More than anything, I am viewing this as a last preparation for the Madness of the NCAA Tournament. After twice struggling in the first half in Kansas City, it would be really nice to put forth a better performance in the opening stanza.
The first matchup between these two teams was one of the best games of the year, and the first half was probably the best half of awesome basketball I have seen all season long. The second half was kind of ruined by the refs, who decided to "seize control of the game" and not allow the players to decide the game, but it was more ruined by our sudden lack of rebounding. All season long we have been vulnerable to offensive rebounds, and that was never more evident than in the Longhorns' feast on the offensive boards in the second half down in Austin. We need to go back to simple blocking out and securing the ball, we can't afford to give away scoring opportunities for free. Every time they score, it needs to be because of hard work on their part, not complacency on ours.
I am going to continue to harp on this until we play intense and angry and pissed off for 40 minutes, but we can't afford to be complacent in any game from here on out, including today. A complacent, calm, cool and collected Jayhawk team isn't nearly as good as the pedal-to-the-medal, intense team. And even if it means a couple more turnovers, as long as we are trying to make something happen I think we are better off for it. In fact, I know so.
So, today just sit back and watch what should be an incredible basketball game. And as you are sitting there, look at how we play when we walk the ball up the court, run our offense, and end up (most likely) getting a 15-foot jumpshot. Then, take mental notes on when we push the ball up the court, force the issue, get in the face of the offense when we're on defense, and try and create opportunities.
There is a noticeable difference, for sure, and that noticeable difference will be, one way or the other, the reason why we are going to San Antonio in a couple of weeks.
It all starts today.