Wednesday, January 12, 2011


KU basketball’s real test starts with conference play


— Marcus Morris begins his third Big 12 season tonight in Hilton Coliseum, so he is well acquainted with the difference between the nonconference and conference seasons.

When the playing-dumb question “Which would be tougher, going undefeated in nonconference or the Big 12?” was sent his way, he crushed it with an expression that made him look as if he had just tasted motor oil.

“Oh, the Big 12, definitely,” he said. “We face a lot tougher teams.”

Nobody is in denial about the reality that starting tonight, everything changes, and nobody is in denial that just because Kansas University is 15-0, that doesn’t mean the team is where it needs to be to be taken seriously as a contender for what would be its second national title in four seasons.

Asked to rate the team’s performance to this point, Markieff Morris nailed his answer as if it were an overtime three-pointer.

“I would say it was OK,” Markieff said after Sunday’s 67-60 overtime road victory against Michigan. “We could have played better a whole lot of games, this one included. We snuck out a few, but going 15-0 in nonconference is good.”

Good, not great.

KU played a number of teams that face tough schedules, which inflates the Jayhawks’ RPI, but most of those schools are experiencing down years. KU did prove it can win close games, a good sign against any competition.

Forty-seven schools received at least one vote in the latest Associated Press college basketball poll. Kansas has played one of those 47, No. 38 Arizona. Whereas KU didn’t play against a team in the top 37, exactly half of its 16 Big 12 games will come against teams ranked in the top 32.

Three of those will be played on the road: Monday at Baylor, Feb. 14 at Kansas State, March 5 at Missouri. The dates of the five biggest threats to the home-court winning streak: Jan. 22 vs. Texas, Jan. 29 vs. K-State, Feb. 7 vs. Mizzou, Feb. 21 vs. Oklahoma State and March 2 vs. Texas A&M.;

It seems like decades ago that 10 conference coaches gave first-place votes to K-State in the preseason poll. It was such a strange pick at the time it almost seemed as if the coaches forgot that it’s Baylor’s Scott Drew and not the Wildcats’ Frank Martin many seem to shun as an outsider.

So far, next to Texas Tech and Oklahoma, KSU ranks as the biggest disappointment in the conference. Here’s how the coaches rounded out their picks: 2. Kansas, 3. Texas, 4. Baylor, 5. Missouri, 6. Texas A&M;, 7. Texas Tech, 8. Oklahoma State, 9. Colorado, 10. Nebraska, 11. Oklahoma, 12. Iowa State.

With the benefit of the nonconference season and a few Big 12 games, here’s a better guess as to how the standings could look heading into the conference tournament at the Sprint Center:

  1. Kansas, 2. Texas, 3. Baylor, 4. Texas A&M;, 5. Missouri, 6. Oklahoma State, 7. Kansas State, 8. Colorado, 9. Iowa State, 10. Nebraska, 11. Oklahoma,12. Texas Tech.

A stab at the all-conference team: Alec Burks (Colorado), LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor), Jordan Hamilton (Texas), Marcus Morris (Kansas) and Jacob Pullen (K-State).


bballdiehard 10 years, 10 months ago

Correction: Kansas has actually played 2 of the top 47 teams now getting votes in the rankings. We also played Memphis.

rodn8tr 10 years, 10 months ago

Love the ESPNU icon with the jayhawk. Anyone know how to get that jpeg?

Ron Franklin 10 years, 10 months ago


but, like with my picture, i just paused the tv (dvr'd the game) and took the picture with my camera and then downloaded it!

bballdiehard 10 years, 10 months ago

I just googled imaged it after whatever game it was on ESPNU where they kept showing it, and it popped up on the first page of results. Actually linked back to the KU basketball message boards where someone had done exactly like BlownJay mentions... paused the TV, took a pic, and uploaded it.

John Randall 10 years, 10 months ago

I just now saved it in my images file:

Simply drag it from the window onto the desktop. This may work only for (Mac) OSX.

Oops - I have it saved, but it won't upload.

mikehawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Regardless of their current record and a loss in their first Big 12 game, I really think you are writing K-State out much too early. The Big 12 refs will let them play, and that plays right into "KSU thug ball" hands. They will be a tough out for KU on any night on any court. They lay awake nights thinking about KU.

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

Conference games----gotta love them! Just don't want any chippiness, if you know what I mean. Like the Cal game. Just play your game and the twins just do your thang! And as Aerosmith would say, "I don't want to miss a thang!"

Hawk007 10 years, 10 months ago

"It seems like decades ago that 10 conference coaches gave first-place votes to K-State in the preseason poll. It was such a strange pick at the time it almost seemed as if the coaches forgot that it’s Baylor’s Scott Drew and not the Wildcats’ Frank Martin many seem to shun as an outsider."

Can someone please explain what this is supposed to mean? It makes absolutely no sense. I have read it probably 10 times, and can't figure out what it is supposed to mean.

clevelandjayhawker 10 years, 10 months ago

Thought I was the only one having problems with that

milehighhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

It's just a wretched sentence. Only thing that would have made it more confusing is if he wrote "not unshun"

jakejayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Thanks Hawk007. I thought the same thing. I follow KU daily and by extension the Big XII and I have no idea. Sure seems like a cryptic couple of sentences.

Ron Franklin 10 years, 10 months ago

Do not understand it either.

My interpretation:

"It was such a strange pick that it seemed the coaches forgot that Scott Drew is the prick, and not Frank Martin"

If the coaches forgot to shun Scott Drew, and actually shunned Frank Martin, then he wouldn't have gotten the 10 first place votes.

Keegan, what in tarnation do you mean?

bayareajhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I read it several times as well and am still stumped. He's saying something about coaches not liking Drew but I don't get what that has to do with Frank Martin and K-State being picked by the coaches to win the conference. Is he trying to say that they should have picked Baylor to win the conference?

I also don't understand what these coaches' alleged problem is with Drew. I've heard a lot of rumors about coaches having problems with him but I've never heard any concrete allegations. It annoys me. A couple of investigations into his program have only yielded an impermissible phone call or two, so it seems that he isn't doing anything most others do (it wasn't a Kelvin Sampson phone-a-thon).

It's time for Drew's critics to put up or shut up. Either say what he's doing wrong or applaud him for taking a team that had no history, no players and terrible sanctions on it and turning it into a program that competes for the best recruits in the country in a couple of years. That is an amazing achievement. I would be proud of pulling it off in an NCAA Basketball video game on "Junior Varsity" difficulty level.

Until they prove that he's done something wrong, it appears that Coach Drew is just doing his job really well and his "peers" don't like it.

Ron Franklin 10 years, 10 months ago

He is a negative recruiter.

I'm not going to copy and paste all the "proof" that your looking for....but if you'll just google "Scott Drew is a Cheater" you'll find why he has drawn the ire of Big 12 coaches.

He is cocky & and jerk. I can tell this much by observation alone.

But, I think a lot of coaches are cocky jerks!!

bayareajhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I did, and all I can find is stories about negative recruiting. I figured that was all they had on him, and I stand by my earlier statements. He's not doing anything wrong, he's just stepping on toes while he climbs to the top.

How many NCAA rules are there? If he's not breaking any he isn't doing anything wrong. If the coaches don't like what he's doing they should get the rules changed instead of whispering about him like a bunch of high school girls.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

Self was pissed last year that Drew kept his players in the locker room during the Fieldhouse pregame video presentation. That was the only time I've ever seen Self say anything negative about another coach in the conference.

bayareajhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I remember that, and I thought that was ridiculous. Why should he have to keep his team out there while we have our KU tradition love-fest? I love that video. I've seen it many, many times and it still makes me tear up almost every time.

But if I was an opposing coach I would want to take my team off the floor, too. Drew is trying to win, and as long as his tactics don't break any rules I have no problem with them.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

It shows a lack of respect, and as Self pointed out, it just isn't done.

bayareajhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't think it shows a lack of respect. How is it disrespectful to talk to your team instead of watching a video dedicated to your opponent's greatness right before a big game?

"It just isn't done" doesn't cut the mustard. In other words, Drew is breaking "unwritten rules." If those rules really mattered, they'd be written down in the NCAA rulebook. Drew rubs people the wrong way by doing things his way but it isn't against the rules and I would rather do things my own way and win than do things like everyone else and lose.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

You asked for an instance of Drew doing something wrong; I didn't realize you meant literally "against NCAA rules."

As Self pointed out, every other coach has the courtesy to have his players on the floor during the pregame intro ceremony, home or away; it shows a certain lack of class for Drew not to do the same. You can win with class, or without.

bayareajhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

"Class" is subjective. Rules are not. For example, I totally disagree with you that it showed a lack of class when Drew took his team off the court before the game. He wasn't showing us up or looking for attention; he was turning a potentially disastrous situation into a teaching opportunity for his team.

Just because he's the first person to do it in AFH doesn't make him wrong. It makes him an innovator. Reasonable minds can differ about vague concepts such as "class," but nobody can deny that at this point Drew's program is clean and his achievements should be celebrated.

We have had a few minor violations under Self's watch. Other team's fans complain all the time about the supposed shortcomings of our program. Does that mean we have no class?

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm not claiming that Drew is dirty or that KU is unblemished. But I don't agree that the NCAA rulebook is the ultimate arbiter of "class," either.

Drew is obviously a fierce competitor and has overcome severe obstacles at Baylor. Good for him. But if you violate an unwritten code of conduct, one which is followed by all your colleagues, just in order to gain a competitive advantage, don't be surprised to find your character called into question rather than being hailed as an "innovator."

bayareajhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I certainly don't think the NCAA rulebook is an arbiter of class. In fact, I don't think it's worth the paper it's printed on. But however unfortunate it may be, it is the law as far as NCAA basketball is concerned. They've managed to put however many thousands of rules in there relating to recruiting already. What's a few more? Let's legitimize these unwritten rules and then we could actually punish Drew with sanctions instead of just trying to ignore what he has accomplished while operating fully within the thousands of official rules in place.

Unwritten rules are a joke, but you make a good point. People are slow to accept new ways of thinking. What do they say about truth passing through three stages? First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as self-evident. Drew is lucky the other coaches can't beat him up in the hallways at Big XII headquarters.

John Randall 10 years, 10 months ago

I wonder how many unbiased observers would classify the pre-game video as "arrogant and classless."

NJHAWK 10 years, 10 months ago

I think that coach Self was also pissed at him last year when he was trying to distract (by yelling) a KU player who was about hit a free throw.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I kind of remember that. Total bush league if true.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Hahaha. I also read that paragraph about 5 times with complete confusion. I have no idea what it means other than coaches are supposed to dislike Drew (and maybe Martin)?? It really makes no sense with regards to the voting.

I didn't go to J-school, but I believe rule #1 is to NOT write so only schizophrenic clowns on crack can follow along.

I guess it's an inside joke, as in the the only people who understand it are inside Keegan's head...

vmwskywalk 10 years, 10 months ago

KSU won't even make the NCAA tournment. You heard it here first.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

If they keep playing like this, they won't. I have trouble believing this freefall will continue, however.

Craig Colgin 10 years, 10 months ago

Is there any way to get this troll banned? :)

Dan Harris 10 years, 10 months ago

They looked awsome against the Buffs tonight!

AsadZ 10 years, 10 months ago

This is where HCBS excels in getting the team ready. Time for another Big 12 Championship. I can see us go 14-2 in the league play this year with potential losses at Baylor and at KSU.

AsadZ 10 years, 10 months ago

They have some new pieces and they are long. Dunn is playing really good. Plus they play good zone and I have not seen KU play well against good zone defenses. We had lot of problems against Michigan zone. Our Bigs will have to be very active in the middle. I hope they can do it but so far I am not convinced.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

LaceDarius Dunn is playing quite well right now, hitting 42.4 from three. However, it appears that his shooting is the measuring stick for his teams success. In their 3 losses he shot 23.1% from 3 (6 for 26). They live and die by his 3 point shot... he takes 9.8 per game, which is 67% of his shot attempts. In his 43 point outing against Morgan State he took 18 (eighteen!!) threes -- 82% of his attempts were from beyond the arc. If our guards can defend him well (which we are getting much better at as the year progresses), I think we can ride past them quite smoothly.

It will be a tough game, no doubt. But we will match up well, I believe.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

Dunn is doing fine from a scoring perspective, but Baylor's problem is pointless - they have not replaced their PG (Carter). The PG is that which drives NCAA BB.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

"The PG is that which drives NCAA BB."--dagger108

I just got done telling someone else that it is not the style woth which something is said, so much as the fresh angle of the content that makes me declare posting hall of fame.

But that is so beautifully, elegantly, stylishly and defiantly said, as if Damon Runyon, my favorite Kansan, had taken over your keyboard and been reborn, that I have to say...

Posting Hall of Fame! for our very own Nathan Detroit!

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

The NBA has been led by the 2, 3, 4's since the Jordan/Pippen domination, but that is not NCAA BB. Expect Dunn to do well in the NBA game, we we're not playing NBA BB.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

So... are you agreeing with me? As I said, if we put some pressure on Dunn, they are... well, done (yeah, lame, I know). You are correct, they don't have a good PG which is why they truly live and die by Dunn's outside shooting, as I statistically pointed out above.

clevelandjayhawker 10 years, 10 months ago

Im still debating who i would like to see the hawks lose to, I think this team needs 2-3 losses to get the message, a loss on a "cake" game might be what it takes for this team to get going....I say that because I feel that they are at like a 5-6 on the potential scale currently. Thats what I see, a team that can do so much more (not that they are bad, just their potential is super great)

Also, I want to see us play when we are down a little more.... like when mich hit that 3 in OT I wanted to see who took over, thank you twins...but had the zone continued who would have steped up?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

We are going to have to have a talk about kharma. :-)

It is one thing for Coach Self to tempt fate in pursuit of excellence, but, but, but...I don't know if fans should do this. it...if it it.

But if it doesn't, stop....okay?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

What we have here is a sports editor indulging in click provocation and board rats with a failure to swagger.

Alec Burks (Colorado)--he wasn't even good enough for Self to offer him. Put any of our guards on him and he will go under his average by 5 in Boulder and 8 anywhere else. Hell, on one of Josh's good nights, it would be like watching a total eclipse of the sun. Alec Burks? Don't make me laugh. Better pick: Selby

LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor)--Shoelacedarius? A good player who could not beat us last year and this year we have more and better perimeter defenders than last and a solid interior, probably better than last year, because all the guys could go a full game if they had to. We'll tie Shoelace in a knot. Better pick: Tyrel, at least when he is shooting well, which he will be season's end, or we're sunk.

Jordan Hamilton (Texas)--Who is this? Did Jimmy Carter's old political strategist, Hamilton Jordan have an illegitimate child on the campaign trail and momma played reverse the names? Every year we have to listen to a lot of nonsense about Baja Oklahoma playing basketball hand making good barbeque, and then KU kicks their asses into cactus and comes home for the real thing in bones. How about we start out talking about how overrated they always are, then kick their asses in the cactus, then send them some KC barbeque laced with horse laxative and forget them? Jordan Hamilton has length, but he only shoots 36% from trey. Either Travis Releford, or Mario Little would have him crying, "Mommie, mommie, what do I do when KU players don't believe my hype and kick my ass up around my ears?" Better Pick: Travis, or Mario.

Marcus Morris (Kansas): the only sane choice Keegs made. Tom, what ever pill you were on when you selected Marcus, keep that one and flush the rest.

Jacob Pullen (K-State): as overrated as Viagra and Armani Code. Watch our guards shut him down. Better choice: Tyshawn

We are Kansas.

They wish they were.

We know who our daddy is.

They wish they did.

Its not the other way around, no matter how much Keegs wants to get a job in Austin.

Rock Chalk!

kycamp0 10 years, 10 months ago

Lol @ Jaybate

"Mommie, mommie, what do I do when KU players don't believe my hype and kick my ass up around my ears?"

Jaybate's on fire today!!!

kycamp0 10 years, 10 months ago

I told all my KSUckers at work that them being ranked ahead of KU and picked to win the Big XII before the season was just ridiculous to which someone replied:

"Well its a long season so I wouldn't talk to much trash 'cause I seem to remember a certain game last March when KU didn't play so well and was upset" to which my reply was:

"Well I seem to remember 3 games last year when the Hawks thrashed the Wild Kittens and this year we will beat them like the red-headed step child they are."

Bring out the brooms 'cause it's going to be another clean sweep this year!!!

Rock Chalk!!!

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

Yes, they did in '88 as well, if I recall correctly. I sure hope the Jayhawks can advance that far someday. No, no, that's just a crazy pipe dream that could never happen!

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

@ Jayhawkinnebr----you mean the "Octagon of Dominance" by the Jayhawks? Rock Chalk, Jayhawk----Allen Fieldhouse West, thank you very much.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Be aware of a building in which KState has a record of 1-24 against us?

Annnnnnnnnndddddd........ wait for it.... wait for it.....

Ok. Now I'm aware.


KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

LA, BTW, if it wasn't for Michael Beasley (the OAD), the record would be 0-25. Yea, it's like they won the National Championship that night. I will never forget how the Kitty Kats rubbed that one lone win in our noses.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

And yet we went on to win the ACTUAL national championship that year....

But, yeah. They pulled 1 win off in a quarter century. Although they have yet to beat us in Africa as promised.....

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

LA-----funny! Yep, I remember that prediction to take place in Africa! That was a crock!

bg_duck1 10 years, 10 months ago

LOL Jaybate always good for a laugh

Love Keeg's prediction of Kstate 7th couldn't be more accurate, no talent just big and players playing basketball, albeit tall football players.

Hank Cross 10 years, 10 months ago

For me, conference play is a letdown. If we never played ISU or TT again it would be too soon. Thank goodness NE is going away. This isn't a very good BB conference. Since it's formation no team other than KU from the B12 north has ever gone to the FF, and KU is the only B12 school to win it. Compare that with the ACC or Big East. Even the SEC has had 2 champs with multiple titles during the existence of the B12. KU deserves to play in a better league.

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