Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Huskers Fail to "Git 'Er Done"

Not even the august presence of a certain comedy legend could inspire Nebraska in this one. (Maybe the best celeb sighting at a KU game since Jay-Z at St. John's, like 5 years ago.)

I was starting to feel almost sorry for Doc and co. when the score hit 39-6. I thought, this is a Nebraska-KU football score, only reversed (before the brilliant Mangino era, of course).

We didn't finish as well as we started, but after a first half like that you can't really hope for more than a holding pattern the rest of the game.

Things got so relaxed late that Brandon was joking with ushers.

BTW, both the Star and Journal-World opted for the "Creamed Corn" headline, proving once again that great minds think alike.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

He said it

Coach Self on today's game (from kusports.com):
“I thought our perimeter was very good. And I thought our big guys were as bad as our perimeter was good. So I would give us a passing grade...Same thing, we don’t rebound the ball, and our big guys, they’re not rebounding the ball. To me it’s hard to give us too good of a performance because I don’t think our big guys played. I think it can be summed up in one word, and that is our big guys play soft.”

That sounds just right to me. The rebounding margin was not us by 15: no, they outrebounded us. The margin? Too soon to say, I guess—ESPN has it at 34-29; kusports.com has 36-30. Either way, that's really not what I was hoping for.

We did, thanks largely to the 56% shooting and 30 CU turnovers, win convincingly (though not by Vegas' 26 and not nearly by Deron's 43).

If you haven't yet, I hope you never see it, but the Noodle's missed dunk seemed emblematic: we were in a comfortable spot all game long, and we should've been having fun, but we just didn't look as cool as you would expect.

Good play from Rush (pictured) and Chalmers (nice to see him shine again), and RussRob went 2-3 from outside. That rebounding, though . . .

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bears Lose (But Not To Colts)

KU 82, Baylor 56.

Finally, Julian and Brandon get their mojo back, and Sherron continues his hot streak despite hecklers reportedly comparing him to Gary Coleman. (LJW's Bedore, ever the fact-checker, helpfully explained that Sherron "is actually quite a bit taller than the former 'Different Strokes' actor").

The Coleman thing was pretty classless, but I can't blame BU fans for hating Darrell.

Anyway, more good news: A&M falls at Lubbock, bringing us back into a tie for first (a 5-way tie, but we'll take it) and somewhat legitimizing our loss there.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tech 69, KU 64

Not surprising at all; just a continuation of the way we played against MU and ISU. We seemed to be begging for someone to beat us ever since OSU.

The fact that we allowed 50% shooting is alarming, but I'll assume that's a fluke resulting from Knight's motion offense and home-cooked officiating.

But on offense? KU's become the Baltimore Ravens: all D, no O. Except KU actually has players who can score, so their failure to do so except on fast breaks is baffling.

The only guy who showed up Saturday was Sherron: 10 points (4-6, 2-3 from 3) and 7 assists to 2 TOs; and he led our comeback at the end. Dishonorable mention goes to ... pretty much everyone else.

Friday, January 19, 2007

From Lubbock With Love

Saturday in Lubbock we'll face one of our biggest road challenges this year (which isn't saying much). Tech doesn't suck; they lost to Baylor but won at Arkansas, which is impressive. I'm tempted to predict a loss since I'm seeing one coming after our last two outings, but on the other hand, our guys should be sufficiently inspired by the challenge of playing against the General (seen here expressing his view of the blog).

So... 'Hawks 75-65.

In other news, it seems while KU has won ten in a row, our players' NBA stock is falling. Anonymous scouts quoted by CNNSI seem lukewarm on Julian and Brandon; one says he prefers Sherron. No one seems to be talking about Arthur now, even though analysts had him as a lottery lock after the Florida game. You'd think professional scouts would be a little less capricious than that.

LJWs Mayer, on the other hand, thinks our most likely pro prospect may be Sasha because, among other reasons, he's white.

(I believe Mayer thinks it's still 1957 and Wilt can't get seated at a diner).

Maybe this uncertainty works out best for KU. Fran Fraschilla mentioned during the Mizzou game that he "had a feeling" every one of our guys would come back next year. Think what an f-ing juggernaut that would be!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Border War is Back!

I enjoyed the game thoroughly last night in KU's win. It was hard for me not to think of the times I watched Memphis play UAB or Arkansas over the last 10 years though. Mainly, it was that when the refs are told that they are watching "40 minutes of hell" they seem to swallow their whistles when the "hell" team is on D. There were a ton of instances where MU was slapping at KU players' hands, arms, etc, or bumping them just enough on rebounds or trips to the post. By the end, Kahn and Jackson had become tentative because they were expecting contact.

There was a stretch where we looked pretty bad in the 2nd from about 13 mins to about 7 minutes. We couldn't do a damn thing on offense, but this was also the same stretch that Julian Wright was out of the game with foul trouble. MU was in a 2-2-1 zone look that was playing loose match-up. They basically dared us to run the offense through Kahn or Jackson and denied our guards' penetration.

When Wright came in, he made three straight passes which all resulted in points or field goal attempts for Darrell Arthur. Then Sharon Collins went off, with the last 7. I don't know how well you could see it on TV, but when Collins made his last bucket driving all the way to the hole with three guys going to the hardwood and no call, he lost his shoe. I assume that Bill Self was yelling "Get BACK!!" because Collins just grabbed it, started running to the defensive end, and chucked the shoe at the scorer's table as he flew by. He then defended a three on the other end.

It's nice to see IMO Mike Anderson inject some new life into what should be a great rivalry.

My pic wasn't so great, but I was in the nose bleeds. :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Muck Those Tigers!

Predictions for Big Monday?

The Tigers are at 0-3 in conference; this should be an absolute mauling, and given Mike Anderson's full-court pressing style I think it's our best opportunity to crack the century mark. Jayhawks 105-75.

(That is, if their bus even makes it to Lawrence in the ice storm. Maybe they'd be better off staying home and having some cocoa).

UNC lost this weekend, but the AP still has them at four and us at five. Probably on the theory that the team they lost to is better than the team we barely defeated. (I also think Ohio State probably shouldn't have moved down after losing at Wisconsin). It ain't going to be easy for us to break into 1-seed territory, especially since most of our Big 12 North opponents this year are, relatively speaking, chumps.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Saturday in Ames

Anyone else concerned about a post-OSU hangover Saturday? That's about the only way I could see us losing to this Stinson-less ISU squad.

I do expect a bit of a letdown but nothing fatal. KU 75-66.

Speaking of the Pac-10 (as Chris was below), it appears they are now signed on to a "challenge" series with the Big 12, a la the Big 10/ACC series. As a result, Arizona is coming to Lawrence next year (along with our already scheduled visit to USC). So there is some hope that our SOS might exceed this year's 159.

The Pac-10 does seem to be the best conference this year; next year, who knows? But if Arizona's young phenoms stick around they should be an exciting opponent.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

'Hawk and Awe

KU 87, OSU 57.

I'm glad my prediction was wrong on this one. Our final score fell right between the forecasts of Yancy (90) and Ismail (84), so that's a tie.

I didn't realize OSU was so clumsy with the ball. But a lot of credit should go to our defense in the first ten minutes of the game. OSU never knew what hit them.

And as the KC Star points out, the Big 12 South is now 0-31 at Allen.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Big 12 Kickoff

Now soliciting predictions for Wednesday's game against the Cowboys (no, you're not allowed to watch the President's speech instead) AND for the Big 12 in general.

Tonight, it will be a brutal battle of attrition which OSU will lose because they are only 8 players deep. (No troop surge on the horizon for them). KU wins, 68-62.

As for the conference in general, I project that we'll go 15-1 and win it by two games. The schedule just lines up for us too well.

At any rate, if we want any chance of getting a 1 seed in the Dance, we're going to need to do about that well. Considering that our conference is rated even lower than the Missouri Valley right now, merely winning it will not be enough: we need to dominate.

Monday, January 08, 2007

'Cocks Blocked

'Hawks defeat South Carolina, 70-54. Now, that's more like it.

I didn't get to see the game (thanks, CBS), but the thing that stands out in the box score is our efficiency on offense. We shot 58% from the field, with Mario hitting 7 of 10, Arthur 8 of 12, Brandon 5 for 9, and Julian 3 for 3. That's not easy to do on the road against a well-coached SEC team like this one.

And look at Brandon's line: 12 points, 6 boards, 4 assists and a steal to just 2 TOs.

After all the criticism, let's give Bill and the boys some credit: in their three most challenging games thus far (Florida, BC, and SC), they've come up big. And now, with all the losses this weekend, we should move back up to 5th or 6th in the polls, where we were just after the Florida win.

Highlights here, here, and here. Julian's runout was great (though he got away with an NBA walk), and there are two nice assists from Brandon to Darrell.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Jayhawks/Gamecocks Predictions?

Will we play uninspired and get burnt like in Chicago with Depaul? Or have we learned something about having a killer instinct since then? Did the BC game teach us how to finish?

A quick glance at South Carolina's schedule tells me that they reallt have only 1 legit win, which was against the "other" USC in So. Cal's gym, the same team we struggled to finish in our gym. They lost to Clemson, and inexplicably, to the UC Irvine anteaters. Of course, that's not really any worse of a loss than our ORU loss. So, I'm not sure. The SJ NCAA Tournament projection metric (which I just made up) tells me this team should receive about an 8 seed in the NCAA tourney, so facing them on the road should be a better test than Depaul, which I do not think will make the Tourney.

My score: KU 67 USC 59.

Your prediction?