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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: KU goes from purgatory to payback against TCU

Kansas forward Kevin Young raises his arms in celebration after a dunk against Texas Christian during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Kevin Young raises his arms in celebration after a dunk against Texas Christian during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Halfway into Kansas University’s 74-48 basketball rout of last-place TCU Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks’ starters had outscored the Horned Frogs’ starting five, 34-0.

And it wasn’t even close to being the strangest half of basketball the teams played against each other this season.

Kansas leading TCU 38-9 at the half can’t compare to the Big 12’s last-place team leading the Jayhawks 22-13 at the half, as was the case in Fort Worth 17 days earlier, when TCU won its first and to date only game since the calendar flipped to 2013. Aside from a 62-55 upset victory against KU, TCU (10-17 overall, 1-13 in the Big 12) last won a game in December.

And neither one of those bizarre halves of basketball qualified as the strangest single happening tied to the first series between the schools.

That came after Saturday’s game when a reporter, who shall remain nameless because he’s a good guy and everybody deserves one mulligan, asked 10th-year Kansas coach Bill Self, “Would you like to get win 500 on the road, or rather get it at home, or does it matter?”

A smiling, incredulous Self answered, “That’s a really bad question. ... I don’t even know how many I’ve got, but I’d like to win the next game, for sure. Yeah, for sure.”

He has 499 career coaching victories. In case anyone else was wondering (or not), Self would like No. 500 to come Monday night in Ames, Iowa. Since he won’t celebrate the milestone, he does not care whether the non-celebration doesn’t take place in Ames or doesn’t take place in Lawrence, but he really would like for the victory to come in Ames, where snow always seems to greet the Jayhawks.

Enough about No. 500. Back to No. 499, which would have been No. 500 if not for, you know, that game played in Fort Worth. Nobody wants to relive that. I know. I get that, just as nobody from my alma mater wants to watch KU’s first game in the 2003 Final Four. But I decided to watch the first half of the Feb. 6 Kansas-TCU game one more time Saturday morning before leaving for the fieldhouse. I have read many, many books about serial killers because they are so strange that they become interesting to study, and that’s how I viewed the first Kansas-TCU game, so strange it became interesting.

The nuns let me know in no uncertain terms that if I swore or thought bad thoughts or didn’t improve my penmanship and do a better job of combing my hair I would have to go to purgatory, but they never really did a great job of describing the undesirable layover. It wasn’t until I watched that game on TV on Feb. 6 that I developed a better feel for it. You knew the game wouldn’t last forever, but when you were watching it, you couldn’t convince yourself of that.

Elijah Johnson driving the baseline, jumping in the air without knowing what he was going to do with the ball, then firing an intercepted pass. Ben McLemore trying to throw a pass to the block from the top of the key, a nearly impossible angle. Countless other similar occurrences strung together. That was then.

This was Saturday: TCU starters Kyan Anderson, Nate Butler Lind, Connell Crossland, Garlon Green and Adrick McKinney combined to play 75 first-half minutes. They went 0-for-14 from the field, 0-for-6 from three-point range, 0-for-2 from the free-throw line and had one assist and eight turnovers.

By halftime, just two Horned Frogs had scored. Devonta Abron had seven points, Charles Hill Jr. two points. Repeat: None of TCU’s five starters scored a point in the first half.

“I’ve never seen that before,” Self said of a scoreless starting five for a half. “... But they also missed some open looks. It’s not all defense. They missed some open shots. They helped us.”

Give the Kansas players credit for coming out so locked in and not letting their eyes wander to a very difficult challenge Monday in Ames, but at the same time remember that motivation was easy to find. The loss to the Horned Frogs stung so badly that it came as no surprise the payback would be immediate and thorough. Muhammad Ali in his prime snapping punches on a speed bag.

“That first half was as focused and best we’ve been as far as both ends of consistency in a long time,” Self said. “That was the best we’ve executed and moved the ball and also the most active we’ve been defensively.”

It was a nice launching pad for a much tougher challenge in an environment Monday inside Hilton Coliseum that will be as hostile as Saturday’s was friendly.

Comments

Boouk 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm honestly rooting for Missouri tonight against UK. Why? Recruiting. I want Randle in a KU uniform next season, not a UK uniform. I hope we continue to go up against UK on the recruiting trail a lot more than Missouri.

CrimsonPhoenix 1 year, 8 months ago

Horrible, horrible comment. A true KU fan would never root for Mizzery. If Randle goes to UK, then he goes to UK, no big deal, we have Coach Self on our side. But never, ever root for those ugly tiggers.

hawk_of_ages 1 year, 8 months ago

Why do people keep getting shamed here for saying they rooted for Mizzou in a situation where it might help Kansas? Do you hate Mizzou more than you love Kansas?

Now, I don't happen to agree with Boouk that Mizzou beating Kentucky would have helped Kansas. But there have been plenty of scenarios in the past, esp. in Big 12 races, where a Mizzou win DID unquestionably help Kansas in the conference race. And I make no apologies for rooting for them in that limited case.

Eric Lee 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm probably in the minority but I have no hate for Mizzou. I hated them when they were in the Big 12 in terms of basketball rivalry but nothing against the school. I have lots of friends and family in Columbia and have visited there my whole life. Funny thing is though, I bought all my KU gear in Columbia and proudly wear it walking around Columbia.

sarcastichawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Went to law school in Kentucky for 3 years. I thoroughly HATE UK and their fan base. I rooted for MU last night.

Boouk 1 year, 8 months ago

I bet UK makes it in as a 10 seed and we have to play them in the second round.

Boouk 1 year, 8 months ago

Fortunately, the odds of us facing them are slim, but still, it's possible. I can see the Selection committee screwing us over.

hawk_of_ages 1 year, 8 months ago

Either way, there's no reason for us to be scared of them, esp. with Noel out. I'd just as soon beat them as anyone else.

texashawk10 1 year, 8 months ago

The selection committee won't do that when they have a potential KU-Missouri game in KC staring them in the face.

rockchalk_dpu 1 year, 8 months ago

KU-MU will never happen in an opening weekend round under the pod seeding used by the committee. They want to make sure the top 4 seeds in each bracket have a close site for travel and fan support which is why we play in KC, Omaha, OKC and the like. By putting a low seeded MU team in KC as a potential opponent, they would be rewarding them and their fans for this awful season they've had. I can see the Committee trying to work it out so we would play in the regional semis or finals, but not in the first weekend as it is currently set up.

Michael Luby 1 year, 8 months ago

No way fellas, if that happens this year where we play MU or UK in one of the early rounds, we will destroy them, mercilessly.

Jeff Schartz 1 year, 8 months ago

I rooted for Mizzou because I want my Jayhawks on top of the all-time victories list. Keep losing Kentucky!!!

Jack Wilson 1 year, 8 months ago

You, my friend, need an exorcism performed. With logic like that, you'd cut your finger off to cure your hangnail. Wow .. actually rooting for Missouri. What's next? Taking the devil and the points in his battle against humanity?

hawk_of_ages 1 year, 8 months ago

If it helps Kansas, I'll root for Missouri. Why would this be controversial?

Kent Richardson 1 year, 8 months ago

Ali was the best talker ever, with Cosell as his enabler. He also had the best chin I ever saw. Sugar Ray Leonard was the best overall during my era. This team has not shown the signature blow out, toy with you, game like the 88 team did at home against Arkansas. I think the way the refs call games has evolved and changed the inside scoring abilities. Also perimeter D has become de rigueur. This team and the BB world seems disjointed offensively. Is it the TV breaks that dissuade offense continuity?

jhawkrulz 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm confused...how could a KU fan ever root for Missouri...I think you all are typing non-sense.

I'd love to face UK or MU this year, more teams like that in the field, the better it is for us.

Kirkwood 1 year, 8 months ago

Why would anyone believe you had to root for either team last night?! Two "un-ranked" teams playing a Game Day matchup,,, What a joke! Both LOSER teams trying not to be the "Biggest Loser" team at the end of the night. Phil Pressey confirms what we Jayhawks have always known,,,

Note: I find it hilarious that Rupp Arena is named after a KU alum. Rock Chalk!!

TommieSmithElbow 1 year, 8 months ago

Tom,

I know it was before your time at Kansas, but my purgatory game was the 1992 NCAA loss to UTEP in Dayton, Ohio. There have been more painful games (e.g., 97 Arizona and 2003 Syracuse), but I never saw a Hawk game that was more painful and never ending. I always say that "the UTEP game is still going on in some parallel universe." Brutal. Absolutely brutal.

actorman 1 year, 8 months ago

I remember that game more than I wish I did.

Another game that has always stuck out for me was during one of Ted Owens' last two seasons -- which were also the last two losing seasons for KU. They played Michigan at AFH and lost by 12 points -- I think I even remember the final score, 64-52. But what I remember the most about that game is how pathetic the KU offense was, just standing around doing nothing, to the point where the fans at AFH were booing them heavily (and deservedly so). That game was my purgatory game.

Bradly Moore 1 year, 8 months ago

I root for both teams before I root for KSUck. We need to be the best tem in our own state (in every sport) before we worry about two teams that aren't even in our conference.

Robert Robinson 1 year, 8 months ago

I will never root for missoura. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I don't care if they're playing Kentucky, Duke, UNC... I just pretend like they dont exist. Or maybe they dont make the game due to injuries from a meth lab explosion. Missoura beating Kentucky is not going to help KU. Its just going to prove which of the two rule breaking coaches had a better day. Recruits generally go with one of two options. Go to a school that makes you learn and prove you're worthy of playing time, or go to a school that will let them jump right in and play regardless of their skill. Hard way or easy way

JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 8 months ago

MU vs. UK.

Who do we want to win, the lesser of two evils or the evil of two lessers?

On the one hand, UK and the squid would get the ultimate humiliation of going from champions to no-shows...SWEET! on the other hand, if they don't make it, they likely end up in the Not-Invited-To tournament, also known as the NIT, where they pick up a bunch on cheap wins to pad their win total.

As far as MU, who cares...

Not an easy decision.

actorman 1 year, 8 months ago

I've thought about that line of reasoning re UK in the NIT. But I figure it pretty much evens out: they may get a few extra wins from being in the NIT, but they would have to lose a few more to not make the NCAA's. And even if it didn't quite even out, we would get the immense joy of UK not making it into the Madness. That alone has to be worth them maybe getting a couple of extra wins.

Ron Prichard 1 year, 8 months ago

What I want to know is why in the hell is KUSports.com running an ad for Mizzou Online? Seriously, LJW...you may need money but that is ridiculous!

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