Archive for Thursday, February 23, 2012

Victory should provide tourney lesson

Assistant coach Danny Manning talks to a frustrated Thomas Robinson during a timeout in the second half of the Jayhawks 66-58 win over the Aggies Wednesday, February 22, 2012,  in College Station, TX.

Assistant coach Danny Manning talks to a frustrated Thomas Robinson during a timeout in the second half of the Jayhawks 66-58 win over the Aggies Wednesday, February 22, 2012, in College Station, TX.

February 23, 2012

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 66-58 victory over Texas A&M on Feb. 22, 2012.

KU vs. Texas A&M

Box score

While winning a basketball game Wednesday night in Reed Arena, the fourth-ranked Kansas University basketball team also managed to diagram a blueprint for how to make an early exit in the NCAA Tournament.

Get a big lead and then turn inattentive, lose the ball, get into foul trouble, lose your temper and in the same play remove the best player on the team.

Next thing you know, the clock expires, the game is lost, and the tournament is just a television show that hurts too much to watch.

Kansas defeated Texas A&M;, 66-58, and in doing so should have defeated any notion that the Jayhawks have enough talent to stray from playing with more intensity and smarts than the other guys and still cruise to victory.

Kansas is in contention for a No. 1 seed more because of its extraordinary will than skill, and when the former falters, the lack of depth of the latter gets exposed in a hurry, especially when it can’t shoot straight.

In less than a five minutes of game clock, an 18-point lead became a four-point lead.

Compounding matters, Kansas, which led by as many as 21 points, would have had to play an overtime period without Thomas Robinson because he couldn’t check his temper and shoved his way into a technical, his fifth foul. Robinson played just 28 minutes, Tyshawn Taylor just 30, thanks to foul trouble.

On this team, when starters are forced to sit for longer than a quick rest, bad things can happen.

Kansas did come away with the victory it needed, and to a large extent scoring from an unexpected source helped that to happen.

All things considered, Elijah Johnson picked a great night to assert himself offensively. Johnson scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the first half. At that point, with Kansas leading 31-21, Johnson had more than a third of the game’s points for both teams.

In the first half, Robinson and Taylor combined for one field goal and three points, and Travis Releford and Kevin Young, with four points apiece, were tied for second in scoring.

“Elijah was great in the first half,” Self said. “I didn’t realize he had 18 until I got to the stat sheet. When your second-leading scorer has four, that’s obviously not great.”

Johnson made three of seven three-point shots, the rest of the team one of 11. Johnson made seven of 11 field goals, the rest of the team 14 of 43 (.326).

“He was huge,” Taylor said of Johnson. “He got us off to a good start and shot the ball well. We had kind of been waiting for him to get going. It was good for him to get a little bit of confidence going into a big game.”

Relying on Johnson, a .294 three-point shooter coming into the night, to get hot, and banking on Conner Teahan to steal possessions by banging the boards (career-high eight rebounds, three off the offensive glass) won’t cut it in the tourney.

Look for Kansas to be at its best in front of the home crowd in Saturday’s rivalry game pitting No. 3 Missouri against No. 4 Kansas.

That atmosphere will blow away any NCAA Tournament environment.

In contrast, just 6,868 made it to Reed Arena. Tourney crowds all are bigger than that, but with so many of the seats filled for some games with fans waiting for another contest or not having a strong rooting interest, the feel can be a lot closer to that of Wednesday’s game than Saturday’s.

If the KU players, especially the best one, can remember how quickly things turned sour midway through the second half Wednesday, it might help them avoid the same mistakes that could be fatal once the season advances to the single-elimination phase.

Comments

Matthew Herbert 3 years, 5 months ago

The story that goes untold: Conner Teahan 0 for 5 from the three point line. If your role on the team is to be the 3-point specialist, tonight left me with a lot of questions as to why he was on the court.

Lee Eldridge 3 years, 5 months ago

Because he's the sixth best player on the team. And you can't play five guys 40 minutes each.

rgh 3 years, 5 months ago

He's got a good shot. You just have to hope like Self does with Johnson that he's going to break loose which he could on any given shot he takes.

Bursting 3 years, 5 months ago

Conner has not made a single "clutch" 3-pointer that I can remember. His stats come from first halfs and blowouts, plus he can't handle the ball under pressure. In my opinion he does nothing but hurt the team when the game is on the line.

Jim Williamson 3 years, 5 months ago

Disagree. Teahan made a couple of huge 3's against, I think it was, Baylor and Kansas State. That said, when Elijah's shot isn't there, he can play good defense. Teahan's too slow. Khris Middleton killed him, as did Denmon in Columbia.

Evan Ridenour 3 years, 5 months ago

His liability is his defense. Who cares that he can't score, the frightening thing is he is targeted and abused by every team we play.

Armen Kurdian 3 years, 5 months ago

Not being able to finish games will catch up to us in the tourney. But like you said, Connor is #6 on the roster. We've got a fantastic set of five starters, but this is as shallow a team as we've had in years. I don't indict for one second any of our players drive and desire to win. Our starting five get tired, get lackadaisical, and that hurts. Coach Self needs a better spread offense game plan to rest our players, but they HAVE to understand that slowing down the offense doesn't mean don't be deliberate with your passing. I remember LBSU running the four corners on us 20 years ago when we were #1 and they cleaned our clocks in AFH. Maybe the answer lies in using some of our bench to press on every opponent's offensive possession to wear them out, while the starters on the floor are set up on defense.

rtwngr 3 years, 5 months ago

Renaissance, he had a bad night. Shooters go through rough patches at unpredictable times.

Matthew Herbert 3 years, 5 months ago

Almost this entire season I've read about Conner Teahen's "bad night".
Remember the LJworld article from two weeks ago where they talked about how his season slump was finally over? http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/feb...

Jim Williamson 3 years, 5 months ago

Just because a guy can't shoot doesn't automatically make him a defensive stopper. Teahan guarded Middleton much of the 2nd half last night. Middleton went for 18 or 19 in the 2nd half. Coincidence? I think not.

Teahan was supposedly the "stopper" against Denmon late at Mizzou, too. How'd that work out?

Armen Kurdian 3 years, 5 months ago

He did have his first blocked shot. Connor showed early in the season that he can drive the basket. He needs to do that more. Allow himself to be setup on the wing for the three, make like he's shooting, get his defender in the air, and drive in. Willing to bet if he starts scoring in the paint, he'll start scoring from beyond the arc.

Brian Conrad 3 years, 5 months ago

shut up about Conner ... IF we need him in tourney... we will go out in first round . he is good kid but just because you try hard does not make you great defense player.. face it he is way to slow and can not get up. Denman never had to worry, if he elevated Conner's hand was not even close. good guards will eat him up! period.. and because he plays hard his shot is way off and will not return to the great shooter that played 5 minutes a game till he goes back to 5 minutes a game. All that said the biggest problem on this team is exactly what killed us against VCU... cocky selfish players... play hard and the country will acknowledge you are great player ... act like a baby and T Rob will drop in draft to 4th or 5th pick and be labeled hard to get along with... like Marcus who is in and out of the nba development league while his twin , with more self control is gettin rave reviews in the NBA... kids need to understand temper and cryin to the refs put them in bad light... play hard ( for 35 minutes ) and shut up... will put millions more in your pocket , along with something you can not buy RESPECT.

CLARKKENT 3 years, 5 months ago

WHY DOES NO ONE TALK ABOUT T ROBS TEMPER? IT WILL BITE THEM IN THE BUTT ONE OF THESE DAYS.

Brian Conrad 3 years, 5 months ago

trob has a problem stop the posing for pictures and cryin to the refs and JUST play

Bursting 3 years, 5 months ago

Thomas has benefited from star status in regards to not receiving Technical fouls. I and many others have seen him get lucky time after time this year.

And then last night when we are about to lose, game on the line, less than a minute remaining and he throws not one, not two, but THREE frickin elbows at the other player while they were on the ground????! Dude wasn't even on you T-Rob! Get your stuff together and quit trying to act like an individual.

Jim Williamson 3 years, 5 months ago

Maybe some of these no-calls are karma for all the ticky-tack touch fouls that were called on him his first two years.

Mickey Mantle never went down on a called third strike, either. Stardom has its privileges.

Jayhawk1958 3 years, 5 months ago

Young is more valuable right now then Teahan. Its pretty bad when a converted walk-on is in the rotation.

Brian Conrad 3 years, 5 months ago

fact is top 7 teams are not real deep ... except Syracuse.. face it it is a tourney... KU had the best team in the country several times and did not win it all.. this happens to all teams. we have won with worse foul shooting team. my goal is to add another final four to the resume.. and that is possible with this team. if T Rob , TT , Withey, Releford and EJ all play great on a given night they can beat anyone.. my goal is to play 2 weekends where they all play well and then all you have to ask is give me your best 2 games.... hey if Butler made it twice in 2 years.. this team has a shot....

chieffan 3 years, 5 months ago

A couple of things: 1. In December 2011 most KU Fans would have been happy that their team would have gotten a 6th seed in the Dance. 2. Now KU Fans whine about an early exit from the Dance.

A minority of KU BB fans are "moronic" and tend to self-immolate as some of the above comments show . You all have an amazing basketball team, KU is ranked 4/5 in the polls; a potential 1 seed, probable 2 seed. Self is an "outstanding" College basketball Coach. Take a "breath", put on your seat belt and enjoy the ride.

Mr. Keegan you are the most platitude driven sports columnist in the Country. I bet you come to work each morning doing the "Snoopy Happy Dance". Which is OK. How about a occasional column that make your "readers" think?

Brian Conrad 3 years, 5 months ago

agreed , but the whole point is for the team to learn and get better... only bottom dweller teams worry... just because a fan points out problems , does not mean we are unhappy with our team. remember problems get worse when everyone turns a blind eye.. Tyshawn took heat early.. guess what he has become a MUCH better player. my hope is T Rob pays attention to HCBS who will make sure he understands . way better to make ESPN news with a highlight than a Technical foul or stupid play.. just ask Chris Webber after calling the time out to loose the NCAA Championship game...

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