Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Still Love FNL

We here at IBT have been blogging for roughly seven months now. Depending on your reasoning for stopping by (read: your level of boredom), you may or may not think we do a good job. In all likelihood, it is probably the latter. In no way are we trained to write or report news in a logical manner. Fortunately, none of that matters. Instead, we put together posts that we hope will entertain anyone looking for such entertainment, but most of all, we just enjoy the process. Best of all, no one is paying us for our services and in no way is our work imposed upon those not interested, yet it remains easily accessible to all.

So why am I putting together an incoherent rant about the independence of our little blogspot here? Look no further than the premium channel television series, "Costas Now." Depending upon your interest in the blogosphere, you may have heard that last night, Bob Costas conducted a live, Town Hall Edition of his show, with a roundtable "discussion" of the sports media landscape. During this panel, many forms of media were discussed: radio, TV, athletes/media, race, and of course, the internet. For the discussion of the internet, Bob invited Deadspin governor, Will Leitch, author Buzz Bissinger, and Cleveland Browns WR Braylon Edwards. This is what ensued.

If you don't feel like watching a video or are constrained due to work computer censoring, here's the jist of it…

Bob Costas: There are some criticisms about blogs. How do you respond?

Will Leitch: Well, I think some of them are valid--

Buzz Bissinger: I have to interrupt here. (to Leitch) Fuck you and everything you stand for.

Braylon Edwards: (to himself) I am going to kill my agent.

Between Deadspin, The Big Lead, FJM, EDSBS and countless other blogs, plenty has already been written in response to this desultory rant by Bissinger. And to be certain, all of it has been much more poignant and intelligent than anything we could put together. Nevertheless, as a blogger who relies a great deal on newspapers, television, radio and human contact for a breadth of the information I convey, I felt like it was worthwhile to pose the obvious question to Bissinger (and the like), "Is there any reason that blogs and newspapers can't coexist?"

Answer 1A) Yes. They already do.

Answer 1B) Yes. Despite their utilization of a blog medium, the contributors to Fire Joe Morgan consistently humiliate newspaper writers when they happen to publish a completely nonsensical article. Given that they only put out a few of these a week, it's reasonable to surmise that they also enjoy articles occasionally. A perfect fit!

Answer 1C) Yes. If these newspaper writers that are continually outraged by the lack of respect they are afforded by the inferior blogosphere would instead take the time to remember their own roots of beat reporting, perhaps they would not be so frightened. Very few blogs, in fact, attempt to do any sort of news reporting. Instead, they are constructed in hopes of entertaining the public, or as we here at IBT call it, our friends and families. Newspapers, on the other hand have a plethora of beat reporters hoping to be the first to get a quote from a player or to dig up a lawsuit filed against a player. This is the news portion. On account of their seniority, columnists and editors then poach this information from these entry level beat writers and attempt to pen columns that provide the entertainment portion of the newspaper. Generally, bloggers only care about the latter.

I've already written more on this than I had planned, and for that, I apologize. But before we go, in case you want proof of how much more informed members of the main stream media are, I present to you: the draft performance of Todd McShay and Mel Kiper. That's right, out of the first three rounds, McShay displayed roughly a 6.67% accuracy rate, or in other words, he correctly predicted exactly 9 out of the first 135 picks. Hell, the # 1 pick was already done for him. Sadly, Kiper was even worse, predicting only 8 correctly. Even meteorologists can't get away with being that bad at their job. But have no fear, McShay has now put out his 2009 mock draft. Never mind that he has no idea what the draft order will be, how the college players will perform, who will get injured or who will even declare. I mean, it's not like he had all of that information this year when he put up the statistics mentioned above. Oh wait.

In addition to those gems linked above, here are a few more posts that have gone up today in response to Buzz...

More from Deadspin (Daulerio)

More from The Big Lead (CRM)

Here's one from Awful Announcing

And Scott's Shots

To be sure, I guess if blogging is only for the uninformed and unintelligent, that would explain why Stephen A had to convert. That doesn't explain why he's still on television, though. And it certainly makes me wonder if he's living in his mother's basement? I should also mention that I didn't even watch this show live because I was at Wrigley Field enjoying 35 degree weather on April 29. But as soon as I read a few reviews and especially after watching a video, I felt a post was warranted. Sorry.

Monday, April 28, 2008

NFL Draft Roundup

Overall, it was a great draft for the Kansas Jayhawks. Aqib Talib became their first 1st round pick since Dana Stubblefield in 1993. In doing this, he was also the only player from the Big 12 to go in the first round. More importantly, though, was that they had three others taken throughout the second day of the weekend, bringing their total to 4. For perspective on how much of an accomplishment this was, the total of four was twice as many as had been selected in the previous five drafts combined (2: Adrian Jones in '04 & David McMillan in '05). Granted, a few other players have made it into the league via free agency (Charles Gordon comes to mind), but it still speaks to how much of an improvement has occurred under Mangino's reign. And for a little more perspective, their total equals the combined total of "football schools" Methzou and KSU and also equaled the total of Oklahoma.

1st Round (20): Aqib Talib – Tampa Bay

This seems to be a great fit for Talib coming into the league as he should have no trouble adjusting to the Cover 2. I can see Talib being a shut down corner at some point in his career, but he's not nearly ready for that role and the over the top safety help from the Cover 2 will allow him ample time to adjust to the NFL. It's also worth noting that Talib was the third CB taken as Leodis McKelvin went 11th (Buffalo) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie went 16th (Arizona). I don't know enough about either of them to know if either are better than Talib, but I do know that if they passed on Talib because he smoked some grass, then they are extremely naïve and unintelligent. For what it's worth though, I think it worked out for the better as he will fit well in Tampa and have a chance to win immediately.

4th Round (13-112): Anthony Collins – Cincinnati

This is probably the biggest disappointment of the weekend from a Jayhawk perspective. As we stated several times over here at IBT, we felt like Collins would benefit greatly from another year in the collegiate ranks. For whatever reason, he disagreed and felt like he would be a 2nd round selection, 3rd at the worst. Clearly, that did not happen. And even worse, he went to Cincinnati. Now, I'm under the impression that their O-Line coach, Paul Alexander, has a good reputation and will be able to develop him well. For his sake, I hope that's true.

4th Round (33-132): Derek Fine – Buffalo

Contrarily, this has to be the best story of the weekend. Whereas scouts and others in the know felt like he would go somewhere in this area, most "experts" had him much later (6th, 7th, & even undrafted). I'm not all that familiar with Buffalo, or more importantly their tight end situation (aside from what happened last year with Kevin Everett), so it's hard to say how soon he'll contribute offensively. (Note: I wouldn't be shocked to see him work in some at fullback too.) However, I'll be shocked if he doesn't make an immediate impact on special teams at the very least.

6th Round (5-171): Marcus Henry – NY Jets

This was another success story for the Hawks. Whereas the previous three were lightly recruited, Henry didn't even fit that bill. Until Kansas scooped him up very late after an impressive All-Star game performance he was on his was to JUCO. Similarly, the "experts" again were not projecting him to be drafted. Considering he is 6'4" and can go across the middle or down the field, I have no idea why except that apparently he lacks ideal speed, though his listed 40 time is 5.54. Maybe that isn't ideal, but given that he'll have a height advantage over every corner in the league and it's not exactly like he's stuck in molasses, I think he'll be alright if he bulks up a bit so that he doesn't have any trouble getting off the line and into his route.

Free Agent: Brandon McAnderson – St. Louis Rams

It's too bad he wasn't drafted, but also may have worked out for the better. This gave him a chance to pick his team and he was able to stay semi-close to home. Not knowing much about the Rams, I can't say how much he'll contribute in the backfield, but like Fine, I'll be surprised if he doesn't find his way into the mix on special teams.

The following players have yet to sign with teams…

James McClinton – This was semi-surprising as I saw him projected in the 6th round most commonly. I don't really know who he has been in contact with, but I'm confident some team will sign him. And when they do, I would think they're making a good choice.
Kyle Tucker – Again, I don't know if he's been in contact with any teams, but as he showed in the Orange Bowl, he has a great leg and probably better accuracy so whatever team decides to sign him should be pleased.
Scott Webb – Personally, I'll be shocked if he ever sees an NFL roster. His leg strength is average at best, and he really doesn't have the accuracy to make up for that.

As for the rest of the Big 12…

2nd Round

KSU – Jordy Nelson (5-36) to Green Bay – Always good to see homegrown guys that weren't recruited turn themselves into something. It's too bad he (likely) won't get to play with Favre, but he should fit well.

OU – Curtis Lofton (6-37) to Atlanta – Will make an immediate impact.

CU – Jordan Dizon (14-45) to Detroit – Considering he's in Detroit, I can see him mixing it up pretty soon.

OU – Malcolm Kelly (20-51) to Washington – Watching him I think this is a steal this late. Hearing him bitch about the surface he ran on, I wonder.

UT – Limas Sweed (22-53) to Pittsburgh – Incredible pick this late.

A&M – Martellus Bennett (30-61) to Dallas – Great pickup, this guy is a beast and will replace Fasano.

CU – Terrence Wheatley (31-62) to New England – Ditto. Why does it seem like New England and Pittsburgh are the only teams that scout well?

3rd Round

UT – Jamaal Charles (10-73) to Kansas City – Good player, tough to argue with the speed and talent. I'm not sure they addressed a need here, especially considering the QBs that were still on the board.

OU – Reggie Smith (12-75) to San Francisco – I don't know too much about their secondary, but he's a pretty solid player and as long as he's not asked to be a shut-down (which he won't be), I think he'll help them.

UT – Jermichael Finley (28-91) to Green Bay – I like him more than most and as long as he improves his blocking, he should be productive.

4th Round

MU – Will Franklin (6-105) to Kansas City – Decent pick. They need receivers and with his speed, he could help them, possibly even in the return game.

A&M – Cody Wallace (8-107) to San Francisco – The extent of my knowledge on him is that he is a Center.

MU – Martin Rucker (12-111) to Cleveland – He's certainly got the size to make an impact. His blocking is extremely questionable and unless Soldier Winslow falls off another motorcycle, I don't see him making a huge impact.

A&M – Red Bryant (22-121) to Seattle – I thought a lot more of him 2 years ago. Perhaps he was playing with some sort of a lingering injury this year, but the more I watched, the less I liked him. I'll be interested to see how he pans out.

UT – Tony Hills (31-130) to Pittsburgh – All I know is that he's an Offensive Tackle and that he's big (6'6", 309).

5th Round

NU – Zack Bowman (7-142) to Chicago – It just makes me laugh that the first Nebraska player taken was in the 5th round. And given what Kansas and most other teams did to Nebraska this year, perhaps this was too high for someone on their defense. Then again, one guy can’t do much if the other 10 are dragging him down.

ISU – Alvin Bowen (12-147) to Buffalo – I guess he is said to be undersized, but I think he'll turn out pretty well. He knows how to tackle and there is usually a place for guys like that.

UT – Frank Okam (16-151) to Houston – Houston can always use help on defense and Okam has always been pretty solid.

NU – Carl Nicks (29-164) to New Orleans – The "experts" thought he should have gone much earlier. I tend to agree from what I know, so I'd say this is a good grab for the Saints who have some noticeable O-Line issues.

A&M – Christopher Harrington (19-185) to Arizona – Arizona always needs help on defense. I'm unsure if he is capable of providing that help.

ISU – Ahtyba Rubin(24-190) to Cleveland – Never heard of him. He's a D-tackle, if you're interested.

NU – Bo Ruud (31-197) to New England – Ha. I will be absolutely shocked if this guy sees the field. Then again, Belicheat has found a way to disguise Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau as productive linebackers despite them being way past their prime.

7th Round

A&M – Corey Clark (27-234) to San Diego – He's big. The Chargers have a pretty good OL though, so I don't see him being any more than a backup.

OU – Allen Patrick (33-240) to Baltimore – Seems like a steal to me.

KSU – Rob Jackson (35-242) to Washington – Never heard of him and I'm doubting he makes the roster.


UT - 5
A&M – 5
Kansas – 4
OU - 4
Nebraska – 3
Colorado - 2
Methzou – 2
ISU – 2
KSU – 2
Texas Tech - 0
OSU – 0
Baylor – 0

Total - 29

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mario and Darrell...

As you all know by now, man-crush Mario Chalmers has joined Brandon and Darrell in the 2008 NBA Draft pool. This comes as no shock since the recent rule change allows for NBA teams to pay for player's workouts and as a junior; he truly has a free look to see where he stands. My inclination is that he will ultimately pull his name out with the knowledge that a variety of factors could greatly enhance his stock by waiting until next year.

It's still extremely early in the process and he's yet to workout for a team, but where Mario differs from Brandon and Darrell is that he is a game player as opposed to one that will dazzle in workouts. That being the case, I really don't see any situation outside of a team assuring him that they will take him (no matter who is on the board) if he is still there that can make him feel totally comfortable he'll be a first round pick. And since teams rarely will do anything like this, I get the feeling he'll go through the workouts, figure out who is ahead of him, who he is ahead of, & what he needs to work on, but ultimately return to a hero's welcome in Lawrence. (Note: I get goosebumps just thinking about the first game next year.)

Darrell is in a similar, yet different situation. He's projected anywhere from late lottery through the mid-20s and there's almost no way he'll drop. Not to discount Darrell's game ability, but whereas Mario proves his worth by doing a little bit of everything, Darrell has the kind of game and athletic prowess that will likely make some scouts forget about his inconsistency and move him up the board. It's for this reason that I think he'll ultimately hear the word lottery enough that he'll find himself an agent. But it certainly can be argued that he would be much better off returning to a much lighter draft and to be even more of a focal point in the offense.

I'm sure many of you will disagree with my next point, but I've come to the realization lately that the Jayhawks need at least one, if not both of these players to return. Yet it has nothing to do with next year. I've said since the beginning of the '06-'07 season that if they were to win a national championship they were all free to declare for the draft if they wished to do so. And from an on court performance standpoint next year, I stand behind that comment. But in looking at this year's recruiting class compared to the one the following year, we need to hope that Mario and possibly Darrell return.

Consider what happens if they do not…

- Two scholarships open up for this year and in a best case scenario, Bill signs J'Mison Morgan (away from LSU) and possibly Tyshawn Taylor. They're both top-100 players and likely pretty solid.
- More significantly, they will severely limit their ability to recruit a much more talented 2009 class. I say this because the only senior on the roster will be Matt Kleinmann and the only undergraduate that will likely be leaving will be Sherron. One look at the prospects for that year and more importantly, the ones interested in Kansas and you'll understand why this is important.
- The counter argument to that, of course, is that the players coming in this year are likely to stay longer than the ones in next year's class. But, unfortunate as it is, that's not what wins in today's college basketball landscape. And word on the street is that Stern and Brand are working on a two-year minimum anyway.
- And last, but not least, clearly next year's team will be much worse off without either one of these guys, let alone both of them. Assuming no one from UNC ends up declaring, they're the obvious favorite for next year, but if the Hawks somehow return both of these guys and can trot out DA and Cole up front, with Mario and Sherron in the backcourt, they're not a team to take lightly. Contrarily, if Sherron is the only returning player that averaged 10+ minutes a game this year and Cole is asked to carry the entire load inside, no matter how good these incoming freshmen are, they're going to experience some growing pains.

If I haven't lost you yet with my incoherent rambling, let me just finish up those thoughts by saying that I have very little doubt Bill has considered these scenarios and he will have a logical plan for whatever ends up panning out. But despite feeling that way, I can't help but hope for the best because no matter how much he's thought about it, he still gets put in a very awkward position in trying to decide whether or not to sign players that could definitely help in the short-term, but may not give the team the best opportunity to succeed over the next few years. It's a tough spot to be in and it could be entirely avoided if one, or preferably both, returned to contend for another championship. However unlikely that may seem.

I want to circle back to my earlier discussion of each player's draft stock compared to next year. Basically, I want to actually validate my points with some information. First off, for reference, here is Chad Ford's Top 100. Let me also say that Ford is by no means the authority, but he's just about as enthralled with potential as your typical NBA scout, so we'll use his as a benchmark.

First, the case for Darrell…

- Here's a list of the big men that have declared and are projected to go ahead of him right now:

Michael Beasley
Brook Lopez
Anthony Randolph
DeAndre Jordan
Kevin Love
Kosta Koufos
Mareese Speights
Danilo Gallinari

Now, forget for a moment that he's clearly better than at least half of those guys (i.e. Randolph, Jordan, etc.) and take a moment to think about where that puts him in the pecking order.

- Now take a look at the list of big men from that list that haven't declared:

Blake Griffin

And that's it. Perhaps you could throw in a few from this year's incoming freshman class, but from what I've heard it's not exactly oozing with talent. Now, conceivably, Darrell could easily play himself ahead of a few of those guys on this year's list and move up a little. But you should also know that Chad Ford has him higher (#17) than most boards. Now consider the alternative if he were to wait. He goes into the year as a top 5, or top 10 at the worst with Blake Griffin as the only big man currently ahead of him. Furthermore, he is given a year to grow, work on his game and be a much bigger part of a team that now has the national spotlight of a national champion. Not only does that improve his stock for this draft, but it makes him more able to contribute soon and thus, improve his leverage for the much more important second contract.

Now, for man-crush Mario…

- Like with DA, here's a list of the guards in this draft currently projected ahead of him:

Derrick Rose
OJ Mayo
Jerryd Bayless
Eric Gordon
DJ Augustin
Russell Westbrook
Chase Budinger
Brandon Rush
Darren Collison (has yet to declare, but is supposedly leaning)
Ty Lawson
Courtney Lee
Shan Foster
Wayne Ellington

Again, you may think he's better than some of those guys, but if you consider that from this point forward all they will have is workouts to evaluate, he's not all that likely to play himself up that list too far, especially considering that Foster and Ellington are the only two in between Mario (#57) and Lee (# 33).

- Now compare that to next year's list:

James Harden
Nick Calathes
Stephen Curry
Scottie Reynolds
Eric Maynor
Sherron Collins
(It should be noted that I would think Ellington and maybe even Lawson will return and declare next year as well.)

First, remember that each of those guys will be underclassmen after next year so they won't even necessarily declare. Next, consider that you'll probably have to throw in a guard or two from the incoming class (i.e. Jennings and Evans) and that Ford has him lower than most other boards. But aside from the current high school seniors, is there a guard on that list that Mario can't outplay? I'd say no. Harden & Calathes have him on size. Jennings and Evans will have the same advantage assuming they pan out as projected and will declare. But clearly, he goes from being a borderline first round selection possibly into the top 20. And like Darrell would, he'll clearly benefit from the added national publicity as well as being even more of an offensive focal point. Lest we forget that none of these Jayhawks were even on the All Big 12 team this year. Somehow I don't see that being the case next year if they are to return.

Before I go, let me be the first to state that I realize how spoiled and delusional I sound in thinking that both of these guys could return and that Kansas somehow needs them to. I know those are strong and probably irrational feelings. But you can't deny the obvious arguments to both and that's all I'm trying to display. No matter what happens, at the end of the day, the Kansas Jayhawks are the 2008 National Champions and all is well. Rock Chalk!

P.S. It's almost getting to be embarassing for the other "experts" with how much more intelligent and logical Jay Bilas is than all of them.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Some Monday Links

There's not a whole lot to report from Jayhawk Nation these days, so I just thought I'd throw together a few links worth perusing.

First and foremost, the LJW world reported today that Sherron Collins underwent successful knee surgery today and will soon begin his rehab, with "plenty of time" to get ready for the season. In the same article, it is reported that ex-Marquette commit, Tyshawn Taylor will visit campus on Wednesday.From what I know about him, this would be a quality signing, but I'd much rather Bill land a forward/center as opposed to another guard. (Note: This is assuming Mario is staying and that he would need to make a choice between the two.)

Sticking with recruiting, and the LJW, for that matter, it looks like soon-to-be-Jayhawk Travis Releford had himself a good weekend. After scoring 21 points and grabbing 8 boards, he took home MVP honors in an All-Star game in Louisville. This game wasn't up to par of say the McDonald's game, but there were some quality recruits from UNC, Kentucky, etc. in action. Also in this article is a snippet about the Morris twins and Quintrell Thomas and how they led their all-star team to victory as well.

This is an interesting piece on the Morris twins. I still have yet to see these guys play and I'm excited to do so. However, I think for them to be successful in Kansas' system they – Markieff, especially - will need to start playing closer to the basket. (Thanks to RockChalkTalk for the link)

Switching sports, the big man also known as the Orange Bowl champion is not happy with Orson Swindle. A while back I enjoyed a look through the Mangino's home, which is currently on the market. As EDSBS pointed out, it was most enjoyable to see their home staged with wine chilling in the dining room. Apparently, Mark did not appreciate the attention his home (and this picture we're getting).Which makes perfect sense, considering how great of seller's market we're currently enjoying.

I mentioned last week that I was unable to see Kansas' spring game. I also mentioned that I apparently didn't miss much. Well, the purple school to the west took it to a new level, producing an all-timer of a snooze-fest, with the white team holding on for a breathtaking 3-0 win. In their defense, it's likely that half their team wasn't there yet since they're all JUCO transfers.

In keeping with the success stories from the programs closest in geography to Kansas, it appears Quin Snyder is as happy as he's ever the D League. Good for you, buddy!

Back to good news, here are a couple YouTube videos that you will want to see. First, comes an awesome dunk by Julian Wright. Secondly, comes the Methzou version of One Shining Moment. Wonderful work.

As I said, not much to talk about today. Again, good luck to Aqib Talib, Anthony Collins and the Jayhawk seniors hoping to be drafted this weekend. I doubt I'll be watching because it's a Saturday in the middle of the spring and I already feel like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have raped my ear to the tipping point of my insanity if I hear either of them speak again.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

NBA Draft Update

As you've likely heard, Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur declared for the draft today. And though that was widely expected, there were still some surprises. First off, Darrell not hiring an agent was a pretty big shock. And secondly, Mario Chalmers not being at the conference seems a little strange also. I'm not entirely sure what to think about either, but my optimistic side says both are good signs.

I'm still inclined to think Arthur will eventually hire an agent and officially declare. For one thing, I can't imagine many people improving their stock in pre-draft workouts more than he will. Once those "scouts" start seeing how easily he knocks down that turnaround and how much of a freak athlete he is, he is sure to shoot up the boards. But by leaving the door open for now, he has brought up some interesting discussions.

1.) How badly does he want to leave? Combining the enormous drop-off in talent from this year to next with the spike in productivity he would probably enjoy, it's painfully obvious that being a top-5 pick next year is not out of reach (and lottery is all but guaranteed). Pair those advantages with the uncertainty of even being in the top half of the first round this year and it doesn't seem too far-fetched to think he could return. Not only that, but he'd also be looking at a pretty solid lineup of himself, Mario (ideally), Sherron and Cole, and now all of the incoming players only have to play roles rather than help lead a team.
2.) If he's going to leave, would Kansas be better off with him signing an agent now? I'd probably have to say yes. As Bill has stated, they're actively recruiting another (much needed) big man, but until they can assure someone that Arthur is leaving, they're unlikely to get a commitment. I don't know what the scholarship status is of the schools they're competing against, but I'm positive that these schools will be reminding the recruits of this dilemma at Kansas.
3.) How much will this affect Chalmers' decision? Given how much more NBA "potential" Arthur has, I would say it should pretty much guarantee that if he declares he'll do so without hiring an agent.

Speaking of Mario, where was he today? Even though he has another 10 days to announce, it really surprised me that he wouldn't be there with them today. And it really makes me think he'll be returning. Perhaps the intoxicating feel of the national championship has me way too optimistic, but it really seems to make the most sense. Logically, if he were going to declare, he would have wanted to do it alongside his teammates doing the same. According to Bill, "I don't think you should assume anything - Mario has a decision to make as well. He's not comfortable yet in coming out publicly in saying for sure what he wants to do because I don't think in his heart he knows. The bottom line is when he's comfortable, we'll all know." Only time will tell, I guess.

In other news, the two Big 12 schools closest in proximity to Lawrence are looking to be in great shape. To the east, Methzou is absolutely running away with Fulmer Cup, totaling 20 points well before the conclusion of the spring semester. Give those guys a whole summer and we could really see an impressive figure. As for those to the west, they've signed Frank Martin…to a 5 year deal. Unfortunately, Dalonte 300K has yet to produce another blue-chip recruit so he is still without a contract.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some Tuesday Thoughts

Sadly, we can't keep living last week over and over again as we have been forced to move on, as is the natural progression of life. We have officially reached 8 AC. And yes, that refers to days, After Championship. Tomorrow, I fear, will be 9 AC. We're just going to keep getting further and further away from one of the greatest nights this earth hath ever known. But alas, all is not lost. As you may have heard, Lew and Bob were able to secure Bill from the "tempting" lure that is Stillwater, and thus preserve their livelihood. The recruits are looking strong for this year and even better the next. And by all technicalities, the Kansas loyal got their first look at the defending Orange Bowl Champions last night.

Some thoughts…

- My initial, off the cuff reaction is to call this the best Kansas team in history. On paper, there is no argument. They had the most overall wins. They won the conference. They won the conference tournament. And they won the national championship, joining only '97 Arizona (Blurg!) as the only teams to defeat two #1 seeds in the Final Four. Per the eye test, there are probably 3-5 teams worth debating. '86, '97, & '02 come to mind, immediately. More on this sometime in the relatively near future.

- Thank you, Bill Self. As I stated not too long ago, I really wasn't worried about him leaving, but it's still nice to know for sure. If he had really wanted to leave and there was a huge financial disparity that he couldn't have turned down, I would have given him my all-important "blessing." Fortunately, that was not the case and Kansas basketball looks to be in impeccable shape.

- Turning our attention to Memorial Stadium, the football team was in uniform last night for the first time since their Orange Bowl victory. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as my commute from Chicago seemed a bit strenuous for a scrimmage. According to various reports, I didn't miss a whole lot. This is discouraging, but not all that surprising. Something especially important to remember is that there are quite a few new parts on offense, and one of the biggest parts, Jacques Crawford was only able to watch from the stands as he will not move to Lawrence until June 1. It will be interesting to see how this team is seen heading into the pre-season. I have no idea if it will be higher or lower, but my general feeeling is that somewhere in between 15-20 seems about right for now. Also, here's an interesting piece from Yahoo! sports.

- In case you were curious, I was forwarded some interesting thoughts from editor Tim Fitzgerald. I can't link to it, because apparently there are subscription websites for fans of the Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science. But here are some delightful passages…

"As hard as a KU national championship is to stomach for many Wildcats, there is good news. K-State has been measured against the best, and it can be argued that the program under Frank Martin is not far behind."

Is there even a parallel for this level of stupidity? I submit that there is not. It can be argued that the housing market is in great shape. It can be argued that President Bush has done an incredible job. It can be argued that oil is cheap. It was once argued (and even believed) that the earth was flat. So I guess by that logic, it can also be argued that a program just got its first tournament win in 20 years, is currently experiencing a 44 year Final Four drought and is likely losing half its offense is "not far behind" national champion status.

"If Martin and his coaches continue supplying talent and the program matures under his guidance, it may soon be obvious to many that K-State basketball is not far away from the greatness it once enjoyed."

I assume by "supply talent" he is referring to Dalonte 300K's ability to stalk young, talented, aspiring athletes until they trust him enough to follow him to the depths of a place like Manhattan. I mean, lest we forget, Beasley was originally going to…Charlotte. Because, nice player as he is, a team full of Jacob Pullen's isn't going anywhere near a championship, Big 12 or otherwise. Throw a few more Darren Kent's into that mix and Frankie could be looking at unemployment sooner rather than later. Then again, he did just say "the greatest it once enjoyed," so apparently even Tim Fitz realizes a national championship will never be coming to Manhattan. I won't even bother to try and figure out how their coach's surname and the word mature made it into the same sentence, because honestly I have no idea how it happened.

And just for good measure, here is another example of why the Scripps Howard Foundation awarded Mr. Whitlock the National Journalism Award for commentary. I'm not as sure that he would have turned Georgetown or UCLA (minus Kevin Love) into national champions, but the rest is pretty accurate.

In light of Beasley and Bill Walker deciding to try their chances at the next level, it seems fitting to also give our take on Kansas' possible early departures. More on this once all are declared.

Brandon Rush: Gone. Sure it would be wonderful if he came back to defend the title, but it just isn't happening and I don't blame him in the least bit. In addition to his age, he has seen first hand how tough it is to come back from a bad injury and he should be a first round lock.

Darrell Arthur: Likely gone. I certainly don't see him coming back, but many analysts are making the argument that with how much deeper this class is than next year's; he could guarantee lottery status by returning. I'd still say he's going, but that's certainly a compelling argument and I wouldn't exactly hate it if that's how it panned out. (Especially if he could help Bill bring in J'Mison Morgan).

Mario Chalmers: Will test the waters, but return. If he only has one year of eligibility remaining anyway and you can enter your name twice, why wouldn't he? Unless he really floored some scouts in San Antonio, I don't think he can get a 1st round guarantee this year. However, if he stays and benefits from more minutes, fewer scoring options and a lighter draft class, next year he could be really make a jump up.

As I said, more on this once announcements are made. Also, best of luck to the former Jayhawks hoping to be taken in the upcoming NFL draft. It seems Talib is still firmly entrenched in the first round, with Kiper having him at 10th to the Saints and McShay at 20th to Tampa Bay. I might as well take the time to also commend him on admitting that he smoked pot and failed a couple tests for it. I'm not entirely sure I've ever met a person who made it through high school, let alone college without enjoying some green so (just as I said last year when Calvin Johnson, etc. admitted use) it's fairly refreshing when these guys display some honesty.

Also, sorry for moving "One Shining Moment" down the page. But rest assured, it will be posted with some frequency as a loving reminder of April 7, 2008.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

2008 One Shining Moment

I'm ashamed it's taken me this long to get this posted. Enjoy! But make sure you have at least 10 minutes because it's a minimum of 3 viewing per sitting.

Rock Chalk Championship!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Different View of "the shot"

So I was in SA and got to see it first hand what the reaction was there and it was nothing short of electric. However this is a great video of another place that went nuts when "the shot" was hit. Amazing how crazy Allen was even without the actual game there. Best fans in America bar none.

In the words of Jay Bilas from his best of 2007-08 in college basketball:

I'll remember Allen Field House for the Kansas State game. I'll always remember Allen Field House.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Program Status

If you're wondering why there hasn't been a post regarding the Monday, it's because I have yet to come up with words that can properly express my feelings. But let me just offer up the toast that April 7, 2008 will go down as one of the finest days in the history of this earth. Or at the very least, in NCAA championship lore. So as not to leave you empty-handed as I'm sure your productivity at work is still not back up to speed, I put together a quick post in regards to an interesting conversation I had yesterday.

Specifically, the discussion began on account of all the T. Boone rumors and what kind of a step down Bill Self would be taking if he took the money to return to his alma mater. Nationally, it's been viewed as an enormous step down, as Andy Katz likened it to "a one seed playing a nine seed." Gene W. threw out a holier than thou article ridiculing the notion of even considering the switch. Contrarily, a writer for OSU made the statement that "if Kansas, UCLA, etc. were 'A', OSU was a 'B+' job.

Originally, I scoffed at the Rivals writer, considering OSU a much larger step down than 1/3 of a letter grade. But upon further review, there really aren't that many elite jobs out there. And so the way I see it, whereas the difference between a 'B' and a 'B-', etc. may be rather minimal, we have to consider the step between 'B+' and "A" to be enormous. This will be evident here shortly when I present my lists. Also, the numbers in the parentheses represent Final Four appearances and National Championships

'A' Jobs

Kansas: No place has more history or a more loyal fan base. Facilities and funding aren't too shabby, either. (13, 5 (or 3))

UCLA: No team has more Final Four appearances or championships (and likely never will) because of John Wooden's legendary run in the sixties and seventies. Ben Howland has done an incredible job returning them to prominence, but he's going to need to hang a banner soon, as right now he has them looking like the early nineties Buffalo Bills. Only Jim Harrick's likely dirty '95 championship is separating them from a 33 year drought. (18, 11)

North Carolina: They trail only UCLA in Final Four appearances and with Roy at the helm, are showing no signs of letting up any time soon. (17, 4)

Kentucky: They have a history of prolonged success, combined with an incredibly enthusiastic fan base, which has become notorious for unrealistic expectations. With that said, it's interesting to think what could have been, had Rick Pitino never bolted for NBA failures. (13, 7)

Duke: Like UCLA, Duke has done most of their damage under a specific coach. Where they differ though, is that that coach is still on the bench and could be for a while. Despite Duke's recent flameouts and unwillingness to play road games out of conference, they're easily one of the top 5 jobs in the country. (14, 3)

Indiana: This is the only one of these schools in danger of dropping from 'A' list status any time soon and with all their history, fertile recruiting grounds and rabid fan base, it's unlikely they ever will. With that said, though, they haven't won a title since Keith Smart's jumper in '87 and have only gotten past the Sweet 16 once since then (when they went to the Final Four in 2002). Speaking of Smart, here is his take on Chalmers' shot.(8, 5)

'B +' Jobs

Georgetown: I'm actually pretty surprised there isn't a bit more here. (5, 1)

UConn: This one is debatable as there really is no history here with both Final Fours and championships coming in the last 9 years, but with the way Calhoun has recruits flowing in lately, it seems valid. (2, 2)

Arizona: Similar to Georgetown, I thought there was a bit more here. (4, 1)

Michigan State: Along with Magic, they have Izzo's tournament prowess to thank for these numbers. I think he's made it a great job, but it will be interesting to see how the program responds when he leaves. (6, 2)

Louisville: As with all of these programs, they are from 'A' list, but with Pitino at the helm and some history already in the books, they're certainly the top of this class. (8, 2)

Florida: Billy Donovan. (4, 2)

Syracuse: I look at them as a bit more established version of UConn. Given the recruiting base, though, I can't help but feel like they're underachieving. (4, 1)

Ohio State: On instinct alone, they seem more 'B' level, but with more Final Fours than anyone not in 'A' status, it's hard to deny them. (10, 1)

Texas: This one is more a product of default, because I look at this as a better job than those with 'B' status. But as you can see, they're the only team mentioned without a title to their credit. (3, 0)

"B" Jobs

Maryland: Given the arrogance of the ACC and the names associated with Maryland, it seems like there should be more here. (2, 1)

Oklahoma State: They have a great arena, tons of funding and the most Final Fours on this list, but they haven't won a championship in 64 years. (6, 2)

Illinois: If Liberacci stays at the helm too much longer, they could easily fall to 'B -' status. (5, 0)

Memphis: I'm not even sure I believe this one as they've never won a title and play in Conference USA. But apparently tons of players with NBA talent are willing to play somewhere without their own arena, much of a history or any semblance of competition for over half a season. (3, 0)

Those missing the cut…

Villanova, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Tennessee

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

yes b*tches

sooooo all of us at ibt were in SA and well what can we say other than we win! Rock Mutha-F*ckin' chalk

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Kansas... Birthplace of North Carolina Basketball

Some of you might have already seen this shirt but I think it is great. The other ones I have seen make me mad that people would wear a shirt that still lets roy know we care enough to make a shirt about him. this one however I think is priceless.

Five Questions: Final Four Style

We've got another edition of five questions for you today, but first I thought we would take a second to throw out a few links. The first comes from the land of the purple. After promising (and delivering) tough scheduling, Ron Prince has decided that he has now had enough of that, so he has dropped Fresno State and replaced them with 1-AA power Montana St. Next we head to the land of the methamphetamine, where Chase Daniel passed the first "pitch" at Busch Stadium Tuesday. Very cute. And in keeping with the sport actually in season, here's a week-long Final Four Preview from MMAS. This is a nice breakdown of Tyler Hansbrough. Oh ya, one last thing. Memphis' Andre Allen failed a drug test and didn't make the trip to San Antonio. On to the questions.

1) As annoying as this is, do you harbor bad feelings for Roy Williams.

Robo: For leaving? No, it was his dream job. However, I wish he hadn't made it into a media circus (twice). The other thing that cheeses me off about him is that he says, "why do we have to make this such a big deal, blah, blah, but he will never pass up an interview about it. He loves the press and loves the limelight. I also will not miss the gosh darn-its, shucks, hustled their tails off, either. It got old. I actually was not as pissed as others though when he won it all (with Doherty's recruits) as he is a heck (that one was for him) of a coach and will be up there with the elites when he retires or Powerful Pierre finally outsmarts the huckleberry hound and gets him, whichever comes first.

Ginger: I would like to say that I am the bigger man and don't really care, and for the most part I have gotten over it, but a part of me still maintains ill will for Roy and Dean. I guess it is more due to the way it went down, but part of me is still hurt by the fact that he wanted to go back in the first place even though Lawrence idolized him and made him up to be more than he ever dream of. In the end, I don't think that we could have hired a better person or better fit than Bill. When I look back on it now, I guess I am just glad to have a more genuine, younger, hard working and likable coach...who, by the way, recruits nationwide. In the end, we are better off for him leaving (not that that makes me like Roy any more).

Hiphop: Not in the least bit. Not only was it his alma mater, but his wife desperately wanted to live there and in the end, you've got to do what's best for your family. Those were a few pretty tough weeks though when his guys lost as seniors to Bucknell while he finally won it all with players recruited by Doherty. With that said, he's certainly got his posturing moments that annoy me, but the only one I've ever taken issue with is Dean Smith, especially when he came back to be honored with the '52 champions (a team he barely played for) and he wore a Carolina-blue blazer. It's clear he loves UNC more than KU and as someone who was born in Kansas and attended Kansas (as he did), that doesn't sit right with me.

2) Again, annoying, but do you see Bill Self leaving Kansas for Oklahoma State?

Robo: I am not an overwhelming no on this as everyone else is. The hometown boy is a good theme and the money T-Boone could throw around scares me a bit. I think the timing is wrong and rumor has it he told them he would not succeed a Sutton, but I can also see some reason for worry. I think it makes more sense to worry about this 5 years down the road when they fire their head coach again. I also think my level of worry depends on the outcome of this weekend. I think taking down the nets might change things and I go back and forth on which way (I hope this is a problem we get to have). The guy likes to build programs and is damn good at it and they might rename Gallagher-Iba to get him to come home so I don't think I can say no chance at this point. That good enough for a half-answer?

Ginger: I was going to break down the reasons for him staying, but we all know them. The only thing Bill would really gain by taking that job is more money, maybe a lot more, but still. All the talk of going home matters more when the place you are going home to is equally or more appealing due to its place in the basketball world. The four schools at the top that come to mind (given recent history, coaching changes and/or probation) are Kansas, UCLA, UNC and Duke. Why give that up for money if you are a big time coach who wants to be the best at his profession?

Hiphop: I'm going to keep this one pretty short – no. As Robo mentioned, perhaps he could in the future if the chips fall a certain way, but whereas Roy was able to leave for a job on the same level (or perhaps higher), Bill would be taking a step down. Keeping with the parallel, as you may have heard, Saturday will be the first time Roy has had to play Kansas in the five years since he left. Bill, on the other hand, would have to play them at least once a year and visit Allen Fieldhouse every other year.

3) Now to the good stuff. Above all else, for Kansas to beat North Carolina, they will need to...

Robo: Ok I will do this bulletpoint style
1. Go ahead and run with them, dictate the tempo, keep it out of half-court pace
2. Don't settle for jump shots, push the ball, penetrate and use some Sherron magic to kick start the team
3. Get DA into the game, his tourney has not been that great and he will be on Psycho-T so he needs to step up
4. Watch the fouls down low (DA I am looking at you)
5. Brandon shutdown Ellington

I still think that we match up great with these guys and will be disappointed with anything other than a W. Unlike other teams we can run with these guys.

Ginger: Push the ball with a purpose and finish. Just running with UNC can get you into trouble if you fail to convert a high percentage, because they do. Take care of the ball, finish at the rim (opposite of UCLA game last year) and know when to push. Our half court offense is much better that UNC's, so a healthy mixture of running and half-court sets put us in a great position, much as it has every game we have done in that so far this year. I know you asked for 1 thing, but I would be remiss if I failed to mention hitting open threes...nothing kills Roy's sagging help defense more.

Hiphop: Contain Ty Lawson. Clearly, they are a completely different team with him running the show and if Russell can at least slow him down, I like their chances. After that, I think it's just a matter of playing smart (i.e. staying out of foul trouble, not settling for jump shots and rebounding, especially on the defensive end).

4) If Kansas beats North Carolina, who would you rather them play Monday? Why?

Robo: Until a couple of weeks ago I would have said Memphis, but not so sure any more. Still I think Howland is a better coach and has better disciplined kids who know how to shoot free-throws. So I would rather play Memphis as a Hawk fan. I will think more about the player match-ups on Saturday night ;-)

Ginger: Damn, Memphis is hot right now. They looked freakish against Texas athletically. I would rather play UCLA because we know them better, have a revenge factor against them and because I really think we are more athletic. I know, I know, what about last year? If we play like we did against UCLA last year we lose to any team remaining...I just don't see it happening this year.

Hiphop: I wish I knew. Prior to last Friday, I would have said Memphis in a heartbeat, but they looked like a different team this last weekend. The question is, will that continue? My instinct is to say no, as UCLA will be much smarter than Texas was and force them to shoot from the outside, even if it means giving up some open looks. CDR is by far their most consistent long-range threat and he is by no means a sniper. If you look at their offense, it is entirely predicated on getting guards into the lane and I'm pretty sure UCLA and Kansas (and probably UNC) will do a much better job of preventing that than Texas did. So to quit beating around the bush, I guess Memphis because they won't try and take the Hawks out of "their game," but I'm pretty indifferent.

5) Explain you're reaction to the following (hypothetical) paragraph, "...48 seconds left in the game. KU up by 8. Been close all game, but KU now has the lead. NC has no choice but to start fouling. The foul is committed. Mario walks to the line. Suddenly from the upper deck you hear it. Roy hears it. Softly at first and louder and louder, "Roooooock Chaaaaaalk Jaaaaaayhawk, KU" over and over, signaling the end of the game. With each foul, each time out, the 48 seconds lasts a good 5 minutes... the whole time, the Rock Chalk chant continues. The beautiful chant that Roy had heard for so many years is now directed at him and his team, signaling the end of their season."

Robo: I just about cried just reading it in print as a hypothetical. Seeing that all of us from IBT will be in attendance I hope to hear it and think it might be one of the greatest things I have ever seen and heard next to my daughter being born. I really, really don't know how I can be expected to be even partially productive this week.

Ginger: I got a hard-on just reading that...Celebrate like normal, do my best to avoid shit-talking and attempt to congratulate UNC fans on a good year and a hard fought game while leaving to go drink my body weight in booze. We are Kansas, we should expect to win games like this, try not to get too caught up in the emotion. But the best thing about it is we would know ABSOLUTELY that we did get the better deal in what transpired 5 years ago. It would be even a little sweeter than watching Roy's boys throttle Marquette while in NO in 2003. So yeah, best night of my life...until Monday night.

Hiphop: Nirvana in print. No matter how many times I read it, I always wet myself (read: ejaculate). Speaking of which, I better run. Rock Chalk!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ok kind of douche I know...

... but one more thing to get you going for this weekend. Think this is the same guys as a few years ago but with a new version of garage band.

To Get You in the Mood... (No it is not sorting the recycling but that is also very important)

To get you ready for saturday...

OK I give up I tried to embed it but the size tag is not being respected so here you go

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Damn You Cowboys...

Can't we have one final four where we don't get distracted by where the coach will be next year? Looks like OSU did not think this was reasonable and will be announcing that Sean Sutton will not be around Stillwater next year. Though I am not totally surprised (thought they might give him one more year, thought the KU win bought him that) it just stinks that this is one more distraction to deal with. On top of all the roy stories I have seen this week this will just add another layer of muck to deal with. Let the discussion begin if bill will be leaving to take his "dream job" or not, I know the media will. I think I can speak for all of us here at IBT when I say I will clean allen field house naismith court with a toothbrush if he is not back next year (oh wait that did not work so well last time Dickie V made the offer). Bill Self does not give a sh*t about OSU right now.