Three games that made a difference

  • One part of this season that has been fascinating to watch is this teams ability to win games where their recent history would indicate that maybe they’d fall flat. None of the games I’ll mention were earth shattering upsets or history making games in our long ledger of basketball games. They were just games that in my view were significant.

    We were all kind of in shock just before Christmas. A lot of us were thinking we just might enter conference play undefeated. After a month of patsies we were glad to see a team that at least would be competitive we thought. The Washington Huskies came into so called AFH East and extended the Pac12’s win streak over us to at least two games. ASU, a team on a roll, and some here acknowledged they were a bit nervous about, comes in and embarrasses us at home.

    Suddenly the fan base is edgy. Some are whispering ‘could this be the year they don’t win the league’? Some are even thinking worse, like maybe this team doesn’t even make the dance.

    To make matters worse, at least for our somewhat insecure fan base, there’s not a game all week. And it’s at Nebraska, a place we figured would be kind of tough to play. 3 game losing streaks don’t happen too often around these places and we just might suffer one at Lincoln.

    A nip and tuck game had Jayhawk fans really on edge. The game chats were a little tense. Nebraska tries to win it in the end, but we pull it out, barely, but someone, not remembering whom, said this felt like a big win. And it did. We’d gotten our season kind of back on track it felt like and we would win a few more before the first TT setback.

    A 4-1 start in league play brings us to our next difference making game. We were going to be 4-2 after losing in Morgantown a lot of us said. With good reason. A 4 game losing streak there really gave us a sense of dread, and most of the games, (besides the WVU buzzer beater where the guy picked up his dribble at the 3 point line and shot a layup) were not very close. And then we fall behind. Graham makes the most significant shot of the season, a 3 at the buzzer for halftime that trims a 16 point deficit to 13 and some needed confidence. The 2nd epic comeback against Huggies Thuggies and suddenly we were saying this whole conference championship thing looks possible. A big monkey off our back and we were starting to think about the toughness of our team.

    The 3rd game was Sundays historic game against Duke. If there’s a time when we enter a game with a feeling of some dread and some inferiority it’s when we play Duke. They receive the press clippings, the adoration of casual fans in many places, and just a notch higher in the national consciousness than we do.

    Pause for a rant. Listened to CBS college basketball podcast today on the way home and Norlander and Parrish talked way more about Duke than any of the FF teams. grrrrr…

    KU came into the game with another burden to bear, the perceived failures of our team in Elite 8 games. This is despite the fact that this century we’ve won four of them and lost four of them, nothing to hang our head in shame about. But of course Bill Self has been the coach for 3 of those elite 8 losses, and he’s got a few from other seasons with other schools. We all knew we could beat that team appropriately named the Devils. And we did. Kind of a huge weight lifting off of our collective backs. Bill Self’s reaction said it all. Despite having won the NC, and played for another, He had earned a somewhat negative reputation nationally.

    Sundays win may be a freeing type of game that allows this team to burst forth with a run the next few seasons of final fours and championships. Most championship teams overcome some sort of adversity. This one has. Way to go Jayhawks! Lets bring home championship #4!

  • @wissox Nice post!

  • @wissox 💯 you got me with this post.

    This victory validates everything:

    • our blend of seasoned transfers, hardworking upperclassmen and athletic youth,
    • the never-quit attitude of the players on this team,
    • our annual high tournament seeding,
    • Bill Self as one of the top 5 coaches of the game,
    • the decision to run a clean program,
    • Obi Wan Mason tweeting to Devonte Skywalker as he piloted our A-Wing to destroy the Duke Star,
    • the strength of the Big 12 and the huge significance of our conference title streak,
    • it even validates the refereeing of the tournament, while it bent a bit in our game, it did not break bad.

    The Deep State Duke locker has been thrown open and vacated, and on the hardwood outside the doors, it is anyone’s game.

    We are champions, past and future, with the present right here within our grasp! No evil hex binds us, nothing cripples us, there is no better fate reserved for some other team.

    Let’s take it all!

    Rock Chalk!

  • @wissox Excellent post. I do like that thought, that a win Saturday might burst the dam over the next few seasons. So let’s win Saturday. And great follow-up @approxinfinity. – “the present is right here within our grasp.” It absolutely is. It’s why FFs are important. Now, it’s a two game tourney. And it’s the only tourney that permits you to win a national championship. The 64 team tourney is brilliant. An incredible, topsy-turvy ride that tests the mettle and character of all participants, and determines a true champion. It is there, right in front of us.

  • While I certainly enjoy the humor, stats, observations, links and camaraderie on this site, it’s posts like these first two that I enjoy the most. Well written, uplifting and insightful… tip o the hat to you both.

    Can’t wait for Saturday!

  • @StLJhawk I can’t wait for Saturday either! At the same day I’m on a 5 day high from that win, letting that feeling run its course! Just imagining how much this team can get done in practice with a whole week.

  • @wissox “Suddenly the fan base is edgy. Some are whispering ‘could this be the year they don’t win the league’? Some are even thinking worse, like maybe this team doesn’t even make the dance.”

    I’ll admit to thinking that this could be the year we dont win the Big12 regular season title. With home losses to TT and OSU…it seemed at the very least a possibility. But i NEVER EVER doubted that this team would make the dance!! Never Ever once thought that could happen. Did others post on this page they were worried about that?! I’ll say it now…WE WILL NEVER MISS THE DANCE SO LONG AS BILL SELF IS OUT COACH! WONT HAPPEN!!

  • @Jayhawk-in-OKC I’m a mind reader, fluent by the way, and I know some were thinking it. I remember reading your mind impressed that you weren’t giving up hope!

  • @wissox And i’m sure you were staring deep into my eyes as you read my mind…