An afternoon with the daughter, a remote, and ESPN FullCourt. Good things can happen on a day like this. Unfortunately, I was working on about 4 1/2 hours of sleep so I napped throughout the day Saturday.
I tried to watch the Nebraska-Texas Tech game. Damn near put me into a coma, though. Why will Bobby Knight sell space on his ugly ass sweaters but not let 19 year old kids put their names on the backs of their jerseys? I know, I know, college is about the name on the front of the jersey, but I don’t think it’s player names on the back of the jersey that has caused the game to deteriorate.
I watched almost the entire second half of the Oklahoma-Iowa State game. Thank goodness Hilton Magic reared its ugly head and stopped the OU juggernaut. They were getting scary and KU needs the Sooners to pick up a couple losses so if OU wins their match-up in Norman Kelvin can’t try to claim the conference title somehow. (OSU could win the league and I think Kelvin would find a way to spin in that OU were the real champs if they beat KU next month. Kind of like how he always claimed they were the real champs when they won the conference tournament but finished second or third in the league.)
Stinson and Blalock can be so much fun to watch. Of course, Stinson is 29, so he should be better than everyone else.
Wayne Morgan has really showed me something this year on the fashion tip. Three piece suit against KU. Blazer and turtle-necked sweater last week. Straight suit and tie yesterday. He’s shown more fashion diversity in a week than Crazy Larry Eustachy did in his 4-5 years in Ames.
A large win for the most disappointing team in the conference so far (0-5 start for a team some thought could slip into fourth place?!?!).
Chris Piper had an interesting comment when KU played ISU regarding players who face eligibility questions at the semester break. He said that generally was something coaches only had to worry about with freshmen and juco transfers. That makes it even more amazing that PJ Tucker couldn’t pass six stinking hours last fall. I figured with all the money Texas has, he probably has a Rhodes Scholar candidate to tutor him for each class. He just might be dumb enough to declare for the draft this spring. If LaMarcus Aldridge is out for the season, I think that means he comes back next year. Kid was just getting used to the college game and starting to blossom. And that Daniel Gibson kid is good. A half step slower than TJ Ford, but already a better shooter.
I, of course, watched all the ESPN Gameday coverage from Lawrence very closely. Digger Fucking Phelps had to piss me off from the start, talking about how Notre Dame won the Midwest regional that was played in Lawrence in ’79 as something that made Allen Fieldhouse special. “That was something that was very important to the Notre Dame program.” Nonsense, outside ending UCLA’s winning streak, it’s the only thing of worth you did in your coaching career. It was important to you more than the school. That’s why you mentioned it, jackass. And other than you, no one mentions that when talking about great moments at Phog Allen.
As for the Kansas-Texas game, I expected KU to win. They’re better than Texas, Texas has had a rough couple of weeks, and the game was in Lawrence. However, I expected Texas to make the game very ugly and hang around until late. I’m quite pleased that I was wrong. That was the best, most complete performance by KU this year. They hit a couple outside shots early to loosen up the zone. Then Wayne Simien got hot, forcing UT out of the zone. They played outstanding defense the entire night. Other than a three minute lull in the first half, the intensity was there from start to finish. Best of all, they smacked Texas in the mouth early and made Texas blink. That’s not something that happens to Rick Barnes’ teams very often. It’s too early to say whether the past week has been a true turning of the corner for KU, or if they’re just playing to the level of their competition. Saturday night was certainly promising, though.
Perhaps only coincidental, but Saturday Bill Self stuck with a nine man rotation until the game was out of reach. I’ve been a little frustrated by his substitution patterns, and am glad he seems to have reigned things in significantly. When CJ Giles is healthy, I think he’ll take Moulaye Niang’s place in the rotation. Russ Robinson may be stuck on the bench as long as Jeff Hawkins continues to play like someone other than Jeff Hawkins. I wonder if the rotation will go to ten players if Alex Galindo can get healthy again. Another shooter would be nice. Anyway, I wonder if having more of a set substitution pattern helped the team relax and find themselves.
Seeing the Horns Down sign is always good.
Favorite shirt seen at the game; a group of coeds with shirts saying “Keith Makes ‘Em Sweat”. Bringing the old to the new, and the new to the old!
Being the big fan of Rick Barnes that I am, I loved how he was loathe to give any praise to Allen Fieldhouse when Andy Katz interviewed him. I half expected him to snap, “You don’t lose to a building, you lose to a team.” Perhaps he would have said that if asked after the game rather than before.
I forgot to save the link, but Jerome Solomon in the Houston Chronicle had a run down of Big 12 arenas this week. (Best fans: Kansas. Worst fans: Colorado.) He listed Gallagher-Iba as the loudest arena in the league. I, for one, can’t believe that. I know several people who either went to OSU or are from Stillwater, and they are all some of the most laid back, soft-spoken people I’ve ever met. (For my non-KC readers, this is a sarcastic exaggeration that is the complete opposite of the truth. I love my OSU friends, but Jesus they’re loud! They’re proud of it, too, so no harm in sharing.)
I only got to see the first half of the OSU-CU game Saturday, so not much to say about that one. Kind of hard to believe OSU hadn’t won in Boulder in nine years, although their opportunities to do so have been cut in half since the poachers from Texas took over.
Monday night, Kansas-Missouri battle #1. Although they are Internet based, and thus highly dubious, rumors abound that a big KU win could mean Melvin Watkins will be coaching Missouri next weekend. I’ve heard John Calipari’s name mentioned as a possible replacement next year. I’m not sure why he would even be on the list. Sure, he won at UMass, but he got them put on probation in the process, and they had to vacate their Final Four appearance in ’95. He sucked in the NBA. His record has been mixed at best in Memphis. He can coach a little, but I’m not sure a program that will be looking to dramatically improve its image would ignore his many issues to get Cal on the sidelines. Plus, he spent a couple years at KU with Larry Brown, so he’s been soiled!