KU must revisit Temple

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

As the Kansas University basketball team begins stalking another NCAA title, it needs to copycat this:

Jan. 2, 2010, Philadelphia — Kansas 84, Temple 52.

That was no weakling the Jayhawks rag-dolled that day. The Owls went on to win the Atlantic 10 title, capture a No. 5 NCAA Tournament seeding and carry a 29-5 record against their first-round opponent. That’s Cornell, a 12th-seeded Ivy League champion with a 27-4 record that gave Kansas a huge scare this season.

Kansas hadn’t played as well against any foe as it did at Temple. KU may not have fashioned as complete a drubbing of a quality opponent since. If the Jayhawks develop a mind-set to duplicate that Philly romp for the Final Six (we hope), I’m betting nobody will derail them. Fact is, they gonna win.

In case the Jayhawks have forgotten, let’s recount some of their feats at Temple. Cole Aldrich had a 10-point, 10-rebound performance, while Xavier Henry scored 15 points, Sherron Collins 14, Marcus Morris 13. KU led 40-23 by halftime, was up 60-35 with 9:25 left and battered the highly rated Owls 43-31 on the backboards. No Owl scored more than 11 points.

It was the worst loss Temple had suffered since it fell, 106-69, to Wake Forest on Feb. 7, 1993.

To find a more decisive KU victory against a quality opponent since that trip to Philly, you gotta look hard.

Clearly that rout of Temple drained the Jayhawks because they came home and darn near lost to Cornell. Yet as good as Cornell is, that was another important achievement. People complain about some of the “patsies” KU plays nonconference; Temple and Cornell aren’t among them.

This erratic Kansas team sometimes is hard to love. It lets itself get caught up in dangerous ebbs and flows that are a far cry from the Temple win, and it drives fans nutty. But it’s Consistency Time, and if Kansas can tear things up from here on as it did at Temple, hang another title banner. KU has the talent and depth.

• You gotta chuckle at the way fans let media people jerk them around. If a commentator says something good about the Jayhawks, he or she is nonpareil. You hear something less than flattery, and the Tweeters, Twitters, etc., paint the source as a Hitler clone. One day Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas, Bob Knight and Doug Gottlieb are kings; one non-KU utterance and they’re cabbages.

• One of the most mindless aspects of televised games are those sideline reporters who grab a coach at halftime and ask dumb questions. Coaches dutifully tolerate such nonsense, but it’s a nuisance.

Then there is Holly Rowe, whose low-cut top recently showed her cleavage to the max. Tacky. Dress like a professional and perform that way instead of fawning over athletes and coaches, kid! Cheerleaders are there to flaunt skin; media people should report news, not try to make it.

Holly topped even herself after the Kansas-Kansas State title game. She interviewed Sherron Collins, then called to him as he was walking away and delivered a tremendously unprofessional hug, on camera, yet. Tasteless, at best.

All the more reason for television networks to cut their costs during the recession by firing those inane sideline reporters. Male or female, they add so little.