Monday, November 26, 2012

Triple Double, Toil and Trouble

Congrats to Jeff Withey on his second straight alpha dog performance vs. San Jose St. -- that rare college triple double. It's a good thing he's playing like an All-American right now, because we haven't had any other consistent performers.

Scott's been pushing a sort-of quarterback controversy between EJ and Tharpe. Naadir didn't do himself any favors in the San Jose St. game, with his barrage of turnovers, bad shots, and defensive lapses. Elijah hit the jumper that broke us out of our terrible slump at the end, but overall he wasn't that great either. A strong quarterback wouldn't have allowed us to go to sleep offensively for 10 minutes.

This team needs more fire and personality in the backcourt. Jeff can't do it all. Self keeps trying to incite Elijah with his comments to the media, but so far, he seems content to stay on the margins rather than taking control.

Come on, EJ. If not now, when? If not you, who?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

KU (mostly) cruises against decimated Billikens bunch

The first question I had was "what is a billiken?" I have followed college basketball for a long time and have never bothered to ask this question. Maybe as kansas fans we don't have the right to ask this question, since our mascot is also fictional. But the Billiken is as follows: The Billiken was a charm doll created by an American art teacher and illustrator, Florence Pretz of St. Louis, Missouri, who is said to have seen the mysterious figure in a dream.[1] In 1908, she obtained a design patent on the ornamental design of the Billiken,[2] who was elf-like with pointed ears, a mischievous smile and a tuft of hair on his pointed head. His arms were short and he was generally sitting with his legs stretched out in front of him. To buy a Billiken was said to give the purchaser luck, but to have one given would be better luck.
That's the Billiken as displayed on the university grounds. In any event, back to the game. St. Louis was without its best guard from last year, Kwamain Mitchell, who the camera crew kept showing in a bright greenish button down shirt with a big bowtie who kept glowering menacingly at the KU players. An interesting visual. They were also missing Keith Carter and their Defensive stopper guy, Jordair Jett, just kept grabbing his groin most of the night. They did have a healthy blue-haired weirdo who kept floping all over the court and would give Manu Ginobli a challenge for the Academy Award for best acting in a men's sporting event (sorry Deron!). Anyway, I thought the Hawks, again, did a great job of putting the pedal to the metal from the get go. Withey had a slow first half, was solid defensively, then decided to dominate in the second. He had like 7 or 8 blocks, it was awesome. I believe SLU stopped double-teaming him for a while. Relaford again was dynamite with 23 points. I think he only had 1 rebound in each game. Maybe that's a fluke? My big ponderances at point continued. At times, it seemed like the offense ran better through Tharpe than through Ellijah. Even the color guy, Steven Bardo (old Illinois alum from the 1989 Final Four team with Kendall Gill, who I actually grew to like over these two games) he seemed to make a point of saying that Tharpe was making better decisions with the ball and putting people in the right spots. It was hard to tell in games we dominate, but when the chips are down, I'm keeping an eye on this situation. Freshman watch: Mclemore had a quiet(er) game with 11 points. Despite this, both Bardo and the announcer stated "He's probably a one and done guy." Bardo replied "Probably?", implying it was a foregone conclusion. Perry Ellis disappeared a bit. SLU had a couple of bigs that seemed to bother him, and the blue haired guy flopping all over the floor didn't help either. Still, he needs to get to the line. I just don't know how well he can get his shot off in traffic against bigger competition.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kansas absoultely dominates Washington State into oblivion

That was a thorough ass-beating. Wow. We thumped them from beginning to end until it was time to put in the scrubs. Even the announcers agreed that it wasn't that washington State was playing all that badly, it was that KU was just playing well.
Even despite this gargantuan lead, Bill self was pissed through most of the game. It reminded me of what Bobby Knight had said before the Michigan State game. He said that by playing Connecticut and losing, that Michigan State had figured out what they were bad at doing and they could make the adjustments. He said they had an advantage when talent was even because KU only knew what they could do well and didn't know what they were bad at yet. Now, after Mich. State, we know we are bad in a few areas and I don't think Self is satisfied that the players understand those yet. Mclemore was awesome, as usual. Ellis had a good game too. That kid has an excellent free throw stroke and can get to the line. Reminded you of why he was highly shought after. Travis Relaford had a quiet and efficient 17 points in 23 minutes. If we can get that type of effort from him, that raises us up a level in competition. The newest recruits Rio Adams and Andrew White came in for a cup of coffee, but didn't appear ready yet to seriously contribute. Loved the Mclemore dunk where he "posterized his own teammate (Traylor)" according to the color guy. On the other side of the court, that Brock Motum guy looked like a solid player. Apart from that, they seemed to have bad talent. You can see why KU didn't fight to keep that Woolridge kid, he had little heart and no ability to play guard. I do not think tonight's game will be so lopsided. St. Louis (SLU) also pounded TX A&M in their game by about thirty, so I think we will have our hands full tonight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

KU gives up late lead, falls to the Izzy

I looked for the photo of the Traylor block that was so awesome that it almost rendered Jay Bilas speechless. All he could mutter was "that's big time. Big time." I had to settle for this photo of Traylor posterizing this hapless Spartan defender on this follow dunk. After watching this game, I am not disappointed in the least. We have some electric young players, especially Mclemore and Traylor that will make this season fun to watch as they develop. We gave up the lead late because Mich State's guard play overwhelmed us at the end. That Gary Harris kid was awesome in the last 5 minutes. Ellijah Johnson's line, 14 points, 2 assists, 4 TO, not to say I told you so, it not the line we want a KU point to have. He either needs to be more of a distributor or someone else needs to seize the moment. It appears we have a couple of natural points in next years class already, which is larger, so maybe we'll be primed then. Perry Ellis vanished a bit in this game, getting pushed around a bit by the MSU bigs (and they were big). Self seemed to prefer Traylor's defense presence with the game on the line. Withey also, predictably was solid, but couldn't dominate. Never count out an Izzo team. That guy can flat out coach. Great composure and battle from those guys. We looked out of sync and leaderless in the last 4 minutes. I think in the end, we are going to be looking at putting the ball in Mclemore's hands more near the end of the game.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This is SPARTA! ...and reflections on SEMO

I watched the SEMO contest and I have my early-season gut feelings in place. I also received my Sports illustrated preview issue ranking us #3! (gasp). In summary, I think Ellis looks great and McLemore looks pretty good. Withey is solid, but I don't think he's the dominant force that the SI article made him out to be. Where this team is challenged is at the point. Ellijah Johnson is not only not a natural point, he's not a "Bill Self" combo 1-2 point either, yet... How do you foul out against SEMO? This is what is going to prevent us from being an elite team or propel us forward. The offense doesn't flow well... again yet. Could be Johnson, or could be early season mischemistry. They say (or at least homer Dave on the TV says) that Nadir Tharpe had a great offseason shooting the ball from outside. Maybe he can raise his game and supplant Johnson and return him to the more natural combo 2/defender position he's perhaps better suited for. (The "Russ Rob/glue guy"). i think the SI at #3 is a little ridiculous at this point and maybe is a nod to last year's team. This team has a Sweet Sixteen type feel to me. If our backcourt play improves and we get a soft draw, maybe we can pull Elite 8. I say this every year, but I do think this is the year that the conference title streak comes to an end. Then again, Bill Self seems to prove me wrong on that. It's always amazing how bad our teams look sometimes in early season and then he gets us to gel by season's end. As for tonight, it's in Atlanta i guess, which really means nothing for either team. I think our backcourt woes cause us problems and we go down by ten, which gives Self the usual "You're not as awesome as you thought you were" speech to motivate us in practice for the next month.

Friday, November 02, 2012

And They're Off!

Anyone catch the Emporia State exhibition game?

We had it on, but it's a bit hectic here these days (maybe an ongoing thing?)... Ellis looked good, and I saw at least one great dunk from McLemore.