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Monday, January 23, 2017

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Schedule takes Kansas behind the eight ball

Kansas forward Landen Lucas pulls away an offensive rebound from West Virginia forward Elijah Macon (45) and guard Tarik Phillip during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas pulls away an offensive rebound from West Virginia forward Elijah Macon (45) and guard Tarik Phillip during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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The Kansas basketball team begins an eight-game stretch of games Tuesday night so brutal that the easiest of the lot comes against Iowa State, which has a winning record in Big 12 play.

The eight-game, 27-day journey includes five tests against teams ranked in the top 25 poll released today. It will reveal plenty about a team that, compared to all of the others Bill Self has coached for Kansas, has less reliable front-court depth and fewer above-average defenders.

Experienced guards Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham, savvy fifth-year center Landen Lucas, energetic, talented freshman Josh Jackson and emerging scorer Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have staked Kansas to an 18-1 start and No. 2 national ranking. Just one of those games came against a team now ranked in the top 25, Duke, then ranked No. 1, now No. 17.

The eight games, ranked in order of degree of difficulty:

1 - At No. 4 Kentucky, 5 p.m. Saturday, Rupp Arena: Even though the Wildcats, as always, are young, they don’t play that way. Just 6 percent of their offensive possessions end in steals, the fifth-best percentage in the nation, according to kenpom.com.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox and shooting guard Malik Monk are freshmen in name only and combined for 37.9 points per game.

2 - At No. 18 West Virginia, 6 p.m. Tuesday, WVU Coliseum: Back-to-back losses to Oklahoma in Morgantown and at Kansas State beg the question as to whether the key to unlocking constant full-court pressure, applied even after misses, has been discovered and copied. Probably not, but it’s a fair question. In the loss in Manhattan, losing the ball was more the issue. The Mountaineers turned it over 23 times.

Huggins knows how to fix what’s broken and the players will be highly motivated to remove the bad taste left by the two recent losses. Plus, Kansas has lost three in a row in Morgantown, where depth, one thing the Jayhawks lack, helps visiting teams.

3 - At No. 5 Baylor, noon Feb. 18, Ferrell Center: The dimly lit Ferrell Center does not seem to hold sound all that well and the fans generally are more interested in the Bears’ football teams anyway, so it’s not the venue that makes this a particularly tough game as much as it’s the players. The Bears, according to kenpom.com, have the nation’s third-best defense and 11th-best offensive rebounding squad.

4 - At Kansas State, 8 p.m. Feb. 6, Bramlage Coliseum: The schools' home courts are 88 miles from each other which, if my math skills are on point, calculates to roughly 20 dribbles for Svi.

5 - No. 5 Baylor, 8 p.m. Feb. 1, Allen Fieldhouse: The Bears didn’t handle the hostile environment of WVU Coliseum well, so it’s legitimate to question their ability to deal with the Fieldhouse intimidation factor. If they don’t shrink emotionally, their size makes them no easy out.

6 - No. 18 West Virginia, 8 p.m. Feb. 13, Allen Fieldhouse: The Mountaineers don’t scare easily, but they also will have more fouls called against them in Lawrence than in Morgantown.

7 - At Texas Tech, 1 p.m. Feb. 11, United Spirit Arena: Red Raiders are hanging tough so far in the Big 12 and know how to find good shots, but they’ll have a tough time stopping Kansas from scoring.

8 - Iowa State, 1 p.m. Feb. 4, Allen Fieldhouse: The Cyclones don’t have any size, so this could be the game in which Carlton Bragg Jr. gets going. And as we all know, because he said so, “Once I get going, there's no stopping me.”

Comments

Steve Corder 5 years, 6 months ago

"Once I get going, there's no stopping me"....I can't stop chuckling as it reminds me how I snow ski.

Kent Slawson 5 years, 6 months ago

And as we all know, because he said so, “Once I get going, there's no stopping me.” Sorry "keegs" but I see no need for this classless little dig on a 20 year young man who I am sure desperately wants to deliver for his team and the fan base. We will need Carlton to make a deep run in the tourney. Yea, lets turn on him now; that will really build his confidence. Get a grip, you are making a living on the talent of kids.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 6 months ago

It's sort of a bookend to the Svi comment.

In Carlton's case, I think he is coming along nicely in sort of a Lucas-lite role, and that's really all we need. I'm not sure what Carlton meant by "no stopping me", but I seem to recall an earlier article about the expectations for the big in the lineup, and it wasn't for being an offensive presence that the ball is funneled through. You have to feed the post to keep them honest, or in ISU's case just to capitalize on a weakness, but know one seriously thinks the offense runs through the front court on this team.

Humpy Helsel 5 years, 6 months ago

OK. Let's put it out there. What do people think? How many of these 8 games will KU win? I am going with 5 out of 8. I want to say 4 out of 8, but that starts to get into my "KU basketball crazy in my head stuff" where I believe they are going to lose while watching every game, can't watch NCAA games live and only watch them after I've recorded them and we've won. I leave my house during the NCAA and go to the park for a walk alone or to a movie. My sickness has spread to my son who gets all freaked out when I sound confident we are going to win because he thinks that is bad juju for the J-Boys. If I am convinced they are going to lose he relaxes and knows it is good juju and we are probably going to win. We can't invite people to our house to watch games with our family because the guests begin to look at each other with looks of "let's get out of here because these folks aren't right." OK! That's it! I am switching my guess to 4 out of 8. Sadly, in my day job I'm a mental health professional.

Nathan Scholl 5 years, 6 months ago

This post is disturbing on a number of levels......

Brett McCabe 5 years, 6 months ago

Good stuff Humpy. Everyone has their own level of stress when rooting on the Hawk, and we all find our on way to deal with it. RCJHK!

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm going to go 6-2 without picking the losses. It's about the toughest 8 game streak that Kansas has gone through in several years.

Humpy, I also tape games and watch them later.

Trent Rose 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm the opposite - I always think they are going to win - and get frustrated when they play bad and lose. It's hard for me to even say they are going to lose because I always think they are going to win. The toughest games are the road games. Regardless of what happens, I think this tough stretch of games will prepare them for tough games later in the season.

Gary McCullough 5 years, 6 months ago

I guess I've become an adrenaline junkie. But the excitement sometimes overcomes me and I stop the game and let the DVR get me caught up during commercials and ESPN's insipid halftime presentations. I've also discovered that a glass of milk is better than a beer or other alcoholic beverage in keeping my emotions in check. I'm in Trent's corner: I always think the Jayhawks are going to win and I'm predicting they come out of this 8 game series 8-0. Say it! Believe it! And it will come to pass. Thank you Jesus.

Ray Buckingham 5 years, 6 months ago

Enjoy the ride. We watch and cheer a team of kids/young men play a game of basketball. Tons of great teams out there that are fun to watch... ours just happens to be one of the best. They'll play great.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 6 months ago

The great thing about this stretch is that it gives us a chance to put the conference in our back pocket. We play all the challengers and, if we hang an L on everyone of them, we've basically sealed the deal.

As fans, this looks daunting. As players, I'll bet these guys are licking their chops. This is why you come to Kansas - to take on the big boys and slay 'em.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 6 months ago

Exactly! Now we have a schedule to show our worth. We can overtake 'Nova in the top spot based upon the merits of our performance alone. I couldn't be more please with how the schedule sets up and believe we can sweep the next eight.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 6 months ago

" I'll have what she's having" - When Harry Met Sally.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 6 months ago

Kansas is 18-1.......winners of 50 straight at the Phog .....We may have reservations and fears of this stretch but there is not one player in that locker room that does.We have been tested at home and on the road and managed to come out on top......Pride is what this team has just like all the other Bill Self coached team ....."DONT BE THE ONE" something im sure this team doesnt want to hear when it comes to not winning the BIG 12 ....as fearful as some may be.....think about this .....TEXAS and OU played last night to stay out of last place.......OK state isnt far behind....and then there is Duke and its 8 McDonald all-americans.....Coach K gave Jeff Capel the keys and he ran the team into a ditch....We wont win all 8 but we wont lose all 8 either ....I think we will be ok

Andy Godwin 5 years, 6 months ago

And with Duke's home loss last night to NC State the Blue Devils are 3-4 in the ACC (tied with with Danny Manning's Wake Forest and two other teams for 7th place). KU's best win against then #1 Duke does not look as significant (they could/should drop out of the top 25 next week). Here is hoping for a great run to show KU is a top 10 team, because they have not always looked the part other than in the win column, which is what I have been told ultimately counts. Go, fight, win.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 6 months ago

(they could/should but won't drop out of the top 25 next week)

my prediction.

Clarence Haynes 5 years, 6 months ago

As a few players have intimated......"this is why we come to play at Kansas"! Bring on the schedule!

Joe Joseph 5 years, 6 months ago

Tom Keegan citing advanced statistics... What is happening??

Jay Scott 5 years, 6 months ago

All of these teams are much more concerned.... they have to play Kansas.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 6 months ago

IF we lose on another team's home court, which fans are most likely to storm the court?

My Picks In Order of Likelihood

  1. Kansas State

  2. Texas Tech

  3. West Virginia

I don't think Baylor's or Kentucky's fans will storm the court.

Mike Greer 5 years, 6 months ago

Likely hood to storm or likely hood to lose and result in a storm?

Likely to storm:

  1. OSU, I have pictures from last year
  2. K State, it's a ritual
  3. West Virginia, the fan base is rabid

Kentucky is much like KU, they/we expect to win, so it's no biggie.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 6 months ago

Predictions:

1] Ashley Judd will show up topless, the crowd will exit in horror and KU will beat UK in an empty building.

2] West Virginia will set an NCAA record for turnovers equaling the yearly output by Pillsbury and KU wins in a cakewalk.

3] As long as Scott Drew is still the coach, KU wins.

4] At Kansas State..c'mon, we own the Octagon of Dumb!!

5] Baylor at Allen...forgetta bod it. W.

6] WV at Allen,,see #5.

7] Texaa Tech there..the away version of #5 and #6.

8] The Cyclones at Allen will huff and puff but will faint from hyperventilation.

See, no sweat, everybody!!!

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 6 months ago

Ashley may not be the beauty she once was but she can sit next to me topless any day of the week.

Where has Olivia Wilde been lately? I would actually pick another place for..... Probably shouldn't finish that sentence.

Great post Tony

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 6 months ago

Great Tony and Jay. I would simply point out that every team has to play the same teams, with the exception of Kentucky, which is just a special event with no conference implications.

As for Ashley Judd, it all depends on whether she still wants to be known as a "nasssssty woman." She and Madonna may be too busy trying to figure out a way to bomb the White House. Mo-rons!!!!!!

Gary McCullough 5 years, 6 months ago

Oh, come on Harlan. I come here to escape the political BS. Keep your political opinions to yourself. Go to a political comment page if you feel the need to rant. I don't want to read it.

Jay Scott 5 years, 6 months ago

"How do we get more first-place votes and not be in first place? Sounds like they are using the Electoral College." - Gary McCullough

Politics are fine when it's your comment, right Gary?

Jim Pendleton 5 years, 6 months ago

While we all want to beat UK on Saturday, that game is somewhat on the bottom of my list on importance right now. Now I don't want to go there and lose by 30, and I hope we win, but a non-con road game against another Top 4 team you want a good showing for sure.

That being said, I really want a win tonight, for many reasons. One we have not won there in awhile, and would be nice to get that done. Along those lines, a win there, and a win at home against Baylor next Wed, and we will have run the table for the first round of conference games! That makes a statement to everyone else in the league.

As always, have to continue taking care of biz at home. So far, I think only us and Baylor have not lost a conference home game. We can withstand 2-3 road losses by winning all of the home games.

Finally, and a lot of games before then, but a game not on this list above that could be a tough one is the regular season finale at Stillwater. Yes their record isn't very good, but they gave us a tough time at home earlier, we have had issues there over the years, and they do have some talented guys. Add in our game that day is the last one of the day's schedule, so we could be playing needing a win to either tie for or win the league outright. Obviously would be nice if we got to that point and it didn't matter!

Let's start with a win tonight, I want to see us win in Morgantown! Rock Chalk!!

Kurt Eskilson 5 years, 6 months ago

Agree about Stillwater. I have tickets, and this will be our third time there. Hopefully this will be the time we finally see the Hawks win!

Jay Krueger 5 years, 6 months ago

I think we can win them all, but I'm afraid we'll lose at least one on free throws.

Mike Greer 5 years, 6 months ago

All this and no mention of the last conference game of the season, OSU, where the Jayhawks have just as poor of a record as they do in Morgantown. Yes they should win, as they should have several of the past few years, but for some strange reason, the Sutton or Iba curse, whatever, they have struggled.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 6 months ago

Touche, Jay. I was merely expanding on Tony's humor regarding that great American, Ashley Judd. Her so called "dramatic presentation" won't win any Oscars.

She is still a mo-ron and my guess is that Gary is right there with her, although like most hypocrites, he tries to go the self-righteous route.

Len Shaffer 5 years, 6 months ago

You're right, Harlan, only a moron would have voted against Trump. That's why Hillary won 52%-43% among people with college degrees. Clearly, those without degrees are much smarter. And after all, it's obvious that you have to be really intelligent to vote for a pathological liar who sexually abuses women, regularly causes businesses to go bankrupt by not paying his bills, and is biased against Mexicans, African-Americans, Muslims, and a whole host of other groups. Yep, it takes someone really bright to support someone like that. After all, how does any of that compare to having a private email server?

Mike Greer 5 years, 6 months ago

Len, do you really want to go there? Two flawed candidates, very flawed candidates and you want to talk about the flaws of only one of them.

"Obe-Wan Kenobi 2016, our only hope"

Len Shaffer 5 years, 6 months ago

Hillary was extremely flawed and I was not a fan. I was a Bernie supporter and still wish he had won. But there's simply no comparison between someone who had a lot of baggage and would not have been great and someone who should be spending the rest of his life in jail.

John Pritchett 5 years, 6 months ago

"But there's simply no comparison between someone who had a lot of baggage and would not have been great and someone who should be spending the rest of her life in jail."

There, fixed it for you.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 6 months ago

Hillary lied and men died in Libya Len. Those are established proven facts. Just go to YouTube and you can hear her blaming a "video" for the murders committed in Benghazi.

There are still questions about Vince Foster that the Clintons have done everything to bury. BURY. I don't believe her to be complicit but she certainly hasn't been honest.

I didn't vote for either candidate but watching and listening to those trying to discredit Trump's election is pathetic. I would rather not see ANY politics here. There are better forums and I find your basketball comments informative. But it just isn't going to happen.

Jay Scott 5 years, 6 months ago

Lenny...Do you really endorse what Judd said? Here's what you can't grasp. Your anger and derangement, like hers, is helping elect Trump again. Tell as many voters as you can that they're stupid if they don't agree with you. Yell as loud as you can. Make up as many nonsensical things as you can. You can do it!

Here's the good news for you. Unless you're a criminal, a welfare cheat or a federal bureaucrat you'll have a better life under Trump. Awesome! Even though you likely have no clue about real issues and no idea how it happened!

Live in the Bay Area? LGBTQ rights advocate? Trump is the FIRST president to run as a solid LGBTQ equal rights supporter. ...but please stay deranged Lenny.

Brad Farha 5 years, 6 months ago

Please -- no politics here. Let's keep it about sports.

Dee Shaw 5 years, 6 months ago

All HELL is ready to break loose with KU fans. It will be hilarious how we as KU fans will be in FREAK OUT mode. I actually think the Jayhawks have a tough road ahead. They have 12 games remaining on there schedule. I think they will go 8-4 but could go 6-6 there next 12 games. Most likely 8-4 but who knows. Look at the schedule.

@ W. VA = Loss @ Kentucky = Loss Baylor = Win Iowa St = Win @ K-St. = Loss @ TX Tech = Win W. VA = Win @ Baylor = Loss TCU = Win @ TX = Win or Loss OU = Win @ Oklahoma St. = Win or Loss

I love being wrong on my predictions. I hope I am. Prove me wrong Jayhawks. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

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