Sunday, March 15, 2009


Big 12 logjam madness


Surely, the term March Madness originated when NCAA Tournament selection committee members tried to sort out seeds for three college basketball schools with such equal resumes as the Big 12’s best teams.

They twisted the numbers this way and that until they reached the brink of madness, and then they settled it with rocks, paper, scissors, and the term March Madness was born.

Face it, anybody who attempts to make a strong case for one of the three Big 12 schools over the other two is doing so more with heart than head.

The scenario that best could bunch the schools together came to fruition when Kansas and Oklahoma didn’t win a game in Oklahoma City and Missouri won three.

Kansas (25-7) won the regular season. Missouri (28-6) won the conference tournament, and Oklahoma (27-5) has the highest ranking in the polls.

Including tourney results, their Big 12 records: Kansas 14-3, Missouri 15-4, Oklahoma 13-4. One of the Sooners’ losses came without the nation’s best player, Blake Griffin, and another came with him missing most of the game. The committee considers such things.

Records in the last 10 games: Missouri 8-2, Kansas 7-3, Oklahoma 6-4.

Kansas had both the best victory (Washington) and worst loss (UMass) in nonconference play.

Even if you want to call all three Big 12 schools No. 3 seeds, that doesn’t solve the problem of which to send to Kansas City, the closest, most desirable site for all three.

Each of the eight sites gets two teams seeded somewhere from Nos. 1 through 4, and there are virtual locks for cities: Pittsburgh and Louisville in Dayton; North Carolina and Duke in Greensboro; UConn and Villanova in Philadelphia; Washington in Portland; Michigan State in Minneapolis; Memphis in Kansas City; Gonzaga in Portland or Boise.

It’s a given one Big 12 team will play in Kansas City and seems likely another will go to Minneapolis. The third could go to Boise, Miami or Portland.

The notion that Kansas could go to Kansas City because it has the best drawing power carries no weight because the Sprint Center site is sold out.

If the committee does consider drawing power, sending the Jayhawks to the Metrodome in Minneapolis would make the most sense since plenty of tickets are available, and Kansas fans travel so well.

Wherever Kansas plays, even if it’s in the Sprint Center, the home-court advantage that Allen Fieldhouse gave the Jayhawks won’t be duplicated. They didn’t respond well to a partially empty Ford Center in an 11:30 a.m. game against Baylor.

“Maybe the first two games of the NCAA Tournament are going to be like those games,” freshman Marcus Morris said. “Half empty. Half your fans. Half the other team’s fans. I think just not having an atmosphere like we’re used to made us come out slow, which gave them a big lead. That’s not the reason we lost. I’m not saying that. But it’s just different. It’s just different from playing in 16,300 and playing away where it’s sold out to going to where it’s half empty.”

Doing anything for a second time is easier. The Baylor experience could benefit the Jayhawks in the tournament, wherever they might be sent.


Chris Seferyn 11 years, 11 months ago

these young boys need to learn that it's cool to play in front of nobody early and get out of there with a "W" and enjoy the goofy press conferences. The excitement is in the sweet 16 and beyond - not the first 2 rounds...

jaybate 11 years, 11 months ago

“Half empty. Half your fans. Half the other team’s fans." --Marcus Morris

We may have a budding Yogi Berra on our hands.

Matt Bowers 11 years, 11 months ago

If I am not mistaken. The Sprint Center has not exactly been kind to us this year. We lost more games in that building then anywhere else. Personally I think that Coach Self has these guys ready to play anywhere. The only thing that I am hoping for, is that it is a late enough game that I am able to watch on television.

Jaybate, MC and MK are very special. While I am on it. Do you think that the refs single those two out or is it just me?

If you are reading MC. Keep it coming! Your style of play is amazing to watch.

Rock Chalk

agraves 11 years, 11 months ago

they say the sprint center is sold out. but how many of those tickets are possessed by KU fans who will be looking to rid themselves of those tickets if KU doesn't go to KC. almost every jayhawk fan I talked to in OKC this week has tickets to KC and will want to sell them if KU goes elsewhere. so to me...sold out means nothing...

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 11 months ago

i would think, for the economic sake, that KU would play in KC. Maybe Missouri too.

I think OU has the worst case to make to come here...they simply didn't do anything down the stretch. I mean the committee cares that Griffin didn't play for seeding purposes....but for the Sooners to come to KC before KU...that's not right.

Just win the first game....that really should be the goal....just get out of this one done media mindset. This team has had to good a season, to be lumped in with all of the recent past underachieving NCAA tourney experiences.

Carter Patterson 11 years, 11 months ago

agraves/brooksmd....whether or not KU fans sell their tickets means nothing to the NCAA. They made their money by selling out. They will not profit from KU fans reselling their tickets.

Marcus! Don't forget that their are always a few million screaming Jayhawk Nation fans screaming on television.

JayhawkPiller82 11 years, 11 months ago

agraves, brookmd, and everyone else in the Jayhawk nation who travel to support our teams know that almost every location is “sold out”. Most of the tickets go to the “secondary market”, ie the StubHub’s, TicketMasters, and TicketCity’s of this world. TicketCity’s phone number is advertised as 1-800-SOLD OUT!!! To attend games we must deal with these entities if we are to“afford” ourselves the opportunity to cheer on our beloved Jayhawks. With “afford” the key word here. You can pay for courtside seat if you have several hundred dollars or you can barter your way into lover level seats if you have about $100 per session. Or you can get the Alumni Association assigned seats in the middle or upper levels at your current benefactor contribution rate.

The point here is that entities other than the KU Athletics and Alumni Association are benefiting and controlling how fans are attending games and for how much. Why is that? Do event sites have a built in profit multiplier? I’m sure the Ford Center was SOLD OUT on paper. But as the other posters here noted and everyone on TV witnessed, the arena was almost half empty prior to tipoff in OKC. Ok maybe Baylor wasn’t the most glamorous opponent and there were barely a few hundred green and yellow color wearing fans in the seats. As opposed to at least ¼ of all the occupped seats wearing red and blue. It all made for a rather dull atmosphere. Except when KU fell behind and every purple, burnt orange, black and gold, orange and black wearing fan start rooting for Baylor. We all know fans like the underdog and all the other schools wanted someone else besides KU to win the tournament. But come on here, even that environment wasn’t a real exciting because at least 1/3 of the seats were empty. Why? They were in the hands of the scalpers and ticket outlets that had snapped them up before most fans had a chance to buy them. Who do you blame? KUAC, the Big 12 conference management, the Ford Center??

Chris Shaw 11 years, 11 months ago

I DON'T CARE WHERE WE PLAY! As that famous school in Ohio always says, "We are Kansas"!!!!!!!!!!!! The only thing I'm concerned about is getting a 2 or 3 seed. I absolutely don't think Kansas is getting a 2, but then again I never thought we were going to play in the Orange Bowl,either. ahahhahahhahahahahahhaha! I just want to make sure that Kansas doesn't get a 4 seed. History has told us that when Kansas is a top 3 seed, that is when they do the most damage. Please, don't bring up 1988 andd being the 6 seed. That was one year! Consistently, the most damage KU has ever done is when they are a 2 and 3 seed and not quite expected to make a run. I hope this year is one of those years, but I just don't see KU making a run as a 4 seed. I hope I eat crow, but 4 seed is bad news for KU. I just hope the commitee puts into consideration that every team ranked ahead of KU in the polls lost in the semis or quarterfinals of their tourney except Louisville, Memphis, and Duke. That is good news for KU. I just hope they don't punish KU and their youth for losing in the first round. I can definitely see it happening though. I LOVE THIS DAY! I will be happy with a top 3 seed and pissed with a number 4 especially if MU and OU get a 3 and 2 respectfully. Wooohooooo! Just think once 6 pm est comes, we will all have another intense debate session on how the pairings come out. Woooooohoooooooo! One of my favorite days.

frompekka2sasha 11 years, 11 months ago

Every year we see too much credit given to a hot team that plays well for a few days. How on earth could you put Missouri ahead of KU when we have a much better resume over 4-5 months and won the conference over them by two games? Look at the teams they beat to win the title.

I think the committee might award Memphis a 1-seed yet send them packing like they did with KU (vs. UCLA) in '07. Awarding a 1 or 2 seed combined with determining the best location allows the committee some flexibility. I say that KU and OU are sent to KC while Memphis goes elsewhere. The reality is that the committee has zero opportunity to send them where they should go-- which is Memphis. I hope they don't penalize KU because Memphis is hosting this year.

JayhawkCasey 11 years, 11 months ago

Kansas City isn't worried about ticket sells, because that is not where the profit comes from. We want the people there to spend money. Buy drinks, food, beer, merchandise, and whatever else. Then that night and other nights go to power and light across the street and drink all night. Also, out of town visitors will get hotel rooms. This is where all the real money comes from. So if you don't think Kansas City would profit from Kansas being there then you need to come back here to college and start studying again! KU would bring more cash and any of the other teams, but I still don't know if we will get the slot. Hopefully, because I know I will be down there watching it at power and light.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 11 months ago

JayhawkPiller82: "...or you can barter your way into lover level seats". I'll bet that level sells out every game! Just in case it's gets boring, how do I manage this? Sorry, I know it was just a typo, but it was too good to ignore.

jaybate 11 years, 11 months ago


The subject of referee bias is a difficult one, because there are a huge many threads that go into how referees view a player.

Player A's facial appearance, body language, manners, stealth at bending or breaking rules, the rules a player chooses to break, the way a player is being treated by other players, etc., influence a referees POV.

Then there are the same aspects for the other players on Player A's team that influence a referee's judgement. This is often guilt by association. If you are on a team with a player who has created a crisis in play, or with a Coach that has stepped outside the lines of accepted referee baiting, you become a part of collective punishment. Or sometimes if you are playing with a particular rough teammate in the paint, you can get away with more because the referee is watching your teammate. Or if you are playing hack'n'slap defense, where a coach teaches everyone to foul lightly but on every play to condition the referees to seeing a lot of contact and letting more of it go than they might otherwise do, then you may get away with more fouling.

Then there is all of the above applied to Player A's opponent and opposing team.

The referee cannot help but view each play on some level or another through this incredibly complex and dynamic lense.

I refereed quite a lot at low levels of the sport for quite a few years. 95% of the time I could be effectively objective and make the call simply on what I appeared to see. The errors I made were attributable to the degree of appropriateness of focus I was able to bring to the action. You always try to retain a combination of wide and narrow focus in refereeing, but you also must be able to telescope in and out for brief moments based on momentary pattern recognition of what seems amiss. It is during these moments of telescoping focus either in or out that referees completely miss calls.

jaybate 11 years, 11 months ago

But I found about 5% (and this is just a rough approximation of course) of the time, I could be distracted by a player's, or a coach's, behavior sufficient to have to work at staying unemotional about what I was witnessing. The moment I had to work at being unemotional I began to resent the situation and the behavior of the player, or coach, rather than view it as a series of events to be assessed according to rules. The minute a player, or coach, intentionally, or unintentionally, pulls referees into this condition; that is, the moment a referee must begin to defend against emotion, his judgment is more erratic and more influenced by irrational subtleties embedded within the complexity of the situation I have enumerated above, and the more trouble the referee will have effectively maintaining broad and narrow focus and telescoping effectively between them to make reliable calls.

Human beings want explanations for everything that goes against them, or just puzzles them, for which they cannot readily explain. Religion is the foremost example, but most every field in epistemology provides this service to persons at some level or another. Science provides the Big Bang. Biology the first replicating molecule. Anthropology the Dawn of Civilization. Usually these explanations of original cause are not remotely rational. They just satisfy.

A referee is a human being. When things get out of control, he wants an explanation of cause. In fact, it is what his role is supposed to provide. When there is no obvious explanation, or when everyone says his explanation is wrong, he is still tasked with providing an original cause. Who fouled who to start all this mess?

It is unrealistic to think that referees do not grow to resent players who whine, or seem to whine. It is unrealistic to think that referees will not grow to resent coaches who whine, or seem to whine.

But when all is said and done, I believe there is no way to unsnag whether what you perceive about the referees behavior toward the Morris Twins is significantly, or to what extent, driven by their behaviors, appearance, means of play, and so on, from the larger and complex context that goes on.

At some point, you just have to say that though it is all too complex to unsnag, it can't hurt to put a smile on your face, use the manners your mom taught you, fear no man, but respect all simply because they are human beings caught up in the same predicament you are in.

jaybate 11 years, 11 months ago

Post Script:

The Golden Rule, with a jaybate addendum, regardless of your religious persuasion, in issues of interpersonal behavior, where you seek favorable treatment from one who is not obliged to give it, remains perhaps the most powerful guide to determining your own behavior. Treat other persons, as you would wish to be treated by them, but defend yourself as well.

Dirk Medema 11 years, 11 months ago

For historical knowledge sake, March Madness originated in Illinois at the high school boys' BB tournanment. The NCAA had to buy the rights to it a couple deades ago.

jayhawkintx73 11 years, 11 months ago

Honestly, the economy shouldn't matter. They play where they play. We don't have any control over it. The players don't either. The court is the same size and the hoops are the same height no matter where they play. Just be ready to play!

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