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.