Kansas vs. USC: I'll Take What I Can Get
While I really would have loved to have seen the Wisconsin-Winthrop (Turns out that the solid Winthrop team that beat Marquette last year has almost everyone back. Who knew?) game last night, its presence on ESPN360 made that an impossibility. So after an appointment, I plunked myself down on my couch to watch Kansas take on USC. I only made it through the first half before falling asleep in front of the TV, something which is happening with greater regularity these days. I attribute this to two factors: 1) I am slowly turning into an old man, and 2) my new couch, in addition to making a statement that I am no longer a pathetic 28-year-old man whose primary piece of furniture is a futon, is really comfortable. So thoughts on the little of the game that I did see:
1) Seeing a game on TV that’s being played at Allen Fieldhouse is a lot less fun when it’s nighttime, as the unique lighting of the arena doesn’t occur as it does during a nice Saturday afternoon.
2) Last night’s game was a blessing in disguise. I tuned in largely to watch Kansas forward Darrell Arthur play, but due to foul trouble, he played 3 minutes in the first half. Normally, this would bug me, but I actually got to see the other guys on the floor, rather than fixating on one super-athletic guy as I wait for him to dunk.
3) For all the talk that I hear about Brandon Rush playing for Kansas, I was probably more blown away by Mario Chalmers last night. Maybe he was just having a good night, but Chalmers looked like a guy that can do a little bit of everything and do it well. From his quick hands on defense to his intelligent passing, last night he immediately leapt onto my list of favorite players to watch.
4) While watching the game last night, I glanced at my Blue Ribbon Yearbook and noticed that Brandon Rush, despite some initial concerns about eligibility, eventually made the Big 12 honor roll. Given that the paths of his similarly talented brothers JaRon and Kareem were littered with shady deals and bad choices, it’s nice to see the latest Rush phenom not only sticking around school longer than anticipated, but excelling while he’s there. I have to think that his brothers have played some role in Brandon’s ability to make good decisions. Seeing the failures of JaRon would have an affect on anyone, but additionally, everything that I’ve read about the Rush brothers seems to imply that they’re smart enough guys to see exactly where they went wrong in the past. While being smart enough to accurately pick apart your errors in life must be somewhat tormenting, at least it’s useful if you’ve got a brother to help out.
5) Heck of a game for USC guard Lodrick Stewart, who’s twin brother Rodrick is a little-used reserve for Kansas (after transferring from USC). That had to be a good feeling of revenge for Lodrick, after his parents gave his brother the real name, and him the made-up name in order to make them sound like a cute pair.
6) The Stewart brothers’ father was, predictably, shown several times by ESPN as he watched his opposing sons play. I don’t know if his father is involved in athletics somehow, but he looked like he was in tremendous shape, and could have been sitting with the Kansas City Chiefs shown earlier in the evening without anyone batting an eye. He certainly didn’t look like a guy who was old enough to have two 22-year-old sons.
7) Did good or bad Kansas show up last night? Actually, I think mediocre Kansas showed up. The Jayhawks didn’t suck, but they didn’t look like one of the top teams in the country (as they did against Florida) and at least in the half that I saw, it was a pretty sloppy game. (Had the Marquette statistician been working the game, there would have been a world record for number of deflections.)
Tonight it’s down to the Marquette-Delaware State game. Hopefully Marquette breaks the trend of it and Wisconsin trying to compile close games and losses to take the luster off of this weekend’s grudge match. After that, time permitting, I’m itching to see the Louisville-Arizona game on TV. Let’s hope I don’t pass out in front of the TV again...