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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Streak, well, done

Kansas hangs 70-plus on RedHawks

Kansas guard Mario Chalmers, left, ducks underneath Miami of Ohio forward Dwight McCombs in the second half of KU's 78-54 victory. Chalmers had 10 points in the Jayhawks' win Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Mario Chalmers, left, ducks underneath Miami of Ohio forward Dwight McCombs in the second half of KU's 78-54 victory. Chalmers had 10 points in the Jayhawks' win Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Hawks handle Miami of Ohio

The Jayhawks hosted Miami of Ohio on Saturday, who had held its opponents to under 70 points in 44 straight games.

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2007-08 Dec. 22 KU-Miami Basketball

Go figure

44

Consecutive games Miami had held opponents under 70 points

28.0

Miami's first-half field-goal percentage

55.2

KU's first-half field-goal percentage

14, 10

Points, rebounds by Kansas' Darrell Arthur

6

Season-low turnovers by the Jayhawks

14

Turnovers by Miami

10-for-16

Combined free-throw shooting by both teams

1

Points by which Miami's reserves outscored Kansas'

Just like that, there goes Miami of Ohio's streak of holding teams under 70 points a game.

"I'm a little surprised a lot of teams don't get 70 on them more often," KU senior guard Russell Robinson said after the Jayhawks' 78-54 rout of the RedHawks on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

"They didn't pressure at all in the half court. We pretty much got the shots that we wanted."

The Jayhawks, who used an early 13-0 run to grab a 20-6 advantage and led by a comfy 39-20 at halftime, became the first team to score 70 on the Mid-America Conference school in 45 games. Miami last allowed 70 in a 73-58 loss to Ohio in the 2006 MAC Postseason Tournament.

It was the most points scored on Miami since Michigan tallied 87 on Dec. 22, 2005.

"We take pride in that," KU junior Brandon Rush said after scoring 10 points and holding high-scoring RedHawk guard Michael Bramos to six points in 25 minutes.

The Jayhawks' 78 points came off sizzling 57.9 percent shooting. KU had four players in double figures: Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson with 14 each, and Rush and Mario Chalmers with 10 apiece.

KU had just six turnovers in what coach Bill Self called "a crisp offensive performance."

"That's a remarkable deal. Nobody has hung 70 on them, and they play games away from home," Self said of the (6-5) RedHawks, who defeated Illinois, 61-58, in overtime on Thursday at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill.

"They control the tempo. They've got post guys they can play through. (But) we played pretty well. We shot 58 percent. If we shot 43, 44, we probably wouldn't have done it. That's what opponents usually shoot against them."

The RedHawks held Louisville to a mere 47 points in a three-point loss on Dec. 1 at the Cardinals' Freedom Hall.

"Teams like that : they have to play the way we play. We like to play fast. That's what we did," Jackson said after hitting six of seven shots and also grabbing eight rebounds.

KU in some ways set the tone against a smaller RedHawks team on the Jayhawks' first possession.

Arthur, a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Dallas, missed three inside shots, grabbing the rebound each time before making shot attempt No. 4. Arthur put up 14 shots on the day, converting seven for baskets.

"Our whole thing today was, 'Attack and get it inside,''' Rush said. "Their low post is small at 6-(foot)-5, 6-6. 'Shady' could shoot over them. We dumped it down low, and our inside guys did the work."

Arthur took and missed his only three-point try, doing most of his damage in the paint. He had two points, while Sasha Kaun had five and Jackson two during the early, important 13-0 surge.

"We told him, 'Just shoot over everybody,''' Rush said of Arthur. "He's 6-9, athletic, can jump out of the gym. He can get the shot anytime he wants. It's his jumpshot that isn't working right now, (so) we pound it into him down low."

Robinson had four assists against two turnovers.

"He's doing a good job," Robinson said of Arthur. "They were really small inside. I was guarding the post awhile, and I can only imagine what Darrell was thinking," added Robinson, eight inches shorter than Arthur.

Inside players Kaun and Cole Aldrich combined for nine points and four boards on a day Arthur recorded his second double-double of the season.

"I'm surprised he doesn't get more of those. I think as the season goes on he is going to figure it out and start getting more," Robinson said.

The Jayhawks were never threatened the second half despite the fact Miami hit 51.9 percent of its second-half shots and finished at 40.4 percent to KU's 57.9 mark. KU held a game-high lead of 30 points (61-31) with 8:52 left.

"That was a good win for us," Self said. "I was nervous about this game. In large part the guys looking ahead to going home for Christmas and all those things, which I would be, too, but they focused for two hours."

The were focused enough to put 70 points on the stingy RedHawks.

"I think we could have had more," Self said. "It wasn't a fast game, and we missed bunnies, but we did execute. Seventeen assists and only six turnovers, and two were by Russell in a span of about 15 seconds. We made them look not as good as they are which is always a positive."

The Jayhawks, who enter a four-day holiday break at 12-0, will not practice again until Wednesday night. The squad will hold its annual holiday clinic Thursday morning and next play a game against Yale. Tipoff is 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 29, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Comments

Ferd Magellan 6 years, 3 months ago

If they end up winning the MAC, it sure as hell does mean much. If KU doesn't roll over the Big 12 and picks up a few more losses than we expect, the committee will look at our big wins against major programs and mid-majors to determine our seeding. A big win against a very good Miami team would stand out when the committee looked at our resume.

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frisbeenation 6 years, 3 months ago

at the end of the season-- MARCH. A home blowout against miami of ohio doesn't mean much. you can't argue otherwise.

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bmcmich1 6 years, 3 months ago

I think that sometimes too much stock is put into who you play out of conference. Many times it's just fodder for fans; something to make them stick their chest out a little further. "Well, WE played so-and-so, who did YOUR team play??" and all that nonsense. I think that sometimes it's better to not discredit our opponents and laud our own play instead. Regarless of whether Ohio U. and Miami-Ohio are thought of as garbage or not, they are both teams of the same mid-major mold that we have had some trouble against in March over the past couple years. All I can say is I don't think our dominance of the two aforementioned teams can be dismissed just because they didn't come from a major conference. There you have it--my $.02

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actorman 6 years, 3 months ago

Trojan, you should know by now that logic doesn't work with some people. Frisbee clearly is looking at the Miami, Ohio name and not bothering to actually look at what they've done this year. It is interesting, though, that in a short time they've gone from "cruddy" to "moderately decent." Perhaps if we showed him a few more facts he may elevate them to good.

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Ferd Magellan 6 years, 3 months ago

Filler team? Look at their wins and losses the past couple of years. In games against Xavier, USC, Miss State, Dayton, Louisville and Illinois they either won or lost at the very end. KU was the first team to beat them handily in a long time. Oregon beat them by two points in the Tourney last year. They are an excellent mid-major, and their RPI boosted KU greatly.

Anytime KU loses, we never hear the end of it. Get used to it, because it will happen your whole life as a KU fan. It's what happens when your team rarely loses.

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frisbeenation 6 years, 3 months ago

a home blowout of miami ohio ain't exactly what the experts call a "shelf-life" win, actorman. They're just a moderately decent, filler team. Reverse the situation and say we had lost that game? We wouldn't have heard the end of it all year, all the way through selection sunday.

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Larry Smith 6 years, 3 months ago

The last 4 NCAA Champs

07 Florida sos 159 non-con sos 38 06 Florida sos 253 non-con sos 66 05 Carolina sos 18 non-con sos 54 04 UConn sos 17 non-con sos 54

KU

07 sos 54 non con 114 06 sos 49 non-con 142 05 sos 1 non-con 1 04 sos 10 non con 9

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actorman 6 years, 3 months ago

"big freaking deal, so we scored 78 points against a cruddy team."

Please explain us, frisbee, how a team that won at Illinois, beat a good Xavier team, and had four losses by a total of 9 points, qualifies as "cruddy." Perhaps Miami is not a great team, but no one can say they're not a good team. And KU completely dominated, practically from the beginning. It was a very impressive win.

I also tend to agree with robot that the whole "playing a tough schedule" thing is one of those cliches that is just accepted as fact. Maybe it's true, but it would be interesting to see some actual numbers on it.

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jaybate 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't have that stat; that would be a great stat to establlish.

I just know from my own experience in ball and in life that I perform more confidently and efficiently and work more on my weakness after I've gone up against the best.

Experience is my best teacher. Its the best teacher of persons I've been close enough to observe on the subject.

But some stats on this would be super desirable.

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NH_JHawk 6 years, 3 months ago

good point robot. come tourney time it's 1 and done and anything can happen. proof of that point would be George Mason, an 11 seed in 06. They beat Michigan St. (6), UNC (3), Wichita St (7), and then shocked UConn (1) to go to the Final Four where they lost to eventual champ Florida. Anyone really think GM was anymore "battle tested" then any of their tourney opponents?

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Robin Smith 6 years, 3 months ago

is there any proof that teams who play harder schedules do better in the tournament? or that teams who don't get "battle tested" perform less well?

I just have a suspicion that there is no real correlation.

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Kevin Long 6 years, 3 months ago

I agree jaybate. Although this years team has more experience and doesn't really need to find themselves like last years team did. They will get tested and even lose a game they shouldn't, it always happens.

jbrownjib, I think your totally right about the defense. I love how we can shut teams down now. Roy was like the Vermeil of basketball. Self will get us a title, but it may take awhile. So far he has won us as many titles as Roy did.

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the78phoenix 6 years, 3 months ago

I agree with jbrownjib. We will get battle tested during the Big 12 schedule. The problem with Memphis, is they don't play anyone during their conference schedule in the latter part of the season. Thus, getting kind of stale by the time the tourney rolls around. But, they do get a high seed normally because they have so few losses.

We are kind of working it backwards this year. Play a less difficult schedule than usual in the non-conference (but by no means is our non-conference weak), go into the conference schedule with no losses, then get tournament ready during the second half of the season. Garnering us a number 1 seed with what I think to be at the most 3 losses.

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jbrownjib 6 years, 3 months ago

Kansas will be tested in the B12. Texas, KSU, T A&M, and Nebraska are all playing tough. Besides, I don't think our schedule was a patsy. Mid Atl Conf has gotten tough in recent years. GT, USC and Zona are quality teams. Also, you don't want all pre-conf games to bang up your team. Kansas has been able to work through injuries to Collins and Rush during this period. This team will be ready for the B12 and the B12 will make them NCAA ready. Roys teams never played shut down defense. The goal for Roy was to break 100 points every game. Roy's teams lost in the tourney because the opponent played a tempo control game.
We won the tourney with Larry Brown and LB used the same defensive strategy that Self is using. The Half court trap.

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jaybate 6 years, 3 months ago

Post Script: Of course, KU has played a monster schedule compared to UNC. Roy was relying on the ACC to test his boys, and now he's in a serious pinch. The ACC is way down this year. So: UNC is likely to enter the tourney without knowing they have what it takes either.

Memphis remains the team to beat. They've got the kind of muscle inside that Florida had the last two years, and they've got better guards than Florida had. But only time will tell if Memphis' puzzle parts fit together as perfectly as Florida's did.

I truly believe we can take Memphis, but only if Arthur learns to play. These seven out of 14 field goal attempt games of his are going to kill us against good teams. He's got to get more efficient. The good news is he's starting to rebound AND score; that is a big first step to becoming a post player. But sooner or later he's got to develop pride in scoring efficiency. You can see that Jackson gets it. And even Kaun seems to be coming together, though he doesn't have the tools to be as good as either Jackson or Arthur. But Arthur's still scoring like sophmore and we need him to be scoring like a junior at least. If he doesn't learn to love the blocks, those Memphis bigs are going to have Arthur pushed out and playing from the cheap seats.

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jaybate 6 years, 3 months ago

KU's schedule under Self always turns out to have been tougher than it looked.

At the same time, some seasons things break so you don't get to play a top team in preseason.

Zona and USC were expected to be top teams this year. They just had injuries and anomalous problems that brought them down a notch. Them's the breaks.

At the same time, the cost of not playing any top ten teams during pre season is high. We're caught in the same boat Memphis was in last year. They weren't battle tested last year in the same way we were with that early game against Florida.

Win or lose, Memphis and Georgetown are way better off for having played each other.

They have a reality check. They know they can stay on a floor with a top team. They also know what they need to improve on. There is no substitute for this sort of experience.

Texas has the same kind of experience this year against UCLA.

KU was very fortunate last year to have played Florida early. From that point on, they knew they had the goods. I will always believe it was the Florida game that got them all those close wins down the stretch against teams like Texas, when the likes of Kevin Durant were going off. They knew they had already seen the best. They knew they could take a really good team, even when it was hot.

Self isn't ducking anyone. He's just having the usual hard time scheduling the top teams to play him in preseason, because KU's got a lot of talent and the top teams don't get any recruiting perks for playing in Larrytown.

But, hey, they've played against the likes of Budinger and Mayo. And Arizona is going to turn out to have been a much better test than probably now appears to be the case.

But when they take the floor against Butcher Barnes and Texas this year, they are not going to know for absolutely certain that they can beat Texas the way they knew it last year.

There is NO substitute for playing some great opponents early.

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frisbeenation 6 years, 3 months ago

big freaking deal, so we scored 78 points against a cruddy team. enough already, and quit slapping that RR quote up everywhere.

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