I have a lot of things I should be writing. Despite seeming years away, the Michigan State game is only Friday, and I was planning on providing more preview content than simply the KP preview (along with Denver's nuts-and-bolts, of course). Not to mention other fun goodies that would be interesting to read, but those are mostly just ideas in my head, so we'll leave those alone for awhile.
Anyways, for now, I want to talk about Whitlock's latest article. Haven't read it? Do. It isn't one of those poorly-written articles that makes you angry as you read through it, or even one of those articles that Fire Joe Morgan rips to shreds because it doesn't make much sense. In fact, I agree with a lot of it.
But, still, I felt the need to address some of the questions he poses. So, for something a little different. If this goes well, maybe this will be more of a consistent thing. Who knows.
Here we go, here is how he starts the article off:
MINNEAPOLIS | It would be a shame if Kansas basketball players and their relatively small contingent of traveling fans left the Metrodome believing the Jayhawks proved this weekend they’re ready for a rematch against Michigan State.
“Sadly mistaken” doesn’t do justice to how little the Hawks demonstrated in advancing to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen with victories over North Dakota State and Dayton.
Well, that's just plain silly. And just about everyone disagress with you, Jason. We're only 1.5 point underdogs according to Vegas; I'm sure no one has ever come back from those devastating odds. According to KenPom, we're actually the favorite: projected to win by a single point, with a 55% chance to win. But we'd be "sadly mistaken", or even worse, to think we've got a shot. It isn't like we are rolling in already gameplanning for Louisville, or anything, but we definitely have a shot. But, whatever.
Rest of me having fun arguing with Jason's written word after the jump...
Dayton, the runner-up in the Atlantic 10, might be on par with Colorado, the last-place team in the Big 12. Yes, in November Dayton beat Auburn and Marquette on back-to-back nights. November is college basketball’s exhibition season. The results shouldn’t count.
See, Jason, it's like you go out of your way to lose all credibility. Wait, was that your point? Did you say something so absolutely ludicrous as to convey your true sarcasm? If so, I take it all back: you're a genius. But, somehow, I doubt that's what you were going for. And I realize KenPom's stats aren't everything (and, actually, KP is awfully down on the Flyers, too), but here is how they match up:
Overall -- Dayton (77) vs. Colorado (171)
Offense -- Dayton (150) vs. Colorado (203)
Defense -- Dayton (29) vs. Colorado (149)
Yikes, Jason. That ain't exactly close. But hey, maybe you don't wanna believe in that stuff. OK. Dayton didn't lose a game at home all year. Their worst road loss was against Charlotte or St. Louis or UMass; take your pick. They all are 130ish teams who had losing records. Certainly not defensible losses. Of course, the Buffs lost at home to Montana State, TCU (a comparable team to Dayton's trio of bad losses) and in Dallas to SMU. Yeah, I'll take the Flyers.
After offering that bit of context, let me say emphatically that Aldrich’s triple-double on Sunday was the least impressive I’ve had the pleasure to witness.
Oh, well my apologies. Who knew that you were the triple-double expert, the man who determined just how valid and 'true' triple-doubles are? I'll never evaluate a triple-double again, without first asking you your thoughts on whether it deserves to be called it, or not.
The second-seeded Spartans, who spanked Kansas in January, looked like a national-title threat on Sunday in their close victory over a highly skilled Southern California squad. Michigan State looks better when it plays outside the Big Ten — all the Big Ten teams do. The style of play in the conference is so physical that the teams beat each other up and look bad doing it.
This was the quote that stuck out so much to me, the thing that prompted me to write this post. So let me get this straight: Michigan State is better than they appear, as all teams are in the Big Ten, because they look so bad playing the rough-and-tough style of their conference. However, he's just spent the vast majority of his article talking about how terrible Kansas looked....in a rough-and-tough game eerily reminiscent of Big Ten games. Yes, I know, it's hard to keep up, but I believe that Whitlock's logic goes something like this:
"Y'know, Michigan State is freaking awesome, man. Sure, they didn't look that good in Big Ten play, when they lost to non-NCAA teams Penn State and Northwestern at home, but who the hell cares? Everyone looks terrible in the Big Ten: hell, the Lakers wouldn't look like a National Title Contender in the Big Ten. It's just so physical and rough-and-tough and...physical. Maybe it's because of race? Who knows, but all I know is it's so damn tough. Now where's my donuts and pizza, I'm-a-starving"
And then, when asked about Kansas?
"Did you see their game against Dayton? They couldn't score, besides the Cole and Collins Show. It was embarrassing. Everyone on their team is basically worthless, besides the two stars. And guess where those two guys are from? Big Ten Country, bitches. Don't you wish all of college basketball could be as awesome as the Big Ten? But Kansas certainly is not tough, in any way or sense or anything. They just can't score man. Now, where my cheeseburgerz?
Somehow, someway, they aren't the same. If I know anything about basketball, Sunday afternoon's Kansas-Dayton game was entirely reminiscent of a Big Ten basketball game. The same type of game Michigan State repeated 18 times over 3 months, with only the cloors and locales differing. But, it makes the Spartans a bona fide National Title contedner, and Kansas a joke of a team with two stars and a worthless supporting cast.
Finally, we're presented with...this.
Good teams were tested this weekend and passed those tests. The Jayhawks have yet to be pushed.
Yes, because last year's Kansas team was definitely tested on the first weekend. No offense to Lon Kruger or UNLV, but them and Datyon are awfully similar teams. Defensive awesomeness, who can't really shoot all that well and have one star (Wink Adams, Chris Wright) who can get to the rim with the best of them, from a kind-of-mid-major, kind-of-high-major conference, all while hiding in the shadows of a bigger conference team (Utah/BYU, Xavier).
How much did last year's Kansas team, the eventual National Champions, beat UNLV by?
And Dayton scored 5 points in the last minute when we were playing Connor Teahan and Brennan Bechard and Matt Kleinmann.
There’s no reason to believe the Hawks can beat Michigan State.
Pfft. This is basically what you said to open the article, so no need to rehash the same arguments. And I understand, Jason, that you're trying to make radical statements to draw a rise out of Kansas fans. It's who you are as a columnist, and you're damn good at it too, if I do say so myself. But if you honestly believe that there is "no reason" that Kansas can beat Michigan State, I don't know what to tell you.
Except to merely tell you that we do have a chance.
It's as simple as that, Jason.
Note: I'm not quite sure how this turned out, and how much actual content anyone got out of that. If it ain't your thing, then you shouldn't be reading this. Oh, and like I said at the beginning, it really isn't that bad of an article. Just quite a bit condescending, and completely dream-killing. Unnecessarily, too.