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."


  1. I would submit that Releford's absence hurt us yesterday.

    Also, I take some comfort in Keegan's theory that most of the bad play was TT and Selby's inability to handle the sagging zone. This is a perennial issue for KU teams. If we get enough zone thrown at us in Big 12 play, it will hopefully not become an Achilles Heel.

  2. Not too many zone defenses in the conference, but it'll be an issue vs. Baylor, at any rate.

  3. I think Michigan doesn't normally play zone. Could be wrong here, but I believe Beilen said something about competing better against us last year after switching to zone. So, I'm betting some teams will deploy it to throw us off. It almost always throws us off somewhat.

  4. Just on principle, I assume we won't see any zone from KSU, Mizzou, or Texas Tech. Maybe some of the bottom feeders will try it, but the more we see it, the better our guys will adjust to it, I'm sure.

    I'm going to assume the poor shooting from Reed and Selby was, again, an anomaly. The twins can shoot the J, as well, of course, so we certainly have the tools to beat the zone.

    What we really need, though, is consistent guard play in general. So far, IMO, Reed has been the only consistent guy. (Even though he couldn't hit yesterday, he redeemed himself in the OT -- he really is having a great season.)

  5. Mario reinstated. Hmm. Good player, but I don't know how I feel about that on first blush.

  6. Bad Keegan Quote of the Week:

    It seems like decades ago that 10 conference coaches gave first-place votes to K-State in the preseason poll. It was such a strange pick at the time it almost seemed as if the coaches forgot that it’s Baylor’s Scott Drew and not the Wildcats’ Frank Martin many seem to shun as an outsider.

    Please, don't even try to decipher it. That way madness lies.

  7. Mario Little has been cleared to play tonight. Any word on Releford?

  8. Outlook not good for Travis tonight. No need to rush him back...

  9. I think that Michigan team was garbage and we made them look like the new Fab 5. They will be lucky to finish in the top half of the Big 10.

    I agree on the sagging zone comments, but it was weird that Michigan was killing us with that 1-3-1 zone late in the game that we didn't drive against and then they inexplicably switched out of it in the OT. I think they would've beaten us if they would've stuck to the zone play.

    This team reminds me of the 08' team, but in a bad way. Lots of talent and it is still lacking a real leader. Someone who wants the ball when things aren't going well to get the tough bucket or two. We were spoiled last year that we always knew that guy would be Sherron Collins.

  10. Well, Michigan just played Ohio St. even closer than they played us, so maybe they're no fluke after all.

    And Duke goes down! And K-State goes down! And KU wins!

    33 points and 13 rebounds for Marcus. Maybe he's the leader you're looking for, Scotty?