Chat with Jay Bilas
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will stop by to chat about the hoops season.
Bilas provides expert color commentary from courtside on college basketball games, and serves as a studio analyst and as the co-host of ESPN's popular studio shows College Gameday and College Gamenight. He also writes for ESPN.com, and contributes numerous reports for SportsCenter. Since 2003, Bilas has provided in-depth player scouting and analysis for ESPN's coverage of the NBA Draft.
Send your questions now and join Bilas Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jay Bilas (1:44 PM)
I'm here a little bit early, and there are a ton of questions, so let's get going. I will go as long as I can, and get to as many questions as I can. And, thanks for stopping by the fastest chat in basketball! Fire away.......Best, Bilas
David (Rochester, MI)
Jay, I'd like your thoughts on the Kalin Lucas elbow in the Michigan game on Tuesday and the apparent lack of interest from the Big 10 office. I know it was only called an ordinary foul and not much was made of it on the broadcast, but I thought it was at least as aggressive and reckless as the Manny Harris foul last year which was punished much more severely. Lucas did start his elbow at the defender's knee and violently whip it up through his face. It seems like only luck and Lucus' relative lack of height prevented a broken nose as he did manage to draw some blood from the mouth.
Jay Bilas (1:48 PM)
Ah, controversy out of the gate. I would not have had any problem with the elbow being ruled intentional. Of course, the ultimate result of the contact is important. If a player swings and misses, it is a violation. If he makes contact it is a foul. Whether it is flagrant or not depends upon the judgment of the official. If I were to scale it, I would say that the Lucas elbow was a tad less egregious than the Harris elbow. Both are unacceptable and neither was a basketball play. And, both Lucas and Harris are really good kids. But, if you are objective, you have to admit that neither elbow was inadvertent.
Despite last night's trouncing of the Irish, does Villanova still need K-State's help to have a chance at the school's first-ever #1 ranking?
Jay Bilas (1:49 PM)
Probably, yes. Kansas is the most capable team, and the most likely to win it all, in my judgment. But, I picked both Kansas and Villanova to reach the Final Four in October when we did our preseason predictions. Both are worthy of No. 1, which I expect to be a carousel the rest of the season.
Chad W. (Dallas)
I believe that Wake Forest is really turning a corner. What chance would you give them of winning the ACC?
Jay Bilas (1:51 PM)
Wake Forest is a good team that is getting better. The Deacons were more talented last year, but they seem to be closer as a team this year, and the results are very good. The ACC is not as good this year as it was last year, but that is not Wake's fault. Ish Smith has been really, really good. He is fast and can run all day. He can also make shots, and freshmen C.J. Harris and Ari Stewart have added a nice dimension. And, Al Farouq Aminu is one of the top dozen talents in the nation.
Nate (Bristol, CT)
Jay, is there any reason why Villanova is ranked above Syracuse in the polls, other than Villanova lost first? Also, in the coming poll, what would your top 5 be?
Jay Bilas (1:54 PM)
I know that polls are fun, but I could care less what the rankings indicate. I would rank teams on how good I think they are, and there would not be as much movement from game to game if I did it my way all of the time. Here is the order of the Top Five for me, going not by record or who lost last, but by which team I think is best: 1. Kansas; 2. Syracuse; 3. Villanova; 4. Kentucky; 5. Texas.
Jay,Why do you think the MWC continues to receive minor recognition when, really, 3 teams (BYU,UNM,UNLV) could be in the top 25 right now? Do you think it has more to do with media contractual issues more than anything else; i.e. these teams just are not seen by critics?
Jay Bilas (1:56 PM)
It is probably television. But, if the Mountain West teams had fared better in the NCAA Tournament over the last two or three years, there would be more attention. The Tournament, like it or not, is a great spotlight in March, and there is a lot of coverage that goes along with it.
Jay,I have constantly heard you say that there are no great teams in college basketball this year. Isn't that a good thing? Outside of UNC fans, it was sort of disappointing last year to watch the Heels walk through the year with only minor setbacks as they won a natty champ. Not even a Cinderella in the dance. Doesn't the jumble of semi-evenly performing teams make for a more interesting February/March/April?
Jay Bilas (1:58 PM)
It certainly could make for an interesting March, and it reminds me of 2006 when Florida won its first national championship. And, 2006 was the year that George Mason was the best story of the last quarter century (if we have parity, how could George Mason be considered such a great story?!) Maybe a team or two will grow into great, but I doubt it. It is just one of those seasons. Nothing we can do. But, because nobody is truly great doesn't mean that some teams aren't really darn good!
Jay,Love the work. What is your long term prognosis for Mich. St? I love how Morgan and Green have played, but am worried that Roe is not going to be a big time contributo down the stretch, and that the lack of length will do them in against top-five competition. Assuage my fears? Thanks!
Jay Bilas (2:01 PM)
Assuage your fears?! I am not Dr. Phil, although we are starting to share the same haircut. MSU is very good, but the Spartans are not scoring off of turnovers or in the lane like they need to. I still believe that Sparty can put things together and get to Indy this year, but I thought it would be further along by now. But, if you needed any more info on my claim that there are no great teams, MSU and Villanova are off to the best conference starts in school history, and neither team is the best teams their coaches have had at those schools.....yet.
Jay, can you do us all a favor and stop Digger from dancing?
Jay Bilas (2:02 PM)
I would like nothing better. I think that Digger is stumping to get on Dancing With the Stars. Perish the thought.
Don't you think that the Big East is - again - the toughest (and best) conference in the country? Hands down, night-in and night-out, these team play better backetball than anybody else...including the ACC.
Jay Bilas (2:03 PM)
I think it is down to the Big East and the Big 12 as the best league. The Big East has more teams, and that means more chances for good teams.
Jay, Why does the SEC give fines when the students run into the court after a big win?
Jay Bilas (2:04 PM)
Probably to emphasize the safety of the students. Someday, somebody is going to get injured, and the entire ritual will seem pretty stupid by comparison.
Steve (Rochester, NY)
Hi Jay! It seems as if the Terps are doing all the little things right on both sides of the ball -- fighting through screens, switching, extending the defense, defending passing lanes on defense -- cutting to the lane, working the ball in-out-in, using clock and flow, controlling turnovers on offense. Is this team really starting to gel or has it just performed well against lesser competition the past several weeks?
Jay Bilas (2:06 PM)
First, not to be picky, but the ball is round. There are not sides to the ball in basketball. There are, however, sides to the floor. But, I digress. Maryland is a really good team that has outstanding guards. When I saw them in Maui, Maryland did not play well, but the Terps have been rebounding better and really guarding well over the past month. Gary Williams has done another great job. He is a Hall of Famer.
Red (Hartford, Connecticut)
Suggestion: If ESPN really wants to have Bracket Busters, you should match up BCS-Cartel teams with non-Cartel teams, rather than pitting non-Cartel teams against one another and potentially knocking them out of the NCAA field. Just sayin'.
Jay Bilas (2:08 PM)
We should, but it will never happen. The BCS or cartel schools, as you call them, have league games to play and also have to play home games and games for television. They cannot accept every mid-major challenge that comes their way. It is simply impossible. That said, the Bracket Buster is still a good idea and a good showcase. Just sayin'......
Jake (Olathe, KS)
What do you think of Frank Martin and his coaching style?
Jay Bilas (2:11 PM)
I have no problem with it, but I understand the thought process of those who do have one. A coach's style is a matter of taste. I could play for Martin, and I would be fine with it. Martin is a great guy and an outstanding coach. He is intense, and some may not understand how to deal with that. I think it is fine, but he should always be conscious of the perception of his styles.
Jay...From one receding hair line to another, seeing that this will most likely be Evan Turners last year, how do you see his game translating to the NBA?
Jay Bilas (2:12 PM)
Evan Turner will be in the NBA for a long time, and he will help a good team win at the highest level. He is a versatile, skilled and strong player, and I think he is just lie Brandon Roy, but stronger. And, I still have all of my hair. It is in a drawer in my bathroom.
Can UAB still get an at large bid if they lose their conference tournament? When is ESPN going to televise a Conference USA game? Bartow Arena would love to have ya'll.
Jay Bilas (2:16 PM)
Yes, the Blazers can still get a bid. They have some really good wins against Butler, Cincy, Arkansas and Tulsa. If they keep winning and just get clipped in the Final, then the Blazers can get in. There are not that many really good teams out there right now. But, I would keep winning just to make sure.
Out of KU, Kentucky, and Texas, who is the most over rated team of the three?
Jay Bilas (2:17 PM)
Overrated is a little strong, but the answer would probably be Texas. That said, Texas is a Final Four team. Best defensive guards I have seen.
Justin (Oklahoma City)
Jay,Have you seen James Anderson play yet? How can anyone that has seen him play not have him on a very short list for player of the year? He was double and triple teamed in Manhattan and still scored 30.
Jay Bilas (2:18 PM)
I have seen him, and he is on my list. I had him in the Top Ten of my 2010 NBA Draft list (and it is still really early for that kind of stuff). Anderson is a really good shooter and scorer, and he is a really good prospect.
Jay, great call the other night at Clemson! You seem to believe that this Duke team has what it takes to go deeper into March than some of its recent versions. What gives though? What makes this team any more likely to advance past the sweet 16 than past teams? Thanks!
Jay Bilas (2:21 PM)
I think this Duke team is a little bit deeper and better at the guard spots, with three star players in Scheyer, Singler and Smith. The key will be the development of Mason Plumlee. He is the most talented player on the roster. He just needs to put it all together.
Bryant (Lawrence, KS)
Do you think Kansas' Marcus Morris may be the most improved player in the nation?
Jay Bilas (2:23 PM)
Marcus has been very, very good over the past couple of weeks. My sense is that Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh is the better choice for Most Improved Player.
Jay, given Kansas', Syracuse, and Villanova's schedule remaining, how likely is it that Kentucky gets the #1 overrall seed?
Jay Bilas (2:25 PM)
Very good. Villanova has the toughest slate going through February, with road games against the best teams in the Big East. UK has some tough games, but none as tough as Villanova has. KU has a couple of more big trips, but the Jayhawks are well equipped to handle them.
How good is Siena? Tough one at St.Peter's tonight. Purude or Wisconsin?
Jay Bilas (2:28 PM)
Siena is very good. Like last year, the Saints did not do well early against the best teams, but SIena is 10-0 in the MAAC and has the best chance win win it. Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin, Ronald Moore and Ryan Rossiter hare very good players. I would not be surprised to see Siena win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament. They will play well and without fear.
Ryan (Des Moines, IA)
Jay....You are one of the best announcers out there I wish you did more mid major games....If Northern Iowa finishes 29-2 what seed do you think they would recieve?
Jay Bilas (2:29 PM)
I would love to do more, as well. My guess is that 29-2 would put UNI in the 3 seed range. I really like that team, and I am a big believer in Kwadzo Ahellegbe. He is a big, strong guard that knows how to play.
Jay Bilas (2:31 PM)
Gotta take a break for the Scott Van Pelt Show.
Jay Bilas (2:36 PM)
Okay. I'm back. SVP is the best. Great show, and great guy. He is loving life, too, as his Terps sit atop the ACC standings after blitzing Miami.
Over the past few years, fewer and fewer mid-major teams have been given at-large bids. Any indication that trend may be reversed this year?
Jay Bilas (2:39 PM)
Perhaps. The trend is not a trend out of some sort of bias or unfairness, if you are suggesting that. The Committee is charged with selecting the 34 best teams as at-large berths after the 31 automatic bids are in. No sport is more equitable to the mid-major than basketball. I can think of only a handful of teams over the past ten years that I thought were jobbed, and most of them were jobbed by other mid-majors. If we took the 64 best teams without regard to conference tournament champions, we would have more mid-majors.
Michael Anderson (Los Angeles)
What do you think of Ben Howland as a coach
Jay Bilas (2:41 PM)
Outstanding coach. Three Final Fours is a pretty fair indicator, wouldn't you say?! Plus, for the geniuses that believe that Ben does not run an offense that is attractive to big time players, or that his style holds them back, how did Jordan Farmar, Aaron Afflalo, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute get out of the pen? Ben is the real deal. Tough season, but he is the real deal.
Tom (Washington, DC)
Jay, do you think the college game should adopt the charge circle? I would really like to see that, but supposedly it would take a long time to get it through the red tape. What do you think about the circle?
Jay Bilas (2:43 PM)
YES. The college game should have the charge circle right now. They want it, but the red tape takes about four years from start to finish. It will get done. And, charges are given way too often. If it is not completely obvious, it is likely a block. More blocks are called charges than the other way around in college ball. But, it is the toughest call in all of sports.
ken (cda, ID)
I know Elias Harris is good, but how good is he?
Jay Bilas (2:45 PM)
He is big time. Harris has a motor that runs all day. He will be one of the best frontcourt players Gonzaga has ever had. You can isolate him on a side five feet off of the block and he will get to the rim and finish. Outstanding offensive rebounder, and be has real bounce to his game. He is really, really good and very productive.
andre (Reno, NV)
last saturday BYU played at San Diego State. A large part of the student section was dressed up as mormon missionaries, and after the cougars had won the game, the student section began chanting "you're still mormon." was this all fun and games, or was a line crossed here?
Jay Bilas (2:48 PM)
Wow. I didn't hear that. If true, and I don't know the context or tone of the matter, but I tend to think it would cross a line. I think that sort of thing needs to be policed by the host school, and the head coach can do something about it without taking away the creativity of his fans. Religion should be out of the equation, generally, in my humble judgment.
John (Hutchinson ks)
Jay, Have you ever been to the Octagon of Doom before?
Jay Bilas (2:50 PM)
Never. Really excited about getting there. I have always admired Kansas State from when Jack Hartman was coaching there. I saw K-State beat Oregon State in 1981 in Pauley Pavilion in the NCAA Tournament when the Wildcats had Rolando Blackman, Ed Nealy and Tim Jankovich and those light/dark purple uniforms. Great program.
RE: Lucas Elbow - The Big 10 ruled earlier in the year that an elbow, if it draws blood, regardless of intent should be called a Technical (see Rob Wilson celebrating a dunk and Robbie Hummel running into him) - In my opinion that was a huge miss in Tuesday's game. Also, How could you leave Bo off of your list of 6 coaches today?
Jay Bilas (2:53 PM)
The result of the elbow and the severity of it are important factors. No two elbows are exactly the same, but your point is well taken. If Lucas had been tossed with a flagrant, I would not have objected one bit. As to Bo, are you not tired of playing the victim card with Bo, yet? We keep calling him the most underrated coach, and every game he is praised, and rightfully so. My article had six guys, and I did not say that the six were the only six. I said that they were under the radar and not the usual suspects. Bo is well respected by me.....go look it up!!
I now know you are taller, stronger and better looking than Scott Van Pelt. Is there anyone at ESPN that you could not say that about?
Jay Bilas (2:55 PM)
Excellent point. When you are right, you are right. You are right.
Steve (Rochester, NY)
Hi Jay: Do you attribute more of the Terps resurgence to the solid play of Sean Mosley -- on both sides of the COURT -- or to a more controlled offensive approach by Greivis Vasquez?
Jay Bilas (2:58 PM)
Both. Maryland has really good guards, and they can really get after you. But, the big guys are doing a better job, too. Maryland is showing real toughness, and that is straight from Gary Williams, in my judgment. Maryland is very efficient on the offensive end, and the Terps do not turn the ball over too much. If Maryland rebounds and does not allow second shots, I like their chances against anyone in the ACC.
or do you not even know who trey thompkins is?
Jay Bilas (3:02 PM)
Oooh, a challenge. I prefer to call him Howard. Trey is a really skilled and very good player that is getting tougher and learning how to play under Mark Fox, If he sticks around, he will be one of the best players in the country next year. And, his father was a really good player at Wagner in the old days.So there.
Jay,I know you're a Dukie but is there a better atmosphere in the country than Allen Fieldhouse??
Jay Bilas (3:03 PM)
No. There is nowhere better than the Phog. It may have equals to some, but none are better.
Marcus (College Park, MD)
Jay...Do you like my Terps to go to Clemson and grab a big road win on Sunday?
Jay Bilas (3:04 PM)
Wouldn't surprise me, but a lot depends upon whether Demontez Stitt plays. If he plays, Clemson is tougher to beat at home.
Erin (New York)
Vanderbilt. Mention Vanderbilt. Don't be afraid to say it: 10 wins in a row. 16-3, 5-0 in the SEC (3-0 on the road). Beat UT in K'ville. Lexington is about to find out...Vanderbilt...they're for real.
Jay Bilas (3:05 PM)
Okay. Vanderbilt.And, if you will recall, I was digging Vandy in Maui, but the Dores did not play well there. Now, Vandy is playing like I thought they would early. Kevin Stallings is a really good coach, and he has brought this team along really nicely. Vandy is Top 15 good.
hey jay... what do you think kentuckys chances are of winning a national title? also is there any chance the big 3 return if they dont win a title?
Jay Bilas (3:06 PM)
Good chance to win, zero chance that Wall and Cousins are back next year. ZERO.
Jay, why did you drop Gtown from your Power Rankings after the Syracuse loss?
Jay Bilas (3:07 PM)
I did?! Just a screw up. Nothing more. I was on a 5:30am flight this morning from Philly and I did the Top 25 on my iPhone. No excuse, but I must have just missed it. Turnover!!
Jay-- Who is the DEEPEST team in the country? Please just name one, thanks.
Jay Bilas (3:09 PM)
This is not your chat. You do not get to limit me or my answers. Just for that, I will name the Top 50 Deepest Teams in the Nation. Ready?!Villanova. 49 more to come.
Matt (New York)
Based on whats he's shown so far would you say Syracuse's Wesley Johnson the leading candidate for Big East POY? NCAA POY even?
Jay Bilas (3:10 PM)
The top candidates for Big East POY are Johnson, Reynolds and Harangody. National POY is Wall, Turner, Scheyer, James and the above names.
Jay-- If you were a point guard, which NCAA team's backcourt would you hate to play against the most and why?
Jay Bilas (3:11 PM)
Villanova. You just cannot stay in front of those guys, and they are great finishers. I would not like to have to chase around Kentucky's guards, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, either.
Jay.. can you tell us why you hate the Big Ten? You are consistent in broadcating the Big Ten as underrated vs. other conferences. Did Duke not just lose to NC State, yet you have them above MSU in your power rankings for the week?
Jay Bilas (3:14 PM)
I don't hate the Big Ten. Lighten up, Francis.Before the season, I said that I expected the Big Ten to be the best league in the nation (and I was incorrect). I saw the loss to NC State, but I think that Duke is better than MSU. And, if we are counting losses, doesn't MSU have just as many? I don't hate the Big Ten. I hate the Canadian Football League.
Be interested in your take on the A-10 this year? is this a 6 bid league? If not, who do you leave out of that upper groups, which is quite strong RPI wise?
Jay Bilas (3:18 PM)
Some really good teams, and the non-conference success should give the league some additional slack when it beats up on one another. Charlotte has been the pleasant surprise so far. Derrio Green has been really good for the 49ers, and Temple, Richmond, Dayton, Xavier and Rhody can all play. Six bids sounds high when you look at the teams, and I see four teams that will be right there on Selection Sunday. A lot is going to happen between now and then.
Jay - I expect more out of you than banal commentary such as: "If Maryland rebounds and does not allow second shots, I like their chances against anyone in the ACC." Can't you say that about any team in any game?
Jay Bilas (3:22 PM)
You can say anything you want about any team you want. Rebounding is the real weak spot for Maryland. That is all. But, Maryland has been doing a better job on the glass of late.
Scott (Atlanta, GA)
Are the worst teams in the ACC better than the worst teams in any other conference?
Jay Bilas (3:23 PM)
Probably not. Why do you care about the worst teams, anyway? Every league has some bad teams.
Jay, who is the better coach in MWC? Steve Alford, Steve Fisher, Dave Rose, or Lon Kruger? Please dont agree with my bf's pick!
Jay Bilas (3:24 PM)
All are very good. If I had to pick one, I might pick Lon Kruger. He is the real thing.
Tom D. (Austin, TX)
Jay, remember when you were cool? I want the moptop back.
Jay Bilas (3:26 PM)
Me, too!! When my hair was long, I got it cut once a month. Now that it is near gone, I get it cut once a week. Ridiculous.
Monty (Paola, KS)
Places to eat in Manhattan. Totally agree on Hibachi Hut and So Long. Check them out. Manhattan doesn't have a ton of great places to eat, but a fun town. Other options, Little Apple Brewery and Harry's Uptown.
Jay Bilas (3:26 PM)
Monty, you are the man. Thanks. Last week, we had some unbelievable sushi at a place called Nami in Anderson, South Carolina. It was New York or LA quality. Go figure.
Jay, in the UM-MSU game Tuesday night, one of the officials was hurt and had to leave the game in the first half. Do they not have an alternate ref available for such situations?
Jay Bilas (3:28 PM)
No, usually not. They do in NCAA Tournament and other postseason games, but to do so in regular season games would be too big of an expense and would deny other teams a quality referee.
Why is Dana O'Neill a commentator for ESPN?
Jay Bilas (3:29 PM)
Because she is damn good, that's why. I read her stuff all the time, and it is top shelf. Dana knows the game, she is plugged in, and she works her tail off. We have really good basketball people, and Dana is at the top of the list.
Mel (New Mexico)
Which Conference has the better Contenders? Mountain West Conference or PAC-10?
Jay Bilas (3:30 PM)
Usually it is the Pac-10. This year, it is the Mountain West. No question.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Biggest disappointment this year? Michigan? UNC? UConn? Louisville? Cal? Who?
Jay Bilas (3:34 PM)
Good list, except for Cal. I would say Michigan. The others have been inconsistent, but Michigan has been consistently less than we all expected. I still believe that Michigan can pull it together, but time is running out. The Wolverines are way better than they have played. That is all of the time I have this week. Thanks for the questions......see you next week. Best, Bilas