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March 31, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Jay Bilas

Jay Bilas
  (2:05 PM)

Hello everybody! Welcome to the fastest chat in college basketball!! I am headed to Indianapolis for the Final Four today, and cannot wait to get there! It should be a blast! Fire away!

Shawn (DC)

Jay -- after everything the Spartans have been through all season, including the injuries to Kalin Lucas, Chris Allen and Delvon Roe, I find it astonishing that the Spartans are back in the Final Four. The way this team is playing for one another and with Tom Izzo at the helm, it wouldnt surprise me if they won it all. Its not like any of the remaining teams are as strong as UNC (even UCONN and Louisville) were last year.

Jay Bilas
  (2:08 PM)

Agreed. I could not be more impressed by the performance of the Spartans through all of this adversity. It is remarkable. Tom Izzo is one of the best coaches in American sport, not just basketball. And, for Delvon Roe to play hurt, Korie Lucious to play a new role, Durrell Summers to lift up his game, and for others to come in and perform at a higher level, it is a great tribute to MSU's toughness and team environment. Congrats to you and the Spartans. What a postseason.

Tyler Mills (NC)

Jay, i gotta ask. Duke has made it to the final four, but they seem to have had an easier path than other teams. Do you think that will hurt them against a powerhouse like west virginia saturday?

Jay Bilas
  (2:11 PM)

Duke got a good draw. But, so did Michigan State with all of the losses in its path. No team gets a free pass to the Final Four. And, it is one thing to opine about the good draw to state a fact. It is quite another to suggest that there was something underfoot in the draw, which some have done (I am not suggesting you are doing that, by the way). All four teams EARNED their way to Indy. West Virginia provides a really stern test on the defensive end and on the glass. If Duke takes a way WVU's lay-ups, can the Mountaineers make enough shots?

Jay Bilas
  (2:11 PM)

Duke got a good draw. But, so did Michigan State with all of the losses in its path. No team gets a free pass to the Final Four. And, it is one thing to opine about the good draw to state a fact. It is quite another to suggest that there was something underfoot in the draw, which some have done (I am not suggesting you are doing that, by the way). All four teams EARNED their way to Indy. West Virginia provides a really stern test on the defensive end and on the glass. If Duke takes a way WVU's lay-ups, can the Mountaineers make enough shots?

Jay Bilas
  (2:11 PM)

Duke got a good draw. But, so did Michigan State with all of the losses in its path. No team gets a free pass to the Final Four. And, it is one thing to opine about the good draw to state a fact. It is quite another to suggest that there was something underfoot in the draw, which some have done (I am not suggesting you are doing that, by the way). All four teams EARNED their way to Indy. West Virginia provides a really stern test on the defensive end and on the glass. If Duke takes a way WVU's lay-ups, can the Mountaineers make enough shots?

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Mr. Bilas: Looking at this Final Four it seems as though a lot could be said for coaches recruiting kids who are dedicated to the program and not to just filling an obligation for a year before running to the NBA. Do you agree?

Jay Bilas
  (2:14 PM)

Yes, but I don't think that every kid that wants to go to the NBA is just running there with no regard for his team or coach. Players leaving early is part of the game now. John Wall had a great year, and by all accounts, went to every class and was a model citizen. So, what do we make of guys like Wall? Not every four year player is a boy scout, either. This was a down year in college basketball, which may be the reason that some of these issues are at the forefront. The last two years, when top seeds were dominant, I didn't hear quite as much of this kind of thing. And, I didn't hear as much about parity. The big picture is harder to see than the current snapshot.

Moe (East Lansing,MI)

Is it fair to say that Durrell summers holds the key to the Spartans title chances?

Jay Bilas
  (2:17 PM)

It isn't unfair. I think that Lucious is the real key because he needs to stay on the floor, handle the ball, and run the offense. It is interesting. Butler has the perception of being a bunch of kids that are a true team. But, Butler has more individual breakdown guys than MSU has! MSU runs more set plays, and Butler runs more ballscreens and has Mack and Hayward that can get their own shot off of a ballscreen or pick and pop. Should be a really fun game to watch. The backboards could decide it.

josh ((NY))

who's to blame for Kentucky's lost? Seems like Cal's team always loses because of no 3pt shooting and FT's

Jay Bilas
  (2:21 PM)

Kentucky hasn't had enough birthdays to win a title. Plain and simple. The young Cats did not adjust, and did not respond well to getting challenged. Too many three point shots, which also means too few free throws, and UK did not continue to guard WVU inside the line. People think that WVU's threes beat UK. They did not. WVU's lay-ups in the second half beat UK. Remember, UK was down only 2 points at half when WVU hit eight threes and UK shot nothing but blanks!! At the end of November, I wrote that UK was too young to win it. On the Selection Show, I said that WVU would win the region because of that. You never know, and UK played well in most games, but it didn't take a genius to see that youth would be the issue. But, it was a GREAT year for UK. Those kids were amazing all season long.

Jake (Utah)

I saw you on Charlie Rose the other night, good stuff. He came across as a legitimate college bb fan, is that right? You'd never suspect.

Jay Bilas
  (2:25 PM)

Thanks! That was really fun, and it was great to "meet" Willie Geist. Morning Joe is my favorite show, and I watch it almost every morning. I actually met Joe Scarborough at the Big East Tournament, but he had no earthly idea who I was (happens to me a lot, actually). Charlie Rose is a big basketball fan, and goes to games every year. It was an honor to be on his show. I was the lowest IQ in the history of that program.

Kit (Olathe, KS)

Don't you think a little too much is being made of Tom Izzo making the Final 4 without Kalin Lucas? I mean Izzo has done a great job getting them there but it isn't like Michigan State has had Lucas all year and lost him in the tournament. Lucas missed a few games earlier this season and then came back in played when he didn't look 100 percent. It is a very good job by Izzo but I don't think this one tournament should make him the best coach in basketball.

Jay Bilas
  (2:28 PM)

The "best coach in basketball" tag belongs to no one. But, Tom is one of the elite coaches in the game's history, in my book. And, only MSU and WVU made it to Indy with an injured starter. That is pretty impressive. Izzo has done it every way you can in this tournament. He's won with the best team, and he's won with less than that. He is one of the very best in the business. Period.

Katelyn (Syracuse, NY)

Someone in another chat brought up Pat Summit coaching on the men's side. Summit switching to men?s basketball would be interesting, as would be Geno. Its not likely to happen, but is that because no men's team would take them seriously or because they wouldn't want to leave the good gigs they have?

Jay Bilas
  (2:31 PM)

Each probably would not leave the gigs they have, which are pretty good ones. I have said this many times, and I will say it again. Pat Summit would have no problem whatsoever coaching men, and doing it very well. If the men had a problem with her, it would be because they were ignorant. Both Pat and Geno would do a great job, and could coach anyone that agreed to allow themselves to be coached. But, I do think that Pat Summit is doing the game a disservice by not playing UConn. She can dislike Geno and still compete. Her decision not to play is hurting the women's game.

Tom (TX)

Jay, if Coach K wins his 4th national title in his 11th final four (all in the modern era) and goes on to take the lead in all-time wins, do we have a legitimate debate on our hands about greatest college coach of all-time?

Jay Bilas
  (2:33 PM)

Not if all you do is count championships. If you do, Wooden will win every time. If you look at the whole picture, you can have the debate whether Coach K wins or not. It is like golf. Is Tiger Woods the greatest golfer ever, or is he only the greatest if he gets to nineteen major wins? If it is the latter, all you have to do is be able to count to make that determination. I think that there is more to it than that.

Raj (New York)

Jay earlier this year you sung KU's praises by mentioning how at the time they were #2 in offensive and defensive efficiency. How come nothing similar to Duke being #1 in offense and 3 in defense going into the final four?

Jay Bilas
  (2:36 PM)

Duke not getting enough attention, Raj? You are correct that Duke is the most efficient team remaining, and the best team remaining. I have said that multiple times. Duke should win this thing, now that the Final Four is set. I thought that the only team in the South that could beat Duke was Villanova, but the Wildcats lost. Now, the only team that can beat Duke is West Virginia, but I don't think that the Mountaineers will win. I like Duke to cut the nets down.

Chris (Queens, NY)

Realistically, what can Steve Lavin do for St. John's in the next couple years?

Jay Bilas
  (2:39 PM)

Bring some new energy. Steve is a really good guy, and I think he will do a good job at SJU. I wrote about this years ago, but when he got the job at UCLA, he was not ready for it. Then, just when he had been seasoned and had better learned how to coach at the highest level, they fired him. Ironic. My guess is that after years studying the game and being in on practices all around the country, Steve is more prepared than ever for this opportunity. And, he will make the SJU job fun and interesting. He will do well.

Marc (Charlotte)

Jay, did you forget about Dean Smith? He was not only a great, coach, but he was an innovator who changed the way the game was played.

Jay Bilas
  (2:42 PM)

I didn't forget about anyone. We weren't having the debate. I was just answering the question posed. I didn't mention Bob Knight, either. The discussion of greatest coach ever would be an un-winnable fight.

Carey ((NY) )

Some people are saying Boeheim caused the Cuse the game agaisnt butler? How do you feel?

Jay Bilas
  (2:43 PM)

I feel great. A little tired, and I am just getting over a cold, but I feel great. Thanks for asking.

Luke (Nashville)

Does this Duke team remind you of the 1986 team you were on? Loaded with seniors that had worked hard to achieve success and paid off with a trip to the FF and 3 points away from a title. (I was 8 and am still crushed by that loss to Louisville)

Jay Bilas
  (2:45 PM)

No. The 1986 team was WAY better than this one, except that guy in the middle. The 1986 team had a really lousy player in the post. But, Dawkins, Amaker, Alarie, Henderson, Ferry, King, Snyder, and Strickland would have knocked this team out. And, think of all of the young girls that would have go crazy over the short shorts if they were brought back.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Mr. Bilas: You had mentioned that this year's tournament pool was overall mediocre. Could that mediocrity have actually translated into one of the more interesting tournaments we've had in recent years? It sure seemed like any team could beat any other team on any given night.

Jay Bilas
  (2:50 PM)

Everybody always says that anybody can beat anybody on a given night. It doesn't usually happen that way. Actually, who is the shocker in this year's Tourney? The only one I can think of is Ohio. And, there is no way that Ohio can beat Georgetown if the Hoyas play well. Look back at my archive....there are articles and blogs about Cornell and Northern Iowa being really good teams that will do damage in the NCAA Tournament. And, Butler was ranked in the Top Ten through the year. This was a down year in college basketball. The talent was down. The teams were down. And, the Tournament was down. The quality of play was not as good as it has been. If all you care about is close games, then we had a few more. I think we may be in for a close Final Four, as well, but it will not be as powerful as the last three Final Fours.

Corey (Post Falls, ID)

Really a 96 team tournament?? Why mess with a good thing?

Jay Bilas
  (2:53 PM)

It is happening, so get used to it. The NCAA will do it because it now owns two tournaments, the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. It costs less to administer one bigger NCAA Tournament than two tournaments, and the NCAA can get more money by rolling the NIT into the NCAA Tournament. Plain and simple. Then, the NCAA will be chock full of lousy teams that have no chance to win, and the Committee will be completely lost in seeding. There will be automatic bids for conference regular season champions, so we will have multiple bad teams from tiny conferences instead of just one. I would love to say that this is a great idea, but it is not. But, it is not the end of the world. It will still be a great event, but it won't be as great.

Chuck (Philly)

Jay, I didn't see Butler play much this year, but do they always play that 2-3 zone? Seems like a terrible way to defend Duke, they left shooters wide open and couldn't identify who to block out.

Jay Bilas
  (2:55 PM)

Butler plays mostly man-to-man, Chuck. The Bulldogs are really good in transition defense, and can switch screens and exchanges 1 through 4. I like the Bulldog defense. You will too.

Mark (NYC)

Jay - your my favorite commentator/analyst. Who wins MSU/Butler? And do you see that game as a low scoring affair in the 60's ?

Jay Bilas
  (2:58 PM)

And, you are my favorite chat poster. I like Michigan State to win, but only because of the backboards. MSU is beat up, though, and Butler is really good off the bounce. The Bulldogs can spread the Spartans out and force big men to defend out on the floor. Watch for MSU to go small more often to combat Butler's ability to spread you out.

Chris (Virginia Beach)

Jay, did I actually see you pick Duke to win this now? And get this, ESPN didn't fire you for be a "homer." You should try picking Duke once and while in the fortune too.

Jay Bilas
  (3:00 PM)

Do you pick Duke to win every year? Congrats then, because you are three for your life. Maybe four for your life in a week. I pick who I think will win, Chris. And, as my boy Bill Raftery says, "I must have missed all of your notes of apology" when I picked Duke to win and they lost. As Sgt. Hulka once said, "Lighten up, Francis!"

Tom D. (Austin, TX)

Jay, be honest. What would you do if you saw "Never Nervous" on the street late at night and knew nobody would see?

Jay Bilas
  (3:02 PM)

I would ask for money. And, I would ask for my ring back. You're welcome, Louisville! Actually, Pervis Ellison is a really nice guy, and was one heck of a player. I used to joke with Denny Crum about how he owed me a thank you every time I came to Freedom Hall for that banner up in the rafters. I was lucky to have played in the 1986 title game, and I know it.

Ryan (Alaska)

The last time a team played the final four in its home city (UCLA '72 I believe), they won it all. Shouldn't Butler be the favorite to win it all, given this fact?

Jay Bilas
  (3:04 PM)

The last time a team played in its home city, it had Bill Walton on it. Perhaps Butler will win, and the Bulldogs have some truly outstanding players. But, they don't have anyone as good as Walton. Nobody does.

Jay Bilas
  (3:06 PM)

Thanks again for all of the questions! I always really enjoy this, and I am looking forward to next week when we can recap the entire season, and talk about anything you guys want to talk about! Have a great Final Four, and if you see me on the street, please say hello! Best, Bilas