Ready to roll. Thanks for all of the questions. Let's get going.....
Jay, after Michigan State's dismal performance at Purdue Tuesday Night, how do you see this team responding to the game Sunday vs. an improving Badger squad? Remember, after the North Carolina blowout this team went on quite a run.
I am not too troubled by the Spartans loss. Remember, MSU has not had its full roster available, and Purdue is really good at home. The Boilermakers are as physical as any team in the country, and MSU didn't handle it very well. But, when MSU gets out of the Big Ten grinders and into the NCAA Tournament, I like their chances. That is a good team that still has a high ceiling. Many teams have played their best already, MSU has not.
Jay, how far do you see Nova going this year and what seed do you see them getting in the NCAA?
Villanova should be anywhere from a 4 to a 6 seed. A lot of games left, and the Committee will put a lot of weight on how a team fares over the last ten for seeding. I think that the WIldcats can get to an Elite Eight with a good draw, but I see them as a Sweet 16 team. That said, anyone can get clipped early. Anyone.
With a full three gane lead over everyone on the SEC, can we call the race over; and is it time for you guys to quit sleeping on and/or ignoring a very solid, experienced LSU team?
Does a three game lead in the SEC for anyone provide any evidence at all that the SEC is not what it has been in the past? LSU is very good, and the Tigers have embraced defense and rebounding under Trent Johnson. That is a solid team. I really like Tasmin Mitchell, and you are correct that there is a lot of talent on that roster.
Jay- Full disclosure...I'm a HUGE Carolina fan. But it seems to me that the ACC refs have made a conscious decision to swallow their whistles while Tyler Hansbrough is getting absolutely mauled in the low post. Not only is it very frustrating as a Heels fan, but I am concerned he will be injured. Is this something you have noticed or am I just wearing my Carolina blue colored glasses?
He does get fouled a lot, but he gets to the free throw line a lot, too. I don't think that he is getting treated unfairly by officials. Tyler is facing up more and playing away from the basket more, too.
Jay, Villanova a possible 6 seed? Are you crazy? Maybe you did not read the latest bracketology where your counter part has their stock on the rise.
That is if the Cats lose some games down the stretch, which is a reasonable possibility, is it not? I am not a big fan of "if the season ended today" scenarios, because it does not end today. If the Cats continue to win, then a three seed is what they will get. If the Cats lose several down the road, then a six seed is possible. Remember, a six seed means top 24. Hardly an insult, chief.
Flyer grad and fanatic here - Dayton is now a lock on the Bubble watch - a bit premature given X's tendency to tank the A10 tourney?
Dayton will get in. The Committee will give the Flyers the nod over a middle of the pack team from the Big East or the ACC on Selection Sunday. Plus, Dayton is pretty darn good, too.
Regarding the Kitts call on Thabeet- if players are asked to be aware of game situations why is it too much to ask that of officials. That's a terrible call at any time, but to make it in that spot is indefensible.
The call was not bad because it was Thabeet's fourth. It was bad because it was the wrong call. It would be a bad foul if it was his first. It was just two big guys bumping into each other with no advantage gained. The guy screwed up, but it is not a crime, just a mistake.
When watching the 1992 UNC-Duke game last week I noticed you were an Assistant Coach. Any reason why you gave up the sidelines, for the booth?
My wife wasn't crazy about me staying in coaching. Broadcasting is much more stable, and I never lose. I was one hell of an assistant coach, though. Nobody could act busier and more important behind a huddle than I could.
Jay- Thoughts on Jodie Meeks getting serious consideration for POY? Also, yes or no, UK gets in?
Serious consideration? Yes. But, I think that Blake Griffin is the best player, and I do not think it is that close. He plays at both ends, and is dominant. I think that UK will get in by the end of the regular season. The Committee will give them a break for playing without Patterson. The Vandy loss will be a freebie.
Jay, two big bubble games in the big ten tonight with Wisconsin at Indiana and Minnesota at Michigan. Who do you have in each game and which of the 3 teams (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan) are going to make the tournament?
I think that Michigan and Wisconsin will both get in. Here is why....Michigan has proven that they can beat good teams. That is the ultimate measure for me. Michigan will get two shots at Minnesota, one at Wisconsin and one at Purdue. Win two of those games, and I cannot imagine that the Committee can leave them out. But, the Committee has left Michigan out once before when the Wolverines should have been in.
What is BC's ceiling in terms of how high a seed they can get. Their last 4 games are manageable, leaving 11-5 in the ACC as an outside shot. If they pull that off and win a game or two in the ACC tourney, what kind of seed could they get? How much will that Harvard loss drag their seeding down?
I think that BC should be in the 6 to 8 range. It is a team that should be Top 30 good. I cannot imagine that BC would be lower than that.
Please give Uconn fans some hope that Uconn can still be a superior team without Dyson.
What does superior mean? UConn is still a Final Four favorite without Dyson. Of that I am sure.
Jay, do you think Tony Douglas of Florida State has a legit chance in the NBA?
Yes. Toney Douglas can play in the NBA. He can guard people and he can initiate from the point position. He is not a lock, but he will play in the League.
Jay, outside of the top 4 teams there seems to be no difference from number 8 to 38 this year. I think that means we will see several teams seeded 5th or lower make a run at the Elite 8. Which teams that aren't in the top 15 do you think could make a deep run this March?
I would not disagree with that. There are a bunch of decent teams that have not shown high level consistency. I like West Virginia and LSU as teams to watch in that regard. I would also watch out for Kansas. The Jayhawks are good and getting better. Just young.
Jay, did you see the Solomon Alabi elbow to Chas McFarland on Saturday? If so, did you think it was worthy of a flagrant and ejection? Seems to me a player who likes to do the 'Reggie Miller' flop quite often shouldn't be rewarded for that kind of play.
I did see it. Because it was intentional and excessive, I thought he should have been tossed. It was not a basketball play. Look, I am not a prude and I used an elbow from time to time and lost some teeth from one, but there is no place in the game for this stuff. Non.
Jay, do you and the ESPN insiders ever talk about anything West of the Mississippi?
Nope. Never. Just the original 13 states. That is it. I grew up in Los Angeles and I think there is an East Coast bias, but who should we talk about? We fell all over ourselves that the Pac-10 was the best league last year. And, the last couple of years we have been wearing ourselves out talking about Durant and Beasley. What should we do, dump the Duke-Carolina game for Nebraska-Creighton?
Jay, Tell me I'm not crazy for thiking that XU has a legit chance of making a final 4 run with such a young team?
Nope. You're crazy. XU "can" do it. But, with a young point guard, I would not call XU a favorite to do it. Good team, though.
The Terps have a rough stretch in front of them with games against UNC, Duke, and Wake Forest coming up, do you think they have a shot at making the tourney after their latest performance?
Maryland has to win more games. Finishing at .500 in the ACC would be a good statement for that team. No big guys, but the Terps play really hard.
How successful do you think Ty Lawson will be in the NBA?
He will play for a long time. He does not have a great perimeter shot, but he can change the pace of the game with his speed.
Jay, was Notre Dame just vastly overrated, or did they just lose confidence in the rough life that is the Big East? As an avid college basketball watcher, it seems to me that they simply lack toughness, both mentally and defensively.
I think it was the latter. In any schedule, it is not just who you play, but when you play them. There is no way that Notre Dame is not one of the top thirty teams in the country. No way. But, after losing the first five of the seven game slide, the Irish lost a lot of confidence. It is hard to plug forward when not getting rewarded for working hard. Toughness is an issue, but not that big of one. This is a team that won big last year in the Big East. If the Irish can win home games and a road game or two, I still think they can get in. But, it is easy for bean counters to dismiss teams that lose games in great competition for other teams that win against poor competition. It is just the way it is.
Jay -- Cal is the invisible team in the Pac 10, who happens to be in 2nd place with a sweep of Washington. Where do you think they'll end up?
Back in Berkeley.
Just kidding. I think that Cal is a good team that is making really good use of personnel. Good guards in Randle and Christopher, and good use of the three-point line. I do not think that Cal is a Final Four threat, but Cal can win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament.
So you seem pretty confiden Michigan is in and also mentioned Wisconsin is in. What has you thinking Wisconsin is in? Is their resume strong enough? Pretty favorable schedule here on out.
I didn't say "confident" did I? If I did, I meant confident that they should be in. I am not a big believer in the formula used by the NCAA Committee. I think that there is too much attention paid to the numbers in decisions, and it has gotten too predictable and we are too far away from the best 34 teams principle.
Dr. Bilas, whose the baddest dude in the Big East?
Have you seen Dejuan Blair? He is a bad man. Also, Dante Cunningham is a tough player, as is Jerel McNeal.
What will Tyler Zeller ultimately do for UNC this year?
Makes them a bit deeper. I am really surprised by this decision, but I think it is great. Not many players would sacrifice an entire year for the chance to play for a title team for ten games. Zeller will not be the same player he would have been if he had been playing all year, but I really respect his team attitude in making this decision. I thought he was don for the year. Good for him.
Do you think Patterson or Meeks will go pro (or both) after this season? What are they chances they stay for KENTUCKY?
I am not sure, but my sense is that both will look hard at it. This is not a strong draft, and that will be an added incentive to go early for top prospects. Plus, Patterson will have better draft value this year. I hope they stay, but I would not be surprised to see them go.
Has Blake Griffen had to play anyone like Tyler Hansborough's "handler" from last year, Cole Aldridge?
Griffin gets double teamed every game. Only one time did I see a team go at him with single coverage, and he got 40 points and 23 rebounds. He is the best player. Period. That does not mean others are not great. But, Griffin is the best.
Mr. Bilas: But with so many mid-major conferences getting automatic bids when they may not deserve one, doesn't the committee HAVE to pay attention to numbers?
No. According to the formulaic approach used by the Committee, Davidson would not have gotten into the tournament last year, even though the WIldcats could make a creditable claim to being one of the best 34 teams (Davidson got the automatic bid, so it was not an issue). In 2006, there is no way in Hades that George Mason should have gotten in based upon the formula. In fact, none of the bracket geeks had George Mason in until the last day when info leaked out of the Committee Room, because Mason did not fit the profile. The standard is the best 34 teams. The RPI is not a reliable measure. There needs to be a Committee of basketball people to make these decisions.
It's killing me Jay. Any idea of who might be coaching at Arizona next year? I need some insight...
Don't sweat it. Jim Livengood will get somebody good. But, it will be a big rebuilding job. This succession was not handled well, and it was nobody's fault, but this one will hurt for a while. No coach can win without players, and Arizona will have no players next year.
Jay - My friend Brendan bet me $50 that you wouldn't talk about the Bonnies. You can make me $50 richer with a simple "Go Bonnies."
There is no wagering on this chat. I find that reprehensible. Go Bonnies!! Please don't play your silly games during such an important exchange of ideas, and especially in such tough economic times. Oh, you owe me $25 plus a small management fee. Pay up.
What is your take on Mizzou?
One of the most improved teams in the Big 12 and in the country. VERY talented. I am not a big believer in pressing like Missouri does it, but it is working. I really like J.T. Tiller. He is a really good defender and player. Mike Anderson has a very good team that will cause teams some problems.
Who is the better dressed Jay: Bilas or Wright?
No coach makes better adjustments at halftime than Jay Wright. In the last game, his team played so poorly in the first half that Wright adjusted his defense, his tie AND his pocket square. Plus, Wright wears Alligator shoes. I cannot compete with that.
Jay, who do you think is the ACC player and Coach of the year right now? Also, which player is more important to his team than any other player in the league?
I would give Player of the Year to Hansbrough and Coach of the Year to Roy Williams. Also, I think that Ty Lawson is the most important player on the UNC roster, and that Jack McClinton is the most important player to his team.
Can you explain your comment about Lawson not having a great outside shot considering he's shooting almost 50% from three on the year and 21 for 42 in the ACC?
He hits open shots, but is not a great shooter. It is the difference between a good contact hitter and a great hitter. Lawson will not get the same space in the NBA that he gets in college.
Jay, on gameday all of the crew wears suits, except for Coach Knight. Although the sweaters are classy, does he refuse the suit and tie?
It is pretty complicated, Beau. But, I will attempt to explain it in five words or less. HE DOESN'T WANT TO. That is good enough for me.
Who do you think is this years George Mason?
George Mason. They get that one every year, even before they got to the Final Four in 2006.
Who are your top eight teams that you think will make the Elite 8 and have a shot of going to Detroit?
North Carolina, UConn, Pitt, Oklahoma, Louisville, and Michigan State would be the my favorites, but the rest would be based upon the match-ups and the paths to the Final Four. There just are not that many great teams this year. Last year was different.
Jay, Offense sells the tickets, Defense wins the championship--by Coach Summit. Are you buying that? What do you think my Memphis tigers chance at the coming NCAA tournament? As I feel they really play defense pretty well. Thanks!
You need both. No defensive team has won the title without offensive production. And, no offensive team has won without getting stops. You need both to win titles.
Can ESPN put you and your Monday night crew on more games? You're fair, don't drool over one conference or a few teams and are enjoyable to listen to. Make this happen.
Watch closer, Jon. We drool all of the time. Not on the teams, but because we are old.
Wow way to go out on a limb with your Elite 8. I see UD or X getting in there based on matchups. Just as athletic and deep as any of those overrated teams.
I love guys like you....guys like you said the same thing when I picked Kansas, UNC, Memphis and UCLA to get to the Final Four last year, and I picked that in October and March. The goal is to be right. If you disagree, then tell me why. But, this year in October I picked UConn, UNC, Louisville and Michigan State to get to the Final Four. Maybe I'm wrong, but your limb got cut off last year.
Best mid major conference Jay?
There are not a ton of really strong ones this year. It is just a bit of a down year for the mids. They got caught young. I would say that the West Coast Conference is pretty good, and the Horizon League is pretty good. I do not consider the A-10 or the MWC as mid-major.
Quick please Hokies yey or ney
Keep winning. It is not over either way. I think that VT is among the top 40 teams in the country, but this is a numbers game.
Jay please, Creighton or George Mason?
Creighton is better. Booker Woodfox is a terrific player and I really have liked P'Allen Stinnett since I saw him practice last year. That is a good team.
Is James Harden the best player in the P10?
Yes, Harden is the best player. But, Jon Brockman is the toughest and Darren Collison is the most efficient.