Rock Chalk Post Season Jayhawk!

  • Here we go…

    At the start of this year, I predicted another 30 + win season, another Big 12 title and another Final Four appearance. This team is fast, great passers, even better shooters and surely could develop over the course of the season the tough high quality team defense we KU fans are used to since Coach Self took the reigns.

    Plus we have a nice mix of senior leadership and youthful talent. Plus we have the best coaches and trainers and fans. Plus we have home court advantage. Plus we have the Rock Chalk magic!

    But when we saw early on 6’5" 175 lbs Lagerald at the high post against a tall and long Washington team in KC instead of 6’10" 240 lbs Billy, and the game result - the way we played as well as the final score, I had a small doubt. Then with no more Billy on the roster and our beloved Jayhawks down a game in conference play, I had a bigger doubt. We needed another big badly, and Dwight (he would have been great this year for KU) and Billy (poor Billy, sad to see where he is at now) were out of the picture.

    With Billy developing normally, we would have been an elite team, with a high development (lottery pick talent season) we would have been a Final Four favorite, with a low and slow development, still pretty damn good and better than we have done to date. With Dwight we would have been much better. But without either one…and Mitch has played to his potential and Silvio is still a year away…I did not like our chances to win the Big 12 this year.

    All wishful thinking…we know the story. We caught a break with the injury to TT’s point guard (like we have caught a few breaks a few times over the past 14 years, remember Griffin’s timely injury) and here we are BIG 12 CHAMPS again! Absolutely remarkable for the program, HCBS and this year’s group of players.

    Devonte’s play at WV and at TT was out of this world, and as the song goes, “We are the champions…” He has single-handedly willed us to another title, by attacking the rim, getting to the free-throw line, playing D, running the offense, staying positive…Big 12 player of the year with no elite talent around him, remarkable.

    Now we enter post-season play. The touney will be interesting as we have no depth and the games - if we win - will be back to back to back with no rest. How will we play Devonte 40 minutes in 3 straight games? And the others 38-39 minutes a game? Let’s watch closely to see how coach plays it, assuming we get past the first game to play another one.

    Other than entertainment value, and possibly a seed line up or down, the post-season conference touney means little. But the conference title means a lot! Please no more comments about how the Big 12 conference title is insignificant if we do not make the Final Four. How we would trade all the conference titles for one more national championship…

    Winning the conference and making it to the final weekend of the Dance are not mutually exclusive. Getting a One Seed and not making the Final Four is not under-achieving. Getting a Two Seed and not making the Elite Eight is not under-achieving, especially for this team. This team has already OVER-achieved, by far. Anything else will be icing on the cake.

    To the contrary of most fans and probably everyone reading this post, the conference title actually means more in terms of accomplishments for this team and our program than a deep run in the touney. The two-game series, home-away, and the way the Big 12 is set up make it very favorable for our team and our coach to win, not every game (like single elimination) but over the course of an entire season of conference play. BRAVO TO THE TEAM AND TO THE COACHES FOR ANOTHER BIG 12 CONFERENCE TITLE, REMARKABLE!

    Devonte: stud. Svi: stud. Doke: young stud. Malik: potential stud. Legerald: trying hard to be stud. Marcus: intangibles stud. Mitch: “white men can’t jump” stud. Silvio: future stud. Coaches and Trainers: consistent studs. A very impressive group and we are very proud of them this year especially with their play and their results so far. KU circa 2017-18.

    The odds of winning the national title are low for every team, every year and there is rarely a dominate group who is assured a Final Four, or a championship trophy. This year, there are at least a dozen teams who COULD win it all. None SHOULD win it all. If the game is close, I like our chances. But an off-shooting night and we are toast.

    Single elimination tourney is a crap shoot and so we have many random and unpredictable things that can happen in: injuries (Embiid), two quick fouls in the first few minutes of a game (JJ), bad bouces of the ball or a lucky shot by another team…and all the teams after the first round, and especially after the first weekend, are really, really good.

    KU this year - as coach has said a hundred times - are very vulerable with no margin for error. Take the eye test looking at most of the 65 teams athletes in the Dance this year, or even the Big 12, next to ours for the current roster of KU players. We are small and weak and a poor rebounding team.

    It is hard to shoot it lights and play your best ball and get all the breaks for six straight games. There are a few examples. UConn did it but that is a rare case. KU this year would have to pull a UConn to get to the final weekend of play in the Dance. Can they do it? Yes. Will they do it? Probably not.

    But in all cases, we have had another great season of highly entertaining college basketball. Wherever the chips may fall, let’s be supportive and encouraging to this team of players and coaches.

    The first test may come against OSU tomorrow. If we play them again, let’s see if we can prevail against a team who has whipped up twice badly and has superior atheletes (not players, but atheletes). Winning the post season games is a lot more fun, but not necessarily the only thing that matters for this year’s team.

    Rock Chalk Post Season Jayhawk!!!

  • Consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Teams in bold denote an active streak. Rank School Number of Years 1 Kansas 28 (1990–2017) 2 North Carolina 27 (1975–2001) 3 Arizona 25 (1985–2009)* 4 Duke 22 (1996–2017) 5 Michigan State 20 (1998–2017) 6 Gonzaga 19 (1999–2017) 6 Wisconsin 19 (1999–2017) 7 Indiana 18 (1986–2003) 9 Kentucky 17 (1992–2008) 10 UCLA 15 (1967–1981)^ 11 Cincinnati 14 (1992–2005) 11 UCLA 14 (1989–2002)† 11 Georgetown 14 (1979–1992) 11 Texas 14 (1999–2012) 15 Temple 12 (1990–2001)

    • NCAA vacated 1999 and 2008 appearances. ^ NCAA vacated 1980 appearance.

  • @jayhawk-007 Our streak would be longer if we’d have a 2018 NCAA rule on our violation in 1989. A coach buys a kid a plane ticket so he can go to the funeral for his GMa who raised him and we get nailed.

  • @wissox It’s not like anyone bought him a car…

  • Tremendous post. I appreciate your perspective.

  • @wissox A kid who never attended the school, if I remember correctly.

  • The longest active NCAA tournament appearance streaks coming into this season…

    1. Kansas 28 (all time record)
    2. Duke 22
    3. Michigan St 20
    4. Gonzaga 19
    5. Wisconsin 19
    6. VCU 7
    7. Cincy 7
    8. UNC 7
    9. Iowa St 6
    10. Wichita St 6

    Some of those streaks are going to end this year barring something unexpected in conference tournaments.

    Hattrick to : Shine

  • @jayhawk-007 Great post I agree with you 100 % - and you are dead right in our conf streak being the biggest achievement.

    The ncaa hunger games is indeed a tough road to navigate. Even though we are a “career” district, that don’t mean we can survive. Let’s hope we play well, no injuries, have at least one of our sharpshooters be red hot every game, Doke not get into early foul trouble (and late in close games I suggest we put in deSouza because he can nail free throws) and get some lucky breaks when we need them. And who knows, we may find ourselves in the FF… 😀

  • @wissox And if the KU coach at the time had not taken an attitude of not cooperating that had the disciplinary committee considering the death penalty due to loss of institutional control.

  • mayjay said:

    @wissox And if the KU coach at the time had not taken an attitude of not cooperating that had the disciplinary committee considering the death penalty due to loss of institutional control.

    Oh, knock it off with your facts ruining my narrative!

  • Larry Brown is one of the great basketball minds, but he is diiirty. Glad he moved on when he did so we can still enjoy him.

  • @dylans Dirty as in a cheater, or as a dirty old man?

  • @nuleafjhawk Not a cheater, just doesn’t care about the rules. 😜

  • @wissox

    Unfortunately that is what most of us believed for a long time but information that came up recently indicates KU was one whisker away from getting the death penalty for a number of violations by Larry Brown. Apparently the penalty was deserved, that is not to say that if the name was Duke or Kentucky, KU would not have gotten away with it.