Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hanging in against the Power Kitties!

Another gutty inspired performance against a team that was eager to knock us off. I thought K State really gave max effort against us. I overheard Doug Gottlieb and Miles Simon both agreed that Bill Self was the best coach right now in college basketball. I'm not sure I'm there, but i sure as heck wouldn't trade back for Benedict Roy.

As for the game, I thought most of our guys played well in the hostile environment. Withey shook off the couple of fouls he drew and didn't let it bother him. His switch from the back lob to fronting the post late in the game put a lot of pressure on the opposition goon squad. Mclemore was, as usual, Mclemore, and even swatted away a couple of shots in the middle while Withey was out. Per Yancy, I'm going to amend my "garbage guy" statement on Relaford (though I meant it as a compliment). He's also our "glue guy" on this team. Beyond that, however, I thought he did a superb job hanging all over Macgruder all night. Relaford clearly bothered him quite a bit.

The surprise of the game, to me, was how well Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe came in off the bench. Without the efforts of those two guys, I don't think we win that game. I had really almost given up hope on Ellis and was ready to write him off as overhyped and a bust. At times he just seems to play too small for his skill set. But in this game, he got very aggressive and took it to KSt in a way I don't think I had seen yet.

Self seems to trust Tharpe more and more as games get tight. He's not making as many stupid shots and is playing better D, which were his two biggest liabilities. He's making MUCH better decisions with the ball than Ellijah right now, and seems to direct the offense a bit better. Ellijah's athleticism is just not enough in games where the other side has bigger guards too.

So, we won our biggest game on the road in a down year for the Big XII. Not to jinx it, but does that mean we go unbeaten? Somehow i don't think so. Ames and Stillwater have always been places where we don't play well. The Sooners maybe are better than both OSU and ISU, but we always play pretty well in Norman (or at least we have since the Taj Gray/Hollis Price era).

I didn't post for the Texas win, but that was of course an extremely gutty performance also. We're starting to look like the Shaq/Kobe Lakers who just put it on cruise control for a half and then say "ok it's time to play now". Still, I was sweating that one.


  1. OK, Benedict Scott. Who would you take over Self, huh? WHO? Benedict Calipari?

    But maybe I'm the traitor here for picking K-State. I picked Ohio State, too.

    One thing we haven't mentioned about Releford so far: He finishes on the break better than anyone I've seen at Kansas. Ever since his slow-motion one-man fast break last year vs. NC State (I believe), he's been unstoppable in the open floor. I can think of maybe one fast break all this season where Releford failed to score or get fouled. He made some incredible plays in his final game at Manhattan.

    With EJ, I don't think athleticism is the problem. He was great vs. Ohio St., after all, and he got up pretty well on that missed dunk last night -- that would have been epic, man. The problem is focus and attention to detail. Either way, it annoys me that 3-10 with 5 turnovers has become a normal line for him instead of an anomaly.

    Agreed with your take on going undefeated. It wouldn't shock me given the relative weakness of the conference, but it's harder now that we have to play everybody twice. Ames and Stillwater are dangerous, and you have to think we're going to get picked off in Waco one of these years too.

  2. Glue guy: that I like. And I agree, Releford was awesome on D on McGruder.

    So, Deron, who are you picking today? Vegas has us by like 14 or so; in keeping with my recent feelings, I don't see why we can't win by 20...