Tuesday, February 27, 2007

KU 67 - OU 65

On the plus side of the ledger ... we did win.

But it seems like our guys have started to believe their own press clippings. Once we went up 17, we hit cruise control and were flummoxed when OU stepped out of the zone and got in our faces. Who knew our guys would be so susceptible to full- and half-court pressure? I thought that was one area where we were bullet-proof.

It's like we were putting on a clinic in the 2nd half -- to demonstrate what not to do on offense. Don't throw lazy passes in traffic, Julian! Stop dribbling into traps, Sherron! Call timeout when no one's open on the inbounds, Brandon!

Mario saved us at the end by finally hitting some FTs, and Julian had the best overall line -- yet even those two had four TOs each.

But how about some love for the much-maligned Sasha Kaun? 11 points, 9 boards, 4-6 from the field and 3-4 from the line with two blocks and no turnovers. And there he was, on the floor in crunch time (against the advice of almost everyone on this blog), but making big plays down the stretch.


  1. Yes, thank you Sasha. And he hit some big free throws. Other than Chalmers, everyone else was terrible from the stripe.

    Jackson also deserves acclaim with his amazing steal/pass that set up Mario's dunk.

    Wright and Chalmers both made some amazing plays and hit some clutch shots, but oh, the turnovers, the turnovers.

    The guys kept saying they needed a close one. I hope that was our wake up call, and if so, glad it came with a win.

  2. More media love - hope it doesn't make us soft.

    ESPN's Bill Simmons:
    "If I had to pick a Final Four right now, I'd go with Kansas, Wisconsin, Texas A&M and a Dark Horse To Be Named Later (for instance, I want to see what Durant and the Longhorns do against the Aggies Wednesday night). . .

    During the Kansas-Oklahoma game, Julian Wright submitted the single best half I've seen from a college player this year -- the first half, when Kansas rolled to a 33-19 lead on the road because Wright was destroying the Sooners in every possible way. If you haven't seen him yet, he's a 6'8" forward who plays the way we always wanted Tim Thomas and Billy Owens to play -- in other words, he's a truly gifted passer, breaks a sweat on defense, makes 18-footers, crashes the boards, busts his butt filling the wing on fastbreaks and actually seems to give a crap.

    His passing separates him from everyone else -- during one play last night, he was isolated on the right side, waved one of his post players (I forget which one) over to the same side, then threw him a perfect entry bounce pass that enabled the guy to immediately spin around for an easy layup. I'm putting this sentence in caps to emphasize the significance here: COLLEGE PLAYERS DO NOT NORMALLY MAKE PLAYS LIKE THIS. Assuming he enters the NBA next season (nobody knows if he's coming out), he'd join Boris Diaw, LeBron and Tim Duncan as one of the best passing forwards in the league. He has a real chance to become a significant pro. Anyway, if the Celtics finish last and guarantee themselves a top-four pick, obviously it would be catastrophic to lose out on Oden or Durant … but Joakim Noah and Julian Wright are clearly 3A and 3B in this draft, which means the Celtics would be getting a blue-chipper at any of the top four spots. Small consolation, but still. . .

    One more thing on Kansas: They have the highest ceiling of any college team (including Florida). They go eight-deep with four legitimate blue-chippers (Wright, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur, who only played six minutes last night), they have guards who can handle the ball and run fastbreaks, they have 3-point shooters, they have low-post guys … and if that's not enough, they enjoy playing with one another."

    And that's after watching the OU game!

    ESPN's Tim Keown:
    "And so the best teams are the ones who combine Program with talent. They're balanced and experienced, and they're just a little bit more upset-proof than the guys who reflexively put their heads down and go one-on-one against the world whenever it gets tense. Take Kansas, for one, and UCLA. Now those guys can coach."

  3. The Simmons quote is great, except here's yet another sportswriter who seems unaware that Julian has already declared he's staying. Do a little research next time, Bill ...

    Of course, Julian could still change his mind and go next year, but I don't want some columnist making up his mind for him.

    Didn't quite understand the Keown quote, though.

  4. But having said that, he's right-on about Julian's qualities, especially my own favorite thing about the kid: he "actually seems to give a crap."

  5. Here's the link to the full Keown article:


    He makes a decent point, but doesn't explain how KU or UCLA are good examples.