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Which counts for more: having few good wins or few bad losses? Plus, predictions for KU, Baylor

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Jesse Newell: Welcome back to the GameDay Cram Session, as Kansas is taking on Baylor on Friday night in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.

Tom, after his team played well and defeated Kansas State to advance to the semifinals, Baylor coach Scott Drew defended the Bears' season, saying, “If you look at our losses, we haven’t had a bad loss. The teams that we’ve lost to are all good teams and teams that are NCAA Tournament teams, are going to be successful.”

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson wrestles for position with Baylor forward Perry Jones III during the first half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson wrestles for position with Baylor forward Perry Jones III during the first half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Do you agree with that statement?

Tom Keegan: Yes, but I don’t think that’s a good way to judge a team at this time of year. You don’t advance in the NCAA Tournament by losing to good teams. You advance by beating good teams.

While it’s true that all of Baylor’s losses came against good opponents — Kansas twice, Missouri twice, Iowa State and Kansas State once — what victory qualifies as a “signature victory?" Mississippi State in Dallas? K-State in Manhattan? Iowa State in Waco?

The Kansas bench goes wild during a Jayhawk run in the second half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Kansas bench goes wild during a Jayhawk run in the second half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

JN: I'd have to say Baylor's two wins against KSU this year would be its best wins — and Thursday's victory was probably its best.

There is something to be said, though, for not slipping up against teams you're "supposed" to beat. The Bears don't have a surprising loss on their schedule (like a semi-home game against Davidson, for example), so maybe that's the point Drew was trying to make.

For as much talk as there has been about Baylor being disappointing this year, let's remember this team came into the season preseason ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press poll.

The Bears' ranking this week? Yep, it's No. 12.

Kansas guard Travis Releford wrestles on the floor for a loose ball with Baylor guard Pierre Jackson during the first half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford wrestles on the floor for a loose ball with Baylor guard Pierre Jackson during the first half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

I'd say that anyone who calls this Baylor season a huge disappointment might be guilty of over-exaggerating just a bit.

Tom, turnovers have held Baylor back the past couple of seasons. Is there any reason to believe things are getting better in that area?

TK: I’m going to let Scott Drew answer that one.

Scott, the floor is yours: “I’ll throw coach Knight a bone here. He did a great job a couple of weeks ago. I asked him — he always moves the ball so well when he coaches, and we were a little stagnant — we threw in his favorite drill to help with assist-to-turnovers. I don’t think the guys liked it at first, but we’re getting better. So, I think we’ve handled the ball better and (haven’t) had as many turnovers lately.”

JN: Though Baylor's turnovers have improved in the last few games, that remains as the Bears' biggest weakness offensively.

Kansas junior Travis Releford reaches for a loose ball against Baylor's Quincy Miller in the second half on Monday January 16, 2012 in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas junior Travis Releford reaches for a loose ball against Baylor's Quincy Miller in the second half on Monday January 16, 2012 in Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

BU has shot it well from two-point range, three-point range and the free throw line and also is a good offensive rebounding team this year. The Bears give it away more than the average NCAA team, though, which is the only thing keeping them from being an elite offensive team.

OK, Tom, what's your prediction for this game?

TK: Kansas by 3.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor dips under Baylor forward Perry Jones for a bucket during the second half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor dips under Baylor forward Perry Jones for a bucket during the second half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Baylor has a greater depth of talent. Kansas competes harder and has more experience beating good teams in close games.

JN: I'll take KU by seven.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson gets up for an alley-oop over Baylor defenders Perry Jones III and Anthony Jones (41) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson gets up for an alley-oop over Baylor defenders Perry Jones III and Anthony Jones (41) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks have proven this year they can dice up Baylor's zone defense, which gives KU an advantage going in.

Even if both teams' offenses are about equal (which they might be), I'll take KU's defense over Baylor's.

It doesn't hurt that the Jayhawks will have the advantage of a home crowd as well.

All right, Tom, who's your Hawk to Rock?

TK: Jeff Withey.

Jeff Withey gets a hand on a shot by Baylor forward Perry Jones.

Jeff Withey gets a hand on a shot by Baylor forward Perry Jones. by Richard Gwin

He almost always plays disruptive defense and with Baylor expending so much effort trying to stop Thomas Robinson, things should open up for Withey.

JN: I'll take zone-killer Kevin Young.

Kansas forward Kevin Young goes up for a reverse dunk during the first half of KU's game against Oklahoma State on Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.

Kansas forward Kevin Young goes up for a reverse dunk during the first half of KU's game against Oklahoma State on Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. by Richard Gwin

Even when it hasn't been successful, Drew has defended his team's zone defense and been hesitant to go away from it.

Young is KU's best weapon against the zone, a big man who is a skilled passer that can also dribble out of trouble if he needs to.

The junior had three key assists in just 10 minutes in KU's last game against Baylor. Look for KU coach Bill Self to throw him in sooner if KU is needing better execution against the Bears' defense Friday.

Predictions tally (through 32 games)
Tom: 26-6 record, 286 points off (8.9 points off/game)
Jesse: 29-3 record, 243 points off (7.6 points off/game)

Hawk to Rock

Tom Keegan
Towson: Tyshawn Taylor (4th in Keegan ratings)
Kentucky: Tyshawn Taylor (1st in Keegan ratings)
Georgetown: Elijah Johnson (4th in Keegan ratings)
UCLA: Tyshawn Taylor (2nd in Keegan ratings)
Duke: Elijah Johnson (4th in Keegan ratings)
FAU: Jeff Withey (4th in Keegan ratings)
South Florida: Tyshawn Taylor (1st in Keegan ratings)
Long Beach State: Elijah Johnson (7th in Keegan ratings)
Ohio State: Thomas Robinson (2nd in Keegan ratings)
Davidson: Thomas Robinson (1st in Keegan ratings)
USC: Jeff Withey (4th in Keegan ratings)
Howard: Kevin Young (4th in Keegan ratings)
North Dakota: Elijah Johnson (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Kansas State: Tyshawn Taylor (5th in Keegan ratings)
Oklahoma: Tyshawn Taylor (4th in Keegan ratings)
Texas Tech: Thomas Robinson (1st in Keegan ratings)
Iowa State: Elijah Johnson (4th in Keegan ratings)
Baylor: Thomas Robinson (1st in Keegan ratings)
Texas: Thomas Robinson (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Texas A&M: Thomas Robinson (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Iowa State: Tyshawn Taylor (1st in Keegan ratings)
Oklahoma: Thomas Robinson (1st in Keegan ratings)
Missouri: Thomas Robinson (1st in Keegan ratings)
Baylor: Thomas Robinson (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Oklahoma State: Thomas Robinson (2nd in Keegan ratings)
Kansas State: Tyshawn Taylor (2nd in Keegan ratings)
Texas Tech: Thomas Robinson (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Texas A&M: Tyshawn Taylor (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Missouri: Thomas Robinson (2nd in Keegan ratings)
Oklahoma State: Travis Releford (7th in Keegan ratings)
Texas: Tyshawn Taylor (2nd in Keegan ratings)
Texas A&M: Tyshawn Taylor (4th in Keegan ratings)
Average: 2.9th in Keegan ratings

Jesse Newell
Towson: Conner Teahan (6th in Keegan ratings)
Kentucky: Elijah Johnson (4th in Keegan ratings)
Georgetown: Kevin Young (9th in Keegan ratings)
UCLA: Elijah Johnson (1st in Keegan ratings)
Duke: Thomas Robinson (1st in Keegan ratings)
FAU: Tyshawn Taylor (7th in Keegan ratings)
South Florida: Elijah Johnson (6th in Keegan ratings)
Long Beach State: Thomas Robinson (1st in Keegan ratings)
Ohio State: Travis Releford (5th in Keegan ratings)
Davidson: Jeff Withey (5th in Keegan ratings)
USC: Elijah Johnson (1st in Keegan ratings)
Howard: Tyshawn Taylor (1st in Keegan ratings)
North Dakota: Conner Teahan (5th in Keegan ratings)
Kansas State: Travis Releford (1st in Keegan ratings)
Oklahoma: Elijah Johnson (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Texas Tech: Travis Releford (2nd in Keegan ratings
Iowa State: Thomas Robinson (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Baylor: Kevin Young (9th in Keegan ratings)
Texas: Travis Releford (5th in Keegan ratings)
Texas A&M: Tyshawn Taylor (1st in Keegan ratings)
Iowa State: Jeff Withey (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Oklahoma: Conner Teahan (6th in Keegan ratings)
Missouri: Kevin Young (8th in Keegan ratings)
Baylor: Jeff Withey (1st in Keegan ratings)
Oklahoma State: Tyshawn Taylor (4th in Keegan ratings)
Kansas State: Travis Releford (4th in Keegan ratings)
Texas Tech: Kevin Young (4th in Keegan ratings)
Texas A&M: Jeff Withey (2nd in Keegan ratings)
Missouri: Travis Releford (6th in Keegan ratings)
Oklahoma State: Jeff Withey (6th in Keegan ratings)
Texas: Thomas Robinson (1st in Keegan ratings)
Texas A&M: Jeff Withey (3rd in Keegan ratings)
Average: 3.9th in Keegan ratings

Comments

Kye Clark 5 years, 9 months ago

Jesse I swear it's like you're throwing this "hawk-to-rock" contest. Even when Keegs throws you a bone and picks someone other than Tyshawn or TRob (which he has smartly done almost 70% of the time now), you go and pick a non-starter. To use an analogy - Keegs is the guy who picks all "chalk" on his NCAA tournament bracket. Boring? Perhaps. But 9 times out of 10 he's going to walk away with your money when your bracket is loaded with upsets.

swavity 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm still struggling to comprehend why anyone cares. They clearly don't take it as seriously as a man betting his mortgage...so why do we? It's a mechanism for having a debate; who "wins" the "contest" is irrelevant.

Kye Clark 5 years, 9 months ago

You're "still struggling" with it? Like you've put a lot of thought into this before? I think you're reading too much into my post there as to how "serious" I take it.

Also, while it doesn't really matter and I don't care, if who "wins" was irrelevant, why would they post the list of who they have taken every game, complete with where they finished in the Keegan ratings that game, and then show us the average score? That's a whole lotta wasted column if it is indeed irrelevant.

ParisHawk 5 years, 9 months ago

"over-exaggerating just a bit."

Come on.

Exaggerate means going too far in your claims.

"Over-exaggerate", if the word existed, would plausibly mean going way too far.

So now we can go way too far, but just a bit?

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 9 months ago

So after reading the article...that is what you got out of it?

LJ Gee 5 years, 9 months ago

this is the best post ive seen on here. made me laugh

KGphoto 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree with Keegan. You don't talk about the bad losses if you don't already have some good wins. They'll talk about wins first, then subtract bad losses from the total.

baldwinjhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

I was watching the big east tourney yesterday. And a personal note to all the teams that make our bracket..Please Please play us matchup zone!!!! Syracuse plays the same defense baylor does. They push the floor out farther, but still you are not going to beat this team by playing zone.

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 9 months ago

I hear you, but Syracuse has always played a better zone than Baylor does. We shouldn't have to worry about the Syracuse zone until the final four (at least that is my hope).

Scott Smetana 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't have anything against Scott Drew's personality and obviously can (somehow) recruit... I just think he's the worst coach in the country.

Robert Brock 5 years, 9 months ago

Baylor wants this game a lot more than the Hawks. Bears by four.

Scott Smetana 5 years, 9 months ago

hahaha.. Baylor players act like they want nothing but the season to be over every year and their money.

Robert Brock 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, it's halftime and Baylor has all the energy and a solid eight point lead. I wish that there was something Self could say to motivate the Hawks, but it looks like the kids really cannot make themselves care about this game.

Robert Brock 5 years, 9 months ago

Meh. Who cares? Certainly not our guys!

jaybate 5 years, 9 months ago

I think the team has bought into getting a Number One seed by winning this conference tournament, even though the odds are stacked against them in a 3 in 3 format, because of their lack of depth.

I think we will see a half amp by Self.

I think a lot depends on how many are sick and how sick they are.

I think we will see KU shoot a terrible percentage from trey.

I think KU will try to do its usual schizoid split between grind it out and transition basketeering, because the trey may not be there after a 67% trey game vs. TAM.

I think if Failor shoots the lights out from trey, we will lose.

I think if Failor shoots 38% or less from trey, KU will scramble to a win.

I think this KU team has committed to doing the next impossible thing--to defend its way to a ring, after defending its way to a conference title.

I think they think they know how much a 1 seed could help them get to a Final Four show down with UK and Syracuse and a team to be named later.

I think they are growing hair on their faces for a reason.

I think, if they can get by Failor, they plan to play defense like savage wolf men in the conference tourney championship.

I think, against all odds and common sense (beating a team with a draft choice center three times), they will find a way past Failor.

I think if Failor wears those hi-viz yellow road construction uniforms from French Guyana that KU might beat them just to show how much they think those uniforms suck.

I think therefore I state:

KU by eight. :-)

Mike Stewart 5 years, 9 months ago

You realize that if you flip a coin and get heads 10 times in a row, your chances of then getting heads on the eleventh toss are still 50% right? Shooting 67% from trey against aTm doesn't mean we have to shoot bad against Baylor to balance things out. That's not how it works.

Steve Gantz 5 years, 9 months ago

If you have bad losses you need to balance those with signature wins. If you don't have signature wins then you can't have bad losses. KU has a bad loss (Davidson), quite a few good wins that I'm not sure you can call signature wins, but the balance of them outweighs the one bad loss. Those good wins would be Georgetown, KState and Baylor twice, Missouri once, and Ohio State. Had Sullinger been playing maybe that becomes a signature win. Really we're hoping for the biggest signature win this season on my daughters birthday, April 2nd.

Kye Clark 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm guessing the reason you don't consider some of those wins you mentioned as "signature" wins is because of our lofty ranking; just a matter of perception? Several of those winswould be considered signature by almost any team in the field.

I think you still to consider beating Mizery a signature win. They're a top 5 team. If that's not a signature win for us, does Kensucky have ANY signature wins? I do agree that the Ohio State win doesn't have the luster it should. I was upset about him not playing before the game even started for exactly that reason. It's like we might as well not have even played them.

Steve Gantz 5 years, 9 months ago

You're right, a part of it is because of our lofty ranking and I really rarely believe we're going to lose.

Sam Constance 5 years, 9 months ago

Davidson isn't a "bad" loss.

67 Pomeroy

69 Sagarin

65 RPI (tied)

Obviously, we'd love for all of KU's losses to be to national title contenders, but there is no shame in losing to an NCAA tournament team who ranks in the top 75 in ALL of the various statistical rankings.

There aren't very many teams without a loss that is worse than Davidson...

In fact, glancing through the top 15 teams or so, the only teams without a single loss that is worse than 60-something Davidson are:

Kentucky Syracuse UNC Duke

That's it. And personally, I don't buy the idea of "signature" wins for teams in the 1-2 seed range. If you are in the discussion as one of the best eight teams in the country, your resume is solid top-to-bottom. I think the "signature" win comes into play moreso for the middling teams who need a signature win to get the committee to look past bad losses--losses to teams outside the top 100.

Just my two cents.

PS - wanted to second icthawkfan316's comments about Sullinger. I don't think he would have been the difference for OSU (I mean, we were playing in AFH, as I recall), but now that he didn't play, all the ignorant masses believe that his absence was the difference between a win and a loss. Essentially, KU gets no credit for that game, because Thad Matta is a jellyfish who wanted the ability to save face regardless of a win or a loss.

He wins without Sullinger, and OSU is this amazing team.

He loses without Sullinger, and OSU just isn't as good without their best player.

Either way, he gets to push the focus away from his own coaching as having anything to do with the outcome. I'm hoping that the Buckeyes will be repaid by the God of Basketball Karma come tourney time. I'm hoping his belief that the game with KU didn't really matter comes back to bite him in his players' attitudes...

Steve Gantz 5 years, 9 months ago

Good points. I talked about the signature wins because that was referred to by Keegen in the article. Davidson is a good team, but it's still a pretty bad loss, especially nationally. People hear that we lost to them and it looks bad.

JayHawkFanToo 5 years, 9 months ago

I believe UNC 33 point loss to Florida State is much worse that KU loss to Davidson, and Duke loss to Florida State at home isa really bad loss as well.

Brett Arnberger 5 years, 9 months ago

Hard to believe that photo of Withey blocking PJ3 was called a foul. I thought the call was BS then, and after seeing this picture again, I think it's even more BS! RCJH!!

Tony Bandle 5 years, 9 months ago

Jeff was called for a foul for pulling on PJ3's arm pit hair!! :)

Tony Bandle 5 years, 9 months ago

Pleae forgive my memory and math but I think Kansas played a total of 17 games against opponents who were, at one time or another, ranked in the Top 25 and won 13 of them.

Now that's what I call a "body of work!!"

Mike Kendall 5 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, if KU plays like they did yesterday, it will be 10 points or more. If they come out flat, it could be a close game. I would think Self might bring up that Big 12 PS Tourney opening game in 2009, at OKC, in which the Jayhawks lost to Baylor. Man, I had tickets for the rest of the Tourney and had to sell them. That really sucked. I don't see that happening this time. Good luck, Jayhawks!

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