mike wilbon, skip bayless, vanderbilt


The NCAA Tournament is a wonderful time for friendly trash talk with your colleagues. It’s also a great occasion for not-quite-as-friendly trash talk with your competitors.

On Thursday afternoon, ESPN personality and Northwestern alum Michael Wilbon spoke at a rally for Wildcats fans ahead of his alma mater’s NCAA Tournament game against Vanderbilt (4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday).

And in the midst of riling up his Northwestern brethren, Wilbon took some shots at Vanderbilt alum and FS1 host Skip Bayless, who proudly picked the Commodores to “drop anchor on Northwestern’s fairy tale.”

“I was just thinking about the feel-good coming up here and how I’m going to transition to being angry enough for a game and being in that arena. And then [Northwestern athletic director] Jim Phillips told me about some garbage Skip Bayless said.”

At this point the crowd booed lustily and Wilbon made a thumbs-down sign.

“Skip Bayless, I’ll tell you this, one of his first columns when he got to the Chicago Tribune—”

Here, Wilbon turned to fellow ESPNer Mike Greenberg and said “I shouldn’t do this,” before wheeling back around and doing it, as Greenberg egged him on.

“When he took the column after I turned it down, he wrote about how overrated Michael Jordan is. That was his first column in Chicago. So we know about Skip’s lack of perspective. Skip being a Vanderbilt alum. So we need to take care of Vanderbilt if for no other reason that to shut Skip up.”

It’s hard to tell here just how much this is affectionate teasing and how much it’s genuine disrespect. That line can get blurry during the month of March.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.