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 (3:54 PM)
Hello Everybody! Welcome to the Fastest Chat in College Basketball!! Let's get started, and I will stay as long as I can or as long as you can stand it!! Fire away!! Bilas
As of right now, is UNI in the field of 65? How many more wins do they need to be a "lock" for the NCAA tournament, or do they need to win the MVC Tournament?
Jay Bilas (3:56 PM)
Yes, the Panthers are in. Northern Iowa has eight top 100 wins, beat Siena, Iowa State and Iowa and has done a really good job all season long. They pass the test on paper, and they pass the "eye test" (depending upon whose eyes are on them, I guess). I am not bothered by the loss to Evansville. The key for me is whether you can beat good teams and are competitive on the highest level. Northern Iowa is. They are in.
Hey Jay, Is Maryland considered a lock now after beating Clemson last night? Also is Greivis Vasquez finally passing Jon Scheyer as ACC Player of the Year?
Jay Bilas (3:59 PM)
Lock, and a lock before the win against Clemson. Gary WIlliams has done a magnificent job with this team, and Jordan Williams has been a major key to the Terps recent success. Is this a perfect team that has Final Four written all over it? No. But, it is a team that will win a first round game, and with a good draw, can play on the second weekend. And Vasquez has been brilliant. Slow start to the season, but a really strong finish. And, if I have a vote, his number 21 is hanging from the rafters. He has been as important a player as Maryland has had in a while, and he is more than accomplished enough to warrant his jersey retirement.
Jay, comparing UNC this year to Kansas last year... both teams won the championship the previous year and both had major players move on (graduation, NBA, etc). How would you explain UNC's collapse this year yet Kansas still prospered (won the Big 12 and went to the Regional Final). Thanks!
Jay Bilas (4:01 PM)
North Carolina's collapse this season is simply inexplicable. The Heels have more talent than their record would indicate, and I hardly think that Roy Williams has forgotten how to do this. While the coaching staff has responsibility for the players they brought in, the players should take the lion's share of the blame for this. I do not see the fight and resolve that good teams show. When the ball is on the floor, not enough Carolina jerseys are down going for it. Great kids, and I feel for them. But, this is not a good team, nor will it be this year. Next year, look out. Motivated team and coach, and much more talent. This is just a blip on the Carolina radar screen.
Joe (College Park, MD)
I told you last week that you would look smart for ranking Maryland. Look at you now.
Jay Bilas (4:02 PM)
Yes. Look at me. Balding and sucking the life out of everything.
What game are you most excited about watching this saturday?
Jay Bilas (4:03 PM)
Syracuse and Villanova. I will be there, and if I can slog through the snow, it should be a great game. Two top ten teams, and the Big East title on the line. Sounds like a winner to me.
Jacoby J (Highland, UT)
Jay, Jimmer continues to put up huge numbers... While he is getting attention I believe he deserves more , I believe he is definitely on par with Sheyer and Wall... What do you think? you think he needs to prove himself tourny time to be considered in that group?
Jay Bilas (4:05 PM)
Jimmer Fredette is a future pro. He is very good with the ball, with a great left to right crossover, and he is really strong with the ball. Fredette is good off of ballscreens and if you foul him, he is automatic from the line. I have been really impressed with his teammate, Jackson Emery, who is one of the fastest guards in the country, and does a great job on the defensive end, leading the MWC in steals. I think that Fredette should be in the All-America conversation, and should be thought of as a POY candidate, yes. But, I would vote for Evan Turner first. I think that Turner is the best all-around player in the nation.
Eric (Siena College)
Any chance Ronald Moore will be one of the 5 finalists for the Cousy Award? or is the nations assist leader out of luck because of our small school.
Jay Bilas (4:07 PM)
He should be. Moore is a big time winner, and will leave Siena with a ton of victories. That kid knows how to lead and how to make plays. I really like that team, with Ubiles, Franklin and Rossiter added to Moore. Remember, they Saints had a bunch of losses the past two years and still won games in the NCAA Tournament. Really good team.
Jay...what are your thoughts on the best in the west this year? would you say that the winner of the UNM-BYU game on saturday could claim that title??
Jay Bilas (4:09 PM)
Probably, although Gonzaga and Cal are still in the picture. I think that BYU is probably a tad better than New Mexico, but it is a close call. I really enjoy watching the Cougars play. If they can avoid Texas A&M in the Tournament, perhaps they can advance.
Jay, why why why why why is a shooter allowed to jump sideways into a defender to create contact and get the foul called on the defender. It's ridiculous.
Jay Bilas (4:10 PM)
In your example, it would be a foul if the defender had established and maintained legal guarding position. Those calls are tough. I always applaud players that seek out contact to draw fouls, but that doesn't mean that I think that all of the calls are good ones. The referees have a really difficult job. This kind of call is right there among the toughest they have to deal with.
You are correct in the fact that it is your job as an analyst to point out incorrect calls made by officials. This is a new (this year) part of your commentary and I was wondering if it is because you feel that referrer's are make more incorrect calls this year? And please add if you agree most games are NOT decided by the officiating as many fans claim after there teams is defeated.
Jay Bilas (4:14 PM)
Okay, I will say this again. I am not critical of officials. The officials do a really good job, and have a tough job. But, the officials are the law of the court, and their calls should be respected. That said, I and others in my job should feel free to question any call we think is incorrect. It is perfectly acceptable to be critical of a call, and you can do it without being critical of an official. We are critical of coaching decisions, players' decisions and actions, but we cannot opine on the correctness of a call? Lastly, I agree with you that most games are not decided by officiating. But, it would be ridiculous to believe that officiating plays no role in the manner in which games are played. It is important, and should be treated as such.
Nick (Madison, WI)
Jay, you keep comparing this season to 2006, no truly great teams. Then when people ask you to pick your final four right now, you just go with the top 4 in the rankings. So, do you actually believe the 2006 comparison or were you just hoping no one would notice the hypocrisy? Seems like your final four picks should be something like Cal, Vanderbilt, Siena, and Ohio State.
Jay Bilas (4:18 PM)
Hypocrisy is to persistently pretend to hold beliefs that you do not really hold. To believe that there are no truly great teams and to go with the top four in the rankings is not hypocrisy. Every year, there is a Draft, but some years there are good drafts and lesser drafts. But, every year there is a No. 1 pick. One year it is LeBron James, and one year it is Michael Olowokandi. This year, there are no truly great teams, but some really, really good ones. Kansas is the best team, but UConn was the best team in 2006. And, UConn lost to a mid-major in the Elite Eight. Final Four picks do not really matter until the bracket comes out, and now, I go with the four teams I think are the best teams. Right now, the best teams are Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Villanova. Thanks for the advice, though. Are you going to Vegas with your four suggestions?
Why no love by ANYONE for Jamie Dixon as National Coach of the Year? The man lost 4 starters from last years team and his 2 most experienced guys back were out until mid-December, yet he never missed a beat. He once again has his team ranked in the Top 15, they have won 10+ Big East games for a 9th straight season (2nd all-time in BE), they have 3 wins vs top 5 teams (no other team in the nation can claim that) and have beaten Syracuse AT the Dome. Yet people are talking about Boehiem for COY. Please explain this to me??
Jay Bilas (4:20 PM)
Good call. You got us. We are putting up Boeheim because we are jealous of Jamie's hair. Pure and simple.As Sargeant Hulka said so well, "Lighten up, Francis!"Dixon is a great coach. Boeheim is a great coach. COY awards are crazy subjective, but Big East titles are not. That is the one that both want....the Big East title.
Why is no one talking about the blocked shots record being broken by Jarvis Varnado last night?
Jay Bilas (4:23 PM)
We are too busy talking about why no one is voting for Jamie Dixon for Coach of the Year. That's why. What are people supposed to do? Jarvis is a great kid, and that is a very meaningful record, but SportsCenter is not leading with Wojciech Myrda's record going down. But, perhaps they should.
Who's the best college basketball player today?
Jay Bilas (4:25 PM)
Evan Turner of Ohio State is the best all-around player. DeMarcus Cousins of Kentucky is the best rebounder and big man. Jarvis Varnado is the best individual defender. John Wall is the best pro prospect. And, Luke Babbitt of Nevada is the best player that nobody talks about. He is really good.
With Hummel going down last night, how much will the selection committe devalue Purdue?
Jay Bilas (4:27 PM)
Good question, and I don't think anyone knows the answer. If Hummel is out for the year, and I hope he is not, then Purdue would be judged on who they are without him. If they continue to win, they won't drop much if at all. But, if the Boilers lose a bunch of games and are not the same team, they will still make the Tournament, but could take a hit in seeding. Each person on the Committee has to make up his or her own mind.
Jay, Do you think Gordon Hayward stats are different (less) if he played on a big conference team or is he really that good?? Best possible seed for Butler??
Jay Bilas (4:29 PM)
Gordon Hayward would be a star anywhere. That kid simply knows how to play, and he will play in the NBA for a long time. I think that Butler can be a 4 seed, and perhaps a 3 seed if they win out and others lose.
What does FSU need to do in their last 3 games to ensure they make the dance?
Jay Bilas (4:30 PM)
Win. Pretty simple.
Hi Jay. Who in your opinion should be the ACC coach of the year?
Jay Bilas (4:31 PM)
It would be between Gary Williams and Coach K for me. But, I can see people voting for Seth Greenburg for what he has done with the Tech program. I think Coach of the Year awards should be voted upon by coaches and not the media.
Jay why in the world did ESPN/USA Today have West Virginia ranked ahead of Villanova when at the time WVU had 1 more loss then Nova, and were just beaten by them at home not to long ago?
Jay Bilas (4:33 PM)
It is a poll. There is no rhyme or reason to it. It is just a collection of votes of individuals. Try this....don't look at records. Just list the best teams in order of who you think is better. I bet it would look different than the polls.
Did you see William Buford of Ohio State's gesture to the Penn State student section Wednesday? Should players just ignore student sections or is it justified if they've been egging the guy for 40 minutes?
Jay Bilas (4:35 PM)
I did not see it, and don't know if anything happened at all. Buford is a really good kid. But, players are human, and sometimes people in the stands can get to them. Players should ignore the crowd, but it is tough to do. Especially when something is said or chanted at the player that in inappropriate or pushes a kid's buttons. Fans need to show respect to the players if they expect it back. It works both ways.
Matt (Storrs, CT)
Jay, with Kemba Walker's recent offensive explosion, do you think the Huskies have pulled it together just in time to get an At-large bid? And how far can they go in the BE tournament?
Jay Bilas (4:36 PM)
UConn is in much better shape. I think that the weakest group of at-large candidates in years and years helps, too. The Committee will have a tough job not because there are so many great teams, but because there are so few.
Joe (St. Louis)
Jay, you, Raft and Sean are the most entertaining crew calling games today. Any chance of seeing you three teamed up for the Big East tourney?
Jay Bilas (4:37 PM)
Yes. We will be at the Big East Tournament together, and we are really excited about it. The Big East Tournament is the best tournament in college basketball. But, it is a close call. The Big Ten and the ACC are pretty darn good, too.
The Hamburglar (DC)
What's your opinion on Vandy's Memorial Gymnasium being "unfair?"It didn't seem to be unfair when the Dores were pathetic a few years back. It seems convenient for people to use that excuse now that he's put together a respectable program.Go Dores
Jay Bilas (4:39 PM)
That is stupid. I hear people talk about that too much. It is interesting having the benches at the baseline, but that is it. I played in Memorial, and I do not ever remember being disoriented or not knowing where my coach or bench was. Memorial is really tough when Vandy is really good. It is really easy when Vandy is not so good. Pretty easy to figure out, huh?
How much will UConn's strength of schedule play into the NCAA selection committee's decision on the tournament?
Jay Bilas (4:40 PM)
A good deal, but the Huskies still have to win against that schedule. The key is whether UConn is among the 34 best teams after the automatic qualifiers are in the field. That is the only measure. The rest is just talk.
What is your opinion of Marqus Blakely?
Jay Bilas (4:41 PM)
One of the best rebounders in the country and a terrific player. Vermont has a winner in Blakely, and he is the best player in the league.
Scott (Bloomington, IN)
Seems like the college game is too reliant on the driving to the basket and the three point shot. What can be done to reintroduce the mid range jumper to the game?
Jay Bilas (4:43 PM)
Get rid of the three-point shot, or move it back to the NBA distance. Complaining about the disappearance of the mid-range game is like lamenting the lack of artistry in tennis or golf. Players from yesteryear would play the same way these kids do if they were playing the same game, just as the tennis players and golfers would make use of the new equipment and play the boom boom game.
Will Florida Make the NCAA Tournament? Thanks.
Jay Bilas (4:46 PM)
Probably, yes. The Tennessee win was a really good one, and it would be really good to get Vandy or Kentucky to help seal the deal. Things could feel different if Florida were to lose the rest of its games. But, I think that the Committee will have a tough time reaching 65, so I think that Florida will get in. Not a good shooting team, but they play hard.
Walt (Kansas City)
One possession left and down 1, what player do you want with the ball?
Jay Bilas (4:47 PM)
Evan Turner, Sherron Collins, Jimmer Fredette or John Wall.
its ridicilous that teams like Northern Iowa are locks bc of a weak sched. use the eye test.UGA would beat northern iowa by 10+.if you have seen both play,no one can say different
Jay Bilas (4:49 PM)
I don't know if I agree with that. I think that Georgia is doing a good job and can beat people, but are inconsistent. Mark Fox is doing a great job in Athens, and will have that program back in pretty short order. But, Northern Iowa would be a handful for Georgia because the Panthers are strong, have some size inside, and can control tempo. They have played a tough schedule, and have played well against it. Would Northern Iowa win the SEC? No, but they wouldn't be patsies or an easy out, either.
Ben Carnahan (West Lafayette)
Hey Jay, what's your view on the injury to Robbie? all i've heard is that he has a torn ACL. how far can Purdue go in the tourney and how will this affect their seeding in the tournament?
Jay Bilas (4:54 PM)
You are correct. Hummel is out for the season. I am sick about it. Great player, great kid, credit to the game. It is a devastating blow to the Boilermakers. Purdue will still be a good team, but the chances of making Indy and winning it are greatly diminished. I am just sick about this. Hummel is the heart and soul of the Purdue program. I really feel for the kid, and for his team. This reminds me of Kenyon Martin's injury in 2000. Cincinnati was the best team, but could not recover from his injury.
Jay, as a fellow barrister, can you offer this overworked litigation associate advice on how to creatively work your chats into my daily billable hours report?
Jay Bilas (4:55 PM)
I do it everyday, my friend.
Austin Freeman dominated another half of basketball, Tuesday. Is he on the shortlist for Big East POY?
Jay Bilas (4:59 PM)
I think he should be, and should be right there for All-Big East honors. The problem is, there are sixteen teams and just five spots for First Team. Reynolds, Johnson, Hayward, Monroe, Butler, Gibbs, Harangody, Hazell, Jones, Kennedy all make good cases. Tough calls, But, I hear you. Freeman is right there.
In your mind, is UConn in or out?
Jay Bilas (5:00 PM)
In my mind, they are in. But my mind has already gone to a 96 team field. In reality, the Huskies are right on the cusp. I think they will make it, but need to win a couple of more games to show what they are with Calhoun back. That should be enough.
Terry (the 'Burgh)
14-16 teams in a hoops league (ala, Big East). Innovative idea, or failed experiment? I say the latter, just because you're not gonna get in 10+ teams into the Dance no matter how good they are. And if so why on earth would the Big Ten (or Pac-10) even consider >12?
Jay Bilas (5:01 PM)
Innovative idea, and one that will be copied by others. Expansion is the order of the day. Get used to it. It is coming to a league near you, like the Pac-10 and the Big Ten.
Lou (New York)
Is Brian Zoubek's new found productivity something that could put Duke over the hump and get them to their first final four since 04'?
Jay BIlas (5:11 PM)
Sorry, got bounced off the internet. Zoubek's development has been important for Duke. He was hyped coming into college as the best Duke big man since Gminski, but he has had injuries and did not develop as expected. But, he stuck with it and has played very well. Good rebounder and screener/scorer, and he is huge. He will really help them down the stretch.
The Xavier Muskies were crusing until an ugly loss to Dayton. Are they still in?
Jay BIlas (5:12 PM)
X will make it. Don't worry. That is a good team with a good enough profile to make it in.
Jack (East Lansing MI)
Jay, WHAT IS WRONG WITH MICHIGAN STATE?
Jay BIlas (5:13 PM)
THIER FANS ARE YELLING AT THEM IN CHATS, THAT'S WHAT!!
Do you think Oklahoma State will be in the NCAA tourney?
Jay BIlas (5:14 PM)
Yes, I think the Cowboys will make it. They have to take 65 teams. But, I would not stop winning. The margin is too thin.
Would you ever consider coaching college basketball?
Jay BIlas (5:18 PM)
I used to be an assistant coach under Coach K, but my wife prefers me as a broadcaster. I never lose in this job. I may wish to get back into it in later years, but I am really happy now. Coaching is tough stuff. And, the guys that have done it really well, guys like Fran Fraschilla and Steve Lavin, seem to like broadcasting, too. It is a lot easier. I have a ton of respect for coaches. I am a trial attorney in addition to my broadcasting job, but I never have anyone stop me in the supermarket and complain about how I argue a motion or how well written my last brief was. But, people think they know as much about basketball and basketball teams as coaches do. Interesting. But, that is one of the reasons we all love it. Great game, and passionate followers. Thanks for the question.
Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)
Can you please spare our fans the sight of watching Digger dance this weekend when you are visiting the Dome? Thanks.
Jay BIlas (5:20 PM)
Amen, brother. Alert the authorities, the Silver Fox is heading into Siberacuse. Heaven help us all. Thanks for all of your questions, and have a great weekend! Bilas