Chat with Jay Bilas
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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.
Follow Jay on Twitter: @JayBilas.
Send your questions now and join Bilas Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jay Bilas (1:51 PM)
Welcome to the Fastest Chat in Basketball. Actually, it is a pontification by me, and you are a hostage to it, but why quibble over words. And, this will not be a Jeremy Lin-free zone. Let's have some questions, and we'll get right to it. And, thanks for joining me for this. It is always my pleasure.
Kyle (Louisville, KY)
What are your thoughts on UK having a Nationally Televised open practice this afternoon? Did Cal come up with a cool idea?
Jay Bilas (1:55 PM)
I think it is a great idea, and it is absolutely fine with me. I have joked, and it is just a joke, that the NCAA will probably declare it illegal. Of course, it should not be. There is no reason to believe that there is any advantage to be gained by a television appearance, and television is available to any school that wishes to do what Kentucky is doing. And, with all of these networks popping up, televising practice is just the next way we can use these players to make money. Making money is not a bad thing. Restricting one segment of the university community from making any, however, is a bad thing.
Nick O. (St. Louis)
Can Mizzou compete with Kentuckies, and Syracuses, and other powerhouse teams on a neutral court?
Jay Bilas (1:57 PM)
Missouri can compete with anyone, and can beat anyone. But, I do not believe Missouri is a No. 1 seed. Rather, I think the Tigers are a No. 2 seed. Mizzou can have some issues on the backboards and guarding bigger, inside oriented teams. That said, this team is tough to match up with. I think Missouri will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament. And, Missouri is a lot better than VCU was last season, so it should be pretty clear that this team could easily reach a Final Four and have a chance to win it.
Jay, I'm not a big fan of this new BPI ranking introduced even though they have my Spartans ranked 4th. The problem I have is that it discounts losses with key players missing. Teams with short benches always run the risk of not being able to replace one of its stars should they go down. Last time I checked basketball is a TEAM sport. Conversely, does the Kansas win against OSU count less since Sully was out?
Jay Bilas (2:01 PM)
Give the BPI a good look, and I think you will really like it. First, no measure is perfect. They are just stats, and you have to use your own good judgment and your eyes to tell you the whole story. I use Sagarin and KenPom.com, but I will be using the BPI first among them. The use of advanced Strength of Schedule and Missing Player Minutes metrics just gives a deeper look into the plusses and minuses of each team. And, it is such a dramatic improvement over the RPI, which is an unholy mess and a total joke of a metric. And, yes, the win over Ohio State with Sullinger out is not as impressive as it would be if he were available, just as a game against KU with Thomas Robinson out would not be as impressive as if he had played. That seems pretty darn logical and right to me. But, if you don't like it, I am cool with that. You should make your judgments the way you see fit. Thanks for the feedback!
Can Draymond Green lead the Spartans to the Nat'l title?
Jay Bilas (2:04 PM)
Yes. I think Michigan State can make a Final Four, and if you can get there, you CAN win it all. Note that I said CAN. I would not put MSU as one of the top four favorites, but I would put the Spartans in the top eight or ten teams in the country. Green is a wonderful player, and one of the true special players in college basketball. I tend to believe that Keith Appling will be a major key to anything MSU does in the Tournament. He needs to run a team, defend the top perimeter guy, and still score and shoot well within the offense. He has made a nice adjustment to the point, and needs to be a great leader in the postseason. i think he can do it.
David (Virginia) [via mobile]
When does this Kentucky team start being compared to the best teams we have ever seen? (1990 UNLV, 1996 UK, 2001 Duke, etc...)
Jay Bilas (2:06 PM)
I think Kentucky is really, really good. However, I do not put this UK team up anywhere near the true great teams of the past. If they improve going forward, perhaps I will. But, right now, I do not put this team up with the best Kentucky teams ever, let alone the best teams in the history of college basketball. I think Anthony Davis is spectacular and UK is a true title contender. I do not see historically great, at least not yet.
Shawn Bensley (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Hey Jay I am a big fan of yours you are my favorite analyst in College hoops!! If Syracuse and Kentucky play in the Championship game in your opinion who would win and could you please explain your reason for who you would pick in this game?
Jay Bilas (2:10 PM)
It would be a toss up, but I would favor Syracuse because of the experience the Orange would have, and the unique defense Syracuse plays. As an example, I thought UK was the better team when the Cats played West Virginia in 2010, but I picked WVU to win because it was an older team that played a different style. I thought UK's freshmen would have a tough time adjusting to it for just one game. I feel the same way about Syracuse and UK this year. Syracuse does not rebound the ball as well as they need to, and does not shoot as many free throws as their opponents in the Big East. But, the Orange does a great job of forcing turnovers and running off of them. I think UK would have a tough time with that zone because of that, and would suffer against it because UK is not a great shooting team. But UK could certainly win (that team can beat anybody this year) and I think it would be a GREAT game!!
Duke vs. NC State tomorrow. How has that matchup evolved since you were a player?
Jay Bilas (2:14 PM)
NC State is a good team, and Mark Gottfried has done a great job. He has also done a really good job recruiting, and will get NC State back near the top of the ACC soon. When I was a player, NC State won the National Championship and was really, really good. I played against Sidney Lowe, Derek Whittenburg, Lorenzo Charles, Chris Washburn, Charles Shackleford, Spud Webb and Nate McMillan. Clearly, NC State does not have that kind of talent right now (no team today has the same level of talent and experience that teams had in the 1980's or 1990'...the game was simply better back then because everybody stayed in school). This team is good, and can beat a lot of people. But, it is not a top forty team, at least not yet. I believe it is a bubble team that needs only a win against Duke or North Carolina to get into the field.
How is Davis still second in POY votes?
Jay Bilas (2:17 PM)
Who cares? It is not time for that. Anthony Davis is the best prospect in college basketball, and will be the No. 1 selection in the NBA Draft. But, it is reasonable to suggest that Thomas Robinson of Kansas is the Player of the Year. Right now, I would select Davis. He was leading UK in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks, and is just scratching the surface of his ability.
I assume that the photo listed for this chat is not up to date or you have taken all of the hair that was in your drawer and re-applied it?
Jay Bilas (2:18 PM)
If I have hair, it is not an up to date photo. My swag, however, remains and continues to rise due to compound interest.
How awesome was the end of the Mason - VCU game? Anyone in the CAA have a shot at an at large bid if they win out?
Jay Bilas (2:20 PM)
Right now, I think VCU is going to be an at-large selection if the Rams don't get an automatic bid. Other than that, it may be tough. Old Dominion and George Mason have a chance, though.
As of today who are your final 4 teams?
Jay Bilas (2:22 PM)
Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and Ohio State. But, I think Kansas, Missouri, Michigan State and Duke can crack the Final Four as well. This is not a year of great, powerful teams
Sherman Hemsley (Amen)
To follow up on David from VA's question: Is a NCAA title a prerequisite for ranking a team amongst the greatest ever, or can a Final Four appearance suffice? Where do you personally make the separation of the "greatest ever" from the merely "great"?
Jay Bilas (2:25 PM)
I don't have a list of criteria. And, no, a championship is not necessary, but you had better be a Final Four team or suffer a really weird upset if you are not. For example, I think Georgetown 1985 is better than any team in college basketball this year. The Hoyas did not win the title (but t took an incredible effort and game to beat them. I think you can do it by feel, and by your understanding of the game and having actually seen all of these teams. Of course, reasonable minds can differ.
Tim (Beltsville, MD)
Jay, Terrell Stoglin HAS to be a lock for ACC POY, right? What else does he have to do in order to be ahead? He is leading the conference in scoring by a COUNTRY MILE
Jay Bilas (2:27 PM)
Terrell Stoglin is having a great year, but scoring is not the only aspect of Player of the Year. Otherwise, we would not have to vote on it. We could just send the trophy to the top scorer every year. I tend to believe that UNC's Tyler Zeller has been the best player in ACC games, and the league's MVP. He has been terrific.
Jay, please tell me your thoughts! With a team that has as much talent as Miss. State does, how do you feel about the recent struggles with the lower tier SEC teams? Last night they looked as lazy as I've ever seen a basketball team, shouldn't Stansbury be to blame at this point?
Jay Bilas (2:29 PM)
I blame the players. This team is very talented, and very easily satisfied with themselves. That is a normal reaction to success, but Mississippi State does not want to be normal, they want to be exceptional. Teams that lose to lesser opponents and do so consistently cannot be called exceptional.
Much has been made of Syracuse's rebounding woes, which is understandable since one would expect them to do better given their height and athleticism. That being said, how often if ever do teams reach the final four while consistently losing the battle on the glass?
Jay Bilas (2:32 PM)
It is pretty rare. I think Syracuse can overcome it, because they have such an advantage in extra possessions via turnovers margin. But, Syracuse does not get to the free throw line as often as their opponents either. That is unusual, and it is unusual for both a negative rebound margin and a negative free throw rate to be present in a top ranked team. Usually, a zone team doesn't foul much, and should shoot and make more free throws. It should also get more rebounds. Syracuse does neither. Still, I like this team's chances to reach New Orleans.
Chris (Virgina Beach)
Duke is once again in the mix for a 1 seed. I know, just like every year for about 6 now, no one thinks this team with win the national title. They have no chance. But, yet I see cases being made for just about every team out there. They get to Duke and it's always, "Well they lack this and that." Why is that? Is everyone jsut sick of Duke? Be honest Jay. The media coverage of Duke for YEARS now has been slanted greatly. Like, some think Missouri can win it. Really? They say, "oh, how hard it will be with that 4 guard line up. So tough to game plan." They shoot tons of threes and have no inside game. yet that is what I hear about Duke and I hear that Duke can't win a title that way. Do you see what I mean?
Jay Bilas (2:43 PM)
Boo hoo. I have heard no person say or suggest that Duke cannot win a National Championship. Not one. I have heard many say that this is not a vintage Duke team, and not a vintage Duke defensive team. Heck, I have heard Coach K say that. But, this Duke team can beat anyone out there. Even an ardent Duke fan would have to admit that this Duke team is not Coach K's best. So what? And, I have no problem with commentators providing their opinions, even if they are not flowery compliments of Duke. I used to joke that, when I picked Duke to go to the Final Four in certain years and they lost, no Duke fans sent thank you notes. Nobody is picking on Duke. They are, as far as I can tell, providing honest and fair analysis. Those commentators are not cheerleaders. And, NOBODY has said Duke CANNOT win. Nobody. I rank Duke 8th in the country right now. That is hardly an insult. It is a compliment.
Your Hero (NY)
What does Seton Hall need to do to get in?
Jay Bilas (2:45 PM)
Win. That is the only objective measure in sports. Win. Of course, nobody really knows exactly how many wins, but considering the weakness at the bubble cut off, it should not be too many. Remember, UAB and VCU made the field last year with very few quality wins, and VCU finished fourth in its league. There is not way to tell what the Committee will do.
Which part of Missouri's resume says '2 seed?' They have two losses, everyone else besides UK and 'Cuse has at least four... and they're 9-0 against RPI top 50. Explain please....
Jay Bilas (2:46 PM)
Missouri can still get a No. 1 seed. It is still possible. But, I consider four teams to be better. And, being considered 5 through 8 is still pretty darn good. Missouri is an outstanding team. Suggesting that a few other teams are slightly better is not an insult!
Kyle (Lawrence, Kansas)
Jay, I have always been a fan of yours. There is hardly a time that your statements have disagreed with my own. However, I want to ask you a question that seems to be floating around here at the University of Kansas. It is no secret that Coach Self's bench production is abysmal at best, which always seems to haunt teams come tournament (both conference and national) time. With that in mind, how far can Taylor, Robinson, and even Withey now carry Kansas into the tournament? Is the Elite Eight too far of a stretch? Thanks for your thoughts!
Jay Bilas (2:51 PM)
Kansas can win the whole thing. The Jayhawks are really good, and play the game the right way. Tyshawn Taylor has been tremendous, and doesn't get near the credit he deserves. Bill Self has done a great job coaching this team, and should be right at the top of the list for National Coach of the Year. But, he is not getting production out of his bench for a simple reason: those players have not been productive. He wants to play more people, but they are not producing. If he had Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor (and he should....they were both qualified and the NCAA should not be telling any school who to educate or play) then KU would be a lot better than they are now, and they are top five good right now. This team can get to the Elite Eight or the Final Four. But, the margin of error is not great. This team can also lose to a mid-major early if they do not play well. That is true of a number of top teams this year.
I'm confused about the lack of outrage over the retroactive nature of the sanctions being placed on UCONN for next years tourney. Is this the first time ever that a sanctioning body went backwards in time to punish teams for a rule that wasn't in place yet?? It's absurd. They've already been punished for what was in place, loss of scholarships, and have made changes going forward, illustrated by their great APR from last year that somehow won't count yet two years later. The lazy journalism by people claiming that b/c other institutions were already penalized this way, UCONN should too is ridiculous and not helping anyone.
Jay Bilas (2:57 PM)
I do not agree with the way the NCAA deals with these issues. I am in favor of high academic standards, but I think the schools are fully capable of dealing with that issue on their own. The APR is, quite simply, a joke. There are unintended consequences to these measures, including students being encouraged to take the easy path and academic clustering. Different schools have different missions, and a one size fits all system will not work. The APR bans hurt the wrong people, and I believe any system that punishes retroactively is wrong. But, if the NCAA wants to make the APR the holy grail, fine. Whatever the bar is, people will clear it for the money. Education, however, will not be served. There is a big difference between education and graduation or APR numbers. Thanks for the question.
How did so many teams miss on Jeremy Lin and how is he doing what he's doing now?
Jay Bilas (3:00 PM)
Lin got an opportunity and made the most of it. And, it is not an indictment of anyone that Lin was not highly ranked out of HS or that he was not drafted. Think of it this way....if we lined up every valedictorian and got to draft them, would you be able to tell, in order, which would be the most successful? Of course not. It is simply educated guessing based upon certain factors and past performance. I think it is remarkable how many are picked correctly rather than the misses. But, reasonable minds can differ. The one thing that is really neat is that, no matter what anyone thinks, in sports you have to play, and you have to prove it every game. Lin is doing that. It is fun to watch.
If this is not a year of great, powerful teams as many expected it would be, and considering that there hasn't been a truly "great" team since 2006, is this a sign of long-term climate change in college hoops?
Jay Bilas (3:04 PM)
There has not been a truly great team since 2009. I would call North Carolina's 2009 team a great team from a historical perspective. There was not a great team in 2010 or 2011. But, I hope it is just cyclical. There are not great guards this year, which is unusual. There are a lot of outstanding big guys. Before the year, I think I fooled myself into thinking that this would be a year of "great" because Barnes, Jones, Sullinger and others were back for an unexpected extra year. But, I fooled myself. This is a down year. The Pac-12 is way down, the ACC is down, the Big East is down and the Big 12 is not as good as it was last year. But, it is still competitive and fun, and it will still be a fun NCAA Tournament. I expect that we will have some great teams in the future again. I am just not sure exactly when!!
JP (Columbus, OH)
The swag-meter of this chat room is registering at an all-time high right now.
Jay Bilas (3:05 PM)
Only the web is big enough to hold my swag. I would say thanks for noticing, but how could you miss it?
Gregg (Wichita, Ks)
Highest possible seed for my Shockers? Seems like a lot of the media, and the coaches poll isn't sold quite yet.
Jay Bilas (3:07 PM)
I think Wichita State could get a 3-seed if they keep winning and take the title in St. Louis. That is a really good team, and the best mid-major in the country.
Jay Bilas (3:07 PM)
Thanks for the time today! Have a great week!