Four-Way Tie Raises Questions - Like Whose PT Will Collins Steal?

I haven't yet acquired the statistical jones of some of Phog Blog's contributors, but some stats are so glaring they get up and slap you in the face. Example: The current four-way tie for first in the Big 12. KU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech all stand at 4-1. True, it's early yet to discern the shape of the conference race, but this unsightly log jam provides some food for thought:

Is Texas Tech a genuine contender? After the KU loss, word was that the Jayhawks lost to a team that was mediocre at best. Second thoughts, anyone?

How far can freshman Kevin Durant carry Texas? After Darrell Arthur's less-than-sterling performance in last night's played-up match-up with Kevin Rogers, it's not hard to guess who would get the best of a Durant-Arthur match-up. Texas has other tools (DJ Augustin, A.J. Abrams), but Durant makes or breaks the Longhorns. So far, that's been good news for Texas.

And, on the KU front: Whose minutes will Sherron Collins steal? Mario Chalmers' foul trouble has freed up time for the poised freshman, but this won't last. Bill Self has been vocal about "Glue-man" Robinson's place in the line-up, and Chalmers seems to be coming out of the offensive fog that has troubled him for the last four games. But increasingly, KU is better when Collins is on the court. Collins flourishes under pressure and knows how to change the momentum of a game-so something has to give.

Your takes?

Washburn Postgame Thoughts

Collins and Arthur are legit. Though Arthur looked incredible yesterday, don't be surprised if Collins ends up wowing you more over the course of the year. Collins looked to me to spend most of the first half adjusting to the speed of the game and playing tentatively on offense and sluggishly on defense. That won't last long.

Darnell Jackson looked better than I've ever seen him in finishing around the basket. If he can regain some of his FT touch, that would help us significantly.

Self has a meeting with CJ today to discuss getting him back on the team. I hope for CJ's sake that he has helped himself out, but I think he'll struggle to get minutes behind Arthur.

For the next 6 weeks, Arthur, Jackson and Wright will be sharing 80 minutes. That should satisfy Jayhawks eager to see DA on the court.

We looked sloppy for the gooey middle of the game, but the crusts of the proverbial sandwich were nicely toasted, in my humble opinion.

KU OSU Postgame

Oklahoma State has gotten a lot better, but they were helped by better than average three point shooting by OSU, much worse than average three point shooting by KU, and poor free throw shooting by KU down the stretch. OSU is good at making the game ugly and keeping it close.

Mercy me it will be hard to play Oklahoma tomorrow in another ugly game, and I don't think we can expect Nebraska to put up a fight.

Is it just me, or is OSU a really tough first round draw for a co-champion?

Let's hope that Nebraska plays OU pretty tough and that the game goes into triple overtime.

On the one hand, my pacemakered heart can hardly stand games like that, but I think it's really important to face pressure like that. That being said, I think it is the rare team that can apply the same kind of pressure that OSU plays.

OSU will be a lot better next year as these guys grow up.

Overall it was a hard fought game, and OSU played very very well. Hopefully we can play a bit looser tomorrow and make a few more jump shots.

Anybody else?

KU CU Postgame

I was stuck on a plane from LaGuardia to KCI for the entirety of last night's game, so I can add little to the mix as far as thoughts and analysis about last night's game(no different than usual, you may chortle to yourself...). Texas A&M should be in the NCAA tournament for the totality of their work this year. I'm confident that four Big 12 teams will make the tournament, and I'm similarly confident that both Colorado and Nebraska effectively squandered their chances at going to the Big Dance.

But can the same be said of Kansas State, which looks increasingly troublesome for this Saturday's game? Ehhrrh, I don't really think so. It's a pride game and if we play with defensive intensity, we will win. We better win anyhow.

We *may be hitting the dog days of Spring here, or we may just be accustomed to having overly inflated expecations for our young Jayhawk squad. I don't honestly know. Will our lack of a true post finisher be our undoing, or will our nearly peerless post-depth allow us to wear folks down?

I think the best scenario for this team would be to win two games in the Big 12 tournament in Dallas en route to a 4 seed in the Dallas pod. Playing three consecutive games in Dallas will definitely give us a shooting edge against teams who are just getting used to a new arena.

Congratulations to Max Falkenstein, that man whose chipper tones have animated the glorious pagaentry of Kansas Basketball for more than three generations of Jayhawk fans. There is truly no one like Max anywhere else.

KU UT Postgame

I won't take anything away from UT. Both defensively and offensively, they played great. If they play like that, they will be in the Final Four. They just couldn't miss and I think that demoralized us over time.

A brief rant: It's time for Dick Vitale to retire. I used to enjoy his enthusiasm, but he's become an absurd caricature of himself. ESPN should have higher standards for their in-game analysis. Seriously Dick? Talking about the square footage of Shaq's house? What a slap in the face.

How much are they paying you to ignore the game? ESPN and its viewers ought to demand more.

UT beats anybody in the country tonight, and while 25 points is much much worse than I expected, the season's not over and our Baby Jays are going to grow up.

Here's my Saturday Night Special Guarantee: Brandon Rush will be a Jayhawk next year.

Here's my Saturday Night Wish: Dick Vitale gives up the mic for color commentary. He just doesn't add anything to the game for anyone. He doesn't provide any special insight into what's happening *on the floor. Indeed, he only masks his ignorance of the game by blabbering endlessly about every imaginable topic except that which he should be talking: what's happening between the baskets.

I'm really not that down about this game. We hit Texas on a blistering night and we really had no chance. Bill will teach these guys a lot from the game and our boys have already shown that they can rebound.

They'll wake up smiling tomorrow and they'll rebound strongly.

Have a good night everybody!

KU MU Postgame

I'll not be wearing any Mizz-ubaz pants anytime soon. That was a thorough and complete, old-fashioned, wood-laying, back breaking whooping from the first minute until the 36th minute.

I thought our ball movement was very good throughout the game. We also did a great job keeping up the defensive pressure until the subs came in.

We held Mizzou without a fieldgoal for around 15 minutes in the second half.

Julian Wright had another monster game. He really just does everything.

I was very happy to see our guards start shooting a little better. That will be an important part of a run in March, I have a feeling.

I really really wish I would have remembered to lay a gentleman's wager on the game. I just plum forgot and KU -17.5 was the easiest money in town.

I sort of feel bad for Melvin Watkins and the Mizzou players, but I don't have an ounce of pity for any of the "professionals" associated with the Missouri Athletic Department.

This team is continuing to get better. We're maintaining our defensive intensity and we're getting good contribution off the bench. The announcers, I get the feeling, were very impressed with this team - they just seemed surprised by how good we were.

One last thing - did I see on the broadcast that KU's current FG % is on pace to be the third best since 1978? If so, that's incredible.

What a difference a month makes.

Postgame video with Brandon Rush and Bill Self here at Sportsline.

Looking at how the top 25 has fared so far, (with 1, 8, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 and 19 losing), I think we have a very good chance of moving up to 18 or 19 this week. And a lot of people are starting to notice this team. You can bet that the hype machine will be in full effect to gear up for our ESPN game with UT a week from today. Heavens that will be a big game.

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