Chat with Graham Hays
Hays contributes to ESPN.com's women's basketball, softball and soccer coverage, while also writing occasionally for Page 2. He began with ESPN in 1999.
Send in those questions now, then check back at 11 a.m. ET on Monday.
Hays Archive: Columns
Buzzmaster (11:05 AM)
Graham Hays is on the way. Continue to send in your questions about all things women's basketball.
Graham Hays (11:08 AM)
Greetings from a Panera somewhere in the wilds of New Jersey, making my way from last night's big win for Maryland to tonight's UConn-Louisville showdown.
Liam Orlando Florida
Ok,ok even though Tennessee lost to Auburn Sunday and are not exactly having their best year this year, how good do you see them getting in the next few years?? I think that in the next few years this will be the team to beat. Also, what are your thoughts on Stricklen's future?..Thanks
Graham Hays (11:11 AM)
I'm not ready to sell Tennessee this year just yet, although the roller coaster ride continued with that result against Auburn. But that said, the best does seem to still be in the future for this group. They've got a lot of talent in the frontcourt that could complement Stricklen and Johnson eventually. I still think they're a Final Four sleeper this season, but the best is yet to come for them.
Ben (Madison, WI)
Graham, is there any hope for my Lady Badgers making the NCAAs this year, or did they doom themselves with that complete meltdown at Penn State?
Graham Hays (11:14 AM)
The Big Ten is its typical baffling self right now, and the good news there is it's not a place where one loss is going to sink you. The team Wisconsin probably needs to watch is Indiana, to see if that loss this weekend was the first sign of the Hoosiers coming back to the back. Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue seem pretty safe for March. so it's going to be down to how Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana finish up. It's tough to see enough opportunities remaining for those teams to make statements to create a scenario where more than two, at most, make it to the NCAA tournament.
As a Xavier fan maybe I show a little bias but watching them I truly think they can beat any team in the country except maybe UConn.. They are really clicking right now. How far do you think they can go in the big dance with Ta'Shia Phillips, Tudy Reed, Dee Dee Jernigan, and soon Amber Harris??? I'm excited!
Graham Hays (11:18 AM)
Even if the A-10 isn't full of quite as many dominant inside teams as leagues like the ACC or Big East, it's pretty amazing what Xavier has been able to do in maintaining its dominance on the glass without Harris so far this season. And they're always going to be tough to handle on defense. How many times have they given up 50 points in the last month? Once, maybe? If Jernigan and Jennings can handle the ball in the postseason and Harris gets back, this does start to look like one of those teams that could play beyond its likely seed, like that Minnesota team with Whalen and McCarville that made it to the Final Four after playing through injuries in the regular season.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
I have alot to talk about but this week should be saved for reflections of Kay Yow. So I hope you post this one story. I never got to meet her or even see NC State play (I had to work the weekend they came to St. Johns) but even in her poor health, and for no real recruiting reason, last summer she came to New York and MSG and was in the Spike Lee seats for a Liberty game, in fact 3 of them. We could tell she wasn't in good health but she still stood to be honored and seemed humbled by the large response, with most everyone standing and those who werent being educated as to why you should be standing. She was an ACC coach in big east country, he teams were modest since her 1998 final 4 run, her one remaining WNBA product was a journeywoman bench warmer...But still people knew her struggle, no one had any reservations based on her conduct on or off the court.
Graham Hays (11:21 AM)
Had to edit Glenn's post down just a little, but I think we can all appreciate the sentiment right now. For all the great basketball going on this weekend, it is absolutely a bittersweet time for the sport.
Any chance I'm going to get to watch a UVa game this year where the opposing team doesn't make more three pointers than we attempt? It doesn't look like we're going to finish very strong unless we can either figure out how to defend or atleast make some threes. Thoughts?
Graham Hays (11:25 AM)
I'm not sure what to make of Virginia right now; I'd like to get a few chances to see them down the stretch. They really seemed like a Final Four sleeper a couple of weeks ago, at least to me. But while there's no shame losing to a really good Florida State team, doing it at home, a week after losing by 30 to UNC, isn't the sign of a team moving forward. Maybe it's a case of Kellum's injury finally catching up with them, or along the lines of Amber Harris for Xavier, maybe it's a team struggling to sort out the addition of a pretty significant part in Littles. But as you say, when a team simply can't hit 3-pointers, it's hard to overcome if you aren't doing everything else perfectly.
Hi Mr. Hays. What were your greatest memories of Kay Yow? What do you think she meant to the game of basketball?
Graham Hays (11:28 AM)
I didn't have many opportunities to be around her, so I think any take I have will pale in comparison to some of the terrific memories being shared elsewhere, including a great piece from Mechelle Voepel. But I did cover the ACC tournament two years ago when NC State made its run after Yow had missed a good chunk of the season while undergoing treatment. And perhaps just to echo what others have said, when you actually see in person both the frailness of a person's physical body and the strength of their character, it's a moving experience.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Who's the biggest letdown this year...My vote is Gdub...Yes they lost Beck and Joe Cool but they've just fallen apart...they could barely beat FORDHAM! Who hasnt won in conference and DROPPED THE TABLE last season (and their 7 wins were not A10 caliber) and they are now 500...anyone else who could be a major letdown this year.
Graham Hays (11:32 AM)
I think this was kind of coming for GW. They also lost Lawrence, who was a key part alongside Beck, but I see your point. Rutgers is probably the one that stands out, although they have been showing signs of life, the DePaul loss aside. I thought Michigan might continue to move forward under Borseth this season, but they're having a tough go of it.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Ok...if enough are talking Bball...Quick Game of Panic or Don't Panic: Rutgers (Loss to Depaul 5-5 last 10 games) Tennessee (Loss to Auburn, Tough Schedule Ahead) UNC (Couldnt stop MD from Bombing 3s) Notre Dame (Lost to NOVA of All People) Syracuse
Graham Hays (11:36 AM)
Rutgers: Don't panic, if only because the outlook probably needed to shift a few weeks ago. Now you're talking about securing maybe a No. 5 seed and getting at least some of the young players some experience in the Big East tournament. Tennessee: Don't panic. Auburn is probably going to continue pulling away, but the rest of the league isn't going to get away from Tennessee. UNC: I wouldn't necessarily panic, but I'd start losing some sleep wondering if this team has the rebounding to make it to St. Louis, especially if it ends up in the same bracket as a strong rebounding team like Stanford. Notre Dame: Panic is the wrong word, because they were playing with house money as year of ahead of schedule anyway. But yeah, Saturday wasn't a good effort in any sense of the word.
Chad (Las Vegas)
What has happened to LSU? All of those Final 4 apperances and now they seem to be reeling, is this a 1 year thing or a sign of things to come?
Graham Hays (11:39 AM)
Their continuity was such a big part of that run of Final Four appearances, but it had to run out at some point. It got to the point where they had so much experience, they couldn't restock at the same time (which to a lesser degree happened to Tennessee and could conceivably happen to UConn after next season, as it did after Taurasi left). And you do wonder a little if there is an Augustus/Fowles type of cog in this group, or if it's a good core of complementary prospects that still needs a star.
Is Florida legit? Can they get to the sweet 16 for the first time in school history?
Graham Hays (11:42 AM)
One of those teams where it'll probably depend heavily on the draw. Losing Mossor is a big blow, but they shoot the ball really well and take care of it reasonably well. That's a good way to determine your own fate in March.
will auburn go undefeated heading into the tourney
Graham Hays (11:45 AM)
My guess is no, even if they're good enough to. They've still got a bunch of road games in league play, not to mention the conference tourney, and for any team establishing itself as a championship contender, it's going to be a big surprise if there isn't at least one night where the focus slips away, shots don't fall and things snowball. But should they be favored to run the table? Absolutely, at least in the regular season.
Graham Hays (11:46 AM)
All right, I've got to get back on the road, but I appreciate all the questions again this week. Tune in tonight for UConn-Louisville!