Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More Triumph?

Another hot week for the Jayhawks.

On Tuesday, they defeated Loyola (Md) by 30 points. On Saturday they went to Nebraska and emerged with a 21 point win. And last night they steamrolled over Oklahoma for another 30 point victory.

"Ten days ago, the Kansas Jayhawks had to fly to the East Coast and embarrass Boston College to be deemed worthy of Final Four talk.

At least, that was KU coach Bill Self’s theory as to why his team was suddenly one of the chic favorites to win the big one. Clearly, Self said, it was a regional thing.

On Monday night, with any possible regional biases out of the way, the No. 3 Jayhawks welcomed the country into their home for ESPN’s “Big Monday” and put on a show with an 85-55 blowout of Oklahoma. Kansas simply couldn’t afford to disappoint anyone." -Brady McCollough KC Star

Can these guys run the table in the conference?

"When a reporter asked Self whether the 17-0 Jayhawks give any thought to going undefeated, Self treated the question as a joke.

“No. God no,” he said. “We still have seven road games left. … We’re not even going to go there.”

Self’s not, but we are. It could happen. The third-ranked Jayhawks are that good. If they played Memphis’ schedule, the Hawks would almost assuredly run the table. Fortunately, the Big 12 will provide Kansas a far stiffer test than what Memphis will receive in Conference USA.

That’s good for us and for the Jayhawks, who must win five more games to match the record for the best start in school history (22-0 and the 1997 Jacque Vaughn-led Jayhawks).

“It hasn’t come up,” forward Darnell Jackson said when I asked him about going undefeated.

Well, the subject will be broached this season if the Jayhawks are able to play with the kind of intensity and precision they did Monday night consistently." - Jason Whitlock

After losing to the #2 and 3 teams in the nation, Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel says we're better than Memphis:

“I think Kansas is better,” Capel said. “They are the best team that we’ve played, and we have played some really good teams. They are so balanced. They shoot better than Memphis. They are bigger. They are probably equally as good in transition. They pass the ball better. I don’t think it is close that they are the best team in the country.”

Also worth noting, the Jayhawks were 17 for 18 at the free throw line.

In four games during the month of January, KU is 67-of-88 from the line. That calculates out to a 76.1-percent efficiency, compared to a 62.8-percent clip (167-of-266) during the season’s first 13 games.

So, after biting my tongue through the fall, when it was hard to get a handle on an injury plagued team, I'm starting to feel we can win it all.

We've had a lot of impressive wins, we got Nebraska's best shot - we didn't get Oklahoma's. But we look like an express train, and it's hard to see where we get stopped. Well, not that hard - there are those road games at Texas and A&M.

Of course, as an Obama supporter I'm all too familiar with how elusive a juggernaut with momentum can be. For both the Jayhawks and Obama, I'm optimistic. But right now my smart money goes with Kansas.


“I think that’s what our team is - we’re a spurt team. We can putter around and be behind 17-15 or be ahead 17-15, and three minutes later have a double-figure lead. And that’s what most really good teams can do.”-Bill Self

"He’s just now starting to show his talent level this year.” - Self on Rush

"When the Jayhawks are at their best, there's not a team in the Big 12 that can touch them. There might not be a team in the country that can touch them. Not when they're clicking as they were Monday night. Which is how they usually click." -Bob Lutz

"We just tried to put our foot on their throat and put it away.”-Mario Chalmers

Russell Robinson on Rush as a freshman, going up against senior Stephen Vinson in practice:

"Brandon couldn't get by him," Robinson said. "You couldn't tell who was better.

"You may come in as a big name, but it's a whole different game when you get to college. (Seniors) may not get as much attention as we should, but it's something you have to live with. The key is to be the last one standing in the end. That's where the glory is."


  1. Steven Vinson?!

    Great post, Chris. But you do now admit your cowardice in not making preseason predictions? I accept your apology, and await those of your blogmates.

    These last four games have just been -- What can I say? Basketball doesn't get any better. Individual numbers against OU were staggering.

    DJ: 17 points, 8 boards, 8-10 FGs, only 25 minutes.

    Brandon: 16 points, 9 boards, 4-7 on threes.

    Mario: 13 points, 5 assists, 3 steals.

    Russell: 5 assists, 2 steals.

    I do think we're the best team in the country -- MAYBE a tie with Memphis -- but I'm still not buying the undefeated thing. There are just too many pitfalls; K-State and Mizzou (this weekend) deserve mention along w/ the TX schools.

    But I also didn't predict we'd be undefeated at this point, so ...

  2. From Grant Wahl's annual magic eight - where he picks the eight teams from which the champion will emerge.
    (Accurate every year but 2003, thanks again, Syracuse):

    "The Jayhawks are just killing teams right now and should be on every college hoops fan's list of DVR musts. Bill Self has done a terrific job convincing NBA-level talent to buy into the team concept, even if it means sacrificing some stats. The result is a suffocating defense (especially on the perimeter), scary depth and the sort of explosive, but team-first attack, that just overwhelms opponents. When a player like Sherron Collins isn't even starting, you know there's something special brewing in Lawrence."

    Notable absence from this list? North Carolina.