Friday, December 23, 2011

... And Back to Where We Belong!

I guess my reaction is almost opposite yours, DGL. I'd call Davidson the anomalous game. USC seems more like what I'd expect from this team: not always pretty, and a rotating cast of scorers (though EJ has been looking more and more solid lately), but solid wins against decent teams—and on the road even!

Anyway, just to quibble a bit more with the previous dooming and glooming, according to ESPN, TT is averaging 50% from outside, Teahan 41%, and EJ 33%. I for one am pretty happy with those numbers.

Now, I missed the first half last night (darn birth classes!), but what I saw in the 2nd looked pretty good: Johnson had some great athletic plays, and TRob continues to shine, even against double-teams. Good stuff.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

... And Back Down to Earth

I regret to say that losing to Davidson doesn't surprise me a lot. Particularly when you look at outside shooting, our dismal performance yesterday was unfortunately a lot more characteristic than our brilliant showing vs. the Buckeyes.

There are other factors, of course -- TT coming back from injury, some key defensive lapses, and esp. the continued turnover problems. But that stuff doesn't worry me as much...

TT will get better, the D has been mostly very good, and the turnovers are to some degree correctable. But if Conner, TT, EJ, and Travis continue to have games where they can barely crack 25 percent from distance while T-Rob gets doubled and tripled, we'll be lucky to make it out of the Round of 32 this year.

When Brady and Reed suddenly couldn't buy a bucket in the VCU game last season, it was a crazy, unprecedented, tragic fluke. With this year's team, it's becoming more like the norm.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Signature Win

Sullinger or no, that was awesome.

I can't figure this team out. In some games we seem utterly incompetent on offense with the exception of T-Rob. Then we come out against one of the toughest defensive teams in the nation in Ohio State, and shoot the lights out.

And where did Kevin Young come from? There wasn't a single aspect of that game in which he did not excel. If we can keep getting bench play like that we have a higher ceiling than I thought.

Even more important was EJ's shooting. This may be the biggest factor for us this year -- we desperately need that triple scoring threat, but EJ has been our least consistent guy.

Tyshawn's turnovers were driving me nuts, but I had no idea until the end of the game that he had put up Steve Nash-type assist numbers. Some of that may be a bit flukey just because we were nailing every 3-pointer we heaved up -- but you could turn that around and say TT would have a better assist-to-TO ratio on the year if not for EJ and Conner missing so many open shots in other games.

So let's give TT a round of applause as he heads off to surgery. Turnovers are inevitable when you're up against an elite defender like OSU's Craft, but the pluses outweighed the minuses, esp. when you factor in the injury. This was Tyshawn's finest hour -- so far.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Weis, Sullinger, Obama, Etc.

I don't know what it's going to take to get some excitement going on the old blog... New football coach? Presidential shout-out? Pending showdown with No. 2 in the nation?

This is one of those rare KU games where the pressure should be off a bit, and yet I kind of feel we need to win this. We've proven we can compete with the big boys, and we've proven we can decisively beat some decent second-tier competition. But on our own floor, with a possibly ailing Sullinger, it's time for a signature win. Enough moral victories.

(If nothing else, a win over Ohio St. might propel us over those Missouri secessionists in the rankings. Also, my uncle's going to be in attendance, and it would really make his weekend.)

I watched the S. Florida game last week, and was, uh, somewhat encouraged. At least we proved in the 2nd half that we can hit some 3's on occasion. I didn't see the Long Beach State game, but I think that was a good win vs. a good team. I'm glad the Obama endorsement didn't jinx us this time.

As for Charlie Weis, I have my doubts, but if he can come anywhere close to his Notre Dame record, we'll probably be erecting statues of him at Memorial Stadium.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Hangover

It seems like a long time and a lot of calories ago, but just a few thoughts on the Duke game:

First of all, it was damned exciting for KU to be part of a game like that, win or lose. You had to be proud of our guys and optimistic for the season.

I know everyone wants to blame Tyshawn for his 2nd-half turnovers, but the problem right now is lack of depth. Our guys were completely gassed by the end after three consecutive games and an intense first three-quarters vs. Duke. Self didn't have the confidence in Tharpe to play him more than 7 mins., and so TT stayed in there for 38 mins. Interestingly, Self had nothing but praise for Tyshawn after the game.

One good sign re. depth is that EJ, Travis, and esp. Withey all showed signs. In fact, the latter might have been our MVP if he'd stayed out of foul trouble.

Interesting thing about this team's defense -- it's really good EXCEPT beyond the 3-point line, where every opponent is just killing us. I guess that's not atypical for a Self team, and at least they're not taking us to the hoop.

Also: Au revoir, Turner Gill. That was one of the worst of KU's many terrible football seasons. Still doesn't make me miss Mangino, however.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hawaii 3-0?

Our first big win of the season: a narrow but rather convincing victory over my local Hoyas. I wish we had won by more against an unranked team, but give some credit to a surprisingly athletic G-town squad.

Great bounce-back for T-Rob and Travis after struggles vs. UK. Travis was Mr. Clutch, T-Rob dominated, and TT-EJ continue to show signs.

Now we're in the Final Four with Duke, UCLA and Michigan. Feels like the early '90s all over again...

OK, it's my bedtime. Looking forward to more hoops tomorrow/later today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wildcat-Scratch Fever

Well, I enjoyed long stretches of our loss to Kentucky. We fought, we played defense, we outrebounded them, we blocked shots, our guards penetrated on offense and forced turnovers on defense. Withey and Wesley were pleasant surprises.

We proved at least we can play with the big boys. We theoretically could have won if not for the Cats' crazy barrage of 3s, many of them guarded or heaved up to beat the shot clock.

Tyshawn played his ass off. I was impressed that he was able to get to the line so much against such athletic opponents. Elijah penetrated well too. But when they penetrate, these guys need someone on the wings to kick to. Which brings us to this team's possible fatal flaw: shooting.

The turnovers were disappointing, but 14 TOs isn't terrible. 34 percent from the field and 27 percent from three -- now that's terrible.

A lot of firepower went out the door with Brady, Tyrel and the twins. If Teahan is the only spot-up guy we have, then we can expect a lot more games like this one where we're competitive but still fall short.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Any Cause for Optimism in 2011-12?

We're back after a depressing offseason following a depressing early exit -- conference defections, ineligible freshmen, recruiting misses, player suspensions, football futility.

Now at least the games have started up again. But is there any cause for hope after our boys struggled to beat Pitt State? Not much, I fear.

Nine turnovers for Tharpe? (Deron grimaces, tugs collar nervously.)

And I can't give much credence to Withey's triple-double. The Jayhawk big man overachieving against preseason D-2 competition is now a longstanding, and predictable, pattern.

The good news is that Teahan apparently kicked ass, and we won despite being severely depleted. For now, I'll take it. TT, EJ and T-Rob return soon -- as do my fellow bloggers, I hope.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

And now for some good news . . .

Robinson and Taylor return!

I figured Taylor would be back, but he is enigmatic . . . and I thought Robinson was 50/50. Add to this the recent signing of McLemore, and Jayhawk Nation has reason to celebrate for the first time in a few weeks.

Selby is still a question mark, but Robinson was the key question mark heading into the offseason.

With the Morri 99% likely to bolt, get ready to see more Withey and, I hope, Releford!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thirty-Five and Two

Four No. 1 seeds entered. Only one remains. It's white unis from this point on.

I think we all need to pray to the basketball gods that our current shooting prowess will continue -- I can't believe how good our guards were vs. Richmond, esp. Brady. But TT's resurgence continues, and Selby's showing signs too -- his 3's really blew the game open.

Did anyone think at the beginning of the season -- or even in all the midseason turmoil -- that this team would be capable of mounting a 35-2 record, second-most wins in Kansas history? Someone pointed out, too, that for all our status as Big Dogs, this team actually has only one McDonald's guy, and he doesn't even start. This could be Self's best coaching job.

ESPN noted that Kansas has now reached four Elite 8's in the last eight years, but never mind that -- how about six in the last 10 years, baby! If we can win Sunday, it'll be four Final 4's in the last decade.

UFR's Manley reports that KU now has the best five-year stretch of any NCAA team in history -- coinciding of course with the 5-year existence of this blog. But we shouldn't take all the credit.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Some day I may get tired of Markieff's "wrap it up" gesture, but not today.

Speaking of the Morii, great discussion of the off-the-backboard pass on

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Made It To Round... Three!

Since the NCAA insists that their stupid play-in round is now actually the 1st round, and the real 1st round is now the 2nd, I would like to declare that we've already gotten last year's monkey off our back and advanced to Round 3. Woo-hoo!

Had to sweat it a bit for 25 minutes of that game, but down the stretch we perpetrated the most vicious terrier massacre since Fish Called Wanda.

Self said we were tight in the 1st half, but actually no one looked tighter than him. Even in the 1st we were making jumpers, which suggests to me we weren't really tight. We just didn't respect the opponent. Once we focused on defense in the 2nd half everything else fell into place. (By the way, how does it help the team for Self to keep telling them NOT to be tight? Just drop the subject already.)

One interesting subplot was Selby. At one point early in the 2nd I noticed him on the bench and began to wonder if he was now out of the rotation entirely -- did he even play at all in the 1st? But Self put him in down the stretch, and while he wasn't exactly great -- hurt us defensively, I think -- he finally got a short jumper to bounce in, made a big layup, and made that key fast-break assist to Brady. Maybe the kid's got his mojo back.

But since I've been so horrifically wrong in my brackets so far, I should probably revise my earlier dismissal of the Illini. I've never seen them play nearly as well as they did in dismantling the Rebs -- the ESPN crew said the same. If this underachieving team is finally going to play to potential (preseason Top 20) we could have a fight on our hands. Considering that they were really more dominant than us last night, our players should approach this game with an underdog mentality -- we have something to prove.

Update: here's that highlight:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

he did it again!

Once again Obama picked us to go all the way. How do we feel about this? He says they deserve a second chance this year even though we ruined his and everyone elses' bracket last year.

Also, here's Self on Mike and Mike this morning.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Au Revoir, Les Big 12

Wow, 4 times in 5 years we've beaten UT in the conference final -- what a fitting way to close out the Big 12.

(Was there a Big 12 representative on the committee? Was Colorado being punished for defecting?)

That was unquestionably our best game of the season -- nice to see us gelling at the right moment. If Tyshawn can play anywhere near this level throughout the tourney, we become a title favorite, I think. Our two sets of twins -- Morrii and Reedstar -- have been money for us pretty much all year and we won 30 games even without good point guard play. But the new-model Tyshawn and E.J. combo could really put us over the top if everything else remains equal.

(And Tyrel finally dunked! We've been hearing for years that he could do it.)

At first glance, I like our bracket. Sure, Louisville and Notre Dame could be tough, but they don't scare me like other 2-4 seeds. I'm glad we're not playing Carolina, for instance. Illinois could be tough in the 2nd round considering they'll be inspired to beat Self (Illinois people hate Self maybe even more than KU fans hate Roy), but having seen Illinois play a number of times, I just can't work up much concern about them -- wouldn't be surprised to see UNLV knock them out.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Championship Week, Anyone?

OK, we're capping off a seventh consecutive conference title, a 28-2 record, a lock for a #1 seed, the conference COY and POY. It's March, people. If that isn't enough to get a little buzz going here, this blog is doomed.

Yeah, yeah, we're all busy. Five minutes out of your day, people.

Caught a break with OSU upsetting Nebraska. If we never play the Huskers again -- and I do mean never, which is a distinct possibility -- that'll be fine by me. But OSU does have some good players, and they'll be a lot more motivated than us, so it could be a somewhat tough outing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

ReedStar: The Legacy

I believe Brady has indeed been on the roster since 1975, but it's Senior Night at last. Some great memories, particularly his halftime buzzer-beater vs. Mizzou last year. In conference this year, he's been unbelievable, and we need that to continue.

Reed has been a rock for us. Beginning late last season and continuing through this year, he and Marcus have been our most consistent players. It seems like every time we've needed a big three in a big moment, he's nailed one -- and recently he's shown a propensity for finishing strong at the rim, too. And if that weren't enough, he's an Academic All-American.

How cool is it to have two local boys leading a potential championship squad?

I'm not forgetting Mario Little either, though there are things I'd like to forget. He's getting minutes now, and I wouldn't be surprised if he makes a little noise for us in March.

Also, as an afterthought... If we win tonight vs. A&M, we clinch yet another conference title. Just in case you haven't been paying attention.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who is Tyshawn Taylor?

Never has a Kansas player been more of an enigma than young Tyshawn of Hoboken, who has been suspended indefinitely for undisclosed reasons in the midst of an erratic season.

He is an assist machine; he is a turnover machine. He is a majestic, Dr. J-like finisher; he is a clumsy, Clouseau-esque bumbler. He is a far better player than K-State's Jacob Pullen; and he is far, far worse.

He is a lover; he is a fighter. One moment he is cocky and arrogant; the next moment he is confused, childlike, innocent. One day he has a mohawk; the next day, poof -- the mohawk is gone.

Who is Tyshawn Taylor? No one knows, least of all himself. He is, like so many of us in life, unsure of his role.

Just about the only thing Tyshawn has done consistently at Kansas, since Day One, is start. Now, there is talk that he should no longer do that.

Which brings us to history's next great enigma: EJ. (We'll save that one for another time.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Octagon of Gloom

Three years ago when the 'Cats beat us up in similar fashion, I asked, "Who the hell is Jacob Pullen?" He's had a good career, a spotty season, but give him credit -- he was All-World last night.

Now the question is, "Who the f*ck are Will Spradling and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts?"

Given our injuries, the performance of K-State, and the refs, we could have played well and lost this one. But we did not play well. Our guys seem to have gotten a bit lazy on defense the last few games. K-State shot 56 friggin' percent. That's almost unprecedented for a Self team.

Another recurring problem: our guards other than ReedStar were terrible, esp. Tyshawn and his unforced turnovers; EJ did a few good things, then melted down; Selby was outplayed by the ginger kid.

But the main issue that bums me out today is character and composure. The intentional foul call was b.s., but the twins have brought this scrutiny on themselves with repeated cheap shots. I'm tired of apologizing for it, I'm tired of Self having to apologize for it. And yes, EJ got fouled on his dunk, but for once I'll quote Keegan approvingly: "Trash-talking in self-worship with his team down 14 points and 5:55 left on the clock? ... On exactly what planet does that make even a shred of sense? Neptune? Jupiter? Mars? Where?" (OK, it's still a bad quote, but I agree with the sentiment.)

Players were jawing at each other, jawing back at the coach, showing no dignity in defeat. We've never had these recurring character issues on any KU team in memory, and it makes it harder for me as a fan to love this team. (It'll be easier once T-Rob comes back.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Catharsis, Baby!

For once, I was really enjoying the Dickie V. experience vs. KSU last night, especially hearing him publicly eat his words over the preseason Big 12 picks. For a big emotional game like that one, and one in which Kansas dominates, Dick is a great hype man.

The tragedy seems to have pulled the team and the fanbase together, and that was a game we'll remember for a while. I loved T-Rob's 6-point stretch, the "Here's to you Mrs. Robinson" signs, and the K-State dunk in the first half that was rejected by the basketball gods.

The biggest thing for me was seeing Tyshawn waking from his stupor. Selby and EJ are still borderline. It's be nice if Selby could go one game without botching a fast break, and if EJ could go one game without some kind of dribbling snafu.

Was K-State just dogging it in the second half? Pullen seemed to be casting doubt on his teammates' effort in postgame comments. This is an even bigger meltdown than Texas last season.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union?

I missed the Colorado game because I had to listen to some stupid speech last night, but by all accounts it was a very good win. The numbers tell me that, for the first time in ages, all of our guards played pretty well -- even EJ had 4 assists.

So do you guys think there's hope for this team yet? We played without T-Rob or Releford, yet were able to gut out a road win against a team that beat both Mizzou and K-State. The team is here in D.C. now for the funeral. Do you think the tragedy will serve as an emotional linchpin for us, or will T-Rob be too devastated to be a strong contributor the rest of the year? I guess I could see it going either way.

By the way, Upon Further Review points out that we have another streak to revel in: 186 games since we last dropped 2 in a row. That goes all the way back to January 2006, just before we launched this blog. (It's also astounding considering that apparently no one else in the Big 12 has gone longer than 36 games.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Home Streak Stricken

A moment of silence for the now-defunct home streak.


OK, so what happened out there? Nothing too shocking, I guess. It's been clear for weeks that we aren't getting enough production from the perimeter. This game would have been an excellent time for TT, Selby, and EJ to snap out of it, but I suppose that's too much to ask against a top defensive team like Texas. They did an excellent job bottling up the twins, and that left us with Reed as our only scoring option at times; he played great, and Brady played well for the most part, too, but those guys aren't enough.

We were also handicapped by Travis's injury and T-Rob's family tragedies. (What the hell is going on there? I guess it's none of our business, but you have to wonder if he's going to be right for the rest of the year.)

The small consolation is that Texas is really good -- it's no shame to lose this one, even at home. And now we've got that streak-monkey off our backs; here's hoping we don't see any new ones appear.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Down with Drew

OK, I don't usually feel the need to bag on other Big 12 teams other than wanting KU to destroy them, but Scott Drew and Baylor can kiss my ass.

Last year, Drew drew Self's ire by keeping his team in the locker room during KU's pregame video introduction -- the only time I've ever seen Self go negative on a fellow Big 12 coach. Then, last night, in what could not have been a coincidence, they show a pregame video featuring not only KU's loss to Baylor in football (marginally insulting, but not over the line) but also the loss to UNI in the tourney last year (way, way, way over the fucking line).

I wish I had known about the video when watching the game last night, because that would have greatly enhanced the pleasure I took at watching us un-pants this talented but undisciplined Baylor team in front of 35 (!) NBA scouts.

As for my negativity the other day, well... I'm not totally over it, because TT and Selby still can't quite get their assist-TO ratio where it needs to be. However, it may not matter a great deal if the twins continue to blossom like this. It's starting to feel like we have two Danny Mannings out there at times, effortlessly tapping the ball back and forth to each other.

The only downside: All those NBA scouts bearing witness to the twins' excellence does not bode well for next year's roster.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This is going to get rough -- Baylor tomorrow, then Texas, then Colorado, then K-State.

After the Nebraska near-debacle, I'm beginning to wonder about this team's title potential.

Without Aldrich (or Withey) our big men are undersized. We got decisively out-rebounded vs. Nebraska, and have been outmuscled down low in several games. Nonetheless, the twins continue to find ways to grit it out and win games for us.

Being undersized we can overcome -- but not if our guards continue to play as poorly as they have recently. Selby and EJ were horrific vs. Nebraska, but Tyshawn, even though he made some big plays, is the bigger concern. After starting the season so well, he's inexplicably regressed to freshman form. Brady was good yesterday but has not had a good season overall. The only perimeter guy meeting expectations is Reed -- and even he isn't shooting as well as last season.

Looks like we may be waiting another week on Releford -- sorry, Chris. But if a few of our guards don't get their shit together, this season could get ugly and soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ann Arbor Anomaly?

OK, after the OT escape at Michigan, we can set our sights on the Big 12.

There's no question that it's been a relatively easy noncon schedule, and we haven't exactly looked dominant against it. From here on in, it only gets tougher, with the Big 12 sporting 5 teams in the Top 25.

Like the '08 team, we enter the conference schedule undefeated. Also like that team, I expect to see us lose 3 games, this time (shudder) maybe even one at home -- we've been so jittery at the Fieldhouse lately. Maybe Mizzou or Texas knocks us off at home, then I could see road losses at, say, K-State and Baylor.

It's still hard to imagine us not winning the conference, but our margin for error is smaller than it has been. If we lose more than three, our streak of Big 12 dominance could be at an end. The resurgence of the North division makes it more difficult than it used to be, but should also help toughen this team up going into March.

Key questions coming out of the Michigan game: Is Chris's newfound hero Travis going to be OK after his ankle sprain? Can we get our 3-point mojo back? Can any of our guards other than Tyrel start giving us consistent, night-in-night-out production? Can the twins keep their cool under pressure, as they did yesterday? Can Withey become this year's version of 2008 Aldrich? If we want to cut down some nets this year, we need most of those answers to be "yes."

Monday, January 03, 2011

Better Than Duke?

The poor saps from Miami (Ohio) think so, after our latest Fieldhouse dunkfest yesterday. (If you missed the game, I strongly suggest you catch the reel.)

Miami-Ohio lost to the Devils by 34 points, compared to 27 against us (and 21 against Ohio State). But that was against Duke when they had Kyrie Irving, so... who knows?

It's moot, anyway. The fact is, based on the evidence yesterday, Miami of Ohio just really sucks. One more patsy this week in UMKC, then it's the meat of the schedule -- at Michigan, then conference play.

Nice bounceback from the Twins. Still too many turnovers from Tyshawn and Brady. And hey, we've got a new athletic director -- this time for real!