Saturday, March 17, 2012


Defense carries Jayhawks


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey

Kansas juniors Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Detroit's Ray McCallum, Ray McCallum, Jr. and Eli Holman

Detroit coach Ray McCallum and players Ray McCallum, Jr. and Eli Holman talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 65-50 victory over Detroit on March 16, 2012.

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KU vs. Detroit

Box score

— The Kansas University basketball players were back in the team hotel when Norfolk State knocked Missouri out of the NCAA Tournament.

They were listening to their coach, Bill Self, give his pregame speech when Lehigh had Duke on the ropes.

Self tried to time his speech right, but with the Purdue-Saint Mary’s game taking a little longer to wrap up than he anticipated, Self had an opportunity to fill time with another reminder.

“The Duke game, there were five seconds left or 20 seconds left when I finished with my pregame talk,” Self said. “I told them, ‘Hey, Duke’s getting ready to get beat.’ So that’s a 15 beating a 2, a 15 beating a 2, a 13 beating a 4, an 11 beating a 6, all today. I didn’t make a point because sometimes when you make a point, it adds pressure because you’re almost saying it’s possible.”

With inspired play from Dunkin’ Doug Anderson, the most spectacular dunker in college basketball, Detroit Mercy was trying to show it was possible, but it didn’t last, and Kansas moved on with a 65-50 victory.

Anderson’s reverse jam put Detroit up 21-19, but from there Kansas went on a 34-7 run that featured terrific defensive pressure on the perimeter.

They make automobiles in Detroit, not bicycle baskets. Not baskets of any kind, evidently.

Anderson is a remarkable dunker, as advertised, and Eli Holman a physical force.

But if you can’t shoot the ball, you can’t score, and if you can’t score, you can’t win. A laser-focused Kansas defense made sure it was not going to let its opponent get easy baskets. It made sure it was not going to become the third No. 2 seed to fall in one day after it hadn’t happened once in the previous 10 tournaments.

Detroit made just two of 22 field goals during the 34-7 run.

Guarded by long, slender LaMarcus Lowe and with physical and long Eli Holman helping, Robinson figured out how to get shots, made seven of 13 and produced game-high totals in points (16) and rebounds (13).

The rest after a semifinal loss to Baylor in the Big 12 tournament seemed to restore energy to Robinson, who has carried so much of the load this season for a Kansas team shy on depth.

During KU’s run, Robinson showed he’s no slouch as a dunker either. He intercepted a pass near midcourt and dribbled it all the way in for a two-handed flush that sent the pro-KU spectators to a high point and triggered a Detroit timeout.

Robinson said he and teammates didn’t talk much about the upsets — they didn’t really have time to digest Duke’s — but they didn’t ignore them, either.

“It did wake us up, give us a little more energy, make us realize it’s March, anybody’s capable of getting beat right now,” Robinson said.

Kansas played like a team that knew it was facing a team loaded with high-flying athletes and knew the best way to avoid an upset was to make the Jayhawks’ biggest strength (keeping teams from scoring) combine with Detroit’s weakness (scoring). That’s exactly what happened.

“I don’t think we were surprised,” Robinson said. “Coming into this game, we were expecting a tough game. And that dunk, we weren’t surprised at all. We watched the highlight tape, and that guy’s a walking highlight tape.”

Anderson fouled out in just 15 minutes of playing time and still led Detroit with 15 points. He made five of eight field goals, and four of them came on dunks, which to a large extent was the extent of Detroit’s range.

The Titans made just three of 17 three-pointers (.176), and some of that could be attributed to KU not giving them very many clean looks.


Travis Clementsmith 9 years, 1 month ago

If they play that kind of D on Sunday, I'll see you in St. Louiee.

SanFranHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

I know Tharpe and 2 bad turnovers, but overall I thought he did a great job during his 13 minutes. He hasn't played a ton, obviously never in a NCAA tournament game, and he came off the bench and threw down some great defense...I am really excited to see him play the way he did...

Anyone else feel the same?

Vernon Riggs 9 years, 1 month ago

I thought Naadir played good. His biggest problem is that HCBS has done a good job of breaking him down but hasn't built him back up yet. NT spends his minutes worrying what HCBS thinks of his minutes. I have watched clips on YouTube; he is a good player. He has a good outside shot and forces action with his drives to the basket. He could play at the #1 and move EJ to the #2 next year.

Steve Reigle 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm looking forward to seeing him play next year. He has a lot to learn but has the tools to become a skilled player.

NJHAWK 9 years, 1 month ago

Next year, EJ will play 1 and BMac will play 2. NT will back up EJ and take over 1 after EJ leaves.

KULA 9 years, 1 month ago

I thought Naadir played great, considering that he was thrown into the game in an almost emergency situation. My gripe with Bill is that he didn't use the regular season to prepare Naadir for this situation, which I thought would inevitably arise. Granted, Naadir held up well, but I worry that he may not against a better team. If I end up being wrong, then all's well that end's well, but I think Bill could've done a better job preparing the WHOLE team for March.

Ken Harms 9 years, 1 month ago

Still needs work defensively. 2-3 of McCallum's goals came directly from getting away from Tharpe, starting right when Tharpe checked in and promptly didn't fight hard around a pick on an inbounds play.

Even after a full season, he still has a lot of work to do. Still hoping he can get there.

yates33333 9 years, 1 month ago

I thought they said he had one turnover. This is a good sign for next year as well. He can be the point guard of the future, if needed.

Hawk007 9 years, 1 month ago

He definitely had 2 turnovers. They were back to back possessions, and I thought Self was going to strangle him. But I agree, he did show some good things out there.

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 1 month ago

He may not have been credited with two, but I do think he had two right in a row in the second half. Self was apoplectic. Having said that, I agree with the original poster that, considering his inexperience and the high stakes of the situation, Tharpe did a good job steadying the ship early after our starting guards got off to a shaky start. And Young was especially good.

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 1 month ago

I know what a bicycle basket is, but I have no idea what it was doing in that sentence.

FlintHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Oh for Paddy's sake!! It was a clever, and funny, intro to Keegan's description of Detroit's problems making baskets.

Some of you are showing YOUR age. Today, even in the 21st century, many young girls have little baskets, often white with ribbons, on the fronts of their kid-size pink bikes.

He would definitely have "shown his age" had he talked about clipping playing cards on bicycle spokes — then, hawk_of_ages, you could have legitimately squealed "Nonsense."

Some of you will diss anything Keegan writes.

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 1 month ago

As I said, I know what a bicycle basket is. I just have no idea what it has to do with Detroit. The metaphor isn't dated at all. It just makes no sense.

Dr_Roach 9 years, 1 month ago

Basket's that go on the front of older bicycle's. He showed his age with that remark.

Ben Kane 9 years, 1 month ago

seriously. didn't they once make horse carriage whips in detroit? I'm surprised that wasn't in the story.

but hey it was a late night so i'll give him a pass on his attempt to witty.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

You know, at one time there must've been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best godda#n buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let's have the intelligence, let's have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future. "

Lawrence Garfield (Danny DeVito) Other People's Money (1991)

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

We need to see this same headline for the next 5 games.

Our defense, especially in the paint, is one of the best in the country.

Ask Missouri and Duke how relying totally on offense works out.

Doug Merrill 9 years, 1 month ago

Great article and good explanation of the team's strength and failing: defense. When they do it, their own lack of offense doesn't hurt them. If they play great defense, they should make the final four. If they make the FF, though, they'll definitely need offense, including a hot abhorring EJ and Teahan. If Releford would get hot, we would be in play for the Championship.

addlime 9 years, 1 month ago

Seriously sick of hearing about Doug Anderson. So he can get up. Plays out of control and seems to only be concerned with getting spectacular dunks. 5 fouls in 15 minutes is way more impressive than any of the dunks I saw last night. Weak on defense, no offensive skills other than his jumping ability, who cares?! Much more concerned with a team that plays d and makes free throws. Ku needs to be ready for purdue. Didn't see them play this year but I saw st mary's a couple times and they could score. Makes me think purdue plays a little d as well.

Btw, did that really happen yesterday? Did duke and mizery both lose as 2 seeds in the first round on the same day? Not sure which team I hate more. (was duke but this big12 exit coupled with a good season was tipping the scales the other way). How lucky to not have to choose! Ha ha!

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