Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Upsetology: KU vulnerable


The Wall Street Journal has pegged KU as the three seed most vulnerable to a first-round upset.

In an article titled “The Science of Upsetology,” KU would lose to North Dakota State 22.6 percent of the time, according to 10,000 computer simulations of the game run by sports forecaster AccuScore.

KU’s chance of losing Friday’s game is the highest among the top 12 seeded teams in the tournament, according to the rankings. While that may seem a little grim, especially given KU’s first-round upsets in recent history, it’s at least better treatment than the simulations gave Washington.

The fourth seed in the West region was given only a 51.9 percent chance of beating 13th-seeded Mississippi State.


Luke Kading 10 years, 10 months ago

I know NDSU very well, and if they are going to pull of the upset they need to control the tempo of the game. They are not gonna run at all unless they absolutely have numbers. If they don't, they are gonna slow it up every time to conserve Woodside's energy. The times that I have seen NDSU struggle the most over the past few years is when they have played Minnesota, because the Gophers played full court pressure defense and ran often on offense. Woodside is the only really good ball handler, and if he gets pressured most of the game, it's only gonna wear him out more. I wouldn't be surprised to see Brady try to pressure him alot to try to wear him out, and of course Kansas needs to run at every opportunity they have like they normally do. I think the key to this game is pace. If NDSU can slow the game down, they have a chance, but certainly Kansas can still win in this case. If Kansas can speed up this game and tire out the Bison, I really don't see NDSU having much of a chance.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see Kansas run some 2-3 zone, because NDSU runs a ton of ball screens for Woodside with their center Lucas Moormann. If Cole or whoever is guarding Moormann doesn't hedge the screen Woodside will hit the three or pull up for the 15 footer. If Cole hedges too far and leaves a gap, Woodside will split it and get to the rim, where, although he isn't a high flyer, he is able to finish because he uses his body to shield the taller shot blockers. So, I think Self may play some zone to both keep Woodside out of the lane and to keep Cole under the basket where he should absolutely dominate the boards. Heck, even the Morris twins should dominate the boards in this one. The problem with playing a zone is that NDSU is a terrific shooting team, with 4 of the 5 starters all very capable of hitting the three. So if Kansas plays zone, they must get out to the shooters, especially Woodside, Nelson, and Tveidt.

Kansas should dominate the paint on both ends. NDSU doesn't have a good low post back to the basket scorer. Their best post scorer is an undersized 4 man Brett Winkleman, but he usually has trouble scoring down there when he is being guarded by a taller defender and the Morris twins have about 3 to 4 inches on him and are better athletes. On defense, NDSU doesn't have an imposing force on the inside to erase shots or even alter them. Cole should have a hay day down there on both ends.

If Kansas runs, defends with pressure and intensity, and uses its depth to its advantage, they should win this one fairly easily. Remember though, this is the biggest game in NDSU basketball history, and they will pack the Metrodome with fans, so Kansas better be prepared for a semi road game.

Rock Chalk

sdoyel 10 years, 10 months ago

The first tournament bracket ACCUSCORE generated for me (on the ESPN site) had Pitt losing in Round 1 and UNI making the Elite 8. It's a JOKE.

Over 97% of ESPN bracket contestants have picked KU if that makes you guys feel any better....

Also, Washington is going to be well-rested, while Miss. State is coming off a miraculous run at a weak SEC Conf. Tourney title. Playing in Portland? I don't see the upset happening.

The only 4/13 upset I would consider this year is Portland State over Xavier.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 10 months ago

Why does a home town paper insist on doom and gloom?


fansincewilt 10 years, 10 months ago

Where did you get that saying - less about rocket science...? Pretty good.

InfiniteJ 10 years, 10 months ago

I can't remember Jayhawk fans being as scared of a 1st round opponent as they are of NDSU this year. I remember in 2000 when KU played DePaul in a 8/9 game, fans were pretty worried then, but nothing like this. As long as KU doesn't take the Bison lightly, I think the Jayhawks will blow them the hell out.

keith horinek 10 years, 10 months ago

So, when did the Wall Street Journal become experts on college BB? They need to stick to the financial world and let the experts make the predictions. The Official line on the game is KU by 10. Let it be WSJ.

TKELuke 10 years, 10 months ago

Ha Ha... The computer is just guessing based on past performance. I bet the margin of error is 20% :)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

jaybate news service


After the real estate and derivatives bubbles have burst, perhaps the two biggest remaining bubbles to burst are long term treasuries and Big East basketball. The Big East's bubble is so big it is hard to believe that the Wall Street Journal is not reporting on it daily. Oh, wait, they were way behind on reporting on the real estate and derivatives bubbles, weren't they? And they are now under-reporting the long term treasury bubble orchestrated to burst in the next 3-6 months. So much for Murdoch's Wall Street Enquirer, er Journal.

The fact is the Big East's value rating is inflated higher than its ever been before, and that's saying something considering some of the historical bubbles in over estimating the value of the Big East game. This season the mainstream sports media (MSM) have done more shameless promoting of the Big East than Mad Money market manipulator Jim Cramer has done to push certain stocks and investors into gains they and he perhaps should be investigated for. To put it bluntly, the MSM have acted toward the Big East like Moody's and S&P have to the multinationals; i.e., they have told it as it isn't.

And when all the buy and sell and put and call orders were left laying on the trading pit of the NCAA selection committee, and when little known, but 26-6 St. Mary's Gaels were left out of the insider trading, the Big East got the lion's share of its team portfolio in the tourney and Pitt, UConn and Louisville were "awarded" three of the four Number One seeds. No doubt each one is insured by a credit default swap by AIG.

So why do I expect they will not dominate the Final Four?

Simple. Pitt, UConn and Louisville--heck, the whole Big East conference--appear to have adopted a policy of playing no more than one or two credible strong non conference opponents in order to fatten up the Big East W-L statement. Notice that the Big East's big three--Pitt, UConn, and Louisville--never really blew out any of their one or two credible non conference opponents. They were close wins or losses. Notice also that with the marshmellow pre-season scheduling, most of the Big East's Big Three's losses occurred conveniently during the "bare knuckles" Big East conference play. Its rough. Its tough. They are the best. They only lose, because they are caught like Warren Buffet, Bernie Madoff, and T.Boone Pickens in the same stock market fighting over control of the last remaining profitable firm in the world. Again, this is convenient, is it not?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The dead give away is the combination of a weak non conference schedule and none of these team being able to dominate their own conference. It is not that the Big East is so tough; it is that these teams are not dominant.

In the tournament, they will fair well through the Sweet Sixteen, for two reasons: a) they received ridiculously high seeds; and b) they play so rough they will bull aside all the mid majors that sometimes upset teams from conferences where some of the rules continue to be enforced.

But from the sixteen on, I look for these teams to implode like collateralized debt obligations, with the possible exception of Pitt. But compare Pitt's Blair to a healthy Blake Griffin. OU could take Pitt apart.

UConn's Thabeet is this year's Georgetown with Roy Hibbert. This team will be taken out!

Louisville? Look what KU did to Missouri's press the second time it saw it. Teams that have not played a press yet this year will have trouble with the Ville. Teams that have seen it before will not.

Frankly, if Cole weren't hurt, I would say KU would have a very good chance to go all the way in this tournament field this year. It is very weak compared to last year. Every top seeded team is missing a piece of the puzzle. Lawson's toe is no go and any number of centers can handle Hansbrough. Louisville relies on the press to win and we all know that good coaches and good teams can break presses. UConn and Thabeet? He's not that good. Pitt? Blair is only 6'7" tall. One of their bigs is 6'7"! I don't care how wide he is. A 6'7" big is still 6'7" at the end of the game!! Yes, they have other bigs, but he is their man. And he can be taken by a good shooting big man like Cole.

Dark Horses: KU if Cole is healthy, Michigan State (though only if mug ball is allowed to prevail), and UCLA (this team has all the indications of a team that could go red hot, after a tough regular season).

Greg Lux 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't question NDSU 3 point shooting numbers ... What you don't know is the quality of the defenders playing against those shooters. You give Collins, Morningstar and Reed less athletic defenders and I bet there numbers could equal those of NDSU also. The KEY to this game is ONE shot and out for NDSU. Dominate the boards, push the ball hard, use our good half court trap, feed the ball inside to Cole, Marcus, Mario & Markieff and allow them to dominate the offensive boards. Make our free throws. And last and probably one of the most important things is that the Zebras MUST let the teams play the game and not call a foulfest. I see KU winning by 22 if the score gets into the 70's for Kansas.

Rock Chalk

jayhawker_97 10 years, 10 months ago

i'm with ya jhawkerman. pound it inside, pound it inside.. penetrate, drive to the basket, let the big men follow. it'll be a guaranteed win. NDSU can't rely on 3 all the time, coz HCBS will tighten zone (2-3). it'll be a blow-out game. go Jayhawks!

slantrox 10 years, 10 months ago

Hey FargoHawk, What do you think of putting Little on Moorman to hedge or take Woodside on the switch? I think Little can stay with him and also make it hard for a 5'11 guard to shoot over. If Brady, Collins or Taylor are on Moorman then, he better be a good passer from 18 feet or a good shooter because I don't see him driving.

keith horinek 10 years, 10 months ago

I've watched Pittsburg play a few times this year. They've beaten UConn twice. This team is very good and they are stout. I believe they will be in the final four. As for Louisville, they weren't even considered in the top 5 untill very late in the season. I think they will go down, Conn. won't get past Washington or Purdue and if they do Mizzery or Memphis (puk) will beat them. North carolina won't get past Gonzaga and if they do Oklahoma and Blake Griffin will put them away easy (remember KU and NC last year). If KU takes care of business, gets serious and plays well, I think they can beat Mich. State and be in the elite 8. After that who knows. I really believed at the beginning of the year, if KU won one game in the NCAA T. they would have achieved their best, now I think a sweet 16 and or elite 8 is achievable.

Max Ledom 10 years, 10 months ago

Guys we are way bigger then this team. there tallest guy is 6 10 and idk if he even starts. No worries. KU will win

kennethst 10 years, 10 months ago

Why are so many people scared of this team???? KU will crush them! Stop being intimidated by previous losses to Bucknell and Bradley----those games have absolutely nothing to do with the current state of this team.

Since many of you seem to need something to worry about Michigan State?

ndhawkfan 10 years, 10 months ago

I live near Fargo and cheer for the Bison. Now that they are playing the Jayhawks I can't. I will be at the game wearing my Kansas gear cheering loudly!!!!!!!

I've seen the Bison play a few times this year and they are good, but not in our league.
Jayhawks by 25!!!!!!!!!!

Rock Chalk!!!!!! I'll be chanting soon. I am pumped for game!!!!! My first time to watch the Jayhawks live!!!!!!!!

truefan 10 years, 10 months ago

Have a good time at the game ndhawkfan. I think people are just nervous because all anyone ever talks about around tournament time is how KU went out early a couple of years in a row. I've heard more about the Bucknell and Bradley games in the last month than I have heard about the national title last year. The team that lost to Bucknell was 4 seniors...none of which could hit the three very well...and no one to come off the bench and help out. The next year it was the opposite, 5 freshman and no senior or even junior leadership. This year we have Sherron collins who is basically a senior who is backed up by solid three point shooters and a stable of big men to come off the bench. I'm not saying the game is in the bag, I'm just saying it we are less likely to get upset than people are saying. I would be more worried about playing Siena again, they were a complete team that just lacks size in the paint. NDSU doesn't have size, they have lost to the two legit opponents they have played (Minnesota and USC) and we just lost a week ago which will focus our team more than ever. I guarantee that our team doesn't overlook NDSU. NDSU will have to be the better team on the floor if they want to beat us on Friday, and I just don't think that they are.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 10 months ago

JR Giddens was 0 for 11 on threes that Bucknell game. As long as no one lays an egg like that we should be ok.

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, you make some valid points and I think you can make an argument that the Big East's dominance is somewhat exaggerated just like the ACC and other conferences have been in past years. Also, this tourney looks to be as wide open as ever with many elite teams having legitimate weaknesses and concerns and the separation of the top from the middle tier being relatively small.

However, what were the conferences that challenged the Big East this year in quality and quantity? The Pac 10, Big 10, Big 12, and SEC, despite the number of bids they received, seemed to have had extremely mediocre years. How would some of the top teams in these leagues (UCLA, Washington, Mich St., Purdue, KU, OU, LSU, etc.) fare in an 18 game Big East season? I think they would have a difficult time adapting to that hard-nosed style of play and would have ultimately taken many, many losses.

I see maybe 10-15 teams in this field that could make the Final Four, and maybe 5-7 that have the capacity to win the whole thing. Included is obviously Pitt, Louisville, UConn (maybe throw in Nova). Toughness, depth, balance, defense, and superior guard play gets you to the Final Four. The Big East looks like it has the best mix of those elements amongst its teams.

I'm not sure if the lack of non-conference schedule strength will factor in or not. Would you take tough non-conference vs. mediocre conference schedule or weak non-conference vs. pretty tough 18 game conference schedule? The middle and bottom tier of the Big East seem so much stronger than that of most other conferences.

Luke Kading 10 years, 10 months ago

Hawksboy...NDSU isn't very big, but the 6'10" guy (Moormann) does start, although he's not much of presence. They also bring a 6'7"-6'8" post off the bench, Dejuan Flowers, who is probably their best athlete, but nothing incredible in that regard.

Slantrox...that is an interesting idea of putting Little on Moormann and just switching all those ball screens. I think there are two problems with that idea though: 1) Cole would be guarding a much smaller guy who would take him away from the basket anyway and if he doesn't get out quickly, any of those other 4 guys can hit the three, and 2) Mario's minutes have dwindled lately and I don't really see that trend changing much now that its tournament time.

If Cole is active with his feet out there hedging and recovering on those screens (if Woodside splits it and tries to get to the hoop), his length will be able to bother Woodside enough when he tries to shoot over him or finish at the rim. In the Summit League championship, Woodside had some trouble finishing at the rim because Oakland had a fairly tall, long, and athletic center, but he's not near the presence and shot blocker that Cole is. If he stays out of foul trouble, he should have a huge game.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

My biggest concern is that KU is so focused on NDST that when they win by 30 or so, they will be more relaxed for the winner of the WV/Dayton game...... now THAT'S the TRAP GAME!!!!!!

Trey Hohman 10 years, 10 months ago


I don't know if this is an oversight on your part or just my warped opinion and obscene sense of entitlement, but you also missed a chance to discuss the commerical real-estate bubble which now possibly looms large, vis-à-vis, the ACC Conference....Wake, Carolina, Duke, & Florida State, etc....If any of these teams beside Carolina makes it past the Rd of 16 I will be stunned, frankly...

I also like USC beating Michigan St in Rd 2....Look for the PAC 10 to do some damage against the Big Ten, vis-à-vis, the upcoming avalanche of consumer-credit defaults of college basketball...

This tourney is setting itself up to be absurdism at it's finest...I can never remember a year where more teams have at least 2 malignancies for every Tom, Dick & Harry to propagandize about...I am going to Vegas tomorrow & I am either going to win enough money to buy a new house in Detroit ($15K) or I am going to have to man-handle a gaggle of old ladies to pay my mortgage.....

Dan Harris 10 years, 10 months ago

Oakville- I was thinking the same thing. Everyone is so sure that this might be THE upset of the first round that I think the Hawks will come out and destroy the Bison. If that happens the WV game will be hard to get them refocused.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago



Go for the old ladies, marry them and then sleep around on them until they pass on. It is better than living in Detroit.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago


Thanks for your thoughtful response. We're not gonna know until they play the games, whether what I am suggesting is true. Let's wait and see.

I just don't think the Big East is as tough from top to bottom as the B12, B10, and maybe the Pac 10. People just don't realize how tough these conferences play the game. The Big East is not an order of magnitude rougher any more.

Trey Hohman 10 years, 10 months ago


So basically, I should just follow the plot-line of Mel Brooks', "The Producers".

"You can make more money with a flop that with a hit."... The more I lose the more I can win, and I now am starting to wonder if prostitutes have any empathy towards degenerate gamblers...

(The sad truth is: I am already married, & my very pretty wife who happens to be at least twenty-seven times more attractive than myself who will coincidentally be with me every nanno-second of our trip, is I only allowing me to gamble a total of $22.56 during our entire 4 day vacation..)...But the good news is, I am betting it all on the Hawks in Round 1 to cover the spread & if I win, I get to keep all of my winnings to spend it on man-stuff like flowers and candles.

PS. to this article: Wasn't the Wallstreet Journal the same publication who predicted John McCain would win Pennsylvania by 2%?

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