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)
A lot of hours of actual games for everyone to watch these days, so I appreciate you all stopping by to waste a few minutes talking hoops here.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Who's played themselves out of the tourney in the conference tourneys? Anyone play themselves in?
Graham Hays (11:03 AM)
It seems like there weren't just a heck of a lot of upsets in the big tourneys, so the status quo seems to have held form. Marquette is one exception, probably losing any shot at an at-large when they lost in the Big East opening round. Georgia Tech didn't help itself with the loss to Clemson, but that's probably more a case of droppig a line or two in the seedings than dropping out of the bracket. Same for Michigan State in the Big Ten, although the two results from that tournament that could impact things were Indiana's loss to Purdue and Minnesota's loss to Iowa. Neither was a bad loss, but did both of those teams need those wins to get in? I'd say probably so for IU, while Minnesota now gets to spend the week squarely on the bubble.
What kind of seed can Arizona State get without Symon?
Graham Hays (11:07 AM)
Just an awful break for Dymond Simon and the Sun Devils, much like Baylor losing Danielle Wilson. It's really tough to say what happens to ASU. The one thing about their system. which I think Turner-Thorne referenced after that game, was her system does breed depth. And while her game is a little different, Danielle Orsillo has the kind of scoring potential to get hot for a stretch and replace some of Simon's contribution. But it's tough for teams to overcome those kind of injuries with months to adjust, let alone a week or two. As for seeding, I'm not sure. The Pac-10 is tough to figure when it comes to ASU, Cal and Stanford.
mark(Rhodesdale, Maryland) [via mobile]
Who do you think would win a game of two on two, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman(MD), or R. Montgomery and M. Morre(UCONN)?
Graham Hays (11:08 AM)
Wow. I have no idea. But I'd pay to see it.
What should we expect from Marist in the NCAA tournament?
Graham Hays (11:10 AM)
That's one of those cases that depends so much on the draw. Marist is going to play good defense, and as someone said yesterday, it changes their look dramatically when they get a third scorer going behind Fitz and Viana, as happened with Allenspach in the MAAC final. You figure they're probably in that 11-12 range on the seeding, so if they draw a team that's slumping or is sloppy with the ball and doesn't close out shooters consistently, they could be dangerous again.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Who's playing the right ball at the right time to be a sleeper in the tourney...this year's Okie St?
Graham Hays (11:13 AM)
You'll probably like this answer, Glenn, but Rutgers seems like that team. They really look like a different team right now. Obviously, they wavered a little last night, not getting the ball inside to Vaughn consistently and not handling some late-game situations well, but that was a Sweet-16 or Elite Eight level game last night against Louisville. Again, it all depends on the draw, but even as a lower seed, I think I'll be surprised if Rutgers doesn't come out of Piscataway and get to the Sweet 16.
Graham Hays (11:14 AM)
Duke definitely isn't a sleeper, but that's another team playing its best right now.
Diane, Santa Barbara, CA
Who is the best freshman in the country?
Graham Hays (11:17 AM)
Strange year for the freshmen. There are a couple of major conferences where there isn't a single freshman in the top 30 in scoring. Right now, I'd probably go with Shekinna Stricklen, She's had her ups and downs, but she's handling some big responsibilities running a lot of point for the Lady Vols and her up moments have been really up. And Tiffany Hayes is really coming on under the radar, if that's at all possible on a team that gets as much attention as UConn. I hate to stick with the UConn/Tennessee angle (Whitney Hand for OU would be another good candidate), but it's just one of those years where role players are leading the way for the freshmen.
mark (Rhodesdale, Maryland) [via mobile]
Since Maryland won over Duke Sunday, which seed do you think MD will have, and how far do you think they will go?
Graham Hays (11:20 AM)
Maryland seems locked in now as the No. 1 in Raleigh. If so, it'll be interesting to see if the committee repeats last year's Rutgers-UConn regional final and puts either Duke or UNC in there as the No. 2 seed. But with the caveat of wanting to see the draw, I can't think of many reasons to think the Terrapins won't be in St. Louis.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
What's the impact of X losing to Dayton in the A-10?
Graham Hays (11:24 AM)
Makes the bubble a little less comfortable for teams like Indiana, Minnesota, South Florida, and its fellow A-10 members Temple and Charlotte. It seems now like the A-10 has to get three, with Xavier and Temple deserving at-larges, and either Charlotte or Richmond getting the auto today. But if Richmond wins, does Charlotte get in as the fourth? The conference number wouldn't matter, but it makes the bubble that much more crowded.
Which team could be this year's Marist if it's not Marist?
Graham Hays (11:28 AM)
After watching the Montana-Portland State game Saturday, I think the Big Sky could be the place to look. Assuming either of those teams wins the conference tournament in Missoula (six teams, not four, as I mistakenly blogged last week), I wouldn't want to draw them. That's especially true for Montana. Watching that game, size, and not skill, was about the only thing separating it from what I was seeing in person at the Big East.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
W question (Sorta), Who is this year's Jackie Stiles? That is the player who with a great toruney send their draft stock soaring (like happens all the time it seems)
Graham Hays (11:32 AM)
Oh come on, you've been around these chats long enough to know that's my cue to hype Kristi Cirone from Illinois State. But in terms of teams that could be playing into the final few rounds, Kia Vaughn is picking up a lot of draft steam (it seems like enough people liked her that she would have gone near the top anyway, but now she's moving toward that 'trendy' pick label). Candyce Bingham, I think, will get a lot of attention if Louisville makea the run most expect. I'm probably just in Big East overload at the moment; there are definitely more elsewhere, I'm just blanking at the moment.
Steve (Syracuse, NY)
Why wasnt Syracuse able to keep the momentum from last season? Do you think they will be able to rebound in the future? NIT bid?
Graham Hays (11:37 AM)
I'd be a little concerned if I was a Syracuse fan. An emerging program is allowed growing pains, to be sure, but Syracuse has to rank as one of the biggest disappointments of the season. And with good young cores at places like St. John's and West Virginia, it's not like the league is suddenly going to take a huge step back toward the Orange, despite losing a lot of great senior talent. A WNIT run would at least be a place to start building momentum. And playing defense.
glenn (Netcong, NJ)
Who if anyone may end up crying foul on the Gaurenteed host rule...I'm sure its whoever faces RU but I'm wondering, could this climb all the way to a #1 seed (thinking Auburn).
Graham Hays (11:41 AM)
Oh, we can count on people crying foul, and with good cause. I know Charlie Creme took some grief for projecting South Dakota State as playing at Piscataway in last week's Bracketology, but whether or not it's that specific scenario, stuff like that is going to happen with the host sites. At the same time, it seems clear there is no perfect solution when you're tyring to balance parity, attendance and everything else. It's definitely not 'fair' that a high seed could have to play Rutgers on its home court in the second round, or LSU might be the lower seed in a second-round game at Baton Rouge, and so on and so forth. But it's reality. And from covering soccer and softball, it's still more fair than some of the draws you get in those sports that rely more heavily on regional travel limits.
who is going to get number one seeds for the ncaa tournament?
Graham Hays (11:43 AM)
Mine would be Connecticut, Maryland, Oklahoma and Stanford. The debate seems to be over Stanford, but that's who I'd go with if they win the Pac-10 tourney.
Graham Hays (11:44 AM)
All right, thanks for all the questions this week! I don't know if we'll do this before the bracket next week, or the day after, or both. But I hope you'll stop by. Cheers.