basketball kansas basketball

As he steps to the line, he feels game pressure

The Bilas­tra­tor has coined a new term: "Game pres­sure." Dur­ing last weekend's Kansas-Ten­nessee game, ESPN ana­lyst Jay Bilas repeat­ed­ly said that Kansas play­ers were feel­ing "game pres­sure" when they stepped to the free throw line. Game pres­sure? As opposed to … prac­tice pres­sure? As opposed to oth­er kinds of pres­sure that you'd feel dur­ing a big game? Or a nation­al­ly-tele­vised game? Game pres­sure? That's the best that you've got? Now, I was going to let this go, because I think I know what he means: "Game pres­sure" sounds like a spe­cif­ic kind of pres­sure that can't be repli­cat­ed out­side of a game. Young teams, per­haps, are par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble to it because they haven't been in as many … games. Any­way, I was going to let it go until Bilas referred to Kansas guard Sher­ron Collins as "Law­son-esque" (as in North Car­oli­na guard Tywon Law­son) and then pre­dict­ed that Tyler Hans­brough will again be the nation­al play­er of the year.

You mean Lawson is "Collins-esque," right?

Where was Law­son in the Final Four? I'll tell you: He was get­ting killed by Collins. If Collins played in the ACC, he'd be get­ting com­pared to Chris Paul. (I think he's more like Vin­nie "the Microwave" John­son). On that note, I hope that Bob Knight is going to break up the ACC-lov­ing com­men­tary cabal at ESPN. From the cou­ple of games I've seen, he is made for TV. And he speaks to bas­ket­ball fans, not just fans of the ACC. He's not afraid to say unpop­u­lar things; not a sur­prise. He's also like­ly to com­pare cur­rent play­ers to non-ACC play­ers (such as his Indi­ana play­ers from the 70's), and he's com­plete­ly at ease in diss­ing oth­er talk­ing heads. Is there some way that I can get his com­men­tary on every game? Please?

Aldrich rips the ball away from Hansbrough
Aldrich ruled Hans­brough in the Final Four. "But he just works so hard." Oth­er ath­let­ic cen­ters rule him reg­u­lar­ly. "He doesn't take pos­ses­sions off." The argu­ment against him being play­er of the year is so strong; it seems almost sil­ly to car­ry it out. Pho­to: Get­ty Images

I've got no real beef with Psy­cho T, as Hans­brough is known, but he is not the best play­er in the coun­try. How could he be? When­ev­er he plays against any­one big and ath­let­ic, he gets killed. Yes, he brings it every night; yes, he leaves it all on the court. Dick­ie V loves it. All the old­er com­men­ta­tors love it. Who doesn't love a kid who plays hard every minute he's on the court? I love it. He's like Nick Col­li­son. Nick Col­li­son was awe­some, but he was not the play­er of the year, was he? Would any­one argue that he was, oth­er than hope­less Kansas loy­al­ists? He was a good play­er on a great team. Like Hans­brough, now. Collison's prob­lem was that he didn't play for the most vis­i­ble pro­gram in the most over-hyped con­fer­ence in the coun­try. If Hans­brough played at Texas, he'd get com­pared to Col­li­son all the time, and he'd be the feel-good choice for the Nai­smith. If only.

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.