Friday, March 13 at 11 a.m. ET

Teams Compete for Last Chance at March Madness

Steve Yanda and Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 13, 2009; 11:00 AM

With Selection Sunday only two days away, Post college basketball reporter and blogger Eric Prisbell and staff writer Steve Yanda took questions about the conference tournaments, brackets, No. 1 seeds, bubble teams and more.

The transcript follows.

____________________

Eric Prisbell: Hello, everyone. Steve and I -- along with some other reporters -- stayed at the Georgia Dome long into the night to watch the end of the Big East game. Huge day ahead. Feel free to ask about anything you want. Fire away with all types of questions.

And if anyone would like to email me, I encourage it: prisbelle@washpost.com

I will make every attempt to answer your emails. And I thank everyone for their emails in recent days and weeks.

_______________________

UCLAville: UCLA fan here. I've been so busy trying to not complain about UCLA's less than stellar season this year that I haven't paid enough attention to teams outside of the Pac-10. My questions for you are:

1. While Jamie Dixon and Ben Howland are buddies, I seem to recall every year Pitt chokes in the tournament (just like Kansas used to do). Is this year's Pitt team ready for prime time? 2. Is North Carolina really that good?

Thanks.

Steve Yanda: 1) I really think Pitt might be for real this time. And yes, I'm aware they just lost to West Virginia last night. Levance Fields might be one of the most underrated guards in the country. Sam Young has developed into a dependable scorer. And DaJuan Blair is simply a beast. Pitt's track record, as you mentioned, is not good at all. But I think this year might be different. Not saying they're going to run the table, but I could see them making it to the Final Four.

2) Not as sold on the Tar Heels, especially without knowing how serious Ty Lawson's injury is. We'll find out in about an hour when UNC takes on VaTech. If Lawson plays and appears near full strength, then I might become a little more optomistic about their chances. But even with Lawson, I think their lack of depth and poor defense will cost them in the NCAA tourney.

Eric Prisbell: Well, Pittt has had trouble advancing deep.

I may pick Pitt to win the whole darn thing. I jumped aboard the pitt bandwagon after I watched it beat G-town early in January at Verizon. They have strength, experience, multiple scoring options, reliable PG, strong inside play. i do question their shooting ability at times -- and I am all out of eligibility.

What still concerns me about Carolina is the defense. All the pieces offensively to win the thing, but the loss of Ginyard has really hurt. I see UNC as a Final Four team, but I don't see the Tar Heels winning the thing.

_______________________

DC Tar Heel: With so many top teams falling early in their conference tournaments (UConn, Oklahoma, Pitt, etc.), does this change their chances on earning the number one spot in the big dance? Who else is out there that could step up and claim one of those #1s?

Eric Prisbell: Good question.

Oklahoma is out of No. 1 consideration.

I still think Pitt gets it, and I still think UConn gets one, and I think UNC will get one. That leaves one spot.

My favorites are Michigan State (12 top 50 wins) and Louisville. People want to criticize Louisville for not playing Pitt and Uconn on the road. And Louisville won't have the most difficult road to the BE tourney title, but they should be heavily considered for a No. 1 seed if they win the BE tourney. I know their non-conference resume was not great.

I think MSU is under the radar a bit, and if they win the Big Ten tourney, they could get it.

I see Memphis as a solid two seed, but i don't see enough quality victories to garner a No. 1. Those are my thoughts.

I still like Pitt, Louisville and Gonzaga as potential final four teams. UConn probably as well. It depends on who goes where and matchups, of course.

Steve Yanda: I agree with Eric that Pitt and UConn still likely will get No. 1 seeds and that Oklahoma is out of the running. Not sure UNC is a lock unless they have a good showing in the ACC tournament. I know the selection committee would take into consideration Lawson's absence (should he not play due to a toe injury) but I still think the Heels might slip to a No. 2 seed if they lost today.

_______________________

Up Too Late Watching Orangemen and Huskies: What is the line on the West Virginia - Syracuse game after the 6 OT and 1:30 end to the Syracuse/UConn game?

It wasn't really a 4 hour game, but it was really close. Any chance that the winner can refuel and give W.Va. a game?

Steve Yanda: I definitely wouldn't count Syracuse out. As Gary Williams said the other day, these are 18-22 year olds we're talking about. And they're in the best shape of their lives.

Plus, anyone remember Georgia in last season's SEC tournament. Those guys played two games in one day and still won both.

It can be done.

Eric Prisbell: After watching those teams play late last night -- or early this morning -- nothing would surprise me at this point.

But I'm thinking a Huggins-Pitino Big East final, which would be cool.

_______________________

Rockville, Md.: Steve and Eric,

I am biased in favor of Terps, but I don't find your work baised but rather accurate. I know you guys have been getting a lot of heat, but you got at least one Terp fan who is not offended. Having said that, where does the recruiting of Lance stance subsequent to the whoe UA issue? No reporting have been done since and we are curious whether all the "attention" has made Lance look elsewhere, with less spotlight.

Eric Prisbell: Thanks a lot for the question.

I honestly have not felt much heat compared to backlash I endured earlier in my career for stories far more hard-hitting. i think it's been rather tame. A few emails here and there -- and I have tried to respond to every one, and many readers made great points pro and con -- and some message board fantasy-world chatter that is amusing. But i love the passion of the maryland fans. That's why i love covering them. they care about this stuff. They care about their team. Some fan bases are apathetic.

And I believe the fans have the right to shine a light on our reporting. If we are going to shine a light on others, it's only fair that they have the right to do so with our reporting. I am more than fine with that.

There have not been any other stories on Lance, but there has been plenty of reporting. not sleeping much these days and the cell phone seems glued to my head. Steve can probably chime in on a little more about specifics about Lance, but my understanding is that kansas, St. john's and Maryland are still in the mix.

if Maryland gets lance and keeps Vasquez, Terps can win a couple games in the NCAAs next season, perhaps. Could be fun.

Steve Yanda: I've heard Lance is still considering Maryland, along with Kansas and St. John's. I've also heard that Wake Forest might be the dark horse in this race, though I'm not entirely sold on that.

In any event, the common belief is that Lance will make his decision following the PSAL championship game at Madison Square Garden on March 21. That is, of course, assuming his team (Lincoln High) advances that far.

He hasn't scheduled any more recruiting visits at this point, so now it's just wait-and-see.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: How does the selection committee view road games as compared to neutral site games? I understand that winning a true road game is tougher, but neutral site games are closer to what happens in the tourney. Can you tell I'm a Maryland fan?

Steve Yanda: The committee views road games (or road wins, rather) as more significant than neutral site wins, and for obvious reasons. The environment in an arena most full of fans who don't like you is much more difficult to play in than a place where the stands might be one-third your fans, one-third their fans and one-third fans that don't care either way.

Eric Prisbell: Good point. Maryland's win against MSU in Orlando is better than if Maryland had beaten MSU at home. But a win AT MSU is obviously even better.

I have always felt the best indication of how a team will do in a neutral court NCAA tournaments setting is how a team did in a neutral court (or road) regular season setting. Maryland's road record is a concern, but so is Arizona's and Florida's, etc.

The credentials of bubble teams this season is particularly bland, to say the least. but Maryland does have two top 5 wins, no other bubble team has that.

_______________________

Annapolis, MD: Steve and Eric, can you give me your best guess on the likelihood of Maryland making the NCAA's with the win tonight? 50%? 75%?

Eric Prisbell: Great question.

With a win tonight, I would be very surprised if they don't make it.

Let me try to even come up with a scenario of how they don't make it with a win tonight.

Wisconsin, Penn State do well in the Big Ten tourney, so they are good and the Big Ten gets eight.

Arizona sneaks into the field.

San Diego State wins the MWC tournament.

Florida wins the SEC tournament.

Temple wins the A-10 tournament and the A-10 gets three.

With that, maybe Maryland gets left out even with a win tonight. But it would take a lot of things to happen. I'd say Maryland has around a 75 percent chance if they win tonight. And we'll know a lot about what happens around the country by the time Maryland tips off tonight.

I will have a close eye on the Mountain West and the SEC tournament.

I think San Diego State and Florida both could get in with wins today.

I have four open spots left and 12 teams in contention for those spots. i just updated press break with my last teams in.

Steve Yanda: I'll go a little higher than Eric and give it an 85 percent chance. Eric's scenario is valid, but that's a heck of a lot of pieces that have to fall into place.

A win tonight would give the Terps three victories over top 10 opponents. Those are some pretty good cards to hold.

_______________________

American University Alum: GO EAGLES!

They play Holy Cross Tonight at Bender Arena for the chance to return to the dance! Who do you think wins that game?

Also, where do you think the winner of that game gets seeded?

GO EAGLES!

Steve Yanda: The seeding is more Eric's expertise, so I'll let him handle that part of the question.

As for who wins? I thought the Eagles looked pretty shaky against Army last weekend, but perhaps they needed to get a performance like that out of their system.

I'll say American wins, only because the area needs to be assured at least one of its teams will go dancing.

Eric Prisbell: Concerned coming off the Army game. This will be a very good game, and I wouldn't have minded being there for that. But I am in Atlanta.

I have American in a close contest. And maybe a 14 seed.

_______________________

Syracuse, NY: As Colbert would say great game or GREATEST game. Outside of winning the title in 2003, it's my favorite Cuse game ever. I am very proud to be a fan of the team.

Eric Prisbell: I can imagine. Congrats.

Overall, I personally would not put it as the greatest game I have seen because of what was or was not on the line. Both teams are in. UConn may still even get a No. 1.

To me, nothing beats Kentucky-Duke. I was in 9th grade, and I remember where I was and all that. I was a huge Pitino fan at the time, so rough night.

Steve Yanda: I would say the greatest game I've ever seen as it was happening (as opposed to watching highlights or film) was the four-overtime thriller in 2001 between Missouri and Iowa State (I'm from Kansas City. We didn't get out much.) What made the game so great was that Kareem Rush and Clarence Gilbert kept draining three-pointers, no matter how long the game dragged on. Those two combined took 67 shots that game.

But I will say the Syracuse-UConn game last night was entertaining to watch, as well.

_______________________

Alexandria, Va.: Why did Greivis feel the need to declare for the NBA when his team is competing for their NCAA Tournament lives? It's been pretty clear all season that he was going to test the waters at the end of the year. Couldn't he have waited until the team is done playing games before making this announcement?

Eric Prisbell: Thanks for the question. He didn't feel the need to do it. And he did not announce it. Here is how it unfolded:

I talked to Greivis alone for a few minutes and started asking about the bubble teams, etc. Then i asked him if he planned to go to the camps. At that point a local bracketologist came over to the interview, along with two other reporters. I then wanted to make sure I had heard Greivis correctly, so I asked him again about his plans to declare, go to the camps and then decide. He said yes and that it was a smart move. And it is a smart move.

Not a big deal in my mind. I put it in the blog and moved on with my day. It ran in the paper.

The next day -- last night -- i tell Greivis that I did in fact write that he wanted to make VERY clear that his focus is on the team and trying to make the tournament. He asked me to write it again, so I did in a blog entry last night. He extended his hand, said everything was cool -- and we shook hands.

At that point, a few assistants were monitoring our conversation.

_______________________

Terp in Massachusetts: What a schmuck I am. I started watching the UCONN/Cuse game and saw it was close. I had to take the dog for a walk, and then stupidly turned on the BC game in the ACC tourney because that was the local game up here. Then I forgot to turn it back on. This morning, alas I watched the local news and the Sports Center to find out I missed one of the great games of all time!! I hope they play it soon on ESPN instant classics.

Oh, btw, EPSN is paying so much more attention to the Big East as they should. The ACC tourney has been relegated to 2nd tier.

Eric Prisbell: That's interesting. We knew the late rounds of the Big East tourney would be hyped up, particularly this season. I was not crazy about the early rounds of the Big East tournament, which seemed to begin 10 days ago.

I think the first round of the ACC tournament was better than it was last season. And I think it will be very good today. Late last night, with BC-Virginia, not so much.

As one sarcastic cross-town writer, okay local media personality, said in the game's finale minutes, "Last one our, turn off the lights!"

Not a lot of fans at the end.

_______________________

Bowie, Md.: If Maryland, Georgetown, and George Mason end up in the NIT, do you see either a GU-GMU or MD-GMU first round game? I'm sure the NIT organizers would like it, but I'm also sure both Georgetown and Maryland would rather play almost anyone other than Mason.

Steve Yanda: I think the NIT would absolutely love either of those matchups. And I'm also sure neither Maryland nor Georgetown wants any part of a contest against George Mason. At the same time, there's a big push this season, due to the state of the economy, to make early round tournament matchups as fiscally friendly as possible, so I think those pairings would be entirely possible.

_______________________

Laurel, Md.: What's the deal with St. Mary's scheduling a game after their conference tournament? Could a win against a pretty bad Eastern Washington (even with a good showing from Mills) make a difference? Can the committee even consider this game as part of the team's tournament resume?

Eric Prisbell: It is odd, to say the least.

I actually saw that Eastern Washington team in person because they played Boise State when Maryland was out there for the Boise bowl. They looked awful then, really bad. But they have not done too poorly in the Big Sky. I remember liking one player on the squad, but could not pick him out of a lineup.

Saint Mary's needs to thrash E. Wash. And Mills needs to play very well. yes, he is back. But Mills didn't look like Mills against Gonzaga.

Not sure if this is the same team that racked up all those wins. Their resume is not bad. Two top 50 wins, which is more than South Carolina, which essentially played a JV non-conference schedule and a lightweight SEC schedule.

Not even Mark S-E-Chlabach would defend this conference in hoops this season.

Yes, keep an eye on that Saint Mary's game tonight. If it's close, Saint Mary's could be gone. Right now, they are right on the line. too close to call.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: If VTech wins tonight and Maryland wins tonight, who do you have in? Either, neither, or both?

Eric Prisbell: Both.

_______________________

Gaithersburg, Md.: Were you surprised how long Maryland stayed in that 3-2 zone yesterday? They switched to it about halfway through the first half, and stuck with it the rest of the game. Gary typically will go back to the man-man once he feels that the zone did it's job in disrupting the opposing team, and usually after the other team hits a couple of big 3's (which did happen more than once in the second half). The same zone worked pretty well against Wake a couple of weeks ago (aside from the sloppy defensive rebounding positioning it created). Do you think we'll see more than 20 minutes of that zone tonight?

On the other side, Wake was really successful last time against the Terps with their 1-3-1 trapping zone. Have the Terps talked about that defense and how they think they will handle it when it shows up tonight?

Steve Yanda: I wasn't surprised at all, mainly because it was working. The Terps opened in a man-to-man defense that was not very effective. N.C. State made 7 of its first 10 shots. But once they switched to the zone, the Wolfpack began rushing shots and struggling to get the ball inside. If that sounds familiar, that's because it's exactly what happened to Maryland last Saturday against Virginia. It had to have felt good for them to finally inflict the frustrations a zone defense can cause on an opposing team.

Yes, N.C. State did some big three's in the second half, but by and large, you'd have to say the zone worked out pretty well for the Terps last night. Tracy Smith was a non-factor after terrorizing the Terps on March 1. And Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner were limited in their production, as well. I think you'll see some zone tonight against Wake. Not sure if you'll see as much as you did last night, but the Terps likely will try it out and see how it fairs.

As for Wake's 1-3-1, several players have said the team honed in on attacking zone defenses of all different sorts this week in practice. They know it killed them the last time, so they'll have something prepared for it this time around.

_______________________

Baltimore: How in the world could the pathetic Big Ten possibly get more teams into the dance than the ACC and Big East? The league once again lost in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, and while they had a few good non-conference wins, the Big Ten is a league where the teams in the middle beat each other up. Are the 8 bids the Big Ten could garner because it's difficult to "leapfrog" teams in the conference standings, or are Penn State, Minnesota, and Michigan really that good and worthy of a spot?

Eric Prisbell: Those Big Ten teams right now are just good enough to slip in. Minnesota beat Louisville. Ohio State beat Butler. Michigan beat Duke and UCLA. They are just good enough. I wrote about this today. Feinstein feels strongly about this.

But I don't see more than two Sweet 16 teams from the Big Ten, maybe less. Not about the conferences, it's about the individual resumes.

_______________________

Herndon, Va.: What's your take on UVA's future? This season was obviously a transition year, and the freshmen on the squad look to have great potential, so it looks like there's reason to be optimistic. On the other hand, the team played unevenly all season, struggled with turnovers and defense, and seems to lack a sense of unity and identity. Can Coach Leitao turn the Hoos around? And if not, how long until Craig Littlepage starts looking for a new coach?

Steve Yanda: By most accounts, Leitao appears all but certain to return next season. Beyond that, who knows? If the Cavs have another season like they did this year, I would think Leitao's seat will get pretty warm.

Landesberg is a pretty solid foundation around which to build a team. The issue with UVA, as it is with a lot of young squads, is consistency. But guys like Mike Scott, Jeff Jones and Mustapha Farrakhan will be upper classmen next season, so the "youth" excuse, for them at least, might not last much longer. One of the key issues with this team will be finding a stable ball-handler. Turnovers absolutely killed them on many occassions this season. Zeglinski proved he's not the guy. Farrakhan hasn't been too solid, either. Baker was the best of the bunch, but he had his struggles too.

I'd say they should be better next year, only because it would be difficult to get much worse.

_______________________

Fairfax, Va.: Hi Guys,

I've seen some bracket projections with Villanova placed in the Philly pod at Wachovia Center. I thought teams were not allowed to play NCAA games on their home court. Villanova played an exhibition game there as well as games vs Louisville, Syracuse and Georgetown. A fourth game (vs. Pitt) was moved from Wachovia Center to the Spectrum as a "turn the clock back" type game. Placing Duke or UNC in Greensboro or Maryland at Verizon are indeed advantages, but at least they aren't playing home games in those arenas. Thoughts?

Eric Prisbell: Yes, I think Nova has a good chance to be placed in Philly. And it would be an advantage for Nova.

Without the chance to look this up, I believe you cannot be places at a site if you have played a certain number of games in the arena. But I forget what that number is. This issue has come up in the past. I just wish i had that number for you, but i believe that's the rule. if anyone has any other info on this, please let us know. Good question.

_______________________

Hokies: Is beating UNC today enough?

What's Ty Lawson's status?

Eric Prisbell: It should be enough for the Hokies, even if Ty does not play.

V-Tech has really good performances on the road, and the committee loves that. Sure, the late stretch of the season was rough, but the schedule was brutal.

barring some crazy turn of events around the country, I think Tech is in with a win today. And both Tech and Maryland could win today. Would not surprise me. Will be a very fun day, no doubt.

No writer i have talked to expects Lawson to have a significant impact on today's game. But no official word one way or another, as far as I know.

_______________________

Washington, DC: Basketball is an interesting game because so many points are scored and yet the deciding margin is often so slim. There really isn't any other sport in which the margin of victory is such a small percentage of the total number of points scored. Do you ever feel like this makes who wins some games kind of random/arbitrary? When you go to 6 OTs isn't it clear that the teams really are about the same, and its pretty tough to claim that one team "wins" and the other "loses"?

Eric Prisbell: I agree that when you play six overtimes and all these players foul out, the line between winning and losing is almost gone.

The sport won last night.

_______________________

Settle the Debate: I'm sick of all the back-and-forth on one particular issue, so please settle this once and for all: Are mid-majors with trifling schedules TRYING to get the "name" schools to play them and just getting rebuffed or are they in truth quite happy racking up 22-4 records against the fair to middlin' teams in their conference? How big a factor is home versus away in trying to get a big boy to play you?

Eric Prisbell: it is very difficult for top mid-majors to play good high major teams. It's very risky for the high majors because they could lose. And if a high major is willing to play a mid-major it is almost always at home.

Missouri State wanted to play Maryland badly a few years ago. Barry Hinson and Gary Williams were going back and forth in this newspaper. tough situation for a team like Maryland. Same situation with Maryland and the BB&T. More to lose than there is to gain.

What I have a problem with is South Carolina's non-conference schedule. If you want to schedule soft and try to give your team confidence, fine. But then fans of that team should not be clamoring for berth. Haven't beaten anybody.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: Excuse me if this is not grammatically correct, as I am on what seems like 2 hours of sleep after last nights game. How does the game rank in the history of the sport? Most of the greatest moments ever, or best moments ever come from NCAA tournaments. Will this game be remembered as fondly as dare I say it, Kentucky vs. Duke?

Eric Prisbell: Take the last 20 years or so, and I know we're all bleary-eyed and need time to think about this. Kentucky-Duke is first. After that, I'd say it is in the mix. Maybe next in line.

One game I really liked this decade was Arizona-Gonzaga, great stuff. I want to say 2002 or 2003 in the NCAAs. I'll usually take NCAA tourney games over games from the regular season or conference tournament. But six overtimes and two hall of fame coaches, tough to top it.

Kentucky-Duke, however, did top it in my opinion.

_______________________

George Mason U.: I know we are stuck with the play-in game, but its a slap in the face to the two teams that have won their conference tournaments and earned a bid to the big dance. Can't we have the last two at large teams play in Dayton for a 10 or 11 seed? When Coppin and the Mount play for a 16 seed and chance to get blown out a few days later, outside of their fans (and those who gamble on the game) is there really any interest? I'd have to think if Saint Mary's and Kentucky were the last two at large bids and they were to play for a 10 seed (with then a shot to win a first round game) there would be better ratings and more buzz...thus more $$$. The NCAA is all about money, how have they not made this change???

Eric Prisbell: Hey, Mason. You know I was having a great day. A good breakfast, even though my partner scoffed at the cost. A good night's sleep, etc.

Then you have to go ahead and bring up the play-in game.

There are few things in modern civilization worse than the play-in game.

They won't change it because they don't want to make things worse for the middling high majors, but they should change it. you are right. Take the last two at-large teams and have them play to see which will be the No. 12 seed in one region. And have them play in Boise.

And it does not have to be high major teams. Just the last two teams in. So it could be Arizona vs. Saint Mary's. Giving the conference champs a reward and let them feel what it is really like to be in the tourney, not to be in Dayton on a Tuesday night!!!

Is there anything worse than a Tuesday night in Dayt... (Okay I better stop)

I could go on and on.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: How much longer does Dave Leitao get at UVA? With the exception of three games (Clemson, VATech, and MD at home), they've looked awful all year.

Eric Prisbell: Next year is probably an important one. But I don't know how patient they will be with him.

I have a better handle on Maryland's situation.

_______________________

Washington, DC: Would the Hoyas actually participate in the NIT if they were invited, or is JTIII like his dad, whom shunned the "second-class" event? Would G-Town be in a position to host any games, and if so, would they be at the Phone Booth, or on campus?

Eric Prisbell: Good question.

I have a question whether Georgetown will be invited to the NIT. I don't think it is a lock at this point.

And if Maryland falls to the NIT, i see either Maryland-Mason or Georgetown-Mason within the next week.

What I want to see is Davidson-Virginia Tech.

_______________________

Reston, Va.: Will UConn drop to a probable #2 seed after the loss to Syracuse last night? (Could also use any tips for staying awake at my desk after watching all six OTs.)

Eric Prisbell: Watch V-Tech and UNC to try to stay awake. Try music. Eat lots of sugar and garbage. Works for me at times.

I still see UConn as a No. 1.

_______________________

Princeton, N.J.: I'm looking forward to the Post's three-part, 10,000 word analysis of why Georgetown basketball is only a shell of its former self. Can you tell us when it is scheduled to run?

Eric Prisbell: What's up with Princeton hoops? I was a big Joe Scott guy and thought he would get it done there a few years ago.

I won't speak of specific topics for upcoming stories, but:

I plan to do significant and extensive AAU coverage in the summer. I plan to explore the recruiting practices at several top colleges. If I was not dead serious about this I would not write this. Hold me to it and check back in July. Feel free to email me with any questions.

_______________________

Washington, DC: Is there any senario where the Terps could get into the tournament with a loss tonight to Wake?

Eric Prisbell: I think there is. I do. But i have not explored it much at this point. I want to see how things play out. i may explore it this afternoon and post it on Press Break.

First, Xavier or Dayton need to win the A-10. Baylor cannot win the Big 12.

Play Wake close, lose by 5 or so. Virginia Tech needs to lose, and a blowout would help.

San Diego needs to get creamed. Eastern Washington takes Saint Mary's to overtime.

It would help if a third SEC team does not emerge.

Under those conditions, Maryland may have a shot. Something like that.

I will say this: If Maryland loses tonight and makes it, it would not be nearly the worst pick i have seen. Air Force a few years ago was incredible.

_______________________

Barno, Md: This question is for Steve. You previously stated that in order to "even have a chance" at earning a bid to the NCAA tournament, the Terps needed to go 9-7 in the ACC.

Would you care to amend this claim, which you vigorously defended at the time?

Steve Yanda: As anyone who knows me will confirm, I have made many statements before in my life that appear foolish in retrospect. This was not the first time and it certainly won't be the last.

At the time I made it, I believed the statement to be valid. Clearly, I was proven wrong. The Terps finished with a 7-9 conference record and with a win tonight could secure a NCAA tournament bid.

_______________________

Washington, DC: What has happened to the SEC? The Gators won back to back titles, and the conference has had relatively stable programs at UK, UT, Vandy, and others. Does this league have any chance to get back to where they were 3 years ago, when people were talking about getting 8 of 12 schools into the dance?

Eric Prisbell: I do think it will get better. Many of these teams have been in transition and looking to give their teams confidence, so they didn't play tough comp during non-conference play.

_______________________

Mishawaka, IN: "Late last night, with BC-Virginia, not so much."

See, this is why BC doesn't belong in the Tournament. When are people going to believe, the numbers or the truth of BC's reputation? UNC didn't pay attention against them; the Heels would win by forty this weekend. You can't count Duke since Williams hadn't moved into the lineup yet, and Duke wasn't used to dealing with a 19-19 tally of personal fouls. FSU was obviously looking ahead to more important games. So really, who's left?

Steve Yanda: It's an interesting thought. But are we going to look through every team's resume and look for situations where they gathered advantageous wins? Okay, let's assume UNC didn't pay attention against BC. The Eagles didn't know that ahead of time. They still had to go out and score points and defend and all that good stuff.

If a favored team slips up, it slips up. I'm not sure that takes away from the accomplishment of the team that beat them.

_______________________

SEC: How many teams are they getting, do you think?

Two?

Eric Prisbell: I still say three. Florida or South Carolina or Auburn or even Kentucky could be the third.

_______________________

Eric Prisbell: Thanks a lot, everyone. We'll have coverage all day. See you soon.

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company