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Sunday, April 1, 2012

It’s showtime: Jayhawks seek revenge in tonight’s title game

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles at Kentucky head coach John Calipari as the two sit for makeup before their joint CBS interview on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the Superdome.

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles at Kentucky head coach John Calipari as the two sit for makeup before their joint CBS interview on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the Superdome.

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— Kansas University’s basketball team does not like to lose. Period.

But to be taken down by the same opponent twice in one season?

That’s especially distasteful to team leaders Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, eager to take the court against Kentucky tonight in an NCAA championship game (8:23 p.m., Superdome) that’s a rematch of a 75-65 Kentucky victory on Nov. 15 in New York.

“When you play a team that beat you, you want another chance. We get another chance. It’s not like a revenge game, but it’s one of those things like, ‘We’re back ... do it again,’’’ senior point guard Taylor said. “Basically, we want to make them come out and beat us. They’re going to have to play their best game of the year.”

KU has lost to the same team twice in one season just twice in the nine-year Bill Self era.

Michigan State swept the Jayhawks during Taylor’s freshman year. Texas topped KU twice in 2003-04, Self’s first season at KU.

“It’s extra motivation. I want payback,” junior forward Robinson said. “I don’t want anyone to think they have the upper hand on me, and I’ve thought that all season about Kentucky, but I get to see them again.”

Robinson and Taylor, who combined for 33 points off 8-of-25 shooting (Taylor was 3-of-13 from the floor but 15-of-17 at the line) in the first meeting, discussed the challenge during one of their regular heart-to-heart chats while speeding from station to station on a golf cart Sunday at the Superdome.

“I just said to T-Rob, ‘They’ve got five guys who can score 20, 30 points, if any one of them gets hot, and a couple guys off the bench who can do the same thing,’” Taylor said of double-digit scorers Anthony Davis (14.4 ppg), Doron Lamb (13.5 ppg, 17 versus KU), Terrence Jones (12.4), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11.9), Darius Miller (10.1) and Marquis Teague (9.9 ppg, 188 assists, 107 turnovers).

“On paper they should be favored,” Taylor added of the Wildcats, who are indeed 61⁄2-point favorites. “I think if you toss the ball up for 40 minutes and their five have got to play against our best five, we’re right there. On paper their record looks better, but I mean it’s only 40 minutes and none of that matters any more. There’s only 40 minutes left.”

KU played Kentucky to a 28-28 tie the first half of the game in Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats used a 15-2 run that stretched to 24-7 to open an insurmountable 54-37 lead with 10 minutes left.

Led by Davis, who blocked seven shots, the Wildcats recorded 13 blocks, most ever by a KU opponent in a single game. Davis’ seven blocks were second-most ever by an individual against KU. Shane Battier of Duke recorded eight in a second-round NCAA victory over KU on March 19, 2000.

“He’s the best,” KU junior Withey said, tapping 6-10 freshman Davis the No. 1 big man he has gone against. “He’s going to be the No. 1 draft pick (in 2012 NBA Draft). He can run, jump, do it all. It’ll be a tough challenge. We faced him earlier in the year, and we hopefully can correct what we didn’t do against him the first time.”

Davis has 180 blocks to Withey’s 136.

“Mine is through the roof now,” Withey said of his confidence level. Withey, who scored seven points with six boards and four blocks in 25 minutes against Kentucky, blocked seven shots in Saturday’s 64-62 Final Four semifinal win over Ohio State. He made life miserable on All-America forward Jared Sullinger, who had 13 points off 5-of-19 shooting.

“Guys like me and Anthony Davis can make it tough on teams because we both have been able to block some shots,” Withey added.

KU’s Robinson was frustrated in the first meeting, missing seven of 12 shots. He had 12 rebounds and five fouls in 27 minutes.

That’s the game in which he committed a hard foul on Jones (15 points, seven boards), then stepped right over the 6-9 sophomore on the court. UK’s Kidd-Gilchrist (12 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks) and Teague (12 points, six turnovers, three assists) took exception, getting in Robinson’s face over the play.

“I played a horrible game. I tried to do everything by myself,” Robinson said.

It’s possible he could be double-teamed by the Wildcats again.

“I’ve played against some big people, and I played in some tough games,” he said. “I think I’ve seen every trap, every which way they can come. I’ve watched the tape and know what they did. I’m pretty sure Cal (coach John Calipari) has something up his sleeve to disrupt my game, but if I’m just patient, everything should work out.”

Kentucky hit 51 percent of its shots vs. KU, including seven of 15 threes and 16 of 29 free throws. KU hit 33.3 percent from the floor, four of 15 from three. It was a day Justin Wesley (five points, five boards) played more than Kevin Young (two rebounds, two minutes). Conner Teahan had eight points, cashing two of five threes.

“Kentucky’s terrific,” Self said. “They’ve been the best team in the country basically from start to finish maybe with the exception of a week here or a week there. They’ve gotten better. They’re way beyond their years. Although they’re young in age, they’re certainly not young with experience.

“They’re one of the better teams we’ve had in college basketball probably from a pure talent standpoint. They’ve got six pros, three of them probably lottery picks. They’re really, really, really talented.

“But, you know, the thing about it is, I like our guys. I think we’re talented, too. We’ve got a guy that has kind of battled Anthony neck-and-neck for the most part for national player of the year. We got guards that can play with anybody, in my opinion. We’ve got a shot-blocker that’s hot right now. We’ve got a wing that can guard. We’ve got a lot of nice pieces too, it’s just that theirs are a little more heralded. From where we started, our path to get here was different than theirs. They’re good, really good. But the thing about it is, this time of year, one game left, who would you be playing if they weren’t really good?”

Comments

rodriguez33 2 years, 6 months ago

Here's a nice little recap of the tournament thus far, in case you need to get pumped up for tonight's game. Rock Chalk!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyoItgCcUSI

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

Very cool. Kinda weird how there at the end the highlights are in fast-forward mode. Still, props to whoever made that. Rock Chalk!

bbeckum 2 years, 6 months ago

Just watched the full press conference from today on ncaa.org. Some guy asked hcbs what he thought about KU being called a high mid-major. (I think he was referring to a story on cbssports.com) He handled the question with class, as usual. But how can you call the second-winningest program in college basketball a high mid major? How can the team the holds the record for most wins in a six year period be a high mid major? I know those columnists are under pressure to find a new slant for an article, but that just seems like ignorance.

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

I watched the interview too. The thing I took away from it is that these guys heads are in exactly the right places. The answers Coach Self and all those guys were giving (Tyshawn's stood out a lot to me) were just things that had me nodding my head and saying "hell yeah".

oldalum 2 years, 6 months ago

It was that Haskin from the Topeka paper. Following the interview, after Self slapped him down, he wrote what seemed like a hatchet piece to me bringing it all up again. I suspect HE'S the one who made that comparison in the first place.

Brendan Connolly 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't think the article said the Kansas program was a mid major, I think it said this edition with how shallow (meaning not deep) and small margin of error is closer to the mid majors that have made runs than a typical Kansas team.

bbeckum 2 years, 6 months ago

I think you're right about the article, but the question at today's presser used the words, high mid major.

Drew Bender 2 years, 6 months ago

I think they were referring to KU's veteran leadership from juniors and seniors that is similar to that of a mid major team

KULA 2 years, 6 months ago

Let's see--Saturday, the "pundits" were picking Ohio St. because according to their "punditry," when teams meet for the second time in a season, the loser of the first meeting has the advantage. So I guess that means they'll all be picking Kansas in the game tonight.

I'll tell you what I like about this team. It's something I saw and commented on early in the season, and it's something the 07 & 08 squads had. It's their mental and physical toughness down the stretch in a tight game. When the game is tight in the last few minutes, they go eye to eye and toe to toe, and their toughness makes the other guys knees buckle. I first saw it in the Florida game of Dec. 06, when we overpowered the defending National Champs. And it happened over and over in those two seasons (notably against Texas) culminating in the National Championship over Memphis. And that's what I started seeing in this year's squad. I think it started in the first Ohio State game, and happened in a few more tight games during the regular season, with the best example being win over Missouri. And this whole tournament has been the best example to date--the mental and physical toughness to IMPOSE YOUR WILL on the other team down the stretch.

And I will give Head Coach Bill Self total credit for this. I've ragged and dissed him for the early tournament flops the last two years, but I will give him total credit for breaking through this season and coaching this team to greatness. This is the Bill Self toughness that we saw in the 07 & 08 teams, and what should be the trademark for Bill Self Basketball--Mental and Physical toughness to the point of breaking the other team.

And that's what I think is going to happen in tonight's game. Even though Kentucky has more physically talented players, we have more mentally tough players. We will keep the game close, and down the stretch, our veterans mental toughness will win out and those young inexperienced kids from Kentucky will break.

And we will hang another banner in Allen Field House.

Rock Chalk -- Jayhawk -- KU...........

kansas25 2 years, 6 months ago

It's the University of Kansas not Kansas University. And yes, they are going to win!!!

garrettino 2 years, 6 months ago

Is there a difference between University of Kansas and Kansas University? If there is then why do we say KU? Not being a dick, just asking.

Andrew Juby 2 years, 6 months ago

I was discussing this with my regular game-watching group the other day, and we decided that it seems to be a regional thing: University of Oklahoma = OU, University of Colorado = CU, University of Missouri = MU, Indiana University = IU. There are examples to the contrary (UT and UN-L spring to mind) but it seems that putting a U at the end is not an uncommon thing, at least in this part of the country.

KansasComet 2 years, 6 months ago

This Kansas Team is ready. We have the talent and belief to do it. There is nothing left to do, but prove it on the court. Talk by players means nothing right now! Survive and advance!!! To the Championship Trophy!!!! Let's go Jayhawks!!!

Ben Kane 2 years, 6 months ago

what an amazing season. this has been a true joy to watch.

one game to go. Rock Chalk!

4Runner 2 years, 6 months ago

I was there in the Phog Saturday night and then down on Mass,,, What an unbelievable experience!! There simply is no other place to watch a college basketball game that could be as good as, or better than Phog Allen Fieldhouse!! Hands down!

And for those recruits who didn't sign up to represent KU on the basketball court,,, your loss, our gain. Because if you had, we wouldn't have some of the gutsiest guys that we have. Collectively our boys have a resolve to never, and I do mean NEVER, give up. As a team they have a heart that will not quit. Thanks for the ride guys,,, Honored to be represented by you and proud to support you. RCJH GO KU!

Congrats to Coach Self on a recognition that really is a no brainer,,, Naismith Coach of The Year!

Steven Mathew 2 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't it crazy when the whole crowd noticed Jeff Withey was called for a travel near the end of the game. I got that whole reaction on my phone.

REHawk 2 years, 6 months ago

If you get a chance, watch that call again on video. Jeff's bunnyhop was before he touched the ball. A blown call at a very essential moment of the game. I hope the ref who blew his whistle takes another look at his blown call. That kind of officiating error is understandable, in the fast pace and heat of the moment. But it can affect an outcome irreparably, esp. at such a crucial lateminute stage of a contest.

JHawk06 2 years, 6 months ago

I was there and everyone thought it was and 1.. as Jeff even indicated. Now I wasn't super close but it really appeared to have sealed the win for us. I watched the game again last night and it was obviously a bad call. Some of the announcers even commented on it. Oh well,

Rock Chalk

4Runner 2 years, 6 months ago

Can you post a link to the video from your phone on the crowds reaction to the BS travel call on Jeff?

Kevin Heath 2 years, 6 months ago

Just substitute the term "team" for mid-major and "players" for high-major. This will be yet another high profile look at the question of whether a great TEAM can beat a group of great PLAYERS. As Kansas fans we know all too well how it feels when our great players lose to a TEAM playing well (Bradley, N. Iowa, and Bucknell to name a few). A good mid-major typically has players who play together for 3-4 years then make that amazing run. Most of the high major teams don't experience that because the players are leaving early often enough that the major contributors are experiencing significant change year over year. (Not that it didn't happen with Kansas this year from last, but these guys are used to playing with each other.) This year's version, along with the 2008 version, were fantastic TEAM's. They knew each other, grew together, and developed into an amazing team. Kentucky has the high profile talent, but they are not a TEAM. Imagine what they would be if they all stayed in school for 2 more years? They would be starting 3 juniors and 2 seniors. Barring injury (or cheating) they would win the next two championships without question. They will never get that chance, however, to become a great team. They are merely a collection of great players.

We have been great and won so many Big 12 titles in part because we have not had the one and done players. We have great TEAMS. The face of the team and the style of play change, but year over year we have guys who have played together and know each other.

I, for one, am not disappointed when we lose out on the next one and done guy. Selby didn't do much of anything, and Xavier would likely be though of in much the same way were it not for his family ties to KU.

Tonight we will see a great team battle great players. My heart wants KU to win this like no other, and I believe historically the great team prevails over the great players. If the great TEAM in Kansas brings its "A game" they will prevail, even if the great PLAYERS bring theirs as well.

jayhawkinATL 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't think "revenge" for a game in December should be a motivating factor. This is IT...simple as that. Nothing to hold back for. We just need to keep within striking distance like we have for the past 4 games and we should be fine.

oldalum 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't think it was the players who said "revenge." It was just the headline. Taylor said "We get another chance. It’s not like a revenge game, but it’s one of those things like, ‘We’re back ... do it again,’’’ senior point guard Taylor said."

billy1961 2 years, 6 months ago

Two great programs, no doubt. My choice for the top wildest major college game ever was the Dec 9, 1989 game of Ky vs Ks at Allen Fieldhouse. Kentucky was coached by Rick Pitino and was unranked and Derrick Miller had 32 points that night. Kansas was coached by Roy Williams and ranked #2 and Downtown Terry Brown had 31 points. Final score was Kansas 150 and Kentucky 95. It was Kansas 80 and Kentucky 61 at HALFtime! I'm hoping Kansas brings their "A" game tonight, something we haven't seen yet in this exciting NCAA tournament Go Hawks!

jayhawkinATL 2 years, 6 months ago

I was pretty much satisfied with making the Final Four. This team has overachieved. But after Tad's comments at halftime, I just wanted us to put away OSU. Now, that we're going up against the Evil Empire (a.k.a. Calipari), I think I may be sick if we don't win. LOL

JD Roth 2 years, 6 months ago

You mean Thad Matta?? Hell, he was crying at the refs all night. I didn't know he was such a baby. Withey rejected Craft right before halftime which lead to Releford's layup and he was crying about that. KU Jayhawks, Big XII Champions, Big Ten Champions, ACC Champions and soon to be SEC and National Champions!!!!!

jayhawkinATL 2 years, 6 months ago

Ugh! I just hope we don't come out tight and allow them to bury us with treys.

HawkKlaw 2 years, 6 months ago

The fatal blow of every KU team. But I think our defense is good enough at this point that Bill Self will find ways to shut down hot three point shooters (Case and point - Robbie Hummel's 2nd half against KU).

Gil Ek 2 years, 6 months ago

What did Tad say at the half? I was watching the game in Mexico and it was in Spanish. He has always irked me. Merry Christmas Tad. My thoughts, "Kansas is the NCAA's poster child for everything that is good and right and "amateur" about NCAA basketball. "

jayhawkinATL 2 years, 6 months ago

He just basically minimalized our effort and implied the halftime deficit wasn't truly indicative of his team's play. Just VERY pompous.

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

Well boys......whatever happens tonight......it's been an honor serving with you.

Now......lets go get that Championship!!

Brak 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm going to tell you what my commander told me in Nam, Boys 10 of you are going out on that court today, 5 of ya ain't comin' back!

It's definately been a battle and a struggle all year, they are more than prepared to go to war tonight. Let them hear our battle cry - ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

Ron Franklin 2 years, 6 months ago

I sure hope 100 has his feet kicked up Some Where in front of a big screen.

"Defense Wins Championships"

"Crisp Passing Wins Championships"

"Free Throws Wins Championships"

Rock Chalk

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

Where is 100???? Have not seen him in a while.

Where is Ralster & Thetus?

Jack Wilson 2 years, 6 months ago

Destiny is an interesting word. I heard someone refer to KU as a team of destiny. I responded and said, no, this is a team of character.

Destiny comes up sometimes, during this time of the year. Most use it to mean that one's fate is predetermined. That one has no control over future events.

But destiny .. when it comes to sports .. means something a bit different. Destiny really means a fate that the team itself has determined. Something the team has built. Something the team has created by its efforts. It means a team that has built chemistry, a team that has worked through adversity, a team that has defied the odds, a team that has overcome, at team that has found a way, a team that has failed and rebounded, a team that has won every type of game, a team that plays for each other, a team that plays for its institution, a team that has been molded in the image of its coach, a team that just wins ...

But really .. destiny .. it is just another word for character. Maybe not in the dictionary. But certainly with this team. This team's unflappable character has willed it to victory.

Make no mistake, character is not created in one season. Character, with this team, has been forged in the flames of UNI and VCU. It is created in disappointment. It is created in failure. It is created when no one thinks you can. It builds on personal loss, and the support of friends that become brothers. Adversity brings out the best in many, but the worst in some. We have seen the best. Leadership at all levels steers the path of the ship. But much like an air craft carrier, a new path is not created by turning on a dime. And much like the Titanic, turning that large ship has many obstacles . .obstacles that can sink it. Very few times in sports do you see what we have seen.

Character, on this night, will determine this team's destiny -- as it always has this season.

What we will see tonight is destiny fulfilled, win or lose.

This team that has made an improbable run .. not only in the tournament, but this entire season.

But this season has been about one thing .. if you have to find just one word .. and that is character.

Enjoy the ride. It is our birthright.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

I am probably old enough to be your father, son.

bbeckum 2 years, 6 months ago

I know you appologized, but please don't mention politics on a sports board. I don't think you'd enjoy me comparing President Bush to Calipari/Kentucky.

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

LOL...exactly. Some people though never miss an opportunity to slip in a cheap political jab.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

bbeckum, If you "read" my post, you will see that I was not comparing Obama to Calipari. I was simply comparing how the press treats Obama and Kentucky/Calipari. The point of the post was not politics, it was MSM bias. I believe we can agree on that, right?

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

You say they both make "under handed deals." You say they are both taking things down "a slippery slope." Sure sounds like a comparison to me. Just keep your political beliefs out of it and you'll be OK.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

I can justify every statement but not in this forum. We can we meet in a different forum/board to discuss further, although I am going to guess that we are not going to agree in this issue. Maybe we should just agree to disagree?

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't care if you can justify it. My point (as well that of others), that you seem to finally grasp, is that politics should be discussed on in a different forum. Not here. You have the right to your political beliefs and I respect them, while I might not agree to them. I don't care to discuss them, I don't know where you ever got that idea. The point was you were talking politics, denied it, then I pointed out that you were in fact comparing Calipari & Obama. So just keep it off this board and we're gold.

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

Exactly!! And I love the politics......I hope Obama and Kentucky get defeated!!!

I think Dear Leader Obama picked Kentucky, right?

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

He actually picked UNC. But he picked KU the past two years and got burned. Clearly he has some love for Kansas, or at least for picking tourney favorites.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

His mother and grandparents are from Kansas; however, he has been the kiss of the death for KU the past two years.

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

I have as much disdain for Calipari as the next guy, but please don't be ignorant and refer to it as "Calipari's one and done system." It's not his system. It's not even college basketball's system. It's an NBA rule. Cal is on record countless times saying he doesn't like the OAD rule. But what do you do? Not recruit the best players? Self recruits the best players too. Cal is just better at getting them. We can speculate on how he gets them, but he gets them, and you can bet Self would be ecstatic to have Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He recruited Terrance Jones & Doron Lamb. He recruited Selby, Xavier, Austin Rivers, Shabazz Muhammad, Bradley Beal, Kaleb Tarczewski, Harrison Barnes...the list goes on and on of top-10 ranked talent Self has recruited. And it is probably somewhat of a blessing that Self doesn't get them regularly, as his system generally hasn't worked relying on players only 1 year into the system, but it's not stopping him. You grab talent when you can, and roll the dice on when they leave. Cal just seems to turn them into lottery picks very quickly.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

Ict, When it comes to the one-and-done rule and Calipari, Shakespeare would say: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" I understand that the one-and-done is not his rule, but he has milked the rule for all its worth. He is the proverbial "do as I say not as I do" type of person. If basketball adopts the baseball rule: HS players can go straight to the League, but if they choose college, they have to stay/wait 3 years. This rule gives kids, even those who bolt after 3 years, a realistic option to eventually graduate, should their pro careers flounder. If this rule is put in place, how long do you think Calipari coaches college? How successful do you thin his teams would be? My guess is that he bolts for the NBA. He has had superior talent at UMass, Memphis and Kentucky, and he was the favorite in at least 2 of the 3 final fours, and he has yet to win a National Championship In my opinion, he is smart enough to stay ahead of the law but eventually it will catch up with him. He as stated before that his primary job is to prepare players for the NBA. I am sure the School's Chancellor thinks that it should be to prepare student for college and play basketball, and the Athletic Director thinks that his primary job is to win games and make money for the Department. I have not heard any other coach make a similar statement. Its this good for the NBA? probably yes. Is this good for College BBall, probably not. Again, my personal opinion. Look what happened to KU recent early jumpers: Wright - Cut from the NBA and playing in the Development League Selby - Back in the Development League. Henry - Plenty of injuries and finally getting some playing time. All three would have benefitted greatly from an additional year or two in school. Enough of a rant...let's get back to tonight's game...

jiminycricket 2 years, 6 months ago

Scoring the basketball is usually the where all end all of basketball. It's the ESPN highlight reel, it's the buzzer beater, it's the "ball" of basketball. Scoring, however, is as fickled as an Easter basket missing the bunny. Missing the bunny, destroys the basket and takes the ball out of basketball. Most of our past teams couldn't overcome, without scoring there was no victory, either a team victory or as important a personal victory.. We saw it many times before, the idea that this stage was set for individual scoring, and those that have been dependable before needed to play the game without Depends. We talk of this teams mental toughness, well it's toughness is in the understanding that scoring the basket is NOT the where all end all of basketball. Playing from behind, which they seem to do all the time, has taught this team that there are other avenues to victory lane, other than scoring the basketball. It's seem with this team the ball finds it's way into the basket, instead of out of the basket. As Tyshaun came to freethrow line it wasn't about his having another opportunity to blow a freethrow....it was about another opporunity to have the ball go into the basket.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

A Jayhawk Prayer. This video was made for the San Antonio Final Four:

Replace San Antonio with New Orleans and North Carolina with Kentucky (Roy Williams with Calipari is optional) and it is good to go. It brought us luck in '08 and it will bring us luck tonight. Turn up the volume and enjoy it.

floridajayhawks 2 years, 6 months ago

Ok, Jay Bilas said that if Kansas wins it will be as big as an upset as NC State winning the title. Here is the key to winning tonight play physical, take the ball at Davis with post ups. It worked for IU when they beat kentucky and we have better talent in the post. Another thing getting tired of hearing all these so called "experts".

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

They are anything but "experts".......dont even liosten to them. I think they are still crying about Duke and UNC not makling it here.

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

I usually respect Bilas, but come on...that's a ridiculous statement.

KGphoto 2 years, 6 months ago

Or you could take it as a compliment. N.C. State was an incredible story, and had an incredible season. Beating the odds many times en route to a title.

KGphoto 2 years, 6 months ago

Wouldn't it be cool if we won on an ally-oop at the buzzer?

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree with Ict. In 1983 NC State finished 26-20 and 8-6 in the ACC, tied for third and was a #6 seed playing against the top team in the country. KU has won the very tough Big 12 by 2 games, and is the top #2 seed. Is Kentucky favorite? Yes. If KU wins would it be an upset? Yes. Would it be an upset comparable to the NC State upset? Absolutely not.

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if we will see a game like the one vs UNC?? High-Octane offense from KU?

Not sure if that is best against KY..........I worry that KY could take advantage in a very fast pace. Well......I'm glad I don't have to decide......just need to sit back and watch......and hope.......and pray.

Justin Kruse 2 years, 6 months ago

Rebound, limit turnovers, and spread out their defense w/ some good high/low. And come out and punch 'em in the mouth. I can't wait for this game. Time to prove all the doubters wrong. Rock Chalk!

jayhawkinATL 2 years, 6 months ago

Why are we even going to play this game???

WilburNether 2 years, 6 months ago

"Shane Battier of Duke recorded eight in a second-round NCAA victory over KU on March 19, 2000."

Never mind Battier; that was the game that NCAA refs gave to Duke with the phantom "foul" call on Hinrich.

If you want to beat Duke, you'd better be 11 points better, because in the course of the game, NCAA refs will give them 10.

Oklahoma_Hawk 2 years, 6 months ago

How many times can we really say that we only have ONE more game to go? Just pure joy to watch this Jayhawks to have FUN!

MizzouBest 2 years, 6 months ago

Nobody cares about a Missouri fan's prediction.......but I will give it anyway.

I think this could go like the UNC game.......KU saved its high-power game for tonight. Going to throw it all all the line and "let 'er rip"!!! High energy frpm start to finish. Kentucky is in for a surprise.

Kansas 90 UK 84

2012 National Champions.........The University of Kansas.

cklarock 2 years, 6 months ago

Nice one, dude. Thanks for the support!

jayhawkinATL 2 years, 6 months ago

You just Dickie V-ed us!!! Seriously, hope you're right. And thanks.

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

Like the outcome of your prediction my friend, but I think the game will have to be decidedly lower scoring to swing it to our advantage. Both of these teams are great defensively. UNC was not, and we got into a shoot-out with them in the first half. Fortunately we were able to keep pace, but in the second half it was considerably lower scoring (33-20).

Three other pieces of evidence that this will be a lower scoring game: 1. The game features the two best rim-protecting shot blockers in the game. Both teams will erase some point off their opponents half-court offense due to their presence 2. In the semifinal games, none of the four teams broke 70. 3. Consider the '08 championship team, same coaches (and thus the same basic schemes), a KU team with more offensive firepower than this year's squad, and even with an extra five minutes of overtime the final score was only 75-68.

I fear if it becomes a high-scoring affair it will be significantly more difficult for us to pull out the win. However, history, both recent and not-too-distant, suggests it will be another grind it out type of game, which favors us.

Thanks for your support though.

MizzouBest 2 years, 6 months ago

I was thinking KU may not have a choice but to play at a high-power pace....but I would worry as you said about that.......as KY can put up points in a hurry. So can KU......but KY seems to do that constantly.

Well....Icthawk.....true fans like you deserve this game and a championship. I hope you get it. I will be watching!!

Phoghorn 2 years, 6 months ago

I hope Kentucky is in for three surprises within in the next year.

  1. Loss to Kansas tonight. 2 and 3. Losses to MU next season.

I like the fact that KU and UK have already played once this year. Sometimes you learn more from a loss than from a win, and I hope that works in KU's favor tonight.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

The Vegas line started at 7 and now it is between 6 and 6-1/2. The over under is at 137-1/2, which means Vegas is expecting a game in the upper 60's.

I believe Vegas odd makers are a lot better predictors than the so called experts, as they truly put their money where their mouth/odds are.

BTW, Jack Harry's prediction: MU wins by 9

HawkKlaw 2 years, 6 months ago

This is it, Jayhawks. You played one of the toughest schedules in the country, and tonight is the reason why. You've already gone up against the best that the NCAA has to offer this year. You've experienced both great highs and desperate lows. You know what it will take to win, so go do it...and above all, Rock Chalk!

KansasComet 2 years, 6 months ago

Wonderful post! Thanks, I could not agree more!

REHawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Slick gets one more opportunity to move a team to the national title game, probably with fingers crossed that this one, too, won't subsequently be vacated. Gotta be a little bit of pressure on Cal, considering that this is his first "official" Final Four.

justanotherfan 2 years, 6 months ago

KU can win this game. I know that they can.

That being said, I picked Kentucky to win the title back in January. This UK team is stacked.

When the brackets came out, I picked a KU-UK final, with Kentucky winning by 7 in the title game.

I keep looking at the matchups to find our advantages. Earlier in the year, I would have said Taylor had a huge advantage over Teague, but Teague has improved by leaps and bounds in the last six weeks. Lamb vs. Johnson, I'd have to give Lamb a tiny edge. Releford vs. Kidd-Gilchrist, MKG is just as good defensively, and a much more explosive scorer. Jones vs. Robinson, advantage Robinson, but not decidedly so. And Davis easily over Withey because Davis is equal to Withey defensively and a better scorer. In one game depth doesn't really matter that much because neither team will play more than six guys for significant minutes, but UK will probably get more from it's sixth guy (Miller) than KU will probably get from Conner and Kevin, and it's possible that Wiltjer will match Conner from 3 to nullify any advantage KU might get from there.

It's one game, so anything can happen.

If it's a defensive struggle, KU and UK are probably two of the five best on court defensive teams in the country. I don't think KU can win a shoot out because UK simply has more ammo, but I doubt this game becomes a shoot out. This game will be played in the 60s.

I have seen Kentucky turn up the heat on just about every team they have played and eventually just break them down. They did it to Iowa State. They did it to Indiana. They did it to Baylor. They did it to Louisville. They can play any style. Indiana tried to run. Kentucky dropped 100 on them. Louisville tried to mix it up. Kentucky grinded out the win. They nullified Baylor's length. Silenced Iowa State's long range bombing.

Ultimately, I'd still take Kentucky in this game. This matchup is no comparison to the 08 matchup. This Kentucky team is easily better than that Memphis team. The only guy on that Memphis team that would start on this UK team is Rose. The only guy on this KU team that could start for the 08 champs is Robinson.

I hope KU can find one more magic moment and get the win, but this has been an awesome ride either way.

MizzouBest 2 years, 6 months ago

Good points........all you need to know is that KU "can" win.......that's all that matters.

They can!!! And if any coach can turn that chance into a victory.....it's Self.

Kye Clark 2 years, 6 months ago

I respect your opinion, but am going to nit-pick your analysis to death. You say Teague has improved by leaps and bounds...so are you saying that match-up is in UK's favor now? Don't forget, Tyshawn has improved a lot too. Not nearly as turnover prone. I still think that's an advantage for KU, and not even a very close one at that. Lamb on Johnson - overall body of work this year might favor Lamb, but EJ is too hot, and his defense is superior to Lamb. Lamb is a more proficient outside shooter, but I give the slight edge to EJ in this one. I think you're giving too much credit to MKG by putting him on par with Releford's defense. You're right, MKG is a more explosive scorer, but his game is run-outs and slashing to the hoop. Sometimes it's not on Travis whether his guy gets out on the break, but keeping his man in front of him is what Travis does best. He might give up the outside shot, but that's not MKG's strength. And let's not forget, KU doesn't rely on Travis to be a prolific scorer. If he can shut MKG down to where they're even on points, that's a huge advantage to KU. If he goes for 16 and Travis goes for 10, I think that's a push. Basically MKG has to outscore Travis by 7 points or more to give UK the advantage here. I think you're front court analysis is pretty good, except I point again to the fact that we don't count on Withey to score all that much. All he has to do is keep Davis below his average and the advantage swings to us.

The other thing is that you don't give KU any credit in the coaching match-up. Self is far more wily and ingenious than Calipari is, how many points do you think that's worth in a game?

Could just be my homerism showing. Part of me says UK will win, and to keep my emotions in check and just enjoy the fact that we're in the title game at all. But a bigger part of me says that's just all the brainwashing done by the media, and that this game is very close, a pick 'em basically, and in those type of games I should always expect Self to come out victorious. We'll see. Rock Chalk!

MizzouBest 2 years, 6 months ago

The sports media has tried to brainwash us into thinking only two teams matter.....UNC and Duke. And if that fails it's Kentucky or just about any other east coast team.

Kansas gets some attention.....but really not given credit . Winning a bunch of nc's will change that!!

justanotherfan 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't mind the nitpicking. Just giving my opinion. I have no problem with feedback.

I think KU has the advantage at the point, but it's not a huge one. Teague has improved enough to where Tyshawn can't just abuse him all night. KU also has an advantage at PF, but again, not a very big advantage. Meanwhile, UK holds every other player advantage, even with a limited bench because Miller is the best bench player in the game (and the one most likely to have a big game). I agree that UK looks for scoring from places that KU doesn't necessarily look for scoring, but the thing is, if Teague and Jones score as much as Robinson and Taylor, KU is probably in trouble because those are matchups where KU needs to have the advantage in points.

The coaching matchup is a wash to me. Self has gotten a ton out of a team that isn't as talented on paper, which is to his credit. But Calipari has a team of super hyped freshmen and sophomores playing lockdown defense and sharing the ball. Nobody for UK averages more than 14.4 points a game. Teague averages 9.9 and he's their sixth best scorer. This year, Self has had to make more adjustments and has exceeded expectations, but there is the old saying that it's easier to exceed low expectations than meet high ones, and Kentucky has been as good as everyone expected, even through the tournament run.

Basically, I look at all of the matchups and see KU with only a couple of small advantages. Unlike 08, where it was obvious that Memphis could fall victim to poor FT shooting (their Achilles heel through the season) there is no clear hole in this UK team. They shoot almost 50% from the field. They shoot over 38% from three, with two guys shooting over 40% from distance. Over 70% from the line. They don't turn it over much. They defend in the post and on the perimeter. They block shots. They force turnovers. They rebound. The share the ball. They aren't the best at everything, but they aren't bad at any one thing to the point that it stands out.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

There is a Spanish quote that goes:

"Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo" Which translates to: "The devil knows more because he's old than because he's the devil."

One factor that has been overlooked is the experience factor which favor KU. This might play a particularly big role in the Taylor-Teague and the Releford-Kidd-Gilchrist match ups, where a senior and junior match up against 2 freshmen. If Tyshawn can neutralize Teague, the Kentucky offense will sputter as he is their primary PG and offense starter.

Let's hope "good" Tyshawn show up tonight.

KPOP 2 years, 6 months ago

this a very good KU basketball team.. The TV guys love Kentucky because they score and score quickly blah blah blah. KU struggles to score sometimes but their defense can put the clamps on anybody. I think we'll shut down the Kentucky guards, create some turnovers and run this one out which will leave the pundits shaking their heads in disbelief that KU wins the game. RCJHGKU.

MizzouBest 2 years, 6 months ago

Right.....the media likes them for all the offense and 'neato" plays like the athletic slams. The same way they like the NBA.

Sure....they are talented on both offense and defense. But they probably have not played a team as good on defense as KU.....and as good a rebounding team.

I get the impression KU is not intimidated. They may be impressed and respect them. But intimidated? No.

kupopp 2 years, 6 months ago

I have a tanned wildcat hide tacked to the wall of my "man cave". I predict another wildcat is going to get its hide tanned tonight.

With the rioting in Lexington after their win Saturday night. I wouldn't want to be there after they lose to the Jayhawks.

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

We may have the fan edge at the game tonight. Many KU fans of course.....but I would guess all the Louisville fans that stayed will be cheering for KU. Probably wont matter much.....but anything that helps!!

Where are Jaybate and Oakville??? I thought they would be all over the comments today???

bville_hawk 2 years, 6 months ago

A person really has to wonder about the talking heads sometimes. Looking at UK's bracket victims the highest seed they have played is #3 Baylor who finished 3rd in the Big 12. Louisville finished like 7th in the Big East and was a 4 seed. UK hasn't been nearly as dominating in the post season as UNLV, Houston (aka Phi Slamma Jamma) or Georgetown were in their best years. UK is not dominating the field like OU did in 1988.

KU has beaten a 1 seed and a 2 seed in their last two games and while not dominating any team score wise has shown an ability to dominate teams with its defense. KU have been able to win despite not having shot the ball well yet for any one game except maybe UNC.

The talking heads would be dissing KU big time if they had arrived at the title game with a victim such as Baylor being their best victory.

I wonder also if KU might have a "physical" advantage in that on average this is a game of 19 year olds playing a team of 21 year olds. Two more years of physical maturing plus 2 extra years in the weight room (Hudy style) has to count for something.

Just some random thoughts while getting pissed reading the national columns and watching the talking heads...

Eric Baker 2 years, 6 months ago

According to KenPom, over the course of the season we have played the second hardest schedule (behind only Michigan State). Along the way, our opponents' average offensive efficiency ranks 8th in the NCAA and our opponents' average defensive efficiency ranks 1st. So, statistically speaking, we have gone up the best defenses of anyone in college basketball this season.

Kentucky's strength of schedule is ranked 29th, their opponents' average offensive efficiency 36th and opponents' average defensive officiency 19th.

Also, to bolster your specific point about strength of tournament opponents: KU has beaten KenPom's 2nd and 7th ranked teams (Ohio State and UNC). UK's toughest two have been Indiana and Louisville, 11th and 15th, respectively.

bville_hawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the statistical support, mouseclicker.

It really is annoying that the experts just choose to talk off the top of their heads rather than actually delve into the data as you have done.

Anyone like this avatar???

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

Any chance of Wayne Simien taking over for Danny Manning?

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

2008.....One Shining Moment.

BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KULA 2 years, 6 months ago

Anyone got any info on what Tyshawn heard from Aaron Craft that tipped him off for the steal at the end of the game? I'd love to know what happened.

theend 2 years, 6 months ago

Well boys.....I'm heading out for a while.....try to burn off some stress before the game.

Just remember.......If we get down a few points tonight.....don't get worried. We probably will be down as some point. Possibly several times. But keep the faith and stay positive. Remember how these tough kids have come back time after time. Especially dont forget the MU game. KU came back 19 on an excellent team!!

I don't think we'll be down that far.......but just hang in there. We'll come back!!

jhawkr 2 years, 6 months ago

Who really could have come close to predicting that KU would be playing for National Championship at this point last year ? With really only two quality subs off of the bench, how have the Jayhawks made it this far ........ I have to think a lot of Coach Self and a lot of teamwork and believing in each other.

The key tonight IMO is whether the Jayhawks can stay out of too deep of a hole. They have battled back numerous times this season, but digging out of a hole and keeping Kentucky's scoring down at the same time will most likely be harder to do then against our previous opponents.

If they can stay out of foul trouble and get contributions from the bench (scoring and defense and not fouls Mr. Young), the Jayhawks have a serious chance in the end. To me Mr. Young has been one of the real heroes the past 10-12 games. He has great energy, can defend, rebound and score when needed.

I've said the past two games that I should just relax and celebrate the fact that the Jayhawks made it this far. But once the game starts "relaxing" just isn't in my blood. I am a pessimist and I think the Jayhawks feed off of my pessimism. I know that isn't true, but it has been working in front of my television !!

RJ King 2 years, 6 months ago

Anyone know of a Jayhawks friendly sportsbar in DC for tonight?

KansasComet 2 years, 6 months ago

Feeling good about our chances. In 2008 the Giants defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl. In 2012 the Giants defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl. In 2008 Bill Self faced John Calapari in the NCAA Championship Game. In 2012 Bill Self faces John Calapari in the NCAA Championship. In 2008 Calapari's team had a player with two last names Douglas-Roberts. In 2012 Calapari's team has a player with two last names Kidd-Gilcrist. In 2008 one of Calapari's best players was a kid from Chicago (Derrick Rose) number 1 overall draft pick. In 2012 one of Calapari's best players is a kid from Chicago (Anthony Davis) projected number 1 overall draft pick. In 2008 Kansas had a player with the last name Robinson in the starting lineup. In 2012 Kansas has a player with the last name Robinson in the starting lineup. This is what happens when I start to think too much before the game starts. I am sure there are other similarities. Let's hope history repeats it"Self "tonight! Go Jayhawks!

HawkKlaw 2 years, 6 months ago

Haha...My head is spinning at all those similarities! Suffice it to say, "it is our destiny."

KansasComet 2 years, 6 months ago

We also beat a Roy Williams coached North Carolina Team!!

jhawkr 2 years, 6 months ago

And my dad says relax, our last two championships were won on Monday nights !

NO actually he said they were won during leap years ! If so wasn't this a leap year ....... ?! (sorry if mentioned above I didn't have time to read all posts)

kennethst 2 years, 6 months ago

Whatever happens tonight......may I say it's been a pleasure to talk to all of you. Thanks for being such great fans of our KU!! ' Now......let's go win a championship!!!!!!!!!

kennethst 2 years, 6 months ago

PS-I was thinking......didn't the "experts" say Memphis was too athletic for KU in 2008? Hmmmmmm,,,,,,,,

Steve Brown 2 years, 6 months ago

Calipari is great. Kentucky is awesome.

Win against the best, nothing sweeter.

RCJH.

Tomorrow t.shirt.

UK-Who? KU

rebuild on Kentucky!

6-7 out of 10 we get spanked, half of them close half not, yet 3 of 10 we win, 2 close and one game we drain 3's from everywhere, open up inside for our big boys.

Larry Brown, our X factor.

Let it rain

Steve Brown 2 years, 6 months ago

there was a boy named Cal, who thought his boys never did foul.

none were better at giving the pitch, making agents and aau coaches the rich.

ashley clapped and smiled, while the widcat boys ran wild.

never tested, never tried, until the jayhawks arrived.

the ball clanged and rattled, cal never got settled.

one shining moment music played. Self raised the trophy another championship made.

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