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Completed chat with Matt Tait

March 14, 2012

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

Matt Tait

Have a question about KU basketball or football? Send it to Matt, who will be taking questions at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Moderator:

Hey guys. This is Jesse Newell, KUsports.com online editor. I'm here with Matt Tait. Matt, are you ready for this?

Matt Tait:

Indeed I am. We should point out that we're on the road to Omaha so if the connection gets sporadic, you'll all know why. Let's rock!

jayhawkinmullen:

Is there any conceivable way KU loses to Detroit?

Matt Tait:

Wow. Let's get right to it.

In a nutshell, yes. The KU coaches and players have gone on and on this week talking about how talented, athletic and dangerous Detroit is. It's not coach speak. It's legit. They have a very talented starting five, with one McDonald's All-American and another player who transferred from Indiana. These guys won't be scared or intimidated by Kansas.

That said, I get the sense that the Jayhawks are very focused and that the loss to Baylor in the Big 12 tournament turned up their focus a level or two. KU fans should be thrilled by that and I'm guessing KU will win its Round 1 game by 12-15 points.

Should be a great game to watch, though, if you like fast-paced, athletic basketball.

d_prowess:

Is it time for a percentage wheel on which Big 12 team makes it the farthest in the tournament?

Matt Tait:

Now that you've asked it is... Long live the percentage wheel!!!

1. Kansas 33%
2. Missouri 27%
3. Baylor 20%
4. Kansas State 9%
5. Iowa State 6%
6. Texas 5%

When we're done with the chat, lemme know in the comments below if you agree or disagree...

Bangkok_Jayhawk:

Star rankings are not everything, but they are usually a decent measure of a players talent... That being said, why has KU used scholarships since the signing day to sign 2 guys (Page and Sterling) with a very low ranking? Neither was ranked above a 5.3 on Rivals.com. Is this a sign of "reaching" or is it Weis evaluating talent differently?

Matt Tait:

I definitely don't think it's reaching. Weis said in his introductory press conference that he was not going to take players just to fill up spots. He was going to take players who fill needs and who can flat-out play.

We've been through this before at KU -- many times -- and it's something fans should be used to by now. At least at the moment, KU is going to have to be comfortable with loading up on the 2 and 3 star guys that all the big dogs don't want. After that, if they build a winner, some of the 4 and 5 star guys may start looking. Just the way it goes. But more often than not, you have to win first.

You're very right though about the rankings not meaning everything. A lot of coaches take guys to fit a specific system or guys they consider to be "their guys".... doesn't make them less talented, just not as highly touted. I bet we'll see a lot of that with Weis, especially during the first year or two.

tmyoung:

What is it about the ESPN deal that implies it will put a stop to expansion talk for awhile? As much as I like the form factor of a 10 team conference, it sure seems like the mindset should be on expansion.

I want see the Big 12 land Louisville and Cincinnati, and begin to look east to continue to grow. My dream, grab Rutgers and UConn, and then convince Syracuse and Pitt to abandon the ACC for the Big 12. Basically complete the Big East merger to get to 16 that should have happened before the Big East went nuts inviting any school in the lower 48.

Can we get there?

Matt Tait:

I haven't had a lot of time to digest the specifics of that potential deal and haven't talked to anyone about it yet.

My guess is that the language about stopping at 10 serves two purposes:

1. More money for all of the existing member schools (and less money that ESPN had to cough up initially)

2. It also would add stability for all of the schools, which would then know a specific amount that they would be getting and therefore would be able to budget accordingly.

That said, I don't think the deal (if and when it's done) would mean that the Big 12 will never expand. I've heard over and over, even before this deal, that expansion isn't likely happening for a while...

plotku:

Since the media wasn't allowed into pro day, is there anyway to know what teams had scouts there, and what they thought?

Matt Tait:

It's doubtful. Sometimes they release the numbers a few days after the event, so I'll keep an eye out for that.

Even then, we might not know who was there. I'm hoping to touch base with some of the guys who went through pro day today a little later on so we'll see if I get 'em and if they can tell me how many scouts were there.

I'm bummed that we didn't get to cover it this year. I love that event. I also understand why coach Weis shut it down, though. Probably gives the players the best chance to do well...

tkeegan:

Set the over/under for attendance at the spring football game, Dayne Crist's debut.

Matt Tait:

Wow. Good one. I'll give you a number, but let me say this first... I hope the attendance is through the roof good. As long as the weather cooperates, I'm guessing it will be.

As for the over/under on number of bodies in the seats, I'll set it at 15,000, but I won't be taking bets.

I don't have any idea how many people are going to show up, but as someone who has lived in Lawrence since 1988 I can tell you that I don't remember a single spring that had as much excitement and anticipation surrounding football as this one.

Moderator:

Time for a couple more ...

clevelandjayhawker:

Do you think Danny Manning will be a head coach in the next 5 years?

Matt Tait:

I do. There was a great article about this in our paper today by Gary Bedore, and although Manning's answers about this topic were pretty vague, I think it'll happen.

http://www2.kusports.com/news/2012/mar/14/post-presence-assistant-coach-manning-making-most-/

He's ready now, but that doesn't mean it's a do-or-die year for him to get a job. He'll be patient and make darn sure that he picks the right fit and gives himself every chance to succeed.

I think the opportunities will increase tremendously during the next few years, as well. In my opinion, it's only a matter of time.

Moderator:

OK, last one.

mcrckchlk:

If it were ever to come into fruition, what would your thoughts be on a KU-ND football game sometime in the future?

Matt Tait:

I think it would be awesome, but I'm not sure it would happen any time soon. I doubt Weis would be ready for that just yet and I don't know what Notre Dame would stand to gain by playing against Weis and the Jayhawks.

Call me crazy (again), but I'm still holding out hope that the Big 12 can entice Notre Dame to join the conference one day. If that happens, the game would happen every year.

One more thing to consider about your dare-to-dream scenario, there are dozens of other schools out there who would love to be on Notre Dame's schedule, too.

Moderator:

Thanks everyone for joining us and for the questions.

Matt Tait:

Yep! Thanks a bunch for participating and for being flexible again to move it to Wednesday because of the tournament. Absolutely awesome to see so much interest in football even though we're in the middle of March Madness.

See ya next week and be sure to check out Gary Bedore's KU Hoops chat on Friday.

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