Chat with Graham Hays
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com women's college basketball writer Graham Hays will be here to chat about the stretch run of the women's hoops season.
Hays contributes to ESPN.com's women's basketball, softball and soccer coverage. He began with ESPN in 1999.
Send your questions now and join Hays Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Graham Hays (4:02 PM)
It's a fun time of year, so I wish we had better news to start with but ...
John (West Hartford.)
Hartford Courant just reported #21 Hartford lost Erica Beverly for the season with a torn ACL.
Graham Hays (4:04 PM)
I saw the same report, and as is unfortunately so often the case, you kind of got that feeling watching it. First, it's a terrible blow for Beverly, who had come back from a similar injury in the past. Of less consequence, it's also a blow for fans who perhaps hadn't seen her play but might have gotten a chance in the NCAA tournament. She's one of the best defensive players I've been lucky enough to watch.
Katy (Crete, Nebraska)
What is Kelsay Griffin chance of winning player of the year award does she have a chance or not and if not is it because she plays for Nebraska and not UConn.
Graham Hays (4:09 PM)
I would say pretty slim. I've said I'm in what appears to be the minority that would vote for Griffin, and I still fee that way. But let's be clear that Tina Charles (who I expect to win) is entirely deserving. There's no argument that works to eliminate Charles, so I wouldn't say it's just because she plays for UConn. And someone could also put together a valid case for Maya Moore (or Neka Ogwumike, for that matter). But when you look at what Griffin has meant to a team that was unbeaten in a league like the Big 12, I think Griffin will at least deserve to be much closer in the voting than she may ultimately be.
Flyer Fan (Ohio)
How far do you think the Flyers can go in the NCAA Tournament? Do you think they will get put in the Dayton Regional and does their loss to Temple yesterday hurt them at all?
Graham Hays (4:12 PM)
Tough loss yesterday, although you may also have seen why Dayton could be dangerous in the NCAA -- playing Xavier and Temple out of the A-10, they've faced defenses as challenging as almost any this side of UConn. I wouldn't be surprised to see them in the Dayton part of the bracket, but if they're in that 7-10 seed range, they're going to have a really tough time getting to the second weekend. It's a fine line, but unless they have an unexpectedly good shooting day, they will have a tough time beating a No. 2 or No. 1 seed, should they get to the second round. Scare them? Quite possibly.
Farayi (Lawrenceville, NJ)
Who do you see giving Uconn the most problems in the NCAA Tourney.?
Graham Hays (4:15 PM)
The usual suspects that a lot of people have mentioned: Stanford and Tennessee tops among them. Both have a lot of size, shooters that could get on hot streaks and players who can create points for themselves out of broken plays. Nebraska and Xavier may fall a notch below those those, but they both have a lot of those parts and I'd at least be interested to see the game. Baylor on a perfect night, perhaps, although you wonder how the Griner mess will play with that team the rest of the way.
Marist stumbled a bit in MAAC play before righting the ship in the MAAC tourney, where do you see them seeded?
Graham Hays (4:18 PM)
It seems to me like the bottom of the bracket should be weak enough this year that they could avoid one of those bottom four seed lines, but it also wouldn't stun me beyond words if they ended up with a 13. Three MAAC losses or not, the Red Foxes still aren't a team I'd be happy playing if I was a No 5 or a No. 4 in the NCAA.
kevin (macon ga)
How much has Jayne Appel's WNBA draft stock fallen due to her disappointing season?
Graham Hays (4:21 PM)
Interesting question, and I don't have a great answer. Anecdotally, it seemed like whenever the conversation came up before the season, people talked about her as the No. 2 behind Charles. Now you hear more conversations where people wonder if she's a great fit for the pro game. I'd yield to someone better informed on that topic, but when I see someone with her vision passing the ball in the post and her moves around the basket, I can't believe she's going to be anything but a really good pro.
John (Morgantown, WV)
Graham, is there anyway WVU ends up playing closer to home (Cincy if they finish higher than Xavier, or Norfolk if they finish higher than Gtown?) I seems they are getting shipped clear across the country in every bracket, even though they are quite a high seed.
Graham Hays (4:25 PM)
It's tough this year for the Big East because there are so few first- and second-round sites in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Pittsburgh would obviously be a nice sell for WVU without Pitt in the field, but everyone gives that to UConn as the closest to Storrs (remarkable because it ain't that close). Once that's out, how much of an advantage is there to being sort of close instead of not close? With the odd geography this year, a of teams may get shipped. the Mountaineers' consolation may be the nice seed you mention.
With the bracketology, Michigan is one of the last four in. How much does there win versus Xavier at Xavier, impact this.
Graham Hays (4:27 PM)
To all those with Bracketology questions, I apologize, I wish I could channel Charlie's knowledge this time of year, but he'd have to speak for himself on those. Maybe we'll be able to get him in for a chat before the bracket comes out. For Michigan, wasn't the Xavier win at home? Still a good win either way.
kevin (macon ga)
Can Princeton pull an upset in the tournament?
Graham Hays (4:30 PM)
That's one of the teams whose bandwagon I'm tentatively hopping on as we all look for sleepers in the first round. Of course, it all depends on the draw. I wouldn't like Princeton against a Texas A&M or West Virginia. But they should draw a better seed than that. They've got a bigger lineup than you'd expect out of an Ivy team and it's an athletic big. They're a really good team.
Eileen (Washington, DC)
Are there any teams, in your opinion, who are playing NCAA at-large "quality" BB right now, but whose record doesn't justify their getting an invite?Alternatively, are there any teams you think probably aren't playing up to at-large standards at the moment, but have the body of work to get a bid all the same?
Graham Hays (4:35 PM)
Good but complicated question, I like it. Off the top of my head, in the first category, I thought Cal started to play better in the second half of the season. Although at the same time, they kind of knocked themselves out of any consideration with the ASU loss. On the second question, none come to mind immediately. It's a tangent, but I'd also say UALR has a chance, in my mind, to be the team playing the best basketball that doesn't get an invite. They really deserve an at-large bid if they need one.
C. One (Spur, Texas)
Talk about how Texas A&M is playing right now. They hit a lull in the middle of the season, but seem to be peaking right now.
Graham Hays (4:38 PM)
I came away impressed from getting a chance to see them in person against Texas and Baylor, even with a loss in the latter. Specifically, Tanisha Smith as a player who can get them a bucket when they need one. Danielle Adams didn't really play that well in those two games, minus one stretch against Baylor, but it was easy to see what kind of impact she can have on a game. Gary Blair told me in December this might be his best defensive team, and you can see why at times. Easy to see them getting to the Sweet 16 and maybe a regional final with a good draw. Beyond that, I feel like it depends on how much they can get from Colson with the leg.
Michigan's win versus Xavier was at Xavier, and yes a good win. What do you think about them, and can they win a game or two.
Graham Hays (4:42 PM)
I stand corrected, not sure why I had that game lodged in my head as in Michigan. And to be honest, this might be one place where I disagree with Charlie, just not sure the Wolverines are really going to end up on the right side of the bubble. But from what I've seen, and it's admittedly not a wealth, they did start to look more like a Borseth team this season. Good shooting and good defense. I really liked what I saw of Veronica Hicks.
Stephen (Hempstead, NY)
Who is your favorite in the CAA and who is your darkhorse candidate?
Graham Hays (4:47 PM)
Oops, not sure if that last answer got cut off. I'd take JMU for the win at home with the No. 2 seed, with Drexel worth keeping an eye on as the defending champ with Marginean. The most obvious sleeper is Delaware if Delle Donne gets on a roll, but if you want to play a slightly longer shot, Hofstra and its own impressive freshman, Shante Evans, has a decent draw to make some noise.
Dave (Cleveland Tn)
Is UConn streak good for WBB or only for UConn. Does the streak unfairly penalize other good teams as the perception seems to be only UConn is good?
Graham Hays (4:51 PM)
That's the $64,000 question. I think any answer depends on what group you're asking. UConn gets women's basketball on PTI, Mike and Mike and assorted other mainstream outlets it wouldn't be on today if they weren't going for 71 in a row. Is that a good thing? Tough to say, but it's not stealing attention other teams would be getting -- I don't love the fact that an unbeaten Nebraska team wouldn't be getting that kind of attention, but it's reality. So is UConn good as a showcase for how well a women's team can play? Yeah, I think so, to a degree. Are there some negatives if people assume the rest of the sport hasn't also improved? Probably also true.
Graham Hays (4:53 PM)
All right, we seem to have been invaded by people upset at not getting their daily dose of Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle on ESPN 2, so I'll sign off and let them vent. Thanks for all the (basketball) questions.