Friday, March 31, 2006

Too much is never enough...

Think the tournament field is crowded enough? Apparently Jim Boeheim and other coaches are proposing expanding the field by another half dozen teams or so.

This isn't as crazy as it sounds. In our "Shot Across the Bow" thread (see below), the Matthew Yglesias article compared the tournament unfavorably to the NBA playoffs since so many more teams are invited. But 65 is a proportionally small number, amounting to less than a fifth of the 334 D-1 schools. Whereas in the NBA more than half the teams (16 out of 30) make the playoffs each year. And while the NCAAs take a total of three weekends, the NBA playoffs drag on for a full two months. Which system would you say is better?

Even if you added say, ten teams to the tournament, that would still amount to considerably less than a fourth of the D-1 field, and all you'd have to do is add another weekend on to what is a fairly short schedule as it is.

Boeheim and others point out that many deserving teams are left out in the current format. Consider, for instance, that George Mason was very much on the bubble, and their rival Hofstra, a team that many felt was more deserving, was not invited at all.

Having said all that, I still don't think they should invite more teams. Why mess with a good thing?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

M-M-M-my Sherron

16 minutes: 11 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds. That's all fine, but that dunk at the end of the game, that was beautiful, especially considering he's only 5'11. (The dunk looked a lot like the one in the photo, which is actually from earlier in the week.) I'm working on tracking down some video, but in the meantime you're welcome to read the story.

P.S., here's the video, courtesy of 6 News Lawrence:


I caught only bits and pieces of last night's McDonald's game. I barely saw Darrell Arthur play at all, but Sherron Collins did get a lot of PT.

Collins is certainly diminutive, and maybe not as speedy as I was hoping. He got his shot sent back decisively by the giant Greg Oden, but so did a lot of players. Collins' height deficiency is somewhat mitigated by his power; he looks as strong as an ox out there. Not only that, but he has hops. He participated in (though did not win) the McDonald's Slam Dunk event, and punctuated the game by tossing the ball off the glass to himself and stuffing it one-handed. (Why do I think this kid's going to be Yancy's favorite player?)

The best player of the night other than Oden, however, was Kevin Durant, future Longhorn. Scottie Reynolds, whom Sampson has abandoned at OU, showed some signs as well. And one player, I can't remember which, is headed to Baylor, of all places. So ... maybe we can conclude that the death of the Big 12 has been greatly exaggerated.

Highlights of the game, including the Dunk, can be seen here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

North ... to Freedom!

Just as Chris speculated in an earlier thread on this blog, it appears Kelvin Sampson is done at OU.

It's coming over the wires that Sampson will be leaving Oklahoma to replace Mike Davis at Indiana. He was reportedly their third choice, after John Calipari and Mark Few.

Sampson is somewhat damaged goods, after minor recruiting scandals at OU (which will now conveniently become his successor's problem). He has more head coaching experience than Davis, but I'm not convinced he's much of an improvement.

The Big 12 is going to look a lot different next year, with at least four new coaches. Plus, Patton and Collier are on thin ice and Eddie Sutton's health is a question mark.

But where do the Sooners go from here? I have a suggestion: why not Mike Davis?

Sunday, March 26, 2006


from cnnsi:

Extending the most improbable run in Big Dance history, 11th-seeded George Mason upset the Huskies 86-84 in overtime to win a trip to the Final Four.

I was so upset on Friday when the Washington Huskies were unable to close the deal, even though they played the better game - getting to what seemed like every loose ball, creating a season high # of turnovers for UCONN.

I figured George Mason would have little chance against UCONN. The Huskies would have been giant just woken up from a nap and would go for the jugular. After their scare against Washington, they would face a very low seeded team from the Colonial conference to get in to the final four.

But GMU just became the first 11 seed to make it to the Final Four since LSU in 1986.

With Kansas long gone, I can't think of a better way for the villainous UCONN Huskies to get bounced.

Who would have thought that the final four would exclude both Duke and UCONN?

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Case Against Huggy Bear

This was written right before Huggins was hired by KSU:

Not in their best interests

Major programs should be leery of hiring Huggins

Posted: Wednesday March 22, 2006 1:31PM; Updated: Wednesday March 22, 2006 7:34PM

While most of the college basketball world is focused on the NCAA tournament, it seems a different sort of March Madness has taken hold of certain fans in Big 12 country. Call it Bob Huggins Fever.

According to reports, prominent Missouri boosters have been lobbying AD Mike Alden to hire the ex-Cincinnati coach to replace the departed Quin Snyder. Similar sentiments are being voiced by backers of Kansas State, who even set up a Web site,, which includes a doctored photo of Huggins roaming the sideline in a K-State pullover.

Saner heads are apparently prevailing at Missouri. According to Wednesday's Kansas City Star, Alden has declined to interview Huggins, much to the chagrin of former Tigers standout and search-committee member Jon Sundvold. When Sundvold, who is leading the charge to hire Huggins, voiced his displeasure to university chancellor Brady Deaton, he reportedly told Sundvold he "wasn't comfortable" with Huggins.

Here's hoping other major programs with coaching openings will follow Missouri's lead.

In the current climate of college sports, with the NCAA putting greater emphasis than ever on academic reform and ethical behavior, any athletic director or university president who signs off on Huggins might as well hold up a huge poster that says, "We don't care about anything but winning."

Cincinnati operated under that mantra for 16 years before new president Nancy Zimpher finally stepped in and instilled some much-needed priorities (though her handling of the situation left a whole lot to be desired). To this day, Huggins remains universally revered in the Queen City for returning its flagship program to national prominence. That its place in the limelight had as much to do with player arrests and poor graduation rates as it did conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances never seemed to faze most Cincinnatians -- and apparently, that extends to victory-starved fans lobbying to hire Huggins as well.

You can't blame fans for their misplaced enthusiasm. They're fans. They want to win. They know Huggins will do that. University administrators, however, are theoretically bound to act in the best interest of their school, whether or not that jives with fans' wishes. Suffice to say, hiring Huggins would not be in a school's best interests.

In interviews following his ouster last fall, the ever-defiant Huggins insisted he was done in by negative "perceptions" about his program. Don't kid yourself, Bob. You were done in by reality.

Reality No. 1: Huggins' success was due in part to his willingness to recruit thugs. While nearly every team in the country has had players run afoul of the law, none could hold a candle to Huggins' Bearcats when it came to appearances in the police blotter. A timeline compiled by the Cincinnati Enquirer following Huggins' dismissal last August listed 19 former players or recruits who had been charged with a crime. Five wound up serving jail time. Center Art Long pleaded guilty to choking his girlfriend. Former player Dontonio Wingfield was arrested for assaulting two police officers during a domestic dispute. He was sentenced to a year in jail. Donald Little was accused of kidnapping, beating and burning his roommate. The charges were dismissed after he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. The list goes on and on.

Reality No. 2: Cincinnati graduated players at a disturbingly low rate under Huggins. According to a letter faxed to Huggins' attorney last August by a university lawyer, 27 players graduated during Huggins' 16 years, or an average 1.7 per year. A typical recruiting class includes four to five players. Huggins' standard defense was to criticize the flawed nature of the traditional graduation rate used by the federal government, which doesn't take into account entering or departing transfers who graduate. A funny thing happened, however, when the NCAA unveiled its new, more realistic Graduation Success Rate last fall: Cincinnati's score for players who entered the program from 1995-98 actually went down, from 40 percent to 31 percent.

Reality No. 3: Huggins is not exactly a role model himself. His hard-drinking ways were well known around the sport long before his June 2004 DUI arrest. In fact, the same officers who arrested him that night had stopped him for weaving and drove him home in April 2003. A month before that, ESPN the Magazine reported that Huggins got into multiple confrontations with patrons in and outside a Salt Lake City bar after his team's NCAA tournament loss to Gonzaga earlier that day. All three incidents, mind you, came after Huggins' 2002 heart attack, which he claimed at the time had motivated him to change his lifestyle.

Whichever victory-starved school decides to hire Huggins will quickly find that change is not a priority for the coach, because, quite frankly, he doesn't feel he's done anything wrong (besides the DUI). Potential employers can be reasonably certain of these two things: Their team will begin reaching the NCAA tournament annually, and the embarrassing headlines will follow shortly thereafter.

Missouri and K-State fans both should look to their Big 12 rival, Iowa State, for a model of how to begin righting one's ship. When it was revealed recently that Cyclones coach Wayne Morgan was paying a shady third-party company with ties to prominent junior college recruits to schedule certain nonconference opponents, AD Jamie Pollard not only booted Morgan but also replaced him with Northern Iowa's Greg McDermott, a pristine character who may not be as big a name as Huggins but has certainly demonstrated his abilities by leading the long-dormant Panthers to three straight NCAA berths. And as last weekend's NCAA tourney action showed, there is no shortage of other quality coaches -- Wichita State's Mark Turgeon, Southern Illinois' Chris Lowery, Creighton's Dana Altman and Montana's Larry Krystkowiak among them -- currently prowling the mid-major level.

Does this mean Huggins should be exiled from coaching altogether? Of course not. He's certainly entitled to a second chance. But much like Larry Eustachy, whose alcohol-related ouster at Iowa State has left him rebuilding his reputation at Southern Miss, or football's George O'Leary (Central Florida), who took several steps down the ladder following his own scandal, Huggins' second chance should not come at the sport's highest level. To hand Huggins the keys to a Big 12-caliber program just to make a "big splash" is tantamount to endorsing and encouraging his renegade behavior.

Ask Georgia (Jim Harrick), Fresno State (Jerry Tarkanian) or St. Bonaventure (Jan Van Breda Kolff) how their "big splashes" turned out.


Great White Hopes Dashed

It's useful to remember that after all the hype, they're still just kids.

The only time of year when I don't hate Duke is when they've just been eliminated. I felt bad for Redick; he's more or less choked in every tournament loss over his four years, starting with the regional semis his freshman year when Hinrich shut him down. In fairness, he hasn't had enough talent around him (Shelden Williams is good but not dominant); if Luol Deng had stayed they may have won it all last year or this year.

Redick, after last night's game: "I'm not a great athlete and LSU has great athletes."

Duke is starting to parallel the Yankees in this decade: a juggernaut every year but no title since 2001.

I also feel some sympathy for the 'Zags. They caught some really bad breaks in the last minute: a phantom foul that allowed UCLA to come within one, then a no-call on the steal, in a situation where the refs almost always blow the whistle.

Congratulations to Scott's Tigers, who finally derailed the Bradley train. The game wasn't close, but as this picture indicates, it was smokin' nonetheless.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Coaching Carousel

Former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins, 52, has accepted an offer to become Kansas State coach, the Wichita Eagle reported Wednesday night, quoting an unnamed source, who confirmed the hiring.

"He accepted tonight," the source said. "It's a great situation for Kansas State."-chicago tribune

So Huggy Bear is in Manhattan. That should ratchet things up in the Big 12. I've also heard rumors that Steve Alford is interested in Missouri, but that Missouri's top choices are Tubby Smith and Kelvin Sampson.

Also Indiana is interested in Billy Gillespie.

What do you guys think are good fits or bad fits?

Personally, Huggins seems more like a Tiger than a Wildcat.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Shot Across The Bow

Matthew Yglesias writes some great pieces for the American Prospect. This isn't one of them.

He takes aim at college basketball - calls it a mediocrity and our love of it anti elitist.


A Sore Sport
College hoops is nothing more than a celebration of mediocrity.

By Matthew Yglesias
Web Exclusive: 03.21.06

If April is the cruelest month then March is the most frustrating. My favorite sport -- basketball -- is still in full swing but, at the same time, mercilessly pushed out of public view in favor of the NCAA Tournament. College ball is, simply put, basketball played badly, and America's obsession with that game's absurd method of determining a national champion is the true madness.

Even if you're not a basketball fan, you probably see some of the tournament games. Thanks to the ubiquitous office pools, the tournament is broadcast constantly -- everywhere -- for a few mercifully brief months. And if you're not a fan, you probably don't appreciate exactly what it is you're seeing. In all college sports, the athletes are, naturally, not up to the standard of their professional peers. They're younger, inexperienced, and physically under-developed. Basketball, however, differs from football in the crucial respect that the most promising professional talents almost never play a full four or even three seasons at the amateur level. Indeed, until the NBA changed its rules last off-season, it was by no means uncommon for the very best players to turn pro straight out of high school. Thus, many of America's brightest basketball stars, including at least three of the top five players in the world -- Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett -- never graced the floors of college competition at all. Other top talents -- Dwyane Wade, Gilbert Arenas, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony -- graduate early. And yet another set of superstars -- Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Yao Ming, Manu Ginobili -- don’t play college ball because they're foreigners and cut their teeth in the pro leagues of Europe, Asia, or even Latin America.

This has two consequences for the college game. One is simply to deprive it of talent. College football isn't up to the NFL level, but the Bowl Championship Series really does offer the best 18- to 22-year-old players in the world. The best college-age basketball players don't play college basketball -- they're in the NBA. The other, more insidious problem is that in college, as in elsewhere, experience matters. Seniors have an advantage over sophomores -- they've had more time to learn the game, their teammates, and the coach's system. As a result, the savviest college hoops programs don't actually want to recruit the very best young players available. A top talent will come to your school, play for a year or two to show off his stuff, and then move on to bigger and better things. You're looking for a player who, while skilled, has sufficient deficiencies as a player -- typically a lack of height or speed -- to compel him to stick around as an amateur.

Topping that off, this thin pool of talent is stretched even thinner by the relative cheapness of running a Division I basketball team. The NCAA Tournament, allegedly a competition between the very best teams, features an insane 64 squads. The NBA, drawing on a much larger pool of talent that includes a wide range of ages and players from all around the world, has less than half as many and could probably stand to drop a franchise or two.

Consequently, the college game bears only a faint resemblance to the real thing. The dominant big men who can transform a pro game are entirely absent. Strength, speed, quickness, and athleticism are radically diminished, and the quality of the defense is consequently laughable. Yet, despite the poor defense, virtually nobody in the college game has what it takes to penetrate into the lane and make a strong move to the hoop. So the rules need to be altered -- a 35-second shot clock instead of the proper 24 and a short three-point line -- to give the offense some hope. Consequently, players dribble in circles and pass, pass, pass around the horn endlessly, taking advantage of defenders who lack the quickness to snatch the ball. Eventually, someone will wind up open and fire off a shot -- which more often than not they miss anyway. At the pro level, this is called "settling for jump shots" and it's distinctly frowned upon. You take jumpers as a last resort, when you can't make it into the paint, or else you do it as a threat -- and you'd better nail them -- forcing teams to defend you on the perimeter in order to open up the inside game.

To watch the world's best basketball teams -- the Miami Heat, the Phoenix Suns, the San Antonio Spurs, the Detroit Pistons, the Dallas Mavericks -- is to distinctly put oneself in the presence of greatness. The feats on display are not quite super-human -- Shaquille O'Neal and Shawn Marion and Tim Duncan are still members of our species at the end of the day -- but they certainly appear to be. That one could run the floor like Steve Nash or charge the paint like Allan Iverson or crash the boards like Ben Wallace seems absurd. These men are not just better than you or I, they're way better, qualitatively different, exhibiting physical skills that neither you nor anyone you know nor anyone you'll ever meet can even hope to approach. The sheer speed and ferocity of the games is astounding -- even mentally you'd be overwhelmed, lost, driven to tears or insanity amidst the flying bodies, flailing limbs, and zipping ball. Key moves in the game -- the dunk, the alley-oop, the tip -- are just things you could never accomplish, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how long you practice, no matter how weak the competition.

There's something reassuring about the college game. The players are, obviously, better at basketball than any mere fan could dream to be. But unlike basketball on its highest levels -- or even at the intermediate levels of the Euroleague, the CBA, or the Olympics -- it bears a superficial resemblance to what you might do at the YMCA or have done on the JV team in ninth grade.

It's reassuring, yes, but to take refuge in such reassurance -- to thus celebrate mediocrity -- is ultimately somewhat abhorrent. It's of a piece with the same blinkered anti-elitism that led not only millions of voters but a shockingly large suite of pundits who should have known better to conclude that it didn't matter that George W. Bush wasn't up to the job of running the United States of America. It's the athletic equivalent of the blinkered anti-intellectualism no respectable person would endorse in other walks of life.

The very structure of the tournament reinforced the mediocrity inherent in the sport. A six-round single-elimination tournament is crazy. Even a truly dominant team -- one that wins 80 percent of the time it plays -- will lose such a tournament three times out of four. The defense is that this makes the tournament better for gambling purposes. And, indeed, it does -- if what you're interested in is a structure that rewards mediocre gambling. The high level of randomness ensures that even a bettor with a sophisticated knowledge of the game has only a small advantage over someone equipped simply with the fact that a one seed is better than an eleven seed.

Skill and knowledge will get you almost nowhere, so the whole office can pitch in and a good time can be had by all. But this is merely the same problem all over again -- a weak-minded desire to construct a competition that fails to reward excellence.

If your alma mater is in the mix, or if you, like most everyone, has some money riding on the outcome, then by all means watch and root. But know that you're watching a kind of farce, a competition between players who can't quite hack it designed to ensure that being the best team is no guarantee of victory. Or, you can wait 'til April and May and check out the NBA playoffs if you want to see the game played properly.

Matthew Yglesias is a Prospect staff writer.

I fired a quick missive in the comments section here - - about a quarter of the way down.

Feel free to pipe in.

Monday, March 20, 2006

On to the Sweet 16!

Wow! Who knew, when we started this blog just under a month ago, that the Shockers would come this far, knocking off major conference titans Seton Hall and Tennessee ... with extreme prejudice!

For those of us who were already on the bandwagon, I have to say, it feels like a validation of what we've been saying all along. The rest of the so-called "experts" may have counted out Paul Miller, Sean Ogirri, and P.J. Couisnard, but we never lost faith.

Coach Mark Turgeon is the only current Shocker to have been to the Sweet 16 before, in 1986 as a member of some major-conference school whose name escapes us at the moment.

Not since the days of Xavier McDaniel and Antoine "Big Dog" Carr have the Shockers made noise at the Big Dance. As the song goes, "What a long, strange trip it's been!"

Friday, March 17, 2006

fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Demons get it done

My favorite upset of the day. Northwestern St. over Iowa 64-63 on Jermaine Wallace's falling out of bounds 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds to go. Looked just like Chris Lofton's shot to send Tennessee to the 2nd round over Winthrop. Those guys were celebrating, though, and iowa almost hit the winning shot at the other end.

Deja Vu

As we speak, I'm having uncomfortable flashbacks to last year. Just about five minutes ago, a dramatic last-second shot resulted in the tourney's biggest upset so far--Northwestern St. over Iowa--yes, a 14 beats a 3. Only minutes later, Bucknell finished off Arkansas in another great game.

My own record so far? Not good. Not good at all. But remember: it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

One more time for the Aggies!

On a day full of upsets, this one is my personal favorite. As much as I may have enjoyed (all apologies to Deron) cheering Syracuse on in the Big East tournament, I am a huge fan of A&M's game. As of tonight, Big 12: 1-1, Big East: 0-3.

Under-Dog Day Afternoon

This afternoon, by my count, the lower seed has won in four of seven games, but not any of the ones I picked. I'm now two of seven.

It was not a good afternoon for the dreaded Big East, with Marquette and Seton Hall going down (hard). I picked those two to win on the theory that, when in doubt, go with the Big East. Oh, the humanity...

The Wichita St. win is a huge coup for the Mid-Majors, and the MVC, of which Bradley is a member. I hope that doesn't portend trouble for us tomorrow...

2 games, I upset

Milwaukee Wisconsin provides the first upset.

Is Kelvin Sampson done? I don't mean fired, but they just reported a slew of violations, his program seems to have plateaued, and he's reportedly interested in the Arizona State and Missouri jobs.

Go Pacific! This would be a big coup for Deron.

So far, I'm 2 and 0. I picked BC, but have them losing to Nevada. So I'd just as soon see Pacific win.

From the Other Side

Just to show I'm a good sport, both about sports and about the mocking of revered figures, I offer to you this piece from the Peoria Journal Star (Peoria, IL being where Bradley is located):

Are the Jayhawks molting?
Phil Luciano

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What the heck is a Jayhawk?
I investigated this silly nickname in my quest to present here a comprehensive analysis of Bradley's upcoming game against the University of Kansas.

Mind you, I won't trifle with breakdowns of athletes or game strategy. That's not necessary, as Bradley will surely win.

How do I know this? Bradley always beats Kansas.

Granted, they've played only once, way back in 1950. But that game was also in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Bradley not only won but went on to the championship.

That's what you call a half-century's worth of momentum. BU's on a roll, baby!

With that all settled, let's get back to this Jayhawk nonsense.

The term arose from settlers from Illinois (ironical, ain't it?). Its origin isn't clear, but "jayhawk" came to refer to ruffians with the habit of robbing, looting, and general lawlessness.

Charming, eh? The perfect team logo would feature a whiskey-sodden cattle-rustler swinging from a noose. Then again, such imagery might not engender much in the way of alumni donations.

Instead, the school mascot is a goofy-grinned, color-streaked bird - one that could star in an animated movie, "Heckle and Jeckle Visit Brokeback Mountain."

The school's Web page says the jayhawk is a fearsome combo of two birds: "The blue jay, a noisy, quarrelsome thing known to rob other nests, and the sparrow hawk, a stealthy hunter. The message here: Don't turn your back on this bird."

Scared to death, I checked out these species a little further. The blue jay, indeed, is known for attacking other birds' nests - to nibble eggs. Possible slogan: "Look out for us Jayhawks - we suck eggs!"

Then again, a Cornell University study showed that just 1 percent of blue jays eat eggs. Instead, they eat bugs. Wow. They can outmuscle a cricket.

As for sparrow hawks, they live in less than majestic perches: the tops of telephone poles. As for being "stealthy hunters," they boast the uncanny ability to outwit and snatch the likes of worms. As birds of prey, they're bug-eaters.

If you watch the game Friday, you'll hear the Jayhawk fight song, known as the Rock Chalk chant. I won't bore you with the history of this droning babble, which essentially pays homage to the most exciting thing on campus: a big chunk of limestone (hey, it's Kansas).

The school calls the tune "world famous," but I don't get it. The song sounds like monks either chanting in prayer or moaning from torture. If I had a hound dog that wailed so miserably, I'd shoot it.

Still, KU alumni are rabid about the school, especially its environs of Lawrence, Kan. I took a peek at Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, to get a glimpse at the town's heritage.

Apparently, Lawrence's most famous son is Hugh Beaumont, aka Ward Cleaver from "Leave It to Beaver." Impressive, eh?

How much did Hugh Beaumont love Lawrence? As soon as he got out of high school, he blew right out of town and went to a far more cosmopolitan hamlet: Chattanooga, Tenn.

He couldn't be persuaded to go to KU, even with its mystique of the Jayhawk. That's what happens when your school mascot is an egg-sucking bug-eater that sings like a dying monk.

That's pathetic. In a fight with Bradley's mascot, the Jayhawk would get creamed.

(Note to KU: Bradley has no mascot. That's the point).

Thanks to for bringing this to my attention. For more fun, you can read Mr Luciano making fun of those KU fans unable to take a joke: click here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

First-Night Jitters

I don't want to do a full-on bracketology here, but I'm interested in your thoughts on the first round--KU in particular but not exclusively.

There are so many great matchups Thursday and Friday, I wish I had accumulated more personal days. Fashionable upset picks seem to be Wisc-Milw over OU, A&M over an exhausted Syracuse (I would LOVE this), and N. Iowa over Georgetown. But the fact is, once one of these picks becomes fashionable, then the favored team begins to think like an underdog, and they tend to play with much more fire since they aren't getting "respect."

The REAL upsets will come where the pundits don't necessarily expect it. I'm looking at Pacific, which gave us a run for our money two years ago and has a lot of tourney experience now, over Boston College, which has suddenly become the pundits' darling after LOSING to Duke. And remember the lessons of history--at least two 5s will fall against those pesky 12s. I'm hoping those two are the 'cuse and Pitt.

As for KU, I'm not hearing anything about Bradley that scares me. What does scare me is the inevitable dropoff after this weekend's triumph. We're going to have to settle down and get over ourselves a bit if we want to win this one convincingly.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Week in Pictures

The bracketologizing has begun (see below posts), but before going too far down that road I wanted to savor the images of last weekend one more time:

Photos are from the LJW, KC Star, Wichita Eagle, Topeka Capital-Journal, and Fox Sorry for the clumsy layout.

Collision Course

Well, F***. I really didn't want KU to be in the same bracket as Memphis. I think both teams have Final 4 potential, but now both cannot make it. Here's my take for the record.

I'm pretty confident that Memphis will be able to roll the Bucknell/Arkansas winner (I'm taking the Bison), but I'm not as confident that KU can beat that Pitt team. They'll clog up the middle, so we'll have to be hitting from outside.

If my two teams do play, IMO KU would win 6/10 games.

The teams are almost mirror images of each other with their near-total lack of experience, their ridiculous talent level, and their overall team depth. Both teams are long and quick and play excellent FG % defense.

KU's guards generate tremendous pressure on D, but they aren't any faster than the guards at UAB that Memphis has played 2x recently. If Joey Dorsey for Memphis stays out of foul trouble (which he rarely does), then KU will have to keep rotating Giles/Kaun/Jackson to try to wear him down (Dorsey is 6'9" 260+, a total beast). I think Rush and Carney neutralize each other a bit (edge to Carney). But Robinson and Chalmers have the edge on Memphis's backcourt of Washington/Anderson (among others).

The real difference to me will be who has the better game between Julian Wright and Shawne Williams. Both are 6'9", quick. Wright is better on D (although Williams blocks shots too). Wright is the better passer. But if S. Williams is hitting his threes (where no one on KU could really guard him), then that puts the Tigers on top. Similarly if Wright is able ot pass at will from the high post and get Memphis's bigs in foul trouble, then KU wins.

There would be highlights of ridiculous dunks/blocked shots all over the place.


As we wait for Scott to recover from his cold enough to go online again, I thought I'd take this opportunity to put up this video of some Julian Wright highlights from yesterday. Damn I like that kid.

Of course, thanks to for the footage . . .

Saturday, March 11, 2006

KU vs Texas, part 2; seeds?

Anyone else have internet access at home?
If so, any interest in calling this KU/UT game?

Think I'll go back to my 83-68 score: we've gotten Texas' best shot, and we can play tomorrow with nothing to lose. Plus, Rush has shown signs of coming out of his slump lately (what's more, it looks like the tournament's using Wilson balls--it's on, baby).

while I'm at it, any seed predictions?


Friday, March 10, 2006

Would You Fire This Man?

KSU fires Wooldridge immediately after yesterday's loss to CU. Is this fair? Could anyone do a better job than Wooldridge has with this moribund program?

Despite no tournament appearances, it seems to me they've been more competitive under him than anyone else I can think of, going back to Lon Kruger...

Speaking of which, Kruger himself may return to the Big 12, after stints at Florida, Illinois, the NBA, and currently UNLV. His name is being floated for the Mizzou job. He would be a formidable challenger for us in the conference--a great recruiter who wins pretty much wherever he goes.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

O vs I? and BA's in bball?

Just curious if anyone's got a feeling on tonight's ISU/OSU game--who seems like the winner? And does KU prefer one over the other?
Anyone listen to NPR? I heard a funny commentary by Frank Deford, on that "student" word in the phrase "student athlete"--maybe a major in football's in the cards? If you'd like to listen, please enjoy (and please enjoy the fact that you're enjoying a "podcast"--I suspect that for Deron at least this is a first . . .).

my ISU/OSU feeling?
we'd be better off playing OSU (can we really expect to beat ISU 3 times this year?), but I expect that we'll face the Cyclones: ISU 63, OSU 59

UCONN goes down

We have to wait until tomorrow for more Jayhawk action, but Syracuse has provided some March excitement in the meantime.

I just got back to my desk after watching Syracuse play their way into the NCAA tournament by knocking out the #1 team in the country in the second round of the Big East tournament. This is the same Syracuse that lost by 40 to a 12-15 Depaul team only last week.

Yesterday the Orangemen, playing for a tournament bid, beat Cincy on a miracle three pointer by Gerry McNamara.

Today, McNamara hit a long three to take UCONN to overtime. And in overtime, the Orangemen prevailed.

Yesterday, McNamara had 17 points and 9 assists. Today, McNamara had 17 points and career high 13 assists.

For some reason, UCONN is my nemesis team this year. I would even root for Duke to beat UCONN should they meet.

So I'm happy to see a bubble team get in at the expense of Calhoun's Huskies. Calhouns' Huskies. They even sound dirty.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Great Stone-Face

Not to pick scabs or anything, but Roy is neck and neck with Self in the race for coach of the year, and may have surpassed him with Saturday's epic Senior Night defeat of Redick et al.

Interesting parallels between the once and current KU coaches this year: they're both being given more credit than they were given last season despite lesser records, because they've lost all their top contributors and are making do with talented freshman such as Brandon Rush and Buster Keat--, er, Tyler Hansborough (pictured).

A number of questions arise. Who has done the better job this season--Roy, Bill, or is it a wash? Which team is more dangerous come tournament time? And, I would add, does either really deserve coach of the year when they're working with such extraordinarily talented players, freshmen or no?

Natalie Raps

I posted a link to this on yancy's site, but if anybody missed it, I wanted to embed it here. I know it's not the Jayhawks, but I thought it was funny anyway. Hopefully NBC lawyers aren't Jayhawk fans and won't come after me.

Bad Keegan Quote of the Day: Oscar Edition

"Given all the buzz surrounding 'Brokeback Mountain' at last night’s Hollywood ego party, and the fact it didn’t win best picture, look for a sequel to win the Oscar that “Raging Bull” didn’t win in 1980."

"Now comes the tricky part: what to name the sequel to the gay cowboy love story."


"Got it: 'Lonesome Doug.'"

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Brammlage streak continues.

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Brandon Rush tied a career high with 24 points, and No. 18 Kansas beat Kansas State 66-52 on Saturday to clinch at least a share of the Big 12 championship.
Kansas (22-7, 13-3 Big 12), which had been projected to be in a rebuilding mode this year, can win its sixth conference title outright if No. 6 Texas loses its regular-season finale to No. 19 Oklahoma on Sunday.

Mario Chalmers added 14 points and Russell Robinson added 11 for the Jayhawks, who extended their winning streak in Manhattan to 23 games and are 18-0 in Bramlage Coliseum since it opened in 1989.

The Wildcats (15-12, 6-10) made it close in the second half but failed to get their first season sweep of Kansas since 1983.

Rush, a freshman guard, took only eight shots and was held to 12 points when Kansas State won 59-55 on Jan. 14 in Lawrence, breaking a 31-game losing streak to the Jayhawks. This time, he was 9-for-18 from the field, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range.

The Jayhawks went 6-for-9 from outside the arc in the first half, taking a 15-point lead at the break, before Kansas State started its comeback.

The Wildcats opened the second half with an 8-0 run to get within 39-32. They twice cut the margin to three points, the last time on Cartier Martin's 3-pointer with just under 11 minutes left to get within 49-46.


My eerily detailed thoughts about the Missouri Valley's RPI

You've just got to be really clever about scheduling your pansies. Make sure that you schedule the 1st or 2nd place finisher out of the Southland conference or the Big Sky instead of #7 or 8.Ok, so generally, (leaving out the home-road distinction for the sake of simplicity) RPI= 1. Your win pct (25%), 2. Your opponents' win pct (50%), and 3. your opponents' opponents' win pct (25%).

Here's Mizzou St.'s nonconference opponents for example
N. Illinois RPI 126---(15-10; 1st in Mid-American Conf.-West)
Ark. St (twice) RPI 224--(10-18; 3rd Sun Belt West)
Ga. Southern RPI 161--(18-9; 1st in Southern Conf.-South)
T A&M C-C--RPI 202--(16-8; Independent)
Oral Roberts--RPI 131--(17-11; Mid Con Conf.T-1st)
Detroit--RPI 180--(14-16; T 3rd Horizon Lg)Arkansas (L) RPI 50--(20-8; 3rd, SEC West)Wisc-Milwaukee--RPI 58 (18-8; 1st Horizon Lg)___________________________________

For a nonconference RPI of #6 in the country. Yet that's all the teams they played. It's based purely on record. They went (8-1) against this schedule, so that's 25%. and then if you add up the records, then that's (128-88) a 60% win pct., which is 50% of the RPI formula.

Let's compare that to a team that did a poor job scheduling their "pansies".

How about Kansas (RPI 41)?
Idaho St. RPI 201--(11-14; T-last in Big Sky)
Arizona (L) RPI 18--(18-10; 4th in PAC-10)
Arkansas (L) RPI 50--(20-8; 3rd, SEC West)
Nevada (L) RPI 27--(22-5; 1st WAC)
W. Illinois RPI 321--(5-20; 8th Mid-Con Conf.)
St. Joseph's (L)RPI 46--(14-12; 5th Atlantic-10)
California RPI 61--(17-9; 3rd Pac-10)
Pepperdine RPI 242 (7-20; last West Coast Conf.)
N. Colorado RPI 327 (3-24; Independent)
N. Orleans RPI 254 (8-18; 5th, Sun Belt West)
Yale RPI 190 (15-13; T-3rd Ivy League)
Kentucky RPI 31 (19-10; T-2nd SEC East)

For a nonconference RPI of #138 in the country. They went 8-4 against this slate for the first 25%. Then adding up thier records, you get (159-163) a 49.3% win pct. for the second 50%. Scheduling a team like N. Colorado (3-24) in this regard kills this stat. If they had just replaced them with Hofstra (22-5) for example, they would be at (178-144) and probably at least be in the top 100 in nonconference RPI. Additionally, for the RPI, scheduling a team like Kentucky at 19-10 gets you the nearly same benefit in the first 2 categories as Tx A& M Corpus Christi, and as long as that team didn't schedule too poorly, then the 3rd category shouldn't hurt you too badly. Not to mention you don't take the risk of losing and hurting the first category (which offsets the 3rd a bit)

So, from what I can tell, If you do a good job of scheduling the right pansies, you can make out like a bandit.

The main thing is don't schedule the big time losers like N. Colo, W. Illinois, and Pepperdine (that one was tough to predict).

Friday, March 03, 2006

Go Ahead--Bite the Little Apple! (Don't Mind the Maggots).

Time to hear your thoughts on tomorrow's game in Manhattan. Will we taste sweet revenge, or will the Bramlage streak come to an end?

Also, what's at stake here? What, if any, will be the seeding consequences if we lose?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bad Tom Keegan Quote of the Day

"It would be tacky to say anything negative about players on Senior Night, so it would be called for to slip into the mode of the kind friend who talks all about her friend’s wonderful personality and forgets to mention her mustache when talking her up for a blind date. Not necessary here." LJWorld, 3/2.

I don't want this to be one of those blogs where all we do is deride the work of others, but this vein of unintentional humor is too good to resist. (For those who don't know, Keegan is the new sports editor of the LJW, who is quite knowledgeable about sports but won't be winning any Pulitzers for his writing).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Thanks Max! and Go Aggies!

Good results all around.
& did you see Max's jersey?


The full video of the tribute to Max is available here. Every single game in Allen Fieldhouse--damn.

& 75-54's not a bad score, either.

& how about A&M?
Hell yeah!
I'd put up a video or some pics, but I just wanted to get this up asap. You & me, Ismail--we saw this coming; though it was even more fun than I expected.

Senior Night: Colorado @ KU

Goodbye to Hawkins, Moody, Vinson, and Max Falkenstein.

Any predicitons? (about the game or the night)