ESPN’s Jay Bilas hosted a teleconference for all his media friends this afternoon to preview the college basketball season, and, as you might expect, Kentucky came up once or twice. When asked, Bilas said Kentucky’s 93-point win over Asbury last night was a “ridiculous” and “useless” exercise that further proves his point that the NCAA should allow teams to play legitimate competition during the preseason, which would benefit everyone.
“Frankly, they get nothing out of it,” Bilas said of Kentucky’s rout. “It’s kind a useless exercise, honestly. It’s like saying what does a player get out of playing pickup games with a regular students, and the answer is nothing. You get the opportunity to get hurt and that’s pretty much it.”
“I’ve advocated for a long time that the NCAA ought to let these teams play real games. Everybody complains that the little guy doesn’t get as many shots against the big guy, well, instead of giving these teams the exhibition games that accomplish nothing other than make them money and be a part of their season ticket package, I would advocate let the teams play real games but you have to play a mid-major school within 100 miles of your school. So, you could bring somebody in that would not otherwise get a chance to play against you.”
Bilas argued that the amount of time and preparation that goes into an exhibition game vs. a team like Asbury or Clarion would be the same as if Kentucky played a mid-major school like Butler or Murray State (my examples, not his).
“The amount of energy expended by players in these games does not change one iota. So, the preparation that Kentucky’s players had to put in to play their exhibition games against teams they’re going to beat by – you know, they almost won that game by 100 points. That’s ridiculous. Years ago, Kentucky would have been playing the Soviet National Team or something like that, but we need to adapt to the times now and instead of bringing somebody in and giving them a waxing and sending them home like that, my sense is it would be better to play somebody that is relatively local that you could really do something for because, like I said, they went through the same scouting, they watched the same film, they took the same amount of time and preparation. There was no difference in playing that game and playing Arkansas as far as how much time was expended.”
“So, why not allow the schools to play a real game that they’re going to get something out of and that you could allow Kentucky or Duke or whatever teams we’re talking about to play some teams within their geographical area that they would not always get an opportunity to play. I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Bilas mentioned the various secret scrimmages that have taken place across the country at various schools, including the one recently played between Wake Forest and Maryland (Bilas’ son plays for Wake).
“They’re playing these scrimmages anyways, it’s not like travel is a problem,” Bilas said. “Let them play a real game”
He’s got a point.