The Chat House With Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnists
Monday, March 24, 2003; 1:30 pm ET
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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Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Hi everyone,
I'm back from Nashville where I watched Maryland win 2 games, one of which was terribly exciting in terms of the dramatic ending it provided. While there are a lot of other things in the sports world and obviously in the larger world over the weekend, we'll probably concentrate mostly on March Madness in the Chat today if you don't mind. --Mike
Mike is solo today b/c I had to stay at The Post b/c of my other life and couldn't go to PTI like I normally do...which is where Tony jumps in. Thanks. --Mary
Alexandria, Va.: Knowing what y'all know about basketball, what does a close first round loss to Maryland do to a basketball program like UNCW's? Does it increase recruitment? Or is a loss a loss and do nothing? This is the second year that UNCW has come out running. What do you think?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: It only helps UNCW to play dead even w/an ACC team in a game that went to 50 percent of the country. I can't believe for a second that UNCW couldn't benefit greatly from 2 consecutive NCAA tournaments. I love watching UNCW. Those kids can really shoot, they have a plan, they are well coached. It is a pleasure to watch them. If you're a kid who wants to go and play up tempo and go to a good school, why wouldn't you consider UNCW? --Mike
Washington, D.C.: As a Vanderbilt fan, nothing upsets me more than watching Kentucky storm toward New Orleans (They beat us by 62. That's right, 20 more three pointers and we still would have lost by 2); and I get the feeling that in predicting Pitt to win, I am using my heart more than my head. After two rounds of action, any new insight into the tourney picks? I know that everyone from the Post has a contractual obligation to jump on the Maryland bandwagon, but you have to admit that Michigan State looked great in big wins against two major conference teams.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: People at The Post have no obligation to anyone, so let's get that straight off the top. I picked Maryland to go to the Final Four in November, so I'm not going to change my mind now b/c it might offend a Vandy fan. I think Pitt can beat Kentucky. I'm not saying Pitt WILL beat Kentucky, but Pitt can play some defense themselves AND Pitt can score inside and the Panthers are just a tough, hard-nosed team. So, you are not going to read any slams of Pitt here. I think Kentucky is a hair better, but I would love to see that game. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: Another day, another outburst from Michael Jordan. Are the Wiz (nee Boulez) mailing it in now, or are they genuinely trying but making mistakes? Where do the Wizards go from here? And if they win the draft lottery, what do they do? I just couldn't see them taking LeBron James.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: They are discombobulated. They are frustrated b/c they thought they were going to be a lot better. Michael is more frustrated than anybody b/c this is it for him. I KNOW he thought they'd be a lot better than this. But, they are done. It's over. They aren't going to make the playoffs unless Milwaukee continues to collapse. The Wizards could finish behind the Knicks the way it's going now. --Mike
Baltimore, Md.: Good afternoon. I have to say that the Maryland vs. UNC-Wilmington game was the best round 1 game I've ever seen. Could it be that this game was the best round 1 game ever?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I can't cover all the 1st round games off the top of my head. I'm sure there have been 2 dozen games like that over the past 20 years. There were some games in 1981 that were just as dramatic, if not more so than the Maryland game. In 1981, 11 of the first 40 games were decided in the last 5 secs, with a shot either breaking a tie to win the game or taking a team from one point down to victory. So, the Maryland, while thrilling, joins a long list of fabulous first round buzzer beating games. -- Mike
Bracketville: Guys, which top seed is more vulnerable now? If you had to bet, that is.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Good question. I'm going to stick w/Texas. Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma all have kids who have played in a lot of pressure tournament games. And Texas is a terrific team, but if I had to pick one #1 seed to go out in the next game, I would pick Texas to lose to UConn. --Mike
Arlington, Va.: Hi, Mike and Tony. First off, Mike, I wanted to say thank you for Friday's column on why the tournament should go on. That was, in my opinion, your finest column. Second, what a great weekend of basketball! Drew Nicholas never fails to impress! If Maryland plays like it did for MOST of the game yesterday, I think they have a shot against Michigan State. What do you guys think? Also, is it really possible to see three Big East teams in the Elite Eight? And dare I say two in the Final Four? And can UConn really beat Texas? Thanks.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Of course Maryland has a shot. They are the defending national champions. Maryland may be favored by the Vegas oddsmakers. If I was Maryland, I would have rather have played Florida b/c the Gators are no where near as mentally tough or as physically tough as Michigan State. And Tom Izzo has taken teams to the Final Four three times in a row. The guys knows what he's doing. I think UConn will beat Texas on Friday night, even though the game is in San Antonio and Texas ought to enjoy a huge home court advantage. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: Notre Dame's women upset Arizona -- can the men will do the same? Needless to say it won't matter who wins out West, because it is only a matter of time until the Auburn bandwagon rolls through New Orleans (kidding -- chill out Mike).
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I thought Gonzaga had a better chance of beating Arizona that Notre Dame would. Now we will get to see on Thursday whether I'm right. Notre Dame should be out of the tournament. If the kid from Wisconsin-Milwaukee hadn't dunked the basketball, Notre Dame wouldn't even be in the tournament. --Mike
Adelphi, Md.: Will Jordan completely dismantle the Wizards next year? If so, don't you think the past three years has been a COMPLETE waste in rebuilding? The city finally had some hope, but how far did that go?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: You can't keep blowing up the team every year. You make a great point. How many times can you start over? Maybe you can tinker, but you can't blow it up again can you? I haven't talked to Jordan about this specific thing yet b/c I'm preoccupied w/March Madness now and the Wizards are way on the back burner for me at the moment. I think the critical question is what they are going to do w/Stackhouse and whether they can find a mid-level free agent. But, maybe the last few years could wind up being a waste. I don't know. At least there were some thrills on the court the last 2 years being able to watch Jordan play. That doesn't qualify for much if you are living in Sacramento or San Antonio or Indy or LA. But around here where the team almost never makes the playoffs, it's as good as it gets in DC. --Mike
Lafayette, Indiana: Who would have thought that Butler would advance further than Indiana and Purdue? Do you think the Bulldogs can continue their streak against Oklahoma?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: A lot of people thought it. A lot of people had Butler going further in their brackets than the others. Just b/c Butler isn't in the big conference doesn't mean they can't play. I think Butler has better players than Indiana or Purdue, at least this year I think that's the case. Butler is going to have a hard time beating Oklahoma. That would be a legit upset. But I don't find it unthinkable that Butler could win. --Mike
Kokomo, IN: What's up with Mike Davis at Indiana University? Doesn't he realize that bad-mouthing his own team only reflects badly on him?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Yeah, he shouldn't have done it. Mike went too far. I like Mike Davis a lot, but you hear coaches say "win as a team, lose as a team all the time," and Davis didn't do that. He took himself out of the equation. And I just think that is bad form. --Mike
Silver Spring, Md.: Elsewhere in the ACC, what happened to Wake Forest in the NCAAs? (And for that matter, the ACC tournament.) They looked so good throughout the regular season.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: That's the difference in the regular season and post season. I never thought Wake was that good. I had them going no further than 2 games. Josh Howard is a nice player, but he's not a dominant player. I know he was ACC player of the year, but they had a couple of really bad losses that a great player should really prevent... like getting blown out by 30 to Maryland. Wake's exit yesterday to Auburn has to be pretty disappointing for the ACC considering that you can make the case as I have the Auburn didn't really belong in the tournament field. --Mike
Washington, D.C. Break it down for me Mike, and I don't want it through rose colored glasses. Now that they have made it to their fifth straight sweet 16, does UMD have a legit shot at back to back titles. I know they CAN beat Mich. St. but do they have the firepower to truly take on an Arizona or a Kentucky and win this season. One guys with an 8 for 8 night from 3 almost did them in, what happens when they go against the big boys who have three and four guys who can shoot like that?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I don't think they can beat Arizona, Kentucky or Oklahoma, but I think they can beat Texas. I don't even think Texas is going to beat UConn. We just saw Arizona nearly lose so why do you presume they are going to make it to the Final Four? The question is whether Maryland can beat Michigan State? Of course they can. Can Michigan State beat Maryland. Of course. Yes. That's why they play the games. They know how to play in the tournaments. I'm not going to sit here and try to be your fortune teller, but I like Maryland's chances against Michigan State, but I think Maryland-UConn regional final on Sunday would be pretty fascinating. --Mike
Silver Spring, Md.: Do you think Tubby Smith kind of chuckled a little today with all of the adulation he's getting now that Ricky Pitino and Billy "I wanna be like Ricky" Donovan were booted from the tourney? As much as the Kentucky "faithful" are putting on a happy face, Tubby has to know that they might never love him or respect him as much as they did Little Ricky. How about those wacky Kentucky fans who wanted Tubby's job after he started 6-3. If Tubby coached at UVa, they'd erect a statue in his honor.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Tubby is not chuckling at that, even though you are absolutely right that he knows that he will not be as beloved as Rick Pitino in certain quarters around the state. But Tubby is very close w/Rick Pitino. They are friends. So, no, I don't imagine Tubby getting any personal satisfaction of Pitino losing. Now the fans love it and they get into the stupid foolishness. But the basketball coaching fraternity is a more cordial fraternity than many would expect. And even though these guys are rivals on the court, they have often worked together and for one another. So, don't include the coaches feelings for each other in the fans and their stupid lunacy. --Mike
Baltimore, Md.: How come Duke isn't getting any love? Their matchup with Kansas is going to be the highlight of the next round, and they're proving they should have been higher than a 4 seed. How far do you see them going?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Why should they have been higher than a 4 seed? If they beat Kansas, you can make that presumption. But until they, they were probably seeded correctly. Once again, my Final Four is Duke, Maryland, Kentucky and Syracuse. Nobody has proven anything yet. The proving ground starts Thursday and Friday in the Sweet 16. For anybody to get chesty is a little overboard. Just chill and watch the games and don't feel the need to make any grand pronouncements or draw any conclusions. The real guts of the tournament is just beginning. I'm going to San Antonio and I'm going to watch all the games I can. I can't wait! I've gotta run. Take care. --Mike
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