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)


  1. Sporting News also puts Kansas on Upset Alert!!!

    We're at Defcon One here, people! Where is everybody?

  2. Oh fine, more for the bulletin board:

    The Times says that NDSU is in good position to pull off the upset because of their awesome, super-human, dominant point guard:
    "Ben Woodside . . . A senior who averages 22.8 points and 6.3 assists a game, he scored 60 this season against Stephen F. Austin."

    Ooh--60 against SFAU? Uh oh.

    And my one and only (sigh) hometown paper allowed a columnist to write, with respect to predicting upsets, that he would "take North Dakota State's 41.2 percent three-point accuracy and give the Bison a chance to beat Kansas over Arizona forward Chase Budinger's inconsistency in a game against disciplined Utah."

    Am I worried? No, I guess not. But I sure as hell hope the team is!

  3. I can't resist:

    Did some digging and found out that those 60 points were scored in a triple overtime game. Takes some of the punch away, doesn't it?

    And what if I told you that NDSU lost that game, nevermind the 60?

    Nah, not worried. But you better be, Sherron!
    (He reads this blog, right?)

  4. Seattle P-I RIP.

    It appears that the Upon Further Review guys were indeed being facetious.

    I appreciate your nonchalance in the face of peril, YHD.

    But I hope that Sherron doesn't go out there trying to outscore Woodside the way he did against Jonny Flynn. That could be a recipe for disaster.

    You're an All-American now, Sherron! You don't have to prove anything statistically. Just get your teammates involved, play defense and WIN, baby!

    Whitlock: "I like the Kansas Jayhawks a lot on the nights when Sherron Collins lets the game come to him offensively. They'll lose in the first round if Collins gets out of control."

    Mayer: "It's D-Day-, Battle of the Bulge-, and Iwo Jima-time for Gen. Sherron Collins."

  5. Slate mentioned how NDSU has about 5 guys who redshirted so they're pretty old for college ball.

    Also, I'm enjoying the Obama - Coach K pissing match.

    I've only seen two KU games this year, so I have literally no feeling for how any of this will break.

    But, with two bad losses down the stretch, and the sports media rooting against us, there's no way we overlook NDSU.

  6. Oh man! Coach K did a fundraiser for Liddy Dole!?!

    That so helps me continue my dislike of Duke and the GOP!

    You've missed out on a fun team to watch, Chris, though hopefully you can see a few--or five or (?) six games now!

  7. Like his mentor Bob Knight, Coach K is a well-known conservative.

    Speaking of hated coaches, I'm surprised we haven't heard more from you on the Calhoun episode, Chris. Man, what an a-hole.

  8. True, but he's out sick today, some concern it might have to do with his skin cancer.

    So, maybe I'll go easy on Calhoun today.

    Coach K is back to being public enemy #1.

  9. Self: "I think it’s OK for our president to spend five or seven minutes of his day getting away from all the things he has to deal with daily because I am sure his plate is more full than any of us could imagine."

    In fairness, Coach K may have been a little tongue-in-cheek there more than anything else. Or maybe not, I don't know. It is more fun to hate on him.

    On a different, scarier note, Self mentions in that same article that NDSU runs "the best motion of anyone we've played all year." Motion offense on top of everything else? That's Self's defensive Achilles heel, if our last three visits to Lubbock are any indication.

    This game is FREAKIN' me out.

    Steady, Lee. Calm blue ocean. Serenity now.

  10. Well, not to have this become a point counter-point thing, but we did beat Tech 109-51 in Lawrence last year.

    Different team and all that, of course, but worth keeping in mind.

  11. Yeah, but we're the road team this time.

    Neck-and-neck early on. I was hoping we could kill their dreams early.

  12. I guess expected this start, what with their fans and all that.

    At least we're scoring almost at will. I'm sure our D will tighten up.

  13. Refs are calling us for a lot of touch fouls on the perimeter -- not a good omen.

    You're right, though, that we seem to be able to get what we want on offense -- yet we have the twins insisting on heaving up 3s and Sherron insisting on tossing up quick, guarded jumpers. Just penetrate, dammit!

  14. That's better. Tyshawn's doing a nice job of getting to the hole.

  15. We're better and stronger.

    Need more help D, though. Looking better on that turnover on the baseline just now.

    7-2 run! Let's put them away!

  16. Great, just as we were starting to run away with it, Sherron forces up a bad shot, Tyshawn gets mugged with no call, and they get a goaltend and a three. Neck-and-neck once again.

    But another dunk from Cole!

  17. Great possession just before half. Sherron perfectly under control, perfect shot.

    Up 9. Yes, we can.

  18. Strong, smart finish to the half.

    Feels just about right so far.

  19. Damn.

    Will someone just get in front of that kid? Giving up way too many layups!

  20. Yeah, he's breaking us down, and the refs are in love with him.

    Very disappointing 2nd half so far. Just keep pounding it into Cole!!

  21. Brilliant defensive adjustment!

    Is Cole a one-man zone down there stopping Woodside? Whatever Self did, it's genius.

    Clearly Coach of the year.

  22. rock chalk!

    not our best game ever, but how about Sherron? what was it, like 32 points and 8 assists? and Cole put up some huge numbers . . .


  23. Wow, that was an awfully quiet 32 points. I guess a lot of it came early, before they switched over to the game here.

    It's poetic justice, I think, that Sherron gets his career high in a game where he focuses on pounding it inside to Cole. See how that works?

    Also had something to do with that porous Bison defense, of course.

    And how many dunks did Cole get in that game?

  24. Switched over? Man, you need to get yourself some Internets!

    I do see how that works; hope Collins does as well.
    Were quite a few occasions where he and that star Bison would trade "yeah, I can do that" shots . . . and fortunately Collins could indeed do that.

  25. Yeah, I notice that the LJW liveblog as the game went on was peppered with criticisms of Sherron for being too selfish. He did put up twice as many shots as Aldrich, which definitely seems disproportionate given that Cole was shooting 75 percent (!) from the field.

    As for online viewing, our IT people have expressly prohibited use of streaming video during the tourney, Yance. It's like Soviet Russia over here...

    Chris? Scott? Aaron? Ismail? Bueller?

  26. Wait, they prohibit online viewing, but allow you to watch tv?

    I tried to nudge Ismail into commenting, but apparently my attempts were as futile as the Bison's.

    75% is nice; did we ever get a dunk count? Must've been at least 5 or 6.

  27. We always have multiple TVs going here. This is a newsroom, dammit!

    The streaming video ban is to protect our servers.

    Another thing I like in this game is the turnover count. Everyone made a big deal about how we were going to lose because we turn it over so much more than NDSU. What they weren't taking into account was that NDSU doesn't play defense well enough to force any TOs, whereas KU does -- hence only 5 turnovers for KU vs. 9 for the Bisons.

    Woodside goes for 37, though. Yeesh. There sure have been some great individual performances against the 'Hawks this year -- Brackins, Voskuil...

  28. Mizzou and Pitt struggling a bit early... Maybe everyone had the wrong fashionable upset pick.

  29. And WV is down; if they lose, that would sure help us out.

  30. Maybe. I don't know if WVU really is significantly better than Dayton.

    Would be nice not to have to play Huggy-style rugby in the 2nd round, I suppose.

  31. Hey, I'm just noticing on the box score -- nice game for Marcus Morris: 3 for 3, 7 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, no turnovers.

    It was his doppelganger who made Deron very, very angry by heaving up a 3 in the first half.

  32. KC Star: "Aldrich scored all of his field goals on dunks."

    That can't be right, can it? He had 9 friggin' FGs!

  33. Well, the AP counts it at at least 8. (Hard to tell from the write-up whether that eighth one was the last one).
    My that is impressive.

    Looks like we do indeed get Dayton. Wish I'd watched that game instead of graded papers, but I suppose I'll see them soon enough.

    All things considered, I'm thrilled with today. Sure it took monster games from our two stars, but they had a lot of momentum on their side--nice to see us weather something like that & not lose our cool.