Chat with Jay Bilas
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will stop by to chat about the hoops season.
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 Bilas Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Jay Bilas (3:56 PM)
Welcome to the fastest chat in College Basketball history!! I type my own answers, and you cannot keep up with me. Give me your best shot, and we will see how many we can get. One rule...if you submit the same question over and over and over again, I will not answer it unless there is cash involved. Fire away....Jay
Freddy (Los Angeles)
What does the win over UNC really means to Clemson?
Jay Bilas (3:59 PM)
It means that the Tigers get to storm the court again, and that Clemson fans get to have a really good and memorable time. But, the true test of a big time program is how you play on the road. Being a bully at home and a victim on the road is not the sign of a great team. Clemson is good, and very good at home. But, the Clemson press is totally different outside of Littlejohn. That has to change. That said, Littlejohn is a great atmosphere against Duke and North Carolina. I can't wait for GameDay at Clemson, especially since I get to go back to the Esso Club for a burger.
David (New York)
Jay, you need to help us Michigan fans from jumping off the ledge. The only differences from last years team are the addition of a top 100 recruit and the loss of three "role players" in CJ Lee, David Merritt and Kevin Grady. Were these three players really the glue that held that team together? Please explain what you think happened.
Jay Bilas (4:00 PM)
How high is the ledge?
Jay Bilas (4:06 PM)
Just joking. I would never condone suicide by hurling oneself off of buildings, aiming for the concrete below. It was nice having Merritt (great kid, he's doing Michigan radio broadcasts now), Lee and Grady, but don't buy that they are the reason that Michigan has not played well. They are not the reason, sorry guys. Michigan certainly hasn't shot the ball well, but that isn't it either. When Michigan defends, the Wolverines win or have a great chance to win, period. Against some of the best teams that Michigan has played, the defense has been poor. Think about it, how many good teams go into big games saying, "Boy, we really need to shoot it well to win." Who does that? North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas? No. They talk about defense, doing the tough things on the floor like getting loose balls, taking charges, taking the opponent out of what they want to do. Nobody worries more about shooting that Michigan. Funny how when the Wolverines guard people, they play well and win, huh? Michigan is a Top 25 team that is not playing like one....yet. There is still time, and I think this team can still make the NCAA Tournament. To pros, and some capable pieces around them. They just need to go out and compete instead of worrying about shooting. Dr. Bilas is now out of the office. You may now return to the ledge. Just don't jump.
Freddy (Los Angeles)
Of the College Gameday games scheduled for this season, which one are you most looking forward to?
Jay Bilas (4:07 PM)
Manhattan, Kansas. I have never been there. I hear that Bramlage is great.
Nate (Las Vegas)
Does the Pac-10 deserve more than one bid? Really...?
Jay Bilas (4:11 PM)
Not yet. I have watched every team in the league play at least twice except for Washington State (which I watched against Kansas State, and they were bullied), and the league is simply down this year. California and Washington are the best teams, but U-Dub has been lousy on the road. Arizona State has been a nice surprise, but the Sun Devils are not a lock. Oregon State has been bad, and the only reason the Beavers beat Oregon is because the Ducks were simply worse. That was an awful game. I have praised the Pac-10 in years past, but this is not a good year for the league. It will be back, though. But this year may be a rough one on Selection Sunday. However, keep an open mind. If play improves, We will notice.
Chad (Columbia, MO)
Jay-- Mizzou having picked up two tough wins to start conference play, seems to be building some consistency with 9 straight wins and a different player stepping up each night. Are you impressed with their young talent at this point in the season and do you see the Tigers as a legit threat to challenge Kansas and Texas in the Big 12?
Jay Bilas (4:13 PM)
Outstanding passing team. The Tigers really share the ball and the ball never dies in one player's hands. Last week, 9 different Tigers had at least 19 assists or more. And, the Tigers have good guards, are very disruptive defensively, and play really hard. Are the Tigers Elite Eight good? Maybe, but Mizzou would need a break here and there. I like Mike Anderson's team, though. They can beat anyone in the Big 12.
Gavin (Wilmington, NC)
Kentucky only has one commitment for next year. Do you think that some of the guys like Knight and Selby are waiting to see who stays and who goes pro before they commit? Who else do you think they can get for next year?
Jay Bilas (4:14 PM)
That is probably what is happening. John Calipari has no problem recruiting kids that are simply waiting to see what the players ahead of them are going to do. And, don't worry about John's recruiting. He gets players and will continue to get players at Kentucky.
Even with a win at Northwestern last night, will Wisconsin be able to survive in the Big Ten without Jon Leuer for an unknown amount of time he will be gone?
Jay Bilas (4:16 PM)
Survive? Yes, absolutely. But, it will be tough without him. He is the most skilled player on the team, and he has really improved from last year to this. Wisconsin will still be in the upper division.
Jay, give us some West coast love! Do you feel that Gonzaga's team this year could reach a protected seed and play their tourney games in Spokane and SLC? If that's possible, they could make a run at the Sweet 16 which 3 months ago most thought would struggle into the tourney. Thoughts?
Jay Bilas (4:21 PM)
Of course it is possible. It depends upon the match-ups as to how far that almost any team can go. Plus, you have to have some luck, be healthy and all of that. Gonzaga is very young, but really good. The big men do not have a ton of experience, but Harris is a difference maker and Sacre is really big and strong. WIth Bouldin and Gray, you have two guys that can score. The Zags will be a top five seed, I believe.
John W (MPLS, MN)
Jay, what are your thoughts on my Golden Gophers? I can't remember them ever playing D like this. Played the Spartans tough at Breslin, is this the year they finally make some noise in the tourney?
Jay Bilas (4:23 PM)
Very good depth, and very good players across the board. I like Lawrence Westbrook, Al Nolen and Damian Johnson very much. Plus, the Gophers have size, and Blake Hoffarber is shooting the lights out. I think that Minnesota is one of the top thirty teams in the nation, and will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament. I think that Tubby Smith is doing a really good job with that program.
Great job as a commentator of the Nova-Louisville game Monday night! What do you think of Nova's chances to repeat a Final Four appearance?
Jay Bilas (4:26 PM)
I like the Wildcats. It hurts to have lost Cunningham, Clark and Anderson because they brought some real old school and old man toughness, but the guards are so good that they can make the difference. Reynolds is having a truly great season, and Malik Wayns has the chance to be a better shooting Kyle Lowry. With Mouph Yarou coming back and actually being pretty darn good. Villanova's chances are much better today than they were two weeks ago.
Brian (Rochester, NY)
Hi Jay, Thoughts on the Syracuse Orange? They seem to be struggling but are still winning big. Thanks
Jay Bilas (4:27 PM)
Struggling? The Orange is shooting 53% on the season, and they have gotten really good play out of Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine. Is this a perfect team? No, but it is a really good one. I think it is top ten without arguement. Wesley Johnson is the real thing, and Andy Rautins is a great defender and shooter.
Steve (Chapel Hill)
Jay, will UNC ever be good again? This team is a joke.
Jay Bilas (4:30 PM)
Holy cow, calm down a bit. Bad game? Yes. A bummer? Yes. But, a joke? No. Remember, Clemson beat the tar out of Duke at Clemson last year, and may do the same thing this year. Clemson is really good at home. Really good at home. Remember, Carolina won two titles and advanced to three Final Fours over the last five years. During that stretch, no other ACC team got past the Sweet 16. A joke? Please. Oh, and I have a pretty good feeling that Carolina will be "good again". Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Kencall Marshall will see to that.
David (Durham, NC)
Jay - You drive me crazy sometimes with the whole Duke thing, but I can't ignore that you're hands down right there with Bobby Knight as the most intelligent basketball analysts out there. I'd love to see you become a head coach somewhere. Any chance?
Jay Bilas (4:33 PM)
My wife would kill me if I went back into coaching. I used to be an assistant at Duke, and thought I would stay in it. But, it was better for my family if I went in a different direction. Oddly enough, I still get feelers as to whether I would be interested in jobs, but I am really happy with what I am doing. Plus, I never lose. I watch a lot of tape, but I am not responsible for devising a game plan to stop what I am scouting. I have enormous respect for coaches, and I would not get back into it unless I was in with both feet.
Jay - top match up for the WCC tonight with the Gaels of St. Mary's hosting Gonzaga... who do you have and what will be the key to the game?
Jay Bilas (4:36 PM)
St. Mary's is good. I am a big fan of Omar Samhan, who I regard as one of the best big men in the nation. If Samhan was in the Big East or the ACC, we would be talking about him on SportsCenter. This is a big game for St. Mary's if the Gaels want to win the league. Matthew Delevadova will be a big factor in the game tonight. But, Samhan is Randy Bennett's best player, and his battle with Harris and Sacre should be really good.
John Lizzi (Muskegon, MI by way of Pittsburgh)
Jay, how impressed are you with the performance of Pitt this year so far? What do you tbhink their prospects are going forward?
Jay Bilas (4:38 PM)
Really impressed. Pitt changed the way it plays, focusing on getting jumpshots for Ashton Gibbs and drives for Brad Wannamaker, and the addition of Jermaine Dixon and Gilbert Brown has really made Pitt's offense and defense much more efficient. Is this Pitt team as good at Texas, Kansas and Kentucky? Probably not, but they are good enough to beat almost everyone else.
Rashad Holt (Dallas, tx)
OK....Avery Bradley is going off right now. He's showing why he was the No. 1 overall player coming out last year. Difference between him and Wall, whom the media has blown up so much that I'm starting to dislike him just as much as tebow, is that he was on a team that didn't need him to be the man right away. Your thoughts?
Jay Bilas (4:44 PM)
Bradley is really starting to play as well as he is capable of playing, and he is being more assertive. Wall is really explosive and entertaining, and we are a numbers and highlight culture. But, we have been talking about Bradley. He is not some unknown that is being ignored. And, with every game on TV now, it is easy to start believing that guys are being overhyped. You have to look at each game separately, and understand that TV bosses are telling the announcers to repeat their best stuff because the games get a new audience every so often. If you watch a game start to finish like I do, you and I are in the minority of sports viewers. I hope that makes sense.
Jay,Who do you think is a better player, E'Twuan Moore or Manny Harris?
Jay Bilas (4:46 PM)
Good question. It really depends upon what you want in a player. Moore is bigger and stronger, and a better defender. Harris is the better scorer and all-around offensive player. If I wanted a college player, I would take Moore. If I wanted a pro to score for me, I would take Harris. If I could, I would take Evan Turner over both of them!!
Jay Bilas (4:47 PM)
Good question. I would like Jon Scheyer of Duke, Ashton Gibbs of Pitt, and Jimmer Fredette of BYU.
Jeff (already have my tickets) (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Okay, Jay your the coach. Your team is down by one with 1.7 seconds remaining in double overtime and you are shooting a one and one from the charity line. What three players would you choose from to shoot the potential game winning shot for the National Championship?
Jay Bilas (4:48 PM)
Sorry....posted the answer first. Scheyer, Gibbs, Fredette.
Kirk Aigner (Steamboat Springs, Colorado)
Hey Jay, what does Iowa State have to do in the Big 12 to be in the conversation for the NCAA tournament? And, if the tournament field was announced today, what kind of seed would Northern Iowa get?
Jay Bilas (4:50 PM)
They Cyclones have to beat a top 25 team, or consistently beat NCAA caliber teams. To me, I look for how you play against the best teams. If you struggle a few times against a bad team, I don't really care. You won't play bad teams in the NCAA Tournament. I want to know how you play against the good teams. And, Iowa State has not won enough games against the best teams yet. They are pretty darn good, though, and should have better success this year than last year.
David (South Charleston WV)
What do you think of VT's blowout of a ranked Miami last night. I know the Hokies were at home, but this is the type of win that has been missing from the resume
Jay Bilas (4:52 PM)
I was a little surprised. Miami has not played the toughest slate, but they should not have been blitzed. Seth Greenberg has done a really nice job at Va Tech. They are really competitive in that league. And, when healthy, Malcom Delaney is one of the top five guards in the ACC.
Steve (Wichita, Ks)
I think it would be great and exciting if, maybe for a week, ESPN changes up the announcer/analyst duties. Have some of the ones, such as yourself, that usually do the higher end games, do a couple mid-major games and vice-versa. Has ESPN ever thought about this or is it not feasable? Would you be up for doing something like that?
Jay Bilas (4:53 PM)
I have done some mid-major games. I did Butler against Ohio State in Hinkle, and I have done several others over the past few years, including the MAAC Tournament. I would love to do that. Good call.
B Smith (Tampa)
Should Wes Johnson stay another year at Syracuse or will the NBA scouts look at the talent and mark him a top 5 pick.
Jay Bilas (4:55 PM)
Depends what he wants to do. There is no right answer to that, and if there is, Johnson is the only one that truly knows it. My advice would be this.....if you are ready to make an impact on the league, then go. If you absolutely have to have the money, then go. And, if you are a fraud and you need to go into the Draft before you are found out, then go. Otherwise, do what you want to do, just understand the full impact of your decision both ways.
For the sake of the game of college ball, should the NCAA push the NBA to make it 2 years removed from high school?
Jay Bilas (4:57 PM)
It is not for the sake of college ball, it is for the sake of the NBA. The NBA does not do anything for college ball, they do it out of self interest, which is fine with me. I think that it would be better for the NBA to make it two years, and the players should embrace it because veterans get to keep their jobs longer. But, it will not happen for a couple of years, anyway.
BEST PLAYER in college basketball? wall or evan turner?
Jay Bilas (4:58 PM)
Wall is the best prospect and will be the best pro in time. Turner is the best all-around player in the nation when healthy, and reminds me of Brandon Roy. If he were not hurt, Turner would have been midseason National Player of the Year.
Is UK the most talented team in the country in the front and back court?
Jay Bilas (4:59 PM)
YES. Count the pros...Wall, Cousins, Patterson and Cousins. That is one powerful and talented team. If they get older fast, Kentucky could be the best team at the end of this season.
Blaine Taylor (Norfolk, VA)
I know you hate mid majors Jay, but there are some really good ones this year. Northern Iowa, Old Dominion, and many others. Do you think this year we will see more at large bids for the mid majors? I mean the CAA and MVC are more competitive and are likely to get more bids than the PAC-10!
Jay Bilas (5:02 PM)
I don't hate mid-majors, just like you don't hate know it all announcers. If you will note, I ranked Northern Iowa, and I had Butler ranked in the top ten earlier this year. When mid-majors are really good, they get plenty of respect, love or whatever you want to call it. And, yes, some middies will benefit from a down Pac-10. But, with a down Pac-10 comes an up A-10 and MWC. It is all about teams, not conferences. If you can play, you will be found.
Maryland has played well, but had a tough loss to Wake in overtime on Tuesday....how do you see their season playing out?
Jay Bilas (5:04 PM)
Maryland is playing much better than they were in Maui. Outrebounding FSU and playing Wake to OT in Winston Salem is really good. What did you think, that Gary's team would lay down? Maryland is an NCAA Tournament team.
Jay what was the toughest place you played in during your college career? I have heard that old Reynolds Coliseum could get pretty loud back in the day.
Jay Bilas (5:06 PM)
Reynolds was really tough because it was loud and the fans were obnoxious (and I mean that in a good way). I though Cole Field House at Maryland was really tough, as was Clemson. But, usually the arena was only as tough at the team that we played on the floor. I never walked out of an arena thinking that the crowd beat us. It never happened. And, when we lost at home, nobody in the press every blamed the crowd.
Tim (Dayton OHIO)
How do you like Dayton's chances against Xavier on saturday? Have you seen Dayton Play and if so what are your thoughts?
Jay Bilas (5:10 PM)
I like Dayton a lot. The Flyers really defend and rebound, and I like Chris Wright and Chris Johnson, and Brian Gregory's team really does a nice job passing. Five Flyers have 20 or more assists, led by London Warren, and seven guys have 14 or more assists. Dayton is not big, but they fight hard. The win over Georgia Tech proved they could hang with bigger and stronger teams, and I think that Dayton is more than good enough to beat Dayton. But, Dayton can certainly be beaten by XU, too. Should be a great game.
David (Durham, NC)
Jay, I keep hearing you say Mason Plumlee is Duke's most talented player. I'd probably agree with most athletic potential, and maybe most talented big man... but do you really think he's the overall most talented?? I'd argue for Smith, Scheyer and Singler over him, and not just because they score more.
Jay Bilas (5:13 PM)
You can argue all you want to, but Mason Plumlee is the most talented player on the roster. Give him some time, and he will be the best player on the roster, as well. He is competitive and skilled, and when he learns how to play, he will be really, really good. Scheyer is better right now, but he is not more talented than Mason, nor is Singler or Smith. No way.But, I could be wrong. I was wrong once when I was a little kid when I mistakenly thought I was wrong. Of course, I was not.
Jay, how are Digger's dance moves looking this year?
Jay Bilas (5:15 PM)
I just ate. But, that reminds me, I have to pick up Digger from the nursing home in time for GameDay on Saturday. Thanks for the reminder.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Bilas: Being talented is great but come tournament time do you feel teams with the better senior leadership are the ones poised to get deeper?
Jay Bilas (5:20 PM)
Good question to end on. I do, generally, believe that experience and talent beats inexperienced talent. But, Kentucky has such super talent and there are not any truly great teams out there, so I think that Kentucky can win this thing if they keep improving. The improvement from November until now. I still think that Texas and Kansas have an upper hand, but there are no guarantees. The Fab Five did it, and so did Carmelo. If I had all of the answers, I would go to Vegas and lounge by the pool.You know what? That's a good idea. See you next week, and if you see me at a game, come up and say hello. Thanks! Jay