Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC, in addition to writing for ESPNChicago.com. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:09 PM)
Hey folks, Mike's running a few minutes behind schedule and should be here soon to take your questions!
mike wilbon (1:20 PM)
Hi everybody! Watching Tiger get closer to another tournament win, this one at Bay Hill...R. Fowler just hit it in the water TWICE on the par-5 No. 15--I think it was No. 15--so we'll chat about that, perhaps, but start with the NCAA Tournament...I have THE WORST BRACKET EVER...Seriously, the worst. I knew there would be upsets but I damn sure didn't pick any of them correctly. I knew when Davidson blew that lead over Marquette, after I picked Davidson, it wasn't going to be a good bracket year for me...But I wasn't expecting the worst, which it is. I had Georgetown winning it all. Ha! Let's see what you guys want to chat about...
Mike was Gonzaga overrated? The get a scare from Southern a 16th seed and got knocked out two nights later.
mike wilbon (1:21 PM)
Gonzaga wasn't ready for prime time. They played nervous, like they didn't belong with the Big Boys, and it turns out they didn't. So yeah, you'd HAVE to conclude Gonzaga was overrated...
Charles (San Jose)
Mike, your feelings on the Aaron Craft charge call?
mike wilbon (1:23 PM)
I hate that call. Hate it. Hate it regardless of the teams playing or what's at stake. Sliding up under somebody who's in the air, to me, isn't great defense...So, while I'm NOT blaming Aaron Craft who only did what the rules allow in college basketball, I HATE the rule and it needs to be changed. And it wasn't really applied correctly either because having a heel OVER the arc is the same as it being ON it...Bad call all the way around...and remember, I'm rooting FOR all the Big Ten teams...
Matt (Chicago, il)
I heard you on the radio mentioning your opinion on Urlacher, can you say if Urlacher really wanted to play and if he loves his teammates so much he should have sign for the amount. I believe it was a pride issue that might just cost him a job this season. What is your thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:30 PM)
Well, that's your opinion, that he should play for less...I'm not taking that position at all. We all have amounts we think are fair compensation for what we do...I DO know Brian was thinking there was going to be a negotiation and not "take it or leave it" amount, which appears from all indications to have been the case. I think--and this is ME saying this, not Brian--that if the Bears had gotten to $3 million or a hair above it Brian would have signed...That's my guess...Either way, it's just sad to me he might play in another uniform next year, but more power to him if he gets a great offer and wants to continue to play...
Hi Mike, Charles Barkley was critical of the officiating in the Ohio-Iowa State game going as far as saying the refs cost them the game. I thought it was a bang bang play and could have gone either way. Charles too harsh?
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
I don't know if the refs cost them, but I know how much guys who played in the NBA hate that call and think it should be changed. It WAS a bang-bang play, but it just looks so bad to have that kind of stuff help decide a single-elimination game...
Who do you have going to the final four? Second who do you have winning it? My picks of Lou, Oh St, Mich, and UF are all still in it with Lou beating UF in the Final.
mike wilbon (1:33 PM)
My picks are all gone, Bro...except for Michigan State so I'll ride with Sparty some more...Louisville has played GREAT through two games. Duke looked good...Michigan certainly played well against a tested VCU team...Kansas got what might be the right kind of test from UNC...I still don't know...it's STILL pretty open...
As a Heat fan, I still very much consider the Celtics to be the biggest threat to the Heat's chances of a repeat. There is no team in the NBA that believes they can beat the Heat more than the Celtics do. I know the west teams are much better on paper, but none of those teams have as much confidence going against Miami as Boston does.
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
I'm with you on everything you said as long as you confine it to the Eastern Conference...You think OKC and San Antonio don't feel with great confidence they can beat Miami? Trust me, they do, especially San Antonio. What a game that could be Sunday night in Texas, the Spurs hosting the Heat going for No. 30, should the Heat march right through Orlando tonight and the Bulls in Chicago Wednesday...
John (Tampa, FL)
Florida vs FGCU in Dallas at the place that Jones built... who do you have and why?
mike wilbon (1:36 PM)
My betting on games in this tournament is OVER...I just want to watch Cinderella, Bro...I want to see if FGCU's passed over kids--there are three or four of them--can rise up for 40 minutes and score another upset...Billy Donovan has had great success at this point of the tournament. It's a wonderful matchup, the program that is decades old vs the new kid, literally...Excited for the matchup...I'm done picking! LOL
Cirt Lindsay (Brooklyn NY)
Now that the Heat are 8 games from the record, and seeing that they are playing such a high level of basketbal do you think the streak has helped or hurt there championship focus?
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
Helped. There's nothing else to conclude. The Lakers that won 33 straight with Wilt and West won the title...So did the Bucks of Alcindor and Robertson who won 20 straight the previous season...So did the Bulls that won 72 games...I think these kinds of historic marches steel teams, make them better prepared for the pressure they about to confront than anything...
mike (queens) [via mobile]
How do you feel about Cylde Frazier's comments about this years Heat not being a great team? I know they haven't hit 33 straight yet or won the title but it seems to me like many previous players down play what teams or players do now. I know Frazier is an all time great but he seems to be "hating" to me. Your thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
The notion of "hating" is usually a stupid new-jack notion that simply dismisses the substance of what the person is saying. I consider the source, and Clyde doesn't just go off on "hating" rants. When he says something it's measured...Another thing, you have to WIN that year. To me, there's no question about that. You have to "validate" if you will the streak with a championship. Clyde's job is to look at things, including this streak, with a critical eye. This "hating" talk is usually--though I'm not saying in your case, at all--lazy talk from people who don't want to consider the criticism...
Joe Lunardi (Bristol, CT)
How's yer bracket?
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
Hey Mike, no matter how many times we've seen the tourney, we need reminders of how great of an event it is!! Only a few non-majors left and none are named Gonzaga, St Louis, VCU or New Mexico. But say hello to Florida Gulf Coast, LaSalle and Wichita St, who have to be so psyched to play another weekend. And kudos to Oregon, sadly dismissed by the committee only to prove them wrong on the way to the Sweet Sixteen. What a show!!!!
mike wilbon (1:45 PM)
Well said...It is quite a show...This is the best kind of tournament to me, totally unpredictable...It just might continue that way in the Sweet 16...
Which is the last college basketball team that you can remember who played as exciting a brand of basketball as FGCU? They are the Clippers of college basketball.. DUNK CITY!
mike wilbon (1:49 PM)
Well, lots of 'em actually. The UNLV teams of Johnson/Augmon/Anthony...the Loyola Marymount teams of the late 1980s with Hank G. and Bo Kimble...The Duke teams of Laettner/Hill/Hurley, the Phil Slamma Jamma teams of Drexler/Young/Olajuwon...I'm sure there are others I'm not naming. Let's not act like FGCU invented up-and-down basketball just because they did it yesterday, literally. They're really nice to watch, FGCU, but it ain't groundbreaking.
Going into the Sweet 16, how are you feeling about your bracket?
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
I have no bracket, Dude. I picked all the wrong upsets, ALL the wrong upsets...And missed all the right ones...I knew there would be upsets; I got that right...but couldn't nail any of them...
Shane (Chicago, IL)
The way Denver have been playing lately do you belive OKC can withstand the "Gold Rush" in the playoffs?
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
Ah, yeah...OKC might still be the best team in the west...I think the Spurs are their equal and the Nuggets are just a half-step back...But I think the Nuggets could push OKC...The Thunder would still be favored in a 7-game series, but I think it's closer to equal now that I would have said a month ago. The Denver winning streak is so under-the-radar...which is probably a great thing for that team...They'll probably finish no higher than 4th, and the problem is Memphis has been nearly as hot over the last 20 games...and that could be the first-round matchup...
To Mike in Queens: Clyde Frazier is a notorious Knicks homer. I've had to listen to countless Knick games on mute because of him. If this were a Knick team, he'd be proclaiming them the best regular season team ever. It's simply bias and sour grapes on his behalf.
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
Maybe...Clyde is a Knicks homer, no question...But I DO FIND he is very gracious and gives credit with specific detail when other teams are playing well...I just think a lot of you want everybody to proclaim Miami the greatest team ever, when you have to WIN THE TITLE to be in that discussion. That's a reasonable request in the NBA. In fact, winning the title is the prerequisite to be included in that conversation...
Anthony Kibble (Cardiff, Wales.)
Do you believe that the pursuit of 33 wins will become detrimental to the Heat's chances of Finals success, considering the physical and mental challenges needed to sustain such a streak?
mike wilbon (1:56 PM)
Was it detrimental to the Lakers that season? Was going after 70 detrimental to the Bulls in '96. Those are the two truly historic teams in the history of the NBA. I'm not saying they're absolutely the best. Russell's Celtics team in 1969, the Bird/McHale/Parish/DJ team in 1986, the Magic/Kareem team in, I think, 1987, the Bulls 1992 team with Horace Grant instead of Rodman, the 1983 Moses/Doc Fo-Five-Fo team, and the 1967 Wilt Philly team...those are all in the conversation but THE ALL WON...No, I think Miami is right on course, personally...But they have to win, which they will be favored to do...I think they'll beat Indy in the East and play either the Spurs or OKC in the West for the title...
Marshall (New York)
Have you seen Kenyon Martin lately? He's saving the Knicks season wiith his defense, hustle, and DUNKS. How many teams are killing themselves for not picking him up?
mike wilbon (1:58 PM)
I'm a K-Mart guy..one of my favorite guys in the league to chat with over the years...Totally underrated basketball IQ...Remember, KEY player on a back-to-back finalist with the Nets. If he hadn't gotten hurt in college, Cincy, he might have been one of the great hybrid forwards of his time...I don't know that he could help a bad team now, but a pretty good team or better he can help, and he is...Good for the Knicks for picking him up....They needed some inside presence with Amare hurt and out.
Michael! Talk about the Nuggets man! Serious contenders in the west? Can we finally put to bed the talk of them needing "the man" in the playoffs? How far can they go? Give them some love! Streak at 15!
mike wilbon (2:02 PM)
How can we put to bed the talk of them needing "the man" in the playoffs when they haven't won a playoff series yet? No, we cannot put that talk to bed. Hell, George Karl hasn't put that talk to bed. Andre Iguodala mentioned that to me a few weeks ago, that they still have to figure out a way to play around that. A regular season winning streak doesn't mean your issues aren't your issues in the playoffs. The Clippers won 17 straight earlier this year; are people saying they're a lock to do anything in the playoffs? The Nuggets streak, back to the bigger point here, is fabulous. Ken Faried is so much better as a second-year player than as a rook. Love Wilson Chandler...love the way they attack the basket and score so many points in the paint. They're well coached, exciting to watch on every level...I think their streak is fabulous...but they've got to figure out what to do if the pace slows (as it always does) in the playoffs...who's going to carry the team when the running and dunking isn't available...Trust me, George Karl is figuring that out as we slobber all over his team...
Yeah, of course the Celtics are the bigger threat. That's a much sexier storyline than a better basketball team like the Hawks. The Leprechauns and past franchise success count for a lot, huh?
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
The Hawks? What the hell have you been watching?
Hi Michael.. Tubby Smith rumored to be out at Minnesota.. Thoughts? Personally, I think that's a tough place to recruit to and he had done a pretty decent job.. Sorry UM fans, it's just not as desirable as UNC, Indiana, Florida, etc...
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
Yeah, I'm with you...You just uttered my thoughts.I like Tubby Smith, thought he did a very good job there, and wonder what the hell they are expecting in Minnesota?
Juan (Irvine, CA)
Thoughts on the Ben Howland firing?
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
People at UCLA have incredible expectations..maybe too high. They want to win, which Howland did for awhile. They want an exciting brand of basketball, which his teams didn't really play. They want to fill the new Pauley Pavillion. They want a lot that I'm not sure a lot of coaches can deliver. They'd better find the right guy, whoever that is, or they're going to turn into their neighbor USC, making one stupid decision after another...
Luke Johns (Ann Arbor, MI)
Do you think the Heat are peaking too early?
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
Did Gonzaga deserve to be a No. 1 seed?
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
Your opinion on Marshall Henderson?
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
Marshall Henderson can shoot it pretty decent, but if he didn't act like a lunatic I don't know that we'd even know his name. He's fun, and a total sideshow in college basketball but his ability seems a little overstated to me.
The Celtics aren't exactly playing well, Wilbon.
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
They weren't playing well at this point last season either...before reaching Game 7 of the conference finals. Look it up...
JeremyB666 (Kewadin, MI)
What are Michigan's chances against Kansas in the Sweet 16?1 Please shoot me straight...
mike wilbon (2:09 PM)
They're even teams...You want a guarantee, you're not getting one. But they're dead even teams, big conference teams with great players who'll be playing in the NBA in the coming seasons. It's a pick-'em game...
If we're judging teams on what they did last year, then it should be okay to judge the Heat as an all-time great team even without winning this year, right?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
All of the all-time great teams have won the championship that year. So why the hell would it be okay for the Heat not to win? How dumb would that be?
Is Jason Kidd a Hall of Famer? He averaged about 13 points, 8 assists, 5 Rebounds per game.
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
Yes. Impact. Was a critical player on three NBA finals teams. Won once, in a support role granted. But led the Nets to the Finals twice when the teams were hardly great...Yes, Jason Kidd is a Hall of Famer. Easy call.
Do you think the Indiana pacers would make the playoffs if they were in the western conference and if so who would they unseed?
mike wilbon (2:13 PM)
Damn good question...Wow...Let's see: Spurs, Thunder, Nuggets, Grizzlies, Clippers, Rockets, Warriors, Lakers...Hmmm...I'm not sure they could. I think they might beat the Warriors in a 7-game series, but it's not a lock. Hell, maybe they wouldn't...
Shouldn't someone in the Bulls organization make a decision with regards to Rose? It's not just his decision if he steps on the floor, right? You have to think about the team.
mike wilbon (2:14 PM)
Uh, dead wrong. It's his. His. Did you watch him play in 2011? If so, what the hell are you talking about. Teams tried making players return to action for the first 70 years of the NFL...How'd that go over now that the league is facing a mountain of lawsuits regarding health and well being?
If UCLA hires Shaka Smart it would be like Cal coming to Kentucky or Roy Williams coming home to North Carolina. When the elite programs hire the right guy, they win national championships.
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
Look, I LOVE Shaka Smart, and I think he'll be terrific wherever he winds up BUT history is littered with "the right guy for the right elite program" who weren't the right guy. I'm rooting for Shake Smart, that's for damn sure but nothing is guaranteed...nothing.
mike wilbon (2:17 PM)
Gotta run and prepare for PTI, boys and girls...Thanks for chatting...love the diverse questions today...See you next Monday when we're set with the Final Four and the Spurs at 30 or streak over...Have a great week...thanks much...mw