Saturday, March 24, 2012

(Finally) Playing to Seed


All right, can we all breathe a little easier now? Esp. the players?

That's two games in a row where we were just as inept on offense as we were against VCU and UNI -- if not more so, actually. This game was more frustrating than Purdue because there was no excuse for our weak offense -- the opponent didn't throw any weird wrinkles at us, we were just doing it to ourselves with brick after brick (not just 3-pointers -- I can only remember two made jumpers of any kind the whole night, both by EJ, and we choked at the free throw line too), not to mention the wave of turnovers at the start and finish of the game.

We knew at least one game like this would happen in the Dance. Fortunately, just as I was hoping would be the case, this Kansas team just shown just a little bit more grit, despite far less talent, than the last two. (Or maybe we're just a bit luckier; one or two bounces the other way and we might have beaten VCU and UNI, or lost to Purdue or NC State. Who knows?)

What's weird to me is that this offensive ineptitude has come against teams not known for defense -- and now we face yet another such team in the Heels. At some point we're going to start making some shots, right? RIGHT?

Ugly as it was, the highlight reel was not bad at all -- Withey's blocks; the Ty-Withey alley oop; Travis's retro, slow-motion fast-break spin move; and another sweet game-saving layup by EJ.

But it sure was nice to see Shaka Smart doing postgame commentary instead of celebrating another upset on the court. The clock has struck midnight for Cinderella. The closest thing to Cinderella left is ... Florida? It's time for the clash of the titans.

Speaking of titans, kudos to Jeff, a nonentity vs. Purdue but a Wilt-like juggernaut vs. the Pack. It'll be fascinating to see how he matches up with Henson.


  1. So, predictions? Anyone have any kind of feel for this game? We've been shooting horribly, though not playing bad overall. UNC is out of sorts due to the Marshall injury.

    Also, the media is still in love with the Roy/Self story line, and too many analysts are calling Self second tier next to Roy, and that he needs to win this particular game to get into the top tier.

    What rot. Self won a championship 5 years into coaching KU, Roy never won one in 15 years.

    Self is 21-7 in NCAA games as KU’s coach. Williams was 21-9 in years two through 10 in Lawrence. His first team in 1989-90 was on probation and ineligible for the tournament.

    Records for both coaches in those nine-year periods at Kansas: 267-52 for Self, 263-50 for Williams.

    Anyway, tomorrow will be about the players on the court, most of whom would have been about 10 years old when Roy left KU.

    I think one player, Tyshawn Taylor, will bring the heat and we'll pull of the 70-67 victory.

  2. Great stats, Chris! (I'm picturing you poring over record books, but hopefully it was actually easier than that...)

    Did I hear right yesterday, that both have been in the elite eight four out of the last five years? Wildly impressive stuff. What a great time to be a Jayhawk!

    I'm with Chris: Tyshawn is due for a breakout game. Let's do this thing!

  3. No, we fell short of the Elite 8 in '09 and '10.

    In fairness to Roy, Kansas was his first job, whereas Self was a bit more seasoned when he came to Lawrence. Also Roy left the program in better shape than he found it, setting the stage for Bill's success.

    Overall, I'd rather have Self. I'm not even sure which is better -- they're probably about equal -- but Self's going to coach a lot longer and doesn't have much impetus to go elsewhere.

    The one thing Roy has in abundance that Self doesn't is Final Fours. I've lost track of how many Roy has now whereas Self seems cursed in the Elite 8. I'm hopeful that we'll finally relax and play our best game today, but I have to admit that if we did, it would be just about the first time this has happened in the Self era, depending on how you view that OT game vs. Georgia Tech in '04. We certainly weren't at our best vs. Davidson in '08.

    So it's time to get some monkeys off our back. And I think we'd have a good chance to do it even if Carolina were healthy. Roy's teams even at their best don't like to play Self's style, but Self has dictated the flow of the game each time they've met, even when Roy had way more talent in 2002; the Illinois game that year was a nail-biter.

    This matchup does make me a bit more nervous than the 2008 game did -- we're not as good as we were then, we've not been playing great, and UNC plays somewhat better defense than their '08 team did, I think. At least they've got a shot blocker now. And we can't throw bodies at Zeller the way we did at Hansbrough, unless we can get to the 2nd half with no foul trouble.

    Still, I have to think our toughness, and a very, very favorable backcourt matchup (latest is that Marshall won't play), will win out in the end. LET'S DO THIS.

  4. Maybe I'm thinking of sweet 16's? Anyway, an impressive stretch by any reasonable measure.

    I see that Vegas has us by 2 and a half points, and I think I like it.

    I just hope we can have some fun and play at a healthy pace.

  5. We have been to the Elite 8 four out of the last six years. 07, 08, 11, 12.

    So, this is a bit much, but there's some truth in it:

    A game of inches.

    We'll probably shoot better than the last two games, but we'll win or die by defense.

    Get the 50/50 balls. Rebound.

    Dig in and shut them down!

  6. Take dead aim at the big boys. Get them in your crosshairs and take... them... down.

  7. Redemption? Sure. But in the end, he's just another dead rat in a garbage pail behind a Chinese restaurant.