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 GoPowercat.com 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.


Anonymous said...

Not a chance on the best kU team in history. The B12 was such a shitty conference from top to bottom this year. kU and Texas were the only elite teams in the conference. It's like saying your the skinniest girl at Jenny Craig.

GingerBalls said...

Even if you consider the Big 12 down this year, which I do, there is no way this is not one of the best Kansas teams ever. Even KU teams that dominated the conference and never got that NCAA championship can't compare to '52, '88 and '08 based on the fact that they didn't parlay that success to tournament success.

Obviously this teams success trumps the '88 team and it could be argued that '52 was equally as good winning the Big Seven dominantly with All-American Clyde Lovellette.

My runner-up to this years team would be the '86 Hawks in modern success, 35 wins and it could be argued with their long-range success that had the three point line come a year earlier they could have won the championship. A close second being the '97 team who finished 34-2 before losing to eventual champion Arizona.

I guess it depends on what you think of as best, most wins and a National Championship seem to sum it up for me. When all the parts of this team were healthy, they were the best team in a year in which all 4 number 1 seeds reached the Final Four, can't say that about any other team in the history of NCAA basketball.

Hiphopopotamus said...

Well put, young Gingerballs. You can certainly argue that there have been better teams, and I'd be willing to listen, but the argument for this one is incredibly convincing.

But I think you're both off when you say the Big 12 was down this year. I think we all expected more of A&M and KSU was badly hamstrung by Frank Martin, but the league got half it's teams into the tournament, all by worthy of an at large bid. Only the Pac 10 was more impresssive in that capacity. And as for tournament results, as expected only Texas and Kansas made any sort of a run, but a 5-1 first round when only 3 teams were seeded higher speaks well of the league also.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't argue that it's one of your best teams, but the statement was "off the cuff reaction is to call this the best Kansas team in history", which I'll say nada to.

The B12 was really down this year. Beyond Texas and kU, which team dominated at any point this season? K-Sucks pulled off a couple of upsets (as you know), but then got beat by our scrub JV team. When we (Mizzou) were still in the race for a top 4 seeding in the conference tourney as late in the season as it was, that conference is horrendous.

Outside of Texas, give me a marquee big in-conference win? Winning that conference is fist fighting against an armless guy.

Hiphopopotamus said...

Agree to disagree on the conference strength. But even so, that argument doesn't do much for me. Switching sports - who was Texas' marquee in-conference win during their Vince Young led football championship? The answer of course would be a very depleted, injured and not all that good OU team. But that was still clearly their best team ever. Same argument would go for Memphis this year. They played in an awful conference, but this team was better than the ones they fielded in '73, '85 or any other year.

Anonymous said...

Football is a totally different ballgame- Boise State, Hawaii, kU all got into BCS games in the past couple of years without a marquee win going in. Good/Unblemished records usually get you in. Nope, not bitter at all. Hell, tOSU gets in to title games because they win the Big 10, probably the worst BCS conference around.

VY's Texas team's marquee win was that Saturday night comeback win against Okie State. One of the best games of the year. I can't remember how Okie State finished that year, but Texas was a Top 5 team going in. It was a big win because it was a nat'l broadcast and a come from behind win on the road. Of course, Okie State along with OU. I think Peterson was out for that game too, along with 9th year Senior Jason White.

Hiphopopotamus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hiphopopotamus said...

Again, agree to disagree I guess. I get the argument that football is much different, but I'm still not understanding why you need multiple marquee in-conference wins to qualify for the best team in school history?

UNLV's teams from the early 90's were clearly their best in school history. I'm guessing they didn't have many marquee in-conference wins.

George mason's team from '05 was clearly their best ever. Yet, they couldn't even win their conference, let alone get a marquee win.

Now, obviously Kansas is in a different boat than these teams, but to argue that it wasn't their best solely because teams like Methzou, ISU, etc. sucked makes no sense.

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