No Pressure. No Diamonds

If you ever want to go to a Jayhawks game, I would recommend going to Allen Fieldhouse and finding a scalper. Stub Hub tickets are way over priced, and that is before service fees are enacted.

I attended the game with two buddies and we were expecting to pay at least a bill-fifty to get in the building. For a cool hondo a piece, we got in for a match-up that had been so heavily hyped since last year’s recruiting season.

I left the building feeling underwhelmed with OSU’s team, and their efforts, but I was happy to see them win. The energy in the building was unreal. It was definitely the loudest game I had attended since going to the Warriors-Spurs game back in April of last year. The first half of the game was influenced heavily by the crowd. Some kids from Stillwater sat behind us and they were in awe at how loud it got inside the building. Having gone to only non-conference games, I had yet to attend a competitive game at the “Phog.” OSU was in trouble early; in danger of getting blown out, yet they kept fighting until the end. My only complaint was the close score prevented a “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk” chant at the end of the game. But hey, a win is a win.

Side notes from the game:

I saw some improvement on defense from Kansas this game–especially in the first half. There weren’t many uncontested layups and OSU made some tough outside shots. With no big men and no inside scoring, it was easy to predict that Phil Forte’s hot shooting was not going to be enough. Besides Forte’s big day, no one else stepped up. I was shocked to find that Marcus Smart was one assist shy of a triple double. He didn’t hit many shots early on (3-14 with 16 points), and besides his late game defense on Frank Mason sometimes would forgot he was on the floor.

Bigs Jamari Traylor, Joel Embiid, and Tarik Black had a combined 37 points. Embiid himself was two blocks away from a triple double. The guard play was quiet however;with Selden only getting nine points and Wiggins a mere three (Wiggins only logged 23 minutes going 1 for 5 shooting).
Naadir Tharpe is playing like the point guard this team needs. He has been flat out balling. 39 minutes played on Saturday equated to 7-8 shooting (3-4 from 3 pt range), 21 points, 3 steals and 6 assists. He had 6 turnovers but its easy to rack up 6 of those in a pickup game at the local community building.

There was some really awful officiating this game. Too many whistles and too much flopping from the Cowboys. I’m not feeling all these technical fouls against Joel Embiid either. It seems like teams have figured out that they can’t beat Kansas athletically and are trying to use different mental tactics to agitate certain players. Oklahoma State played kind of dirty and every time I heard a whistle, I assumed a foul was going against OSU because a Jayhawk went down to to the floor. Nope. Without the help of a TV or radio announcer to sort out the calls, a lot of things remained unexplained until I was able to get on the internet. This wasn’t as bad as the Arkansas-Kentucky game last Monday, but it was upsetting. The egregious flagrant foul (and Smart’s subsequent flop) against Wayne Selden almost turned the tide of the game. OSU got two free throws and the ball–and promptly hit a three pointer to cut the game down to 1.

I lost a lot of respect for the OSU basketball program. They played like some busters. There were some cheap shots, and extra-curricular activity going on within the game. This game should have been a blowout. OSU did not look like a 9th ranked team. Playing the way they have lately, it feels silly to expect them to get further than the sweet sixteen this year. I can’t believe they had me so worried earlier in the year.

Jayhawks games are quite in vogue these days with our superstar laden team here in Lawrence. It was so cool to see Greg Anthony getting the crowd riled up for his camera phone. Cal graduate Aaron Rodgers was there. Former Jayhawks Jeff Graves, Elijah (d*&k-punch) Johnson, and Wayne Simien showed up for the big game. I ran into Kansas superfan Josh Swade, and even Grantland’s Andrew Sharp was in the building.

My buddy Sam and I made a poster for the game, “Embiidst Mode” and we were prepared for television to pick up the phrase and run with it. With our seats high up in the rafters, we decided to donate our sign to a student ticket holder. The first person we came across looked pretty unimpressed with our pun and stuck in down in the mobility impaired section behind the basket. I saw him do it, and when I asked if he had our sign, he said that “it fell.” So at halftime I fished it out and gave it to this guy with a blue Feaux-hawk, who proudly displayed it every time KU took a free throw. Big ups Feaux-hawk guy.

How about Durant’s Friday night explosion against Golden State? 54 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists for KD. I was at the game when he put up 51 against the Timberwolves back in 2012, and he makes it look so easy. I don’t think anyone will get close to 81 points again, but if it were to happen again, my money would be on either Durant or Steph Curry to be the ones who would erupt.

Big Monday and Baylor is about to get exposed. They have the big men but their guard play has yet to impress me. Tonight might be a blowout.

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