Chat with John Gasaway
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com Insider John Gasaway stops by to chat about the college basketball season.
Gasaway covers college hoops for ESPN Insider and has written for Basketball Prospectus since its inception in 2007. He has been covering basketball since 2004 for many outlets including the New York Times.
Send your questions now and join Gasaway Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
John Gasaway (1:00 PM)
Yo, hoops nation! John Gasaway here, rejoicing that the scary three-letter word (no, not RPI!) known as BCS is over and done with and college basketball is in full swing. Let's talk about it. What's on your mind?
Dennis (Evansville Indiana)
I fear the worst coming for my Hoosiers when they take on Ohio State this Sunday. Ohio state's mentality will be Kill mode after losing at Illinois, do you give any shot for my Hoosiers to go on the road and beat the Home playing Ohio State Buckeyes?? GO HOOSIERS!
John Gasaway (1:02 PM)
I think you're right to be fearful, though "the worst" may be a bit strong. Still, what I saw from the Hoosiers in East Lansing a couple weeks ago won't be enough against what will likely be an angry bunch of Buckeyes. And even if the Hoosiers do end up dropping this one if I'd told you three months ago IU would greet mid-January 15-2 you would have taken that, believe me.
Mike (Lowell, MA)
John started reading you on BP and just want to let you know I need my Tuesday Truths!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John Gasaway (1:03 PM)
Starts up for 2012 this Tuesday, appropriately enough.
Nate (Bristol, CT)
Is the Big East schizophrenic or is Cuse just that much better than everyone else? I know Cuse hasn't played the toughest in the conference yet, but I can't go a week without seeing some "top" conference team being "upset" by a "gritty underdog". What is going on with this group?
John Gasaway (1:04 PM)
I think what's going on is that Cuse really is the best team in the league, but I also fully expect them to be "upset" by one of those gritty dogs at some point.
What are your thoughts on how well Seton Hall is playing?
John Gasaway (1:06 PM)
Color me impressed and surprised. Pirates are outscoring the Big East by 0.10 points per trip, and keep in mind the opponents have included Cuse, UConn, and West Virginia. Kevin Willard, I salute you!
Could Meyers Leonard become the next Blake Griffin??
John Gasaway (1:07 PM)
No, but he'll likely be a 2012 lottery pick. If I'd said that in October 2011 ESPN would have scheduled an intervention for me.
Garrett (Richmond, VA)
Mr. Gasaway, your colleague Jason King neglected to include Mike Scott on his Wooden Award Watch, even on the list of longshots. Scott ranks 6th in D-1 in PER and has essentially carried Virginia to a top-20 ranking, so what gives?
John Gasaway (1:10 PM)
My colleague Jason would have to answer that. For my part, I showered all the love my keyboard can bestow upon Scott last week with phrases like "ACC POY hands-down" and such. An amazing year, but one that suffers from pace-deflation statistically and the mere fact that it's been a while since people felt they had to track what a player's up to in Charlottesville.
Derek Kellogg (Amherst, MA)
Any thoughts on my Minutemen? We've won 7 of 8, including solid wins against Davidson and Charlotte...
John Gasaway (1:16 PM)
Good D so far in A-10 play, and no shame in losing at La Salle certainly (ask Xavier) but I need to see some scoring from the field. Part of the problem may be UMass's 5-9 featured scorer attempts nearly 10 twos a game, with predictable results.
Evan (Auburn, Ala.)
What were you thoughts last night of the Auburn-UK game? Do you think Auburn has a chance for a post season tournament?
John Gasaway (1:18 PM)
I joined that game last night with about six minutes left, precisely the point at which UK put it away. Couldn't believe your Tigers had hung around that long. That game and the one against Vandy represent the two extremes of performance, surely. Let's see where they net out over the next couple weeks. Just glad Barbee finally signed an actual contract.
Can you give me your thoughts on my Michigan State Spartans?
John Gasaway (1:21 PM)
I think with two losses already Ohio State's going to find it tough to catch your Spartans. Equally great on both sides of the ball thus far in Big Ten play.
Zack Bauer (Portland, ME)
Is chest-thumping passion and sheer will to win something that can be learned, or is it completely innate? If it's the latter, I have some fears for my Tar Heels come tournament time. I really only see Barnes as having a bit of that Tyler Hansbrough in him.
John Gasaway (1:25 PM)
I don't know, I can think of national champions who were pretty aloof stylistically. Not everyone's Mateen Cleaves. Duke 2010 wasn't exactly Stanley Kowalski, you know? (Nor was the team they beat in the NC game.) And with the great back-to-back Florida teams even though the media loved to focus on the "fiery" Joakim Noah I always had the feeling the rest of the Gators were kind of rolling their eyes at that. Just my sense.
John, love your work. You appear a bit down on U of M - I think their 13 ranking is a bit lofty as well, but what's the reasoning behind ranking them 4 spots behind a Wisconsin team they took out behind the woodshed earlier this week?
John Gasaway (1:28 PM)
I don't think I'm down on the Wolverines. Actually they made their debut in my top 25 this week. No. 13's too high, but I'm obviously very impressed by Burke (way up there in my Top 25 Freshmen rankings) and Hardaway looks fantastic. The Northwestern game last night was hideous for everyone involved, but I am definitely open to persuasion with this Michigan team. (As for Wisconsin, no one knows how to rank them. It's impossible. I may start using a roulette wheel for them.)
Any freshmen mid-major players who impressed you but were just outside your Top 25?
John Gasaway (1:30 PM)
Jerrell Wright of La Salle.
Rufus Finch (Louiville,Ky)
How do u think of my louisville cards winning the big east championship???
John Gasaway (1:33 PM)
I admire your spirit, Rufus. I also hope you're not an investment advisor.
Gaels or Zags tonight and why?
John Gasaway (1:36 PM)
SMC because they're at home. Can't wait for this game! The collision between Gael offense and Zags' D should be epic. I trust my man Stephen Bardo is calling the game? (Not asking you, Simon, more like the world at large.) Can't remember the last SMC-Zags game that I watched that he didn't call.
Can you explain the process you go through when selecting your top 25 freshman? Nice to see Aaron White make your list, Hawkeye fans are excited about him.
John Gasaway (1:38 PM)
Watch a lot of games, talk to a lot of people, and start whittling down. Yeah, the White-Basabe combo should be an excellent building block.
RB (syracuse,ny [via mobile]
Just looking ahead. Even though I don't like syracuse moving to the big east but do you think syracuse will run the acc when they get there??
John Gasaway (1:39 PM)
No more so than they did the Big East. Think of Duke and UNC as the latter-day UConn and Louisville.
Dusty (St. Louis)
Did everyone witness a prime example on Monday night of why the NCAA should allow the BCS to crown a BB champion? I mean it would be great for the sport don't you think?
John Gasaway (1:40 PM)
The day that happens you will henceforth find my writing at BigMovieWonk.com.
How many games can the Zags lose in the WCC and still be a lock come March?
John Gasaway (1:41 PM)
I don't think it's number of losses as much as simply avoiding losses, plural, to teams not named SMC or BYU.
John, big Kentucky fan here. Can you just tell me that we're awesome?
John Gasaway (1:42 PM)
Kentucky is awesome.
What do you make of Doug McDermott's 44 points @ Bradley...and then his 14 points @ home. Is he still one of the best players in the country.
John Gasaway (1:43 PM)
Showered the love on McDermott in a post on this strange new trend wherein the nation's leading scorers are actually a net positive for their offenses. What's up with that? McDermott's having an amazing Mike-Scott-esque year.
john (Chicago) [via mobile]
Austin Rivers is a great talent why isnt he higher on the mock drafts?
John Gasaway (1:47 PM)
Seeing him on the tier right below the lottery, and I will guess that's the floor right there. A feisty NCAA tournament performance with lots of fist-pumps might land him in more or less the correct draft position for incorrect reasons.
It's too bad Calhoun had to purposely get a technical to get his team fired up in the West Virginia game.
John Gasaway (1:48 PM)
Research project for a bored undergrad: parse the PBP's and show me the efficacy of T's charged to coaches.
? for all you analysts, how do you follow all the players so closely, do you just watch the espn highlights and say ok this kids really good? So many teams and players... how do you know which few you are going follow more closely then others.... do you run through team stats weekly?
John Gasaway (1:49 PM)
Speaking only for myself I don't follow all the players closely, only the ones I'm considering writing about. Yes, I track 138 teams in 14 leagues game-by-game for Tuesday Truths.
John, what are your thoughts on CUSA this year? Multi bid league? I can see Memphis, Southern Miss and possible UCF or Marshall sneaking in this year. Agree?\
John Gasaway (1:52 PM)
Where "multi" equals "two," yes, multi-bid league. Right now I'm guessing Memphis and Southern Miss. Marshall's right there too, you're right.
Who does Syracuse go to when they need a bucket? Joseph? Will it work not to have a go-to guy down the stretch?
John Gasaway (1:53 PM)
The other night when Providence pulled within six Boeheim called timeout and went to Waiters in a set play called in the huddle.
So tired of always hearing about Kent, Duke, UNC every year! Why doesn't the Big 12 get more love?
John Gasaway (1:54 PM)
I've written lovingly of Missouri and Baylor this season. On Monday I'll post something all gooey about Kansas.
Is the Pac 12 a one or two bid conference this year?
John Gasaway (1:56 PM)
Two: Stanford and Cal, although if Colorado keeps this up they'll be the overall No. 1 seed in the field of 68.
Eric Shinn (Manchester, Ky)
John, is a young UK team at a disadvantage because they'll play such a weak conference schedule?
John Gasaway (1:58 PM)
Not sure I'd classify home-and-aways against Florida and Vanderbilt as weak, but even if that's so I don't think it's a concern. Butler's done pretty well the last couple tournaments.
Matt (Durham, NC)
Is it possible that rankings based on Margin of Victory (like KenPom) do not include enough adjustment for beating up on crappy teams? Could this explain various outliers (Wisconsin 2012, Texas 2011)?
John Gasaway (2:00 PM)
Wisconsin is just weird, and they often are. The Badgers baffle humans and laptops alike, so don't blame my man Ken. Texas was actually great last year, particularly on D, up until about Valentines Day, at which point whatever trance they were under was snapped.
Something about Kentucky. Anything about Kentucky. Please!
John Gasaway (2:00 PM)
Just so dang awesome.
sam [via mobile]
What is wrong with Pitt?
John Gasaway (2:02 PM)
At this point it's time to call an exorcist. Up until last night the problem was a permissive defense. Then the Panthers scored 39 points against Rutgers.
I am concerned with the Ohio State depth. While Matta is playing a few more of the freshmen than usual, there is not much production beyond the starting five. And I think the buckeyes miss Lighty as a shut down defender on the wing.
John Gasaway (2:04 PM)
People used to yell at recent-vintage Coach K on the same grounds until he won the national title in 2010 with a very short bench. As long as you're healthy it can work. Some coaches just prefer it. Matta and John Thompson III come to mind.
John, watched a good amount of college ball this year, and find it hard to believe Otto Porter is not one of the top 25 freshmen.
John Gasaway (2:05 PM)
Porter's candidacy was hurt unjustly by the fact that I was filing right when Cincinnati picked on him defensively and got him so flustered that on an ensuing crucial possession he stepped on the end line with the ball. But oh yeah he's got game.
Did you meet Erin Andrews? What's she like?
John Gasaway (2:06 PM)
Question I am asked most often by my father-in-law. I am yet to have the pleasure.
Can the Buckeyes still win this whole shabang, they sometimes look amazing, and other times not soo much.
John Gasaway (2:08 PM)
Yes, they can win the whole shebang. For two years running they've come down to the final possession of a Sweet 16 game and lost. If either of those games goes differently people probably have a more correct appreciation of this current Buckeye team.
Max (Brookings, SD)
Any coverage of college basketball's natiest rivalry tonight between South Dakota State and South Dakota, after the 8 year hiatus?
John Gasaway (2:11 PM)
When the Jackrabbits and Coyotes mix it up ou can throw W-L records out the door! The question I have is who do you pull for in this game if you live in Sioux Falls, halfway in between?
I've heard anywhere from 1 (obviously) to 4 teams to the tourney this year for the Missouri Valley Conference. How many do you think they will get?
John Gasaway (2:13 PM)
The person who said four must have been the Valley commissioner. I'm guessing two: Creighton and Wichita State.
Chase Southwood (Bloomington, IL)
Impressions of Illinois?
John Gasaway (2:14 PM)
I worry about their offense in games where one of their players does not score 43 points.
when are people gonna start talking about quinn cook?
John Gasaway (2:18 PM)
Uh, now I guess. Coach K either likes what he sees or wants to find out what's there, gave him not just a start but also season-high minutes at Georgia Tech.
John Gasaway (2:18 PM)
Yes. The Sun Belt got two bids a while back. It can be done.
Is your impression of Illinois a reflection on Coach Weber?
John Gasaway (2:21 PM)
In part, sure. Then again Weber can't shoot threes for his team.
Jon (Norwalk, CT)
I'm totally biased, but I still think Uconn is going to be a very tough out come March. First things first though, how do they improve the defense and limit the turnovers?
John Gasaway (2:23 PM)
I also think UConn will be a tough out because at the current rate of improvement by March Andre Drummond will be Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson combined.Note to hoops nation: If you're just spectating and not participating now's the time to get that question in. Couple more, then I'll have to scoot.....
Is this the year Coach Cal gets his championship? If not this year will it ever happen?
John Gasaway (2:26 PM)
The one thing that has surprised me is that I thought Jones would be much more like what we saw from Derrick Williams as a sophomore last year. If anything close to that does come to pass, look out...um, even more so. Probably best to look out now too. Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Lamb, my goodness.
Purdue looked strong can vs the Gophers will they carry that into tonights game vs Wisconsin?
John Gasaway (2:30 PM)
Boilers haven't lost at home since Feb 28, 2010. I'll go with Painter's team.That's going to do it for me for today. Great questions, let's meet up back here very soon, yes? Until then set your watches for Gonzaga-Saint Mary's tonight. Should be a good one. Good night and good hoops!