Seth Davis Doesn't Believe In Tempering Expectations

On the basis of three workouts and an exhibition game against the Chinese team, Seth Davis from the U19 trials in Dallas:

"[Darrell] Arthur looked more serious, poised and confident than at any point during his freshman season at Kansas. During 5-on-5 play, Arthur did most of his damage on the block, but he showed impressive shooting range during drills. I expect him to be an All-American next season at Kansas before becoming an NBA lottery pick."

Davis also comments on future Kansas State Wildcat Michael Beasley:

"Though Beasley is strong for his age and has some impressive moves around the basket, his effort level and body language was not very good during the three workouts I watched in Dallas. As evidenced by his play against China, Beasley usually turns on the burners when game time comes, but to succeed in college he will need to develop a more professional approach overall."

and Texas A&M's incoming freshman DeAndre Jordan:

"DeAndre Jordan is listed at 6-10, 215 pounds, but with his wide shoulders and long arms he looks even bigger on the court. He runs the floor well and is a strong finisher, and, in the half-court, he moves with an awkward gracefulness (or a graceful awkwardness, take your pick). He suffers a bit from stone hands and his shooting range is limited at this point. But there was no one in Dallas with more upside than Jordan."

The U19 World Championship begins July 12th in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Weekend Reading for the Jayhawk Fan

While you're putting off raking leaves, and while I'm leaving on a jet plane to Manhappenin, I would recommend that you download and print Ken Pomeroy's Big 12 preview. It's a fact-filled journey to and through each Big 12 team this year, including the ridiculously favored toddler Jays.

The PDF comes from this post and make sure if you use run-on sentences like me, that you also give credit to Ken Pomeroy and maybe throw out some love to the Phog Blog to all of your non-PB friends

You should be doing that any way. And if you haven't ever commented, why not drop us a comment and engage the most intelligent set of Hawk fans outside of the Bourgeois Pig. And we know they're poseurs anyhoo. Bunch of wine swizzling, cigarette eating poseurs.

Jayhawk Big Men Must Catch Up

KU's current platoon of post men has performed well enough to beat above-average competition (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Cal) but imploded when faced with a seriously talented big man (Aldridge). Bill Self was quick to note that the team's youth and lack of muscle inside was big factor in the Austin wax job. I find myself wondering whether the 'Hawks will fare any better against similarly talented frontcourts in the tournament. The transformation of this team has been fueled largely by a backcourt that acquired confidence, tenacity, and learned when to gamble on defense. The inside beef, on the other hand, has remained inconsistent throughout most of the season.

Julian Wright is coming into his own, but it will take more than ball fakes and finesse to advance. The play of KU's more 'traditional' post trio (Kaun, Giles, Jackson) will determine how long the Jayhawks play in March.

RPI Watch

Ken Pomeroy's latest RPI projection has KU at 38th, which is important since we've now passed that mythical 40th parallel. We're up to 9th overall in his season-long ratings and nestled comfortably at 5th in his last 5 games rating (oddly enough, UNC is number 1 in that rating - good job Roy). By the way, KP's now predicting 13-3 in conference, with a lone loss at UT.

Dunkel has us at 4th in the country in his latest index, behind Duke, UT and UConn (before last night's game).

We're up to 19th overall and 6th in the pure points rating over at Jeff Sagarin's place (the pure points is more important to Vegas).

Dolphin hasn't updated yet, but I'll try to remember to update that later.

You might be interested to know that the composite of bracket projections has us at a #6 seed. Most of the latter day brackets have us as a #5, but some of the less frequently updated brackets have us as an #8 or #9, so we're averaged up a little. I think if we win out while losing impressively at UT, we have a very good shot at a #4. If we beat UT, I think a #2 is still *possible, but very very unlikely. A 4-6 is most likely at this point. I would almost prefer a #6 at this point to avoid a possible run-in with UConn, Duke or Villanova.


Yet Another College Basketball Ratings update

It's the day after a game, so it's time to look at how KU is doing in the predictive power ratings, most of which I have become so fond of that I would happily let the whole lot of them live in a Utopian commune in my backyard. Without further ado:

Let's start with Pomeroy, whose statistical burgers are thick and plentiful. In his main Pomeroy ratings, we've moved from 14 to 13 after yesterday's win. We've held our position as the 4th best team in the country over the last five games, but oddly, the company ahead of us is different - we're now behind UConn, Georgetown and Oklahoma!

We're also still 4th in the country in Pomeroy's Pythagorean rankings and his efficiency numbers behind only Texas, Duke and UConn.

Dolphin hasn't updated his stats since Friday, but we're still 5th in the predictive ratings (it will probably be updated later today)

Sagarain hasn't updated yet either, but I don't expect a lot of movement, so we'll still likely be 7th in that (pure points) rating. Update, we've moved up to 6th.

Dunkel hasn't updated either, so we're still 4th there.

So this meaningless exercise has proved to be nearly Ecclesiastically meaningless, quite nearly a chasing after a wind which doesn't even end up being there. But that fact has never stopped me in the past, so you would be return-to-your-vomit foolish to expect that anything will change.

The long and short is that KU is a top 15, and perhaps a top 10 team in the country, right now. Given our youth, we may crash into some wall - physical or emotional - and end this season in a blaze of disappointment.

I don't think that's very likely though, because I'm not sure we're old enough to have learned about walls, physical or otherwise. I expect this team to win out the regular season with the lone exception of our game at Texas, which I believe will be a great one.

Looking ahead, we will almost certainly be ranked for the first time this year when the polls come out tomorrow.

Here's how the teams in front of us did:

#17/#18 Boston College Two wins on the road in the ACC this week should move them up a little.

#18/#19 Iowa - Lost to Northwestern, and deserve to plummet for that, but they're leading the Big 10 and they knocked off Indiana in Bloomington, which should keep them from falling too much.

#19/#17 Ohio State Couple of wins this week, including one at Ann Arbor. They will probably creep up, and deservedly so.

#20/#20 OU They will probably stay where they are after two good wins this week, and I don't think voters will count the KU loss against them.

#21/#23 Washington How on earth they stayed in the polls after losing three straight is beyond me, especially in the Pac-10, but two wins this week, including one over UCLA, should prevent them from falling out of the top 25.

#22/#22 Michigan Michigan can say good bye to their ranking after losing three straight by a combined 51 points. They will go down, and they will go down hard.

#23/#24 North Carolina For losing to Duke by 4, I don't think they'll get dropped. If they lose to Miami tonight, which is certainly possible, they will drop.

#24/#21 Indiana Like their B10 counterpart Michigan, Indy will fall after having lost three straight.

#25/#28 Northern Iowa A loss yesterday to Missouri State is plenty to drop them significantly.

#33/#25 Colorado That Colorado stayed ranked after getting run out of the gym by Iowa State is an embarrasment to the Coach's poll. A loss to the Texas Aggies this week won't help their case.

#26/#26 LSU LSU is a good team, but their loss yesterday to Florida will keep them out of the top 25.

I think three teams will drop in each poll, leaving the door open for up and comers like KU, Bucknell, Cal and UAB in the cool kid's club.

I think KU will be ranked as high as #19 and as low as #22 in the polls. A lot more pundits began noticing KU this week and the fact that we're 14-2 in our last 16 isn't being lost on most folks.

Proof Positive that KU is the best team in the country

Can anyone challenge my wild-eyed assertions? KU versus Duke:

2006-01-07 @ Kansas 73 Kentucky 46

2005-11-22 Kentucky 80 West Virginia 66 Kansas City, MO

2006-01-11 @ West Virginia 68 Georgetown 61

2006-01-21 @ Georgetown 87 Duke 84

Transitivity proves that Kansas is better than Duke. This 4 game conquering path predicts: Kansas over Duke by 51 points.

KU versus UCONN: 

2006-01-21 @ Kansas 96 Nebraska 54

2005-11-30 @ Nebraska 84 Marquette 74

2006-01-03 @ Marquette 94 Connecticut 79

Transitivity proves that Kansas is better than Connecticut. This 3 game conquering path predicts: Kansas over Connecticut by 67 points.

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