Can't think of any humorous (or attempted humorous) silver linings from this game, so I will play it straight. Two POSSIBLE silver linings:
1. We are getting beaten like a drum offensively by dribble penetration and defensively by zones. Better now than later? As much as I want another conference championship (and we still are tied for the lead in the REAL standings, which were not affected by last night's projected L), I don't want to go down in flames to some mediocre team in the first or second round of the NCAA tourney. If we aren't ready to stop the dribble penetration in March and to get high percentage shots against the zone by Big Dance Time, we are one stupid basketball team. We will have plenty of time in practice and in games to work on both things between now and then. We just might be ready for anything that is thrown at us by then.
2. The pressure is off. I know that all knowledgeable Jayhawk fans realize that this team has the parts, well-documented deficiencies and all, to win every time it takes the court against anybody. However, except for Pollyannas two levels of Pollyanna-dom above those on KU's normal Good Ship Pollyanna, no one in the real world EXPECTS this team to waltz through the tournament. Expectations have morphed into hopes. This team has acted all season like it is bearing an unbearable weight of unrealistic expectations on its shoulders, and it is finally wearing down. That weight is slowly, but surely, being lifted. They will be able to play come March (maybe even come Sunday) with a newfound lightness, a new bounce in their step, with a chip on their shoulder, as the hunter instead of the hunted, as if ___________ (insert any other applicable cliche here). They will have a chance to be the party crasher, not the host, worrying about whether everything is just right. We could be this year's NC State, Villanova, or AU--or, if we haven't sunk that far in everyone's estimation, Syracuse or '88 UK, sneaking in under everybody's radar. Party crashing is always more fun. It is easier to drop those threes, make those FT's, when you are not worried about the outcome, scared that you are letting your teammates, your fans, or yourself down--worries that come with expectations.
This team was not going to win the NC as the favorite. Would have had a heck of a time making it to the FF. Might have been taken down like a Roy team in the second round--or, god forbid, the first. They still might get taken out early, but their chances of playing into late March or early April might have actually improved because our flaws are being exposed for the whole world to see in February, and the "favorite" tag is being removed by the media as if they are the ultimate consumer of a newly purchased pillow.
Now let's stop the losing. The last three losses have done enough good.