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!