Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Collins: Team not worried about low expectations

The Kansas men's basketball team start exhibition play against Washburn on November 4th. WIth seven newcomers joining the team this season, it's easy to understand why sophomore center Cole Aldrich is now counted among the most-experienced Jayhawks on the team.


Jayhawks to field very young squad this season

Thanks to the early departures of Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur, the Jayhawks will field one of their youngest teams in recent memory.

Kansas University's men's basketball team won't be saddled with great expectations nationally heading into the 2008-09 season.

Blue Ribbon Yearbook, which is generally regarded as the most knowledgeable of the preseason publications, has tapped the defending national champion Jayhawks No. 17 in the country.

North Carolina is ranked No. 1, followed by the somewhat surprising picks of Pittsburgh at No. 2 and Notre Dame at No. 3. UCLA is No. 4.

Big 12 teams picked ahead of KU by Blue Ribbon are: Oklahoma at No. 6, Texas at 10 and Baylor at 16.

The Jayhawks, who tied for third (with Baylor, behind Oklahoma and Texas) in the Big 12 coaches' preseason poll, are ranked 16th by, 22nd by Athlon's Magazine and 25th by Dick Vitale. ESPN's Andy Katz did not rank KU in his preseason top 25.

"We're going into this like it's a normal season, just like last year. It doesn't matter how low the expectations are, our own expectations are high," junior point guard Sherron Collins said. "If we live by the rules we play by, we'll be all right.

"I think we can surprise people. We've got a lot of good pieces we can put together, a lot of versatile players - both inside and out," Collins added. "We're going to be all right."

As far as what Las Vegas has to say ... one prominent sports book has KU listed at 20-1 odds to win it all again this year. North Carolina is 3-1, followed by Duke and Texas at 10-1. Oklahoma is 50-1; Baylor 75-1. Kansas State and Missouri are 100-1.

¢ Banner good for recruiting, too: The unveiling of a temporary national championship banner in the south rafters thrilled 16,300 fans at Friday's Late Night in the Phog.

It also helped the Jayhawks land 6-foot-2 blue-chip basketball recruit Elijah Johnson out of Cheyenne High in Las Vegas.

"It was pretty influential, and it made me realize I was lucky to be one of the guys they were recruiting," Johnson told his hometown

Now that Johnson has committed to KU, he's ready for a big senior season.

"I think it's going to be more relaxing," he told the Sun. "I had a goal set (in terms of getting a Div. I scholarship) and I've got it accomplished now."

An official Final Four banner will be unveiled before the KU-Florida Gulf Coast game on Nov. 18.

¢ Iowa's Barnes highly touted: Harrison Barnes, a 6-foot-6 junior small forward from Ames (Iowa) Senior High who attended Late Night on an unofficial recruiting visit, travels to Duke this weekend, reports.

Barnes has already unofficially visited Iowa, Iowa State, Florida, Southern Cal and KU.

He's the No. 4-rated player in the Class of 2010 who has scholarship offers from KU, Iowa, Iowa State, Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Maryland, Illinois, Louisville, Minnesota, Indiana, USC, UCLA, Duke, TCU and DePaul.

He's taking his recruitment seriously before the start of his junior season.

"On Saturday, I met with the academic adviser (at KU) and took a tour of the campus," Barnes told "I also watched the team practice and played in a pickup game. I was able to eat lunch with the team and my mom, sister, and I sat down with coach (Bill) Self. One of the things coach Self was able to do is give us a better feel for what the program is all about."


KU 14 years, 1 month ago

I sure hope you guys are right about KU gelling like Magellan early because they have a stiff non-con schedule this year. They could easily go into conference play with 6 losses. Of course, the difficult non-con will only help us in the Big 12.

nicka 14 years, 1 month ago

NH_JHawk -"these guys are usually pretty accurate...scary accurate actually."no'll never meet a bookie with a day job!

Michael Bratisax 14 years, 1 month ago

Not that big of a deal. Baylor and OU have rally done well recruiting the past 2 years AND we did just lose 7 key players."no'll never meet a bookie with a day job!"lmao...great line! And no pun meant on 'line'.

Mr_Sandman 14 years, 1 month ago

KU will be fun to watch this year, most of the time. A couple of games could be ugly, but that is the case most years. It will be fun to see the division of playing time and who steps up to be the big time players.

Jonathan Allison 14 years, 1 month ago

jcepp is exactly right... that's why in the week leading up to a big game the odds are always changing. Vegas is trying to make sure that 50% of the bettors are betting for one team and 50% for the other. Also these polls are not necessarily each persons pick to win it all this year. Obviously I'm not in the mind of the poll-makers but it could be that they are trying to determine which teams look best right now. Hence with teams like ours they have no basis rather than Sherron, Cole, and the quality of our newcomers. I don't know if I would list us in the top 20 right now because I expect it to take awhile for our team to gel. But by March I expect us to be near the top 10.

KUFan90 14 years, 1 month ago

I agree plastic. Anytime Vegas claims they are going to take a beating if a certain team wins, it means they did a poor job of adjusting the lines to get the money to come down 50/50 on the 2 opponents (or evenly spread round on an open bet like winning the world series before the season starts). I'm sure they know what they are doing, but it seems to me they could ensure this happens in just about every contest, even if they had to swing a line 10-20 points as the start of a game drew near.

NH_JHawk 14 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone else find it "odd" that we're behind OU and Baylor in the Blue Ribbon preseason rankings, but have considerably better odds at winning it all per the Vegas futures odds? Vegas sports book obviously has some faith in our 7 newbies and these guys are usually pretty accurate...scary accurate actually.

jaybate 14 years, 1 month ago

Ok, let's test the odds makers expertise of the folks talking about this unfortunate, but inevitable exploitation of the greatest game ever. (Note: the betting industry is basically a parasitic model in any system and should always be viewed and treated as one; i.e., whenever it can be given a poison harmless to the host that will make the parasite drop away, it is most always more efficient and healthy for the host not to have the parasite, and when such a poison cannot be found, it is still necessary to devise means to limit the adverse effect of the parasite.)So: does rating KU No.17, a program that is almost certain to exceed this ranking, because of the tradition, the coaching, and the ton of good new players, etc., help the odds makers capture enough suckers to offset the sure bets, or does it make it harder?

John Brown 14 years, 1 month ago

Glad for Barnes to visit, sounds pretty serious about Kansas.

Lance Hobson 14 years, 1 month ago

Vegas odds are the most accurate - money does not lie. The other predictions go by faith and ratings and whatever sounds good.

jcepp 14 years, 1 month ago

The vegas odds reflect nothing more than the betting public's willingness to bet on a particular team. If KU fans started betting on Missouri, The tigers odds would get worse (for the bettor) and KU's would get longer. And nothing about either team would have changed.The odds predict how people bet, not how basketball teams perform.

hammr25 14 years, 1 month ago

Kansas has a proven championship winning coach. Oklahoma and Baylor do not have proven coaches. That's why the odds are lower.It did still surprise me that Kansas has lower odds to win the championship than OU though, especially after what happened to Florida last year.

FSUJHAWK 14 years, 1 month ago

This team will surprise and disappoint us at times but it will always be all good because these young men will represent us well. What's surprising to me though is that K-State and Missouri have such high odds to win it all :).

tis4tim 14 years, 1 month ago

My only problem with this article is the premise that this team won't have high expectations.Okay, so we're not the favorites to win the NC this season. I get that. However, who among fans and followers of this team ever has anything but great expectations? They may be adjusted slightly, but they're always great. And I know that when other teams beat KU, it often is the crowning achievement of that team in a given season. Will the media be quick to point out the supposedly not-so-high expectations everyone had for us at the beginning of the season? Doubtful. Let's say Baylor beats KU this season. They'll call it an upset and go on and on and on about it eventhough Baylor is picked ahead of KU in the polls. I think a school like KU always has high expectations every season.

Joe Ross 14 years, 1 month ago

Has anyone else noticed that Gary Bedore has been a workhorse for the LJW's basketball section lately?Gary...youre a MACHINE!

justanotherfan 14 years, 1 month ago

jcepp makes a good point.Vegas sets odds to make money, hence why their odds in baseball this year were pretty low for the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Angels, and 100-1 for the Rays. Vegas has acknowledged that they are going to take a beating if the Rays win the World Series, and they have already taken a beating on the Rays advancing this far. But Vegas also has to take into account how many people will bet on certain teams, and set the odds to induce betting. KU has a large basketball base. The KU fans are more likely to bet on hoops. Conversely, OU has a large football base. Even if KU had a slightly better team than OU, the odds would probably be lower for OU because they have more fans that would bet on their football team than KU does.

100 14 years, 1 month ago

LJW: you want more readers? Get more in depth interviews with top prospects Self is recruiting. It's legal for you talk talk to them and interesting for a basketball crazy Jayhawk nation to read during coffee breaks.

sdoyel 14 years, 1 month ago

"Low expectations"? Not with THIS fan.

scootja32 14 years, 1 month ago

I hate the comparisons to Florida. They didn't leave behind two GREAT players that should be All- Conference and there could possibly be an AA or two there. Horrible comparisons. Obviously noone has really looked at this team up close. By end of season expect to be in the top 15 for sure

bballchick8885 14 years, 1 month ago

Ok so tell me when the expectations were high with the media last year??? Anyone???? While they were of course higher because we had older players there was at no point in time where hardly anyone in journalism in the preseason....regular season.....or even the postseason picked KU to win it all last year but they did. Hell even in the championship game they were underdogs. Bill Self strives when his teams are underdogs because he can get it in those guys heads that they aren't expected to win and get in their psyche and get them to perform better. Don't get me wrong I'm not naive enough to think at this moment that KU will be repeating as national champions but I do think they will be competitive...and wouldn't put it past Bill to get these boys to go for a long run in the tourney....I can't believe there are people that think they will only go to the NIT because that's not even crossing my mind.

melrank 14 years, 1 month ago

Not to be critical - we've got enough of those posters already - but that is a good suggestion by 100. How come we generally get referred to other publications for recruit's comments rather than first hand interviews?I'd like to think that Wall, Orton, Cheek, Snaer, and X would all be willing to get and give some headlines and it would provide interesting fodder on the board.LJW, comment?

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