After a game like yesterday's, the Jayhawk fan longs for reading material. Below is a veritable buffet of Jayhawk lore. To best digest, follow in order. As a bit of an appetizer try reading the always fantastic Joe Posnanski's pre-game article on the magic of the Phog. Keep in mind that this was published before the game even started:
You know something will happen in Allen Fieldhouse today. Maybe an Oklahoma State player will set up to take the final shot, the one to beat Kansas, the one to give the Cowboys a straight line to the Big 12 title...maybe he will get the shot off, and the shot will look true, only suddenly, at the last possible second, the basketball will shift just a touch, as if tipped in midair, and then rattle around the basket and fall out.
Don't bet against Joe - he's a seer.
No buffet would be complete without a Jason Whitlock appearance, and my bet is he gets in early. He thinks yesterday shows just how important Wayne Simien is to this team. I'm inclined to agree in that we have to establish Wayne in the game. I also thought the game showed how important Moody is to the team. We would certainly not have won without Moody.
And even if you're no longer hungry for another recap, read Dennis Dodd's equine piece on the game. It's nice to see a little national love for the Hawks and the Pokes.
OSU is a very good team and (I know I've said this before) we will not take many shots like that from any opponent. We had to shoot over 60% to win the game, and that in and of itself, is pretty remarkable. If OSU slips to a 4 seed somehow (as Eddie Sutton suggested they might, I pity the 1 seed that gets matched against them. They are very good on the perimeter and as long as they don't get torn up down low, they should go far in the tournament.
For selfish reasons I hope they don't play in Oklahoma City, and that we do, because I would very much like to go to the first round games there, and tickets will be much more available if OSU is not there with us.
MORE READING: A little more national love, this time from CNNSI's Luke Winn. It's another Wayne devotion piece. After yesterday's performance, I'm happy to see them, as it makes my prediction that Wayne might win National Player of the Year based on yesterday's performance all that more likely (still pretty unlikely).
Click more if you'd like to read all the game quotes:
"I don't think I have ever been a part of a better basketball game. The atmosphere was great, the stakes were high, the game was well-officiated, they (Oklahoma State) only had nine turnovers and we had 10. Just when you think one team has control, the other team would step up and make plays. It was awesome. This will go down as one of the great ones to ever be played in this building. Kids were competing and battling the entire game. It could have been disastrous if things didn't go our way. The seniors stepped up and made some plays. Certainly for me, it was an honor to coach in this game. I think the players will look back and say it was an honor to play in this game and the fans will look back and say they were here for this game."
On Oklahoma State: "I don't think our defense is as good as I would have liked it to be, but that is by far, without question, the best team we have played this year. They made plays. You don't expect a freshman (JamesOn Curry) to come in here and play like that. (John) Lucas was four-of-five from three and nine-of-11 from the field. Fortunately for us he missed his last two shots. That last three was right on line. Joey (Graham) is a fabulous player. I am sure Coach Sutton would say that was one of the best games he has been a part of."
On Christian Moody: "People take him for granted, but how valuable is Christian Moody? We just look like a totally different team with him out there. He was fabulous. We were giving him a hard time about having to guard Joey (Graham). To put a guy that walked-on here against a player like Graham was a lot to ask, but he (Moody) responded."
On Wayne Simien: "He shot it great. We have struggled getting the ball to him. We knew that having Christian in the game would help. Our guys did a good job looking for Wayne. Let's call it like it is, Wayne put us on his shoulders today. Everybody played great, but he was a man out there today."
On the upcoming games: "We haven't done anything yet. All we did today was set the table for what should be an emotional, fantastic Senior Night against a Kansas State team that is playing very well. There are so many things going on distraction-wise, we can't let that take away from us winning the basketball game. We've got a lot of work to do. We control our own destiny. We still have two tough games left. Our fans should be so excited about Wednesday with Senior Night, but it will be a tough game. Then we have to go to Missouri and play our biggest out-of-state rival. We have put ourselves in a good position, but we haven't accomplished anything yet."
Senior Guard Keith Langford On Wayne Simien: "He just made himself Big 12 Player of the Year today. That's all I have to say about that. He's the Player of the Year hands down. Wayne is a very emotional person and he really showed that today."
On winning the game: "It feels good to smile, but we realize that we still have a lot of work to do with two games left. We tried to stay positive after every loss. As tough as it was (losing), we knew in the back of our minds that winning the Big 12 was a possibility."
Junior Forward Christian Moody On the game: "It definitely had a championship atmosphere. We were really pumped up for this game. Oklahoma State has a really good team and I am just glad that we turned things around. The difference in the game was the seniors. When you look at Wayne (Simien), Aaron (Miles), Keith (Langford) and Mike (Lee), you see that they played great today."
Senior Guard Michael Lee On Wayne Simien: "I think it was obvious that he really wanted this game. From the opening tip he put us on his back and carried us. He got bucket after bucket and rebounds. He was pretty much just Wayne today and he really stepped up for us. I wasn't surprised at all by the emotion he showed because he is a competitor that wants to win night-in and night-out."
On playing at home: "The Fieldhouse was a big factor today. Every time we were down the fans picked us up, and when we were up they lifted us up higher. The fans came through for us. They are like our sixth man."
Oklahoma State Head Coach Eddie Sutton On the game: Their three seniors played really well. They played like seniors should play. Simien is such a good player. He puts so much pressure on defenses. He had a sensational afternoon. When we went up seven, I thought that we were in good shape. Then (Aaron) Miles hit that big trey. Any mistakes you make late in the ball game are magnified. Ivan (McFarlin) had a layup and fumbled the ball out of bounds, and Terrance (Crawford) got underneath the basket and missed the shot. On the other end, Joey (Graham) is not playing very good defense for us right now. This is just one loss. Kansas played very well. On the road, if we play like this, we will beat a lot of people. We just didn't do a very good job in the last two or three minutes. If we both play like that, we will beat a lot of people. I think that both Bill (Self) and our staff are satisfied with the way our offenses played."
On John Lucas' last shot: "We wanted John to shoot it. I thought that when the ball went airborne, it looked like it was going to go in."
On the game's atmosphere: "This was a great game. I've coached a lot of basketball games, and even though we lost, it was a great game. Certainly a great basketball fan would have loved this."
On Wayne Simien: "He is a great player. He is one of the two or three best in the country, certainly an All-American player. That is what we don't have. If we had a big guy like him, we would really be a good basketball team. When you give away size to cover him, he is very difficult to defend. He is a great basketball player."
On Joey Graham: "We need to get Joey (Graham) to play better defense and get him to go rebound the ball. We didn't really drive the ball. Joey has to get it in his head that he needs to drive the ball instead of being satisfied with shooting jumpers from the perimeter. And then when he does shoot, he needs to go get the ball. He has been tentative the last couple of games. Even at the Texas Tech game, he didn't play well. We've got to get him straightened out."
On Kansas: "I think Kansas deserves a No. 1 seed if they win out. They are really a good basketball team when they play like they did today. I didn't think that it was a big surprise when they got beat at (Texas) Tech or in Norman. I think Oklahoma and Texas Tech are really good basketball teams. I was surprised that they lost to Iowa State."
On the remainder of the season: "We have to win our last two games. We have to hope that we get a No. 3 or No. 4 seed. I don't think that they will give us a No. 2 seed."
Senior Forward Joey Graham On the game's final minutes: "They (Kansas) came out and hit some big shots. Wayne (Simien) hit a couple of big free throws. They just took the lead after that. Kansas picked up its defense and we picked up our defense. It was tough for both teams to get shots. Unfortunately, we came down and fouled them a few times. Wayne (Simien) hit some big free throws for them. It was a well-fought ball game."
On Wayne Simien: "He is tough to defend. He put up 30-plus on us. He is the Big 12 Player of the Year and one of the elite players in the country."