Monday, March 12, 2012


Uh-oh, Sully: Detroit it is


Remember column subject Sully, the guy with a Jayhawk tattooed on each shoulder? He was the guy who thought Turner Gill should start Christian Matthews in the final Border War football game and was proven right when Kansas moved the football better when Matthews was under center. Then Matthews inexplicably was removed from the game, at which point everything stalled.

Well, just the other day Sully rolled down the window of his car pretty much wall-to-wall decorated with Jayhawk stickers, and, his blood pressure soaring toward the clouds, randomly blurted out, “If there’s one team I don’t want any part of, it’s Detroit. Those guys are awesome.” Then he drove off as I wondered if he ever would calm down and enjoy life, you know, play a round of golf or something. I didn’t give it another thought until the NCAA pairings were released Sunday night.


The University of Detroit Mercy sounds like a church-league team in much the same manner Kevin Love sounds like a soft name for a basketball player.

By now everybody knows that Detroit has one more McDonald’s All-American (one, Ray McCallum Jr.) than Kansas (zero, even though No. 0 is a lock for first-team All-America honors.) What many don’t know is that Eli’s comin’, so don’t hide your heart medicine. He’s a scary guy. Campus police on more than one college campus are on a first-name basis with Eli Holman.

Holman, the Albert Belle of college basketball, stands 6-foot-10, weighs 260 pounds and throws a mean fastball. Not with a baseball. With a potted plant.

Back when Kelvin Sampson was in the throes of a calling-recruits-on-his-cell-phone addiction and was fired for it, Holman was a Hoosier. Players were leaving at such a rapid rate new coach Tom Crean must have been fantasizing about what life would have been like with the ball in Tyshawn Taylor’s hands had the coach not left Marquette. Crean tried to convince Holman to stay. Eli told the coach he needed to transfer to a school closer to his home in Richmond, Calif. Holman lost it and reportedly hurled a potted plant. A coach phoned campus police because, Crean later said, he viewed him as “a danger to himself.”

Crean has the Hoosiers back in the same tournament in which Taylor, Holman and Marquette are partaking.

Eli transferred to Detroit, putting him a mere 2,400 miles from home, 140 miles farther than when he was a Hoosier. Holman averaged 11.8 points and 8.9 rebounds for Detroit as a sophomore and had similar statistics as a junior (11.8, 9.6) and was a big reason Detroit was expected to win the Horizon League until news broke in September that he had gone on an indefinite absence to attend to personal matters. The school newspaper, The Varsity News, then broke a story in which a frat boy said Holman broke his nose in two places and chipped two of his teeth at a fraternity party. Those zany, zany frat parties.

Without Holman, Detroit started the season 4-6. The Titans head into the tournament on a 10-1 run. Holman plays so much football when he plays basketball that he tends toward foul trouble. That explains why he averages just 23 minutes a game, time enough to average 10.8 points and 6.9 rebounds.

Oh well, at least nobody has to worry about how motivated Thomas Robinson will be for the tourney opener. Holman took care of that Sunday night.

“Robinson?” Holman said to the Detroit News. “I can handle Robinson. He has to handle me.”

So much trash will spill out of the players’ mouths in this one extra ballboys will be needed to sweep the floor during every timeout.

Nobody scares Thomas Robinson. That’s not the point here. The point is, Detroit’s not your average No. 15 seed. The Titans are playing so well now they crushed Horizon League regular-season champ and postseason tourney host Valparaiso by 20 points, the same team they lost to twice with Holman in the lineup. And that would be the same Horizon League that Butler represented twice in the NCAA Tournament title game the past two seasons.


Dillon Davis 10 years, 8 months ago

I'll be happy if we make it out of the first weekend. Scrappy teams with Detroit, Purdue, and St. Mary's

actorman 10 years, 8 months ago

You're right, kusports, it's obvious that KU will win easily, because of course KU has never lost to a team in the tournament that it should have beaten ...

That being said, I'm a lot less worried about Detroit than I am about St. Mary's. They're in my neck of the woods and they're really good -- exactly the type of team that KU has had a lot of trouble with over the years.

Lance Cheney 10 years, 8 months ago

Actually, you did say KU will "wipe the floor with them," which is a colloquialism for winning easily...

RJ King 10 years, 8 months ago

"You know Bill and the boys will respect them."

Like last year, when the Morri opened their idiot mouth and said to Vacuum Cleaner University, "it's time for you to go home now"? A mature KU team will win this game. I hope they show up.

Hawklin 10 years, 8 months ago

This is totally made up. Just the other day... drive by NCAA predictions. Try harder than this.

colbyhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Wow! That Holman kid sounds like a grade a punk! Robinson shouldn't have any problem being motivated for this. I can see this punk kid trying to get Thomas into some type of altercation.

mgphill 10 years, 8 months ago

I can see this punk kid getting fouled out quick.

Bob Thompson 10 years, 8 months ago

I hope Thomas is smart enough not to bite into the junk Holman is saying and get tossed from the game.

ancient_hawk 10 years, 8 months ago

McCallum has an attitude as well. Watch the replay of the Detroit-Valpo game. He loves to slap the floor and pose and mug for the camera. With an 18 point lead, 4 seconds left, and the ball in his hands, Valpo threw up the white flag. So, as a little FU, he drives to the basket and dunks at the buzzer while the Valpo players were walking to the bench.

TT or EJ, whoever Bill puts on him, needs to get in his head early. He obviously has some emotional control issues.

ParisHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Good thing the Twins are in the NBA. They'd have to build extensions on both campuses to house all the extra bulletin boards.

KU needs to concentrate and show maturity. Nightmare scenario: TRob and Holman double Ts, and Tyshawn trying to one-up McCallum instead of leading the team.

In battle, you have to prepare for the worst case.

Hope the refs will do what they can to avoid injuries to players...

WilburNether 10 years, 8 months ago

"...Tyshawn trying to one-up McCallum instead of leading the team."

Sherron Collins, call your office.

Robert Brock 10 years, 8 months ago

KU has to be able to handle Detroit. A'ight?

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 8 months ago

Please pardon my ignorance, but who the heck is Sully?

Chris Shaw 10 years, 8 months ago

The good thing is that Kansas can put the "Mid-Major" troubles behind them in this Region! Let's get it on!

The interesting thing about Detroit is that they have 5 guys averaging double figures and a 6th averaging over 9! Pretty good distribution from an offensive standpoint for this squad.

I still say, you control Ray McCallum, you control their team! No dumb fouls from Kansas' Withey and T-Rob and they will be in good shape!

Ian Legler 10 years, 8 months ago

This team reminds me of the Morgan State team that played against Oklahoma a few years back ... They talk a LOT of trash prior to the game and when push come to shove, despite Morgan State putting a bulls eye on Blake Griffin's back he just played his game and OU rolled them by 28.

Teams should know when to not get ahead of themselves. When we're "on" we play some of the best ball in the country. I have a feeling that Withey is going to come up huge for us in the tourney.

LJ Gee 10 years, 8 months ago

My only concern right now is that we havent really played that well since the Mizzou game and from my perspective there has been one big reason - Jeff Withey. W hasnt been the same guy the last couple weeks. He's even been missing FTs regularly. Dont get me wrong, its not like hes been a bumb or anything but he hasnt put his imprint on a game in a while. It worries me a little bit because when we were rolling, it was because he was playing well. TRob is obviously the man on this team but I really think Withey is the X factor. If he is can become a factor, we are really really hard to beat.

That said, Detroit may be a good team but we'll be ready. I think this Kansas team is going to be less susceptible to getting beat by a low seed than past teams. On the flip side, this team doesnt have the talent advantage past teams have so they are probably more susceptible to getting beat by a good team, like Georgetown or North Carolina.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

A lot of people think Detroit can pull the upset of KU. Many people think St.Mary's is the worst possible match-up fo KU. Most folks don't think that KU can beat Georgetown twice in one season. Seth Davis is the only guy picking Kansas for the Final Four.

No respect, little confidence in Self or the team, no national buzz......perfect!!!!!

For once we go in as an implied underdog, unlike previous seasons.

Carry that chip on your shoulders proudly Hawks and make 'em all eat crow!!!!!!!!

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

We are going to win it all.

I've been saying this for two months.

I know what I am saying is not defensible on strictly rational grounds.

I know I am usually prone to hard core analytics, but...

I fell in love with this team, when they gave UK a game for a half, despite being green and shooting 25% from trey.

I fell in love with this team during the Maui tournament, when they almost took Duke.

I fell in love with this team the minute Tyshawn came back after knee surgery.

I feel in love with this team after Jeff took that unmerciful bust in the chops and kept coming.

I fell in love with this team, when Travis played through boot and hung 20+ on someone when we needed it.

I fell in love with this team Superman played so awesomely and consistently for so long through so much cheap shotting.

I fell in love with this team when EJ just kept guarding harder the longer his slump went.

I fell in love with this team when Conner went 4-4 from trey on Meth U and guarded like he's never guarded before.

Some kinds of greatness are hard to measure.

This team has this kind of greatness in it, or it wouldn't have gotten even this far.

It is going to be a lot harder to win the ring than I expected, because the gonifs at the media-gambling complex had the chutzpah to use their yutzes at the NCAA to stack the deck against KU, but this team of our they are uber mensches. They get it done, when it has to get done.

They got off The Canal.

They will take Suribachi.

They will take the caves.

And they will take Sugar Loaf.

JayCeph 10 years, 8 months ago

I like the prospect of what this suggests... I just don't see it happening. I WANT to see it happen (with the exception of the final outcome) but, well, you decide...

Mel Clare 10 years, 8 months ago

Jaybate, you as a history buff as I should also not forget.............

Peleliu, New Giunea, The Phillipines, Guam, Edsons Ridge, Bloody Nose Ridge, The Tenaru, ect, ect, ect..................Gotta love all those Vets!

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 8 months ago

Actually, Digger Phelps has KU in the Sweet 16 as well.

Hail_To_Thee 10 years, 8 months ago

I would hope that the utter disrespect that KU has received this last week, from commentators, to sports analysts, and now players from a Mid Major Detroit team, that the entire team would be extremely pissed off right now and want to prove to the entire nation that we are not a team to F*** with.

Time to get serisous boys and come out to whip some major a** in this tournament.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I hope you're right.

One of my (few) complaints about Coach Self's teams (not just this one) is that, for as tough as Self seems to be, his teams seem to be kind of........soft at - times.

I HATE getting a 20 point lead and then watching it dwindle to 3 or 4, or less. They need to play their game and never look at the scoreboard. It just seems that they see that 15-20 point lead and assume that the game is over.

Put the foot on the gas and don't let up.....

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 8 months ago

All teams do this -- at least the ones who are good enough to get a 20-point lead in the first place. Self's teams protect those leads about as well as anyone does. The only comebacks from 19-20 point margins during the Self era have been when Kansas did it to someone else (see UT in the Durant era and two weeks ago vs. Mizzou).

The problem we've had in our tourney losses is starting off slugglishly, seeming shocked that our low-seeded opponents are actually good, and getting in a hole early. Against UNI and VCU, we were forced into playing catchup almost the whole game.

Tyson Ailshie 10 years, 8 months ago

I know Detroit's a mid major underdog and that can be a bit concerning. But this team lost to Akron by 18 points. So that was without Holman? Is he that good? As long as we come out and play Kansas basketball we'll take care of business. This could wind up being an emotional test for the team. One more thing, we need Connor and KY to step up their games for this tournament. No more zeroes in the box score.

Joe Satterwhite 10 years, 8 months ago

Wow man, that Holman kid is in for a rude awakening when he go's up against T-Rob

Ed Brown 10 years, 8 months ago

Sheeyat...I thought Detroit Mercy was a hospital and the medical team will be on the bench and behind it and in the locker room. My wife is from the burbs of Detroit so please don't make me eat these words.


VancouverHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Ken Pom gives us about a 30% chance of making it to the final four - about the same as North Carolina's chance - I think he says its a toss up between the two of us. (And so about a 30% of someone other than NC of making it to the final four from our region).

That sounds about right.

VancouverHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

that should read "30% chance of someone other than NC or us..."

reber5000 10 years, 8 months ago

I can't wait to see T-Rob slam it down Holman's throat.

NanaJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Everyone needs to calm down an remember that if I am correct we have never lost a first round game, or in this case second round. Right?

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 8 months ago

We aren't playing a team that starts with a B, so hopefully we won't have that problem.

NanaJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Are you guys sure that Holman isn't from Missouri, with that mouth it sure sounds like it!

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 8 months ago

Teams that beat KU this year are the ones that have shot lights out from the 3.

Can anyone remember Duke and its last 2 toss-ups that went in. Kentucky at the beginning of the second half, was launching 3s, that gave them a 15 point lead and nothing to look back at. Davidson was shooting 3. The three KU losses in the Big XII play (including the tourney), ISU, MU, and BU shot 50% plus from 3.

Detroit is 30% from 3 and doesn't shoot well from the 3. Inside they don't shoot very well either. I'm guessing that there will be some trouble inside. They have a couple of big guys, and have had success in scoring inside with their two guys; however, they haven't had to face a tough defense inside with the likes of Withey and Robinson. I'm guessing they will get frustrated on the offensive side and foul on the defensive side trying to compensate. They will launch 3s unsuccessfully because that will be their only answer to the inside game.

KU will advance because this is actually a good matchup for KU (unlike Boston last year).

JakeBarnes 10 years, 8 months ago

Withey must play tough because having seen tapes they will test him.

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