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)
Hello all. Thanks for joining me. Let's go.
Frank (New Orleans)
How does a conference send five teams to the tournament when its automatic bid receives a No.12 seed (Oregon)?
Myron Medcalf (2:03 PM)
I'm not exactly sure to be honest. It's bizarre. I don't think Oregon's resume was amazing or anything. But 12 just seems odd.
Myron, two quick questions. One, is Valpo a potential spoiler...I like Buggs at guard....two, should UK have received a play-in as defending champ? Thanks for your time...Rick
Myron Medcalf (2:04 PM)
I think Valpo is a very tough game against Michigan State. I don't see them getting past Spartans. .... No. UK did not deserve a bid.
What are your 4 sleepers in the tourney who can make some noise in the tourney?
Myron Medcalf (2:06 PM)
I guess that all depends on your criteria. .... Final Four sleepers? Saint Louis, Colorado State, UNLV, VCU. Early sleepers? Middle Tennessee, Belmont, Florida Gulf Coast, Bucknell, Belmont.
Which 13 or lower seed has the fire power to pull off a George Mason this year?
Myron Medcalf (2:07 PM)
Boise State has beaten some of the Mountain West's best. South Dakota State could be scary against Michigan if Nate Wolters gets hot. Iona can run with anyone in the country but Gaels don't defend.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi, Best matchups in the first round and thoughts of great match ups in next couple of rounds?
Myron Medcalf (2:09 PM)
First round .... Colorado State-Missouri; Oregon-Oklahoma State; Notre Dame-Iowa State; Ole Miss-Wisconsin; Butler-Bucknell
Am I crazy or just stupid if I pick Iona over OSU?
Myron Medcalf (2:10 PM)
Take a very hard look at their defensive holes. 257th in adjusted defensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy. Don't be blinded by offensive production. Game slows down in the Big Dance. Possessions are more precious.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will be the 2012-2013 NCAA Men's College Basketball National Champions?
Myron Medcalf (2:11 PM)
I'm picking Louisville. It's a combination of things. Their experience. Their defensive presence and consistency. Their versatility, too.
In my opinion Maryland got robbed by the ncaa by not being picked and nit with not being a 1 seed what are your thoughts
Myron Medcalf (2:12 PM)
I disagree. Didn't earn it. And you really can't get upset about "snubs" in a year like this. A lot of average teams in the field. You have to prove it. Maryland didn't.
Tom F (Kansas City)
I'm worried about North Carolina and Michigan/VCU knocking off my Jayhawks before the Elite Eight. Talk me out of it, but I think Burke destroys us
Myron Medcalf (2:15 PM)
I think Kansas' problem will be Georgetown in the Elite Eight. Jayhawks are definitely good enough to get there. Burke has to get through Nate Wolters/SDSU and then VCU (probably). Wolverines' defense could lead to an early exit. And I don't think UNC will get past Villanova in the first round. If they do, Kansas has beaten a similar team three times this year (Iowa State). Small, quick, 3-ball is key. But it's not an easy path.
mark (italy )
out of these teams who has the best shot at the swet 16 colorado oregon bucknell belmont ?
Myron Medcalf (2:17 PM)
I'll take Bucknell. Folks will learn the name "Mike Muscala" soon. He's a monster on both ends of the floor.
robt mongomery knight (Texas)
Myron, any chair throwers worth watching this year?
Myron Medcalf (2:18 PM)
Not sure on that but Bo Ryan versus Marshall Henderson could be explosive. Henderson is the anti-Badger in terms of how he plays, acts. I think Wisconsin is the better team.
hard to criticize anyone picking vs my Wolverines, given how they finished. but it seems to me picking VCU over UM is a bit due to their recent performances and hype. their #1 strength, forcing TOs, shouldn't be as huge of a factor going against Burke and UM (a VERY low TO team). not to mention we struggle with size on the interior and talented bigs, which isn't really VCU's strength. think the bball analysts may still be on the VCU bandwagon based on years past?
Myron Medcalf (2:21 PM)
Nah. I like VCU, too. You failed to mention one thing: Michigan's suspect defense. 58th in adjusted defensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy. Wolverines have been inconsistent. Everyone talks about VCU. In A10 play, Rams were the best offensive team in the league. They can score, too. Very complete team.
Jacob M (San Francisco)
I'm curious about Otto Porter and the Georgetown squad. They demonstrated the ability to win long stretches of games, but they also lost some easy ones. Do they have potential to crack the final 4?
Myron Medcalf (2:24 PM)
They're in my Final Four. That's tied to a few things. Their defensive awareness is tremendous. They've handled adversity all year (no Greg Whittington). And Otto Porter continues to evolve. .. I'm a little worried because I know one off-night by Porter would change everything. But I like the Hoyas in Atlanta.
Hey Myron,My friends and I like to throw a twist in the NCAA tournament and draft 5 players in the tourney and goes strictly on points scored by each player. The team with the most points at the end of it all wins. My team is Mason Plumlee, Shane Larkin, Tony Snell, Kenny Boynton and Rotnei Clarke. How am I going to do?
Myron Medcalf (2:26 PM)
My only concerns would be Snell and Boynton (streaky), but you have a solid squad. One more concern ... Clarke might not get out of the first round.
Frank (New Orleans)
With Louisville being placed in a tough Midwest region, are they still the favorite to win the tournament despite its tough draw?
Myron Medcalf (2:28 PM)
They're my favorite to win it all. But they're in the toughest region. Wow. Duke, Saint Louis, Michigan State, Creighton? Ugh. That's rough. But I still think the Cardinals will win the whole thing. So much experience. Great defense. Confidence from last year's run. Poise.
BlueInThe212 (The 212)
If you HAD to pick a 16 to beat a 1, which one are you taking?
Myron Medcalf (2:30 PM)
None. It won't happen this year. .. I guess I'd say LIU Brooklyn but Blackbirds must win play-in game.
Tyler Morrison (Maui)
Ahoha from Maui, give me your predicition for the Gophers and UCLA game and what is the key to that game?
Myron Medcalf (2:32 PM)
I think the platform is set for a Gophers upset. And that's the problem. They're tough inside. They're experienced. UCLA is led by a bunch of freshmen who haven't experienced this spotlight. But the Gophers also manage to disappoint often. And they're not a good team right now. The key is for the Gophers to neutralize Shabazz Muhammad. He'll put in more work with Jordan Adams injured. The Adams injury is a major factor. ... Also, Aloha.
Michelle (Manchester KY)
Do you believe Poythress, Goodwin and /or Cauley-Stein should declare since this is an ultra weak draft, esp compared to next year? My opinion is that they will reduce their careers(and Money) by declaring early and not developing while sitting on the bench or D -League; but I defer to you . thanks much!
Myron Medcalf (2:34 PM)
You always leave. So yes. It's not even about the class. It's about the incoming recruiting class. Those players could get lost in that mix. It's that good. ... Take the money. It might not be there in a year. Imagine if Nerlens Noel were a late first-rounder/early second-rounder. He might not get drafted. But a team is willing to invest in him because he's young and talented.
The general consensus that I've seen about the West region is that it is Ohio State's for the taking. Is Gonzaga expected to go down early? To whom? Which teams in that bracket are likely to ruin the Buckeye's trip to Atlanta?
Myron Medcalf (2:36 PM)
Well, no guarantees for any team in any region. But the Buckeyes have won eight in a row. They're playing great basketball right now. It won't be easy. Gonzaga is a good team, but Zags could lose to Pitt in the second round. Wisconsin, New Mexico, Iowa State and Kansas State are tough, too. But I like the Buckeyes to rep the region in ATL.
Alex (Georgetown DC)
Should I be worried about Florida Gulf Coast?
Myron Medcalf (2:37 PM)
Michael (Timber Lake)
what do you think about sd state, could they upset #4 michigan
Myron Medcalf (2:38 PM)
Yes. Here's why. Michigan's defense has been inconsistent. And some of the best NCAA tourney memories involve big performances from mid-major stars. Make no mistake. Nate Wolters might drop 40. No joke. Michigan is the better team. Should win. But SDSU will put a fight and the Jackrabbits are capable of the upset.
Anyone "snubs" in your opinion this year? I'm biased as a Tennessee fan, but seems crazy to think they had more Top 50 and Top 100 wins than MTSU and St. Mary's combined, and more than Boise or La Salle stand alone as well. Seems like the committee really de-valued quality wins this year by taking those 4 in over Tennessee. Interested in your thoughts....
Myron Medcalf (2:42 PM)
I thought Tennessee-Alabama was an elimination game for the Vols. They finished strong but needed another quality win, IMO. And they couldn't afford another loss to a so-so bubble team. ... MTSU was sixth in nonconference SOS. That was a factor. That Ole Miss W was worth even more for MTSU after Rebels won the SEC tourney title. I think Blue Raiders earned it. ... Overall, I think Vols had a case. But it wasn't overwhelming. And that was the issue this year. The bubble teams were so even. Few stood out so I don't get the disappointment. Slightly above average would have been sufficient for a bid. Those bubble squads blew it throughout the season. Strong finishes didn't erase the problems with their overall bodies of work.
Illinois has been something of enigma this year. They win Maui, beat Gonzaga/Indiana/Ohio State/Butler, but lose some easy ones. Can you see Groce's guys getting hot and pulling off an upset of Miami?
Myron Medcalf (2:44 PM)
Yep. But you're right. That's why I could see the Illini losing by 20, too. Seriously. Kenny Kadji's range and size will be a problem. Durand Scott's athleticism will be a problem. Shane Larkin is a star. But the Illini force a lot of defensive adjustments when they're hot. That will be an interesting game. ... If it happens. Colorado is tough. And Roberson is healthy.
Any chance Creighton could make a run and get past Duke?
Myron Medcalf (2:46 PM)
Yeah, I think that could be a tough game for Creighton. But my colleague Eamonn Brennan reminded me that Cincy could be a bad matchup for the Bluejays. Two contrasting styles. But Cincy can control the game with its defense. Creighton will have a tough time matching up with Duke. But McDermott is the X-Factor. And Duke's D has been so-so in spurts all year. Blue Devils are beatable.
VCU's adjusted D is only 43 per KP ... vs Michigan's #2 adjusted O? doesn't it go both ways here?
Myron Medcalf (2:48 PM)
VCU defense has the highest turnover rate in the country per Ken Pomeroy, too. That matters. Michigan doesn't turn the ball over often, but Wolverines haven't faced a D like this. The style will force players not named Burke to handle the ball in foreign situations.
Let's say Louisville loses an early game. Who becomes the favorite to win it all?
Myron Medcalf (2:49 PM)
Let's not say that because that would destroy my bracket. Ahhh!!!! .... But I'd go with Indiana in that situation.
Trey (Lawrence, KS)
Myron,Why do I keep hearing about Pitt being too physical for my dudes from Wichita? The Shox rank 27th in the nation in rebounding to Pitts like 130-somethin... Can you explain this phenomena?
Myron Medcalf (2:51 PM)
Ignore that. Pitt is fourth in offensive rebounding rate per Ken Pomeroy. That matters. ... But I think some folks may doubt the Shockers because they haven't watch them play. I like Wichita State's chances in that matchup.
Max (San Francisco)
Is the Duke D you are talking about after Kelly went down (you know the team was 15 and 0 having beat the likes of Louisville, Ohio State Minnesota, and VCU). You know he is back and rested now? Devils didn't care about beating Maryland as much as Maryland was fighting for its life in ACC Tournament. So, what D are you actually talking about? Thanks.
Myron Medcalf (2:54 PM)
I'm talking about the D that might get punched in the mouth against a team with a physical inside presence. I'm talking about a D that might have problems shutting down a big perimeter playmaker like Doug McDermott. ... Don't get me wrong. Duke is better with Kelly. I know that. Still flawed defensively.
IS Kansas a contender for the final four or will they be eliminated earlier?
Myron Medcalf (2:54 PM)
Definitely a contender. Really solid team. I just think Georgetown will send the Jayhawks home in the Elite Eight.
Why the no love for St. Mary's. Thats a really underrated team that has only lost to the number 1 team in the country since December. Dellavedova could make you look silly come Tues night bud!!
Myron Medcalf (2:56 PM)
I agree. I'll look silly at some point. Saint Mary's might start that process. That's what happens in March Madness. Even the experts are wrong. But I love the uncertainty.
Are you surprised that there are zero teams from Texas in this tournament?
Myron Medcalf (2:58 PM)
From a geographic perspective? Yes. That's a large region with a lot of talent and multiple Division I programs. But just a bad year for that state when it comes to college basketball. ... I thought Stephen F. Austin would ensure that the state avoided that. I was wrong.
Ethan (Starke, Fl)
I think one of the issues with Florida closing out close games is that they don't have that one guy you know you can give the ball to. I say just give the ball to Mike Rosario. What say you?
Myron Medcalf (3:00 PM)
I think Florida's problem is that the Gators were so dominant for so long that they didn't need a "close out" guy. When you're up by 15 points, who cares who scores in the last minute? But they've lost multiple close games because they scramble to find that player (Erik Murphy down the stretch) in crunch time. I still think, however, that Florida is one of the most complete teams in the field. In a tight game, however, they might be in trouble.
Myron Medcalf (3:00 PM)
Thanks folks. It's been real. Enjoy the Big Dance. Find me on Twitter if I missed you (@MedcalfByESPN) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again.