Chat with Jay Bilas
Bilas provides expert color commentary from courtside on college basketball games, and serves as a studio analyst and as the co-host of ESPN's popular studio shows College Gameday and College Gamenight.
He also writes for ESPN.com, and contributes numerous reports for SportsCenter. Since 2003, Bilas has provided in-depth player scouting and analysis for ESPN's coverage of the NBA Draft.
Send your questions now and join Jay in The Show Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Bilas Archive: Columns
Jay Bilas (4:03 PM)
Hey everybody! Let's get rolling on the chat!
With the SEC looking sloppy these last few nights, is Providence creeping in to the "lock" category for an at-large bid?
Jay Bilas (4:08 PM)
Not "lock", but Providence is looking better for a bid. I do not feel like this is a great team, but it is a veteran team that has played well of late. I still think that Providence has some work to do, so I would not feel comfortable yet. They have beaten Pitt and Syracuse, but that is about it. Continuing to win would be the best recipe for a bid.
American University has done nothing but win down the stretch (17 out of the last 18). Does the committee reward hot teams in seeding?
Jay Bilas (4:09 PM)
The Committee "rewards" the best teams with seeds. What constitutes the best teams is subjective, I know, but American will not be among the top 12 seeds, in my judgment. That is a good team, but not among the top fifty teams.
Gary Williams (College Park)
Short of winning the ACC tourney, how more wins should make me comfortable on Selection Sunday? One? Two? Three?
Jay Bilas (4:11 PM)
There simply are not enough wins to make anyone feel comfortable about Maryland's chances. The win over NC State was a good one, and Maryland had really good opportunities against Duke and Wake, but didn't finish. I think that Virginia is a "can't lose" and the Terps have to play well in the ACC Tournament. There is not a number, but a feeling. I think that Maryland is an NCAA Tournament team.
Phil (St. Louis)
With Mizzou recovering from the debacle in Lawrence with a big win against Oklahoma - how do you see the Big 12's "big three" shaking out in terms of NCAA seeds?
Jay Bilas (4:14 PM)
I think that Kansas and Oklahoma are a tad better than Missouri, but all can do well in the NCAA Tournament with a good draw. Remember, the NCAA Tournament is a half court game, and really good teams are tough to press. It is easier to slow a game down than to speed one up. I favor KU and OU a tad because of that. I think that OU and KU have shots at a 1 seed, and Mizzou can grab a 2. The deciding factor will be the Big 12 Tournament.
Steve (Grand Rapids, MI)
Michigan State has battled injuries and illness all season yet is 8-1 in true road games, is 13-3 against the RPI top 100 (10-3 RPI top 50) and has the #4 SOS yet is not considered by the pundits to have any chance for a No.1 seed. Is this East Coast Bias?
Jay Bilas (4:16 PM)
Look, I picked MSU for the Final Four before the season, so leave the bias talk at the door. Sparty still has a shot, but I still think that OU and Duke have legit shots as well. If you go strictly by RPI numbers, MSU is in great shape. To me, the top four seeds should go to the top four teams.
mike. rhode island
Jay...you've been hating on the mid majors lately...now that all these "bcs" bubble teams are losing rhode island has to be in the mix for an at large spot if they can win there next 2 or 3 games right?
Jay Bilas (4:22 PM)
I took this question to refute the notion that I "hate" on mid-majors. I do not. I go by which teams I think are best. If you think that mid-majors are underrepresented in the NCAA Tournament, you are mistaken. Almost forty percent of the field are mid-majors, and mids get more than fair treatment. I can tell you that my solution would be rather simple....I would do away with the automatic bid and select the 64 best teams. We would have more mid-majors that could really play, and we would have a very balanced and competitive tournament. In my system, Rhody would get in, and so would Tulsa, Creighton, Siena and Western Kentucky. We would not be leaving out really good Mid-Majors in favor of the SWAC, MEAC, or Southland winners. And, please don't give me the "kill the dreams" of those automatic winners. Why should Rhody's dreams take a back seat to theirs? Rhody will be in the discussion, but the Rams have not beaten enough really good teams to feel comfortable. I would suggest winning more games and at least reaching the A-10 final.
Broad Street Brian (Philly)
Do you think Nova has what it takes to make a serious run. A final 8 type run?
Jay Bilas (4:24 PM)
Yes. Last year, I was one that said in February that Villanova was an NCAA team, and you know that the Cats made it to the second weekend. This year, the Nova guards are better, and Dante Cunningham is better. Some difference makers have been Dwayne Anderson, Shane Clark and Reggie Redding. They are tough players and really provide Nova with an edge.
John (Syracuse) [via mobile]
Jay, I can get CLE credits for attending your chats, right?
Jay Bilas (4:24 PM)
Yes. Ethics requirement fulfilled.
Brian (wake forest)
Jay, help me out here ... I live on the east coast and go to sleep at a normal time, so I haven't seen Washington play at all this year. Are they as good as their record? Are they a potential Final Four caliber team?
Jay Bilas (4:26 PM)
The Huskies can get there with a good draw, but I would not consider them a Final Four favorite. I like this team. The guards are good, with Isaiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and Justin Dentmon, and Jon Brockman is the toughest player in the West. Washington defends must better this season, and can score. Much depends upon the draw for this team.
Adam (Charleston, SC)
Jay, do you still play ball? If so, who wins between you and Hubert Davis in a game of one on one?
Jay Bilas (4:27 PM)
I play only golf now. It is much harder to snap an Achilles on the golf course. If Hubert and I played one-on-one, I would back his skinny tail into the post and score with ease. And, if he tried to go by me, clothes line city.
Wait, go back for a sec ... is the NCAA Tourney really a half-court game? If so, how come Wisconsin, Georgetown, etc. have fared so poorly as of late?
Jay Bilas (4:29 PM)
Wisconsin made it to the Final Four in 2000, two Elite Eights since then, and Georgetown made it to the Final Four two years ago. Because they do not have great teams this year does not diminish my point. The last pressing teams to win titles were Arkansas in 1994 and Kentucky in 1996, and they were super, super talented.
Michael: (KC, MO)
Jay, did you just say that you cannot win in the NCAA Tournament playing the way Mizzou does? Isn't that how Nolan Richardson won a National Championship at AR?
Jay Bilas (4:31 PM)
See my last answer. I did not say that you could not do it. It is tougher, though. Really good teams, which often play in the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament, cut through presses and score easily. Teams that press need to be super talented. Not impossible, just not as easy as you might think.
Dallas (Cincinnati, OH)
Jay, first off I graduated from Ohio Valley University last year, and I appreciate the fact that you spoke at our graduation, very cool of you. Now down to business. Let's say Creighton loses first round in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Have they done enough to warrant a trip to the Dance? If not, does a trip to the semis or finals get them in position? I think they've done more then enough, especially the way bubble teams have played the last week or two.
Jay Bilas (4:33 PM)
First, I really enjoyed OVU. It was a fun weekend. On Creighton, any bubble team that loses in the first round of a Tournament would deal a serious blow to thier chances, but not a death blow. The only question is whether Crieghton is one of the 34 best teams. Anyone can get upset. The entire body of work is the issue.
Better chance to win it all UCONN or PITT?
Jay Bilas (4:34 PM)
UConn. The Huskies defense is better. But, Pitt's offense is more efficient. I just believe that UConn is a bit more versatile, and can adapt to playing against different styles a bit better.
Your system for selecting the top 64 would kill the dreams of tens of thousands of students and thousands of players in schools that will NEVER be in the top 64. Why is there any talk of change? It's perfect just the way it is.
Jay Bilas (4:37 PM)
So, you are okay with killing the dreams of other players that are simply better? I hardly think that we are "killing dreams" by suggesting that we select the 64 best teams. There are too many teams in Division I. 340 teams is a joke, and the idea that the teams in some of these conferences are competitive is simply a joke. I respect your opinion, but the NCAA Tournament is for the National Championship, and we should have the best teams. It is not about dreams, it is about which teams are the best.
Jay, In order for Louisville to get a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament do they have to win the Big East Tournament?
Jay Bilas (4:39 PM)
I think Louisville is good enough, but what will kill the Cards chances will be the losses against WKU, Notre Dame and UNLV without Wink Adams. It is possible, but Louisville would have to get to the final or win the Big East Tournament.
Jay, if Michigan finishes 8-10 and goes 1-1 in the Big Ten tournament, do they get a bid? What will the committee say about their trip to Storrs in February were they almost pulled out a victory?
Jay Bilas (4:43 PM)
I think that Michigan is a tournament team, but the loss to UConn was not "almost pulling off a victory". Michigan lost that game, and lost it by 8. Would you concede that Michigan almost lost to Savannah State, Northwestern, Indiana, and UCLA? Michigan has proven to me that they can beat good teams, and I think they should be in, but parsing the schedule that way can work both ways. UM is a good team that should be better, but should get in.
I don't think any team that goes below .500 in conference play deserves a bid. Give it to a more deserving team like Siena or Dayton.
Jay Bilas (4:46 PM)
Ah, the populist view! "Deserving" has nothing to do with it. If you think that Siena and Dayton are better than, say, Providence and Kentucky, fine. That would be a reasonable basketball judgment. But, don't you think that UK would do pretty darn well in the MAAC and the Atlantic 10? Examine the teams, and pick the best ones. We should not be trying to socially engineer the Tournament.
Marc (Malden, MA)
When is the NCAA putting in the charge/block semi-circle? In the Duke/UNC game, a player took a charge while standing under the basket. Isn't that a little ridiculous?
Jay Bilas (4:47 PM)
I think it is coming. The charge/block circle would be a major step forward. I think that too many charges are called. It is too easy to get a charge, and too many are missed. It is a tough call, but not that tough.
charleston. WV [via mobile]
hey Jay, how about the Mountaineers? Where do they fit in?
Jay Bilas (4:48 PM)
In, and no question about it. Should be around the 5 line, perhaps up or down one from there.
Jay, Magic or Bird?
Jay Bilas (4:49 PM)
Magic. I grew up in Los Angeles, and Magic is the best all-around player I have ever seen.
Jay, as a young law student and Duke Grad I am doing my best to follow in your footsteps. What is the next step for me in ascending to the lofty position of ESPN basketball analyst?
Jay Bilas (4:51 PM)
If you are in law school, broadcasting would be a step down. Keep studying and enjoying the law school experience. Going to law school was the best decision I ever made. I hope you are enjoying it. Broadcasting will be there after you pass the bar. After law school, this will be a lay-up for you. Congrats.
dan c cin oh
Why does every team except cin get a pass for injured players. Williams the 2nd leading scorer and top rebounder has been out for the last 3 games, uc is 1-2. But with Mike Williams back Sat UC should get credit for that but no one is giving them anything I dont get it.
Jay Bilas (4:53 PM)
That is a really good question. I go back and forth on this one. I tend to think that injuries are a part of the game, and we should not give credit for teams that are without an injured player. If you give OU a break for playing without Blake Griffin, do you take credit away from Texas for beating them?
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Bilas: I sense your passion today. Are there any conference tournaments out there that can fuel that passion?
Jay Bilas (4:54 PM)
All of them....being able to watch players lay it on the line for a championship is pretty good. I will be watching them all.
Jay, if Cal goes 0-4 to close things out (UCLA, Zonas, Zona in tourney) are they suddenly out?
Jay Bilas (4:55 PM)
That would not be a good finish, but I think that Cal could absorb a couple of losses. I would not counsel losing the rest of their games.
I am going up to Memphis this year to watch the C-USA tournament. Any reason to expect Memphis not to win?
Jay Bilas (4:56 PM)
The two team that I would think has the best chance to unseat Memphis as CUSA champ would be Tulsa. Jerome Jordan is a load that has to be double teamed, and Ben Uzoh is a warrior. I think that Tulsa would be a really tough out for Memphis on a neutral court.
Luke (Dallas, TX)
I'll be persistent till i get this answered-Does A&M have to win on saturday to make the tournament, if they don't do they have to win twice in the conference tournament
Jay Bilas (4:58 PM)
Texas A&M has to win and do well in the Big 12 Tournament. There is still room to get into the field without gaining the automatic. But, not without winning on Saturday.
Elliot (Athens, GA)
Do you think that Bob Knight will coach next season?
Jay Bilas (4:59 PM)
Maybe. Selfishly, I hope not, because I really enjoy working with him. I have considered Bob Knight a friend for many years, and he is a great companion. But, I want him to do exactly what he wants to do. And, I know he would like to coach in the right situation.
You've probably been too busy lately to watch any non-CBB television, but in April when you (probably?) get some downtime, please watch Season 5 of Lost. Best TV I've ever seen. You're welcome.
Jay Bilas (5:00 PM)
Why? Do they have good guards? Do they play man or zone?
John Priest Brookfield, CT
Hey Jay, A week or two ago we kept hearing that the Big East could get as many as 10 teams into the tourney...but with the demise of Marquette and G-Town's implosion, what's the new assessment?
Jay Bilas (5:02 PM)
It could be 7, and with two number ones. The Georgetown and Notre Dame drops are hard to explain. I think it has to do with how the schedules fell. Nowhere to get healthy and get a mental health win. Both were beaten down by the made for TV schedules.
Wouldnt a more experienced PC team that is playing well right now make for a more competitive tourny pick than Maryland (Mike and Mike)?
Jay Bilas (5:03 PM)
If you think that PC is better than Maryland, vote them in. Close call, but I happen to believe that Maryland is a tad better. The Terps run really good offense, just don't have any big men. It would be a good game between the two of them, though.
Justin: (Dyess AFB, TX)
Jay, Who is your #1 team right now, who do you think will cut down the nets and which conference is BETTER (Notice: not deeper!), the ACC or the BE?
Jay Bilas (5:04 PM)
North Carolina. And, what does "better" mean to you? Is it depth of really good teams, or best at the very top? Can't we just say that the Big East and the ACC are the two best leagues and move on? What if the National Champ comes from the Big Ten?
Jay, if pressing teams do worse in the NCAA Tournament, does that mean UNC shouldn't be considered the favorite? Because I was leaning that way ...
Jay Bilas (5:06 PM)
I didn't say that "pressing teams do worse". I just said that teams have to be able to play a halfcourt game. I don't think that is a strength of Mizzou. And, UNC can press but is not a pressing team.
I know this is an over the top hypothetical, but if the Boston Celtics played in C-USA would people say they weren't any good because they have a weak schedule?
Jay Bilas (5:08 PM)
Bingo. I don't think it is that hard to say which teams are best. We can do it with majors and mid-majors. We can all spot good basketball teams and make judgments based upon a body of work and seeing them with our own basketball savvy eyes.
Larry - Arvada
Isn't it funny... I have tried for months now to get an ESPN analyst to tell me of a QUALITY ROAD win for Duke that merits them a projected #2 seed and home court in the first two rounds... but it must be in the contract with ESPN that only LIES can be said about Duke and Coach K... The truth is out there... NO QUALITY WINS... None to merit a #2 seed and home court advantange.
Jay Bilas (5:13 PM)
Okay, Larry. You got your wish. Thank you for flooding my inbox with the same question over and over again. I will answer your question. How about Purdue, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Maryland, St. John's, Georgia Tech and neutral court wins over Xavier, Southern Illinois and Michigan. Who do you want Duke to beat? I think that Duke is a good team but not a great one. But, it is laughable for you to suggest that the Blue Devils do not have a "quality" road win. By that definition, nobody has any.
Hey, Jay- Saw you on TV today saying Memphis should only get a 2 seed (and I don't necessarily disagree) despite poll rankings, but what would have to happen for a #1? An early exit perfect storm scenario in ACC and/or BE tourneys?
Jay Bilas (5:15 PM)
Mark: I didn't say "should". Because of the losses to Georgetown, Syracuse and Xavier, I think it will be tough to get a No. 1 seed. That is all. Memphis is one of the top ten teams in the nation. With a CUSA title and some losses by others, a No. 1 seed is possible, but not assured. That's all.
Jay, I love your analysis but have to disagree with your thoughts on taking out automatic births. I think conference tournaments are almost as good as the Big Dance. Every single team in America (Ivy League and indepenents excluded) are effectively in the NCAA's at that point. They get to play until they lose. It makes for fascinating basketball. While your suggestion would favor my Bearcats this year I just would hate to take the passion out of championship week. Do you really think that effect is worth the cost?
Jay Bilas (5:18 PM)
We differ, and that is okay. I tend to think that teams would still play their tails off for a conference crown because people compete. I think that a National Championship event should have the best teams, not twenty or so average teams that are cannon fodder for the top seeds. The system is fine now, but we don't have the best teams competing for the title. I don't like that.
Steve (San Diego)
Why is the selection committee made up of athletic directors? Don't they have other things to do? Shouldn't the committee be made up of devoted college hoops junkies?
Jay Bilas (5:21 PM)
The Committee make-up is fine. It is AD's and Commissioners, and they do great work. It is a tough job, and a thankless one. The only constructive criticism I have is that there is not enough basketball experience on the Committee. In a multi-billion dollar enterprise, it seems like we should expect more. But, it is just fine the way it is. "Could be better" is different than "broken".
Jay Bilas (5:21 PM)
Thanks for stopping by for the chat! Have a great weekend. Best, Jay Bilas