Chat with Mark Schlabach
Schlabach joined ESPN.com in July 2006 as a college football and basketball columnist. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Mark spent nine years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering Georgia and the SEC, as well as the NFL and NASCAR. Before joining ESPN, Schlabach spent two years at the Washington Post covering college football and basketball, and boxing.
Send your questions now and join Schlabach in The Show at 4 p.m. ET on Monday!
Mark Schlabach (4:06 PM)
OK, here we go. Just walked into the door at home after a weekend in North Carolina. Saw two pretty good games over the weekend. Thanks for joining the chat!
Todd, Canton ,Oh
MARK, With a loss to Ill on Sunday, do the Buckeyes have to win the Big Ten tournament to get into the NCAA'S?
Mark Schlabach (4:10 PM)
No, I still think they're in pretty OK shape. Sit at 43 in RPI. Split with Minnesota and swept Michigan, although the Wolverines are in pretty big trouble after losing to Iowa on Sunday. Beat Butler and Purdue and Iowa. Need to finish at 9-9 in Big Ten to feel good and maybe win one in conference tourney.
Rob Todd, Pittsburgh, Pa [via mobile]
If Pitt wins out would they be a look for the number 1 overall seed in ncca tourney?
Mark Schlabach (4:12 PM)
I think they're playing the best right now. With Blair and Young and Fields, they can beat anybody. They're No. 1 in RPI and if they beat Marquette and U. Conn (or even one) next week, not sure how they can't be overall No. 1. They're 12-2 against RPI top 100 and have seven wins against top 50. That's strong.
Hey Mark, thanks for taking the question. With Patterson healthy and the win over Tenn Saturday, what are the chances Kentucky makes the tournament and do you think they could make a run and upset a few teams once there?
Mark Schlabach (4:15 PM)
First of all, 'Cats will have a chance to beat anybody as long as Jodie Meeks is hot. And I'm not saying that because we attended the same high school (go Blue Devils!). They still sit around 61 in the RPI, but swept Tennessee and beat Florida and West Virginia. If Kentucky wins two of its last four games and finishes 10-6 in the SEC, I can't see the selection committee leaving "Kentucky" out of the field.
larry hagerstown,md [via mobile]
penn st fell to 61 in the rpi on a weekend bye. if the lions go 2-2 and finish 21-10 can they get a at large bid or do they have to perform in the big 10 tourny?
Mark Schlabach (4:17 PM)
I think 10-8 finish might get them in, especially if one of those wins is at Ohio State or home against Illinois. Penn State already has a road win at Michigan State and Illinois. Non-conference schedule leaves a lot to be desired, but they're getting hot at the right time. I'd put them in right now. Michigan losing to Iowa helps.
Frank (Hoboken, NJ)
What will it take for the Hoyas to get in? Can they split vs. L'Vill and at 'Nova, win their last two, sit at 8-10 in the Big East and get in with maybe 2 wins in the Big East tourney?
Mark Schlabach (4:19 PM)
I think the Hoyas need another big win, but they'll be given every opportunity to make it because of the strength of schedule. I think 8-10 finish in the Big East is the minimum requirement, which means they'd have to beat Louisville tonight or Nova on the road. An 8-10 finish and first-round exit in the Big East tournament would probably leave them out, though.
From your days in D.C., Is it hard to believe that Karl Hobbs is on the hot-seat at G.W.?
Mark Schlabach (4:20 PM)
I'm surprised how fast they've fallen, but I'm assuming the school increased its scrutiny of recruiting.
Can we really consider the 39-33 game a positive for Penn State? I mean they scored 39 points in a GAME!!!
Mark Schlabach (4:20 PM)
And beat Illinois on the road. There's nothing wrong with playing tenacious defense...
Matt (Green Bay, WI)
Can Memphis ascend to a #1 seed, despite their weak schedule, if the other major conferences cannibalize themselves over the next couple of weeks?
Mark Schlabach (4:22 PM)
I'd be surprised. I think it takes more than wins over Gonzaga and Tennessee and UAB to get a No. 1 seed. Conference USA's lack of depth really hurts them. I still think it's Oklahoma, two Big East teams and the ACC champion. If Michigan State doesn't lose again in the regular season, the Spartans would be ahead of Memphis for a No. 1 seed, in my opinion.
Jim (Parkersburg, WV)
mark, WVU has shown they have the talent to play with anyone in the country. At what point in the dance does their youth catch up to them?
Mark Schlabach (4:22 PM)
NCAA tournament coaching experience often makes up for youth on the roster. They're playing awfully well right now.
RAY GORDON reid MELBOURNE FLA 39201
QUIESTION TO MARK SCHLABACH AT 4.35 PM HI MARK WHO LIKE TONIGHT SOONERS OR JAYHAWKS
Mark Schlabach (4:24 PM)
Oklahoma really impressed me Saturday night playing without Griffin. He's out again tonight, and I'm not sure Sooners can do it again. I'll go with Kansas in a mild upset.
Do you think Duke can make a run in the NCAA after the insertion of Elliot Williams to the starting lineup?
Mark Schlabach (4:25 PM)
I love his defense and energy and enthusiasm. I think he'll eventually be a very good scorer, too. He takes pressure off Scheyer, which takes pressure off Henderson. It's going to depend on the matchups in the NCAAs. If they run into a team with a really good front line (Pitt, U. Conn, Oklahoma, etc.) they'll be in trouble. They're better than they were a week ago, but they got career games from Henderson and Scheyer and still almost blew a huge lead. Wake Forest shot 61 percent and scored 91 points. They have to get back to playing lock-down defense, but they're playing much better on offense right now.
What are you hearing about the UGA coaching search? There must be no interest in Knight or we'd have heard something by now. Will they make another mistake and hire a mid major guy like Felton?
Mark Schlabach (4:27 PM)
Haven't heard much of anything, and I don't think you'll hear anything until the Final Four. They're setting their sights high (Capel, Sean Miller, etc.), but I'm not sure if they'll get one of those guys. Not sure they're as high on Anthony Grant as people think they are. I think they want to get an established guy who's been doing it for a while.
zach st.pete florida [via mobile]
does florida state a have any chance at making a run in march
Mark Schlabach (4:30 PM)
Definitely. Toney Douglas might be the most underrated player in the country. Echefu, Kitchen and Singleton can score, and they're starting to get decent play from Alabi. They've been very guard-oriented in the past, but they're starting to get solid play in the post. Look, they're 8-4 in the ACC. They could be a real sleeper in March if Douglas stays hot.
With Michigan losing to Iowa on sunday do they still have a chance to make the tourney and if they do..what do they have to do??
Mark Schlabach (4:32 PM)
The Wolverines are probably on their last legs after the tough loss at Iowa. They still have wins over Duke and UCLA, which will carry a lot of weight with the committee, but they probably need to win two of their last three games and win at least once in the Big Ten tournament. They really need a road win at Wisconsin or Minnesota to have a chance. That 2-7 mark on the road won't help.
Rob Todd, Pittsburgh, Pa [via mobile]
I wanted to know if you think that the big 10 is a better then the pac 10 this year.
Mark Schlabach (4:34 PM)
I don't know. I hate ranking leagues. We learned this weekend that the NCAA selection committee doesn't even look at the conference RPI rankings when they fill out the bracket. Pac-10 is pretty deep with Washington, UCLA (which is struggling right now) and Arizona State. Cal and Arizona are pretty good. I like Michigan State a lot, and Purdue is much better with Hummel back. Illinois is pretty solid, but Ohio State is very young and Minnesota has struggled lately (until yesterday). Probably about even, to tell you the truth.
Cabe (chapel hill, nc)
Considering Davidson's recent struggles do you think they need to win their conference tournament to get into the big dance?
Mark Schlabach (4:35 PM)
Yes. Was at the Butler game Saturday and they really needed that win. It was obvious that Stephen Curry was hurting. They have only one top-50 victory, beating West Virginia on a neutral court. Their next-best win was against NC State. I know they were great in the NCAA tournament last year, but that's not supposed to matter with the committee. I'm not saying it won't, but I think they'll have to win the Southern Tournament to get in.
True or False, Utah State needs to win the WAC tourney to get in? I say True.
Mark Schlabach (4:37 PM)
I think it's definitely true after they lost at St. Mary's on Saturday. The Aggies have only one RPI-top 50 win, beating Utah at home. Their next-best win came against Weber State. The WAC isn't very good this year, which doesn't help.
Jon(Charlotte) [via mobile]
Is lsu a legitimate team in the dance?
Mark Schlabach (4:38 PM)
I think so. The Tigers are 11-1 in the SEC, which isn't very good this year. But Trent Johnson has done well in the NCAAs before. They have a big-time scorer, solid point guard and some size in the post. Guys like Tasmin Mitchell and Garrett Temple have been there before. LSU is flying under the radar because the SEC is so mediocre.
BC is is baaaaaarely in right now, according to Lunardi. If they go 2-1 from here on out (vs. Fla St, GTech and NC State), do they need at least 1 win in the ACC tourney, or do you think that they would already be in?
Mark Schlabach (4:40 PM)
If they beat Florida State, I'd say they're close to being in. You never want to lose in the first round of your conference tourney, which leaves doubt. Especially when you've lost to Harvard and St. Louis. Wins over Duke and UNC are definitely nice, but I think they still need one more big win.
Taylor V (Gainesville, FL)
Do you think the gators can make any noise in the tourney this year?
Mark Schlabach (4:41 PM)
Have to get tougher. The loss at Georgia last week was inexcusable. They're like a lot of teams -- don't worry about defense at times. Calathes is a very good player, but they need more consistency from guys like Parsons and Tyus. I don't think they'll last long.
What are your thoughts on Calhoun getting upset over the salary question?
Mark Schlabach (4:42 PM)
Wrong place for the question, but I thought Calhoun should have handled it better. Say this isn't the right setting for those kinds of questions and leave it at that.
jason (cincy) [via mobile]
What does Cincinnati have to do to get in? If they don't beat West Virginia or Syracuse, will one win in the Big East tourney be enough?
Mark Schlabach (4:46 PM)
I think they'd have to beat West Virginia and Syracuse and beat somebody good in the Big East tourney. They don't have a single signature victory, other than the sweep of Georgetown. Everybody is beating the Hoyas right now. Got swept by Providence, too, which doesn't help.
James Wright, Manhattan NY [via mobile]
Do you think DeJuan Blair is Big East POY? And is he a first team all american?
Mark Schlabach (4:47 PM)
He's the best big man I've seen this year, other than Blake Griffin. I'd definitely vote for him for Big East POY.
Do you see Temple getting in even without winning the A-10 Tourney? I figure the game Saturday, at Dayton, is a key game to determining an at large bid..
Mark Schlabach (4:48 PM)
Have to beat the Flyers to have any chance.
Jim (NY, NY)
3-1 finish for ND (including a win over Nova) and advancing to the BE Tourney quarters puts them where?
Mark Schlabach (4:48 PM)
In the NCAA tourney as a 10-12 seed.
cameron (athens) [via mobile]
who is ur SEC first team and coach of the year?
Mark Schlabach (4:52 PM)
G-Jodie Meeks, Ky. G-Devan Downey, USC G-Marcus Thornton, LSU F-Patrick Patterson, Ky. F-Jarvis Varnado, Miss. St. (Calathes was close) Coach of the Year -- Trent Johnson or Darrin Horne
Matt (St. Paul)
After a 27 point win last night to at least stop the bleeding momentarily, what sort of finish to the Gophers need to get in to the tourney?
Mark Schlabach (4:53 PM)
Win two of three and they're in. Win one and one or two in the Big Ten tourney and they're probably in. Great win over Louisville and good win over Illinois and at Wisconsin.
Colton PA [via mobile]
What do you think syracuse's chances are of getting into the tourney and what seed would they get?
Mark Schlabach (4:54 PM)
I think two more wins and they're in. A 9-9 finish in the Big East should be good enough.
Ty (Bethesda, MD)
Who is your ACC first team and COY?
Mark Schlabach (4:59 PM)
That's tougher. G-Toney Douglas, FSU G-Jeff Teague, WF G-Ty Lawson, UNC F-Tyler Hansbrough, UNC F-Trevor Booker, Clemson James Johnson and Jack McClinton could be there, too. Coach of the Year: Oliver Purnell or Leonard Hamilton. Not ready to make up mind yet.
Mark Schlabach (5:00 PM)
OK, have to run folks. I'll be back next Monday. Enjoy Judgment Week. Should be a lot of fun.