KSAL Staff - January 17, 2017 8:00 am
MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS
Kansas coach Bill Self has the right idea of how important it is to be rated as the best team in the nation: Before the Iowa State game on Jan. 16 at Ames, Self said, “I don’t know what’ll happen . . . if we’ll be one, if Villanova’ll jump us or whatever. It’s really not a big deal—I’d much rather be five and O in the league than be number one. At least we have that.”
KU has problems that haven’t become prominent so far; the Jayhawks lack adequate depth and they are too small. Center Landen Lucas is the only reliable pivot player and he didn’t play very well in the hard-fought win against O-State.
Small forward Josh Jackson has been playing great and he’s KU’s only consistent rebounder to go with Lucas. Svi Mykhailiuk and Carlton Bragg could take up some of the slack, but they aren’t getting it done in the rebounding department.
Mykhailiuk’s rebounding has improved somewhat, but he isn’t aggressive enough. He should study how Jackson plays. Bragg is a mystery that has to be solved if KU is going to be a special team. Bragg has the physical tools, but he hasn’t improved at all; he’s been the major disappointment on KU’s team.
KU fans shouldn’t be misled by the Jayhawks’ high national ranking because they haven’t played an overly rugged schedule. Aside from Indiana and Duke, Kansas hasn’t played any nationally renowned teams. That’s not to say that Coach Self doesn’t have another excellent ball club because he does; nevertheless, Kansas is a far cry from being the best team in the nation.
It’s amazing how many highly talented teams there are throughout the country. Taking the Atlantic Coast Conference as an example, there are at least four of the 15 member teams that have a chance to win the NCAA Tournament: Louisville, North Carolina, Florida State, and Duke. Those four teams have a formidable blend of size, talent, and quality depth. And that’s just one league. Kentucky, UCLA, Villanova, Oregon, Gonzaga, and Arizona are teams that match ACC talent.
KU followers should relax and enjoy the season as the Jayhawks try for their thirteenth consecutive Big 12 title. It isn’t going to be easy because of the aforementioned shortcomings, but Kansas is certainly well-coached and they have a formidable offense when the 3-point shots are falling. And maybe the light will go on for Carlton Bragg in time for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
The Extra Stupid Planning Network is at it again. Last Saturday Kansas basketball fans expecting to watch the Jayhawks play O-State on TV missed the first 11 minutes and 10 seconds of the first half.
ESPN’s many stations refuse to allow any down time between games; consequently, teams like KU playing the second scheduled game of the day normally don’t have the beginning of their games televised. ESPN allows just two hours per game with no break between games. It’s very stupid.
Adding salt to the wound, ESPN’s stations show teams—after their game is over—shaking hands while the next-scheduled game is in progress. It’s maddening.
Now that the 2016 college football season is over, it’s a good time to evaluate the relationship of the bowl games and the national championship playoffs. Problems abound.
The people in charge have made a mess of it. There should be 16 teams in the playoffs instead of four and the most traditional and prestigious bowl games should be sites for the playoff games to instill interest and excitement.
Pre-conference, regular-season games would have to be reduced from three to one or two and the season should start the first Saturday in September. The bowls used for the playoffs would include the Orange, Sugar, Rose, Cotton, and Fiesta. Three more bowl sites could be chosen to complete the first round of eight games for 16 teams. All of these games should be spread out and begin in the first part of December and finish with the championship game on New Year’s Day.
The second- and third-round games could be rotated from year to year among the major bowls of that year’s playoffs. Details could be easily organized. The main change that needs to be made is to combine the bowls and the playoffs and that could be accomplished with 16 teams.
Bowl games not included in the playoffs should continue as they have in the past; the less-important bowl games have declined in interest, but they would survive this change.
There’s a reason for the excess of bad calls by the referees in college basketball: The rules makers change the regulations so frequently (in basketball and football) that the officials and players don’t have time to become accustomed to the new rules before they are amended.