ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas says Kansas once against Big 12 favorite

Bilas calls OSU guard Marcus Smart the most complete player in the country at both ends of the floor
by Mel Bracht Published: November 4, 2013

ESPN's college basketball coverage, which will include more than 1,500 games, will begin Friday, highlighted by the Armed Forces Classic between Georgetown and Oregon at 7 p.m. from Pyeongtaek, South Korea. Analyst Jay Bilas, who will call the game, conducted a conference call Monday. Here are a few excerpts:

How would you size up the Big 12 race?

“Kansas has to be considered the best team again. You win nine in a row, that's some pretty strong evidence you're going to have a chance to win it again. Bill Self has an NBA-size front line and really talented. His freshman class is within shouting distance of Kentucky's for talent, not quite as deep in talent but overall really, really terrific. Andrew Wiggins (6-foot-8 guard), I think everybody has heard, is the top prospect. I'm not sure he is ready to be the top player, but you give him a little bit of time and he is just going to continue to get better and better. I was really impressed with Wayne Selden (6-5 guard) when I was there. He's probably their hardest worker. And Joel Embiid (7-foot center), he's a No. 1 overall pick caliber talent. You just don't see guys with that size, agility, feet, hands and touch. I like their team a lot.

“Oklahoma State is very good. They don't have the front line that Kansas has. I think that's the difference. Markel Brown (6-3 wing) is one of the most underrated players in the country, and Marcus Smart (6-4 guard) is probably the most complete player at both ends of the floor. But having to go up against the front line of Kansas is going to be the real challenge, having to keep them off the glass, keep them out of the paint and defend them in the post is going to be really, really difficult.”

What's you impression of the Sooners?

“I like Oklahoma. They have really good guards. Keep everybody healthy, I think they are going to continue to get better. They are taking another step forward, but you have to have a complete crew to knock Kansas out of the top spot.”

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by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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