I arrived at the game at 11:25 which, unknown to me, was 5 minutes before the doors opened yesterday at the Fieldhouse. Yes, I had been getting amped for this day since the Big Monday victory in Norman 6 days before.
Allen was electric. The fans were who we thought they were. And so much more. I didn't want to leave my seat to walk around because, every time I was in the concourse and heard a "BOO!" I wanted to peek back in and see who, or what, had shown up to the game.
HCBS had his team's energy at 11 from the start. The Tigers had no chance, in reality, to win this game. Couple that with their 20% effort in the opening frame, and they were done.
What I really was impressed with was the 'Hawks ability to push the ball up the floor, off MU misses, and against the "vaunted" MU press alike. However, making only 1 in every 5 shots, the hapless Tigers had little opportunity to apply their full-court pressure in the first half. Hence, a 26-point halftime lead.
I'm loving how the Morris twins are becoming even more interchangeable; they're both playing much better than just a month ago. A lot more defensive effort, playing smarter, etc. It's great to have a spot with 10 fouls available, especially yesterday when they both got into a little foul trouble. They could be scary good in a year or two, in a position for HCBS to have them on the court at the same time.
Who is this Quintrell Thomas? Great (limited) minutes from the big guy, got 3 points. More importantly, when he was fouled, he hit that front end of a 1-and-1 when the lead was around 20. This was one of those games, given the previous match-up, that you don't want to let the lead slip to 15, because two quick threes can cut it to single digits, then the team panics....ouch. Yeah, everyone who played yesterday was focused, ready, played excellent defense....oh, a typical Bill Self team in March?!
By the way, I was in the same graduating class a Hinrich, so that was pretty cool seeing him getting his number hung in the rafters. Yes, I bought a t-shirt. Those of you who know me, know I couldn't pass up a gear opportunity like that.
Thoughts as we enter the final week of the season: (1) We must dominate a TTech team who has historically played us well on their home floor. Remember Dora the Explorer and the Valentine's Day Massacre? This game will clinch the regular season title (no less than a share). Texas, as poor as they have played the second half of the season, will get up for the game next Saturday, rest assured. They will see it as a momentum-builder and tournament resume game. KU will have to play with that same defensive intensity that we saw yesterday to cajole a team that will surely show some pride and give their best effort of 2009 in Lawrence, KS.
I really want to play OU, with Griffin, on March 14th for the Big XII title. You watch - we get to that game and win, we get the 4th number 1 seed in the NCAAs, play in KC the first and second rounds, anything can happen. When you play defense the way Kansas does, anything can happen on the neutral floor. I know I am getting ahead of myself, but this team has a chance to be very good in a year when (1) no one gave them a chance and (2) there is no dominant team in NCAA. I'm just saying, with everyone giving their what-if and all, Kansas could be a dark horse in the NCAAs this year. After all, we are defending champs, and Sherron has come into his own recently. He's not going to let the younger players get the "deer in the headlights" that some previous squads may have suffered from.
Rock Chalk! I have to go return some videotapes.