View Full Version : Keegan: Bradley is no Bucknell

03-15-2006, 03:26 PM
Link (http://www2.kusports.com/news/2006/mar/15/keegan_bradley_no_bucknell/?sports_columns)

By Tom Keegan (Contact)

Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Bucknell. Bucknell. Bucknell. Bucknell. Bucknell. Bucknell. Bucknell. Bucknell.

Just trying to help the Kansas University players prepare for what they’ll be bombarded with once they arrive in Auburn Hills, Mich., for their first-round NCAA Tournament game against Bradley.

“I was in North Carolina somewhere,” Brandon Rush said of the Bucknell game. “I didn’t pay any attention to it. I’m getting kind of tired of hearing about it. We didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Kansas wasn’t on his radar yet. The NBA was. Good thing for Rush he ended up at KU because he’s having a blast, and the smart money says he’ll have even more fun for the Jayhawks next year.

There is one thing Bradley has in common with last season’s Bucknell. The Braves, like the Bison, are a better basketball team than many think. (The Sagarin computer ranking “predictor” column that ranks KU sixth in the nation ranks Bradley 23rd). Bradley got it together in midseason after coach Jim Les made it clear in a tough talk with the team he isn’t afraid to bench anybody, even star Marcellus Sommerville, who has had better shot selection since.
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Still, Bradley has about as much in common with Bucknell as, well, as this year’s Kansas team has with last year’s. Not much.

Last season’s Jayhawks were a blend of Roy Williams recruits and Bill Self recruits. Two different groups who knew a couple of different ways of doing things. This year’s players, save for transfer Micah Downs, all tuned into Self with undivided loyalty.

Even beyond attitude and loyalty issues, the personnel of the teams are different.

Last year, the team had a clear-cut, go-to guy through whom everything ran because Self believed to do otherwise would have been to give the team less than its best shot at winning. KU doesn’t have a big man as strong, skilled and experienced as Wayne Simien, but these Jayhawks are more upset-proof.

KU’s personnel is such that playing at a faster pace is the best way to win, which means more possessions. Generally speaking, the more possessions, the greater chance the favorite wins.

Bucknell walked the ball up the floor. Bradley likes to play at KU’s fast pace.

Toughness, as always, comes into play. Physical and mental toughness can be difficult to separate, and one area where they overlap is an area where KU excels: conditioning. To play at as fast a pace as KU plays at, defensively, in transition, and offensively, requires well-conditioned athletes. Led by Rush and Russell Robinson, KU has players with good stamina and a strong enough bench (Jeff Hawkins, C.J. Giles and Darnell Jackson) that Self can rest players without feeling as if he’s losing much.

The Jayhawks don’t have the go-to scorer they had in Simien, though Mario Chalmers is emerging as the guy who takes the big shot in a way that says he knows he’s going to make it.

They’re playing with an in-your-face style, a relentlessness that results in opponents eventually getting heavy legs, and that’s when the KU guards pounce.

“Defense, long rebounds, steals … coach wants us diving for loose balls so that every 50/50 ball is ours,” Rush said.

It worked against Texas.

03-15-2006, 03:35 PM
Keegan is right. Bradley comes into this game as a much more heralded team than Bucknell was.

03-15-2006, 03:37 PM
Bucknell - the "single greatest moment in Mizzou sports history".

The St. Louis-Post Dispatch has reported a high number of pre-ordered Bradley University t-shirt sales, in preparation for this Friday.

03-15-2006, 03:42 PM
I do think Bradley is a better team than Bucknell was last year. I'm not sure they want to run with KU though... I don't think that'll be their plan. They really need to get back in the half court defensively, that's where they excel. Their guards will pressure you 30 feet out on the floor because they have O'Bryant back there for protection. There is going to be some aggressive defense in this game.

03-15-2006, 03:46 PM
I don't think this game will resemble last year's game against Bucknell in the least. This year's Kansas team is so completely different. Last year's team had lost 5 of their last 8 games down the stretch. This year's Jayhawks have lost just one game in 2 months. They've won 15 out the last 16 games.

03-15-2006, 03:50 PM
Bradley is gonna get smoked....by KU.

Not even close

03-15-2006, 03:54 PM
Link (http://www.kansan.com/stories/2006/mar/15/mbbpresser/)

By Ryan Colaianni (Contact)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Stephen Vinson is tired of CBS’s NCAA tournament commercials. Specifically the one the shows the final play of last years Kansas-Bucknell game.

“You are trying to get excited about the tournament, but every time I watch something about it that’s on there,” Vinson said. “You think about it, but hopefully we will use it as a learning experience.”

Kansas coach Bill Self didn’t need to remind his team about what happened during last season’s NCAA tournament. He joked that the media would take care of it.

“Why do I need to dwell on Bucknell when you guys will do that job for me?” Self said yesterday at his weekly press conference.

Self’s team no doubt remembers the loss to Bucknell during the first round of last year’s tournament, but Self has noticed differences between last season’s team and this season’s team.

He said last year’s team was tight when it went into the tournament and also had lost five of their last eight games, while this years team has been playing loose all season.

“A lot of that is youth,” Self said of why this year’s team has been so loose. “We have a bunch of young guys out there, and they don’t know any better. Even when we’re not playing well, they seem to enjoy playing with each other.”

Self also said he thought that three of last year’s team’s starters being seniors affected the tightness of the group.

“I think a lot of times when you have the finality of it all, as a young team, you say, ‘Well, I always got next year,’” Self said.

Senior guard Jeff Hawkins, for whom there is no “next year,” said the team couldn’t worry about Bucknell because no one on the current team played an important role in that game. In addition, when Hawkins was intentionally fouled in a game against Oklahoma State last weekend, sophomore forward Darnell Jackson came to his defense. Hawkins said that probably would not have happened last season.

“It is more of a team,” Hawkins said of this year’s team. “The thing about last year is last year’s team was a team, but we were not all one team. There were one or two people who were not all the way in and that affects chemistry. This year’s team everyone is in. That’s the special thing about this group.”

Kansas, winners of 22 of its past 25 games, is one of the hottest teams in the country entering the NCAA tournament.

“This is a different team; we are young,” sophomore guard Russell Robinson said. “No one on our team played in the NCAA more than five minutes, so we are all excited for that.”

03-15-2006, 04:05 PM
BTW I should thank you guys for losing to Bucknell last year. Hopefully we will not get caught off guard going "Bucknell? Who?"

Duck Dog
03-15-2006, 04:11 PM
Bucknell - the "single greatest moment in Mizzou sports history".

True dat cracka!

03-15-2006, 05:48 PM
Keegan is right. Bradley comes into this game as a much more heralded team than Bucknell was.They Jayhawks got to get a better mascot than that.

No wonder some call them the gheyhawks.