The Worst KU Men’s Basketball Game Ever

Pathetic. That’s about all I can say about it. I love my Jayhawks, but I cannot stand poor attitude, lack of confidence and terrible play from my beloved alma mater Men’s Basketball squad.

Photo Credit Lawrence Journal-World

I mean…I felt dirty after that loss.  It was the most horrible basketball game I have ever watched.  My only shock is that KU didn’t wait until they were a #1 seed so they could be the first #1 seed ever to fall to a #16 in the NCAA tournament.  

I mean, those boys didn’t fight through screens, they threw the ball away, took horrendous shots and missed all of them.  It was absolutely the most gut-wrenching game I have ever had to watch!!

As I threw my phone on the couch for the gazillionth time late in the game last night and stomped off to the other room in disgust, I could not believe what I was witnessing.  College men’s basketball is NOT played like that at KU.  I mean, it is NOT. ALLOWED. from public opinion standpoint.  It is a HUGE privilege to play basketball for the University of Kansas and don’t think those boys won’t be reminded of that by many people over the coming days.  If these boys’ confidence is shaken from what’s going on on the court…I’m a little worried what some comments from students and fans is going to do to them.

I read this opinion piece this morning and the first sentence is exactly the sentiment I think many KU fans are feeling today:  

If James Naismith had known Kansas University one day would butcher the game of basketball as badly as it did in the first half of a stunning loss Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Texas, he not only might have thought twice about starting the program, he might have passed on the entire idea of inventing the sport.

And then Bill Self nailed it at the end, as well:

 “It’s not so much that we lost, but it’s that we were kind of the bullies of the league, and we let people think that they could whip us, and when they did, everybody now thinks that they can whip us,” Self continued. “I mean, hey, we just opened the floodgates. If we’re going to get everybody’s best shot two weeks ago, think now what it’s going to be like when everybody thinks they’re going to win?”

 Oh goodness, I have a feeling it’s going to be a bumpy ride the rest of the season.  

And just when I was really needing a pick-me-up.  Guess KU Men’s basketball team is in their own February Funk.


Monday Mumbles – 20

Okay – first of all and real quick!  YAY for TOOJE’s new button!!!!!  She explains who made it up on her site today along with her Mumbles.  Be sure to go check her out and I have to say that I COMPLETELY agree with her on her first Mumble (other than living on this side of the state line…because I like where I live and the school my kids go to and all that).  There are some MU fans who really have a hard time with the whole sportsmanship thing (I realize some KU people, do, too…but like TOOJE, I rarely delve in and call the other side “uneducated” or a term on par with “gayhawks”.  It’s unfortunate that it has to occur at all.  


Now.  Today, for my Mumbles, I am going to indulge a little bit in my status as a University of Kansas alum and Kansas Jayhawks basketball fanatic. TOOJE hosts the Mumbles each Monday, go check her (and her fancy button) out!
1.  Unless you went to KU or MU, you probably don’t have a real appreciation for this game. I would suppose that if you grew up in Missouri and Kansas, you probably have a secondary level appreciation for the game.  There’s just something about actually attending the school that adds a little bit of extra-special *something*.  I doubt anything I say will help impress upon you how significant and important it was that KU won this game.  EVERYTHING was on the line in this game, it seemed:  Payback (for loss in Columbia just a three weeks before), The Big 12 title (and not wanting to share it), and the final hoo-rah in the match-ups between these two schools, Not wanting MU to have ANYTHING to take with it as it exited our conference and sold out for the $$$$.  Yes, if the schools ever play again…it’ll matter…but only a fraction of what it matters now.
 2.  Before I headed ^there^, I got my kiddos ready to rock our house watching the game.  Vincent was ready!  I am sure you can find cute shoes at Babies R Us for the game.  And I headed out to get my Operation:  Victory tee-shirt to wear, so that I would be ready!!!  (These are my photos…)  
3.  Before the game, we took the long way around and walked through the hallowed hallways (my photos, too).
4.  I was nervous before the game.  Missouri was ranked ahead of us in the polls (they were AP #3 and we were AP #4) and I knew it would be a tough game because Missouri is really good.  But KU is really good, too, and this was in Allen Fieldhouse.  While I was nervous, I still expected a KU win…but I gotta remind you–we spoiled KU fans always expect to win.
However…this pic is worth 1000 words and I can relate:
Actually, I was standing up with my hands nervously over my mouth watching while my Jayhawks played a pretty bad first half.  Our center got hurt early on and our guys just never got in rhythm.  And defensively, I swear it seemed that KU must not have scouted this back-door play that MU kept running.  It was maddening to watch!
4.  But then…the last 14 minutes of regulation happened. Holy Moly!  MU had come out firing on all cylinders in the second half.  It was really rough to watch.  But then…something happened.  KU made a couple of three’s and got a few stops and quickly the lead had been chopped from 19 to 13 and then 11.  With just over 10 minutes to play, KU was back in the game!  It took all of those 10 minutes for KU to catch up.  KU’s Player-of-the-Year candidate, Thomas Robinson made a shot and was fouled with about 12 or 14 seconds left in the game.  He made the free-throw and KU made a defensive stand that sent the game into OT. 
When the buzzer sounded to end regulation, I don’t know if anyone could hear it.  Allen Fieldhouse was louder than I have ever heard it and I have been to some killer games at AF.  It. Was. Amazing.
5.  Overtime was intense, but it stayed so loud in the fieldhouse.  The lead changed hands a couple of times, but the important thing is…at the end of the OT, KU was up by 1 point.  Lest my husband point out my bias against Tyshawn Taylor…YES, he was amazing!  YES, I am proud to see him as the KU point guard, flaws and all.  Because that dude is a competitor.
6.  It was an incredible day and an incredible game!  I had THE. BEST. TIME. EVER. at the game on Saturday.  
7.  I heard on the radio driving home that the only other time KU was down 19 in Allen Fieldhouse and came back to win was in 1995 against UCLA.  And I was there for that one, too.  Man, have I been blessed!!
8.  KU has a short turnaround and has to play on the road on Big Monday.  It’s kind of a “trap” game and I hope they show up ready to play and clinch the Big 12 Title outright.  
9.  Oh…and did I mention?  This is 8 Straight Big 12 Championships for KU?  (photo provided by The University of Kansas Facebook Page)
10.  Finally:  This is one incredible, smart, hard-working, competitive guy!  I am SO GLAD he is our coach!

On Being a Jayhawk Fan

This past weekend, my beloved Jayhawks bowed out of the NCAA tournament in the Elite Eight.

You know, for any other program (except maybe UNC, Duke, Kentucky) that would not be cause for major mourning, but rejoicing in a great season.

Yes…other programs would rejoice in their team NOT winning the conference, NOT winning their conference Tourney and NOT getting to the Final Four BUT getting to an Elite Eight.  The fact that KU’s cross-state rival, K-State, made it to an Elite Eight last year (and fell short of the Final Four) was the cause of much rejoicing and partying.  The fact that our Border-Rival Missouri made it to the Elite Eight in 2009 (and not the Final Four) made their coach much-beloved. 

Even the fact that other teams (like Pitt, for example) lost to lower seeds and didn’t even make the Sweet Sixteen doesn’t remove this stigma that KU for some reason didn’t live up to expectations. 

In 2011, not one top-seeded team made it to the Final Four.  Further…no second-seeded team made it to the Final Four.  And Kansas lost to VCU, a team…by the way…that is mature, focused and playing some great ball (and it helps that they shoot lights-out from behind the 3-point arc).

No, I’m gonna say, there’s no shame in KU’s loss.  I don’t think there is EVER any shame in being one of the top 8 teams in the tournament. 

Add to the Elite Eight appearance the fact that KU – for the 7th consecutive year – won the Big XII title.  7 years in a row, KU is tops in their conference.  KU also reclaimed the Big 12 Championship title in the post-season tournament.  Oh yeah and their record is 35-3.  KU wins a heckuva lot more than they lose. 

Being a Jayhawk Basketball fan is bittersweet. 

You get to root your team on to a win most of the time.  You get to wear your gear and have lots of people in lots of different places say, “Rock Chalk!”  There’s a tradition of winning basketball that’s difficult for most other programs to go up against.  KU’s first coach was the inventor of the game himself.  We’ve had many “greats” play for KU – Wilt Chamberlain being the main one.  We have a coaching tree that spans to other great programs – Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp – both known for establishing and nurturing amazing programs at UNC and Kentucky respectively – hail from KU (played together, coached by Phog Allen). 

But because your team is in the NCAA tournament every year and usually seeded fairly high, many years, if/when they don’t make it to the Championship game, you have to put up with jubilant “other” fans telling you how your team choked.  And you have to listen to pundits talk about how KU didn’t fit the bill…yet again.  Even though your team was the only local team to make it that far.

I suppose I will take putting up with the sour “other” fans if it means that every year my team is winning the conference, winning the post-season Championship tournament and getting into the tournament…even highly seeded.  By the time you get to the Elite Eight – any team you meet is good.  Whether it is because they are on a roll, playing with a major chip on their shoulder or whatever. 

It’s true…KU didn’t win the NCAA Championship for 2011 (really?  losing in the Elite Eight is a choke?).  Fine.  It doesn’t mean their season is a major disappointment (I swear MU fans must write all these articles). 

Sure, as a KU fan, I’m disappointed they didn’t go all the way.  But I think it’s wise to remember that more years than not, KU is not going to go all the way to the Championship.  I’m so glad someone reminded me about 8 years ago…ONLY ONE TEAM WINS THE FINAL GAME

Why would some of my fellow Jayhawk “fans” want to berate this team and what they did not accomplish?

I’m pretty darn proud of our Jayhawks and what they DID accomplish. 

Further, I wish VCU well in the Final Four (I have family hailing from Richmond, VA – I’m a fan!)  I think we have a VERY good chance of seeing the tournament champion with an 8 or an 11 by their name (indicating their seed).

Big Game!!

I love my team.  I really do.  I have been a Jayhawk fan for as long as I can remember watching college basketball.  Which means somewhere around 1984 I started following them when I could.  The Jayhawks winning the National Championship in 1988 probably sealed it that I would be a Jayhawk forever.  I had posters of Danny Manning all over my wall.  The Kansas City Star ran a special edition right after KU won in 1988 and I had those pictures all over my wall, too.
Today is a big game.  It would be a big game whether or not KU was playing for the Big 12 title outright.  KU plays MU today.  They play in Columbia, MO where it’s always a crap-shoot whether KU will play a good game or not.  MU plays AWESOME when they play at home, so it’s a pretty tall order for KU to go in there and win.
The way I grew up with this rivalry, people really would get down to the bottom of it…back when Kansas was a “free” state and Missouri was a “slave” state.  Much blood was shed between the states over the issue.  And I think that history provides much intensity to the rivalry.  Unfortunately, that hatred boils over into much less important things these days…you know, like college basketball games.  But I love an intense rivalry.  It adds to the “flavor” of life sometimes.
As rivalries go, I always want my team to win.  I don’t think I’m too unique in that.
And from an emotional standpoint I probably would like for my team to win by 20 points all the time. But thankfully, that’s just my emotions, so I don’t get too upset most of the time.
But it’s really not my thing to “hate on” another team.  I would definitely rather beat a team when they are at their best than to just pummel a team that’s not playing their “A” game.  Of course, I’d rather the Jayhawks show up with their “A” game, too……’s SO not fun to watch your team play below level and get punked.  However, I’m quite hopeful that it’s true that the Jayhawks really aren’t over that loss in Manhattan.
Therefore, today I hope to see a great game between two talented teams where everyone plays to the best of their ability.  (I also pray the Morris twins don’t throw any elbows or any other punk moves…butwell…I hope I don’t see it from any players…these games get pretty intense). 

So, let the game begin!  


A Sports Sidetrack

I’m a big KU fan.  I graduated from KU in 1996.  I grew up in a town about 20 miles west of Lawrence, KS.  I was in 8th grade the year KU won the National Title over Oklahoma in Kansas City.  I had big posters of Danny Manning and Stacey King going up for shots in the big game. 
I got to thinking yesterday as I had a twitter discussion with Rebecca after WVU beat Purdue and the students stormed the court.  I made a comment along the lines that I would think that a team that’s been as good as WVU lately, would be past all that storming the court stuff.
A little background:  I don’t really understand the whole storming the court business.  I get it, I suppose, that kids are excited for their team’s win, and want to show that.  However, as a KU fan, it befuddles me.  We’ve won lots of big games, but never have I seen Naismith Court, in Allen Fieldhouse, rushed by fans or students.  I went to lots of games when I was a student.  Probably one of the best games I witnessed was in 1995, UCLA came to AFH for the first time, KU was down 15 at the half, but they came back and ended up winning by 15.  If there were ever enough energy for a stormin’ of the court…it was that game, but it didn’t happen.  
Over the years, I have come to realize that KU probably just wins too much for that sort of thing.  We KU fans are majorly spoiled.  I mean, we WIN at KU.  That’s the name of the game at KU in basketball.  The program is under the microscope.  A “bad year” at KU is a great year most other places.  For years, under Roy Williams, KU was always ranked in the top 10, getting top seeds in the tournament, challenging for the conference title.  When Bill Self came in for the 2003-04 season…well, let’s just say, he hit the ground running and (barring a couple of early years bad NCAA tournament losses) really hasn’t looked back.  I saw a statistic the other day that under Bill Self, KU has the highest winning percentage of all programs.  KU won the national title in 2008.  Bill Self will ever be loved at KU mainly because he did what Roy Williams never did.  He had a top program during the season AND post-season…he brought it home.
But, I digress.  I remember reading an article in the University Daily Kansan while I was a student there that basically reviewed for the student body what is expected of them at KU Basketball games.  And storming the court?  Absolutely a no-no!  Why?  Because, we were Kansas…no opponent we’d ever beat would be worth that sort of celebration.  It would be sort of saying, “We weren’t supposed to beat you, but we did” and at KU, that’s unheard of.  KU wins.  Period.
As I began writing tonight, I started a thread on KU message board asking when the last time the students stormed the court.  One person, being funny, said, 
“I know it probably doesn’t fit your definition of storming the court, but April 7, 2008.”  
Well, No, that doesn’t fit because that’s when KU won the National Title, and it wasn’t at AFH and well…damn straight they stormed the court, we were #1!  🙂  
But another response made me chuckle and went along with what I thought about KU basketball and what’s expected:  

There were a few dumbsh*ts that stormed the court after the Texas game a few years ago, can’t remember exactly which year.

But I don’t think i’ve ever seen a full on court storming in allen

And there was this response to that comment:

And those few knuckleheads got booed off the court and had to endure the walk of shame.

Exactly…what perennial top 10 team has fans that storm the court after a win over anyone?  Isn’t that just admitting that you weren’t supposed to win the game?
I am always a little interested when I see students of universities where their programs seem to be trying to take their performance to that next level…where they are expected to win.  And when they rush the court after a win, I wonder that it seems they want respect like they “belong” but then they go and do that? It doesn’t make sense to me.
Take WVU for instance…John Beilein had that program working well the years he was there.  It really wasn’t all that much for Bob Huggins to come in and take over…besides the fact that Bob Huggins has ways of getting his players in there pretty quickly.  WVU has been in the discussion every year in the Big East for the last 5-10 years.  Last year WVU went to the Final Four.  And, I was a little bit surprised when they rushed the floor after their team beat Purdue, ranked #8.  Purdue may be #8…but they are still in the Big 10 and typically only a couple of Big 10 teams are legitimately good each year…sometimes it’s Purdue in the mix and sometimes it’s not.  A win over #8…means you storm the court?  Does that mean you don’t think you should have beaten a #8 team?  There are lots of universities where kids are just itchin’ to storm the floor.  I know it, because it happens and gets ESPN coverage…because it’s usually KU, Duke, UNC, UCLA, Kentucky or some other big power-team that got beat.  I was just surprised to see it happen when it was *just* Purdue.
I had a suspicion that Rebecca would post about this topic today…but of course, I’ve written my thoughts without seeing hers yet.  I wanted this to mainly be my own meanderings on the subject and not really an attack or reaction to whatever she might write on it.  

Just so you get a feeling of what it’s like to be part of the KU Basketball Tradition…I leave you with this video … it runs on the scoreboard right before the Jayhawks’ Starting Lineup is announced.  It’s from 2008-09 best copy I could find on You Tube.  So, just add a couple more conference championships in there (are we at 53 or 54???  I know we’ve won a share of the last 6, and the last two outright).  And add a slew of wins to total all-time wins (we’re close to 2000…if we haven’t passed it yet.  We had 1970 at beginning of 2009-10 season).

And it wouldn’t be a KU Basketball post without: