Rock Choke Jayhawk P-U!

Last Updated: March 21st, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)

Don’t mind the silence that you hear right now in the heartland of our country at this point. Normally, after a Kansas Jayhawks basketball game, you hear blue and red clad nut cases chanting in that slow, monotone, drone-like voice, “Rock Chalk Jayhawk K-U.”

If we slip the ‘A’ out of “chalk,” scoot the ‘K’ over a spot, buy an ‘E’, and change the ‘K’ in “KU” to a ‘P’, you can sum up this performance with our new saying.

Rock Choke Jayhawk P-U!

There are times that perception just doesn’t amount to reality. This wasn’t one of those cases. We all saw on Saturday afternoon that Kansas was one of the most talented teams in the nation. C Cole Aldrich looked like a man amongst boys at times, bullying his way through the paint like an enraged animal. Any time that HC Bill Self didn’t like what was happening on the court, he could bring in a new fresh set of five players if he wanted to and still have a solid looking club out there that was good enough to play with anyone in the nation.

Saturday’s shocking two-point loss to the Northern Iowa Panthers was simply a case of the magic (or if you will, the madness) of March.

Let’s step back for a minute and give a major thumbs down to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, which punished Northern Iowa for some unknown reason by making it a #9 seed in the dance in spite of the fact that it won 28 games and the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles.

HC Ben Jacobsen’s crew won each of their MVC Tournament games by at least 15 points. They slammed Old Dominion in BracketBusters and destroyed Siena in a BracketBusters rematch game from a year ago this year as well. Yes, losing to DePaul, Evansville, and Bradley were all unsightly losses, but what more did you expect from this team?

They played fantastic defense all season, allowing a grand total of one opponent to reach the 70-point plateau against them, and they won 12 games by at least 15 points this year.

I know the logic… Play somebody.

Guess what? The Panthers just played somebody… and won.

That point aside, let’s not belittle the performance that this team put up over the first three days of this tournament. G Ali Farokhmanesh not only nailed the three pointer on Thursday that buried UNLV, but he also dropped four more three balls on the Jayhawks and scored 16 points in the upset on Saturday. F Jordan Eglseder, who hit a grand total of one three point basketball all season dropped two threes on KU as well. The team turned over the Jayhawks 15 times and stayed competitive in the rebounding battle at just -5.

That being said… C’mon Kansas. You’re Kansas.

Maybe we should’ve known that something was wrong with the Jayhawks when they were pushed for at least a little while by #16 Lehigh on Thursday night. Tournament teams in general shouldn’t be struggling with the Mountain Hawks, especially when you’re the #1 overall seed in this tournament.

At the outset of this tournament, everyone was asking the question whether it was going to be Maryland or Michigan State that was going to get murdered by the Jayhawks in the Sweet 16 and whether it was going to by Ohio State or Georgetown falling in the Elite 8.

Self was the one man that knew what he was getting into, as he immediately pointed out UNI as a potential trap game on his squad’s road to Indianapolis.

He was ready. His team wasn’t.

The Panthers jumped out to a 10-2 run and really never looked back, controlling the game’s tempo by slowing down the Jayhawks to a plodding effort.

During that whole game, it was only a matter of time before the Jayhawks went on a run, just like they did against both Texas Tech and Texas A&M in the Big XII Tournament. Someone was going to wake G Sherron Collins or one of the other many stars on this team up.

Collins shot just 4/15 from the field and 0/6 from downtown for the game.

The run was never really complete. The choke job, however, is finished.

The Jayhawks are #1 in the land no more, and though it’s clear that Northern Iowa is no normal #9 seed, this is still a case of a team that just didn’t give its best effort in a do-or-die situation.

Welcome to March Madness, boys and girls. The fun is only just beginning.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Sunday, March 21st, 2010 @ 2:21 am (EST)
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