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?


  1. And how do we compare with the other contenders? I'm really asking as I haven't seen Kentucky, Syracuse, etc.

  2. Also, Self is closing in on 400 wins. And can we beat UNC in the race to 2000 wins? Currently they have 1997 and we have 1993. Speaking of UNC, I know they've had some injuries, but still . . . I recall reading an article from earlier in the year about how Roy was going to have less of a drop off this year than Self did after the '08 champions. Whoops!

    Anytime, you win a championship, you're going to have a relatively down year. But Roy has been so outstandlingly consistent, has hit an uncharacteristic snag. I like the Bill Simmons rule of fandom - you can't bitch about your team for a full 5 years if they win a championship. I'm not bitching and UNC ain't my team. But I am surprised that they have hit these lows. It's not unheard of for great teams - Duke in the mid-90's. But Roy has been so relentlessly consistent at maximizing his team's potential - at least during the regular season.

  3. And Collins only has 4 more home games. So many numbers! There's so much status to report!

    (Apologies for the myriad grammatical goofs in the previous comment, but it occured to me that we could be closing in on our 2nd championship in 3 years and we needed to kick this blog into the next gear - grammar be damned.)

  4. Thanks Chris. A lot to chew on there.

    I was watching some '08 games on tape while snowed in this week. (I'd forgotten how tough Davidson was -- we never for a minute looked like we were in control of that game).

    People forget (but Chris apparently didn't) that team had a lot of the same issues as this one does.

    Nobody on the '08 team was as good as Sherron and Cole have been this year, despite their inconsistency. But that team had better balance, better bench play, more cohesion.

    This team has a better inside game, '08ers had a better perimeter game -- offensively and defensively.

    The main reason I would give the edge to the '08 group is experience; other than Sherron and Cole, the current team just doesn't have it.

    Could KU '10 beat KU '08? Maybe, but the good news is, they don't have to. I don't see any teams in the field this year as good as Kansas and Memphis were two years ago.

  5. I agree with the analysis above. I haven't rewatched old games, or seen that many games from this crew - more this year than last, but still.

    I was thinking that we were a little less impressive than that team, but that the landscape is different this year.

  6. It seems like the '88 team would struggle to beat the '86 team.

    Another interesting fantasy matchup would be pitting the '02 Hinrich, Collison, Gooden team vs. the '97 Vaugh, Pierce, LaFrentz team.

  7. Don't think for a minute that I haven't already played out these matchups in my mind.

    The '86 'Hawks beat the '88 'Hawks eight times out of ten.

    I like '02 over '97 because their outside shooting was way better. I also like Wayne Simien as my big man off the bench as opposed to ... BJ Williams?

    If, however, you stipulate that Jerod Haase could play sans broken wrist, then maybe, maybe I change my vote...

  8. This team is really hitting its stride. I agree that the ‘08 team may have had more balanced chemistry and experience than this team, but this team has something that team didn’t: a clear leader in Sherron. And as far as experience goes it’s all relative. We might not have as much as the ‘08 team but we have more than any other team in the country and that’s all that really matters. I am so excited for the tournament! It’s also becoming clear that Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, and ‘nova are just head and shoulders above the rest. If Texas gets their act back together they could be in the mix too but I think this will be another situation where all 4 #1 seeds make it to the final four. If it happens any of those matchups would be great. Wouldn’t a rematch of the ’03 championship be great? Although remember that the Orange lost an exhibition game to Le Moyne, a D II school, at home! Kentucky is loaded but I think their inexperience will catch up with them in the tournament.

    I wish we had a chance of getting our 2000th win at home but it doesn’t look like that’s possible. I’m pretty sure that if win out we would get it in our last game at Mizzou... which would be kind of cool and provide a unique opportunity to storm the Mizzou court.

    I am actually beginning to feel sorry for UNC. They are truly pathetic and at this point they would have to win the ACC tournament to get into the big dance. I was listening to Colin Coward the other day and he was arguing this wasn’t a big deal and we shouldn’t be too surprised since they lost all their best players. He claimed this would be the new trend since whoever wins a championship will lose all their players and need 2 or 3 years to rebuild. He cited Florida as another example of this. By my thoughts were, what about us? How about a little credit for Self! We lost all of our starters after the ’08 championship and not only made the tournament but got to the sweet 16. The level of success this program has been able to achieve consistently is amazing! In our whole history we have never had a dud coach and our program has never taken a significant dip in recent memory. Remember that 2002 (pretty sure it was that year) UNC team lost 18 or so games. Considering all of this, why the hell didn’t we get a game day at home this year? And why the hell do we keep getting Holly Rowe? It’s been 3 years since Erin Andrews visited the Fieldhouse!

    Sorry I’ve been quiet on the blog the last few weeks... I have been following it though.

  9. This is how great Marcus Morris has been.

    In league play he is averaging 17.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, and shooting 60% from the field.


  10. He also leadds the conference in offensive rebounds per game.

    That 60% field goal percentage looks good. He shoots a lot of bunnies, right?

    Well, he's the only player in the Big 12 shooting over 50% from the field.

  11. The asterisk is that McMo benefits from Cole's double teams -- but the fact is he's played great even when Cole's out of the game.

    Aaron, if Erin Andrews was wandering around by those floor seats of yours, you'd barely pay attention to the game at all.

    I dunno about four No. 1s making it this time. 'Nova lacks an inside game. 'Cuse seems like the plucky underachievers who'll get exposed in the tourney -- a la Kansas '90. Kentucky has a chance -- they remind me of that Greg Oden Ohio State team; but like that team, it's hard to see them winning it all.

    As for UNC... Roy was occasionally criticized for taking a year off on the recruiting trail at KU -- which I don't think was really fair -- but his worst years at Kansas were never this bad. Even in his first season we at least won 19 games (I think). And what makes it worse is that the ACC basically sucks this year. I guess he's just never had to deal with so much inexperience and so many injuries at the same time.

    But with UNC, UCLA, UConn, Florida, Louisville, and Arizona all more or less tanking, it's a unique opportunity for KU to carpe the diem.

  12. Self's Jayhawks have been on a tear since the 06-07 team.

    An elite 8, national championship, and sweet sixteen appearance.

    And Big 12 titles.

    But, we should also credit Roy's '05-'06 team with putting up a solid year post championship. That's another reason I'm surprised about their tailspin. Almost every other great coach has had that awful year. Roy hasn't until now. Well, I don't want to hear any Tar Heels bitching. He won them 2 championships and took them to an elite 8 and final 4.

    And none of those victories had to be vacated.

  13. "Self's Jayhawks have been on a tear since the 06-07 team."

    Or, to put it another way: since the inception of this blog.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  14. Looks like the Orange got exposed a little early, losing at home to Louisville today...

    Nice point about the alley-oops, Chris--that's probably the thing I miss the most. And it does point to a certain kind of chemistry thing. On the other hand, the current squad certainly seems to be working well together recently.
    Maybe it's all the in-game celebrating that's done it?

    Great to see Tyshawn, Tyrell, X, and the Morris brothers key the big run in yesterday's game. If we can do 14-0 with Cole and Sherron on the bench, we're in great shape for March.

  15. good point about Erin Andrews Deron. The last time she was here it was pretty distracting. Especially because she was sitting right in front of me.

  16. I was very pleased with the game Saturday. It was ugly in the sense that shots weren't falling. But I thought we moved the ball well. And it was nice to see X continue his renewal. How good was Reed?

    ESPN's Eamonn Brennan on tonight's challenge:

    "Last week, Kansas went to Texas in what for months preceding seemed as though it would the game of the year. It, um, wasn't. Kansas' deep and talented squad had little problem with a Texas team that's still trying to figure itself out. Texas A&M, meanwhile, is in the ascendancy -- the Aggies have won their last four games and six out of their last seven, and A&M is a perfect 13-0 at home in 2009-10. In many ways, this is Kansas' real Big 12 road test. If the Jayhawks are going to roll through the Big 12 without losing a single game, tonight is likely their biggest obstacle.

    How do the two teams stack up? A&M's biggest strength is their ability to get to the free throw line. Much like Kansas State, the only team that shoots more free throws per possession than the Aggies, A&M thrives on getting into the lane, getting easy two-point buckets, and -- failing that -- drawing contact and getting fouled. That is a significantly more difficult task against the Jayhawks than against most teams, because Kansas doesn't allow penetration, and when teams do get past the Jayhawks, they have to contend with Cole Aldrich, arguably the game's most dominating interior defender. We know the Jayhawks' story by now. If you can keep the game close, slow the pace, force them to take outside shots and get them to ignore Aldrich on the offensive end, you can win.

    It's very, very, very difficult to do those things to Kansas. But it's not impossible. A&M will get its shot tonight."

  17. Interesting to re-read Chris' last comment now (I know, I know, let's get a new post up--I'll leave that to y'all). Interesting especially with respect to that free-throw comment. They shot only 11 free-throws for the game, compared to our 26.

    That's a striking disparity. Can we credit our defense? Was (heavens forbid) the zone a key factor?

    And on our end, how about those Morris brothers? A combined 9 of 10 from the line! Huzzah!