Chat with Jay Bilas
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will stop by to chat about this weekend's games.
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 Friday at 11 a.m. ET!
Jay Bilas (10:32 AM)
Welcome to the fastest chat in basketball!! Let's get started a bit early so that I can get to as many questions as possible....we have had a really fun and interesting Tournament so far, and there is no end in sight to the surprises. Fire away!
Jay, 15 mins into the second half UK had 8 pts (for the half). I was watching K St at the time, so what is your explaination for the lack of scoring.
Jay Bilas (10:35 AM)
Aha, a trip to Negative Town! Listen, I do not say this to denigrate any team or teams, but I have been saying all season long that I do not believe that there is a truly great team out there this season. Kentucky is really, really good, as was Kansas and Syracuse, but this was not a great year for power teams or for true greatness. That said, Kentucky is young and subject to lapses, and the Young Cats had lapses in the second half. What has really impressed me is UK's defense. Young teams usually do not play defense with the discipline and toughness that UK has shown. If UK wins this thing, it will not be because of offense, it will be because of defense.
Tyler (Amarillo, TX)
Should Kansas State have fould Crawford before he hit that long three to tie the game up?
Jay Bilas (10:39 AM)
That is the most interesting strategic debate in college basketball. There is no right answer. I think that fouling when up three is good strategy in most late game situations when the clock is under five seconds. Otherwise, you leave too much time on the clock for the opponent, and you bring losing into the equation. I was talking at length last night with PJ Carlesimo about this very thing, and PJ said that most NBA coaches are not fouling in that situation now. International coaches all seem to foul in that situation. This decision is not like going for two in football where the score dictates the decision. It is more complicated than that, and there are more variables. I prefer to rely upon my defense, but reasonable minds can differ.
Can Duke honestly win it all?
Jay Bilas (10:42 AM)
Duke CAN win it, but the Blue Devils are not the favorite to win it. I think that Kentucky is better than Duke, and should be favored. But, there is no way that anyone can say with any certainty which team will win it this year. There is no "North Carolina, 2009" in this field. Duke has the best path to Indy, and should get there, but it would be an upset if Duke could beat UK there.
I am nervous about BG leaving for Iowa. I am confident he will not go to Depaul, . We would like him to stay in Dayton for a long time. Any thought ?
Jay Bilas (10:44 AM)
You are referring to Brian Gregory, the Flyers head coach. And, get used to the feeling, because however long that Brian stays at UD, he will be getting attention from other schools. Really, it is a compliment to Brian and to Dayton, and an annual dance that your AD will have to go through. It certainly beats the alternative! I am a big believer in Brian, and if I were an AD, I would be working my tail off to try and hire him away from you. Brian Gregory is the real thing.
Brad (Elizabethtown KY)
Hey Jay! Love your work man! I thoroughly believe that refs do have a difficult job and they make the correct call the vast majority of the time, but come on....that Kentucky/Cornell game had some of the worst officiating I've seen! Was it as bad in person as it looked on TV?
Jay Bilas (10:49 AM)
Is that Elizabethtown from the movie?! Great soundtrack, by the way. I am a big supporter of officials, and I agree with you that the officials do a great job the vast, vast majority of the time. In fact, I quarrel only with particular calls, not whether referees do a good overall job in a game or games. There were a couple of misses in the Cornell-UK game, but you have to expect some missed calls. It is impossible to call a game without missing some. The only call I thought was totally booted was the intentional foul by Jeff Foote on DeMarcus Cousins. Other than that, I did not see any calls that caught my attention. One last thing, I think it is okay to disagree with a particular call. That is fine. But, the talk after the Robert Morris-Villanova game was over the top. The officials in that game may have missed some calls, but they are men of integrity that were striving to do the best job and get it right. Any suggestion otherwise has no basis in fact, and is without merit. Thanks for the question.
hey jay,I have heard that the ncaa is going to start penalizing programs based on athlete graduation rates to improve graduation? Any of this true and how will it affect recruiting? thanks
Jay Bilas (10:55 AM)
Not yet, and there is nothing on the short horizon about that. I think you are referring to what US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said recently. Duncan suggested that postseason should be tied to graduation rates, which I think is absurd. These are institutions of higher learning, and not all are the same, and not all have the same mission. There is not a "one size fits all" rule for graduation. And, we should not be worried about graduation first, anyway. We should be asking, how can we best educate our athletes? If we set an artificial standard for graduation, schools will magically meet it if money and postseason is tied to it. But, that will not further the cause of education in our country. This is a societal issue, not an issue of athletics.
Jay: lovin your commentary with cbs. your making the games twenty times more exciting, my question is after watching both Kentucky and WVU grind out wins last night, who do you have in the final four now with your eye test? Youth doesnt appear to bea factor with Kentucky, and if WVU turns the ball over 23 times you have to imagine its over right????
Jay Bilas (10:57 AM)
Kentucky is better, but West Virginia has the defense and offensive rebounding to hang and pull off a win. I like UK to advance, but it will be a rock fight. One thing that cannot happen....if West Virginia turns the ball over more than a dozen times, there will be no trip to Indy for the Mountaineers. Better ball security is really important.
Tyler (Manhattan, KS)
Jay, where does KSU-XU rank on your list of best all-time Tournament games? In my opinion, best I've ever seen without a true buzzer-beater.
Jay Bilas (10:58 AM)
I have to see the whole game, but I am sure it would be up there. The best I have seen in person was the Illinois v. Arizona Elite Eight game in 2005. That was an epic. The K-State game looked amazing, and was played on a high level, but it would have to be incredible to match that Illinois game.
What would you think of Kentucky and Ohio State in the title game? Wall vs Turner to settle the POY debate would be nice what do you think?
Jay Bilas (11:00 AM)
That would be nice. But, a lot of different match-ups would be nice. I think that UK would give Ohio State a really hard time and would beat the Buckeyes. A lot of ball to play before that game would materialize.
Tom (Houston, TX)
Jay, as soon as Duke gets in a close game, you know we will all hear the same complaints about refereeing as every year. Is there any way we can stop ESPN form perpetuating this stuff. I'd rather read about the players and the game than the conspiracies.
Jay Bilas (11:01 AM)
Sorry, Tom. Oliver Stone is doing the color commentary on the game. Back, and to the left.
True or False: Northern Iowa makes it to Indy?
Jay Bilas (11:03 AM)
My best guess is false. But, Northern Iowa is a really good team. The teams that we all thought were really good (outside of the usual suspects) are Northern Iowa, Cornell, Richmond, St. Mary's and UTEP. And, since this is a bit of a down year for truly great teams, some "little guys" have had some really big impacts. The injuries this season have added to the odd feel to the Tournament, but it has been a really fun ride.
Matt (Granbury, TX)
Can you assess Baylor's chances not only tonight, but to advance to the Final Four? It seems like they're oozing talent, and just now putting it all together.
Jay Bilas (11:07 AM)
Baylor plays the best match-up zone, next to Syracuse. The Bears are long, athletic and have good shotblockers on the baseline. The Baylor guards can get anything they want on offense. LaceDarius Dunn has an old school game, and jumps only as high as he needs to in order to get a shot off. I like Baylor's chances against St. Mary's because of the zone. Omar Samhan is tough to guard one-on-one, and they can crowd him in the zone. Mickey McConnell and Matt Delevedova have to shoot it well.
Jay, why do the pundits have little or no respect for Tennessee?
Jay Bilas (11:10 AM)
You know, I am one of them. Guilty. When Tyler Smith was dismissed, I really thought that Tennessee would take a step back. Bruce Pearl has done a great job of keeping that team competitive. I hardly believe, though, that wins over San Diego State and Ohio should rock the world and make everyone ball up in the fetal position for not picking UT to win the National Championship!! The Vols are good, and have done an extraordinary job. But, please tell me that you haven't gone to Vegas to put everything you have on UT in this thing?! You should be proud of your team. They have really battled.
Had Arinze Onuaku been in the Game for Syracuse, would Butler-SU be a different game? How critical was his absence for the Orange, despite Coach Boeheim not wanting to single that out as a factor?
Jay Bilas (11:13 AM)
Butler still could have won, but I would have like Syracuse's chances with Onuaku in the line-up. Without him, everyone's role changes. Rick Jackson has to play the middle of the zone, and has to battle bigs by himself. Kris Joseph has to play extended minutes and does not bring the energy off the bench. It affected Syracuse, but the 18 turnovers were the difference. Syracuse was too loose with the ball, and when not shooting it, you cannot overcome that.
Jay, big fan. You tell it how it is. So, please tell me what Purdue needs to do to surprise the Dukies tonight . . . other than play a perfect game. Any interesting matchups you foresee?
Jay Bilas (11:15 AM)
Rebound and do not turn it over against pressure. Duke does not get out in passing lanes like in years past, but still pressure the ball. But, Purdue is not a great rebounding team, and this is the game where Hummel's absence will really be felt, especially on the glass. I think that Nolan Smith will be the key guy for Duke. I would like to see Chris Kramer on Kyle Singler....that would be a fun and tough match-up to watch.
Dylan (Madison, WI)
Is it just me or is UNI been playing above their head this tournament? Will MSU's rebounding skills will send them back into reality?
Jay Bilas (11:20 AM)
No. But the Panthers are playing at their best, which has been pretty darn good. But, make no mistake....the win over KU was an upset. Kansas is the better team. That is what is great about the NCAA Tournament. The best team does not always win, and it happens like that in every "one and done" sport on the planet. Every one. This year has been really fun, but we have seen this before. The combination of some really good mid-majors and some less than great majors this season, and the weakest at-large pool in history have made this Tournament really fun to watch. Michigan State is better when healthy, but without Kalin Lucas, it is a coin flip, and I am not sure that UNI should not be favored. This will be a really fun game.
Dave (Gloomy Upsate)
The Orange was squeezed. Did Butler prove how good they are or was it more Syracuse plagued by fast pace and turnovers beat themselves?
Jay Bilas (11:22 AM)
It was both. If the Cuse plays its best, the Cuse wins. But, Butler is really, really good. Butler was ranked in the Top Ten all season long, and I ranked the Bulldogs No. 8 in the preseason. That said, I thought that UTEP would pull the upset in the first round! Butler has had a really good program for several years now, so it should not be a shocker that the Bulldogs won. It was, however, a bit surprising because I think that Syracuse is the better team, but Butler certainly played better last night.
Jay,Listened to you on rivals radio this morning, and don't understand why you think there aren't any great teams in this tourney. If UK wins the tourney with avg. margin of vicory of 20, would you say they were great, or would your opinion be they didn't beat anybody.
Jay Bilas (11:28 AM)
Good question. There is an NBA Draft every year, but not every No. 1 pick is a truly great player. Not every NBA Draft class is the same. Every four years, there is an Olympic swimming champion, but not every Olympic champion is as good as Michael Phelps. This year, college basketball is down in talent and while there are really, really good teams, there are no teams that are historically great. Reasonable minds can differ on that, but I think it is pretty clear. This year, powers like UNC, UCLA, Indiana, UConn, and Arizona did not even come close to making the field. The Pac-10, the ACC, the SEC and the Big East were not nearly as good as last season. Check the Big East, which was competitive this year, but not great. Outside of Syracuse, which teams in the Big East were as good this season as they were last season? None. Louisville, UConn and Pitt were all truly outstanding teams last year and No. 1 seeds, but the league was down this year relative to last year. That said, the only thing people will remember is the champion, and if UK wins, the banner will not say "Champion in a Down Year". It will just say "Champion".
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Bilas: Do you think the overall tournament results so far make a good case for kids hanging around for more than one year? Seems like experience has led to a lot of success.
Jay Bilas (11:29 AM)
Yes, but kids are not going to do it. The money and lure of the NBA is just too much. Get used to freshmen bolting for the NBA. It is not going to change unless the NBA changes its rules.
Jay....no one seems to be giving sparty any credit. I know Lucas is out but Lucious is no slouch and Izzo has had a week to prepare for UNI, can Sparty pull off the 'upset'
Jay Bilas (11:31 AM)
Of course. But, it is not crazy to believe that UNI can and will win. That is a very good team, and without Kalin Lucas, Michigan State is vulnerable. This Tournament is unpredictable with great teams in it. This year, it is impossibly unpredictable. It has been really fun to watch.
matt (chapel hill)
lets talk NIT!! should a team with UNCs pedigree be able to feel a sense of pride winning the NIT, particularly this squad due to all of the youth and inexperience they have?
Jay Bilas (11:33 AM)
I think that the NIT has been great for UNC. I am really happy for them that they accepted the bid. Carolina has played well, and the extra time in practice and games will be of great benefit to this team for the future. Hats off to Carolina for playing so hard and taking the NIT seriously. That speaks very well of Roy Williams and his players. They could have packed it in, and they didn't.
Jay, there has been a lot of controversy over the years about held ball situations. What is your take on a possible solution aside from alternate possession, and on unifying the college/professional rules in general?
Jay Bilas (11:39 AM)
Good question. I think a held ball should be awarded to the defense every time, and there should be no alternate possession arrow. And, I think that basketball rules should be standardized across the board, and every level should use the same rules. I would also like to see the timeout rules changed. I think you should only be allowed to call a time-out during a dead ball (after a made FG, FT, turnover, etc.) I cannot think of another sport in which timeout may be called when the ball is in play.
Jay Bilas (11:41 AM)
Thanks for all of the questions! Sorry I could not get to them all....looking forward to another chat next week! Best, Bilas