While I was flying back from Miami, trekking from West Palm Beach to Dallas then on to Orange County, our basketball team was continuing its own journey. A journey to perfection. This was our third "true" road contest (whatever that means; either you are playing on the road or you aren't, no one rational considers game in the Sprint Center road contests), and we looked far more impressive than in our previous road contests, in Los Angeles and Atlanta. We started off slowly, again, on the road, neglecting to make too many shots before the 9:00 minute mark of the first half. However, after being tied at 22 a piece, we turned it on, continuing the somewhat unsettling trend of starting slow.
Of the 8,600 plus in the building, a solid portion wore the Kansas crimson and blue, despite the football game in Miami ending just 36 hours prior to tipoff. I love Jayhawk fans, hopefully our football team will begin to receive such road support as the hoops team does, it no doubt plays a role in moving past hostile environments. But, that is a story for another day, for now we are simply talking about the 85-60 domination of the Boston College Eagles Saturday morning.
None of Boston College's bigs, whether it was Tyrelle Blair or Tyler Roche or John Oates, simply couldn't contain the combination of Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur, allowing an 49-24 rebounding advantage for Kansas. DJack and DA combined for 47 points, 16 rebounds while shooting a combined 19-25 (76%) from the field. All that isn't coming against Sister Anne's School for the Deaf and Blind either, Boston College is a solid team, a trip to the Field of 65 a potential end to this season. And they played like that type of team too for the first 11 minutes and 45 seconds, playing even with the undefeated and #3 ranked Kansas Jayhawks and having just seized momentum with a 3 and an ensuing charge drawn by their star, PG Tyrese Rice.
But as soon as DA slammed it down, with 8:14 left to play in the first half, the game officially changed. It switched, however quickly it was for DA to jump up and throw the ball through the hoop untouched, from a potential upset bid and resumee-building win by Boston College to yet another national stage for Kansas to establish their dominance. The Eagles began to allow second, third and even fourth chances by Kansas. On their own end, they refused to put up even a single shot sometimes, instead starting a fast break for the Jayhawks by turning the ball over. Kansas proceeded to go on a 25-7 run up to the halftime break, extending the run to 30-9 with a quick 5-2 run to begin the second half. After having built the lead to 21 points, they never got closer than 14 points away from tying the ball game, allowing a relatively easy win on the road against a quality team. However, I want to make one thing clear. The Eagles did not give the game away by any means. While coughing the ball up 22 times in the game, most (if not all) of those were caused by Kansas, as opposed to BC having unforced errors. We are just "that" good.
If anyone knows how good "that" is, let me know. In all honesty nobody knows exactly how good we can be, not Bill Self, not the players, not me. There are only a couple of teams in the country who are "that" good. And despite UCLA being my favorite to win the whole thing, they aren't one of them. Most know what to expect from the Bruins, incredibly tough defense and good offense, mostly spurred by good outside shooting. Sound familiar? The difference, at least in my trying-to-be-non-biased opinion, is the interior depth that Kansas possesses. Kevin Love is a beast, sure, but they don't have enough other good, Final Four-caliber bodies down low to grow. I believe that there are only three teams that are "that" good, teams that are playing mighty fine right now, yet still possess quite a bit of upside potential. They are three of the remaining six undefeateds, all having a legitimate claim to the #1 position in the polls. Kansas, North Carolina and Memphis.
And as I type this, North Carolina is losing on the road to Clemson. Shows how much I know. And even if I do end up being right, you may claim, and rightfully so, that I picked the best teams in the country.
We have all of conference play to sort this stuff out, starting Wednesday night for us up in Lincoln against the most dangerous Nebraska basketball team in recent memory.
I actually didn't watch anything more than the Tivo'd portion of the first half. I read up about everything else, where all of my statements of facts and such came from, and hope that is enough. After a quick, final non-conference warm-up for conference play Tuesday night against Loyola (Maryland), we will begin previewing everything about the Big 12 conference, giving mid-term grades and everything. Plus, starting tomorrow I will be taking a quarter-by-quarter look at the Orange Bowl contest, posting both my initial thoughts from being there, in Dolphin Stadium, and what I learned from watching the Fox telecast.