WILL WE SEE ANOTHER ROCK CHALK FAST BREAK DOWN OR REBOUND?!?! CRAIG GLAZER CONSIDERS KU BASKETBALL!!!
TKC NOTE: Take a look at some EXCLUSIVE Kansas Hoops insight from Kansas City's favorite raconteur and renaissance man Craig Glazer.
Can Kansas? NOPE!
‘We are the champions, my friends, and we'll keep on fighting till the end, we are the champions, we are the champions, no time for losers,'cause we are the champions of the World…’
It seems like only a few days ago the University of Kansas basketball team was named number 1 in one poll and number two in two other major polls. And why not? They were 19 and 1 including a big road victory over highly-rated Ohio State. The talk on ESPN was simple, Jeff Withey, KU’s seven foot Senior Center was considered by many as a potential All-American. In fact, perhaps this season’s number one defender nationally. Kansas also boasts one of the most talked about freshman guards in Ben McLemore. Some of the NBA Scouts list McLemore as a first round pick and some consider him the number 1 pick of the first round. Throw in Travis Releford; another top-notch defender and a guy who on occasion can score big time, along with hot-shot guard Elijah Johnson and yes, Kansas looked like an almost sure Final Four team. Not to mention, Coach Bill Self is now considered one of the top two or three coaches in the NCAA.
Understand this, Kansas City has only had one long lasting elite sports program in its history. Some would point at the Kansas City Chiefs run from 1966 to 1972 with superstar quarterback, Hall of Famer, Len Dawson. Dawson the Chiefs to two Super Bowls and one World Championship. Others would point at the Royals elite status from 1976 to 1985 led by Hall of Fame Third Baseman, George Brett. Like Dawson, Brett’s team went to two World Series and won one World Championship in 1985. Unfortunately, both franchises have fallen on hard times. Our Kansas City Royals have been pretty much a joke since Brett retired almost always finishing in last place or close to it.
Even though the Royals have never contended in their division since the Brett era, Kansas City still hopes and dreams of better days that have never come. Our Kansas City Chiefs have been just as horrible except for the Marty era in the 1990’s. Even though Marty led his team to several playoff post-season appearances; the Kansas City Chiefs always fell on their face when it counted most.
Many Kansas Citians are fans of the University of Missouri Tigers and some of the Kansas State Wildcats. While both programs in both football and basketball have had a few good moments. Neither has really shown up when it counted for a national championship. Together, they have zero. KU basketball is the only elite program this area has ever really had. In 2007 Bill Self led his Jayhawks to a National Championship victory and followed it up last year with a trip to the Final Four and the National Championship game against Kentucky.
Many of us still remember the title won by Danny and the Miracles under the Coach Larry Brown as well as the great Wilt Chamberlain. While Roy Williams never won a championship at Kansas, his Jayhawks were regular visitors to the Final Four.
It sure looked like KU was on its way to yet another Big 12 title and a clear-cut path to the Final Four. A few weeks ago it all started going wrong. KU’s Ben McLemore hit a buzzer-beater to tie Iowa State at Lawrence and the Jayhawks went on to earn an overtime victory. The talk was, when in trouble, turn the game over to Big Ben. If not Big Ben, let the defense of Withey lead the way to victory. Surely Elijah Johnson was going to improve and become a stand out guard for Bill Self and the Jayhawks.
This did not work out as planned. Oklahoma State came to Lawrence and easily handled KU’s vaunted home field advantage. True followers of NCAA basketball programs could see right then that big trouble was brewing. Then came the unthinkable; Kansas, a nearly twenty point favorite, ranked number 5 in the nation went down to play TCU. TCU is considered one of the worst teams in the NCAA, ranked near the bottom of the R. P. I. In fact, TCU is basically a decent junior college team playing against real NCAA squads like Kansas. Everyone, including myself, was stunned that the once-mighty Jayhawks, with only seven minutes left in the first half of the contest, had scored only two points. Kansas was never in the game and ended up being crushed by lowly TCU.
Elijah Johnson continues to stink it up, hitting almost no baskets at all, and leading his team to nothing but losses. Jeff Withey can apparently no longer be counted on to shoot free throws and Big Ben is starting to remind Jayhawks fans of one and done Josh Selby. KU followed the TCU embarrassment by getting their brains beat out by unranked Oklahoma.
KU has fallen from their number one/two ranking of a week ago to a number fourteen ranking today. With a loss tonight, Kansas could actually fall out of the top twenty tonight. It would be their first four game losing streak since 1983. What looked like an easy run at their 9th Big Twelve title would end tonight with a loss at the hands of the Wildcats. A Kansas team that was a sure number one seed in the Big Dance come March may fall down to a five or six seed, with more losses to come.
It’s tough to be a sports fan when you live in Kansas City. Whether you are a KU basketball fan or not, they certainly have brought us tremendous pride and joy these past three decades plus. With no offensive leader in sight, I say bet the ranch on Kansas State and take the eight points over KU tonight. In fact it’s three and a half one to one against K-State, that’s not a bad back up bet.
Final comment: I love KU basketball, but I have to be honest. They were lucky to be 19 and 1 even with a great coach like Bill Self, the talent just isn’t there. Elijah Johnson has been the main culprit. His ‘can’t hit a basket’ has infected the entire time. Final score: K-State 69, Kansas 62.
‘…We are the champions, my friends, and we'll keep on fighting till the end, we are the champions, we are the champions, no time for losers,'cause we are the champions of the World.’