Chat with Jay Bilas
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Jay Bilas (2:55 PM)
Welcome to the fastest chat in basketball! While others have their personal assistant type out their sentences, I do all of my own typing, and I have blazing keyboard speed. And, I am trill. The season is getting underway, and I am ready to roll. Fire away!
Hey Jay,What're your thoughts on the upcomimg Carrier Classic betw. UNC and Michigan State on Friday on the USS Carl Vinson? Are you doing the game and if so, what're your feelings and hopes for the event? Sounds really neat.
Jay Bilas (2:58 PM)
I am really excited about the Carrier Classic. First, it is a great opportunity for all of us to spotlight and thank our men and women in uniform. The United States Armed Forces is the best team in the world, period. I was fortunate to go to the Middle East twice with Operation Hardwood with several coaches, including Tom Izzo, to coach US Army teams in a tournament. I was blown away in a life changing experiences at the commitment, toughness and professionalism of our soldiers. I will be doing the game with the great Dick Vitale and Dan Shulman, and I could not be more honored to be a part of it. It will be an unforgettable experience to be among the very best of all of us, our military. I am in awe of their commitment.
Hey Jay. What do you feel will be the critical points of the North Carolina/Kentucky game?
Jay Bilas (3:01 PM)
Rebounding will be a major factor. Both teams are long, athletic and deep. Shots will be challenged and missed. The team that controls the glass will be in a better position to win the game. Kentucky is loaded with talent and explosiveness, and North Carolina is, too. The Heels have more experience, but UK will be at home. That will be an incredible atmosphere! This year, college basketball has done what I have been screaming about for years...we have a powerful "opening day" with the Carrier Classic, a great challenge with the Champions Classic of UK, Duke, KU and Michigan State, and then UK v. UNC. Every game counts!
Jay! What are Belmont's chances to take down either Duke or Memphis?
Jay Bilas (3:03 PM)
Probably better at Memphis because the Tigers are younger, but Belmont is fully capable of beating both if everything falls right for them. Belmont won 30 games last season and pushed Tennessee to the limit. Ian Clark is a really good player that is tough, physical and can shoot it. Belmont has depth and can throw a lot of different bodies out there, and they have size to be able to guard in the post and hang on the glass. Duke and Memphis are better, but Belmont is good, and will not be afraid. Plus, Vince Gill will probably be there supporting Belmont coach Rick Byrd. That cannot hurt.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will we ever see a Female Official in the Future in NCAA Men's College Basketball?
Jay Bilas (3:07 PM)
Yes. It is past due. It is past due in the NFL and past due in college basketball. Gender doesn't matter in coaching or officiating (or anything else that means anything). I have seen Violet Palmer officiate games, and I have seen Dee Kantner officiate games, and both were excellent. Latham, New York is Sam Perkins territory. He was a great player and is a great guy!
Matt (Philly) [via mobile]
Thoughts for George Dohrmann's pay for play piece? I feel like many plans out there ignore some of the legal, financial, and cultural ramifications they create and his piece really exposes them.
Jay Bilas (3:13 PM)
I have not read it yet. But, I am not a proponent for paying players a salary. But, I believe that players should be allowed to accept compensation from sources outside of the university via legitimate business deals via written contract. There is no basis or justification for amateurism in college sports. Some say allowing compensation is antithetical to what college sports is all about. I disagree. For those that say that, the blatant commercialism of the game should be equally objectionable, but it is not to them. It doesn't bother anyone at the NCAA that the NCAA President makes almost $2 Million per year and flies around on a private jet. While I applaud the free market that allows that compensation and perks, I do not feel it appropriate when players are the only people in a university setting that are restricted from realizing their value. No other student or employee is so restricted. I think it is profoundly wrong to allow everyone to benefit except the athlete.
People rave so much about Barnes at UNC, but I saw Ross go toe to toe with him in the tournament in March? Do you think Ross belongs in the top 5 players in the nation?
Jay Bilas (3:15 PM)
Terrence Ross is ready for a great year. He is really talented and should be more mature this season. Also, Tony Wroten, Jr. is the best passer coming into college this year, and one of the best passers I have seen in the last several years. When healthy, he will be really good. Hard to believe that Ross and Terrence Jones of Kentucky played together in high school. Incredible talent.
Alan (Monroe, Michigan)
which player is the most important in North Carolina title run. Kendall Marshall who lead the team to the elite 8 or Harrison Barnes who is clearly the teams best scorer.
Jay Bilas (3:17 PM)
It is Marshall. Dexter Strickland will have to play some point in order to give Marshall a rest now and then, and Marshall needs to stay healthy and out of foul trouble. But, Carolina is not alone in having a point guard that needs to stay healthy. If Marquis Teague were to be out of the line-up, Kentucky would take a hit, too. Point guard is like quarterback in football. It is the most important position.
Justin (Burque, NM)
What is the outlook for UNM this year? Here in ABQ people are thinking big, what about you Jay?
Jay Bilas (3:21 PM)
I like New Mexico to win the league. Drew Gordon is a double-double guy, Kendall Williams is a really good guard, and I like Phillip McDonals and A.J. Hardemann as quality supporting players. The guy that can really help is Hugh Greenwood, the Aussie scorer. I think that Steve Alford has a team that can play in the second weekend in the NCAA Tournament.
Adam (Washington, DC)
I know it involves more of the football side of my alma mater, but what are your thoughts on the Penn State situation? Surely, the athletic department needs an upheaval don't you agree?
Jay Bilas (3:28 PM)
The Penn State situation is not about football or basketball. It is about basic human responsibility. When you witness a heinous crime, you report it to the authorities. There was a failure of leadership and judgment at Penn State, and the most culpable are Graham Spanier, his AD, his VP and Joe Paterno. All failed, and failed miserably. To fail to alert the proper authorities is indefensible. It turns my stomach to believe that adults did nothing while a predator was alleged to have abused children i their facilities. And, to think that Spanier is chair of the BCS and former chair of the NCAA Board of Directors and preened around Mark Emmert's recent President's Summit talking about integrity, yet stood by and did nothing when confronted with such disturbing allegations makes me sick. I feel for Penn State supporters who have a great university, but whose leadership failed to live up to the most basic of standards.
what are your thoughts on the cincinnati bearcats this season?? THink they have a chance to win the big east?
Jay Bilas (3:31 PM)
I think Cincinnati will be very good, and will be ranked all season. Mick Cronin is a really good coach, and he has steadily built the program back up to contend. I think Yancy Gates needs to have a great year. He has all of the tools and has been putting it together for the last couple of years. This should be his best year. Also, Sean Kilpatrick should be ready to take the next step. I know that UC will defend and rebound, and that will get them a long way.
How much does losing Darius Morris hurt Michigan? Michigan could probably compete for BIG title with him, but will be mediocre without him.
Jay Bilas (3:34 PM)
It hurts, but it isn't a killer. Trey Burke can play the position, and Stu Douglass can fill in there as well. Neither would be as effective as Darius Morris would have been. Michigan will have a good team this year, but a lot depends upon how the Wolverines shoot the ball. Michigan relies upon the three-point shot, and when they hit, they are really tough to beat. Next year, when Mitch McGary steps onto campus, things will really be looking up for Michigan. He is John Beilein's best recruit ever...by far.
Jay Bilas (3:35 PM)
Hang with me. I have to do a radio interview. Back in a few minutes. Sorry!!
Joe (Troy, NY)
Jay, when do you anticpate Syracuse and Pittsburgh playing hoops in the ACC?
Jay Bilas (3:54 PM)
I think they will try to play in the ACC as soon as possible, possibly next season. I understand the posturing of the 27 month exit, but there is no benefit to keeping a team in a league they want out of. I think Syracuse and Pitt will find a way to extricate themselves earlier than 27 months. We will see.
Jezz (Burbank, Ca)
Thoughts on UK winning by 85 yesterday, halftime score 74-13. It was scary.
Jay Bilas (3:55 PM)
UK is really, really good. And, they are long, athletic and talented. But, no good team gets beat by 85. Period. That said (or written), UK is a Final Four team.
Steve (E L)
Jay, Tom Izzo constantly talked about chemistry problems last year. Do you think MSU's better chemistry this year could lead to a surprising season for an under the radar team?
Jay Bilas (3:59 PM)
Where is this radar system people keep referencing? Is it near that table that Digger keeps saying players are bringing things to? I watched Michigan State practice the other day, and that is a hard working team that are all on the same page. This team is not as talented as the team that started out the season last year, but is a closer team, Tom Izzo feels good about their chances, and seems really energized by them. Last year's team were not bad guys, but they were not all in with both feet from start to finish, and the season got away from them. It happens. That will not happen this year. However, playing North Carolina and Duke before Thanksgiving week is not an easy start!
Jeremy H (Minnehopeless)
Is Anthony Davis the next Kevin Durant (In a few years)? He plays like a guard and has a similar build to KD.....
Jay Bilas (4:02 PM)
Anthony Davis is a terrific prospect. However, Kevin Durant was way ahead of him to this point. Davis will continue to get better and better, but I think Durant is a truly special talent that could score it much easier and in more ways than Davis. Think about that...Davis could be a No. 1 pick, and I am saying that Durant was better at that age! Durant was awesome, because Davis is big time.
Jay, what's the one arena you wish you would have played in during your college career?
Jay Bilas (4:03 PM)
I never played in Phog Allen Fieldhouse. That is my favorite arena in the country (not counting Cameron Indoor Stadium). That place is incredible. It is the St. Andrews of college basketball.
Jay, do you think that Florida State could challenge Duke for the No. 2 spot in the ACC? FSU beat Duke last year and they made it to the Sweet 16 without much help from Chris Singleton.
Jay Bilas (4:05 PM)
Yes, I do. I think that Duke will be better, but Florida State could very well finish ahead of Duke. The Seminoles will be very good on the defensive end again, but the real question is whether they will get good point guard play and better and more efficient scoring. If FSU can score more easily, this will be a really good season.
What are you expectations of Vandy and how far do you think they will make it in March?
Jay Bilas (4:09 PM)
I like Vandy's team. My question is about their toughness to win the close games and to do it in tournament play. Vanderbilt has been a winner, but not a champion. But, with guys like Taylor, Jenkins, Ezeli, and Tinsley, Kevin Stallings has experience and talent, and they have been disappointed before. That should sharpen their focus for a great year. If they toughen up, Vandy can reach a Final Four. We will see them up close at GameDay this year!
What do you think about Adonis Thomas and how far can the MEMPHIS TIGERS go this year?
Jay Bilas (4:10 PM)
Adonis Thomas is a hard working player that will be tough to match-up with. I will see Memphis in Maui, and they have terrific talent. Joe Jackson had a great year, Wesley Witherspoon has great ability, and Will Barton can really play. I like Memphis as a top ten team before the year is out.
Dusty (St. Louis)
Where does Bill Self rank in your top active coaches list?
Jay Bilas (4:13 PM)
Right at the top. I would put Coach K, Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun, Tom Izzo, John Calipari and Bill Self right at the top. I watched Kansas practice yesterday, and thought to myself, "I would have LOVED to have played for Bill Self." He makes you want to do your best on every play, and he is uncompromising on what it takes to be at your best, yet allows you to play with a free mind. A tremendous coach.
Why does home court advantage matter so much? No weather and the court is still the same size no matter where you play.
Jay Bilas (4:17 PM)
You sound like Norman Dale in Hinkle when he measured the basket! Good question. I think it has to do with the crowd and with how teams feel when at home. Most would say it is the officials, but I tend to believe that most players play with more strength, intensity, and most important, TOGETHERNESS at home. Togetherness and toughness are tough things to pack for the road. It is funny...most places that are tough to play in are usually feel that way because of the players on the floor rather than the crowd. But, when you have a tough team, the crowd makes it that much tougher to play against that team.
Who's going to be national champs?
Jay Bilas (4:19 PM)
My picks for the Final Four are North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse. I think North Carolina is the best team right now. But, Kentucky will be a beast by March. December 3 is circled on the calendar.
The Alabama/LSU Football was tremendously hyped. Do you see any regular season basketball game receiving anywhere close to the same sort of media attention this year?
Jay Bilas (4:23 PM)
I doubt it, but UNC at Kentucky on December 3 will be close. Football has an advantage in hype because there is only one game a week. It is like comparing an NFL game to an NBA game. There are 16 NFL games and 82 NBA games. Football is a better TV sport, and captures a broader audience. But, if you are a basketball person, you feel that kind of hype for a number of games. Remember, LSU and Alabama was No. 1 v. No. 2, which doesn't happen very often. It does happen in basketball. I actually played in a couple of those games, and there was added hype in those. UNC v. UK should be No. 1 v. No. 2 on December 3. We shall see.
Jay Bilas (4:25 PM)
Thanks for stopping by the chat. Real recognize real, I suppose.
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