Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Eamonn Brennan (2:01 PM)
Hello, world. Eamonn here, ready to take your questions on all manner of subjects. I was really hoping we could spend some time discussing the current season of Game of Thrones, but if we really must, I suppose we can talk about basketball as well. Fire away.
Carl LaFong (Warsaw In)
Eamonn, truth is Kentucky wants to play in Indy strictly because of recruiting. The state of Indiana produces a ton of talent and Kentucky not so much. Look at the annual all star game between the two states. This year Indiana could put three teams together and any of them would beat Kentucky's best twelve.
Eamonn Brennan (2:03 PM)
I hope to keep the Indiana-Kentucky stuff to a minimum today, because I'm already tiring of the topic, but this is correct. Part of the reason Calipari wants to play neutral-site games is the recruiting benefits of having a neutral-court game in the epicenter of talent-rich Indiana. It's not part of the desire Calipari is eagerly willing to discuss, but it's a big part nonetheless.
Will things be any different at Illinois with John Groce?
Eamonn Brennan (2:05 PM)
To be honest, I don't know. Groce comes recommended by plenty of coaches; he has a good reputation in the business. But he was 34-30 in three years in the MAC. He is a relatively unproven entity, other than this year's Sweet 16, so it will take time to see what effect he has on that program and particular its efforts to recruit Chicago, the state of Illinois, and Indiana. In other words: We'll see.
Eamonn (Lexington, KY)
Favorite character in GoT? I gotta go with either Jon Snow or Tyrion, but I can't wait to see what they do with Arya. Have you read the books?
Eamonn Brennan (2:07 PM)
Oh hey, Eamonn. I have not read the books, mostly because I don't want to be one of those people who can't seem to read an Internet recap of the show without going, "Oh, just wait until the next episode, things get CRAZY, x person DIES!" Really cool, man. You read the books. Now be quiet and let the rest of us enjoy the show. Also, my favorite character is Joffrey. (Kidding. It's Tyrion.)
Why do you think Arizona is getting such little recognition, thus far, for the team they will have at the start of next season?
Eamonn Brennan (2:08 PM)
I think they're getting plenty of recognition, aren't they? They have a top three class in the country coming in. I'm a little tepid on the Mark Lyons transfer -- Lyons appears capable of torpedoing a team at any time, and having a young team around him strikes me as something of a gamble. But no question, Sean Miller has a crazy-talented team on board next season. They're immediate Pac-12 title contenders.
Eamonn Brennan (2:08 PM)
(And I realize, after last year's Pac-12 season, that might sound like damnation with faint praise. But now that UCLA is reloaded it really isn't.)
Rick Pitino (Louisville)
If my boys escape the injury bug (for once) what are my chances of bringing home ring #2
Eamonn Brennan (2:10 PM)
Awfully good. As we saw this March, it is very difficult for teams that don't defend well to make it to the Final Four. Louisville is likely to be better offensively than last season -- Behanan will be a beast, Dieng will be more polished, Mike Marra is back, Wayne Blackshear could be dynamic -- but just as good defensively.
RMJ=Hero (Raleigh, NC)
Why do you hate [insert team here]?They're going to be really good next year with [new coaches name here]. He's shown he's already committed to the job by bringing in [mediocre recruit] right?They're at least a top-25 team!
Eamonn Brennan (2:11 PM)
This is the best chat comment I've posted in a long time. +1000
Imp Slapping G (Westereos Mothaf----)
Who gets better zingers-Roger Sterling or Tyrion Lannister? What do you think of the progress of the Occupy Westeros movement so far?
Eamonn Brennan (2:12 PM)
I'm always partial to Roger Sterling; my favorite this season was his routine with the hallucinogenic Russian bottle. Priceless.
Usually Xavier is a team built on veteran leadership, do you think it will be interesting to watch a young group of high talent develop and mature together, also, they will finally be all Mack recruits and players
Eamonn Brennan (2:13 PM)
Definitely. Really interesting transition year at X this season. Dezmine Wells could have a monster year. That's a big ol' dude with guard skills. Frightening.
I know what Self has said about Ben McLemore, but how good is he since his rankings weren't really that high?
Eamonn Brennan (2:17 PM)
Tough to say. The last time I saw McLemore play -- which was right around the last time anyone not in a KU practice saw him play -- was at the Nike Skills Camp in Chicago last summer. He was clearly a good player, with a more polished perimeter game than I expected -- good footwork, good recognition of how to come off screens (which was basically the only drill I saw him run for two hours, running curls and fades constantly) and clearly an athletic guy with a big upside. We won't know until we see him, but a year spent practicing under Self with Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson can only help your game.
Ned's Stark's Ghost (Winterfell)
C - Dog, PF - Khal Drogo, SF - Stanis Baratheon, SG - John Snow PG - Tyrion Lannister vs 2011-2012 UK Wildcats.....who wins?
Eamonn Brennan (2:18 PM)
Is Melisandre's creepy smoke-demon son coming off the bench? Because Tyrion is going to need help guarding Marquis Teague.
Miz Biz (Illinois)
Ebron,Who will be a better pro? Royce White or Jared Sullinger?
Eamonn Brennan (2:21 PM)
Oooh. Great question. Here's what I'll say: Royce White has a much higher ceiling. He's essentially the same size as Sullinger, but he can handle the ball as well as most guards, and the expansions Sullinger has made in his game have came almost naturally to White last season. But White has self-admittedly had his fair share of issues, and the NBA is a tough place to be when you struggle with anxiety (not to mention his trepidation about flights). If he harnesses his ability and gets the help and treatment he knows he needs, he could be a star in the league.
Eamonn Brennan (2:23 PM)
As for Sullinger, I know a lot of people are more down on him now than after last season, but I think there are a few extenuating points to be made: When I saw Sullinger last summer, it was before he knew he was going to have to be Ohio State's primary post presence yet again. Amir Williams didn't get there as a frosh, and Deshaun Thomas is too much a perimeter player to allow Sully to move away from the hoop and do the classic power forward things he really wanted to develop. So he put the weight back on and had another really good, if not mind-blowing, season. I think he's a bit underrated. He lacks size, but he has a knack for rebounding and a body that will hold position in the NBA. If he can get stronger and improve his touch, why can't he be a Utah Jazz Carlos Boozer? Or a really poor man's Kevin Love? There's a 15-year NBA career in them thar hills.
I've heard some of the national media talking about Coach Cal's new nontraditional approach to scheduling being bad for College Basketball. Do you agree or disagree?
Eamonn Brennan (2:27 PM)
I tend to agree. I think it's understandable Calipari would go this direction -- he, in the words of Jay in the "40 Year Old Virgin," is in the power position -- because he's looking to do what's best for his program first and foremost. As well he should. But anytime you lose a game the magnitude of Indiana-Kentucky, it's bad for the sport. If Calipari's scheduling strategy leads to this kind of rationalization then yes, it's bad.
Dusty (St. Louis)
Do you have one of those paper chains, that kids used to make around Christmas time, hanging up in your place to count down the days till the start of the new season?
Eamonn Brennan (2:28 PM)
No, but I do have a calendar with pop-out chocolates in it.
Andrew (San Diego)
Who do you give the edge to in the Pac-12? I give a slight edge to Arizona because they have the best returning player of the two teams, Solomon Hill.
Eamonn Brennan (2:29 PM)
I think it's a toss-up, but it will be really interesting to see what Kaleb "Google My Last Name" Tarczewski does against that UCLA interior, particularly if Smith isn't engaged or in shape. But it's going to be a close one. Two really similar teams in makeup, both incredibly talented.
Christopher (Cookeville, TN)
Is the ACC a three dog race this year, or do you see a fourth dog entering the fray?
Eamonn Brennan (2:31 PM)
That depends on which teams you consider the dogs. I think NC State is the best team, with UNC close behind (that's a fearsome group of guards that should run like crazy), followed by Florida State and Duke, in some order. So yeah, let's throw four dogs in the gates right now. Can't count out the Seminoles.
Derek (Las Vegas)
UNLV could have Khem Birch, Anthony Bennett(maybe) and Mike Moser. Anyone in the country have a better front court?
Eamonn Brennan (2:33 PM)
I need to see Birch excel in the college game -- and not just transfer after 10 games, before ripping his former teammates on a radio station -- before I'm willing to confer that sort of status. But no question, with or without Bennett, that UNLV frontcourt is fearsome. (I love Mike Moser. That's an NBA small forward if I've ever seen one.)
Do you think Kim English makes it in the NBA?
Eamonn Brennan (2:35 PM)
It's going to be tough, because it doesn't seem like English is a guarantee to even be drafted in the second round. But if he does catch on somewhere, I think he has a chance to make a career. He's an athletic enough guy with great footwork and a great understanding of the game, a team-first guy who would happily adopt whatever role is needed from him. Plus, he's lights out from 3. Bring him in off the bench, run him off a bunch of screens -- I can see it, can't you?
Beau Haynes (New Orleans)
IU's projected starting 5 next year? Yogi or Hulls at PG?
Eamonn Brennan (2:38 PM)
It's an awkward situation, because Hulls has been starting for three years, is a very good offensive player and a smart one to boot. But his size and lack of athleticism leaves him really vulnerable on defense and even, sometimes, on offense (see the VCU game and the flurry of traps Shaka ran at Hulls). There may be a slow transfer over the course of the season as Yogi picks things up; that would be my guess. And I would play Hulls as an off guard whenever possible (i.e., whenever he won't get killed on the other end of the floor). Whatever he chooses, I have a feeling Tom Crean will find a way to get the most from both players.
Derek (Las Vegas): Yeah. SU's frontcourt of Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman, and C.J. Fair. Case Closed.
Eamonn Brennan (2:39 PM)
Lest we forget the Syracuse Orange ... that is a deep and talented frontcourt, too. In fact I'm pretty sure Jim Beoeheim has like eight or nine good forwards on his roster. I might be exaggerating, but not by much.
Dusty (St. Louis)
Is Mizzou becoming the new Transfer U? Seems kind of funny since their fans have been making fun of Iowa St. for the last couple yrs. for that exact reason.
Eamonn Brennan (2:41 PM)
I didn't know that. Too funny. Considering Missouri has landed the transfers of Alex Oriakhi as well as Pepperdine guard Keion Bell, Auburn forward Earnest Ross, Oregon guard Jabari Brown and now Tulsa guard Jordan Clarkson, it's hard to argue that Missouri's near-term success isn't intimately tied up in transfers.
Would you rather spend an afternoon watching NASCAR or Curling? Be honest Eamonn!
Eamonn Brennan (2:41 PM)
Curling for sure. I'd rather watch the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats season highlight reel than NASCAR. /shudder
How far do you see the Zags going next year? The back court is top 15 with Pangos and Bell and front court should be solid with E Harris, Sam Dower, Kelly Olynyk(coming off RS season) and P Karnowski(7'1" polish signee).
Eamonn Brennan (2:42 PM)
I think if Elias Harris gives them classic Elias Harris, and not floaty, disengaged Elias Harris, that frontcourt is much more than solid. And I really like Kevin Pangos; he's going to be a great four-year player.
James Thomas (Kentucky)
If Duke is injury free and they can keep all their players healthy, also landing Amile Jefferson, how good do you think they will be, and how far do you think they will go in the NCAA Tournament.
Eamonn Brennan (2:43 PM)
My favorite part of offseason chats: The question about how far X team can go in the NCAA tournament. Can we wait for the first preseason poll, at least?
Paint Touches (Milwaukee)
Does Trent Lockett's addition make Marquette a top-four team in the Big East? Pre-season top 25?
Eamonn Brennan (2:44 PM)
I think it's in that range, yes. I wouldn't be surprised if voters kept the Eagles at arm's reach in the preseason, since voters tend to make a big deal out of losing your two Big East POY candidates in one spring (and rightfully so). But that Eagles team is going to be good all the same.
Pick your preseason conference winners Eamonn. May is the new September
Eamonn Brennan (2:46 PM)
I just posted this to congratulate you on your username. Fantastic. As for conference preseason winners, OK, fine, I'll toss a few names out -- which you will UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES hold me to this fall.
Eamonn Brennan (2:48 PM)
Big Ten: Indiana. Big East: Louisville. SEC: Florida. Big 12: Kansas. ACC: NC State. Pac-12: Oregon State. (Just kidding! Probably UCLA or Arizona.)
I'm glad i'm not the only one who remembers that commercial... when people still used collect calling enough for it to be funny
Eamonn Brennan (2:49 PM)
Halcyon days, indeed. (I accept the charges on this comment.)
Dan Smith (MA)
So, UMass returns all except their center (Sean Carter) They have signed two solid 2-3 star big men and have Derrick Gordon eligible in two years. Is this the start of a couple year UMass run?
Eamonn Brennan (2:51 PM)
UMass isn't going to take the country by storm, but no question they're on the way up. I'd put them at a half-step below the top end of the A-10 in the coming years, but with plenty of room for variance depending on how they improve. That's a solid team, which is not something UMass fans have had the luxury to say all that often lately.
Whats your thoughts on the johnnies? I think their flying under the radar this year. Lavs is going to grab some highly touted recruits in the upcoming years
Eamonn Brennan (2:52 PM)
I just want to see this team come together as sophomores, with Lavin able to coach an entire season, to see how good they really are. Last year's all-frosh experiment didn't really have a chance, thanks to Lavin's battle with cancer, but now comes the fun part -- seeing a bunch of young guys (minus the draft defections) come together to build something real. Enjoy.
Loki is giving me serious problems here and really becoming a cancer to the kingdom. Do you know any good programs that could take a transfer with his talents (and baggage)?
Eamonn Brennan (2:53 PM)
Come on -- this is really Chris Mack, isn't it? (KIDDING.)
Eamonn Brennan (2:54 PM)
I would say "no Avengers spoilers," but it's been impossible not to learn the plot of the movie through sheer cultural osmosis. And no, I haven't seen it yet.
Steve (Fort Wayne, IN)
Give us your Big Ten predictions 1 through 12 next season (you can have ties).
Eamonn Brennan (2:55 PM)
Steve, this is a bridge too far, my friend. You're going to have to wait to real prediction season for that much. (Ties? You want records? You people are trying to kill me here!)
John (Racine, WI)
Is Sean Miller a long-timer at Arizona?
Eamonn Brennan (2:56 PM)
Why not? It's a great job in a beautiful place with a long-term basketball tradition and infrastructure -- unless Miller really doesn't like it in Tucson, or something, why would you ever leave? That's a destination job, not a stopover.
There is a lot of chatter about a on campus arena at DePaul soon (2018). Do you think DePaul can keep Chicago recruits if they get out of AllState?
Eamonn Brennan (2:58 PM)
First of all, that's a major "if." And I'm not sure it would cure all that ails DePaul on the recruiting front. But it would be a major first step, yes. The Blue Demons' current digs are too far from what makes DePaul such a cool school in the first place: the location.
Billy (Taylors S.C.)
Is there something to Ol' Roy recruiting all these lefty PGs...Marshall, Paige, Britt---any advantage in that?
Eamonn Brennan (3:00 PM)
I have no idea if there's any advantage to it, but being a left-handed player can be, um, handy (wow ... sorry), particularly on the post where defenders are so used to playing on the opposite shoulder. But as a strategic advantage, there isn't much there.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Any chance Bernard James gets a look in the NBA, or is he too old?
Eamonn Brennan (3:02 PM)
At 26, he's almost certainly too old. But you never know, if he impresses a couple of teams in workouts or on a summer league squad, you're basically just offering a 26-year-old guy a short-term NBA contract anyway. There's a chance.
Brian (Near Depaul)
Where in the world would Depaul put a large stadium on campus? It's all main streets and neighborhoods.
Eamonn Brennan (3:04 PM)
One of the potential plans is to buy the Finkl Steel property out off Cortland/Clybourn, where it's not really on campus per se but is still in the neighborhood and within walking distance. But again, all speculative at this point. (And apologies to everyone else in the chat who doesn't live in my and Brian's neighborhood.)
Billy (Taylors S.C.)
Eamonn!!! do you have bron winning the finals?
Eamonn Brennan (3:05 PM)
I don't. I'm taking the Spurs, in one last blaze of glory. In the immortal words of Charles Barkley: GI-NO-BUH-LI!
Eamonn Brennan (3:07 PM)
All right guys, that's my time for now. You've been great, as per the usual. Be sure to stop over on the blog and the men's hoops homepage to keep up with us throughout the offseason. We can make it through this awful time together. I promise. Peace!