Sunday, December 30, 2012


Opinion: Can KU keep on streakin’?


No Big 12 basketball team looks to have what it will take to deny Kansas University (11-1) a ninth consecutive conference title, and the gap between the best and the rest appears wider than in most seasons.

Still, with a nonconference game against a Temple team that recently gave Syracuse its first loss, it’s too early to discuss whether KU has a legitimate chance at an undefeated Big 12 season.

KU ran the table in 2001-2002 en route to a 33-4 record that ended in the Final Four in Atlanta with a semifinal loss to national-champion Maryland and never has done so again.

The conference schedule is two games longer now with 18 games, which makes the feat even tougher. If the Jayhawks pulled it off this season, it would come as no greater a shock than some of the remarkable streaks going on of late with a team that only vaguely resembles the squad that lost Nov. 13 to Michigan State in Atlanta in the Georgia Dome, site of this year’s Final Four.

Streaks such as:

• In the past four games, sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe has played 71 minutes without committing a turnover and has 22 assists. He has made seven of nine three-pointers in the last three games.

• Senior starting power forward Kevin Young has not missed a shot from the field in three consecutive games. In 69 minutes of action, he has shot 8-for-8 from the field against Richmond, Ohio State and American.

• Since busting out of an 0-for-11, season-opening three-point shooting slump, senior guard Travis Releford has made 16 of 25 three-pointers (64 percent), nine for 11 (82 percent) in the last four games.

• In the last five games, scholarship players have made more three-point shots (43) than they have missed (42) for a percentage of .506. During that span, each opponent had an overall shooting percentage of less than .40.

• KU’s home-court winning streak stands at 29 games, second only to Syracuse (31). Saturday’s victory against American, the weakest team on KU’s schedule, pushed the Allen Fieldhouse winning streak against nonconference competition to 62 games.

Just eight of those 62 victims have lost by single-digit margins since Oral Roberts defeated Kansas, 78-71, Nov. 15, 2006. Would you believe 27 of the 62 victims (44 percent) have lost by margins of 30 points or greater? In both the 2007-08 and 2009-10 seasons, KU blistered seven teams by 30 points or more.

Bill Self’s record stands at 152-7 in his favorite basketball building.

If KU can defeat Temple and win each of its nine conference games in Allen Fieldhouse en route to a conference championship, Self would finish the season with two more consecutive Big 12 titles (nine) than Allen Fieldhouse losses (seven). Remarkable.


Elliot Cohen 8 years, 5 months ago

Can KU go undefeated in Big 12 play? Sure they can. I think 16-2 sounds realistic with no other Big 12 team winning more than 13.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 5 months ago

KU is the best team in the country. The national pundits just don't know it yet.

No other team is longer, faster, more athletic, and experienced.

Robert Brock 8 years, 5 months ago

Don't Bogart whatever that is that you're smoking.

TheBoHawk 8 years, 5 months ago

If Georgetown had a better coach, they'd be beating ALOT of teams right now. Duke or Indiana vs. KU would make a great National Championship game this year.

TheBoHawk 8 years, 5 months ago

I'll tell you what streak is impressive: 2 consecutive decent op-ed pieces.

Scott MacWilliams 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm not that comfortable talking about undefeated league season with Temple up next. Better keep the short horizon in tight focus kids!! Temple has game, no bout a doubt it!

CBS, please don't screw up this broadcast with your "regional" crap.

The entire USA is the Jayhawk region, for dawgs sake!!!




Steve Gantz 8 years, 5 months ago

Maybe an east coast team will help us get our game on TV.

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 5 months ago

Pretty shocking Young is 8-8 in field goals but has been HORRIBLE at free throws. What the hell is that all about?

KGphoto 8 years, 5 months ago

All his shots are either dunks or bunnies. I wonder if that has something to do with his rhythm at the line.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 5 months ago

Young isn't a good shooter. When he has the ball I fear his shooting and want him to pass it. I'm thankful he's a good rebounder and passer because most of the time he's a chicken with his head cut off with the ball unless he's within 5 ft from the basket. I'm glad Perry is starting to adjust to the college game in addition to Traylor's aggressiveness.

Brianna Zaleski 8 years, 5 months ago

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, please. Is anyone familiar with the superstitious phenomenon known as jinx? Let's not jinx this team please, TK, nor all of the players you just mentioned individually.... Groan... Look for Tharpe to start turning the ball over at an accelerated rate, Kevin Young will start clanging dunks and Releford won't be able to throw the ball into the ocean. All because Keegs couldn't help himself from mentioning the outstanding offensive clip that our team and a lot of its players have been on

JHawk74 8 years, 5 months ago

KU is the best team in the Big 12 again and probably will win the Big 12 conference. I doubt we go undefeated. KSU, OSU and ISU will be tough road games, I hope we win those games but would be happy to win 2 out of 3 of those games. It is more believable to go 16-2 or 15-3 in league play. I like to see that so many of the KU players are improving throughout season or at least playing above expectations. I believe Ellis and Traylor will continue to improve and provide some spark off the bench in conference play. It is pretty obvious that next season the KU team will be Tharpe's team to lead, by the way he is playing the back up role this year.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm sure coach Self won't be overlooking Oklahoma State, as it appears everyone else is. They are athletic, fast and have several good 3 point shooters.

But go ahead and engrave the Big 12 trophy.....

Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 years, 5 months ago

This team is playing some of the best, most focused basketball I've seen out of KU in recent memory. The talent, hustle, selflessness and focus is all there, but the one thing that separates this from other recents is the lack of turnovers.

Even some of our best teams...most notably last year...had a problem turning the ball over. I know we did have mental breakdowns against Ohio State here and there, but this team takes care of the ball.

No better example than Tharpe. What is it....3 games; 21 assists, 0 turnovers? That;s incredible.

HawkKlaw 8 years, 5 months ago

I had to laugh out loud when I heard that 27 of the 62 nonconference teams KU has beaten in a row have been beaten by 30+ pts. The stat is just so utterly ridiculous that it's funny.

Steve Gantz 8 years, 5 months ago

Go undefeated in league play? Have we forgot about Missou.....Oh, that's right, they bailed on us.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

I, for one was VERY upset to stay up late and watch the 7th ranked (tee hee) Misswho Tiggers get beat by the UNRANKED UCLA Bruins the other night.


Boouk 8 years, 5 months ago

If we stay healthy, I can't see this team losing more than one more game in the regular season.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 5 months ago

Damm ... some things are better left unsaid unitl the end of the game/season, nevertheless thanks for taking notice. We all can see this team is on a trajectory of Greatness but if the team looses focus, Temple, Ok State, ISU, Baylor, KSU, UT, and even TCU will run us off the court, especially the away games. Surely one or some of those teams will have a "lights out" night against us on their homecourt, even if we play very good in those games a 15-3 record would be amazing. I just pray we win all our home games.

Tharpe's errorless streak can lead him to become way to conservative. The baseball shortstop who makes no errors is often seen as a playing not attempting to expand his range. Tharpe's made some great passes and he needs to keep pusing it, which by definition will result in turnovers.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 5 months ago

JayhawkMarshall: Great comment on Tharpe. What we appear to have is the shortstop who can make the routine play. For a point guard, that's terrific. But your point is excellent .. we want him to push the limit, to try to make big plays. That's what a creator does. In the American game, he didn't seem to be worried about a turnovers with a few of those passes, so that's good. Vs. Ohio St., he clearly played conservatively. All of that is good. He can dial it in, dial it out. And is understanding the situation.

Jennifer Nikkila Pressgrove 8 years, 5 months ago

What a different story six weeks ago... Nadir can't play, Releford can't shoot, Young can't put a body on anybody, Withey bailed them out of at least one poor performance, bad team defense... I could go on. We are all excited about our Hawks' progress, I am cautiously optimistic that the last four weeks isn't just everybody having a couple of good shooting nights. It does look like this team is really coming together and playing Billy-ball. It's a lot of fun to watch. It's hard to wait a week to see their progress, which is what will make Big12 season and two-games-a-week a lot easier on a guy with cabin fever.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 years, 5 months ago

...or coach. Don't forget that.

I's not like he took a "rebuilding year" team with no McDonald's All-Americans to the National Championship or anything.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 years, 5 months ago

I only have two fears from here on out:

1) Injury - The only thing that could screw up this amazing chemistry.

2) This may be an unnecessary fear, but these guys are peaking very, very early. Does that concern anyone else? Normally you want to peak in February.

If these are the only two concerns I have, that's pretty freakin' good. These guys will fall again a couple times, but they're one of the best, most complete teams we've had in the Bill Self era.

Kurt Eskilson 8 years, 5 months ago

Are they peaking? Or is there still room to get better? Some players are exceeding our expectations faster than we ever thought possible … but perhaps our expectations were simply too low!

Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 years, 5 months ago

That's what I'm hoping the case is. I still don't think we've seen Elijah have the kind of game of which he's capable. And Traylor and Ellis both have the potential to have break out games in the next few months.

If we got those two guys playing at the level they're capable, this could really be something special.

Boouk 8 years, 5 months ago

Hopefully Andrew White improves defensively too so he can provide 5-10 minutes a game or more if someone's in foul trouble. 1 or 2 3's in the NCAA tournament can be a big change of momentum and the difference between advancing or going home.

Steve Brown 8 years, 5 months ago

The 1925 Washington Senators didn't peak too early, they kicked butt all summer.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 years, 5 months ago

Is it just me, or is it incredibly fullfilling to watch Jeff Withey throw down a one-handed tomahawk flush?

Makes me happy.

Steve Brown 8 years, 5 months ago

Jeff's footwork is so much improved from his start, ballet class should be required of all our big men.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

That was the highlight of the game for me! If Jeff had that kind of aggressive attitude all the time - Holy Smoke!

mikehawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Hello...hello...Is this Scrooge? Yes! I know, I know, I'm late. The Kaw River is running Blue Kool Aid again. Yes! It is true we are on a serious roll. Can the numbers listed above be maintained? No. Impossible. Can this team get better? Can it benefit from a humbling defeat? Yes and yes. Will the league road bring us a defeat? Probably. Somewhere. Always remember, when you have Kansas on your jersey you get everyone's best every night. There are no nights off for KU teams. Only RPI improvement opportunities. OSU (that would be the other OSU down here in Oklahoma) for one is laying for Kansas at Iba. And as another blog noted, injuries are always out there somewhere. Was I the only one who lost my breath when Ben went down hard last Saturday? Teams who peak early tend to go through slumps at some point, and some never recover. See New York football Giants. Don't get me wrong, this team could get scary good. They are a bit scary good right now. Maybe too good if that makes any sense to anyone but me. Let's see what Sunday brings. Temple is good, wanting national recognition, and they bring that Eastern toughness. For us KU basketball fanatics, it doesn't get any better than this.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 years, 5 months ago


I hear you on the "too good" remark and your comments on peaking too early. This is a very exciting time for KU fans, but we're not used to teams being this good, this early.

I predict we will lose at Iba...and as much as it pains me to admit it, I believe we will lose in Manhattan. Trust me...I had to swallow the lump in my throat even when typing it. I loath K-State.But they are solid, and as always, they'll fire everything they have at us.

Having said this though, at this moment, no one in the country is playing as well as KU. And the win in Columbus proved just how focused this group is. If we played like this through March, there isn't a team out there that can match us.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

I respect your opinion - but NWIH we lose in the Octagon of Gloom.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 years, 5 months ago

God I hope so. That game always scares me. I'm from the middle of Kansas...heart of Cat Backer Country...and nothing pains me more than losing to those people.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 5 months ago

Let's look at the conference schedule. Let us assume for the moment, nobody gets us in Allen, although that Big Saturday Game on Feb 16th with Mitch Kabongo just returning to Texas could be a trap game.

Still, we all know who coaches Texas, don't we. And, don't you all worry...I will be in attendance and I have not seen KU lose since a Norm Stewart team beat us about 100 years ago!!

1] AT Texas Tech - If we lose this game, there should be an investigation.

2] AT Texas - No Kabongo, no problem...should win.

3] AT Kansas State - Three days after Texas...KSU a bitter rival...this one could be tough.

4] AT West Virginia - Huggy Bear does his best Frank Martin imitation, still Hawks prevail.

5] AT TCU - Should win..should not take them lightly.

6] AT Oklahoma - A CSG [Coach's Son Game]..all three play in a rout!!

7] AT OSU - This one is a serious challenge but Bill hates to lose to his alma mater.

8] AT ISU - Hilton Magic may be back with The Mayor at the controls...scary game, for sure.

9] AT Baylor - Bears will be a handful if Drew {Barnes Jr.] doesn't try to coach too much.

My conclusions..Kansas wins Big 12 title but we will lose at least two games [ OSU, KSU, ISU, pick 'em]

texashawk10 8 years, 5 months ago

I thought I saw on ESPN the other day that Kabongo's suspension was back to being for the season. I didn't see the source and can't find anything to back it up so I could've misread it or it could've been related to his appeal so I very well could be wrong about that one.

bluzhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Bill Self is not going to lose to Bruce Weber. Ever.

jaybate 8 years, 5 months ago

First off, everyone is high on trey shooting cocaine.

Trey shooting cocaine is XTRemely addictive at 40%.

At 50%, trey shooting cocaine warps one into delusions of grandeur.

60% trey shooting cocaine is essentially free basing crack from a hot spoon with surgical tubing to make your vein big.

The last few games board rats have seen players, even the whole team at times, taking them on the magical mystery tour.

The key to remember is that this team looks beatable when it shoots below 38% from trey, unless Withey is swatting 6-12 per game and altering a bunch more.

I love this team, because its found a new way to play finesse in the XTReme Era.

But don't kid around. Its a finesse team right now riding the hot wave of a nose packed with trey dust.

If the opponent has two big strong bigs, maybe a shot blocker rivaling Withey, and KU has to go toe to toe for 40 with an equal FG% inside the trey stripe, and both teams can guard the trey, we don't know whether there are any buzz saw-eaters on this team.

We don't know if there is a Sherron that is willing to go all the way to the wall to explode for a strip, and throw a pass while falling down to the best shooter on the team. We don't know if there is a guy that can go get a basket when all the XTReme Baddies are out to hurt him...and do hurt him.

This is a team that's done some good things.

War starts next week. Saturday-Monday separates the men from the boys in D1.

One injury to any player and this finesse team is on ice a micron thick.

This is a finesse team.

There is nothing better than a finesse team, when things are going good.

But when the smash mouth starts, the flu hits, guys get winter SAD, some campus hottie reaches in an rips a heart out, and the bodies start going down and staying down in the third ten minutes, then the men with hard hats and cast iron cups gotta go to work.

Is this that kind of team?

I don't know yet.

Alohahawk 8 years, 5 months ago

According to Andy Katz on his "3 Point Shot" blog, on - their NCAA BB page, the NBA scouts aren't too high on the prospects available for the upcoming draft. However, he says "the flavors of the month" are Anthony Bennett (UNLV), and Ben McLemore. Which doesn't bode too favorable for Ben returning next season, not that it's seemed much in doubt after what he's accomplished so far this season.

And if there aren't a lot of prospects who are considered high, that could help KU's seniors on NBA draft day.

nostradavid 8 years, 5 months ago

The Streak is ON. Just like when Gov. Docking got up to deliver his last commencement address in Memorial Stadium ('75). Two grads who had walked down the hill in cap & gown stood up, threw the gowns over their shoulders, then streaked in front of the stage and down the track. The fast one got away, the cops nabbed the slow one. A standing ovation greeted the Guv before he began to speak. Back in the good old days before that drug-testing nonsense, almost all of the prospects were considered "high". Attitude adjustment was an important relaxation technique.

Uwe_Blab 8 years, 5 months ago

So is Gonzaga going to finish second in the Big 12 standings this year?

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