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)
Only eight hours until the Selection Special on ESPN. It's like Christmas Eve out there. How's everyone doing?
Zack, Fort Worth
Graham, tell me the Lady Frogs are going to make the tournament and not get snubbed for the second straight year!
Graham Hays (11:02 AM)
Yeah, there are a lot of teams sweating out the bubble today, but tough to see TCU as one of them. They should be safely in, with those huge wins against Maryland and Cal early and enough wins in conference play (Utah, San Diego St) to keep people happy.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
While not as nuts as the men...what do you think the conference tourney fallout is on seeding and teams in or out?
Graham Hays (11:05 AM)
As you suggest, probably not as significant an impact as with all the losses on the men's side. The upsets in the MAC and MVC made the bubble more crowded with Bowling Green and Illinois State, but neither one definitively knocks another bubble team out. I guess one of the biggest winners of the whole deal has to be Baylor, which had to save itself a couple of spots on the seed line by showing it can win without Danielle Wilson. Vandy also helped itself after an up-and-down year.
Christian (High Point, NC)
Graham: Wake Forest in or out?
Graham Hays (11:08 AM)
If only they could have held that lead against Maryland. But I've got to say out. The win against Charlotte ends up looking good, as with wins against BC and Georgia Tech in the league, but I think they're still a quality win or two short. Still an amazing jump forward for the program this season.
Jordan (Brookings, SD)
As a student at SDSU I'm curious as to how far you think the Lady Jacks will go in the tournament. Could they be this year's dark horse?
Graham Hays (11:11 AM)
Not sure they qualify as a dark horse at this point, with the national rank and a lot of well-deserved attention. But outside of the race for the top seeds, SDSU's place in the bracket might be the hottest topic. If they avoid the No. 7 seed that some have forecast and can slip in as a No. 6 or No. 5, which seems entirely reasonable, then I think they're a good bet to play beyond the first week. Winning that third game might be tough, but it's far from an impossibility. With balanced shooting and a physical defense, they really look built for the postseason.
Loretta (Albuquerque, NM) [via mobile]
Don't leave me hanging, Graham. I've been stressing all weekend over the Lobos, UNM gets in, right?
Graham Hays (11:14 AM)
Sorry, it's a shame for a great fan base, but I don't see it. Outside of the wins against TCU and DePaul, they don't have a great profile. They didn't do enough away from home.
Graham, great coverage this season. How many team's do you see the Big East getting in the tournament this season? We are specifically interested in South Florida here in Tampa. Will the Bulls be making their second appearance since 2005-2006?
Graham Hays (11:17 AM)
Thanks, Harry. The first seven out of the Big East seem like locks, which as you say, leaves South Florida as the question mark. I think the last week or two of the regular season saved them, with the wins at DePaul and Villanova. Cincy upsetting Marquette in the first round of the conference tourney cost them a shot at another quality win, but 8-8 in the Big East with good road wins and a couple of decent nonconference wins should do it.
Josh - Poughkeepsie, NY
How has Marist remained a predicted 11 seed? They have a more-than solid 29-3 record, with two of those hiccups being against conference foes (that were both avenged later in the season). Their winning percentage is third in the nation behind UConn & South Dakota State... They have a 3-4 record in NCAA Tourney games and they were a 7 seed last year. They also have an RPI in the top 35... so what's with the 11 seed prediction?
Graham Hays (11:20 AM)
Charlie does the projections and I get the grief. I've got to talk to him about that. But to be honest, I'd rather have an 11 than anything 7-10. The difference between playing a 6 instead of a 7 or 8 in the first round isn't nearly as much as between playing a 3 in the second round instead of a 1-2 heavyweight. As for the Red Foxes, I think this might be one of Giorgis' best coaching jobs. Outside of Fitz and Viani, this is a really young team that might be a year away (even if it won't have Viani next season).
Graham, what are Pitt's chances of getting a top 4 seed?
Graham Hays (11:22 AM)
A No. 4 sounds about right.
nick peoria, IL
with the loss to ball st, does bowling green have any shot at an at large? at 28-4 they should get some serious consideration right?
Graham Hays (11:25 AM)
Should they? I'd say yes. Will they? My hunch is no. Charlie Creme does fantastic work in a thankless job (we all look at Bracketology and we all complain about it), but the place we disagree most is probably on how Bowling Green, Illinois State and VCU will fare. I just don't see how two of those three don't deserve to get in ahead of Michigan State and Boston College.
mark (Rhodesdale, Maryland) [via mobile]
Who compliments each other better at Maryland, Laura Harper and Crystal Langhorne(former terps), or Dee Liles and L. Kizer(present terps)?
Graham Hays (11:29 AM)
Interesting question. I don't know anyone anywhere would pass up a chance to have Langhorne and Harper on their team, but it seems like changing things up hasn't been a bad thing for the Terps this year. So I guess to answer the question you didn't ask, I'd say Liles and Kizer are the perfect complements at this moment in time for Toliver and Coleman.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
So where do you slide in RU...and how much uproar will that cause (if they're a 7 or 8) Ditto Iowa (Who creme has hosting as an 8...yipe)
Graham Hays (11:31 AM)
Seems likely that at least one No. 1 is going to end up getting stuck with that pleasure. I guess the committee could bump teams a seed line to avoid it, but it's hardly more fair to send a No. 2 to that fate. I think Geno Auriemma put it best after the Big East in saying even the coaches can't decide whether it's better to have the right teams playing in the wrong place or the wrong teams playing in the right place. It's a flawed system, but it is what it is.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
In order from in to no prayer how do you rank the Mid Majors VCU Bowling Green Illinois St Oakland New Mexico San Diego St.
Graham Hays (11:33 AM)
San Diego State in. VCU, Bowling Green, Illinois State on the bubble in that order. Oakland and New Mexico out. But despite my personal inclination, I think only San Diego State gets in.
Bubba (Greenbo, AL)
Who can play with UCONN? They look unstoppable to me.
Graham Hays (11:37 AM)
To some degree, like last season, I think it almost has to come in the semifinals. I didn't see the Florida State game this season, which I'm told is the best a team played UConn all year, but when Louisville played them close for almost a half, it came after Walz had around a full week to prepare a game plan. There are no magic bullets playing the Huskies, but I'd rather take my chances with four or five days of prep than one day after a tough semifinal. In terms of actual teams, I agree with the general consensus that Maryland and Oklahoma (still) might have the best chance. If Duke showed up and didn't shoot from outside like Duke, it could make things interesting. And Stanford has a chance to stay close. I guess those would be my top four candidates.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
How do you seed a USC...a team who wouldnt be in but stole a bid in a BCS conference...do you slot by conference SOS as a 10 or 9...or do you do what the Men's committee did to the SEC champ and slott them in one of the mid major auto slots (13 the past 2 years)
Graham Hays (11:39 AM)
Not sure I follow. Stanford won the game last night. But if you're talking hypotheticals, USC probably wasn't exponentially removed from the bubble as it was. So had they beat Stanford to get the auto, probably about a 12 seed.
What were your thoughts on Evansville shocking Creighton?
Graham Hays (11:41 AM)
Fantastic for Evansville, so take nothing away from the experience those kids will have now. But I still think conference tournaments are bad for the growth of the game, in general, especially in mid-major leagues. More upsets in the NCAA tournament equals more interest. Better mid-major teams equals a greater chance for upsets. But that's the world we live in. And it would be hypocritical not to admit my favorite moment of March so far came at the Patriot League final, when Lehigh fans stormed the court after beating their rival Lafayette (although at least Lehigh was the top seed).
Hi Graham - does Boston College get in? thanks
Graham Hays (11:45 AM)
Toughest call for me. They beat TCU and James Madison in November, and Georgia Tech in early January. Lost to Notre Dame by 48, also early in the year. That's about it for signature results. Went 3-7 in their last 10 games. How much credit do they get for not slipping up against the teams they should beat in the ACC? I don't know the answer, and don't get me wrong, BC is a good team. With Swords, Picco and Murphy all back next season, you're talking about a top-20 team and ACC contender. But this year? I'm not sold.
Graham Hays (11:47 AM)
And I should point out in its defense, BC's last 10 games did include a pretty brutal stretch of games, so it's not like it was losing to the basement.
What are Santa Barbara's chances in the tourney? where do you think they will be seeded?
Graham Hays (11:49 AM)
Good team, excellent defense, great young coach. But I think that nonconference record is going to put them too low in the seedings to do much damage. I wouldn't want to play them if I was a No. 4 or No. 3 seed, but I wouldn't predict an upset.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Graham, I agree with you, I think the auto should go to regular season BUT working with the ARMY you must remember the glorious court raid of cadets carrying the late, great Maggie Dixon off the floor...so they both serve a purpose. But for mid majors I would like to see some system of protecting their team with the best record (I was always a proponent of the major conference bid cap to achieve this myself)
Graham Hays (11:50 AM)
Where do you think Florida will be seeded tonight?
Graham Hays (11:52 AM)
They probably slipped as much as any team in the final weeks, so it's tough to pinpoint exactly where they land. I'd guess a No. 6? But it wouldn't surprise me to see them a line lower.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Obviously the matchups will matter, but is it possible Tennessee doesn't make the Sweet 16 for the first time ever?
Graham Hays (12:00 PM)
Definitely possible, but it's also possible they make a run to a regional final. Most teams around where Tennessee will likely be seeded are what they are -- their limitations are obvious. But with Tennessee, they could be great one day, awful the next. Like you say, it'll depend on matchups.
Graham Hays (12:01 PM)
All right, I'll be back at 8 p.m. ET to kick off our selection show chat. See you then!