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March 12, 2:30 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

Chris (Washington DC)

Is Kentucky still the favorite after they didn't have a field goal for the last 8 minutes against Vanderbilt?

mike wilbon
  (2:50 PM)

Hi everybody...Happy March Madness...we'll jump in there...and don't be afraid to throw in a Peyton Manning question or two as well...But we'll start with Kentucky, which, yes, I would make my favorite. With 3 of the 4 No. 1 seeds losing in their conference tournaments, who looks invincible? Michigan State look terrific, but they lost last week at Ohio State, so it's not like there aren't questions about the Spartans. Hey, maybe Kentucky has hit a rough patch and will be upset; the Wildcats haven't played great for three games, not by their standards anyway. Still, Anthony Davis, to me, is the best college basketball player in America and I'll take a clear-cut best-player in a field where so many teams appear to be fairly even...

Joe Sandperl (Boston)

what is the most compelling NCAA storyline? one love

mike wilbon
  (2:56 PM)

Great question. Thing is, whatever we choose today, it's going to be knocked off two hours into the beginning of the tournament. I'm sitting here at ESPN's L.A. offices w J.A. Adande, who is looking ahead to a Kentucky-Duke 20-year reunion matchup..."What's going to draw people to the television like that?" he's asking. Remember, last year this time nobody knew who Shaka Smart was. People outside the mid-Atlantic didn't know that VCU was in Richmond. The most powerful stories are the ones we haven't anticipated. How about Lamar? Suppose they upset a team or two? How wildly discussed would that be? It's difficult for the best stories to come from the power conference teams because they've been so thoroughly covered. What, there's something about Kentucky or Duke or Michigan State that we don't know? It's a great, great question but I think we don't really get a hint until the tournament starts to develop just a little bit. Obviously, I was hoping it would be Northwestern, the only BCS school who's men's basketball team has never reached the tournament, not only getting in but winning a game...but that ain't happening after such a poor showing in the Big Ten Tournament against Minnesota. Anyway, I know in each region there are fun story lines...How about Colorado, a team I don't even associate yet with the Pac-12 being the only team from a historically important conference to make it in...Suppose Colorado wins a couple of games?

Cory (Aurora, IL)

How many ball games do you get to see a week? I know it's impossible for any analyst to watch every game every team plays from start to finish, so what's your method for staying up on everybody--maybe watch Bulls, Heat, Cavs one week, Wizards, Spurs, Magic the next?

mike wilbon
  (3:00 PM)

Great question...First of all, I don't know that I need to be identified as an "analyst." Magic and John Barry are analysts. Chris Broussard and I are reporters, contributors...We're journalists, although I admit it seems I'm becoming one less and less every day with the direction talk takes...Anyway, I watch almost every Bulls game, because it's vocation and avocation...Via DirecTV's NBA League Pass I check in on probably half the games four or five nights a week. On the two nights a week (soon to be three) that I'm watching in-studio with JB and Magic we have ALL the games up on satellite and sit and watch mostly together...So I see more on those nights...Sadly, college basketball has gotten so squeezed with the NFL running longer, I see less and less college hoops. Now, I just see February and March...Used to see 60-70 college games in person...(more)

mike wilbon
  (3:02 PM)

As Jay Bilas said to Adande the other day, "They've turned college basketball into a one-month sport." He meant March. The great thing, switching back to the NBA, about the studio show moving to Los Angeles is we're right across the street from Staples where there always seem to be 2-3 games a week. Even if I'm not in the arena for the game I can go across the street to the locker room access period after and listen to Kobe or Chris Paul, or Mike Brown or Vinny Del Negro or visiting players or coaches...ANYBODY...Big, big, big help to have those conversations consistently during the course of a season..

tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]

P.Manning signs with Denver and Denver trades Tebow to Jacksonville for a second round pick. How does this not make sense? Manning gets the keys to a good offense and Timmy goes home.

mike wilbon
  (3:05 PM)

Well, the first thing you have to have is Peyton Manning prefering Denver to Arizona, or someplace else...Miami where he already has a home. One thing that makes more sense in Arizona's favor is the presence of Larry Fitzgerald. He's right there with Calvin and Andre Johnson as the best receiver in the game. What, Peyton Manning in a controlled weather environment throwing to Fitz isn't going to be extremely attractive? But yeah, if Peyton decides in favor of Denver, Jax should JUMP at the chance to get Tebo and fill its stadium, which hasn't been done in years. From a business standpoint, it's a no-brainer.

Bran (Singapore)

Ok we've heard all the rumblings concerning the magic trying to make a move for Ellis or Nash. Why not make a play at Brandon Jennings? The Bucks could unload Captain Jack (a player whom Dwight mentioned on his short list of wanting to play with) in the deal and Orlando can ship back Redick, Turk, Jameer, Orton + Picks.

mike wilbon
  (3:06 PM)

I like that proposal, that entire line of thinking. Don't know that Orlando is talking with Milwaukee at all, but maybe they should be!

Chris (Indiana)

How bad do the Bulls win tonight against a reeling Knicks team?

mike wilbon
  (3:10 PM)

Oh, very badly. The Bulls, from a standings perspective, don't need this game at all. AND, Deng, C.J. Watson and Rip Hamilton won't play, which is two starters and three of the top eight. BUT, the Knicks are reeling and the Bulls with Rose, Boozer playing well, Noah back in the lineup, Taj Gibson and Korver and Brewer are still a much better team than the Knicks. Look, there are just some games that you can put the result in ink before the game, even for a reeling road team. But this isn't one, even though the Knicks played yesterday and the Bulls rested. Reason? The Bulls haven't practiced. Their defensive rotations are WAY off. They need a couple of practices, their own players say, to fix what's wrong with their defense. Nothing real serious, just timing issues and assignment reinforcement you can only address in practice. So, the Bulls aren't playing great at the moment. But...the Knicks are so stinky. And how long is this losing streak going to go before the Knicks just get angry and play one good game start to finish. Could be tonight. They can't lose 'em all, can they?

Ben (LA)

Who's a better golfer, you or Kornheiser?

mike wilbon
  (3:10 PM)

I say we're pretty even. TK claims to be a 20-handicap, which is such a sandbagging lie...He's probably a 15, I'm a 13...We're close.

LAKERS (Los Angeles, California)

Do you think last night's game shows the passing of the torch from kobe to bynum?

mike wilbon
  (3:15 PM)

Ah, no. The Lakers are going to have to play that way more often. But in most of the Lakers remaining games Kobe's still going to take most of the shots, particularly late. BUT, let me give him some credit here: Kobe needs to be the offensive coordinator from here on out. Considering the players want to go back to the triangle, but CAN'T because there's nobody left from Phil Jackson's old staff to teach/coach it. Like golf, these systems need to be taught constantly, reinforced, tweaked, fine-tuned. And the Lakers don't have a coach on Mike Brown's staff who have any real intimate dealing with the Triangle. So, I'd just let Kobe, like Peyton Manning, run the offense. I think if you leave it up to Kobe, on his own, he'll get Pau and Andrew the ball more. If you demand he do it, I suspect there could be conflict. Kobe knows this league as well as anybody, and knows offense as well as anybody. Bynum and Pau will have to be average around 35 points a game for the Lakers offense to be anything close to potent.

PB (San Diego)

Will the Bulls eventually look to unload Deng? As much as I like what he brings, the Bulls can't have 4 $13+ mill contracts going forward right? Eventually they'll need that money for a 2nd shot creator.

mike wilbon
  (3:18 PM)

The key word in your question is "eventually." Right now? Deng is the team's second best player and it ain't close. He's a great defender, a terrific passer, has improved his three-point shooting, can slash to the basket. Deng's the only player other than Rose (not counting Rip) who can get his own shot...I"d HATE to see Deng traded...Look at he's played with this bum wrist this year. He's a PRO...

Francisco (Mexico)

Mr. Wilbon, if D. Howard asked your advice, what would you tell him?

mike wilbon
  (3:19 PM)

Make up your mind. Tell the organization what you want to do. Period.

meech (akron ohio)

in your opinion not going off of the records in the nba who is the best team and have the best chance of winning the championship

mike wilbon
  (3:19 PM)

There are 3 teams: Miami, Oklahoma City and Chicago, and the order is fluid. It changes all the time...I can't San Antonio in this group, considering the way they've played since the break, losing at home Chicago among other things...

Dave (Phoenix)

Who would say 'No' to this trade scenario? Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to the Knicks, Tyson Chandler and Carmelo to the Magic, Landry Fields, Jeremy Linn, and Hedo Turkoglu (who get amnestied) to the Suns.

mike wilbon
  (3:22 PM)

In the spirit of crazy trade conversation (which is better in the NBA than anywhere else) I'll publish this...but keep in mind you can only grant amnesty to a player who was on YOUR roster when the lockout ended. Period. So Hedo can only get that in Orlando...

Chris (Fresno)

What are your thoughts on the porential of Moss signing with the Niners? Do you think it is even a rreal chance of happening?

mike wilbon
  (3:22 PM)

I have no idea if there's a real chance, but I LOVE it...ACtually, I love the idea of him playing for the Saints, too, being on the other end of those darts from Drew Brees!

mike wilbon
  (3:25 PM)

Sorry ladies and gents, but I've got to run and prepare for PTI...Big, big day, what with the NCAA field, Tiger, the Lakers and Clippers, the Redskins crazy trade...And by the way, I don't care WHAT the Redskins do; I'll trust them again once they get it right once. They've been a dysfunctional mess for so long, why would I presume ANYTHING the Redskins do will work? Why? I love RG3. But the Redskins track record suggests they'll overpay AND make the wrong personnel evaluation. Both...Ooops, got sidetracked. Anyway, we'll chat next Monday after the tournament is in full swing...thanks everybody. Have a great week...MW