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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Self, KU prep for evenly matched battle with Michigan

Michigan guard Nik Stauskas (11) talks with guards Trey Burke (3) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) in the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament against Virginia Commonwealth Saturday, March 23, 2013, in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Michigan guard Nik Stauskas (11) talks with guards Trey Burke (3) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) in the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament against Virginia Commonwealth Saturday, March 23, 2013, in Auburn Hills, Mich.

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Four CBSsports.com college basketball experts — Gary Parrish, Jeff Goodman, Matt Norlander and Jeff Borzello — each pick No. 4 seed Michigan to defeat top-seed Kansas University in Friday’s Sweet 16 contest in Dallas.

Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports Radio also predicts the Wolverines will prevail in the 6:37 p.m., match-up in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Jayhawks are 2-point favorites in Vegas, but the negative prognosticating has made some wonder if KU coach Bill Self will use the “no respect” angle in game preparation this week.

“I guess we could use it. I don’t really think there’s that type of motivation we need to use to get our guys ready,” Self said before Tuesday’s practice in Allen Fieldhouse. “I hope everybody talks about Michigan. That’s fine with me. We’re still the 1-seed. We need to play like the 1-seed. We haven’t done that yet, at least consistently.

“They are very capable of being the 1-seed,” he added of the Wolverines of the Big Ten. “Two or three weeks ago they were on the 1-line. There’s not a nickle’s worth of difference between the teams. Whoever plays best on Friday will win.”

The Wolverines (28-7) may boast the country’s top backcourt in sophomore Trey Burke and junior Tim Hardaway, Jr. Also, freshman forward Mitch McGary appears to be coming into his own after scoring 21 points off 10 of 11 shooting and grabbing 14 rebounds in Saturday’s 78-53 third-round rout of VCU.

“I see the same thing every time I watch them play. They stretch you at the 4-spot. They have arguably the best point guard in the country, an unbelievable backcourt. They are extremely well-coached (John Beilein) and well-drilled. They average only nine turnovers a game, which is best in the country,” Self said.

“They don’t beat themselves. When they are playing well, they play as well as anybody in the country. On the flip side, when we play well, we play about as well as anybody. It should be a heck of a game without question.”

Self’s Jayhawks (31-5) trailed at halftime in their first two games — wins over Western Kentucky (64-57) and North Carolina (70-58).

“Part of our strategy this time, we’re going to tell our guys to actually make shots,” Self said with a smile. “Maybe that should be our strategy rather than just throw it up there. The first two games we didn’t get off to good starts, without question. Of course in winning the Big 12 tournament we played very, very well. We’ve got a little momentum. We played terrific the second half against North Carolina.

“The guys got some confidence back. I think there was a little extra pressure. We don’t talk about it, but I guess we can (now). Being a 1-seed playing in your backyard where expectations are you are going to do this, sometimes you play not to lose rather than embrace the moment. Many times, coaches and players (say), ‘Let’s just get through this,’ rather than saying, ‘I’m going to enjoy every second of it.’ That’s the mindset we can improve on moving forward.”

Wesley doubtful: Self said junior forward Justin Wesley (severely sprained right ankle) is doubtful for the game.

“It’s fairly significant,” Self said of the sprain, noting X-rays showed no broken bones. “We hope he’ll be able to go. We don’t think any way he’ll practice in the next two days.”

Self on KU’s women’s team reaching the Sweet 16: “They’ve been unbelievable in the tournament. They played great last year and this year went on the road to Colorado and beat the Buffs on their home floor and had a great win (over South Carolina) last night. I was really happy for her (KU coach Bonnie Henrickson) and her program and they’ve got seniors who have given their heart and soul to this place. It’s really nice for them.

“She (Henrickson) has done a really good job here. I’m so happy for Angel (Goodrich) and those other seniors, for them to get a chance to continue playing.”

Encouraging words: North Carolina coach Roy Williams showed some class in speaking to several Jayhawks in the handshake line following the Jayhawks’ win on Sunday in Sprint Center.

“He said, ‘Good game,’ and to go win it all,” noted KU senior Travis Releford. “I think that’s the message their whole team told us. Of course if we would have lost, we’d probably have done the same thing.

“He’s a fan of Kansas,” Releford added of former KU coach Williams. “He’s said that before. I’m sure he’s always going to be (a fan of KU). It’s cool to have support from another coach.”

One day of rest, reflection: Self elected to give the Jayhawks a day off Monday.

“We decided yesterday to let them get away from us (coaches) and be a normal student for a day,” Self said. “We’ll jump head first into it today (Tuesday) and get heavy into it.”

Coaches get along: KU football coach Charlie Weis texts Self “all the time,” Self said. “He’s been terrific. He’s been a big fan. I’m a big fan of his program and of course he’s been great.”

Travel day today: KU is scheduled to board the bus at Allen Fieldhouse at 2 p.m. today and fly out of Topeka’s Forbes Field at 3 p.m. The Jayhawks will hold an open practice from 2:10 to 3 p.m., Thursday, at Cowboys Stadium.

Comments

Priest Fontaine 2 years, 4 months ago

The matchups to start the game:

1 6-0 190 Trey Burke-- vs 6'4" EJ

2 6-6 205 Tim Hardaway Jr-- vs 6'6" Releford

3 6-6 190 Nik Stauskas-- vs 6'5" B-Mac

4 6-6 210 Glenn Robinson-- vs 6'8" Young

5 6-10 250 Mitch McGrary-- vs 7' Withey

Tharp comes into relieve EJ guarding Burke. If Burke becomes too much for them to handle then Releford switches to Burke in second half with EJ taking Hardaway. I would love to see Traylor come in and just bang on McGrary to wear him down while withey catches a breather. If he fouls, make it memorable. Withey isn't going to get stretched much going against their bigs. This means we can put pressure on the perimeter and know that out insurance policy is in effect. I really hope we are the aggressors and come to play.

Michael Sillman 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree with you about Traylor. I think we'll need him just as much as we'll need McLemore to start playing well. The road to the championship game is lined with physical teams.

Ron Franklin 2 years, 4 months ago

Burke has a 3:1 TO Ratio and The Wolverines thrive when Burke can beat his man. I think it will be a mistake if Coach doesn't start Releford off on Burke. We've seen what elite point guards, like Burke and Pierre Jackson can do to this team when they break 'em down off the dribble. A 6'6 Releford would give Burke fits.

Phoggy_Notion 2 years, 4 months ago

Releford on Burke is completely wrong. The only way I could ever see Releford getting this assignment is at the end of the game, and if Hardaway is fouled out. Sticking Releford on a smaller, quicker, player is the best way to get quick fouls on Releford. Besides, if you've seen Hardaway play, he is extremely aggressive and would have no issue posting up EJ. Releford will guard Hardaway, EJ and Tharpe will guard Burke/Albricht, and Mclemore will be on Stauskas. The bottom line is that we will have to live with the defense EJ and Naadir can provide on Burke. Don't forget that Self likes to funnel players into the post/Withey, so EJ and Naadir won't be as isolated as other michigan opponent's have been.

kellerman411 2 years, 4 months ago

Absolutely. Mistake? It would be suicidal to put anyone but Releford on Burke. At least for the first 12 minutes and then evaluate. Burke would beat Elijah and he would DESTROY Naadir. If we can just keep him from getting hot early, we'll have some matchup options going down the stretch.

Sam Constance 2 years, 4 months ago

You guys suggesting that we start Releford on Burke are absolutely nuts.

If we put Releford on Burke, one of the 6-6 guys will be able to more or less shoot right over the top of Johnson, and as much as I love Releford as a defender, he is not fast enough to hang with Burke for a full game.

Better to use Releford as a change of pace to frustrate Burke if he starts getting things going (which means creating for his teammates more than anything).

Dirk Medema 2 years, 4 months ago

No mention of Perry. Oh how things changer from week to week.

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

I like Releford defending Burke since he is their Wooden award finalist. I don't think Releford on Burke or Releford on Hardaway is an either/or dilemma. I think Self will be switching up match ups in the first half to see for himself what is working best and will have some change-ups at the end of the game hidden up his sleeve.

B-Mac on Stauskas sounds right since Bill has liked to keep Ben's energy conserved for the offensive end. I noticed Ben cheating off of Irving and Spradling to help contain Rodriguez. If Releford is the hot hand on offense again this game I wonder if we see Ben, who has defensive chops, take some stretches against Burke or Hardaway.

When Releford got into foul trouble guarding McGruder this year in Allen Fieldhouse, it was Tharpe's quickness that contained the 6' 4" scorer for the Wildcat's. I would not underestimate Tharpe's ability to defend the Wolverine's guards. Tharpe was on the floor for a long stretch while we shut down those talented North Carolina guards on Sunday in the second half.

Elijah is really good at staying low and moving laterally. He has excellent length in his arms and sensational hops so I don't see Michigan's guards simply shooting over him. He can also work to deny the ball and play to the scouting report. He’s a senior starting in his 8th NCAA tournament game in a little over a year.

I was really impressed with Young on Harriston on Sunday. I noticed Young

McAdoo’s insight on how well the guards play with Withey behind them tells us how sharp this KU defense is when playing right now against talented back courts, undersized power forwards and centers that Withey has an advantage over in the paint.

This is our 5th game in a row where we play a team with a talented backcourt that likes to stretch the court with an undersized powerfoward. We should be geared into their style of play and will be well focused with the scouting report by Friday.

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

With the individual match-ups looking even, I really like the way our Team Defense match's up with the Wolverine offense. Michigan is 2-6 vs Ohio State (1-1), Indiana (0-2), Wisconsin (0-2), Michigan State (1-1). The Wolverines are 0-5 against these terrific Big 10 defenses on the road and on neutral courts. Lost by 3 @ Ohio State, by 8 @ Indiana, by 3 in OT @ Wisconsin, by 23 @ Michigan State and by 9 to Wisconsin in the Big 10 tournament. They had a plus 2 scoring margin in their 2-1 record at home against Ohio State, Michigan State and Indiana.

Kansas will play tenacious defense on Friday night. This time of year with this kind of match up it's all about playing D and making shots. I like KU to win. They also have the experience dealing with the NCAA tournament zoo which amps up even more this weekend.

okiedave 2 years, 4 months ago

K.U. matchups starting Friday, are going to be the highlight games for the rest of the tournament.

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't know. You've got Duke vs. Michigan State, Indiana vs. Syracuse (for the first time since the '87 title game), and the Florida Gulf Coast Cinderella story. I think Kansas will continue to fly under the radar until and unless we face Florida Gulf Coast -- in which case everyone in the nation will be rooting against us.

Steve Zimmerman 2 years, 4 months ago

I want to see Jeff swatting their 3s and beating the crap out of them under the rim. FG% leader, meet FG%D beast. It's been a match-up I've been waiting for. I like us being the underdog. We have to show them who's the fiercest.

Note to PGs & BMac: please please please make those shots!!!!!!!!!!

Let's go Jayhawk!

Dirk Medema 2 years, 4 months ago

O always has more numbers and is the sexier choice. D wins championships. You can see it in the FF's. You can get there without an elite O (Louisville '12), but virtually never without an elite D.

eric poncharello 2 years, 4 months ago

I believe every so called talking head expert is choosing Michigan. Kansas will come out Friday ready to play smash mouth and I think they thrive on that perception that every so called expert is choosing UM to win. Kansas player's are done having rocky games, it seems every year KU plays that way in the first two games off the NCAA's. EJ, Travis, Young, Withey and even Naa has waited there turn to be the ones to be on the main stage, there not going to let this opportunity slip away with out a fight. Will WIN, I'll Say it again WILL WIN! After KU beats UM, Will be in the championship. Last week I called the Kansas players out on this site, this week I don't need to, there already out there! By the way I got this picture off of the UMhoops site

Ryan Knuth 2 years, 4 months ago

I used to hate Jay Williams when he was at Duke, but he picked us to make the NC game, so not everyone is picking against us.

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

No not everyone is picking Michigan. But most "experts" are. None of the "experts" learned anything last year. When I see performances like I did in the second half against UNC, I long for a complete game performance from the Jayhawks and I believe it is coming soon. It appears that this group of seniors knows they can win it all. I just feel those vibes.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 4 months ago

The people that actually put their money where their mouths are, i.e. Vegas has KU as a 2 point favorite; it opened at 2.5. Of course Vegas sets up the line so bets are evenly divided (moneywise) so regardless of who wins they still make money. If they estimate too many people are taking Michigan and the 2 points, they will change the odds to balance the betting. So far the line has been pretty steady at 2 points.

texashawk10 2 years, 4 months ago

Vegas doesn't set up for equal betting because that means they aren't making a profit. Vegas sets the line so they can make money.

Jim Tebow 2 years, 4 months ago

texashawk10, Actually, that is precisely what Casinos do. If they had their way, the exact same amount of money would be bet on both sides. That way, they are guaranteed to make money off the -110 juice. If they are banking on winning one side of hte bet, then they would be gambling. Casinos don't gamble. Only bettors do.

Curtis Stutz 2 years, 4 months ago

On occasion the casino might leave a bet one sided and take a risk to make big money, but the vast majority of the time they want it split evenly.

Brendan Connolly 2 years, 4 months ago

I will assume you have never been to Vegas and bet. Typically the way it works is that to win $100 you have to bet $110. If you lose, you lose. If you win you get $110. It is known as the vig. They are aiming to pocket the vig, not pick a winner. So if one side is getting too much money bet or laid on it they move the line to incent bets on other side.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 4 months ago

It will never seem that both teams play to their potential, but we have opposite strengths. "To our strength" means a shut-down D and <40%. If that happens, UM isn't "To our strength".

nostradavid 2 years, 4 months ago

  • “Part of our strategy this time, we’re going to tell our guys to actually make shots,” Self said with a smile.

  • ‘I’m going to enjoy every second of it.’ That’s the mindset we can improve on moving forward.”

Zen - how to break through the limits of the rational mind, and begin expanding your awareness and appreciation for the Great Game unfolding all around us. The art of the controlled accident—what happens when you stop taking your life so seriously and start enjoying it with complete sincerity. In order to come to your senses, Alan Watts often said, you sometimes need to go out of your mind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hAsfEhegNA

Are we having fun yet ?

Are we having fun yet ? by nostradavid

kusayzone 2 years, 4 months ago

Shooting is a big deal in a dome! It is easier to make a shot in the lane than a 3 pointer. Begin by feeding the Withey, drag their defense in to the basket, then our guys from the outside will have wide open uncontested shots...Moral of the story,,,,dont fall in love with the three...Michigan will, and there are some odds that they will shoot over average and win, but much better than just throwing the ball up there....lol RCJH

tim deegan 2 years, 4 months ago

Been enjoying your posts and the pics all season, the Watts video link finally got me to dig out my old account here and comment. Keep up the fun posts.

Also, that first half of the NC game had me soooo bummed... but I should know better than to give up on these guys. I won't make the same mistake this Friday if we get behind.

Lots of respect from their coach here: http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-baskbl/mich-m-baskbl-body.html

Curtis Stutz 2 years, 4 months ago

If Michigan manages to win this game so be it. I just want to see the same determination we've become accustomed to from these guys in big games. No fear, just 5 Jayhawks on the court playing smart, hard-nosed basketball for 40 minutes.

KULA 2 years, 4 months ago

All those CBS sportscasters remind me of 08 when nobody picked us against UNC or Memphis. I still say we've got the best first seven guys in the D1. And I'll go with the Vegas oddsmakers over the network talking heads anytime.

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 4 months ago

Jay Bilas picked us to win in 2008. If I were looking at the whole season as a neutral party and comparing KU & Michigan on paper, I'd probably pick Michigan. There's one Big 12 team left, us. Four Big 10 teams. If KU plays like they did in the 2nd half against UNC for the whole game, we'll win. If we have 23 turnovers, we're going to lose. I think KU - Michigan play ten times, Michigan wins 6. All that said, KU can win this game, and will win if they choose to.

Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 4 months ago

Honestly, I don't think this team is ever out of a game. And only one of these teams played in the national championship game. Experts don't seem to remember that.

jhawkerMick 2 years, 4 months ago

We also dont want to forget that Michigan took 4th in the Big 10. Ku beat Ohio St. and gave the game away early in the season to Michigan St. I believe if KU was in that conference they would of won it. ISU very easily could still be in the tourney and OSU didnt play well at all. i dont believe talent for talent the Big 10 has better teams. KSU, although i despise them, laid an egg. I believe the top 4 teams of the Big 12 and the top 4 teams of the Big 10 are pretty evenly matched and I believe KU will win this game and the one after that. Final Four this year again!!

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

Sure, Michigan played against better teams in conference than we did, but for the most part, they didn't beat those teams. They couldn't even beat Wisconsin. If they had gotten even a split against the top of the Big 10, they could have been a 1 or 2 seed without winning the conference. But they didn't.

2 years, 4 months ago

Also, let us not forget Michigan's 6-point loss at Penn St. (2-16, 10-21; 186 RPI) - a defeat basically on the same level as our 7-point loss at TCU (2-16, 11-21; 238 RPI).

Edit: a point I now see was also made by Massive in earlier comments below.

ManCrushOnCaptainKirk 2 years, 4 months ago

Does anybody feel like we are "due" to win a National Championship when we DON"T have arguably the best team in the nation hands down? Especially in light of the fact that we've lost a several of times (against Arizona comes especially to mind) when we were CLEARLY the best team in the nation. I just feel that one of these days, we're bound to get a few breaks and win a chip with a team that clearly has flaws.

The basketball gods owe it to us....

Cameron Cederlind 2 years, 4 months ago

Nobody is owed a national championship, it's earned.

kennethst 2 years, 4 months ago

No. There is always a reason why Kansas lost. Being "due".....being the supposed "best team in the nation".....not getting "breaks".......all completely irrelevant. Each and every year.......the best team won. Period.

KU is not "owed" anything. It's up to KU to go out and win it all......and earn it.

Sam Constance 2 years, 4 months ago

"Each and every year.......the best team won. Period."

Not even close. Have you watched the tournament before?

The tournament is not always won by the "best" team, and using the NCAA tournament as a measure of the "best" team is a mistake.

You can't tell me that UConn was the "best" team in 2011. You can't tell me that Kansas was the "best" team in 1988.

Our emphasis on the NCAA tournament as fans has caused us to mistake what winning the tournament really means. It means you are the national champion, and it's an incredibly difficult accomplishment to achieve. But it is only won by the "best" team part of the time.

kennethst 2 years, 4 months ago

I meant best team over those weeks of the national tournement.....not necessarily the best team overall.

theend 2 years, 4 months ago

Sorry.....hate to tell you, Marchphog.......but national championships are THE most important accomplishment. Won a Big 12 title? Had 30 wins? Won the conference tourney? Nice to have......but in the end nobody remembers except us. So you don't like the "emphasis", eh? Well......no wonder you don't......KU has only won three(forget those Helms titles). You had better wake up and smell the coffee, buddy. National Championships are the ONLY thing that matters in the end. KU needs to win more. Period. But I guess you sleep better knowing we really pounded Texas Tech......3 times!!!!! WOW!!!!

Sam Constance 2 years, 4 months ago

You say that you hate to tell me, but it really seems like you are taking great pleasure in your misguided attempt to correct me.

My disliking the emphasis has nothing to do with KU having the sixth most national championships out of the 300+ D-I teams that play college basketball. And no, I'm not counting the Helms titles, since they aren't national championships.

It has to do with people lacking the basic ability to employ critical thinking when it comes to matching meaning to feeling. The emphasis on the NCAA tournament employs a basic bait-and-switch--we see the NCAA tourney as exciting and difficult, so we parlay that excitement into some misplaced belief that it is also the "most important" accomplishment.

It's like suggesting that winning the lottery is "more important" than finding a long-term, well-paying job that will provide health benefits, retirement options, and a place to continuing honing your professional skill set. That doesn't mean that winning the lottery isn't an amazing achievement, but it does put some perspective on the difference between a infrequent, highly-difficult thing that involves a great deal of luck and a regular, consistent, also-difficult thing that involves a great deal of hard work/effort.

theend 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, Marchpog......most of what you say is right. But all they remember is the National Championships. KU needs more of them. It bothers me that "johnny come lately" teams like Florida,UConn and even Duke have as many or nearly as many. Should not be so. KU has been a blue-blood powerhouse for over a century. We need more NC's. You know.....I know it.....Everyone knows it.

ManCrushOnCaptainKirk 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, all I'm saying is that one of these years we're going to win it all without having the "hands down" best team. We'll get a few breaks after the Bucknells and Rhode Islands....someday we'll be the Arizona or UConn that gets extremely hot at just the right time.

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

I would have loved to see the 1986 team earn the National Title had there been a three point line in effect. Thompson and Kellogg missed it by one year.

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 4 months ago

I do believe in being "due." KU was "due" in 1997, hands down, but didn't close the deal. And the best team in college basketball does not always win the tourney, but there's no fun in putting every team into a computer, analyzing every quantifyable parameter, and spitting out a national champion. As Chris Berman says...That's why they play the game. KU's gonna go Rumblin...Stumblin'...Bumblin'...WHOOP! Doink! And McLemore picks off the pass...He. Could. Go. All. The. Way!

nuleafjhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

The only team that can beat us is ......us.

Kent Richardson 2 years, 4 months ago

Are Perry and Jelly gonna be quick enough to handle the 4? Who does MI have that can handle them? Only way MI wins is by a super hot shooting night or our cold one. Both teams play well we win.

Ron Franklin 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm still waiting for somebody to explain how Michigan is a 4 seed. That is the biggest joke of the tournament, Besides Kentucky not making it at all.

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 4 months ago

If the regular season had ended after we lost to OU and we hadn't won the Big 12 tourney, then we'd be a 4 seed.

If the regular season had ended after Louisville lost three straight, and they hadn't won the Big East tourney, then they'd be a 4 seed.

Weird how things work out sometimes...

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

I'll be glad to explain. Michigan lost 6 of their last 12, including at lowly Penn State (2-16 in conference). And Kentucky -- you've gotta be kidding, right? They dropped 6 of their last 10 against a very weak SEC and were crushed by a bad Vanderbilt team in the conference tourney. (Then, of course, Robert Morris confirmed, if there were any doubts, whether the 'Cats deserved to be in the NCAAs.)

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

Robert Morris confirmed that UK did not belong, yes indeed.

Ron Franklin 2 years, 4 months ago

Hawk--I guess that I did not word that appropriately. I meant to say that it was funny that UK didn't make it. Not that they deserved to be in it.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 4 months ago

Totally agreed. This team was ranked 6th in the country going into the Big10 tournament, and lost to a Wisconsin team that was hot in the tournament. They spent time, not that long ago either, as the #1 team in the country. Of the 6 losses in their last 12, 5 were to ranked teams.

By the way, our 7-4 record, 4-4 in regular season games might make some say we were overseeded. I don't, but I think they too were underseeded.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 4 months ago

I guess I should re read! 7-4 record in our last 11 games and 4-4 in last 8 regular season games is what I meant to say.

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

Huh? We were 7-1 in our last eight regular-season games. You could say we were 7-4 in our last 11 regular-season games, but that's quite misleading with three of the four losses coming at the very beginning of the stretch.

Of course, the selection committee also would have looked at the Big 12 tourney, so really we were 10-1 in our last eleven games.

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

As for Michigan, they had mostly "good" losses, but they were still losses. You can't put them up on the 1 or 2 line with the teams that beat them -- they were 2-8 vs. Indiana, MSU, Ohio St., and Wisconsin. If you want to argue that they should have been a 3, I could go along with that, but then it's just nit-picking.

Now, that doesn't mean they won't beat us. It could be that they've recovered their mojo and are playing like a #1 team now--just like Arizona in '97, which was also a 4 seed.

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

Kansas had to face one of the top Big 10 teams in their region during this second weekend. Michigan is 2-6 vs Ohio State (1-1), Indiana (0-2), Wisconsin (0-2), Michigan State (1-1). Above I wrote about why I like this match up for Kansas. I didn't want to play Ohio State for the 4th time in 18 months, though I could be very wrong about that. I really like that Izzo and the Spartans, Coach K and Duke are both on the other side of the bracket and in the same region as Louisville. Indiana vs Kansas seems like a perfectly reasonable Final Four match up along with a potential match up with Miami there too.

I think all four of the top seeds in the South had some reasonable questions about where they should be seeded this year. Michigan is a tough 4 seed, for sure, though I thought we got the best pair of 2 and 3 seeds. I think Michigan earned the right to be in a region that did not include Indiana, Michigan State or Ohio State. With Georgetown already out and Florida not being a sure bet being in the Elite 8 even now against Florida Gulf Coast, I liked our bracket last Sunday and still think it is a good draw.

It is a very even field this year. I'm sure fans of Duke and Michigan State are having similar conversations about their next game. I'm sure Louisville fans are wondering why they have to play the Blue Devils or the Spartans in the Elite Eight if they are the overall #1 seed. If you are the best team in the best conference this year, Indiana fans are wondering why they have to play the outright winner of the regular season ACC, winner of the ACC tournament, a very mature team supported by perhaps the best point guard on the bounce this year who also has a money jump shot. Ohio State drew Iowa State in the second round and we saw how tough of a deal that was for the Buckeye's. The strange seed match-up is coming at us here in the Sweet 16, again I must say we were going to get one of those Michigan teams this weekend and I like that we have the Wolverines, plus I think our next to games if we advance is much more appealing than the other side of the bracket.

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

errr....last sentence edit!...I must say we were going to get one of those top Big 10 teams this weekend and I like that we have the Wolverines. Plus I think our next two games if we advance to the rounds of 8 and 4 are much more appealing than the other side of the bracket–specifically avoiding Louisville/Pitino, Duke/K, Michigan State/Izzo.

HAWKTOPIA 2 years, 4 months ago

Free Throws! If we get to the line and MAKE our free throws, we will win. Most our tounement losses could have been much different games had we converted free throws. Sink the Gimme's and we are Elite Eight.

joeloveshawks 2 years, 4 months ago

I can't remember a year that so many analysts picked a 1 seed to go down to a 4. I think it is partially due to how great this Michigan team is but also just a huge lack of respect for our Jayhawks. Perhaps the loss to TCU is still in people's minds but Michigan really struggled down the stretch and in their last loss to Wisconsin they looked horrible. Both teams have a ton of talent and it should be a great game. Hopefully we will all enjoy watching everyone at CBS and ESPN eat crow after a KU victory. It would be very similar to how no one picked us to beat OSU in the Final 4 last year.

Ron Franklin 2 years, 4 months ago

39 Turnovers in the last two games results in the no respect angle.

FL_Jhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

We have not been playing like a 1-seed should be playing, that is why.

Also, writers like to say they were the ones who predicted an upset. If we lose, they say they were right and we didn't have what it took. If we win, they say it was because we finally played to our potential.

I love the predictions. It should make us play harder. I think the first two games showed us the way to win.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 4 months ago

It is easier to like O than D.

D trumps O almost everytime.

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

Funny how "experts" like to bring up TCU, but never mention 38-9 or the fact Michigan lost to 2-16 Penn State. They love to attempt to minimize KU at every opportunity. Didn't Andy Katz have KU cutting the nets down or did he back track from that prediction??

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

I quote Ryan Burr, "Kansas beat Ohio State in Allen Fieldhouse without Jared Sullinger." Every time he mentioned that game it was the same excuse, though he never mentioned Tyshawn played on one leg. Build up to Final Four semifinal, same thing which led me to contact ESPN and let them know that KU beat Ohio State and Jared Sullinger played.

wrwlumpy 2 years, 4 months ago

It looks like Danny and the Golden Hurricanes are moving to the big East. Now Danny will really be able to recruit.

http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/9100852/tulsa-golden-hurricane-join-big-east-according-sources

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 4 months ago

I doubt that he'll have too much more luck recruiting as a member of the "soon-to-be-renamed" Big East as he would have in Conference USA.

The level of competition in that new league will at best be similar to the A10 or the MVC.

KemDooKU 2 years, 4 months ago

If I had to guess I would say that Missouri would have gone to the final four if not for the fact that they got out scored by Colorado St..... Just sayin

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 4 months ago

What makes you "guess" that a 23-10 overall and 11-7 in the 7th ranked conference would be going to the final 4?
We are talking about MU, a team that could not win a first round game (yes, it was a "first" round game ) last year with better personnel and a #2 seed, a school that has never been to the final 4...never mind, I don't think you will ever get it.

coloradojayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I think you might have understood if KemDooKU had labeled the post as snark.

VaJay 2 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone know how good an outside shot McGary has???

If that guy shoots anything like McAdoo, then Withey can patrol the paint & affect the game in a big way.

Curtis Stutz 2 years, 4 months ago

I've only seen Michigan play maybe 3-4 times, but I don't think I've ever seen McGary take a jump shot. I didn't see the Mich/VCU game, but I assume he scored a lot of buckets in the paint off breaking their press or putbacks. He's an around the rim finisher. He is pretty big and athletic.

otaKU 2 years, 4 months ago

Bill Self owns/owned Big 10 basketball. If the national championship goes through the Big 10 this year (Michigan Indiana, Michigan St. or Ohio State), I think Self will have the guys prepared.

KPOP 2 years, 4 months ago

agreed. never underestimate the importance of HCBS. He knows plenty about the Big10 and in fact can muddy it up better than any Big10 coach.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

No offense but check out Bill's record against Michigan State..not good news!!

tis4tim 2 years, 4 months ago

Izzo is Self's kryptonite, just like Self is to Bruce Weber and Roy Williams. I may actually pull for Duke against MSU because I don't want to have to face them. Some teams just seem have another team's number. Don't know why that is. It just is. MSU has our number. Aside from 1988, when we beat Scott Skiles and Co., and Bill Self's first season(?) when we beat them non-conference, I can't recall any victories against MSU.

Brad Farha 2 years, 4 months ago

In all fairness, the last 3 times KU has played Michigan State have been in years after we played in the National Championship Game. Twice in 2008-2009, and once in 2012-2013. We had just sent major players to the NBA, and were either a young or developing team.

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

You mean 1986 Regional against Michigan State. The game the clock froze at 2:20 for several seconds. Brown was assessed a Technical Foul, Archie got a big put back in and Pony took care of business in overtime.

otaKU 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm too lazy to do the research, but if you look back on his days with Illinois and Kansas I don't think Bill Self's record against Izzo is THAT bad.

Curtis Stutz 2 years, 4 months ago

The last 2 games I can think of against MSU came down to nobody on the team wanting to score in the last 2 minutes. I would have enjoyed KU playing them last year. This Nov's game was basically a repeat of the '09 tourney game, KU up with a couple minutes to go, MSU stepped up and KU fell apart. '09 was a young team with 1 scorer, this year they were 0-1 and desperately wanted to avoid going 0-2. If KU were to meet them in the end I wouldn't be concerned at all. Of course at the moment the MW regional is of no importance to KU basketball. Unless Oregon can somehow play their way through Indy, don't really care which team does. In that case Duke would definitely have to beat MSU and Oregon would have to play some amazing basketball against UofL.

wrwlumpy 2 years, 4 months ago

Check his record out against Michigan.

tim deegan 2 years, 4 months ago

Its time to show the all the media talking heads that we are a number one seed for a reason.

Lots of respect for Michigan and their coach, including mine, but thought I'd poke a little fun at the team that is going to lose Friday...

Q. What does the average Michigan player get on his/her SAT? A. Drool.

Q. Why doesn't Ohio slide off into the Ohio River? A. Because Michigan SUCKS.

Q. What do you tell the U of M cheerleader to pick her up after she smiles at you? A. Nice tooth, babe.

Q. Why did they change the playing field at "The Big House" to cardboard? A. Because Michigan has always looked better on paper.

Q. What do you say to a Michigan Wolverine in a three piece suit? A. Will the defendant please rise.

A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, "Wanna hear a Michigan joke?" The guy next to him replies, "Well before you tell that joke, you should know something. I'm 6' tall, 200 lbs., and I am a Michigan alumnus. The guy sitting next to me is 6'2 tall, weighs 225, and he's a Michigan alumnus. The fella next to him is 6'5 tall, weighs 250, and he's a Michigan alumnus. Now, you still wanna tell that joke?" The first guy says, "Nah, not if I'm gonna have to explain it 3 times."

coloradojayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I thought Tigertown might refer to Detroit, but I guess after you recycled some old jokes and substituted in Michigan things where appropriate, you might want to actually check out what you're talking about. The University of Michigan is one of the most highly rated schools in the whole world. They just were rated 12th, IIRC in the whole world, behind only UC Berkeley and perhaps UCLA. KU is nowhere near the top of that list, though KU does have some good programs. It's much harder to get into UM than it is to get into KU and the quality of the students and faculty is world class.

As for the quality of the athletic programs, Michigan's football has multiple national championships, far more wins than any other school and a stadium that has hosted 100,000+ fans each and every game for longer than many on this board have been alive (Jaybate excepted). Men's basketball doesn't have the distinguished history of KU, but UM has not been chopped liver either, winning the championship in 1989 and playing against Indiana when their undefeated team won the championship a few years prior. Notice I'm not even talking about the Fab5 years, but KU hasn't been sparkling in their cleanliness either.

I'm a born and bred Jayhawk, but proud to have attended Michigan as a third generation in my family. I'm rooting for KU this Friday, but I'll be very happy if Michigan wins and I'll cheer them on through the championship game just like I would KU.

Your denigrating Michigan is unwarranted, uneducated and unbecoming a KU fan.

coloradojayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

BTW, my comment about where Michigan placed behind a couple of schools was to differentiate public vs. private universities. There were only one or two US public universities ahead of Michigan.

Dan Harris 2 years, 4 months ago

Lighten up Francis(re-read the beginning of his post)

texashawk10 2 years, 4 months ago

Michigan only has the 1997 co-title over the past 65+ years. The rest of their titles are from when the forward pass was not a huge part of the game.

Phognatic 2 years, 4 months ago

...and Nebraska would have embarrassed the wolverines in a head-to-head match up that year.

nostradavid 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for your reply to my post; I'm glad you're back on board.

In the immortal (although abridged) words of Keith Richards:

"F 'em if they can't take a joke."

I thought innuendo was an Italian suppository.

I thought innuendo was an Italian suppository. by nostradavid

FearlessJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Just once I would like to see Ben McLemore play the way he is capable of. If he can somehow get untracked and we play the lock-down defense we are capable of, it will be on to Florida and the final four. Have the same kind of attitude as Florida Gulf Coast; relax, have fun and let her rip.

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

McLemore responds against Michigan and goes off! and has a giant game.

jhawkerMick 2 years, 4 months ago

Most teams have been keying on Mclemore and now KU has proven they can win without him so hopefully these teams will divert their attention away from him getting him more open looks and if so, I believe it will be lights out!

Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

The common thinking is that the Michigan/Kansas game will be a war of attrition and that the battered and bruised winner, whichever team it is, will be easy pickings for Florida who should handle Florida-Lite by 30.

In all honesty, I am not sure this Kansas team has enough to get to another championship game much less win it.

Still, I will be rooting with my wife watching upstairs, me downstairs with the sound off, my KANSAS bar sign on full illumination and my KU Flag flying high!!!!!

Me..superstitious...NNNAAAAHHHH!!!!!

Beau Woolsey 2 years, 4 months ago

We were down at the half against Chattanooga We came out of that playing the great basketball for two months I'm hoping the UNC game has the same effect

kennethst 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm sick of these "experts"........they have never respected Kansas......and they never will. The only reason these losers picked Michigan is that Michigan happenned to have a good game vs VCU......so now they are all salavating and foaming at the mouth over them. But I can assure that if Michigan had not played well......they would find another team to salavate over(other than Kansas).......Why do human beings have to be so "human"?????

Anyway.....forget ever trying to convince "experts" to respect KU. It will never happen. Never. KU just needs to win......and shut their mouths.

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

Eh, the "experts" picked Kansas back in 2010 and 2011. I don't think there's any lack of respect for KU. They're just looking at our biggest weakness (PG) and thinking Burke is especially equipped to exploit it.

I don't think it's out of line to pick Michigan in this game. I wouldn't be shocked at all if we lose. But I do think that ultimately, our superior defense and experience should win out.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 4 months ago

Burke is more effective against teams like VCU that play a full court press and when he beats the press, results in easy transition/fast break points. KU is not that type of team, so Burke will not be nearly as effective.

jhawkerMick 2 years, 4 months ago

Withey changes the way the game is played! As long as we get back on defense, they will have to shoot outside and they will not beat KU if they have to get all their points from shooting outside!

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

Oklahoma State better than KU quoted quite often all season by "experts" there's been a lack of respect about anything around here for years. It's always a "miracle" when KU wins a National Title. You telling me if Duke or Kentucky would have had the Iowa State game occur to them that the National Media would have gone on and on about it. C'mon...I heard those "experts" saying Kansas has had a history of going out early to mid majors when in fact KU played for the National Title last year and won it in 2008.

oldalum 2 years, 4 months ago

I remember Reese Davis last year searching through our bracket and asking the other guys which one of the other teams was likely to pull the upset against us. By the way, are he and Seth brothers? They look alike to me.

Joe Baker 2 years, 4 months ago

That media pressure makes it really hard to succeed. I really see MU overplaying and trying to live up to the media hype. This makes for a dangerous game for MU. They will try to repeat what they did against VCU. They are playing a very different team than VCU.

Greg Lux 2 years, 4 months ago

We will need to shoot and make 3's to win this game. I am all for taking it inside to young and withey but in the past that has lead to more turnovers and less points. This game we need more balance and maybe a little outside - in game, and of course B Mac on his game will be necessary for sure.

Rock Chalk

Dirk Medema 2 years, 4 months ago

We need to pound the paint and feed the big dogs over and over again. And over again and over again.

Oh, and UM's lack of D should help Ben get back on track too.

Sam Constance 2 years, 4 months ago

So predictable. National sports analysts are easily distracted and prone to groupthink.

They see Michigan destroying a team that they are built to beat (VCU) combined with "three terrible halves" (in quotes because it's like they have a talking point to refer to KU's tourney performance thus far in this way) from Kansas and they seem to forget that how you did in your previous matchups in this tournament is about as relevant as KU's dominant play in the Big 12 tournament. And they rationalize it by this flawed "how are you playing right now?" reasoning.

How many times have we seen a team play outstanding ball for two games, then lay an egg in the next one?

Michigan certainly has the talent to win this game, but the way they are being penciled in as the winner is obnoxious and lacks any measure of critical thought and analysis. KU is about as good defensively as Michigan is offensively--they are both at the top of the country in those areas. The inverse is true as well--KU is about as good offensively as Michigan is defensively, although the two teams are less outstanding in those areas.

I seem to remember this idea that defense wins championships. I may be biased, but I will pick an elite defense to shut down and ugly up an elite offense every time in the NCAA tournament.

kennethst 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree. It's typical human nature. Michigan is the "sexy" team that is really hip and cool right now.......so the idiot "experts' just have to pick them to be "cool". Lets see it smack back in their faces after KU wins!!

theend 2 years, 4 months ago

Hmmmm.....And why exactly would you care? From your post above.....apparently you don't care about national titles and their importance. Which is funny......because your bitterness is so thick you can cut it with a knife. You're one of those fans that for some reason takes solace in beating up on Texas Tech and Iowa State every year......and you try to make yourself feel all better when Kansas loses in that "meaningless, little" tournement that only decides the national championship. Get real. At some point maybe you will figure out how important the national title is. It's called the NATIONAL TITLE for a reason.......and the sooner apologists and excuse artists like yourself understand....the better

ParisHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Disagree - starting next year. Real conference season and tournament followed by a glorified Pro-Am.

Tuskin 2 years, 4 months ago

The national title is extremely important. No one here disagrees with that. But the team getting the national title wasn't necessarily the best that year. In the NBA, they have a 5-game or 7-game series so it's more likely that the best team wins. In a single-elimination tournament, anything can happen. And does.

Curtis Stutz 2 years, 4 months ago

If KU doesn't win a national title I take pride in the fact they beat more quality teams during the season than anybody in the nation, not just TT.

I take pride in the fact that KU has a chance to make a 15th FF and 10th Finals.

I take pride in the fact that this group so far has brought KU to within 10 wins on the all-time list.

Also proud of the 90+ tourney wins in the program's history.

If CBB was to have a true champion we'd need to have a similar playoff system to the NBA. Sadly this is the one thing about the NBA I prefer over CBB.

KU fans will always take pride in the incredible role the school and its representatives have played in the development of the sport of basketball.

Would you rather have IU's resume of 5 NC's and 33 fewer tourney wins? I'd have to say no thank you.

theend

theend 2 years, 4 months ago

You again, eh? Back for more? Are you serious???? You got to be kidding me! You would rather have our tournment appearances than 2 more national titles???? Wow!!!!! Just Wow!!!! I'm beyond any further words.

Curtis Stutz 2 years, 4 months ago

I'll run with your logic. In order to make up for losing to IU in 1940 and 1953 and instead assume KU won those 2 championships instead of IU, you'd have to give up even making the tourney 5 of the last 9 years the way IU has. But wait, that'd only make up for 9 of the extra tourney wins as that's the amount of wins KU had in those 5 years. So then you'd have to give up all the wins after the 1st round in say '02, '03, '93, '91, '12 that's 18 wins. Still need 8 more and 1 more FF taken off the list. So let's deduct 3 wins from '86. Now we'd be at 8 FF's and 5 titles. Still have to void 5 more wins from KU's tourney history. So just to equal IU in NC's you'd be willing to drop the FF's in '86, '91, '93, '02, '03, '12 and instead lose in the 2nd round each of those years, not even make the tournament in '04, '05, '09, '10, '11, and then you still have to deduct another 5 wins from the record. So get rid of Elite Eight runs in '96 and '07 and lose 2nd round those years and then lose 2nd round in 2001 instead of a sweet 16 and now you've got IU's tourney resume, 5 Titles, 8 FF's and 53 wins coming into this season in 36 appearances. Then you could have 2 precious wins in title games. You'd be happier with that? That's utterly ridiculous. Personally, it doesn't bother me one bit that KU didn't win it all in '40 and '53, but I love the fact that KU has one of the best tourney resumes since the modern tourney started in '85 with 2 NC's, 8 FF's and only 1 missed appearance in '89.

Sam Constance 2 years, 4 months ago

If you honestly read my earlier post as "national championships don't matter", then you are either...

1) In severe need of some lessons in basic reading comprehension, or 2) A troll doesn't care what was actually said, only in what can be twisted around to form a basis for some kind of antagonistic post.

Either way, I'm not going to waste my time addressing your "questions". The end.

theend 2 years, 4 months ago

Marchphog.....The old stiff collared shirt with too much starch. HA HA!! Well, sir. Let's just get KU through this weekend. We can argue in the off-season, eh.......you old codger!

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

When Kansas beats Michigan those talking points about our games in Kansas City will quickly turn to "for a team to win it all they have to find ways to win when they don't play their A game. Kansas really knows how to battle, I like their experience from last year and I like them to advance to..."

GreatJake 2 years, 4 months ago

Hey, some tall KU alum who is going to the game on Friday...

Wear a Michigan hat and T-Shirt and accidently jab Withey in the cheek before the game. It seems like a winning strategy.

Just kidding.............

Thanks Jayhawks for extending the fun for another week. Lets see some back court bad axx offense/defense this weekend.

Hank Cross 2 years, 4 months ago

I was listening to a B10 journalist on xm college sports and he was quite concerned about MIs ability to handle KU inside. Let's hope he is right.

mikehawk 2 years, 4 months ago

After watching Michigan destroy VCU playing VCU's game, I think we are better off for a muddy track, ugly, trench warfare type game. This team of ours is so interesting in that they are not going to make it easy on ourselves or on the opponent. We have to find a way to win, but you have to find a way to beat us. I am not saying it will take us all the way, or even past this game, but the senior leadership is a difference maker, especially as the stakes get higher. The B1G is full of themselves, and for good reason this year. But make no mistake about it, when they see Kansas and HCBS, they get real quiet. Anyone who watched Michigan dismantle VCU, has to pick them. It is the smart money. Oh...wait a minute! The smart MONEY is on us by two. Interesting.

kennethst 2 years, 4 months ago

It's important not to underestimate a team. But equally important......and possibly even more important.....is not to overestimate a team. Yes......Michigan beat up VCU....no question. But that was one game. It will be nothing like the game against KU.

Alex Resnik 2 years, 4 months ago

I've been living in the Detroit area now for 8 years and I get to hear all the talk about how McGary is going to throw around Withey and how Burke is going to get his 25 pts. I've been watching KU and Michigan all year and Michigan CANNOT defend. McGary is a hustler, a Hansbrough type who will throw up some shots and hope they go in without playing any resemblance of defense. The entire Michigan team is defensively inept. Staskus is a liability, he will be guarding T-Rel, Hardaway takes plays off he will be guarding B-Mac and Burke will be guarding EJ, and EJ has 5 inches on him and about 20-30 lbs. Robinson JR will be guarding KY and I think that we can exploit that matchup, whether it be KY or Ellis. We win this game because we pound the ball inside and let Perry and KY do work (Perry scores and KY should have 6-8 assists)

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

John Beilein understands what you are saying when you observe 'Michigan CANNOT defend'. Beilein was talking about how proud he was of his team buying in on the defensive end over the last month after the VCU win. Late buy in on defense, especially when the Wolverines are going to have to work hard on the offensive end to try to get what they want, does not sound good for them. As Bill Self is saying "We need to make shots" and we'll win this game. The higher percentage shots so much the better and I feel even more positive about seeing those after reading your post. I would also like to add that we pound it inside and see Withey go monster with some jams. Cheers!

jgkojak 2 years, 4 months ago

I keep saying this -

Unless we're playing a TCU-type game, if we play like we did in the 2nd half against UNC...

We have a chance to do to Michigan what we did to UNC in the 2008 Final Four- knock 'em out in the 1st half.

Michigan will want to run, doesn't defend... so I see McLemore, Releford, Johnson and Perry going to town against them - we'll get 10 or so extra possessions a half on rebounds, which against Michigan will = 15-20 pts.

If we turn the ball over we're dead meat.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 4 months ago

Bill Self is 2-0 against Beilein while at Kansas. Kansas and Michigan had home/home series in 2010 and 2011.

Interesting stats for both of those games:

2010: Michigan was 5-28 from the 3 point line

2011: Michigan was 4-28 from the 3 point line, Hardaway was a freshman during this game and dropped 19 points.

I don't remember much from the 2010 game, but I remember Kansas struggled a lot with the 1-3-1 half court zone that Beilein implemented in the 2011 game in Ann Arbor. Kansas was up 13 points twice during this game. Once during the final 5 minutes of the first half and held a 7 point half-time lead and the other was in the second half when they were up 13 points with 10 minutes to go.

Michigan fought it's way back and forced the game into OT and Kansas prevailed in OT.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't think Izzo is Self's Kryptonite. They are 5-5 against each other with Izzo winning the last 3.

The games in 2009 Izzo had the better squads and they beat Kansas twice that year 1) beginning of season and 2) Sweet 16 game.

In the Sweet 16 game and the the second game of the season this year Kansas lead both of the game for almost 95 percent of the game and gave it away in the last 2 minutes both games. Got to close it out.

Either way, Izzo and Mich State have had Kansas' number lately so let's not hope the entire State of Michigan has Kansas' number.

Brad Farha 2 years, 4 months ago

Agreed. I'm reposting from above, but I think it applies here too.

In all fairness, the last 3 times KU has played Michigan State have been in years after we played in the National Championship Game. Twice in 2008-2009, and once in 2012-2013. We had just sent major players to the NBA, and were either a young or developing team.

Robin Smith 2 years, 4 months ago

McGary is a fine young player, but to say he "appears to be coming into his own" is a little much. He had 1 good game against a team that only has one real contributor above 6-6. He's had some solid games this year, but nothing spectacular.

Michigan is a great offensive team that makes few turnovers, but plays average defense, rebounds poorly, and has little post presence. It's an interesting match-up as Michigan can play into Kansas's weaknesses by pressuring our guards with their stellar guards, but KU's advantages appear to dwarf any they have over KU. We must hope Kansas simply doesn't have a dreadful shooting night. Short of that, Kansas should win.

Michigan is 26-1 against good-to-subpar defensive teams and 2-6 against great defenses. Kansas will be the best defense they have faced all year.

A comparison of a few salient points:

Effective FG% -- Michigan #11 vs Kansas #26

FG% Defense -- Kansas #1 vs Michigan #127

Rebound Rate -- Kansas #17 vs Michigan #66

A/TO Rate -- Michigan #1 vs Kansas #75

They will want to play at a fast speed, but I don't think they have the edge even if they get their way, because Kansas is capable. Kansas is significantly better than Michigan in the halfcourt.

Lastly, Self >>>> Beilein and he already beat him twice in the last few years, with some of the same players.

I feel optimistic.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 4 months ago

I think you show some great statistics here, but Michigan's team is completely different from 2011. Hardaway is the only player that provided sig playing time in 2011 and now. Hardaway had 19 points in 2011.

Also, Beilein was down 13 points in that 2011 game when he came out in 1/3/1 half court zone/press that gave Kansas fits. It caused Kansas so many problems that Michigan came back and forced OT.

The real difference is Trey Burke at Point Guard. Logic says you have to contain and disrupt Burke and not let Hardaway beat you from the perimeter.

All I know is that both of these teams are jekyll and Hyde squads. Depends on which teams are going to show up.

Robin Smith 2 years, 4 months ago

Well put, into the historical perspective. Those previous match ups were only an addendum to my main points.

You make an excellent point in recalling Beilein's adjustment in that game. I've sold him too short, though I still think Self is better.

As far as being Jekyll and Hyde, I think both teams are actually quite consistent.

I want to see Johnson attack Burke hard. It's a terrible mismatch even for a fast a crafty guard like Burke. Defensively Kansas will limit them and Michigan won't limit Kansas unless Kansas just shoots poorly.

Sally Presson 2 years, 4 months ago

Go getum Hawks, you've got the whole package going in, take advantage of all your talent and sock it to them!!!

Rock Chalk!!

PVJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

KU basketball players:

There happen to be very rare individuals (like myself) who can actually drive as good or better when intoxicated as opposed to sober. This phenomenon, some believe, is due to a genetic aberration that makes people with those brains immune to neurotoxic molecules that can pass the blood-brain barrier.

But I say it is simpler than that. It is the ability to FOCUS when one really needs to. You exhibited that kind of focus in the second half of the UNC game and look at what happened.

Remember how that felt, because it will be required for both halves in the upcoming 4 games.

Good Luck...RCJH

Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

Let's not push the driving while intoxicated thing, shall we, even if you have the stamina of Supergirl!! We need you on this site!!

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

Sweet avatar +infinity; I like your take too. Add tenacious energy on D and we roll!

Steve Gantz 2 years, 4 months ago

Self trumps Beiline. That's the wild card we hold in this excellent matchup. You don't often see Beilines name pop up in best coach discussions.

Michigan will shoot quite a few threes.

Glenn Robinson may tell his son how to beat Kansas in the sweet 16. Tim Hardaway may tell his son how to beat kansas in the tournament.

Michigan struggles against really good defenses. That's how they lost to Wisconsin twice this year, and once each to Ohio St. and MSU.

And I'll be at church, no DVR, nothing but being distracted in thought of how the game's going while trying to listen to what's being said.

Scott Smetana 2 years, 4 months ago

Our only hope of slowing down Burke if he's hot is Tharpe. EJ's knees can't handle it. Releford is too tall and must be on Hardaway. I say bench EJ when he has his first 2 turnovers and./or missed layups. OR Bmac if he disappears. I think Tharpe will play a major role in this game.

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

I really like your enthusiasm for Tharpe's D and I do agree he will be huge if he is locked in to the game like he was on Sunday. The benching talk about McLemore and Johnson sounds too much like a February 10th comment. We'll need all four of the guys in our back court rotation and when Self dials in the best match-ups he can let the best 3 take a breather during those long TV timeouts and the fourth can be mixed in for small stretches in the second half. I would bet that Releford and Johnson will both be on the court for the last stretch of the game.

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

I am now very curious to see who Tharpe substitutes for around the 15:00 mark of each half.

kennethst 2 years, 4 months ago

If anyone wants a little inspiration for Friday's game.......watch old coyote vs roadrunner cartoons. Pretty close to Jayhawk vs Wolverine, isn't it?? I told my 3 year old to pretend Jayhawk is Roadrunner. She thinks it's hilarious.

Let's hope the Jayhawks have a few surprises from "Acme Anvil Company'......or 'Acme Cement Company'.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

Don't forget;

ACME Safe Company.

ACME Dynamite Company.

ACME Refrigerator Company.

ACME Bulldozer Company.

ACME Rocket Company.

ACME Cannon Company.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

"jaybate Intelligence Estimate: Michigan"

OVERVIEW

Michigan uses what may as well be called the Spread Princeton. Three trey shooters on the perimeter, two of which can put it on the deck. A not so long 6-6 but athletic 4. And a committee of 250 lb brick outhouse 5s. Its a timing offense using lots of screens. They do this to achieve 55% shooting by bigs and cutters inside, and 39% trey shooting outside.

KU uses a spread High-Low. They use three tree shooters on the perimeter. A long 6-8 but skinny 4. And skinny, shot blocking savant footer at the 5. Its ball movement offense using a minimum of screens. They do this to achieve 55% trey shooting by bigs and drivers inside, and 40% trey shooting outside.

In short, they use sharply different spread offenses, sharply differently weighted 5s (UM's plays horizontal smash mouth, KU's plays vertical block and alter), similar style players at 2, 3 and 4, to achieve the same ends. There is a difference at point guard, too. UM starts a PG with two good knees, and rotates either a long one, or a short one. KU starts a long point guard with 1.5 knees, and rotates a short one with just adequate defense.

ATTACK WHERE THEY ARE WEAK:

UM: Offensively, UM will attack EJ with Burke and try to muscle Jeff out of shot blocking and altering positions and attack inside for high percentage shots, then kick out to trey shooters.

KU: Offensively, we will attack their short point guard Burke and try take him to iron with EJ, attack their 3 with Travis superior strength and athleticism, and try to keep Jeff sliding across the paint to keep their heavy weight post men in motion, while Kevin works baseline to exploit his two inch advantage.

DEFEND WHERE THEY ARE STRONG:

UM: It will defend Ben and Trav at the trey stripe, and lay off EJ to see if he can hit. Jeff will be bludgeoned by McGrary and his backup. Jeff likely will never have seen a physical pounding like the one he is going to take.

KU: EJ will deny Burke the trey stripe with his 4 inch height edge and funnel his drives to Jeff. Kevin will step step in front of McGrary, to deny the dish. Travis will rotate onto Robinson. And so on. Outside, I expect Travis to really make it tough on Nik and Ben to notch his defense up and dog Hardaway.

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

Bring it on Wolverine 5's. Withey is up for the pounding. This year in Allen when K-State's Gipson went thug ball and H-Roberts was trying to get up and into Withey's uniform, Withey hung tough and responded in the second half with a vicious throw down; drawing blood from the nose of H-Roberts; Withey turned with a roar and we all found out that he was actually Superman.

Withey has played often against the immoveable force that is Thomas Robinson. So he has that going for him.

Being a pasty white, tall (as in high school tall), lanky former inside guy myself, drawn from the Irish gene pool instead of those nasty red coats, we may look skinny though we will not quit and are much stronger than you think! Especially when your core strength and balance are top notch like what Withey brings to the court. Especially when you know positioning and leverage. Especially when you can shape shift and bend with stealthy slide around moves. The Michigan bruts will be shell shocked when Jeff rev's up into monster mode–oh my god–he might actually be a less massive hulk when the face turns red, the jaw juts out, and the fire blazes from his eyes. Don't make him mad, you won't like him when he's mad. He keeps all of the snappy athleticism with his build instead of that slower low gear, raw power of muscle bounded boys. You can not bully Jeff Withey. Jeff Withey is going to get in your head and make you doubt, deeply.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Part 2

So: lets go position by position.

1--6-4 EJ vs. 6-0 Burke--Everyone loves Burke. To me he is a short man waiting to be muzzled by a long man. If EJ's knee were over the tweak in the UNC game, a 6-4 EJ usually hamstrings even a very quick 6-0 Burke on the trey stripe, and on the drive with Withey as back up, as well, especially as the game wears on. EJ stays tall inside and at the trey stripe. Burke's hops get shorter. If EJ's knee is not over the tweak, this is probably KU's weakest point and would force Naadir into service against what appears a superior athlete and talent, at least at this stage of Naadir's development. It might even trigger an appearance by Anrio Adams, as hard as this might be for KU fans to believe. Burke is a threat that has to be contained for KU to win. Were EJ's defense at its peak, we could simply shut him down, but it isn't. From Burke's point of view, it is best for him to go on the attack early and often to maximize his hops and try to foul up EJ. I think EJ will defend him well, though the screening will really test EJ, and there will have to be a lot of switching, which means Ben and Trav will get their share of time on Burke, too. I know everyone thinks Burke is the man, but I think EJ's length and tournament savvy will get the better of Burke on defense, and on offense, well, EJ makes TOs against everyone, when he is making mostly high risk/high return passes. EJ just has to protect on the dribble, even if that means Travis brings the ball up the court. Edge: KU (though no one else will think so the first 5 minutes when Burke is fresh, but will as the game wears on)

2--Ben vs. Hardaway--This is going to be a really interesting match-up, because Hardaway has an inch on Ben, is much more experienced, and is an extremely hard nosed player. Ben has the edge in athleticism and shooting range, but Hardaway is still very good himself. Both are spot up shooters. Hardaway used to put it on the deck before Burke arrived. This is a very tough matchup to bounce back against and this is why the Madness is so tough on younger players that tend to keep having flaws exposed all season. The next game is usually against an even tougher opponent. No time to work through a problem against lesser players and rebuild confidence. If Ben gets eaten alive by Hardaway, which could happen, I would say Ben needs to think seriously about helping his mom find a job in Lawrence and come back for one more year of seasoning. But if he can light the candle on Hardaway, then he is probably mentally tough enough to go to the hard knocks that await in the L. I really think this match-up is a wash. Ben will bounce back, but the best we can hope for here is Ben and Hardaway to match points (unless, of course, Hardaway were to go ice cold, but that probably wouldn't be Ben's doing--just luck of the draw.) Edge: even.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Part 3

3 Travis vs. Nik--the best way for KU to win this game is for Travis to handcuff Nik at the trey stripe, and take him to iron on offense. If they are doubling, dish, if they are not use his superior strength to wear down Nik. Travis needs to be everywhere today. This could be his big moment. Not sure if he can do it two games in a row, but that is what the mission calls for, and this season, Travis has generally carried out the mission. I am a big Travis Releford advocate. We need him to do his usual wait and see the first 5 minutes, but then we need him to try to take the game over for 3 minutes at that point, rather than waiting to the second half. Edge KU.

4--Kevin vs. Glenn--Kevin gives up 15-20 pounds, but has 2 inches on Glenn. Both are active. Kevin lives to fight through screens and harrass and hound. So does Glenn. Both guys like to get loose inside for points. Kevin never shoots the trey. Glen shoots it but only makes 34%. Kevin needs to understand that every where he goes, Glenn is going to be running him by Mitch McGrary and McGrary is going to be looking to knock Kevin's block off. Kevin is probably going down several times early. These screens are going to hurt. McGrary openly plays football. He is drive blocking in the era of no-call moving screens. On offense, Kevin needs to work baseline on these guys again, just as he did against UNC the second half. Jeff 8 to 10 feet out, maybe even 15 out, at times, could make both Kevin and Perry very effective working baseline against Glenn at 2 inches shorter, and the height would grow more advantageous as the game wears on. But Glenn is a very tough and physical match up for Kevin. It is hard to guess how Perry will fair against Glenn. But if Perry has any success at all against Glenn, then Beilein will bring in a 250 pounder and start shoving Perry all over. Perry has a 50/50 chance of being effective, but could look pretty uncomfortable at first. The intensity is really going to be something for him to witness. Kevin saw this degree of warfare last year against Purdue. Edge: Even

Chris Shaw 2 years, 4 months ago

Is that statistic really right? 100 percent of his 3's? Wow!

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

One thing to keep in mind about that statistic is that the Princeton offense generates mostly assisted shots; that's part of the point of it. All the screening, rather than go-get-a-basket athleticism, is supposed to create the open look. I'm pretty sure Hardaway and Glenn could go-get-basket in Self's offense.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Part 4

5--Jeff v. Mitch--long brawn vs. longer and slender. Jeff needs a step and jump to block and alter other's shots. He can no step and jump on his man. Thus, Jeff will fare okay against McGrary, except when McGrary can hook him and jam it. Where McGrary can really limit Jeff's block and alter against other players by shoving and holding the weaker, lighter Withey. On offense Jeff will want to keep sliding across the lane to keep McGrary's greater mass in motion. Greater mass in motion has greater inertia and so it is harder for him to change directions than for Jeff. Move. Hook. Cut. Move. Hook. Cut. That should be Jeff's mantra. And remember he is three inches taller and a better jumper. And Jeff's jumping advantage will increase sharply the second half. Jeff will need a lot of support this game from Jamari. And Jamari's got to understand this and understand that he is going to have to be explosive, rather than a banger. When Jamari is in on defense, he needs to push Michigan's 250 pounders in the directions they are going, not resist. Push and trip from behind, so they overshoot their spot and mess up their timing. The Princeton is a timing offense. Players have to get places in time, or it doesn't create open looks. Jamari has to be ready to play, because Jeff cannot fight two 250 pounders for 40 minutes. This Michigan game is the biggest game of Jamari's life. He has to be made to understand this and so be ready to leave it all on the floor. Again, he is not going to be an enforcer, but he is going to initiate contact and sustain contact and try to shove his man past his desired destination. Can't emphasize how important Jamari will be. Edge: even.

Beating Michigan will be a tall order. But not too tall. Both teams are going to be wanting a low possession game, preferrably a 20 minute game, in order to have enough gas in the tank to win the second game of the weekend.

The team Michigan is most like, among those KU has played this season, is Michigan State, with better shooting and more depth at the bigs. KU played well against Michigan State, and only failed to close out at the end with EJ barely playing on one leg and depending on Perry when he was not ready.

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

The coaches aren't going to worry about leaving "gas in the tank" for the second game. These are extremely well-conditioned athletes, and this is all or nothing or there won't be a second game.

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

Plus the under timeouts are so long nobody should run out of gas. If anything it is hard to get a rhythm going.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Part 5

If If EJ has decent knees, and KU can guard the Princeton the way they have in the past, i.e., with our 4s and 5s actually beating the ball screener to the ball screen, then I think EJ and Travis will hold greater and greater edges as the game wears on, and Jeff will control McGrary offensively, but probably not score much on him. Rebounding would be decisive if either team could command a decisive edge, but I don't think either team can. I think boarding will be very close. So, strange as this may seem: it really comes down to Jamari's ability to put in 15 minutes and play well enough that the lead does not shrink. He will have to show the kind of explosiveness he showed early in the season. I don't know if he can, because his knees have appeared to deteriorate. But this is what we need to win playing our style of game despite the bruising game Michigan's 250 pounders will bring. If either team has a poor shooting game they lose, because the teams are pretty closely matched in terms of weapons. This is why coaches tell their players everyone of you is important to the team. Sooner or later during the season, there will be a key role you will need to perform in order for the team to get through a particular game. This UM game seems like that game for Jamari.

WRINKLES:

I think both coaches will play it close to the vest the first half to avoid fouls and to turn it into a 20 minute game. Self may show some intermittent pressing to get UM's Princeton to set up deeper than normal to in turn deepen the treys they take. But pressing can sap resources for the second game so it probably won't be frequent, unless KU falls behind.

FORECAST: KU +6

wrwlumpy 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Jaybate for the line "skinny, shot blocking savant footer at the 5."

Eric Baker 2 years, 4 months ago

Your points about KU generally wearing down opponents, even athletic ones, in the second half is an important one. We all know Hudy is a wizard at building muscle an keeping guys in shape, but her conditioning training is arguably just as important if not more so.

My wife always tries to waylay my nervousness when KU is playing a bad first half by reminding me KU generally plays better in the second half, and it's true. Part of that is Self is an excellent game coach and knows how to make adjustments during half time to give his team the best chance of winning, but a major part of it is our guys just don't run out of energy like other teams'. We improve our play and they start to get tired, and those two changes typically combine for a good second half.

I think our team's superior conditioning will play a major role in this Sweet Sixteen game.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

mouseclicker,

You raise an interesting point about Self's half time adjustments. I have often wondered why coaches try so hard to beat him in the first half with new stuff. If I were coaches, I would just try to play him close with the stuff he has seen and then roll out all that new stuff after the half. He doesn't seem to make adjustments in the first half himself, because apparently doesn't want to give them a half time to adjust to his adjustments. But maybe they are reeling new stuff out the second half, too, and I'm just not familiar enough with the opponents to recognize it.

KJD 2 years, 4 months ago

Dig the analysis. Thanks for the good read!

kennethst 2 years, 4 months ago

Michigan has been crowned the new "sexy" team by the geniuses in sports media. Why? Well of course because their former "sexy" team, VCU......got beat badly by UM.

You remember VCU, right? So sexy.......with their "hip and cool" coach, Shaka Smart......with his "hip and cool" shaved head. And if that's not hip, cool, and sexy enough......Ultra cool Spike Lee was their #1 fan!!! Spike Lee......such a wonderful and decent human being that has never ever done anything wrong. He's just sooooooo cool!!

How could you not salavate all over them if you're in the media???? And shriek and get wobbly-knees in their presence????

Steve Gantz 2 years, 4 months ago

Everyone on KUSports during our game Friday night was saying they were afraid of playing VCU, as if it was a given that VCU was going to beat Michigan. So our genius fans were saying the same thing I'll remind you! I reminded the faithful a few times that Michigan was the team we should be worried about not VCU.

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I don't think we're in any position to be talking smack about VCU--at least not until we beat the team that beat them. (Not sure I understand the comments about Shaka's head, either.)

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Good take, though I am by nature more of a hand wringer than you are. :-)

Your years of debugging has given you a more zen outlook. :-)

Mike Riches 2 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone know what hotel the Jayhawks are staying at in Dallas? We'd love to cheer them on as they get on the bus Friday! Rock Chalk!

Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

Knowing that Tyshawn and TRob were gone, if you had told me on Labor Day, 2012 that Elijah would struggle at the point with bad knees, that Kevin would start every game of the season, that Rio and AWIII were pretty much MIA, that Perry wouldn't show signs of life till Valentine's Day, that Bill's rotation was pretty much the four seniors, BenMac and Naadir, that we'd lose a home game and we would lose to TCU, I would have been stunned.

Then if you told me, by the way, we won our 9th title, we won another Big 12 Tourney, we're ranked 3rd, we got a 1st seed and made the Sweet Sixteen while leading the nation in defensive %, I would have been flabbergasted!!

All I'm saying is that come Friday about 9:00 pm win, lose or draw it's been one hell of a ride.

Eric Baker 2 years, 4 months ago

Hopefully none of our shooters on these team have the same problem with perimeter shooting in a football stadium like Tyshawn did last year in the tournament.

I really wish the NCAA would only hold tournament games in basketball-only venues.

hawk_of_ages 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, the good news is that Michigan is more reliant on outside shooting than we are. Our outside shooting was wretched in last year's tourney, and in three of four halves so far in this tourney -- yet we made it to the title game last year and are still alive now. Our defense covers up a multitude of sins.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Wissox is right to warn about UM.

If we cannot contain Burke, and they shoot well, and they get an early lead, we could get drubbed. Princetons are tough to play catch up on.

Likewise,if they cannot control Ben and Trav and we shoot well, then we could easily drub them. Princetons are lousy at catch up.

There is also a referee factor. Will referees allow Jeff's contact on blocking, or will the allow hockey checking and chucking? How much time buffer is there between games. More whistle swallowing favors McGrary and UM. Less favors KU, unless KU is particularly adroit at chucking UM out of cuts.

Two really huge edges we have regardless. Our four seniors:

1) played in the Purdue blood sport last season; and

2) played a fabulously better team than UM last season in UK.

So: our guys are never outside their envelope of experience with regards to another team's level of violence, and/or talent.

UM, however, has never played against a Boa Constrictor defense like KU's EVER.

Its not that KU'S defense is unbeatable. Its that they haven't seen it and so have to adjust.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

jaybate's REAL MEDIA POLITIK

Why national media pick UM:

Michigan population: 9.8M

Kansas population: 2.8M

Its about the TV sets, Q ratings, and gambling, stupid.

nostradavid 2 years, 4 months ago

It's also about the NCAA money bracket. The link in the first line goes to the theory behind this interactive infographic : http://www.newyorker.com/sandbox/business/ncaa.html

Your idea about Jeff using McGrary's mass against him is really good. Ralph Samson taught us how muscles really work: strength is a property of length as well as diameter. Jeff probably has more strength per pound.

We have ways of making you laugh !

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theend 2 years, 4 months ago

Jaybate! The master! Enjoy reading your posts.....and beyond that......You're often spot on. Me doth think thee a former coach? Just curious.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

theend,

No.

Wish I had though.

Only thing I might change in my life.

Though I doubt I ever had the energy that Bill Self puts into it.

I just don't know how he gets on and off the plane so much. I know those private jets shrink the country down, but still...just orchestrating his schedule must require a super computer.

I'm in awe of his time management.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Nostra, this link to the New Yorker is fabulously insightful.

KU is running its basketball program at a slim margin, compared to a money mill like UNC, which has sharply higher revenues and sharply lower expenses.

Louisville and Duke are holding down expenses and combining huge revenue, if I recall correctly, also.

But Arizona really fascinates me. Its revenues are significantly lower than KU's, but their expenses are so low they make it look like UAAD is being operated out of Boys Town in Nogales across the boarder. Low, low, low, expenses. :-)

Lots of super interesting ratios and insights to be drawn from them.

nostradavid 2 years, 4 months ago

I knew you could dig it, JB. It's fun to push the buttons and see how the actual results compare to the money bracket, and all the other stuff that can be compared. I was surprised Okie State spends and makes twice as much as Okiehoma (football must soak up all the liquid assets in Norman).

When it comes to low expenses in Tucson - I don't think that all of the maquiladoras down there are south of the border.

Cheers ! - Percy Dovetonsils

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AsadZ 2 years, 4 months ago

KU has to be aware about their 1-3-1 zone D. That confused the heck out of KU in the last encounter and we gave up a big lead. I would not be surprised if that is thrown back at us. I hope that we attack the zone really well.

JD Roth 2 years, 4 months ago

Put Tharpe in and let him fire away as if he was Pistol Pete Maravich. He is shooting with confidence. Ben McLemore needs to let it fly also. Roll the ball out and let's play.

jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Wissox,

One more thing. Last weekend, I would much rather have played VCU. I wanted a piece of VCU. Self rarely loses a rematch. I wanted VCU bad!!!!!

With UM, we've got talent as good as ours to deal with. McGrary and Burke and Hardaway and Glenn are super tough. I would always rather play against lesser talent. Self's system can usually beat another system. Its tough match ups Self worries about. UM presents much tougher match ups.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 4 months ago

I'd much rather be playing VCU too. I know they looked scary in the first round, but look what Michigan did to them. My big 10 slant means I watch a lot of big 10 basketball and this year it all came together into a great season for the league.

The biggest advantage we have in this game I believe is Self over Beilein, maybe the biggest mismatch of the night.

kennethst 2 years, 4 months ago

No worries ,Jaydogger. I can't even remember a game when Withey fouled out......and then when I think a little more......I can't recall when he's had 4 fouls.....I'm sure he has had 3 a few times-but even those are not frequent. The guy is amazing. I agree......he's may not be the MVP every game......but he's the "consistent" MVP.

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