Thursday, February 7, 2013

What's the Matter with Kansas

I'm not going to recap Thomas Frank's wonderful book about the political shitstorm that has happened in Kansas over the last 20 years.  No, this mess is entirely on the basketball court.  Never in my life would I dream that I could be sitting at home, watching a K.U. game where the Jayhawks trail 10 to 2 with under 8 minutes to play in the first half.  It's mind boggling.

You can feel the panic gripping Jayhawk nation.  Two losses in February do not make a season.  In fact, Bill Self teams typically stumble this time of the year.  Much of the blame has been leveled at senior point guard Elijah Johnson, playing out of position.  Johnson has played horribly since the start of conference play.  But worse still is Nadir Tharpe, a point guard who I believe deep down inside thinks of himself as a shooting guard.  Tharpe never saw a shot he didn't like or an interior pass he didn't think he could thread, but I digress.

What disappointed me so much last night was Bill Self.  He was gutless.  I don't understand not sitting the starters and letting the freshman play.  When it's 2 to ZIP 6 minutes into the game the seniors need a wake up call.  That means sitting through a couple of TV timeouts while they collect their senses.

The other shocker was the complete disappearance of Travis Releford.  His a senior who should have demanded the ball, taken some shots and led.  The seniors on this team lack serious leadership skills.  Tyshawn Taylor willed Kansas to a Final 4 last year.  That kind of perseverance is sorely lacking with this team.

I still believe this is an Elite 8 team, but like DeLoss Dodds, the Texas athletic director, college basketball has turned putrid.  The one and done thing has hurt the game but what's more troubling is the officiating or lack of it.  The college game is beginning to mirror the NBA more and more.  Players continually get mugged in the interior post.  A dominant big man can't dominate because he gets the crap beat out of him on every shot.  It's making the game unwatchable.  And don't even get me started with the horrid inconsistency on charging calls.

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