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Monday, January 16, 2012

Keegan

Dreamin’ until tonight’s tipoff

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Close your eyes and picture places you might want to be at 8:30 p.m. today.

Walking down the 18th fairway in Maui, where the sun still will be shining brightly on the island.

Teeing off on the first hole in Australia, hoping a lonesome kangaroo doesn’t wander onto the course as one once did in the Australian PGA as Rory Sabbatini sized up a shot.

Hanging out with Hugh Hefner at the mansion pool wearing shades and having grapes ever-so-slowly fed to me.

Dream scenarios, yet they all compete for second place.

If I could choose to be anywhere tonight, it would be sitting in Allen Fieldhouse, watching undefeated underdog Baylor take on thrice-beaten favorite Kansas in a clash between the lone remaining Big 12 teams without a conference loss.

Tangible basketball reasons favor Baylor. The intangibles are on the side of Kansas.

Baylor (17-0) will be ranked third in the nation by the time the game tips off, Kansas somewhere in the top 10.

This is ninth-year Baylor coach Scott Drew’s best team in the same school year the Bears have the Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, and the nation’s best women’s basketball player, Brittney Griner. Starting Nov. 5, when Griffin III threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns to defeat Missouri, 42-39, Baylor has a 40-0 record in the three sports.

That remarkable winning streak faces its toughest test tonight.

Kansas has more drive and the best player in the game, Thomas Robinson; Baylor the superior depth, size and shooting.

To appreciate the Bears’ depth, consider that junior guard A.J. Walton played 33 minutes a game last season, 20.4 this year. Senior forward Anthony Jones played 26.6 minutes a game as a sophomore, 29.8 as a junior, 17.9 this season.

Pierre Jackson, a 5-10 junior-college transfer, doesn’t start but gets the majority of minutes at point guard. He ranks second in the Big 12 in steals (1.9) and three-point percentage (.492) and fifth in assists. Boston College transfer Brady Heslip is third with a .481 long-range accuracy rate.

On the front line, senior jumping jack Quincy Acy (second to Jeff Withey with 2.4 blocks a game) joins McDonald’s All-Americans Perry Jones III, a sophomore, and freshman Quincy Miller.

Last season’s leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn, who could get a shot off whenever he wanted, which was pretty much whenever he touched the ball, and his 19.6 ppg are gone and in some ways forgotten.

“One thing about LaceDarius (Dunn), he was hard to guard, but it made others easier to guard,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Now there’s more balance. I think they’re harder to guard as a team than they were last year.”

Baylor, noted for its 2-3 zone, has mixed in more man-to-man defense and had great results with it in a road victory against Kansas State. But unless KU can shoot Baylor out of its zone, the Jayhawks won’t see as much man.

This isn’t Self’s best team, but it might be his grittiest. And then there is the best home-court advantage in basketball.

Seconds will feel like hours as the clock crawls toward 8:30.

Comments

rockchalkchampionship 2 years, 9 months ago

I know how good Griner is for their women...but 40-0 since Nov. 5 for the 3 biggest sports? Sweet mercy, I'd streak across Memorial Staidum in front of 50,000 people if that ever happened at KU.

Here's to hoping that record changes to 40-1!

ohmixmaster 2 years, 9 months ago

This is going to be a magnificent early conference test. Baylor is a bad matchup for us, and I think the two keys will be for us to rebound well, and have terrific outside shooting. Do that and Baylor will be forced to get out of their base zone. If that happens we'll own them. Who knows, maybe Drew will finally show some respect for the Mecca of College Basketball. Should be a fun, fast paced game. RCJH.

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Maui? Where's that? Oh, yeah. That's right. It's here in Hawaii.

I agree with Keegan on this one. I'd love to be in "The Phog" tonight. If I were, I wouldn't be able to talk tomorrow, or sit down. Because I'd be screaming my a** off supporting the Jayhawks over Baylor.

If ever KU needs to play smart, tonight's the night. Block out on rebounds. Keep fouls at a minmum. Perfect spacing on offense. Play lockdown, tenacious defense. Make at least 70% on freethrows. And, please, drive the lane while leaving 3 point shots as a last resort.

Now's the time for everyone to show they bleed Crimson and Blue. (Not frog green and gold, or whatever Baylor's colors are.)

RCJHGKU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Too bad all those letters will be de-capitalized by the cap censors, but you all know what I'm shouting about.)

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and forgot to ask. To which 18th fairway were you referring, Keegan? There are about a dozen golf courses on Maui. ;-?

Steve Brown 2 years, 9 months ago

Wailea Orange or Mekena both are tourist playable.

I will be wearing Barcelona Football crimson and blue jersey tonight for luck.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Big Game.

Big conceit.

Big lead.

Big story.

A pro rises to the occassion.

Jeremy Paul 2 years, 9 months ago

Seconds will feel like hours as the clock crawls toward 8:30.......yeah, and then I'll have to wait another hour. That's the worst part about living on the east coast. Alohahawk--you're lucky my friend. A 4:30 tip-off means happy hour prices. Rock Chalk!

jhox 2 years, 9 months ago

I'll be in Allen tonight, but I think I might take the Hawaii option and watch the game on a giant high def TV after my round of golf in Maui. (Not that it would be an easy call to make.)

My wife made a major error and scheduled a vacation to Mexico the week of the last MU game in Allen. That one really hurts.

Steve Brown 2 years, 9 months ago

I'll do you a favor and go to Mauii for you if I can stay on the Wailea end.

jayhawk4alifetime 2 years, 9 months ago

I think I just threw up in my mouth thinking of Keegan partying with Hef and the girls at the groto! Good luck Jayhawks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve Gantz 2 years, 9 months ago

I'd take Maui and golf and the game on TIVO after my subpar round. Subpar meaning here of course really bad :)

REHawk 2 years, 9 months ago

This contest actually begins at 8:25 as the audience watches in rapt anticipation of Mr. Drew's current classy maneuvering. Somewhere, Sherron and Co. must be chuckling all day in memory of that memorable pre-game occasion. The haunting admonition, Beware the Phog, was rarely ever so severely challenged as on that losing night for the hapless Bears two years ago. Rock Chalk!

Robert Brown 2 years, 9 months ago

I think to describe the Bears as hapless two years ago is a bit of hyperbole. As I recall, Baylor lead late in the game and KU rallied to edge Baylor late. This hapless team made it to the Elite 8 that year while KU lost in the 2nd round of the NCAA.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

Points of opinion about tonight's game;

1] Scott Drew is a tool. 2] Baylor is very talented and very lazy.No one has yet punched them in the face. Let's see how they react to The Phog and a Jayhawk right uppercut. 3] Seven different Jayhawks have, almost by sheer personal effort, saved victories from possible defeats. The diversity is crucial. 4] The rare occasions when Kansas is the underdog, we become very, very scary...like a mother wolverine protecting her pups. 5] This will be their first venture into Mr.Robinson's neighborhood...with no welcome wagon in sight. 6] Baylor, say hello to a true seven footer...with an attitude. 7] Unlike everyone else, I feel like Kansas will win...and win big!!!

Brak 2 years, 9 months ago

Some good points, but actually KU is favored to win the game tonight by 5 points. Even Vegas insiders aren't stupid enough to pick against KU at home.

Robert Brown 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure I agree with everything you say 1) Agree. I've heard Drew described as the Eddie Haskell of college basketball. 2) Disagree. West Virginia, Mississippi State and K-State are a few teams that did punch them in the face and ended up winning. 3) Disagree. You are implying KU has depth. We also know this is least deep team in years at KU. Baylor has five players averaging double figures. That's diversity or depth.KU has two and at this time last week only had two as Releford have cracked double digits. 4) They are not an underdog, but I would like to see then take it to Baylor the way they did K-State 5) A bit trite, don't you think. These guys will compete with Robinson. 6) Withy is inconsistent. I do hope he can make his presence felt. 7) Partially agree. I don't see a big margin of victory but expect a KU win.

dnvrhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

This is definitely not the grittiest KU team.

Krohnutz 2 years, 9 months ago

I thought that myself. This team is tough, but come on, I don't see a backcourt of Russ Rob and Mario running around out there.

Both guys were hardly oversized, and both guys would kick your ass. I honestly think Russ Rob crapped toughness.

And that is just recent teams.

Robert Brock 2 years, 9 months ago

The Hawks let ISU run amuck in the first half before tightening things up and playing outstanding D in the second half. Self knows that will not work tonight; they have to lock down from the opening tip.

Clarence Haynes 2 years, 9 months ago

"Hanging out with Hugh Hefner at the mansion pool wearing shades and having grapes ever-so-slowly fed to me."

Dream on Bro!

YuCoJayHawk 2 years, 9 months ago

KU is not the underdog tonight, they are favored by as many as 6 pts.....

Mike Kendall 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I'm dreamin', Keegan! I'm dreamin' that we are playing for the National Championship game VS the Duke Blue Devils! Yeah, I'm dreamin'.

It probably won't happen, but it is always good to dream, right?

Back to reality------in regard to tonight's game-------Jayhawks, go out and kick some bear butt. Goood luck and Rock Chalk!

KU students--------we really need your help tonight!

kellyrojo78 2 years, 9 months ago

Everyone's got a plan until you punch em in the face----Mike Tyson

Krohnutz 2 years, 9 months ago

I love that quote, but I cannot find out who actually said it. I can find those that say Joe Louis, and those that say Mike Tyson, but nobody actually has a source. Any chance you can find a source? That is one of my favorite boxing quotes of all time.

As a side note, Mike Tyson really has some great interview quotes, the guy was actually very insightful. Three of my favorites are:

"The act of treachery is an art, but the traitor himself is a piece of $hit."

"My main objective is to be professional but to kill him"

"I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds"

For the record, Joe Louis has some great quotes too. Take it easy.

Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 9 months ago

it will be a lot of fun in the fieldhouse tonight...i can't wait to get to the game.

KU has done its job to start 4-0 in the league...and put themselves in great position. Yes, we have to protect our home court, but Baylor hasn't been here in a couple of years....and these newcomer guards have never been here.....so it will definitely be their toughest game so far.

if we can hit some threes early...get out of the gate a little bit...and get TRob 20 attempts tonight....we'll win the ball game. i don't think KU will be low on energy, despite our much tougher scenario leading up to this game (Baylor played on Tuesday, we played Wed...and had to come home late from Lubbock).

KU 85 Baylor 77

Go Jayhawks!

coloradojayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Are you forgetting our Saturday game over Iowa State? And Baylor just hung a forty point loss on OK State.

Thomas Michaud 2 years, 9 months ago

Compare OK State's D (65ppg) versus our D (opponents 55ppg) Compare our offense (75ppg) to OK State's offense (65ppg)

Compare OUR house to Okie's "house". No comparison.

That being said, it's going to be a tough game, looking at the stats between Baylor and KU, it's nearly dead even. Then again, look who Baylor has played and who we've played.

AirCapJay 2 years, 9 months ago

Regarding the three sports. Zenger needs to start drinking whatever Baylor's AD is drinking. Baylor's AD is doing something special.

oldalum 2 years, 9 months ago

But we both played on Saturday. I'm wondering if Drew will continue his practice of shouting out orders to his team while KU players are making free throws.

hawkster007 2 years, 9 months ago

Oakville, Baylor has been hit in the mouth. They survived some terrible refereeing at K-State, 4 starters with 4 fouls, and their sixth man with 4 fouls...Spradling flopped more often than Tyler Hansbrough. KU probably could not have survived that kind of reffing, because KU does not have the depth this year.

But I agree, AFH is unique and there is a historical intimidation factor playing KU..and Baylor feels that regardless of whether they admit it. But Baylor deserves to be where they are based on their record, I won't take that away from them (until after tonight)....in "most seasons" KU plays an extremely weak non-conference schedule and has a shiny record this time of the year and has never been punched in the mouth yet. So don't bad mouth the opposition when KU does the same in most years.

In prior years, most analysts agree that Drew's Baylor teams have not played very good defense, although they are supposedly playing very good defense this year.

This is a virtual must win for the Hawks, because KU will certainly lose some games on the road, plus a game they probably should not lose.

But if KU rebounds like they did against KSU and keeps Baylor off the boards, I like our chances. Plus TRob, TT, and at least one other Hawk will have to come up big.

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 9 months ago

It's a rather jarring note, in your MLK Day column, to be "dreaming" of the Playboy mansion and fairways in Maui.

Mark Wooden 2 years, 9 months ago

The Big East game will run long or go OT and we will miss the first 10 minutes of the game.

jhawkrulz 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't think that Baylor has played a team currently ranked in the Top 25.

I think that KU has played (including today), 5 in the top 10 (Duke, Kentucky, Baylor, Georgetown, and The OSU). Three in neutral sites and two to be at home.

Baylor has played two tough games to date @BYU and @KSU, both were last minute victories.

Don't be surprised if KU starts great and finishes great during this game. I personally believe that this will be about a 13-17 point victory by the Jayhawks.

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