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 2 p.m. ET!
Jay Bilas (1:44 PM)
Hey everybody! Welcome to the fastest chat in college basketball!! We are getting started a bit early so that I can take more questions and still make my flight to Seattle for GameDay at Washington this weekend. Fire away!!
Ted Slattery (Fitchburg, Ma)
Jay, I am a basketball official. I do varsity high school games and Prep games (Winchendon, Norte Dame, Brewster, MCI, Hargrave, Lee, etc.). I'm finding it more and more offensive when you constantly criticize the officiating on the air. These guys are working their butts off in a game where these kids are so quick and explosive.I am aware that these officials get paid good money and that they should do a good job. I agree. When was the last time you saw a college official out of position on the floor? Do you know ALL the rules? How would you respond to a coach getting in your face on a nightly basis? Do you know what "game management" means? Just a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before jumping on these guys.Jay, no question you know your basketball. And you know it well. And I'm sure YOU get paid to do a good job. Your job is color commentary, not criticizing officials. Stick to what your good at. Your credability is starting to diminish.
Jay Bilas (1:52 PM)
Ted: I am taking this question because it is important. And, thank you for asking it. With regard to critical comments regarding officials, I am not critical of officials, I am critical of certain calls. If I see a call that I can clearly see live that is incorrect, I say so. If I can see it from my broadcast spot, they should be able to see it, too. If I have to use replay to agree or disagree, I do not quarrel with the call, right or wrong. Do I see officials that are out of position? Sometimes I do, yes. I agree with you that officiating is tough stuff, and it is a thankless job. I have written article after article praising officials. But, nobody is above criticism in a basketball game. The players and coaches get criticized and second guessed constantly, and there are people trying to stop them (the opponent). You criticized me, and I have no problem with that, because no broadcaster is above criticism, either. Nobody is trying to stop the officials from getting it right, and they should get it right. I can take your criticism, and take it in good humor. The officials can take it. They are big boys. But, my job is to say the right thing at the right time in the right tone. I really respect officials, but I cannot qualify every comment with that, and I cannot preface every criticism by saying that the job of the officials is difficult. It is tough. Lastly, being an official, do you think you may be a bit sensitive? Maybe, maybe not. Thanks again for your question, and thanks for taking the heat on the high school level. I'm sure the players and coaches appreciate your professionalism.
Vincent (Westerville, Ohio)
Mr. Bilas, How can Thad Matta of Ohio State effectively coach when the starters know they have ZERO chance of getting pulled out for poor play? Four starters usually play 40 minutes a game.
Jay Bilas (1:55 PM)
The bench can be a great motivator, but I don't think that Evan Turner plays hard and tries to do his best simply because there may be a sub ready to go in. Ohio State can win at a high level with only seven guys...coaches can shorten practices, manage training and rest, and keep the players fresh. Matta is one of the best in the business. He plays his best players, and I don't see anything wrong with it. Is it the only way? No. But he is not wrong.
Michael B (Owensboro, KY)
Hey Jay! There has been some talk of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins possibly being 1-2 in the draft next year. If you were an NBA GM and your biggest need was a big man, do you consider taking Cousins over Wall?
Jay Bilas (1:58 PM)
It depends upon the make-up of my team. First, I take Wall over Cousins no matter what. It is too difficult to find a point guard of his caliber, and I would take Wall. But, if Wall were gone, I would have to weigh the selection of Cousins with the culture I was trying to build. At some level, his downside is worth the risk. At No. 2, I would have to weigh that very carefully. Cousins is a great young prospect. I have worked with him during his high school years, and he can be as good as he wants to be. But, he does have some attitude and maturity issues he needs to grow out of or otherwise address. If he does that, and he is still young and certainly can, he can be an NBA All-Star for a lot of years.
Joel Heine (Milwaukee, WI)
Jay, who are your top 3 for Coach of the Year? Bo Ryan is probably outside of that, but does he have any chance?
Jay Bilas (2:02 PM)
I really don't know what Coach of the Year means. Is it the guy that wins the title? Is it the guy that wins with less? Is it the little guy that competes with the big guys? Is it the guy with no resources? The guy with injuries that overcomes? Calipari at Kentucky, Wright at Villanova, Self at Kansas? Bo Ryan would be a great choice, but how about Matt Painter? Steve Donahue of Cornell has done a great job, as has Ben Jacobsen of Northern Iowa. I think Coach of the Year awards should be given to coaches by coaches. The only objective measure in sports is winning. The rest is subjective, and Coach of the Year awards are about as subjective as you can get. Does that make any sense? If it doesn't, then you know it came from me!!
Brett (NB, Texas)
John Wall is a rare talent but doesn't he turn the ball over at an alarming rate?
Jay Bilas (2:03 PM)
Right now, yes. But, he will grow out of that. He is so young, and still learning. Wall is the real deal, and will get better and better. If he listens and learns, the turnover problem will be in the rearview mirror.
Assuming Cal wins the Pac 10 and no other team gets an at large, has that ever happened to a Big( BCS) conference since 1985?
Jay Bilas (2:04 PM)
Boy, I sure cannot recall a year that a Big 6 league got only one team in. I would be surprised if that actually happens. Somebody different will get the automatic bid.....won't they? Odd year in the West. Hard to explain.
Grant (Stevens Point, WI)
What do you make of Marquette? Is there anybody in the nation that is getting more out of their team than Buzz Williams?
Jay Bilas (2:06 PM)
Buzz has done a great job. That is one competitive bunch, and Lazar Hayward has been great all year long. I also really like Darius Johnson-Odom. I think Marquette will be right there for a bid, but there is still work to do. Too many pretty good teams are still in the hunt.
Jay, In the past you have proposed "putting the best 65 teams in the tournament".This seems pretty straight forward.However, this stance has been perceived as an afront to mid-majors.Is part of your frustration with the conference tournaments deciding the league bids? Seems to me these tourneys, in some cases, can put a top 65 team out and a team that is nowhere close, in. Agree or disagree? Thanks
Jay Bilas (2:10 PM)
It is not frustration at all. It is just an idea, and one that I know will never happen. College basketball is the most equitable sport to the little guy or the mid-major. But, several of our little guys are just not very competitive due to the automatic bid. My reasoning is this: If we can choose the best 34, we can choose the best 64. MORE good mid-majors would get into the field under my idea, and they would have a real chance to win. Last year, Davidson, George Mason, Illinois State, Creighton and a couple of others would have made it into the field under my proposal. And, they would have been more competitive. There are too many teams in Division I. The NCAA Tournament is the National Championship. We should have the best teams, period. But, if we keep it as is, it is still the best event in sports.
Jeremy (Boiler Country)
Jay, what are your thoughts now on this surging Purdue team after last night? Will they win the Big Ten, and help there chances for #1 Seed?
Jay Bilas (2:12 PM)
Same as before. Purdue is good enough to get to Indy because of defense and really good offensive movement. Are they a lock? No. No team is that good. I don't think there are any GREAT teams this season, although Kansas is closest right now. That will make for a great NCAA Tournament. I think Purdue is a top six team, without question. They can win this thing with a few breaks.
John (Wauwatosa, WI)
Jay, i follow college basketball very close, and i see one team who is being OVERLOOKED by every national pundit. The team is William & Mary. They have wins over Wake Forest, Richmond, and Maryland, and an RPI in the 40's. Why is this team not getting talked about being on the bubble, when a team like Marquette, was has only 2 top 50 wins this year is considered in the tourney by guys like Lunardi??
Jay Bilas (2:15 PM)
I like William & Mary, and watched them just the other night against George Mason. Tony Shaver is a North Carolina guy, and changed up his system to be more competitive in the Colonial. David Schneider, Quinn McDowell and Danny Sumner are all good players, and the Tribe does a good job controlling tempo and managing mistakes. There is no Keith Cieplicki or Brant Widener on this team, but the Tribe is very good! And, Marquette is no lock, at least not yet. There is still time for teams like W
Kevin Klein (Albuquerque)
Jay, Steve Alford has one of the youngest teams in America. They were picked 5th in the conference at the beggining of the year. Now 24-3 and on the brink of the top 10. And they have a solid RPI. Is he a COY candidate?
Jay Bilas (2:18 PM)
Another good candidate! Steve has done a great job. I really enjoy watching his team. Hobson knows how to play, and Roman Martinez is a terrific player. Diarese Gary does a nice job at the point, and Phillip McDonald is a great athlete. That team can win when it gets to the NCAA Tournament.
Bob (Terps Country)
Jay, how many teams from the ACC do you believe have a realistic chance of making the NCAA Tournament? I watch ALOT of basketball (particularly ACC games), and it seems that the ACC teams beat each other up so much during the regular season.
Jay Bilas (2:20 PM)
They do, but this is not a banner year in the ACC. With Carolina down, the league is not as competitive. I like Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Virginia Tech to make it. But, the last three cannot fall down in the last three weeks. Clemson has to pick it up a bit. The Tigers are not in yet. The ACC should get six.
Jay - why doesn't Syracuse's early season loss to LeMoyne figure into their ranking?
Jay Bilas (2:22 PM)
It was not a regular season game, it was an exhibition. And, Syracuse played all man-to-man in that game.
Chris (Newport Beach, CA)
Jay, I'm seeing a lot of talent out there for good draft potential. What about this kid from BYU, Jimmer Freddette? He's putting up monster numbers...Can he honestly be considered as a lottery pick come draft time?
Jay Bilas (2:23 PM)
Lottery pick may be a bit optimistic, but Fredette is an NBA player. That kid is tough as nails, and very good with the ball. He can shoot it, and he can get to the rim and finish. I think he will play in the NBA.
Is there any chance Texas could play there way out of the NCAA Tournament?
Jay Bilas (2:24 PM)
Nah. They take 65 teams. Texas will be one of them.
Chris ((Abilene, TX))
Jay, you have Texas A&M ranked higher than any other analyst in this week's power rankings. What do you like about their team? How dangerous can they be come tourney time?
Jay Bilas (2:26 PM)
Well coached. good big guys, and Donald Sloan. He is a great competitor, although I would like to see him guard better. Mark Turgeon does a great job, and his team plays with great heart. I like the Aggies because they will guard people, and they have good balance, with a guy that can take and make big shots in Sloan.
Cayle (Flyer Nation)
Jay, do you really think that more than four A-10 teams will be dancing come march?
Jay Bilas (2:28 PM)
Yes, but Rhody losing lately has probably put them in some jeopardy. St. Louis is really starting to come on as well. Richmond, Temple, XU, and Dayton are in, Charlotte has won more on the road than any of them, and Rhody and SLU are in the discussion. Great year for the A-10.
Siena visits my Butler Bulldogs this saturday...Although they slipped up against Niagara, Siena is really impressive. Does Butler's winning streak extend past this weekend?
Jay Bilas (2:30 PM)
That is a GREAT game. Ronald Moore is a big time winner as a point guard, and I am a huge fan of Alex Franklin. Edwin Ubiles is a quiet star, and Ryan Rossiter is productive and really tough. Butler is very skilled, but Siena can beat them. I favor Butler, but is should be really fun to watch. Both are going to the NCAA Tournament.
Sandy (Lexington, KY)
Who are your favorite young, up and coming coaches in the nation?
Jay Bilas (2:33 PM)
Brad Stevens of Butler, Tony Bennett of Virginia, Darrin Horn of South Carolina, Tony Barbee of UTEP, Doug Wojcik of Tulsa, and Ben Jocobsen of Northern Iowa. All are excellent.
UNI is 23-3 and 24 in the RPI, yet they are only 2-1 against the top 50. If UNI loses tomorrow to Old Dominion, then wins their final two regular season games and loses in the MVC championship, do they have the resume' to get an at-large? They would be 27-5 and 2-2 against the top 50.
Jay Bilas (2:35 PM)
Don't worry about the Top 50 record. UNI is very good, and absent a weird collapse (and something odd with Jordan Egelseder's situation) the Panthers will get in. That is where the "eye test" comes in. UNI is good, and I don't need some RPI report to tell me that. I can see it, and so can everyone else. Same goes for Cornell. If they stumble in the Ivy League, they should still get in.
Doug (West Lafayette, IN)
Jay, there are certainly a lot of people out there who give you flack for criticizing officiating. Personally, I find it refreshing because, as you said in a recent telecast that I completely agree with, "they get paid for it so they should do a good job." What exactly to you think is the biggest current problem? Is it a certain call? Something that isn't being called? Consistency?
Jay Bilas (2:38 PM)
There is no problem. It can be better, and we can strive to do our very best. That differs greatly from there being a problem. John Adams, the NCAA Supervisor of Officials, is doing a great job of trying to make officiating consistent across the board. The key issue is accountability. College basketball is too physical and that needs to be addressed. But, the officials do a good job overall. A very good job. Like coaches, players and broadcasters, there are good ones, average ones, great ones, and a few bad ones. But, reasonable criticism is okay, as long as it is about the calls and not the people making the calls. It is not personal.
Kevin (N. Potomac, MD)
Who are your finalists for ACC PoY at this point?
Jay Bilas (2:39 PM)
Scheyer and Vasquez are my two favorites.
Fran Dunphy for coach of the year at Temple? Give the man some love!!
Jay Bilas (2:40 PM)
Good call. Just call the people at Wisconsin first. If you say that Dunphy is more underrated or underappreciated than Bo, you may have a fight on your hands!
Jay, I watch a lot of College games. Does it seem like over the last week or so there have been and excesive amount of intentional foul calls? Especially late in games. What is your take on this?
Jay Bilas (2:43 PM)
I have not noticed that. There may have been one or two that raised an eyebrow, especially the one in the Syracuse-Louisville game. But, I have always thought that there should be no "intentional" foul in basketball. Intent should not be a part of it. If it is excessive or flagrant, fine. But, I should be allowed to foul if I want to. We all know that teams foul on purpose as strategy in certain situations. Why do we care? As long as it not excessive or flagrant, we should no penalize fouling on purpose. It is good strategy sometimes.
Charge Circle (Omaha)
Please tell me this circle will be put in during the offseason to take a lot of the judgemnet out of the charging call.
Jay Bilas (2:44 PM)
It is coming. The red tape in the NCAA takes about four years to push it through. It is on the way. Worry not.
Name one quality ROAD win for Duke... Clemson and the rest of the ACC are not quality road wins...
Jay Bilas (2:49 PM)
Ah, a Duke hater.....shocker. Just kidding....I respect your skepticism. Duke has beaten UConn, Arizona State, and Gonzaga on neutral courts, and Clemson, BC, UNC and Miami in true road games. Is that a juggernaut? Perhaps not, But, Duke has won some pretty good games away from home, and there aren't a whole lot of teams that have done better. Look, this is a down year in college basketball. Duke is good, and relative to the field this year, Duke is really good. I think that Kansas, Kentucky, Villanova, Syracuse and Purdue are better, but Duke is right there and can still beat any of those teams on a given night.
Jay - Why did you leave Matt Bouldin off your All american team from your column today? I know he will not be a first team all american, but he is the reason why a young Gonzaga team is in the top 15. Their bad loss to Duke was a game after a concussion...
Jay Bilas (2:50 PM)
Gonzaga gets plenty of run. Bouldin is not an unknown. Maybe some of the others were known to you, but I wanted it to shine a light on some of the unusual suspects.
JP (At Work)
Jay you've said many times this year that there are no "great teams." Outside of last year's UNC and UNC with May and Felton, can you give me some other great teams in the last decade?
Jay Bilas (2:53 PM)
Good question. I should clarify that. Last year, I thought that UNC, UCONN (with Dyson), Pitt, Louisville, and Villanova were all in the "great" category, and Michigan State, Oklahoma, Missouri and Memphis were right there. This year, none of those teams are as good as they were last year, with Villanova being the closest (but they lost Anderson, Clark and Cunningham...the Cats were better last year). There are some really good teams this year, but only KU and UK are potentially great. They are not quite there yet.
hey whos ure final four picks at this point?
Jay Bilas (2:55 PM)
To me, the four best teams are Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Villanova. But, Purdue is right there.
Ken Pomeroy (Statville)
Your "eye test" is rather humorous after your diatribe about the subjectivity of naming a Coach of the Year award. All in the same chat! I know you hate numbers in general, so you will probably ignore this question, but what ranking system do you favor, the RPI or Pomeroy?
Jay Bilas (2:58 PM)
I like looking at KenPom.com, and I look at the RPI every week or so. The RPI is a joke. And, it was not a "diatribe". You have never seen me in a diatribe. I would frighten you.COY has no real meaning. The best team does. And, if you disagree, I will launch into a real diatribe!!
Joe (College Park)
Thank you for being the only person to put Maryland in the top 25. You will look very smart in the coming weeks.
Jay Bilas (3:00 PM)
I will need more than that to look smart. Plastic surgery may be my only option to that end. Thanks again for stopping by. I have to get on a plane to Seattle now, so we can get to UCLA at Washington and GameDay. The House that Detlef Schrempf Built!!! Best, Bilas