Dear Heart Broken Jayhawk Nation,
Somehow you knew that Marcus Denmon would break his recent shooting slump against the Jayhawks. Somehow you knew a late referee call would affect the outcome in their favor. Somehow you knew that the late lead might not hold up. Somehow, you were right. I offer an optimistic view in all of this. This is not a rant where I offer scenarios how the Big 12 title is still possible and where the 2 other horses in the race might slip up. No, this is just a good pick me up about how we’re still better than Missouri.
First off, Duke lost today…at home. That is the appetizer. The main course will arrive from Columbia to Lawrence on February 25th, that is when your bloodlust will be satisfied.
Lets talk, first, about why the better team lost. No coulda, woulda, shouda’s where had this happened or the referee blows a late call we win. This game reminds me a lot of the 2009 game in Missouri with a little sprinkle of the 2005 (Christian Moody free-throw game). In 2009, the 16th-ranked Jayhawks had a 14-point halftime lead against No. 17 Missouri, only to blow the lead late and lose while committing 27 turnovers. It reminds me of the Christian Moody game as well because it took a monumental late collapse by the Jayhawks for the Tigers to prevail. All the credit to Mizzou in all of this, they were able to capitalize off the Jayhawks miscues. But as was the case in the other two games, the loss Saturday was more about the Jayhawks bad play than the Tigers good play.
Three weeks later on March 1, the 11th-ranked Tigers visited the Fieldhouse and the 15th-ranked Jayhawks where let’s just say Kansas had a 25-point halftime lead and Conner Teahan, Tyrone Appleton, Quintrell Thomas, Matt Kleinmann, and Travis Releford were playing the last five minutes. I can almost (almost) guarantee the same outcome on February 25.
So, does a 3-Point road collapse followed by a 24 point drubbing of the same opponent at home make you the better team? In my book, yes it does. Given all of the hoopla of Gameday, Hate Week, and simply because its Kansas, the Jayhawks had a much better chance of winning their road game than will Missouri because of Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor and Bill Self. Going into Saturday I thought the Jayhawks chance of winning in Columbia was nearly 50%. What do you think Tiger fans give their team for the return game? I think if Kansas plays their B-Minus game they still win by double digits. What about a neutral court site? Kansas still wins. That 2009 team went on to win the Big 12 title. Remember Kansas fans that before that game arrives and once it is over the bigger fish to fry is still the Big 12 title.
Josh Campos, KC SportsNation