Sunday, December 03, 2006

Can't Shake These Demons

I don't know what to say about KU falling to an unranked Depaul team, 64-57, after blowing a 14-point second-half lead. The one thing that does come to mind is that our teams under Self have not known how to handle success.

We get a huge win at Kentucky in '05 without Simien, then collapse down the stretch. We topple Texas in the Big 12 tourney last year, then lay an egg against Bradley. We get a preseason #1 ranking and an SI cover, then ORU comes to town. We dethrone the champs last week -- the program's biggest regular-season win in years -- and now ...

This would be another reason for Self to toughen up our schedule next year; we seem to play better against the good teams than the bad ones.


  1. I don't know if this is Self's fault.

    Maybe he's lacking some game-coaching magic, but his strategy led to a 14 point second half lead.

    People missed shots, started playing one on one. And DePaul got hot.

    But the team sure doesn't have any consistent offensive flow under Self, that I'll say.

  2. ... which is odd considering that we have the talent to score from every position this year. Unlike last season, Rush having a bad day should not be a deal-breaker for us.

    We ought to be up in the 80s every game. I wouldn't have thought it possible that we could hold DePaul to 64 points and still lose.

  3. But isn't that "started playing one on one" bit something that Self is being paid to address?

    One of the most troubling aspects for me was the way that Arthus (and to an extent even "the noodle") seemd shocked (shocked!) and confused when DePaul double-teamed. You can't get the high-low going when one of your post players is trapped in the corner by a double-team. Even Julian got stuck and called a timeout at one point.

    The players need to learn, it seems, that once they go on national television and defeat the #1 team in the country, opponents are going to adjust their defenses and focus on our "stars"/NBA prospects. . . .

    One last thing: f**k ESPN for making me watch that game at some lame, lonely sports bar.

  4. Ouch. Yeah, I found out when I went home last week that Mom and Dad dropped "the package" this year because, Dad said, fewer and fewer games were being picked up on it while more of them were being shown on ESPN stations.

    It sounds as if his decision may have been justified, if a game running on this new ESPNU network, which few if any basic cable operators have, won't even show up on the package. That's just BS.

    What they want is for you to be so frustrated that you'll call your cable company and demand ESPNU. I hate monopolies.

  5. Jayhawks pretty happy with ugly victory

    By Jason King

    McClatchy Newspapers


    LAWRENCE, Kan. - As they sat there, waiting in the locker room, the Kansas Jayhawks didn't know what to expect.

    They figured coach Bill Self would either blast them for their poor shooting performance in Monday's 72-62 victory over Southern California or get nitpicky about the mistakes that led to the Jayhawks' 17 turnovers.

    Coaches do those things when they're on edge, and Self has been that way all season. That's why the Jayhawks were surprised - actually, make that relieved - when the locker-room doors swung open.

    "He walked into the room with a big smile on his face," guard Brandon Rush said. "It was good to see him happy."

    Self has said all along that he wants the Jayhawks to win "ugly" games. Monday's clash with USC was certainly that. No. 12 Kansas won despite shooting just 38.1 percent while committing 17 turnovers.

    Rush and Mario Chalmers each scored 13 points in the victory, which came just two days after an embarrassing loss at DePaul on Saturday. The Jayhawks will take a 7-2 record into this weekend's game against Toledo. USC is now 5-2 .

    "We need to win ugly games," Self said. "You aren't always going to look pretty. We need to win games where we have to grind it out."

    KU led just 48-45 midway through the second half before embarking on a 6-0 run that seemed to squelch USC's momentum.

    Darnell Jackson started the march with a 16-footer before a scoop shot by Sherron Collins made it 52-45. Chalmers then capitalized on a USC turnover by swishing a floater in the lane that gave KU a 54-45 cushion and a momentum it would never relinquish.

    The Trojans would never get closer than five after that.

    "We tried to take it to them tonight before they ever got the chance to hit us," Chalmers said. "They still ended up making a run, but this time we kept our composure."

    That wasn't the case in Saturday's loss at DePaul, when the Jayhawks squandered a 14-point lead in the second half.

    The Jayhawks' defense, however, was too good Monday to allow a USC comeback. Kansas forced 25 Trojan turnovers and turned those miscues into 26 points.

    Kansas also outrebounded Tim Floyd's team 39-30, including a 20-8 edge on the offensive glass.

    "We played them well, but we have to play for 40 minutes," Floyd said. "Kansas is one of the best on-the-ball defensive teams that I have seen."

    Still, the Trojans managed to stay in the game thanks to the outside shooting of guard Lodrick Stewart_the twin brother of KU guard Rodrick Stewart. Lodrick scored a game high 23 points on nine-of-15 shooting. That included a five-of-eight performance from beyond the three-point arc.

    Rodrick Stewart played just 3 minutes, all in the first half.

    " We have great players, so I'm not disappointed that I didn't get to play," Rodrick said. "But tonight was a night when I really wanted to go out there and lock my brother up."

    One of the more disappointing aspects of Monday's game was a poor shooting performance by Rush, a preseason All-American. He made just three of 14 shots and is four for 21 in his last two games.

    Self said he isn't worried about Rush. In fact, he commended him for being more aggressive offensively and for playing lock-down defense on Nick Young, USC's leading scorer. Young scored eight points on three-of-13 shooting.

    "That was one of the best games (Rush) has played this year," Self said. "We all know Brandon Rush can shoot. I'll take my chances with him shooting the ball. Whenever he's open, he needs to shoot it."