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Which team has more physical talent, Kansas or Texas? Also, predictions for the Big 12 title game

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Jesse Newell: Welcome back to the GameDay Cram Session, as Kansas is taking on Texas on Saturday night in the championship of the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

Tom, strictly from a physical talent standpoint, which team is better, Kansas or Texas?

Kansas defenders Mario Little, left, and Elijah Johnson look to trap Texas guard Cory Joseph during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas defenders Mario Little, left, and Elijah Johnson look to trap Texas guard Cory Joseph during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Tom Keegan: First, I'd like to thank you for not using "moving forward," in your question this time. I especially would like to thank you for not using it in the story linked below. Great read. If anybody hasn't read it yet, set aside the time to do so. It captures nice guy Marcus Morris and shows how far he's come.

Anyway, back to your question. Texas is more physically imposing, with bigger, thicker bodies at nearly every position, but basketball is played with the mind as much as the body and Kansas has the edge there. The twins are extremely smart players and so are Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed.

JN: Not only are those four KU players smart, they also are unselfish. Reed and Morningstar have the main objective of getting the ball inside before looking for their own shot. The Morris twins, meanwhile, never hesitate to throw it out to the perimeter when they are double-teamed in the post. None of the four seem to be concerned at all with how many shots they put up.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris goes up for a bucket over Colorado forward Austin Dufault during the first half on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Sprint Center.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris goes up for a bucket over Colorado forward Austin Dufault during the first half on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Sprint Center. by Nick Krug

That unselfishness both inside and on the perimeter makes KU a difficult team to defend.

Tom, we'll never know how much of a factor KU's fatigue was from staying up all night with Thomas Robinson, who had just learned of his mother's passing, in Texas' 74-63 win on Jan. 22. That aside, what are some things about Texas that might give Kansas trouble on any day under any circumstances?

TK: Freshman center Tristan Thompson. He's really, really good at both ends and he's getting better all the time. His shot-blocking swung the last KU-UT matchup in the Longhorns' favor.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris hangs for a shot over Texas forward Tristan Thompson during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris hangs for a shot over Texas forward Tristan Thompson during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

JN: Thompson ranks as one of the nation's best in fouls drawn per game (27th), block percentage (96th) and offensive rebounding percentage (50th), according to Kenpom.com. Though teammate Dogus Balbay won the Big 12's defensive player of the year award, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have voted for Thompson. Much like former KU center Cole Aldrich, Thompson forces opponents to think twice about any shot that is taken in the paint.

All right, Tom, what's your prediction for his game?

TK: Kansas 79, Texas 73.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed gets the Fieldhouse fired up after a three-pointer against Texas during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed gets the Fieldhouse fired up after a three-pointer against Texas during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. by Nick Krug

Kansas has the emotional edge, wanting to avenge the loss that ended its 69-game Allen Fieldhouse winning streak and the Jayhawks are a better offensive team.

JN: I'll say KU by two.

The Longhorns' defense isn't playing at the same unbelievable level that it was in late January, and I see the Jayhawks having better success offensively against UT.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris works against Texas defender Matt Hill under the basket in the second half Saturday, January 22, 2011 in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris works against Texas defender Matt Hill under the basket in the second half Saturday, January 22, 2011 in Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

Should be a great game, with KU also picking up a slight edge by playing in front of thousands and thousands of amped-up Jayhawk fans.

OK, Tom, who's your Hawk to Rock?

TK: Marcus Morris was the regular-season Big 12 Player of the Year and I like his chances of winning the tourney's most valuable player award as well.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris strips the ball from Colorado forward Marcus Relphorde during the second half on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Sprint Center. At left is KU guard Brady Morningstar.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris strips the ball from Colorado forward Marcus Relphorde during the second half on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Sprint Center. At left is KU guard Brady Morningstar. by Nick Krug

My final AP top 25 poll is due this weekend and so is my All-American ballot. Marcus won't be my National Player of the Year. Jimmer Fredette will get that vote, but Marcus will be on my first-team All-American ballot.

JN: I'll go with Brady Morningstar.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar elevates past Colorado guard Levi Knutson for a bucket during the second half on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Sprint Center.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar elevates past Colorado guard Levi Knutson for a bucket during the second half on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Sprint Center. by Nick Krug

The KU senior has struggled with his shot in the Big 12 tournament, making just 7 of 21 field goals (33.3 percent) and 1 of 9 three-pointers (11.1 percent). The Jayhawks will need him to make open shots on Saturday, and I just have this feeling we'll see him break out of his mini slump. This feels like a 14-point, six-assist, one-turnover-type game for Morningstar.

Tracking the picks

Predictions tally (through 33 games)
Tom: 28-5 record, 358 points off (10.8 points off/game)
Jesse: 31-2 record, 378 points off (11.5 points off/game)

Hawk to Rock

Tom Keegan
Longwood: Tyrel Reed (6th in Keegan ratings)
Valparaiso: Marcus Morris (1st)
North Texas: Tyrel Reed (6th)
Texas A&M-CC: Marcus Morris (5th)
Ohio: Markieff Morris (3rd)
Arizona: Marcus Morris (1st)
UCLA: Tyshawn Taylor (1st)
Memphis: Markieff Morris (4th)
Colorado State: Tyshawn Taylor (2nd)
USC: Tyrel Reed (6th)
Cal: Marcus Morris (6th)
UT Arlington: Tyrel Reed (8th)
Miami: Marcus Morris (3rd)
UMKC: Markieff Morris (9th)
Michigan: Thomas Robinson (8th)
Iowa State: Tyshawn Taylor (7th)
Nebraska: Josh Selby (9th)
Baylor: Josh Selby (3rd)
Texas: Marcus Morris (3rd)
Colorado: Markieff Morris (5th)
Kansas State: Marcus Morris (4th)
Texas Tech: Markieff Morris (4th)
Nebraska: Mario Little (7th)
Missouri: Tyrel Reed (7th)
Iowa State: Markieff Morris (2nd)
Kansas State: Brady Morningstar (2nd)
Colorado: Marcus Morris (3rd)
Oklahoma State: Marcus Morris (1st)
Oklahoma: Tyrel Reed (3rd)
Texas A&M: Tyrel Reed (1st)
Missouri: Tyrel Reed (3rd)
Oklahoma State: Josh Selby (7th)
Colorado: Thomas Robinson (7th)
Average Hawk to Rock: 4.5th in Keegan ratings

Jesse Newell
Longwood: Markieff Morris (1st in Keegan ratings)
Valparaiso: Brady Morningstar (8th)
North Texas: Tyrel Reed (6th)
Texas A&M-CC: Thomas Robinson (2nd)
Ohio: Tyshawn Taylor (4th)
Arizona: Brady Morningstar (8th)
UCLA: Markieff Morris (6th)
Memphis: Thomas Robinson (1st)
Colorado State: Markieff Morris (1st)
USC: Thomas Robinson (2nd)
Cal: Markieff Morris (2nd)
UT Arlington: Brady Morningstar (10th)
Miami: Tyshawn Taylor (8th)
UMKC: Josh Selby (1st)
Michigan: Tyrel Reed (4th)
Iowa State: Marcus Morris (1st)
Nebraska: Thomas Robinson (3rd)
Baylor: Tyshawn Taylor (6th)
Texas: Josh Selby (8th)
Colorado: Jeff Withey (7th)
Kansas State: Tyrel Reed (8th)
Texas Tech: Thomas Robinson (1st)
Nebraska: Tyrel Reed (5th)
Missouri: Markieff Morris (3rd)
Iowa State: Brady Morningstar (4th)
Kansas State: Marcus Morris (4th)
Colorado: Josh Selby (6th)
Oklahoma State: Elijah Johnson (2nd)
Oklahoma: Markieff Morris (2nd)
Texas A&M: Thomas Robinson (7th)
Missouri: Markieff Morris (6th)
Oklahoma State: Tyshawn Taylor (4th)
Colorado: Marcus Morris (1st)
Average Hawk to Rock: 4.3rd in Keegan ratings

Comments

Matt Bowers 9 years, 4 months ago

You would vote that way Keegan. Jimmer is a great player, but he does it on a team where he is really the only producer, Marcus produces on a team that is full of studs...how you don't vote for Marcus is beyond me. Not to mention that Marcus does it in a much deeper conference. How about next time you keep that information to yourself...this newspaper and KU is your meal ticket.

KU 86 UT 79. KU fans have been waiting for this since January 22. It will be a tight but fun match up.

Rock Chalk

Erich Hill 9 years, 4 months ago

I, for one, appreciate your honesty Tom. If he were to vote for Marcus just because he receives his paycheck from kusports, that's a surefire way to lose all credibility. Marcus has had an amazing season and first-team All-American is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, when it's all said and done, it's the national championship that matters not the individual awards.

Andrew Moore 9 years, 4 months ago

There are a lot of teams with only one offensive producer. And of those teams, there are very few who win consistently. With BYU, "the jimmer" is the only offensive weapon they have from one game to the next. The fact that he carries his team with so much success speaks a lot about how great of a player he is.

Jimmer has a strong game. He drives hard to the basket, usually splitting a double team and getting fouled by the third defender for an and-1. Jimmer shoots from 30 feet with a high percentage.

The guy is unstoppable when he is in the zone. He's the best scoring guard I've seen in college since a little fella from Davidson took out Georgetown, Wisconsin and Gonzaga in the 2008 NCAA tournament.

With all of that said, Marcus has been great. His game this year has reminded a lot of Michael Beasley when he was at KSU. Marcus faces up about 10 feet from the basket and drives across the lane or baseline, usually against two defenders and he's usually getting the shot or getting free throws. He also shoots from deep like Beasley did. Just a lot of similarities with regards to being unstoppable within 10 feet of the basket. Of course, Beasley was such a rebounding force. Marcus isn't in the ballpark from that standpoint. He is first team all-america no doubt.

phi4life940 9 years, 4 months ago

Voting for Jimmer is a joke. He takes 1,000 shots a game(exageration). Of course he puts 25-40 pts on the board per game.

The reason you should vote for Marcus for player of the year is efficiency and consistency. If Marcus took as many shots as Jimmer takes he would post 60-80 pts a game (not really, just demonstrating my point). AND....if Jimmer was in the Big XII there is no way he would take as many shots and thus, would just be your run of the mill Big XII player.

According to ESPNs website: Jimmer - Average Min: 35.2 FG: 225-491 = .458% 3PM: 77-175 = .440% Marcus - Average Min: 27.8 FG: 209-357 = .585% 3PM: 24-67 = .358%

I would love to see the point production out of Marcus if he had taken 134 more shots this season but he didn't because he played less minutes and because he looked for his teammates to get the easy shots...not Fredette about his teammates and heave it to the basket everytime he passes mid court.

Also, voting for Marcus has nothing to do with Tom working and getting paid by KU....he should vote for him because he is simply a better player.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

If Marcus shot 134 more times his efficiency would be significantly less. The reason why he is shooting almost 60% from the field is because he plays smart and takes what he gets (not to mention the fact that he has A LOT of talent around him). Furthermore, if he were to take that many shots, our record would not be what it is, which -- as afmoore pointed out -- is a testament to what Jimmer is able to do at BYU.

Secondly, in posting those stats, you have actually (in my mind) accentuated how good of a shooter Jimmer is. Yes, he takes a lot of shots, but even after shooting 175 times from 3, he is hitting 44%. That is very, very good. Lets compare that to Reed who, for all intents and purposes, offensively is mainly a 3 point artist for us: Reed 64-165 with a percentage of 38.8%. Almost as many attempts, but not nearly as high a percentage. Also, Reed has the luxury of playing with a POY candidate and his All-Conference twin drawing double teams down low that open up shots for him. Jimmer almost exclusively creates for himself.

"...because he looked for his teammates to get the easy shots...not Fredette about his teammates and heave it to the basket everytime he passes mid court."

While he shoots a lot, this is simply not true. He is averaging 4.2 assists per game, basically as many as Tyshawn (4.5), with far less talented players around him. So those assists essentially come out of him creating.

I understand the argument for Marcus, but don't undervalue what Jimmer has been able to do.

TenaciousD 9 years, 4 months ago

Nice first post, kustrong. Certainly lit a fire on the chat board today.

If anyone has watched Jimmer play at least 5 complete games this year, not just watched his highlights on ESPN, you will see how Jimmer completely controls a game when he chooses to. Yes he takes a lot of shots, but if he wasn't on that team, BYU wouldn't be ranked in the top 25.

Marcus is awesome, but if he wasn't on the Jayhawks roster, we probably would've still won the Big 12 with Keiff stepping in that spot and T-Rob logging more minutes. Because of Selfs stellar coaching, we'd still probably be a 2 seed without Marcus. If we were also without Keiff, all bets are off though.

There is absolutely no risk in taking Jimmer as a #1 pick in the draft. Some NBA scouts talk down his defense, but they are just trying to get other GM's to second guess the pick so they can get him instead. He is basically a high level pro playing in college. And a super durable frame further decreases the risk of taking him.

Marcus is also low risk if someone takes him #1. He's so versatile and also durable. Jimmer is ready to start in the pros and Marcus will probably start but maybe come off the bench for a bit. Depending on the team and talent of course.

Like Tom, I give a slight edge to Jimmer. But Marc and Mark will both be stellar pros next year. The Twins are still not even close to reaching their potential.

Jimmer vs. Marcus is a good argument, though. Maybe we will get to see them play in the same game in April. As for today, let's take down the horns!

slowplay 9 years, 4 months ago

The basic criteria for MVP is who is the most valuable to his teams success. Not only is Fredette the most prolific scorer since Pistol Pete, BYU would be a .500 team without him. Marcus may be KU's MVP, but he doesn't impact their success as much as Fredette does for BYU.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

I think each voter has their own idea of what the criteria for MVP is. In fact I know this is true. You can't formulate it. It's a gut call.

Personally I think Kemba Walker and Fredette are about the same.

slowplay 9 years, 4 months ago

I think Walker is going to get the East Coast vote, especially with his amazing run in the Big East Tournament. They are both going to take away votes from Marcus.

Bob Thompson 9 years, 4 months ago

"The twins are extremely smart players and so are Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed." Now if we could say that about all 5 players we would be a lock for the national championship.

ParisHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

During the Colorado game I complained about several defects of this site. I was wrong in one case: cram session and Keegan ratings do indeed appear on the mobile site, under "blogs".

KU_FanSince75 9 years, 4 months ago

Yea, I feel like it will be a tight game, too. Hopefully, not by two points. My heart can't take a last-second shot game scenario.

As far as the POY award, it will come down to Kemba Walker, from UConn, Jimmer, from BYU and Marcus, from the Jayhawks. Take your pick. I am being bias when I say I would love to see Marcus get it. Kemba just got the all-time Big East Tournament scoring record for most points in a tournament last night against Syracuse. Jimmer just simply went out and scored 52 points in his game last night (I think it was against NM State or New Mexico). I think it is a toss up. Makes for some interesting drama, that's for sure.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 4 months ago

Voters seem to equate ability with scoring numbers, so I don't think Marcus has a chance. Too bad, because he is so much more than just a scorer.

BigDusty 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm OK with Keegan picking Jimmer. Since 2000, only one Naismith winner has won the championship, and that was Shane Battier in 2001, and we know what kind of team he was stacked with (Boozer, Duhon, Williams, Dunleavy Jr.) say more?

I think KU is stacked like that this year, if we can keep our heads in the game and play 'Self-ish' basketball, no one in the country will be able to stop us.

As for the article. I see KU building off their ability to regain control yesterday after not so well performances for the first 50 minutes of the Big 12 tournament. I see today as Kief-Day, 15/15.

I dislike rap for it's morals, but if you want to get hype for the game tonight, listen to this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJMpng....

Rock Chalk baby!

Greg Lux 9 years, 4 months ago

My Hawk to rock - Morningstar

Rock Chalk

LAJayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." :-)

Kye Clark 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm growing weary of Keegan's smarmy journalistic arrogance. He already pointed out during the previous cram session that apparently one of his pet peeves is the phrase "moving forward". Fine. But to bring it up again was classless. Maybe he gets tired of apparently being the least favorite writer on the site (just judging from the criticism he gets; I don't usually have a problem with him), and felt the need to point out to everybody else some flaw in Jesse Newell's journalistic skills. Whatever the reason, I hope he gives it a rest. I could definitely have done without the inclusion of that rant in the last cram session (multiple lines reading about something nobody cares about. Thanks), and was disappointed to see it reappear unprompted in this article.

slowplay 9 years, 4 months ago

Take your own advice and "give it a rest." It's just a few words. To whine about something so meaningless is just as classless.

Kye Clark 9 years, 4 months ago

If me "whining" about it is classless, what would you call you whining about my post?

redlegger 9 years, 4 months ago

The cram session is just two Sport Journalists (aka two guys) sitting around talking about their thoughts on the upcoming match-up. This was just casual dialogue that Tom Keegan believed was humorous. Call it an inside joke, or whatever, I don't believe he was trying to be critical of Jesse's journalistic skills. Sometimes you have to stretch to appreciate a person's sense of humor.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

I wasn't going to comment on it, but since you brought it up, I feel the need to point out the flaw in what Keegan was complaining about to begin with:

"Moving forward" in the context Jesse was using it was not a pointless statement, and it doesn't really have anything to do with time. Keegan's contention is that we can't move backward through time, rather only forward (although astro-physicists might argue that point). However, Jesse was not referring to time with that statement, but was, instead, talking about the change in conversation topics. After finishing his point on Higgins and Burks, Jesse then "moved forward" to a new topic in what lessons KU could learn from its close win against OK State.

In this circumstance Jesse was stating that he was moving on to a new topic rather than MOVING BACK to a topic that was previously discussed. And that, certainly, is completely possible whether or not you can travel back in time. Therefore, "moving forward" is an understandable and completely apropos phrase to use.

icthawk is right. It was a snarky remark, and, clearly, was inaccurate in its criticism. I think he was trying to be funny by bringing it back up, and it gave him the opportunity to plug Jesse's outstanding article on Marcus. However, it further pressed the fact that Keegan was wrong and kind of smug.

REHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

slayr, I like your choice of Hawk to Rock. That guy is always worth a couple of points, both in crunch time at conclusions or at key timeouts when the Hawks are struggling or confused.

REHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, Keegs might have penned those moving forward comments while he was overstraining on the porcelain.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 4 months ago

I am as big a sports fan as many others, but you know, it concerns me. There is a horrific disaster unfolding in the western Pacific and on the west coast of the United States, and this overpriced, underrated news rag is giving us extra editions, pages and pages of mind blowing opinions, micromangled details on a group of self-mutlated college age childern running around an arena in fancy underware to see which school's group of boys can drop a round ball in a metal hoop. These persons will soon need to be looking for a job in this economy and the arena will be empty waiting for the next group of victims of university commercialism. They will have little to show for their skills except the gaudy "decorations"on their bodies and some newspaper clippings of how good they might have been at tossing the ball in the hoop. Is this what an institution of education is wanting the public to be bombarded with? Is this fanatic demonstration what education is all about? It bothers me greatly at the misplacement of purpose that I see when these "tournaments" that are fabricated for public amusement and entertainment are created by institutions that are supposed to be devoted to the education and preparation for the real life that exists after the crowds leave and the lights are turned off.

slowplay 9 years, 4 months ago

Go read the CNN blogs. The're full of self-righteous, dysphemistic, hyperbole, just like your post.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion, slow, I am glad to know that the professional bloggers agree with me. I went there and tried to find the stuff you noted, but did not find it. Those sites are so muddled up and garbaged with commercials and crap you can hardly find the content of the sites and even more difficult, the items you accuse me of supporting. I just emptied my own arsenal without any assistance from the "bloggers" whoever or wherever they are.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

In a free market system, consumers have a funny way of determining on their own what they do and do not want to be "bombarded with."

However, your contention seems to be that universities shouldn't be in the business of "selling" entertainment. While on the surface this might seem understandable, it is not very deep in it's approach. Collegiate athletics of this level help universities to fund many, many other programs and help garner national attention to their institution which also helps growth. Furthermore, the "self-mutilated college age children (sic)" that you speak of receive a free eduction and national attention performing a sport they love. Additionally, many of these "victims" would never have the opportunity to receive said eduction if it wasn't for athletic scholarships. And after their careers are finished, many of these kids go on to jobs they never would have had the opportunity to do otherwise (broadcasting, coaching, a large following behind their christian preaching, ala Wayne Simien, and numerous other fields).

Now, If you were to suggest that the system has flaws, then I don't think anyone on here would disagree with you. If you were to suggest that socioeconomic factors in our country force kids into difficult life positions, then you also have a completely different conversation. But to hammer student athletes for performing athletic feats that have been done since the dawn of civilization rings a bit shallow.

You may have a problem with commercialism, and I certainly understand that. However, I suggest you broaden your argument and dig a little deeper.

I can enjoy watching a "group of boys... drop a round ball in a metal hoop" and still closely follow the stories unfolding in the pacific as well as numerous other issues.

We are complex beings after all.

Best of luck to you.

Alohahawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Yep, good point. This is a team sport, so Self is the perfect choice for "Hawk to Rock."

Unselfishness: Perfect example when Kieff passed the ball to Little on Senior Night, instead of taking the easy dunk. I'm sure that made mega points in Self's and the team's eyes.

Muscle ball: Texas has the muscles in the body category, but KU has the brain "muscles" in their heads. Give Texas a few head fakes inside, and get them to foul. Fouls on bigs could be the winning factor in this game.

3 pointers and free throws: We just need to relax and let the game flow (Please refs, let the game flow), and our 3's will fall. If we can hit a good percentage of our free throws (see yesterday), we should have a major advantage. Texas free throws have been a thorn in their side.

JoCovan Brown: Last year and this, he started shooting 3's out the okole near the end of the games. Don't let that guy get on a roll.

Barbie time: Don't want no "Shrimp on the barbie". I'm hungry, and de-horned shorthorns will be just fine, thank you.

RCJHGKU !!!!!!

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 4 months ago

I think that he's not even eligible for the Keegan Ratings, because he's not a scholarship player....

madcow 9 years, 4 months ago

My HtR, Selby.

He made a few good shots over the last 2 games. I think he is getting his groove back.

fansincewilt 9 years, 4 months ago

The Hawk to rock should have been Marcus. We should have known he was going to give the effort necessary to avenge the loss to Texas. I don't think any expected the game that TT had. Keegan seems to have had a better handle on this game. However, I am commenting after the game has been played. I do think I would have picked one of the twins who had the motive to show they were not inferior to the big guys from Texas.

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