Archive for Monday, January 7, 2008

Kansas among half-dozen remaining undefeateds

Kansas guard Russell Robinson pulls away a steal from Boston College guard Tyrese Rice  during the second half Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008 at the Silvio O. Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Kansas guard Russell Robinson pulls away a steal from Boston College guard Tyrese Rice during the second half Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008 at the Silvio O. Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

January 7, 2008


'Hawks handle Boston College

On Saturday, the Jayhawk men's basketball team remained perfect after a 85-60 beating of Boston College. Enlarge video

Just six of the country's 341 Div. I men's basketball teams take perfect records into Week Two of the New Year.

The Sensational Six?

North Carolina (15-0), Memphis (13-0), Washington State (13-0), Vanderbilt (15-0), Mississippi (13-0) and Kansas University (14-0).

"We don't talk about that much," KU coach Bill Self said of his Jayhawks being undefeated entering the final nonconference game of the 2007-08 season - Tuesday's 7 p.m. home battle against (6-8) Loyola College (Md.). "We just try to get better every day and talk about getting better."

The fact it's almost impossible to go undefeated - Indiana was the last team to do so back in 1976 - doesn't stop pundits from discussing teams' chances of accomplishing the rare feat.

ESPN's Andy Katz, impressed by KU's 85-60 road blowout of Boston College on Saturday, says, "We need to start examining Kansas, not just Memphis, as a legitimate contender to run the table in the regular season. Kansas still has to go to Texas (Feb. 11) and Texas A&M; (March 8). But the Jayhawks are talented, tough and sound enough to win both those road hurdles.

"Is it doable? Yes. Is it probable? Likely not, based on how the Longhorns and Aggies have played at home in recent seasons," Katz added in his column at "But the Jayhawks have as much of a shot as Memphis (or even North Carolina, for that matter) not just to go undefeated but to be in San Antonio the first week in April (for Final Four)."

Undefeated talk might be fun, but facts suggest the Jayhawks - and other teams like North Carolina (overtime winners over Clemson on Sunday) - already have had some close calls and certainly will have more.

KU needed overtime to subdue Arizona, 76-72, on Nov. 25 at Allen Fieldhouse. Also, two of KU's three road games could have gone either way - 59-55 on Dec. 2 at Southern Cal and 71-66 on Dec. 18 at Georgia Tech.

"I think we can get better," Self said after Saturday's rout. "I think we can guard better over 40 minutes, although over half the game today we defended really well."

His players appear convinced they are far from a finished product with the always-competitive league season not even started.

"We are decent right now," junior guard Mario Chalmers said, "but we have a lot of things we need to do to get a lot better - defense, rebounding, not getting in droughts, not going with minutes without scoring, things like that.

"We've got to keep playing hard and playing together," he added. "That's why we've been successful so far. We're playing together."

Self definitely likes the makeup of this team.

"You've got to have four big guys. Even though our young guy (freshman Cole Aldrich) is not where he's going to be, he gives us four quality big guys," Self said. "You've got to have multiple point guards. We have that. You've got to have guys who can stretch it (defense out to three-point line). We are a little inconsistent, but we've got that. There's some talented pieces in place. Then it comes down to intangibles. How much you like each other and how tough you are and how unselfish you are. That remains to be seen if we can sustain that throughout the season, but I think the pieces are in place for us to have a good year."

¢ Good team:'s Jeff Goodman watched BC athletic director Gene DeFillipo approach KU's Self in a hallway after Saturday's game at Conte Forum.

"I think this is the best team that's come in here in my 11 years," DeFillipo told the KU coach.

¢ Loyola's record: Tuesday's foe, Loyola College (Md.), has defeated Pennsylvania, American, Vermont, Howard and Manhattan and has split games with Iona, and also lost to Towson, Seton Hall, Drexel, Mt. St. Mary's, Dayton, Illinois and Fairfield.

¢ Little bit on Little: Future KU player Mario Little, who has averaged 15.9 points off 59 percent shooting and 4.9 rebounds for Chipola (Fla.) Community College, tells the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat he is happy to be out of hometown Chicago for the time being.

Little, whose mother is incarcerated and father not a part of his life, is a fan favorite at Chipola.

"I like it better down here because everything in Chicago is fast," Little, a former Washington High guard, told the Democrat. "Down here you never have to worry about things like that," he said about getting in trouble on the streets. "I still like Chicago, but here I'm concentrating on school. That's the only thing I really need anyway."

Little said his high school coach and grandmother helped him finally get on track academically.

"I was on a road to destruction. I had a friend, and I saw him do stuff, and he's crazy now. He is in the crazy home. I can't do that," Little said.

"You've got to be strong," Little added. "If you walked in my shoes, you'd be in the crazy home. I don't even think about it. I don't chew myself up over it. I've got to be me. I can't be like everybody else. I can't worry if my life is so messed up. I'm still breathing."


Mylantahawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I like to see that our Jayhawks are not reveling in their undefeated status, relying on their games to do their talking! It will not be easy to run the table this, or any, year. Texas is a formidable opponent Feb. 11, but they can likely rise to that occasion. I'm worried about a lesser opponent that we take lightly, who catches us off guard and has a sensational night from beyond the arc. We have to play within ourselves, not just assume that we can't be beat! I think this team is special, and will go far, provided they keep their head in it! Self is doing a great job keeping the players grounded. They haven't done anything yet, until they win six straight in March!

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