That's right, the Georgetown-Kansas battle is so huge we're bringing you not just one but TWO Sleeping with the Enemy features. Here to answer the same batch of questions is Rock Chalk Blog, another awesome site for all things Jayhawks. Away we go, Rock Chalk Blog!
Talk to us about Andrew Wiggins. Did The Hype Machine go a tad overboard on this kid or you still think he's the next greatest thing ever?
First off: Wiggins was overhyped but it was NOT his fault. He's a humble and quiet kid. He hasn't deserved the backlash from that hype at all. Secondly: I've been extremely happy with Wiggins and his performance at KU. He's put KU on his back at times and other than one bad game in the Battle 4 Atlantis (he was battling the flu), he really hasn't had a really bad game.
The scary thing is, he really hasn't put together two halves of great basketball. He's mainly put together great second half performances but he's had a couple first half gems, too. Bill Self usually benches any player for the rest of the first half if they get two fouls and Wiggins has done that a couple times. Then he usually goes off in the second half.
I'm rambling but yes, Wiggins was overrated but he deserves a break. He's still been very very good. The thing no one talks about with Wiggins is his defense, which may be his best skill. He's shut down a lot of players and won games on his defense.
Aside from Wiggins, Joel Embiid has made a big name for himself this season and also appears poised for the lottery. Tell us a little bit about Embiid and where you see his ceiling.
Joel Embiid gets overlooked because of Wiggins but I think we'll start seeing ESPN talking about him more and more. He's been great and like Wiggins, he still is far from a finish product. His "dream shake" against New Mexico got a lot of attention. He certainly can become the next best center in the NBA if he continues to improve at the pace he's at. It's pretty amazing that he's only played basketball for three years and has the moves he's displayed so far. He's even said recently that he has additional moves that he's just not ready to use in game situations yet. That's gotta be scary for the teams in the Big 12. Kansas has put a lot of bigs in the NBA (and players overall) but Paul Pierce is really the last player to come out of KU who has truly been an NBA star. That's why Wiggins and Embiid are so important. His ceiling constantly changes but announcers are comparing him to a young Hakeem Olajuwon.
Other than Wiggins and Embiid, who are some of the other guys Georgetown needs to be aware of on Saturday?
Perry Ellis may be KU's best college player and no one really talks about him. He's the typical forward at KU who performs well and probably won't become an NBA star. However, it's very rewarding watching him play for the Jayhawks. If Georgetown goes zone against KU (which many teams have so far), Naadir Tharpe will be a key player. At times, Tharpe drives KU fans crazy because of turnovers and shot selection. When he's distributing the ball and driving the lane, he makes KU great. If Tharpe doesn't perform well, Frank Mason is the point guard to watch. A player that has emerged recently from Bill Self's doghouse is Brannen Greene. He's not great at defense yet but he can knock down the three pointer. He's probably the best shooter KU has. If KU struggles against the zone, I expect Greene to come in to help out with perimeter shooting (something KU has struggled at so far).
The Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant is one of the best things in all of college hoops. What's the backstory of it and does it ever not give you the chills?
The Rock Chalk chant is indeed one of the best things in college hoops. When KU has put away the win at home (and even sometimes on the road), the fans will start eerily chanting "Rock Chalk Jayhawk, KU." The backstory of the chant starts way back in 1886. The science department came up with it. It began as "Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, Go KU." It then developed to Rock Chalk because 1) Rock Chalk rhymes with Jayhawk and 2) the campus is built on limestone rock, which is nicknamed "chalk rock." Flip the words and... Rock Chalk. Teddy Roosevelt once called it the greatest chant he had heard. So... that's pretty cool.
The Jayhawks have struggled a bit out of the gate this season, including dropping a game to our new forced-rival Villanova in the Bahamas. What do you attribute these problems to?
The problems have come from being young... plain and simple. Now that Joel Embiid is starting over Tarik Black, a transfer from Memphis, Naadir Tharpe is the only upperclassmen starting for KU. You can argue that KU's best lineup is four freshmen and one sophomore. Bill Self prides himself on great defense and it is something that is learned at KU. KU hasn't had this young of a team since the class of Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Julian Wright. That team took a while to develop into a good defensive team. Chalmers and Rush ended up winning a championship at KU as juniors. Outside of defense, outside shooting has become an issue. This has forced teams into going zone against KU because it is very effective. If KU can penetrate the defense and force fouls, they end up outperforming their opponents because KU has a lot of depth and can outlast the foul trouble. Dropping games to Villanova, Colorado and Florida shouldn't be looked down on. All three are tournaments teams and they weren't at home. KU's got the toughest schedule in the country hands down... which will benefit the Jayhawks in the long run.
How would you rate the Bill Self era? Getting a national championship is always amazing, but is there a feeling in Lawrence that he should have two or three more? If you were starting a program tomorrow, would you want anyone other than Bill Self at the helm?
The National Championship issue is probably the only thing that KU fans aren't "happy" with. But that's just being spoiled. I tweeted this out the other day: When Bill Self was hired in 2003, KU was 3rd all time in wins, 48 behind Kentucky.Today, Kansas is 11 wins behind Kentucky & 11 wins ahead of North Carolina. That's pretty good. Bill Self has more Big 12 championships than losses at Allen Fieldhouse. Yes, Bill Self has had a couple of failures in the tournament, but that's really not on him. He lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament twice in back to back years (Bucknell and Bradley). He's had devastating losses to Northern Illinois and VCU. But other than that, he's made the Final Four twice, he's been to three additional Elite 8's and he's won a championship. Six of the last seven seasons, he's won over 30 games. There's really no one I'd rather have than Bill Self at Kansas.
Where do you see the Jayhawks finishing this season in the Big 12? Is anything less than an Elite Eight or better finish going to be considered a failure?
They're going to be in the top two of the Big 12. It's between KU and Oklahoma State. I see them with three losses (all on the road) and tying OSU for first in the Big 12. I think most fans consider any year that KU makes the Final Four a failure. I don't really have that mindset. I think it really depends on their road in the tournament and how they finish in the Big 12. If they get a No. 1 seed in the tournament, then yes an Elite 8 is definitely the expectation. However, I can see this team getting to the point where a Final Four is expected.
Anchorman 2: Yay or Nay?
Haven't seen it yet but I'm planning on seeing it Saturday night!
Which is Kansas' greater contribution to the legacy of college basketball: employing James Naismith as its first coach, or giving Wilt Chamberlain a Cadillac to come to Lawrence?
James Naismith has the worst record of all coaches at KU. Enough said.
Speaking of Naismith, admit it, that guy in the "30 for 30" documentary who arranged to have some wealthy Kansas booster buy the original rules of basketball was insufferable.
False. Josh Swade is a great guy and I'm glad he's a Jayhawk. Remember: he helped beat out a Duke grad. Could you imagine Duke fans if they owned those rules?
What's your perception of the Georgetown basketball program?
It's a great basketball school. It's probably in the second tier of basketball schools just outside the blue bloods (Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Indiana and North Carolina). I grew up 10 minutes from UConn so I'm very aware of the great teams of the Big East.
If I have one night in Lawrence, Kansas, where am I eating and where am I going to party?
You can't miss on either by going to Mass Street. There's plenty to eat and plenty of places to drink. My favorite place to grab a drink as Louise's. If you're looking for an upscale place to eat that's really not that expensive, I'd suggest 715. If you're looking for a sports bar, I'd check out 23rd Street Brewery (which isn't on Mass Street). They make their own beer and have some great sports bar food. My favorite dish is the Bill Self Mac & Cheese. Buffalo chicken tenders on top of mac & cheese. I may be a little biased since I worked there but if I had a choice for my last meal, it'd be the Bill Self.
Related, do you happen to know any of the @KUBoobs chicks? Asking for a friend. If you don't know any of the @KUBoobs chicks do you know anyone who might? Asking for another friend.
@MissKUBoobs, aka Jessica, is a good follow on Twitter and Instagram!
Final score prediction?
Kansas 75 - Georgetown 63