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 2 p.m. ET on Monday!
Mark Schlabach (2:22 PM)
Ok, sorry I'm late folks. Here we go. Great week coming up...
Tim (Madison, WI)
SAT Question: How many teams will the Big 10 get in?: a.)5 b.)6 c.)7 d.)8 e.) A Northwestern miracle makes it 9.
Mark Schlabach (2:24 PM)
I'd say seven or eight at most. Illinois, Michigan State and Purdue are in, and Ohio State and Wisconsin are pretty darn close. I think Michigan is headed in the right direction, and Minnesota and Penn State probably have to win a couple of games in Indy. NW would have to reach the title game at worst, maybe even win the tourney to get in.
Will a run to the SEC title game be enough to get Auburn in the dance?
Mark Schlabach (2:24 PM)
Would be close, and probably would come at the expense of Florida or South Carolina. Not a lot of great wins, but an 8-1 finish to close regular season, including big win over LSU. Bad loss to Mercer might hurt their chances, though.
Jamie (Utica, NY)
Simple question Mark! Are my wolverines in the big dance after a long long drought??
Mark Schlabach (2:26 PM)
I think they're probably in at this point. Can't lose to Iowa. That would leave some doubt. But great wins over Duke, UCLA, Illinois, Purdue and swept Minnesota. I think that's probably enough. Road record is a little concerning, but they won their last away game.
Al (San Diego)
Do you think SDSU gets in with a win over UNLV on Thursday? How much longer can UNLV ride out their win over Louisville?
Mark Schlabach (2:27 PM)
If SD State beats UNLV three times, there's no way the selection committee can take the Rebels over the Aztecs. San Diego State's RPI rating is higher and they finished better in the MWC. UNLV has a couple of other wins along with Louisville, but they'll have to beat SD State in Vegas to have a chance.
Mike (Happy Valley, Pa)
How many wins, if any, does Penn State need in the Big Ten tourney to solidify its NCAA berth.
Mark Schlabach (2:29 PM)
I personally think they need to win at least one. Good wins during Big Ten play, but really nothing to show from non-conference schedule. Strength of schedule and RPI rating aren't good, but a 10-8 finish in Big Ten play will help. Six wins over RPI top-50 opponents is very good, though. Could have locked up a bid by winning at Iowa, but I think they'll have to beat at least Indiana in Indy to get into the field.
Dom (Albuquerque, NM)
Mark, breakdown the MWC Tournament/UNLV Invitational for me. It would be great if New Mexico was to win the whole thing but if they don't what needs to happen in order for them to be dancing next week?
Mark Schlabach (2:30 PM)
Should be one of the better league tourneys out there. Four or five teams could win it. I think UNLV has an advantage playing at home, but New Mexico is one of the hottest teams right now. BYU or Utah could win it, too. Great basketball being played in MWC. A lot is on the line in Vegas this week.
davidson...in or out?
Mark Schlabach (2:31 PM)
I personally think they're out. Saw Davidson play a couple of weeks ago against Butler and they really needed to win that game. There's nothing wrong with losing to College of Charleston because Bobby Cremins has built a good team. But Davidson has one victory -- over West Virginia on a neutral court. It's next-best win came over NC State, one of the worst teams in the ACC. They played a tough non-conference schedule, but didn't win many of the games. Unless the selection committee wants to reward Davidson for its performance in the NCAA tourney last year -- and see Stephen Curry back in the tourney -- I don't see them making the field.
Flyer Rich Orange County CA
Is Dayton still in with a loss in the first A10 tourney game?
Mark Schlabach (2:33 PM)
I think the Flyers would probably still get in. They have a top-25 RPI rating and are 4-2 against RPI top-50 opponents, 8-3 against the top 100. I don't think they're among the last four (or six or eight) in the bracket. I think they're pretty safe.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Do you agree with automatic bids going to teams not necessarily based upon body of work but based on a few good days that net them a conference tournament win?
Mark Schlabach (2:35 PM)
I don't have a problem with it. I think it's what makes March so special. I love watching Niagra and Rider fighting into double overtime. Or Illinois State and Northern Iowa battling it out in the MVC. Those leagues determine which teams wins the automatic entry. Everybody knows what's at stake going into the tourneys.
Does St. Mary's have to win tonight to not be sweating it out on Sunday?
Mark Schlabach (2:36 PM)
Stayed up late watching most of the game against Portland last night. I think they're probably in the field after last night's win. Patty Mills came back and looked OK. They were 18-1 before he was hurt and did OK without him. They probably have 29 or 30 wins if he doesn't get hurt. I think they're an NCAA-worthy team. But they probably don't want to get blown out by Gonzaga tonight. That might leave a little bit of doubt.
Ryan, Bristol PA
hey mark, temple has got a great squad and i think they just choked on a couple of games. If they get to the A-10 title game, do you think they can get into the dance?
Mark Schlabach (2:38 PM)
I think the Owls have as much of an argument as Rhode Island. Beat Penn State and Tennessee. Same record in A-10 standings.I think it come down to whether the A-10 can get three teams in the tourney. I think Xavier and Dayton are going, but Temple or Rhody might be able to join them with a strong run in Atlantic City.
Jake (Junction City, KS)
Why is Kansas State so underrated. They finished ahead of Texas, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M who are all going to the dance. They also won 10 of their last 13 games.
Mark Schlabach (2:40 PM)
K-State should have schedule a more aggressive slate during its non-Big 12 schedule. They have nothing to show from non-conference, which doesn't sit well with the selection committee most of the time. Yes, they had some good victories, winning at Texas and Texas A&M and beating Mizzou at home. But the Wildcats' best non-Big 12 wins came against Cleveland State and Oakland. Texas A&M beat Arizona and LSU. Texas beat Villanova and Wisconsin. Oklahoma State beat Siena, which is better than any non-Big 12 team the Wildcats beat. I think K-State needs one or maybe even two wins in the Big 12 tourney to get into the NCAAs.
Who gets in out of these 4 teams... Arizona, Creighton, Florida, San Diego St.?
Mark Schlabach (2:42 PM)
Depends on what happens this week. Right now, I'd take Arizona and Creighton based on high-end victories. Wildcats went 9-9 in Pac-10 and beat UCLA, Washington, Kansas, Gonzaga. Creighton beat Dayton, Illinois State, Northern Iowa, George Mason, some decent teams. Florida beat Washington and South Carolina and was horrible on the road. San Diego State has the two wins over UNLV and beat Utah and New Mexico. I'd take San Diego State ahead of Florida right now, too. Gators have to win twice in Tampa to have a chance, in my opinion.
Can Providence get in with one win in the big east tourney or do they have to beat Louisville?
Mark Schlabach (2:44 PM)
I think it would be debated for a long time by the committee if Providence won only once in New York. 10-8 finish in Big East helps, but they basically have wins over Pitt and Syracuse and that's it. Friars had some bad road losses in the Big East and were recently blown out at home by Notre Dame. I think they're definitely on the bubble, but it's debatable which way it might go.
How is Pitt leading the poll today for Big East team least likely to get a #1 seed? Out of Louisville, UConn, and Pitt, isn't Pitt probably the most locked in as a number 1?
Mark Schlabach (2:46 PM)
Sweeping UConn certainly helps, and they were really hot at the end of the season. UConn still has Dyson's injury to consider and it lost twice to Pitt. But if Louisville wins both the Big East regular-season and tourney titles, how could they not be seeded higher?
Chris ( Syracuse, NY)
How Many Team from the big East will make the NCAA Tourney?
Mark Schlabach (2:47 PM)
Minimum of seven and possibly eight. Providence has the best chance of becoming the eighth team in the dance, but Georgetown, Notre Dame and Cincinnati could do it by getting to the Big East tourney championship game.
Is Billy Gillispie in any trouble?
Mark Schlabach (2:48 PM)
Beginning to wonder. In his defense, 'Cats only have two players -- Meeks and Patterson. But you didn't see the fight you'd expect to see from a Kentucky team down the stretch. It's a mess, no question about it.
Providence beat Syracuse and pitt who are in the tourney and Creighton only has 1 win over a team going to the dance as of now and that is b/c Northern Iowa won the auto bid otherwise they were sitting home watching the tourney.
Mark Schlabach (2:49 PM)
Dayton isn't in the tourney? Creighton beat the Flyers.
Don't cheat -- blind resume time. What seed does this team get in the NCAA Tournament. 25-6, 11-5 (2nd), RPI of 23, SOS of 90, 4-2 vs. top 50, 8-3 vs. top 100, 8-4 in final 12 ... I say a top 7 seed, you????
Mark Schlabach (2:50 PM)
Yes, Dayton is pretty good.
Hypothetically speaking, the 65th spot in the tournament is down to Siena or Utah St. Who gets it?
Mark Schlabach (2:51 PM)
I'd give it to Siena for playing a very tough schedule. The Saints didn't win at Kansas or Pitt or against Tennessee or Oklahoma State, but at least they played the games. If they hadn't played those games, they would have even more wins than Utah State at this point.
I have watched alomst all of Providences games this year and have to say that they are pretty much nothing more than ordinary. With that being said how can the committee overlook them having 10 wins in the best conference in America? Also I wouldnt say that beating Pitt and Syracuse are their only good wins. They beat Cinn 2x and also beat a solid Seton Hall team and Rhode Island.
Mark Schlabach (2:55 PM)
You give them some credit for finishing 10-6 and beating Pitt and Syracuse, but you have to look a little deeper, too. Did you realize that eight of Providence's 10 Big East wins came against teams with losing records in Big East play, including six wins over teams that finished in the bottom five? I'm not knocking the Friars -- they beat Pitt after all -- but you don't automatically get in for finishing 10-6 in the Big East. It's also about which teams you beat to do it.
What teams should Creighton and Florida be rooting for this week?
Mark Schlabach (2:56 PM)
Gonzaga tonight (although I think St. Mary's might still get in with a loss). Siena. Memphis. Xavier or Dayton in the A-10. Butler in the Horizon. The top teams in the seven major conferences (which includes the Mountain West this season).
Mark Schlabach (2:58 PM)
I like Siena at home. Beat Niagara by 17 in Albany earlier this season. Niagara coming off a double-overtime game yesterday. I think the Saints roll....Niagara has a good team, though.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Last week I asked you to compare Texas A&M and Texas and you said that Texas had more good wins than A&M, which is why they were in and A&M wasn't (at the time). That makes sense, but what doesn't make sense is that A&M has a better RPI (at the time and currently). If the resume for one team is more impressive than another, then how can that team have a worse RPI? I guess I'm just trying to figure out what exactly is factored into the RPI. Thanks.
Mark Schlabach (3:00 PM)
RPI formula: 25% team winning percentage, 50% opponents' average winning percentage and 25% opponents' opponents' average winning percentage
Mark Schlabach (3:01 PM)
Folks, sorry gotta run. Might do a chat later in the week, and I'll be blogging from home starting Wednesday. We'll try and set up a mailbag to answer questions during the blog. Also, bubble watch going daily starting tonight. Enjoy the league tourneys and Selection Sunday. Hope your teams get in the Dance!