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Archive for Thursday, February 4, 2010

This had odd air about it

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed knocks a loose ball to KU's Marcus Morris with seconds remaining in overtime against Colorado, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 at the Coors Event Center in Boulder.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed knocks a loose ball to KU's Marcus Morris with seconds remaining in overtime against Colorado, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 at the Coors Event Center in Boulder.

February 4, 2010

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2010 Kansas at Colorado
GameDay Cram Session: Colorado

KUSports.com online editor Jesse Newell and Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan take a look at what to expect from the Kansas basketball team's matchup against Colorado. Enlarge video

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— From the coach to the veteran players, members of the Kansas University basketball team repeatedly have made it clear the No. 1 ranking thrills them not in the slightest in February.

Maybe so, but it means a ton to every opponent on the schedule. It gives each one a cause. For the underdogs, it’s a chance to gain national recognition in the most important way in their worlds, which of course means leading that night’s SportsCenter telecast.

For the Colorado University players, Wednesday represented an opportunity to carve a lifelong memory out of an otherwise mediocre season packed with homecourt victories and road losses.

The cause made the students louder, put a little extra oomph in the talented dance team’s every move and fueled the home players with adrenaline, the perfect ingredient to blend with the looseness that comes with playing on the side nobody thinks has a shot to win.

Conversely, for most of the night, Kansas played without a cause, and it showed. You can’t win one for the Gipper every night.

How in the world did a Colorado team that now has lost as many as it has won take No. 1 Kansas to overtime before losing, 72-66?

The explanations ranged from the especially troublesome altitude to mysterious shooting woes from close range, the free-throw line and beyond.

It was such an eerie night in the Coors Events Center that one strange thought stepped to the forefront of a brain, mine, crammed with so many: Everyone always talks about how much farther the baseball travels in the Colorado altitude, but nobody ever concludes that the basketball does the same.

“I think I’m going to take that, and I’m going to tell coach that’s why we missed all those free throws, the ball was going too long,” said Sherron Collins, who made just six of 17 from the field and misfired on all five three-point attempts.

Collins was joking. Sadly, I wondered if there might be something to the original theory. Remember, people used to think the earth was flat, mocked the first who said otherwise.

The obvious counter to the reality that some of the free-throw misses were so short they were nearly airballs: Visiting players subconsciously become aware of the long-ball theory and compensate by aiming shorter, an adjustment that backfires because legs grow tired more quickly because of the thin air. Tired legs result in short shots.

Unusual circumstances trigger bizarre thoughts. Yet, it’s not as odd as it seems for such a mismatch to become a coin toss. Just last week, now-No. 2 Syracuse defeated overmatched DePaul by just two points.

Heavy-legged and light-headed, Kansas didn’t play a particularly smart game. Tyshawn Taylor’s wild drive and shot hard off the glass seven seconds into the shot clock while protecting a three-point lead with less than three minutes remaining raised the question: Has a player’s role ever been to take a wild shot seven seconds into the shot clock while protecting a three-point lead?

In overtime, the Jayhawks played smarter and embraced a simple cause: win. They did. In the end, that’s all that ever matters.

Comments

TopJayhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm pretty much over the Tyshawn thing. He needs to get his head on straight, or go home. He has embarassed this School enough.
He doesn't get it, on or off the court, and probably never will. I say cut him loose, and give the scholarship to someone else.

Sparko 4 years, 10 months ago

The arena temperature was what, 95-degrees? Colorado's players looked like they had collectively wet their shorts. Another part of road games: you have to play the in the comfort zone of the other team. Good, tough win. Kansas needs some rest.

Scruggsy 4 years, 10 months ago

It did look like it was really hot in there, judging from the extreme amounts of sweat on the players, and Coach Self. Add that to the high altitude, and I think the tired/ weak legs theory is probably most to blame for the poor foul shooting. Great win though! It sure wasn't pretty, and I didn't like some of the stupid things we did at the end of regulation, but its still a good Big 12 road win... Colorado is much improved.

cato_the_elder 4 years, 10 months ago

An arena posing as a Hot Yoga studio is no excuse for what Coach Self himself termed "miserable" playing. Despite the presence of many KU fans and occasionally decent individual play, as a whole our team was simply awful for the last 30 minutes of the game. I wonder how many KU fans were thinking of what happened on the Buffs' football field last fall and, in retrospect, what that one loss may have done to turn the rest of our football season upside down.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

The guys didn't have their legs under 'em from the start and it definitely looked like it was the altitude that was the issue. Shots were predictably short, the free throws missed everywhere - left right straight on - everywhere! When's the last time you've seen Sherron toss 2 passes into the seats like that? And just about every jump shot saw the shooter falling away after release. Those are all tell-tale signs of oxygen depletion- fatigue, poor motor function, passivity. I told my buddy it'd probably be a close one, those guys beat Baylor this year, they're no slouch, but that was too close!

Good thing we have Cole, another phenomenal game for the big man.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

Maybe not, cheese, but then the NBA puts alot of merit in 'potential'. He definitely needs to get aggressive or I won't be surprised to see Tyshawn getting more of his minutes. He's thinking about his shot, nothing's smooth. He'll get it back.

Don Whiteley 4 years, 10 months ago

The Jayhawks continue to demonstrate that in 2010, they are definitely NOT a bird of prey. There is no killer instinct in them what-so-ever, they are as mild as a pat of luke-warm margarine and continue to get by low class opponents by the skin of their teeth. Last night, they gave Colorado the opportunity to win the game, something that should have never happened. Nebraska and Colorado should have both been road kill, but the Hawks struggled mightily against each of them. The game against the second stringers at Tennesse was a disaster, making them look very much like the #10-15 rated team they seem to want to be . They take that same attitude and style of play into Texas, expect a 20 point blowout and a fall to a more appropriate ranking.

Joe Hyde 4 years, 10 months ago

Sparko's comment got me to thinking: I can't recall watching a game where the players sweated as much. Every time one of our guys stepped to the freethrow line he looked like he'd been sprayed head to toe with a garden hose. It's a miracle none of the players slipped on wet spots in the lane and suffered serious injury.

You would think for visiting teams especially, playing in a thin-air/hot-air environment would be doubly difficult on your body (if you're not used to doing it). Combine those two physical difficulties with having to defend Colorado's tricky offensive patterns, it creates a situation where visiting players have inordinate difficulty hitting free throws.

Stepping to the line sweating profusely, gasping for air...that's gotta take a toll on your normal FT accuracy.

You ask me, KU's win last night over Colorado on CU's home court was a more impressive gut check than beating K-State in Manhattan.

oldtimer39 4 years, 10 months ago

@distant_voice: I expect that against Texas, KU will have the same attitude and style of play they had against Temple, Missouri and K-State. Coach Self gets his guys motivated for the big games. Like Keegan alludes to, it's hard to find a cause to play for every game.

It may have been ugly last night, but it's still a win.

Steve Miller 4 years, 10 months ago

hawks escape again, it aint gonna be this way all the time, lets see what happens in texas ...

Darwin bless us all

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 10 months ago

Altitude? Gimme a break!

How about "we played like crap"? Just man up and admit it. KU should never lose to Colorado...EVER.

This team is playing with my emotions. One game they run someone out of the gym, the next they almost lose to a conference bottom feeder.

I know KU's a great team...maybe the best team in the country...but this kind of inconsistency does not bode well for winning six consecutive road games against quality opponents...aka the NCAA Tournament. Just my two cents.

beaujackson 4 years, 10 months ago

Playing at 6,000' is probably worth 10 points - to Colorado.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 10 months ago

riverat (Joe Hyde) says… Stepping to the line sweating profusely, gasping for air…that's gotta take a toll on your normal FT accuracy. ============================================ As if sweating profusely and gasping for air isn't part of any basketball game? They have the deepest team in the country...stamina should never be an issue with KU.

Why's everyone so quick to make excuses for the Hawks? Why can't anyone just admit they played badly last night?

riverdrifter 4 years, 10 months ago

"KU should never lose to Colorado…EVER."

That was true in years past but the league is changing and getting tougher. CU finally has a quality coach. Plus they cranked up the thermostat. Conference road wins are becoming more difficult to get. Except, look at Fizzou. They had their home-court win streak ended by A&M last night. How rich it would have been for the Jayhawks to end it. Dang. At least a Jayhawk was coaching A&M.

Jim Williamson 4 years, 10 months ago

I watch a lot of college basketball, and it looks like it's really, really hard to play at a high level night in and night out. Then I read many of the comments here and I realize how easy it really must be, or else why would people whine so much about a win?

puddleglum 4 years, 10 months ago

tyshawn gets a bad rap cuz he brought it upon himself. I think that he has it in him to not only overcome, but excel big time. guards have turnovers. expectations are always way high at Ku, give the guys time.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 10 months ago

CU is a doormat. They haven't had a decent since they Chauncey Billups...and that's been a while.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

"Why's everyone so quick to make excuses for the Hawks? Why can't anyone just admit they played badly last night?"

'Cuz being a mile high is an important contributing factor. And going on the road in-conference is tough no matter the opponent. Look at Syracuse at Depaul the other day; worst team in the Big East was up 18 in the second half. I also think alot could be said for the Princeton style attack the Buffs play. That's three times we've faced it: Michigan, Cornell, and Colorado. I don't think it's a coincidence we had to grind out all three wins (hope we don't get Georgetown in our bracket!).

No, we didn't play our best last night. But I think there were a number of factors that played into it rather than just being "off".

riverdrifter 4 years, 10 months ago

In 'close' games within 10 points this year the Jayhawks are 5-1. Throw in Michigan, 6-1. They are 2-0 against their hated rivals, one of those a road win. They are 2-0 in OT games, both on the road. What's wrong with this picture? Not much. What is bothersome to me is the continued disappearededness of Xavier Henry. He was 0-7 from the field last night with 3 points, his worst game as a Jayhawk.

fabian_zimbabwe 4 years, 10 months ago

These Jayhawks are obviously going to get the very best from every team they play, a major challenge to contend with in and of itself. Add to this that they just secured two highly charged/emotional wins (one on the road, no less), and I will gladly take a squeaker in Boulder. There isn't a college basketball team anywhere that can emerge as a worldbeater day in and day out, just ask the Hoyas, who lost at home to a marginal South Florida team. It's a very long and arduous season. Some of you people have unreasonable expectations.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 10 months ago

@ jaywalker

Counting all of their home games since the 06-07 season, Colorado is 30-29. That's what I call home court advantage!

sportsFan22 4 years, 10 months ago

just win baby, you idiots that know nothing about hoops, please quit posting, a team cant play at 100% 40 games a year. sometimes you just have to gut one out.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 10 months ago

Exactly my point, sportsfan22. It wasn't the altitude or the refs or whatever. They played a bad game and they almost lost.

The key is almost. KU is an excellent team and can pull this off more often than most teams. But the Big 12 race is over. KU's got it in the bag.

I'm now looking down the road to the NCAA Tournament where inconsistency can earn anyone a quick exit.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

Ricky,

And Depaul is 18 - 23 over the last three years and yet almost beat Syracuse. Playin' on the road in-conference is tough. Period.

"It wasn't the altitude..."

You've obviously never played a game at altitude. The majority of the misses last night were short - Morningstar air balled a 15' jumper and it was short! MIss more than 20 free throws = no legs from lack of oxygen. Passes off line by yards instead of inches = lack of oxygen effecting depth perception, muscle twitch, thought process.

Not sayin' they played their best game, just that there were mitigating circumstances. Tennessee was just a plain bad game. There was more to it last night.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 10 months ago

You're right jaywalker. I'll never take the new Octagon of Doom lightly again...

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