I want him in my foxhole---
A month and two days after having major surgery on his right thumb, right-handed Carl Hall goes out and gets 17 points and 13 rebounds. In his first game back last Wednesday just his presence lifted his team, against Creighton it was his toughness and determination. He told me the week he injured that thumb that he would not miss the Creighton game. Well, he couldn’ty have shown up any bigger.
Give him his due---
Doug McDermott finally had his breakout game in the series with the Shockers. His 25 points went a long way in keeping the Bluejays in the game. The junior is an incredibly hard working offensive player, with great skills. He’s one of those players who looks like he’s going to make every shot he takes. He’s a pleasure to watch. Beyond that, he’s a class act—his post-game remarks about how much he likes playing in Wichita were gracious. He never makes excuses and always gives credit where it’s due—he’s made me a fan.
Down at the Mason’s Lodge---
The Shockers threw up enough bricks against Creighton to build a wall around Wichita. But, my goodness, how they defend and rebound. If I told you that WSU was going to shoot 4-23 from 3-point range and 9-19 from the line; you’d have told me that they couldn’t turn it over and that they’d better get about 22 offensive rebounds. Of course, you’d have been chuckling when you said it, because…what were the chances? Pretty good, as it turns out.
Finding a way---
KU rallied from 11 down at Texas, with the help of a 19 point advantage at the free throw line, to win for the 15th straight time. The ‘Hawks are in a bit of an offensive slump, hitting just nine of their last 39 three-point attempts and scoring no better than 64 points in their last three games. It’s the lowest scoring three game stretch in Bill Self’s nine-plus years in Lawrence and the lowest three game total at KU since December of 1998.
A: always. B: always be. C: Always be closing. With a nod to Glengarry Glen Ross, the ‘Hawks are always closing. How about this stat from ESPN; since losing to Michigan State, KU has outscored opponents 48-24 in games within 5 points in the last 5 minutes. That includes closing out Texas Saturday on a 15-6 run. The ability to close is one of the big reasons that KU is 17-1.
K-State beat its former star and coach for just the second time in six tries last weekend. At one point Lon Kruger was a bit of a nemesis for his alma mater, but the ‘Cats rode good ball handling and great defense to a win over Oklahoma last weekend. The win sets up an early showdown between the two remaining Big 12 unbeatens when KU visits Manhattan on Tuesday.
Between them—KU, K-State and Wichita State are 48-5. All three of them will be in the polls when they are released today. Last week Indiana (Indiana, Notre Dame, Butler) was the only other state with three teams.
The Harbaugh brothers lead their respective teams to the Super Bowl as San Francisco rallies to beat the Falcons and the Ravens handle the Patriots. It’s interesting that neither home team could protect its turf yesterday. We’ll delve much more into the Super Bowl and its participants in the coming days and weeks.
You know you’re old…
…when Super Bowl 47 is coming up and you remember all the previous 46. It’s scary.