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August 9, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Jay Bilas

Jay Bilas
  (3:52 PM)

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Fastest Chat in Basketball. There are a lot of interesting things going on in the game right now, from the NBA lockout, to the NCAA Retreat, to the upcoming season, which should be much better than the last two years with regard to level of play. With that in mind, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. So, fire away!

Theo (NYC)

Jay, do you think there may be trickle-down effects akin to Title IX if athletes are allowed to pursue compensation?

Jay Bilas
  (3:56 PM)

If the NCAA were to remove amateurism from its bylaws in similar fashion to the Olympics removing it from its charter, there would not be any impact in Title IX. Remember, I am not advocating paying the players a salary, although I feel it would be justified. I have advocated allowing athletes to accept compensation off the floor, including but not limited to endorsement money. That would be fair and equitable to all athletes, male and female, and would not take money away from the schools or conferences. Right now, there is a proposal in tennis to allow college tennis players to play professional tournaments and keep up to $10,000 in prize money per year. Clearly, some people in the NCAA structure do not believe that strict amateurism is the way to go, and I happen to agree with them.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

It seems like Marquette is paying Buzz Williams a ton of money even though they are in the second tier of college basketball programs. Do you think Williams is worth the money he is getting paid?

Jay Bilas
  (3:59 PM)

I believe that a coach deserves whatever the market dictates. The contract between Marquette and Williams was negotiated at arms length, and both parties freely entered the agreement. If you buy the argument that players have no real value because the real value is with the school, there is no reason to pay coaches these big salaries. But, talent matters, and the competition for the best coaches dictates the higher salaries. The players have value, too. We just refuse to admit it, and throw out these lame arguments without data, suggesting that people would watch and pay for any schlep that wears the ol' State U uniform. That is nonsense.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

If the NBA goes through an extended lockout it seems like college basketball would be the primary beneficiary in two ways. One, people will want to watch basketball so some people that watch the NBA might move over to college to get their basketball fix. Two, it might make certain college players stay in school instead of leaving school early so the level of play in college basketball could increase. Do you think college basketball would be a big beneficiary of an extended lockout?

Jay Bilas
  (4:02 PM)

It would help numbers during the lockout, certainly. But, a lockout and increased interest would not cause players to stay in school. Players will leave when it is in their interests to leave, and increased ratings and interest will not cause players to stay. There is no data to suggest otherwise. I hope the NBA plays soon because I am a big fan, and because I love seeing the game. I would take no pleasure in an extended lockout, even if college ratings go up a bit.

Matt (Cincinnati)

Hi Jay, How long does Xavier have to dominate the A-10 before another conference will think about offering an invitation to join their conference? By dominating the conference, I mean winning titles. Also, I understand Xavier doesn't have a football team but their basketball program is valuable.

Jay Bilas
  (4:05 PM)

Xavier is among the best programs in the country, and has been for some time now under several different coaches. But, its attractiveness for bigger conferences does have a lot to do with football. Schools without Division I football are at a disadvantage in the conference realignment dance, which is nowhere near over. Whether the NCAA is able to make progress with the Retreat or not, teams will switch leagues, and super conferences are coming to a theater near you. I also believe that a super division is inevitable in the future.

pat (pittsburgh)

Setting aside pitt's lack of tournament success, how far do you see the going this year. Also, who should be their starting forwards, Dante Taylor/Khem Birch, Dante Taylor/Nasir Robinso, Khem Birch Nasir Robinson. Thanks.

Jay Bilas
  (4:07 PM)

Setting aside tournament success? Pitt will be among the very best teams again this year, and into the future. The only thing missing from the rafters in the Pete is a Final Four banner, and Pitt has been good enough to get there in the past few years. The Panthers will be good enough again this year, although I do not have them in the Top 5 to start the season. For certain, Pitt will contend for the Big East crown.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will be the Best College Basketball team in the 2011-2012 Season?

Jay Bilas
  (4:09 PM)

I believe that North Carolina will be the best team in the country next season. While some would argue that Kentucky beat Carolina in the Elite Eight last year and has the No. 1 recruiting class coming in, I still like Carolina's make-up, experience and depth. Barnes has the chance to be National POY, and Kendall Marshall gets to run the point from day one. He did pretty well as a starter last year. Kentucky will be next, and then Ohio State. This will be a really powerful year at the top.

Kyle (MO)

Will Kentucky basketball ever not have to start over and get new recuits.

Jay Bilas
  (4:12 PM)

UK is not starting over this year. With Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Darius Miler back, John Calipari has more returning than he has had thus far in Lexington. But, if Cal keeps getting to ten and twenty recruits, they will keep going early. What he has done with such young players has been remarkable. And, they will be good again this year. John has done an amazing job. Did you know that he has dished out over 500 losses to his opponents during his career? The NCAA says so.

Brett, louisville [via mobile]

Hey Jay, Let me start by saying you are my favorite college basketball analyst. Secondly what can I expect from my louisville cards? Will Blackshear and co., be ready by the start of the season? Thanks

Jay Bilas
  (4:15 PM)

And, let me start by saying that you are a brilliant judge of talent and ability. Louisville will be very good. Getting healthy is a big thing, and with Buckles and Swopshire back in the flod, Pitino will have some extra ammunition. The recruiting class is excellent, and Giorgi Dieng should be better next season. With Siva as a senior, Smith, and Kuric carrying a lesser load, I like Louisville's chances. The Cards can contend for the Big East, just like they did last year with less talent.

Kyle (TN)

The past few years of college basketball haven't had any truly "great teams." They were instead, littered with good teams exchanging turns at the top each week. Will next year break that drought?

Jay Bilas
  (4:18 PM)

Good question. I have said the last two years that there was not a single great team. I believe that the results in the NCAA Tournament, while not dispositive, bolstered my point. I also believe that this year's NBA Draft supported my point, as well. The last truly great team in college basketball was North Carolina 2009. This year, Carolina could be that team again. But, last year's champion came out of nowhere, so little should surprise us when the players are so much younger than they were years ago.

David (NC)

Who should the ncaa put in charge?

Jay Bilas
  (4:21 PM)

It is not just a name, it is a position. The NCAA needs to establish a structure for the governance of football, and a separate structure for basketball. There should be a commissioner for each, with authority, and there should be a rules and competition committee similar to what they would have in the NFL or the NBA. There is no way to keep up with changes in the game with the current structure. A college president is not equipped to do that, just as a college president would not insert himself or herself to run a university hospital system. It is a business, and needs to be run as such. Presidents should run their schools.

Nick (Michigan)

As you said, CBB seems to be very, very heavy at the top. In past years there have been a plethora of good teams, making the tourney a crap shoot as to who will advance. How much do a presence of great teams decrease the likelihood that "mid-majors" such as Butler and VCU make deep tourney runs?

Jay Bilas
  (4:24 PM)

It is not very, very heavy at the top. It is just better than it has been over the past two years. The NCAA Tournament has been volatile forever, and more so since in expanded to 64 teams. There will always be a chance for a VCU or a George Mason because it is a single elimination tournament. Were it not, the big shots would win almost all the time. The fact that the game is younger across the board also adds to the probability that upsets will occur. However, upsets occur at about the same rate as they did in the 80's, 90's and beyond.

Nick (Michigan)

Is this the year that someone overtakes Butler in the Horizon? Possibly Detroit with Ray McCallum?

Jay Bilas
  (4:27 PM)

Maybe. I watched Ray McCallum a lot this summer, and he is a really good player. If Detroit is able to beat Butler this year, that would be good for them. But, Butler is still the best program in that league, and will be the top dog more often than not. It is really tough to challenge and beat that tradition. Plus, Butler has really good players and an outstanding coach. I don't think Butler is going anywhere anytime soon.

Aaron (Wichita)

Jay, thanks for having an impartial, honest and educated take on college basketball. What are your thoughts on KU next year? I think they could struggle a little bit, but I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do with what on paper looks like a little weaker team than in the past. I think Thomas Robinson has a chance to be great, and with everything he's been through I hope he is. Thanks!

Jay Bilas
  (4:30 PM)

KU will not struggle in the normal sense. It may be a bit more difficult for the Jayhawks this year, but the Big 12 title will be won or lost in Lawrence. Thomas Robinson did a terrific job this summer, and I expect Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson to be able to take it up a notch. Kansas will not be the best team by leaps and bounds, but I would not be surprised to see Kansas winning the Big 12 this year.

Steve (NY)

Jay, Tell me what I can expect from my two favorite teams. Georgetown and Michigan. Both have shots at the field of 65 ???

Jay Bilas
  (4:33 PM)

Absolutely. Georgetown will be good, but they Hoyas need to get consistent guard play. The trip to China should tell JT3 a good deal about his team. Michigan will have to replace Darius Morris at the point, but with Jordan Morgan, Tim Hardaway and Evan Smottryz back, I like the Wolverines chances. Last year, Michigan was able to sneak into the NCAA field and played well once in. This year, I expect that Michigan will get in easily.

Kevin (NYC)

how good could Jeremy Lamb become this year?

Jay Bilas
  (4:35 PM)

He can be among the best guards in the country. It will be tough without Kemba Walker as the top dog, but Lamb can really score. UConn will be very good again, but somebody needs to fill the leadership void. Lamb will score, but he has to be a leader as well. UConn has a lot to work on, but a lot to work with, too.

Pete (Chicago )

Michigan loses their point guard and gets in the tourney easily? That doesn't make sense

Jay Bilas
  (4:38 PM)

Me, not make sense?! The other players got older, didn't they? And, they will improve. Even with Morris gone, Hardaway will blossom into one of the best players in the league. And, Smotrycz and Morgan will be better, and Douglass and Novak are seniors. No team stays the same year to year, even with the same personnel. I thought Michigan underperformed last year. I don't think they will do that again this year. Does that make sense? Probably not.

John (Chicago)

Did you hear the news? Jereme Richmond really fell off the edge, huh?

Jay Bilas
  (4:41 PM)

I did hear the news, and I wish the young man the best as he tries to get his life back in order. Actions have consequences, and if these charges are proven true, there will be a price to pay. Richmond is an adult, and he needs to act as a responsible adult. I wish him well, but I also wish the alleged victims well. Tough situation that goes way beyond basketball and a decision whether to leave school.

marc (dc)

How good can J. Sullinger be now that he will get to play in his regurlar position instead of having to play center all game?

Jay Bilas
  (4:43 PM)

Jared Sullinger will again be the most dominant big man in the nation. If he is able to add a face-up jumper to his game, he will be even better. One thing that Sullinger needs to do is get in tip-top condition and become a better runner. But, there is no question in my mind that Sullinger will be the best big man, whether he plays the 4 or the 5.

Tanner (TN)

Jay, which conference will be the best collectively next year?

Jay Bilas
  (4:45 PM)

Probably the Big East. With sixteen teams and the quality of the teams at the top, it has the best chance. I would put the SEC in there, as well. I see it as Big East, SEC, Big Ten as the top three. But, it is August. Still a bit early.

Jay Bilas
  (4:45 PM)

Probably the Big East. With sixteen teams and the quality of the teams at the top, it has the best chance. I would put the SEC in there, as well. I see it as Big East, SEC, Big Ten as the top three. But, it is August. Still a bit early.

kevin (richmond)

higher ceiling syracuse or ohio state?

Jay Bilas
  (4:47 PM)

Syracuse. That Dome must be 100 feet high. Unless it really snows a lot and it caves in. Then, Ohio State's ceiling is higher.

Mike (Durham)

Can Rivers take Duke all the way???

Jay Bilas
  (4:50 PM)

Austin Rivers is a very gifted scorer that is really good with the ball. He will have to adjust to playing with others and playing high level defense, but he will certainly do that. I think that Duke is top ten good. The Blue Devils will be able to score, the key will be high level defense. Remember, Duke lost two elite defenders and the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. It may take some time to develop, but this team has the ability to be really good. I just happen to think the best team in the nation is in its conference this year.

kyle (NYC)

Do the syracuse veterans finally get over the hump this year and make a deep run? They've obviously been one of the better regular season teams for the past 3-4 years but always seem to find a bad matchup in the tourny.

Jay Bilas
  (4:53 PM)

I think Syracuse will be better this year than last year, even though they lose Rick Jackson. Triche, Jardin and Joseph are all really good, and the big guys should be much better this year. Rakeem Christmas will need some time, but he has a chance to be a difference maker. I think you are correct about the bad match-up thing. Last year, Onuaku was hurt and that killed Syracuse. This past season, running into a Big East eam like Marquette was a killer because a non-conferene opponent would not have had the same experience against the zone. Tough break.

Kristin (Wisconsin)

Jay - do you think any major top 25 Division 1 program does NOT cheat or violate the rules in some manner? It seems as if every program has loopholes and the kids have a sense of entitlement and look to cash in where they can. I know thats cynical but it seems everyday there is a different story about another violation, another scandal, it just seems like that is the majority rather than the minority.

Jay Bilas
  (4:56 PM)

Most programs do it right, and abide by the rules. There is no excuse for knowing violations, but some of the rules lead to violations., I would find it hard to believe that there is a program out there that has not violated some of the silly rules the NCAA has. You would have to live in a hole not to. I think you will see the NCAA clean up the rule book and make it more in line with how the world actually works. If the NCAA were in charge of our highways, we would all be required to drive at 10 MPH because Jerry Tarkanian was caught speeding once. We can do better than that.

Jay Bilas
  (4:57 PM)

Thank you for all of your questions! Have a great week! Best, Bilas