There isn't a whole lot of negative in Tuesday night's performance. I mean sure, we certainly didn't play perfectly. Teams rarely do, much less in an early-season contest in November, and particularly considering the immense youth of this squad.
But the end result is all that you can ask for, and the first half was even better. A 32-point lead at halftime is pretty difficult to top, regardless of just how poor the opponent shoots (12% for FGCU, in case you were wondering, in the first half) or the talent differential or any of that. It is simply impressive.
And so, these comments tend to shade on the positive side. I mean, I suppose I could go all nit-picky on y'all and try and find the negativity amongst the game, but I would have to search quite hard. If you want more critical analysis, just wait for Monday and Tuesday's recaps in the CBE Finals. Those shouldn't quite be as rosy, no matter the outcome. Unless, of course, we are winning by 32 points again at halftime. Then, my optimism will lose all bounds.
- Of all the freshmen, it is painfully obvious that one Tyshawn Taylor is the most developed of the bunch. In Game #1 against UMKC, he made plenty of freshman mistakes and seemed out-of-control at times, like it was all just too much for him to handle. And then, last night, he completely evolved into, as my dad put it, "a sophomore". He looked as if he had been doing this for awhile, making awesome pass after awesome pass and playing awesome defense. In my post breaking down the perimeter rotation, I likened him to Sherron Collins. I would like to semi-renege that statement, as I think he possesses a little bit of ol' Super Mario as well. Maybe it's just the nostalgia of the '15' on the back of the jersey, but he has that flair that Mario always seemed to have. Whichever ex-or-current Jayhawk you want to compare him to, he clearly deserves a spot in the starting lineup. Oh, and thanks should go to Tom Crean for his decision to take the job at Indiana; without that, Tyshawn Taylor is a Marquette Eagle right now.
- My personal favorite freshman, however, is easily Travis Releford. Absolutely love the kid. He's gritty. He 'knows how to play the game'. Put simply, he's 'a basketball player'. He's all of those stupid qualities assigned to not-so-talented baseball players who 'do the little things right'. In basketball, though, it's different. In the team atmosphere, it is crucial to have a guy like him. He plays tough defense. He takes charges. He makes the extra pass. He, as Reid Gettys said, provides a spark off the bench. And, as much as it pains me to say, that is exactly where he should stay. I would love for him to start, but he could be even more valuable coming off the pine, and, honestly, there isn't too much room for him left in the starting lineup with the emergence of Tyshawn Taylor.
- Because, I think the other wing starter has to be Tyrel Reed. Has to. We badly need an outside, three-pont shooting presence on this team. Really, it is the only painstakingly obvious need in the starting lineup. Sherron Collins is a fine shooter, but he shouldn't be the best pure shooter in any starting lineup. And I already think Sherron is taking too many pull-up jumpers anyways, so why encourage him to shoot some more. No, let's just slot in Reed instead of Morningstar and everyone's happy. He has an awesome three-point stroke, and I still think that he is a better all-around defensive player than current starter Brady Morningstar. Honestly. So, please, Bill, start Tyrel. We're just a better team, that way.
- Quintrell Thomas. Ouch. I expected 'Trell to come in and start piling up the rebounds and impress on the defensive side of the ball. Yet, he has looked the worst of all the freshmen, and he has continually looked lost out there on the court. I mean, with how thin our frontcourt is he will continue to get chances to impress, but he certainly has yet to look good for any consistent period of time thus far.
- The Morris Twins, however, seem to improve every time they step onto the floor. I mean, they even play better after taking a break on the bench and talking to some assistant coaches. Remember that they haven't had nearly the amount of time to work with Danny Manning that the other big guys have had, and get a little more excited. Then recall the flashes both twins are showing in greater flashes, particularly their insane rebounding abilities. First, Markieff pulled down 15 boards against UMKC. Then, last night, Marcus pulled down 10 boards. While it is probably bad to put them together like this, it is inevitable that they will be compared and contrasted against each other, given their resemblance and twinhood and all.
- One more quick note. Conner Teahan? Nuh-uh. I understand why he's having some problems, as he's playing the 4 when Self wants to give multiple bigs a rest, and it is quite obvious that he doesn't fit in there well. At all. But still, I figured that he would at least compete for some early playing time, and not simply be relegated to Matt Kleinmann territory. Oh, and this is probably sad, but I still never remember which 'n' in Kleinmann's name has the two consecutive 'n's'.
More basketball-type discussion upcoming in the next couple of days. We are in basketball season, and I have to say I'm looking forward to it after the rather disappointing football season.