Friday, March 7 at noon ET
Friday, March 7, 2008; 12:00 PM
Eric Prisbell and Camille Powell cover college sports for The Washington Post and were online Friday, March 7 at noon ET to take your questions about college basketball.
A transcript of the chat follows.
Eric Prisbell: Welcome back, everyone. Lots to talk about regarding all the area teams as well as the national picture. Ask about or debate any topic. Regarding Maryland, I spent 3 hours this morning doing the bracket and had Maryland as my last team in. My last four were: Arizona State, Illinois State, Villanova and Maryland. First four out: Cuse, UAb, St. Joe's, ohio State. If Maryland wins the next two games, it has a shot to get in. Maryland will either be the fifth- or sixth-seed in the ACC tournament. Let's start.
Camille Powell: Hi everyone. I want to know where Prisbell put Georgetown and Louisville in his bracket, after three hours of study. Could either one make a push for a No. 1 seed, starting tomorrow?
Eric Prisbell: I put the winner of the game as a No. 2 seed. The loser gets a 3 seed. Both very good, and dangerous teams. I think it would be hard, though not impossible for G-town to take a 1 seed because of the strength at the top of the bracket.
Arlington, Va.: The Georgetown/Louisville showdown on Saturday is going to be epic. The second half of the previous matchup was ugly for many reasons, but what's the one thing the Hoyas need to fix to win this game?
Camille Powell: They definitely need to do a better job against Louisville's press. Even when they managed to make it past halfcourt without turning the ball over, they struggled getting into their offense. Hibbert got only four shots and had one assist in the second half -- that can't happen.
Eric Prisbell: I'm not going to disagree with Camille on this point. I'd lean toward Georgetown tomorrow because of the home game, but I think Louisville will be a more trendy pick nationally to reach the Final Four.
Herndon, Va.: Gurus (Guri?): If Maryland loses to Virginia, am I safe in assuming the ONLY way the Terps get to the NCAA is by winning the ACC Tournament?
Eric Prisbell: That's a safe bet. I'm looking at things assuming MAryland wins the next two games. Given that situation, Maryland would be 20-12 heading into the ACC quarterfinals, but still 1-6 against the top 50.
Not a good week for Maryland because a few of the bubble teams -- Ohio State, New Mexico, St. Joe's -- have won big games. UAB gets a chance at Memphis this weekend. Illinois State gets a chance to make a run in the MVC tournament. Etc. And there is always the chance for an upset --- Drake losing in MVC tourney -- that will take away a berth. I wrote about that the other day.
Maryland's best situation is to win the next three games, but two and a loss in the ACC quarterfinals will give them a shot. Too early to know what the percent chance is under that scenario, though. It is slowly looking worse by the day.
Philly: Surely it's way too early to look ahead like this, but if the Hoyas end up Big East regular season and tournament champions, might they deserve a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament?
And what are your thoughts about their team this year in comparison to last? They've got a LOT of key players that are simply more experienced now, but watching them I can't help noticing how important Green was to that team. That said, the Hoyas have a way of turning things up a notch or two when march rolls around. Thoughts?
Camille Powell: Eric is probably better equipped to answer specific bracket questions, since he studies the whole thing, but I think that if Georgetown -- or Louisville, for that matter -- wins both the regular season and tournament titles, it deserves a shot at a No. 1. Winning 15 games in a deep conference, plus what is going to be a pressure-cooker of a tournament, is impressive.
As for comparing this team to last year's, I don't know how useful that is. One way to look at the Hoyas' 2007 postseason run is to say that they were fortunate to pull three games out (Notre Dame, Vandy, UNC) -- and the one player who was responsible for two of them (Jeff Green) is no longer around. But this team has a lot of experience at key positions, and the resiliency they showed at Marquette is a good quality to have. This team has the same self-belief that last year's did.
Eric Prisbell: If Georgetown does that, it will have an argument. But it would need some help around the country.
I think UCLA is in good shape barring an early loss in the Pac-10 tourney. Memphis should not lose in the Conf USA tourney. Tenn. has a great chance barring an early loss in the SEC tourney. Either Duke or UNC will be in great shape. You also have Texas-Kansas out of the Big 12. I still like the Hoyas more of a No. 2 seed.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Camille, thanks for another season of excellent Hoya coverage! Is there any hope we'll see Chris Wright in uniform again for a game this season? Not that he doesn't look snazzy in those suits.
Camille Powell: Thanks for the kind words. I thought there was a chance that Chris Wright might suit up again this season, but as time passes it seems less likely. It would be hard to come back now and get into playing shape at such a pressurized time of year.
He does have sharp suits. But the older players insist that Jon Wallace is actually the best dressed guy on the team.
Washington, D.C.: Does the selection committee really take into account the strength of the entire conference? As we approach the selection of the 64, do you think the Big East is somewhat overrated? I mean folks speak to them having 5 or 6 teams making the tournament but they have 16 teams in their conference.
I don't dispute the 4 or 5 of the teams teams folks speak of really, but when you look at their conference I tend to second guess how easily their bubble teams get in. 5 to 6 get in.
My beef is, with 16 teams, the Big East has about 5 easy wins at the bottom of their conference that would be easy victories for schools in the ACC, PAC-10, etc. Take the ACC where UVA and Ga Tech are struggling, but they would wallop St. Johns and Seton Hall just like the bubble and top teams in the Big East have.
Eric Prisbell: Good question. Personally, I think the Pac-10 is the best conference in the country. Only one scrub -- Oregon State. Washington even beat UCLA. Road games are very tough. The league is loaded with future pros.
I like the Big East second because it is ultra-competitive at the top with G-town, Louisville, ND and UConn and also deep. Nine teams really have a good shot at making the tournament from the Big East. Yes, nine teams.
The ACC is very questionable after the top two teams. I like Miami and Clemson, but not as much as ND or UConn. UVA is not horrible, which helps the league retain the No. 1 slot in conference RPI.
If I could go to any conference tourney this year, it would be the Big East. Second would be the Pac-10. On that note, see everyone in Charlotte for the Duke/UNC INvitational.
Camille Powell: Maybe I've listened to too many Big East coaches on the conference calls, but I don't think the conference is overrated. The bottom three teams are bad, yes, but I think the middle of the pack is underrated. Take Villanova, which is 18-11, has two controversial last-second losses to NC State and Georgetown, and has four wins over teams in the RPI top 50. Villanova is in eighth place.
The one thing that's different about the Big East is only the top 12 teams make the conference tournament, which makes for a fight at the top and bottom of the standings in the final week. Case in point: Providence's win over Connecticut last night, which could send the Friars to NYC.
Spidersville, Va.: Hey Guys-
Last week Adam made an honest mistake about Richmond being in the CAA. Then a poster corrected him with a totally gratuitous jab saying that UR was the "most forgettable" team in the Atlantic 10. The Spiders are doing just fine...tied for 3rd in a very competitive A10. Sure, there have been some down years since Jerry Wainright left, but Chris Mooney has the team moving in the right direction and they've doubled their win total from last year (from 8 to 16). So to that CAA fan/Richmond hater from last week, I say get over UR leaving the CAA... it's not 2001 anymore.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Eric Prisbell: I figured Mooney would improve Richmond this season after the Spiders won 8 games last year. But I was worried it may not show up in the record because of the improved Atlantic-10, which is quite good. But Richmond has, what, 16 wins overall? Very good turnaround, to say the least. The A-10 is fascinating because it looked like a five-bid league a few weeks ago. Not it looks like two, maybe three if St. Joe's can beat Dayton this weekend. Last night was big for the Hawks.
Arlington, Va.: I wasn't up late to watch it and have not seen a replay, but was the foul call on Stanford with 2 seconds left a good call? There seems to be a lot of chatter about it being a clean block.
Eric Prisbell: I saw a replay early in the morning.
If you go to the book store, go to the sports section, find a textbook on basketball basics, flip to the index and find the words "clean block." You will then see a picture of the play from last night. Enough said.
Arlington, Va.: So who's going to be that number 3 or 4 seed that might sneak up and win the whole thing this year?
Eric Prisbell: Louisville, Stanford, UConn or Indiana.
Camille Powell: Louisville.
New York, N.Y.: Two questions:
(1) Predictions for tomorrow's showdown for the Big East title?
(2) Assuming Georgetown wins tomorrow, how far do they have to get in the Big East Tournament in order to secure a 2 seed?
Camille Powell:1) I think Georgetown wins at home on senior day. I think the emotion of the day, and the crowd, will help the Hoyas. But I like Louisville in the Big East tournament.
2) They'd definitely have to win one game, and maybe even two.
Eric Prisbell: I like Georgetown at home.
The hoyas should be in good shape for a 2 seed with a semifinals showing, but it would depend on what happens to Xavier, Stanford, Louisville, Wisconsin, etc.
Oakton, Va.: Any chance Syracuse will make it in this year?
Eric Prisbell: The Orange has a chance. Right now, they are on the brink. I think the Orange has a slightly worse resume than Maryland, which puts them barely out. But it can be debated. Cuse played the 8th toughest schedule and only 1 team (Rutgers) 200 or worse. That counts for a lot in my book. But they are 1-7 against the top 50, the win being against G-town. And that counts for even more in my book. Beating Marquette tomorrow is big, as well as getting a few in the Big East tournament.
Camille Powell: To me, the Orange seem to be in a similar situation as Maryland, hoping that one signature win obscures some bad losses (USF) and collapses (Pitt). But they have a chance to get some big wins in the next week --- what if they end up facing Georgetown in the Big East quarterfinals?
Seeding: Given your answer about the foul call on Stanford last night, is there any way that can figure into seeding UCLA? I'm guessing no, but will human nature make the committee at least think about it?
Eric Prisbell: Committee members are human and they do watch games and listen to arguments, rather than simply crunch RPI numbers. This could be an interesting year for those debates because Syracuse also lost a controversial game and Villanova was denied at least a chance at an upset against G-town. It's an interesting pattern I may address in the coming week. I was reluctant to drop Stanford from 2 to 3 because of the call, but I dropped them anyway and put the G-town/Louisville winner at 2. There is not a big difference between 2 and a 3 seed. You still don't get the 1 until the regional final.
Storrs, Conn.: You're looking LIVE at what happens when you run your yap right before going into somebody's gym when they have nothing to lose.
Camille Powell: And something very much to gain, like a free trip to New York. Providence has come so close to knocking one of the top teams off, that it was nice to see them finally do it.
Eric Prisbell: UConn still has a rather impressive string of top 50 wins.
Chantilly, Va.: Eric: Do you still have Florida in the tourney (as you did last week, pooh-poohing my calling them a bubble team)? I think they pretty much have to beat Kentucky (which is now an easier task with Patterson gone) and win two games in the SEC tourney.
The Tennessee game was a golden opportunity for the young Gators to sew up a spot and, as Robert DeNiro said in Copland, "You blew it! You blew it."
Eric Prisbell: I don't think i ever said the Gators were not on the bubble. They have been on the bubble since the season began. I may have had them in in certain weeks, but not in the bracket i did today. They just don't have much to hang your hat on. 2-6 against the top 50. They have won two of their last six games.
The biggest black eye to me is a 9-0 record against teams 200 or worse. That's not exactly Davidson's non-conference schedule there.
I agree about what Florida has to do.
Seattle: Does Syracuse have to win the Big East tournament to make the NCAA's? That's what it feels like at this juncture.
Eric Prisbell: I don't think quite yet. The Marquette game is a big opportunity for them. Remember, the bubble teams are all pretty shaky, to say the least. Cuse needs a couple more top 50 wins.
Camille Powell: Beating Marquette would be big. The Orange look like they're going to fall into that 7-10 range (seeding-wise) where they could meet either Georgetown or Louisville in the quarters of the BET, which would be another big opportunity.
Washington, D.C.: As an avid Maryland fan, I just want to say "Thank God for the women!" At least we still have one team we can be proud of! The men proved they don't want to be in the tournament badly enough when they blew a 20-point lead at home on senior night. As much as I'd love to see my Terps get in, I don't think they deserve to unless they earn it by making it to the ACC finals (which, of course, they won't).
Eric Prisbell: Maryland has a chance with two more wins.
Maryland has a very good chance with three more wins.
Camille Powell: The women's team is a GREAT story. What Brenda Frese is doing is remarkable.
How come we never get the matchups we want?: Duke and Xavier. UCLA and Butler. Pitt and Stanford. UCLA and UAB. Indiana and Texas Tech. North Carolina and BYU. Purdue and Vanderbilt.
All on neutral courts, of course.
You get the idea. Even the dance is fixed. How come upsets aren't a factor when the partners are chosen.
After all, who wants to see UCLA-Florida again. I didn't want to see it the 2nd time!
Eric Prisbell: I'm sure we'll get some cool matchups, by accident.
I wouldn't bet on seeing UCLA-Florida Part III. And that is a good thing.
The sequel of UCLA-Florida was worse than Weekend at Bernie's Part II, which was awful.
Camille Powell: What about Georgetown and Maryland? Assuming the Terps can find a way to get in.
Houston: Any thoughts on University of Texas's seeding? They have the pedigree to sneak in as a No. 1, but with their last loss...
Eric Prisbell: Exactly. That's the very statement that might be read in the room by the committee about the Horns.
During an eight game stretch, they beat seven top 50 teams. Do that this month and you're national champs, perhaps. Texas will have a chance at a decent No. 1 by winning the Big 12 tourney.
Arlington, Va: How is it going to play out on Tobacco Road? Can Duke and UNC BOTH get No. 1 seeds? Would the committee put one of them as a t seeds in Charlotte? That wouldn't be fare for the No. 1 seed to have to play UNC or Duke in N.C.
Eric Prisbell: I can't envision how both UNC and Duke get No. 1 seeds. They could play two more times over the next two weeks. I think that will go a long way to determine who gets the No. 1 seed. The pool of top teams -- Tenn. Memphis, UCLA, Kansas, texas -- is just too deep for both of them to get it.
Either Duke or UNC has a great chance to get a No. 1 seed in Charlotte. It would be a big advantage for either Duke/UNC to go through Charlotte (ACC tourney), Raleigh (first and second rounds) and Charlotte (regional) to San Antonio. But the committee looks to protect the top 4 seeds and give them that advantage.
Big Ten Stinks!: Why does the Big 10 get more NCAA bids every year than the ACC, even though the conference has never beaten the ACC in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge? The conference has two or three legit teams, maybe four. What's the deal with this annual travesty?!
Eric Prisbell: The bottom half of the Big Ten is poor. But each year is different.
I like the top 4 teams in the Big Ten, all no worse than 5 seeds.
Ohio State making a final push. By the way, Ohio State and Maryland have almost exactly the same resumes. Same record. Similar RPI. They are a combined 3-15 against the top 50. They both have won 2 of their last 6.
Mediocrity loves company!
Charlottesville, Va. (formerly Ward Circle): With Navy falling to Bucknell and finally beating Holy Cross at home, is this the year American gets over the hump and into the NCAAs?
Eric Prisbell: I picked American to win make it in the world-famous "Jerome" pool. It would be one of the great area stories of the year if American gets in. Maybe we get only two area teams in -- American and G-town.
Camille Powell: It certainly seems like the stars are aligning for American.
Oakland, Pa. :"As an avid Maryland fan, I just want to say 'Thank God for the women'...The men proved they don't want to be in the tournament badly enough when they blew a 20-point lead at home on senior night..."
This is an AVID Maryland fan? I'd hate to hear from the fair-weather, short-memory bunch.
Eric Prisbell: thanks for the note.
Rockville, Md.: What's your assessment of Eric Hayes so far? He seems to have disappeared this season when we all expected the opposite. He was more heralded and suppose to be Steve Blake like, but we rarely see him in the point anymore. Has he fallen out of favor or his game is jut not up to par as expected?
Eric Prisbell: Recently, Hayes seems good for a couple three-point shots per game, but struggles otherwise at times, particularly against very athletic teams. He looks like Blake in a way, but I don't think he was expected to BE the next Steve Blake. I felt for a while that Vasquez had the larger upside, and certainly do now.
Camille Powell: I've watched only a handful of Maryland games this season, but I don't really remember anything about Hayes. That can't be a good thing.
New York, N.Y.: So, I'm basically giving up on Terps bball for this year. My question relates to the future Terps. One of the problems I see is that we have a shooting guard playing point guard (Vasquez) and a point guard playing shooting guard (Hayes). I do not think that Hayes should be a starter in the ACC. Coming to my question: Have you all had a chance to see Sean Mosley? Is he the answer at shooting guard for next year?
Eric Prisbell: I have not seen Mosley play. I would be reluctant to say a lot of high school players could come in right away and have a big impact at shooting guard in the ACC.
Arlington, Va.: Do my Hokies beat the Tigers on Sunday?
Eric Prisbell: Flip a coin.
I have stopped predicting Clemson. I was off its bandwagon because of the 17-0 collapse last year. Then i went back on it before the Maryland game. Then i jumped off early in the second half. After Oglesby made the three, i jumped back on. Then came the Georgia Tech game.
I think Clemson is the better team, But I will not predict this one.
Washington, D.C.: About a month ago everyone was in the I told you so mode justifying Gary Williams approach at Maryland. Now Maryland is right back in the quandary they have been all season, close to the outside looking in. Williams can coach, but they don't have the talent/athletes to compete at a higher level. I still think Maryland deserves to make the tournament, but they are truly a mediocre 5th place team at best. And, they will not make it past the second round, if they make it past the first. Comments?
Eric Prisbell: Yes, Maryland is a mediocre team with a mediocre resume that could finish 5th or 6th and may not make it beyond the first round of the NCAAs or the NIT.
It will be a close call whether they get in or not. It will depend on two main things if they lose in the ACC quarters. How much stock does the selection committee put into one top 50 win. it is very impressive, but only one.
Also, how many upsets occur around the country. Maryland has to root for Drake, Butler, South Alabama, Memphis, Kent State, Gonzaga and St. Mary's. And Xavier.
Rockville, Md.: Bought a new TV and the first thing I watched on it was that debacle last Sunday in College Park. Should I return the TV and get a new one?
Eric Prisbell: Yes. Get one that was made in either 2001 or 2002 if you are a Terps fan, just for good karma and all.
Eric Prisbell: Gotta run. Thanks for all the questions. Sorry we could not get to everyone. See everybody next week.
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