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 (11:00 AM)
Hey there hoops fan, hopefully Monday is being kind to you. What are we talking about?
How far will Jhasmin Player and Rachel Allison lead this Baylor team?
Graham Hays (11:03 AM)
Well, it seems like you've got to start with Danielle Wilson when you're talking about Baylor's leader, but Allison and Player are key figures in a deeper team around her than Kim Mulkey had a season ago. The loss at Oklahoma probably shows that Baylor isn't going to simply out-talent the other contenders for the top two or three seed lines. They lost the battle of the boards by a wide margin against Courtney and Ashley Paris and Amanada Thompson. and unless people like Allison and Player are shooting the lights out, that's a recipe for bad news. I don't think it's a crippling loss at all, but it certainly reinforces what this team has to do to be a factor for St. Louis.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Welcome Back! Long 2 weeks...anyway let's start things with a game of In or Out?: Georgetown (17 wins, good chance to hit 20, but low RPI and bad nonconference record) Villanova (Good conference record, good win total but some AWFUL nonconference losses (LASALLE!)) Gonzaga (Atop WCC but some poor conference losses) VCU (Again division leader with a good RPI but some puzzling losses) SoDak State (Awful league and a WART of a loss to Oakland but dominant otherwise and most have them pegged as an at large (and as high as a 5 seed!) Rutgers (VERY high RPI and SOS but that record in and out of conference, YUCK)
Graham Hays (11:07 AM)
Thanks, Glenn. All right, let me get those one at a time, or at least one conference at a time. Georgetown: Big win at Syracuse to cap this recent hot streak, but it seems like they need to win the last two in the regular season and win at least a game in the conference tourney (especially if they end up playing on that first day in the new enormous BE tourney. Villanova, in my mind, is safe as long as they beat either Georgetown or South Florida to get to double-digit regular-season wins.
Graham Hays (11:10 AM)
Hmm, I need to speed these up, I guess. Safe: South Dakota State and VCU. Gonzaga is probably safe, but I thought the same thing last year and look what happened. Rutgers, assuming they drop the UConn game, I'd feel a lot better if they finish 9-7 in league play.
Will (Courtland, VA)
Curious to the scouting report on Iowa. They have had some injuries over the season and have had two freshmen in the game getting significant minutes. One, Wahlin, starting the past 10 games (or so) and Draxler also seeing plenty of floor time. Who are these two young women and where did they come from!!
Graham Hays (11:13 AM)
I'm afraid I won't be a ton of help on the bios, but Wahlin was really impressive on an otherwise miserable night for Iowa when I saw them at Duke in early December. In a tough environment, she really played with a lot of confidence on the perimeter. You know, after thinking about it overnight, I think Iowa is a much better bet than Minnesota as a Big Ten team that at least has a chance to win a game in the NCAA tournament. It's definitely a team with limitations, but they've got some shooters and they've been playing well down the stretch.
Could this be the best of the UConn teams we've seen? Even without that ultra superstar like Diana Taurasi, they're still motoring along.
Graham Hays (11:17 AM)
I'd say Maya Moore qualifies as an uber star, but that's probably the question that's going to dominate the next month or so. Every other (current) team may use it as a motivational tool, but until someone stays with UConn in a big game, it's easier to think of their peers as history's best teams rather than this year's field. As for an answer, I'm not there yet.
dusty (bowling green, oh)
why are the lady falcons not getting any love? they have the second longest winning streak in the nation behind uconn, the have won 4 straight conference championships and were in the sweet 16 just 2 seasons ago
Graham Hays (11:21 AM)
I'm a believer in the Falcons, with some limitations. I don't think this is a Sweet 16 team, but I wouldn't want to draw them in the first round of the NCAA tournament (although success aside, they probably can't afford to lose the MAC tournament). As for not getting any love nationally, it comes down to schedule. Hartford was a good win, but it was at home. And other than that, there's not much there to use for comparison purposes. But Tracy Pontius has more than stepped up with Kate Achter gone, and Lauren Prochaska is a fantastic scorer.
John: (Chestnut Hill):
Why do they have this chat so early at 11am?! They should have it at 11pm to help me fall asleep!!!! ZZZZzzzzzzzzz!!
Graham Hays (11:22 AM)
Good to hear you have such an active social life at night, John.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Could we see BOTH of the most storied streaks in WCBB end...ODU's Conference tourney title streak and Tennessee's Sweet 16 Streak?
Graham Hays (11:25 AM)
That's a great question. I hadn't really thought about pairing the two together. I know the folks in the mock bracket had Tennesse down at a No. 6, but I still think this team is more than good enough to win two games. Obviously, a whole lot will depend on the draw. Very surprised to see ODU lose this weekend. The Colonial tournament is going to be extremely intriguing. I'd like to head down to JMU to see that unfold.
Ted (New Jersey)
What do you think it is about the women's game that lends itself to a team going undefeated? The last time we've seen it in the men's game was about 30 years ago.
Graham Hays (11:28 AM)
Parity is probably the most obvious thing. We talk about parity improving every year, and it is, but it's still a big separation between that top tier and everyone else, even if that tier is maybe 12-15 teams, instead of 8-10. Plus, you still get players staying four years in the women's game. There's almost no way the male equivalents of Renee Montgomery, Tina Charles or Maya Moore would still be playing college basketball at this point in their careers. And it's not like going undefeated happens every year. It's happened more frequently, to be sure, but it's still a big deal.
robert lancaster pa [via mobile]
does maryland have a chance to win it all
Graham Hays (11:33 AM)
Sure, they're in that mix of teams that could square off against Connecticut. Toliver and Coleman are the kind of experienced backcourt (or wherever Coleman lines up in a given situation) you'd like to have in the postseason. And it seems like Kizer and Liles are only getting stronger, not wearing down, as conference play carries on.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Who may be a conference title sleeper who could steal an auto bid this year...my money's on toledo but Hofstra and ODU are dangerous and I'd beware of Temple if im Crime Dawg McGuff
Graham Hays (11:36 AM)
Both quality candidates. I'd say also keep an eye on Quinnipiac in the NEC (where Sacred Heart is running away with things), Maybe Bradley in the MVC (although I'm still driving the Illinois State bandwagon).
Hans (El Paso)
Do you see the UTEP women's team making it to the tournament? After such a successful season last year in C-USA
Graham Hays (11:40 AM)
You know, I have to admit I kind of missed their resurgence the last few weeks. I only caught part of one of their games this season, but from the stats, it looks like Jareica Hughes may be shouldering an especially heavy load this season -- her assist-to-turnover ratio is down, perhaps because there don't seem to be a lot of consistent finishers around her. But yeah, I don't see them as a significant underdog going into the conference tourney, wherever they end up seeded out of that top three or four.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
I know she's a Longshot...but give some MAC Love to Namma from Toledo for Freshman of the year...WOW BC missed out on a big one when Inglese got fired...she's for Real...what a Steal for the Rockets!
Graham Hays (11:41 AM)
There you go, she's officially received the Netcong seal of approval. I haven't seen her play, but I'll have to keep an eye out during the MAC tournament.
Do you think Chante Black and Krystal Thomas can lead this Duke team to the promise land?
Graham Hays (11:45 AM)
I was just thinking about Duke this weekend. If time allows, I'd like to go back and see what the fewest number of 3-pointers any team has hit in reaching the Final Four in recent seasons. The Blue Devils are actually shooting a little better in conference play, but to your point about Black (not sure they'll count on K. Thomas to be a big scorer), I worry about whether this team can hit enough shots to back up its depth, defense and rebounding for at least four games in a row in the NCAA tournament.
Jacob (VA beach)
how many big 12 teams do you see in?
Graham Hays (11:47 AM)
Six. I don't think Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are done for just yet, and I know Tech has a pretty solid RPI. But I think they both have to play their way in at this point.
What ever happened to Bulger from WVU...was friends with her brother, and she was good...thanks
Graham Hays (11:50 AM)
Which Bulger?! That family put up a lot of points in Morgantown. As for Meg, I'm not sure. I think injuries took a pretty hefty toll on her by the end, but it wouldn't surprise me if she's still hitting jumpers somewhere. If anyone knows, shout it out.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Will LSU make the tourney?
Graham Hays (11:52 AM)
Seems like Van can breathe easier after that big win against Florida. Granted, they don't have a lot of other big wins, but throw in the Georgia result, and they're winning at the right time.
Graham Hays (11:52 AM)
All right, that'll do it for today. Thanks for another round of great questions!