Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Just Win...KU 71 GT 66

Had to have a quick post after that game...It was ugly and in many ways we did not play well, but we went into a hostile ACC arena facing a team with some obvious talent. Mario and Russell choke away some game clinching free throws and we still find a way. Darnell and Mario get a few late phantom foul calls to get DQ'ed and we still win. Officiating was awful both ways and took the pace of the game and runs away from both teams and we battle to the finish.
Tough games will help later on and while I am not in the least satisfied with how we closed out this game, we all know that 10 games from now it won't matter how or by how many, but that we prevailed. I am pretty sure that we can safely say this team would not finish a game out like that, against that team, three months from now. Let's not forget that basically this same team had lost to ORU at home and DePaul on the road at this point last year and they rebounded pretty nicely. To summarize, you gotta take the good and the bad, but when the bad is winning on the road, it isn't so bad...11-0! Excelsior!

P.S.-Someone tell Paul Hewitt how to manage timeouts...takes his final in a 6 point ball game at 2:40 left with a TV timeout still to come...blows my mind

*Edit* You know what doesn't blow my mind?...This...http://www.etonline.com/news/2007/12/56643/index.html

**Added later by Hiphopopotamus** First off, nice "finish" link and of course any ManBearPig reference is always a bonus. I think you may have been a bit tough on Coach Hewitt...But then again, there is this post-game nugget to consider "We are a talented team, but not a good basketball team, and there’s a difference. That’s why I thought we were going to win.” Say what now? My guess is that he was hoping to play NBA junk ball and just isolate for a bunch of 1-on-1's...And I guess that probably gave them the best chance to win considering, but if this isn't further proof of how he gets so little out of so much, I don't know what is.

On Kansas' end, I am surprisingly content with how the game went. And I think it's because there is no way to evaluate the game - mostly because of how "dumb" it was. From the officials calling phantom fouls or not allowing timeouts to Paul Hewitt misreading the scoreboard to Kansas forgetting their offense or Sherron Collins throwing the ball away under his basket, stupidity dominated last night.

But interestingly, that last incident with Collins ties directly into an officiating blunder and may not have happened had the first mistake not occurred. With KU still well in control, Chalmers chased a ball down on the baseline and before falling out(while having a foot on the ground) called timeout. At first, it was awarded and then quickly changed per the the rule alteration prior to last year...even though that is only supposed to apply to players that are airborn. So, the direct effect is that instead of being Kansas ball, GT got it and scored. And the indirect effect (though entirely a guess on my part), was on Collins' thought process. With the zebras mis-interpreting rules, he probably had no idea if it was legal to call timeout so he decided to do the next best thing and throw it off a white boy's legs. Was it the right thing to do? Of course not. But if it works (and he did it successfully earlier in the game), it was a heads-up play by a guy with few options.

As for the free throw shooting, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned. But in all honesty, it was fine last night...until the last minute. You could easily throw that back in my face and say that's when they need to be made. And though you'd be right, are you really worried that Chalmers not having any late game savvy is going to do this team in? Me neither. Let's look at the individual performances...Jackson (0/1), Kaun (5/6), Chalmers (2/3), Rush (2/2), Stewart (0/1), Collins (2/2) and Robinson (6/10). I'd say the bigger problem is lack of attempts. Obviously Russell and Kaun did a great job getting there. But Arthur didn't even attempt one. Chalmers only got there twice. And Rush and Collins only got there once a piece. Take away the five late attempts and in a horribly foul-plagued game they somehow would only have taken 20 free throws. Call me crazy, but I'd call that the much bigger issue.

All in all, there are a lot of loose ends to keep tying up before conference play (I haven't even mentioned the rebounding woes). But at this time last year, they had a home loss to Oral Roberts and a roadie to DePaul. And both were in games just like last night's. This team isn't where it's needs to be - far from it. But don't forget that there is still two weeks before Kansas' bowl game.

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