Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gone To Seed

Chris texted me to say this was one of the least disappointing of KU's tourney exits, and I would have to agree. After all, we played to seed; we met or exceeded expectations for the year; and we made a heroic effort against the Spartans.

What hurts is that this was a winnable game, and we seemed to be the better team. Cole and Sherron were near-unstoppable, Brady and Tyrell had some nice moments, and we played with great aggression on both ends of the court. But we were undone by some of the usual problems -- turnovers, lack of scoring balance, poor shot selection by our freshmen. And credit to MSU for making some big, timely baskets and stops.

(What also hurts, by the way, is being outdone by Mizzou. When was the last time they advanced further than Kansas? Early '90s?)

Interesting turning point here. It feels to me -- and this is just an instinct -- that if we had pulled this one out we would have definitely seen Cole and/or Sherron bolt for the pros regardless of what happened in the next round. The two of them played like superstars, esp. in the first half. The hype on them if we had won this game would have been blinding. But since we lost, maybe not so much.

If those guys are back, we're a Final Four favorite in 2010. If they're back and Lance Stephenson commits, we're the favorite for the national title.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Anything Mizzou Can Do...

I'm still sort of in shock that the MU Tigers beat the MU Tigers last night -- at least that they did it so convincingly. I've seen Mizzou play well this year, but nowhere near THAT well. Sorry, Scott, but at least it's a boon to the Big 12. Can KU and OU follow suit?

Also glad, of course, to see the Devils go down in flames. Duke's now-customary comeuppance has become my second favorite event in the tourney every year, next to any KU win.

I've been going back and forth on this MSU game. They have the much more balanced and experienced team. It's an even match statistically, although they rebound better than us. Defensively, it's a little scary to consider their big men doing to Cole what we did to Hansbrough last year -- and MSU's Travis Walton spending day and night studying Sherron like an FBI profiler.

But ... we have the revenge factor, which is always a big psychological advantage, as is the underdog status, which we so rarely get to enjoy as Kansas fans. Even more important, they haven't played anyone as good as us ... ever since they did play us way back when. And it is a scientific fact that the Big 10 sucks this season.

So... OK, that settles it. 'Hawks by 5!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Will he stay or will he go?

There's a nice article about Sherron on If we somehow make it back into the final four this year is it likely that Sherron will go? Surprisingly the article says that Sherron is going to leave it up to Self to decide. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Self will want Sherron to head the team for sure next year. If we can hang on to Aldrich and Sherron we will be, with out question, one of the most dominate teams in the nation. Who knows how things will work out though. I think we actually turned into a better all around team having lost Julian a couple years ago. But I think the case is very different wit Sherron. I don't know if you could really fault Sherron for going but I think he could be even better if he waited one more year. Is everybody too focused on Friday to care about this issue yet? Thoughts?

Monday, March 23, 2009

No-Fly Zone

I had my doubts going into the weekend, but it's on to the Sweet 16 once again.

Cole snags the triple-double and becomes immortalized in tourney history. That had to be the most dominant individual tourney performance for KU at least since Collison against Duke in '03.

Sherron was nearly as good; Keegan has a good column (can't believe I just said that) in which Self really sings Sherron's praises -- an interesting counterpoint in a year when a lot of KU observers (including myself) have been quick to criticize him.

I have to admit, as Coach Self did, we were lucky that Dayton was terrible offensively. There were a lot of stretches when the 'Hawks went cold and the Flyers had a chance to build some momentum, but they just seemed to self-destruct on the offensive end. Their wing players were kamikazes, repeatedly driving right at Cole and getting it sent back every single time.... and then doing it again. But give our defense just a little credit as well -- Dayton had no problem against supposed defensive juggernaut West Virginia the other day.

The biggest concern now: Have we become too much of a two-man show? By my count, the dynamic duo scored 93 of Kansas's 144 points over the weekend. Mario, Tyrel and Marcus had some nice moments here and there, but that consistent third option has never materialized. Does it need to?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I think I just smiled at him

Is there some way both versions could be right? Please?

One of Collins’ misses was put back hard by Aldrich, who dunked, was fouled and hit a free throw, upping a 73-67 lead to 76-67 with 1:53 left.

KU’s team leaders and fast friends — Collins said they have hung out off the court together a lot more this season than last — visited on the court after that bucket.

“I told him, ‘That’s how you go up and dunk. That’s how you finish at the rim. He whispered in my ear, ‘Da da da, da da da,’’’ Collins added, singing the theme song from ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Aldrich’s version?

“He always says some of the goofiest things,” he said of Collins. “He said, ‘Good follow (shot), way to go crash the boards.’ I think I just smiled at him.”

So it is indeed the Flyers for us tomorrow. Thoughts? I feel confident about our ability, and yesterday can't but be good for the team.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Death March To Minny?

There's a lot of fear and trembling in Jayhawk-land going into the tourney this year. Everyone seems to agree that the Midwest is the toughest bracket, and that the 'Hawks are ripe for an upset.

Keegan says we have no chance (although he's doing it to try to reverse-jinx our boys). Fox Sports puts N. Dakota St. on their list of Cinderellas and Kansas on their list of likely early exits. The Wall Street Journal also envisions a possible first-round upset. Joe Lunardi has us losing to West Virginia. CBS Sportsline's Doyel has us losing to Dayton. One notable exception is the KC Star's Upon Further Review blog, which puts us in the Final Four -- but I can't tell if they're being facetious.

The good thing about all of this is that the fashionable upset picks often don't materialize -- and it obviously provides good bulletin board material for our players. But I'm not going to ignore the evidence; NDSU is exactly the type of team best suited to beat us: deadly outside shooting, packed with 5th-year seniors who have won games against major conference competition, and headed by a major game-breaker on the offensive end, Ben Woodside, who seems an excellent candidate to pull another Voskuil (Texas Tech) on us. Plus once again the committee has set us up for a road game -- Minneapolis is just a few hours away from NDSU's campus.

The KC Star's statistical breakdown gives NDSU the advantage over KU in 10 of 15 categories. The one good thing here, though, is that even with our much stronger strength of schedule, we're a lot better than they are in one very important category -- FG percentage defense. Soooo... if we can just keep the unforced turnovers to a minimum and get out on their shooters, we should be OK. I think. (shudder)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Big 12 Blog-a-thon

And we're off...

Anyone catch Texas Tech's comeback against the Aggies last night? Sort of takes the curse off of our loss in Lubbock, but wow, I've never seen a team look as flummoxed as Turgeon and co. at the end of that game. Does this lock them out of the Dance for sure?

KU-Baylor is T-minus 80 minutes -- I'll be furtively following it at the office.

I hope you're all on board, and online, for the rest of our 2009 run.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

KU Big XII Champs; Kleinmann: The white Bill Russell

That's right b*tches! Five Rings for the Kleinmann, he is unstoppable! :)

Anyway, it was good to see us gather ourselves in a tough grind it out game and pull it out, even if it was at home. Damion James was having a great game, but Aldrich and Taylor woke up just in time to put an end to it. Seems like they let Pittman bang a lot in that game, we're going to be in trouble at whatever point in the tourney Aldrich gets into foul trouble. If we can weather that part of the game, we might be able to sneak out another elite 8 I think.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wait, What?

I don't even know what we can say about last night.

(Photo from

Better now than in a post-season game, I suppose.

Have we won a single game in Lubbock this century? What gives?

But hey, we won the Big 12, so it's not all doom and gloom . . .

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Down goes Mizzou!

"I'm falling in love with this team" --Self.

"I think today was just one of those days that went well for us" --Collins.

WOW! We looked great today. Cole had 19 points and 14 rebounds. Sherron had 25 points and looked good except for a couple of crazy drive attempts. I actually sat next to his grandma at the game. She was cheering like crazy. I think he's realizing that he doesn't have to do it all. As long as Brady or Reed or Taylor has a decent game we're solid. I'm not sure how many turnovers we had but it was far fewer than in the last game at Mizzou. So which is it: was Mizzou that overrated, or are we this good? I'm inclined to think it's the latter. We seemed to handle the press much better this game. Thoughts?

To top it all off, Heinrich's jersey was retired at halftime. Collison was also there. Here's a few pics:

I can't wait for the big 12 tournament and a likely matchup with the, this time, Blake Griffin led Sooners. We seem to have a legit shot at a #2 seed which I never would have believed at the beginning of the season. Can't wait for the madness!