We are more than halfway through our 9 game journey to basketball lore after taking it to Kentucky 88-76 which gives us our third straight win over the winningest program in Division I history. We continue to play fast to exploit opponents and look for us to do it yet again Thursday night against defensive minded Southern Illinois. It will be easier said than done to get the game above the 60s but that has to be the goal going into the game. We'll take more about the Egyptian Dogs later on this week, for now let's recap yesterday's Round 2 win.
Before we get to player-by-player recaps, here are some game notes:
Virtue of Elias Says on ESPN:
Speaking of some stats, my favorite of the weekend? The largest lead we've faced the entire NCAA Tournament is 2 POINTS. We trailed Kentucky by as much as 2 POINTS yesterday, but nothing more.
Some MSM Jayhawk Love
CBS' (you know, the retarded network that has arguably its WORST crew to do the Final Four) Clark Judge asks a serious question, 'Can the Jayhawks be stopped?' Here is my favorite quote from the article:
A little more MSM love from Fox Sports' Yoni Cohen:
The Jayhawks crushed Niagara by 40 and bested Kentucky by 12. They never trailed in either second half. Kansas made 54.1 percent of its field goal attempts in the first game and 56.6 percent in the second. Amazingly, Bill Self's club shot even better from behind the arc than it did overall. The Jayhawks connected on 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) of three point tries against Niagara and 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) vs. Kentucky.
They list USC as the #2 team, that might be a little excessive but they did list us as #1. Maybe Yoni knows more than I?
Here we go, let's look at how individual players did against the Mildcats (probably the lamest play on words in all of college sports, next to Jim Nantz and his endless supply)
It's amazing how many players on this team can go under the radar and have solid games, but Super had one yesterday. He knocked down the first two 3 point shots of the game and scoring the first 6 points of the game, but after that only scored 10 more shooting 3-6 including 1-3 from 3 point range. The key to his game was his 4 steals and dominating defense on the outside. I talk a lot about this stat with Russell Robinson, but Super's assist:turnover ratio of 8:3 is wonderful. As much is made about how good our offense has been these last two games, our defense can be even better, especially not allowing so many offensive rebounds.
Take a moment and guess how many points Wright scored on Sunday. 12? 15? 16? I would have probably guessed 16, but guess what. He scored the quietest 21 points in the history of Kansas basketball. He also grabbed 8 HUGE rebounds, something we didn't do enough, and only turned the ball over once. He still struggles with 'freshman moments' with handling the rock but is getting better every game in limiting those mistakes.
While he gets much of the attention from the MSM outlets, mostly because of his family history and his recruiting process, he doesn't deserve all of it and isn't our best player. Despite all that, he is playing his best basketball of the year right now shooting 6-7 from behind the arc last night on his way to 19 points. He only got 2 rebounds, much less than his average of 5.6, which was a big reason why they outrebounded us by 5.
Russell is still doing a good job of hitting his open shots, which is all we really -need- from him for our offense to play at this level, but he could create more for others. He isn't as good of a drive-and-disher as Super and SC and doesn't create nearly as many shots. He's better to stay outside and receive the dish, which is how he receives most of his open shots.
Sasha played very good defense on Randolph Morris and while he still isn't a big contributor in the offense (6 points) or on the glass (3 rebounds, 1 offensive) he is playing solid defense. That one block (the one that was falsely called a foul) was sweet and as long as he is a physical presence inside for us he is doing his job.
He played OK in his second homecoming, scoring 8 points, but did it on 4-11 shooting including 0-2 from behind the 3 point line. He hasn't had a good game (save the Texas game in Big 12 Tourny) in a real long time and that continued with a horrid 2:3 assist:turnover ratio. With how good our offense is right now, it is really just revolving around 3 cogs in Julian Wright, Super and Brandon. Just imagine if we got a 4th or (am I asking too much?) 5th cog like a SC, how much better could we be.
He played decent defense against Randolph Morris but this guy is non-existent in the offensive game and on the glass. Kind of like Sasha, but he isn't playing as well in -any- of the aspects of the game. This kid will need to contribute a whole lot more for ust ob eat a team like UCLA, Florida and just about every team on the other side of the bracket.
Like Arthur, he needs to improve his game as well. His game isn't nearly as dead as DA's, but it has plenty of work to do after playing a magnificent game against Kansas State. He'll need to play well as well for us to have success against opponents that are as deep and talented as we are, right now we are just riding our starting lineup.
I'm pumped and ready to go Thursday night already, hopefully we can play even better (yes MSM, we are capable of it) against the Egyptian Dogs.