I sure as shit hope so. If anyone tells you they saw this coming after the Okie State loss, they are lying beyond belief. In two weeks, Kansas has played four games, 2 road and 2 at home – and never been threatened in any of them. In fact, the closest game was in Ames and it was never in doubt.All of a sudden, Sherron Collins is exactly what he was during the last half of the conference season a year ago; and it has come at the perfectly opportune time. The seniors, Rusty in particular, have taken on a beautiful “fuck you” attitude that is permeating through everyone else on the team (see: Brandon Rush dunking on Brian Davis). And when that happens, no team in the country can beat this team.
I’ve said for a while now that I’d be shocked if a team outside of KU, UCLA or UNC won it all. And as we head into the conference tourneys, I honestly can’t imagine an objective or reasonable person could disagree. Which probably means Adam Emmenecker and Drake should make travel plans for San Antonio. But either way, we’re heading for an inevitable week of bracket breakdowns where the chic pick is UCLA/UNC, with some analysts going out on a limb and putting KU in the mix. Quite obviously, I think Kansas is the best team from top to bottom, but I’d have no legitimate reason to argue with either of the others.
What I do hope is that none of them are put in the same region. It seems pretty safe to say that aside from a first round conference tourney loss, UCLA as the 1 in the West and UNC as the 1 in the East is locked up. And after a grueling C-USA season that will ultimately provide Memphis with 19 free wins, they’re most likely the 1 in the South (or at least the Midwest). Tennessee is the wild card as they still have to go through a “tough” SEC conference tourney. If they stumble while Kansas wins theirs, I’d say they’ll switch spots, but if both win out, the Vols have likely done a bit more tangibly; plus they have Bruce Pearl, which bumps them up at least a line or two above where they deserve to be (see: 2006 as a 2 seed – beaten handily by Wichita State in 2nd round). And to be honest, I could care less. But assuming the Hawks don’t get a 1 seed, there is no possible defense for not making them the 2 in either the Midwest or the South. Agreed? I thought so.
As for the rest of the league, I’d say only A&M still has work to do. Perhaps OSU could play their way into contention with a win today and a couple in KC, but it seems highly unlikely given their poor non-con showing (thought they did hammer the same Washington team that UCLA was beaten by). As for the Aggies, finishing 8-8 in the league with home losses to Nebraska, OSU and Baylor doesn’t scream lock status, but with 2 wins in the tourney, I’d put them in. A first round loss would be inexcusable and clearly eliminate them, but if they win there, they’ll then have to go through the Bease to get their second win. If they’re able to do that, they will likely play Kansas (or Texas), against whom they couldn’t be blamed for a loss. At that point, they’d be 24-10 (10-9), with 4 of those losses coming to KU, UT and Arizona. They also still hold a blowout victory over bubble counterpart aOSU. Still definitely not a lock, but if I’m a 5 or 6 seed, I don’t want them as my 11 or 12 opponent.
Kudos to the other three teams for solidifying their status over the weekend. OU especially impressed me winning in GIA without Blake Griffin. And KSU again proved that they are capable of winning outside of the Rotten Apple, which they clearly needed before the postseason. And a special shout out to Baylor, who clearly has put their notorious past behind them and exceeded the popular expectations, though they were right on with this blog’s. (Note: To the announcer who said Kevin Rogers is the most improved player in the league, you made everyone watching that telecast a bit less intelligent by simply making that comment. Even if Darnell Jackson and Conner Atchley weren’t the most improved in the nation, let alone the league, Kevin Rogers would still be horribly inaccurate as he was damn good last year too – I’d even guess that some figured he would be even more productive this year.)
Before we go, I must present to you, Brian Zoubek...
That’s all for today as I’m typing this on a plane and a lovely stewardess has ordered me to turn off my electronics as there is no conceivable way a pilot could land with electronic equipment running in the cabin of his plane. Enjoy the Sprint Center if you are able; and as always, Rock Chalk!
**Post-edit** Congrats to all KU players honored by the Big 12 conference. Some interesting selections, but good overall representation.