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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kansas’ NCAA fate: Hurry up, wait

Kansas guard Sherron Collins puts his hands over his head following the Jayhawks' 71-64 loss to Baylor Thursday, March 12, 2009 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins puts his hands over his head following the Jayhawks' 71-64 loss to Baylor Thursday, March 12, 2009 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

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Cole Aldrich isn’t dreaming of a triumphant return to his home state of Minnesota for the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

“I’d rather be in Kansas City,” Aldrich, Kansas University’s 6-foot-11 center, said Saturday.

Most pundits believe the Jayhawks (25-7) either will open the NCAAs on Thursday at Kansas City’s Sprint Center or Friday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, which is located about 10 miles from Aldrich’s hometown of Bloomington.

“If there’s one in Hawaii, we wouldn’t mind being in Hawaii for a weekend or two, but I think Kansas City would be great,” Aldrich added. “I’d love to get back home, but being a good seed in Kansas City, I think, would work wonders for us.”

The so-called experts believe the Jayhawks are battling Oklahoma (27-5) and Missouri (28-6) for a slot in nearby Kansas City.

As of mid-Saturday night, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi still had KU as a No. 2 seed in K.C., Oklahoma a No. 3 in Minneapolis and Missouri a No. 3 in Boise, Idaho (his projections are constantly changing at ESPN.com).

Of course, nobody but the NCAA Tournament committee members know how much weight the Tigers’ Big 12 tournament championship will be given compared to KU’s regular-season title, as well as the fact superstar Blake Griffin was sidelined in two of Oklahoma’s losses.

It’ll all play out at 5 p.m. today when NCAA Tournament pairings and sites are announced on the Selection Sunday show on CBS.

“I would love to be a 2 (seed) in Kansas City, but that’s up for the committee to decide,” Aldrich said. “There’s only so much we can do throughout the season so far to put ourselves in that position. I think we’ve put ourselves in a good position.”

KU coach Bill Self on Saturday admitted he has become a bracketologist of sorts the past couple of days.

“I’ve studied it pretty hard,” Self said. “I think we have a great chance to be on the 3 line. I also think when you really break it down, you could make a strong case for seven teams that are positively 1s and 2s. Where does the eighth team come from? You go from about the eighth team to the 14th team, then, ‘OK, who is not going to be on the 3 line? Who is going to be 13 and 14 (4 seeds instead of 3s)?’

“I think we are in that mix. Absolutely ... us, Missouri and OU. I don’t have a real feel where we’ll be.”

Lunardi has listed seven teams as locks to be 1 and 2 seeds: North Carolina, UConn, Pitt, Louisville, Memphis, Duke and Michigan State.

He has had KU as his final No. 2 of late, with OU, Missouri, Villanova and Wake Forest as his 3s.

“I think it’s a coin-flip type deal,” Self said of which Big 12 team would be awarded a slot in the Sprint Center, along with Memphis. “I think at least one school from our league will be in Kansas City, I just don’t know who that would be.”

Self said he wouldn’t be surprised if KU today were awarded a slot in Kansas City, “But I wouldn’t be surprised if other schools in our league were put there, too.”

While Missouri has entered the discussion following Saturday’s 73-60 victory over Baylor in the Big 12 tournament finals, it long has been believed OU and KU were the two league teams fighting for Kansas City.

“I think there’s no question Oklahoma has had a better overall season (than KU) when you count the nonconference, and there’s no question since January since we started conference we’ve had a better season,” Self said.

“Is our better late better than their better early? I don’t know how people will look at that.”

KU junior Sherron Collins said ultimately it doesn’t matter where the Jayhawks are sent.

“In the tournament, all the games are tough,” Collins said.

Yet he acknowledged, “I think Kansas City would be special for all our fans here, seeing us play tournament games. The support we’d have here would be great. Even as close as Minnesota is, I think we’d still be all right, though.

“Coach has been trying to get us to stay away from it (tourney talk) until tomorrow,” Collins added. “We’ll all watch it together. Hopefully we’ll get to play in Kansas City. If we don’t, we’re playing somewhere else. We’re just excited we get to play.”

As far as other Big 12 teams making the Big Dance, KU coach Self said, “I think we’ve got six in as a lock. But there could be nailbiting time for some teams depending on what happens in some other leagues.”

He mentioned USC, Maryland, Temple and Ohio State taking “bubble slots” from some unlucky teams in the country.

ESPN’s Lunardi has said KU, OU, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M; and Oklahoma State are assured of the tourney, with Kansas State on the outside looking in, likely headed to the NIT.

Comments

kansaspike 10 years, 5 months ago

I'd be shocked with a #2 seed.

At the end of the day, it shouldn't matter too much between a 2 or a 3.

There would be plenty of Crimson and Blue heading up I-35 to Minn.

beakem_in_LA 10 years, 5 months ago

Would anyone else prefer to stay out of UNC's bracket?

Ron_Kellogg 10 years, 5 months ago

I envision a 2nd round game between 4 seed Kansas and 5 seed Illinois. Last year, we put the UNC/Roy thing to bed. Now we need to deal with the continuing Illini obsession with Self.

jaybate 10 years, 5 months ago

I don't recall so many probable one seeds entering conference tournament week exiting with losses.

Toto_the_great 10 years, 5 months ago

kustrong - in Texas (rim shot).

Balyor is likely headed to NIT or one of the other two tourneys not called the Big Dance.

jayhawkintexas 10 years, 5 months ago

There is so much parity in college basketball now that there isn't much difference between the 1 seed and the 2, 3 and 4 seeds. One thing is for sure, this is going to be one of the wildest NCAA tournaments ever and it may be that a 3 or 4 seed ends up winning it all. Hang on to your hats--it's going to be wild!!

ku_tailg8 10 years, 5 months ago

The tourney in KC is sold out so if anything the committee is going to send KU somewhere else to help sell tickets.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 5 months ago

Awards:

MVP - Sherron Collins - When he was good, he was very, very good but when he was bad, he was horrid. KU's record is tied directly to his performances. Still, 25-7 and counting is still pretty darn good. Should stay...will stay??????? MOST IMPROVED - Cole Aldrich - From a 4 minute a game guy to a dominant big man with still a huge upside. Needs to stay at least one more year. BIGGEST SURPRISE - Tyshawn Taylor - Even with the growing pains, is showing glimpes of greatness. Will be key cog next year. BIGGEST ENIGMAS - the Morris Twins - on any given night, you could see the "Twin Towers" or the "Twin Flowers", but improvement evident with even better days ahead. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT - Mario Little - In retrospect, as so many of us feared, redshirting may have been the wiser course. Still, we get him back healthy for a whole season next year. BIGGEST BUST - Tyrone Appleton - I guess the term "shut-down guard" means something different in JUCO ball vs D1 Ball. Maybe next year will be better. BIGGEST SURPRISE - Brady Morningstar - All criticism aside, did any of us truly expect what he has accomplished this year? One of those valuable "glue guys" on this team. THE GUY WE WANT MORE OF AWARD - Travis Releford - Just remember what some of other KU greats looked like as freshmen. I think we'll be pleasantly surprised next season.....if he stays, hopefully. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD AWARD - Tyrel Reed - Never stops trying, never stops hustling, always fighting uphill. Persevere TR. MFP [Most Favorite Player] - Matt Kleinmann - The only player in NCAA history with FIVE conference title rings AND red hair!!! THE CLAUDE RAINES INVISIBLE MAN AWARD - Connor Teahan - What happened?? Still has best Pistol Pete Maravich hair style in NCAA. THE HANG IN THERE AWARD - Quintrell Thomas - QT, better days ahead, keep getting stronger and don't ever give up. THE GUYS WE"D ALL HAPPY TO BE AWARD - Brennan Bechard, Chase Buford and Jordan Juenemann - to be a Jayhawk and play for HCBS, what a dream!!!!! MOST ANTICIPATED JAYHAWK - Jeff Withey - This team is going to be a whole lot different next year....and it ain't gonna be bad!!!!! BEST HEAD COACH EVER - Bill Self - Well, I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but you'all know what I mean. BEST ASSISTANT COACH - Danny Manning - His presence on the bench is and will be a key factor for KU success on the court and on the recruiting trail. BEST FANS AWARD - Duhh, that's a no-brainer, Jayhawk Nation!!!

Tony Bandle 10 years, 5 months ago

OOPS..sorry for the hard to read post. I guess my love of ee cummings was coming through today.

Greg Lux 10 years, 5 months ago

It's too late in the season to revamp the entire team so the real things that you can change are Energy (Hustling at all times, getting to the lose balls first, getting back on defense) , Motivation (Blocking out on defense. It takes work but its something we badly need), Attitude (sherron is not our only late game scorer). Maybe a little change in our pass around offense against a zone in an effort to get the ball inside to Cole, like penetrate and dish out for open shots would work ( has the last 3 games to end the half, duh!) and lastly set some better low post screens to open Cole. This is a Very Good Team... It's probably not going to be a great team this year, but that doesn't mean it can't be a Very Good Improved Team and with the right opertunities a Very Good Championship Team is possible.

Rock Chalk

KGphoto 10 years, 5 months ago

“In the tournament, all the games are tough,” Collins said.

I just hope he gets the rest of the team to understand it. You don't get into the dance unless you can ball. Everybody is dangerous. Seeds be damned.

Ballers! Front and center! New season. One game at a time.

Scott Smetana 10 years, 5 months ago

JhawkFan12242343, I hope you're right. The 'non-profit' NCAA loves those $$$.

Beakem, I'm like you.. I want nothing to do with UNC. I think they will win it all fairly easily. They have unbelievable talent. However, If we make it to the Final 8, I don't care who we'd play. Anything past 16 would be AMAZING.

mdbforku 10 years, 5 months ago

The way I see this...If we play like we did against Texas Tech or Baylor we lose no matter what seed we are or where we play. If we play like we did at Norman or the way we played on Senior Day against Missouri we win. I'm sure Bill will have them ready to play. ROCK CHALK!!!

Chris Shaw 10 years, 5 months ago

beaken in La: If KU is a 4 seed then I WANT UNC! I'M NOT HIDING OR SHYING AWAY FROM PLAYING UNC. You know how awesome that would be to knock out the consensus #1 team two straight years when you weren't expected to. KU is on higher level than they ever have been in the history of this program. KU doesn't run from anyboddy. BRING ON THOSE UNDERACHEIVERS THEY CALL THE TAR HEELS! Out of thee 4 #1 seeds, I think UNC is the weakest and can exploit them the most. I've seen every game of theirs this year and they have "Flaws" that the National Media doesn't want to recognize. It would be a very tough task to beat Carolina, but why not go through them in order to get it done. Sorry, can't stand Carolina and I wouldn't duck playing them for anything.

Chicago_JHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

This morning's Bracketology has us as the West #3 in MN, with Illinois the #6 (Memphis is 1, UConn 2). Memphis (#1 West) and OU (#2 Midwest) are in KC. Living in Chicago, a 2nd rd game with U of I will be tough with all I'll have to hear about it...

jayhawkboogeyman 10 years, 5 months ago

kushaw - i agree. Cole Aldrich made Tyler Hansborough looks like an old lady for several minutes last year; I would love to see if he could do it again. If Sherron and Tyshawn show up like at Oklahoma, we could shut down UNC, and if we fell to them - hey, this is a rebuilding year, after all, and UNC is, according to ESPN's 21-hour-a-day coverage of UNC, the most gifted, talented, best, most unstoppable, complete, incredible, is-that-Michael-Jordan's-ghost-out-there team that happens to lose to a pitiful team every couple of weeks ever.

KGphoto 10 years, 5 months ago

See.

This is the problem. Everybody's worrying about where we play, who we play, and not about how we play. Personally I believe "Bracketology" is a four letter word.

It doesn't matter!! They are just numbers.

If these kids listen to all this BS... they... will... lose.

Put this round ball, in the iron hoop. Don't let them do the same. That's it.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 5 months ago

Ron_Kellogg: You may be right, but it just might be a 3 seed and a 6 seed playing. I would take that second round match-up against Illinois. I don't think that they are that good plus, that would be a victory that we could shove in the faces of Mizzou. LOL!

CaramelMacchMan 10 years, 5 months ago

In this economy, Kansas stays at Kansas city make sense! haha

Huskerhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Where the Jayhawks play is important because of the fact that this young team does not play well outside of the Phog. I'm looking at two losses in Texas to unranked teams and trailing most of the game to Nebraska in Lincoln as evidence of that.

Jfanallways 10 years, 5 months ago

I would love to have memphis in our bracket and spoil thier year Again. We won the NC last year but calipari has been stealing recruits from bill left and right. . . rose evans then henry cousins possibly wall and if i remember right stevenson is in the running. Something fishy is going on over in memphis. Ku unc and duke dont pull in the no 1 2 3 and another top 10 EVER so how can conf. usa, memphis pull it off? I would love ku to expose memphis this year and show calipari he can have the whole top 10 i will take tourney wins every time

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 5 months ago

I'd be far more worried about playing Pitt or UConn than UNC. UNC still plays finesse ball, while the other two are extremely big and extremely physical. That physical stuff bothers our beginners.

GloryHawks 10 years, 5 months ago

I agree with HuskerHawk, where we play is important because we don't play to well away from home and since we are slumping right now I think playing in front of a home crowd might help boost morale and light a fire under these guys!

UncleMiltyN 10 years, 5 months ago

I don't care as much about seeding as I do how we're playing. I want consistant, low turnover, play out of Collins and a healthy Aldrich.

We are a 2,3, or 4 seed. Kansas should be a real window into the criteria the selection committee used this year. I would love to be a 2 seed, but I don't think we deserve it.

I've watched alot of games this year and I would put us in as a 4 if I were being as objective as possible. If we had won the Tech game and made it to the tourney final, I would have been pushing for a 2 seed...and even then I think it would have been a close call.

Have you read the comparison of this team to the '53 team? Check it out - http://www.kansan.com/stories/2008/nov/21/morning_brew/

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 5 months ago

jhwkfan162515, KC is already sold out so the Jayhawks playing there will have NO factor on if KU plays there or not. The NCAA already has their money.

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Whatevery the outcome, only one of the three teams KU, OU or mu will have happy fans. Only one will be the higher sead in KC - but they may have a harder bracket in the long run.

I'm excited to see what happens, we have a team this year that surpassed expectations. We all have our personal definitions of what a "good" outcome to the tournament would be and we know nothing happens in the tournament to statistical averages or predictable outcomes. We lost to baylor for petes sake.

I think the largest potential upside to the big 12 loss will be a reinstatement of fight in our young hawks.

I'm also interested to see how many teams, not listed in the aritcle, will get in the tournament from the big12 with the upsets pulled off in the tournament combined with 20 win seasons (tu,a&m,ksu,osu,bu).

SCHNBALL 10 years, 5 months ago

as i watch the fsu-duke game I see a team in fsu that won it's championship game yesterday when they beat carolina. I hope our young group is over their championship in the big 12 and can make it past the first 2 rounds. go hawks.

Seth Peattie 10 years, 5 months ago

mizzou still sucks, can still suck it!!!!

nash_hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Whatever the seed, let us hope the "B" of Binghamton is not opposite the Hawks in the first round. They seem to be floating around that 14 line in the projections.

The media will jump all over that as a "story line" with our lack of recent success against other "B"s in the Big Dance.

BCRavenJHawkfan 10 years, 5 months ago

Wow. There will be a lot of ND fans in Minneapolis. Our guys will have bullseyes on their backs. A physical bracket. I like the respect given to us as defending national champions.

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