Jayhawk Talk

A large game in Waco Saturday. KU looked fantastic for the first 15 minutes against Baylor, then, other than a brief spurt in the second half, pretty pedestrian.

I was as low-key about this game as any late-season, Big 12 contender matchup in years. I listen to three different KU-focused podcasts and all of them insisted last week that Baylor was a great matchup for KU. I think that was putting too much into the teams’ first matchup, which was as dominant as KU has looked all year. That sentiment must have gotten into my head, though, because I didn’t have the usual nervousness going into this game.

I also thought all the pressure was on Baylor because of that first game and the margin between the teams. If KU lost they would still be in first place. Texas Tech losing to TCU earlier took some more pressure off.

For awhile it looked like that was all true. KU looked great early, hit their usual lull before halftime, and struggled to match Baylor’s adjustments through the second half. Or at least that’s what the general narrative of the game is.

In truth, KU missed a ton of open shots. Especially Ochai Agbaji, who despite scoring 27, missed a handful of, for him, relatively easy shots. Jalen Wilson was back to December Jalen Wilson. The bench was non-existent, although Remy Martin did score five, balanced by his typical terrible defense.

I’m not throwing those details out there to diminish Baylor’s performance or poo-poo the loss. It’s just to say I wasn’t all that worked up about it. It’s not like Baylor made KU look silly, like KU pissed it away as they had the game in Austin a few weeks back, etc. KU lost to a really good team on the road while having their worst offensive game, efficiency wise, in some time. Not a loss to lose sleep over.

Of course it helped pretty much everyone else in the Top 10 dropped a game last week.

It’s almost March. I’m more concerned with how the team is playing than the result. KU lost because the missed shots they normally hit and struggled to guard Baylor’s athletic bigs. That’s pretty much the blueprint for a KU loss this season.

Youth Hoops

L’s winter team had their final regular season game yesterday. As has been usual, they were missing four players and had to recruit a replacement from the C team just to have a sub.

Comparing scores, the team they played had lost by seven to the team we beat a week ago. So I was hoping for good things.

Not sure what went on in that other game, but our result showed why using playground logic is bad. We took a 2–0 lead, gave up an 13–0 run, and never got it under nine again, losing by 20. This team had good, little guards that could handle the ball and shoot 3’s. They had two big girls who looked awkward but could post and score, move their feet a little on D, and rebounded the hell out of the ball.

L scored eight and had three assists. She was aggressive but did not have the distance dialed-in on her jumpers and had a bunch of airballs. She also had her best, and smartest, play of the year. She had the ball at the top of the key and one of the big girls on her. She recognized the mismatch, got the girl leaning left, blew by her on the right and laid it in. A simple play, but a smart one. She hasn’t had the results she’s wanted, but I think her hoops IQ continues to improve. She’s been frustrated by this season. I keep telling her that things are going to get better, and more fun, once he AAU season begins.

Her AAU coach was in the building and watched the first half. He told me he was excited to have her and her St P’s buddy on his team. They start their practices tonight and are supposed to play in a shootout on Sunday, pending enough teams registering. Meanwhile the winter league team plays a tournament game tomorrow and a championship game on Saturday, should they win their first game. The “tournament” is kind of whack, but I’ll share more about that later.

Winter Olympics

I realized I never wrote anything about the Winter Olympics. Which should be like a mortal sin to the blogging gods: the Olympics have been one of my go-to content sources over the last 18 years.

It’s not that I didn’t watch. I did watch quite a bit in the first week, but tailed off significantly in the second week.

I guess it was fatigue from a third-straight Olympics being held with a 12–13 hour time difference and how that affects how us Americans can watch the events. There was the prime time evening window, which is probably way more convenient in the Pacific time zone than the Eastern. I don’t think I watched past 11:00 PM more than two nights. I often caught a few minutes of live events in the morning before I took L to school. That was pretty much it, though. And, as I said, in week two I lost some interest.

The lack of crowds sucked, especially since here in the States we’ve been back to full crowds for quite a while.

There was also the fact they were holding the Winter Olympics in an area that gets like 10 inches of snow a year. The starkness of the ski slopes covered in artificial snow while all the surrounding hills were a dull brown kind of cut into the vibe you want from the winter games. Naturally there was a nasty snow/wind storm that affected some of the ski events. Those were the sports gods letting the IOC know you need to stop chasing Chinese money and put the games where they belong. Seriously, I think the Winter Olympics should always be in the Alps, Scandinavia, or Canada. Fuck China. And fuck Russia, too, while we’re at it.

I laughed out loud at the ski broadcasters discussing how the snow in these games was so different than what the competitors were used to skiing on in Europe. One of them said the snow was “very sensitive.” Snowflakes on two levels!

Once again I found I enjoyed the newer events that grew out of the X-Games more than anything. The halfpipe snowboard events, especially, are crazy fun to watch. Ayumu Hirano winning the men’s gold was an insanely impressive performance, even with the judges trying to screw him. I loved the analyst getting noticeably pissed as the judges refused to reward runs that included elements that had never been done in competition before.

Also fun to hear the cross country analyst again, who screamed like someone is dying anytime there was a close race.

I suppose my favorite thing about the games was Instagram stalking the competitors. I spent too much time looking at Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami’s page. Please don’t tell my wife.


Rob Manfred and the owners suck. For the first time in at least 15 years I turned off auto-renewal for my MLB subscription. I doubt losing my $120 will bring them to their senses, but I also don’t feel obligated to sign back up right away when an agreement is reached. There are a lot of problems with baseball, and the owners seem intent on making every one of those issues worse while adding more to the pile.