Monday, December 31, 2007

After 40 Years In The Wilderness...

Richard Nixon was president-elect the last time the Jayhawks played in the Orange Bowl. Now, finally, after four decades, 12 games and worst of all, a month-long layoff since our loss to Mizzou, we finally take the field Thursday against Virginia Tech (a team that, oddly enough, plays two quarterbacks).

Has the layoff killed the excitement? I hope not. Save some of that New Year's energy for Thursday.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Langford makes a Pro Roster



Spurs Sign Keith Langford

NEW YORK, NY, Dec. 28, 2007: The San Antonio Spurs today signed Keith Langford who had been playing with the team?s NBA Development League affiliate Austin Toros.

In nine games with the D-League team this season the 6-4 guard was averaging 23.2 points while shooting .530 from the field. He also grabbed 6.3 rebounds and dished out 3.4 assists per game.

Langford, who played four years at Kansas, had one other stint in the D-League, with Fort Worth in 2005-06. In 46 regular season games he averaged 11.5 points, and in two postseason games he scored 25 points a game and grabbed six rebounds as the Flyers were defeated in the Finals by the Albuquerque Thunderbirds.

Langford is the second player in the past two days that the Spurs have signed from the Toros. On Dec. 26 the defending NBA champs acquired forward Marcus Williams, a former second-round selection by the Spurs in the 2007 NBA Draft. Williams also played nine games with the Toros and was averaging 18.1 points per game.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hawk on Hawk Action


Was anyone else as surprised as I was to learn about Miami (Ohio)'s schedule?

They've beaten Xavier. They also beat Illinois, in Urbana-Champaign. Rough year for the Illini, I know, but still. . . . They did lose to Dayton, USC, and Louisville--but only by a combined total of eight points.

What really surprised, me, though, is this: with the exception of Arizona (3), Miami (Ohio) has the highest RPI rating of any team we've played so far (39).

The game's at Allen, and I guess I'm not worried, but *if* we can win, this looks like a quality win, doesn't it?


I agree, by the way, dgl, that we can't beat quality teams if we play the way we did in the closing minutes of the GT game; but it is nice to see that our lowest (I hope that's our lowest!) is still pretty decent.

But come on, am I the only one with love for the high-kick? Anyone?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Out of the Yellowjacket nest...



I hope everyone got to watch this game last night. It was a good test and I think will help Bill calm the team down. When you're up to #3 in the polls, sometimes you need a close game like this to get your teams attention before the heads swell too much.

It was disappointing that we choked away our 11 point lead with 3 minutes to go. They went crazy from three and we decided it was a good time to start turning the ball over. Good to see Collins make the clutch free throws to ice the game though with 8 secs left. Plus he made the last second steal to ensure that GT couldn't shoot the game-tying three.

Russ Rob had an outstanding game all around. That may have been the best game I've seen him play, which is good, because other guys looked like dogshit. Rush, Arthur, and Kahn in particular. I've given up on Kahn. He's always great against the midget teams but disappears when the other team has a legit center. I'm also worried about Rush's knee. He looks okay on offense (just okay), but it sure looks to me like he has lost a step on D. There was more than one occasion where he was going to close out on a defender and couldn't get there in time. I think last year those shots would've been swatted into the third row. Can you guys see it with Rush? Arthur really needs to keep taking that step forward for this team to have a shot at the title. Jackson also picked a bad game to revert to 2006 Jackson.

Good News and Less Good News

First, just now breaking over the wires: Man-genius is the AP Coach of the Year! He beat out Gary Pinkel by 11 votes. Poor Pinkel.

More good news, in basketball: another road win against major-conference competition, and the record is 11-0. None too shabby.

Not-so-great news: We played poorly down the stretch in this game, no two ways about it. No way a team as mediocre as that should have taken us to the wire (esp. since, frankly, every crucial call went our way). Our guards are showing a propensity to cough the ball up at innopportune moments; it happened at USC as well. This shouldn't still be a problem now that we have mostly juniors and seniors running the show.

Another problem was our lack of inside presence on offense. There was no high-low whatsoever; just incessant driving-and-dishing, driving-and-dishing.

On the plus side, however, Russell shot the ball better than he ever has. And also, there was this:




I have no words for this other than just ... Damn!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Some Love for the Fans

From Mike DeCourcy - The Sporting News, via kusports.com:

Like all the best college basketball home courts, Allen Fieldhouse features a rowdy student section — with more than 4,000 of its 16,300 seats reserved for them. They have the requisite alliterative nickname — the Phog Phanatics — but, unlike many of their contemporaries, they never give the impression they are trying to be part of the show. Their haunting “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk” chant is a far cry from some of the look-at-me cleverness that’s epidemic elsewhere. KU fans are trying to be part of the result, which is an altogether different thing.

High praise indeed. How I wish I could get to a game this season.


Speaking of games, any thoughts on this Ohio team? I hear they beat Maryland in College Park--I know Maryland is having an off year, but they're still Maryland; this Ohio team sounds like the real thing. What I like best, though, is that Self says they play fast: could we hit triple digits tomorrow? Either way, this promises to be an unusually exciting KC game.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Demons Out!

Now this, my friends, is a highlight reel. And click here for a closer look at DJ's skywalking alley-oop. That one is a close second to Chalmers' game-clinching circus-trey at USC for Play of the Year, so far.

Much is being made of Mario flirting with a quadruple-double, but really, if you fall short in 3 of the 4 categories I'm not sure it's worth talking about.

Buried in the same article is a more impressive fact: Nine games into his junior season, Mario's already 4th on the alltime KU steals list! If he stays through next year (big "if"), he should break Darnell Valentine's record easily.

As Mario acknowledges, Russell's suffocating pressure D has paved the way for a lot of those steals. And while we're praising Russell: the most impressive stat of the DePaul game might be his 9 assists.

On another note: an early look at the still unfinished '08-'09 schedule reveals visits to Arizona and Michigan State, with Tennesee coming to the Fieldhouse plus potential matchups against Florida or Syracuse in the CBE Classic. This is the kind of schedule we should have every year, but would have been more appropriate for this year's team or last year's team -- if next year's group is as young and green as I think it might be, it's going to be rough sledding.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Brandon Rush taken into custody (not April Fools)

Brandon Rush taken into custody on traffic warrants

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/d...stody/?breaking

Law enforcement officials have taken Kansas junior guard Brandon Rush into custody.

City prosecutor Jerry Little confirmed just before 3 p.m. Thursday, Rush appeared in Lawrence Municipal Court to take care of a traffic matter. According to Little, Rush had outstanding warrants and the judge ordered him to be transported to the Douglas County Jail.

Rush was arrested on two warrants for failing to appear in municipal court. He’s charged in one case with driving with a suspended license and speeding on Oct. 19, 2007. He also faces charges from a December 2006 case for driving on the left of a roadway and having no proof of insurance.

Rush was supposed to appear in municipal court on Nov. 28 but failed to show up. He was not scheduled to appear in municipal court today.

More details as they develop.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Super Sunday

KU beats USC, our toughest noncon opponent? Check.

Texas beats UCLA, a coup for KU's ranking and for the Big 12? Check.

KU football invited to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1968? Check.

Mizzou football snubbed by BCS after being No. 1 all last week? Priceless.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Let's Hear It For DJ!


(Thanks for the photo, kusports.com)

I'm actually not sure whether our 38-point pummeling of Florida Atlantic deserves its own post, but how about Jackson?

In his first start of the season he had "13 points off 4-of-5 shooting and 4-of-4 free throwing. He also swished the second 3-pointer of his career and second this season" (thanks again, kusports.com). Add 4 rebounds (not enough, but still), 2 blocks, and no turnovers in his 22 minutes and I have to again say that DJ is the man.

Huzzah!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bill Self not happy with Arizona game attendance.




At least 1,000 Kansas University students missed a highly competitive, marquee college basketball game Sunday night.

The northwest corner of Allen Fieldhouse — normally packed with enthusiastic KU students — was empty for No. 4-rated KU’s 76-72 overtime victory over Arizona.

The Wildcats entered 3-1 and unranked, yet still boasted one of the country’s top players in Chase Budinger and a budding star in Jerryd Bayless.

And on the revenge front, Arizona defeated the Jayhawks the last time the powers met in 2005 in Maui and also handed KU one of its most bitter losses in school history — in the Sweet 16 of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

“To be candid, it was disappointing to our players. They pointed to this as THE nonconference game of the season, and there were fewer students than any game since I’ve been here,” fifth-year Jayhawk coach Bill Self said.

He first discussed the student no-shows when asked about it on his Hawk Talk radio show, then expounded in a phone interview after the broadcast. He spoke in a matter-of-fact, not angry tone.

“The students that were there were great, absolutely great. I’m not saying anything bad about our students,” Self said. “A lot of people (schools) wish they’d have as many as we had.

“But the game being Arizona and our players pointing to it as THE nonconference home game of the season ... obviously some of the student body didn’t feel the same way.

“It’s the smallest turnout of students for a game since I’ve been here. It was kind of frustrating,” Self continued. “We had more students for the Northern Arizona game when the dorms were closed for Thanksgiving than for Arizona.”

Self wants to make it clear he’s not down on the students, just disappointed they skipped Sunday night’s game.

“They’ll come,” Self said, referring to remaining games, including Wednesday’s 7 p.m. clash against ex-Jayhawk Rex Walters’ Florida Atlantic squad.

“I think a lot had to do with the timing of the game. It tells me Saturday wore out a lot of people. I was tired, and I watched it (Kansas-Missouri football game) on TV. A lot of people started at 10 a.m. (Saturday) and were rolling until 1 or 2 at night. Our players understood there were some reasons for it, but still were disappointed.”

KU isn’t the only school that has had some students skip out on games.

ESPN recently reported that more than half the home games at Duke last season were played before empty seats in the student sections. The fact students now have their IDs swiped electronically — instead of having a season pass — may have cut down on students giving tickets to friends on the nights they don’t want to attend.

“We have great fans. Our students are fantastic. I love our fans,” Self said. “I do hope that future games will be full. We have the best building in America, hands down. When our building is good (full and loud) most people say it’s better than anywhere.”


Monday, November 26, 2007

Two Guys Named Chase

The "best weekend ever" was not to be, thanks to Chase Daniel and Mizzou running roughshod over us at Arrowhead and Chase Budinger putting a scare into us at the Fieldhouse.

The football boys need not hang their heads. It was a bad first half, but a heroic comeback in the second against what was probably just a better team. Mizzou seemed bigger and faster on offense and defense from where I was sitting; they were able to do pretty much what they wanted, while our four 2nd-half TDs seemed to be based on smoke and mirrors, balls and fortitude -- I esp. liked Reesing's dive into the end zone against a much bigger, lunging Tiger at the beginning of the 4th.

I think we just found our level -- we proved we belonged in the top 10, even top 5, but probably not in the title game.

But for a title-worthy basketball team, our near-disaster against unranked 'Zona last night was in some ways even more frustrating. As Self pointed out, Russell had his worst game since his freshman year, and the rebounding was atrocious: Self rightly singled out Sasha (2 boards in 25 minutes) but we also need more from Shady (just 6 boards in 34 minutes). Our big guys are playing as if Julian's still out there.

Positives? Well, we won w/ a depleted backcourt -- Sherron out, Reed hurt, Russell in foul trouble, Rush not 100%. Sherron would have helped; their D forced us to freelance and he's our best freelancer. Also, our FT shooting was better if still not great (72%), and we made the big ones -- hats off to Mario.

And how about Rod Stewart? Dunking on people, hitting key shots, and proving against the taller Budinger that Self wasn't kidding about him being our best defender.

All I can say is, Whew!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Best Weekend Ever?

Anyone have a pulse out there? I'm gone for a weekend, B-Rush makes a triumphant return, KU football attains its best record/ranking ever and moves into a championship game slot, and ... the blog is dormant? I can't do it all here, people...

Anyway, Yance, it's now officially happened: football outranks b-ball -- i.e., the apocalypse.

Plus, OU and Oregon losing (sorry, Ismail)... The OU loss may be a wash b/c it hurts KU's potential strength of schedule, but does SOS even matter now that we're a solid #2? It's now pretty much set in stone, I think: if we win two more, we're in the title game, and if we don't, we're out. (Of course, now it's possible that the Big 12 title game could be against a somewhat weaker opponent than Oklahoma.)

As for basketball, we're still seeing slightly negative reviews despite dominant wins. Self is right to harp on the negatives, but I really can't put much stock in our guys playing somewhat uninspired ball at this point, esp. with the injury issues. But look out for N. Arizona on Wednesday; I hope our guys understand this isn't Washburn.

Note the question mark on my headline; next weekend could truly be the best ever for KU sports with wins against Mizzou and 'Zona on consecutive days.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OK, F*** MIZZOU

Getting hyped up for the Border Armaggeddon at Arrowhead, and was just thinking, "hey it's great that both schools are doing so well. THEN I SAW THIS AND REMEMBERED WHY WE SHOULD NEVER, EVER, WISH THAT MISSOURAH DOES WELL AT ANYTHING. Those classless toothless moonshine pro-slavery hillbillies can go straight to Hell. May a meteor impact on the Page Academic Fraud Arena, and a pox of Ebola on Farout Field.





I mean seriously, this is way worse than the "MUCK FIZZOU" shirts.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Collins Out 6 weeks!

NOOOOO!


KU guard Collins to miss six weeks following foot surgery

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/nov/12/ku_guard_collins_miss_six_weeks_following_foot_sur/
By Gary Bedore
November 12, 2007

Gary Bedore's video podcast on Sherron Collins' stress fracture
Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer Gary Bedore sits down and fields some questions from J-W sports editor Tom Keegan to give some insight on sophomore guard Sherron Collins' left foot stress fracture. Bedore discusses how long he could be out, when Brandon Rush could return in light of this and who are the ones needing to pick up the slack in Collins' absence.

Kansas University sophomore point guard Sherron Collins, who rolled his ankle in Sunday’s 85-62 victory over UMKC, had surgery on Monday to repair a stress fracture in the fiftth metatarsal of his left foot.
The surgery went well, KU coach Bill Self reported, and Collins is expected to miss six weeks.
“Everything went great,” Self said. “They had to put a screw in there, we’re looking at it as six weeks. It realistically is a six-week process. The doctors said it’s a six-week deal to heal.”
Collins, through two games this season, is the team's leading scorer, averaging 16 points per game. He also totaled 10 assists and six steals in the contest. His seven rebounds Sunday night against UMKC were a career-high. During the second half of that game, he turned his left ankle while driving to the basket. He was assisted to the locker room moments later, but came back to finish the game on the floor.
For more on this story, read tomorrow's Journal-World and log back onto KUSports.com.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

DJ!

video
Yeah, the Warhawks scored 78; they shot 51%, but come on--21 career-high points for Darnell? 15 steals? (4 by Jackson, including one that set up a great fast break play finished, of course, by DJ). Looked like a good night from where I sat.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Four and Four

Yancy's question about KU football outranking basketball is sounding less far-fetched (downright near-fetched, in fact):

BCS Standings
1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Oregon
4. Kansas

AP Basketball Pre-Season
1. North Carolina
2. UCLA
3. Memphis
4. Kansas

(The other football polls still have KU at 5, but we'll just ignore them.)

Suddenly there are whispers of a title-game bid. ORjayhawk, you may be approaching a conflict-of-interest here.

I still think, though, that our basketball squad is underrated at 4. Nice game against Fort Hays St. last night; Darrell and the other big men had good numbers, but I'm more impressed w/ Russell's near triple-dub.

In other conflict-of-interest news -- what do you think of the Memphis ranking, Scott?

Scott?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

That Time of Year

Well, the football team is ranked 8th in the nation in like every poll, which is pretty exciting.

But did you realize that basketball starts this Thursday? The first exhibition game, against Pitt State, has a 7pm (central) tip-off . . .



What do we think? Sasha's got new sexy hair, B-Rush, Mario, and Shady are Naismith candidates, and the team's #4 in the Coaches Poll. (Yes, that is dangerously close to Mangino's squad; one loss and bball may fall behind football--statisticians (or Deron): has that ever happened before?)


So, do we have predictions? A sweep of the Big 12? We have UT and A&M on the road, but I think 16-0 is a realistic expectation . . . and it should be nice to have the early test against Arizona. All in all, seems like a season to look forward to. See you on Thursday.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Time to jump on the Bandwagon!

KU 19, CU 14!


Jayhawks 7-0, 1st place Big XII North.

They'll probably go up to 16 or so in the rankings too. If we keep doing this well, I'm a little worried someone's going to try to hire Mangino away from us (Nebraska, aTm?).

Anyway it went down to the last couple of minutes. Todd Riesing, the QB is really the difference. His pocket presence is just better than any QB I've watched since I was at Tennessee.

Buffalo Steaks for Mangino!WOOOHOOO!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Late Night At The Blog

By all accounts, this year's "Late Night at the Phog" was the usual cheesy affair, complete with a "Boot-Scootin' Boogie" rendition (is it 1989 again? am I back in Oklahoma?) and a procession of limos and humvees leading to a red carpet.

All the talk in the media post-Late Night was about Brandon Rush, who did some dancing but no scrimmaging. He won't play until December and apparently may not be right all season, even though he says otherwise. Coach Self tried to cast it in a positive light but only confused the issue further: "Brandon will not be the Brandon we saw at 100 percent last year, but I think he can be 100 percent of the new Brandon."

Say wha-?

Maybe because of the uncertainty over Rush, it seems everyone's predicting North Carolina to cut down the nets rather than KU. CNNSI's Luke Winn has KU all the way down at 5th, below UNC, UCLA, and two teams from the Volunteer state. Any thoughts on that, Scott?

CNNSI does list us as the top backcourt, however, and says, "Anything less than a Final Four with this group will be a colossal disappointment."

Self also indicated at Late Night that he's feeling the pressure this year: "The only thing last year's team didn't have was seniors. A team is only as good as its seniors allow it to be. This year, we've got five studs. We've got to get the big prize. We've got to cut down the nets in April."

The heat is indeed ON in a way that often makes a season less enjoyable than it should be. We'll undoubtedly lose more than just seniors after this year, and so far there isn't an influx of sexy recruits lined up in waiting (though that could change any time). This needs to be the year.

But is there any reason to think our guys can't handle that pressure? Even if Rush's new 100% is only 80% of last season's 100%, it's still hard to identify any real weaknesses on this team. With all our offensive weapons and with Self's defensive program firmly in place, I wouldn't rank anyone ahead of us.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oden

I can't believe it. The whole city is in shock. I think 1 year is optimistic- probably 2- and he may never be full speed.

No refunds on season tickets. Should be able to pick some up cheap off craigslist now....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rebirth Of Paul?

After a month off from blogging there's still not a lot to report, except for yesterday's mega-deal sending Kevin Garnett to the Celtics, which coupled with the draft day acquisition of Ray Allen could bring long-suffering Paul Pierce back into the NBA spotlight.

Some are saying that the trade immediately makes Boston a front-runner, if not THE front-runner, in the East. Now, almost every Eastern team in contention (Cleveland, Chicago, Miami and the Celts) features a KU alum. And keep in mind that Pierce's old KU frontcourt companion Raef Lafrentz also gained a valuable new teammate in Greg Oden, who joins him on the Trailblazers (where Kevin Pritchard is an exec).

So is it now a virtual lock that a Jayhawk will reach the Finals three years running? Maybe.

However, I have to say I'm lukewarm on the Celtics' prospects. After all they gave up to nab Garnett, they only have like 8 guys left on their roster and not much money left for more signings. Besides, who on that team is going to play any defense? They should be a lot of fun to watch next season, but I'll be surprised if they reach the Finals.

And the Blazers? Give them a few years...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Winning The Lottery (Barely)

Julian goes 13th, to the New Orleans Hornets. Still don't really understand why he flip-flopped and decided to leave; with a dominant junior season (which wouldn't have been hard to envision) he could have gone top five in '08.

The upside for him, aside from instant financial gratification, is that he gets to go to a team that doesn't suck, but isn't so loaded that he'd be relegated to the bench, either. Playing alongside Chris Paul and former OSU dunk specialist Desmond Mason isn't such a bad thing.

Congrats, "Noodle!" I miss you already.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jayhawk To Win NBA Title

Cleveland's upset over Detroit ensures that for two years running, a Jayhawk will receive an NBA championship ring: either Drew Gooden and Scot Pollard of the Cavaliers, or Pollard's old classmate Jacque Vaughn of the Spurs.

(I think we asked this last year, but can anybody remember any other Jayhawks winning NBA titles, besides JoJo White?)

Unlike Wayne Simien's spectating role last year with the Heat, at least two of these guys (Gooden and Vaughn) will play significant minutes. Drew's in the starting lineup and Jacque is 2nd-string PG behind Tony Parker. And if Cleveland coach Mike Brown is smart, he'll give Pollard some minutes as well; I think he could guard Tim Duncan more effectively than any of their other big men.

I'm particularly sentimental about Scot and Jacque, who played on the best KU teams never to make the Final Four. (Their '97 team was ranked 1st in the nation almost that entire season, with Duncan's Wake Forest team ranked 2nd; both teams tragically fell short in the tourney). Both of those guys, if I'm not mistaken, still live in Lawrence. Seeing one of them get a ring will be very cool.

Pollard lovers, check out this hilarious Q&A on the Cavs website, wherein Scot extols the virtues of Allen Fieldhouse and attempts to revive the "high ten."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

B-Rush Is Back!

Brandon's decision to return to Kansas hasn't gained much national attention yet, but I'd think it would pole-vault us right back in to preseason 1 or 2 status. I'll still miss Julian, but in terms of the components of our team, Brandon would have been the more difficult guy to replace.

(Granted, some polls had us at 1 or 2 preseason last year, but I think this year such a ranking would be more legitimate.)

A couple of caveats: first off, how serious is the injury that presumably sealed Rush's return? The worst-case scenario seems to be that he won't be ready to play again until November; that obviously would hurt his development and preparation going into next season.

The other issue is that there will be more and more pressure to get Sherron into the starting lineup; still, that's a good problem to have.

But assuming Rush is healthy for his junior season, the question is: Are we better than Carolina? The correct answer is: Yes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Non-Con Schedule, NBA Draft

The non-conference schedule was released yesterday, and as promised, it looks like a distinct improvement. Three of those "Jayhawk Invitational" home opponents have not been identified -- presumably they'll be patsies -- but we've earned those indulgences with a 'Zona home game and road trips to G-Tech, BC, and USC, (which as we've noted adds phenom O.J. Mayo to the squad that ended Kevin Durant's college career).

(Plus, as we've also noted before, the conference schedule will include visits to Austin and Stillwater this time).

As for the draft: Ismail! Are you out there? Any comments on your JailBlazers stealing Greg Oden?

And presumably Durant is also going to the Pacific Northwest, joining Collison in Seattle--the very team Self was rumored to be interested in coaching. The addition of Durant would make that job a great deal more appealing to Self, but the good news is, it would now also be appealing to some bigger names, like Larry Brown or a Van Gundy. Plus, Durant's arrival might renew Seattle's interest in the team, preventing the move to OKC that would have supposedly been a plum for Self.

Any thoughts on draft status of Wright and Rush? The picks are always so unpredictable once you get out of the high lottery. CNNSI has them going at 10 and 14, respectively. Fox Sports has Julian at 13, with Rush not on the list (but this one only covers the 14 lottery picks).

Brandon will be thrilled with anything close to the lottery, but if Julian is only at 10 or higher (as appears quite likely) one still has to ask: Why this year? You said you wanted and needed three college seasons; you never proved yourself in tournament play; and with what is sure to be a weaker draft class in '08 you'd have had an excellent shot at the top five...

Alas, the agent has been hired, the damage done. Ah, what might have been.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spring of Discontent

Sorry we've been down so long. I think everyone's been busy, not to mention a little depressed about recent events in the KU hoops universe.

As if losing Julian and probably Brandon isn't enough, a rumor has been circulating that Self might leave to coach the SuperSonics (featuring Nick Collison) if that team were to relocate to OKC. Self is vehemently denying it, so I'll (warily) take him at his word.

Another potential problem: Rush's late (and still indefinite) departure decision leaves Self with no time to recruit any replacements. Sherron says he's upset with Brandon for leaving. On the bright side, I think there's still a chance he could come back; Keegan talked to a scout who said that B-Rush is merely one of about 50 guys with first-round potential in this draft.

Even without him, next season should be a good one. Luke Winn places us at fifth in his power rankings, factoring in the departures. And I know you're all glad to hear that I probably won't be bitching about next year's schedule, which will feature games against Arizona and (on the road) USC, BC, Georgia Tech, Texas and OSU. That's five more marquee road games than we had in '06-7.

Despite the lack of titles (19 freaking years and counting), ESPN charitably lists Kansas as one of the top ten programs of the last ten years. Small consolation, that.

By the way, I've discontinued our NBA playoffs coverage after it was met with massive, widespread apathy last year, but I should note that KU players did exceptionally well in the first round: Drew Gooden and Scot Pollard for Cleveland, Jacque Vaughn for San Antone, and especially Kirk Hinrich for 'da Bulls in their waxing of Wade, Shaq and co. (Unfortunately, Kirk's taking a waxing himself at the hands of Detroit in the second round, but those other guys are hanging in).

Friday, April 27, 2007

B Rush Declares for draft



Kansas' Brandon Rush puts name in NBA draft
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas sophomore standout Brandon Rush says he plans to enter the NBA Draft.
"I'm ready to take the next step," Rush told The Kansas City Star for a story Friday. "I'm ready to make a better life for me and my family."
The 6-6 guard, who also tested the NBA waters out of high school before signing with Kansas, told The Star he will not immediately sign with an agent, which leaves the door open to play another year in college.
"I could hire an agent, but if I do, it will be much later in the process," Rush said. "Right now I want to keep my options open. I'm going into it with a free mind. I don't have anything to lose. I can come back to school or I can stay (in the draft). It's a plus-plus either way."
The university's athletic department could not confirm the announcement Friday morning but expected to issue a statement later in the day.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Say it Ain't So!!!!


Local Radio says Julian will announce today that he is entereing himdelf into the NBA Draft. Speculation is that Rush will go too. :(

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wrap Up

The season's over, but there's still plenty going on.

Roy Williams goes to the Hall of Fame:

“I do feel at home at North Carolina,” the Asheville, N.C., native said. “I’ve probably got thinner skin than most people, but when they make an announcement about North Carolina’s score at Allen Fieldhouse and people cheer, I get that information quickly. That bothers me a great deal. It will bother me the rest of my life."



I'm not a Roy hater by any means, but it will bother me the rest of my life if he keeps complaining about how KU fans treat him. He left three years after saying he'd never leave. And he clearly went home when the cupboard was full. So not only did he leave us, he went from being a special guy to just another coach. We had unrealistic expectations of Roy - as a man as much as a coach. But he fostered that.

He can't be hugely popular at both UNC and KANSAS, and if he can't deal with that, he shouldn't have left. However, congrats on getting into the Hall - he's certainly deserving.

And I'll admit to being pleased that he didn't make the Final Four this year as that would have only increased the chatter about Self not being a good enough coach, etc. UNC was plenty stacked, so there's no reason to assume Roy would have pushed our lineup into the Fial Four.

Dana Altman goes to Arkansas - why didn't he end up at Iowa? Altman had turned down Tennessee, Georgia, and maybe Illinois in '03. I thought I read somewhere that the only job he'd leave Creighton for was Iowa. Maybe not. Iowa gets Todd Lickliter from Butler, Michigan gets West Virginia coach John Beilein.

When this many big time schools make hires, and the biggest name is Dana Altman . . .

Creighton may hire Scott Sutton - Eddie's other son - from ORU. Eddie Sutton coached Creighton before heading to Arkansas in 1974.



So if we want to see a star coach switch we'll have to rely on Kentucky, and see what dominoes drop. I'm betting Billy Donovan, Billy Gillespie, or Tom Izzo takes it.

Slate.com has an interesting theory about why Donovan will bolt to Kentucky:

"And while Florida and Ohio State have a stranglehold on big-time athletics right now, don't count on either to maintain megaprogram status. The Gators won two titles in a row because a perfectly balanced and unselfish team won it all as underclassmen then returned for another helping of glory. That won't happen again. Florida reminds me of Michigan State circa 2001. A championship and multiple Final Fours seemingly heralded untrammeled dominance in East Lansing. Instead, the Spartans have regressed to the mean—they're now just a great basketball team, not the greatest in the land. Florida will continue to be a Sweet 16 presence, but they won't pass UCLA in championship banners any time this millennium. Kansas and North Carolina will remain perennial powerhouses. Florida will return to the usual cycle of solid-but-not-transcendent programs."

What if Kentucky somehow got Bill Self? Who would we want at Kansas?

Kevin Stallings?
Mark Turgeon?
John Calipari?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Post-Mortem Post

All the reasons we said UCLA might beat the 'Hawks materialized on Sunday. It was about experience, poise, and yes, TURNOVERS...

Amazingly, looking at the box score this morning, UCLA actually turned it over more times (25) than Kansas (21). It was a season-high for both teams. But I think most of theirs came in the first half, and we didn't capitalize on them as much as we should have. Then in the second it seemed like we either turned it over or missed on like every 5 out of 6 possessions, and the Bruins turned it into points every time. (I've got to give them credit--who knew they could run like that?)

We've talked about it ad nauseam all season--turnovers would be the Achilles heel. I don't know how many times our guys tried to dribble through double teams instead of passing last night, but I don't think it worked even once. I think all the missed layups came because we were spooked by their defense.

Jason Whitlock blames last night's performance on a weak Big 12 that didn't prepare us for UCLA. But you also have to blame the coach for not scheduling more tough noncon games to make up for the conference's weakness. (Sorry, I know I'm a broken record here)...

Rush and Arthur sound uncertain about coming back next year, but I don't see how anybody's draft position was boosted in this tournament. Arthur had a good freshman year, but didn't set the world on fire. Rush had a very good tournament overall but was totally outshone by Afflalo, and his weak ballhandling was exposed once again.

We tended to forget all year how young this team was; I see great things next season if everybody is smart enough to come back and work hard.

As for this season... OK, PAC-10, you say you're so underrated. One of you had better beat those damn Gators. Don't give Noah and co. any more shining moments...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

They're Not Booing, They're Saying 'Bruins!'

Will UCLA's homecourt advantage be a factor tonight? It's not Pauley Pavilion, of course, and the crowd on Thursday wasn't as anti-Kansas as I thought it might be, but you have to think most of the SIU and Pitt tickets will be swallowed up by Bruin partisans.

At the beginning of the season, I believe Chris, Scott and myself picked Kansas to get exactly this far, w/ only Yancy and Ismail predicting a Final Four berth. There are a lot of reasons to think we the naysayers were right: not only the venue but the fact that UCLA is more experienced and more disciplined than we are. The 'Hawks are more explosive offensively, but the Bruins are yet another SIU-style defensive juggernaut that, unlike SIU, has a few offensive weapons as well.

Good reasons to pick against my guys for the first time all season ... but I just can't bring myself to do it. I have to think we'll be less tight and more inspired in this game than we were on Thursday, and even if both teams play well, the one with more talent (us) should prevail.

By the way, who would have thought back in October that the teams most favored by jayhawknation bloggers would make up 3 out of the Elite 8? I give both Memphis and the Ducks a good chance to win this weekend.

To paraphrase "The Simpsons" again: "They'll be overturning cars in Lawrence tonight!"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Eight!


Well, it wasn't exactly pretty, but we got the win; on we move.

How about BRush--6 for 6, including the game-winner (pictured, courtesy of kusports.com).

Great testament to our depth--how about Rodrick Stewart creating his own shot in the 1st half; and DJ comes up big again (and, unlike the rest of us, hits his free throws!). Good to see we can win games like that; hope that's the last time we have to. . . .

ROCK CHALK!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mid-Major?


Thoughts on Southern Illinois?

This is about as easy a matchup as you could ask for this late, but they are a 4-seed for a reason. They're one of the best defensive teams in the country (between them and UCLA, the Road to the FF is going to be a defensive gauntlet)... If we turn the ball over a lot or suffer defensive lapses, the Salukis will make us pay, unlike a lot of teams we've faced this year. They may be more disciplined than anybody in the Big 12.

KU should win by at least 10 on talent and depth alone, but there's not much margin for error.

BTW, the WP has a great piece on Mario Chalmers, in which he confesses, "I'm a mama's boy."

We didn't even talk about how brilliant Mario was on Sunday: 16 points, 8 assists, 4 steals. Is he starting to remind anyone else of Hinrich? Roughly the same size and skill-set; same quietly intense personality; and basically the prototype of a guard who does everything well -- handle, pass, shoot, defend, run. He might even be ahead of where Hinrich was as a soph, at least on D.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wildcats and more Wildcats

Hello out there? How do we feel about Kentucky?

I prefer this matchup to Villanova, because I think to beat Kansas you need to have players who are explosive enough offensively to overcome our defense, like Acie Law. Kentucky doesn't shoot 3's like 'Nova can, and they can't break us down like Scottie Reynolds or Curtis Sumpter might have.

Still, these 'Cats are big, experienced, and strong defensively. I doubt this game will be easy. We need to be patient on offense and not give them confidence by turning it over or forcing up bad shots. If we do that and keep Randolph Morris relatively in check, I don't think UK has a chance.

It may be similar to the UNC-MSU game last night; a bit of a grind and then we pull away in the last ten minutes -- say, KU by 15.

Speaking of grind, how about that UCLA-Indiana debacle? I mean, defense is great and all, but if the Bruins can't score any better than that, I'm feeling a lot more confident about that potential Elite 8 game.

Good luck also, of course, to the Ducks and Tigers -- I sincerely mean that, Scott, even though I have Nevada in my Sweet 16.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Niagara Falls

I know, too easy. A predictable headline for a predictable result. Good to see us break the century-mark... and THE MONKEY IS OFF OUR BACK!

Congrats also to Scott and Ismail, living to fight another day.

I didn't see it, but I feel this sentence has to be a misprint:

"A dunk by reserve Brady Morningstar with 3:44 left gave the Jayhawks 101 points."

Hey, Eric, good to hear from you. Sorry about what happened to A&M CC. Before they showed up on my bracket I don't think I was aware they existed; so at least they've accomplished that much. But drop me a line -- just my name @hotmail. We need to catch up.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

And We're Off!

Just a few hours in and we've already lost Texas Tech. I had them winning that game, but this is hardly a surprise.

Go ORU! Put the 900-foot Jesus in!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Two Shining Moments (So Far)

Below, a quick look back at our regular season and tourney championships, before the Dance begins.

By the way, from now until the 'Hawks last game, I want to see everyone blogging. No excuses. Seriously, it's five minutes out of your day.

ORJayhawk and zarathustra, I'm looking in your direction (figuratively).

And don't forget to enter our pool (see below thread).












Sunday, March 11, 2007

KU # 1 Seed West Region


I don't know what to make of our draw. Awesome game today against TX. Bill Self said "I don't want to play him again." Ha no kidding. Chalmers with the clutch ice-veined three to put it into OT.


There are a lot of big names in our region, but they are depleted compared to the past. After the Play in winner of FAMU/Niagra (please God, don't let us lose that one too), we would get Kentucky/Villanova winner. I think we can roll either of those squads this year, though Nova could give us some problems. our 3 and 4 are great with So. Illinois and Va Tech. I'm not afraid of either of those teams. Then we would have to play whoever comes out of UCLA/Duke/Pitt (or my Darkhorse- don't sleep on the Zags). I think 'I like it. I don't like that we'd have to play UCLA in San Jose, though (although that's nothing compared to the screw job A&M got having to play Louisville in Lexington, KY). My Prediction: NCAA Finals!
I set up a pickem we could all play on Yahoo. here: http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/men/
League id is 83443
password : rockchalk
fill out a bracket!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

KU 67, KSU 61

I'm going to chalk up the ugliness in this game to fatigue (back-to-back games), competition (K-State was good defensively), and boredom (K-State again?).

It was a good game for Mario, who's got ice in his veins lately; a good homecoming for DJ, whose conversion of both shots on that one-and-one towards the end might have been the biggest play of the game; and a nice bounceback from Sherron.

But in the second half we lost our edge on defense (they started to get penetration) and especially on the boards (outrebounded by 10 after halftime)... We can't let that happen again.

Our guys looked more winded at the end of this one than Durant and co. did against OSU today. We may be looking at a reversal of last year's final: the team of young upstarts avenging an earlier road loss against the more experienced top seed. Anyway, it is exciting for us to get one more showdown with Durant before he departs for one of the NBA's bottom-feeders.

Bring on the 'Horns! (After some time in the sauna, that is...)

Friday, March 09, 2007

KU 64-OU 47


Now... who's next?


Do we want to win this thing or not? Does it really help, or does it wind you for the Big Dance? How many games do we need to guarantee a #1 seed? Did UCLA's loss guarantee us the #1 already? Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Bunch of Hot Shots You Can Root For



Kansas has a different leader almost every night
By DOUG TUCKER, AP Sports Writer
March 6, 2007

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- They pull on their jerseys and lace up their sneakers, take a few deep breaths and listen to one more pre-game pep talk. Then everybody removes his ego.

Maybe that's why Kansas is ranked No. 2 in the country.

"The main thing we want is to win," All-Big 12 forward Julian Wright said. "It's not how we win; it's not who scores. It's just everyone stepping up to make plays when they're needed."

On a roster that's about eight deep with talented athletes who were courted by many of the nation's finest programs, almost everyone is a go-to guy. And they all seem perfectly happy to spread the wealth.

After a disheartening home loss on Feb. 3 to Texas A&M, the Jayhawks (27-4) won their next six straight. A different player either led or tied for the team lead in scoring in each of those games, and only twice in that span did the same player lead the team in rebounds.

Several times this season the Jayhawks have had five players score in double figures.

Yet nobody seems to get jealous. Nobody whines about NBA scouts not getting to see what he can do.

It's the sort of situation every coach dreams of, but only a few, such as Bill Self this year, are lucky enough to ever have.

"I think it's a testament to coach Self," said Wright, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, who had 17 points, 13 rebounds and a game-saving defensive play in the Big 12 title-clinching victory over Texas.

"This is pretty much how we've been the whole year, and last year, too. The reason I think we're doing so well this year is because everyone started buying into the concept last year."

There is no question that all this balance has cost some players personal recognition.

Although Kansas was the highest-ranked team in the conference most of the entire season and would eventually emerge as league champion, the Big 12 office recognized a Jayhawk as player of the week only twice. On one of those occasions, the Kansas player shared the award with someone else.

"Everyone wants to see everyone else do well. Everybody is just having fun and enjoying basketball. We've got individuals who are willing to sacrifice their own egos for the sake of the team," said junior guard Russell Robinson, the acknowledged leader of this senior-less squad.

"It's won us some games this year, and I think it's going to win us a lot more."



The Jayhawks led the Big 12 in scoring margin at plus-18.2 points per game. But their top scorer, Brandon Rush at 14.1 points per game, was 16th in the conference. Similarly, Wright was the only Jayhawk among the top 15 rebounders, but Kansas led the Big 12 in total rebounding and rebound margin.

"Coach is the biggest reason for that," said Robinson. "He strokes everybody and keeps us all happy."

Self, who has won seven conference titles in three different leagues the past nine years, is proud of the balance Kansas has achieved.


"It means the other team can't concentrate its defense on just one or two guys," he said.

But he also acknowledges there's a down side.

"It can mean that in the final minute or so when you need somebody to really step up and be that one guy that everybody looks to, you don't have anybody who's used to taking that role."

It's not the sort of situation Darnell Jackson expected when the 6-foot-9 reserve center arrived on campus as a highly sought prep star from Oklahoma.

"When everybody first got here, I thought it would be bad chemistry," he said. "I thought, `These guys are going to worry about who's going to get the most points and who's going to get the most publicity.' But nobody cares about it. Nobody cares at all."

Saturday, March 03, 2007

YES!

YES!

That may be the most incredible game I've seen at Allen. To have Texas play so insanely well the first half; and then to start the second half with like a 22-7 run; and then (despite some sloppy play--but let's forget the negatives for a minute) that clutch play at the end (in particular Julian's block and Russel's free-throw) . . . awesome. Yes.