I try as hard as I can to never mention the officiating. I am a big believer in the theory that the better team (that night at least) will win the game, regardless of the officiating. I am an official (only in flag football for kids, but still have reffed something like 110 games) and I have a firm belief that refs should never, ever dictate the outcome of a game. They are only there to facilitate the game to be played as fairly as possible, not to control the tempo or change the outcome of a game.
With all of that being said, I want to make a claim. Last night's game was the worst officiated game I have ever watched. Ever. It wasn't even one-sided, no matter how you want to slice it. I understand that both Georgia Tech and Kansas fans remember the horrible calls against their team, and there was plenty on both. But they evened each other out. The game was swallowed by cheapies being called, with more whistles than I have ever heard in a game. Of course, then they went and allowed blatant fouls to go uncalled so who knows what the ACC officials were thinking.
In any case, putting the horrendous officiating aside, it was 'yikes' for another reason. Honestly, can we please learn how to make the freebies from the charity stripe. Please? Good thing Sherron Collins actually knows how, because God knows what would have happened if he just clanks one of those two. Speaking of the devil, SC looks to be a lot healthier than just last Saturday, he even shimmy-shammyed his way into the lane between Tech defenders a couple of times. Sure, it still isn't at near the same level, and he still has to reduce his interior turnovers, but it was nice to see him look the best he has in a long time. And his defense could get better. But my favorite part of SC's game is his rebounding ability, mostly because of his flat-out 'hops'. He is a special, special player, and is the potential difference between another early-round-bowout and a trip to San Antonio.
In terms of the 'Worst Game of the Year' department, I give you two examples. Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur. Neither was a factor on the offensive side of the ball, and they picked up a combined 9 fouls. 10 combined points, 8 combined rebounds, 9 combined fouls. Yeesh. It is a good thing that Sasha Kaun had a great day, specifically on the defensive side of the ball, because our bigs were otherwise shutdown. And even Sasha struggled on the offensive side of things, despite overcoming his biggest career vice (free throw shooting) and going 5-6 from the line. however, no matter how good our guards are and no matter how good we *can* be, unless DA steps up we are in big, big trouble. I mean seriously. He has yet to truly dominate a game, and he will have to in March at least once. That is the scariest part of this whole 11 game start, the pretty crappy play from DA. Hopefully that changes when conference play hits.
Everyone else played a ho-hum game, some good and some bad. It was a really weird game to watch, it seemed like we couldn't buy a shot at times but we shot 52%. It seemed our defense was suffocating them all night, but we only (a very relative term) stole the ball 8 times. We didn't play all that well, but we came out with a W and that is the most important letter when all is said and done. No matter how good you are, you are bound to play well below your talent level a handful of times a season. Most of the time this happens against good-but-not-great opponents, and almost every time it is on the road. Both apply here; Ga Tech is at least NIT-bound with an outside shot at the four-letter-tournament and, despite the large amount (as always) of Jayhawk fans there and the relative quiet of the "Thriller Dome" (as Brad Nessler calls it and I don't know the real name so let's just run with it...) it was on the road.
I'll happily take my W and start preparing for a pretty good basketball team in Miami (OH). I am actually scared about this game, no joke. We will preview this game, I watched them play in the Anaheim Classic (where they led USC almost the entire second half and only lost the lead with a minute left to go on and lose by 4) and they are good. But just as a precursor, just get ready to watch #50 Tim Pollitz. Yowza, is the guy good. He does everything right, despite being 6'6" max and a power forward.
Player of the Game: Sasha Kaun
Play of the Game: SC's 2 made free throws, then steal to close out game...
Moment of the Game: Super jumping over three Ga Tech players to flush one down. Suckas.
More on the newly signed recruit, the potential implications of said signed recruit and an even bigger one, and the big news coming from the AP about Mark Mangino later tonight. Oh, yea, and Part 2 of the "Are we the best team in the country" series. Parts 3 and 4 will be tomorrow, sorry for getting a day behind already.