That school down the river is once again perched to be the class of the conference again in basketball, for the 931st time in a row...a new Big 12 Conference record. Prior to our meeting tonight, I sat down with Andy at Rock Chalk Talk for a little Q&A session (with a little less vitriol than I would like). If you're interested in his questions for BOTC and my responses, you can find them here.
BOTC: I heard something Saturday that made me pause: Perry Ellis for Big 12 POY. The argument was "Best Player on the Best Team". To me, that's an absurd way of handing out the accolade - Frank Mason might just be the best player for KU this year, anyway. Who deserves the honor in your mind this year?
RCT: Yeah, I'm not buying that campaign yet, even though I'd love to see one of his faces (www.perryellisfaces.tumblr.
The problem is that the voters don't use advanced stats to make their decision. Instead, POY becomes MVP, or the guy that has pretty much no help and still does well. Even though this isn't a Kansas team that is absolutely stacked, Ellis still has much more help (at least in the eyes of most voters) than guys like Buddy Hield or Georges Niang. But even at this point, I'd probably have to go with Hield.
BOTC: From the outside, what do YOU think is going on at K-State with the basketball team?
RCT: This looks like vintage Bruce Weber. His MO has been to overachieve in his first couple years with the talent that was left behind, but when it comes time to replace that talent with new recruits, he can't find enough overall talent and/or misreads the dynamic that the players will bring to the team. The wheels fell off a bit quicker than I thought they would, but pretty much everyone outside of K-State saw this coming. [Half of K-State fans that pay attention to college basketball also saw this coming, for what its worth. -Ed.]
BOTC: OK - it just dawned on me. You guys have one senior, and he's not even getting 2 minutes a game. It also doesn't appear to me that anyone is jumping for the NBA after this year. Is it national title or bust for next season for KU?
RCT: Kelly Oubre is pretty much all but guaranteed to jump after this year. Barring an injury or his play completely falling off a cliff these last few games, his potential is too much to keep him out of the first round. Pretty much all KU fans are prepared for him to leave. That being said, Alexander is the only other one likely to jump this year, and I'd put that at 40% likely at best. We are looking at getting pretty much everyone back, and adding Carlton Bragg and potentially one more should stack this team for next year. I've heard multiple people talk about how this reminds them of the 2007 Kansas team, where everyone was pretty good, but it was the entire group coming back that allowed them to gel even more and explode to the title.
So yeah, if everyone comes back, then anything less than a Final Four would be a disappointment. And depending on how the season goes, that could still be the expectation going into the tournament.
BOTC: One game lead over ISU with four to go. What is the likelihood of sharing the conference title with the Cyclones this year?
RCT: I'd probably say 60% Kansas wins it outright, 35% Iowa State shares it, and 5% ISU wins it outright. Iowa State still has to play Baylor and Oklahoma, and even though those are both at home, they likely need to win out to catch Kansas. I'm much more comfortable saying that Kansas wins out than ISU winning out though, so even those percentages I gave are probably too high.
BOTC: What concerns you about the game tonight? Can K-State pull a fast one and send the Jayhawks home sad?
RCT: My concern is really that the players don't take the game seriously. But KU is clearly the better team, and as long as they can get out of their own way, I don't see them having any big problems tonight. I'll say Kansas 82, Kansas State 65. [He's generous giving us 65 points tonight. Maybe not so on the 82 for the Jayhawks, though. -Ed.]
Star Trek or Star Wars?
RCT: As for my bonus question, I've been much more in favor of Star Trek than Star Wars. The only Star Trek I couldn't really get into was the original, but I grew up on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Star Trek just had so many more possibilities.