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Jay Bilas on the Cats: “Wow…I mean, they’re…wow.”


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Jay Bilas took a break from hanging by the pool to come on the show this morning and give his observations on the Cats after three exhibition games. Like the rest of us, Bilas is very impressed with Kentucky’s performance so far. “Wow…I mean, they’re…wow,” Bilas said. “They’re really good, and they have a chance to be great.”

Bilas raved about this team’s depth, which he says is remarkable so far, especially since Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles haven’t been able to play yet. “This is a different type of team in that they’re so deep,” Bilas said, echoing his comment earlier in the week that with Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles, you could split the team in two and have two Top 20 teams. “Who gets to platoon?!” Bilas marveled. “You just don’t do that. [Calipari] can legitimately platoon and not take a drop off at all.” Bilas said having real veterans has also helped the Cats, as well as having good chemistry off and on the court. “They relate to each other really well, and they seem like really good guys, and that can’t help but make you a little bit better.”

Matt asked Jay, a former Dukie, to compare John Calipari with Coach K, and Jay said the two are actually pretty similar on the court. “They’re very similar in their coaching in that both of them have adapted to the changing landscape of the game as well if not better than anyone else. John is more of an out front salesman. John cares what people think. I don’t think he spends a whole lot of time worrying about it, but he absolutely cares. But John comes across like he doesn’t care. He will do and say some controversial things to stir things up a little bit. Coach K is less likely to do that. I’d say he can seem from afar, a little bit more corporate, but both are great guys with different personalities. They have very different personalities. Both of them are funny, both of them are great to be around, but they’re different personality types. They’re both competitive as all get-out, and they’re two of the best coaches that have ever lived. You don’t win like Calipari’s won and not be great.

Jay admitted that when Calipari came to Kentucky, he didn’t think the run he’s had was possible. “I did not think what he’s done at Kentucky was possible. I didn’t think it was possible to take that many young guys and blend them together and win at that high of a level that consistently,” Jay said. “I thought the norm would have been the NIT year. Where you have teams that take their lumps and have these wild swings, ups and downs. So, you might have a really good year and then you really struggle, and then you have another really good year. But that’s been the anomaly.” In fact, Bilas went as far to call Cal’s time at Kentucky “one of the most incredible runs in college basketball history.” Wow.

When asked about the Big Blue Nation, Bilas said he doesn’t think there is anyone more passionate about basketball than Kentucky fans, and mentioned his numerous ties to the area (his niece graduated from UK and married Mark Krebs, his brother lives in Louisville). He said that makes him feel like a distant relative of the UK family, even if he used to play for Duke. “The highest compliment that Kentucky fans ever give me is ‘We hate Duke, but we don’t hate you,'” Bilas joked.

So, does Jay think that fans should be as giddy as we are right now? “I do think this team is worthy of a National Championship. That doesn’t mean they’re going to win it, but they’re good enough to win it,” Bilas said.

Listen to the whole interview below. It’s totally worth it.

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Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR.

19 responses to “Jay Bilas on the Cats: “Wow…I mean, they’re…wow.””

  1. ThatCrackerBZ

    I always liked Bilas because he’s knowledgable and keeps his opinions objective. In off years he’s said some things that weren’t popular with KY fans in general, but he’s usually right. That’s why I respect what he has to say. There’s never any ill-will, just honest analysis. Great interview.

  2. Blackhawk

    Jay Bilas is the best in the business…..have said it when he has said good things about UK and bad. He is objective as they come. Love his insight even when it’s tough to hear because he is right far more times than he is wrong.

  3. tltaworl

    He said we weren’t tough enough to beat Wichita. Then ate his words like a man. Everybody makes mistakes (going to duke) but he was 18, can’t punish him forever.

    1. Tyler

      Oh come on. Made a mistake by going to Duke? There are other quality programs besides UK. Other fans could say players make mistakes by going to UK because the rednecks in our fan base are arguably the dumbest in the country (like Chester).

    2. TimeFor9

      Tyler, thanks for pointing out the obvious. Here’s a tip: try not to take comments so literally. You sound like a real bundle of joy to hang around.

  4. TheRealLinda

    Hey Jay, nice legs….

  5. Rixter

    Matt looks a lot like Jerry Mathers, aka the Beaver. “Gee, Wally, do you think Drew is gonna give us the business for dressing like dorks for this interview”?

  6. Mad Mag

    He actually looks like Alfred E Neuman

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_E._Neuman

  7. raccoon

    In a media world where guys like Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, and others say things for the purpose of causing a stir, getting their stories blogged and raising their profile, but without the least bit of thoughtful analysis or honesty, Jay Bilas is refreshing. I don’t always agree with him, but I at least believe that he has thought about and believes what he is saying.

    1. Han

      Yup. Doesn’t seem to have any petty grudges or bias against any teams or coaches. Naturally, he tends toward positives with all things Duke and K (not full homer, but obvious alum), and he has to stick with the company when it comes to speaking much in a situation like UNCheat. But otherwise, he’s one of the more knowledgeable and objective analysts in college basketball. Doesn’t always say stuff we want to hear, but he will stop colleagues who are unfair toward us, using facts to combat wishful hating from so-called sports journalists. When Bilas is wowed by our team pre-season, it is a much bigger deal than if it comes from Dickie V, who is super enthusiastic about his favorite teams and players.

      Having Bilas seeing all our games on this trip and being impressed will carry over into a season’s worth of “They look good, but they’re not as deep as Kentucky.”

  8. TimeFor9

    I bet Jughead is super handsome. And clearly mature. A real gentleman and scholar!

  9. lolol

    Drew still wears snap backs…how old is he?

    1. TimeFor9

      If you look at the first pic, Matt is wearing on too. Who cares, though? They are better than flat bills.

    2. TimeFor9

      *one

    3. Newmuch?

      You must be old or new… Most hat wearers I see wear snap-backs

  10. Sad

    Having moved away from Kentucky, it’s sad to come back here and read, day after day, so much hatefulness. Before the Cards fans moved in, it wasn’t like this around here. I’m beginning to think the best way to enjoy the site is just to completely avoid the comments.

    Kentucky has some of the most loyal and passionate sports fans in the nation. How sad that the people of the Commonwealth cannot even be civil with one another on a recreational sports fandom site. It embarrasses me for all of us.

  11. very impressed

    Great interview. Mr. Bilas is what I try to be. Lover of the game first, then a fan. And he’s got enough sense to not wear long sleeves in the summer in the Bahamas. Bring a little tan back. Great job!

  12. rnet
  13. KevinM

    Was this interview done at Matt’s hotel? Looks like he had to be woke up to do this interview. I guess he doesn’t get paid to look the part.