Saturday, March 28, 2009


Jayhawks two deep, too shallow

Kansas guard Sherron Collins looks over the stats sheet in the locker room following the Jayhawks' loss to Michigan State Friday, March 27, 2009 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins looks over the stats sheet in the locker room following the Jayhawks' loss to Michigan State Friday, March 27, 2009 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.


Audio clips

2009 KU-Michigan State March 27

KU vs. Michigan St.

Reader poll

Who was KU's first-half MVP against Michigan State?

  • Sherron Collins 26% 16 votes
  • Cole Aldrich 46% 28 votes
  • Brady Morningstar 20% 12 votes
  • Other 6% 4 votes

60 total votes.

Reader poll

Other than Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, which Jayhawk will have the best game against Michigan State?

  • Brady Morningstar 37% 10 votes
  • Tyrel Reed 7% 2 votes
  • Mario Little 18% 5 votes
  • Marcus Morris 22% 6 votes
  • Other 14% 4 votes

27 total votes.


KU vs. Michigan State

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Complete coverage of KU's third NCAA match-up of 2009.


2009 Bracket Challenge

Get yer bracket on! Browse all brackets, check out out staff brackets, and check to see how your bracket's holding up after each match up is complete.

— Pin it on Sherron Collins. That’s the easy way to go. He even begged for it in the wake of Michigan State’s come-from-behind, 67-62 Friday night knockout punch of Kansas University in Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I don’t want to hear anybody talking about the young fellas, putting anything on them,” Collins said from a seat in front of his locker. “I can take whatever anybody wants to give me, but don’t dish it on them. Dish it all on me.”

Certainly, from the white flag to the checkered flag, Michigan State point guard Kalin Lucas was magnificent, and Collins, his counterpart, couldn’t do anything right, but simply to blame this loss on Collins and move on would be more shallow than the Jayhawks’ pool of experienced talent was during a 27-8 season.

Kansas didn’t make it to the Elite Eight because teams that have to put a huge share of the load on one perimeter player and one post player generally don’t.

Michigan State surrounded Lucas and center Goran Suton with talent more ready for the big stage than Kansas had supporting Collins and sophomore center Cole Aldrich. Therein lied the chief difference between the teams.

Long before Collins failed in a trio of different ways in the final 1:19, the Kansas role players appeared to experience stage fright that kept them from shooting open shots.

“I think we were relying on Sherron too much to make plays for us,” freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor. “He’s been making plays, so I can’t fault anybody for relying on him, but I just felt we relied on him way too much. When we got open opportunities, we passed it back to him.”

Collins even was guilty of doing the same when he drove into the lane, didn’t see a shot he liked and threw an over-the-shoulder pass in the general direction of Aldrich. Lucas — man, what a closer he is — picked it off with the score tied, 60-60.

Collins made his next mistake when Lucas took him into the lane, hesitated just long enough to get Collins up in the air, hit the shot and was awarded a free throw when, on his way down, Collins glanced against him. Once he left his feet, Collins’ best option would have been a hard foul.

KU’s final chance died when Collins missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 19.9 seconds left.

Sure, Collins committed six turnovers, but he also led Kansas in scoring with 20 points and made nine of 13 field goals.

Aldrich, who had trouble guarding Goran Suton (20 points, nine rebounds, five steals) away from the basket, had 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Collins and Aldrich scored in double figures in each of the three tournament games, and no other KU player reached double figures once. They scored 63 percent of the team’s points.

If Collins and Aldrich return, next year’s roster will have more experience and more talent with the additions of power forward Thomas Robinson, guard Elijah Johnson, center Jeff Withey and possibly ultra-talented New York City wing Lance Stephenson.

No wonder when someone informed Taylor that next year’s Final Four will take place in Lucas Oil Stadium, he looked into the future and smiled.

“I didn’t know that, but it does motivate me now that you mention that,” he said. “I think next year, if we get our two guys back, we’ll be back in the same locker room and the outcome will be different. They led us all year. We get them back, the sky’s the limit. I think we’d be pretty good without them, but with them, we’d be really, really good.”

Collins said he expects to return next season and will follow the lead of his coach, Bill Self, in making that decision.

“I wish the season started next week,” Collins said. “I’m real anxious to get back in the gym with these guys and do it all over again.”

With more talent around him, he’ll have more left in his tank from the white flag to the checkered flag, and he’ll have more options around him.


Matt Bowers 10 years, 10 months ago

Damn right it was not Sherron's fault. They made a couple of heads up plays and connected, what more is there to say? We are a very good team and if our two dudes return, we will be hard to handle next season. Great job Hawks and thank you.

Rock Chalk

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 10 months ago

If Collins or Aldrich are your key weapons, coaches like Izzo, are going to develop defensive and offensive schemes that if executed well, will ultimately lead to missed shots and turnovers for the best of players. Thus, to throw fault at any of these these guys is in my opinion, ABSURD! I blame Izzo for his good coaching and in saying this, I do not mean to be disrespectful to Coach Self and his staff who by the end of this season, developed a bunch of young ones into playing at a very high level. Just compare where these guys were in East Lansing earlier this season to last night. This became a very good Jayhawk team and in my opinion, this should not be a day to lay blame on Sherron or anyone else! In fact, I hope that Sherron's level of desire is contagious and his team mates not only benefit from this experience but also develop a similar desire to play at even a higher level. Believe me, if this happens, we'll be playing for another week next year!

Mangino_Maniac 10 years, 10 months ago

In terms of blame, I don't think any fingers should be pointed at all. This team surpassed everyone's expectations, and it was a fantastic season. I'm feel like Sherron, and wish next season started next week!

It's also great to hear Sherron hear expects to be back... I hope so!

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

"They scored 63 percent of their teams points" is the very reason why this team isn't going to play in the the 63rd game of the tournament.

Don Hortenstine 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Taylor said it right, the younger guys passed on open shots and passed it back to Collins. This was a case of playing afraid to lose versus playing to win. This is easily fixed over the offseason. Collins had a heck of a game, 20 points on only 13 shots. Collins should hold his head high and be proud of what they accomplished this year, leading a young, inexperienced team to the Big 12 title and Sweet 16 (very close to going to the Elite 8). A major accomplishment in my book, especially from what they looked like at the beginning of the season.

I'm with Collins, I wish the season started next week.

rockchalk007 10 years, 10 months ago

"When we got open opportunities, we passed it back to him.”- This is the key to KU's last game and why they came up short. MSU was way overplaying Sherron and nobody else wanted the ball. As soon as anybody but Sherron or Cole touched it, they were looking to give it right back just as quickly as possible. Too much pressure, credit MSU. We need another guy who can create his shot off the dribble - next year for sure. Go hawks!

jayhawkintexas 10 years, 10 months ago

The picture with this article tells the whole story--the MSU player's hands are higher than the rim, Cole's hands are level with the rim and Morris' hands are below the rim. We need another rebounder and another scorer.

Max Ledom 10 years, 10 months ago

Man it seemed like everyone wasafraid to shoot. Man.....GREAT SEASON HAWKS!!!!!!!!! Come back Sherron and Cole!!!!!!

Bob Zielinski 10 years, 10 months ago

The reason Cole and Morris are not as high in the photo is because the ball was thrown for an alley oop over the top of our defense. Cole and Morris were basically jumping backwards and up and they successfully broke up the play. It was not a rebound they were all going for and we got outjumped. Cole pulled down a load of rebounds last night.

As for Keegan calling out Sherron while saying all the blame is not Sherron's, well he needs to lighten up a bit. I think he is a fairly sour person and contributes very little to the actual coverage of the team and what goes on throughout the season on and off the court.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 10 months ago

Sherron is the leader. He shoulders the blame. He is so courageous and mature.

However, we all know the other cast members were somewhat absent.

However, win and lose as a team. That's the bottom line.

I love them all. FOREVER.

hawksince51 10 years, 10 months ago

Even the title of this article makes me mad because it does make the suggestion that some might feel Collins was to blame. As someone else mentioned, Izzo is too good a coach to lose to a two-man team which is what KU has been since the tournament began. Collins and Aldrich were the O in the first half. Izzo made very effective adjustments against them at the half and no one else stepped up. We had NO half-court O the second half. Because no one else came to play, Collins spent the second half forcing the action against a D designed to stop him. He still kept us in the game until the end. He should get the credit for keeping it close, not the blame for losing.

cklarock 10 years, 10 months ago

No need to call out Sherron. We got to where we did this season because of him, and as numerous posters have pointed out, by the end of the year, nobody else seemed willing to step up.

Sherron is the on-court reason we won the Big 12 and managed a Sweet Sixteen the year after sending 5 starters off to play ball for money.

frompekka2sasha 10 years, 10 months ago

Sherron is the man and I respect him for shouldering the loss. Unfortunately he doesn't need to blame himself because we all know he did the best he could and made this average team pretty darn good. He just had some bad breaks at the end.

I am sad to see that Keegan "assumed" the fans would berate Sherron for the loss. Some of us can be unrealistic at times but give us a little credit here. This guy was the entire reason that we made it to the tourney and the Sweet 16. Not really much to support any irresponsible argument that trys to say otherwise.

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

The stat line if very similar. msu had 2 main scorers as did we. they had one extra teammate step up. Very closely matched teams.

Great year KU Basketball! I can't wait to watch you guys start back up in the fall.

Thank you.

frompekka2sasha 10 years, 10 months ago

BTW- That locker room at "brand new" Lucas Oil Stadium looks like a dump or something out of the 70's. Look at the old school lockers and the carpet.

Ryan Gerstner 10 years, 10 months ago

I have no clue why anyone would blame Sherron. It's a good thing I wasn't on the sideline last night because I would've slapped Reed and Morningstar for all the looks they past up. Those two played scared most of the night. Hopefully "Born Ready" and some others are ready to come take some of those minutes.

areyouserious 10 years, 10 months ago

That is exactly what leaders should do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shoulder the blame and come back and let it motivate you for next year. Sherron, you are a class act and you lead this team to a level that nobody on this board believed was possible back in November. Thank you, it was a fun year, and I look forward to what is in store for next year. Rock Chalk

areyouserious 10 years, 10 months ago

It takes two dominant players to get to the sweet sixteen/elite 8, but it takes 3 or more to get into the final four! We came up one short down the stretch, it is extremely hard to spread the defense with only two real threats. Next year will be different. I can't wait

FlaHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Ultimately, Collins is only human. KUasked too much, because Brady and Tyrel did not step up. The twins and Tayshwwn are frosh and not ready for this pressure. KUis/was a young team and over-achieved this year.

Can't wait for next year!


patton6 10 years, 10 months ago

"Certainly, from the white flag to the checkered flag, Michigan State point guard Kalin Lucas was magnificent, and Collins, his counterpart, couldn’t do anything right, but simply to blame this loss on Collins and move on would be more shallow than the Jayhawks’ pool of experienced talent was during a 27-8 season."

If that was Sherron not doing anything right, I'd love to see him perform up to Keegan's standards.

FLJHK 10 years, 10 months ago

I see they have changed the title of this article since it was first released. Good thing.

In reality, Collins does need to be singled out, but only in this way: Thank you Sherron. Thank you for putting this young team on your shoulders and carrying it further than anyone had reason to expect. You had a wonderful season, and along with Cole, an outstanding NCAA tournament. Thank you too for your major role in bringing KU a championship last year.

Selfishly, I hope both you and Cole are back next year. But if it's right for either or both of you to move on, then do so with the thanks of a grateful Jayhawk Nation.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Have to strongly disagree with Tom on the following.

"Certainly, from the white flag to the checkered flag, Michigan State point guard Kalin Lucas was magnificent, and Collins, his counterpart, couldn’t do anything right..."--Tom Keegan, finishing the season weak with a colossally stupid assessment of Lucas' and Collins' play

Lucas: 5-15FG, 18pts, 25% from trey

Collins: 9-13FG, 20pts, 40% from trey

Right there, one suspects Tom was dipping into the Bushmills a little early.

Sherron played a lot of two guard at Self's direction, and so he was not in a position to dish he only got 3.

Sherron's only big statistical gaff was 6 TOs, but he was playing out of position at the wing and against a Russell Robinson grade defender in Travis Walton. Also, the guys getting him the ball--Tyshawn and Tyrel--were usually inept at getting him the ball in a timely uncontested way that he could do something with it. I think its fair to attribute at least one of those TOs to playing out of position and 2-3 of those TOs to when and where and from whom he was getting the ball. I would also attribute a couple to the fabulously rough and effective defense that MSU plays against everyone, not just KU. So, let's adjust his TOs attributable solely to him down to, say, oh, I don't know, 2. And given that he was often not playing point, let's say a three assist night was not all that bad against a team that admitted pregame that it was rigging its defense to stop Sherron from dishing. Since Bill Self plays take what they give us, it would be crazy to expect Sherron to have a big assist night, when that was not being given and Self moved him to the wing much of the time.

I'm frankly a little more concerned about Tyshawn and Tyrel, who played the point when Sherron was not there. They combined for a grand total of 2 assists and 5 TOs between the two of them in a combined 49 minutes of play. But then perhaps this was the price of playing all three out of position so much of the time. Sherron got 3 assists in 38 minutes, if you catch my drift here.

Now, Kalin Lucas did some fine things. But Sherron Collins made as many deft impact plays over the course of the game. KU would have been completely blown out were it not for Sherron's contributions and I reckon the same could be said for Lucas. So: they are square there, too.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Now, Tom may be focusing a lot on the end of the game, when Sherron did not engineer one of the miracle finishes we have grown accustomed to from him so frequently, since he iced the three and made the assist to "the shot" to win us a national championship last March.

Well, Tom, Sherron did make a big TO after driving into trouble and he did miss the front end of a one and one, either of which might have altered the outcome. But in such a close game, we can say the same about Tyshawn (hit some treys), Brady (hit some treys), Tyrel (hit some treys), Marcus (hit anything), Kieff (hit anything) and so on.

But specifically, regarding Kalin Lucas and Sherron mano a mano at the wire, here is what Kalin Lucas had to say:

"I was just lucky..."

This again does not square with your assessment.

In fact, nothing squares with your assessment.

So, with the cork firmly in the Bushmills this morning, let's consider the game a little more realistically, shall we?

The MSU bench outscored the KU bench 25-7; this was a decisive factor.

KU shot 25% from the trey and, if one excludes Sherron's 40% trey shooting, the other KU players shot 1 of 10; which is, I believe, 10%. That is 9 pointless possessions, though perhaps we got one put back, eh? Okay, make that 8 pointless possessions. On a decent night we'd have made at least 3 of those 9 and on a good night we'd have made 4. Note that if we had even made three more treys, we'd have won this game handily. Now, you have to agree, Tom, missing those threes was at least as decisive as Sherron's six TOs on a night when MSU was only converting on 33% of their threes, don't you? At a 33% conversion rate, Sherron's 6 TOs only converts two MSU treys, or six points. If we get those 3 threes on anything approaching a normal shooting night, well, then we overcome the cost of those three TOs easily. 10% from trey from our best trey shooters, plus Kieff, just doesn't cut it.

Of course, I know you tried to soften the blow of your unfair assessment of Lucas vs. Collins by saying Collins was not solely to blame. How very generous.

But bottom line, Sherron just did not get outplayed by Kalin Lucas. Sherron's team got beat by Lucas' team. And Lucas got the benefit of Izzo outcoaching Self with a clear out play that surprised Self and a KU clearly not prepared for it during the timeout. And Lucas got the better of Collin's on that crucial play.

But that clear out play probably never would have worked, if Coach Self had prepared KU for it in the huddle, or if the KU bench had not been outscored 25-7, or if KU's trey shooters other than Collins had shot better than 1 of 10.

Lucas magnificient and Collins couldn't do anything right?

Not a chance.

JBurtin 10 years, 10 months ago

I kind of wondered about that myself.

Here Keegan, I'll do your job for you. First order of business is getting a new about:


It was a sloppy, crappy basketball game for both teams, and Michigan State lucked out to have an opportunity at the end. Losing now just saved us the inevitable embarrassing butt kicking that was coming our way in the next round.

The truth is that Sherron brought his A game, but a bunch of lousy ball handlers wussed out and wouldn't shoot the rock if you put a gun to their heads. The team unfairly asked him to single-handedly outplay five guys. Somebody else needs to man up and grow some cojones.

Even Cole was suspect. He was more than willing to rebound, but to ask him to go up strong and create some points was apparently too much to ask. What do you think he is. . .a basketball player or something? How dare you ask him to make a dunk, he's only seven freakin' feet tall.

Sherron's doing the right thing by shouldering the blame. The rest of the team should already be aware of exactly how badly they sucked last night.

I'd love to be able to say the right words that would help an eighteen year old kid play like it was his last chance ever to win a game. Unfortunately, such words just don't exist. I think these guys will play a little harder next year, and maybe go a bit further, but I still don't think there's any way that this loss will hurt them bad enough to put the fire in them that last year's team had. It's going to take another couple of years of getting their butts kicked before any of these boys become the men that Chalmers, Robinson, Rush, Kaun, and Jackson were.

I do have every faith that this loss finally made Sherron into the leader that he needs to be, rather than the spark plug that he was for the championship squad. Sherron, Arthur, and Aldrich were essential pieces to the championship puzzle, but none of them were true leaders.

Now one of them is.

JayhawkLova7 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree with every one of you guys, Sherron, you're the man!!! Man, I love this kid. He gives it all he has and in the end, when it isn't good enough he blames it all on himself. Class act. I hope the other players learn from his leadership, and finds that you can lose with class. Sherron you're human and we all make mistakes. The free throw just didn't go in. It wasn't ment to be, apparently.

Cole played well, but not fantastic and who can expect him to with so many bodies flying at him. I don't remember how many guys were down there shoving and pushing on Cole but there was quite a few as the game went on.

Morningstar and Reed played like they were afraid to shoot, when Morningstar would dribble the ball I would just start praying that someone got back on defense since he couldn't dribble the ball last night for the life of him, or shoot it for that matter. I remember Reed hitting that 3 in the 2nd half sometime but I don't remember any other contributions from him

Tyshawn played alright. Not to the best of his abilities but what do we expect? He's a freshman and I think he showed some potential. By hitting those free throws at the end showed me that he could hit the clutch free throws when called upon and thats big for a freshman.

The Twins would fly in there to get a rebound and then throw it up and pray that it goes in. Hey but they gave effort. Made some boneheaded plays but all in all had a pretty solid game, not great, not even good, but okay. They tried and thats all that we can really ask for.

I wish Releford would have been sent in for Reed or Morningstar as the time started to dwindle down. While he isn't a very good shooter from the outside, he has showed some defensive skill that impressed me. Also, he can take it to the whole rather well. But Bill must have thought it best to stick with the kids that have played the most minutes while Releford hasn't gotten very many minutes in these types of games.

You did good Hawks. Great effort. I can't wait until next year! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!

KULA 10 years, 10 months ago

There's nothing to blame on anyone--it's just a young team that got beat. It is what it is. You can't teach experience. Young players play like young players. Look at the 3 year arc of last year's team--from 1st round loss to national champs. Sherron played great! No other point guard in the country has produced at a high level more consistently this year--wouldn't trade him for anyone. But the 'Hawks need consistent scoring from a 3rd & 4th source. MSU concentrated on him all night and just wore him down. You could see he was tired late in the game. Bill had to take him out late & had Reed bring the ball up to give him more rest. You just can't compete at this level of the tournament with only one or two reliable scorers (unless you're Danny Manning, and that was 20 years ago--different game today). The good news is, we'll be there next year. Whoever comes back, we can fully expect MM & TT to be DD scorers in the 12-15 pt range. Possible Mario too. Expect to see Brady's playing time go down next year and Releford's & Little's go up. We need a taller & better scorer at the 3. Would've loved to see Little get 20 min/game this year--he never got a chance to get comfortable in a game. I fully expect the 'Hawks to be a consistent top ten team next year, and if everyone comes back (hope hope) preseason #1. Thanks for the great season, Kansas Jayhawks! Can't wait til next year!

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Glad to see the headline change. I'm guessing there were some complaints that had a part in that......

Many people have already touched on the quote, "Certainly, from the white flag to the checkered flag, Michigan State point guard Kalin Lucas was magnificent, and Collins, his counterpart, couldn’t do anything right..." So I don't think I need to add anything other than the following:

Not only is that blindly inaccurate and patently wrong but also incredibly stupid. One of the dumbest things I've ever seen you write, Tom. Sometimes I question what filter you are watching a game through; this time I question whether you actually watched it at all. One line completely destroyed the validity of the entire article. Congratulations. That's not easy to do.

As to Sherron, I don't know how any Jayhawk fan can't absolutely love the fact that this kid has Kansas printed across his chest.

“I can take whatever anybody wants to give me, but don’t dish it on them. Dish it all on me.”

While that quote is symptomatic of a guy who is shouldering the weight of the world and probably trying to take too much on, how can this attitude not make you proud to have him on your team? This is a kid that not only wants that weight on him, but thrives on it. And when he fails, he takes the hits from critical fans and journalists alike, then gets up and does it all over again.

Only better.

And harder.

Sherron Collins is a tremendous talent. But he is also a tremendous person. He pushes himself as hard as he can and just never gives up. He doesn't make excuses, and he doesn't ever stop. He doesn't need anyone to motivate him, because he always has something to prove to his biggest critic: himself. I couldn't ask for a better basketball player and a better gentleman to represent the University I graduated from, faults and all. Because those faults are part of what make him who he is: a kid that never stops trying to get better.

So if anyone wants to put the blame of this loss on you, Sherron, then that individual must also give all the achievements of getting there to you as well. You gave us everything you had, and you lifted this team well beyond anyone's expectations, including your coach.

Thank you for a tremendous season, Mr. Collins. Whether or not you wear that Kansas name across your chest for one more year, just remember this:

You are a champion.

And you are a Jayhawk.

theno1kufan 10 years, 10 months ago

sherron just became my favorite jayhawk of all time(surpassing jeff boschee) especially if he comes back.....

kennethst 10 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate -you should have your own show! Maybe you already do? If not-you could.

Well I feel much better seeing MU lose-although I was sweating it. I'm not impressed with UConn, but they did get it done in the end.

kennethst 10 years, 10 months ago

LA Jayhawk-I jusst read your comment. Absolutely nailed it, my son. Well done!!

I don't know where these fair-weather Sherron haters come from-but they can go away under their rock now.

You said it perfectly.....Sherron is a national treasure to our Jayhawk nation.

Good on you, me auld son!

mlubyRN 10 years, 10 months ago

Exactly Ralster, and all you others who echoed my point here. This 09 jayhawk team did exceptionally well this year. I didnt think they would make it past the round of 16. I didnt think they would win the regular season title either but they did. Most of what I see is everyone is comparing this team to last years team. The 08 champs were so incredibly, scarey good and talented and deep. This year on Offense we had Sherron and Cole, and no team can make the final four with just 2 main go to guys. Well I guess MSU did it but they had more support, more experience behind them. It will be different next year, I also wish the season would start tomorrow. GO HAWKS!!!

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