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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Keegan

Collins, Aldrich still key for Kansas

Kansas guard Sherron Collins charges up the court after stripping the ball from Temple guard Juan Fernandez during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins charges up the court after stripping the ball from Temple guard Juan Fernandez during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

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2010 KU-Temple

KU routs Temple on the road

The Jayhawks faced their first real road test Saturday taking on the nationally ranked Temple Owls. Kansas cruised to an 84-52 victory.

Reader poll

In which phase of the game was KU better against Temple?

  • Offense 19% 368 votes
  • Defense 73% 1374 votes
  • Undecided 6% 116 votes

1858 total votes.

— Now that looked like the No. 1 team in the nation that tore into the Liacouras Center and blitzed Temple, ranked 18th, 84-52, Saturday evening.

Playing in front of a split-loyalty crowd of 10,206, Kansas University put on its best show of the season, dominating on offense, defense and in transition.

Afterward, Sherron Collins talked about how nice it is to play with so much talent. He indicated improved teammates and new ones have done so much to relieve pressure on him and co-star Cole Aldrich, but on a day Collins played a near-perfect game, he got that analysis a little backward.

Clearly, it was Collins and Aldrich who took the burden off teammates less experienced in the challenge of playing a big game on the road. Collins scored KU’s first seven points, on a steal and layup, a jumper and a deep three-pointer. Aldrich dominated the boards and intimidated the Owls into settling for jumpers.

For all the improvements throughout the roster, one thing hasn’t changed from last season: Collins and Aldrich remain the Jayhawks’ best, most important players.

“That’s what you’ve got to do in order to get confidence on the road is have your best players play good early, and it takes the lid off of it for everybody else,” Kansas coach Bill Self said of Collins’ quick start. “... For a team that has two preseason All-Americans to come in and give of themselves because it’s best for the team I think makes a pretty strong statement.”

Self called his team’s effort in a 30-point victory against Belmont “soft,” and Collins, one of the farthest-from-soft players in Kansas basketball history, made sure his team personified toughness against Temple.

“I just had to get back to being myself,” Collins said. “Coach told me I wasn’t being aggressive enough, so I just got back to being myself.”

For Collins, aggressive means penetrating to break down the defense. It means pressuring the ball and the passing lanes at the other end. It means giving the big man a deep target for an outlet pass and flying after receiving it. It doesn’t necessarily mean putting up a lot of shots. Collins attempted just nine field goals, made six and scored 14 points to go with four assists and three steals. He did not commit a turnover.

Collins sometimes seeks reasons to play with a chip on his shoulder, so when Temple became a fashionable upset pick, he said that made him eager to turn this into a statement game for the nation.

“We were on the losing radar all day, everybody’s losing radar,” Collins said. “It was our first true road game (forgetting UCLA). Most people had us on their losing radar. We don’t take that well.”

No easy puzzle to solve for a defense on any day, Collins’ chipped shoulder helped him to put Temple in scramble mode.

“That mixing of quickness and strength is definitely an asset for him,” Temple guard Ryan Brooks said. “We play against some quick guards, but that strength is what makes him different. That strength is what helps him get to the basket in traffic.”

Extraordinary depth definitely is a strength for Kansas, but it’s largely the dynamic duo of Collins and Aldrich that makes this team worthy again of a No. 1 ranking.

Comments

ahayden3 10 years ago

Keegan, does this mean that you're ready to put KU back at the top of your AP ballot?

Dirk Medema 10 years ago

So much hatred for the Keegs.

Personally, I'd like to say "Thank You" to you and all the other journo's that commented on KU not playing as well against lesser opponents than UT, as well as a tip o' the hat to all the Temple fans for lighting a fire under the boys with the "We want Kansas" and "Overrated" chants. What coach was it that made some comment to get under Sherron's skin at the beginning of the 34-0 streak game?

Tom, I hope you have a few more pithy articles planned to prime Sherron's attention for the rest of the season. A lack of attention/energy could be a downfall during a cold winter. Hopefully, UT & KU make it to Feb 8 undefeated. Austin will be rocking regardless.

yates33333 10 years ago

It was last year all over again with improvement. Collins and Aldrich were like, well, Collins and Aldrich. Wow, they were good, and Wow, was KU's basketball team outstanding.

KU opponents must be demoralized when Self substitutes and the replacements are as good or almost as good as the starters. I know it is early in the season, but this has to be the best 12 or 15 man team I remember playing at KU, and I am an old man, who considers Charlie Black his favorite KU player ever.

Matt Bowers 10 years ago

Did anyone notice Keegan setting up five minutes into the game behind the ESPN annalyst's? Were you at Geno's? It is treadmill time for Keegan. Seriously, I understand why Keegan made his decision and why so many KU fans were nervous, including myself. Sherron was right, this was a statement game for the nation. Look's like KU was hungry for a talented team and let out some aggression on the Owl's. Good game by almost everyone on the floor, but I would have liked to see EJ, CJ, and Jeff get more minutes in a game like this.

Rock Chalk

John Brown 10 years ago

It is good to see the team coming together and realizing their potential. The season is long and it is important for them to peak at the right times. Periodization is the key in basketball as it is in endurance sports. You work out the weaknesses in preparation for the big events. Collins and Aldrich are leaders and this did become very evident in this game. I am excited to watch them play Tenn and the B-12.

Andy Hess 10 years ago

Amen ahayden. He's got a huge dish of crow to eat now.

Steve Brown 10 years ago

Yates33 mine was Endacott:

( :- ' =

AP ballots are fluid, Keegan will make the adjustment that is obvious after this week. Longhorns in slump will fall to 3rd. Mater Wall & pot dealing to Vols Coach Cal moves to #2 spot.

Eliott Reeder 10 years ago

I don't think Keegan should 'eat crow' for his AP voting. Other team's have played tougher schedules and some still have better resumes than us. That is the truth. This win against Temple pretty much flips the script on that stance however. What IS disturbing is that Keegan can't get to the game on time. Perhaps he had flight difficulties, or something else. Either way, if I had free tickets via MY JOB, I would have been there on time. In fact, I can guarantee that I would have been there at least an hour early. Therefore, I am officially submitting an offer to the LJW to hire me as Keegan's replacement. This offer stands for life. I will never call in sick. I will never show up late. And I will try real hard to suppress my Jayhawk homerism in order to scribe unbiased sports journalism to the Kansas masses. Jesse Newell will become official online editor because he is awesome (what does this Kealing guy really do around here anyway, other than hold silly contests for TVs with impossible to reach deadlines?). I'll keep Bedore around as the new Mayer and let him write random articles off and on about the old-timers. I'm gonna hire KU, Jaybate, and Drgnslayr as my beat writers. And similar to the current LJW staff, I will utilize the KUSports.com message board mafia as my research department, cherry-picking informative posts and articles from other national writers in order to fill the pages of the sports section on a daily basis...

jhokfan 10 years ago

Okay, Keegan is not the homer you were hoping for. I happen to agree with his previous assessment of KU and actually thought he was being generous. That was then, this is now. Yesterday changes everything.

tomike 10 years ago

Keegan thought he was bigger than Kansas basketball when he started that Keegan's ratings for KU players last year. To me, he is just a joke.

jaybate 10 years ago

Look at the Krug photo at the top of the story!

The guy is the equivalent of a 55% three point shooter with that camera.

This is one of the best composed, spontaneous action photos I have seen.

Thanks Nick!

The special season is getting documented.

jaybate 10 years ago

"...last year all over again with improvement."--yates33333

Yates gets poet laureate of the week. Beautiful!

jaybate 10 years ago

ralster,

You are so spot on and timely with this post about Sherronatron!

As long as we have Sherron and UK has Wall, a Martin Luther King quote comes to mind.

"I'm not fearing any man."

And for the perverse cynics that would point out Dr. King died at the hand of an assassin after saying that....

Even a bullet could not kill Dr. King on his mission.

"But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

King won.

His enemies lost.

Same with Sherron.

He is leading teammates and a jayhawk nation to a basketball promised land.

The media will hold up false leaders to try to distract the people.

Intimidation will be tried.

But his cause is just and god allowed him to go up to the promised land already with the 2008 team.

He is not fearing any man.

Nor should we.

Respect all. Fear none.

Hawktacular 10 years ago

Superior Talent Deep as the Ocean National Championship Experience

39-1

Mike Kendall 10 years ago

Hawktacular:

Who said the Hawks are going to lose? I am being sarcastic. Hawks do have the talent to go 39-1. Hope the one loss isn't in the Championship Game.

KU 10 years ago

"Collins, Aldrich Still Key For Kansas" ......and in other breaking news, oxygen is still important to breathing.

KU 10 years ago

Good point about having an off night, ralster. Coach Self builds his teams for the 4 or 5 nights a year when nothing you do works. Because of our defense and toughness (both of which are starting to show the Bill Self Stamp Of Approval), we should always have a chance in those games.

If you look at the schedule, there aren't many teams capable of knocking us off, even on a bad night. Here are the ones I would circle:

@ Iowa State--Just because of the history of KU & Hilton Coliseum. @ Kansas State--Yes, their guards are THAT good and on the night they play KU, they have the best home court advantage in America. @ Texas--Obvious reasons. @ aTm--Big, athletic squad. If they get hot they are tough. @ MU--Frenetic defense on the road can be tough to overcome in a rivalry game.

I can't see us winning all those games, nor do I think it's that important that we do. Going undefeated would be fun, but the sheer pressure of going into the Final Four with an unbeaten team would be enormous. I played on an undefeated team in high school and near the end of the season, it became a huge burden. Multiply that by a thousand times and you get the media pressure KU would feel if they had a chance to run the table in early April.

37-3 or 38-2 with a National Championship feels a lot better than 39-1 with a loss in the championship game.

melrank 10 years ago

KU - I played on an undefeated team in HS, too. The pressure was unbearable.

We ended up losing our 3rd game :)

Mike Kendall 10 years ago

I hate losing at Mizzou and at K-State--I work with too many people from those Universities, so, we have to win those games (I know, I'm self-fish, what can I say?)


Iowa State will be close, but we'll win that one.


If we lost at Texas, it would be disappointing, but a game we can learn from.


That leaves A&M. I just don't see Turgeon beating us, but what do I know?


The Oklahoma State game could be a challenge for a half, because the game is in Stillwater (Feb. 27th). But the Jayhawks should prevail.

In all reality, KU, I see us losing one or two games, but not more than two, possibly three games max.

Remember the 96-97 team? Lost to Missouri (our only loss that year), and then Arizona had to do their "Cinderella Season" on us!

ParisHawk 10 years ago

Speaking of RPI, our RPI has shot up recently from the 40's to the low 20's and now to 8. For the first time, our RPI is actually better than Texas' (12 right now).

Temple really helped our strength of schedule. Also, both Cornell and Tennessee have RPIs in the 30's which won't hurt.

The RPI is not that important, but it is considered when assigning seeds in the NCAA tournament. That's why we should root for all our non-conference opponents to have great seasons; every win by one of our opponents augments our RPI. Similarly for Big 12 teams: the more they win in non-conference, the better for us when we play them.

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