Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 1:05 pm

Big XII: Thursday Recap

Thomas Beisner

12:30 PM

Unlike their major conference brothers, the Big XII quarterfinals went as expected Thursday and held all the suspense of a gun battle on The A Team, with all four top seeds advancing to the semifinals. On Friday, the conference’s four ranked and already tournament bound teams will square off in games that matter only for seeding purposes. Here’s what you missed yesterday while you were threatening Elton John.

 Scores Recap

#1 Kansas 80, #9 Texas Tech 68

#4 Texas A & M 70, #12 Nebraska 64

#2 Kansas State 83, #7 Oklahoma State 64

#3 Baylor 86, #6 Texas 67


The Baylor Bears are for real. Thursday brought a change in repetitive college basketball phrase du jour from “passing the eye test” to some variation of how hard it is to beat a team three times in one season, thanks largely to Baylor’s attempt to beat Texas for the third time.

The Bears didn't make it look all that difficult. It might be time for a new phrase. 

Baylor used the three-headed monster of Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn and Ekpe Udoh, who nearly outscored Texas themselves. Udoh’s chipped in 25 and 8 and Carter, the team’s emotional leader, threw in 20 points of his own. The most important individual in the trio, however, was Dunn who put up near-triple-double numbers and combated Damion James’ pushing, mugging and chest-beating with a little trash talk and some old fashioned basketball plays.

James was already losing it early in the second half, already getting into confrontations with Dunn and Carter on two occasions, when Dunn took the ball to the hole and made the layup and got fouled by James. Already being smothered by a Bears’ run, James went into meltdown mode and got T’ed up, went to the bench and screamed at teammates and was never remotely useful again.

Baylor will now face Kansas State in the semifinals, a team that has a very similar makeup to their own. The battle between the backcourts of Carter and Dunn and Jacobham Lincoln and Denis Clemente has the potential for some March magic. Make sure you tune in.


If history is the best predictor of the future, then Jamar Samuels didn’t have a shot against Oklahoma State Thursday. In a loss to the Cowboys on January 23rd, the Kansas State sophomore fouled out in only 13 minutes and contributed an anemic 5 points and one lonesome rebound. On Thursday, though, Samuels got sweet revenge in the Wildcats’ blowout of Travis Ford’s team, pouring in 27 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. In an 8-minute frenzy at the end of the first half, the Wildcats put the Cowboys away for good behind 13 ofSamuels’ 21 first half points. That’s what you call solid bench play.


Needing a win to secure themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament and facing a highly ranked team that they had already defeated, Oklahoma State had every reason to look forward to their game with Kansas State. Somewhere at around the 8:30 mark of the first half, though, Travis Ford’s squad crapped after cutting the Wildcat lead to 27-23. Kansas State closed the half on a 24-3 run and the Oklahoma State bench hung their mohawks in disappointment. After about 200 misses from downtown by James Anderson and 20 more minutes of inconsequential basketball, it was time to head back to Stillwater, one of the few places that make Kansas City appear as the “Paris of the Plains”. I expect defections.


Kentucky was the first NCAA team to race past 2,000 wins earlier this year and celebrated with t-shirts, speeches from Adolph Rupp’s son and a dancing DeMarcus Cousins. North Carolina got theirs and hoped no one would notice how far they’d fallen, barely making mention. Kansas? They were somewhere in between the two when they wrapped up Win2K in Kansas City. They talked about the historical significance of the win, but made sure that everyone knew their focus went far beyond any pomp and circumstance (if any) that comes with that magical number.


Damion James - Dude got bowed up on by a guy named Tweety and got punked a handful of times by a guy with “Lace” in his name. Add in an ill-timed technical, some screaming at teammates and an unnecessarily vicious high-five that left his teammate in paint and Damion James has earned some First Team All-Turd recognition.


Jamar Samuels (Kansas State) - 27 points, 10 rebounds

LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor) - 19 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists

Cole Aldrich (Kansas) - 12 points, 18 rebounds, 3 blocks

Ekpe Udoh (Baylor) – 25 points, 8 rebounds

James Anderson (Oklahoma State) - 27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists

Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen (Kansas State) – combined for 31 points and 13 assists

Donald Sloan (Texas A&M) – 23 points


“I think it does speak volumes worth of history and tradition of the program. We’re very proud of it. It hasn’t been a big point of emphasis for this team, but I think the guys respect the past enough to know it’s a big deal.” – Kansas coach Bill Self on getting win number 2000


#1 Kansas vs. #4 Texas A&M (7:30 pm)

#2 Kansas State vs. #3 Baylor  (9:00 pm) 


Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:16 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 1:17 am

Thursday Night Wrap-up

Thomas Beisner

12:00 pm

After what already seems to be four to five weeks of conference tournaments in our rear view mirror, Selection Sunday is now coming up on the horizon and things are starting to sort themselves out a bit.  On Thursday, some teams were relegated to the bubble and prayers (Memphis) while some teams continued their post-season hoops hopes (Notre Dame).  With 27 games on the docket for Friday, including the Patriot League Championship, answers are certain to be headed the way of all college basketball fans.  Before we get started, though, let's look back at what turned out to be a big-time Thursday in the world of college basktball.

Will the Onuaku injury affect seeding? - Perhaps the biggest story on Thursday (besides Syracuse's loss) was the injury suffered by Syracuse big man Arinze Onuaku which, depending on who you talk to, is either major or minor. Onuaku will have an MRI on Friday and the results will be available….probably after the seeding is announced. Especially if it’s serious. Regardless of what the injury turns out to be, you’d have to assume the Orange is fairly safe with their #1 seed. What they need to be more concerned about, however, is how a team that is now essentially only six-deep is going to respond in a two games in three days tournament setting.

The Big Names are Done - It was really only a matter of time until they all bid adieu to this year’s college basketball season, but a trio of big name programs finally had the final nail placed in their post-season coffin on Thursday. North Carolina jumped out to a double-digit lead against Georgia Tech and then came out in the second half looking all North Carolina-like and gave the game away. Tom Crean’s Indiana Revival, still sputtering along in year two, took a thumping at the hands of mighty Northwestern while Arizona’s run of 25 straight NCAA tourney appearances came to an end (after two years of undeserved bids) against another traditional power on life support, UCLA. They say things are going to get better. I say at least they didn’t give up like UConn. I am worried about Sean Miller, though. The losses seem to be taking their toll and he’s gone from looking like a sober Billy Gillispie to Texas A&M Billy Gillispie. That’s not a good trend.

If a tree falls in the Staples Center, does it make a sound? - The national media wrote the Pac-10 off a long, long time ago. Surprisingly, the Pac-10 fans apparently have done the same. Outside of the Salt Lake City's Megaplex 12 during the premiere of I Got the Hookup, it’s possible that no venue has ever been so empty for such a fan-friendly event.  I watched Oregon and Washington’s overtime affair Wednesday night (a great game) while feeding my son and the Staples Center appeared to have about only 7-8 people more than my couch. When UCLA plays in their home city and can’t get fans, you know it’s bad. However, the Pac-10 tournament did introduce me to Rebecca Haarlow, so it can’t be all bad, right?

Coaching redemption in C-USA - With John Calipari gone from Memphis, the national spotlight has dimmed significantly on the only official conference of the United States. UTEP seized the opportunity and grabbed the regular season title with a 15-1 record, but it’s a couple of underdog coaches that are making the most of their chances. Seventh-seeded Houston coach Tom Penders is being reported as a dead man walking whose employment only lasts as long as his team’s season. After an upset of second-seeded Memphis, it lasts another day. His semifinal opponent, Southern Miss, is coached by another recognizable name trying to make the most of his situation. Larry Eustachy, the disgraced former Iowa State coach, has made steady improvements in his sixth season in Hattiesberg and brought home his 20th win in an upset of UAB (and their former big name coach Mike Davis). By Friday evening, one of these two maligned coaches will be one win away from going dancing.

Jimmer! - Obviously wanting to prove that Montana's Anthony Johnson isn't the only guy out west who can fill it up, BYU junior Jimmer Fredette poured in a Mountain West tournament record 45 points in a win over TCU.  Fredette, who had been battling strep throat, mono, a stomach virus, typhoid fever, the mumps, pink eye, an ingrown toenail and Osgood Schlatter's disease, returned to the lineup with a bang, though I feel his 45 points are cheapened a bit by 23 made free throws.  Anthony Johnson wouldn't do that.  But, I do respect The Jimmer for his honesty displayed in this interview, perhaps the most honest in college basketball history (fast forward to 3:45).

Frankengody has returned - If you’ve watched Luke Harangody’s basketball career the past 27 years, you knew he was going to come back and play at least one more game. He just wouldn’t go out like that. But, give Harangody credit for not only coming back, but for being an impact player despite his injury and sparking his team to three wins now and, dare I say, the NCAA tournament. The Irish will get a shot at West Virginia Friday and Harangody will look to come off the bench and lead his team in scoring for the third straight game. Plus, he’s the only person besides my wife who can get only two haircuts in 12 months and be perfectly fine with hit. That deserves some respect.

The Almosts - Oh, how close they came. Air Force and LSU, winners of a combined three conference games, pushed a pair of highly ranked teams to the brink. LSU gave Bruce Pearl and Tennessee all they could handle before fading down the stretch and Air Force lost a heartbreaker to New Mexico, 75-69. I wish we could say some inspiring things to both teams but there’s nothing left to say. Except maybe to just clean out their lockers. You don’t want this season lingering any longer than it has to.

The other #1 seeds take the floor Friday - On Thursday, Syracuse fell to Georgetown and Kansas got a good little push from Texas Tech. On Friday, the presumed other two top seeds, Kentucky and Duke, take the floor and try to get used to their dancing shoes. Duke will square off with Virginia, a team that once lead the conference and snapped a nine-game losing streak Thursday, in a game where they’ll be heavily favored. With West Virginia still in contention for a Big East title, the Dukies might have to win the ACC tournament to keep their top seed. Meanwhile, John Calipari will lead his troops against Alabama in his first ever SEC tournament game. The Cats beat the Tide on February 9 and shouldn’t encounter much trouble. However, they then will likely face Tennessee and Vanderbilt in loseable games. Their #1 footing is more solid than Duke’s, but it's important that the young Cats get comfortable in the post-season tournament setting before embarking on the what is shaping up to be a journey full of very high expectations.

Friday’s Games to Watch

Illinois vs. Wisconsin 2:00 pm
*Lehigh vs. Lafayette 4:45 pm
Texas A&M vs. Kansas 7:00 pm
Georgetown vs. Marquette 7:00 pm
Notre Dame vs. West Virginia 9:00 pm
San Diego State vs. New Mexico 9:00 pm
Baylor vs. Kansas State 9:30 pm

* denotes championship game

Posted on: March 11, 2010 7:57 pm

Some Thoughts on the Day So Far


8:00 PM

We are a little over halfway through the busiest day of the college basketball season.  The action has been crazy all over the place and the March field has been shaken up a bit.  Here is where we are:

1.  Big East Wackiness

Two games in New York and two very surprising results.  The Syracuse loss to Georgetown may or may not be important longterm but the statistic that no team has won a national championship after losing in the first round of their conference tournament has to be at least a bit troubling.  Luckily for the 'Cuse, the news on Onauku early is positive and it looks as if the injury might not have been as bad as early feared.  What is bad is the Orange's ability to guard anyone...after Louisville shredded the zone defense in the last regular season game, Georgetown did the same in the first in the postseason.  They look to potentially have the mantle of weakest of the #1 seeds as of this moment.

2.  Bubble Teams Dont Come Through

Three teams came into winnable games on Thursday afternoon with a chance to come close to securing an NCAA berth.  All three choked.  Two of the worst offenders were in Conference USA where Memphis and UAB both went down.  For the Tigers, there is proof that Calipari is not walking through that door, as they fell to a weak Houston team in Tulsa.  Memphis would have potentially locked up a berth wiith just one win, now they will sweat all the way through Selection Sunday.  UAB then could have taken advantage of the Tigers' fall with a victory over Southern Miss, but instead got blown out, scoring only 44 points along the way.  Mike Davis will be seeking NIT validation for yet another season.  And Paul "I cant coach my way out of a paper bag, even if Jamie Dixon were in it with me" Hewitt, saw his Rambling Wreck of a team fall to the weakest group in the ACC, the Sylvan Landesburg-less UVA Cavaliers.  I would leave all three of these teams out just on prinicple.

3.  Kansas Continues to Survive

If the mark of a great team is winning close games at the end, Kansas is trying to reach that plateau one sweaty palmed victory at a time.  This time the victim was Texas Tech, but in recent weeks nearly every team in the Big 12 could have been inserted in their place.  The Jayhawks are experienced and it shows at the end of games, but they are prone to playing way below their level and one cant help but wonder if it will catch up on a Sweet 16 Thursday or Friday night in the Big Dance.

All six major conferences are in action tonight....stay tuned.

Posted on: March 9, 2010 1:19 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:31 pm

Conference Tourney Scouting Report: Big XII

Thomas Beisner

1:00 PM

The Big XII,despite the stigma of being a football conference and sounding like a name of a movie your company won't expense, has developed into quite the powerful basketball league over the past several seasons. This year appears to be no different as they enter the post-season with the nation’s top ranked team, three other teams in the top-25 and six teams likely to go dancing. Before they take on the world, though. a little intra-conference positioning is on tap. The Phillips 66 Big XII Tournament (no event is more married to their sponsor) gets underway tomorrow and there are a number of things that the casual observer must know. Study up.


Kansas City, Missouri, hosting their ninth Phillips 66 Big XII Tournament, is known as both the “BBQ Capital of the World” and the “Paris of the Plains”. The convergence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers originally attracted settlers to the area and KCMO was officially incorporated in 1850. That also marks the last time someone thought, “Hmmm. I think Kansas City might be a nice place to live.” 
Names to Know

Sharon Collins – Collins is a delightful elderly lady who will be lingering in the bar of your hotel, sipping a 7-on-7 and working her way through three packs of Marlboro Reds. Often confused with Kansas point guard Sherron Collins, Sharon has developed some witty pick-up lines involving “ball handling” and “going to the rack”. Stay away.

Kim English – Not to be confused with Gary Parrish's Missouri man crush, natives of Kansas City know Kim English for exactly what it is – an institution of learning. Sue Ann Kim established Kim English in 2001 after relocating from Beijing and has now helped over 75 Chinese transplants gain American citizenship and master their new language.. 好!

Tiny Gallon – In basketball circles, Tiny Gallon is the freshman center for the Oklahoma Sooners. In Kansas City, though, tiny gallon has two completely different meanings. It’s most commonly (and most boringly) used a reference to anything smaller than 128 ounces. For example, you might tell the gas station attendant that their soda machine is out and he will reply, “Dammit son, just grab one of them tiny gallons in the cooler”. The less frequently used version in Kansas City is used as part of a phrase such as “Dang, did you see that tiny gallon the red dress? She must not be from ‘round here”.  This variation often does not appear in Kansas City vernacular at all, making appearances only when a large amount of visitors come to town.  Because women in Kansas City are fat.

The Contenders

Kansas – They entered the year at the top of the polls and ended the season still hugging the top spot. That’s certainly not a bad thing. In between, there were fights with the football team, DUIs, Facebook banishments and the worst free throw ever. And that’s just two players. They’re the favorites to win the national title so you have to figure they’re the favorites to win this tournament. I didn’t fact check that. I’m just assuming.

Kansas State – Just seven years removed from coaching a high school team, Frank Martin has Kansas State in national title contention thanks to the backcourt of Jacobham Lincoln and the world’s fastest basketball player/magician Denis Clemente. They dropped both games to Kansas this year but went undefeated against Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas this season. I would assume this, along with their #2 seed, makes them the second favorite.

Baylor – After slowly improving the past few years under Scott Drew and that Australian point guard, the Bears launched themselves onto the national scene this season thanks to Tweety Carter, the school’s first McDonald’s All-American, and LaceDarius Dunn, who’s name sounds like the sequel to this movie. Their road to the title likely goes through Texas, Kansas State and Kansas. They’re 2-0 against the Horns this year and 0-2 against Kansas’ finest, losing by 2 to the Wildcats and by 6 to the Jayhawks.  Again, third in your program, third in your sports book.

Wednesday’s Games

#8 Colorado vs. #9 Texas Tech – Despite protests to just have their athletic directors debate whether athletes respond better to being enticed by sex, drugs and alcohol or by being locked in a closet, these teams will play an actual basketball game. The Buffaloes enter the tournament on a three-game winning streak and the Red Raiders, despite having a guy named Mike Singletary, have showed no backbone in losing seven in a row and nine of eleven.  You sold on this one yet?  No?  Umm...there will be cheerleaders?

#5 Missouri vs. #12 Nebraska – Even The Scwab is going to sit this one out.  You should too. 

#7 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Oklahoma – There will be plenty of hatred in the Sprint Center for this one and, for once, it won’t be because Oklahoma State is fighting each other. An in-state rivalry is just the kind of first-round sexiness this tournament needs. The key for Oklahoma State will be Big XII Player of the Year James Anderson, who topped the conference with 22 points per game. On the other side, Oklahoma freshman guard Tommy Mason-Griffin was the conference leader in tattoos per square inch. I don’t think that will be as useful in this matchup. It does bear noting, though.

#6 Texas vs. #11 Iowa State – The formerly top-ranked Longhorns are now the sixth-seed in the Big XII tournament after a road loss to Kansas State sent them spiraling into a 6-8 tailspin to finish the year. However, barring a disaster, Texas will slaughter the Cyclones and you’ll hear for the 450th time about Dexter Pittman's weight loss. What they won’t tell you, though, is that his excess weight stumbled across some radioactive contamination in a sewer and formed a living organism capable of transforming into actual size Tweety Carter, Tommy Mason-Griffin and Sherron Collins body doubles. This could pave the way for a Longhorn tourney run.

Rest of the Schedule

Quarterfinals  - Thursday, March 11
No. 1 Kansas vs. CU/TTU winner  11:30 a.m.
No. 4 Texas A&M vs. MU/NU winner  2:00 p.m.
No. 2 Kansas State vs. OU/OSU winner  6:00 p.m.
No. 3 Baylor vs. ISU/UT winner  8:30 p.m.

Semifinals - Friday, March 12
Thursday afternoon winners  6:00 p.m.
Thursday evening winners  8:30 p.m.

Final - Saturday, March 13
Semifinal winners  5:00 p.m.
Posted on: February 23, 2010 11:42 am

A Long Night Between Basketball History


12:00 PM

When we created the schedule for this trip, we may not have been quite sane.  In case you have forgotten, here is how it looks as of now:

Thursday:  Pitt vs Marquette
Friday:  Old Dominion vs Northern Iowa
Saturday:  Siena vs Butler (switched to Louisville vs Depaul)
Sunday:  Ohio State vs Michigan State
Monday:  Oklahoma vs Kansas
Tuesday:  Visit Kentucky
Wednesday:  Florida State vs North Carolina
Thursday:  Murray State vs Morehead State
Friday:  Princeton vs Cornell
Saturday: Villanova vs Syracuse
Sunday:  Virginia vs Duke

It was quite an ambitious undertaking, but the reality of the neverending part of some of these drives hit us last night.  After leaving Lansing Michigan at 5 pm on Sunday and driving 5 hours to Terre Haute, Indiana, we got up and drove the next 7 hours to Lawrence, Kansas on Monday.  We watched a great game in Phog Allen and headed back for Lexington, driving through the night to make the 9 hour trip.  So if you are scoring at home, that is 21 hours of driving in approximately 40 hours of actual time.  Let me just say, that is exhausting.

It hit us hard last night around 6 am outside of Centralia, Illinois, when we needed a power nap.  Because it was so late and we dont want to run up the CBS dime, we decided to make a quick stop in a Super 8 Hotel parking lot.  As we attempted to sleep in the 20 degree weather in the Kia Rondo ("The Harangody"), I wondered, "is this how Gary Parrish and Billy Packer got their starts?"  I have to hope it is.

Getting to see a game in Phog Allen was phenomenal.  While the locals said the crowd was relatively dead compared to other games, I loved it nonetheless and the history in the place is truly amazing.  I will have more on that topic later, but we now have to get back on the road and get to Lexington.  Last night, we saw the #1 team in America and what Jay Bilas calls the #2 most passionate fan base in all of college basketball.  Today we will see the team that reverses both of those numbers.
Posted on: February 22, 2010 8:45 pm

Phirst Impressions in The Phog

By: Drew Franklin

7:30 PM

We're inside the Phog getting ready for the game.  Here are a few notes of the pre-game scene:

They line up early.

It felt like about -45 degrees when we stepped out of the Rondo after arriving to Allen Fieldhouse.  I barely made it from the parking lot to the front door without my Bear Grylls survival instincts kicking in.  I was close to stabbing a wild animal. crawling inside it, and building a fire on the tennis courts.  

But, the cold weather certainly didn't keep the students from lining up like the Brothers Jonas were in town.  They do know they're playing Oklahoma, right?


As soon as we walked into Allen Fieldhouse, I could feel it.  Not the tradition, the history, or the atmosphere, but the Chipotle.  I knew it was in here somewhere.  I followed my nose past the Jayhawk Wall of Fame, the trophy case, and the Danny Manning fathead to the media room where I found the mecca of college basketball media rooms:  a Chipotle Burrito bar.
Phog Allen Fieldhouse, you sure do know how to win a guy over.

Bobby Knight doesn't need new friends.

Knight was in the media room, demolishing a burrito like it was a Metamucil wafer and a strawberry Ensure, and telling the other senior citizens at his table all about the good ol' days.  Ya know, back when it was uphill both ways to smack a player or it was only a nickel fine to throw a chair.  A few students politely asked Knight for a photo and he shook them off like they were the neighbors' kids trying to play in his yard.  Lighten up, old man.

Noah built Allen Fieldhouse right after the ark.

I didn't realize how ancient this place was until I walked up the bleachers.  It felt like I might step right through the lumber at any point.  Sure, it's one the top three arenas in college basketball but it's also a safety hazard.

Xavier Henry is still committed to Kansas.

We passed Zah-vee-ay in the hallway and it appears that he is sticking to his decision to play at Kansas.  You heard it here, folks.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk is about to get underway.  I gotta run.  See you at the half.

Posted on: February 22, 2010 6:00 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2010 6:01 pm

The Jayhawks' Favorite Songs

By: Drew Franklin

4:30 PM

Lawrence, Kansas is known for a booming music scene.  The city was named one of the “best lil’ college towns” in America by Rolling Stone.  The magazine also named a Lawrence radio station as one of a top ten “Stations that Don’t Suck.”  The New York Times said Lawrence had “the most vital music scene between Chicago and Denver” and Lawrence’s “Replay Lounge” was named one of GQ Magazine’s top 25 bars/venues in the country in 2007.

With all of this good music surrounding the KU campus, I thought it would be a good idea for the College Basketball Road Trip to see what kind of music the Jayhawks listen to.

New Apple technology allowed me to tap into various Jayhawk iPods from my MacBook in the Kia Rondo.  This is what I found:


Bill Self: “My Old Drunk Friend” – Freakwater / “So Many Men, So Little Time” – Miquel Brown / “It’s Raining Men” – Weather Girls

Cole Alridch: “A Country Boy Can Survive” – Hank Williams Jr. / “Smile Away” – Paul McCartney / “Hello Big Man” – Carly Simon

Sherron Collins: “I Love College” – Asher Roth / “Hey Nineteen” – Steely Dan /  “Sweat” – Inner Circle

Xavier Henry: “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” - DMX / “Walking in Memphis” – Marc Cohn / “Keep Changing My Mind” – The Carpenters

Markief Morris: “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” – Groucho Marx / “Me & My Brother” – Ying Yang Twins 

Brady Morningstar: “You Drink, You Drive, You Spill” – NOFX / “White Kids Love Hip-Hop” – MC Chris

Tyshawn Taylor: “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” – Elton John / “Suspended” – Matt Nathanson

Danny Manning: “Back Where I Come From”- Kenny Chesney / “Don’t You Forget About Me” – Simple Minds

Scott Pollard: “I Wanna Get High” – Cypress Hill / “Role Model” – Eminem

Kirk Hinrich: “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison

Raef LaFrentz: “La Mer” – Charles Trenet / “Comme d’habitude” – Claude Francois

Paul Pierce: “As Good As I Once Was” – Toby Keith

Jacque Vaughn: “Where’d You Go?” – Fort Minor

Wilt Chamberlain: “Nobody Saw It” – Kipp Hayes / “Sledgehammer” – Peter Gabriel



Posted on: February 22, 2010 1:03 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 8:43 pm

Destination Scouting Report: Lawrence, Kansas

By Thomas Beisner

1:00 PM

Each morning, the CBS College Basketball Road Trip team will stop spooning each other in their Motel Six beds, grab a couple of bagels and hit the road in pursuit of their next college basketball destination. Their dossier and agenda are to remain top secret. However, I went to high school with one of the writers from Viva Laughlin and CBS forgot to take back his keys. Here is what he found…

The sixth-largest city in Kansas, Lawrence proudly declares itself a college town. And, like any college town, it lends itself to being easily abbreviated and tagged with “Vegas”. Unfortunately for Lawrence, Kansas, Larry Vegas has been claimed about 250 times already, according to Google. And I’m pretty sure someone named Larry Vegas sent my wife a Facebook message asking if she wanted to pose for photos. On second thought, Lawrence is just fine.

Traveling Distance:
The trip from East Lansing to Lawrence is a daunting one, but not one that our weary road warriors will back down from. Now nearly halfway through their trip, they’ll pack up the Kia Rondo, watch Kid Rock wave farewell in the rearview mirror and travel 750 miles to where our fair game came was birthed from the athletic Canadian loins of Dr. James Naismith. In the process, they’ll bid farewell to C.M. Tomlin, who will return home to make room for Matt’s ego, which has grown considerably since having two columns on the CBS Sports college basketball page yesterday.

Song Birds:
College basketball is rich with tradition and each school has their calling card. However, there is, perhaps, no more famous signature chant than KU’s “Rock….Chalk….Jayhawk….KU” ditty. The chant is usually recited after singing the alma mater and is followed by the fight song. According to the Kansas site, it was originally “Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, KU” when created in 1886 and later took on “Rock Chalk” as a tribute to Lawrence’s limestone. It also says Kansas fans eagerly await Lady Gaga’s “Rock chalk, rock chalk chalk, rock chalk, rock chalk chalk” remix.

Acronym Confusion:
The University of Oklahoma is referred to as OU. The University of Kansas is referred to as KU. As the kids say, I’m HMS (for the rest of you old guys, that’s “shaking my head”).

Toto, I don’t think we’re on probation anymore:
Over the past two seasons, Kansas went 64-11 and won a national title. During that time, Kansas was also on (minor) probation. Does that mean that Kansas was the first school to win a national title while on probation? I don’t know. CBS wouldn’t fund an intern for the trip. It should be noted, though, that the probation had nothing to do with the academic records of Darrell Arthur, who was found to have not technically graduated high school after beating a guy who supposedly didn’t take his SAT in the NCAA title game. You do know neither of the A’s in NCAA stand for academics, right?

Serious Statistical Breakdown:
Mark Mangino ate this part. But only after he subjected it to unfair mental torture.

Carry on my Wayward Son:
Since this past summer, Tyshawn Taylor has been the leading scorer on Team USA, broken his finger fighting the football team, inspired a hot new video game, had his Facebook taken away for posting transfer threats and earned a starting spot. That’s more ups and downs than Danny Bonaduce on a pogo stick. But, if his 17 points against Colorado is any indication, Taylor is gassed up, aight? Point plankn.

Celebrity Fan Power:
Kentucky has Ashley Judd, Southern Cal has Snoop Dogg, Texas has Matthew McConaughey and Temple has Bill Cosby. Kansas? They have former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie, who has been popping up at Jayhawk games lately to root for his buddy Bill Self. Should he be in attendance tonight, it’s a win-win for the road trip crew as Drew can finally get the name of the rehab program that encourages traveling from college town to college town and Tomlin’s replacement in the back seat could end up being a former Big 12 and SEC Coach of the Year. You in, Clyde? Pit stop in Lexington tomorrow…

On a personal note: As a Kentucky alum, I found this part of Bill Self’s Wikipedia bio unnecessarily harsh: “Self joined Larry Brown's coaching staff at the University of Kansas, replacing the position vacated by John Calipari”. Vacated? Low blow.

Just like a night at the Playboy Mansion in the 70’s, the guys will look to get inside and get their senses wrapped around what Wilt Chamberlain left behind. There will be rocking, there will be chalking and there will be Jayhawking, whatever that may mean. But, most importantly, they will pay heed and they will beware of the Phog….or at least all the Phog puns, of which there are thousands.

KU, the expectations are high for this trip. You’re 26-1, you’re #1 in the nation, your program is dripping in history and your center is missing one of his front teeth. Anything thing short of an epic 24 hours will be a major letdown.

Lawrence, Kansas, let’s do this.
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