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 (3:00 PM)
Welcome to the fastest Chat in Basketball! And, before we begin, that is indeed me on Twitter. If you don't believe it, go to ESPN.com where they are putting the tweets up on the College Basketball page. I still have no idea what I am doing on Twitter. I'm not sure it is right for old geezers like me that played in the short shorts era. Anyway, fire away!
On Twitter you recently stated that Virginia Tech would make the NCAA Tournament this year. Can you please elaborate a little in regards to the rest of the season? Thank you.
Jay Bilas (3:04 PM)
There we go. Twitter. I think that, without injuries, Virginia Tech was a Top 25 team. Even with injuries, the Hokies have done a remarkable job to be right there. I don't look at the RPI. It is a useless tool, and should be done away with. Virginia Tech is ranked in the top forty in efficiency ratings and in the Sagarin rankings. I think they will make it with a strong showing down the stretch. Beating Duke would obviously help, but that is not a must. Speaking of doing away with the RPI, why doesn't the Committee rank teams 1 through 68 every single week? If they are doing all of this work and right on top of everything, why not do that for the game and for the exercise itself? That would be GREAT. By the way, is it bad form if I eat a turkey sandwich while in Blacksburg?
I liked your discussion with Hubert Davis about making kids stay in school for three years. Is there any concern though that players after one year in college leave to go play in Europe like Brandon Jennings?
Jay Bilas (3:08 PM)
It doesn't seem to bother anyone that the NFL mandates that players be three years out of high school before being draft eligible. So, why can't the NBA do the same thing? If a kid goes to Europe, that is okay. We cannot stop that. Brandon Jennings went to Italy for one reason, and one reason alone. The NCAA's initial eligibility rule would not allow him to play at Arizona as a freshman. Arizona wanted him, admitted him to school, and was prepared to educate him and give him a uniform. But, the NCAA said no. So, he went to Italy. The result? The young man spent not one day in college, and will probably never go back. What educational purpose does that serve? None. It should be Arizona's call whether the kid plays or not. Not the NCAA's call. Reasonable minds can differ on such matters, though.
John Beilein (Ann Arbor)
So let me get this straight. I design a defensive play to get the ball out of the best point guard in the Big Ten's hand and into a Freshman 28% three-point shooter who misses so bad he banks it in off the glass and this will keep my team out of the dance. OUCH!!! What do we have to do to get in the tournament now?
Jay Bilas (3:12 PM)
That was a tough loss. Michigan could have easily won that game. The last play just points up how difficult it can be to execute late game strategy, no matter how smart you are as a coach. I watched the play multiple times, and I am not sure whether Beilein wanted to trap the ball. The problem I have with it is simple: even poor shooters can make an open shot. Up two, a three BEATS you. You have to guard the line and take away open threes. Michigan didn't do that, and got burned. It was a similar feeling to letting Evan Turner have an open run up into his shot in the Big Ten tourney. Low percentage shot, but an open one. Both went in. I think Michigan can still make the field. Wins over Minny and Sparty and a couple of wins in the Big Ten tourney would do wonders. Plus, the bubble teams are flat out awful. This is the worst bubble ever. Caltech might make it.
Mr. Bilas, your objective approach in analysis and commentary combined with knowledge and experience give great value to your voice on and contribution to the game of basketball. I see many who appreciate that, including myself. As such, I can't think of anyone better to give a projection of the direction of the game of basketball. In five to ten years, what major differences--advancement and decline--do you see occurring? Which would you like to see occur?
Jay Bilas (3:15 PM)
I am optimistic about the game. I think that David Stern is one of the brightest minds in sport, but his obligation is not to do what is best for the game or for the education of athletes. His obligation is to do what is best for the NBA. I believe that an age requirement of three years out of high school or 21 years old is in the best interests of the NBA. It is certainly in the best interests of the NBA Players Association. If the age requirement is in place, the NBA would be closer to the NFL with a more mature game. And, college basketball would be better, high school basketball would b e better, and our kids would be better educated. I am not holding my breath, but I am optimistic that smart people with good intentions can make a difference.
Jay, Derrick Williams and Sean Miller have pretty clearly locked up the Pac-10 Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards. Where do you feel they fall in the respective national races?
Jay Bilas (3:18 PM)
I think that Williams is right there with Fredette, Walker, Smith and Sullinger for National Player of the Year. Certainly, Williams is a First Team All-American. Miller has done a remarkable job. Arizona is going to hang a Pac-10 title banner in McKale. That is pretty impressive given where the program was when he took over. Plus, Miller made the pass to Jerome Lane before Lane broke the backboard and got a "Send it in, Jerome!!" from Bill Raftery. A classic.
Mark (Orem, Utah)
Talk about the importance of Saturday's game between BYU and SDSU.
Jay Bilas (3:20 PM)
Well, it is for the Mountain West title and perhaps the chance at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Not that the game needs more hype, but it will be a great game. Fredette is the nation's best scorer, and Kawhi Leonard is a man among boys on the glass and taking it to the rim. It should be a great game. Plus, it is in San Diego. I love San Diego.
What do you think would have happened had Bruce Pearl been up-front with the NCAA regarding the recruiting violation at his backyard barbecue, rather than lying about it and trying to cover it up?
Jay Bilas (3:23 PM)
If Bruce and his staff had not lied to NCAA investigators, this would be a very small matter that would have resulted in a secondary violation and very little, if any, attention. But, he did lie, and it is a big deal. I liken what he did to lying under oath to a grand jury. I really like Bruce Pearl personally. And, I think he is an outstanding coach. I hate to see him go through this, and I know it has been excruciatingly difficult. But, if I were in charge at Tennessee, I would have fired him. I would not stand by and condone lying to authorities. Period. Reasonable minds can differ.
Jay, I'm not looking for you to defend Bo Ryan. I know you and many of your colleagues have talked about him being a very good coach. My question: When does he become a Coach-of-the Year candidate? Every year, his teams seem to exceed pre-season expectations.
Jay Bilas (3:26 PM)
Bo Ryan is among the game's very best coaches. I have no idea how many times he has won Coach of the Year, or how many times he has been in the running for it. You know why? Because Coach of the Year is about as dumb an award as you can get. Some of the best coaches and teachers out there have .500 records because of resources. The only objective standard in sports is winning. And, Bo wins. I don't think he cares about COY awards. It is nice to be recognized, but the best ones don't fill their tanks on that. And, Bo is one of the best. By the way, I will be at Bo Ryan's Coaches v. Cancer event in May in Madison. Looking forward to it.
Mike (Durham, NC)
Jay heard you on Mike and Mike this morning and thought you made some excellent points about the one-and-done state of college basketball. You made an interesting reference to "frauds" being at risk of being found out by staying in college longer. Don't you think that some kids who obviously fall in the category of being "academic frauds" are at risk and will likely bolt to play overseas if the rules are changed to extend the time they are required to play in college? Some of these kids don't even bother going to class in the second semester.
Jay Bilas (3:31 PM)
A player's academic credentials and adademic standing should be determined by one body and one body alone: his school. You are from Durham, so I assume you are a Duke person. Duke should have complete and total autonomy over admissions decisions and eligibility decisions. Same goes for Carolina, Harvard or Long Beach State. I don't know how you are in a position to know whether kids are going to class, but maybe you are a hall monitor! Kansas has some retirees that make sure kids go to class. Every school can police themselves as to whether kids go to class. I am in favor of kids going to college. I think education is a good thing, and it should be promoted. Every kid belongs in college. Maybe not a particular school, but every kid can find a suitable school and pursue an education.
Who are your top 5 Coach of the Year candidates?
Jay Bilas (3:33 PM)
Off the top of my head: Thad Matta, Sean Miller, Mike Krzyzewski, Jamie Dixon, Steve Fisher and Dave Rose. Sorry, that is six. Well, too bad. You got six, Jared.
Jay, Who do you think is the best dunker in college right now? what about tony mitchell at alabama?
Jay Bilas (3:34 PM)
Travis Leslie of Georgia and Derrick Williams of Arizona. And, me on a Nerf hoop.
Jays got the skilas that pay the Bilas
Jay Bilas (3:34 PM)
I have no idea what that means. But, I have Jeezy on my iPod. So there.
Mark (Erie, PA)
Does Raftery have a Twitter account? That would be fun seeing you two go back and forth.
Jay Bilas (3:36 PM)
Does Raftery have a Twitter account? He barely has a cell phone. It is a rotary cell phone, and he often talks into the wrong end. Me, I talk out of th wrong end.
Why would anyone go to law school?
Jay Bilas (3:38 PM)
For the money. I bill in six minute increments, so you owe me fifty dollars. Pay up. Hey, Moose, Rocco! help Dan from Philly find his wallet!
Jay, Bo Ryan is a thief. That is by far my favorite quote of yours from any game. (wisc/texas 07). Never had a chance to compliment you on that. You need to come to Madison some day and call a game there.
Jay Bilas (3:39 PM)
You remember that?! Michael Flowers was quite a thief in that Texas game, too. Good memory, David.
Kevin (Provo, UT)
Ok, Jay, I'll ask you the most popular question of the week-- who've you got this Saturday, BYU or SDSU? And what do you think the odds are that the winner of the game gets a #1 seed?
Jay Bilas (3:41 PM)
I think San Diego State has a slight edge at home. If it were in Provo, I would certainly favor BYU. I have played in the Marriott Center when I was in high school, and it is a cool place to play. Of course, Fred Roberts and Steve Trumbo were there then.
I keep hearing about the length of the timeouts in the tournament, but really how much of a difference are we looking at (in the end)? Is it 10 more minutes a game (that much)?
Jay Bilas (3:42 PM)
It is helpful for rest, but a huge pain for coaches. Bob Huggins told me once that he runs out of things to say. I wish my coach would have, because he was usually yelling at me.
Chris (The Nati)
Jay, are you typing one handed today?
Jay Bilas (3:43 PM)
No. With my toes.
what do think about syracuse
Jay Bilas (3:44 PM)
Lovely in the summer, a bit cold in the winter.
Jeff (Raleigh, NC)
Whats up Mr. Bilas,There seem to be rumblings abound from quote on quote insiders, who are claiming that its not a matter of "IF" anymore, but more a matter of "WHEN" in regards to a Kyrie Irving comeback. Coach K from day one has always stated that it would be nothing short of a miracle to have him ready by the end of the season. My question for you I guess is, do you believe he has been saying this to keep his ball club focused on what they have at hand currently or do you believe that he really believes there is no chance for him to come back? Also, do you believe in your heart of hearts that we will ever see Mr. Irving in a Duke uniform again this year or next? Thanks for you time in advance!!! Also, I have a dinner bet with my friend that you will respond to this question.... Any help would be much appreciated
Jay Bilas (3:47 PM)
Go ahead and pick a restaurant, Jeff. You win. I suggest the one that is a companion to 411 West in Chapel Hill. I have not heard anything that positive about Irving's return. I hear that he is coming along nicely on the healing front, but that is not playing. I would be surprised if he were to come back. First, that is difficult to do after such a long layoff. Second, this is a young man's career. He would have to be 100% to even try it. Who knows? Certainly not me. I would be very worried if I were concerned about a young man's toe. Very worried indeed.
Jay when will you be arriving in our great town? Welcome
Jay Bilas (3:49 PM)
I get in Friday. Very fired up. I hear that there is a Five Guys in town. Dilemma. I usually hit the Sonic in Christiansburg.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Doesn't the college game need the semi-circle under the basket to prevent players getting charges called when the defender is under the basket? To me, it has made the college product worse. Kids sometimes seem afriad to keep attacking when they are getting their legs taken out on the way down. Thoughts?
Jay Bilas (3:51 PM)
We are working on it. Hard as it is to believe, it takes a period of years to pass such a rule. It will be passed, though. Part of the problem is 350 different schools have to paint their floors. I think charges are too easy to get in college. The semi-circle is needed.
Ron Burgandy (via mobile)
I love San Diego, and scotch. Stay classy, Jay.
Jay Bilas (3:51 PM)
Discovered by the Germans in 1904.
Do you think Udub (Washington) will make the tournement and if so, where they will be seeded and how well they will do?
Jay Bilas (3:52 PM)
No question the Huskies will make the field. Around a 5 seed, give or take.
Jay, Big performance from Marshon Brooks (to put it mildly). Watching his game, is he NBA-worthy?
Jay Bilas (3:53 PM)
Yes. He will find a place in the NBA. This is a good year for him to be in the Draft. Not a lot of top level star potential in this Draft.
Mick Cronin ((Cincinnati))
Jay Bilas (3:55 PM)
No. Digger dancing. Cincinnati going to NCAA.
Jay,From 2000-2010, who was the most dominant team in your opinion?
Jay Bilas (3:59 PM)
Wow. Good question. I might have to think about that one a bit. Off the top of my head, I would say, Duke 2001, Florida 2007, Michigan State 200, North Carolina 2005, Arizona 2001, North Carolina 2009, Memphis 2008, Kansas 2008, something like that? Am I leaving anything out? I am sure that I am. Oh, I would put Cincinnati 2000 up there with a healthy Kenyon Martin.
Nathan (San Diego, CA)
It seems like Big Men are taught outside-in these days, perhaps due to the SportsCenter generation. Is Jared Sullinger kind of a throwback because his dad taught him inside-out? Is this a lost art?
Jay Bilas (3:59 PM)
Yes. Very skilled and good in the post. That is getting lost today. I blame AAU ball a bit, but it is all over the landscape now. Sullinger is well served knowing how to play with his back to the basket.
A lot of analyst claim that "mid-majors" deserve more respect? Well, how about you stop calling them "mid-majors" or the "little guy"? That would show them respect. Why do you have to categorize them?
Jay Bilas (4:05 PM)
Lighten up, Francis. Not every little guy is good. Not every major team is good, either. When a team is good, we should say it, and I think we do. Butler was ranked in the Top 10 last season before the year started. We identified Northern Iowa as a team that could do damage in the Tournament. I picked Cornell to reach the Elite Eight. We give the little guy respect. Do you want the full treatment? How about somebody ask Jim Larranaga why he hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game since 2006?! Well, becuase that would be stupid. He is not playing on a level playing field. He does not have the same resources, TV exposure and players. He has to develop a team and get his team to be prepared when they are older and mature together. Nobody I work with shorts the mid-majors. We talk about the ones that can really play. And, like with the majors, if you cannot play, we don't talk about you much. Heard much about Oregon State lately? Thanks for the question!
When I say Jimmer.. You say???
Jay Bilas (4:07 PM)
What was his mother thinking?! No, I say heckuva player, and a great kid. Terrific ambassador for the game. We're lucky to see him play.
Mark (Rockford, IL)
Jay, It seems to me there is a lot of ugly b-ball being played this year.(so many missed layups, unforced turnovers, bad shot selection, etc., etc.). I love college b-ball but some games are hard to watch. Reason?
Jay Bilas (4:09 PM)
The best players are in the NBA. This has been a "down year" for college basketball, but it will be back to 2008 and 2009 standards soon. 2010 and 2011 have not been our best.
Would you leave school this year if you were a "guaranteed" lottery pick? Or would the pros of staying in college and actually playing in competitive games to improve your game outweigh the cons of possible injury and bad play.
Jay Bilas (4:12 PM)
I have no idea. But, I would be more concerned that I was the real thing. If so, I could do whatever I want. College never held back a great player. Never. The only thing is injury. But, even that is much more rare these days. If injury is such a concern, how come football players are not screaming for early entry for young football players? What, there are no injuries in football?!
thanks jay, bruce weber was quoted the other day saying that david lighty should be the MVP of the B1G, your thoughts?
Jay Bilas (4:13 PM)
He is the most important player on the Ohio State team. Lighty is one of the most respected players in the country. I agree with Bruce. If I were coaching in the Big Ten, the first guy I would want would be Lighty. He is a winner.
I heard you are not a health food junkie, pass on sonic and go have an awesome burger at Mike grill. In regards to the game saturday, should vt protect allen with zone or play straight up to protect the 3 point line?
Jay Bilas (4:15 PM)
Thanks for the Mike's Grill call. And, no, Seth should not play zone just to protect Allen. He should not commit dumb fouls. If he does, the zone is a possibility, but I doubt that zone will work against the Duke shooters. But, you never know.
Zach Hamilton (Southgate, MI)
Jay - Go ahead and shock us with your college b-ball brilliance: who's a player most of the country doesn't know (not like a Faried or Holloway, who have gotten plenty of love) who might single-handedly knock off a big boy in a (the?) tournament?
Jay Bilas (4:17 PM)
Cam Long at George Mason. But, he has a little guard to help him named Andre Cornelius. You cannot stay in front of that guy. Good open shooter too. Mason is really good.
advice for a law student currently in law school, best dream job in the sports area to have?
Jay Bilas (4:18 PM)
When I got out of law school, ANY job was a dream job.
Brother of the receding follicles, what kind of chance do you give my beloved Jayhawks to cut down the nets in San Antonio? I'm a bit worried, myself. We can't guard ANYONE. I don't think we can Loyola Marymount people all the way to the title. BTW, you're the best thing going at ESPN. Thanks.
Jay Bilas (4:21 PM)
Easy on the shell, dude. Actually, I still have all of my hair. It is in a drawer in by bathroom. Kansas can win this thing. I am not crazy about the rotating guards for suspension or injury, but there is a ton of talent on this team. I do agree that teams I do not think are tough sometimes look like Navy Seals against Kansas, but the Jayhawks are No. 1 seed.
Florida 2006 too.Jay, Can Florida win the SEC Tourney and get a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament?
Jay Bilas (4:23 PM)
I think that UConn 2006 was better. If UConn had beaten George Mason, they would have won the whole thing. They would have paid attention and really played once in the Final Four. Before that, they were too worried about the NBA. Florida does not seem like a 2 seed to me. But, if they win out, you certainly could see it.
Jay Bilas (4:23 PM)
Gotta go. Thanks for taking the time. Appreciate it. Best, Bilas