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 3 p.m. ET!
Jay Bilas (2:54 PM)
Welcome to the Fastest Chat in College Basketball!! I'm Jay Bilas, and I do all of my own typing with incredible speed and dexterity. Fire away!
Am I crazy - Austin Freeman an NBA player, right? Freeman (and Chris Wright for that matter) are not even on Chad Ford's top 100. Just don't see how that is possible.
Jay Bilas (2:58 PM)
Yes, I think Austin Freeman has a solid chance to make an NBA roster. He has some things working against him in the mock draft world, so cut those guys some slack. First, Austin is not an incredible athlete, but a good one. Second, the fact that he is living with Type 1 diabetes (and doing incredibly well with it) may be a draft negative until he is fully evaluated and cleared by teams. Third, he does not easily fit a position or a position to guard. He is small for a two, and he is not a point. But, his positives are many. He is an outstanding shooter from range, and can make a variety of shots. He is a very good cutter and handler, and he is far more athletic than he appears. He just knows how to play. I think he can play in the NBA, but he is not the type of prospect that scouts drool over. Because of his special skill of shooting it so well, he will play in the league. Any team would be able to make good use of him.
Dan (Coushatta. La)
Saw you on Mike and Mike a week or so ago. You said Az should have taken the Jennings kid. Aren't some kids just not college material? Does the ability to dribble a basketball or shoot 3 pointers mean you deserve a spot on any college team? I would hope that just being a great player doesn't guarantee you a spot in the college of your choice! Thanks, Dan
Jay Bilas (3:03 PM)
Good question. Not every kid belongs in a particular school, but every kid belongs in school. We have hundreds and hundreds of colleges and universities, and every kid can find a place somewhere. To be clear, I did not say that Arizona should have taken Jennings. Arizona did take him, admitted him and stood ready to educate him. The NCAA said he was not initially eligible because he did not meet its sliding scale for eligibility. I think initial eligibility should be up to the school and the school alone. Because Jennings couldn't play, he went to Europe to be a pro. With Jennings in Italy, no educational purpose was served at all. It was a waste (except for the fact that Jennings made a pile of money). I think everyone would have been better off if Jennings had gone to college. And, he wanted to (at least, he did then!)
OwlsFan (Philly )
What's your take on Temple? and do you think they deserve to be in the top 25 with quality wins over seton hall maryland and georgetown?
Jay Bilas (3:06 PM)
I was just up there for the Georgetown game. First, Fran Dunphy is one of the best coaches and best people in the game. He does not get enough credit, mostly because he does not allow his place to promote him like others places do. He is an old time basketball coach. He does it for the game and for the kids. He is the real thing. The team is very good. Temple is not a scoring machine, but when Ramone Moore hits shots and Lavoy Allen is aggressive, Temple is very good. Defensively, the Owls are at their best. I think Temple is the A-10's best with Richmoond, a healthy Xavier (if they ever get healthy) and Dayton by the end of the year. That would make it four in a row if Temple could win this year.
Joel (Niagara Falls/Buffalo) [via mobile]
Hi Jay, As a fan, basketball isn't my sport of expertise, so I'll need your help. How do the really thoughtful hoops people reconcile the current UConn womens streak with the UCLA 88-gamer. Are they equal in gradation of acheivement, does one impress over the other, any caveats to either ? Thank you.
Jay Bilas (3:09 PM)
Another good question. There is no way to make an equal comparison, because men's and women's basketball are totally different sports. But, it is just as remarkable of an achievement. Look at it this way, for years in the women's game, Louisiana Tech and Tennessee were dominant, but neither approached what UConn has done (with this streak and the other one). UConn has put its program with UCLA men, Edwin Moses, and UNC Women's soccer, to name the most notable (in my skull, anyway). Instead of comparing streaks, we should celebrate them both. We will not likely see anything like this for a long, long time.
Antoine (Lake Station, In)
Man whats the deal why do seniors never get drafted higher than 10th?????? I see some guys I would take first second and third. and they're all seniors with high ppg and fg%
Jay Bilas (3:13 PM)
It is odd sometimes, but you are right. The best talents with the high ceiling potential are often taken early because they could blossom into something truly great. Usually, seniors that stick around for four years are seen for what they are, instead of what they might pan out to be. Brandon Roy is an example. He was the best all-around player in the country when he came out, but was taken seventh overall. Look, NBA Drafts are tough stuff. No sport or scout or GM has it all figured out. Everyone makes mistakes in drafting players. Everyone. You just have to do your best and hope you don't make a big one that everyone will use to define you with!! Thanks for the question.
Jay, do eight teams from the Big 10 make the NCAA Tournament? If not, which of the following teams don't make it: MSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, OSU, Purdue, Minnesota?
Jay Bilas (3:15 PM)
Eight seems like a stretch. But, seven seems like a do-able thing. I think that Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, Wisconsin and Northwestern will make the field. And, I would not be surprised if Michigan made it this year. John Beilein has far more talent in Ann Arbor than he was given credit for. He just needs to get that talent to play at a high level together. Darius Morris is terrific, and the new kids have a chance to be really good.
Best in the west, SDSU or BYU? Why?
Jay Bilas (3:17 PM)
I like San Diego State, and have since well before the season. All five starters were back, and the Aztecs are men on the glass that play physical basketball, rebound and guard pretty well. Kawhi Lionard and Billy White are both very good, and Malcom Thomas can block shots, rebound and finish. San Diego State is the best team in the West. BYU may have better guards, though.
However long Irving is out, having coached and played for K, what adjustments do you foresee him making?
Jay Bilas (3:21 PM)
Duke will have to slow down a bit, and cannot play as fast as they wanted to when Irving was healthy. Irving is a true point guard, and could get up and down the floor, get into the lane, and allow others to do their thing without worry. Nolan Smith can play the point, but he is not a natural point like Irving. Can Duke still win it? Yes, absolutely. But, the Blue Devils are not the prohibitive favorite they one were. It is more of a fair fight now. The truth is, I still have a tough time believing that Duke actually won it last season. That was a very good basketball team last year, but it was not one of Duke's best teams over the past fifteen years. But, they will always be champs.
Aaron (Lawrence, KS)
With G/F Mario Little suspended indefinitely, could the playing time issue for the Jayhawks actually be solved a little? It's never a good thing to lose a player to a situation such as this, but is this a case of addition by subtraction?
Jay Bilas (3:23 PM)
Kansas is so deep that losing a reserve forward is not the end of the world. I just hope the kid is okay and can get what he needs. Little is a frontcourt player, so the guards will still have to be sorted out with Taylor, Johnson, Selby, Reed and Morningstar. I think KU has very good team chemistry, but that will be tested a bit when Selby comes in. That is a Final Four team and a true title contender.
jim kemp (Denver Colorado )
Now that Duke's sensational freshman point guard Irving has been sidelined does the Blue Devils still have enought talent in the backcourt to continue their drive for two straight championships...
Jay Bilas (3:26 PM)
Talent? Are you joking? Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Andre Dawkins, Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, and the rest? There is plenty of talent. And, they will still have the drive. They can win it all again. But, so can several other teams.
Jay -- as an MSU alum, Ive learned not to get too worked up about losses in Nov/Dec. However, Im a tad concerned, considering this is a veteran group whose core has been to the last 2 Final Fours. They really shouldnt be making as many mistakes as they have, does something seem off to you? Thanks!
Jay Bilas (3:28 PM)
The turnovers are concerning, yes. And, the Spartans ability to go and get the ball off the glass has not been a strong point, which is really unusual. When I saw MSU in New York, the Spartans had more turnovers than assists and fewer offensive rebounds than its opponents. That is not Spartan Basketball. Now, in the excuse category, MSU has not gotten much practice time, and very few of its players got to play much over the summer. That can take a toll. Still, I like the Spartans in March.
Greg (Covington KY,)
Do you feel the NCAA should make some sort of revision in it's rules and handling of recruiting violations. I feel that there is something new every week now and It's ruining the integrity and pageantry that is college hoops. Perhaps stiffer penalties?
Jay Bilas (3:32 PM)
Honestly, I think the NCAA needs to start over with the rule book. There are so many silly rules in the book that is strains the brain to think about them. If the NCAA were in charge of the DMV, we would all be facing sanctions for speeding in a parking lot by going eight MPH in a seven MPH zone. That is how completely ridiculous it is. And, when you hear the term "secondary violation", it is basically jaywalking. The rules make very little sense and need to be reworked to be reasonable and to make sense.
Zack Bauer (Shrewsbury, MA)
Jay, if Irving were healthy, do you think this Duke team could have beaten either the '05 or '09 UNC team?
Jay Bilas (3:35 PM)
That is a good question. Those teams were older than this Duke team. I tend to believe that both of the UNC teams you are asking about were better teams, especially the 2009 team. But, Duke was only an early December version and Irving got hurt. I would be surprised if Duke would have been the better team than those two, which were awfully good. That is a great barstool argument!
James (Spanish Fork, Utah)
Wow, Jay... I just read your top 25 player list. You have Williams listed above Fredette. Fredette plays more, scores more, and does more. Did you see the two match up? BYU's bench shut Williams down and Jimmer had 33. Care to re-think your top 25?
Jay Bilas (3:40 PM)
No. But you are certainly entitled to think I am incorrect and you are correct! Reasonable minds can differ, and you make a fair and good point. I think this first and foremost: both are outstanding players and both are pros. But, BYU is much better than Arizona as a team. Take Fredette off of BYU and take Williams off of Arizona, then switch them. My guess is that Williams would score much more than he did, and Fredette would have a tougher time than he did. But, that doesn't make me right and you wrong. Thanks for the question!
Duvall (Arlington, VA)
Will Duke face another top 25 team before the NCAA Tournament?
Jay Bilas (3:40 PM)
Yes. North Carolina will be in the poll soon enough. The Tar Heels will get better and better. But, the ACC is as weak as I have ever seen it.
Dan (Coushatta, La)
Yes Jennings made a ton of money instead of the school and the coach making a ton of money from his efforts! Seems like he had a good alternative to being in a school that he wasn't qualified to enter!
Jay Bilas (3:43 PM)
Yes, that is true. But, I think you missed my point (or I didn't make it very well!) If Jennings had been allowed by the NCAA to play right away, he would have gone to school. He had no choice because he wasn't allowed to play in college as a freshman. Let me be clear: Jennings was admitted to school, could have gone to school on a scholarship, but could not play as a freshman. I think that serves no real educational purpose. If Arizona admitted him and was willing to educate him, why deny him the chance to play because his test score didn't meet an arbitrary, "one size fits all" standard?
Chris (Virginia Beach)
I just looked at the new power rankings, and someone voted for Ohio State for #1. I didn't look to see who voted for whom, but you were the one, right Jay? We know the anti-alma mater sentiment you exude.
Jay Bilas (3:47 PM)
I don't think I did, but I spend about five minutes a week on the poll. Just so you know, poll votes don't win or lose games for any team. Last year, no one I knew picked Duke to win the title, yet they won anyway. And, in some seasons when we picked Duke to win it all, they lost. This is just talk. And, if someone voted Ohio State No. 1, is that so crazy? The Buckeyes are really good. What horrible indignation did that voter heap upon Duke? No. 2? Better keep all sharp objects out of arms reach!! Oh, the humanity!!
Derrick Williams over Jimmer Fredette in your player rankings... Please explain.
Jay Bilas (3:48 PM)
Just did. I think Williams is very good, and Jimmer is very good too. And, I notice the flack I am getting is coming from Utah. Doesn't make you wrong, though.
Pessimistic Syracuse Fan (Miami)
Hey Jay I love your work you are the best in the businees. Why does the sports media toy with my emotions and place Syracuse towards the top of the polls right now? I don't feel confident yet in their ability to have a great season.
Jay Bilas (3:50 PM)
We love to toy with people's emotions. It is in our sports media bylaws. We also do a lot with voodoo dolls.
Christian Watford seems to have improved a great deal this season. What kind of ceiling do you see for him?
Jay Bilas (3:52 PM)
I agree. He has improved and is a really hard worker. Watford needs to improve his rebounding and continue to work on his strength, but he has done a terrific job. I was very close to putting him into my Top 25 performers. He, Quincy Acy and Donald Sims were next in line.
Do you believe you are overly critical of Duke so the audience doesn't think you are a Duke "homer" of sorts? I'm not saying this to try and upset you or anything as I believe you are one of the better basketball minds on ESPN.
Jay Bilas (3:55 PM)
I really don't think about things like that, I just say what I think about a particular team. My guess is that you are invested in Duke, like folks in Utah are in Jimmer Fredette, and tend to look behind points and comments instead of taking them for what they are. If you disagree with a specific point, bring it and we will talk about it. But, if it is just some deal about whether I tailor my comments to a certain perspective, that won't get us very far.
Enough Duke talk, what's the best team you've seen that no one is really talking about possibly making the final four?
Jay Bilas (3:55 PM)
Chris (Lexington, KY)
Do you think the Enes Kanter ruling will deter talented foreign players from playing NCAA basketball?
Jay Bilas (3:57 PM)
No. I think most really talented foreign kids will stay in Europe and play professionally then go to the NBA. The ruling on Kanter just hurts a kid that wanted to go to college and then be a pro. It was not fair, but that is the way the NCAA wants it. If I were to list all of the ways that the NCAA is unfair and the rules that are silly, then we would be here all day.
Jay, just want to say I enjoy your answers very much. Keep up the great work.
Jay Bilas (3:59 PM)
See what I mean? If Gerardo was living in Utah, he'd have daggers out. I actually really like Provo. Been there many times. If I had Jimmer above Williams, I would be getting killed by all the snowbirds in Arizona.
Chris (Louisville, KY)
Should Louisville be worried after losing at home to Drexel?
Jay Bilas (4:01 PM)
About what? This time of year is always ripe for an upset. It is finals time, and kids have letdowns right about now. I am sure that Louisville fans would have taken 9-1 after ten games before the season began. That is still a good team that will get better and will be a blue collar team all year long. Louisville is better than Drexel. The Cards just didn't play. It happens.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What does the NCAA do in Men's Or Women's College Basketball if a player starts a fight during a game?
Jay Bilas (4:03 PM)
Latham, New York, home of the great Sam Perkins! If a player is in a fight, it is an automatic ejection and one game suspension. Another fighting incident is suspension for the year. If a player is in a fight, the conference office and the school can also take action.
Hey Jay- Have you seen Vincent Council or Marshon Brooks play this year? VC is averaging 7 assists and 16 points, while Marshon is averaging 23 points and 8 ribbies a game. Do you see any potential for Providence with these two studs?
Jay Bilas (4:05 PM)
Yes, I have. Providence is much improved and is actually playing some defense. Last year, the Friars couldn't guard a chair. This year, they are actually giving defensive effort. That is a team that can beat some people this year. Perhaps not an NCAA Tournament team, but it will be a competitive one.
Tim (Boston, MA)
Jay, what do you make of the strong 8-2 start for BC especially after winning at college park on sunday? Do they have what it takes to make the big dance? thanks.
Jay Bilas (4:07 PM)
Excellent start, and winning against some good teams, but not great teams. The ACC is down this year, so that will help with some additional wins. Reggie Jackson is really good, and although he can get a bit wild, he can really score in a variety of ways. He can be a pro. I think Steve Donahue is a very good coach. The key will be recruiting. Boston has a bunch of really good players in the high school ranks. Gotta get some of them.
Who will win the player of the year award, every one says Kyle Singler but to me he is a great player but not player of the year. Who is your man?
Jay Bilas (4:08 PM)
Right now, it is Kemba Walker, without question.
Frank (New York)
UNLV lost a tough one to uc santa barbara last night. Can UNLV rebound from this loss and still make a sweet 16 run??? Also, Is Lon Kruger the best coach in the MWC??
Jay Bilas (4:10 PM)
Kruger is right there with Dave Rose and Steve Alford, in my judgment. I am also a big fan of Jim Boylen at Utah, too. As to UNLV, what did they shoot against UCSB? 28 percent? That is why they lost. UNLV is very good. I think that San Diego State is the best team, however. Kawhi Leonard and Jimmer Fredette are the best players in the league. Not necessarily in that order, Utah.
I have to apologize for the overload, I figured you get a lot of messages, just wanted to get your answer. Good answer, and I definitely disagree, but I guess time will tell. Thanks for the answer!
Jay Bilas (4:11 PM)
No, James, thanks for the question! And, thanks for letting me have some fun with you and your fellow Utes. Did you say Utes?
Ryan (Erlanger, KY)
Will you be surprised if Enes Kanter is ruled eligible for UK?
Jay Bilas (4:15 PM)
Yes. The NCAA ruled a foreign kid named Guy Marc Michel ineligible for going to school and not playing basketball, so I doubt it will allow a kid to play that took a few extra nickels over its threshold. Oh, but never mind that the QB at Clemson is a pro baseball player. He is an amateur in football, but Kanter is a pro. And, the Indiana kid Michel is ineligible because he dared to get an education and got his clock started too early for the NCAA. Crazy.
Jay, could you elaborate on UNC for us? You say that they're going to get better and better.. Yet they allowed Long Beach State to drop 91 points on them. I see more of last year coming their way. And Henson still can't hit the rim on free throw attempts. Thoughts?
Jay Bilas (4:18 PM)
I think that North Carolina will get tougher and better. I did not say that the Heels would win it all or reach the Final Four. First, Harrison Barnes is figuring it out, and will become a great player in time. Henson is not an offensive player, but he is really effective. Zeller can be the top scorer in time. He is really skilled and a terrific player. The guards are not great, but good. Roy Williams is a great coach, and I think he will have this group much better by March.
Deuce (New York)
If Syracuse's Rick Jackson continues his double-double streak through Big East play, does he have a chance at an All-American team?
Jay Bilas (4:22 PM)
He does. Rick Jackson has been as productive as any big man in the country, and he has done it without really making any post moves yet. Jackson has been a man on the glass, finishing stickbacks and drop-offs, but not executing his post moves. He has done a good job, and can do even better. So far, he has been Fab.
BenJarvis (Palo Alto)
What are your thoughts on the job your teammate Johnny Dawkins is doing on The Farm? Lots of comps between your class and this current Stanford freshman class. I assume you speak with Coach Dawkins on a regular basis - when can Stanford fans expect to go dancing again?
Jay Bilas (4:26 PM)
I think that Stanford is heading toward something special. This group of freshmen, along with the guys that Stanford has coming in next year like Chasson Randle of Illinois, will be very good together as they mature and learn how to play. That kid Dwight Powell is really talented. Stanford needs some better guard play right now, but so many of their guys are young. I regard Johnny Dawkins not only as an outstanding coach, but as one of the best people I have ever known. I have said this before, but I do not know a better person than Johnny Dawkins. He will get something really good going in Palo Alto.
Ali Nagib (Chicago)
The Big 10 is 1st in Conference Winning percentage and 2nd in Conference RPI...are they the best Conference "in the land?" (Obviously a loaded and subjective question)
Jay Bilas (4:29 PM)
Before the season, I thought it was the Big Ten without question. Now, I would put the Big Ten and the Big East on even footing. Both are outstanding. And, the Big 12 and SEC East are very, very good. The trail end is the ACC and the Pac-10. Both of those are down this year.
Jay - what are you thoughts on Old Dominion. They at times look ugly on offense, but I think they can rebound with anyone in the country!!!
Jay Bilas (4:33 PM)
Blaine Taylor has another really good team. I am a big fan of Kent Bazemore. The long armed lefty is awfully talented, and Frank Hassell is a really good interior player. The Colonial is having a very good start to the season, and ODU, VCU and George Mason are good teams.
Zach (St. Paul, MN)
I tihnk Trevor Mbakwe will deserve at least honorable mention all-american by the end of the year. Your thoughts?
Jay Bilas (4:35 PM)
Could very well be. When Minnesota gets Al Nolen back, the Gophers will be really good. Mbakwe is a man, and is very physical with huge hands and the ability to rebound the ball. I first saw him at Marquette several years ago, and he has really gotten better. Minnesota has a chance when healthy.Thanks for the time today, and thanks to the folks in Utah for taking a good natured ribbing on the chat!! Long Live Jimmer!! Best, Bilas