Is this current KU team special?

  • Banned

    To win a NC is very hard. Sometimes is takes a team to grow together, sometimes is just getting the right pieces at the right time. Veterans teams have won the NC? Rookie teams have won the NC? Half and Half teams have won the NC?

    So is this current KU team special? Does this team flutter your heart strings. Or are we just looking at another oh-hum season?

    It appears to me the talent is there? Yet is this the season? I see strengths, yet I also see weakness.

    So are KU fans cheering for another Big 12 championship and a final 8 run as success? Or do we see something more.

    I like winning but man a NC would just stoke me to no end.

    So were are we at? Should us KU fans temper our expectations? Or should we get crazy and dream that this might be the year?

  • I think a lot of KU fans have lower expectations for this year because there is little depth. There is no question we have talent - our first five are just as good as anyone in the nation. Sure, we don’t have Josh Jackson and Frank Mason. But we return some really good players and we have what could be Self’s best post presence. Billy can do things like Junior Morrii and Darrel Arthur could do. And not to mention Dok. I mean, how in the world can one conclude that Landon and Dwight Coleby last year were better than Dok and Billy this year? I know which I would choose without any hesitation. And, in case anyone missed it, Newman is pretty good at scoring, so its not like our points production is going to go way down this year.

    Here is the thing about the tournament - it takes a few factors to have success: defense, rebounding, low turnover, making shots. Those four dictate how far you advance. It has absolutely zero to do with luck. That argument is complete bollocks and just an excuse for bad or inconsistent play. Against Nova, turnovers were a killer for us (six more than them in an even or one possession game) and there were several issues with the Oregon game, mainly shotmaking, which I have discussed in depth in the past. Everyone is so concerned with “no depth” and “what if” scenarios. Look, depth is not very important in March. Just look at Nova in 2016 as a team built very similar to ours - no post depth and five guards (actually six but five got most of the minutes). But what did they do? They dominated every factor I just listed.

    That is the key for our present team. Will they defend and rebound? Will they play smart and not stupid? Can they make open threes?

    Man, I’m with you on dreaming of a title. I remember the night against Memphis sitting on the sofa with my family as we witnessed such an improbable comeback. It was truly surreal. But its hard. Its hard to do all the right things to win six straight. Saying that this team won’t do it or their ceiling is sweet sixteen is just idiotic and dumb. I mean, the real games haven’t even started yet and some are throwing the possibility of a March run out the window!!

    Are they special? I think only a March run will dictate that.

    Yes, the talent is absolutely there, the most we have had since Wiggins and Embiid. There are weaknesses, but every team has them.

    No, I never temper my expectations. I want success in March EVERY SINGLE YEAR without exception. Of course we all want a Big 12 title, even if some don’t admit it. But we also want the thing that everyone remembers and cherishes the most, which goes way beyond the conference.

  • I will admit I was bit excited watching this team the other night against Pitt State. The problem was it was Pitt State but we looked great out there and 1 through 7 we can compete with anyone I thought. We need all 9 of our eligible players to contribute in some sort of the fashion this season so again the margin for error is small.

    It’s still going to take a while to get over not seeing Frank Mason on the court but the kid wearing his Jersey now is a heck of a talent.

    When was the last time we had a season that wasn’t significantly impacted by injury, more specifically a big man injury? Injuries are random but we seem to be developing a habit for them snake-biting our potential in the NCAA tourney. So should I expect another devastating injury? It sure feels like we are thin ice in that department anytime someone goes down to the ground.

    College Basketball is down this year I don’t care what anyone says. Duke’s preseason #1 and will start 4 freshman. Whatever. They are talented, as always, but what’s that say about CBB as a whole when a team that returns 1 starter and 2 other seldom used players in preseason #1…Of course things change throughout the season and I’m sure CBB will look as competitive as ever when March is over but you don’t see a lot of stacked teams across the nation on paper right now.

    We are preseason #3/or 4 wherever you look so expectations are not down. Way too early to know whether the team is special. There’s potential especially if Preston & Doke hold down the post on a consistent basis. Their ability to play is half the battle. Stay healthy, stay out of foul trouble. The defense needs to take a step forward. I’m not sold they get there with this group but we’ll see.

    As far as how I see the season playing out right now. We should expect to win the league especially as it looks down in a big way. I could see this team going 12-6 in conference and still winning. 15-3 wouldn’t surprise me either, 18-0 is a tall order but our talent edge is noticeable this year with ISU and Baylor particularly losing a lot from last season. Even West Virginia is feeling the effect of graduation and turnover. The Non-Conference isn’t daunting and we could roll into Conference play undefeated if things play out the way I think they will.

    Who knows what the end result will be. I need to see how much Doke has improved against better competition. We have shooters, we have guard play. We just need the defense and the post play to be consistent. If we see both of those we will have every chance to be special

  • I’d be happy with ANOTHER Big 12 Championship and a Final Four run. The " Elite Eight " has never been much of a prize in my eyes. I might be happy with a Big 12 C and Elite Eight IF we at least lost to a respectable team.

  • Every year, same thing. Many of us are only happy with a National Championship because we are spoiled by the continued success. But that’s reality for me. It is all that will ultimately make me happy. Without that, still an empty feeling. But I will enjoy the ride. We have a team (again) that can win it all. With our pud schedule, we’ll have to collapse to not get a #1 seed.

  • @HawkChamp “Are they special? I think only a March run will dictate that.”

    Maybe what we need to do is say, “Screw March!” Go on an April run, and March will take care of itself.

  • HighEliteMajor said:

    Every year, same thing. Many of us are only happy with a National Championship because we are spoiled by the continued success. But that’s reality for me. It is all that will ultimately make me happy. Without that, still an empty feeling. But I will enjoy the ride. We have a team (again) that can win it all. With our pud schedule, we’ll have to collapse to not get a #1 seed.

    Agree on pretty much all accounts.

    One year KU will finally not win the league, may even miss the tournament. We will all be shocked, because we are so spoiled.

  • The singular danger with lack of depth is that any one injury to Doke, Preston, Graham or Newman probably sinks this team. We could probably survive without Svi or Vick for a period of time (nothing long term), but anything more than one game without the other four and we are probably done. We really can’t have any of those first four not playing at a high level. We just don’t have the pieces around them to back that up unless Young Lightfoot becomes a Big Foot.

    That said, there are openings around the country. I don’t see a truly great team on the landscape, so this could be the year where a team with little depth makes a deep run. Last year’s team had more top end talent, but this year’s team has its talent more evenly distributed, despite the fact that the talent is basically the top 7 guys, with nothing behind door number 8.

  • @justanotherfan You know what’s weird, I have complete faith that even if we lose any one player … even Graham or Doke … we still win 25. One reason. Bill Self. We stayed healthy in 2012 being shorthanded. I think we are pristine this season.

  • TOURNAMENT?? PLAYOFFS?? It’s nov 2 and you’re talking about TOURNAMENT??

    😄 Hey let’s enjoy the season … that’s the beauty of the schedule… we get exhibition, fun non conf games then conference battle ( my personal favorite time of the season) then B12 tourney and THEN we get the NCAA hunger games … we obviously have a great team, so buckle up and ENJOY😀

  • @Bosthawk Well, I thought the season was already over. What is there to play for now that we have defeated Mizzou, which from some quarters is apparently viewed as the be-all and end-all of all opponents? (Not you–you just provided an opening!)

  • Special today? No, but maybe by the seasons end.

  • Yah, I think this team could be special. (could be)
    Looking back on last years season, I don’t believe it was a ho hum season. I don’t believe it was a disappointment.
    We had a bad game at an inopportune time. It happens. Its the nature of the tourney. Win or go home.

    Look, we had a great season. We are sooooo spoiled as KU fans. KU had the only player in the league to sweep ALL the major awards. Frank Mason. Didn’t we have another 30 win season? And we got another regular season champs and another elite 8 appearance.

    Yeah yeah, we don’t hang banners at AFH for elite 8s. Its Expected! We expect to be there annually.

    Topping that all off, Coach Self got inducted into the hall of fame 2 months ago.

    Id say that’s pretty F***ing awesome.

    Back to topic. Is this current team special?

    Yah it can be but it isn’t right now. We just started.

    IMO, what needs to happen for it to be special.
    We need stellar play from our guards. We’re going to get that.
    All those guys out there on the perimeter are killers. Yah yah, Josh is gone and so is Frank. But what we have now will absolutely be able to reproduce those tangible and intangible factors to elevate this team.

    We also need post depth and Udoka to develop very quickly.

    That is not guaranteed.

    SO, again, Can it be special? yeah sure, but will it?
    I dunno. I just think we should enjoy the ride. Because, College basketball is here again. Its gonna be fun to watch.

  • @Lulufulu

    Perfectly put

    Maybe some t shirts should be made


  • @DoubleDD Nice post, man. Good stuff. The sad part of your question is we might not have any clue how good this team is until the tournament. We have 1 tough pre conference game, a run through the weakened B12, and a decent non- conf game against A & M. That’s it. If we beat 'tucky, it is in the realm of possibilities we could make a run at an undefeated regular season ( don’t say it couldn’t happen. it could. We play the Hillbillies at home first this year, instead of having to play them in Bugtussle first, which allows us to use our homecourt advantage, and gain experience against their junk defense for the road game against them. ) And we would go into the tourney with a team with a marvelous record, maybe the number 1 overall seed, and have no clue how good we are because the team hasn’t been tested.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t win the national championship - we certainly can. But, everything has to go right. Doke and Preston might be better than Coleby and Lando, but it won’t mean much if they’re in foul trouble on the bench. So, I am choosing to believe we will definitely win the national championship this year. Everything will fall into place, and we win the big 6 in a row is the dream. The downside of never rebuilding is every non national championship season starts to look the same, and we begin to not appreciate the 30 win seasons, the B12 titles, etc. All but a few teams would absolutely kill to have just one season like we have every freakin’ year. Still, I think all of us are aching for that 2nd Self national title - I know I am.

  • Right now I could say “NC or bust” as far as making this team special. But in my opinion the 12’ team disobeyed that logic. Even though I still believe they had their chances to win that NC. The run was memorable. I suppose largely it depends on each individual. Last years team was special to some. It really wasn’t to me. I believe they fell short. Frank Mason was special. He was indeed memorable. Unforgettable honestly to my mind. But if we’re talking national perception rather than the opinion of individuals… it has to be the NC doesn’t it? I guess that’s what I have always believed and probably always will. Great Topic!

  • @DoubleDD

    Yes, assuming typical injuries, it will very soon be as short handed as the 2012 Team.

    It will thus have the need and opportunity for great heroism by some remaining good players and glue guys and improvisational genius by Self.

    This is a recipe for a special Team.

  • Is this team special? They are the effin Kansas Jayhawks!!! Of course they’re special. For the 35th year in a row (I started following college ball when I was 6) I start every season…every game for that matter, with the same Coach Dale quote: “My team is on the floor”. I firmly believed KU would win the national championship the previous 34 seasons and this year I’m just as excited as any of the others. I’m a complete homer on this though. If KU trotted out Matt Kleinmann, Nick Bahe, Tyler Self, Chase Buford, and Brennan Bechard against 2012 Kentucky…I would still like my chances.

    Now saying that…I’m not a Doke fan like everybody else seems to be. He’s a complete downgrade from Landon. Landon couldn’t make a bunny…but what he did do was set a perfect blockout for about 80% of all of Mason’s drives. He cleared the lane, he knew where to be on the court, and knew where to pass the ball in the sets. He was a 4 year player of course and took him until the 4th year to get it together. Doke gasses out early, can’t shoot free throws, an inconsistent lay-up / hook shot, and travels 85% of the time if he dribbles on the block. He traveled quite a bit against pitt state, but the refs were waiting for the foul on him to occur and watched for that more. He’s not terrible of course and played good defense and denied several entry passes forcing Pitt state to pass the ball around more. He looks like he knows the offense pretty good, thus, with the guards we got, he will get several opportunities to excel.

    He is the only “weak” link with this team. I would take anybody on KU’s roster over any other roster in the country. Get excited for this team folks…they’ll be fun. Exhausting and frustrating at times? Yes. But they’ll be good and will battle.

    For what it’s worth however, I would love to see Vick play all 40 minutes every game. I love that dude. My favorite player since B-Rush.

  • Dok is rough, but Bill is working on tapping into that emense potiental. He has soo much more going for him physically than even 5th year Lando had going for him.

    It’s cray that in a “down” year for the big 12 all 10 team are ranked in the top 55 out of 351 teams. (Top 48 on the unlinked ESPN list). So if that holds up even when playing a cellar dweller it will be a round of 64 level opponent. No nights off even in a down year.

  • @dylans

    That seems really generous that all the Big-12 teams are ranked that highly. But its never an exact science trying to predict in today’s landscape what players step up, how much players are missed that left, what transfers can do, freshman etc.

  • I definitely think this team can be special for sure. I think losing JJ and Mason hurt, but to be honest losing Lucas with a healthy set of bigs won’t seem as costly once Doke and Billy get a few things down (mainly getting in the right position before the shot on defense and early post ups). The main thing that could hurt us is a guy like Frank or JJ to drive late in the shot clock and games to get that big bucket. Newman, Vick or DTG could become that but not sure they will. I do feel better about rebounding and a balanced scoring attack. We needed Frank to put up 25 or 30 a few more times than I’d like a year ago. But we had very very little scoring down low after Doke was hurt, that should improve vastly.

  • Once Dok learns how to manipulate the defender into a position he can easily seal off; he will be unstoppable at the collegiate level.

  • Very good chance to be special, IF we get performance from our 3rd big I am not concerned about guard play as ours are as good as or better than any we will see. Face it Mitch once more is going to have a ton of pressure on him this year to step up his game. Doke and Billy are by far the better talents but both are raw, as is Lightfoot I know, and both are foul prone and I worry about Billy’s energy level. In Mitch’s 10+ minutes a game he is going to have to not be a star, but be a steady defender and keep his head in the game on both ends. He has the drive and I think the physical capability to pull this off, my concern is keeping up mentally and being in the right place at the right time. There are times he appears to get a bit lost, perhaps a bit sped up is a better term. He will be asked to hold down the fort underneath from time to time this year and when he is his performance will be the difference in the game.

  • I think if you had five kids over the past 5 seasons and you thought one could be president, this would probably not be the kid… but they are all VERY special.

  • @bmensch1

    Fine take well turned. Thanks for the insights.

  • @cragarhawk I thought last year looked special against Duke and Kentucky. I believe Udoka was on a mission last year. Had he not gotten hurt, he would have gotten us past Oregon’s interior. Bell would not have punked us.

  • KU has 10 eligible players right now and 11 when Cunliffe is eligible, there is no margin for error with the depth this year. I’m surprised Self didn’t have tryouts to try and find a big. There’s also a walk on 6-7, 260 lb. TE on the football team that had good numbers playing JuCo basketball last year that could be a good depth addition for the team this year.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Well…“technically” the season is still on for the football team so I doubt Coach Self would do anything until football season is over which we all know that for all practical purposes it happened a while back for the football team.

  • Unlike Kentucky, KU’s basketball programs is not overrated. 😃

  • Banned

    You know I’m really preplexed here.

    Does a team only become truly special after they win the NC? I know that teams do great things even if they don’t win the NC. Yet are they special, or are they just a nice story? A footnote in the scrolls of College Basketball history. Only to be forgotten as time moves on.

    I really thought last’s year team was special. In someways I still do. The combo of Frank Mason and Graham is something us KU fans may never see again. Also as someone mentioned the loss of Doka really did hurt last years team. They had Vick and Svi coming off the bench. Thank about that? Vick and Svi would be starting on almost every other team in the country. Last years team had the makings of being special. However as fate would have it. They ran into a buzz saw. A team that exploited their one weakness over and over again. However the point is that team was special.

    This years team seems to me? To have the makings of a very special team. However it’s the unknowns about this team that have me preplexed. The talent is there. The veteran/experience is there. Three pointing is there. Paint scoring is there. They can run and they can play half court.

    Yet the biggest question I have is can they rebound?

    Will rebounding make or break this KU team?

  • @DoubleDD I think you can have a special season w/o winning it all. It’s not the BEST POSSIBLE season, but only one team gets that, and it’s single elimination. Meh.

  • @BShark What seasons would you say are “special” w/o the NC? I could go with '91 and '93 based on expectations. Maybe '03 and '12 too.

  • 2012 for sure. That team really had no business being in the title game.

  • '03 wasn’t special in my view because they should have won. They missed so many dang FT’s. They were way better than Syracuse.

  • The 1997 team was by far the best team KU had in “recent” memory. Just ran into a hot Bibby and Simon which is pretty common in the NCAA tourney. 97 was loaded; unfortunately, Billy Thomas is still chucking up 3’s that are bangin off the back of the rim. Pollard and Haase had something incredibly low like 2 shots combined and 0 points between them if memory serves me right. I’m too bitter about the game to look up the real stats. My KU - PTSD gets triggered quite quickly if I look at that.

  • @bmensch1 Haase had a broken wrist and Billy Thomas went something like 0-12 from three. Keep chucking them up something will fall. I absolutely loved Vaughn, but he was offensively challenged. Could’ve gone undefeated that year.

  • @wissox The only reason I thought '03 because I was at both games where Simien hurt his shoulder – one vs. UMKC and then late vs. Texas A&M. There was just a feeling after the Texas A&M game that the season was done with Simien gone – which helped make Jeff Graves one of my favorite Jayhawks. Hated losing the NC game, and we should have won.

  • bmensch1 said:

    The 1997 team was by far the best team KU had in “recent” memory. Just ran into a hot Bibby and Simon which is pretty common in the NCAA tourney. 97 was loaded; unfortunately, Billy Thomas is still chucking up 3’s that are bangin off the back of the rim. Pollard and Haase had something incredibly low like 2 shots combined and 0 points between them if memory serves me right. I’m too bitter about the game to look up the real stats. My KU - PTSD gets triggered quite quickly if I look at that.

    A young BShark may have cried after this game.

  • @BShark I hated that Arizona game. Besides the 03 loss, it’s my most painful KU loss. Other than a loss at Missouri, no shameful thing back then, we just steamrolled teams that year. Hard to quantify if they were the best KU team, 85-86 comes to mind too, but they were such a force it’s hard to believe they didn’t win.

    Like 03 that game ended with us making a furious comeback and having a game tying 3 miss at the buzzer. Interesting that 08 would be the exact same memory except Mario of course made it.

    I was in the car going on a spring break trip. Fortunately (or unfortunately I guess) the game was on some national radio, so I heard the whole ugly mess and was just muttering and grumbling the whole time!

  • @BShark It was a horrible game. That game left every KU fan mumbling.

  • @wissox 1986 should’ve been a lock. The Az loss was like a train wreck.

  • @KUSTEVE The first appearance of the Duke whistle was that game. 26-14 foul count.

Log in to reply