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kansas basketball

Kansas basketball / Jitters, a jinx, and a stinging loss

Ques­tion: What hap­pens when a young col­lege bas­ket­ball team with­out a proven low-post pres­ence some­how man­ages to secure a high nation­al rank­ing then faces a real­ly hun­gry, expe­ri­enced team? The Hawks found out two nights ago, get­ting their rear-ends tanned by an unher­ald­ed and obvi­ous­ly hun­gry Oral Roberts team.Where does this rank among the hard­est-to-swal­low loss­es in recent mem­o­ry? I don't want to go over­board here; it's not as crush­ing as the two NCAA Tour­na­ment ear­ly exits. It also wasn't as demor­al­iz­ing as los­ing to K‑State (at home) and Mis­souri (after lead­ing by 7 with a lit­tle over a minute left) last year. It's most reminscent of the 2004 home loss to Rich­mond, when the entire sport­ing nation could turn on ESPN to see the Hawks implode on their home floor to a team that wasn't even play­ing that well. ESPN didn't car­ry the ORU game on Wednes­day night, THANK GOD, but the loss rip­pled through the sports press in a way that always seemed to empha­size the Hawks sim­ply failed to look, umm, good. SI said sim­ply: "Oral Roberts out­played No. 3 Kansas the whole way."Question: How in the world does SI rank KU above a team like Flori­da, the defend­ing nation­al cham­pi­ons who returned every starter from last year? Did they want to avoid jinx­ing Flori­da for some rea­son? (SI added KU to its list of cov­er jinx­es). Maybe they set­tled on this arrange­ment before Sasha Kaun got hurt, and before CJ Giles pulled a Lawrence Phillips and got him­self kicked off the team?[1] Even so, how does any front line arrange­ment com­pete with Gator paint-dom­i­na­tors Al Hor­ford and Joakim Noah? We'll find out soon enough, I guess, since the teams will meet a week from tomor­row in Vegas. Gulp.[1] Wikipedia's abstract on Lawrence Phillips: "Lawrence Phillips (b. May 12, 1975 in Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas), is a for­mer pro­fes­sion­al Amer­i­can foot­ball and Cana­di­an foot­ball run­ning back who has had numer­ous con­flicts with law enforce­ment." Sor­ta says it all.