Welcome to our online chat with Gary Bedore and Frank Dascenzo.
The chat took place Thursday, March 27, at 1 p.m. and is now closed, but you can read the full transcript on this page.
Moderator: Welcome to today's live chat with Lawrence Journal-World KU basketball writer Gary Bedore and Durham Herald-Sun sports columnist Frank Dascenzo.
Moderator: Guys, thanks so much for joining us before today's Sweet 16 match-up between two of the most storied college basketball programs in the country.
Moderator: Let's take our first questions ...
Victor Mitchell & Booty Neal: What kind of tempo do you think this game will be? If Duke doesn't slow it down and play a half-court game, with many three pointers, do they have a chance?
Gary Bedore: Yeah, because Duke is a high-scoring team, too. I think it will be a fast-tempo game, I really do. I don't know what Frank thinks, but Duke doesn't need to devise any weird strategies like a small school might. This is a No. 2 vs. No. 3 game.
Frank Dascenzo: I think Duke will have to shoot well from the perimeter to have a chance to win this game. And they can do that with J. J. Redick and Daniel Ewing, and also Chris Duhon, who will not be asked to shoot much, but can shoot well. But I think the biggest challenge Duke will have will be limiting Kirk Hinrich on the perimeter. In the Duke locker room yesterday, that seemed to be the theme for the three guards I talked to. They need to stop Hinrich's penetration.
perminator: Frank, I remember how Grant Hill took out Big Dog Robinson a few years ago in the tournament, to everyone's surprise. Any secret plan by Coach K to do the same for Collison? Gary, your reax, too.
Frank Dascenzo: That's a good question. I was at that game, and Grant Hill held the Big Dog to a season-low 13 points. I don't see anybody on Duke's team totally putting a blanket on Collison the way Grant Hill did to Glen Robinson that day. That was one of the greatest Duke defensive efforts I've ever seen, and it was reminiscent of Billy King's defense on Temple's Mark Macon in 1988.
Gary Bedore: No secret plans are needed. Collison might face some interesting match-ups tonight if they decide to put a quicker guy on him, but this is a big-time game. Duke won the ACC tournament; they don't need gimmicks.
Frank Dascenzo: Duke is not a gimmick team, and never has been in the Mike K. era. The last thing I see tonight is Duke coming up with a trick. You don't fool Roy Williams at this stage of the season.
Randy: This is for both writers -- what kind of looks is redick gonna get with hinrich on him?
Gary Bedore: Hinrich is really playing great defense right now. Duke is going to do the old cliche "penetrate and dish" effectively, because Hinrich's defense has been really, really good the past 10 games. You're talking about a freshman who really has his work cut out for him. Hinrich's offense has been off sometimes, but his defense has always been on.
Frank Dascenzo: I think Redick will get some pretty good looks. One of the things that took place in the ACC tournament championship game was, Duke ran a lot of baseline screens for him against NC State, where in the final 10 minutes he was like an inferno, scoring 23 of his 30 points. The problem with Redick, for any defense, is he doesn't need a whole lot of time to set up and shoot. So I think Redick will get plenty of good looks. The question is, can he knock them down. Yesterday in practice, Duke assistant coach Johnny Dawkins stood like an erect statue, staring at the perimeter shooting of Redick. So Kansas fans will take a deep breath, I'm sure, any time Redick touches the basketball.
Scott Hedges: Gary -- do u believe this game will keep us on the edge of our seats the whole game like the Utah State game??
Gary Bedore: Yeah, I do. I think it's going to be a close game. I don't think KU is going to blow anybody out the first half. I would be pretty surprised if it was double-digits at halftime. I think it should be really close.
tim: I'd like both writers' thoughts on this: Duke's defense on the perimeter and 3-point shooting ability concerns me. What does KU do to offset those capabilites.
Frank Dascenzo: Well, I think that you kind of have to get a hand in somebody's face and deny them the best look. While Hinrich is a good defensive player, the problem for Kansas is Duke doesn't just have one good perimeter shooter, but they have three, and if you count Dante Jones, who is more of a slasher, then that's four. So it's like Roy Williams said yesterday, "I don't want to see it raining threes." So Kansas is going to have to be waving hands like never before.
Gary Bedore: Offensively, KU has to be well-rounded with Langford having to be able to slash along with Graves and Collison hooking up on those high-low buckets. Kansas must stay in front of their men on defense and watch the dribble penetration or it's going to be wide-open threes.
Dave Solomon: What do you think the mental state of these two teams is? Particularly Duke with so many vital freshmen?
Gary Bedore: I think KU is really anxious to play. I'm sure they'll have a hard time sitting around all day on a beautiful day in LA. They had their scare against Utah State, and they just want to get back to the Final Four. That was a big theme yesterday.
Frank Dascenzo: It's really unique for Duke, because Duke is an underdog for a change. And Duke will not be wearing white uniforms for a change. Just how Duke reacts to this is a mystery right now. But Duke has a stomach, and a tough
stomach for the month of March. And that's why they're usually at least in the Sweet 16. On the other hand, there seems to be pressure on Kansas to win the game, because Kansas does have more experience, and Kansas, if you buy into this, seems to be due or overdue to finally beat Duke. Kansas is 1-6 against the Blue Devils, and if Williams is ever going to beat Duke, this is probably going to be the year.
kyle curfman: Gary: why does jeff graves go for a steal every defensive possession? over half of his fouls are from reaching in. when we play duke and possibly other good teams how can we afford to still let him do that?
Gary Bedore: That is a great question. He does have quick feet for a big guy, and he's had a lot of steals, so speaking for him I think he probably thinks he can do it every time, which is ill-advised, especially tonight. He's got to pick his spots, but as you've noticed, he does anticipate that pass pretty well and has a lot of steals as of late. I really think he probably will need to
be a little more cautious tonight. But as to how to prevent that, I don't know. I guess the coaches would have to drum it into his head, but they don't want to take away his aggressiveness.
Heelfan: Frank: Of the remaining teams, which do you believe has the most swagger?
Frank Dascenzo: Well, you'd have to say Kentucky #1. It seems to be Kentucky's tournament to win. I did not see much of a swagger at all in Arizona out in Salt Lake City. They certainly escaped a very well-coached Gonzaga team. This Duke team does not swagger. It has a hard time finding its way out of the locker room and onto the court because it's so young. But I think the best-kept secret in this NCAA tournament might be Pittsburgh.
Kevin: If Kansas or Duke were to get blown out by one or the other, would the winning team have the intensity to win the national championship, or have the energy to compete with teams such as Arizona or Kentucky?
Frank Dascenzo: Well, first of all, I don't think it'll be a blowout. But if it is a blowout, I think the team that wins will have an awful lot of confidence to go on and take it all.
Gary Bedore: Yeah, they would have the energy. That Elite 8 game kind of takes care of itself in terms of energy and emotion. You're taking care of trying to cut down the nets. I can see what you're saying -- an emotional blowout might tax their energy -- but that doesn't matter in an Elite 8 game, especially with the long time-outs.
Steve: Guys, Which is the better arena: Allen or that place in N.C.?
Frank Dascenzo: Well, I've been to both places countless times. They both have tradition. But, for my money, there's no better place to watch a basketball game than Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Gary Bedore: Actually, I've never seen a game at Duke, but I have been in the building. We went down there in the summer of 2000 during the Roy-Carolina watch. It's kind of neat to see the "Krzyzewskiville" sign outside the building. I can't imagine how loud it is in there, but it must be incredible. Allen Fieldhouse speaks for itself. It's really, really loud in there, especially for a big game. Allen's the best arena in the Big 12 by far.
Randy: For both writers: If (or should I say when) the game goes to the wire -- which I believe it will -- which team will have the edge? Kansas' expercience, or Duke's Long distance Dialers?
Gary Bedore: It depends. If Duke's hitting the three, you'd have to go with the three-point shooters, but don't count out Hinrich and Collison when the game's on the line. Those two guys really want it badly.
Frank Dascenzo: Well, there's nothing like experience, and that's one area where Duke is a bit vulnerable. And I would tend to lean with experience. I think Hinrich and Collison, assuming both are still on the floor, and assuming it does go to the wire, might have the better edge. And that's why you kinda have to favor Kansas.
Kahn: What kind of role do you expect Keith Langford to play versus Duke? He has the experience from last year, and it seems to me that he is the most underrated player in America and I think he should asume a bigger shooting role and continue to penetrate (slash left), hang in the air, or finish with a "typical" 3 point play. Do you think we'll see a bigger role for Keith with Duke focusing on the 2 seniors, Collison and Hinrich?
Gary Bedore: Yeah, I think Langford will play the way he's played in the past NCAA Tournament games -- offensive-minded, 12 to 16 shots. I think he will play a major role.
Frank Dascenzo: That's a good question. A lot of times in big games like this, when marquee players have their names mentioned repeatedly, it's sometimes another player, like a Langford, who steps up. So I wouldn't be surprised if he was a key factor for the Jayhawks.
Dave Solomon: Do either of you have any behind the scenes info of what K and Williams might be doing to psych their teams up and get them mentally prepared?
Gary Bedore: No. To show you how focused the Jayhawks are, the players declined a trip to Disneyland on Wednesday. They really don't seem to be interested in superstitious stuff as of yet. I think if KU beats Duke, Roy might have the guys rub something somewhere for good luck before the game on Saturday. The first game tends to be more of an intense thing where the guys really want game time to arrive.
Frank Dascenzo: Well, first of all, I don't think this is a psyche kind of game. Nor do I think gimmicks will be employed. I think both players realize the tradition of the letters on the other team's uniforms. And certainly it's no surprise that Duke and Kansas are playing in the Sweet 16. I think Coach K's biggest fear is how his young players are going to react at the start of
this game, because while Salt Lake City was a first- and second-round battle, it did not have near the drama that this region will have at the Arrowhead Pond. I was talking to Billy Packer yesterday during practices, and we both agreed this has a Final Four feel to it, with these four teams here.
Curfman: How much of a realistic chance do the Jayhawks have of winning it all without the inside presence of Wayne Simien, especially when Kansas tends to get into foul trouble with no help off the bench?
Frank Dascenzo: I'm not sure this Kansas team is good enough to win the national championship, but I think it's certainly good enough to beat Duke and give the winner of the Notre Dame/Arizona game a heck of a game. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kansas in the Final Four, but I would be surprised to see Kansas win the national championship.
Gary Bedore: You keep thinking that Wayne's abscence will doom the Jayhawks, but here they are in the Sweet 16 without him, and are actually favored to beat Duke. So who knows. Maybe they'll actually be able to get it done without Wayne, which is hard to believe since he's so good. I've been wondering the same thing -- how long can they ride this wave without one of the top five power forwards in the country. Now you know why the media voted for Roy as coach of the year in the Big 12.
Deevil Kneevil: For both guys, is there really anything to this Roy-is-a-proxy-for-Dean stuff? I've read the JW stories in The Herald-Sun and Williams really seems to have a thing for Duke that's really a UNC deal rather than a KU thing, even factoring in 1991.
Frank Dascenzo: There's no rivalry like the Duke/North Carolina basketball rivalry. They just don't like each other. And because the two programs have been so successful, and because they're geographically so close to each other (separated by about 10 miles), they are constantly compared with one another. And they share the same media (i.e., newspapers, TV and radio). We often get feedback at the Herald-Sun as to which team appears "above the fold" more than the other. I honestly don't think Roy likes Duke, but I do know that he respects them.
Gary Bedore: I'd say it's a little of both. He went to Carolina and obviously has a big hatred for Duke because it's like KU's most rabid fans' feelings about Missouri. But he also remembers KU's three losses to Duke since he's been at KU. He can't help but have strong feelings against Duke considering he went to Carolina.
Moderator: We promised both writers that we would try to limit this chat to around 30 minutes, so we are going to begin to wrap things up. We will have one more submitted question.
Rob: Honest predictions -- setting all "favoritism" aside, both of you -- who will advance to meet 'Zona?
Frank Dascenzo: I like Kansas to win the game, for two reasons. Number 1, I really think Hinrich will have an excellent game against the Duke perimeter. And I subscribe to the simplistic theory that if you beat your head against a brick wall long enough, you'll eventually loosen that brick. Roy is finally due, and Kansas is finally due, to beat Duke.
Gary Bedore: I knew KU was going to pound Arizona State. I don't know what will happen tonight, but I guess I would have to pick the Colly-Hinrich duo over Duke, 87-86. If Duke was to win, I certainly would not be surprised.
Moderator: Guys, are there any other insights or thoughts you can add or want to throw out before you go?
Gary Bedore: No. I am going to go read a book by the pool. Or maybe I won't. Game time is still a long time away, and I'm not in a mood to ride the wicked rollercoaster at Disneyland.
Frank Dascenzo: I guess I'd just like to throw this out. I don't know the words to "Rock Chalk Jayhawk," but by the end of tonight, I probably will.
Moderator: Frank and Gary, thanks so much for joining us today. We've never had as many questions submitted for a chat as we did today.
Moderator: And to all of those who submitted questions, whether we got to them or not, thanks so much! Good luck to both teams.