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. Wow. Final Four is almost here. Let's talk about it.
will oladipo and zeller return to indiana
Myron Medcalf (2:02 PM)
Doubtful. No reason to. I'm a big supporter of "take the money while it's there."
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Myron - Which is most surprising - Michigan in the final four or there weren't more member from the Big Ten makig it to the Final Four?
Myron Medcalf (2:05 PM)
Probably Michigan only because its defensive challenges were so crippling in big games in the regular season. And so-so defensive squads don't win national titles. But the Wolverines have improved on defense, Mitch McGary looks like an All-American and Trey Burke is stunning. ... I had two Big Ten teams going to the Big Dance in my bracket. But I'm not that surprised only one made it.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Since Now that the Final Four is Set Who do you think will be the 2012-2013 NCAA Men's College Basketball National Champions?
Myron Medcalf (2:07 PM)
Same team I picked in October. Louisville. Strong on both ends. A really disruptive defense. Experienced coaching. And the confidence of a team that hasn't lost in nearly two months.
Josh(charleston) [via mobile]
Do you think wichata state will win it all?
Myron Medcalf (2:08 PM)
I don't. But the Shockers are a quality team. Very athletic. Malcolm Armstead is underrated. And the Shockers are playing great defense. ... But Louisville is on another level. I don't think there's another team in Atlanta that can upset the Cardinals.
I think Louisville showed versus Duke the team they really were. The first half it was neck to neck in terms of scoring. Granted the bad injury happened, it sure took the game play out of team. However it provided motivation for the Cardinals. Was it this motivation that inspired the team to play better in the second half against Duke.
Myron Medcalf (2:10 PM)
I think Ware's words to the team clearly inspired this team. But I also think we just saw Louisville playing the victimizing brand of basketball that's fueled a ridiculous run that began in early February. ... Duke is a very good team. Louisville was just better than a very good team. The Cards are very close to great.
Kirk (Las Vegas)
Why don't schools put non-competes in these coaches' contracts like corporations do in the business world? I understand why Alford would bolt for UCLA but it does not sit well after he just signed a 10-year deal a week ago to stay at New Mexico.
Myron Medcalf (2:13 PM)
Here's the bottom line. Unless, your favorite coach is Roy, Coach K, Boeheim or any other legendary longtime leader whose next stop will probably be retirement ... never make assumptions with coaches. They're human. A good offer comes. They consider it. I'm never surprised when they leave.
Michael (Cocoa Beach, FL)
Hi Myron! Syracuse is unusual, they have 2 point guards, MCW and Triche. How much of an edge might this be in the Final Four?
Myron Medcalf (2:14 PM)
Their guard rotation is definitely a factor. I think the greatest factor is Michael Carter-Williams' combination of size and speed. Very Penny Hardaway-like. ... But the bottom line (there will be many bottom lines today) is that teams can't score against Cuse's zone right now. That's what matters most.
Myron what do you think louisville;s game plan is against witchita state?
Myron Medcalf (2:17 PM)
In general ... to make Malcolm Armstead feel very uncomfortable. Back Carl Hall off the block with Dieng's length. Turn him into a jump shooter. Deny positioning for Ron Baker on the perimeter so that he's always taking tough shots. Force a lot of turnovers. Turn that into a lot of offense. .... Siva and Smith will use their speed to attack and attack on offense. ... This is going to be a tough game for Wichita State. And again, I think the Shockers are a very good team.
Todd (Sioux Falls, SD)
Myron,Who are the next likely candidates to emerge in the soap opera that has become the Minnesota Golden Gophers coaching search?
Myron Medcalf (2:18 PM)
I'm applying today. ... No idea honestly. But I think Gophers need to go the "longtime assistant at a big time program or mid-major coach" route.
GBK (Lincoln Park)
Myron, what a run by these young Wolverines, who two weeks ago were one of the upset picks everyone had. With two wings at 6'6 (Stauskas and Hardaway) do you think they match up with Syracuse better than IU did?
Myron Medcalf (2:22 PM)
I do just because Burke's speed and skill set allows him to create space for shooters in ways that Hulls/Yogi could not. The 2-3 forces teams to take bad shots. I think Michigan has a cast of shooters who understand spacing and the catch-and-shoot style that will be necessary to beat Cuse. They have to hit shots. That's the simple explanation. Burke will facilitate that. And they don't commit turnovers. Hoosiers had 18. ... Glenn Robinson III is big enough to be the guy at the high post. ... Mitch McGary can crash the boards and score on putbacks. ... This Michigan team is shooting 49.5 percent from the field in the NCAA tourney. ... Michigan can crack this zone.
Kevin (Reno NV)
Rick Pitino is already a HOF coach? However, where would another national title place him in the hierarchy of all time greats?
Myron Medcalf (2:25 PM)
It's tough to say. I believes he's one of three coaches who've gone to the Final Four with three different teams. I think he already sits at the table with the active greats: Boeheim, Roy, Coach K, Bill Self. Another crown, however, would say a lot about his longevity. He was with Providence more than 20 years ago. And here he is again.
How will Michigan guard Syracuse? Will they go zone? If M-2-M, who guards who?
Myron Medcalf (2:28 PM)
Still trying to figure this out. Honestly. That's the biggest question for Beilein. To me, Hardaway on MCW, Burke on Triche? Maybe GRIII on MCW. ... At least in the beginning. Burke can play big but foul trouble will be such a concern that my guess is Burke is off MCW ... at least in the beginning. I'm anxious to see what Michigan does defensively.
Rochelle Rabeler (Lincoln, NE)
Hi Myron!Do you think that Trey Burke (6'0) will have similar troubles against the tall and long Syracuse backcourt that the IU/Marquette/Cal backcourts had? I realize he has a tremendous skill set, but some of the same issues and lack of familiarity with the zone seem to exist. Thank you!
Myron Medcalf (2:32 PM)
Michael Carter Williams had five turnovers against Cal. I think the overall scheme is the biggest issue for teams. .... And I think Burke's speed and talent is more important than his size. The latter is more of an issue on defense, I think. But he has to be a facilitator on offense. And speed is crucial in that game plan. You have to help when he goes to the rim because he's so quick. I don't care what scheme you're in. Michigan is shooting 49.5 percent from the field in the tourney because players have room. Burke is responsible. ... Peyton Siva had a 12-for-2 assist-to-turnover ratio in Louisville's two wins over Cuse. Guards matter.
No team in Atlanta can upset the Cardinals? Syracuse might have something to say about that. They have already beaten them once, and outplayed Louisville for most of the BE title game before running out of gas.
Myron Medcalf (2:34 PM)
Of course there are threats. I probably shouldn't have used the word "can." "Will." I just don't see it. This is a very complete team. ... Multiple squads have outplayed the Cardinals in stretches during this run. No team has done it for 40 minutes, though.
Jeff (Albany, NY)
If WSU wins it all, can I make the argument that Pitt was the second best team in the country, since the only loss they had in the tournament was to the National Champion?
Myron Medcalf (2:34 PM)
That works for me.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Steve Alford is the right guy to re-energize the fan base and return UCLA to the status of perennial national contende?
Myron Medcalf (2:36 PM)
UCLA went to three Final Fours less than 10 years ago. The Bruins have been a national contender recently. They had the top recruiting class this year. But they also had defections. Alford will need a combination of young stars and veterans. It's not easy to sustain success in the one and done era. You're always rebuilding. ... I'm really not sure how Alford is a better option to do that than Howland was. That's a tough gig.
Chris (Fredonia, NY)
Louisville, already the clear-cut best team remaining, now has major motivation in playing for their injured teammate. Which team has a better chance of knocking them off, Syracuse (familiarity) or Michigan (incredible talent at PG)?
Myron Medcalf (2:38 PM)
Syracuse (although I'm picking Michigan over Syracuse) because no team in Atlanta knows Louisville the way Boeheim does. And they've already won a game against Louisville this season.
Tyler (Laramie, Wyo)
Pitino is actually 1 of 1 - unless you count Calipari.
Myron Medcalf (2:40 PM)
Good catch. Pitino is the only guy who's taken three teams to the Final Four.
Myron Medcalf (2:41 PM)
So many numbers/stats/figures in my brain right now. ... Wichita State's Carl Hall recorded blocks on 14.6 percent of his defensive possessions against Ohio State. The ESPN Stats & Info folks are amazing, right?
tia.allen (from nc...in va)
Michigan got this championship all day
Myron Medcalf (2:42 PM)
You need to take another look at that Duke-Louisville film. Cards outscored Duke, a former No. 1, by 22 points in the last 15:44 of that game. That's a TKO in college basketball. And they clearly weren't playing the Topeka YMCA.
Jason (North Carolina)
Myron, do you think the one-and-done era will ever end? I know a lot has to be done on the part of the players lobbying group as well as Stern. Do you think we will at least see players in the top 20 of recruiting classes start to spread themselves out more instead of contributing to the almost monopoly of John Calipari?
Myron Medcalf (2:46 PM)
It's all NBA. I think folks believe the NCAA has control. The NCAA is powerless. Not that they're complaining, though. ... I think the one and done era, will be the two and done era soon. Stern wants more mature players. So I think we're going to see a 20-year-old age limit in the next CBA. ... You have to wonder if we'll see more top-20 guys skip school and go overseas. ... Those elite kids, however, play together because they're winning together.
Tyler (Laramie, Wyo)
What has been your favorite image from the NCAAT so far?
Myron Medcalf (2:48 PM)
Trey Burke's eyes in the final minutes of Michigan's win over Kansas. He wasn't here. He just had this look that you don't see often. Oblivious to everything but the moment. ... You hear about guys "going into a zone." That's a real thing.
Myron, which program do you think has the most upside, ILL, UVA or GT?
Myron Medcalf (2:50 PM)
Illinois. Groce certainly exceeded expectations this year. And I think he's done enough to attract more recruits from the region (see Chicago). I think the Illini could become a national contender again in the near future under Groce. And I certainly didn't believe that three months ago.
GBK (Lincoln Park)
Myron, let's not forget that John Beilein is one of the best offensive minds in college hoops and played against that Syracuse zone for a few years while at West Virginia. Michigan will be ready on Saturday night.
Myron Medcalf (2:52 PM)
I think every team in Atlanta will be ready. I don't doubt that. And if you're still alive, you have a good coach. ... Here's how I look at the Final Four. Let's say every team in Atlanta plays its best basketball. Who wins? The team with the highest ceiling, right? ... I think that's Louisville by a mile. Not saying the Cardinals are guaranteed anything. But just like Kentucky last year, the Cards can go to that next gear. ... But Michigan-Cuse will be the game of the day.
A lot of teams can get complacent after winning 14-straight games in blowout fashion. Do you think Ware's injury brings a new focus to UofL and has them playing for a cause now, besides cutting the nets down?
Myron Medcalf (2:54 PM)
It certainly helped Sunday. And the fact that he's from the Atlanta area? Wow. ... But even without it, I'd still pick Louisville. The Cardinals' motivation comes from its Final Four loss to Kentucky a year ago. But Ware's injury just gives them another reason to win.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Bruce Weber will be able to maintain the success we saw this year K-State? Or do you think we'll see a repeat of his time at Illinois where he started out good initially, with the leftover talent he inherited, followed by gradual dropoff in success?
Myron Medcalf (2:56 PM)
I'm not in the "he won with the former coach's players" club. At the end of day, he still coached that 2005 team. And Weber had some quality teams after that run. He can coach. And I think he'll be a solid recruiter for K-State. In Year 1, he earns a slice of the Big 12 title? That's impressive.
Jason (North Carolina)
What is the most realistic manner in which Wichita State would pull the upset on Louisville in terms of offensive and defensive strategy?
Myron Medcalf (3:00 PM)
Offensive strategy will involve attacking Louisville at all spots. Armstead, Early, Hall, Baker ... Gregg Marshall will need all five guys on the floor to be in a rhythm. They have to avoid turnovers, so Armstead's performance will be crucial, too. The Shockers forced Ohio State into a 2-for-10 outing in the space between the paint and the arc. They're defending the 3-point line and the interior. Contesting shots in each tier will be significant. The Shockers have done that throughout the tourney.
Myron Medcalf (3:01 PM)
Thanks, everyone. Thanks for your time. ... If I missed you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter (@MedcalfByESPN).