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Chat Friday with KU beat writer Gary Bedore

February 2, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

As the Jayhawks hit the midway point of conference play, who better to ask about the team than the man who's been there every step of the way? Journal-World men's basketball beat writer Gary Bedore will be here to field your questions Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. just over 24 hours before KU's biggest home game of the season against No. 8 Texas A&M.

Moderator:

Hello and welcome to today's chat. I am Ryan Greene, editor of KUSports.com, and joining me from right over the partition between our desks is Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer Gary Bedore. Gary, thanks for being here. Must have been nice to not have a game to cover since Monday, huh?

Gary Bedore:

Yes but there's never a dead moment even without the games.
Still are up at KU every day and still seeking out the stories, comments from
players, etc. So it really doesn't matter if there are games or not from
my standpoint. But thanks for asking.

Moderator:

Well then before we get started, what's been the big news at the Field House this week?

Gary Bedore:

Good question. The big news? I would say the big news is the anticipation of the biggest game since the Oklahoma State game. People are anxious to see if KU can beat A&M and continue its winning streak against Big 12 South teams at home and remain in first place in the league.

Moderator:

Well, with that said...

Whetter:

Gary...thanks for all the great coverage! What is the key player matchup to keep an eye on tomorrow night? Secondly, what is your favorite dip at a tailgate? I'm trying to get ready for a big day of Bears football on Sunday.

Gary Bedore:

The key matchup is probably Acie Law vs. Russell Robinson or whomever else Bill Self puts on Law.
And of course the inside game. Can KU stop Joseph Jones and the skilled big man with a name that is difficult for anybody, much less me, to spell.
But you never know who will step up for the opposition in the fieldhouse.
It could be anybody.
Also A&M has to stop KU's star players like Brandon Rush. Who will the Aggies
put on Rush to try to slow him? Ditto Chalmers.
There will be a lot of interesting matchups.

Gary Bedore:

Favorite dip is salsa, just like Kevin Romary's favorite dip.

Moderator:

As for the Bears, we can get back to that one a little later...

weaglehawk:

Gary- I had a chance to see Texas A&M play earlier this season when they faced Auburn. I was extremely impressed by their ability to lockdown defensively for 40 minutes and at how physical they were. Seeing as how the Jayhawks' big men have struggled to grab rebounds and score inside the paint, can the Jayhawks survive with great guard play alone on the offensive and defensive end?

Gary Bedore:

I don't like creamy dips like nacho stuff.

Gary Bedore:

In answer to your question, I would say no.
I would think Sasha and Jackson and Arthur must come ready to play if KU
is to win. I think you pointed out something very important.
A&M does lock down defensively. The Aggies have the best defense statistically in the league, if not the entire country.
It is possible KU could win with great guard play alone, let's say if Brandon and Mario score in bunches early, but it is NOT likely.
The big men will have to show up. Arthur could be very important.
It's time for Darrell to have a big game. It may be needed for victory.

Moderator:

And if I'm not mistaken, Joseph Jones came into the Field House as a freshman and had a huge game against the Jays, right?

Gary Bedore:

Here's an interesting tidbit:

The Aggies lead the nation in field-goal percentage defense and are second in scoring defense. Nobody all year has scored more than 70 against them.

Gary Bedore:

Yes, A&M almost won that game two years ago. A&M led late as I recall.
That was a low scoring game.
Jones is really good. He's an example of the great talent available in Texas.

Gary Bedore:

Jones had 16 and 7 in that game. Not bad for a rookie! Last year Russell exploded for 24 at A&M. Nice game by Russell, who cashed a lot of free throws that night in College Station.

Moderator:

Of course, a lot of people's attention is turned to KU with ESPN's College Gameday in town...so in the spirit...

ku_painter:

What color tie and highlighter do you think Digger will sport tomorrow?

Gary Bedore:

Maybe a Jayhawk tie? Those ties you can buy for all-purpose gifts at the Bookstore?
But I'd say a red tie, crimson if you will.
What is a highligher? A teleprompter?

Gary Bedore:

Their teleprompter will be gray I would say.

Moderator:

Speaking of Gameday, how hard is it for the KU players to not let that become a distraction, especially sitting at the Towers all day watching ESPN and constantly seeing coverage flip back to the Gameday set?

Gary Bedore:

I don't think GameDay will be a distraction in itself. Sitting around all day will test both KU and A&M.
In theory, it's supposed to be easier on the home team sitting around all day in the apartment rather than a hotel room.
I don't know what I'd do if I was a coach and had to have my players waste a whole day.
I think I'd scrap the morning meal, let them sleep til noon and then start the day.
College kids like Rush like to sleep anyway.
But I think what will happen is they'll eat about 10 a.m., have a shootaround, then have the afternoon to lounge around. I don't think they'll worry about what's being said on GameDay.
If it was warmer out, they could go for a walk downtown. The Aggies probably will do that anyway to get out of the hotel.

Gary Bedore:

By the way does this chat mean that it will appear on Google for the next year? It's amazing how Google catches everything that happens in Internet-land.

Moderator:

Lets move away from tomorrow's game a little bit...

djkc28:

Hi Gary,

2 questions for you.
1. Any idea who, if anyone, will go pro after this season from KU? and

2. What do you think of the theory that KU's biggest challenge in the NCAA tournament are the mid-major/lesser known teams in the 1st two rounds, and once we're past that and start playing big-name teams, we will play to our potential.

Gary Bedore:

Question 1) I don't know who will turn pro. I would say it's the usual names of Rush, Chalmers, Arthur. Julian says he's coming back. Kaun says he's coming back. His mom is already looking forward to her visit next year.
If KU was to win it all and that's what fans want, I'd say a lot of them could turn pro.
The pro issue, as you know, can be discussed from now until the day Baylor wins the Big 12 (sorry Baylor, not meant to be a cheap shot). You don't need to be "ready" necessarily. Teams draft on potential, blah blah blah. You know the drill.

Gary Bedore:

Question 2.) Obviously the mid majors are a HUGE threat to KU judging by what happened with Bucknell and Bradley.
But if KU does escape Butler this year, that doesn't mean it's smooth sailing all the way til the Final Four.
Basically you need to get hot and beat everybody.
You have to do what Florida did a year ago.
Roll over the field.

gbr34:

Since there are so many superstars on this team, do you see Aldrich and Reed as more of role players next season or key contributors?

Gary Bedore:

No ... I don't have any inside info KU will be playing Butler.
That was a joke. Did you know my distant cousin Tim Bedore is a comedian?
He is.

Gary Bedore:

My brother's name also is Tim. Forgive me for typing wildly here.
Next question please.

Gary Bedore:

Well, I think both have the chance to step right in and play some.
My gut feeling is a maximum of 10 minutes a game.
The minimum could be the type of minutes Morningstar has garned his freshman season.
It really depends on how they buy into the weight program this summer.
I do think fans should be patient with both.
Both players have potential to be very good players at Kansas.
Don't run them out of town with ultra high expectations.
Watch them improve. They will be different players as juniors than they
are as freshmen. Enjoy their progress.

Moderator:

Gary, before we let you go, are you pretty pumped for the Super Bowl? First your Sox, now maybe your (and my) Bears? Which title would be bigger?

Gary Bedore:

The Sox is much bigger because baseball is the greatest game ever invented.
And Chicago hadn't had a winner in baseball since Nebraska's last league hoops title (oops, now I'm ripping on the good people of Nebraska).
But the Bears title would be huge, especially considering everybody seems to think it's a 1-1 battle between Manning and Grossman.
Let's see if quarterbacks truly decide the game. No one in their right mind would take Rex over Peyton.
But can the Bears' TEAM beat the Colts?
I say yes.
Bears 31, Colts 14

Moderator:

Plus, mind you, Rex has thrown 1 interception this postseason. I believe Peyton has 5 or 6. Just throwing that out there....Gary, any final comments before you get back to the daily grind?

Gary Bedore:

Well, I'd say try to enjoy the ride the rest of the way.
The A&M game is a biggie, then 5-2, yes 5-2 Kansas State comes to town.
The Wildcats are good and they won here last year.
Missouri is capable of beating KU in Mizzou Arena, especially if the Tigers play
as they did here.
Goodbye and good luck to all.

Moderator:

Peace out. See you all next week.

Moderator:

Oh yeah, and Dunk you very much for joining us, Gary. We'll have you back before Tourney Time.

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