Archive for Thursday, February 28, 2008

The eephus pitch

February 28, 2008

It's baseball season.

I no longer believe in the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, and it's time to abandon hope that they will make a run deep into the NCAA Tournament.

I hope they prove me wrong, but I don't think they will judging from events that played out on Saturday.

KU plays without guts. You have to have guts to be the best team in the Big 12, let alone in the country.

Where was Brandon Rush Saturday in Stillwater? He disappears when the stage is the biggest. A lot has been said about it, but why hasn't he proven critics wrong by trying to take the ball to the hole when the Jayhawks need a big bucket?

Why isn't Cole Aldrich taking minutes from Sasha Kaun? I'm sick and tired of the idiotic plays that Kaun makes. Athletically, he makes John Kruk look like Kobe Bryant.

It's one thing to occasionally throw the ball off the rim without looking at it, the old no-look shot. It's equally dumb to pass the ball out of the paint as time expires on the play clock. When he gets the ball in the paint, you can see the panic in his body right before he slams the ball into some unforeseen destination.

And lastly, painfully, I doubt Bill Self.

I believe in Self, but not right now and with this team. He gathered enough talent at Illinois to win a national championship, and he's done the same thing at Kansas.

Gathering talent is the most important part of college basketball. Without the ability to recruit, any coaching skills are irrelevant. But when you've gathered that talent, you have to get the most out of it. Bill Self has yet to do that anywhere except maybe at Oral Roberts from 1993 to 1997. That was when he took over an embarrassing ORU team and temporarily resurrected a program that had a 5-22 mark in 1992-1993 and got them into the NIT in 1996-1997 at 21-7.

Self guided the Jayhawks to three league titles and two Big 12 Tournament titles. He's 45 and has coached under L.B. There is reason to believe in him, but he has yet to prove it.

Saturday he didn't call a timeout when KU got the ball back with around 12 ticks on the clock. The only reason you wouldn't call a timeout is if you have a play that is your go-to game winner and you don't want to give Sean Sutton a chance to set up a defense.

The play KU went with was an off-balance, J.R. Rushed three from the corner.

The Jayhawks have been using the youth alibi for three years now, and with a team of juniors and seniors it would seem that someone, on the court or off, should be calling a timeout to put together one last good play. That was unacceptable by this year's squad.

A true success possibility, as is usually the case in late February and early March, is the Royals of Kansas City. Top to bottom we are witnessing an overhaul of a storied franchise.

It appears the owner will spend, and the GM doesn't need to cough up an annual $11 million on chronically injured designated hitters, instead opting for young arms. Had Dayton Moore been a little earlier, who knows where we'd be. Either way, I like the Royals' chances in August and September better than the Jayhawks' chances in March.

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