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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Allen faithful give KU edge

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and forward Hunter Mickelson (42) celebrate a dunk by teammate Landen Lucas during the second half, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and forward Hunter Mickelson (42) celebrate a dunk by teammate Landen Lucas during the second half, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Twitter exploded Sunday when @FansofKU shared its “fun fact of the day”: Baylor head basketball coach Scott Drew has as many losses (nine) in Allen Fieldhouse as 13th-year Kansas University coach Bill Self.

Considering that Drew has done a terrific job of building the program from scratch to perennial NCAA Tournament participant, that is as mind-blowing a statistic as there is anywhere.

And it makes it all the more difficult to give tonight’s Big Monday matchup that will pit the nation’s Nos. 1 and No. 2 schools, if the Associated Press college basketball poll looks as expected when released this afternoon, the hype it deserves. Dick Vitale will be on hand to compensate for that deficit.

Sure, a comparison of what the teams have done this season, a study of the personnel, etc., should make it easy to believe that Oklahoma, a 6.5-point underdog, could head out of town with its undefeated record intact.

So why am I having a difficult time convincing myself of that? Probably because after a while it becomes difficult to believe that Kansas ever will either win a football game on the road or lose a basketball game at home. The Jayhawks have lost 38 in a row outside of Memorial Stadium and won 31 consecutive games played in the fieldhouse.

Neither one of those streaks will last forever. Eventually, the football team will have a happy flight or bus ride home, and the basketball team will watch another team celebrate on its court.

Here’s the best material I could come up with in trying to convince myself that the Sooners could establish themselves as the early favorites to win the Big 12 by winning tonight:

1). Kansas won’t have the best player on the floor. That distinction belongs to the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, OU senior guard Buddy Hield, who is averaging 24.7 points per game and with a .495 long-distance accuracy rate is one of four Sooners starters shooting .448 or better from three. Jordan Woodard tops the team with a .531 three-point percentage.

KU has played just one other game in which the best player on the floor was not playing on its side, and it didn’t go well. Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine’s triple-double (29 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists) led the Spartans back from a 13-point deficit to victory.

2). A stunning 80 percent of OU’s starting lineup has been the same for the past 80 games. Seniors Isaiah Cousins, Hield and Ryan Spangler and junior Woodard know how to play together and been through too much together to let the daunting Allen Fieldhouse environment make them wilt.

3). The bigger the name of the opposing school, the better it seems Spangler plays. Four of his five double-doubles this season have come against Memphis, Wisconsin, Villanova and Iowa State (20 points, 12 rebounds Saturday). He has averaged 15.5 points and 12 rebounds in those four games.

At 6-foot-8, 234 pounds, Spangler will test any team’s strength in the paint.

4). Oklahoma defends the three (.290) better than Kansas (.321) and shoots it with similar accuracy (.453) as does Kansas (.452).

5). In all methods of measuring a team’s rebounding ability, Oklahoma ranks higher than Kansas.

Statistics are nice and do illustrate what an efficient team Oklahoma is in many areas, but one number — 16,300 — still gives Kansas the decided advantage.

Comments

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

Ugh...this might be one of those games where the Hawks get down big (15 points or more) then fight like hell to get back in it, with the crowd going wild. If that happens, hopefully we again come out on top, again.

Kent Richardson 3 years, 10 months ago

Not a good idea against OU to get down. Not a good idea against us either. We lack a locker downer defender, while ISU stopped Hield for stretches. We don't have the "I'm the man" player for entire games either.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

Last year we did both!

Recall last year we were down 7 in AFH to these guys with about 3 minutes to play, after being up 19 at half.

Martin Rosenblum 3 years, 10 months ago

Geez Tom, I would have been happy with your first and final paragraphs! Talk about reality check. The rest of your article, I could have done without! Well, it's official...OU has better stats than KU..wah wah.

Kent Richardson 3 years, 10 months ago

And if we hear about how Spangler was a HS QB ... SCREAM!!! He has bad hands so he couldn't be a HS TE.

Martin Rosenblum 3 years, 10 months ago

And if the game itself won't be stressful enough, we have to listen to Dickie V!

Dustin Peterson 3 years, 10 months ago

Look on the bright side! Not only will we be watching a fantastic game, but we'll be so much more informed about Duke and North Carolina!

Martin Rosenblum 3 years, 10 months ago

But, he'll tell the story about his standing ovation for Nick Collison, as he usually does when he's at AFH.

Greg Lux 3 years, 10 months ago

OU is good, but I believe this game will show how great our Jayhawks are when the pressure is on. This years team is special and tonight I predict you will see the difference between good and great. KU by 9 or more.

Greg Ledom 3 years, 10 months ago

Would take DV over Knight or Walton any day of the week. I actually like DV. Granted, he gets overly dramatic most of the time, but you can't deny his passion for the game. I've also seen some of his inspirational speeches he gives to young kids growing up and playing basketball. He's very impressive. Should be fun tonight and no doubt one of the toughest tests all season. Let's see where we stand when the Phog clears. RCJH!!

Benz Junque 3 years, 10 months ago

My two year old is passionate as well and it gets old hearing her yell all day, too. No thanks on the two hours of listening to Dick Vitale name drop and tell random stories while he misses out on calling the actual game.

Robert Brock 3 years, 10 months ago

This will be a nail-biter. KU wins by two on a shot at the buzzer.

Rodney Pain 3 years, 10 months ago

I'll take it. Really any outcome that is a W.

Michael Leiker 3 years, 10 months ago

If anybody else's voice is like mine after Saturday, it may be a decidedly less loud crowd than Saturday...need a cure for hoarseness quick!!! 48 hours is not enough time for fans to recover

Dale Rogers 3 years, 10 months ago

"Dick Vitale will be on hand to compensate for that deficit."

"Compensate" is not the word I would chose. Not even close. And we won't have a radio station out here I could listen to while I watch the game on TV. I will have no choice but to hear Vitale unless I decide to just mute it and only watch.

Sarah Carr 3 years, 10 months ago

For Dale Rogers: you can hear the radio feed thru the KUAthletics app! Go to Menu, then Fan Central, then Jayhawk Radio Network via the Tune-In app. This is also a way for us out-of-state fans to listen to Hawk Talk!

Kent Richardson 3 years, 10 months ago

Probably not Tyson. Android and IOS are almost always cross compatible anymore. What works on smart phones also will work on tablets.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

Now that the game is over, Keegan pointed out exactly what the difference maker was in this game. I wish I could have been there but even from my living room, it was obvious just how much of an advantage playing in AFH can be. It must have been one very loud evening. I even saw a toddler wearing earmuffs to protect his hearing.

Would love to hear from someone who was at the game.

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