I came across this post by Ken Pomeroy detailing how Oral Roberts might beat Memphis in last year's tournament and some of what he says was eerily clear when ORU beat KU. My friend Creighton also emailed this to me earlier and I thought I might share it. There's less hand-wringing about ORU given the Florida win, but all of the Self Bashing that has gone on might stand to take a little historical scrutiny. Feel free to disagree, but I thought Creighton offered some good thoughts:
With all the discussion about the possible ramifications of the team's mindset because of the loss to Oral Roberts I thought I would look back at our last 5 Final Four teams and see what happened to them in November/December. Here's what I found:
2002-2003 National Runner-Up team: 11/27/02 North Carolina 67 KU 56 - Preseason NIT (did not make tourney) 11/29/02 Florida 83 KU 73 - Preseason NIT (#2 seed - lost in 2nd round) 12/7/02 Oregon 84 KU 78 - Portland, OR (#8 seed - lost in 1st round)
2001-2002 Final Four team: 11/19/01 Ball State 93 KU 91 - Maui Invitational (did not make tourney)
1992-1993 Final Four team: 12/19/92 KU 86 East Tennessee State 83 - Lawrence (did not make tourney) 12/30/92 Michigan 86 KU 74 - Rainbow Classic (#1 seed - National Runner Up) 1/25/03 Long Beach State 64 KU 49 - Lawrence (not in Nov/Dec but embarrassing nonetheless) 1990-1991 National Runner-Up team: 11/23/90 Arizona State 70 KU 68 - Tempe, AZ (#8 seed - lost in 2nd round) 12/8/90 Kentucky 88 KU 71 - Lexington, KY (did not make tourney)
1987-1988 National Championship team: 11/28/87 Iowa 100 KU 81 - Maui Invitational (#5 seed - lost in Sweet 16) 11/29/87 Illinois 81 KU 75 - Maui Invitational (#3 seed - lost in 2nd round) 12/30/87 St. John's 70 KU 56 - New York (#11 seed - lost in 1st round)
The point of all this is that 3 of Roy Williams' 4 final four teams lost in the non conference to a team that did not make the tournament. At this point in the season we don't know whether or not Oral Roberts will make the tournament. Based upon their performance against KU and the conference they are in there is a pretty high probability that Oral Roberts will make the tournament again this year. I don't recall fans questioning the mindset of any of these previous final four teams. With Roy's four teams the only one that was a real surprise was the 91 team. The talent was there it was just a matter of putting it together. The 91 team was 0-1 against ranked non-con opponents. The 93 team was 1-1 against ranked non-con opponents with an impressive win over #2 Indiana. The 02 team was 2-1 against ranked non-con opponents with an impressive win over #4 Arizona. The 03 team was 1-3 against ranked non-con opponents. This year's team is 1-0 against ranked non-con opponents with an impressive win over #1 Florida. IMO, this puts us in just as good of a position as any of our previous Final Four teams and obviously Roy was not immune to having teams not playing up to their capabilities. Do we want to be perfect now or do we want to continue to improve as the season goes along? I am very happy that we are raw enough to have a lot to work on and yet still play well enough to beat a team like Florida. So is the mindset question being overplayed a bit - my answer is yes.