The Sooners play the third ranked Kansas Jayhawks tonight on ESPN's Big Monday. My opinion is that Kansas is the best team in the country and yes I admit that I am biased to the Big 12 conference. Just how good are the Jayhawks? Enter Cory from Rock Chalk Talk to answer that question and more. Welcome to the Machine Cory!
RCT: Yes and no. Every year, the goal at the end of the season is to go to the Final Four. This season, with Bill Self finally having "his" team be veteran-laden and Roy Williams free (except for Jeremy Case, who doesn't see significant time), there is more of an expectation to reach the Final Four. However, I wouldn't necessarily consider the entire season a loss if we don't make it there. As long as players grow and improve, especially the couple who will actually be back next season, and we go far enough in the Tournament to tie last year's accomplishment (Elite Eight) and win a conference crown, this season was still a positive one. Just not how we had planned it.
2.With the Missouri Tigers on the schedule for Saturday is there any chance Kansas overlooks Oklahoma or is ESPN and Big Monday enough to keep the Jayhawks focused?
RCT: I don't see us overlooking Oklahoma, for a couple of different reasons. For one, OU gave us a serious scare last season, and Bill Self will no doubt bring that up to the team. Second, as you mentioned, it is Big Monday and the national spotlight of ESPN is shining bright on Allen Fieldhouse. I think we will be focused and prepared for the Oklahoma Sooners, we certainly won't be looking ahead to the Missouri game still 5 days away.
3. Do the Jayhawks have a weakness?
RCT: Yes, we have a couple. However, we still aren't completely healthy so we still do have room to grow.
One big weakness is free throw shooting. For whatever the reason, we really struggle to make FT's when we need them most. A good example of this was the Georgia Tech game, where a 9 point lead with 90 seconds left quickly became a 2 point contest because of our ineptitude at the charity stripe.
Another is that, if we don't make our open three-pointers, we really struggle to score. Darrell Arthur isn't good enough yet to carry this team on his back, and if a team can specifically target and defend our open shots on the perimeter, we become very beatable.
4. 16-0, what has been the most impressive win of the season for Kansas?
RCT: I think that our best win, hands down, was the one on the road @ USC. We were playing without Sherron Collins, Brandon Rush was still coming back from his surgery and played limited minutes and it was our first road game. Plus, we shot horrendously in the first half, allowing USC to stay in the game from start to finish.
The fact that we were able to still win the game, with all of that against us, makes that our most impressive victory of the season by far.
5. Defend Phog Allen Field House as the best place in America to watch a basketball game?
RCT: History, tradition, all of that. The "Rock Chalk" chant at the end of the game is priceless, unless you are on the losing side, and there is so much history and tradition it is hard not to stop and stare throughout the game. Just as an example, Scotty Van Pelt and Neil Everett, both SportsCenter anchors, are coming down to Lawrence on their off day just to take in a game.