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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gary Bedore’s KU basketball notebook: Tommy Lasorda impressed by Allen Fieldhouse

Longtime Dodgers coach Tommy Lasorda waves to the fieldhouse crowd as he is introduced during the second half on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.

Longtime Dodgers coach Tommy Lasorda waves to the fieldhouse crowd as he is introduced during the second half on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.

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KU vs. Texas A&M

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Kansas defeated Texas A&M, 64-54, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU vs. Texas A&M

Box score

Baseball Hall of Famer/former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda came away from Allen Fieldhouse impressed by the atmosphere in Kansas University’s tradition-rich basketball barn.

“These people are excited already. This is amazing,” Lasorda told the Journal-World right before tipoff. “I’ve been to Kentucky games, and they are 3-0 when I’ve talked to them.”

He didn’t speak to the Jayhawks before their hard-earned 64-54 victory over Texas A&M on Monday.

Lasorda attended Monday’s game as a guest of KU alumnus Jamie Coulter, and Lasorda’s niece, who is married to Coulter.

Lasorda chatted with ESPN announcer Bob Knight before the contest.

“I thought it was an exciting game. I told our guys (sitting with him in the fans’ seats on press row), ‘We’re gonna win this by 10,’ when it was really close. Kansas played great. This area ... basketball is it,” Lasorda added after the contest.

Also in the house were former KU players Marcus Morris, Julian Wright and Ryan Robertson.

Wright, who played for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors last season, still hopes to be picked up by a team in this lockout-shortened year.

“I’m staying in shape,” Wright said. “There’s still a lot of season left. I’m not discouraged or anything. I’m here tonight to cheer the guys on.”

He was not worried with KU down, 30-28, at halftime Monday.

“They’ll be all right. That locker room talk is going on right now,” he said.

On top ... so far: ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi awarded KU a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament in his latest Bracketology released on Monday. Other No. 1 seeds: Kentucky (South), Syracuse (East) and Ohio State (West). The No. 2s: Baylor, North Carolina, Duke and Missouri.

Must be fired up: Self was asked on the Big 12 coaches call if he was concerned there might be a letdown for A&M, a team that entered 2-4 in the Big 12.

“Our guys know they were preseason pick to win the league and have had numerous things going on that were uncontrollable,” Self said.

A&M freshman Jamal Branch transferred to St. John’s at semester break. Also, sophomore forward Kourtney Roberson has been limited to nine games because of a broken foot. And junior forward Khris Middleton has been hampered by a bad knee all season.

“Kyle (Keller, who worked at KU last three years) is on their bench. They know everything we are going to do. They have a good scouting report. It’s Big Monday, a chance to be on the national stage.”

No go: Middleton, who reinjured his knee in Saturday’s home victory over Oklahoma, did not play against KU.

“It doesn’t look like it’s a lot worse than when he fell on it the other day, but he’s just not 100 percent,” coach Billy Kennedy said on the Big 12 coaches call.

Kennedy said the Aggies will “get a second opinion early this week and a feel if there’s anything wrong with it any more. We don’t think so. It’s kind of a wait-and-see thing to give him more time to heal and more time to rest at this point.”

Comments

longtimehawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Tharpe is going to turn out to be another flop, like B Morningstar was.

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Scott Smetana 2 years, 3 months ago

Pismo, I'm as surprised and happy about this year as you. However, we must keep our expectations in check. Our bench is anemic. I also disagree that we can beat anyone if we play well. I think if Kensucky or UNC plays well, we can't beat them. They're too deep. Syracuse I'm not sure about. I think we might be able to beat anyone else, even Ohio St. with Sullinger.

Overall, I think this is a down year for the NCAA. The biggest evidence for this is that sucky Mizzery is #2 with no big men and a pathetic schedule.

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Mike Rotchurtz 2 years, 3 months ago

Gotta love that Bracketology has KU as a 1-seed and Mizzou as a 2-seed. Bracketology (and the Selection Committee) take strength of schedule into account a lot more than the knuckleheads that vote in the weekly polls.

Now usually I wouldn't care too much what Bracketology or the polls say in mid-January (there's too much basketball left to play), but after the way this season was shaping up, it is amazing where this team is right now.

Back in the fall when the freshmen were declared ineligible to play this year... That was probably the low point. I just knew that this was a "rebuilding year" and I should keep my expectations in check. Who really thought that at any point this year KU would be a favorite for a #1 seed?

I don't see any team in the nation that Kansas can't beat if we play our best game. It really has been a fun ride this season. There's nothing wrong with being the pre-season #1 team in America, as we have in some past years, but it may be even sweeter this year to have to grind it out to get to the top over the course of several months.

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Scut Farkus 2 years, 3 months ago

EJ has to forget about the 3 for awhile. Tehan as well. 1-11 between them. The only intelligent comment that came from Knight was not enough inside passing and too much settling for the 3, especially early in the set. EJ had a couple of nice dribble penetrations and couple of nice pull up jumpers. Nice to see a good game from Wesley. Still worried about the depth. I wonder why Young is playing so few minutes? Tharpe? Well, I guess it's wait until next year for him.

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JayDocMD 2 years, 3 months ago

So Tommy Lasorda was there. I'm underwhelmed. Is that really worth two headlines? It's not like it was Samantha Ryan or Olivia Wilde.

Nevermind me - I need another cup of coffee...

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AsadZ 2 years, 3 months ago

What worries me as Shaw had pointed out earlier is the number of 3 point attempts we took last night. For this team 10-12 3 point attempts is a good number. Beyond that it takes us out of offensive rhythm.

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Michael Pannacciulli 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes this incarnation of AM shouldn't in theory have hung so tight. But we got the W. They will correct it. I just hope we can retain that laser focus come March when it really matters from all players. I am okay with losing but not to lesser teams with better focus.

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bradh 2 years, 3 months ago

Like Julian, I wasn't worried about being down at half. I knew Coach Self would have them ready to play the second half. My concern is that while this team is capable of getting big leads, they give them up just as easily. Scary to contemplate with stiffer competition ahead. It is an enjoyable and frustrating team to watch.

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