What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Remember the movie “The Day After?” In case you don’t, this 1983 classic cultural phenomenon was a brutally graphic, entirely disturbing account of the effects of a nuclear war on the people of Lawrence, Kansas. It was no accident the makes of this film picked Lawrence; anybody who has been that close to the meltdown known as Jayhawk basketball are well versed in the effects of thermonuclear implosion and toxic radioactive fallout.
This is why the level of denial in Jayhawk is at once admirable and pathetic; noble yet completely blind. After all, if you lived in such a wasteland, you would need a serious set of coping mechanisms as well, but to invest so much in such a fraudulent program as Kansas basketball is just sad beyond all description. This is because there are only two types of Jayhawk seasons. There’s the ones where they win (there have only been three of those), and there’s the ones when they don’t; the ones in which Kansas fans go through some seriously torturous mental gymnastics to atone for not winning.
The fundamental problem is that Kansas fans believe that they should win every single year, and when the Jayhawks don’t, their fans cocoon themselves in this layer of false history. Jayhawk fans think the entire sport is their birthright; that its history is proprietary to Kansas simply because their legendary coach Phog Allen was rumored to be Dr. James Naismith’s gay lover.
To understand this fraudulent nature, let’s break down that history they love so damn much. First of all, while Naismith was the inventor of basketball, he didn’t invent it in Kansas. Do you know what did get invented in Kansas? Shooting people over slavery. But that’s not as “feel-good” as believing your basketball team is historically elite.
Then there’s the championships, all three of them. In the grand scheme of college basketball, that put’s you one notch above such traditional hoops powerhouses like Cincinnati, Louisville, San Francisco, and Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State). As far as history is concerned, there are four historically elite programs: UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, and North Carolina; with Duke on the verge of joining that group. Kansas is just in the discussion for “best of the rest.”
Let’s say you don’t want to talk about history; let’s talk about this year’s Jayhawk squad. Let’s talk about how over-rated KU basketball really is. This isn’t a #1 quality team; they are certainly a decent team, but they aren’t top-level good.
1) This year’s team only has two above-average players; the Morris Twins. Take those two guys off the table what’s left? A bunch of guys who play less than seven minutes per game, and of the guys who actually get on the floor more than that, there’s only one who has a FG% over 55%, and there’s only one who snags more than five rebounds a game.
2) Bill Self is the one of the worst “big-time” coaches I’ve ever seen. This past week represented the fifth time during his eight seasons at KU in which the Jayhawks have been ranked #1. In fact, Kansas spent 15 weeks ranked at the top last season. How did that end again? Two words: Northern Iowa.
3) Never play K-State on the day KU gets named to the #1 spot. KU has done that twice, and is 0-2 in those games.
4) When it comes to the tournament, look at the AP top 25 poll last week in which Kansas was #1. Of the teams in the top 5, you’ve already lost to Texas, there’s no way KU could beat Ohio State or Pittsburgh away from Allen Fieldhouse, and while Duke doesn’t impress me, Coach K could coach circles around Bill Self.
5) Still don’t believe Kansas is over-rated? Look at recent history under Bill Self. Sure, there is an NCAA Championship in 2008, but that is off-set by what are three of the most embarrassing early-round losses in tournament history:
The bottom line: regardless of whether you are talking yesterday or today, be careful when quoting history as a KU fan; there’s a lot of it that doesn’t work in your favor.