I've decided that since basketball season has started up, it's time to split the New and Notes off from the open thread for football action. So expect another post in a couple hours where we can talk about any of the action going on throughout the day.
The story of the game was fouls, fouls and more fouls. I realize that this is the way the refs have to call the games, but it is REALLY ugly. As you'll notice, it was such a theme last night that nearly every article below mentions it.
"Obviously we want to come out and win bigger than we did and finish the game off stronger," center Tarik Black said after scoring eight points with seven rebounds. "At the same time, we are in the beginning of the season. We are still fresh, learning about each other, learning the system. It was like the first two (exhibition) games. It is a learning experience We were all so amped because it was the start of our season. We are glad to come in the locker room 1-0 right now."
Not the way I wanted this milestone to be celebrated, but I'll take it anyway.
"There were so many fouls called," Self said. "So we either shot a wide-open layup, or it’s a foul. I bet you across America shooting percentages are going to go way up because of the way the game’s being called. That’s just my call."
You know it's bad when the announcer said (and I'm paraphrasing): "A player just needs to drive to the basket. They can run into the lane completely out of control, and if the defender so much as touches them, it is a foul."
Red-shirt talk over: Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson will be the only Jayhawk to red-shirt this season. Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp, who were possible candidates, both played, thus eliminating the possibility of red-shirting.
"We got the ball right where we needed to get it and didn’t score some layups," Richard said. "Maybe it was because of their height; maybe because we just missed them. I don’t know, but that was a little bit discouraging."
"It’s had a huge effect for me, I can say, I’m pretty sure for the other guys too," Kansas University freshman point guard Frank Mason said. "On the perimeter you can’t use your hands at all. You just have to get your hands wide and slide your feet. That’s a big adjustment."
The contact was minimal, the call perhaps questionable. And maybe Self was just growing impatient with his young team’s inconsistencies. But as Self ripped into the official on the sideline, Allen Fieldhouse began to come to life. "I didn’t do it to fire up the crowd," said Self, who conceded he probably deserved a technical. "I did it because I thought that it was a bad call."
That technical definitely served as a turning point on the energy of the crowd and the team. I get the feeling we may see HCCB get more technicals this year, at least in the early games while everyone is still adjusting to the new rules.
"Rankings are overrated," Self said. "… There’s definitely not that much difference between guys that are ranked 15th and guys that are ranked 50. We’ve had just as much success with guys ranked 50 around here."
When you have a player development guy like Self, rankings really don't matter. I think in general they give a good sense of the overall talent of a player, but every system can find one or two guys that aren't highly ranked that fit just perfectly. Mason is one of those guys I think.
If you need Wiggins to score 35 points a game to "validate" his hype, you're on the wrong track. Instead, what every coach has said about Wiggins -- that his greatest asset, perhaps aside from his athleticism, is that there are no real weaknesses in any aspect of his game -- is precisely what he displayed Friday night. He flies around the court but also handles the ball well, has soft perimeter touch (and excellent mechanics), and is already one of the best on-ball defenders in the college game. Yes, OK, it was Louisiana-Monroe, but still: Wiggins' game is obscenely well-rounded, and he showed as much in his first game as a Jayhawk.
The bigger question is whether Wiggins has the personality to assert himself, especially since he is surrounded by so many talented teammates. Wiggins is not naturally competitive. I saw him play about a dozen AAU games while he was in high school, and in eight of them, I barely noticed he was out there. Yes, he has a tendency to rise to the occasion (his showdown against Kentucky's Julius Randle at a Nike event in Georgia is Exhibit A), but Wiggins is still facing a major challenge in transitioning from high school to college. Wiggins is going to have some memorable games this season, but don't be surprised if he has many more that leave you scratching your head.
Kansas comes in at 5. Love the off-the-wall comments we get on these.
7. Frank Mason: Speedy, fearless guard encountered foul trouble and sat most of the first half. When he played, the team moved faster. Had five assists without a turnover. His jersey number matched his goal for turnovers on opening night. He’s going to have a strong KU career and become a fan favorite.
I realize that a lot of his problems stemmed from the early fouls he got, but I'm definitely glad that we get Tharpe back on Tuesday. Mason is definitely much better than Selden and Frankamp at the point, but I'm glad we have a much more consistent Tharpe, even if he does jack up random shots at strange times.
With scholarship newcomer Trevor Pardula having an All-American-type season as KU’s punter, and Pardula and walk-on Matthew Wyman the preferred options on field goals, the easy thing for Doherty to do would have been to shrug his shoulders with that oh-well-it’s-been-fun attitude and coast through his final season as a Jayhawk. But Doherty took the hard road, refusing to believe he had booted his last kick as a Jayhawk.
Because the KU offense has struggled to put up points — Kansas is averaging just 15.8 points per game in conference play — the Jayhawks must use the grind-it-out mentality to stay in games and give their defense a rest. That could be considerably more difficult to do this week against an Oklahoma State team that ranks first in the Big 12 in rush defense and is giving up just 123 yards per game on the ground to opponents.
Patmon, a fifth-year senior who graduated from KU last May and left the Jayhawks’ program to pursue playing opportunities elsewhere, is expected to start at cornerback for the 14th-ranked Oklahoma State squad that enters the game at 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12 but, somehow, has spent the past few games avoiding the hype that followed after being picked to win the conference in the preseason.
Glad to see this guy having success, but I wouldn't mind shutting him and the rest of his team down today.
Which begs the question: is it possible that KU is the worst BCS conference program in the country? At the moment, perhaps, yes, seeing as Duke is enjoying a season for the ages — at least its ages — at 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the ACC, eligible for a bowl bid. The Blue Devils won three league games a year ago, too, after ending 2011 with a seven-game losing streak.