I know I've missed the past five-or-so basketball games, but the idea is still to recap all of this year's basketball games. And so, here are my assorted thoughts on Saturday's semi-comfortable victory over the Temple Owls. None are terribly insightful, necessarily, but it brings up some interesting discussion topics that we will dicuss plenty more after tomorrow night's game. After said matchup with the Arizona Wildcats, we will be focusing plenty of our attention, when it isn't on holiday dinners and gift-wrapping, on the upcoming bowl matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. However, we will also be discussing plenty of the storylines of the early basketball season, including giving recap-type-features of the key contributors and predictions for the rest of the season.
- That was a much, much better performance by Sherron Collins. Even when the game was seriously in question, when they made their mini-run in the first half to tie the game, he continued to run the offense and not simply throw up a contested eighteen-footer off his back foot with :30 left on the shot clock. He only did it once (which was an airball, IIRC), but other than that did a tremendous job of giving the ball to his teammates. There is a big difference between taking the game over and simply taking a lot of shots trying to 'take the game over', and he learned the difference after the UMASS game, it would appear. If he plays like he did on Saturday, we could be going places in March. I just wish he would have kept his haircut...
- That is the Tyshawn Taylor that I am expecting to show up every game. He was virtually non-existent against the Minutemen, but he played a big role against the Owls. He is dynomite at getting into the lane, and while he is still struggling with the entry pass, it is getting better.
- OK, be honest. Who saw this out of Brady Morningstar? All along, I've acknowledged that, for us to be a contender in March, one of the the White Boys, as I call them, would have to improve big time. Conner Teahan and Tyrel Reed would have to improve on defense or Brady Morningstar would have to come out of the woodworks and be competent on the offensive end. Originally, I expected Tyrel to be the starter, but I suppose I forgot Self's fetish for defense, so it did make sense that Morningstar got the early starts. Still, I was simply waiting for Tyrel or Travis Releford to breakout, sending Brady back to the bench for good. And yet, here we are, on December 23rd, and Brady is firmly entrenched in the Starting 5. He ain't leaving, folks. Only a healthy Mario LIttle could possibly replace him, IMO, and even then, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bill leave the kid out there, at least until Little proves he can play defense. Seriously, though. Brady played perfect D on Christmas the entire gam and knocked down the open shots, namely the huge, momentum-garnering three he nailed at the end of the first half.
- On another note, I sure do love me some Morris twins. I personally prefer Marcus to Markieff, but they took their turns yesterday, with Marcus dominating the first half and Kieff taking charge of the second. Marucs' minutes were particularly important, given the immsne foul trouble of our bigs that we'll get into in a second. He had to play the last 10-12 minutes of the first half without rest, and still hustled up and down the court and picked up some fast break buckets. And while Markieff got in far too much foul trouble for my liking (4 fouls in only 16 minutes), he did receive the start and played very well in the second half. Both players are getting much, much better, which is definintely nice to see.
- And lastly, I just want to say good job to Matt Kleinmann for his first half performance. He played well in his four minutes of important action, but I'd rather not see him out on the floor in any capacity other than simply finishing out a blowout. Cole Aldrch, especially, needs to stay out of foul trouble, but Quintrell Thomas is the one who needs to improve on something. I mean, two fouls on illegal screens? How long have we been setting screens, second grade? Bill was obviously pissed off at him, too, as seen by his complete lack of playing time in the second. And how do we get this far along in this recap-type-thing without even mentioning another double-double by Big Cole. The kid puts up so many, it's hardly newsworthy anymore.
On a similar note, anyone know the Kansas record for most double-doubles in a season? I would have to imagine it would be Wilt Chamberlain who holds it, but I bet that Cole has a good chance to break the post-1960 record.
Plenty on the AZ-KU matchup coming later tonight (maybe) and tomorrow...