Wednesday, March 21, 2007


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.


  1. I am worried about this match up. They play slow, dont turn it over, and have their (much discussed) good defense. KU cant keep shooting as well all tournament, right? It feels like a trap game to me.
    As for Mario- yes, he was awesome. He doesn't remind me of Kirk. Kirk seemed to play faster. Not out of control, but faster. Also, he was a much better athlete than people recognized (not that Mario isn't a great athlete). Mario seems to be more of a finesse type player, while the thing I loved about Kirk was his scrappiness and intensity. Maybe I am wrong.

    Sasha, on the other hand, while no Chenowith, is certainly no Collison! Think how good this team would be if Sasha was good for 24 minutes, 10 points and 8 boards!

  2. Also, Kirk was a better offensive rebounder. It seemed like he was always on the glass. More like Rush in that regard.

  3. Good stuff on regarding the "tough D" talk:
    Sasha: "Everybody’s talking about Southern Illinois’ defense. I think we are a pretty good defense as well."
    Video here.

    I guess I'm not as worried as Ismail, then. They were good in their conference, and yes they beat VT, but their schedule (RPI be damned) just doesn't impress me too much. I think we'll be able to score on them, but even if we don't I think we should have a solid win. Or, to put it another way: their margin of error is even thinner than ours, and I like that.

    I see what Deron's getting at with the Chalmers/Hinrich line--big plays when we need them, on both ends of the floor. That three against Texas the 2nd time had a very Hinrich feel to it.
    That being said, I agree with IP on the scrappiness factor.

  4. PS, you may have already seen (heard, really) this, but Jay Bilas' comments to Ryan Greene of are worth the listen.

    In particular, I liked the comment that the final four is not 'the best four teams' (due to match-ups, etc.). Also, the clarification of the term 'mid-major': no shame in it, says Mr Bilas; it refers to resources, not success rate. . . .

  5. Despite the Duke pedigree, Bilas has become my favorite college hoops commentator.

    Good point about Kirk's rebounding, Ismail. That hadn't occurred to me.

    But I don't think Mario yields anything to Kirk in "scrappiness." You can't really "finesse" your way to leading the Big 12 in steals two years running (as an underclassman, no less).

    He and Kirk are the only KU guards I can think of who have no weaknesses (Pierce might be another, but he played small forward in college)...

    As for the Salukis, it's good to see that our defensive numbers are better than theirs (percentage D is much more important than scoring D), but our players are sounding a bit overconfident on this point -- not necessarily a good sign. They're giving SIU some bulletin board material.