Posted on: March 27, 2011 6:48 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 6:48 pm

Morris twins unsure about NBA

SAN ANTONIO -- The Southwest Region final was a strange game for the Morris twins, although it ended with their being absolved of being buttholes.

Hey, that's not my word. That comes from VCU senior Jamie Skeen, who uttered one of the more improbable quotes I've ever heard when he was asked after the game -- he had 26 points and 10 rebounds -- about Marcus and Markieff Morris.

"I'd like to start off by saying that both of those guys are really good," Skeen said. "They're NBA talent, as everybody already knows. I respect both of them. I came in the game thinking that they were not so cool on the court and I thought they were some buttholes on the court -- that's what everybody told me, at least -- but when I got on the court I found out they were really cool."

Glad that's cleared up. As for the Morris' future, that remains murky. Markieff was asked afterward if he and his brother would enter the 2011 NBA draft as juniors, and he didn't say no.

"I have to sit down and talk to my coaches and family about my future and my brother's future," Markieff said. "Whatever happens, it will be the best decision."

Sunday was a mixed bag for both brothers. They showed they can produce, combining for 33 points and 28 rebounds, but the VCU frontcourt is small. Skeen is the biggest regular, and he's not as big as his listed 6-foot-9. The most shocking statistic was the number eight: Marcus had that many offensive rebounds, and Markieff had that many turnovers.

Other than Tyshawn Taylor (14 points on nine shots, plus three assists), the twins were Kansas' most effective players by far. Starting guards Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed were a combined 2 of 16 from the floor, and 1 of 10 on 3-pointers. Thomas Robinson, the sixth man who had a brutish double-double in the Sweet 16 against Richmond, was scoreless in six foul-plagued minutes.

"Sometimes in sports the harder you try the worse you play," Self said. "Our guys tried hard. This is one of those games where I think they tried really hard and obviously care so much and it may have taken away from our performance because, you know, the [shots] didn't go in -- and the harder they tried to go get the rebound and put it up, it just didn't go in again."

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kansas
Posted on: March 26, 2011 6:09 pm

Thomas Robinson: Freaking stud

SAN ANTONIO -- Kansas is loaded, so loaded that its best NBA prospect doesn't even start. Or play half the game.

This is just my opinion, and nobody ever accused me of being an NBA scout -- pretty sure I  advocated for Greg Oden ahead of Kevin Durant in the 2007 NBA draft -- but the player on the Kansas roster whose body, athleticism and skills scream NBA the loudest is Thomas Robinson.

The guy who plays 14.9 minutes per game.

For most schools Robinson would play double that, easily. He averages 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds -- remarkable production in such limited time -- and he had 12 points and 14 rebounds Friday against Richmond.

But Robinson comes off the bench because that's how loaded Kansas is, loaded especially with Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, who are two of the best big men in the country. They average a combined 30.7 points and 15.6 rebounds, they shoot with more range than Robinson and they handle the ball better, but they can't explode to the rim -- and keep going, well above it -- like Robinson. And that's what the NBA wants in a power forward. It wants the skill of the Morris twins, yes, but with transition buckets and defense at such a premium, the NBA wants a physical beast like Robinson even more.

Just my opinion, and I'm not trying to hurry Robinson out of school. He's only a sophomore, and he barely played last season and doesn't play all that much this season. For him to have the best possible NBA career -- and for him to earn the most possible millions over the course of that career -- he ought to return to school for at least one more season and develop his ball skills. Right now Robinson can dunk and block shots, but he's a 51-percent shooter from the foul line and he has never made a 3-point shot in college. Never even tried one.

If he comes back to school and adds that to his game, he's a lottery pick some day. My opinion. Don't try this at home.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kansas
Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:40 pm

Kansas wasn't good. Kansas was great.

SAN ANTONIO -- My position for more than a month has been this: At its best, Ohio State beats anybody. That was my position because I hadn't seen a team that could play with the Buckeyes, if the Buckeyes were on their game.

I saw that team Friday night.

Kansas is really, really freaking good.

Now, I'm not back-tracking on the Buckeyes. They're still, to me, the best team in the country. But the gap isn't what I thought it was. And the gap might not exist at all. Maybe I'm biased toward the Buckeyes, familiarity breeding appreciation since I've followed Ohio State all season from my home a few miles down the road. Maybe, given my blind spot for Buckeyes basketball, Kansas is Ohio State's equal.

Anyone wanting to make that argument picked a damn good day to do it.

Kansas defanged a really prickly Richmond team 77-57. The Spiders play a weird offense, they play a weird defense, and they play really hard. They did all of those things against Kansas on Friday -- and it mattered not even a little bit.

Kansas hit 3-pointers, Kansas grabbed rebounds, Kansas protected the ball and Kansas defended the perimeter. Those are not easy things to do, any of them, but Kansas did them all on Friday.

And this wasn't even Kansas at its best.

Marcus Morris, Kansas' All-American, had 13 points and seven rebounds. Markieff Morris (five points, six rebounds), Kansas' second-best player, played just five minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. When he left the game, Kansas led 10-7.

Kansas then went on a 27-7 run.

See what I'm saying?

Kansas manhandled a slippery Richmond team, and did it without either Morris twin playing his normal game. Brady Morningstar (18 points, four assists) was awesome. Thomas Robinson (12 points, 14 rebounds) was even better. Everyone else in a Kansas uniform, though, was merely decent. And still, this was a blowout.

What happens if Kansas plays better than this -- and it's obvious, Kansas can play better than this -- against Ohio State? I'd pay good money to watch that one. Or I'll watch for free and thank my lucky stars I have such a cool job.

And also be thankful that Kansas fans are so willing to forgive, um, this story here. Yeesh.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 20, 2010 7:52 pm

One of biggest NCAA upsets ever

Not sure where Northern Iowa's 69-67 victory against Kansas ranks on the NCAA Tournament Upset Meter -- but it's somewhere near the top.

For one thing, Kansas wasn't just a one seed, but the No. 1 overall seed. Best team in the tournament, allegedly, loses in the second round? To a No. 9 seed, not even an eight? And to a No. 9 seed from the Missouri Valley? That's enormous.

Especially the way this happened. Northern Iowa didn't just beat Kansas. It owned Kansas. Pwned Kansas. Got 3-pointers from its 7-footer (Jordan Eglseder) and 3-pointers from its 6-footer (Ali Farokhmanesh) and tenacious defense from everyone. The Jayhawks had more size and quickness and still couldn't get comfortable on offense, falling behind 47-35 in the second half before mounting a rally that didn't quite get it done.

So where does it rank among the all-time upsets? It's somewhere close to George Mason over UConn in 2006, which is the biggest shocker I've ever seen. It's better than Nova-Georgetown (1984) or NC State-Houston ('83) because those were upsets, yes, but they were big schools beating big schools. This is an upset and a small school beating a biggie.

So it's up there. Maybe it's even first.
Category: NCAAB
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