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Chat: John Gasaway (Basketball)

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday April 07, 2008 12:00 PM ET chat session with John Gasaway (Basketball).

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John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus is in the house to preview tonight's national championship game between Kansas and Memphis

John Gasaway (Basketball): Yo, hoops nation! John here for (sniff) the last chat of the season. Where HAS the time gone? Seems like just yesterday when our little 07-08 youngster was but a lusty newborn, bringing us such gems as Gardner-Webb over Kentucky. Some thought this portended a year of the little guy. Ha! Some were wrong. Let's get right to it: Kansas-Memphis or anything else that's on your mind. I'm all ears and keyboard for the next 60 or so....

Kevin (Fairfax VA): When do college players unlearn basketball fundamentals so that they are comfortable taking three steps before shooting, or jump after two steps and jump again after landing? These are not infractions in the NBA anymore, and must still feel like traveling to some. Do they take a class after the draft?

John Gasaway (Basketball): Yes, my understanding is that the day after the draft every player selected is whisked to a hollowed-out volcano somewhere in the Caribbean. There LeBron and Dirk, each with white cats in their lap, instruct their charges with despotic zeal. ("Stop dribbling, already! You've crossed half-court!")

Please don't let on that you heard about this from me.

Nay-Smiths (D.C.): Your man Ken Pomeroy said that Sean Singletary was a sure thing for the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award. Instead it went to Mike Green (Butler). What gives?

John Gasaway (Basketball): What gives? Controversy! We're talking Hillary-at-Tuzla-level feeding frenzy here. It's only a matter of time. This is bound to end up with everyone involves testifying in a House hearing room, trust me.

For anyone just tuning in, the FPN Award goes to the best senior in the country no taller than six feet. Now, here's the problem: Green's own school lists him as 6-1. Go here:

http://butlersports.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/butl-m-baskbl-mtt.html

If I were Singletary I'd challenge Green to a measure-off. Seriously, this was an odd surprise.

tonipeluso (Oakland, CA): Stanford or TN? It's a classic match-up.

John Gasaway (Basketball): I love the women's game because it gives me the chance to pick games in the same manner as most people in office pools for the men's tourney: based on near-total ignorance. In this instance I'm going with Tennessee because their coach did a good "This is SportsCenter" spot.

moops21 (Pittsburgh): The consensus seems to be that tonight's game will be really fast-paced. True?

John Gasaway (Basketball): Yup! Would you go against either of these defenses in the half-court if you didn't have to?

When faced with opponents like these, it seems like coaches always say, "We can't get in running game with (Memphis/Kansas)." As it happens, though, these defenses are both so good that doing so might be a team's best approach.

Dan (St. Louis): Is there a better player in the country right now than Derrick Rose?

John Gasaway (Basketball): Well, maybe. I understand he has an upset stomach. But assuming he's healthy, the answer to your question might be "no."

The astonishing thing about Rose is how assured he looks, not to mention the quality of his decisions. It's almost like he's borrowed Mike Conley's brain for the past three games. Put that together with Rose's own ability to finish and you have one outstanding player. Let's all enjoy the last game of his brief college career. Depending on the needs of the team that gets the ping pong ball, Rose could go ahead of Beasley.

Trevor (Portland): What is the deal with the Self-to-Oklahoma State talk? Can that really happen? That's not a lateral move, that's a fall down an elevator shaft, even for an OSU alum like Self.

John Gasaway (Basketball): The deal is Self could have defused the talk with a Les Miles-style damn definitive statement: I'm not going. Instead he did the traditional "I'm focused on the next game" straddle. Illinois fans with long memories will recall that five years ago, Self issued a statement that was fairly Clintonian in its parsing of words, saying that he had no plans to go anywhere (at the moment that he wrote the statement--past that, all bets were off). A few days later he was in Lawrence.

Still, wouldn't it be wild if Kansas loses tonight and that's the first question Self is hit with as he walks off the court? Talk about history repeating itself. Maybe he'll drop an s-bomb like Roy Williams did in 2003.

Nick (Chicago): Where the heck has this Cole Aldrich dude been all year?

John Gasaway (Basketball): At the end of the bench. There aren't enough minutes for Arthur, Jackson, Kaun, and Aldrich to all see a lot of time. Meaning KU fans should feel very good about next year based on what they saw from Aldrich Saturday night. He was tenacious and effective on both ends of the floor. Well, except for that dunk malfunction.

gump (nyc): Misplaced faith in Pitt has nearly doomed my brackets for going on seven years now. Their yearly dominance in the Big East tourney has to be significant on some level. So what's the deal? Is there any reason why one team would perennially out-perform in a conference tournament? Or why out-performance leads to under-performance come Big Dance time?

John Gasaway (Basketball): Excellent question. There is of course the NYC theory, which says that the Panthers play especially well in MSG because so many of them hail from the area. So I guess Dixon should lobby for a regional to be played in the Garden. Heck, maybe a Final Four. (Yes, it would mean kicking the Knicks out for a few days. Trust me, they won't be missed.)

The Warrior (Milwaukee): Any prediction on who Marquette will hire? Whom SHOULD Marquette hire?

John Gasaway (Basketball): No predictions. I've been lax working those phones, short-sightedly focusing instead on snooty one-seeds.

As for whom they should hire, Tony Bennett of course comes to mind. He's been highly successful in a major conference at a school that is not exactly on the beaten path recruiting-wise. And he's a UWGB graduate. Assuming he turns it down like he has every Big Ten job the past two seasons, I would at least take a look at Sean Miler of Xavier. I love how that offense plays: with a minimum of screens and a maximum of spacing. It seemed like the Musketeers scored on a dunk coming out of every single timeout.

Stan (Ft. Worth): What do you think of the new raised floor at football venues?

John Gasaway (Basketball): I'm fine with it. One of the things I like most about college hoops fans is their refusal to be Grandpa-Simpson-like reactionaries in the face of any change. Unlike, say, college football fans. When that stupid clock rule was enacted in football you would have thought the sport was going from tackle to flag to hear some of the protests. We in hoops, on the other hand, come from a history where we laid down a three-point line and put in a shot-clock. Not every change is for the better (see: very large and very slippery NCAA mid-court logos) but let's not act like we're 93 in the face of anything new.

Stan (Ft. Worth): What do you think of the new raised floor at football venues?

John Gasaway (Basketball): I'm fine with it. One of the things I like most about college hoops fans is their refusal to be Grandpa-Simpson-like reactionaries in the face of any change. Unlike, say, college football fans. When that stupid clock rule was enacted in football you would have thought the sport was going from tackle to flag to hear some of the protests. We in hoops, on the other hand, come from a history where we laid down a three-point line and put in a shot-clock. Not every change is for the better (see: very large and very slippery NCAA mid-court logos) but let's not act like we're 93 in the face of anything new.

allenby (Philly): Is Calipari underrated?

John Gasaway (Basketball): Of course. Try this experiment: if he looked and dressed like Ben Howland and carried on on the sidelines like Izzo, everyone would talk about what a great defensive coach he is. Which he is: opposing teams haven't been able to score against this team for two years.

Kansas is pretty good in that department too.

John Gasaway (Basketball): And with that, let's turn it over to the two best teams in the country. I hope we at last get a close game, the first one in a long while without Stephen Curry. Anyway, it could happen. Enjoy, all.


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