Completed chat with Matt Tait

March 21, 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 2 p.m. Wednesday.


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

Matt Tait:

Ready and able... OK, that second part may be debatable, but let's get rolling!


Matt, How worried is the KU staff that they might lose Danny Manning to anther school at some point? He seems so key to our big-man success and recuriting but also seems to want his own gig. Will he only leave for a head coaching job?

Matt Tait:

At this point, they're clearly too busy to be worried about anything but North Carolina State so I don't think that's an immediate concern.

On top of that, I think Bill Self would be proud and thrilled for Manning to get a head coaching job and I think he would do everything in his power to help him get one as long as it's the right one for Manning.

If Gregg Marshall were to leave Wichita State (and people are going after him), I think Wichita State and Manning would be a perfect marriage.

I think it's going to happen someday -- probably sooner rather than later --- and I think the KU staff is preparing for that, as well.


Matt, at the end of the Baylor loss and the last 5 minutes of the Purdue game specifically TRob has missed more 3 foot "bunnies" than he has missed all year. Is this a symptom of fatigue and how many more can he miss before he stops getting the ball in crunch time?

Matt Tait:

I don't think it's necessarily fatigue, though that can't be overlooked. I actually think it's a case of Thomas trying too hard. The guy is ultra-competitive and sometimes gets a little sped up and out of control when he's giving everything he has to bring his team back.

On one hand, you want guys like that because it means you're never out of it until the final buzzer.

On the other hand, you'd like to see him settle down a little and capitalize on those types of shots.

Lastly, I think some of the credit for Thomas' recent struggles in that area has to be given to opposing defenses. They are ALL trying to do everything in their power to frustrate, limit and stop Robinson.


Matt, with the way the girls basketball team is playing this year and surprising everyone, do you think Bonnie has turned the corner with her job here at KU?

Matt Tait:

First, lemme apologize for my use of the word "lastly" in my previous answer. It's not a word.

Now, as for your question, I think this year's success has helped Bonnie immensely in terms of being in position to take KU to the next level. But they're not there yet.

The run to the Sweet 16 should be huge for them in terms of recruiting, fan support and confidence. But make no mistake about it, I think in order for her to be here long term these types of seasons are going to have to become the norm.


Do you have any read on whether Campo will go strictly with a 3-4 or will he also use 4-3 and do you see Bakare flourishing under these new coaches?

Matt Tait:

Good question. And it's a popular one. I asked him that very thing a few weeks back and he gave a great answer.

Here it is:

“I have a background in both. Really, the last four years in Dallas, it’s been 3-4, with Wade Phillips and with Rob Ryan. I feel I’m in pretty good shape on both of those.... I’d like to be able to use a little bit of both so it’s a little bit more difficult for the offense.”

No word yet on what that exactly means, but I'm guessing their base will be the 3-4 because of guys like Bakare, who can flat-out fly.


Will KU be flying to St Louis?

Matt Tait:

I seem to remember something about them taking a bus if the trip is fewer than 4 (or maybe 5) hours... They did bus to Omaha.

We're driving to St. Louis right now and are in two different cars. Jesse's in the car with Gary Bedore, who knows everything about KU hoops... Jesse, you wanna ask GB and take it from here?


Yep, KU will come in on a bus. Sorry, I mis-read the question and thought someone was asking about us. We're doing a high-speed chat right now.


True or False... James Sims will have a 1,000 yard season.

Matt Tait:


He hasn't had one yet and he's been by far the Jayhawks' best back in each of the last two seasons.

Charlie Weis will run a lot and Sims will get plenty of carries. But so will guys like Brandon Bourbon, Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox, so I just don't see the opportunity being there for Sims to crack the 1,000-yard mark.

That said, I think he'll be a big part of the offense and continue to hold down his role of Mr. Reliable.


I'll take this one, Matt.


I will be honest, the Purdue game is still bothering me. Here is what I don't understand. A guy like me has access to general stats that any average fan can find.

How is it that I can look up stats and find that Robbie Hummel prior to the Kansas game shot 67 for 179 good for almost 38 percent from behind the arc. That stat alone was good enough for best on the team percentage wise, second on the team in makes, and second on the team in attempts.

For a guy where 40 percent of his overall FG attempts (179 of his Total 450 FG attempts for the season) were from behind the arc..............why on earth would you put Thomas Robinson to start the game on Robbie Hummel?

I'm still baffled at this game plan, decision, and matchup? I really wish the LJW staff would have asked Bill Self this question. IMO, that decision alone set back the Jayhawks the entire game.

You do great stuff, Matt and I won't hide behind being anonymous. :)


BigManU (Chris Shaw)


I actually went to the postgame press conference with Self partially to ask that question. Then he addressed it in one of his first answers.

Here's what Self said:

"It was a bad match-up for us. We knew that going in. We started conventional with Thomas on (Hummel). ... When you only have 30 minutes to practice against them, we never got in a rhythm. We were awful. They made us pay for our mistakes."

To go small against Purdue requires KU to change up its basic defensive principles, which is to hedge on ball screens and play big. To play small, KU has to play defensively like it hasn't most of the year (switching ball screens, etc.).

In playing small, KU also is substituting Conner Teahan for Jeff Withey, which doesn't bring nearly the punch defensively.

Do I think starting Robinson on Hummel was a mistake? I do. Robinson couldn't guard Missouri's Kim English, so the odds of him being able to guard Hummel were small.

But I think Self was still hoping that Robinson could do it, and he gave Robinson the opportunity to prove him wrong so KU could still play its defense with its best five on the floor. Obviously, after Hummel's three three-pointers to start, Self abandoned that idea immediately.


After beating Purdue in a close game do you think this will help us get to the final four or even the championship?

Matt Tait:

Can't hurt. They're one step closer and probably a little looser because of it.

They always say — and I'm sure you've heard this a million other places — that the teams that go on to win the title always have that one close game that almost cost them. It's incredibly true. With KU in 2008, it was Davidson. With KU in 1988, it was Murray State.

Maybe Purdue will be that team for this year's Jayhawks. Maybe not.

But if you like omens, consider that the last three teams to knock off Purdue in the NCAA Tournament all reached the Final Four. One of them even won it all. Tough luck for the Boilers, good news for Kansas.

We'll see what happens.


Time for a couple more ...


Hey Matt,

Have you heard any details surrounding the incident that took place with Banks Floodman near the Sprint Center during the recent Big 12 Tournament? Some have said he was sucker punched by a person wearing a yellow jacket. Have criminal charges been pressed against the person arrested, and if so, have they named the alleged assailant? I hope Banks is doing okay after surgery.

Matt Tait:

Lemme guess, that's code for your car reaching the exit to go have lunch at Biffle's... I'll let you off the hook for that one, but I do love these car chats... they make the trip fly by.

Matt Tait:

Onto the question...

We just heard about the Floodman incident last Sunday night when we were at the KU-Purdue game. Sounds like a bad deal, but it also sounds like Banks is doing fine.

In fact, Jim Marchiony told me Sunday night that he expected Floodman to be back to work on Monday. The guy loves KU and he loves his job.

Don't know much about the details with lawsuits and all that. Just glad he's OK and if we do hear more, we'll be sure to post it.


Actually we're here, and I'm in the car, and Gary and Nick are taunting me through the window while eating. So that means this is the last question ...


As Jayhawk Nation gets ready to take over St. Louis this weekend, which STL artist do you recommend we listen to on the drive down I-70? Nelly or Akon?

Matt Tait:

Keegan says Neil Young, who's from Canada... But, to answer your question, I gotta go with Nelly. Maybe it's because I'm 33 and can remember when Nelly and the St. Lunatics were huge, but, let's be real, you can't beat that guy's list of hits.

Country Grammar it is...


Thanks to everyone for your questions.

Matt Tait:

Absolutely.... Another great chat. Be sure to check out all of our tournament coverage from St. Louis throughout the week and don't forget about those women playing in Des Moines. We'll have our guy Benton Smith on the ground up there.

Enjoy the madness and we'll see you for another chat next week!!!

Spring football starts Tuesday!


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