Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC, in addition to writing for ESPNChicago.com. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1:30 p.m. ET!
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
Hi Everybody...let's jump right into Tournament Talk! My bracket took a hit with Creighton's elimination. Hell, Creighton wasn't just eliminated; they were demolished, which was the second biggest surprise of the weekend to me, after Duke losing. Its not losing that was a shocker; Creighton was no lock...But it was getting their doors blown off, by 30, that shocked me...Anyway, I've still got Florida, Louisville and Virginia...but most people still have all 4 of their Final Four selections...Not me...
Hi Mr. Wilbon, Can anything be said about the touted freshmen and their struggles in the tourney other than they're not LeBron, Carmelo, Wilt or Kareem?
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
This is something we're going to discuss on PTI today, though I'm sure LeBron's name will NOT come up since he didn't play a day in college and we don't know how he would have done...They're not Carmelo or Kareem...BUT I don't find it necessary to declare Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins failures as freshmen. I just think it might suggest they both need to come back to college and LEARN how to carry a team in the post-season (if they can)...or at least be part of an ensemble that can advance. We're talking about kids who are the sons of professional athletes who are not poor...kids who may blossom in college both professionally and personally...
Hi Wilbon, What did you make of this past weekend's action in sports?
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
I'm pretty much only paying attention to college basketball this week and next. I'll peek in on the NBA. In fact, I'll be in Indianapolis Wednesday for the Heat-Pacers game, which is more curious now because neither can stop tripping over himself...But anyway, I watched some of the PGA event this weekend, where Adam Scott coughed up a big Saturday lead. But spring training won't be on my radar until Thursday when I go to White Sox-Cubs here in Arizona...And I simply don't care about free agent football stuff, except for the Bars and what they do or don't do...The NHL is in that last-dash stage and I'm really stunned by the Blackhawks massive struggles. Part of its injuries (Hossa was out, no Kane and a slew of other starters) but there's clearly some "lets get to the playoffs" kind of thinking and that's dangerous. MIami is going through the same thing...But March Madness for me is a time to obsess over college hoops and everything else is a side dish.
Tampa Red (Loovull )
Good old fashioned hate in Louisville/Kentucky matchup. How excited are you for this game?
mike wilbon (1:57 PM)
I'm thrilled for this game...positively giddy. I covered the 1984 NCAA Tournament game between these two...If memory serves me correctly, John Y. Brown was the Governor of Kentucky then and I think the fabulous Phyliss George was his wife and they were sitting center court for one of the most contentious games I every covered...Was played (I think) in Knoxville, Tenn and it went to OT before Louisville, which was then held in complete disdain by all of UK Nation, scored 14 straight points in OT to win in a blowout. It was terribly exciting because the two schools refused to play each other back then...There were all kinds of social implications dealing with class and race that won't exist this time around...Still, I can't wait. I would expect Louisville to win but Kentucky has surprised me. That win over Wichita State was damn impressive...
After the KU & WSU game the KU players were jumping for joy like they won a championship, is that a sign of youth? A vet team like FLA or MSU wouldn't do that.
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
KU is Kansas. UK is Kentucky...It's a reflection of joy and I think most of us read way too much into these things. Would a truly veteran team of, say, 5 seniors have jumped around like that? Perhaps not. But maybe. It was a sublime game and they were thrilled. I don't make any more of it than that...Maybe the Wichita kids wouldn't have jumped around in quite the same way, being undefeated and all. It might have been more relief for them...But I don't know that Kentucky has presumed anything in what has been a successful but difficult season. Nothing magical about it...not yet.
With indiana and Miami woes lately can you see brooklyn becoming title contenders in the east?
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
I've been talking about that for two days with some serious hoop head friends of mine who pour over every NBA detail. I'm about ready to declare that, yes. The car says Brooklyn but its a Celtics engine powered by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and I'm just about sold it can run the race with the Heat and Pacers. See, people get carried away when they compare LeBron James with Michael Jordan, whose Bulls NEVER back-slid like this late in a championship season. Miami can't even win 60 games. They look ordinary. Is it just boredom? Maybe. Could be. LeBron's agitation however (which I applaud) does not seem overstated or unnecessary. Indy, I have no idea what they're thinking or doing. They haven't done or proven jack so far and they're sleepwalking. Paul George has gone from early MVP candidate to not even worthy of 3rd team honors. I don't know if he's hiding an injury or something but he looks ordinary...I think Brooklyn absolutely can beat Indy...I want to see a little more before I declare them even with Miami but this Miami-Indy game Wednesday now has a new curiosity about it...at least for me.
Barkley said the committee wanted to send a "message" to Wichita st. do you agree?
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
I'd have to hear more from Charles about that...I want to hear specifically what he means. We talked about several NCAA things the other day but not that...I think Wichita St.'s team this year is better than the one that went to the Final Four last year...They lost a tremendous game to a team stocked with future NBA players. Hardly a disgrace...I didn't think Kentucky could raise its game this week and I was wrong. Could the NCAA men's basketball selection committee foresee that? Maybe.
What a wild weekend of March Madness! Wilbon, did you find yourself rooting for the Shockers as I found myself doing, just because I was sick of people throwing out their season? And was that fantastic game with Kentucky enough to show they belonged again?
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
Yes, I was rooting for Wichita State...I like their coach, like their team...I think the tournament would have been well-served by the Shockers making a long run...
who had the more disappointing tourney, Wiggins or McDermott?
mike wilbon (2:12 PM)
Wiggins. Six shots right? 6...Nope, that doesn't do it. But for most kids you have to learn how to play in March...It can be a learned process...Wasn't for Carmelo or for Magic...but they're a rare breed. And McDermott was at least 7-for-14...He needed to have a minimum of 22-24 shots in that game and Creighton didn't seem to recognize where the shots should have come from to win that game...I'm sure both are disappointed, BUT I'd take McDermott in a second and I hope he slips to the mid-teens (as is being suggested by some draft analysts) and might be there for a certain favorite NBA team of mine to select him with the first two first-round draft picks...
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
Will Maryland's move to the Big Ten help or hurt Turgeon's recruiting in the DC area?
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
I don't see how it helps immediately. I personally know parents who want to see their kids play in person and say they will simply not be able to travel to the likes of Minneapolis, Chicago, Bloomington, Iowa City, West Lafayette, etc. Maybe in time it'll help but I don't see it...And I don't see midwestern kids clamoring to come to Maryland...I know east coast people (my neighbors) don't understand that because they think its every kid's dream to come to places like D.C. and NYC, but having grown up in Chicago I know how erroneous that thinking is...Let's see if Turgeon can find kids who either don't care, don't know, or feel totally the opposite...
I asked you before the tourney that since Wich. St. played such an easy schedule, if you didn't think that they should be placed as a 2, 3, or 4 seed. You wrote that was preposterous. Care to reconsider after yesterday?
mike wilbon (2:16 PM)
No. Because they lost a great game on a missed shot to a team loaded with future NBA players that probably should NOT have been an 8 or 9-seed? No. Got it?
Charles (San Jose)
Would you like to see a Bulls/Wizards first round matchup?
mike wilbon (2:19 PM)
I don't know...I know I do NOT want to see the Nets in a first-round series. The Wizards are probably going to sweep the Bulls in the regular season this year. The Bulls actually have some serious matchup issues with the Wizards, who are more athletic in the backcourt and have enough size if Nene is back to bother Noah and Boozer/Gibson...BUT, the Wizards will be a playoff neophyte while the Bulls have plenty of guys with important playoff experience. My close friend Neville Waters, a D.C. guy and Wiz fan, says he does NOT want the Bulls for just that reason, even though the Wizards (if they win the final reg season game in D.C.) will have been 3-0 in the reg season...I'd rather see the Bulls play the Wizards than Toronto or Brooklyn, though, and those are the only possibilities...
Which ends first: 76ers losing streak or Boston Bruins winning streak?
mike wilbon (2:20 PM)
I don't have the Bruins schedule memorized but I did peek at the 76ers schedule last night and they really could lose four or five more consecutively...they did come close to beating the Knicks and were very competitive with the Bulls twice in recent games...I wouldn't wish the Sixers streak on anybody...
What do you make of Roddy White not paying up on bet on twitter?
mike wilbon (2:22 PM)
I can't use the words I'd use in private company to describe here what I think of Roddy White...it's six syllables, hyphenated and it wouldn't get me suspended, it would get me fired...
there have been A LOT of lengthy reviews at the end of these NCAA games and a ton of timeouts. These reviews essentially become timeouts of their own. It feels like watching the last 2 minutes of some of these games actually takes 20 minutes to complete! Is it just me or does this bother you as well?
mike wilbon (2:23 PM)
Bothers me, too...except I get to click around to the other games and not miss anything...so maybe it's not so bad during the first weekend. but I'm with you...
Is Napier now in Kemba world?
mike wilbon (2:24 PM)
I was thinking that BEFORE the tournament as I decided, wrongly, to pick Villanova over UCONN...Maybe. I think its a good analogy...Can you imagine how many UCONN fanatics will be in Madison Square Garden for that game?
Is it better, come playoff time, to have a great defense like the Spurs, or a high powered offense, like the Thunder or Clippers?
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
Of course, you'd like to have both and I think the Clippers, because of DeAndre Jordan's improved play at the defensive end, can have a high-powered offense and a really good defense...I know the Spurs are playing out of their minds (again) but I'd give the Clippers an edge if the playoffs started today...OKC's chances are going to depend largely on Russell Westbrook's health...
Jon (Seattle, WA)
Justin, Wisconsin was pretty giddy after beating Oregon, a team they were favored to beat, while playing 1 1/2 hours away from campus. And Barry Alvarez and Bo Ryan were celebrating in the concourses after the game. Cut the kids some slack. You win a big game, you can celebrate
mike wilbon (2:26 PM)
I think that's fair.
Justin apparently didn't watch how MSU celebrated after beating Harvard...
mike wilbon (2:26 PM)
I think this comeback is fair! LOL
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Tony Bennett will be able to sustain the excellence the Cavaliers have achieved this season and have UVA at the top of the ACC every season like Terry Holland did?
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
Before we look ahead to "every season" let's just see how the Cavaliers do this weekend. I've got them in the Final Four. I root for them. Hell, I even married a Hoo...Virginia is my second-favorite team after Northwestern, so I'm kinda biased on this one...I think Bennett has done a fabulous job...So much riding on this matchup with Michigan State...Goodness, this means I'm rooting against the conference...AND Tom Izzo...not good...not like me.
What's up with Buzz Williams leaving? I'm hearing strong rumors from Marquette people that they're expecting Shaka Smart to take this job. Shaka held out this long for this job?
mike wilbon (2:30 PM)
Well, Shaka is from Racine, which is about, oh 50 miles from Milwaukee if my north-of-chicago geography is correct...It's going home, which is always a good excuse to take a job...I heard that this morning, too...
Didn't Wiggins and McDermott win a game at least? How about the no defense Jabari as the biggest disappointment?
mike wilbon (2:31 PM)
It was disappointing, yes. Look, two of those kids you mentioned can return to school and become better basketball players. Let's see if either does...
ted (cape cod)
Do you think Tommy Amaker will leave Harvard to take the opening head coach position at Boston College?
mike wilbon (2:32 PM)
Just my selfish opinion, as someone who has known Tommy since he was a high school kid in suburban D.C. and has been friends w him since: I hope not. I hope he stays at Harvard...
Is Florida's bracket too soft given how it has played out thus far? Should some of the Midwest have been shifted over to the South region?
mike wilbon (2:33 PM)
Well, that's certainly the position taken originally by people critical of the seeding...It looks that way now, but doesn't that entirely depend on the number of favorites who win? Would you make the same seeding argument about seeding in general if, say, Duke and Ohio State win their games? Isn't it all result-based?
You had Florida, Louisville and Virginia in your final four before the tourney. After watching the first 2 rounds who do you see in the Final Four?
mike wilbon (2:35 PM)
I'll stay with Florida, Louisville and Virginia...I'm not sitting with a bracket in front of me...who's left in my Creighton bracket? Taking Arizona seems too easy, but they did play well...
So will Wiggins take a hit with the early lose in March Madness?
mike wilbon (2:35 PM)
You mean in NBA draft stock? No...I don't believe he will...
Charles (San Jose)
What did you think about Aaron Gordon last night? That's one touted freshman who seems to be upping his game.
mike wilbon (2:36 PM)
Yeah, that's why I probably should be paying more attention to Arizona...
Why are the Lakers on national tv seemingly every week? I am tired of watching their terrible team play basketball on national tv just because it is LA. Same goes with the Knicks. I would much rather see teams like Toronto, Charlotte, Phoenix, even the Nets get some of that national coverage than the Lakers & Knicks. Do you agree?
mike wilbon (2:38 PM)
Oh hell yes...But the schedules are set back in April...It's not like the NFL where all the games are played the same day and you can flex into something or other by moving a game a few hours. Actually, the league and ABC just did that, moving a Bulls-Knicks game from Sunday at 1 on national TV to 7:30 that night...BUT, for instance, on Thursday night there are usually only two games (sometimes three) even on the schedule on a TNT night, meaning you can't flex out...Two games for a double-header means you're stuck with those two games. The Knicks are woefully underperformed (until two weeks ago) and Kobe got hurt again...The Bulls are on a lot, too, without D. Rose but they've managed to be pretty darned good anyway...good enough to not want removed from TV...But it is a bummer right now to click on Thursday night and have the Lakers.
Mr. Wilbon, no team was more disappointing this weekend then Syracuse. They hit 1 (1!) shot outside of the paint the entire game. They have no one to blame except themselves. Having said that, do you think Ennis and Grant should return to school for another year?
mike wilbon (2:39 PM)
You're right...Other than Duke, Syracuse was way up there on the disappointment list...And yeah, Ennis and Grant should return...though it doesn't mean they will.
Which team has impressed you the most so far in the tournament?
mike wilbon (2:40 PM)
Virginia...Kentucky...Arizona...UCLA...Dayton...That's just a partial list....
Do you think Coach K's focus on the USA Basketball teams is hindering is focus on Duke? 2 out of 3 years they lose to a 14 and lower seed.
mike wilbon (2:40 PM)
Did it hurt when he won the NCAA Championship a few years ago?
mike wilbon (2:41 PM)
Okay, gotta run...time to get from Scottsdale to Tempe where the studio is located that many of us at ESPN use when we're out in the desert...Hope everybody has a great week, thanks for chatting, and see you next Monday! MW