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.