Chat with Myron Medcalf
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, college basketball writer Myron Medcalf stops by to chat about the hardcourt.
Medcalf joined ESPN.com in 2011 after a four-year stint covering colllege basketball for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. His relationship with ESPN began in 2004, when he was an intern for ESPN the Magazine in New York City.
Send your questions now and join Medcalf Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Myron Medcalf (2:01 PM)
I'm here. Thanks for joining me. Let's go. ... And Happy MLK Day.
Hi Myron, has Baylor fallon short of expectations some what? it seems that in all the big games they do not play well and there best win is agaisint BYU your thoughts?
Myron Medcalf (2:04 PM)
To be honest, I didn't know what to expect from Baylor after Scott Drew lost the Quincys (Acy and Miller) and Perry Jones III. ... But with Isaiah Austin in the mix, I felt like the Bears would be a mismatch problem for most of the teams they'd face. I think Austin is developing well. And Bears have a strong backcourt. But they're so inconsistent. ... When they're on though, they can compete with some of the top teams in the country. The "when they're on" part, however, is such a mystery with this team.
Where are you Myron? I want to hear how my overlooked Lobos are once again coming out ahead of pre-season favorites UNLV and SDSU in the MWC race. Isn't it time to give Alford teams some respect?
Myron Medcalf (2:06 PM)
I guess I'm confused. The Lobos are a top-15 team. Isn't that respect? ... I think losses to South Dakota State (at home) and St. Louis made folks question the Lobos' potential. But they're the best in the MWC right now. Let's see how it all plays out though. ... I see UNLV winning the whole thing.
Chris (Newtown, PA)
Out of Oregon, Ole Miss, Wichita State which team has the best chance of making the sweet sixteen and farther? Why?
Myron Medcalf (2:08 PM)
I like Wichita State in that group with Ole Miss second and Oregon third. The Shockers proved that they're just a much better unit with Carl Hall in the mix. He's healthy now, and they outplayed Creighton as a result. This is a strong defensive group (32nd in adjusted defensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). And the Shockers have multiple offensive weapons. ... But don't sleep on Ole Miss. Andy Kennedy has a balanced roster that's tough on both ends of the floor, too.
Are you surprised that voters gave Duke a pass and voted them #1 even though Kelly is out for the foreseeable future?
Myron Medcalf (2:10 PM)
Yep. I don't get it. ... There's no way I could give Duke No. 1 because this isn't the same group without Kelly. They suffered a loss to N.C. State. After that, I think we had a bunch of teams with legit No. 1 arguments. And Duke was one of those squads. So this week mattered. Michigan went out and beat a top-10 Minnesota team on the road. I had to give it to Michigan. Had to.
As a Michigan fan I am getting concerned GRIII will be joining Burke and Hardaway in the draft this year. Please tell me I am nervous about nothing.
Myron Medcalf (2:12 PM)
You should be nervous. ... I talked to an NBA scout last week. His team loves him. His team could have a high pick next summer. He's big, he can score, he's versatile. ... I could see all three leaving.
Just a fan (out West)
Myron, explain how San Diego St only scores 9 points in a half?
Myron Medcalf (2:14 PM)
No real logical answer. I talked to both coaches over the weekend. Both were stunned. Larry Shyatt's crew has strong D. And SDSU star Jamaal Franklin (3-for-14) couldn't find the bucket. That's a part of it. ... But 9 points? That wouldn't suffice in the 1940s.
Josh (Overland Park)
Was it just me or did Saturday feel a lot like the 1st and 2nd rounds (and by 1st and 2nd, I mean 2nd and 3rd) of the NCAA tourney?
Myron Medcalf (2:15 PM)
It definitely felt like March Madness. I mean, you could have ended the day with Louisville-Syracuse and it would have been a great one. Then, Gonzaga and Butler ... Wow. Non-college basketball fans missed out.
Chris (Newtown, PA)
Better Final Four Aspirations Creighton, or Kansas State?
Myron Medcalf (2:18 PM)
I'll go with Creighton. Bluejays have improved defensively and they have a player in Doug McDermott who can elevate his game above most players in any given situation. ... But I like Kansas State, too. Bruce Weber deserves more credit for what he's doing.
DUKE beat Minnesota as well. I know it was with Kelly, but they still beat them. DUKE has suffered no worse loss than Michigan. DUKE lost to NC State whereas Michigan beat them but Michigan lost to Ohio State whereas DUKE beat them. And DUKE is the only team that has not lost at full strength. I get what you're saying, but at this point- there is no runaway #1. And if you're a voter and have no way to really differentiate between two teams being #1, my guess is you look at their resume and go from there and DUKE's resume speaks for itself. And don't get me wrong, I appreciate Ryan Kelly as much as the next person but this whole "DUKE cannot win w/o Kelly" mentality is really something. You know, he does graduate this year. Should all DUKE fans throw in the towel once he plays his last game? DUKE won quite a bit without Kyrie Irving and that was Kyrie Irving for God's sake.
Myron Medcalf (2:22 PM)
First ... let's all take a deep breath. ... Feel better now? You're talking about a different Duke team, man. The one with the kid who led the ACC with a plus-190 plus/minus ratio. A kid who connected on 52 percent of his 3s. He matters. ... Can they win big games without him? The N.C. State game was Duke's chance to prove it. They lost. So Blue Devils fell. But, as I mentioned, I still thought they had an argument for No. 1. Michigan beat Minnesota ON THE ROAD, not in the Bahamas. And the Wolverines did it in January, not November. Different Minnesota team. ... Mizzou continues to fall and no one is saying "look at what they did with Laurence Bowers." They're losing without him because they're not the same without him. So they're penalized. That's the way it works.
How do you expect Wisconsin to finish the Big Ten?
Myron Medcalf (2:23 PM)
Top 4 ... That's what Bo Ryan does. Tough loss at Iowa. But I think Badgers will still baffle the Big Ten and win 10 or more games to secure a top-4 slot. The 4-0 start certainly helps.
Matthew (New York)
I was just checking out the power rankings and why are so many analysts at ESPN so down on Duke? They are so much more than just Ryan Kelly. Louisville was in a similar situation earlier in the year and Syracuse is there right now and they are still considered a top team with out question! What gives?
Myron Medcalf (2:25 PM)
Thanks for bringing up Syracuse. The Orange beat a No. 1 team on the road even though it didn't have James Southerland. Duke lost without a key player. That's the difference..I don't think power rankings voters are down on Duke. We just know that they're not No. 1 without Kelly. But they're still really good.
Is the coach of the year from Kansas, with what Bruce Weber is doing at KSU, Self is doing yet again at KU, and the incredible season Marshall is having after losing 4 starters from last year, 3 starters to injury this year, one of them being Carl Hall
Myron Medcalf (2:26 PM)
I'd love to see a Kansas-only tourney right now. ... Gregg Marshall is at the top of my list for coach of the year right now.
Tyler (Louisville, KY)
How far do you think Wyoming can go this season? It's been a pleasant surprise already, but are they done yet?
Myron Medcalf (2:28 PM)
Let's see what happens with Martinez. That's a huge loss. ... But the Cowboys have one of the top defenses in the country. Leonard Washington is an enforcer inside. ... But losing a top scorer midseason could definitely prove to be a major problem for Shyatt's program.
Tyler (Louisville, KY)
How about Larry Shyatt for COY?
Myron Medcalf (2:28 PM)
He'll get votes if this continues. For sure.
Sam (Gainesville, FL)
I know in college basketball, anyone can beat anyone on a given day. With that said, do you see Florida going undefeated in SEC play with the way they have been dominating teams?
Myron Medcalf (2:30 PM)
I could see it. But it probably won't happen. ... The Gators are banged up and they haven't been the same team outside of Gainesville. But I don't think any team is close in the SEC.
What happened to the CAA? I just checked the standings and Towson (TOWSON!) is in second place.
Myron Medcalf (2:32 PM)
It's crazy, man. Google Jerrelle Benimon. Beast Mode. .... He's a big part of the surge. But George Mason, Drexel, Old Dominion, Delaware aren't the teams we expected them to be ... But Towson's slate will get tougher. Soon.
MSU is currently 1 in the B1G. Brutal conference. Any chance anyone makes it out alive with a 1 seed? I would think not....likely filling up 2,3,4s
Myron Medcalf (2:34 PM)
I think the champ will be a strong candidate for a 1-seed. Right now, multiple teams are in the conversation. Now, if the league ends up with a bunch of 4 or 5-loss squads ... maybe that's a different story. .... right now, however, it's hard to imagine the BT not earning at least 1 top seed.
Does the MWC really get 6 teams into the NCAA Tourney?
Myron Medcalf (2:36 PM)
Nope. I'll say 5. But Joe Lunardi's numbers are legit. In a lukewarm field, the Mountain West played and defeated the right teams. Now, the MWC features multiple opportunities for quality wins. That's how you go from 4 berths one year to 5 or 6 the next. ... The internal carnage is no longer a bad thing in that league. I think the selection committee will reward those squads because it's a tougher conference now.
Terry (Los Angeles)
UCLA keeps producing a lot of good NBA players but can't win consistently. Is Howland the problem?
Myron Medcalf (2:39 PM)
Yep. ... Coaches make a lot of money. The NCAA static will make you believe that they earn millions because they're supposed to guide "young men" to fruitful lives on and off the court. Baloney. They're paid to win. And Howland has struggled with that in recent years, even though he's had high-level prospects. ... This year's UCLA team has promise. But the Bruins aren't gritty. Howland's Final Four teams were gritty. ... Bottom line is that Howland will be on the hot seat if he doesn't get more from this top-level recruiting class. And that's the way it should be.
What's up with Illinois? Do they continue their downward spiral the rest of the season? At the rate they're going, they'll be lucky to reach the NIT.
Myron Medcalf (2:42 PM)
This is why I had a hard time trusting that fabulous start. ... The Illini are like the hardcore rapper who plays a tough guy in his videos even though he grew up in Beverly Hills. They played tough. But once Big Ten play began and the games became physical battles and gut checks, the Illini backed down. Same thing they did a year ago. ... They have talent. But they'll need more than the 3-ball to turn things around. But their next six games are so tough that they could end up in the NIT conversation in a few weeks.
Christian (Boondocks. MI)
Who is the most overrated team in the top ten?
Myron Medcalf (2:43 PM)
Jay (Emporia, Kansas)
How come Jeff Withey isn't getting more play as a player of the year candidate? Without him KU isn't as good as they have been, correct?
Myron Medcalf (2:44 PM)
Same question every week, it seems. Withey is productive and he's one of the best players in the country. ... But a few things. Kansas has looked vulnerable in recent outings against Temple, Iowa State and Texas. ... And Ben McLemore has emerged as the squad's most significant player. He's becoming more of a POY candidate, IMO, than Withey.
Iv'e done so many of these chats but have only got 1 question answered. What do i have to do go streaking during PITT's next game. Anyway how dangerous is Pittsburgh in the big dance?
Myron Medcalf (2:47 PM)
I don't know if they're that dangerous. ... Advanced stats love Pitt (10th and 21st in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency). But they've failed their toughest tests this year (Michigan, Cincy, Marquette). And the Panthers lost to Rutgers. ... If Steven Adams matures, Pitt's potential for a run increases. But what have the Panthers done to make anyone excited about them thus far? Not much.
Leslie Neilsen (RIP)
Indiana overrated!!! Shirley you cannot be serious.
Myron Medcalf (2:49 PM)
The question was 'Who is the most overrated team in the top-10?' Yes, Indiana is that team for me. In the top 10. But the Hoosiers are good. ... And I'll repeat what I've said for weeks about Tom Crean's program. Indiana could be the best team in college basketball. And the Hoosiers probably should be. But I'm not sure they'll ever get there.
Frank (New Orleans)
Could this finally be the year that Ole Miss breaks through?
Myron Medcalf (2:51 PM)
We'll find out when they complete an upcoming stretch that includes a home game against Kentucky and road games against Florida and Missouri. ... They're one of the most balanced teams in the country right now. And Marshall Henderson is legit.
Tony (Kansas City)
If KU beats KSU on the road fairly easily, do you think KU would finally have a legitimate claim to be #1. I'm not sure very many KU fans actually believe KU had a claim for the top spot. KU has won 15 straight, but it still has a suspect offense, but the defense is great as always. But thats all it really has to claim, other then the tOSU win.
Myron Medcalf (2:52 PM)
I picked Michigan this week. But I didn't have any problem with the folks who put Kansas on top of their polls. They're on a stunning run. ... Kansas' problem is that it's looked shaky in stretches against non-top 25 teams.
I know Bowers is out, but even with him, Mizzou looks like a team that could easily be bounced in the first weekend of the tourney. What is going on in Columbia?
Myron Medcalf (2:54 PM)
I agree. Turnovers and the "Let's see if Phil Pressey can pull us out of this hole again" tactic won't help Mizzou's cause. ... Frank Haith calls them out. And the Tigers stay on the bus in Gainesville. Something has to change for that program to reach its potential. And it has to happen soon.
Myron, who are your final four picks? Have you changed your mind on them since a few weeks ago? Any darkhorse for the final four?
Myron Medcalf (2:54 PM)
I think I change my mind every week. ... Right now? I like Michigan, Florida, Duke, Louisville
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Hey Myron, who is your pick to win the Pac 12?
Myron Medcalf (2:55 PM)
Oregon. The Ducks have already played and defeated UCLA and Arizona, and they won't see either team against in the regular season.
Did the loss to Butler show you a flaw in the Zags team this year? I think they should have won considering Clarke was out.
Myron Medcalf (2:57 PM)
They went on the road and nearly pulled off a win in a crazy environment. They were one simple inbounds pass away from the win. ... I still think the Zags are a good team with a lot of potential to make a run in March.
Who are some sleepers that can make a run to the final four this year?
Myron Medcalf (2:58 PM)
UCLA, Wichita State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss .. just a few ...
Mike (Brooksville Fl)
How much more does Michigan have to do to be ranked #!
Myron Medcalf (2:58 PM)
They're on top of my power rankings. Not sure about everyone else.
Any chance Florida gets a number 1 seed?
Myron Medcalf (3:00 PM)
Definitely, especially if they whip the SEC. But the league is so weak that it might demand a 1-loss campaign in the regular season. And those losses to Kansas State and Zona could come back to haunt them in their push for a No. 1.
Myron Medcalf (3:00 PM)
It's been real, everyone. Thank you for your time. ... If I missed you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter (@MedcalfByESPN) ... Thanks again. Same time, same place next week.