• Keys to success and demise for the Jayhawks against the Wildcats
Now I feel that this needs to be said. I do not want to rival the hard work that guys at the LJW and KUSports.com do when they make their cram sessions.
Good to have that off my chest so here we go. With the Sunflower Showdown part one to be played Wednesday, that means that there is no more joking around, no more waiting to play the Howards of the world, and no more hoping for drastic change. For the most part when the Jayhawks take the court that’s what they have for the year. The same is true for Kansas State. The most surprising team so far in the Big 12, even with Missouri's early season success, the Cats are both a tough team to beat as well as a tough team to predict. They have talent, but nothing special, they win games, though they rarely are impressive in their wins. Yet they win. That’s why the first part of the Sunflower Showdown will be interesting to see. It is as much of a chance to make a statement for KU as it is for KSU, both positive and negative. It has that feeling of a season changing game. Which brings me to my first key, Allen Field House. Frankly when is Allen Field House not a key when the Jayhawks play at home! The students will be there, loud, crazy, and ready to inspire this team, even though class in not in session. The pump up videos will be out and will for sure at least get the crowd up to 115 decibels. I believe it’s safe to say who will get the benefit. Advantage: KANSAS.
Kansas State has found an answer, though two years late, for the void left by Denny Clemente. Angel Rodriguez is a stud freshmen guard and the more he plays the more he impresses me. Along with Southwell, and Spradling K-State’s guards will be a lot for Kansas to handle. Though the flip side is also true. The pure athleticism of Tyshawn Taylor, and Elijah Johnson will cause both mismatches and head aches for the Cats. The Jayhawks will need Travis Releford, Connor Teahan, and Naadir Tharpe to play well, and play some valuable minutes. Advantage: WASH KU/KSU
Nether team can really rely on what their guards bring to the table. K-State will not have played guards like Taylor, and Johnson so far this season. If they can’t guard Teahan early he may send AFH into frenzy. Though the turnovers will bite KU, K-State will look to capitalize on them and take the crowd out of the game. Rodriguez, Spradling, and Southwell have never played as big of a role in as big of a game in their careers. It's just to hard to tell who will have better guards. Danny Manning has consistently turned potential into talent at Kansas and he has done it again with Jeff Whitey. Whitey was awful last year. Though what he has done all year hasn’t been pretty where would the Jayhawks be without him? The seven footer from the left coast has had as many great games as terrible games. He has dominated the paint, got rebounds, scored points, and held down the fort when Robinson needs a rest. Yet in some games he has been the demise of Kansas. Like his performance last Saturday. After playing well against Howard the smaller, quicker big men of North Dakota gave him problems all game. Self was not pleased with Whitey, as well as many of the players, and told the media that those, the players he wasn’t pleased with, were going to practice harder than the ones he was pleased with. Let’s hope that the extra practice will help Whitey, and I have no reason to not believe he will have a decent game against K-State. I haven’t even mentioned Thomas Robinson. Robinson should dominate the game down low. Though it is expected that the Cats will double team him he still should be able to get a double double. Along with Kevin Young and Justin Wesley KU should dominate Samuels down low. K-State’s big men Samuels, Gipson, McGruder, and Henriquez will not be a problem for the Jayhawks. Advantage: KANSAS In January for some reason Bill Self begins to shine as a coach, while Martin has had good Januarys and he has had bad ones. The difference between the coaches is that Self is a big game coach. If it’s a big game against a big team his teams play very well. This season alone the Jayhawks played very well against Duke Georgetown, even Kentucky, and Ohio State. Those games should have the feeling of this game. Though Self in my opinion clearly out coached Thad Mata, and not so clearly out coached Coach K, he cannot afford to be out coached. Martin leaves his fingerprints all over his teams. Their toughness, relentless, and attitude resembles their head coach. You know Self will have KU amped to play the Cats, Martin will have the Cats’s also amped, when push comes to shove not many can beat Bill Self. Advantage: KANSAS With all that being said my prediction for the game is: KU 76 KSU 70. The Jayhawks pass the first of many tests that the Big 12 has to offer. My hawk to rock is no other than the man, the myth, and the legend, Thomas Robinson. Some say he has a body as built as Dwight Howard; let’s hope he has the superman cape like Howard has. Robinson goes for 20 points and 15 boards. Dicky V better begin to notice, this kid might be the national player of the year.
• “Put your shoes on!”
In case you haven’t heard Elijah Johnson made quite the shot the other day at practice. The video has hit YouTube and it’s safe to say it’s a classic for the KU faithful. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVq-sB... Let’s hope this can carry over in a positive way for the game against the Cats.
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