The Chat House
With Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnists
Tuesday, March 18, 2003; 1 pm ET ONE-TIME/DAY CHANGE!
It's time for another edition of The Chat House!
Tony and Mike are here to talk about all things sports related and other topics too. For example? The Wizards, Yao, the Caps, college hoops or anything else that strikes your fancy. So, come on into The Chat House.
The transcript follows.
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washingtonpost.com: Good afternoon. We'll be getting started shortly.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Good afternoon everyone. Sorry we had to do a quick day/time change on you yesterday. Mike had to have an emergency root canal. Ouch. --Mary
So the left side of my jaw is a little tender, but that shouldn't prevent me from being able to yack it up with you guys. Sorry about the change. --Mike
Charlottesville, Va.: As an avid ACC fan, I'm really hoping that the Terps go deep in the tournament.
My question is if they make the Final Four, where is the best place to view the rioting? On fraternity row, or is there a hill or tall building nearby with a view of the flames?
And how do you think the ACC compares this year with the other conferences?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I didn't go to Maryland so I'm not going to be able to give you riot vantage points. The only places I know on campus are Byrd Stadium and the new Comcast Center. The ACC clearly this year was not as good as the Big 12 or the Southeastern Conference, and perhaps wasn't as good as the Conference USA which has Louisville and Marquette. That said, I'd probably take Duke and Maryland in a one game situation against either Louisville or Memphis or Marquette.... this season, and particularly Maryland because of the experience in tournament games. I don't have a lot of faith in Wake Forest. In fact, I think I like NC State in a tournament game more than Wake Forest right now because Wake is new to these kind of big time games too. So, I don't know how the ACC is going to fare. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: Though it probably won't happen, I am rooting hard for BYU to win two games and prove how inept the NCAA is. If they realized their mistake Sunday night, why couldn't they make the switch before any games were played?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Me too. No change? Because they are even more arrogant than they are dumb. I mean I know there are some very smart people who sit in that room and very responsible people, some of whom I've know for years, like Jack Kavancz, the AD at GW, who is just one of the best college administrators around. He was also a Division I basketball coach before that. But the people who run the room do such a poor job collectively this past weekend and the BYU fiasco is like icing on the cake for those of us who thought the men's selection committee did a dreadful job. --Mike
It seems to me that Illinois got screwed with a #4 seed (especially in the West). Did it hurt them that the Big Ten championship was so late -- immediately before the final selection?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Maybe. We don't have a lot of answers to stuff because the chairman of the selection committee, Jim Livengood, who is the AD at Arizona, I believe, was so inarticulate when asked anything on Sunday. He didn't answer anything, didn't clarify or expand anything. --Mike
Laurel, Md.: Hey guys,
I'm going to the Wizards against the hawks on April 12. Do you know if the Wizards have a pre-game shoot-around just prior to the game which is open to the public? I thought it'd be cool to go early if we could see the team getting in some sort of pre-game warm ups.
Let's go Wiz!
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I don't think the gate opens about an hour or so early. And the term shoot-around describes a light practice session that takes place the morning before games.... and no, the public is not allowed. Neither at most of these things is the media. They are sessions in which teams plot strategies for the night. --Mike
Burke, Va.: Mike and TK,
Keep up the good work. I think Maryland may be able to get to the Sweet 16, but I don't think they could beat Florida, provided that the Gators get that far.
Maryland doesn't have a real "go-to-guy." What do you guys think?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Anybody can be anybody in this tournament. Maryland could lose in the first round to UNC-Wilmington. Florida could loose in the 2nd round to Michigan State. Don't come up with all of these reasons that this could happen and that could happen. There is only one potentially great team and that's Kentucky. And the rest of them are dependent on the whims of a player or two who might have a bad night. --Mike
Woodstock, Va.: What are the chances of UNC-Wilmington knocking off Maryland and what exactly makes them a worthy challenger to the defending national champs?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: They've got good players. They've got a kid named Brett Blizzard who is as a good a shooter as anybody in the country. Just because you haven't heard of the players doesn't mean they aren't good. UNC-Wilmington won a game in last year's tournament: they beat Southern Cal who a lot of idiots like me, had going to the Final Four. So, their chances are good at beating Maryland and Maryland has played two poor games in a row. Having said that, I think that Maryland should and will win a game. But, all you have to do is look at any bracket from the last 15 years and you can see that it's not just the big conference teams that win the games in the early rounds. --Mike
Takoma Park, Md.: If one of your paychecks was on the line, would you bet the Boulez in or out of the playoffs?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Out because of the West Coast schedule they have coming up. Six games out West. I'm not from the D.C. area and I don't have any emotional attachments to any of the teams here, but I would like for the sake of people who are fans of pro-basketball here to see the Wizards and MJ make it the playoffs. I really would like to see that. I don't have a lot of faith that it's going to happen, but I would like to see it. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: Should the NCAA postpone the start of the tournament if the U.S. begins war with Iraq? Other than being a logistical nightmare, is it fair to ask student-athletes to compromise THEIR schedules even more to accommodate a schedule change? Sounds to me like CBS wants to keep the games on their network on their terms, hence a postponement ($$$$).
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I don't think so. Are the movie theaters going to close? Is Broadway going to shut down? Are you going take ESPN Classic off the air? Are we just supposed to sit around in mourning? I don't know how that works. Suppose war goes on for two years. We are going to cancel everything? World War II went on for years and games were played. Vietnam went on twice as long and games were played and entertainment events were held as scheduled. No, I'm not for canceling or for postponing these kinds of things. And usually you hear our country's leaders STRONGLY suggest to commissioners and to presidents of sports and entertainment entities that the games should go on. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: More on the selection committee -- how is it that Arizona and Kentucky end up on the same side of the bracket while Texas gets to play the play-in winner, ostensibly making it the overall No. 1 in the eyes of the committee? Unreal!
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Because the selection committee did a shoddy job. Go back into yesterday's archives and read the column I wrote about the NCAA selection committee. It did a terrible job, I think. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: Mike, for two weeks now, Weingarten's been calling you "wussy" in his chat. Any response?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: What would I care about some punk nothing like Weingarten? You think I'd trade my career for his? --Mike
Capital Heights, Md.: Can somebody explain to me what Doug Collins sees in Christian Lattner? He's to slow to check any decent power forward and he act's like he's scared to shoot the open jumper that other teams always give. Sometimes I think I watching something totally different from the coaches of the Wizards. And even if they make the playoffs, they won't beat anybody! I believe if they made Kwame a number one pick play him! They to see if the kid is capable of playing in the league. And why does Brendan keep getting pulled out the game(even when he's playing well)?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Have you looked at Laettner's numbers lately? Have you seen how well he's played in most of the games in the last three weeks? If Kwame Brown was ready to play in important games, Laettner's presence wouldn't be as necessary. But Brown ain't ready, which comes as a no surprise to me because he ought to be a sophomore at Florida right now trying to help his team get to the Final Four. For the 1000 time, the Wizards should not have drafted Kwame if the goal was for MJ to get to the playoffs this year. --Mike
Fort Washington, Md.: Do you think Mike Sweetney should return for his senior year at Georgetown?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Great question. That's a legit dilemma. But I'm betting that Craig Esherick will contact NBA people that he knows and try to assess how high in the draft Sweetney would go. That's where the process has to start. And also, maybe even first of all, you find out what the kid wants to do. When everybody and his Mama though Ralph Sampson was coming out and should come out of Virginia after three years, Ralph said he was staying for his senior year and he did. So a lot of it depends on what the kid wants to do. --Mike
Chicago, Ill.: Hey Mike,
Greetings from Lincoln Park.
Do you think Kordell Stewart the answer to the Bears QB problems?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Well, I certainly hope so. We seem to be the only franchise in the NFL that thinks that talent at the position of QB is optional. I'm 44 years old and the Bears have had really one QB worth talking about all that time and that was Jim McMahon who was hurt half the time. Now, Cordell, is streaky and he's certainly prone to some bad games and bad stretches. But, he's a hell of a lot better than what we've had the last 10 years. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: I have a remedial NCAA tournament question. Why do I keep reading headlines that say the "field of 65 teams has been selected?" Huh? I thought the field was 64 teams. Is there a runner-up team in case one of the teams can't fulfill its obligations? All of the brackets I see show 64 teams. What is up with that 65th team? Am I crazy?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Well because tonight, I'm sure to get another game on TV, the NCAA will stage a game between Texas Southern and North Carolina-Asheville with the winner to face Texas. So, it's just another way to get on TV, more $$ and to get the interest drummed up earlier in the week. --Mike
Honolulu, Hawaii: How can you remain silent regarding Mr. Lue's reported comments in The Post today: Lue yesterday compared the Wizards' playoff run with the expected war in Iraq. "We also have a war we have to fight, too," he said. "The Washington Wizards are trying to make the playoffs.. . . . It's pretty much the same thing." It appears that the outrageousness of this remark can only matched by the apathy of the Washington Wizards organization and the sports columnists of The Washington Post.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Remain silent? Remain silent? You're an idiot. When was I supposed to write about it? Before he said the comments. Don't come in here with that garbage when you have no idea what my views are. Columnists don't write seven days a week. If you're angry at Lue than direct it at Lue. Don't dare presume to know what I feel or tell me when to speak out on something. I'll do it if and when I please. Got that? --Mike
Camp Hill, Pa.: Mike and Tony,
Thanks for taking my question. I'm big fan and alum of Pitt. Assuming they meet Kentucky in the regional final, a big assumption I know, what do you believe their chances of beating Kentucky are? A lot of people seem to automatically putting Kentucky in the Final Four. Thanks.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: You can't predict anything past a few of the first round games. I can make the case that Pitt should have been the #1 seed in the East. I can also see them losing in the second game to Indiana. I can also see Kentucky, who I picked, to win the whole thing losing to Oregon in the second round. Oregon won the PAC 10 tournament. So, I'm going to enjoy the first two days of the tournament, if and when they are played. And I'm not going to get obsessed with match-ups that probably won't happen. The fun of this tournament is what is going on currently. --Mike
Sterling, Va.: With all the political and sporting events happening at this moment, I guess one major question needs to be asked.. Who should win Best Picture?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Let's see. I've seen "The Hours," "Chicago." I have not seen "The Pianist" nor "About Schmidt," but I will try to see one of them Thursday and one Friday. --Mike
Prepare for serious nightmares after "The Pianist." It's very good, but upsetting. --Mary
And this may come as a shock to some people, while I loved the people and performances in "The Hours" and "Chicago," I didn't love the movies themselves. I'm not a fan of musicals. I love going to the theater, but I don't like musicals as movies. --Mike
Me neither. --Mary
And I'm the biggest Streep fan and I loved her performance, but "The Hours" just didn't do it for me. I saw "Gangs of New York" and liked it a lot. More than most of the critics. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: Why isn't Washington chosen more often as a playoff spot? You would think the transient nature of the town would ensure a mix of alumni attending the games.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Good question. It ought to be. You know MCI ought to be a site every year. You're absolutely right about everything you say. It's a great venue. I don't get it. Maybe the tournament asks the host committee for something it can't provide. Maybe the arena isn't available. I don't know. --Mike
NCAA geography: Why is part of the first round of the men's South regional being played in Spokane, Wash.?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: The pod system that came out last year allows teams to play closer to home in the first two rounds, at least in theory. You'll notice there are exceptions like that in each of the first rounds. Just like, in the West regional, they have teams from Indy playing in the West and there are teams from the Boston bracket playing in the Midwest. --Mike
Page, W. Va.: Do you think the Washington Redskins will get a running back like Avon Cobourne to go with Steve Spurrier's offense?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Redskins? Dude, get a life. First of all, didn't they just trade Trung Canidate? That's not enough for you? It's the start of March Madness and you're asking me about the Redskins back-up running back? --Mike
Regina, SK, Canada: Hey guys, I know you don't talk much hockey here or on "PTI," but I was wondering what you guys think of the Caps chances this year in the playoffs? And do you know how serious Jagr's wrist injury really is?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: The Caps better win their division and at the moment they are 2 points behind Tampa in the division race. And they need to win the division to get the #3 seed in the East. Otherwise, they could finish 8th and have to play Ottawa in the 1st round which means 4 and out probably. I'm not sure which is more disappointing the Caps or Wizards. They both have been disappointing. --Mike
Arlington, Va.: N.C. State looks like it has the potential to be a dark horse in the NCAA tournament. Is it likely that they would beat both Oklahoma and Louisville? If so, what is the likelihood of a rematch with Wake in the Elite 8? I know that Tony picked Syracuse, but despite their history of choking, Wake seems like a smarter pick.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: There are 25 teams that could be good dark horse candidates in the tournament. If you are pulling for a team, just say "I'm pulling for this team." Don't try to be a fortune teller because even the veteran coaches who have been in a dozen NCAA tournaments say 20-25 could win the whole thing. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: I have a question about NCAA basketball scandals. Are there more violations in basketball than there are in any other sport, including football, or are they just being reported now because it's tournament season?
Also, most of the NCAA scandals involve two things: money given to poor students, and academic violations. Is there a racial aspect to these charges and these rules?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I don't know that there is a racial component, but the same allegations plague Division One football and may of the allegations are proven true. These are the revenue producing sports. And these are the sports where alums care, these are the sports that cause people to donate more $$ and come back and visit the school and support off-campus school activities. So these are the two sports where the stakes are the highest and people will do what they have to do to win. It's not being reported because it's March. It's been reported because it took that long to report. ESPN investigated a lot of money and human resources in trying to report the story at Georgia. That doesn't happen overnight or because you want to see the story in December. It may have taken ESPN 8-10 weeks to get the info, to get it right, to have it confirmed and to produce the piece. --Mike
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Hey folks, we have to go. Have a good week and enjoy the games! We'll be back next Monday at our regular time, 1:30 pm. Thanks. --Mike
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