Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rotten Apple Post Mortem

Well that was painful. For the first time in my life I saw Kansas lose a game in the Rotten Apple last night. And though I knew it was eventually inevitable, I didn't expect it to be as painful as that one. But after a rough night of sleep I have made my piece with it on account of one primary reason; karma.

For whatever reason, even though we always knew Kansas wouldn't go undefeated, it also never feels like they're going to lose. That's what makes this loss so fitting. The story being creamed on by media outlets everywhere today is how sensational and loud the crowd at Bramlage was last night. And rightfully so, you could almost feel the acid washed jeans creeping through the television. But that's how this streak had to end. Obviously the overall-clad purple people would have taken any sort of a victory over their neighbors from the east, but to beat them when they're ranked #2, 20-0 and being discussed as the prohibitive favorite to cut down the nets in San Antonio was something they wanted more than anything.

- Lifetime of uninhibited sex with 10 women of their choice? Not even close. What about sheep? Gonna have to do even better than that.
- A shiny new combine. Closer, but surely you jest.
- Lifetime supply of Dr. Pepper. Closer still, but not quite. And you know how those WT folks love them some Dr. Pepper.
- Bill Snyder, a case of High Life and some lubricant. Sounds about right. I'd say this was the only thing a typical Wildcat would not have traded for a victory last night. Reasonable minds can differ. Suggestions are welcome. And sorry, that was disgusting.

As far as we know though, none of them actually had to barter such a deal, because The Bease and Co. came to play. And those same fans that would have given up nearly anything to emerge victorious last night were there in force.

We all know what happened, so there's no pointing in retracing the steps, but if I'm truly going to put this behind me, I need some closure. And so, in an attempt to find some, I'm going to at least analyze all of the teams that played a factor in this one.

Let's start with the victors…

- Since he's the one that got them going, let's start with Bill Walker. The guy is getting a lot of praise today for his 22 points and 5 rebounds. Personally, I doubt Frank Martin loved what he saw. 9-18 for 22 looks good on the surface, but 3-10 from deep raises some questions especially since he had Arthur (4 fouls) guarding him for the last 9 minutes and Bladder Control Bill was still jacking 'em up. But hey, he got the ball rolling for them.

- You can't say enough about Jacob Pullen. But Clent Stewart and Blake Young were solid as well. Kansas' guards didn't defend the way they normally do – I'd say for three reasons. 1) They weren't asked to. The Hawks decided to concentrate on Bease and put the onus on these guys to come through. 2) They did. Pullen was 2-5 from deep, Stewart 2-3 and Young hit his only attempt. (5-9 collectively). On the year, Pullen shoots 25%, Stewart is at 34%, and Young is at 30%. Needless to say, they were a bit more on target last night. And this doesn't even mention Pullen going 10-10 from the line. 3) Kansas was surprised. Chalmers even admitted as much. Ideally that won't happen again, against anybody.

- As for the Bease, he just keeps coming. Based on what I've seen and what he said afterward, I don't think Kansas could have defended him any better. And he still got 25. I guess that's what happens when you're 6'10" and go 4-4 from behind the arc. Kudos. (Although I'm unsure why he wasn't called for a foul for grabbing Kaun's Russian junk here.)

- The collective effort was incredible. Bill Self said it best when talking about the 50/50 balls and how they got probably 70-80 percent of them. Most teams that play Kansas don't crash the offensive glass, afraid they will get beat down the court. The Wildcats showed no fear here, and it's likely because they got about 15 offensive boards. No excuse for allowing that in a man-to-man defense.

As for the Jayhawks…

- We've already mentioned their defense. But needless to say, it wasn't up to par. I'm not sure I fault the scheme because when the opponent has a player like Beasley and a supporting cast with the stats his does, you have to try and make them beat you. Unfortunately, they were up to the task last night. And oh yeah, despite defending Beasley exactly how they wanted, he still ended up with 25 because he was able to go 4-4 from three. (Once he went 3-4, twice 2-3. Now you can add 4-4, so you have to tip your cap.) My thought would be if you're allowing under 60 a game and shutting everyone down, keep doing what you do until you need to adjust, but still, hard to fault the logic.

- The offense was awful. I know they got 75, but they sure didn't get there the way they wanted to. Two aspects were decidedly terrible and they're directly tied. 1) Ball movement. 12 assists on 26 made baskets should tell you all you need to know. It's exactly what happened against Bradley two years ago and kind of what happened against UCLA last year. For whatever reason, this team reverts to "hero" mode on occasion and everyone tries to do it on their own. (*Note: It baffles me that they wouldn't recall what happened last year against Florida and Texas twice when they trusted each other, moved the ball beautifully and ultimately won all three games.)
- 2) Forgetting the post. Beasley is the only post presence for the Wildcats and somehow he ends up with only 1 late foul. Our most consistent inside player on the year, Jackson took a total of 2 shots, making them both. And Kaun looked to have his man completely over-matched, but only took 1 shot. Arthur was given the ball when he was in, taking 12 shots and hitting 5, but he only played 17 minutes. Jackson hit one of his shots on an early fast break and the other on a post move somewhere around the 6 minute mark. Kaun hit his early on and never attempted another. I'm not sure if Arthur was in the game when Kaun made his and I know he wasn't for Darnell's dunk. But even so, I discount that since it was on a fast break, meaning the MAXIMUM amount of shots taken by post players for the 23 minutes Arthur was out of the game totaled TWO. How does that happen? Supposedly Kansas runs an inside-out offense that by name, plays through the post. Even if it isn't leading to points every time down the floor, how do you not keep feeding it?! Remembering that the Purple has one viable option down there, here are the things that could happen by feeding the post. a) Score; b) Get fouled; c) Missed shot; d) Turnover; e)Kick it out. How is that not worth it? Two guys attempted a total of 3 shots, making them all. Jackson is the runaway leader in the conference, shooting nearly 70% on the year. By giving them the ball repeatedly, you force Beasley to either play tough defense on them and risk fouling or he lays back and they keep getting high percentage shots.

The reason many, myself included, have touted Kansas as the best team in the nation is because of their balance. Offensively, their ability to get points from the post along with their guards. Same thing defensively, the guards pressure and the post players hold their ground. If they are to accomplish what they want this year, they need to remember this as it is what separates them not only from the other elite teams, but also several others around the country. Last night, they opted not to separate themselves.

- Brandon Rush looked great in the first half and his final line of 15, 7 and 4 is great if all goes as planned. But if they aren't feeding the post, they're going to need more from their guards and for whatever reason; Brandon was nowhere to be found.

- Chalmers covered up his average night by going 7-8 from the line and driving a lot late to finish with 19 points.
But he did very little on defense (as his been the case lately) and hung out on the perimeter too much. Chalmers looks as good as anyone in the country from three this year, but he has the ability to get in the lane and get even easier shots for himself and his teammates. And he didn't do a lot of that last night until it was too late.

- I thought Collins was okay. But he, like Chalmers didn't try and get in the lane enough early. The game was frustrating to watch, but it's even worse to look back on when you think about their logic. Somehow they weren't feeding the post, weren't penetrating the lane and didn't even take a lot of threes. Just what in the hell were they doing on offense?

- Robinson struggled to say the least. Though he got hammered the two times he got to the basket early in the game, with no call being made on either.

- I worry about it less than most, but I would have never predicted that the biggest positive KU would ever take away from a game would be their free throw shooting. But that's what happened. In what's supposed to be the hardest environment to make them the Hawks looked poised and confident and subsequently made 17-20.

As for the officiating team…

- That was atrocious. I will not blame them as a reason for the result because you have to play through those things, but holy hell that was bad. As the saying goes for offensive linemen, you know they played well if they weren't mentioned. And the same goes for officials, who, needless to say, were mentioned. Through 4 seasons and 21 games I have never seen Bill Self nearly as mad as I saw him last night.

- In my humble opinion Methzou got more calls than Kansas during that game, but even if you see it the other way, it's indisputable that the officials ruined the game. Because they were a factor. Same thing last evening. There were numerous examples to site, but how's this for disparity…Russell Robinson goes in for 2 layups early on in which he ends up sprawled out on the baseline. No calls. Darrell Arthur is called for his 3rd foul in the middle of 6 people going for a loose rebound. How you single one guy out when no one player has a claim to the ball is beyond me. Meanwhile, Michael Beasley is able to throw around his 235 pounds the whole game and only draw one foul. Interesting.

- I alluded to one of them when addressing Arthur, but the worst thing they did all night was the arbitrary assignment of fouls when no one had a claim to the ball. Officials make this mistake often, but last night's crew was especially horrible, screwing this up a minimum of five to six times.

For those of you that are still here, I'm impressed. Even I don't know why I am still ranting, but it's not over yet. All week I said that win or lose nothing would change for Kansas. After the fact, I think I was only half right. As of last night though, I thought I was entirely wrong. After hearing what Bill Self and some of the players said, that one stung a bit so it's impossible to say that nothing changed. It sounds obvious, but for some reason I feel like that game may end up teaching them a lot. Perhaps I'm wrong, but if they watch that tape and don't come away understanding how much better they are when they play as a team instead of how they did throughout the second half last night, then I know less than nothing about sports. Let's hope I do.

For the first time all year I had doubts about this team's ability to win the national championship. Then I remembered that they won't play in an environment like that the rest of the year. And that it's still January. Going forward, these are my suggestions. 1) Play your game. And that's it. When this team plays like they are capable they have the advantage over any team in the country. When they forget that, they become beatable as was evident last night.

For those of you still upset, watch this. I'm confident it will cheer you up.

Also, gotta love Hubert Davis. Dana O'Neill, Reggie Rankin - credentials please? You could think a lot of things after last night but for anyone to put in writing that they think Georgetown is better than Kansas is laughable.

Careful with your celebrations Wildcats.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

#25?

It's no secret that it's been over a quarter century since Kansas lost to its in-state inferior on their home court. It's also well known that the team that resides in Bramlage Coliseum has yet to win a game there against the Jayhawks. Something I didn't know until recently was that this streak is second only to UCLA's 25 road game winning streak over California. It would be nice if I went to bed tonight knowing that record has now been matched.

This is a pretty tough game to call, because I really don't know how the Wildcats want to play this one. Mostly because they're saying things like this. If they're half as confident in their defense as they say they are, it would make sense to me for them to play it exactly like Georgia Tech did. Since Kansas has an enormous advantage in the backcourt and with Beasley and Walker being the only true offensive threats I can't see Frankie wanting to play this game at a very tepid pace. (But he says the opposite) Tying in with that last point, since Beasley and Walker do present matchup problems and are plenty good enough to get their own shots, I'll be surprised if they don't base their offense on having those two take turns isolated on their defender. If this happens, don't be shocked to see Self go to a zone, forcing the Wildcats to beat them from the outside.

Defensively, everyone seems to think the Purple are pretty good. Call me a sucker, but I have a hard time believing in the defensive ability of a team that got a 103 hung on them by Xavier less than a month ago. And more telling than anything in that game was how easily Xavier's guards, notably Drew Lavender were able to penetrate past the ineffective Wildcat perimeter defense. Hello, Sherron Collins. And Mario Chalmers. And Russell Robinson. And Brandon Rush.

So much attention has been paid to how the Jayhawks will stop Beasley and Walker, and rightfully so. But does anyone think a team that gave up 103 to Xavier, 87 to George Mason, and 82 to Oklahoma is going to clamp down the Kansas offense? Me neither. But when you look at the numbers, that's the only way they can win.

Kansas has scored less than 71 points exactly once this year (@ USC). They have allowed more than 71 points exactly twice (72 v. Arizona in OT and 78 to ULM in the first game).

For the year, Kansas is scoring 83.4 per game (81.4 in B12). They are allowing 58.5 on the year (58.2 in Big 12). Worst case scenario – take the lower scoring average and higher points allowed and say the Wildcats are 10 points better in each…Kansas still wins 71-68.

From the other side, the Purple are scoring 80.6 per game (78 in Big 12). They are allowing about 66 per game (63 in Big 12). Not much point in analyzing those much past that, but as you can see, Kansas is decidedly better at both.

From a comparative standpoint, neither team has played many high scoring teams, but here's a look at the games against teams in the Top 50. Kansas played @ Methzou (80.8) and yielded 70 points. They also played @ Georgia Tech (77.7) and yielded 66. The Wildcats played @ Xavier (78.3) and yielded 103.

They each have played a few more that are in the Top 50 defensively. The Purple have played @ Xavier (62.1) and they got 77. They also played A&M (61.8) and got 75. Kansas played @ USC (61.5) and only got to 59. They also played Miami (OH) (61) and got 78. They have played Nebraska (57.9) twice, in Lincoln they got 79; they bumped it up to 84 in Lawrence.

Take that for what you will. But the way I see it is that although Kansas likely won't hold the Wildcats to the same 58 point average their other opponents have been scoring, there's no reason to think the Purple will hold the Jayhawks down as well as other opponents (66) either. And if that's the case, it's easily presumable that Kansas could score 75 tonight. If you'll remember an earlier statement I made about how few opponents have scored over 70 on KU, this is likely a stat the Purple wish they didn't know.

My final take: The Wildcats will have to score 80 points to win this game. And considering that the only time a team came close was when Kansas was without Rush and up 30 most of the game, I don't quite see it happening. Let's say…

Kansas 77 Kansas State 68

Something I didn't bother mentioning in the analysis because it doesn't seem like anything worth counting on; fouls. Beasley is fantastic – better than any player on the Kansas roster. But Kansas has four quality big men to rotate on him, totaling 20 fouls to give. As far as I know, he'll only be allowed 5. If they really want to win this game, he'll have to go against either Jackson or Arthur most of the time, so this could play a big factor. He could either be forced to the bench or at least be rendered less effective because he has to play less aggressively.

As for some other perspectives…

Here is a blog from the Topeka Capitol Journal written by an optimistic Wildcat

This is a look back at some of the Purple coaches involved in 'The Streak'

From the KC Star, here is a breakdown of all the matchups. I agree with everything except for the ludicrous claim of the Wildcats having the edge off the bench. Apparently they forgot that the Kansas bench scores 30 a game and has Sherron Collins.

Courtesy of Luke Winn, here is a Q&A with (lack of) Bladder Control Bill (Walker)

And finally, some intelligence, courtesy of the KC Sports Report

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Order (for now)

Before I get to this week's power poll, I want to pass on this piece about the University of Washington football program (primarily circa 2000) and even more specifically, Jerramy Stevens. To put it frankly, you will be impressed with the journalism, but quite the opposite with Mr. Stevens, Mr. Neuheisel, et al.

Unfortunately, I can't access YouTube at work, but I'll be sure to check and see if our special purple guy has left us another gem in honor of this week's Sunflower Showdown. And if he has, rest assured that it will be posted immediately for all to enjoy.

*EDIT* We have Part 2. It seems the poor tike had his feelings hurt after yesterday's embarrassment, so today we get a toned done, "best team will win" speech after some gripping analysis about each team's leaders.

1. Kansas (20-0, 5-0): No explanation necessary
Last week: Won v. ISU, Won v. Nebraska
This week: @ KSU, @ Colorado
Will look to stay unbeaten at one Allen Fieldhouse West and will dominate the fan base in the other.

2. Kansas State (14-4, 4-0): I'm still not sold they're the second best team, but for now I would have a tough time arguing such.
Last week: Won @ Colorado, Won v. ISU
This week: v. Kansas, @ Methzou
For the Purple, this is what it all comes down to. Some will have you believe that this game means no more than any other to them – why then, is it that anyone significant brought in to aide the struggling basketball program immediately makes mention of how they will end the streak? (Side note: I have been more impressed with Frank Martin this week than any other in his "career.")

3. Texas (16-3, 3-1): Sure they don't play defense or have an inside game, but they are no worse than 3rd and could be 2nd.
Last week: Won @ OSU, Won v. Tech
This week: @ A&M, v. Baylor
Had a good win over Tech after a two suspect ones over CU and OSU. Despite A&M's faltering of late, they will need to be much better on Wednesday. And Saturday for that matter.

4. Baylor (16-3, 4-1): Hate to see all that goodwill go down the drain. At home, no less.
Last week: Won @ A&M, Lost v. Oklahoma
This week: @ Texas
Can gain it all back with a win in Austin

5. Texas A&M (16-4, 2-3): They haven't earned this spot, but I can't knock them down any further just yet.
Last week: Lost v. Baylor, Won @ OSU
This week: v. Texas, v. Oklahoma
This team hasn't done anything since November to justify this and Mark Turgeon's pussified comments don't exactly help things, but if they're going to turn it around, this week would be an ideal starting place.

6. Oklahoma (15-5, 3-2): Not only in conference, but over the year have done a lot more than A&M. And Baylor for that matter.
Last week: Won @ Baylor
This week: Won v. OSU, @ A&M
I'll be interested to see how they fare against A&M, a team that can match their size inside. A&M doesn't have spectacular guard play, but it's good enough that they should beat the Sooners at home. If Johnson and Crocker are up to the task, I'll bump them up a few spots.

From here on out, there has been only 1 collective road win. And that team just lost its best player. Why am I not surprised?

7. Iowa State (12-8, 2-3): This pains me, but the only logical team to put ahead of them is Methzou – who they beat and who now is without a point guard.
Last week: Lost @ Kansas, Lost @ KSU
This week: v. Colorado, @ Nebraska
It sounds weird to say it, but this team really is a point guard away from being dangerous. They wouldn't be good, but they'd have a starting five that could hurt some teams.

8. Methzou (12-8, 2-3): In one of the most pointless articles ever written, Gary Parrish says it best.
Last week: Lost @ Tech, Won @ Colorado
This week: v. Nebraska, v. KSU
At least they get a week at the Paige to lick their wounds. Though Hannah may be unable to do his own licking.

9. Texas Tech (11-8, 2-3)Last week: Won v. Methzou, Lost @ UT
This week: v. OSU

10. Oklahoma State (10-10, 1-5): I can't say it enough; Sean Sutton is the least qualified coach in the nation. And finally I'm not the only one saying that Scott is far and away better than his elders.
Last week: Lost v. UT, Lost v. A&M
This week: Lost @ OU, @Tech
They may not be the worst, but by playing in the south, they could end up at the bottom of the league.

11. Colorado (9-10, 1-4): Sold the naming rights to some urinals on campus.
Last week: Lost v. KSU, Lost v. Methzou
This week: @ ISU, v. Kansas
How they blew that game Saturday, I'll never know.

12. Nebraska (11-6, 0-4)
Last week: Lost @ Kansas
This week: @ Methzou, ISU
I'm not convinced they're the worst team in the conference. But man, how far away do the wins over (overrated) ASU and Oregon seem?

There's a chance I may get a little pregame posted sometime tomorrow. But for now, here's a look at what KSU beat writer, Jeff Martin, of The Wichita Eagle had to say. It's as if he knew who was asking the final question...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Truly Fantastic

Reminds me of a slightly less pigmented Stephen A. Smith in need of a sartorial overhaul. Sounds about right.

Inner City Pressure

No, not that one. The other Manhattan. If you can truly call it that? In fact, let's not. And here I thought I was being original. I had planned on centering my post on why the Purple has all of the pressure this week, but some giant named Whitlock beat me to the punch. Bastard!

But despite what those from the Rotten Apple may want to believe, it's all true. If Kansas is to lose this game (and trust me, I certainly don't want this to occur), little will change. They will go on as the prohibitive favorite to win the conference and one of a few to cut the nets in San Antonio. And next year, when an entirely new team goes to Manhattan they will have to hear about how the streak just ended and how will they respond, et al. Aside from that, nada.

However, if Kansas wins while the Purple has ringers, Beasley and Walker, little hope will remain in Mancrappenin. For as we all know, though they say the right things just as Huggy Bear did, Beasley and Walker will not reside anywhere near Silo Tech come the summer of 2008. And if those two aren't able to beat Kansas, all they are left with is Frank Martin. And I think we all know where that's going to get them. That's not to say that a Frank Martin team couldn't at some point beat Kansas (though I will contend Wednesday does not count as any coaching he is doing with this team is more a detriment than an advantage), but it certainly doesn't lend itself to opportunistic times in the Rotten Apple. Instead, they will again be forced to wonder if they will ever manage a win in Bramlage Coliseum against their far superior neighbors to the east.

Courtesy of SI.co, here is a little snapshot as written by the Associated Press.

For a little local flavor, try this – be careful, it's not like a fine scotch and it rarely goes down smooth. Also, if you happen to scroll down a few posts, you'll notice that this particular Wildcat doesn't put any added emphasis on this game or even the conference season, because it isn't a conference season they're playing, "it's 16 different seasons of one game apiece." Personally, I think that's a little too foreboding of him – I like to operate under the premise that it's not a 16 game conference season, but rather 2500 seasons of one possession apiece. I think Indiana's '76 team would be upset to hear of this though, considering how many undefeated seasons are unfolding right in front of our eyes! In all honesty, this character seems to actually comprehend that it will take more than Beasley/Walker to beat an entire team, but he remains optimistic all the same. No issues here.

If its some LJW perspective you want, but you don’t need to tune out the rest of the office by strapping on the headphones for their podcast, I've got them for you here. Tom Keegan: KSU 90 KU 88 in OT (Kansas finishes the season 39-1 with a national championship). Ryan Greene: KSU 87: KU 82 (Kansas finishes the season 39-1 with a national championship). Real ballsy, gentlemen. Truly an inspiring journalistic outlook.

Since you're no doubt bummed out that the brilliance that emanated from that podcast went against your beloved Jayhawks, here's a little postgame reaction from Corn Nation. It's a good thing combines can't actually overpower a state or I might be worried.

For some further enjoyment, here's a look at Joey Brackets' newest projection. It's safe to say I'd be pretty confident if that were to unfold.

In typical Methzou fashion, they have taken over the Fulmer Cup lead by an astonishing margin over at EDSBS. And even more fittingly, just as they finally got their first win outside of Paige Arena, they have lost their best player after he got knocked the F out at a local establishment.

That's probably enough links for one day. 48 days until Selection Sunday…

Friday, January 25, 2008

I Really Need to go to a Roast




So yes, I completely stole these pics from TBL, but how could I not post them. And it has nothing to do with Dana Jacobsen (though that's outstanding form), but instead Wingo and Ditka.

How shocked would you be if some details start getting filled in and it's revealed Trey Wingo offered to "take care" of her and to "help her to a hotel room"...

As for Ditka, I'd say he was giving one of two looks: 1) The "can you believe this bitch" look; or 2) he's looking at Wingo and trying to get in on the action.

The truly unfortunate part of all this - now the Crazy Christians are getting involved as they plan to protest in Bristol today. I smell a South Park episode. But this is also good fun.

**Added** Of course after the other day I say SI.com has Talib too high, then I find out Kiper has him going #7 to the Patriots. Wow.

More off topic, but make sure you listen to this.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Neil!

Yes. Yes. It’s Neil Diamond's 67th birthday. And we here at It’s Business Time wish him a happy one. And as much as we love Neil, we love Will Ferrell more so here’s Ferrell as Neil. Classic.

That’s a tough act to follow and unfortunately I don’t have much ammunition as last night’s game went pretty much exactly as expected. And since there's not much sense in breaking it down, I'll just touch on some things before moving on.

- You truly can't say enough about Darnell Jackson. And that stuff Self said about him after the game, not reacting to the Coach's practice tirade floored me. If he can keep this up – wow.
- 76 points scored in the half-court offense.
- Chalmers knocking home a couple more threes, bringing his average to 49%.
- 6 assists for Rush. Love the drive and kick he's been doing lately.
- And more than anything I love how routine a 24 point win over a conference opponent looked, especially considering Kansas never played how they truly wanted to.

Around the nation…

Due to the recent debates of #1 merit, the Memphis/Tulsa game caught my eye. Memphis' awe-inspiring athletic ability, sheer talent and experience catapulted them to a dominating 24-20 halftime lead, ultimately leading to a 56-41 win at Tulsa. I don't know much about Tulsa, but I do know that they've played exactly one other tournament caliber team, Oklahoma, and they lost 81-55.

As for Roy's boys, well they went down to South Beach and beat the pretender that is the Miami Hurricanes, 98-82. Any time you can score 98 on the road, you've done a lot right. But I have long since said and will continue to believe that they can't accomplish all they want to giving up 82 points a game – which happens to be exactly what their last 3 opponents have scored. (Also noteworthy: In 5 of their last 6, they have allowed 81 plus. Before NC State, Clemson scored 88 and UNC Asheville 81.)

Nothing else really entertained me outside of the conference. However, I certainly wish I had seen one of the games in the league. As you no doubt have heard, Baylor went in to College Station and outlasted A&M through 5 OTs to keep pace with the Jayhawks at 4-0 in the league. Thank you Big 12 for instead subjecting us to watching Methzou again prove that if they aren't playing Kansas, and especially if the game is not in Paige Arena, they really don't deserve to play. Really – who in their right mind thought Tech/Methzou was going to be a better game than A&M/Baylor? As for the Bears, major kudos to them for that one. I won't bother to link to Gottlieb's chat, but on Tuesday he was giving them a lot of praise but saying that they were going to get housed @ A&M. And to be honest, I kind of agreed - maybe not housed but coming home off two road losses, my money would have been on the Aggies.

In another game that wasn't televised, the Purple won in Boulder, keeping their record perfect in conference play. Beasley's second half line: 26 points, 11 boards. Not too shabby. Through 3 league games, I'm impressed. Now they need to avoid looking past the Cyclones in preparation for their Super Bowl next Wednesday.

The Big 12 really is bizarre this year. We all know how football went, but basketball is looking similarly interesting. As expected, the league is ridiculously middle-heavy and apparently there aren't going to be any nights off. I had expected Colorado and Iowa State to basically be punching bags, but that hasn't quite proven true. And even though I told you not to by the media hype about Nebraska, they won't stay winless for much longer (then again their next two are in Lawrence and Columbia so they're probably starting 0-5). By far the biggest surprise thus far has been Texas A&M at 1-3 – and their next 3 are @ OSU, UT, OU so they need to get it together quickly.

As for football, it’s good to see SEC homer Orson Swindle giving Clint Bowen some love.

Sticking with the gridiron, SI.com has Talib going #10 to the Saints. Last I saw ESPN had him at #17. It’s too tough to tell because of how much GMs cream themselves at the Combine, but I tend to think ESPN is closer.

A man can dream can’t he…

Speaking of dreaming, this is one helluva a championship match.

And I just found this interesting. Mostly because I am excited for the movie.

Power 16 Revisited

Ok as Ginger pointed out last week KU moved to the top of the ESPN power 16. I admit that this was questionable and obviously does not matter for anything. However this week comes out and KU beats MU (which as Hippo so finely put is not a bad team) at Paige and then stomps ISU. Memphis beats a now 1-3 C-USA team and jumps ahead. There really is no rhyme or reason to this thing. They ended up beating tulsa by 15 but it was a closer game than that and their total output was 56 points. Better jump em above the hawks! It is like I am taking crazy pills sometimes. Oh well it really doesn't matter and I try not to let this distract me but the logic is a bit baffling. Maybe digger had something to do with it. At least be consistently wrong. BTW it is great to see Baylor in there. Honestly KU in an Orange Bowl and Baylor Ranked. What was the over/under on that?





PS- Also wonder what the over/under of nadal getting beat in straight sets today was? Somebody made bank!

March is in the Air

It is getting near that time already and to help you all out in spending your work time watching streaming games (for you poor saps who don't have slingboxes) I give you the link that came today for early (VIP, woot woot) registration for cbs march madness on demand (not that it is some big secret). But if you get on and register soon then you get a special queue so you have to wait less and can laugh at the plebs in the regular line and further enhance your work slacking. So sign up and watch the hawks all the way to the yellow rose of san antone.


March Madness on Demand


One more thing before I leave. Good god jackson looked good last night...

He kind of made me say weeeeeeeeeeee!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Planet Digger

In lieu of a pregame analysis, today's post will instead attempt to decipher just what the hell Digger Phelps is thinking. I hate the fact that I'm even doing this though, because it has become increasingly obvious that this character's desire for attention is at a level slightly above your typical three year old girl who just found out she has a baby sister. Needless to say, the highlighter thing has lost its luster – then again, that assumes it had some to begin with. But hey, if I was already a douche anyway and Accent wanted to pay me just to highlight (pardon the pun of course) that fact, I suppose I would drag it on as well. But once you start having your book promoters announcing that you may run for president and begin starring in plays with the title, Love Letters, it's probably best that you don't pretend you know a thing about college basketball any more.

Case in point; the charade he and the lovely Stacey Dales put on the other night. Let me preface this by saying that I actually believe Memphis deserves to be #1 right now. I don't think they're the best team, but up to this point they've done slightly more than the Jayhawks.

Digger: Memphis and Kansas have a common opponent, Arizona - and Memphis won by more.
{Ignored and equally valid points: 1) Arizona was without their best player, Jerryd Bayless when they played Memphis; 2) Each team has also played USC. Kansas beat them by 4 in LA. Memphis beat them by 4 in OT in New York.; 3) Each team has played Oklahoma. Memphis won by 10 in New York and Kansas won by 30, though Blake Griffin left due to injury.} I've got to assume that even Digger actually knew that they had other components, but was simply unable to process all of this information.

Stacey: Kansas is better because of their bench scoring.
{Misstated fact: 1) Adding up the scoring average of every player that doesn't start for each team, Kansas) 34.8 ppg.; Memphis) 37.6 ppg.} You watch the two play, you know Kansas has a deeper team, but don't go spouting off stats that you obviously haven't researched.

Digger: Memphis has been to the Final Four twice, losing to aOSU and UCLA. They have the maturity it takes to win it all.
{Misstated fact: Memphis has been to the Elite 8, losing first to UCLA and then to Ohio State}
{Ignored and equally valid points: 1) Kansas also was in the Elite 8 last year, losing to UCLA; 2) Kansas has more seniors who play significant minutes (4-3), one less junior (2-3), and most importantly, they do not rely on a freshman to run their entire offense!} I'm not even going to bother pointing out the lack of logic here.

It's one thing to cross up a fact here and there or to stumble over your words, but this Good Cop/Bad Cop routine was just butchered, mostly on account of Mr. Phelps' ineptitude. It's because of people like him and instances like this that I am forced to wonder, "Why am I not running ESPN?" Or at the very least working alongside Jay Bilas. Not to toot my own horn (because this is more an indictment of Digger than a flaunt of myself), but is there one person out there that doesn't think I could do his job better than him? And if so, why? Because I'd be willing to bet that I could spend about 2 hours interviewing candidates and come up with no less than 10 people, myself included, I would have complete confidence in to go on the air and discuss basketball more competently than Planet Digger. (*Note* I call him this because he typically wears a Planet Hollywood bomber jacket.) That's probably enough Digger for one day.

For the Methzourians out there. There are many, many other reasons out there, but you can point to things like this as one of the factors that kept you out of the Orange Bowl.

But now, in being fair, here's a look at the rankings. And below them the Top 10 in disparity from their kenpom ranking. So apparently, Methzou and the Purple are better than publicly perceived. Moral of the story: you only have so many chances to make an impression before it sticks. And these two dug their graves a long time ago.

For some outside perspective on the Allen Fieldhouse experience, read this take from a Sooner's first encounter. Well said, sir.

I can't even describe how much more I would like to attend a tennis tournament than anything the NHL has to offer. Until it's an outdoor sport, we really need to cease acknowledging that it exists. Yama Hama!

And now for the less attractive women. I was saying from the beginning that this Roast needed to be televised. Case in point.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, something that should be nowhere near a television. But of course will be, incessantly.

As for the game tonight, Iowa State actually presents some matchup problems as they only start one player under 6'7". But then again, they lost to the newly ranked Drake Bulldogs by 35, so this one should go similarly. My guess is that it won't be quite that bad though, because the players also know that they lost to Drake by 35 and may not be all that hyped up. But anything less than a comfortable win will be considered a disappointment.

Kansas 84 Iowa State 60

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"White Owl Is My Indian Name"



A little background about the nuttiest of Jayhawk nuts...

Vote For Us

You can vote for It's Business Time for a number of different awards, here at EDSBS. Voting ends the 27th, and I'm sure if all 4 of you vote every day, we may be looking at a one-in-a-million possibility. So, you're saying there's a chance!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mike Anderson, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

The answer; an overwhelming no. Or at least not any more mature. I'll let you decide. If you haven't seen his post-game thoughts, here's a look at them:
“I’ve never seen so many block/charges called in a long time. The thing about it is, none of them went our way. And for a coach, that’s kind of hard to swallow."
When Big Mike was hired from UAB I was pretty disappointed. Not because I feared he would turn Methzou into a team, but because it's only so often that the coach of your rival is blowing the recruiting budget on late night lines. Long story short, Anderson was much too likable, whereas Quin was...well, Quin. Then again, these geniuses seemed to agree with him. But Anderson is doing his best at gaining on him with short-sighted, immature comments such as these. Out of all the sports I watch, I am rarely completely satisfied with the officiating, but ever since about the time of my tenth birthday I've learned not to blame them for losses, no matter how bad it may seem at the time. (*Note* I try not to watch the NBA too often) But what's most hilarious about these comments are the substance of his complaint, which as you may remember was a foul discrepancy.

In breaking it down, there were 8 more fouls called on Methzou, 30 to Kansas' 22. What Mike is apparently forgetting is that Methzou was purposely fouling to try and get back in the game and did so 6 times in the final 1:01.What he may also be forgetting is that Methzou attempted 28 threes to Kansas' 12. I'm under the impression that a player is more likely to be fouled, particularly in the act of shooting if they are driving aggressively to the basket as opposed to heaving up desperate shots from 20 feet all game. So, once that is factored in, along with the 6 intentional fouls in the final minute, one could possibly argue that perhaps too many fouls went in Methzou's favor. In summation, I would advise Big Mike to adapt his team's style of play if he would like even more calls to go in their favor next time around. But enough about him.

On Kansas' end, I couldn't be much happier. They needed that. Not because they played well (obviously), but because they found a way to win. Some people say they like to lose a game; I prefer to win close ones because it teaches you how. Reasonable minds can differ. (I should take this time to also say that I'd be shocked beyond belief if this team went undefeated.) Back to the game, per Russell's opinion (and I tend to agree) only Mario played up to his ability, with Darnell a close second. And even more predictably, no one played worse than Kaun. You can't be an incredible athlete that stands 6'11" and play games in which you foul (4) more than you rebound (3), not to mention scoring only 3 points to go along with 2 turnovers. Obviously defense is his strength and it was fine last night, but with his ability, there is no reason for him to be considered a liability. And that's basically what he amounted to last night.
- I loved the way Arthur (9), Jackson (9) and Rush (9) rebounded.
- I loved the way everyone attacked the basket with the outside shots not falling.
- I loved the way they never flinched when Methzou made their runs, both early and late.
- I loved the depth. To have Arthur, Chalmers Rush, Kaun and Stewart (3) all have 2+ first half fouls and lead.
- I hated the free throw shooting. Though it was "fine" late.
- I hated how they played sped-up. Part of it was Methzou's pressure, but more of it came from them trying to do too much (see: Elite 8 loss to UCLA).

All in all, it was another good day to be a Jayhawk. Just as they were in football, they are the last remaining unbeaten team from a BCS conference. UNC had been playing with fire for a while and it finally caught up to them. But hey, Maryland was good enough to almost beat American, Ohio and VCU so winning in Chapel Hill was no big deal. As said, UNC can't continue to give up 80+ points a game and expect to win. Unfortunately, due to regional coverage I was unable to see USC/UCLA but when KU played the Trojans I was more impressed with Davon Jefferson than anyone else. From the looks of what happened yesterday, that was again the case and they need to figure out a way to keep him on the court. As for the Big 12 story of the day, apparently A&M can't do much on the road, now standing at 0-3. But kudos to slick Frank and the Purple for a good win over a talented team. And while we're at it, kudos to Baylor for effectively ending Nebraska's season and moving themselves to 3-0 in the league. And finally, thank you Sean Sutton for again proving why you are the least qualified coach in the country.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Murray, Prezzzent

Sorry for the extreme lack of posts as of late - spent the week in NY and just couldn't find the time. Obviously there are a million things to do in the city, but one of them that I had always neglected was attending a game at MSG. there this time, I figured what better time to get a cheap ticket ($30 at half court on club level - HA!) and hopefully see a riot against Isiah. Unfortunately, the latter did not occur since the Knicks won, though it was entertaining that the two loudest moments of the night came wen his introduction was booed and cheering for all of the Giants in attendance. Long story short, if you're a basketball fan, find a way to get to a game at the Garden. But enough about the No Balls Association, onto the good stuff.

As my colleague has mentioned, KU ascended to #1 in the ESPN Power 16 this week on account of their dominance of Nebraska and Oklahoma. And also because UNC was let off the hook in Hotlanta on Wednesday and have looked less than stellar in two of their three conference games, though my opinion has not changed. I always expect them to win because they play hard, have playmakers and can outscore anyone, but its absolutely no secret that they can't play defense - I'm unsure as to why this is a surprise to anyone.

This Saturday, they will head to Paige Arena for their annual sellout. Obviously all conference games are difficult to predict, but there are a few much tougher than the others; this is certainly one of them. Methzou, not surprisingly, jerked themselves off all week after their impressive win over Texas only to lose at Hilton on Wednesday. So just like we've always known, they have some talent and when everything is working they can do some damage. But when the treys aren't falling quite so easily and the intensity isn't there, they're no better than an average Missouri Valley team. The latter will undoubtedly be there this evening; hopefully the former will not. I wouldn't mind seeing something like this again.

As for the rest of the conference, nothing too shocking has occurred.

Baylor took care of their first two (ISU, OSU), but their next two (@Neb., @ A&M) will offer considerably more resistance.

Colorado was pummeled @ A&M, but responded by beating Nebraska at home. Next up is a trip to Austin followed by a visit from the Purple.

As mentioned, Iowa State followed their loss to Baylor with a win over Methzou. This week, they welcome the Cowboys and then venture to Allen.

K-State started with a good win in Norman. They'll have a chance for another against A&M today before a trip to Boulder this week.

Nebraska wasted all of their energy in futilely trying to beat the Jayhawks leading to a subsequent loss at Colorado. They need to beat Baylor tonight, because a trip to Allen is up next.

Oklahoma had a rough week losing a tough one to the Purple and then being run off the court at Allen, losing Blake Griffin for a month in the process. The Tech game tonight is a must win and the one at Baylor next week would be nice.

Oklahoma State started with a win over Tech and followed it with a loss to Baylor. This week they go to Ames and welcome in the Longhorns. As expected, they will win some at home, but won't do much outside of Stillwater.

Texas built a lot of good will to start the season which has since been tempered in losses to Wisconsin and Methzou. Colorado won't put up much of a fight tonight, but to stay in the race, they also need to win in Stillwater.

Texas A&M beat the Buffs and then (as expected) forgot how to handle the ball in Lubbock, giving Knight his 900th win. Games in Manhattan and against Baylor this week could be tough, but should be won.

Texas Tech lost at OSU and beat Tech. Games in Norman and at home v. Methzou are winnable and would put them in good shape.

Kansas started this season as the favorite and with both UT and A&M losing in the first week, it has become increasingly obvious that the champion has been decided and this is a more of a race for second. As for the other teams, it's being further proved how middle-heavy the league is with even CU and ISU notching wins already. After one week, only two teams remaining winless and at this time last week, both were considered chic pics to contend for 4th and notch bids to the tourney.

For those of you that haven't seen it already and even for those of you that have, I recommend Eagle vs. Shark, starring the one and only Jemaine Clement, aka Hiphopopotamus.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Scot Pollard PSA

This is so money I had to post...

Also check out some of these, he was a strange ranger, but the dude can play a bit.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ESPN Power 16



The "Big 4" shuffle a bit in this weeks Power 16, not that there is anything wrong with that...
And now on to Missouri's Super Bowl, Final Four, BCS Game equivalent: A conference game against Kansas

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2 minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven


I haven't posted in quite a while, I guess I am still shaking off some football cobwebs and I have been a bit ashamed of my effort so far. So for the ladies, I will be giving out maximum output tonight and provide some verbal gymnastics on the intrawebs.

The Jayhawks are off to their best start since Paul Pierce was shakin' crackers, Scott Pollard was the poor man's Dennis Rodman, T.J. Pugh was frightening the beejesus out of school children and Roy Williams didn't give a shit about the babyblueballbouncers. 17-0 is special no matter what the schedule, but our SOS is a low 82 right now. We are number 7 in the college bball version of the RPI even given that, but playing and beating names such as USC(away), Arizona, Georgia Tech(away), Boston College(away) and Oklahoma usually carry more weight than so far this year.

Some other stats that stick out that are impressive:
83.8 points per game, 14th in nation
52.3 team field goal percentage, 2nd in nation
11 steals per game, 3rd in nation
17.1 assists per game, 8th in nation
1.6 assist to turnover ratio, 2nd in nation
6.6 blocks per game, 10th in nation
41. rebounds per game, 7th in nation
25.1 scoring margin, 1st in nation
and the last and most important, 100% won/lost percentage, tied for first in nation

Also, Bill "But, But Uh" Self passed King Roy for best win percentage at KU via the victory over Nebraska on Saturday...
Bill Self 122-29 .808 (updated with OU win included)
Roy Williams 418-101 .805
Larry Brown 135-44 .754
as a side note, with Bruce "Left Hand" Weber losing in bunches this year, Bill is also the win percentage leader at Illinois once again. For some reason I don't foresee Mr. Orange Sportcoat retaking that position.

So the Hawks have looked no less than spectacular this year and it is hard not to compare this team to some of the best recent Kansas teams. Whats that you say? Compare away? Oh, I'll feed you baby birds...

Lineups in order of year, I am throwing in '96-'97, '01-'02, and '07-'08 as the premiere teams
(Argument could be made for '02-'03, just kinda going on talent since the major difference between the '02 run and the '03 run is a lack of Gooden and arrival of the Gravy Train, even though '03 went further and Graves was huge in the tourney.)

Point...
Vaughn(Sr.) - Miles(Fr.) - Robinson(Sr.)
Shooting...
Haase(Sr.) - Hinrich(Jr.) - Chalmers(Jr.)
Small...
Pierce(Jr.) - Boschee(Sr.) - Rush(Jr.)
Power...
LaFrentz (Jr.)- Collison(Jr.) - Arthur(So.)
Center...
Pollard(Sr.) - Gooden(Jr.) - Jackson(Sr.)

Bench
97-Thomas(Jr.)-Robertson(So.)-Pugh(So.)-Williams(Sr.)
02-Langford(Fr.)-Carey(Sr.)-Nash(So.)-Simien(Fr.)
08-Collins(So.)-Kaun(Sr.)-Stewart(Sr.)-Aldrich(Fr.)

And for good measure
Coach
'97, '02-Roy Williams
'08-Bill Self

I think that the biggest differences here in favor of the '08 team are:
1. Experienced depth
2. Diverse scoring
3. Defensive quickness
4. Top to bottom athletic ability
5. Bill Self

It is obviously still early and looking at the '97 team still makes me wonder how Roy blew that one to Arizona, yet I think this is one of the most sound teams top to bottom Kansas has ever had. As many of the pundits will tell you, this year is shaping up to look like the big 4 (KU, Memphis, UCLA and UNC) are the ones that have the best shot at taking down the nets.

Anyway, this year is going to get crazier before anything gets settled. Kansas is going to be on upset watch in every other game that it plays this year, outside of the Final Four. Getting everyones best shot is nothing new to us, but how we handle the added pressure of being undefeated and an improved Big 12 will show us a lot about this teams moxie.

I am getting tired, lets beat the living crap out of Missouri and shut them up for a bit. One game at a time and all that b.s.

read this Whitlock article...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Damnit...

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=3194896


I was hoping for a couple more vitale less months. He will be back for the UNC Duke game too. I will make sure if I watch that one to have internet radio going... He'll be like a hog in shit for the big ACC game.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More South Beach?

I hate to make too many projections regarding how the football team will perform in 2008 and hopefully into 2009, but now seems an opportune time as the Big12 basketball season gets underway tomorrow and is sure to consume most of our time. Then again, since recruiting classes haven't even officially signed and there are 8 months between now and the games, needless to say, some things could change. But for now we know that with the early defections of Aqib Talib and Anthony Collins, the Jayhawks are down to 15 returning players, none of which earned All American status this year. As for the schedule, if they traverse this one as they did this past year, one of two things will happen; 1) They will have as much respect as anyone in the nation and could be playing for all the marbles, or 2) The Big 12 will suck some serious ass. With many projections typically listing 5 league teams in the top 15 I'm not betting on the latter.

Since it's a bit daunting, let's get the schedule talk out of the way first.

8/30 FIU – Will probably go much the same as this year's bout went
9/6 La. Tech – They're certainly better than FIU, but went 5-7 this year, so…
9/13 @ S. Florida – And herein lies the game everyone in the nation wishes had happened this year. Grothe is back and so is George Selvie, who the Hawks will have to find Reesing some protection from.
9/20 Sam Houston St. – And I thought Rhett Bomar had avoided Lawrence with that silly game at Arrowhead a few years back.
10/4 @ ISU – Four straight years opening on the road in conference. Chizik had them playing better near the end and they love filling the shithole Jack Trice Stadium, so it could be interesting. Let's hope not though as the rest gets rough.
10/11 Colorado – They have a great recruiting class coming in and while I'm of the belief they are still at least a year away, this won’t be easy.
10/18 @ OU – Similar to Methzou last year, if the Hawks are able to win their first 6, Gameday could be in Norman to witness their first L. Then again, Stoops seems to have trouble preparing for teams he doesn't see regularly and it will have been two years…
10/25 Texas Tech – I'll need to know more about the Jayhawks' pass rush, but if it's working and they aren't drained from the week prior, I'd like to think they'll be fine in Lawrence.
11/1 Kansas St. – Long story short, I don't see Ron Prince/Josh Freeman winning in Lawrence.
11/8 @ Nebraska – It would be great to get a win in Lincoln, but with sexy man Pelini at the helm, it's impossible to predict right now.
11/15 Texas – I really, really wish they had not hired Will Muschamp. I felt a lot more comfortable with this game when Duane Akina was calling the shots. Fortunately Mack is still there and Vince is not.
11/29 Methzouri – Could again be for the north and a chance to play at Arrowhead 2 straight weeks. I can't see any other team being in the top 2, but Methzou has a much easier schedule to conquer (toughest @ UT, 2nd…@ Neb?).

As for the team that has to play this schedule, there will be 15 returning starters, but nearly every position returns a player with differing levels of experience. They lose the most on the offensive side of the ball.

Left Tackle (Anthony Collins) This will be the hardest position to replace as he offered tremendous blindside protection for Hot Toddy. My best guess for a replacement would be 4 star juco recruit, Nathan D'Cunha (*).

Right Tackle (Cesar Rodriguez) His experience will be missed the most. I have heard great things about Ian Wolfe though, who is thought to be the replacement.

Wide Receiver (Marcus Henry) A non-issue as there are replacements all over. Jonathon Wilson didn't get any playing time this year, but was said to have the best hands on the team and at 6-3 190, I like to hear that. Also, I'd expect Kerry Meier to see some more time. And lastly, they are expecting to sign 4 star Juco talent Rod Harris(*) who had interest from USC and LSU.

Tight End (Derek Fine) He will surely be missed, but I really don't know how much, because we haven't seen much else. RS Soph. to be, Bradley Dedaux is big and fast, which everyone likes. And he will likely be challenged by incoming 4 star recruit Tanner Hawkinson(*).

Running back (Brandon McAnderson) He was great and will absolutely be missed. But the stock pile here leaves me plenty comfortable. Jake Sharp is proven (147 for 821 for 5.6 per and 7TDs), and there are at least 2 in line to compete with him in Angus Quigley and Carmon Boyd-Anderson. If they happen to add Cyrus Gray to that mix, things will be looking even better.

Defensively, they lose only 2 starters. Unfortunately, those two happened to be the best defenders on the team.

Defensive Tackle (James McClinton) Was basically a poor man's Glen Dorsey when he was healthy commanding and often beating a double team. Haselhorst and Blakesley rotated at the other spot and could start alongside each other. Though Jamal Greene got a lot more snaps once McClinton was injured and could easily make himself a starter. I also wouldn't be terribly surprised if freshman-to-be Darius Parish competed for some time.

Cornerback (Aqib Talib) Whoever they stick out there won't be as good as Talib who was arguably the best all-around corner in the nation the past 2 years. But fortunately Chris Harris looked great in this, his freshman year and Kendrick Harper looked solid when healthy, though I think he needs to get faster. Barring injury these two should be the starters, but there is a slew of others looking for snaps as well (Anthony Webb, Ryan Murphy, Gary Green, Greg Brown).

On special teams, Kansas loses both its kicker and its punter.

Kicker (Scott Webb) Sophomore to be Stephen Hoge will likely take over. All I know about him are his high school stats. 76/80 career PATs. 25/30 career FGs. All State and District (OK) his sophomore and senior years.

Punter (Scott Webb) As you noticed in the Orange Bowl, he could have done A LOT more than he did last year, but if he just wanted to save his best for last, then he couldn't have chosen a better time to exhibit his ability. As for a replacement, Kyle Davis (RS-So.) is the only one on the roster, and I don't have a clue about his talent level.

As is to be expected, the reason to be excited about this team is what it has returning – which is a lot. But as you can see, there really aren't too many huge concerns in replacing what has left either. Certainly the biggest void right now has to be at left tackle. And though they seem to have solid corners, they won't have a shut-down one like they did in Talib. It remains to be seen how the DTs can replace McClinton, but it's nice to know they have some options. I would doubt we see much of a drop-off anywhere else and if the recruiting class turns out as good as it sounds, I would expect a few of them to contribute as well.


* Just know that I place no validation on any star status that Rivals arbitrarily hands out. As for Harris, I have seen his highlight tape, and it is extremely impressive. I don't know much about D'Cunha except that he is an Aussie and is 6'7" and 310. Again, Hawkinson looks good from what I've seen and he's listed at 6'5", 230 and running a 4.88 – all good signs.

In case I bored the hell out of you with that,do yourself a favor and read this. Absolutely fantastic.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who Likes to Rock the Party

With the conference season upon us, it is probably time to revisit how the league is performing. Unfortunately, things haven't gone quite as well since the last check-up. You know, unless you're a Kansas fan (and you could probably throw A&M in there as well). I'm not sure exactly how my predictions will pan out and I probably sold Nebraska (9) and Methzou (8) short, but one thing I did say has become increasingly evident – this conference is Star Jones middle heavy.

Just as an fyi, right now the collective conference record is 124-40, with all 12 teams above .500, good for 4th nationally in the RPI – behind the ACC, Big East and Pac10.

1. Kansas (15-0): No surprise here, one of five remaining unbeatens and currently # 1 on the Pomeroy ratings. The media types are impressed now that they cock-smoked a team on the beloved East coast. And you could certainly argue they have looked better than anyone, but there is work to do to finish this season appropriately. This week: @ Nebraska (sold-out) Next week: Mon. OU, Sat. @ Methzou (may exceed total attendance on the year)

2. Texas (13-2): Part of me is starting to think A&M could be better over the long haul, but Texas still has some great wins to hang its hat on and its worst loss is to Wisconsin, so things could be worse. The addition of Gary Johnson has to help as the starters were all logging over 30 minutes and Conner Atchley is not going to hold up as an inside presence. They still don't play any defense though. This week: @ Methzou Next week: Colorado

3. Texas A&M (14-1): They're starting to look pretty solid, but their best win was probably against Washington and they lost their only road game to Arizona. As expected, the biggest issue has come in the ball-handling department, as they have more turnovers than their opponents. When you look at what's happening to WSU since his departure and how solid this team has been since the get-go, it's looking like Jayhawk Marc Turgeon is as good as advertised. This week: Colorado Next week: Wed. @Tech, Sat. @KSU

From here through at least 9th, take the rankings with a grain of salt, because I absolutely don't know.

4. Oklahoma (12-3): WVU, Arkansas and Gonzaga aren't world beaters and probably aren’t even that good. But to reel off three straight wins against them with the last coming in Morgantown is impressive. I said from that start that I wanted to think this team was tourney worthy, but I couldn't quite get past the guards, Austin Johnson (9, 3, 3) and Tony Crocker (11, 5, 3). If that holds up, they've got plenty on the inside to compete nightly. This week: KSU Next week: Mon. @ KU, Sat. Tech

5. Kansas State (10-4): Well this spot had to go to a north team and since CU and ISU don't count, it was down to KSU, MU and NU. The media is jumping on Nebraska, which along with the Creighton loss makes me think they're out. The Purple has the best players, but they've also got Frank Martin. And Methzou seems a logical pick, but their "Forty Minutes of Purgatory" instills no confidence whatsoever. So, by default, because those from the armpit that is Manhattan actually attend games other than when Kansas is in town, I'll slot them here. And they have a guy named Michael Beasley. By far their biggest reason for not finishing this high will often be wearing suit and whose hair will not move the entire season. For some local perspective, here is some surprisingly rational thinking hidden amongst a dread of Purple. This week: @ OU Next week: TAMU

6. Methzouri (10-5): Again, I think this is too high, but logically there will be three teams from the north in the top 6 and I'm ever so slightly more convinced by them than I am Nebraska (which could change as soon as Saturday). Even given that over the last few weeks this team was unable to beat Illinois or Miss. St. and through halftime was tied with the lowly 'Roos and their best win is over Purdue (ISU did the same). Something I find funny about them is that Matt Lawrence, a guy they rely on for 24 minutes (4th on team) and 10 points is basically a notch below Kansas' Conner Teahan, who averages 4 minutes (12th), none of which have been significant. This week: Texas Next week: Wed. @ISU, Sat. KU

7. Baylor (12-2): For some reason I really want to believe this team can make the tournament. And then they lose a home game to Arkansas. Their guards are their strength, but for them to win conference games they will depend on Kevin Rogers (12,7), who for some reason they aren't getting many looks. If this doesn't change, even here may be too high. This week: ISU Next week: Tues. OSU, Sat. @ Neb.

8. Nebraska (11-2): Well it's a spot higher than I had them to start. And they can shoot up the list with a win or even a good showing this weekend. The Oregon and Arizona St. wins are starting to look good (though to a lesser degree than ESPN will have you believe), but they still haven't won outside of Nebraska. But go ahead and chalk me up as a surprised fan of Dagunduro – who has provided much needed help at guard. And since they prefer the pigskin in Lincoln, here's a look at an approved final rankings. This week: KU Next week: Tues. @ CU, Sat. BU

9. Oklahoma State (9-5): The loss to North Texas was bad. The blowout @ Illinois hurt. But what truly sold me was how Oral Roberts did not look to be upsetting them, but was decidedly the better team on the court. That, and Sean Sutton is the least qualified coach in the country. I'll be shocked if they win outside of Gallagher Iba. This week: Tech Next Week: Tues. @ BU, Sat. @ISU

10. Texas Tech (9-5): They'll win some games in Lubbock and should have beaten Stanford, but all in all, they just aren't any good. Zeno (17, 5, 3) is legit and would be a great role player, but he absolutely should not be leading them in rebounds. And as great a coach as Bob Knight is, he isn't a miracle worker. This week: @ OSU Next week: Wed. TAMU, Sat. @ OU

11. Iowa State (10-5): The Purdue win in Vegas is likeable, but I can not and will not forget that they lost to Drake by 35. Other than those 2 games, nothing has stood out for them. It's hard to imagine this team winning more than 3 or 4 more times. This week: @ BU Next week: Wed. MU, Sat. OSU

12. Colorado (8-6): Well at least they're over .500, short lived as it may be. Perhaps the better (and more likely) thing they will be concentrating on is their proximity to: skiing, cannabis, and ski bunnies. This week: @TAMU Next week: Tues. NU, Sat. @UT

Also, it seems Barry Alvarez wasn't the only one confused. Silly Mexicans.

As for Nebraska, well see for yourself, but their new head coach was in good form the other night. And I am in no way referring to how he restrained the potent Buckeye offense.

Courtesy of TBL, pretty good stuff here. When I first read Bilas' commentary a couple days ago I couldn't help but think exactly the same thing. Like most, I'm typically a fan, but it's tough to ignore that each year he's been in the business he's become a bit more smug and sarcastic. (Which I actually happen to enjoy)

And to end on a good note, sift through this little number from the KC Star.

As enjoyable as that was, it's still just K-State, so lets end with something truly glorious.

How to make a 6'9" guy look small

This really has no bearing on this blog but I decided to post this picture as I thought it was too awesome to pass up. This is Tyler Hansbrough (a methzouri native who wised up and went to NC) going up against UNC Asheville's 7'7" Kenny George (Note: he later dunked over him). Just unreal. I would look like Verne Troyer next to this guy.





I would also note UNC actually had their hands full with their neighbors from Asheville who actually outscored them the second half.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ban OSU from the BCS Championship Game

I have started a petition to ban OSU from being in BCS Championship games for a period of 10 years to allow the game of college football to recover. Please sign

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/OSUBan/

What a Beautiful Sweater

My birthday is rapidly approaching. Perhaps a reward for giving you all those bowl winners (25-7, but who's counting?). Just something to think about...

Apparently Oklahoma and Texas have some pull. Despite each: losing 3 times, being blown out, and losing to 1 poor team they were each voted into the Top 10 (sadly I don't even disagree). And because Kansas didn't play either of these "superior" teams, they were not voted ahead of any big time team with less than 3 losses. Their worst (and only, mind you) loss is by one score to the #4 ranked team in the country but apparently West Virginia was better because they beat Oklahoma – never mind they couldn't get into double digits against Pitt. I wish I could give you a reason Ohio State was also voted better, but I just can't. Before I go on, I want to also direct you to Stew Mandel's poll, completely devoid of any coastal bias of course.

Let me first go on record as saying even though I picked LSU to win, I had a small hunch aOSU could pull it out. So much for hunches. It was in my conference rankings where I pointed out that by far the best OOC win for the Big11 came when aOSU won at 4-9 Washington. So then they ran through the Big11 with tantalizing wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan. But alas, they couldn't muster up enough to stop Juice and the Zooker (in the Shoe, no less). Yes, the same Illini team that was run off the field by USC a week ago. And more importantly, the same one that was beaten by Iowa, Michigan and Methzou. Yet despite all of that evidence they were placed in the National Championship and had a semi-legitimate case to be there. But as soon as LSU put up 31 straight points, they (along with WVU) should have been dropped below the 1 loss team that actually performed in their bowl game.

Here's my final rankings (and try and remember that since this isn't a preseason poll, it should reflect what has happened, not what you think would happen)

1.Louisiana State University: There are arguments to be made, but 7-2 against >.500
2.University of Georgia: 8-1 against >.500…but then there's that home loss to South Carolina to consider
3.Kansas University: Only 1 loss team involved in the discussion and now they have a signature win
4.Methzou: Could be inter-changed at 3, but let's face it they had two chances and instead shit the bed against a team that couldn't stay on the field with WVU…
5.University of Southern California: They are almost assuredly better than KU/MU and could certainly beat LSU/UGA, but they didn't prove it
6.West Virginia University: Score one for Wannstache
7.a Ohio State University: And this may be too high
8.Oklahoma University: This is too high for a team that can't beat Colorado or prepare for teams they don't play regularly
9.University of Texas: They were the 4th best team in the Big 12 – if that's good enough for 9th nationally, color me surprised…but who else deserves it?
10.Virginia Polytechnic and State University: See below
Just missing the cut: Auburn, Tennessee, and BC

Speaking of Boston College, apparently that drubbing Kansas put on them Saturday is still lingering a bit as they were unable to recover in time to beat Robert Morris. That's unfortunate.

On that topic, how about the Purple taking out Savannah State, 85-25. Xavier, they are not. Suffice it to say, the Bease had more than 5 points this time. But even if he's only had 5, that would have been one more than Savannah score the entire second half.

Tough to say if he was watching or not, but this cow could not have been happy with the Orange Bowl.

'Tis a wonderful thought…where have I heard it before?

And here’s a nice recap of this season, plus a solid look-ahead to next year…Personally, I think that Top 10 is about dead-on, except I would trade out Texas for OU.

On the heals of last night, let's all pray that the September 13th game in SoCal ends any NC talk because the 2008 Big11 could make this year's bunch look like All-Stars.

And just for fun, here's a look at each conference's BCS record:

1.SEC (11-4) LSU leads the way with 4, but as you can see they rarely lose these games. Six different have made it, and none have more than 1 loss.
2.PAC 10 (8-4) Big surprise here, USC leads the way at 5-1. Seven different teams have made it, none of which are Cal and none of which have been twice (aside from USC of course).
3.Big East (6-4) Miami still takes the cake here with 3, but WVU has looked good going 2-0. Six teams have made it, but only 4 are still in the league.
4.Big 11 (8-8) aOSU leads the way with 4 wins, hard as it may be to believe after the last 2 years (3 of them came against ND, K-State and A&M though). Barry Alvarez was 2-0 though as well. Seven teams in all have made it in.
5.Big 12 (6-8) Thanks Bob! If you're just going to shit the bed, quit stealing the bid. OU and Texas lead the way with 2 wins each. Of course, OU has 4 losses as well. Kansas is the only other undefeated and Nebraska has the other win (humorous that they only have 2 appearances). Seven teams in all have played in one.
6.ACC (1-9) And the only win was over current member, Virginia Tech. Florida State leads the nation with 6 appearances, but has only mustered 1 win out of them. Hard to believe this is a team that won 11 straight bowl games and played in 3 straight NC's (during the BCS)…not to mention their run of like 14 years in a row finishing in the top 4.

Oh yeah, God (you still read this, right?), please make this happen!

#7 are you freakin' kidding me...

Well I thought maybe 5 and maybe 6 at worst but the AP and ESPN poll have placed the hawks at #7. And maybe methzou gets the final laugh placing #4 after beating an unranked, uncoached, team in a bowl viewed by 2.5 million viewers.

Unreal.


Methzou not only losses one more time than the hawks but loses twice to a team who gets crushed in their bowl game. VT was 7-2 against bowl teams. KU 5-1 and Methzou 6-2. KU did not win the conference but then again neither did MU or Georgia for that matter so that can't be it.


Also KU's one loss is to a top 5 team in what ended up being a 1 possession loss. Much more than can be said for the tigers piss poor outing in the Big XII championship.


After the VT win and OU getting blown out in their bowl I think a lot of the SOS argument goes out the window. I might even be able to give MU one spot above KU for beating them but #4 vs #7? Ludicrous...


Don't even get me started about OSU being above KU the argument here is even stronger than the Methzou one on why this is a farse. At least that one comes down to name recognition, something methzou doesn't have.


Another interesting thing I just thought about... In the "bye week" before the bowls (conference championship week) were picked KU dropped from 5 to 8 and OSU moves from 3 to 1 even though neither played. wtf...


At the end of the day i think if KU would have scored one of their 2 missed scoring opportunities and maybe b-mac gets one more yard at the end of the game and we win 38-21 we are ranked #5. Still for a team ranked 8 to beat the 3 team, have 3 teams ahead of them lose and end up at 7 seems to be indicative of this whole system... broken...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

ACC Goes Down


For the second time in as many tries Kansas defeated an ACC opponent on the road today when they played Al Skinner's bunch in Chestnut Hill. This game went far better than their first one (@ GT) and it was clear that they have learned from their mistakes and how/when to put an opponent away. For the most part they always play hard and they usually play well, but today (especially after the altercation) they played angry. And that is what will take them where they want to go. I guess someone else agrees. On another note, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that any time Arthur and Jackson combine for 47 points and 16 rebounds the Jayhawks will be just fine.

Speaking of predictions,I guess I was right about that game they call the Orange Bowl (and quite a few others), as Kansas defeated yet another ACC team, the champion in fact, Virginia Tech.And really, the game couldn't have played out much more predictably. OK, so you can't predict a pick six and a punt return TD, but as a whole it rarely left the script.

However, I do think Virginia Tech out-thought themselves and things could have been even tougher on the Jayhawks had they not. After re-watching the game, it really looked like early on they wanted to try and prove that they could break their tendencies - letting Taylor throw and running/play-action with Glennon. And even once Ore entered the game, they were usually able to run it pretty well, but they kept insisting on going down the field and a couple of blown calls aside, it just wasn't going to work. (Speaking of the telecast, why the shit is Fox so obsessed with the band? I'm thinking Joe Buck is behind this somehow...)

As for the Hawks, well, they were brilliant. Obviously the defense was great and aside from some questionable play-calling, particularly in the horrid third quarter, the offense was equally great against an incredible VT defense. Offensively, as predicted, if Reesing took care of the ball and kept the defense spread out, 23 points would be doable and sufficient. (And obviously by reaching the 1 yard line on 2 separate occasions, plenty more could have been scored as well.) As for the defensive predictions, well I said I didn't see the VT offense taking it to the house 3 times - and they didn't. Of course, they did return a punt with the help of an ignored block in the back, but the offense only scored twice. And lastly, I said Kyle Tucker had to have a good game - he went ahead and had a great one instead. For the record, I was extremely wrong in thinking there wouldn't be any game changing plays on special teams.

The game really turned out to be a microcosm of the season with everyone doing their part. Aqib Talib deservedly earned MVP honors with his pick 6 and subsequent mind fuck on the VT quarterbacks,but it truly was as balanced an effort as can be made. Offensively, Reesing was great, McAnderson was solid, every receiver contributed, and the line protected pretty well. Defensively, Rivera was everywhere, Mortensen and Holt were sound, the ends got a good rush, McClinton had a push and the secondary came up with three picks all from different guys. And it all added up to a victory and complete justification for arguably the best season in the nation...

I'm not saying they deserve to be national champions or that they are the best team, but can you really argue anyone had a better season? Unless aOSU beats LSU, I don't think so, because the only other 1 loss team will be Hawai'i and well, we all saw how much that held up against a real opponent. As for the 2 loss teams, your best arguments would be LSU & Methzou. LSU will have beaten the most legitimate teams, but they also have a home loss to a team that Methzou completely humiliated in Dallas along with a loss to a Kentucky team that could barely handle half of a mediocre FSU team. Methzou is a better argument because of November 24th, but the fact remains that they were handled in Norman and destroyed in San Antonio by a great, but 3 loss OU team. And don't give me UGA or USC because "they're hot" ... USC has been anointed as so by dominating ASU and Illinois - are you kidding me? I could give you at least 6-8 other teams that would do so as well. Georgia has definitely earned their stripes, but they were still demolished by an average Tennessee team and beaten at home by a team that didn't even make one of 32 bowls. Back to KU, their only loss is a one possession defeat to a top 5 team on a neutral field, and their best win comes over a top 5 team. If aOSU loses, LSU will have done plenty to justify their national championship, but they still will have not had a better overall season than the Jayhawks.

As mentioned in my Festivus post, the Kansas football and basketball teams ended up a combined 45-4 in 2007! Can it get any better? Well, thus far in 2008, they are 2-0 with an Orange Bowl Championship. Here's to adding another trophy to the case on April 7 in San Antonio... Hot Toddy! Thanks for everything, Obie.