Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Column: Better late than sooner for KU

Kansas guard Brannen Greene throws up three fingers after sinking a three against Oklahoma to reclaim the lead late in the second half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene throws up three fingers after sinking a three against Oklahoma to reclaim the lead late in the second half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.


For those Kansas University basketball fans who turned off the TV in anger because Oklahoma had the gall to come back from a 20-point deficit to take a four-point lead, never claim that you never quit on your team.

Just be happy to know that your team didn’t quit on you and ended up on the winning side of 85-78 Monday night.

The customary 16,300 crammed into Allen Fieldhouse were treated to three great basketball games in one night. In what felt more like a three-game series than a 40-minute ride, Kansas won the first, 39-19. That one took about 13 minutes of game clock. The next spanned about 19 minutes and Oklahoma won it, 45-21, to take a 64-60 lead on the scoreboard with 7:46 left.

KU won the rubber match, 25-14.

“It was a great, great game and an unbelievable win,” Kansas coach Bill Self said afterward.

Both teams featured players hitting guarded shots from long range. Brannen Greene would hit a shot and trash-talk at Isaiah Cousins. (Is it just me or does Greene not retreat as quickly on defense when he puts too much style into making the three-sign after hitting one?) Cousins would hit one and return the chatter.

Oklahoma didn’t lose this game. Kansas won it.

Afterward, Self did a nice job of explaining how this thriller was different from other wild swings.

“I think in the Florida game we started off miserably and flipped it in a positive way,” Self said. “Utah, we were miserable in the second half and almost couldn’t get it back. ... I don’t think we played as bad tonight in the second half. I thought we missed shots and I thought they played really well.”

And then KU played really well, winning the final 3:28, 16-7. The most crucial bucket came when Oubre missed a free throw and Cliff Alexander pulled it out of a sky crowded by long Oklahoma arms and fired a pass out to Frank Mason at the top of the key. Mason quickly swung it it to Greene on the right wing for a three-pointer that put Kansas up two points. KU never trailed again.

It triggered a string of memorable plays. Right after the big offensive rebound, Alexander sold a charge without overselling it. Frank Mason hit a pull-up jumper from the right elbow to push the lead to four points.

Greene was late recovering to his man and Cousins burned him for a three that cut the margin to one point. Mason sucked the defense to him in the lane and dished to Alexander for a dunk. Three-point lead. The left-handed Oubre drove right — he’s getting better all the time and is tough to guard — and made a bucket that put Kansas up 79-74 with 1:18 left. Oubre went coast-to-coast for another bucket.

At that point in the game, the crowd, not sapped of its energy by the ridiculous manufactured, pre-game noise, generated the volume on its own, not having to worry about competing with loudspeakers that really do need to be unplugged.

It was a wildly entertaining three-game series in one night, a 40-minute whirlwind that in some ways recalled KU’s Final Four victory vs. North Carolina on the way to the national title in 2008.


Dirk Medema 4 years, 4 months ago

Ah yes. UNC in 2008. Was it Billy Packer that said the game was over midway through the first half? The same Billy Packer that said KU couldn't run with OU and beat them in 1988? 555

Brianna Zaleski 4 years, 4 months ago


Yes, Brennan Green spends too much time barking and doing his 3 fingers to the head deal, after he makes a shot. He's been burned on the way back down a couple of times and has even picked up a cheap foul or two during one of his jawing sessions. This speaks to his immaturity and is a glimpse into why he's not growing as quickly as some might have hoped or thought. He's too wrapped up in himself. I like the kid a lot and he's going to be a hell of a player someday, but he's got to cut that stuff out.

David Robinett 4 years, 4 months ago

We'll spell his name right when he can keep himself in the lineup on a regular basis.

Joe Ross 4 years, 4 months ago

Well I have this superstition, see. It makes no sense but I keep doing it as if it does. If the Hawks start doing really terribly, I stop watching (the hope being that Im the beating wings of a butterfly that sets off a storm on the other side of the world). Of course there is no connection between the two, but most often the Jayhawks storm back and win. The real reason why this superstition appears to work is simply because Kansas wins most of its games. Yet old habits die hard.

This Kansas team is frustrating. Obviously they are GOOD. You dont beat some of the teams we've beaten without being good. We all know that. But they are frustrating as hell to watch. Credit to Coach Self who had positive things to say about his team after the game. It must be hard to know we are nowhere close to our potential, and yet our guys need to have the benefit of praise every now and again so all the negative comments dont wear them down. Coach knows when to be a cheerleader and when to crack the whip.

Hey...4-1 in conference? Ill take it.

Joe Joseph 4 years, 4 months ago

I take slight offense to Tom's "quitting on your team" remark. There have been times when I have genuinely quit on the Jayhawks, but usually I turn the game off for my own health. It puts me in a really foul mood and raises my blood pressure considerably when KU plays poorly, or, especially, when KU blows a huge lead like it did against Oklahoma. It's a completely irrational response to a game that means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of life, and I'm ashamed at how it can work me into such a tizzy at times. I wish I could simply watch and enjoy a game like the one this past Monday. I try my best and tell myself I will... but, it never happens :(

But, yeah... superstition too :)

Michael Wattai 4 years, 4 months ago

I had to turn the TV off myself in the second half, which I do to save my sanity. Also, I start yelling at the TV and the wife can't stand it. Not to mention my blood pressure and voice. I don't "give up" on the hawks in these cases. I just move to the computer and follow the game on kusports. I don't get as angry when I'm following the live comments as opposed to watching the game. Thanks to all who post during the game, you've saved my sanity this season.

Todd Mobray 4 years, 4 months ago

Tom, Why don't you write a full column on how much you dislike Green instead of peppering all of your columns with little negative asides about him. It is getting a little old. We get it, he doesn't make steals, he is not a good defender, heck, now he can't even make threes to your liking.

I am not saying anything you say is inaccurate, but it is nothing new. If he did everything perfectly, he would be our best player. If any player did everything perfectly they would be our best player.

Coach Self knows Green's strengths and weaknesses, as evidenced by his playing time fluctuating from game to game. That is what a coach does, takes a group of players with flaws in their game and puts them in the best situations he can to minimize those flaws. Every player has weak areas. It is frustrating that Green's seem easily correctable by having a better attitude or trying harder on defense. Seldon tries to dunk when a layup will do. Ellis tries to lay it up when a dunk would work better. Mason dribbles the ball very high when he is feeling good about himself or our lead. Traylor's aggressiveness sometimes takes touches away from 4 more talented offensive threats. Oubre and Alexander are inconsistent.

Perfect players are hard to come by. Wiggins came in as the best recruit, broke a bunch of KU freshman records and is on his way to being Rookie of the Year. Yet, people say he was not as good as he could have been KU. Personally, I enjoy watching players grow over their 4 years at KU rather than seeing perfect players be one and done.

Joe Ross 4 years, 4 months ago

Your argument is weak. Granting that there are no "perfect players" and that "Every player has weak areas" in his game, it can not be ignored that there is a huge difference in how strong and how weak their games can be. Suppose there were a way to quantify "weakness". Pulling random numbers out of a hat, also suppose that one player's weakness in ball handling measured 85 out of 100, and another's measured only 15. Your argument sets these as equal because, of course, "every player has weak areas". It's a preposterous notion to my way of thinking to compare Wiggins' and Greene's weaknesses. Consider their defense for example. Wiggins was a lock-down defender. Greene is a matador. Yet neither of them is "perfect" defensively. One can easily see the error in this way of arguing.

Note: Im attacking your argument, not you personally.

Joe Joseph 4 years, 4 months ago

It's not just Greene that talks trash after every three. It's nearly everyone who hits a three (though Greene may make a little more noise than some). It's become the trendy thing to do in college basketball. And it's really dumb.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 4 months ago

We go to alot of the away Kansas games and always find it amusing how they play crowd noise, especially during the introductions. I've always thought that was their way to try to stay competitive with the excitement and noise our fans generate in AFH. Now you tell me we do the same? Everything about AFH is authentic. The piped in, manufactured noise is insulting.

Benz Junque 4 years, 4 months ago

I think he is just doing an old man "IT'S TOO LOUD" whine about the insane volume that the pregame music and videos are cranked up to these days. Frankly, this whole article reads like a passive aggressive whine.

JD Roth 4 years, 4 months ago

Greene played some tough D Monday night at times. Please tell me I didn't hear something about manufactured noise in Allen Fieldhouse.

Ron Sterling 4 years, 4 months ago

I think the 'manufactured noise' comment is just about all of the pump up videos and other pregame showmanship done to get the crowd fired up. I've watched a lot of basketball at AFH and never heard fake crowd noise coming through the PA. It's easy to tell the difference. Suzi is 100% right. AFH is the most authentic experience you can have in college basketball.

David Vercellone 4 years, 4 months ago

Hey Tom, please tell me we don't pump crowd noise into Allen Fieldhouse. I've been to a lot of games at other top NCAA stadiums and have always come away with the same impression; namely, they don't measure up. The list includes Duke's Cameron, UCLA's Pauley, Butler's Hinkle, every Big XII stadium and several more (never Rupp arena...but I'll visit eventually). I've heard the fake crowd noise at several of these stops, but never thought we did that at KU? I'm all for the loud music during game intros, because I think it gets everyone fired up, but fake crowd noise, please say it ain't so!

Rodney Crain 4 years, 4 months ago

Just a couple of comments Tony B style -

  1. Joe Ross I have done what you do trying to reset the chi if you will, love the Zen reference, but not this year with the games. I feel some Zen myself watching this team for some reason. Even in the games we were blown out, I have watched to the bitter end, without screaming at my TV like I have done in the past as well.

  2. Brianna great post on Greene. I think you nailed him in every way.

  3. Todd M. I had to reread the column to make sure I did not miss anything on what Tom said on Greene. All I saw was an observation, which we all saw about Greene misplaying his guy. I think he could have added that Greene made a 3 that put us ahead for good too. It is not all bad with him, but like Brianna points out he is not there yet, but will be.

  4. Noise to start a game is everywhere in every sport. Here in Chicago you would think the POPE, Fighter jets passing overhead in the arena, the Rolling Stones, and Spinal Tap amps turned to 11 were all happening at once, with no lights, lasers and smoke. Heck we even cheer during the entire Star Spangled Banner as Jim Cornelison sings. That last one is kind of cool actually, especially when they show the service men always in attendance. It is the way it is done now. Ours has been singled out by opposing coaches as demotivating to players, and they don't watch it for that reason. Its not all bad.

  5. I don't think Tom meant they were pumping in crowd noise at AFH, I think he meant the video and PA announcer pumping up the crowd. At least that is what I would hope.

Brianna Zaleski 4 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Rodney,

Coming from you, that's a compliment.... BTW, I saw your optimistic post the other day after the ISU game and I was most impressed. With your intellect and knowledge of the game, coupled with a some enthusiasm and optimism, you have quickly become one of my favorite posters. Keep up the good work!!!

Michael Leiker 4 years, 4 months ago

That's what I do, I shoot the if Brannen would just stand in his living room all off season jumping back and forth across a line to gain some lateral quickness the sky would be the limit in the next two years.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, Mr. Ross and Mr. Wattai. I thought maybe my superstitions were unique. Keep up the great posts.

Bville Hawk 4 years, 4 months ago

I go to most KU home games and I have never heard (what I recognized anyhow) piped in "crowd noise."

What I believe Tom is referring to is the video and noise meter they show just prior to the tip. They really crank the volume up then and it is a bit annoying especially since genuine crowd noise is more intimidating IMHO.

Jim Dickerson 4 years, 4 months ago

Glad to see that you appreciate good beer. AFH does not need fake crowd noise. I was at the first game played in AFH and quite frankly the noise scared the crap out of me. As an engineer I was concerned that between the noise and the students jumping up and down in unison, the building was not going to survive. I am thrilled that AFH (and myself) have indeed survived these 50+ years.

Jeffrey Nichols 4 years, 4 months ago

Keegan - the pregame noise is not ridiculous. Your complaining about it is. Are you trying to sound like an aged scribe? I'm 41 - I don't love loud music, but I love how it jacks the students up for the game.

Benz Junque 4 years, 4 months ago

All it means is that IT WORKS. If Keegan is whining about how annoying the loud volume is then it's likely that the opposing team is subliminally doing the same. Anything that helps put them in a negative frame of mind is OK with me.

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