit, but if they can keep the offensive tempo up and stay hot efficient from the perimeter, they could score enough to negate any interior advantage, at least on the offensive end. Should be fascinating to check in on throughout the year.
You have a mid-late lottery pick. Taking Thomas Robinson or Terrence Jones?
Eamonn Brennan (3:56 PM)
I think Jones is the more complete and well-rounded player right now, and I'd be thrilled to be getting a quality versatile defender with offensive skills to boot. But I'd probably have to take Robinson, if only because he's already so good and in many ways still figuring out how to play his position. The NBA loathes tweeners and loves prototypes. Right or wrong, they'd probably go with Robinson.
Whos your pick Florida or Syracuse
Eamonn Brennan (3:58 PM)
Let's end with this, since everyone has been clamoring for my picks behind the scenes in this chat (you guys LOVE picks, huh?). I'll take Syracuse tonight, and UK tomorrow. Florida won't have enough defense to stop the Cuse in the Carrier Dome, and I think Kentucky is the perfect defensive antidote to UNC's athletic up and down style. I have the sinking feeling that if UK plays to even 90 percent of its ability, this game might not be close. Either way, it's going to be awesome.
Eamonn Brennan (3:59 PM)
Thanks for popping in, all. (If I didn't get to your question, hit me on Twitter or send it in to the mailbag, and I'll try to get to it then.) Dusty, best of luck in your search for love and basketball. Enjoy the games, everyone!