Monday, March 19, 2012

Elijah Rising

That was about as excited as I've ever been to get out of the 2nd round. The Purdue game had all the hallmarks of VCU-UNI-etc. -- a jittery KU team looking inept on offense, star players neutralized, unfavorable (though not altogether terrible) officiating, sleeper opponent making circus shots and throwing weird matchup wrinkles at us. And yet this time, we pulled it out, thanks to the one guy we've been begging to be more aggressive all year: Elijah.

I've been fond of the kid ever since he was a freshman benchwarmer who didn't seem to mind that he wasn't getting the PT he could get at most schools. He has the whole package -- defense, shooting, driving, and passing -- but just never seemed to have his head on straight when he got into games. But talk about peaking at the right time -- we've said all year we needed that third scorer just for tough tourney games like this one, and he arrived in the nick of time.

There are a lot of things I could scold this team about, as I was during the game, but at this point of the season I don't know how much difference it makes. We are who we are, and you have to assume T-Rob, Ty, and Withey will all be better in the next round.

I seem to have cursed us by marveling at our great shooting vs. A&M -- in the three games since then we've shot the ball terribly. That has to turn around in St. Louis, right? RIGHT?


  1. Sadly I had to listen to this on radio, but I was losing hope and thinking "Not again Bill". I actually titled my Bracket this year : "DONOTLOSETOSTMARYSBILL" Thinking that would be our 2nd round.

    Seems like psychoogically for whatever reason, Self has trouble getting us mentally prepared or these games and then we pull them out or choke.

    Was fun to hear the obvious unobjective adulation in Bob Davis's voice when we got the steal and the couple of layups. Made me wish Falkenstein had still been with him.

  2. I should probably log on to the radio broadcasts during the games, too. I had fun listening to Bob and Chris on the first Iowa St. game, another big comeback win, which wasn't on TV here.

    Having said that, I think Steve Kerr did a great job alongside Marv on CBS. I hope he gets the St. Louis assignment.

    As for Self and "choking," there may be something to that, but he's hardly alone in that regard. People said the same about Roy at KU, and every other great coach has had his share of tourney "chokes" in the 64-team era -- even Coach K isn't immune. John Wooden would have choked, too, if he'd had to win 6 straight.

  3. Scott: you are wrong about a lot of things, but at least you're cheering for the right team :)

    Deron: did you see the comments about the defensive adjustments? I am wondering if you've reconsidered RE Withey. Has Self convinced you he knows what he's doing with these match up issues?

    Hell of a game. Ugly for a while, but I could script a better finish. That lob was pure joy. Love that that's the kind of team we are.

  4. Ha! Meant to say _couldn't_ script a better finish; apparently scripting stuff is not one of my strengths...

  5. Yeah, I've reconsidered re. Withey. Taking Self's point of view, if he had Withey in there with T-Rob, then T-Rob was forced to chase Hummel or another smaller guy all over the floor, which he wasn't doing effectively. So I guess he had to play either T-Rob or Withey but not both.

    That was quite a weird array of junk defenses Self threw at Purdue -- nobody seems to know what the hell he was doing, least of all Purdue. I was getting annoyed because it seemed like we were always leaving somebody open, but in the second half, the guy who was open was never Hummel. So I guess it was a success.