Sports talk with Tracee Hamilton

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Tracee Hamilton,Eric Prisbell
Thursday, March 3, 2011; 11:00 AM

Tracee Hamilton discusses national and Washington D.C.-area sports

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Seventh Big 12 Championship: Quite a feat! K-State was happy to provide the assist on this one. -K-StaterP.S. Congrats Washington Post for turning a 5 day-a-week chatter into a 1 day-a-week chatter. Sigh.

Tracee Hamilton: Pretty happy, but we still needed help, which should not have been. If I'm a Longhorn, I'm really unhappy.And good morning, everyone! I've missed you all dreadfully. I want to thank "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers" who came to Fado last Friday. I enjoyed it very much.The new experiment continues. I wrote something Monday that I didn't want to publish, then Tuesday Caps and today NFL. Just finished something on BYU. Not sure what I have coming up except I am going to Richmond on Monday if GMU makes the tournament final.Eric Prisbell's joining us this morning to talk all things college hoops. His blog "The 68" is the place to go for all things hoops. So let's get started!

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Washington Redskins: Hello, I am a long time Washington Post reader. I always enjoy your column. What is the Washington Redskins' biggest needs entering the draft? Do you agree with Jason Reid's column?

Tracee Hamilton: I agree that they shouldn't take a quarterback. J-Reid thinks defense, I think offense, but I'd be happy with a good defensive player for the 3-4 if that's what comes up on the board.

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Tournament Pools: Eric, with the addition of meaningful play in games that begin on Tuesday, how should I run my office pool this year? Do I include those games and force people to get their brackets in two days earlier than normal? That could be a problem for a lot of people.

Eric Prisbell: Hello, everyone. Fire away with tons of questions, please. Thanks a lot for the question. I am writing on this very topic for Sunday's paper and have already reached out to some 60 well-placed people for thoughts, advice. If you are confused or concerned about this, I strongly encourage you or anybody else in this situation to email me at prisbelle@washpost.com. I'd love to hear from you.There are a handful of options. None is the perfect remedy. I'll reveal some options in Sunday's paper. There was no good reason to go to 68 teams. The tourney is still great, but not quite the same. It should be 64 teams. People not only loved the games, but they loved the 64-team bracket, its symmetry and balance. But, yes, the office pool this season is a problem for lots of people. Some are quite upset about it and for good reason. I don't think it's right not to count the four play-in games, but others disagree.

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BYU: So many of the articles on Davies getting kicked off the team for an honor code violation focus on the impact to BYU's tournament chances. Where is the respect for BYU actually enforcing its rules on athletes. I went to a school with an honor code, note as broad as BYU's but the honor code was sacrosanct and you knew that going in. In the wake of Cam Newton and OSU joke enforcement lets give BYU some credit.

Tracee Hamilton: But it doesn't matter. You agreed to follow the rules. To the kid's credit, he came clean and isn't whining about it. I'm not sure I agree with everything in this particular honor code, but I am not sure we couldn't all use a little more honor code in our lives.

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Colorado tourney chances: I am a Colorado alumni (sorry Tracee), what do you think they need to do to make the tourney?

Eric Prisbell: The first thing the 'Buffs need to do is find a flux capacitor (maybe on e-Bay) and reach 88 mph. Go back to yesterday afternoon and find a way NOT to play that game against Iowa State. Man, that was a crusher. I had been on Colorado's bandwagon a little more than most. I like Alec Burks a lot. You've got five top 50 wins. But you've got three sub-100 RPI losses and a non-conference sked that makes one ill. You've got to beat bubble boy Nebraska in the regular season finale and then probably get two in the Big 12 tournament. The bubble is softer than blubber this season, but it ain't that soft. So Colorado has plenty of work to do to compensate for some big warts.

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George Mason: What seed do you think George Mason could wind up in the NCAA tournament if they do or dont win the CAA Tournament?

Eric Prisbell: I obviously predict all the berths and seeds, and I feel a bit nervous about Mason's seed. You never know how the committee will view a team like Mason, which is hotter than Texas asphalt but has just two top 50 wins. The key for me is that Mason has not just been beating opponents, but that most of the recent wins have been by double digits. I have Mason as a solid No. 7 seed. I don't feel they can climb that much because only ODU offers a chance at another quality victory. Also, you have power league teams coming from the outside, like Kansas State, ready to jump you in seeding. With an opening-round loss in the CAA tourney, they could drop a seed or two. It is better if Mason gets a No. 10 than a No. 8 or No. 9 because you want to avoid a No. 1 seed in the second round. Mason also wants to avoid a big team like Carolina. If Mason gets a Davies-less BYU team in the second round in a 7-2 game, celebrate that one and start scouting Fredette.

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$40,000 for Bieber's hair: Hi Tracee and Eric. Top of the morn to you both! Did you hear that locks of Bieber's hair were purchased for 40 grand? It went to charity, thankfully. Would any of YOU purchase the hair of a celeb of your choice for anything over a buck? Me? I'd give a nickel to have Cheese Boy shake my hand and then say something snarky to me, but that's about it.

Eric Prisbell: I did in fact hear that and I would in fact purchase the hair of a celebrity. I've long had a facination with Richard Dawson, went to see his house in the Hills one time. I'll take some of his hair. The other one that comes to mind is Grandmaster Flash, another favorite of mine. Don't think he has any hair left, but he did back in the day. Oh, and of course Diane Lane. I'll take anything related to Diane Lane. She is my No. 2 seed, beaten out by my wife, whose body of work is stronger. We're getting off track...

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No Respect for Purdue: Hi Eric,Love your Bracketology, however....................Why in your latest tournament field do you still have Purdue as only a #3 seed? If they win Saturday and go on to capture the Big 10 tournament, I think they should be a #1, but no way should they be any lower than a 2 seed. Thanks

Eric Prisbell: Thanks for the question. I like Purdue a lot, may pick them to win it all. I have had Purdue as a No. 2 all week, and again in the field I posted today. Purdue nearly beat Duke last season without Hummel and they will be a tough out this season. I agree with you -- no worse than a No. 2, and maybe higher in the end.

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Hoop lines: Tracee, why doesn't the Post publish hoop lines, pro AND college. You have the space, you cankill Div. 2 Lacrosse or whatever other inconsequential tennis tourney results are there now. This is really information that sports fans want. It would give people an idea of how close the matchups are, or in the case of college, who is playing. (The Post only lists TV college matchups.) Every time I go out of town, I see that almost every other paper in the country does it, so why not the Post? Is it a pseudo-moralistic thing or what?

Tracee Hamilton: I guess you could call it a pseudo-moralistic thing. We don't run college lines.

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WITHDRAWAL!!: Since I know that I am going to be busy at 11 am tomorrow, submitting a ton of questions early.CAPS: why is is so frustrating to watch them. Turned the Islanders game on the other night and saw that is was 1-0. I wanted to slam my head against the wall. I am glad they came back and beat them, but COME ON!!! they should be putting crappy teams away earlier! -Ashburn Fan

Tracee Hamilton: Slow starts have hampered them all season, and they seem incapable of explaining why or fixing that. That's another reason this season has been hard on fans, I think; fewer goals, more time trailing. That was a sweet goal by Ovie, though. I let our a yelp and the kitties scattered. (They hide for most of March anyway.)

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The elevator at work: only shows scores for sports teams west of the Mississippi, probably because that's where it is located...Unfortunately, I do not get enough info on East coast sports teams, OTHER THAN THE TIME I SPEND ON washingtonpost.com READING YOUR CHATS. I'm wondering if you can be of assistance before the NCAA's and say, share your picks with us. I have knowledge of your reputation and shall factor in your alleged prognostication problems when I fill my bracket out. That said, PLEASE DON'T pick Ohio State to win it all. Thanks.

Tracee Hamilton: I will be filling out a bracket for our special section on Monday, March 14. it will also be available online that day. I can safely assure you I won't pick Ohio State.Oh, I meant to bring a photo of me as Baby Jay. I promised and forgot. Next week for sure.

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Gary Williams: Realistically, how many seasons does he have left? He's obviously not getting pushed out barring a disaster 8-20 season or some off-court issue, but it's clear we're entering the "Gary Farewell Tour" phase of his career. My question is how long does that last? 2 years? 3? 4?

Eric Prisbell: Who knows, all I had heard for about a year was that Gary wanted an extension. I still think he remains one of the top 5-10 college coaches in the country. But recruiting has been an issue and has been an issue for many years. Yes, Jordan has developed into one of the better big men in the country. Yes, Stoglin is promising. But they don't have the talent to beat elite teams on a consistent basis. I'm certainly not surprised by the results this year. If you get a better recruiter in here, there'll be better talent. But you won't have as strong of a coach, most likely. Do you like that trade-off? That's the ultimate question.

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WithDrawal #2: Seriously, I miss the daily chats... I am feel depressed that I can't read my FTF every day. Next question... What is BOZ eating/Drinking/Breathing? I want some of that! He sounds like he has high hopes for the Nats! I mean we are 3-0 in spring training and we did finally beat the Marlins, but good grief that man just ooozes optimism! - ashburn fan

Tracee Hamilton: AF, that's just Boz; he always oozes optimism at this time of year, and if it's hot I think he oozes a little 5-Hour Energy Drink as well. Me, I ooze green tea and Guinness.

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Withdrawal #3: What was your take on Wall calling out the team? I am glad someone did, they are just atrocious! I can't believe they didn't at least put up a fight against the bulls - Ashburn Fan

Tracee Hamilton: Oh, this one's easy. Here's my take.

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Looooooooong week: Monday morning I took my computer out of its slumber, not long after I removed myself from mine, and went to look for FTF as I have done for months now. In my grogginess I had forgotten some cruel manager had snatched away my daily dose of happiness - or maybe I was hoping it was but a bad dream - but, alas, it was all too real. I contacted an addiction center to see if I could score some Methadone to see me through to Thursday but was informed that particular drug only helps with substance abuse. I tried Guinness to soothe the pain, but all that did was remind of my beloved T-Ham. I wandered listlessly through the week, fearing Thursday would never come. I was like a child awaiting Santa's arrival but without the giddiness that accompanies it. We're supposed to more patient as we age, but in this case it's a lie. See, St. Nick is SUPPOSED to come once a year - he doesn't swing by every day and then abandon us! And now that The Day has arrived, instead of the unadulterated joy I feel betrayal. Where the hell have you been? But I dry my eyes, put on my best face and say, "Welcome Back, Tracee! We've missed you!"

Tracee Hamilton: I really missed you all, too. Monday morning was especially hard. But like all addictions, it'll get easier to kick over time!

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Madness in March: Being that its March I thought it would be appropriate to ask a college bball question. Oh current coaches who would be your top 3 that you would want to coach your team?

Eric Prisbell: To win a game?Mike KrzyzewskiTom IzzoRick PitinoI'm also a big Calipari fan. He's underrated as a coach, but I'll take the others first.

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Withdrawal #4: How are the cats? I missed Fado, when is the happy hour in Virginia? Again.. suffering serious withdrawal....-ashburn fan

Tracee Hamilton: I think the VA happy hour will happen in April or early May. March is just too ... mad.

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Terps: Wonder if Gary Williams will go off at a half empty Comcast on Senior Day wondering why no one is there to watch his NIT team play a meaningless game?

Eric Prisbell: I wonder if they'll get shipped out to play an NIT road game.Virginia-Maryland on Senior Day? Sounds fantastic. Maybe not. Count me out.

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Thursday took so long to arrive: Welcome back, T-Ham! During your earlier-in-the-week-absence I headed south to spend the month of March in and around Viera, Fla. Since Kilgore is perpetually persona non Postie here I thought I would send a few observations from Natsland. (Ooh! Ooh! Can I be your unofficial official spring training correspondent? Being a retired journalist I'll work cheap, as in free, which should appeal to the budget cutters on 15th Street NW.) Any way, while pitchers usually do look better than hitters this early in the spring and I have only two games against two of the NL's lighter weights, the Mets and Marlins, to judge from so far, the Nationals' pitching is looking quite sharp. Detwiler and Maya in particular, although there were also good pitching performances in the first two games by Burnett and Lannan. Livan Hernandez not so much, but it's hard to tell with Livo. First impression, though, is that there could be appreciable improvement on the mound at S. Capitol Street over what the Nats threw out there the past couple of seasons.Somebody needs to remind Ryan Zimmerman he can relax because he's going to make the team. While it was amusing to watch him go tush-over-teakettle between the tarp and the stadium wall chasing a Marlin foul ball, IT'S A SPRING TRAINING GAME! An EARLY one, and it would be a bad time to get injured. I can just imagine the reaction of at least one of your former daily chatters, not to mention Rizzo and Riggleman, should FotF Zimm harm his Adonis-like physique or features. OK, not quite true. Rizzo and the baseball Riggo probably wouldn't care about Ryan's looks.And while Bryce Harper needs more seasoning, that kid is going to be one spicy bowl of chilly when he gets it. He really has to learn patience at the plate because after just half a dozen at bats the pitchers have already figured out he's looking for fast balls. But he's got a gorgeous swing and demonstrated impressive power when he does connect with a pitch; then there's good speed on the bases combined with what appear to be excellent baserunning instincts, and an "oh my Gawd" arm that's already uncorked a couple of gasp-worthy throws to home plate from deep in right field. I know he's headed to the minors this year and I know that's the right decision, but I watch Harper here in Viera and I smile for the future.But I should ask a question, shouldn't I? I mean, besides that one. So what do the changes in the Caps roster mean for their playoff potential? I'm coming back to DC in April and hope to cheer on a long Stanley Cup run.--The Retired Journalist--

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks for the report, TRJ! You are correct that an injury to Zim would be devastating to a certain segment of this chat. It doesn't bear thinking about.As for the Caps ... I think Arnott was a good pickup. I think Green will be hard to replace. It's too soon to know how this is going to go. Here's what I wrote about the Caps a couple of days ago. We'll be glad to have you back in town!

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Tying lots of topics together: Wizards, Kansas, GMU: Hi Tracee - I went to the Wizards-Warriors game last night to cheer for Stephen Curry - pretty much the only chance I get to hear "from Davidson" (my alma mater) when an NBA starter is introduced. Nick Young ended up with more points than Curry, but Curry sealed the game with a final free throw. We all remember Curry from when he led Davidson to the Elite 8 - where they ran into your alma mater, Kansas. Were you able to watch that game, or were you working another game? Did you have a similar reaction to Bill Self (almost falling to the ground) when Davidson's last shot didn't go in? Also, for all the George Mason fans out there, I say you should hope to be in a 7-10 first round game so you play a 2 seed in the second round - the 7-10 game isn't that much different than a 8-9 game, but the difference between playing a 1 vs. a 2 in the second round is huge. Although of course GMU blazed its own trail as a much lower seed in 2006, so maybe it doesn't really matter!

Tracee Hamilton: I was singing and marching so hard at that point I'm not sure if I fell or not. I sing and march; it's what I do. I'm quite the nervous wreck.I agree about Mason. I know they want to the prestige of a higher pick but each step up is a harder road with more pressure. And Mason is no longer going to sneak up on anyone.

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ACC: Has the ACC ever been this awful?I've been a fan of the conference my entire life - I believe this is the low water mark.

Eric Prisbell: Well, in 2000 the ACC was rated seventh among conferences and, I believe, only got three teams in. This season, with a 68-team field, it may get five and is rated fifth. The top two teams could be FInal Four teams. Seriously. Carolina will be tough to beat, they are already. But after the top two there is a huge dropoff. VT, FSU, BC are all looking at double-digit seeds right now -- if they all make it. Maybe you'll get two in Dayton playing in different games. The talent is down all over the country. It did not help that Irving is out for Duke. I feel college basketball will become more watered down by the year unless some kids remain in school this season because they fear an NBA work stoppage.

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So Tracee: Did you make sure to drink some beer soup, eat a pomegranate, and catch up on your favorite shows since we all talked last?So the combine has come and gone, let me start by saying I would actually like the Redskins to trade down in the first for more picks. Anyway, do you think that Julio Jones would be a bad choice at number 10 if the Redskins can't trade down? I know, I know they should draft more defensive players, I agree with J. Reid. If he's the best available should they take him?And as a George Mason alumnus, GO PATRIOTS!!!

Tracee Hamilton: Everything but the pomegranate. There are some things I won't do, even for this chat! I'm not sure your idea of trading down and bagging an extra pick or two is a bad one. They need a lot of help. Julio Jones would be okay, though. I'm really hoping they don't take Cam Newton; just think that kid brings his own drama and that the Skins have enough of that.

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What does Boudreau need to accomplish to keep his job?: Make it to the Stanley Cup playoff? Go further than the Penguins?

Tracee Hamilton: My opinion: Not necessarily win the Cup, but win at least one round of the playoffs, and I kind of think they need to win at least two.

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Tracee!!!: Welcome back! We miss you!!! It's almost bracket time. How far will Mason go? They seem to be a special team this season. Your thoughts?

Tracee Hamilton: I should defer this one to Eric but I think they can be a Sweet 16 with a good seeding. It all depends on the bracket. I know I do NOT want KU to play Mason.

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Is Gary Williams in trouble?: When will Gary Williams start to feel the heat? The Terps are headed to their 4th NIT in the last 7 seasons. And this Terp team got worse as the season progressed, culminating with a terrible effort against a mediocre Miami team that had nothing to play for.How much longer will Gary be able to use his National Title as a buffer for several seasons of his Terps underachieving?

Eric Prisbell: I still feel he is a great coach who gets the most out of his players. Talent is the issue.The team has been to one Sweet 16 (2003) since winning the national title. If Jordan comes back, Terps will be good next season. If he doesn't, they'll take a step back.He felt heat in 2009. He didn't know how that was going to play out. Then they beat Carolina and make it back to the tournament -- great, great job by Gary. But without that Carolina comeback --- he can thank Roy for not giving Tyler the ball -- Gary may well have lost his job. That's a fact.

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Welcome back - where have you been, Ovie...?: Tracee:In full FTF withdrawal at this point. Send help. Did you see Ovie's OT goal vs. the Islanders? Anyone who hasn't seen it should go to NHL.com and view the highlights of Tuesday's game. Here was the brilliant, strong-skating Ovie that we really haven't seen much of this year. Watch closely and notice in the replays Ovie's remarkable balance, strength and remarkable footwork as he evades two defenders and snaps a backhander over the pads of Lawson. THIS is the Ovie we've been looking for, not the passive, easily frustrated guy in the number 8 sweater we've seen for much of the year. As he celebrates the goal, notice the look on his face - as if he's found something that's been missing since game 7 last spring. Welcome back, Ovie - that game-winner was, just like Joe B called it, "Dazzling!" Anyone who wonders why we love hockey so much should simply watch that replay. Brilliant. Michal Neuvirth was splendid in goal again, we should also say.And for those who are too young to have watched Bobby Orr in his prime, that goal is just a little taste of what Number Four was like, game after game - absolutely no one like Bobby Orr, never, ever.....by far the most beloved athlete in Boston during my lifetime.

Tracee Hamilton: I completely agree, and you knew something special was going to happen when he took off with the puck. It just looked like the old Ovie. Bring back the whiskers and they should be set. It was a beauty.

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Section 405 : Hi, Tracee, It was great to meet you in person last Friday.Let me welcome you to the new chat with -- a college basketball item! I'm going to be entering the NCAA pool at the place I do volunteer work, and this year I'm submitting more than one. I'm doing a reasoned out one, a bracket-buster-buster (ie. Mason and St John's in the Final Four), but I wanted a third one that's totally whacked out. In your honor, I have decided to pick an all-feline bracket (I'll pick teams called "lions" or "wildcats" or "tigers"), plus Kansas to go all the way. What do you think?I'm eagerly waiting for my Nats tickets. Others have already gotten theirs....FYI, while this chat *is* listed on the front page of the sports section, it continues to be missing from the master list of "Live Q&As" accessible from the front page. How can they complain about not gaining in hits when they can't even be bothered to provide a link in the master index? I also note that I haven't gotten a response to my email to sports@washpost.com.

Tracee Hamilton: Section 405, it was great to meet you as well! Thanks for those stamp suggestions; that's a huge help!I used to do three brackets -- a KU wins it all bracket, a more sober bracket, and a bracket of upsets. I realized I had to combine my sober bracket and bracket of upsets so I cut it to two. Not sure if I'll do one or two this season.I really don't get why you can't find the chat on the weekly schedule. When I call it up, it's there. When you call it up, it's not. This is worrisome to me because it indicates a glitch somewhere (and not with you or me). I'll mention it to the Powers That Be. We are making changes to a lot of our publishing systems and to say it's not going smoothly at times would be a massive understatement.Also, for the baseball fans among us, the Baseball Prospectus folks will have a discussion and signing Monday night at Politics and Prose. I don't have an exact time but shouldn't be hard to find with the Google button.

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Woodbridge: So exactly how did BYU find out that the suspended kid had intimate relations with his GF? Did he confess? Someone videotaped it?

Eric Prisbell: To inform those who don't know, key player Brandon Davies was suspended for the season because he reportedly had sex with his girlfriend in violation of the school's honor code.Pat Forde wrote a great column today for ESPN.com about the subject. And I agree with it. Whether you agree with the rule or not, he agreed to play for a school that has such a rule. He violated it. And in a time when many schools/coaches/players are cutting corners, pushing the envelope, cheating, here is a school that holds kids accountable to the rules in place. There is something to say for that.

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Maybe JaVale isn't so good, after all: Hi, Tracee, and Mr. P! Maybe this whole "give-Javale McGee-time-to-blossom" approach has already passed its sell-by date. Methinks the man just doesn't get it. Your take?

Tracee Hamilton: I've said all season that this should be his opportunity to take a giant step forward and shine, and he hasn't. An impressive all-star weekend dunk isn't much of a resume.

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Tracee...is that you?: Are you really here? I've had so many questions about cats, beverages, cheese and the men who peddle it, and the differences between Kansas and Nebraska, yet Boz didn't answer one of them. All he wants to talk about is "baseball this" and "Redskins that"...who is interested in such a chat? --RHG--

Tracee Hamilton: Oh, that Boz, no fun at all. :) Although in his defense, I don't think he knows much about Kansas and Nebraska. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

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Bubble Team: Hi Eric,How far do you think my Gonzaga Bulldogs have to go in the WCC tourney this weekend to get an at large bid? Thanks!

Eric Prisbell: The Zags are in but barely right now. I would worry if they lose to anyone other than St. Mary's. The best thing going for Gonzaga is that so many bubble teams are taking big steps backward. But you don't want to suffer a bad loss now and give the committee a reason to keep you out. Remember what that San Diego loss did for St. Mary's at-large chances.

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New chat title: Hi Tracee! Longtime lurker, first-time poster. Since your chat is no longer first thing in the morning, how about calling it "First Things Thurs.?" Even if you can't stand that name, please nix the completely bleh "Sports Talk." Thanks! -- LLFTP

Tracee Hamilton: That's a good suggestion, LLFTP; we've got to do something with the name, that's for sure. I'll start a list.

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This Morning's Column: Hi Tracee! It's so good to have you back; I'm afraid I was beginning to show signs of withdrawal. I LOVED your column this morning and especially this metaphor-->"it's more of a "Bill Gates misplacing his wallet" pain than a crippling blow." You've got great writing talent!

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks so much; it's good to be back.

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Ego gone wild!!: Hi, T-Ham and E-Pri! Okay, am I certifiably insane (kindly refrain from asking my wife), but doesn't this whole "I'm not gonna let Haynesoworth go because I can't stomach seeing him benefit by catching on with another team on MY watch" thing just smack of not just a bloated ego, but a pathological one? It's kind of like staying in a marriage in which both husband and wife basically hate each other, but won't get divorced simply out of spite. It seems like ole' Laser Eyes, in his refusal to dump the bloated malcontent, is clearly allowing his disdain get in the way of team progress. Is there another interpretation? Also, E-Pri, where do you stand on Biebermania?

Tracee Hamilton: It's very "War of the Roses"-y, that's for sure.I'm going to throw this to Eric, but be prepared to tell him who Bieber is...

Eric Prisbell: I like Justin, I do. Amazing hair. Decent three-point shot. Songs are not that bad. And Justin has a great story. So count me on the Justin bandwagon -- but I'm not driving it. I like Justin more than I like Glee, that's for sure.

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Friday's Transcript: Tracee, I'm going through daily chat withdrawal! To any of the powers that be who are reading this, I'm a daily subscriber and without FTF to start my day, I'm coming to your website less often. To our awesome hostess, if you, or any of the other chatters are still in need of more Kansas cookie cutters (or any other state for that matter), Hill's Kitchen in Eastern Market sells them for every state (except Hawaii) and has some special DC themed cutters as well. For the record, I'm not associated with the store, I'm just a happy customer. Since this is a sports chat, the Nats are 3-0!! Do you think the well played games in Florida will come North? (IE: no walks, few errors, and hustle?)

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks for letting me know about the cutters; I need a few other states for gifts! And I love the name Hill's Market. I used to live pretty near Eastern Market and still miss that area.Sadly, I don't think the games in Florida reflect much; we've seen teams have great spring trainings and then do nothing, and vice versa. But it's a nice start and Nats fans will take it, I know.We may be having an issue with submitting questions today, so if you're trying, keep trying, I've got someone looking into it.

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Terps: Unfortunately it is time for Coach Williams to be let go. UM needs new blood, a go -getter recruiter. The basketball program is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Fans fleeing from Comcast. The NIT is nice but Maryland should compete with the best. Coach Williams has done a lot for the University but the best thing he could do now is resign. Let someone else have a crack at it.

Eric Prisbell: Well, my personal feelings only, but I disagree.I do NOT feel he needs to be let go. He won a national title here, does not cheat and is a great coach. Do the results this season surprise anyone? What did fans expect?Also, Maryland is not "becoming" irrelevant nationally. Maryland has not been nationally relevant on a consistent basis for several years. I'm not sure that will change anytime soon.

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"Sports talk with Tracee Hamilton"?: Please tell me that wasn't the title some genius in the marketing department came up with! It's fair to say that I've been looking forward to this all week, but if I didn't already know and love you, I don't know that I would have clicked through.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, hang with us until we come up with something clever. Man, that's a challenge.

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NCAA Seeding: Eric,should the absence of Davis affect the seeding of BYU? As I recall, in the past, the NCAA has not let injuries or suspension affect seeding. Two quick examples: in the 1990's Kenyon Martin was the national player of the year for the University of Cincinnati which was also clearly a number 1 seed. Until he was hurt late in the year (conference tourney I think). UC was still a number 1 seed even though everyone knew that without Martin UC would be lucky to make the Sweet 16. UC lost in the second round. Another example is Purdue and Robbie Hummel. Still had a number 2 (3?) seed when he was injuried late in the year even though without him, they were a lesser team. With BYU, the team had a game last night and has a few more games left which will give people a sense of how the team is playing without Davis. Let's say BYU wins out, still a number 1 or 2 seed? What if they lose out? Only lose to SD St. in the conference tournament?

Eric Prisbell: True, but let's be honest, BYU looked absolutely awful last night. They got blown out at home against a non-tourney team. Horrible loss. I dropped them to a 2 this morning, but they could fall further. The committee is going to watch their performance closely over the next week. How good is this team now? Time will tell. if they win the MWC tournament, they can maintain a 2. If not, they will drop some. I'll be out there in Vegas covering all the story lines there. Some fascinating story lines.

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Withdrawal.. Okay.. I am losing count: Does this mean you can do more of Mr Tony's radio show? What do you think of GMU's recent wins? Do you think they can get above a #8 seed in the tourney? Will you be covering the tourney? -ashburn fan

Tracee Hamilton: I hope so, re Tony's show. GMU is impressive. I'm not sure they should hope for anything higher but they can, I think. I will be covering the tourney somewhere, in some capacity. Not sure of the details yet.

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Pittsburgh Wife: Hi, Tracee and everyone. I missed you all terribly. Mornings aren't the same. So is there a curse? BYU just jumped up in the rankings and was CRUSHED the next game. I'm wondering whether the pollsters look at (a) the magnitude of the loss and (b) whether the team that beat your team was ranked or not--in other words, was it a major upset? Also, way to go Kansas!

Eric Prisbell: Yes, the voters look at all that. But that's so subjective and the selection committee really does not take into account the top 25. So I look at RPI and KenPom ratings more than I look at top 25 rankings. BYU is going to slide because it clearly is not the same team without Davies. It can change that perception with a MWC tourney title.

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Eric, does B-Svrl really hate most, if not all, of humanity?: Good morning, WAPO studs! I know where T-Ham stands on this, so, Eric, I have a query for you: does Svrluga truly hate people, as has been asserted? Tnanks!

Eric Prisbell: I haven't spent time on the road with Barry in a few years, but I'm not aware of that. There certainly are sports writers I know who hate all of humanity and will let you know it. Barry is not in that category at all. That's why he is pretty, well, normal.

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My heart is broken!: Mornings without you will just be wrong! Please, first drop the link to your announcement (I was OOC), then politely and gracefully DOPE-SLAP the idiot who made the decision to drop your daily chat. Thank you,BTW - delightfully witty and spot-on article on the NFL owners' TV bucks. Next in line: Tracy's full-scale psychosis index (pols excluded) comparing Al Davis, Charlie Sheen and (my favorite!) Jerry Jones?Good luck hun - don't ever try to be anyone else - none of them would be as fun!

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks much for the kind words. I don't think I can compare Sheen to anyone else. He is just so damaged.I will say this, in all seriousness: The FCC wants to protect us from, say, a split-second of Janet Jackson's breast, but has no problem with every TV network in America to televise the complete disintegration of a man's sanity. Which is more exploitive?

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Jimmy "Clark Kent Spectacles" Boeheim: Hi Guys. C'use alum here. I can't decide what I think of Boeheim. I certainly respect his coaching-- he's won a title, and almost always has had competitive teams. But it just seems that, all too often, his teams are somehow less than the sums of its parts. Do you know what I mean? In your respective opinions, how good a coach is Jimmy B?

Eric Prisbell: I tend to disagree. These are changing times. For the most part, a program is going to endure some ups and downs now. The nation is far too competitive, top teams are more watered down, and mid-majors can win and win big. I think he has generally recruited very well in recent years. You can have different opinions on the zone, but overall I think he is one of the better coaches around.We're having major computer issues. And apparently you can't submit questions. So sorry about this. We're working on the issue. Please email me at prisbelle@washpost.com if you have any other tourney questions.

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Tracee Hamilton: ... someone's out to get me. We haven't gotten new questions since before the chat began, and we've run through the ones that were submitted early. So Eric and I are fresh out of fodder. We'll wait a bit to see if they can get it working again.

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Levi Chronister: and we will ensure that your question is added.

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Maryland relevancy:

Eric Prisbell: I just answered this in an email as well. Fair point. Maryland at least is in the discussion and Gary remains a great coach that can beat any other great coach on a given night. Virginia has not even been on the radar for some time. It's just that when you look at back-to-back Final Fours in 2001 and 2002, you expect more than one more Sweet 16 appearance in the next nine seasons.

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NFL Lockout: Huge win for the owners, but not the equivalent of the 85 Bears playing against the Post's Sports Writing Staff ...Let's Go Royals(P.S. Hey this is a fun chat, ever consider doing it daily ...)

Tracee Hamilton: I think when the dust settles, you'll be pretty close, LGR!

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re: Winning Coaches: Pittsburgh Wife

Eric Prisbell: He has done a great job at Pitt, but I keep waiting for Pitt to make a run to the Final Four. They have been in position to before. I picked them to win the whole thing a few years ago and was burned. This may be the year.Looks like questions are working now, so please fire away. I can put off working to answer a lot more -- fine with me!

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Celtics make key additions - what say you, Tracee?: Four days without FTF, and now this?I hope that Glen Davis doesn't miss much time with that knee problem - he is a big key to this team's success.

Tracee Hamilton: I don't know; I think you have to trust Ainge until you can't trust him and he's made a lot of good moves. Big Baby going down right now is NOT ideal but then they've been without Garnett and Rondo for stretches and found a way to win. In some ways I think those situations help a team come playoff time. So I'm not ready to panic yet. (Krstic has fewer vowels than Svrluga! Amazing!)

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George Mason: Hey Tracee, I love reading your articles. Do a great job!What are your thoughts on G mason? I have a feeling that if they get in the DC regional they could go deep in the tourney. I also think they have a chance either way. The team is playing great at the perfect time. I would actually want them to lose the tourney to get some rest.What are your thoughts?

Tracee Hamilton: It would be great for them to be sent here but I'd be surprised if it happened. However, I'll throw this to Eric because maybe he doesn't agree and god knows, he's the bracket expert.There is a school of thought that says the conference tournament isn't important but that kind of depends on the conference. For KU, it's not. For GMU, it might be. Depends on how high a seed they want.Eric?

Eric Prisbell: I doubt Mason would play in DC because they won't be seeded high enough to deserve such a home-area advantage.For Mason, you've got a real chance to earn a single-digit seed. You don't want to go belly up in the conference tourney and give the committee a reason to drop you. Again, though, you just want to avoid an 8-9 game. I will be upset if they get stuck in that game because they are a great story and I want them to have a real chance.

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Why so down on the Spiders?: Four seniors, including 2 potential NBAers.BTW, they are more local than VA Tech.

Eric Prisbell: I've been high on Richmond most of the season. Anderson is a fun player to watch. I like the three-point shooting. And they are well coached. The Purdue win looks better and better. I have Richmond in the field and have had them in for some time. But their margin for error is small. They can't afford a bad loss.

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Chat titles: Thirsty Thursday, Thursdays with Tracee, Thank G*d It's Thursday.

Tracee Hamilton: All good ones. I like Thursdays with Tracee; Mitch wouldn't mind.

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Missing FTF: Hi Tracee,Like others, I am mourning the loss of the daily FTF. Part of the loss for me is that I'm less likely to read your awesome articles and those of your colleagues. Is there some way to easily find your articles without digging into the depths of the sports page? When I click on your byline it seems to have a lot of your articles but not all of them.Note to WaPo editors. Without FTF many people will read less of the Post Online content!Thanks!

Tracee Hamilton: The quickest way is to go to the columnist's page and my latest will be there. If you put your cursor on "sports" at the top of the home page, a box of choices pops up and "columnists" is among those. I think you can also use that page to sign up for an RSS feed, although of course I want you to keep visiting the site!

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Happy Spring...or is it too early?:

Tracee Hamilton: It's okay to be excited about semi-warm weather and a 3-0 record. That's what this time of year is for! Your Baylor women are tough! I keep hoping that KU women will get it turned around someday.Eric, take the second part. How will this tournament be different? No dominant teams?

Eric Prisbell: This tournament will be pure lunacy. It has the makings to be a lot different that previous tournaments in recent memory, even wilder than last season's. The craziest tourney I remember personally was the 1990 tourney. This season, you really cannot identify the best team. Ohio State? Maybe. Kansas? Maybe. The team that is playing the best will win the thing. Could be any one of some 15 teams, maybe more. St. John's? Why not? UNC? Why not? San Diego State? Why not? if there is one tournament to watch, this one is it. Just don't expect to see a lot of can't-miss NBA prospects. And find TruTV ahead of time!

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Happily drinking the Nats Kool-aid!: s good just to drink it all in, after a long winter exile from Nationals Park.s our Luis Tiant!Go, Nats!

Tracee Hamilton: I think Werth's been playing; I know he played Tuesday. Nothing of note yet but I don't get the sense he's going to play every day. They know what they're getting from him; they've got a lot of guys to look at. Enjoy that Kool-aid!

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Fado: The plans were put together too last minutey for me to attend. When's the next get-to-gether? I REALLY wanted to be there...FYI, I caught the Six Nations Rugby at O'Connell's in Old Towne on Sunday morning and Ireland beat Scotland in a close one. Unfortunately BBC America only showed the England v. France match on Saturday so I had to suffer through an Irish breakfast to watch the rugby. You should come out in two weeks!

Tracee Hamilton: Maybe I can if I'm in town. I see Ireland beat England in cricket. Always a good result, no matter the sport.I will be giving PLENTY of notice on the next get-together; no worries. We'll wait a bit though.

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Linebackers for the Redskins: As soon as I saw that the Packers released Hawk, I said Skins should go after him but it seems like he is going to re-sign back with the team. My question is:Should we draft someone to go opposite Orakpo? Someone like a Von Miller?Or do we go after a seasoned 3-4 LB? Nick Barnett or someone similar?

Tracee Hamilton: I would love to have Hawk, because how can I not like a guy named A.J. Hawk? Still wish he'd gone to Kansas but even I will admit OSU is the superior program. :)I'd go after a 3-4 linebacker or a true nose tackle who can actually play, personally. But boy, do they have a lot of holes.

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"Hypothetically": -K-Stater

Eric Prisbell: I certainly could have guess you were talking about K-State. What a great back-from-dead story. What a roller-coaster season. I'd love to pick them to pick the national championship but not sure I have the courage. In short, the committee takes into account the entire body of work, all of it. They put less emphasis on the last 12 games than they used to, but, honestly, as a human, you have to look at which teams are playing the best now. The win at Texas was outstanding. Their strength of schedule is outstanding. They are climbing fast and likely around a 6 or 7 seed right now. The committee will recognize all this.

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Levi Chronister: Thanks for answering my Q about find your columns, very useful!m hooked and have random allegiances to Tennessee, Illinois, and Villanova they all seem to be imploding. Is there any hope for those three?Red Sox Fan

Eric Prisbell: Ugh, I am down on all three, and Illinois is the big disappointment in my mind. An expereinced team should perform better down the stretch. Toss Nova aside. The guards are letting you down now, I don't expect a run. Tennessee is the ultimate engima. Up and down, down and up. Capable of beating a lot of good teams, but capable of losing to almost anyone. I will not pick this team to win two tournament games, but may take them to win one depending upon the matchup. But I doubt it, to be honest.

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Chat title: Handle Pending

Tracee Hamilton: That might be a little Midwestern for our audience but in my head, at least, that's what I'll call it!Well, I apologize profusely for the problems today. Our last daily chat, and our first weekly chat ... If I were a conspiracy theorist I'd be having a field day!Thanks, Eric, for joining me, and for your patience! And thanks of course to all of you who joined us, or tried to. We'll do better next week, I promise!


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