Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Interesting SI article

According to SI KU is one of three super powers and has the highest ASM rank. Interesting numbers and stats to back it up. Have a look: SI

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Worth the Wait, But...

Gee, and I was worried Selby might have some jitters. He sure looked like Self's best recruit ever, if one game is any indication. I thought his strength was supposed to be at getting to the hoop -- he didn't do that, but what he did do was stroke it from deep -- which is exactly what this team has been needing. He was a bit of a liability on defense, which is probably why Self sat him from about 12: to 6: in the second half -- but that was exactly when we played our worst.

I guess Self was right when he said at halftime that our veterans were already standing around waiting on Josh to make plays. TT was terrible, and the twins once again got outmuscled by some admittedly talented Pac-10 big men. (What is the deal with all these unranked Pac-10 teams taking us to the wire?)

Other than Selby's shot and a couple of plays here and there, we played like garbage in the 2nd half. UCLA almost beat us a few weeks ago by making circus shots, whereas USC just broke our asses down on both ends of the floor. And again, the free throws. This team freezes up a bit at the Fieldhouse; we seem to be begging someone to take this home streak off our backs.

(While Markieff and Marcus weren't great, Bob Knight noted that "Maurice" Morris was making some contributions. So there's that.)

Aaron, are you out there? I think I caught some glimpses of you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Comes Early: Countdown to Selby

I've sort of gone back and forth on how much we need Josh Selby, considering we're undefeated with the best offense in the nation. Did the Colorado St. game expose some offensive weaknesses? In that game, we shot less than 50 percent; fortunately, our defense also held them to something like 25 percentage points below their shooting average.

It has seemed to me that we could use one more perimeter scorer; guys like TT and Releford have shot well from outside so far, but that's not their forte, nor is it for Brady. Reed shouldn't be our only deep threat. Selby by all accounts can score it from anywhere on the floor.

Self says he probably won't get the start. I'm sure that won't last long.

More from ESPN on Selby's imminent arrival.

Also, do yourself a favor and revisit the scouting report on Selby. He's actually pretty good.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

May-emphis at the Gahh-den

Once again KU finds itself matched against those RUBES from Memphis. (Just playin,' Scott.)

It's our first ranked opponent, but the scouting report makes them seem awfully similar to those Pac-10 teams -- raw but talent-rich and super-athletic.

What do you think of the Tigers, Scott, if you're out there? It's hard to get too scared of a team that had to go to OT to beat Arkansas State. Of course, they'll be slightly more interested in this game. So should the 'Hawks.

Lots of fun facts to be found in this ESPN preview. Did you know that the 'Hawks have lost 3 straight at Madison Square Garden since Hinrich and co. beat St. John's in 2000? I recall Jay-Z being on hand for that game. Remember that guy?

Another fun fact: Kansas leads the nation in field-goal percentage. Not too shabby.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Bruins Cry Foul

I hate the fact that it takes a b.s. controversy to get Kansas any national attention at all, but at least the NCAA is backing us up. Yes, it was a foul against UCLA. No, it was not a foul that normally gets called with 0.7 on the clock in a tie game. It was probably a makeup for the previous play when Reed turned it over after apparently getting bumped on the inbounds.

Whatever, Self is right: We would have lost that game on the road. It was frustrating in a lot of ways, but I thought UCLA deserves credit.

Howland seems to sort of have Self's number -- beating us with (somewhat) lesser talent in '07 and putting up a fight at Pauley last year with (very) lesser talent. Howland made all the right moves; our overplaying defense gave them a lot of trouble (10 steals), but they countered by backdooring us again and again. And, though I got sick of Fraschilla pointing it out endlessly, bringing their Shaq-like freshman off the bench was a good move.

UCLA, like 'Zona, is a talented, young sleeping giant that will make some noise this year, I think.

I'm not too worried about the free throws -- terrible though they were -- that just seemed like an anomaly to me. The bigger concern is whether our big men are really ready to tangle with the toughest frontcourts in the nation. In fairness, I don't know if there are a lot of big men in college hoops who are as powerful and as talented as 'Zona's Williams and UCLA's Smith. We shall see.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend in Vegas

A little late in posting on KU's great victories over Ohio and 'Zona. This was my first chance to see the team live, and needless to say I'm pretty stoked.

I like the defensive intensity. Cole's absence will make us more vulnerable to strong big men like Williams of Arizona, but the Twins held their ground and looked downright dominant at times. I liked what I saw from almost every player on the floor last weekend -- the twins, Tyshawn, Reed, Little, Releford, EJ. The only exceptions to me were Brady and Withey, who both had their moments but look a bit shaky out of the gate.

I will revert back to my original suspicion that we do need Selby. We need more scoring from the perimeter, esp. if Reed and Brady continue to struggle from deep.

We haven't had the strongest schedule thus far, but remember that Ohio knocked off the Hoyas in the 1st round last year, No. Texas was a solid tourney team as well, and Arizona is stocked with raw, talented guys looking to make their bones off an upset.

T-Rob's dunk to cap off the Arizona win was one of the most exciting KU plays in recent years -- and LJW finally gave us an exciting reel this time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last KU Loss at the Fieldhouse...

Now that we've broken the all-time KU home win streak record, let me take a moment to reflect on the last time Kansas lost at home:

It was February 2007. Just like today, the president was reeling from a midterm-election shellacking. The upcoming White House campaign was expected to be between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Rex Grossman was about to start in the Super Bowl the next day.

The Jayhawks were a raw, young team. Sherron Collins was a freshman, but a lot of people expected him to bolt for the NBA early and Julian Wright to stick around.

Our opponent was not Texas A&M CC, but just Texas A&M. The coach was Billy Gillispie. (Kentucky's coach was still Tubby Smith.) Kansas played a strong game overall, and seemed in control, but A&M got hot in the last few minutes and our guys missed some crucial shots down the stretch. At Jayhawk Nation, this led to an argument among the bloggers about whether Sasha Kaun should have been in the game -- the same Sasha Kaun who would later become a tournament hero. (I was on the right side of history in that one, thank you very much.)

It was the first and only time that a Big 12 South team won at the Fieldhouse.

By the way, Travis Releford supposedly had a spectacular reverse dunk in last night's game, but I can't find any video evidence of it. LJW's highlight reel is worth checking out, and very dunk-heavy in its own right, but if anyone can guide me to the Releford play I'd appreciate it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Selby is cleared to play!

Selby is finally eligible to play starting December 18th against USC! Unfortunately he'll miss the UCLA, Arizona, and Memphis games but at least we finally know when he can play.

Tonight's game against North Texas was a little frustrating to watch. Our defense is so off and on. The end of the first half was a mess. But then they came out of the gates very strong in the second half. They kept North Texas to I think only 4 points in the first 10 min. of the second half. I really think this team will come together as the season unfolds. Self has clearly been experimenting with different lineups. And who wouldn't with a bench this deep? Now that we finally have an answer to the Selby question, Self can finally start planning on incorporating him into practices and games. The team clearly has a lot to work on but they are fun to watch. It's a much faster team this year. This might sound a little crazy but this team may have more potential than last year's. Of course I miss Cole, but I also missed Julian... and recall what that led to. Like the '08 team we have speed, experience, and depth.

How will the chemistry change with Selby? Thoughts?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Forget Longwood, Here Comes Valpo

Sorry, YHD. I haven't been able to watch any games yet, and likely won't be able to watch Valparaiso tonight either. We need Aaron D. back (among others)...

Not much to be said about the Longwood game, I guess, but you've gotta love the 113 points -- highest in the Self era. This seems to confirm his prophecy that the team would be fast.

Interesting line from Tyshawn. Six turnovers is really too many against a patsy like Longwood. (I liked his quote after the game: "We just gotta be able to play fast and be less careless. I mean, I guess that’s just me -- saying that to myself.")

But I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt: 17 points, 10 assists and 3 steals more than cancels out those TOs. With Selby out indefinitely and EJ in the doghouse indefinitely, TT's our floor leader, for better or worse.

Odd to see Brady and Mario logging fewer minutes than Travis Releford. And to see people named Jordan Juenemann and Niko Roberts show up in the box score.

MONDAY NIGHT TRAP GAME ALERT: Valpo returns four starters from what was at least a decent team last season, and they're picked to finish 2nd in the Horizon League behind Butler. Just like KU, they scored 111 points against a patsy in their first game -- but held that team to 65, compared to Longwood's 75. So uh, watch out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Exhibit B

Second exhibition game last night. I missed the first half, but kusports did post this raw footage, which all looks first-half-ish.


When will we hear about Selby? People remain confident, but the first game tips in like two days!

Anyway, my concern at this point is defense: in the second half, our post players got beat bad by the Hornets. They're smaller and slower, and yet there they were, making layups... And our post guys are either veterans like the Morris brothers or guys like Robinson, who have been around (though not in games). Not to sound alarmist, but this aspect of the game should look better.

Upside? Of course, we were just dominant on offense, especially inside, and we hit a very impressive 35-40 free throws. (But does it seem weird to you that we shot 40 free throws in an exhibition game? Hmm.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Burn, Washburn, Burn!

OK, and we're back. The usual post-season hangover lasted much longer this year because that Northern Iowa debacle -- combined with Duke winning it all and being favored to repeat -- was just too f*ing devastating. Getting Josh Selby should have changed all that, but his eligibility STILL remains in question, plus it's hard to get too charged up over another one-and-done guy.

BUT... I'm ready to shake it off. Did anyone see the Washburn game? It sounds like the twins are ready to be stars, esp. Marcus, and even Tyshawn may be showing signs. Despite the pic at right, however, it looks like Elijah had a bad night. And Self didn't have much good to say; he even criticized Robinson and Little for being too small. We allowed them to shoot 50 percent, which always pisses HCBS off -- on those rare occasions that it happens.

This seems like one of those swing years where we could make the Final Four should everything go right, or we could be on the bubble should things go wrong (injuries, chemistry issues, no Selby). I'm going to lean towards the positive, though, because (a) I like the fact that Self is excited about our team speed, (b) no one seems to seriously believe Selby will be DQ'd, (c) Selby looks pretty damn good from the video I've seen, (d) Marcus' aforementioned blossoming, and (e) strong veteran leadership from Tyrel and Brady.

Also, (f) it's a new season and hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Long Live The Swat King

So long, Cole.

He was the best true center I've ever seen at Kansas -- maybe the best since Wilt. Critics said he was too slow, but he covered so much ground with that massive wingspan it hardly mattered. Favorite memories: his incredible 1st half against Hansbrough, his triple double against Dayton in the '09 tourney, and his complete ownage vs. the Tigers (both Memphis and Mizzou) this year.

It's too bad he couldn't stay another year -- he could have finally come out of Sherron's shadow and been "the man," and KU would have been a title favorite once again. But given his family's financial situation, he made the right decision. And I think he'll be one of the best centers in the league within a few years.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Under Pressure

This kind of game I don't need. I'm not sure how LeHigh only warranted a 16 seed, but we made them look better than they are at times with our usual episodes of sloppiness. This game was basically a carbon copy of rounds 1 and 2 in KC last week.

I guess the biggest frustration for me was defense. Yes, we held them to a low percentage, but we fouled incessantly -- they got 21 FT attempts to our 10. Some of that was bad officiating, but we got beat on defense a lot, in the 1st half especially.

The Midwest looks less formidable now with G-town out, but it doesn't get any easier in Round 2. No. Iowa is another one of those Mid-Majors that make these early rounds so miserable for the top seeds; we got past "Bucknell" (Patriot League), but can we get past "Bradley" (MVC) on Saturday?

Anyway, hats off again to Marcus and Sherron for scoring, Cole for blocks, Tyrel for clutch 3s, Tyshawn for facilitating the break, and X for doing a bit of everything.

And what a Day 1 it was. I just watched Texas take a 6-point lead in OT, and started to think to myself that they could knock off UK if they play like this -- and then, alas, they choked it all away.

Day One

Looking forward to the matchup with Lehigh tonight...

In the meantime, how about Robert Morris? I picked 'Nova into the Final Four, so this would sink my bracket, but it's hard to cheer against a 15-2 upset. What a wonderful time of year!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rock Chalk Big 12 Championship

Awesome! This was K State's best season ever and they lost to us 3 times! That says a lot.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Have I mentioned that I'm going to miss him?

In a game that was less than great, at least for the first 30 minutes, here's Collins' line:
9-19 from the field and 5-6 from the line, for a total of 26 points.
6 assists.
And, in a game rife with turnovers, only 1 TO.
Oh, and 1 rebound and 1 steal.


I received this text message, which seemed to sum up everything else pretty well:
"Last 10 mins was a lotta fun"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Big 12 Liveblog Spectacular '10

It's on, y'all. On ESPN2, that is. We'll be tuned in here at the office, and I'll see how many man-hours I can waste watching and blogging.

The Texas Tech motion offense has been a problem for Kansas on the road, not at home. Neutral sites? We'll see. I remember Roy beating up on Bob Knight pretty decisively in the '02 tourney. I want to say Aaron Miles had like 13 assists.

Also will be pulling for G-town vs. 'Cuse alongside the homers here.

Hope you guys are out there...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Back Where We Belong (#1)

KU conquers Columbia! J'Cuse goes down in flames! The table is set, ladies and gents.

That was quite a feast-or-famine game: 16-0 run for Kansas! 16-4 Mizzou! 16-0 Kansas again! Mostly "feast," though, and those runs were among the most entertaining ball we've played all year. That was a pleasure to watch.

Tyshawn and Tyrel must wish they could play Mizzou every week. In fact, one could say, the up-and-down style of play is "Taylor-made?" Thanks, I'll be here all week.

Reed deserves a bit more pub than he gets (although I see Keegan did give him some love before the game). He seldom scores more than a few baskets per game, but those 3s of his always seem to be lifesavers for KU and/or daggers to opponents. He's shooting a ridiculous 45% from 3.

Slowly but surely, we're getting closer and closer to the 2008 team in terms of balanced production -- we won't ever quite get there since this team doesn't have a Sherron coming off the bench.

It's a strange thing; even though Mizzou has gotten better under Anderson, some of the air seems to have gone out of the rivalry. Maybe now that they actually expect to be in the Dance every year, the single-minded motivation to beat Kansas isn't the same. Or maybe it's just that Self owns Anderson (going back to his UAB days).

(Not that the crowd wasn't still out for blood. Was there really someone wearing a black KKK robe in the crowd to distract our FT shooters? Did I imagine that? Surely I imagined that.)

The Midwest Regional (OKC-St. Louis) is now ours to lose if it wasn't already. The other good thing is, as one commentator was pointing out, the committee should stack the best 2 and 3 seeds in the same bracket with the weak #1 -- Duke, K-State, and say, Ohio State could all be bunched together, leaving our bracket relatively clear.

P.S. It's March, people, and this could be the best KU team ever when all's said and done. I want to see everybody here a-bloggin'. Blog like the wind. As John Oliver says, it's quite literally the least you can do.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Now?

Sorry, I know I shouldn't, but I just couldn't resist that headline.

For what it's worth, Keegan agrees, saying the loss could help KU down the line...

I don't know about that, but I do like the fact that the '08 team lost in Stillwater... and then never lost again!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"It was an unbelievable feeling,'' said Collins, who had 17 points and six assists. ''It was kind of heavy, but it felt good to hoist it to the crowd.''

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Status Report: The Records

There are so many records in the making with this team, it's hard to keep track.

-- Sherron is now tied for winningest KU player ever (123) -- with Raef and his class of '98. Granted, this has something to do with the quality of Sherron's teammates over four years, and with the greater number of games that are scheduled these days, but still... Wow. (The media has been including Brady in this milestone, but this blog does not recognize Brady's redshirt season as part of the win total.)

-- Anyway, never mind that. Ten more wins puts Sherron in a tie with Battier and Duke's class of '01 for winningest college player ever. EVER!

-- Sherron has also become one of only three players in KU history with at least 1,700 points and 500 assists. The others are Hinrich and Darnell Valentine.

-- Cole already has the single season Kansas record for blocks -- the first KU player with more than 100 in a season -- and is on track to pass Poster-tag for the all-time KU record in only his junior year. (* It does have to be mentioned, as always, that this stat was not kept in Wilt's day.)

-- Kansas is five away from its all-time home winning streak of 62. Unfortunately we can't catch that one this year -- unless we turn down our NCAA bid in favor of the NIT. Probably not worth it.

-- The other day, Yancy asked how many teams have won six conference titles in a row. The LJW reports that Kansas would be the first BCS team to win that many conference titles in a row since UCLA '67-79. Holy shit! Can you say JUGGERNAUT?

-- As we discussed earlier, Kansas has a chance to become the first team to win the title with only one loss since the mid-1970s. If this milestone is achieved, Chris and I will have been proven very, very wrong. And happily so.

-- *Edit... I can't believe I initally forgot this, but it's the most important one of all: total program wins. The University of Kansas is now only 4 wins shy of 2,000, which only the tainted Kentucky program has reached so far. And... and... AND... WAIT FOR IT....

-- At the same time, KU is now only two games behind UNC for second place in the overall wins race. Along with Bill Self, the two coaches most responsible for this achievement are: Current UNC coach Roy Williams, whose team has been in an unbelievable tailspin this season; and former Kansas coach... Roy Williams, without whose incredible 80% winning proficiency from '89 to '03 Kansas never would have been in reach of the Heels for total wins at this point. Yay, irony!

Any others that I've missed?

Anyway, I missed the Colorado game, but I loved the LJW's wordless highlight reel. Great to see Tyshawn and X back on track.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Or extraordinarily vulnerable?

Yet another close, ugly win. This time it was on the road against a worthy opponent. One that, according to Bob Knight, was just as athletic and talented as the Jayhawks.

"You'd hate to get all existential about it, but sometimes the universe just doesn't make sense.

Who could watch No. 1 Kansas beat Texas A&M 59-54 Monday and not come away questioning destiny (or something like that)? Did Kansas deserve to win? Did Texas A&M deserve to lose? What is justice? Is it really better to give than to receive? What is the meaning of life?

Or maybe you ask a simpler question: How on earth did Kansas win that game?"

I do like the way this team keeps its head and wins tough games. But why are they all so tough? So muddy.

“Billy Tubbs (former Oklahoma coach) told me one time, ‘Over the course of a season, you gotta play some close games, but you don’t wanna play too many.’ Because for whatever reason, he feels like they all balance out at the end. . .

“Because when you play so many close games,” Self said, “it does take a grind on your team.”

Never mind that the mention of Billy Tubbs giving Self advice sent shivers up my spine. But, at what point do we start dropping these games? Will the ugly games and the pressure of having won so many in a row, plus trying to knock off six opponents in a row hurt us in the tourney?

My only hope, other than winning some pretty games that don't require us to dig so damn deep every night, is that we drop one. 16-0 sounds sweet, so maybe it can be in the finals of the Big XII tourney.

Or maybe it's hubris to start talking about needing a loss. But, I'd like to see some change of dynamic to let the pressure off - blow out the steam.

Down to brass tacks, the bad:
Sherron's performance
Outside Shooting

The good:
Free throws
Aldrich's shot blocking

In a week that saw Syracuse and Nova go down, I'll take this win. Winning ugly at College Station is nothing to apologize for.

I'm just starting to worry if we know how to win any other way.

"There is a reason why Kansas is who they are. They find ways to win games like that. They're better than I thought. Our league is good and they're 11-0. I don't know if anyone can beat them." - Turg

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Status Report

Time for a new post.

So, we're 23-1 and 9-0 in the Big 12. As mentioned below, do we have the stones to go 16-0?

And how does this team match up to recent teams in terms of quality and record?

In terms of the conference, I bet we will lose at least one game. The most likely target is A&M on Monday. We often, however, lose conference games we shouldn't. Remember the championship team's loss to Oklahoma State in February? A team that was 14-12? Of course, that was after the tragic deaths of Roderick Stewart and Darnell Jackson's family members. And they didn't lose again.

So far, record-wise we outstrip the champions. At this point in 2008, they had lost twice, and were about to lose to the aforementioned Cowboys. Only three losses total and they definitely won when it mattered.

The '06-'07 Jayhawks had lost to Oral Roberts, Depaul, Texas Tech, A&M. That was their last loss until they met UCLA in the Elite 8. So, that team lost 5 total, and 4 by this point in the season.

Sadly, record-wise, the only Bill Self team these Jayhawks resemble is the imploding 04-05 team. They had one loss to Villanova until late February when they lost three in a row, and dropped three more before it was all said and done.

Moving on to quality, how do we stack up against the championship team? That's the only comparison that matters, right?

I reckon we are more consistent, but less spectacular. That team had so many weapons, but often, no single leader. And that team struggled more in muddy, tough games.

But they sure threw a lot of alley-oops!

The championship team played great defense and smooth offense. But they were a little mercurial. Is Rush going to disappear? Is Arthur going to foul out? They also struggled with turnovers and free throws.

While this team has similar turnover and free throw issues (cough, Brady) they, so far, seem more consistent. Cole will consistently get tons of rebounds and blocks. And now that he's healthy, he'll probably put up at least 10 points. Sherron and Marcus have also been super consistent for us in league play.

So, how do we feel about this team? Elite 8? Final Four? Championship?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Drum Roll....

Hmm, I guess this game has lost some of it's luster. I go underground for three days and no one posts a damn thing...

Well, what do we think? Do we coast through overconfidently, knowing we can lose and still be up two in the conference? Or by the same token, do we go in with just the right amount of confidence while Texas plays tight and desperate? Do we falter because we're due for a loss after dodging bullets last week, while Texas is due for a win? Or can we count on Rick Barnes to continue his usual late-season swoon?

It pains me, but I think I'll give this one to the 'Horns -- they just have too much talent, and too much motivation, to let us beat them in their own gym. They'll brutalize us defensively, the refs will let them, and we'll lose by 3 in another thriller.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mr. Clutch

Sherron? Yes. But there was at least one other "Mr. Clutch" in the K-State game: Swat King Cole.

It was Cole who overcame homer refs to dominate the paint almost as thoroughly as he did against the weaker Mizzou frontline. It was Cole who played 10 minutes of regulation and overtime with 4 fouls, and continued to play dominant defense without committing that 5th foul. It was Cole who made the go-ahead shot in OT on an inbounds play when we had only 5 seconds on the shot clock.

Cole is back, baby.

Marcus was also great -- we desperately needed that double-double against a powerful rebounding team like the 'Cats. He and his brother were completely screwed by the refs.

Perimeter ballhandling continues to frustrate -- Sherron, TT, X, and Brady all had key turnovers that helped keep KSU in the game. On the other hand, all of those guys, plus Tyrel, made heroic plays as well. So... I guess I like our team.

And again, we're #1.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunflower Showdown Saturday

The Highly ranked purple power kittens come to town on Saturday. How thoroughly shall we crush their spirits? I say 17 points. 83-66 or something along those lines.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tiger Beat

Time to rally, people. Big Monday is upon us.

LJW asks the question: Can you hate Mike Anderson?

The Star notes that "40 minutes of Hell" hasn't always been in effect this year. It sure looked operative when I saw them beat Illinois, however. Kim English is an exciting player; and J.T. Tiller will be looking to feast on X and Tyshawn if they're weak with the ball.

I like our prospects; there's no way our guys won't be up for this, plus the ISU game Saturday was our best performance since Temple. X is still cold, but Cole is back, Marcus continues to impress, and moving Brady ahead of TT seems to be working for both players. For a team that's supposed to be riddled with infighting, I liked the body language I saw from everyone on the floor and on the bench Saturday.

I loved everything about this LJW story: Cole using Facebook for good instead of evil; Cole getting a standing O in the locker room; and Brackins whining to the Twins about double teams.

Also, Withey. Who knew?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Said, Don't Overlook Baylor!

Is Baylor really that good? To my eyes, that was the best performance by a KU opponent this year -- Tennessee included. (Granted, I missed Cornell).

Baylor is the first team in two years to shoot above 50% against the 'Hawks. I expected Self to be apoplectic about that -- but his response was, hey, they just made a lot of guarded shots.

(How about Self ripping Scott Drew for snubbing the game intros? I've not seen him publicly criticize another coach since Bruce Weber was provoking him back around '05.)

We did force a lot of turnovers. But we got outrebounded and had no blocked shots -- which leads me to conclude that the main liability was Cole, who seemed a step slow and got himself in foul trouble. I keep expecting him to break out of this funk, and his offense wasn't too bad, but this may have been his worst overall outing this season. Hopefully he can get over his grief soon.

Sherron and Marcus, on the other hand, were nothing short of f*ing brilliant. So at least we no longer look like a one-man team; but we need to be more than a 2-man team.

Also in danger of turning into a 2-man team: this blog. Let's step it up, people.

Monday, January 18, 2010

and conference play begins...

So my parents came down for a visit over the weekend and got to go to their first ever game at the Fieldhouse. They really enjoyed it but after the game my mom said, “I thought the Fieldhouse would be a lot bigger and a whole lot louder”. I have to say it was one of the quietest games I’ve ever been to at the Fieldhouse... even the rock chalk chant was pretty low key. Maybe it was because we never trailed but still, it was our Big12 opener and Texas Tech is no cupcake. Our defense looked real solid most of the game but, once again, at times we seemed to struggle on offense. We seem to be long on talent but short on chemistry. There have also been rumors of fights and frustration over minutes. Is this a recipe for trouble? Thoughts?

As I’m typing this KSU just took down Texas. Who knew K-state would be this good?

Anyway here are some pics my mom took at the game:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Big 12, Baby

Just in case you thought winning at Nebraska is insignificant: I nearly did a spit-take when they said on the telecast that the Big 12 was 114-1 (not a typo) at home. According to the Star, that one loss was Iowa St., by three points, against 15-1 Northern Iowa.

Granted, there were a lot of strawberry shortcakes in there -- including KU opponents -- and all those Pac-10 teams have turned out to be 'cakes as well (Cal is probably the best team in that conference).

114-1 until last night, that is. We still looked out of it for about 3 quarters of that game, but it was a nice bounce-back from the 3-point stripe, and for Marcus. Sherron continues to get it done, and there was help from Brady ("he's a raker!") and Tyrel.

Cole and X continue to look dispirited on the offensive end. I have confidence that they'll snap out of it; but I still say some of the onus has to be on their coaches and teammates to get them involved.

By the way, once again we have celebrity sightings at the Devaney Center: This time it was Joba Chamberlain; a few years ago it was my second-favorite comedian (after Chris, of course); and in 2002 it was the Hughes-Dominicks w/ yours truly.

Monday, January 11, 2010

We're # ... 3?

Against Cornell only Sherron played well; against Tennessee yesterday basically no one played well. Self berated the players after the game, but (granting that he's forgotten more about hoops than I'll ever know) I'd like to point the finger at him for a second.

Self complains that the players aren't sharing the ball, but how about some play-calling? Sure, Xavier needs to be more aggressive, but is it fair to just expect the kid to improvise? Why not run some screens to get him open? I can't believe how much of a non-factor he was in this game, and I don't think it's all his fault.

Also, Self may be the best teacher of defense in college basketball, but sometimes under game pressure he seems to overreact and make bad defensive switches. We almost lost the '08 title game after Self decided to go box-and-one against Chris Douglas-Roberts; this move allowed Derrick Rose to finally get going after he'd been struggling the whole game. Against Tennessee, after a few bad defensive possessions late, Self freaks out and decides to go into a zone for most of the rest of the game -- which, as it always does, yielded opened jumpers for the opponent and got our big men out of rebounding position.

When you have more size, depth and talent than your opponent -- and more importantly, the best man-to-man defense in all of college basketball -- there is never a reason to go zone, other than maybe a possession or two to confuse the opponent or protect a player in foul trouble.

Anyway, that's my rant. I don't think the sky is falling; our boys will pull it together. Here's to a great Big 12 season.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

KU Outlasts Ivy League Pantywaists

I guess Andy Bernard is right: Corne-e-ell is not to be f*cked with. Can I call a trap game or what?

All the ingredients for a KU loss were there: a senior-laden, tourney-tested opponent shooting over 50% till late in the game; Self drawing techs; Tyshawn and Brady fighting over defensive assignments; and every KU player other than Sherron and Cole going 0-fer on two-point attempts (yes, you read that right).

One thing seems clear: This team doesn't have the overall balance that the '08 group did. Our most talented guys are Sherron, Cole, and a bunch of underclassmen -- all of whom played like underclassmen last night.

However, this team has one thing that the '08 team did not: Sherron Collins as a senior. I'll paste from Yancy's earlier comment:

33 points;
9-16 field goals (including 2 of 5 from 3);
13-14 from the line (!);
4 rebounds;
3 assists;
2 steals;
and only 1 turnover. Damn.

Wasn't exactly fun to watch that game, but there's probably something good about having to struggle once in a while...

See highlight reel for some great plays by Sherron -- and Cornell's Wittman. They could be this year's Davidson.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

We Are No. 1

(No exclamation point needed. It's scientific fact now.)

Sorry, Seth Davis.

So many things to like in the box score against Temple:

Sherron: 14 points, 6-9, 2-4 from 3, 4 assists and 3 steals to zero turnovers.
Xavier: 15 without breaking a sweat, and his brother goes 2 for 3 from deep.
Tyshawn: 5 rebounds -- important given all the Temple 3 attempts clanging long off the rim.
Brady: 5 assists, and nailing his only shot attempt -- a big 3 in the first half.

The 'Hawks shot 54% against a team previously holding opponents in the 30s -- while Temple was held to 25%. Nine (yes, 9) Kansas players shot 50% or better.

You were in Philly, right, Aaron? Sure was nice to hear "Rock Chaaalk" at the end.