clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Facing The Jayhawks: Q&A With Rock Chalk Talk

We chatted up Rock Chalk Talk as the Cowboys prepare to head into Allen Fieldhouse to face 9th ranked Kansas.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State has their work cut out for them tonight in Lawrence. The Big 12 is tougher than ever, but the Jayhawks don't look ready to give up their decade long reign at the top quite yet.  We exchanged some questions with Rock Chalk Talk to find out what we should expect from Kansas tonight.

Before we get started though, we need to give a big thanks to Misterbrain.  He does an incredible job over at Rock Chalk Talk, and we greatly appreciate him taking time to answer our questions.

For the true college basketball fans out there, what makes Allen Fieldhouse such a special basketball venue, other than its sheer size?

I honestly don't think the size itself has anything to do with it.  While it is the 22nd largest in terms of gameday capacity, the building actually has a more intimate feel than many arenas that have a smaller capacity.  Some of that is that the seats are still pretty much the same size as when the Fieldhouse was originally built, but they really pack them in.

And why not? This is a building that every serious fan of the game has put on their bucket list.  The fact is that it is one of the most historic buildings in the game, named after the man who is called "The Father of Basketball Coaching", who helped establish the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the NCAA tournament, and helped the push to make basketball an Olympic sport. And that's only part of his history (http://www.hoopszone.net/Kentucky/Kansas/Coaches/Allen-Phog.htm), the rest is pretty amazing too.

Add in the fact that the floor is named after the inventor of the game himself, and the building takes on a whole new level of special.  The design of the building adds to it's home floor advantage, and the sheer weight of the history has only added to the mystique.

For the casual college basketball fan Kansas has obviously become a recognizable name. With that the school has had big name guys coming in and out including Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid last year. Who is that 'big name' guy that fans should look out for?

I'm not sure there really is one this year.  None of the freshmen were expected to be super stars when they got here like Wiggins was, and while Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander are coming on strong now, they didn't have the meteoric rise that Embiid did.

I think the most likely candidate will be someone who won't get his due until late in the year or next year, and that would be Frank Mason.  He went from middling backup to Naadir Tharpe as a freshman to steady rock for the team as a sophomore, even while everyone else around him was floundering and his backup was injured, forcing him to play nearly all the minutes at PG.  But he has been consistent the whole time, and now that Devonte' Graham is back, he can settle back into his game.  Hopefully the nation will start to take notice. At least one person has (link is fine, but the song is definitely NSFW). http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/campus-corner/article5657358.html

Kansas is 13-2 with the losses coming from the hands of Temple and Kentucky by more than 20 points each. What was the biggest weaknesses you saw for Kansas in those two losses?

The Kentucky game was an absolute disaster, with the freakish length of the Wildcats disrupting EVERYTHING the Jayhawks tried to do.  Every time a player went up for a shot or tried to pass it, Kentucky has a man in his face. And when Kentucky decided to play early in the season, there wasn't really anything you could do.  Basically, you couldn't really draw any conclusions about KU from that game.

The Temple game is another matter. I saw two main issues in that game: the wear and tear on Frank Mason, and a horrific slump by Perry Ellis. To out it bluntly, Ellis was absolutely horrible for a good stretch of games, but the Temple game was the one time that no one else could make up for it. Mason tried to do it all himself, and in doing so stopped doing what was making him so effective.

Luckily for KU fans, Ellis is coming out of his slump, Alexander and Oubre are developing quickly, Jamari Traylor has found his groove, and Graham is back. And we haven't even talked about 17-year old Ukrainian secret weapon Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.

For the casual college basketball fan Kansas has obviously become a recognizable name. With that the school has had big name guys coming in and out including Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid last year. Who is that 'big name' guy that fans should look out for?

I'm not sure there really is one this year.  None of the freshmen were expected to be super stars when they got here like Wiggins was, and while Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander are coming on strong now, they didn't have the meteoric rise that Embiid did.

I think the most likely candidate will be someone who won't get his due until late in the year or next year, and that would be Frank Mason.  He went from middling backup to Naadir Tharpe as a freshman to steady rock for the team as a sophomore, even while everyone else around him was floundering and his backup was injured, forcing him to play nearly all the minutes at PG.  But he has been consistent the whole time, and now that Devonte' Graham is back, he can settle back into his game.  Hopefully the nation will start to take notice. At least one person has

(link is fine, but the song is definitely NSFW). http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/campus-corner/article5657358.html

Out of everything - defense, rebounding, 3-point shooting, etc. - what do the Jayhawks do the best?

The defense has been pretty mediocre for much of the year, but I'm not sure how much of that is skewed by the two embarrassments mentioned above.  The rebounding has been fairly good, especially on the offensive glass.  But the weirdest part of this year has been that the real strength of this team is their 3-point shooting.  This is an extremely strange thing for a Bill Self team, as he prides himself on his high-low game and running everything through the big men. This year, the outside shooters are hot and the big men just haven't been living up to the expectations of the system we typically run.

Kansas has just dominated the Big 12 with 10 straight conference championships. How confident are you that the reign continues this season?

I'm more confident after Saturday than I was on Friday.  But I won't really be confident at all unless we get through the opening six-pack of games undefeated.  If that doesn't happen, then we likely would need a 2 game lead in the conference.  This conference is absolutely stacked this year, and while that means it will be tough to get a lead in the conference race, it also is going to make it tougher to catch up once you fall behind.If I had to bet on it now, I'd lay my money on Kansas at least getting a share of the title.  But this year more than ever, I wouldn't be surprised if that title was shared by 3 or 4 teams.

The last five meetings in this matchup have all been decided by seven or less points and the collective score is OSU 372 KU 370. Is this another close matchup, and what is your prediction?

I think it stays fairly close until the end, but especially with Graham back to share the load at PG, KU just has too much and will wear OK State down.  I'm assuming Phil Forte will go off against us like he usually does (hasn't he retired yet?  Seems like he has been in the league for the last 10 years), but the two strengths of KU's team - offensive rebounding and 3 point shooting - seem to be pretty big deficiencies in the OSU defense.  I have KU pulling away late, 79-66.

Again, a huge thank you to Misterbrain for providing some great insight on the Jayhawks, and be sure to go check out our answers to his questions over at Rock Chalk Talk!

Now we have a question for you, and it's simple; what's your score prediction for the game?