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March 14, 8:00 PM ET
Chat about the women's tournament

Charlie Creme
  (8:00 PM)

Ok, the brackets are in. Let's get rolling. I'm sure there are tons of questions and I've got a half hour

COHuskyFan (Denver, CO)

4X Baylor meets T A&M... that is just plain wrong in my opinion... your thoughts?

Charlie Creme
  (8:01 PM)

First thing that jumped off the page. I don't like it at all. I follows the geographical philosophy so I don't mind that part, but it isn't consistent from year to year and that bothers me. This doesn't need to happen and most people don't like it.

RS (Rochester MN)

SDSU a 15 seed? WHen will wbb committee be willing to put a non BCS school higher - are they afaird they will beat the at large teams?

Charlie Creme
  (8:02 PM)

Hate to break it to you, RS, but plenty of non-BCS schools are seeded fairly high. Houston is an 8. Xavier is a 2. Green Bay a 5. That doesn't have anything to do with it. SDSU is a 15, no better than a 14, plain and simple.

Mitchell (Arkansas)

How do you like Arkansas Little Rock's chances versus Wisc-Green Bay?

Charlie Creme
  (8:03 PM)

Interseting game. I like Green Bay to win, but it's a compelling matchup.

Jason (Thornville, OH)

Middle Tennessee and Dayton each with one top-50 win each over LSU, Michigan, Syracuse, and USC---teams each with 4 top-50 wins?

Charlie Creme
  (8:04 PM)

Jason, I tend to agree with you, but a lot of factors go into it. Read my column soon to be on espn.com. I address this. Simple thing is that it appears RPI played a larger role than we have been led to believe.

Victor (monroe,La)

charlie does notre dame get a fourth shot at uconn this year?

Charlie Creme
  (8:04 PM)

I'm picking them both as FF teams, so yes.

Edgar, Lake Charles, LA [via mobile]

La Tech should make the field. There should not be 10 Big East teams in the field. I watched a lot of games this year and it was clear to me that the Big 12 was the best conference. A dangerous precedent would be set if the committee started putting entire conferences in the tourney.

Charlie Creme
  (8:06 PM)

Well, Edgar, the Big East did get 9 in and a good argument could be made that 10 should have gotten in. Remember, though this isn't about the best conference getting the most teams into the field (and I would disagree on the Big 12 being the best anyway). It's about picking the best 33 at-large teams. The committee doesn't cherry pick from conferences based on what is perceived to be the best league.

Peter Berger (Phoenix, AZ)

Charlie, can I just say I don't agree, AT ALL, with the fact that Utah, a 15 seed, gets to HOST two games! I understand the pod system and all that...but what on Earth justifies a 15 getting 2 home games in the NCAA Tournament when a 15 seed has NEVER upset a 2 in the history of Women's Basketball?

Charlie Creme
  (8:08 PM)

Peter, it's not ideal, but how else would you handle it. Under the system already in place, Utah has to host. Period. No way around it. The NCAA can't pick and choose which host schools get to play at home and which don't. The rule has to apply to everyone. Change the system, maybe. But when they have in the past attendance took a huge hit.

Kallie (Texas)

Stop putting Michigan in your bracket, you seem to be bad luck for us.

Charlie Creme
  (8:08 PM)

I'll take that under advisement, Kallie

Mike (Tampa Fla)

Surprised Marist was 10 seed, some big wins in Las Vegas and top 20 ranking

Charlie Creme
  (8:09 PM)

Thought Marist might be a little higher, but ultimately that SOS hurt them. The conference just drags that down. That's the hard truth.

James (Michigan)

2nd straight year you've projected Michigan to get in. 2nd straight year they did not. What does the committee see that they don't like?

Charlie Creme
  (8:10 PM)

In Mich case this year I would point to the poor finish, the four sub-100 losses and the average at best RPI. I'm sure that's what didn't get them enough votes in that committee room.

Adam (Los Angeles)

Why are Stanford and UCLA in the same bracket? Shouldn't they separate conference foes where possible?

Charlie Creme
  (8:11 PM)

They should. Especially in this case when only three teams from the league made the field. It actually goes against a principle for bracketing and I know the anwer will be keeping teams as close to home as possible, but that isn't consistent from other years. This really does bother me.

Ali (Atlanta)

UNC a #5 seed after beating both Miami and FSU in the ACC.....your thoughts?

Charlie Creme
  (8:12 PM)

Head to head isn't what the committee is looking at, certainly not exclusively. Frankly, this is an easy one. FSU and Miami each had better seasons than UNC and that's not really a debate.

Jason (Washington DC)

Who do you like in a potential second round match-up between MD and Georgetown (in College Park)?

Charlie Creme
  (8:13 PM)

This seems to be a popular question. I like Gtown even on the road. I'll go with more experience. I'm very interested though. It should be close and it's alway different when one team is at home.

Darren (Denham Springs)

which team do you think has the biggest complaint about being snubbed from the tournament?

Charlie Creme
  (8:14 PM)

I don't think there were any true big-time snubs, at least not like there may have beeno on the men's side. I would have done a few things differently, though. LSU stands out because this is the first time ever a .500 SEC record with at least 18 overall wins did not get into the field.

Myron (Ohio)

Why was TCU snubbed? We went 22-10, (13-3), finished second in the tournament and in coference play, beat Oklahoma, and lost by five or less to three or four teams in the tournament. Why aren't we in?

Charlie Creme
  (8:15 PM)

Lots of reasons. Bad losses is the big one, three of them. SOS was another. The MWC was not good this year.

Mike (DC)

Seems like there are a lot of conference rematches possible in the Elite 8 (Stan-UCLA, UCONN-DePaul, Baylor-A&M) - time to rethink this geography-first approach?

Charlie Creme
  (8:16 PM)

Mike, could not agree more. Don't like it and it isn't necessary.

Bob (Windsor, CT)

OK Charlie, Why did Texas make it in and Syracuse did not?

Charlie Creme
  (8:16 PM)

Don't know. Don't like Texas' inclusion.

Alex (Nyc)

Marist made a run into the Sweet 16 two years ago, is ranked in the top 20, yet ranked tenth. Weak Sos. I get it, but how can they be given the low seed in their matchup???

Charlie Creme
  (8:18 PM)

Well, I'll say this the run to the sweet 16 two years ago has no baring here. I thought they'd be a little higher, but you answered your own question with the SOS.

Vinny (Missouri)

I dont agree at all that Middle Tennessee got an 11 seed and UALR who beat them and won conference tourney got a 12. Honestly I dont think that is fare. Yes MTSU got in because of the tragedy and that is sad but I dont think that should have been a factor when everyone knows it was.

Charlie Creme
  (8:19 PM)

That's a curious one too. And one I don't get as well. MTSU in the field is ok, but I wouldn't have done it. Now I'll say this, their overall season was probably better than that of UALR if only because they scheduled better. That has to be the rationale.

Collin (Green Bay, WI)

Could UWGB have been higher than a 5 seed with their record and only loss being by 3 points?

Charlie Creme
  (8:19 PM)

Yes, Collin, but a #4 would have been the max.

Jim Foley (Carlsbad, CA)

Which#1 seed has the easiest path to the Final Four in your opinion?

Charlie Creme
  (8:20 PM)

I'd say Baylor off the top. A potential A&M rematch isn't easy, but until then I don't see a problem.

Danny (Seattle)

GO GRIZ! 19th time playing in the NCAA tournament. Got to give a little love for that. You're thoughts on the 14th seed.

Charlie Creme
  (8:21 PM)

Well, the Griz were already in before today as the AQ. Actually a 14 is a little too high in my estimation.

Matt (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

The ACC got 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, and 5 seeds. That seems much to generous to me. Am I wrong?

Charlie Creme
  (8:21 PM)

No because the ACC didn't get those seeds. The individual teams did. And in this case they all earned those seeds.

Chris Burr (Knoxville)

I am curious, but why does 18-16 Utah a #15 seed host the first two rounds and what do you think?

Charlie Creme
  (8:22 PM)

They have to host by rule. Teams that serve as hosts must play at home.

Vinny (Missouri)

Who are cinderella's in this tourney? I am talking about teams that can make sweet 16 that are over 7 seed.

Charlie Creme
  (8:23 PM)

Perhaps Gonzaga or Marist.

Mary (Des Moines, Iowa)

Charlie, is Gary Blair from Texas A & M a little too vocal about selections and is this why his team gets getting a raw deal with regions they are placed in?

Charlie Creme
  (8:24 PM)

i don't know. That's a good question. He's not the only vocal one though and it would terribly unfair if that came into play and I don't think it does.

Jim (Chicago)

How deep to you think UCLA will go?

Charlie Creme
  (8:24 PM)

I'd say Elite Eight quality.

Jon (Albuquerque)

Chances for an upset between Fresno St. and UNC? I know a lot of people here in Albuquerque who'll be at the game rooting for the Bulldogs.

Charlie Creme
  (8:24 PM)

I circled that game. I think it's possible.

Matt (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

T-Spoon has done a great job at LaTech. Do you think they will beat Rutgers?

Charlie Creme
  (8:25 PM)

They could. It's one to watch.

Peter Berger (Phoenix, AZ)

Which #1 seed has the most difficult path to the Final Four? I'd honestly say that that's UConn. No team in that bracket(Duke, DePaul, Maryland, Georgetown, all the way down to Princeton, in my opinion) are easy outs.

Charlie Creme
  (8:26 PM)

I'd go with Tenn. Miami and ND would both be tough matchups for them. Ohio State could even present a problem.

melissa (tampa)

why did Michigan State get a 4 seed instead of a 3?

Charlie Creme
  (8:28 PM)

In this case I'm not sure what #3 they would have bumped. The #3's all had better seasons.

Caitlin (Green Bay)

How far do you think Green Bay Phoenix can get?

Charlie Creme
  (8:28 PM)

They have Sweet 16 potential.

Chris (Memphis, TN) [via mobile]

Tennessee seems like the least likely # 1 seed to win it all. Why isn't Pat's team getting the respect it deserves. The team did beat Stanford which beat UConn.

Charlie Creme
  (8:29 PM)

Chris, Tenn got a #1 seed. Not sure of the lack of respect there. Can't get any higher than that.

Matt (Cincinnati)

See any huge upsets happening?? 15 over 2s or 16s over 1s?

Charlie Creme
  (8:30 PM)

Not a chance. Alright everyone. Thank you. Mechelle takes it from here. Enjoy the tournament.

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:31 PM)

Hey folks! Agree with Charlie so much about the potential TAMU-Baylor matchup in Dallas and placing both UCLA and Stanford in Spokane region. Don't like it. Let's get going!

diane (Mass)

So if all goes as planned we will finally get a UConn/Tennessee matchup

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:32 PM)

I think so ... I don't think anyone in the Philly region can upset the Huskies. Tennessee may have a more challenging run to Indy, but I think they will make it.

Mike (Boston,MA)

Do you think Marist has a chance to upset Iowa State?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:33 PM)

Yes, I do. The Cyclones looked a little physically and emotionally tired to me at the Big 12 tourney. And Marist is playing great now. Plus, Marist has a history of upsets in the Big Dance.

Derek (Louisville)

What is you #1 must see first round game?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:35 PM)

I am really interested in the JMU-Oklahoma matchup in the Dayton region ... some really good guard play on display. Marist-Iowa State is interesting, as is Gonzaga-Iowa and Rutgers-Louisiana Tech. And the 8-9 games are usually pretty fun, too. Texas Tech-St. John's may be my pick as the best of the 8-9s.

Linsey (Michigan)

How far to do you think Michigan State can get?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:36 PM)

I think the Spartans will make the regional semis against Baylor in the Dallas region.

Philip (Cocoa Beach, FL)

Chances for UWGB? I've got a gut feeling that teams will underestimate them and UWGB will take it at them. I'm thinking Elite Eight, maybe even Final Four!

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:38 PM)

It would be a blast to see a team such as Green Bay break through and make it to the Final Four. But, wow, that would take some run. They are an excellent offensive team and very poised. But I think it's going to be difficult for them to get past Michigan State in the second round.

Dean (Arkansas)

The SEC is definitely "down" this season, but Vanderbilt a 10 seed and no LSU? Both decisions are odd to me. Texas as a 9 seed was also surprising.

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:39 PM)

The committee did not give the SEC much benefit of the doubt at all. I did think LSU would get in. As for Texas, I thought they'd make it, especially since they beat Texas Tech twice and Kansas State, other Big 12 teams that made it in. But I can understand people knocking the selection of the Longhorns. It will be up to Texas to try to prove that wrong by winning at least one game.

Steve (NY)

Do you think Rutgers has any chance of revenge against A&M after losing by 20+ earlier in the year?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:41 PM)

If the Scarlet Knights get past Louisiana Tech, they could be a dangerous team for A

Ghsfcal (redwood city,ca)

Ridiculous having Stanford and UCLA in the same region after they've played three times already. They're both good teams that should be playing power teams from other conferences. As a Cardinal fan, don't mind the matchups in the West Region, but I still think it's bad seeding.

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:42 PM)

I echo what Charlie said earlier ... this didn't have to happen. The committee can talk about principles and procedures forever, but ... they kind of decide how much they are going to "enforce" that year to year. I think this was a mistake.

victor (monroe,la)

Which team do you think will upset stanford?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:44 PM)

I don't think Stanford will be upset, but since I have to pick, I put Baylor into the championship game, beating Stanford in the national semifinals in a battle of No. 1 seeds. But there's reason to believe Stanford could win it all this season. All the No. 1's are capable of that.

Duane (Spokane Wa)

What are the Iowa Hawkeyes Strengths and what are the chances Gonzaga Lady Bulldogs get into the Sweet Sixteen.

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:46 PM)

Iowa has some very good guards such as Kachine Alexander and Jaime Printy, who are skilled at penetrating and hitting 3-pointers. That said, I like Gonzaga's chances in that game and even possibly upsetting No. 3 seed UCLA in the second round. Gonzaga did it to Texas A

Buzzmaster
  (8:46 PM)

Hey, everybody, just a reminder that the women's selection committee chair, Marilyn McNeil will be here at 9:15 p.m. ET to take your questions!

Tevin (Durham, NC)

what do you think of the possible TENN-OHIO ST match up?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:48 PM)

I think it could be really interesting because the Buckeyes have seemed to figure things out in the past month. Tennessee has a depth advantage, though, to work against Jantel Lavender inside. And in general, Tennessee has more weapons.

Zach (Knoxville)

What player from Tennessee must step up?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:49 PM)

I'm sure Pat Summitt would really like to see Glory Johnson continue to play as well as she has been for Tennessee because rebounding and post defense are always such big factors in the tournament.

Mary (Georgia)

How deep do you think Duke will go and do you think duke could potenially upset Uconn if they meet up in elite eight?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:50 PM)

It was good to see Duke's offense be so much crisper in the ACC tournament, and for the Blue Devils to be hitting shots. They didn't have that at UConn, of course, when they lost by 36. I do think Duke will make it to the regional final ... just don't think they can keep up offensively with UConn. As good as Duke's defense can be, I don't think it will stop UConn enough.

Fred (Ohio) [via mobile]

How important is the Tenn/UConn match up to the women's game ?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:52 PM)

I wrote about this because I do think it's going to be exciting to see them play again if that happens. It's been four years since their last matchup, and I think it will be fun to see Maya Moore in particular take on Tennessee if this matchup comes to pass. And it will garner a ton of attention, of course.

JC (FL)

Mechelle, why do you think Florida didnt make it? They were the highest RPI team not to make it in

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:54 PM)

The Gators had some nice wins near the end of the season, but at 7-9 in an SEC that wasn't highly regarded this year and 18-14 overall, Florida didn't have enough on the resume.

Ken (Illinois)

Oklahoma vs Miami 2nd round. Upset?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:57 PM)

Possibly. Miami is the No. 3 seed, but this is the first NCAA appearance since 2004 for the Hurricanes. No. 6 Oklahoma is coming off back-to-back Final Four appearances. Plus, both teams' strength is at guard, and Miami may be less likely to exploit some of the Sooners' weakness in the post should they meet.

isaiah mccall (killeen TX)

FSU gave UCONN a good challenge last, do you think they will make it to the sweet 16?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:58 PM)

Yes, I think Florida State is a good team and may even give Texas A&M some trouble if those squads meet in the Sweet 16 in Dallas.

AnotherHuskiesVictory (Hartford, CT)

how do you feel that all the 1-2 games are rematches? xavier and duke both got bombed by Stan and UConn, AM/Baylor's been discussed, plus UT already beat ND. Would have been much more interesting to see fresh matchups here -- why not xavier/uconn, am/stan, duke/ut, and ND/Baylor?

Mechelle Voepel
  (8:59 PM)

I think I would have liked all of those better. I really don't like putting Xavier and Stanford together again in a regional, among other things already mentioned.

Bob (Windsor, CT)

Why not Syracuse, in your opinion.

Mechelle Voepel
  (9:02 PM)

The more I look at that one, the more it seems a slight. The Orange had a pretty good case for getting in. I know West Virginia beat Syracuse and had better RPI and SOS, but the way the Mountaineers finished the season wasn't very impressive.

Howard (PA)

Any (afterthought) opinions on Middle State TN making it in??

Mechelle Voepel
  (9:04 PM)

I guess the committee has a heart. I mean, it's hard not to be moved to give the Blue Raiders the benefit of the doubt after such a tragedy, and their overall performance before that was very strong in favor of them being included. For that matter, they had a decent chance of potentially winning the auto bid if the tragedy had not happened. I don't think anyone will complain about this at-large.

David (San Diego)

Mechelle, what do you think of a potential Stanford-Xavier rematch in the Elite Eight, after last year's nailbiter between the two teams?

Mechelle Voepel
  (9:06 PM)

That could be a heck of a game, and very different than the blowout that Stanford handed Xavier in December. But I still think the Cardinal would be favored in that matchup.

Jake (Florida)

If this Tennessee team can keep up the play like they did in the SEC Tournament...are they the team to beat? Also, if they meet up with Ohio Stat in the Sweet 16 & Notre Dame in the Elight 8, what makes them better than either of those two? Thanks!

Mechelle Voepel
  (9:08 PM)

If Tennessee shoots the 3-pointer the way they did against Kentucky (16), good luck to anyone trying to beat them. I don't know that we'll see that again. But even if they hit half that many - they are going to be very, very tough. I think they have a depth advantage on almost everyone, and it's legit depth. They also have a lot of offensive confidence, and they played real Tennessee defense in the SEC tourney.

Mary (DesMoines, IA)

What does A & M have to do to beat Baylor if they get a chance at a rematch?

Mechelle Voepel
  (9:11 PM)

Danielle Adams has to have a better offensive game, which means doing that against a really fine defender in Destiny Williams for the most part. Also the Sydneys - Carter and Colson - can't afford the poor shooting percentage they had in the Big 12 title game. And the Aggies have to rebound well from all five positions on the floor - because they won't win if Baylor beats them soundly on the boards as they did in the Big 12 title game with a 50-36 edge.

Myron (Chicago, IL)

Ms. Voepel, Which freshman sensation do you think will shine the brightest in this year's tournament?

Mechelle Voepel
  (9:13 PM)

I don't want to have to pick only one, but you have to give a ton of credit to Stefanie Dolson for how well she's played for UConn this season. A lot was on her shoulders, especially after Walker left, and she's been terrific. There are several great freshman who will be on display, of course, but Dolson is such a big factor in UConn having a chance at winning another title.

Tom (Philly)

What do you think about the Temple vs Arizona St matchup? Does Temple have a chance for the upset since somehow they got the lower seed?

Mechelle Voepel
  (9:14 PM)

The way Temple has played this season, I think they have an excellent chance to win that game. Really been impressed with how Tonya Cardoza has done as a head coach.

Willa (Chapel Hill)

What team can topple Connecticut?

Mechelle Voepel
  (9:16 PM)

Maybe Tennessee in Indy? How about that non-controversial subject to end my portion of the chat? :) Handing it off now to the selection chair. Thanks, everybody!

Debbie (Maine)

Were you creating the brackets as the conference tournaments were going or were you able to wait until they were all finished before starting the process?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:17 PM)

We got here Friday morning and we were working with our first challenge with the first set of teams. We would often stop our work and go watch the conference tournaments, because that was part of our evaluation. Then you start seeding. We did not even bracket any team until the conference tournaments were finished.

Peter (RI)

Did you have to have some contingency plans for moving some teams around if they did better or worse in their conference tournaments?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:18 PM)

Good question, Peter. We really didn't finish the bracket until this morning, actually about 1 today, we decided the bracket was good. Contingency plans were probably available all weekend as we talked about how their seasons worked. So yeah, there were probably a lot of contingency plans.

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:19 PM)

We're fortunate as a committee with the selection show being on Monday night that all of the tournaments were finished before we had to finish the bracket. I think the last game was on Sunday night.

Levi (Oklahoma)

Who were the teams the committee had the most discussions over to get in that was very hard to agree upon?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:20 PM)

Certainly all 33 of the at-large teams. It's very difficult to pin point. I think there were over 15 teams at the end that we were continuing to discuss. I've said to several folks tonight, we at one time in our decision making, we voted 7 times to make sure that we got it right.

Steve (NYC)

Was there any thought given to having Stanford and UCLA in the same bracket? Shouldn't they be apart?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:22 PM)

They happen to be in the same bracket, but did we think about that when we went into it? No. We have certain principles in bracketing. We try to put them closest to where they are so that fans can go to watch. It ended up that they were in the same bracket, but that's a good thing. We protect teams in the same conference until the regional finals, unless there are nine teams, and in this case, the Big East had nine teams so they meet before the regional finals.

Tom (Iowa)

Which means more to the committee, toughness of nonconference play or conference record?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:22 PM)

I would say both. It really depends on the committee member. We have a very diverse committee. We have a very invested committee. Some look at conference record and others nonconference record. Both are discussed at length.

Alice (Seattle) [via mobile]

Was there a seeding line or seed ranking that gave you the toughest time with putting in the bracket?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:24 PM)

I think altogether the seeding lines were very diffcult. Certainly at the top of the bracket, those top four seeds had games played amongst themselves and they were all 1-1. Those lines continue to be difficult. But as we had several teams on the board as we were finishing the 33 at-large, those were difficult, because they looked the same. It was a difficult decision to include them in the bracket and that carried through to the seed lines. We had to look very careful what differentiated teams and to seed them appropriately.

Carly (Boston) [via mobile]

Does the committee start at No. 1 overall and place the teams in order from there or did you jump around a little bit?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:25 PM)

The committee absolutely starts with the No. 1 No. 1 and in this case it was Connecticut.

Kris (Nevada)

Are you concerned with 2 possible matchups Baylor/ TAMU and Stanford/UCLA being the 4th meeting in one season?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:26 PM)

We seeded the teams and put them into the bracket according to their seeds. Our principles say that we need to put teams into their closest geographical region. One of the unintended consequences is those teams meet. We were excited about that matchup. We think it's terrific. We think that the fans will enjoy it. We think that the players will have a chance to play in front of a great crowd.

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:26 PM)

But there is still a lot of basketball to be played before those matchups are to happen.

Liz (Green Bay)

Do you think UConn will get their three-peat?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:27 PM)

(chuckle, chuckle)

Charles (Washington)

How long was the committee sequestered in the room when you were hammering out the bracket?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:27 PM)

We started on Friday morning and we got let out on Monday at 2.

Lisa [via mobile]

Once you have a finished bracket did you have to go back and tinker with seedings/matchups at all?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:28 PM)

Once we had a final bracket, that was a vote by the committee. But before we got to the final bracket, we have the technology to alert us to potential errors or issues. Yes, we tinker, perhaps, but we did not fall away from our principles.

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:29 PM)

We select the 64, that's the first thing that happens. Then we seed the teams. They're seeded absolutely 1-64. Then we bracket. At that time, teams can move along a seed line, but not until we bracket.

Dean (Arkansas)

I'm assuming your 4 top seeds were 1. UConn, 2. Stanford, 3. Baylor, 4. Tennessee. Is this correct? Also, UConn as the top #1 is hard to argue, but how did you sort through the other 3 top seeds?

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:31 PM)

Dean, you're absolutely right. That was a very difficult decision. It was a long discussion. We just worked very hard at looking at the resume of all four teams. The four teams played in four head to head games and all of them went 1-1. The committee had to look beyond those head to head games. What we decided at the end of the day when we looked deep into the resumes is that UConn was the No. 1 No. 1, then Stanford, Baylor and then Tennessee.

Marilyn McNeil
  (9:33 PM)

This women's basketball game is really at a terrific place. We have 1,000 student-athletes. I think they're playing at the highest level ever. All 64 believe they can be in Indianapolis. That's what's great about playing the game. We have student-athletes that are great sportsmen. I think you're going to see respect for the game, officials and opponents in a fabulous way. We also have some matchups that will be magical. So, we're excited, the committee's excited. We want to get to the games. We're tired of talking about them.

Buzzmaster
  (9:33 PM)

Thanks for chatting Marilyn!

Graham Hays
  (9:34 PM)

All right, I'm here to get us to the finish line, so hopefully Charlie, Mechelle and Marilyn built up a big lead.

Brian (New York)

How far do you think Marist can get in the tournament? And also if they get past first round do you think they could slip past Duke with a win or No?

Graham Hays
  (9:37 PM)

You always like a team's chances better when it isn't playing on an opponent's home court, so even if Marist could get by Iowa State, it has its work cut out for it. The first-round game seems like one of the more intriguing ones out there, particularly the coaching battle between Giorgis and Fennelly. But honestly, Brian, the second round seems like the ceiling with this draw.

Derek (Louisville)

What is the most surprising element of the bracket to you?

Graham Hays
  (9:39 PM)

I'm sure I'm repeating some thoughts others had tonight, but the potential rematches obviously jumps off the page. I hear what they're saying about seeding the teams and letting the matchups fall where they may as a result, but it would be nice if the committee would at least acknowledge it might not be ideal instead of pretending it's a great thing for the game. If your main goal is to drive attendance, then you need to completely start from scratch.

Matt (Cincinnati)

Anyone you think is overseeded? Underseeded?

Graham Hays
  (9:42 PM)

I'm sort of scratching my head on Texas. I could see a case for them getting in or getting left out. I don't know that I see the case for them getting as far up the seed line as they did. Gonzaga is better than a No. 11 seed, but I can't imagine you'll hear the Bulldgos complaining about getting to play in Spokane and have a chance to avoid a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the first two rounds. And I'm a little surprised the ACC seemed to get treated as well as it did in the seedings this year, but more from the perspective that maybe I need to go back and take another look at those teams than the seedings were egregious.

Josh (Washington, DC)

Graham, what are your thoughts on #3 seed FSU? Could they be a sleeper and make it to the Elite 8 and break up the Texas A&M/Baylor rematch everyone is already talking about?

Graham Hays
  (9:46 PM)

To be honest, I liked FSU a little more in the preseason than now. There aren't a lot of quality road wins in there to make me like their chances in Texas against those kind of teams. But they do have the experience and a couple of bigger bodies to throw at an Adams or a Griner.

Glenn (Fresh Meadows)

Do you see the 12/5 curse being a factor in the Women's game this year...those look like close games like they are in the Men...Except for Princeton, all those could be upsets (esp with Bowling green playing near home with their well travelling fans)

Graham Hays
  (9:50 PM)

The 11/6 in the women's tourney is historically a better analogy to the 12/5 in the men's tournament, and there are a lot of matchups there you could see going to the double-digit seed. Bowling Green could do something, but the field-goal numbers worry me. If I was looking for a 12-5, I'd be more inclined to wonder if Fresno State can catch UNC napping a long way from Chapel Hill.

Terrie (Greensboro, NC)

What put Dayton into the tournament? Over other A-10 teams like Duquesne and Charlotte?

Graham Hays
  (9:53 PM)

If you want to see the power of a good conference tournament run, look at Dayton, with the wins against Duquesne and Temple (or look at Michigan for the opposite example). And maybe the three close calls against Xavier didn't count as an official criteria, but it seems like it might at least leave a better impression of the Flyers.

Chris (New York)

Is there one particular team you believe got snubbed this year? I just don't understand LSU's exclusion.

Graham Hays
  (9:55 PM)

LSU and Michigan surprised me, but I don't think you'll hear the same level of outrage there was about Colorado and Virginia Tech on the men's side. I thought LSU had the wins (UCLA, La Tech, Georgia, etc.) to get in. But they also put themselves in some trouble down the stretch in the SEC.

Dan (Ft. Wayne IN)

Why is everyone counting Iowa out already in their game against Gonzaga? How far do you think the Hawkeyes can go?

Graham Hays
  (9:59 PM)

It's not counting out Iowa as much as looking for potential upsets. There are going to be some surprises. There always are. And a Gonzaga team with a lot of the pieces that got to the Sweet 16, that played better than its seed and which is playing in Spokane makes for an easy pick to latch onto. I know I have. But it's not an indictment of Iowa. It might be a 55/45 pick, but that's better than the other upset options. UCLA is a great defensive team but "only" really good against the 3, statistically. So if Iowa gets there, it has a chance.

Glenn (Fresh Meadows)

Did one poor loss (Detroit Mercy) Sink Borseth and the Wolverines (Who I thought the sweep by minny was offset by them sweeping OSU)

Graham Hays
  (10:01 PM)

That didn't help, Neither did losing to Illinois in the Big Ten tourney. They had some good Big Ten wins, but if you do that and still don't hit 20 wins overall, people are going to poke around. Although again, I thought they deserved to get in.

Rich (Milwaukee)

How far do you see Green Bay going in the tourney? I think watching them and MSU would be a fun match-up and would like to see how they would match up with Baylor. What are your thoughts on this seems to be here to stay mid-major program

Graham Hays
  (10:04 PM)

They wanted a neutral court and got it, so I think you have to look at it as a good draw for Green Bay. Personally, you're not going to convince me there are 16 better teams in the country, but a No. 5 seed is what it is. This team definitely has the talent to get to the Sweet 16. Beyond that, well, it's asking a lot. Any team seeded fourth or fifth is going to be a real longshot against a No. 1, but I'd put Green Bay up there with any of the others in that class, should it get to Dallas.

Max (Brookings, SD)

Hi Graham, can South Dakota State pull the upset over Xavier? Why did they recieve a 15 seed over Hampton's 13 seed, when they beat them earlier in the season.

Graham Hays
  (10:07 PM)

East Tennessee State threw a scare into Xavier last year in the first round in Cincinnati, but I don't see lightning striking twice on that count. Still a great job by SDSU to turn around a slow start and close as well as it did. As for Hampton, a lot more goes into it than head-to-head is the best answer I can give you.

Michael (CA)

Why does everybody in the country give Duke a 0% chance of winning it all? It's the same thing every year.

Graham Hays
  (10:10 PM)

Well, someone might say it's the same thing every year because it's the same thing every year. But I think 0 percent is a little hyperbole. They got a tough draw, in that they almost certainly have to go through a Connecticut team that made the Blue Devils look really bad earlier this season. Doesn't mean they can't win, but it does explain why most people would be hesitant to pick them.

Nick (Harrisonburg)

What are your thoughts on James Madison upsetting Oklahoma, and do they have the potential to make a little run in the tournament?

Graham Hays
  (10:13 PM)

Without UVA, it will be interesting to see how well JMU fans travel. Oklahoma is one of those teams whose name I'll spend way too long staring at in filling out a bracket. No idea what to expect. Great coach and some great offensive players, but are they more than that? But sure, JMU, OU, Miami, I think any of the three could get to Dayton.

Graham Hays
  (10:13 PM)

All right, that will wrap up the chat for the night. Thanks to everyone for stopping over the past two-plus hours. Enjoy the games this weekend!