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
Graham Hays (11:01 AM)
I never know what to say to start these chats, so I'll go with that. Thanks for stopping by to talk hoops. Let's get going.
So does Florida's win yesterday make them a legitimate final four team?
Graham Hays (11:04 AM)
That was an interesting game, because it felt almost like Florida was playing for the upset, even through they were the higher ranked team playing at home. But coming off that loss to Auburn earlier, the Gators did need to make a statement, and beating Tennessee any year is a good way to do that. Are they a Final Four team? I'd worry about the problems they have rebounding, in terms of winning four in a row to get to the NCAA tournament. But they play great defense and have one of those rare, go-to players in Sha Brooks. I'd guess more like Sweet 16 with a chance to make a regional final, but they're in the mix.
Hello Graham....way to go Pat Summit on her 1000th win! No man or woman will ever catch her!
Graham Hays (11:05 AM)
Could be, because I don't see her stopping anytime soon.
who would get the number 1 seeds right now?
Graham Hays (11:07 AM)
At this point, you've got to say UConn and Oklahoma are way out in front with some margin for error on No. 1 seeds. Based on some of the upheaval elsewhere, I'd say the winner of Saturday's Cal-Stanford game will be in position to get one, as well. As for the last one, I'd be inclined to lean Auburn. I know Charlie Creme had Duke in that spot in last week's Bracketology, and he's more likely to be right, but even if both were to win out, I'd still give the Tigers the slight edge.
Justin (Green Bay, WI)
Why is UW-Green Bay getting no love from the pollsters? I don't think they should be ranked or anything, but with just 3 losses, all of which were to quality opponents. Can't we at least get a few votes? It was just 2 years ago we had the same situation, but we at least had enough votes to be just out of the top 25. Is it all really because our conference is that weak?
Graham Hays (11:12 AM)
Sounds fair to me. The Phoenix are always a fun team to watch; they always shoot the ball well and aren't afraid to push the tempo. What Matt Bollant has done keeping things rolling up there after Kevin Borseth is really impressive. The problem for them is their RPI still puts them in the danger zone for an at-large bid should they stumble in the conference tournament. That hardly seems fair considering they try to play a good slate out of league (Miami, Marquette, Illinois St., DePaul, etc.), but that's life in a mid-major in the women's game.
Do you think Arkansas-Little Rock should be in the top 25?
Graham Hays (11:13 AM)
Not before Middle Tennessee State out of their own league, but UALR is another of those really good mid-major teams looking for a way in to the NCAA tournament with a spotty RPI.
Why isn't Arizona State getting any respect? They've won nine in a row now!
Graham Hays (11:17 AM)
You know, I honestly don't have a good answer. Talk about a team that should at least be getting some top 25 votes. It's baffling that a team could be 9-2 in a league like the Pac-10 and not even be on the radar in the polls. Maybe it's just a case of a program people feel like they've seen the best of already, but this year's team looks like a perfect fit for Turner-Thorne's system. They've got like eight or nine players all averaging within a few minutes of 20 a game, a great point guard in January, good shooters. They did have a big win against Xavier, but it may also be a case of people writing them off after those early losses to Oklahoma, Florida and Texas (although all were pretty close).
Chris (Muncie, Indiana)
What do you make of the Big Ten? Can they get six teams in the NCAA tournament and is Michigan State moving toward a good seed?
Graham Hays (11:23 AM)
My inclination would be no, but the Big Ten has some curiously strong RPIs right now. Indiana may play itself out of the mix if it doesn't get out of this current tailspin, but their RPI entering last week was somewhere in the 20s, I believe. To a lesser degree, the same held true for Iowa. I still look at it as a four-big league with Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue very safe and Minnesota getting there, but based on at least the RPI, it seems like Iowa and Indiana have some control of their own fate down the stretch. And Iowa, at least, has a pretty favorable schedule to close.
How good does Fresno St. look right know? Do you think they will make a return trip to the big dance.
Graham Hays (11:26 AM)
I'll admit I don't know much about the Bulldogs, but there has to be something there with wins against TCU and UCSB earlier this season. Still, that's not a league that's going to get multiple bids, so it comes down to getting it done in the conference tournament.
Graham Hays (11:30 AM)
All right, we're going to have to cut it a little short. But that just give you more time to warm up those questions for the NFL guys. Thanks again for all the questions.
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