The Preseason favorites to win the Summit League North Dakota State Bison currently sit at 7-3 and went into the Joyce Center and beat Notre Dame 73-69 last night. Saul Phillips squad only goes about seven deep and is led by a trio of seniors; Preseason choice for Player of the Year Taylor Braun, forwards Marshall Bjorklund and TrayVonn Wright. Junior guard Lawrence Alexander, who at 6-3 is one of the team’s best rebounders and is second on the team in assists behind Braun.
Last night the quartet amassed 64 of the team’s 73 points, led by Bjorklund’s 26 and Alexander’s 14 points and 16 rebounds. The Bison only turned the ball over eight times and shot nearly 51% in the win.
Shooting well isn’t something new to NDSU, last year they finished 28th in the country in that category at 46.8% and currently sit 8th at 51.3%. No doubt the biggest reason for that is Bjorklund who finished 2nd in the country in field goal percentage last season at 66.7% and his soft touch from the inside currently has him with the 4th best field goal percentage in the history of college basketball. The lanky Braun at 6-7 doesn’t light up the scoreboard but when the night is over you see him all over the score sheet. In a six-point win over Santa Clara he had 21 points (on 1-9 shooting, he went a perfect 19-19 from the free throw line), eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. Those are the type of numbers Braun has been putting up his whole career. In his first collegiate game he had seven points, seven rebounds and four assists in an overtime loss at Oregon.
After the big win at Notre Dame NDSU now travels to Ohio State for a game on Saturday and begins league play on January 9th.
Last year the Bison came one win short of the NCAA tournament. They hope to take that extra step this season and show their talents on an even bigger stage come March.
Few teams in the realm of college basketball rival the type of dominance that Kansas has had in the Big 12, but in the West Coast Conference one team has certainly come close, the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Since 1987 the Bulldogs have 14 regular-season titles (won or shared) and 19 trips to the conference tournament finals, with 12 titles.
It is clear Gonzaga is the undisputed king of the WCC, but there is a real threat to take away the regular-season crown for just the fourth time since 1996, the Brigham Young Cougars. Despite not having won a conference tournament final since 2001 when they were in the Mountain West Conference, Dave Rose’s squad did make the final in three of their final five seasons in that conference before moving to the WCC. The Cougars have also won 110 games over the last four seasons, including three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament before falling to Baylor in the NIT semifinals last season.
As of yesterday’s action the Cougars sit at 7-3 with the three losses coming against nationally-ranked opponents; a two-point home loss to Iowa State, a 75-62 loss to Wichita State in a semi-neutral court game in Kansas City and yesterday’s 105-96 loss on the road at UMass.
The first thing that jumps out at you is the numbers. The statistics BYU has put up to this point of the season is impressive to say the least. They currently rank sixth in the country a just a tick under 90 points per game, they share the ball averaging over 17 assists a game (10th in the country), they are one of the best rebounding teams in the country grabbing 43.8 per game. If that wasn’t enough, they are 43rd in turnover margin at +3.5 and 7th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.72. Only once this season (the loss to Wichita State) have the Cougars failed to reach the 80-point plateau.
For a team that is so offensively talented one would assume that they have a deep bench, you would be wrong. Just eight players average double-figure minutes led by five juniors, led by forward Tyler Haws (23.8 points, 5.1 rebounds) and point guard Matt Carlino (18 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists) the juniors average 58.5 points, 21.8 rebounds and 10.8 assists on the whole. Sophomore Kyle Collinsworth who returns to the team from his Mormon mission is averaging 12 points, over eight rebounds and five assists and a pair of freshmen Eric Mika and Frank Bartley IV chip in with over 20 points and nine rebounds per game.
One thing you won’t see on this BYU team is a senior, there is not a single senior on the roster, meaning is Haws stays for his final year this explosive offense will be back again in 2015. But for now they have one more test against Oregon in Eugene on 12/21, and then it is on to the task of reaching a peak that few outside of Spokane, Washington have seen in the last 17 years, the top of the West Coast Conference.
Arizona has moved up the college basketball rankings each of the four weeks and they look to do it again this week. This time though, it will be for the top spot in the country. Arizona (8-0) was ranked 6th in the preseason poll and now are aiming at number one (with Michigan St losing this week) and the only thing standing in the way is UNLV (3-3). Look for the Arizona defense, which is allowing just 59.3 points per game, to smother the Rebels who have struggled this season after being a 5th seed in last years NCAA tournament.
UNLV is coming off their best game shooting 55.6% from the field
Aaron Gordon had a season best 19 points on Tuesday on 7-10 shooting
Arizona lost to UNLV in their last meeting 74-72 in overtime
Arizona is 31-4 under Sean Miller in non conference home games
UNLV has beaten Arizona two straight games
Arizona has never been out rebounded this season and holds a +14.4 margin on their opponents
During the first couple of weeks of the season much of the hoopla surrounded the nation’s heralded freshmen, and rightly so. From Arizona’s Aaron Gordon to Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid at Kansas to Kentucky’s class of Julius Randle, Aaron and Andrew Harrison and James Young to Duke’s Jabari Parker the country has marveled at what the new kids have been able to do.
Over the last 10 days we have been reminded, by at least a couple of guys, that some of the incumbents on the college basketball landscape aren’t half bad either. Oklahoma State’s sophomore Marcus Smart and the country’s most-decorated walk-on Creighton senior Doug McDermott have shown why they are favorites to take home the National Player of the Year award. Over the last five games Smart has averaged 24.6 points and McDermott 23.4 over the same span.
Smart surprisingly returned to Stillwater for his sophomore season despite being a potential lottery last June. He said he wanted to work on parts of his game, namely his jump shot before entering the NBA. The Flower Mound, Texas native has been universally lauded by coaches across the country for what an upstanding individual and leader he is.
Last Saturday they welcomed #11 Memphis to town and Smart showed what he was capable of. He scored 26 of his career-high 39 as well as four rebounds, four assists and five rebounds in a 21-point win over the Tigers. A week later Smart put up 23 in the first half in a rout of South Florida and followed that up with a 30-point performance (24 in the first half) in the first round of the Old Spice Classic against Purdue. In the semifinals against Butler Smart had 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists to lead the Cowboys to the finals against the team Smart began this run against, Memphis. This time the Tigers got their revenge with a 73-68 win even though Smart finished with 12 points, eight boards and four assists.
McDermott returned to Creighton this summer but that wasn’t the only news for the prolific scorer. He also announced that he would technically play as a walk-on in his final season in order for the school to offer a scholarship to his friend and sixth-year senior Grant Gibbs, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility.
On the 16th he had 20 points and five rebounds in a four-point win over St. Joseph’s. A week later he had 33 and 15 in an 82-72 victory over Tulsa. Creighton began the Wooden Legacy in Fullerton, California on Thanksgiving with a high-profile match up with Arizona State. The Bluejays got the best of the Sun Devils thanks to McDermott’s 27 and six rebounds while holding Jahii Carson to 15 points. In the semifinal Creighton faced San Diego State but the 20th ranked Bluejays fell 86-80. In the loss McDermott poured in a team-high 30 points. In the third-place game against George Washington McDermott was held to just seven points on just 2-12 shooting in a 60-53 loss.
Since the first week of the season we as fans have been told to enjoy the freshmen for the few months we have them in college basketball. Well the same should be said about the likes of Smart and McDermott because they too will be taking their talents to the next level in a few months.
College Basketball Game of the Day: Villanova vs Iowa
Villanova shocked the college basketball world on Friday night when they knocked off the No.2 ranked Kansas Jayhawks with the help of a three point shot from Ryan Arcidiacono. With only 10 seconds left on the clock, Arcidiacono made the go ahead three and helped Villanova to a 63-59 win over Kansas.
The 23rd ranked Iowa had their own struggles, having to rally to beat Xavier in overtime before blowing out UTEP. The winner of the game will claim the Battle 4 Atlantis title.
Arcidiacono missed all five of his previous shots before hitting the game winning three
The shot was also Villanova’s only field goal in the final 7:19 of the game
Iowa is 7-0 for the first time since the 2001 season
Iowa recorded 22 assists on 31 field goals versus UTEP
Villanova holds a 3-1 all time record against Iowa
Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble scored a season low 7 points against UTEP after having 30 vs Xavier
Villanova has no player taller than 6’7″ yet have outrebounded 5 of their 6 opponents
No matter how bleak it looked for the Kansas Jayhawks when they were taking on Purdue this past Sunday, this rabid Jayhawk fan never sat down and never gave up. Here’s to you five-head KU aisle fan guy…
This was not the Spartans team that was suppose to stand in Missouri’s way to a final four appearance.
Their was not enough alcohol in my house to prepare me for what the Missouri Tigers did to my bracket. It wasn’t that Missouri even played bad, Newman State just played better. Missouri shot 53% from the field, that should be enough to beat a Nixon State. Unfortunately Nehigh State shot 54% from the field and it wasn’t necessarily bad defense by Missouri. Prayers were answered for the Nutterbutterville St Spartans time and time again, with hail mary threes and behind the back board shots too shots that were missed so badly by them they’d get the offensive rebound put backs.
Missouri was obviously not ready for the pressure or a number two seed though. All of those years of making fun of Kansas for losing to no name schools such as Northern Iowa or Davidson came back to bite MU fans in the butt.
Kim English was such a non factory in the game, I clenched my teeth every time he took a shot. English finished the game 1-7 from the field. Seeing him miss shots was more annoying than hearing Marv Albert mis-pronounce Phil Pressey’s name time and time again. ”Phil Pressley with a big shot!”. Marv gave us one last “Pressley” with 10 seconds left in the game, when Phil “Pressley” hit a three pointer to cut the Norfolk State lead to one.
Teams traded baskets the entire game. Every time Missouri jumped ahead by a point I just assumed this was the time MU would go on their run and put Norfolk out of their misery. That wasn’t the case. Every time Missouri hit a big shot, Norfolk answered.
By the five minute mark of the game I was mixing Jeremiah Weed and Pepto Bismol. Nothing could compare me for the final minute though. With the Tigers down by three, Denmon chucks up a desperation three with 20 seconds left on the clock. An ill advised shot.<another chug of pepto> The Tigers promptly foul sending Norfolk’s Kyle O’Quinn to the line where he hits one of two giving them a four point lead. I’m figuring game over and relax a bit. Phil PRESSEY jets down the court and hits a deep three pointer, Tigers down by just one with 10 seconds left!! <another swig of pepto> Tigers are back in this game! Kim English fouls and sends Norfolk to the line where 54% free throw shooter Rodney McCauley makes the first. He then misses the second shot so bad that Pressey and O’Quinn end up fighting for it out of bounds, possession arrow Spartans. <chug the rest of pepto and chuck empty bottle in kitchen> Game over right? O’Quinn misses both free throws giving the Tigers one last shot, down by two with under 3 seconds left. In one last attempt to give me an ulcer, Pressey gets a nice look at a three, but back rims it out.
I did the same move Pressey did after he missed his three, pulled my shirt over my head and watch my phone nearly vibrate off the table after being bombed with text messages. Now it’s time to just sit back and wait for the wraith of KU fan.
Okay, so you’re filling out your bracket for the tenth straight year without coming even close to winning your pool. Sure, you pick a few upsets, the 9 seed beating the 8 seed or even the 6 seed falling to the 11 seed, but what about the games beyond the first round, the ones that really matter. As that first day of Tournament action unfolds, you are kicking yourself for putting so much trust in how the teams were seeded. You never saw the 8 seed going to the elite eight, or the 6 seed going to the final four. Well today, I am here to give you some last minute Cinderella candidates. These are the underrated teams that I think have the potential to make some noise from the first round and beyond.
South Bracket: Iowa State, VCU, Xavier, Colorado
West Bracket: Long Beach State, Davidson, Memphis
East Bracket: Kansas St., Vanderbilt, Cincinnati
Midwest Bracket: St. Mary’s, Belmont, Creighton
By: Johnny Vitatoe
National player of the year:What the statistics won’t say
Both 6’10, these two basketball mammoths have proven that they are worthy of an NBA lottery pick. But as we are all engulfed in a sports world revolved around the media, there must be a debate. There must be a singular consensus by a certain body of people that distinguishes what player is considered to be better. What do we base this title on anyway? The first criterion must be statistics. So let us compare.Anthony Davis: 14.4 points per game
9.8 rebounds per game ( 4.7 blocks per game)
Thomas Robinson: 18.0 points per game
Clearly Davis takes the advantage on the defensive end, and Robinson can take the advantage on the offensive end. What about things that cannot be measured by statistics? Thomas Robinson is clearly the stronger of the two, but Davis seems to have a lengthier frame. Anthony Davis is surrounded by McDonalds All-Americans whereas Robinson is surrounded by solid players, but none as highly touted coming into college. (I don’t want to take anything away from the Kansas team here because I think Tyshawn Taylor is the most dynamic point guard in all of college basketball and Elijah Johnson is the most underrated guard in the Big XII) I just want to point out that the raw talent Kentucky has been blessed with is aiding in the play and production of Anthony Davis.From the beginning of the season, the weight of the Kansas basketball program has been on Thomas Robinson’s shoulders. He has carried the team several times throughout the season and has admitted to succumbing to the pressure. This is something that Anthony Davis has not dealt with in quite the same capacity. Anthony Davis is, in my opinion, the better NBA prospect. He has not tapped into his full potential being that he is still very young. I believe he is still developing physically and that alone makes him a very worthwhile future professional. But!.. let’s not see his future potential as an advantage in the present discussion. I think this is a very important concept. Thomas Robinson has had a few years to come into his own by maturing both physically and mentally. This has given him an edge to develop and adjust to the speed of college basketball.The conclusion: Thomas Robinson deserves to be National Player of The Year. Anthony Davis has played like a National Player of The Year. Both will be rewarded with honors once it is all said and done. The real title that distinguishes which player is better will be reflected in how they play this March, when every possession can determine the outcome of the entire season.
Four days and counting. Saturday afternoon the battle is on, so let’s kick off the Missouri Tigers v Kansas Jayhawks thriller off right. It’s a game for the king of the Big 12 as well as possibly being a game for a #1 seed in the NCAA tourney. I’ll make several posts in the upcoming days to get us even more pumped up for the rivalry game this weekend.
Here’s a video of Thomas Robinson going Blake Griffin all over the Oklahoma Sooners
I’m not trying to rub salt on the Missouri Tiger’s wounds after losing for the second time to the inferior Kansas State team. This Soren Petro rant from a year ago on a hillbilly Tiger fan is epic though. The Kansas Jayhawks are the Big 12′s pimp and they will slap you when they want. Let it be known that this clueless Tiger fan doesn’t represent the rest of MIZ ZOU fans.
Subject 1: KU at MU: One of the best rivalries in all of the land. I halfway have to call MU a bitch for running off the SEC. That would have a better chance in any and all sports programs staying in the Big 12 -? I’ve said it before and I will say it again. MU will be the cell bitch of the SEC football and basketball, who gives a shit about baseball and all the other sports. This will be one of the final meetings of these two. Who will respective KU and MU fans hate on now? If you go to any social site there is more shit talking when these two play than a Maury Povich show and five way DNA test. None the less today’s matchup in Columbia will be one that I am watching. I have given shit to MU all year for playing a soft schedule. Beating Baylor on the road gave them some street cred, if they can take care of business today it will give them even more. KU is doing better than I expected them to do this year, and can’t really talk too much smack about them, it’s a rebuilding year. Anytime though I see the arrogant Lawrence faithful have a bad year or loss though I can’t help but giggle. Today’s game will give me a chance to giggle even more….MU by 6.
Subject 2: Kentucky at South Carolina: I sense a disturbance in the force. This really feels like a trap game. Kentucky never plays well at South Carolina. While Kentucky is not the best team in the nation, they will win the national championship this year. Today though I really fear that the Big Blue Machine is going to drop one against the Game Cocks. Say it with me Game Cocks…that mascot ranks right up there with the Oregon State Beavers and the Wichita State Shockers. One big happy perverse group of mascots. If Kentucky can go into SC and blow the Cocks off the floor, call it lights out…the Big Blue machine will be for real. If they lose or its close, it just shows that Calipari’s philosophy or recruiting one and dones is flawed and most likely 7 years from now Kentucky will be on probation for recruiting violations and Calipari will be on to a new program to mess it up after he is gone. I don’t like the smell of this Cock fest. South Carolina by 6.
Subject 3: UFC 143: Who gives a shit….
Subject 4: The Super Bowl: I really did not want to see this matchup. It’s a reminder how the Pat’s got screwed out of the perfect season in 2007 and we have to listen to Don Shula and the 72 Dolphins crap about how they are the best team of all time, even though the Pats did win more games than they did. I still think Eli Manning should be MVP this year; he has played consistent all year and has done more with less. Without him the Giants would not be in the Super Bowl. RGronk is out, but I think Tom Brady can still make stuff happen. Congrats to Ochocinco on his first Super Bowl. The Giants defense has been playing at a wicked rate through the playoffs. This truly will be a good game. Until today I thought the Giants would probably win, but I think I’m going to take the Patriots by 3, and I have a feeling we may see overtime. Other picks for the Super Bowl. Madonna will suck. The over/under on social site comments regarding the Super Bowl has been set 1 million. The over/under on commercial comments have been set at 2million. 500 people will get STD’s at Super Bowl parties. 200 people will get knocked up. 700 people will puke from drinking too much and Rug Doctor Rentals will go through the roof late Sunday Night/Early Monday Morning. Tim Tebow will mentioned 300 times during Super Bowl coverage. I will be passed out by 11pm, no puking.
I don’t know, but we are about to find out. After dropping both conference games to an Oklahoma team that many had marked as the “gimmees” on the basketball schedule, everyone is wondering what to make of this year’s team. K-State (15-5, 4-4) currently has all the pieces to the puzzle in the wrong places. They’ll get a quick flash of what the overall picture is about the time someone decides to move their piece.
By no means is this a time to panic and get tight. Let’s look back to just last year when K-State was in a similar situation. K-State ended the month of January with an ugly 24pt lose in Lawrence to fall to 2-5 in the conference. K-State fans couldn’t have been more down after being picked by the coaches as the favorite to win the Big 12. The Cats would go on to win 8 of their next 9 to finish regular season play with the one lose being to Colorado, who should have made the NCAA tournament.
Fast forward back to this year. Rodney McGruder has showed he can take over a game the way Jacob Pullen did last year, but he without a doubt needs his teammates to pitch in. Will Spradling is due for a big game as he has certainly had his struggles. Spradling has missed all of his last ten 3pt attempts and is just 4-23 (17%) going back the past five games. Jamar Samuels put on 30lbs this off-season and has done very little with it. Samuels needs to become a force inside, start finishing around the bucket and STOP shooting 3 pointers.
K-State has a great opportunity to get the train back on the tracks by getting a win on the road at Iowa State tonight. The Wildcats will tip off at 8pm against a Cyclones team coming off a big home win against Kansas on Saturday. These two teams appear to be jockeying for 4th place in the league, as the top three have set themselves apart.
My 3 keys to a K-State win. 1, limit Royce White. Shocking. This will also mean fewer times the TV audience will have to hear him referred to as “Rolls Royce.” 2, Rebounds. Outside of Royce, no other Cyclone is crashing the boards. Offense rebounds and second chance points will be huge. 3, Mental mistakes. K-State needs to stop giving the ball away on offense and start making better in game decisions.
The student section had painted the inside of Hilton Coliseum yellow for the Cyclones matchup Saturday with number 5 Kansas. Little did they know it would end up all White, Royce White that is.
Early strong moves to the basket set the tone and rhythm for a scrappy Iowa State squad. They took advantage of the KU bigs early in the game which led to effective short range jumps shots and an early first half lead. KU would go on a run to cut the lead to 2 going into the break in front of the amped home crowd.
Early in the second half KU had seemed to find a bright spot amongst the bigs in Jeff Withey. The KU center came out the gate blocking shots and making his presence known in the paint. Iowa state continued to feed their staple big man Royce White and the battle down low began to rack up fouls on KU’s Robinson and Withey midway through the first half.
With the Kansas duo in foul trouble the Hurricanes ran wild under the bucket. KU attempted to sub at a feverish pace to find an answer, but the answer did not come from the bench.
With the lack of a solid bench performance, the hawks could not right the sinking ship against a salty Iowa State rally late in the second half. The court was stormed by a sea of yellow after the final buzzer sang with an Iowa State upset 72-64.
It was hard to miss that with the physical play down low, the lack of depth was a glaring factor down the stretch for KU. The Kansas bigs found themselves in early second half foul trouble and as a result had to play careful defense. That toned down defense would lead to Iowa State outrebounding KU and halting Kansas’s offense attack.
As the big twelve rolls on, it will be interesting to watch and see if other teams begin to successfully expose the lean Kansas bench. Iowa State did a perfect job of continuing to feed the inside and either drawing a foul, getting points or both. There were several possessions in the second half when a guard would have an open shot only to turn it down and pass to the rim for a closer, higher percentage look. This type of team play is refreshing to see and only shows that Iowa State under its new leadership is going to be a factor to be recon with down the road in future big 12 matchups.
With all that said, the sky is not falling over Lawrence, Kansas. This year’s squad is a mixture of athletes who have been waiting in the shadows, not quite battle tested, but hungry for what has seemed to be just out of reach. As the games go by, lessons are being learned. The coach is coaching and the body of work at the end of the season may just be his finest work yet. Time will only tell.
KU will meet Oklahoma at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Allen Fieldhouse.
The #22/24 ranked Kansas State Wildcats moved to 4-3 in the conference and 15-4 overall, by taking down a struggling Texas Tech team on the road by a final of 69-47. K-State was lead by Martavious Irving who came off the bench to score a team high 16pts. Rodney McGruder pitched 13pts going 6-13 from the field.
Jordan Henriquez was back, from what turned out to be a one game suspension, for conduct detrimental to the team. Coach Martin showed that he was in no rush to get J.O. on the court, waiting until there was 2:59 remaining in the game before substituting him while Tech shot free throws. J.O. did manage to get on the board by knocking down a couple free throws and grabbing a rebound.
The final score along with who K-State’s leading scorer was gives a pretty good indication of how the game went. Tech is looking for any positives it can find right now in Big 12 play after falling to 0-7 with yet another lose. K-State was able to create 24 Tech turnovers, work the ball around on offensive and was never in a big rush to get a shot up. 11 players got in the scorebook for K-State, but oddly enough not Jamar Samuels who started and played 14 mins.
Texas Tech coach Billy Gillespie didn’t even bothering with raising his voice at his players, while Frank Martin opposite burned 1,000 calories just scowling. Tech somehow only had four players score and two of them were starters. Yes, only two starters scored. That includes two players who logged 36 and 28 mins. Ugh.
Kansas State is back in action on Saturday hosting an Oklahoma team who beat up on K-State already in Norman. OU gave Baylor all they could handle on Tuesday night before eventually running out of gas in the second half. The Cats are in a 5 game stretch where they will play the bottom half of the Big 12 standings, before turning right around to face the top 3 consecutively.
Monday night the Jayhawks met up with a hungry Texas A&M squad fresh off a top 5 national poll ranking and a big road win over Texas. Much like driving your grandfather’s classic car the evening began smooth and exciting. Early on it seemed that battle tested Jayhawks were to make an example out of the undermanned Aggies who limped into the contest. Then, as it often does with a young squad, Ku experienced a few bumps in the road. More like a few land mines.
The early dominating play set a tone that had you thinking halftime may be time to switch from the game to your favorite late night sitcom rerun, but hold that remote. Just as the Jayhawks seemed to be dominating on both sides of the court, the Aggies began to get open. Get open and make shots to be exact.
Ku led just under the 15 minute mark in the first half 11-0, only to see that margin escape them over the next several minutes. In fact, the Aggies took an 18 to 15 lead just under the 10 minute mark.
Kansas seemed to sputter on offense and be quite lost of defense to close out the remainder of the first half. Instead of feeding the inside scoring machines that have been there all season, they began shooting open jumpers. This kept the game within reach for Texas A&M who escaped into the visitor locker room with a 2 point halftime lead.
Only the players and staff would hear what was on coach Self’s mind during the halftime intermission, but even the commentators commented on the tongue lashing the KU squad would most certainly be receiving. The old Fieldhouse was surely rocking in the home locker room.
The first 5 minutes of the second half wasn’t much better. The guards were not penetrating the lane or finding the bigs. You could sense the Aggies daring the Jayhawks to pull the trigger on 3 point shots. They seemed to be open much like the first half, but the shots were not falling. Texas A&M was successfully dictating the speed of the game and had a 2 point lead with just under 15 minutes to go.
From that point on though, Kansas began to settle down and feed the paint. The guards began to penetrate the lane and force fouls. Kansas took an 8 point lead with just over 5 minutes to play and never really looked back. The final bell would sound with Kansas up 10, but the overall body of work left many with a bad taste.
And so it goes for these young Jayhawks this year. Very talented and at times the look of a veteran team, but in all actuality, still a body of work with rough edges. There will continue to be bumps in the road as the season continues, but when they get it right how far can this group go? Time will only tell.
The Jayhawks next face a scrappy Iowa State Saturday 1pm at the Hilton Coliseum.
Just when you might of found yourself being sucked into the hype of a KU basketball squad being strapped for shooters, loss of bench players and lacking for overall talent look again. This year has proven that hoops is a team game and with the right chemistry between players and coaches the sky is the limit, or at least it seams to be at KU.
Forget about the name of the program for just a minute. Let’s think of them as just a basketball team. Now let’s begin by taking 4 starters away from an accomplished squad from a year ago. You are loosing 4 of your top scorers, top rebounders, top defensive players, top three point shooters, needless to say the list goes on and on. Take all of that statistical body of work away and what remains? Well for good reason ones subjective mind gravitates towards a true rebuilding year. A year of grabbing what is left at the bottom of the barrel and molding those individuals into a new squad. More emphasis being on what they will be next year and recruiting would overshadow a lack luster record that goes along with a typical rebuilding year. For the most part this line of thinking would be correct, but we all forgot one little thing. This is KU.
Bill Self is the catalyst for what in the beginning seemed impossible to actually be quite possible. The ball coach knew what was lurking in the shadows. He could see the potential that we were all looking past. From day one this squad has definitely been out of character in many ways, except one, winning.
In my mind this squad is asserting itself as a true blue collar smack you in the face group than has been at KU for several years. They aren’t going to beat you pretty, but they may beat you ugly. There will be few teams that I would consider battle tested in the way KU has been from its early season scheduling. Another testament to if you want to be the best you must first beat the best attitude. This rebuilding group is flat out beating good teams at home, and on the road.
New recruits are in the background watching what they will get to be a part of very soon. At Kansas you don’t turn it around as an incoming player, you merely contribute to what is already there. Next year there are guys coming in contribute. And the year after there will be more being asked to capitalizing on the legacy of this program in whatever way coach self asks of them.
A team who is truly greater than the sum of its parts is beginning a run for yet another big 12 season title. We are just left to shake our heads and reflect on how nice it must be to be rebuilding after losing basically everyone relevant. Rebuilding as a top ten nationally ranked team and leading the Big 12.
Subject One: Giants at the Niner’s: The last time this was a relevant matchup people like Ronnie Lott, Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, Tom Rathman were the main characters. Even though I don’t like the new version of this rivalry it should still make for a good game. The guy that should be MVP…Eli Manning has the Giants offense clicking and I have to admit the Giants defense is looking killer. After all look what they did to the Packers last week. Then on the other hand you have Alex Smith who proved last week he could survive in a shootout and the Niner’s defense was tore up. Both teams had emotional wins last week and could be subject to an emotional let down this week. There is no way to pick a clear winner. Who do I want to win? San Francisco. Who do I think will win? The Giants. Coughlin and the boys have been here before and know how to deal with it and get through. On top of that I know everyone is saying how this team reminds them of the 07 Giants and yes they do, but they also remind of last years Packers that got hot at the right time and won the Super Bowl. Can they this year? Who knows…this has been a crazy year in the NFL and it’s anybody’s trophy, of the teams that is left that is…
Subject Two: Ravens at the Pats: Tom Brady stepped on the field last week and looked at Tim Tebow and said “I am the only real quarterback here bitch.” Not a moment too soon. Tebow was to the NFL as Larry The Cable Guy is to the comedy world…sure people love them but they both suck. I know one thing Joe Flacco needs to shave that idiotic Fu-Man-Chu moustache. I want to kick a cat every time I look at it. What the hell are you Flacco a quarterback or a singer in a 70’s rock band? You look like you live in a trailer park. You played like that last week as well. Of course the Ravens defense last week played well enough to get by a team playing with a rookie 3rd string quarterback…not saying much. The Patriots defense has given up more play this year than my ex-wife did while we were married. Both of them are too easy to penetrate. I don’t know what to make of this game. Going with the Pats though because of New England’s high octane offense and the fact that they are the home team.
Subject Three: Miami Dolphins: Hey idiots did you want to win again? Oh wait that is right I forgot that jackoff Carl Peterson is working for you all. He is an expert in putting together a sub-par product and exciting the fans about it. Since they couldn’t get Jeff Fisher of course the next best thing out there was Joe Philbin, the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator. That’s like me wanting a Corvette and then settling for Ford Escort. I’m sure everyone’s saying hey Green Bay has had a good offense. Sure they have…when you have the talent they do….I could call flea flicker plays all game and look like a genius. I think the humidity in Miami is making people stupid.
Subject Four: MU vs. Baylor: If MU can go into Baylor and win this weekend I may be willing to give them some half acknowledgment as a legitimate team. I don’t think that is going to happen though. Baylor is too big and MU does not match up well. Don’t feel bad with Baylor loosing this week to KU, don’t be surprised if the Top 25 voters, vote Duke to Number 1 this next week. I will never understand why the voters have such a damn crush on Duke and North Carolina…its idiotic.
In Monday night’s NCAA basketball nightcap, the Kansas Jayhawks find themselves in an unfamiliar role at Allen Fieldhouse: underdog.
At the turn of the century, college hoops fans would see “Baylor” on their team’s schedule and mark one in the “win” column. Prognosticators annually picked them to finish at the bottom of the league. Their fan-base hadn’t seen their team’s name on an NCAA Tournament bracket since the 1987-1988 season. The Baylor Bears were the basement-dwellers of the Big 12.
Allen Fieldhouse, on the other hand, was the epitome of “college basketball”. It had the names, banners, atmosphere: the tradition. Kansas teams were considered perennial contenders for the national championship, and the standard preseason consensus was that the conference’s regular-season title would run through the streets of Lawrence.
Fast-forward to 2012, and Big 12 basketball is a case of, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Baylor head coach Scott Drew has single-handedly turned the Bears basketball program around since taking the reins in 2003. He’s led them to two NCAA Tournament appearances, one Elite Eight, and his current squad remains undefeated midway through the 2012 season. Although Drew has had his share of prized recruits in recent years, his teams have acquired a reputation for underachieving; this group, led by Perry Jones III, is looking to change that by ending the Jayhawks’ dominance.
Coming into the season, Bill Self’s Kansas resumé boasted a 237-46 record–including 129-7 (95%) at home–seven consecutive Big 12 titles, and one national championship. The league’s preseason coaches poll ranked the Jayhawks as co-favorites (alongside Texas A&M) to finish atop the conference, despite having what is arguably Self’s least talented squad.
Tonight’s game is going to serve as a barometer for both teams. Kansas is ranked #7 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, but they’re behind rival Missouri (#5) and tonight’s opponent, Baylor (#3). However, Scott Drew’s 1-8 record against the Jayhawks assures that he’ll spend every waking moment preparing.
On paper, the Bears and Jayhawks share a lot of similarities: dominant big men, athletic backcourts that excel in transition, and point guards that can create shot opportunities for their teammates, but are also turnover-prone. Ultimately, two factors could potentially dictate tonight’s outcome: Kansas’ success against Baylor’s signature zone defense, and Baylor’s ability to take the crowd out of the game. If Tyshawn Taylor forces the Bears’ zone to collapse by penetrating and freeing up his teammates on the perimeter, Baylor will likely revert to man-to-man which will ease the pressure on Thomas Robinson in the post. However, if Baylor jumps out of the gate and quiets the rambunctious sixth man, they could leave the storied venue with a “W”.
Stats and predictions aside, one thing is for sure: this will be fun.
So I’m a day late…..wanted to get the BCS Championship Game in the mix…
Dear Upset LSU Fans,
You can say you had one more win than Bama. Doesn’t matter. You can say you won the first game…doesn’t matter. If you take the scores of the two games and put them together the final score was 27-9. Bama wins…now shut up…next year could be your year.
The guy that thought LSU was going to win but glad that Bama did.
Congrats on your shutout last night. While you were setting bowl history with the first ever shut out. I shutout a 20pk of Miller Lite. We were both on fire last night. Your defense was stiffer than Jerry Sandusky watching Nickelodeon. I said at the beginning of the year you would win the championship and I must admit I had my doubts there for a moment. By the way the BCS trophy looks like something my grandmother would have kept in her curio cabinet.
The guy that has never been molested by Nick Saban in a shower but would let him for some cash and booze.
If you are not going to give us playoffs, can we at least request that Bret Musberger never announce another college football game? He is annoying at best. I don’t even think he is still alive…I think the networks have some kick ass CGI. It’s like listening to Dick Clark announce a football game. Many times last night I put the game on mute.
The guy that would rather listen to Steven Hawking announces a football game.
Dear MU Fans,
Told you so.
The guy that watched K-State expose you for the fraud you are.
Dear Rick Pitino,
What the hell is going on over there at Louisville? Your team is coming apart faster than the GOP Race. Notre Dame? I figured you guys for a Final Four team this year. Guess not.
The guy scratching his head
Dear Tim Tebow,
F*!k You…That is all.
You had one good game but you are still a fraud
I have always loved you from afar. This week I pledge my allegiance to you and all thing holy in the Boston area. Please put an end to the Broncos and Tebow. I can’t stand another week of Tebow mania on ESPN. I would rather watch a Steel Magnolia’s marathon than watch anymore coverage on that hack quarterback.
The guy that will be eating lobster and New England Clam Chowder Saturday Night.
Dear Romeo Crennel,
You are on a tight leash with me. Better make it good fat man, I’m impatient. Any signs of Cleveland like leadership I’m gonna be on you like you on a Ryans Buffet on seafood night. Go tell your boss, the Tony Soprano look-alike, to draft lineman and spend some money in free agency.