Chat with Mechelle Voepel
She's got North Carolina, Oklahoma, Stanford and Duke as her Final Four picks, what are yours?
So, send in your questions now and then join Mechelle Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Mechelle (1:02 PM)
Good afternoon, let's get started.
Kim (Montgomery, AL)
How much does Tennessee have to be worried about playing Marist, assuming they beat Pittsburgh tonight?
Mechelle (1:04 PM)
I really think every coach "worries" about every opponent. They pretty much always do. Marist beat two very good teams back-to-back, and either Tennessee or Pittsburgh is going to be very wary of Marist.
Terry - Buffalo, NY
What do you think about the matchup between Bowling Green and Vanderbilt tonight. I am a BG alum and realize Vandy is talented and has bigger inside players, but BG is solid from the 3 area and have not backed down against taller players (ie, Allison Bales, Duke)
Mechelle (1:06 PM)
Bowling Green is another mid-major that has been building its program for a while now and prepares itself for NCAA copmpetition by playing teams like Duke in the preseason. Oklahoma State posed challenged with height and quickness, and BG beat the Cowgirls. So, yes, BG is going to go into the Vandy game with confidence.
Bill (San Francisco)
How big of an upset is FSU over Stanford? Does it rank as one of the biggest?
Mechelle (1:09 PM)
Certainly from a seeding perspective, it's big ... but FSU tied N.C. State in the ACC standings (the tie-breaker made the 'Noles the No. 5 seed in the ACC tourney) so that tells you how good FSU was in the ACC. Playing against those ACC foes this year really prepared FSU for the postseason. Of course. Stanford lost its starting point guard (again) this season, and that hurt. Overall, I think FSU is far better than a No. 10 seed, so in actually it's a BIG upset but not an all-time shocker. And I mean that as a compliment to FSU.
With Stanford out and LSU dealing with their coaching distraction, is the Fresno Region now wide open for UConn to win?
Mechelle (1:12 PM)
I don't think UConn needed any other teams to be eliminated or distracted in order to win ... as the No. 1 seed, the Huskies were clearly the favorites anyway. The winner of tonight's Baylor-N.C. State game should be a good challenge for UConn, provided the Huskies do get past Wisconsin-GB, whose coach Kevin Borseth is really playing possom about that matchup. :) I had picked Stanford to win the region - which shows how much I know.
Tammy (Indianapolis, IN)
What are your thoughts on the Purdue-Georgia match up next weekend?
Mechelle (1:14 PM)
Wow, really good game becasue both teams are playing so well at this point in the season. Gearlds and Wisdom-Hylton have been very strong for the Boilers and Georgia's guards, as usual, have come up big. This is going to be a great game.
chris(silver spring, MD)
hi!!!!!!who do you have coming out of the dayton region?
Mechelle (1:16 PM)
I picked Oklahoma at the start of the tournament. Maybe I should go with the hot team: Marist. :) The Sooners had a shaky opener but really came back strong last night against Marquette. Tennessee and Maryland are still alive in the bracket, of course, so it will be no surprise obviously to see either one of the in the FF again.
There were a number of stories today about Coach G being wooed by Texas, Florida, LSU and/or Michigan. Do you think there is any chance that she will leave Duke?
Mechelle (1:22 PM)
Obviously, this is something Coach Goestenkors doesn't want to talk about - she's focused entirely on this tournament. It just makes sense that her name would come up in terms of big jobs. That's how this goes in the coaching business. As far as I can tell, a lot of this is up to Duke's administration to give her every reason to stay. She'd taken a program that was nowhere in the ACC and made it a consistent national championship contender every year. Bottom line is Duke needs to step up and prove it wants to keep her. Obviously, the fan base absolutely does not want to lose the person who made the program.
J (high point, nc)
Who do you have MSU or RU? Any thoughts about the matchup? It seems to be flying under the radar, but this should be a pretty good game.
Mechelle (1:24 PM)
Great point ... you're right, this has been under the radar. Rutgers is another one of those teams that has really come together later in the season now that it has gotten everybody healthier and its rookes are more experienced. MSU has players with FF experience and DeHaan inside, who has had a really good rookie year and is obviously such a difficult matchup with her height.
Do you think the "Cinderellas" (FSU and Marist) can make any more noise in the tourney or are there seasons over in the Sweet 16?
Mechelle (1:27 PM)
Well, we've never had a double-digit seed team in the Women's FF ... Arkansas at No. 9 in 1998 is the lowest to make it. So that's something for Marist and FSU to aspire to. With all due respect, I think Marist's run is over. But I think FSU can match up with LSU in the Sweet 16.
RO (Tulsa OK)
Does NC St. overwhelm Baylor with size or does Baylor overwhelm NC St. with speed?
Mechelle (1:30 PM)
N.C. State's size edge is going to be difficult for Baylor ... plus I don't think of the Wolfpack as being necessarily less quick across the board than Baylor. I think N.C. State has the edge in this game, but Baylor played very well up until the last few minutes in the Big 12 semis against Okla., and if Baylor has that kind of effort throughout tonight, it's going to be a really tight game.
Everyone in Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Thank you for even more motivation.
Mechelle (1:31 PM)
Now wait a second ... either people want an honest response or more mumbo-jumbo. Do you think I'm knocking Marist? Someone asked if I thought they would get past the Sweet 16. My honest answer is no, That doesn't mean anything. They're the ones who play the game. What do they care what I think?
Is there a chance the Michigan State coach is leaving.
Mechelle (1:34 PM)
With this many big jobs open, there is going to be speculation that just about everybody is leaving ... with a couple of notable million-dollar contract exceptions. There's a lot of bargaining and negotiating that will be going on in the next month or so.
Steve (Baton Rouge)
Mechelle, we've seen LSU play two games now. How do you think, if any, the coaching situation there has affected them the first two rounds?
Mechelle (1:37 PM)
Sinc e LSU is in the Sweet 16, I think these players have handled the situation they were put in extremely well. Now they play a lower-seeded team in the regional semis because of the FSU upset. I imagine LSU's players are thinking about their goals, regardess of who is coahing them and what happened. Bravo to them.
David (Columbia, SC)
I'm kind of sick of the big fuss of Tennessee having to play on someone else's court. UNC has played on Arizona State and Vanderbilt's home floors in the past two years and the Dayton regional this year hasn't turned out to be as tough for them as UNC's Cleveland regional last year with Purdue, Tenn and Rutgers. Duke played UConn on their home court as well last year. Who cares? You just go out and win the games. Speaking of, did anyone look better than UNC this weekend? Can they win it all?
Mechelle (1:42 PM)
All the coaches of better-seeded teams who have had to play on someone else's home court or auxiliary home court have not been happy about it. Coaches, understandably, don't like such disadvantages. It's still a flaw in the women's tournament - to have a worse-seeded team end up with a homecourt advantage. Every time it happens, coaches will complain about it. And I don't blame them. As to the UNC question ... I didn't see every single game, but I don't think anybody was any more dominant than UNC. Yes, the Heels are definitely a team that could win it all.
Is there a more underrated player in the country than Camille Little of UNC? I think she is the difference maker and if she's playing well, it's very tough to beat UNC.
Mechelle (1:43 PM)
She has been a really good player this season. I know no opposing coach "underrates" her.
Any players/coaches that will become more well known as a result of their performance in the tourney?
Mechelle (1:48 PM)
I think Briann January, the Arizona State sophomore, opened some eyes in the second round victory for those who had not seen her play. As a team, FSU certainly took a step forward into the spotlight. And for a mid-major like Marist to get the kind of attention it has received and will continue to receive is like gold.
Renee (Northampton, MA)
With the Pac 10 teams losing bigtime, do you think that conference is overrated?
Mechelle (1:50 PM)
Well, I guess how I would answer this is that when the Pac-10 complains that it is "under-rated" then it's NCAA Tournament performance this season, save ASU, is going to be brought up.
T C GREEN BAY
WHERE SHOULD COACH BORSETH OF UWGB COACH NEXT YEAR HE'S TOO GOOD FOR SMALL GREEN BAY? YEAR AFTER YEAR ALL HE DOES IS WIN. NO CHANCE TONITE!
Mechelle (1:51 PM)
Well, coach Borseth was given the Colorado job in 2005 and then decided he didn't want it because it was better for his family to stay in Green Bay. So I think he's made the choice that he'll stay there, which is great for the school.
Gabe (OKC, OK)
How good has Leah Rush been?
Mechelle (1:53 PM)
Really good ... and she was in the Big 12 tournament, too. That's one of OU's strength's - Rush's competitiveness. And with that, I'll sign off. Hope you all are enjoying the tournament!
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