By WHITNEY MATHEWS
Special To One Great Season
While I'm smarter than the average girl bear when it comes to college hoops, I'm completely irrational when it comes to the Kansas Jayhawks. Just ask JPW.
Last year I told him (with a straight face) that he was a total idiot for not coming to one Kansas football game during his One Great Season college tour. KU went on to lose seven games in a row and our coach "resigned" for being too fat and grouchy to recruit effectively. Whatever.
So, every year I fill out two brackets, one with Kansas as the national champion and the other a little more realistic. Speaking as a somewhat educated yet ridiculous fan, both of my brackets this year have the Jayhawks victorious on April 5.
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Why will Kansas win? The level of talent is just unfair. Similar to the 2008 title team, there is an answer for every question on the court. Take it anywhere near the rim, and you'll see the Minnesota Not-So-Nice of Cole Aldrich. He's changed the game defensively in the Big 12 since his KU fans got a glimpse of his capabilities during the 2008 national semifinal against North Carolina. (P.S. - As a KU fan, was that a great night, or the greatest night? I go with the latter.)
Here are two words: Sherron Collins. Here are two more words: Tyshawn Taylor. The backcourt is in good hands.
Every national title team has to have a white guy who can make threes. KU has two! Tyrel Reed (white guy, not-so-white name) and Brady Morningstar are solid perimeter shooters. Did you see Reed's two game-changing threes in Saturday's Big 12 Championship game defeat of Kansas State?
The X-Factor, Xavier Henry, is a probable one-and-done who was cold during the first part of conference play. But if he finds his groove, God help you. He can contribute from nearly anywhere -– especially in the cute smiles department –- and has averaged 15 points per game since early February.
What else makes KU so dangerous? (Sing it with me) ... And twins. Marcus and Markieff Morris. Easily the two most improved Jayhawks from 2008-2009. It turns out an extra 20 pounds of muscle and working with Danny Manning for a few hours every day is a good thing. And if they don't get you with their basketball skillz, they'll confuse you with their matching tattoos. Tricky.
Bottom line? KU is so talented across the board that we don't need a John Wall. Our John Wall is Henry, who has embraced the unselfish, experienced style of play that defines the current era of Kansas basketball. It will get KU fans where we need to be. It has before.
I will say my gut reaction to the Midwest bracket is "what kind of f**kery is this?" Both teams who straight-up pwnd the Jayhawks this season (Tennessee and Okie State) are in the Midwest, as is Michigan State, which ousted KU from last year's Sweet 16. It’s like going to a party and 20 percent of the dudes there are your ex-boyfriends.
I won't complain about a competitive path. Bring it on. Like Coach Bill Self said Monday morning, whomever comes out of the Midwest has earned it. I'd rather my team earn a Final Four than have it gift-wrapped in $100 bills and served up in a bejeweled chalice by 40 virgins <cough>Duke</cough>.
Anyway, is it Thursday yet?