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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Keegan

Victory should provide tourney lesson

Assistant coach Danny Manning talks to a frustrated Thomas Robinson during a timeout in the second half of the Jayhawks 66-58 win over the Aggies Wednesday, February 22, 2012,  in College Station, TX.

Assistant coach Danny Manning talks to a frustrated Thomas Robinson during a timeout in the second half of the Jayhawks 66-58 win over the Aggies Wednesday, February 22, 2012, in College Station, TX.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 66-58 victory over Texas A&M; on Feb. 22, 2012.

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KU vs. Texas A&M

Box score

While winning a basketball game Wednesday night in Reed Arena, the fourth-ranked Kansas University basketball team also managed to diagram a blueprint for how to make an early exit in the NCAA Tournament.

Get a big lead and then turn inattentive, lose the ball, get into foul trouble, lose your temper and in the same play remove the best player on the team.

Next thing you know, the clock expires, the game is lost, and the tournament is just a television show that hurts too much to watch.

Kansas defeated Texas A&M;, 66-58, and in doing so should have defeated any notion that the Jayhawks have enough talent to stray from playing with more intensity and smarts than the other guys and still cruise to victory.

Kansas is in contention for a No. 1 seed more because of its extraordinary will than skill, and when the former falters, the lack of depth of the latter gets exposed in a hurry, especially when it can’t shoot straight.

In less than a five minutes of game clock, an 18-point lead became a four-point lead.

Compounding matters, Kansas, which led by as many as 21 points, would have had to play an overtime period without Thomas Robinson because he couldn’t check his temper and shoved his way into a technical, his fifth foul. Robinson played just 28 minutes, Tyshawn Taylor just 30, thanks to foul trouble.

On this team, when starters are forced to sit for longer than a quick rest, bad things can happen.

Kansas did come away with the victory it needed, and to a large extent scoring from an unexpected source helped that to happen.

All things considered, Elijah Johnson picked a great night to assert himself offensively. Johnson scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the first half. At that point, with Kansas leading 31-21, Johnson had more than a third of the game’s points for both teams.

In the first half, Robinson and Taylor combined for one field goal and three points, and Travis Releford and Kevin Young, with four points apiece, were tied for second in scoring.

“Elijah was great in the first half,” Self said. “I didn’t realize he had 18 until I got to the stat sheet. When your second-leading scorer has four, that’s obviously not great.”

Johnson made three of seven three-point shots, the rest of the team one of 11. Johnson made seven of 11 field goals, the rest of the team 14 of 43 (.326).

“He was huge,” Taylor said of Johnson. “He got us off to a good start and shot the ball well. We had kind of been waiting for him to get going. It was good for him to get a little bit of confidence going into a big game.”

Relying on Johnson, a .294 three-point shooter coming into the night, to get hot, and banking on Conner Teahan to steal possessions by banging the boards (career-high eight rebounds, three off the offensive glass) won’t cut it in the tourney.

Look for Kansas to be at its best in front of the home crowd in Saturday’s rivalry game pitting No. 3 Missouri against No. 4 Kansas.

That atmosphere will blow away any NCAA Tournament environment.

In contrast, just 6,868 made it to Reed Arena. Tourney crowds all are bigger than that, but with so many of the seats filled for some games with fans waiting for another contest or not having a strong rooting interest, the feel can be a lot closer to that of Wednesday’s game than Saturday’s.

If the KU players, especially the best one, can remember how quickly things turned sour midway through the second half Wednesday, it might help them avoid the same mistakes that could be fatal once the season advances to the single-elimination phase.

Comments

HawksWin 8 years, 3 months ago

T-Rob Tweet #2209345 - Wed Feb 22 2012 11:40 PM

thomas robinson @Trobinson0 Let my emotions get the best Of me tonight apologize to all my jayhawk fans and anybody who supports me or our program won't happen again!

FoCoCoHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

I admire your remorse TRob but you owe us very little at this point. We will ALWAYS have your back. If you feel you owe anybody an apology, talk to your teammates and I suspect they will tell you the same thing. Play with passion but never let it be your master. Keep getting better on and off the court. You've already made us proud that you're a Jayhawk.

Matthew Roesner 8 years, 3 months ago

If you watch the foul in slow motion from the under the basket camera, the A&M player pinches T-Rob on the underarm. T-Rob responded, drawing the T. Just another frustrating moment for T-Rob.

kellerman411 8 years, 3 months ago

I don't see what the big deal is anyway. If we could get a guarantee that T-Rob would foul out of every single game with a minute left. I would take it. We're lucky teams haven't found a way to get him out of the game much sooner.

Xanthe Sherman Swan 8 years, 3 months ago

I think this is about keeping your focus as individuals and as a team. The result that I believe you are all playing for is a victory each and every time. It seems so often with us playing our starters for so many minutes we take our foot off the gas pedal and the other team has a chance to make up some ground. We have to figure out a way to not do that.

I love my hawks and am so proud of you all.

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for sharing TRob's tweet, HawksWin.

It just shows once again what an incredibly classy individual TRob is. He certainly didn't owe anyone an apology for what was a fairly minor incident, but the fact that he felt he needed to do that shows how much heart and conscience he has. Tyshawn could take some lessons from him on how to interact with the public.

As for the gist of the article, I'd love to believe the team has learned its lesson from this experience, but let's face it: this is hardly the first time this year that they've had a let-down after building a big lead. It concerns me quite a bit that the team rarely puts a complete game together. As TK points out, it's exactly the type of thing that could get them drummed out of the tourney early. All that being said, however, the fact is that they're still a thrashing of Misuse away from clinching a tie for their eighth consecutive conference title, and that is nothing short of amazing. Whatever happens in the tournament, it's been a hell of a ride.

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

Sorry kat, didn't mean to put that as a reply to your post.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

"Saturday Is the Battle of the Tenaru--Realize It--Do Whatever It Takes"

• Blowing a 20 point lead on the road is not a sin, when the refs let TAM thrug (triple team mug) TRob and then recover on Withey by drive blocking him 5 feet out of position!

•38% FG shooting increasingly appears the best we can hope for, when opponents thrug Thomas and are allowed to bulldoze Withey. We've got to get more efficiency out of the perimeter, both from trey, and from going to iron, or this low FG efficiency is going to hurt us badly. Self's teams traditionally have been very efficient inside, even in ugly games, thrug'n' shove has finally broken Self Ball efficiency.

•Jeff's got to take some responsibility for TRob blowing a gasket. If Jeff doesn't bring it (and he played without intensity), then the opposing bigs just tee off on Thomas. Not bringing fight and intensity are letting a buddy down. Letting a buddy down in the extreme muscle era is tantamount to letting him get rolled in an alley. Jeff and Thomas have to deliver punishment early or get in a rumble and lose. Listless performances get a buddy killed now.

•FT shooting seems to keep deteriorating. Its getting harder and harder for the team to break 70%. Time for some pride in craftsmenship.

• Trey shooting fell to 22%. Yuck! Hope our streaky guys have a streak Saturday.

• Keys vs MU: keep our bigs by the basket, keep MU off the FT line, shoot 70% from the FT stripe, turn it into an inside game, play through which ever big is guarded by English, own the glass, defend trey stripe to trey stripe plus 2, give the long trey, funnel drivers to the bigs without fouling them , play hard and smart buzzer to buzzer, take no prisoner, this is the Battle of the Tenaru on the Canal--realize it, kill the enemy inside, do whatever it takes, play...the...game...over...their...short...heads!

• aTm has to be the best .500 team in the country!

• Ellis, Frankamp and Ojeleye. Kansas HS ball seems to be improving.

• Most amped crowd, but not the most important game at AFH in Self's tenure? Self having it both ways.

• Saturday is the Battle of the Tenaru; the way off The Canal of this season. This is not just taking care of business. This is where the tide of the war can be turned. A win here, a win now, means all the mistakes by KU leadership in the past that put KU basketball in this thin, vulnerable position are flanked, the enemy of MU is flanked, the lines of communication with March are assured, and this team of leathernecks can stop hanging on for dear life and go on the offensive for the ring. The no respect guys can become the team that saved KU from KU leadership and Missouri--the team that consecrated The Legacy at one of its most dire turning points--the team that said, "Hell yes, we can take The Canal!", when few thought they could...and then did.

Rock Chalk!

Kip_McSmithers 8 years, 3 months ago

Great points on the drive blocking. Withey was drive blocked out of the lane by a guy recovering from the free throw line (no call) and then on the next play Travis is called for a hand check out top. Got to love the consistency of the calls.

klineisanazi 8 years, 3 months ago

Robinson alone is responsible for his own behavior.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

Team.

When Jeff makes them pay for beating up TRob, opponents quit beating up TRob. Its as simple as that.

When Jeff fails to fight for all he is worth, he cannot make them pay.

Their success and safety are inextricably intertwined. I said the same in reverse earlier in the season, when Jeff got bloodied and TRob failed to come to his defense. In the XTReme Muscle era, the buddy system, I.e., collective security, is paramount.

Sorry, but there is linkage.

yates33333 8 years, 3 months ago

You're absolutely correct, but .... pushing the front line around is the key to victory or a chance at victory and opposing coaches know that. The only question is can you get your team to do it. KU needs to fight back, but not the way TRob did. You can expect this tactic Saturday. They did it in Columbia, they'll do it in Lawrence. The little guys shove close to the knee area. Will Quantrill is now dressed in Mizzou Black and Gold.

Of course, KU needs to play hard all the time, but that too is easier said than done if you have to play almost all of the 40 or 200 minutes. Plus this was not a typical shooting game for the KU team, Johnson excepted. They are much better shooters.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

Yates, so right about the shooting and, yep, we have to play through the shoving.

Hank Cross 8 years, 3 months ago

I thought you were going to say that Self sent them out with a "1/2 pump" or something. An idea which I might actually buy in to. Maybe he wanted a&m to scare them to getting an edge which will carry over to the Mizery game.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

Well, he sure did not send them out with a full pump. :-)

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 3 months ago

Really good points jaybate, but I take a little issue with, "Jeff's got to take some responsibility for TRob blowing a gasket".

♦ If I was Withey, I'd be more than a little angry wTRob. Lately (and I readily admit my knowledge pales to many of the posters here), it seems TRob is trying to do things on the court that should be left at practice or individual workouts... The one issue that bothers me most is TRob is trying too hard to make passes that look great on ESPN and not making the easy ones. When passing the ball to Jeff, keep it chest high, he's seven ft. tall and stop with the wrap around passes the Jeff never sees as he is fighting for rebounds or better positioning.

I wish the entire POY conversation never came up. It has turned into a distraction.

I do agree w/your statement on Withey's intensity. He seems to be one of those guys who needs more than a nationally televised game to get the blood flowing.

Anyways..All conference road victories are good wins and sweeping A&M one last time makes for good bragging rights.

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

Good point about TRob's passes lately, jhawk. The one that I'm sure had steam coming out of Self's ears was when TRob tried to pass it behind his back. That was utterly ridiculous, and he should know better.

lee3022 8 years, 3 months ago

I count myself one of many here that appreciate your perspectives. And I get your point and literary license. That said perhaps your references to actual warfare might be over the top and offensive to those who have actually been to war. It is not a helpful imagery. And no, I do not play video games or go to movies of this either. I am a disabled veteran who has little use now and mostly stay positive. Thank you for not taking this as a personal attack. It is not meant this way.

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 3 months ago

Dang, that's a fantastic picture. I haven't even read the article yet--the photo alone was enough to move me to comment. How lucky are we to have Danny Manning?

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 3 months ago

"Next thing you know, the clock expires, the game is lost, and the tournament is just a television show that hurts too much to watch."

I think this is the best sentence Keegan has ever written.

jhox 8 years, 3 months ago

Agreed. That pretty much sums up the way we've felt too many years, when we've gone into tournament games overly confident and didn't play with passion.

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

Yep. Who can forget last year's Morris comment (I forget which Morris) before the game to the VCU player: "Y'all have had a nice run, but it's time to go home."

John Mueller 8 years, 3 months ago

i completely agree. It is the perfect description.

When your team is done, the tourney becomes the Housewives of Orange county for anyone who has a wife or girlfriend with an addiction to awful.

It never ends and it is always on.......

Steve Gantz 8 years, 3 months ago

My reaction to that interesting line was just the opposite. The team won. The article was written like we lost.

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

I think you're totally missing the point, wissox. The entire purpose of Keegan's column was to say that we got away with it this time but if we continue to do these things we won't get away with it in the tournament. That's what that sentence reflects: that we won in this game but have to improve to win when it counts the most. There's nothing in the article that gives any impression that we lost in this particular game.

Cameron Schienebeck 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm sick of these yearly tournament prep lessons. These guys just need to get a killers mentality and step on some throats. Prevent defense hurts teams in the NFL the same way prevent offense hurts the Jayhawks. Go out there and attack till the clock is all 0's.

april28 8 years, 3 months ago

Lost in all this was also our horrible defense down the stretch. We'd take 25 seconds, not attach and not score, then give up a fast-break basket. We virtually did everything wrong in that closing stretch.

The attitude has to be to attack.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 3 months ago

However, this is not how we have lost tournament games -- we have not gotten big leads and turned complacent.

We have been ill prepared for mid-majors. Bucknell, Bradley, UNI, VCU. I would include the near miss vs. Davidson in 2008 as another example. Our other losses have been to major programs .. UCLA, Ga.Tech, MSU.

Being ill prepared for a mid majors starts with the coach. Starts with the prep. Starts with the mindset. Starts with the motivation. Starts with having other bench options ready to contribute when needed. And ends with making proper in-game adjustments given the flow of the game. When to press/pressure, when to start doubling the block, when close out 100%, when to rotate personnel, when to speed up the game, when to slow down the game ... you name it. Many things many fans saw, for example, vs. UNI and VCU during the game.

Of course, this team may be different.

But to avoid the early exit, I would hope that coach Self and his coaching staff have reviewed what they did leading up to the tourney losses to mid-majors, and how they did it .. sought advice from others in the coaching fraternity .. say a Bobby Knight, or a Larry Brown .. and have committed to implementing some tweaks, or changes.

Problem is, I've never heard .. in any manner or form .. an acknowledgment or hint that coach Self thinks he possibly could have done things differently. Many, many times coaches are public with what they think they can improve, if for no other reason to deflect some blame from the players. The "we didn't execute" baloney is just another way of blaming the players. We lost to UNI because coach Self failed. We lost to VCU because coach Self failed. I know it isn't just coach Self .. but I firmly believe that those are "but for" situations .. "but for" Self's failings in those games, we win. For the "Self is God" crowd, Self is human and he fails. Best anyone can do is learn from one's failings.

Unfortunately, I have no reason to believe that we will approach those sort of games differently. That worries me come tournament time much more than getting a big lead and becoming complacent.

By the way, why is a team becoming complacent with a big lead solely the players' fault? A coach is one that persuads, inspires, instructs, leads. Doesn't some of this rest with coach Self?

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 3 months ago

I find it hard to blame Self, since he isn't a product of the urban culture, where all of the world's problems come from.

chalked 8 years, 3 months ago

Disagree. If the personel changes annually, the only constant is the coach. This is no some new phenomenon- it goes back 8 years. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Self basher- I believe he is the best coach in the NCAA. But, coaches need to have some introspection too.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 3 months ago

What's your preferred flammable liquid when burning a cross???

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 3 months ago

It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to Elite's racists commentary from the other day.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 3 months ago

Crap..sorry. I should have realized you didn't mean it. your a good poster.

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 3 months ago

No problem, and thanks for the compliment. I've always thought you were a good poster too.

John Strayer 8 years, 3 months ago

chalked beat me to it....in all these tourney losses to mid-majors, Coach Self is the only constant. The players have changed some what each time.

You'll hear Coach talk about the team not having energy, etc...but what you don't see is anything the coaching stafff doing to reverse the issue. Unfortunately, movitiation has to be part of the coach skill set. You can't just get by with recruiting and Xs and Os.

A lot of great coaches in all sports are master motivators in some fashion or another. Maybe...just maybe Coach Self needs to do a bit of self examination and figure something out. It's not bad to have a fault...he is human and we all have them. However not addressing the fault to striving to work on it and get better is bad.

No...that being saild I would trade Coach Self for any other coach....just hope he figures out how to get better each day.

dylans 8 years, 3 months ago

The only constant in winning 8 straight big 12 championships is Self also. Duke lost in the first round to VCU in 2007, Providence in 1997 and Eastern Michigan in 1996. North Carolina lost to George Mason in 2006 Weber State in 1999 and didn't even make the tourney in 2002-2004 Kentucky lost to UAB in 2004 and didn't make the tournament in 2009. Florida lost to Butler 2011, BYU in 2010, Manhattan in 2004, and Creighton in 2002. Ohio State lost to Siena in 2009 and Utah State in 2001.

I guess all of these coaches aren't up to snuff either. Who hasn't lost to a mid-major at some point? The mid-majors most likely are conference champions if they make the tournament. They typically are very disciplined teams that don't have a lot of upside, but play at a consistently high level.

With freak athletes you have huge games and poor games. Typically someone as talented as players for KU, UK etc. have been able to get by on talent and fundamentals are not stressed in high school. When a college coach has only 1-2 years to get the uber stud fundamentally sound it won't happen. That's why you see flame outs.

Give me conference championships every year and a possibility of a deep tournament run and I'll be very happy. It's far better than what Roy gave us fans.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 3 months ago

KUfaninPA: You call me a racist? Why don't you look at my posts that you reference and see if I reference race. You won't see it. You inferred race. Why did you infer race? I wonder ...

Perhaps you could make an argument instead of call names. But logic is a much harder process.

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

Anyone with a decent IQ and a reasonable sense of logic would have called those posts racist. Your brand of right-wing extremism is too wrapped up in slogans and Faux News sound bites to comprehend such logic.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 3 months ago

I for one take issue w/calling HEM a racist..implied or not. No way...

8 years, 3 months ago

“By the way, why is a team becoming complacent with a big lead solely the players' fault? A coach is one that persuads, inspires, instructs, leads. Doesn't some of this rest with coach Self?”

Players still have to execute. I doubt Coach Self tells them in timeouts during blown leads, “Don’t worry, we have a big enough lead. Relax and run clock.” You can clearly see how frustrated he is during those instances. Also, I doubt if you were to ask the players why they blew such big leads that they would respond, “We did everything coach told us to do.” I agree it is the responsibility of the coach to inspire, instruct, and lead, however the onus is on the players to execute.

dylans 8 years, 3 months ago

I still think that Wayne would hit that shot the next nine times he took it. Too bad he didn't have another chance, but that randomness is part of what makes the tourney great.

Steve Gantz 8 years, 3 months ago

Don't forget, only 3 of the 7 games listed were "early exits" 3 were horrible, the other 4 were elite 8 losses to teams that obviously made it to the final 4.

Hank Cross 8 years, 3 months ago

Agreed. The tourney upsets weren't the result of blowing big leads. They were the result of a mid-major not knowing or caing anything about AFH, the Chant, etc. and popping KU in the mouth - and KU looking like someone stole their lunch money.

Self has many fantastic atributes as a coach, but making adjustments on the fly is not one of them. He is an extreme creature of habit. He does what he knows and knows what he does - and he knows a lot and does it well. Take him outside of that comfort zone and that's when problems happen.

A thing I like about this years team is that the lack of depth has forced Self into letting them play more loose and athletic. That presents its own challenges, but I think this team has a better chance of adapting in the tourney than the teams of the the prior two years.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 3 months ago

True HEM but there is a pattern even though the script has changed.

When was the last time KU played up to their potential and lost in the NCAA? GT?

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 3 months ago

I don't know HEM.....

In the last five years, most wins by any team:

1, KU - 165 wins or 33 wins per year. 2. UNC - 150 wins or 30 wins per year.

I don't know about you, but in my book HCBS is doing a great job of getting his teams prepared. Short of getting in the game himself and making those 3 pointers or free throws late in the game, I don't know what else he could do. BTW, I believe his eligibility to make those plays expired a long time ago.

lee3022 8 years, 3 months ago

Of course the coach is blamed for failure. If a coach cannot compete in his league he is a failure. If he cannot get to the NCAA tournament he is a failure. If he cannot ever get to the elite 8 he is a failure. This coach would readily acknowledge these factors.

One win short of (and expected to win this also) 8 consecutive league championships.

Eight consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament.

Elite eight = 5 (KU = 3); Final Four = 1; championship = 1

A coach can teach his players and is responsible to put them in a position to win their match-ups. A coach can teach his players to become hardened to the vagaries of the game. A coach can recruit players who will win those match-ups when presented. But no coach does all of these every year. Looking at coach Self he does this more than any of his peers over the last 5 years. That says the man can coach and recruit. Hard to find fault in this coach when viewed in perspective. My suggestion is to appreciate him while we have him.

Steve Gantz 8 years, 3 months ago

He's been to more than 3 elite 8's with KU, right? George Mason last year Michigan St in 09 Davidson in 08, UCLA in 07 Georgia Tech in 04

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

That's an interesting point, lee: we all have an arbitrary view of success as making the Final Four. Yet if the view of success was focused on one round earlier, Self's track record would be tremendous, having made it to four Elite Eights with KU (not three, as you stated) in eight years: vs. GT, UCLA, Davidson, and VCU. (Perhaps you mentioned only three Elite Eights because you think of the Davidson year as a Final Four year.)

Kye Clark 8 years, 3 months ago

Good post Ralster. You & HEM are great posters to debate two sides of an issue.

jackoman 8 years, 3 months ago

T-Rob needs to settledown and get control. He doesn't look good playing out of control. Get control of you emotions because this is not KU basketball. Our kids our usually classy. YOU represent us all. This not a boxing ring. Remember too this is a team sport. Don't try to take it all on yourself.

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

I think he already showed that class in the fact that he tweeted an apology to Jayhawk nation. In general he has actually shown a tremendous amount of restraint, given how much he's been getting beaten up on by two or three players at a time.

I'm confident that lack of control will not be an issue for him.

wrwlumpy 8 years, 3 months ago

In slow motion, the technical happened because T-Rob dived for a loose ball, two people dived on him and as they were getting up an Aggie shoved a straight upward flat hand into his armpit. I thought it was intentional. With the intensity of the moment, It would be difficult to stay a pacifist.

RockChalk26 8 years, 3 months ago

For you Morningstar haters, this might hurt a little bit. With Conner's poor play, I am beginning to think I took Brady for granted.

I'm going to say it, "Conner hurts us more then he helps"

BCRavenJHawkfan 8 years, 3 months ago

Only if he camps out on the 3 point line. His best play(s) last night invloved some defense, going inside to receive outlet passes, rebounding the long bounces off three point shots. He simply must realize there are other places on the floor to be productive other than the three point line.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 3 months ago

Wish I could argue but the bad play out weights the good. Still, who would you replace him with?

dylans 8 years, 3 months ago

Tharpe. I love watching him turn the ball over every 15 seconds. sarcasm font (for the too literal)

Alex Berger 8 years, 3 months ago

It would have helped a TON if Teahan would have hit his open three's. Yeah he got some rebounds and he made one really nice play towards the end to get our guard out of a corner and draw a shooting foul, but he has to be capable of making open three's. 0 for 6 is a big man three point stat line. If the outside shooters can't make three's then that is just going to clog up the middle for our big men.

chalked 8 years, 3 months ago

Good seeing Larry Brown in the house last night. Wonder why he'd pick an A&M game. Seems like it's off the beaten path. Maybe he knows Billy Kennedy.

REHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

I was more than a bit concerned that Thomas might have been injured last night. His body absorbed a couple of hard falls. Folks with video recorders might rewind to focus on those falls. Take a look at the butts plunging into him when he leaves his feet for a shot or rebound. There was some vicious play which went uncalled beneath the baskets. That said, Thomas has to keep his chin up and play through the heavy coverage, controlling his emotions and finding ways to compensate. Hopefully, the POY talk is not overly affecting his game. He appears to be a lock for lottery selection, whether POY or not. The one thing he and Tyshawn, esp., can not do is strut their stuff again in closing minutes of a fairly close game vs. Missouri. No overconfident offense, no failure to honor the clock in closing minutes. Those two kids played way too well through 37 minutes at The Paige to have lost focus while Denmon and Co. got superhot and shut the Jayhawks down at the end. One defector disposed of this week; now back to The Phog to annihilate another. Send the pesky Tigers off to the Slavers Eastern Conference with their tails dragging.

pepper_bar 8 years, 3 months ago

"Look for Kansas to be at its best in front of the home crowd in Saturday’s rivalry game pitting No. 3 Missouri against No. 4 Kansas.

"That atmosphere will blow away any NCAA Tournament environment."

What? KU has cancelled this rivalry. It's just another regular season game, albeit against a good opponent. And has Mr. Keegan never been to the final rounds of the NCAA tournament in person?

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 3 months ago

I've been to the final rounds of an NCAA tournament. Allen Fieldhouse on a big-game night is hands-down a better atmosphere. Close quarters, high energy, acoustics that make the entire building vibrate with sound... arenas during Final Fours are great, but there are a number of college arenas that will always blow them out of the water, simply because they're filled to bursting with devoted fans.

KCRvrRnnr 8 years, 3 months ago

There is NO comparison between watching a Final Four game in a domed football stadium, where the crowd is miles from the court and mostly comprised of big dollar alums, and watching a big game in a classic college basketball venue with a wild student section like AFH. The domes can put more butts in seats and make more money, but the games become much more sterile.

actorman 8 years, 3 months ago

+1000.

The only thing I can surmise from your comment, pepper bar, is that you haven't been to a Final Four in person. Otherwise you wouldn't be making such a ridiculous comment.

pepper_bar 8 years, 3 months ago

I've been to more than one Final Four. And have been to a bunch of KU/MU games at Allen.

Ben Kane 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm not too concerned about the blown lead.

A) this has been something of our sop. B) I don't think lack of intensity will be a worry in the tournament. C) they may say otherwise, but this week is all about the enemy saturday.

rather i was more impressed with:

1) other players stepping up (Prophet mostly) 2) TRob not trying to force things for the most part and looking to feed his teamies. 3) when you are up 10 at the half and your top three scorers have done nothing that is a good thing and shows they can play within the flow of the game.
a) if you're not up ten then that's a bad thing in the same situation and they to start forcing the issue.

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 3 months ago

Keegan has been practicing his carpentry skills. He hit the nail squarely and solidly on the head this time. (Or, he's been at Chuck E. Cheese playing Whack-a-Mole too much!)

Ben Simonett 8 years, 3 months ago

Did anyone else almost have a heart attack when Trob came down awkwardly on his left knee early in the game last night?

When i saw it real time I thought it was an ACL right away. Thank god he's all right.

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 3 months ago

At that moment I was typing a text message to my dad saying "hello #6 seed" and when I hit send he was up and recovered. Thank goodness.

Chris Corley 8 years, 3 months ago

As much as I hate to admit it, somewhere in America right now, perhaps just breaking morning practice, in the mid-major team that's going to beat Kansas in the tournament.

AirCapJay 8 years, 3 months ago

I think Wichita State could beat KU today. Coach Marshall has his team hitting on all cylinders right now. WSU is a legit sweet 16 team. KU would have to bring their A game to beat WSU right now.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 3 months ago

No worries..after last night we look like a mid-major...maybe Bill is using reverse psychology!!

jrbill67 8 years, 3 months ago

TRob, so you apologize for losing your temper at the end of the game. You didn't play the entire game, and without you on the floor playing smart and aggressive, this team has no chance of advancing, none. You and Taylor need to get your heads out of your rear and play smart ball or you can watch a lot of games in March & April, preparing for your millions from the NBA.

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 3 months ago

Damn, KState made the New York Times crossword puzzle.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 3 months ago

Was the question, "What's purple and pisses everytime it sees a Jayhawk??"

kellerman411 8 years, 3 months ago

Teams no longer respect Connor Teahan's 3 shooting ability. Did you see what kind of looks he was getting? Yeah, we were moving the ball around but there was no one within a mile of him.

Steve Gantz 8 years, 3 months ago

Not sure what happened to Texas am, but they're supposed to be a fairly good team. They've showed us twice that they are. I was never in a panic mode last night, nor am I today. I believe that we just beat a good team on the road.

REHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

If Aggies had Middleton and Harris healthy all season, their league record might likely be flip-flopped in the W/L column. Those two did some damage last night, esp. after Loubeau fouled out. Pre-game hype: Dash Harris might be recovered enough to see a bit of action. Ha!

142466 8 years, 3 months ago

Our performance and effort at A&M, a league opponent, was our worst of the season. Why did we win? I'll let others analyze the "Xs and Os" reasons. I'll say this, though. The biggest reason is the overall sorry and declining state of NCAA BB. The NBA poachers are responsible for that.

As recently as 10 years ago it would have been inconceivable that we could win, let alone coast to a win, in a league road game with last night's performance. My how the NCAA BB talent pool has declined. Every BCS conference is suffering.

I am a staunch fan of KU and TRob. However, it also inconceivable that a player of TRobs calibre would have even have been mentioned in "national player of the year" discussions before the NBA poaching reved up. And I'm basing this not just on last night's game but by the entire season. And I like TRob. I acknowledge that we would be nowhere without him.

Kye Clark 8 years, 3 months ago

Your logic has one big flaw in it - you don't acknowledge the wealth of talent the NBA has "poached" from KU the past couple of years. True this team wouldn't win as many league games as it has if other schools had some of their NBA talent still on their rosters. However, what would KU's roster look like without the early defections? And thus, how much different would last night's game have been? Put the NBA talent back on our roster and we blow that aTm team out, as well as most of the teams in the Big XII.

Extrapolating that out further, without early NBA defections the talent of recruits would be more evenly distributed and KU would likely have landed even more NBA-caliber talent. Without the one-and-dones, Calipari would not be skimming the top recruits off the top of EVERY incoming class. Instead some of those players would go elsewhere to seek more immediate playing time, and undoubtedly the ripple effect would steer some to KU's roster.

dylans 8 years, 3 months ago

+1 Morrii, Selby, Xavier would still all be on the roster.

142466 8 years, 3 months ago

I agree with you. What I was trying to say is that all the early departures to the NBA are seriously weakening the overall calibre of NCAA BB, especially at the BCS schools.

Kye Clark 8 years, 3 months ago

Well that may be what you were trying to say, but you asked the question: "why did we win?" and then immediately followed it up with "The biggest reason is the overall sorry and declining state of ncaa bb. The NBA poachers are responsible for that." So anyone reading that immediately interpreted it as you saying "we won because everyone else in college basketball has had their line-ups weakened by early departures to the NBA, and thus KU has the advantage on these depleted teams." So overall the state of the game has probably declined, but it hasn't given KU an unfair advantage that is now letting us coast to league road wins with performances akin to the one we just saw.

142466 8 years, 3 months ago

You're right. A&M may be one of the exceptions to my hypothesis.

My hypothesis, based on watching NCAA BB games this season from around the country, is that the large number of early NBA departures is hurting, relatively speaking, the historically weak BCS BB programs more than the historical powerhouse BB programs, even though most all of the early departees come from the powerhouse programs.

Why? The key is "relatively speaking." All the early NBA departures from the powerhouse schools tends to open up spots at the powerhouses for the good players who would have otherwise been forced to play at the historically weak BCS BB schools.

Mathematically, it seems to me that it would tend to be easier for a team with 3 very talented starters and 2 good starters to beat a team with 5 lousy and mediore starters (the NBA poaching NCAA environment) than it would be for a team with 5 highly talented starters to beat a team with two good starters and 3 mediocre starters (the pre-poaching environment).

A&M may well be an exception to my hypothesis. I don't know much about A&M BB recruiting. My entire hypothesis, itself, may be wrong. I'm basing it solely on what I alone have observed this season from watching, on TV, NCAA BB games from around the country. Someone once told me that it would be better for me to keep my mouth shut and let others think me a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

Go Jayhawks. Beat Mizzou on Saturday and in the NCAA National Championship Game.

Dillon Davis 8 years, 3 months ago

This is exactly why we wont go far in the tournament. We get complacent (some of that is Coach's responsibility to keep our attacking mentality going), we have no depth so if tyshawn and trob get into foul trouble we are screwed. Conner cant consistently knock down 3s, which is his only responsibility, no matter how wide open he is. And trob has a bad temper. Bad calls are going to happen on the road and in the tourney so we better expect that and not use that as an excuse to our lack of bench production. Im sorry but we just have so little margin for error that i cant see us going deep into the tournament this year.

REHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

St. Louis Post sports ran a fine frontpage article today about Bill Self's take on future Mizzou scheduling.

wrwlumpy 8 years, 3 months ago

Bill Self, very eloquently voiced why KU is telling MU to ?#%# off.

Don't you get it Mizzou?

Win the big 12 was saved after the loss of Nebraska and Colorado, you privately worked behind the scene to destroy the league again. Why would KU want you to be rewarded with tv money and media coverage for laughing as you walked out the door.

You made your decision, we've made ours.

Sandeep Kalburgie 8 years, 3 months ago

Our chances with Julius Randle look slim :( Read his blogs listed on ESPN Recruiting section, and he has never mentioned Bill Self in any of his blogs. He may be leaning towards either Duke, Kentucky or North Carolina :(

142466 8 years, 3 months ago

Another reason for our success this year is the declining calibre of NCAA basketball around the country. Caused by the increasing number of early defections to the NBA.

The truth is that a strong 3 man team, TRob, Taylor, & Withey, stands a good chance of going far this year. There are very few quality BCS opponents this year. If UK or Syracuse stumble early in March Madness, look for another, maybe even two, senior led Mid-Major teams to be in the Final Four.

One more thing. A vision is forming in my mind: KU vs Mizzou for all the marbles. A wild dream? Not nearly as wild a dream as Danny & Pritchard v the Sooners in 1988.

nb4ku 8 years, 3 months ago

Off subject, but did anyone else catch it when Fran said "he needs to drive the ball and quit pussy footing around"? That made me laugh.

Kye Clark 8 years, 3 months ago

Yeah there was quite a few laughs being had during the in-game discussion on this site following that comment.

PurePierce 8 years, 3 months ago

One reason for Thomas not scoring as much as we'd like is that he had three and FOUR defenders around him much of the time. Our team needs to find some consistent way to score when we have three unguarded players. Obviously we won't get it from the three point line and Withey has not been hitting from the foul line which is kind of remarkable. Maybe we should pull him out away from the basket and get Travis in the lane. He has a nice close-in jumper and he can also work in from there.

nb4ku 8 years, 3 months ago

Whitey was 5 for 7 from the line last night. That's still 71% which isn't bad.

I do agree that they need to move better without the ball when TRob is doubled. That doesn't mean just move from one spot behind the arc to another from there. They need to move toward the basket.

PurePierce 8 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, nb4ku, if I was not clear in my posting. I was talking about Withey's jump shooting from the free throw line. I've not seen him knock any down recently even though he has been wide open, hence my surprise as he is an excellent free throw shooter.

I had ruled out any help from the arc due to our poor percentage there when I wrote that we wouldn't get scoring from the three point line.

I actually was making the point about closer-in shots when I said we should have Travis taking shots in the lane. Possibly getting him open by pulling Withey out away from the lane.

Once again, I apologize if I was unclear.

CHEEZIT 8 years, 3 months ago

Why was our best shot blocker and free throw shooter seating on the bench when they got it down to four? Withey only came in when TRob fouled out?

Bville Hawk 8 years, 3 months ago

I wondered the exact same thing. He has been consistently good in close games, clutch situations.

fan4ever 8 years, 3 months ago

Why is it that we have to be continually commenting on the referees in the Big 12? The inconsistency in their calls is appalling and really ruins the game for me. The hand check calls, followed by a mugging that doesn't get called, doesn't happen in other leagues, and the game is the better for it. Just be fair and consistent and let the teams determine the outcome of the game.

DevilHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Have you ever watched PAC basketball?

HawkKlaw 8 years, 3 months ago

I was going to read this article. Then I tried to comprehend this sentence:

"Compounding matters, Kansas, which led by as many as 21 points, would have had to play an overtime period without Thomas Robinson because he couldn’t check his temper and shoved his way into a technical, his fifth foul."

Holy run-ons Batman. Interest lost.

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