This game is simply too big for just one SWTE, and here to answer the same questions but with a different Jayhawk perspective is Rock Chalk Blog. Here we go!
Rock Chalk Blog! How are you, my good man? How are things in Lawrence these days?
I'm doing great. I'm glad basketball season is in full swing and this stretch of non-conference basketball (Florida, Georgetown and Utah) is fantastic to watch. Things just got interesting in Lawrence as KU hired their third football coach since they canned Mark Mangino. I'm just hoping we won't be covering another football coaching search in the next three years.
Before we discuss this year's matchup, let's turn the clock back to last year's showdown at the Phog. The Hoyas did some good things out of the gate, but then a nonsensical flagrant elbow call on Josh Smith started the unraveling process, and the Jayhawks ultimately won going away. Anything you specifically recall from that game?
Strangely enough, I remember this game because of Tarik Black. Black had not done anything really at that point of the season. He was already buried behind Joel Embiid (who also matched Black for 17 points in the game). This was Black's breakout game and until the NCAA tournament, he didn't really do anything similar like this for the rest of the season. Black was one of two Jayhawks that really showed up to the Stanford game in the tournament. Because of that, they ended up bowing out early of the tournament (something you guys can sympathize with Kansas fans about). Oddly enough, right now he's averaging more minutes per game in the NBA than he did at Kansas last year.
Who has the better NBA career: Joel Embiid or Andrew Wiggins?
This is a tough one. I believe both have the potential to be great NBA players. In the long run, I think Wiggins has a longer career because big men are more prone to injury. Plus, we've been able to see Wiggins play in the NBA so far. I'm curious to see what Embiid looks like against elite talent.
How far do you think Kansas could have gone last season had Embiid stayed healthy?
With a healthy Embiid, I believe they make it to the Elite Eight with ease. From there, I think they handle Florida and make it to the Final Four. If Kansas plays UConn and the Huskies had the same slow start (down 31-8) as they did against Florida, I'm not sure if UConn makes their come back. But to answer your question, they had the potential to go to the title game but I wouldn't have been surprised if they lost to Florida again.
Bill Self isn't going anywhere (except perhaps to the buffet a bit too much as it looks like he's put on a few), but if you could hand pick his successor, who would it be and why?
This one is tough because I think KU fans would prefer if they kept it "in the family." This is a prestigious position. The only coach at Kansas that ever had a losing record was James Naismith. Before Mark Turgeon left Texas A&M, I think most fans wanted him as the succesor. Danny Manning, now at Wake Forest, is probably the ideal candidate in terms of fan appreciation. He's arguably one of the best college basketball players of all-time and it's between him and Wilt for best KU player of all-time. Joe Dooley was a fan favorite at Kansas as an assistant coach before he went to Dunk City (is that word banned in Washington, D.C?). As a Celtics fan, I appreciate Brad Stevens as a basketball coach and if he were to ever to return to college, I think he'd be the ideal candidate for Kansas. Obviously, Kansas wants someone younger. If they went with an established candidate, someone like Sean Miller would be a nice choice but I'm not sure if he would leave Arizona.
Did you happen to see that 'Eaten Alive' show on Discovery where the dude thought it was a good idea to get eaten by an anaconda in the name of science? If so, thoughts? If not, thoughts?
I did not. I actually don't have cable as I have Google Fiber so I stream everything. I mainly watch sports but I do watch The Walking Dead. I wouldn't want to be eaten alive by an anaconda or a zombie and anyone that wants to die on purpose by being eaten alive has mental problems, in my opinion.
Who are some of the guys on this year's Jayhawks squad that the Hoyas need to watch out for?
Cliff Alexander is probably KU's best player in terms of talent and he's just a freshman. Unfortunately for KU fans, he hasn't played much because Self is worried about his foul trouble. Outside of Cliff, Perry Ellis is always a threat to get a double-double. If Wayne Selden turned the corner on his season against Florida, he could become dangerous. If KU has solid games from those three, it'll be hard to beat them.
A lot was made of Kansas' recruiting class which included Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre, but both of them have struggled to find their footing in the rotation. Do you think this is something that will work itself out as the season rolls on or do they go to the NBA Draft next year without much playing time?
Oubre's situation is strange because he's certainly got the talent to play on this team. I think he ends up having a better role in conference play. It's always sounded like he would stay 2-3 years anyway. For Cliff Alexander, I just mentioned his problem has been trying to avoid foul trouble...or Self trying to make sure he avoids foul trouble. His role in the rotation is clearly defined and he'll eventually start. Joel Embiid took a while to start at KU. So did players like Julian Wright, Mario Chalmers, etc... and they were NBA talents. I think Cliff may stay another year as well.
What is your perception of the 'new' Big East?
I grew up in Connecticut so the disintegration of the old Big East is such a shame. I still blame Boston College and Miami for ruining the Big East and eventually kick start the re-allignment of other conferences. As far as the new Big East, it's still a great basketball conference. Villanova, Butler, St. John's, Georgetown, etc. are still great basketball schools. It's unfortunate that re-allignment has put teams like Creighton in the Big East because it just doesn't make sense. Hopefully, one day, we'll go back to the old conferences.
If you and I are going to a Chinese restaurant together, please detail your order.
General Tsao's Chicken... as spicy as possible with white rice. And @MissKUBoobs would hate me if I didn't mention that I'd get crab rangoons.
(Casual Note: Wait, you know @MissKUBoobs??? DAMMIT!)
Final score prediction?
Kansas 71-Georgetown 70