Smash-Mouth Jayhawks

Zone busters. Spark plugs. Pit bulls. I'm looking for the right words, help me.

The Kansas Jayhawks are rolling as the NCAA tourney looms, and it's hard to do justice to their offensive tenacity and smash-mouth defensive mentality.

After the Jayhawks beat down the Texas Longhorns, making me look good for having called the win and predicting key stats, the whole state of Kansas started jumping up and down. Out in the prairie, ground hogs thought a minor earthquake was hitting the Midwest.

Nope, it was just the ‘Hawks and their fans, celebrating a pay-back smack-down. Everyone told them not to do it, including the Longhorn cheerleaders, but KU went on and defied the Lone Star curse. They messed with Texas, but the dirt didn't stick. If anything, NBA lottery pick LaMarcus Aldridge (4 points, 5 rebounds, no blocks) is looking a little dusty now.

As the week progresses, I'll post some thoughts on KU's first-round match-up with the Bradley Braves. Bradley features a couple of NBA-caliber players, one of them a 7-footer. Needless to say, the services of the Jayhawk big men will be required once again.

For the moment, I'm simply thrilled with the tough, tough, in-your-face intensity I'm seeing from the Jayhawks. This team appears sold on Bill Self's strategy, and as a result has a toughness that Roy Williams KU teams always seemed to lack. This concerted aggression is embodied by PG Russell Robinson, whose stat line in the Oklahoma State game included 7 steals, 7 assists, 7 stitches. No problem. Against the Longhorns, Robinson's stat line resembled a Trophy assembly line: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals.