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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Woodling

Woodling: Buffs brought A-game

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2007-08 Feb. 2 KU-CU Hoops

— His last name is one you would expect to find in a bowl of alphabet soup. In fact, when Colorado named Jeff Bzdelik as its new men's basketball coach, I immediately thought of Joe Btfsplk.

Back in the day, Btfsplk was a memorable character in the L'il Abner comic strip penned by Al Capp. Poor little Joe Btfsplk always had a dark cloud looming over his head to symbolize his unending bad luck.

Prior to Saturday's Kansas-Colorado game in the Coors Events Center, it was easy to visualize Bzdelik with a cloud over his head, too. After all, the Buffaloes were slumping - they had scored only 19 points in the second half of Wednesday's 57-41 loss at Iowa State - and, worse, they had to go against the No. 2-ranked team in the country.

What's more, everyone expected the Jayhawks to come out with their guns blazing in the wake of their first loss in a quarter of a century at Kansas State.

Add the fact that approximately half the crowd in the Buffs' arena would be filled with KU fans, and you had to wonder how in the world Bzdelik could keep his team from being steamrolled all the way to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.

Wait, there's more. Although only Bzdelik and the Buffs knew it, starting guard Xavier Silas, the club's third-leading scorer, wouldn't be playing, apparently because of an attitude problem.

Pity the poor Buffs. They were about to become the butts of one of the world's oldest Groundhog Day jokes. It didn't matter whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not. Colorado was due for six more weeks of bad basketball.

Yet KU fans - here and in front of their TV sets - fidgeted in disbelief as the undermanned, outsized, out-everythinged Buffs stormed to leads of as many as seven points in the first half.

Uncannily, they were doing it with basically a 4-on-5 offense because the only big man in their starting lineup - 6-foot-9 Marcus King-Stockton - shoots as often as they plant palm trees at the foot of the Flatirons.

Meanwhile, on defense, the Buffs made the Jayhawks look like quaking aspens, often frustrating them with intense navel-to-navel pressure.

Doubts began to surface. Was the K-State defeat the start of a mini-slump during the dog days of February? Had the Jayhawks' two strengths - their inside and transition games - hit the proverbial wall?

Nope. In the final analysis, Saturday was just another example of Kansas receiving everybody's A-game. Actually, in the first half, the Jayhawks were recipients of CU's A-plus game. The Buffs simply couldn't play any better than that.

But, of course, basketball is a 40-minute grind. It's not the 800-meter relay. It's the mile relay, and Kansas, as we know, has the horses to overhaul just about every team it plays down the stretch. Unless that team is draining three-point goals, as K-State was the other night.

Colorado, for example, was 9-for-23 from beyond the arc, and two of those nine came late after KU had taken command.

College basketball fans in most of the country - ABC televised this one to just 20 percent of the nation - saw the final score of 72-59 and no doubt figured it was another cakewalk.

It wasn't, and none of the remainder of KU's road games will be, either.

Comments

Joe Ross 12 years ago

This article is crap, Woodling.

Kansas struggled not because of an imposing Colorado Buffalo team who brought an "A" game, or even a "B" game for that matter. My old high school team could beat the Buffs (tongue in cheek). Kansas struggled because we didn't come out with any fire--once BEATEN, twice shy--after the KSU loss.

Speaking of KSU, their game Saturday helps to illustrate my point. They lose to unheralded Mizzou who had to wheel in benchwarmers, nursing home residents, and the sick and lame. KSU didnt come mentally prepared to play, and hence Saturdays result.

MENTAL PREPARATION. Say it again. "Mental preparation!"

Can it really be the difference in a game? Yes. Whats more it can be the difference in whether you lose by 10 or win by that much. Nowhere was Kansas' lack of intensity more evident than on the defensive end of the floor. We allowed Colorado to stay in the game early, and then THEIR mental frame of mind was changed. That helped them run with the Hawks, who they sensed were down. Our defense feeds our offense with turnovers so we get out in the transition game. The breakaways are predicated upon a stifling Kansas defense that was SORELY lacking in the first half. That defense was lackluster because we were not in the correct state of mind to play, and you saw the result.

You also saw careless passing and resulting turnovers as, miscommunication on offense, and other signs that our heads just weren't in it early. Kansas came in with a poor attitude and somehow thought pushing the autopilot button would be good enough to beat CU. You could almost feel the point in the second half where something snapped and they realized they had to play to win, and that they did. So dont feed us this crap, Woodling, that somehow Colorado touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was healed playing Kansas. It had nothing to do with Colorado. It had everything to do with us.

Ed Fox 12 years ago

Ah the know-it-all jross of old comes back to KUSports. How nice. We've all missed him.

Joe Ross 12 years ago

Sorry youre bent out of shape about the truth Banner...but some things are true whether you believe them or not.

Joe Ross 12 years ago

Banner...

Consider this sentiment:

"I dont know about you guys, but I was REALLY looking forward to this game to get the bad taste out of my mouth...... That didnt happen. They looked like they didnt want to be there, and if not for a 2nd half burst and a lack of CU depth, the Jayhawks lose that game, and probably deserved to lose it. Nothing cures a lack of energy like AFH, and hopefully we will be back to our old tricks Monday night against the miracle workers from Columbia!"

-OklahomaJayhawk

Ben Kane 12 years ago

I agree with jross, expect CU to finish last in the league

Joe Ross 12 years ago

Exactly ChuckBerry...

Or maybe we should refer Banner to Gary Bedore's comments in Extra Minutes...

Jhawk2515 12 years ago

jross is right...colorado is absolutely horrible, kansas still had a hangover from k-state and the true jayhawks didnt show up until late in the second half..they will bounce back with a big performance against missouri

1977kufan 12 years ago

Great summary, Chuck. Yes, CU did bring their A game and we were still reeling from Wednesday's game in the hay barn in Mancrappin. I respectively disagree with jross1972. A basketball game involves two teams and not just "it had everything to do with us". Credit were credit is due and CU played very well in the first half. It had to do with CUs very good play and our suboptimal play in that half. Now really credit Coach Self and the Jayhawks. A firm head session at half-time followed by our improved play equals not the most impressive win, but a win on the road in the Big 12. I'll take it and look for the Mizzou game (they should be "up" after defeating the puddy cats on Saturday) and the return game with Bill Mayer's "NBA men" from Mancrappin on March 1. I'll bet the puddy cats wish they would have had an unimpressive win in tiggerland. Way to go Jayhawks. ROCK CHALK!!!

didjabuti 12 years ago

It definitely has to suck to play such a great game to prove you belong with the big boys, only to lose to a short-handed Missouri team. I have no doubts the Jayhawks will put it all together for march. We have three big tests left before the tournament, two of which come from the state of Texas. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!

Joe Ross 12 years ago

1977kufan...

I wish more people were like you, people who can agree to disagree. Obviously I dont agree with your take on the whole situation, but kudos for framing your own point of view succintly, tastefully, and without compromising your position.

Big ups...

DocBean 12 years ago

Did anyone else see Lew Perkins sitting right in front of Peyton Manning at the Super Bowl, and did anyone else wonder why was Peyton sitting up in the corner all alone?

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