Author Archives: Tony Adame

Five things about Michigan

 

TREY BURKE

This game is as closely matched as maybe any we’ve seen in the NCAA Tournament so far, and Kansas vs. Michigan in the NCAA Tournament’s South Regional semifinals (6:37 p.m., TBS) could be one for the ages. Usually you can get a feel among the media types at the tourney on which way the wind is blowing, but nobody has a clue on this one.

Here’s 5 things to look for from Michigan, with plenty of links – and my feature on Michigan guard Trey Burke that ran in today’s Eagle.

1. Guard play is key

Michigan has a great trio of guards in Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas — as good as any KU saw in the Big 12 this year, and there’s some who think Burke might be the best player in the country. The biggest question for KU is going to be who guards Burke, and the answer might be everybody at one time or another. All three average in double digits, and Hardaway Jr. and Stauskas are big enough to be effective taking the ball to the hole and banging for rebounds when they have to.

2. Beilein’s time? 

Michigan coach John Beilein might be the best coach in the country who has never been to a Final Four. This is Beilein’s 8th trip to the NCAA Tournament – he’s also been with Canisius (1996), Richmond (1998) and West Virginia (2005, 2006). He made the Elite Eight with West Virginia in 2005 before losing to Louisville in overtime.

3. McGary’s momentum

Power forward Mitch McGary wears the same number as another famous Wolverine who once played his position. The freshman, who was a teammate of Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe at Brewster (N.H.) Academy, has moved into the starting lineup for both NCAA Tournament games and is averaging 17.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in NCAA play. No, I’m not comparing him to C-Webb. But he’s an up-and-comer – a future All-Big Ten pick in my opinion.

4. Depth

Is depth an issue for Michigan? They haven’t been getting much out of their bench so far in the NCAA Tournament – just 5 points in 55 minutes – but they’ve also cruised to two blowout wins.

5. History

Is history on Michigan’s side? The Wolverines haven’t been to the Final Four since the Fab Five made it in 1993* and lost to Duke in the NCAA championship game. It took a long time for Big Blue to get back to this point, and the rigors of a Big Ten Schedule seem to have them acutely prepared for a big game like this.

TA

 

Ben McLemore, Cowboys Stadium, links on links on links

 

I’m inside of Cowboys Stadium for a full day of press with the four teams here for the South Regional semifinals and finals – Michigan plays Kansas on Friday at 6:37 p.m. followed by Florida-Florida Gulf Coast, which I don’t expect to tip before 9:30. The winners play Sunday for a trip to the Final Four next week in Atlanta.

Here’s Twitter links for The Eagle’s duo in Dallas – KU beat writer Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) and myself (@t_adame) – as always, we’ll provide plenty of updates. Eagle photog Bo Rader is also with us, but he doesn’t have Twitter.

A couple of thoughts, links to get you through until the big games start tonight.

-With a heavyweight clash against Michigan coming up, the Jayhawks desperately need leading scorer Ben McLemore to shake off his shooting/scoring/everything slump that he’s been in and return to the form that made him an All-Big 12 pick and possible No. 1 selection in the NBA Draft. The one play everyone was talking about from last Sunday’s win over North Carolina in the Sprint Center was an alley-oop to McLemore to start the second half. It was a set play, and McLemore came wide open on the backside lob. He grabbed the ball what seemed like a foot above the rim and he did this thing where he tried to lay it up/lay it on the rim’s backstop. It was like he didn’t know what to do at that moment. Such a strange thing to see, but I think it underlines his struggles. Even when he’s in the right spot, he’s doing the wrong thing.

-There were over 108,000 people that watched the 2010 NBA All-Star game at Cowboys Stadium – a record – so the mere 42,000+ expected for tomorrow’s games must seem like a pittance to the stadium staff. They’ll up that number considerably for next year’s Final Four, when they’ll try to fit in over 80,000. The thing is, KU is getting pretty used to playing in these huge football stadiums – two games last year in the Final Four at the Superdome in New Orleans and one earlier this year.

Here’s our schedule for open practices today in Arlington

12-1250 Michigan, 1-150 FGCU aka Dunk City, 210-3 KU, 310-4 Florida.

I’ll check back in with Michigan stuff after the pressers.

TA  

 

 

KU Gameday: UNC’s James Michael McAdoo, McLemore’s struggles, lots of links

We’re closing in on gametime for today’s NCAA Tournament South Regional contests between Kansas and North Carolina from the snow-covered Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., and there’s plenty of big-time storylines happening here … including finding out who Wichita State’s opponent will be when Ole Miss and La Salle play after KU-UNC.

But that’s for later.

I wrote about North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo leading up to the game, and how he handles the massive amount of expectations heaped on his shoulders in Chapel Hill. The biggest knock on McAdoo seems to be his laid-back approach, but that’s his personality, and his teammates made a point of saying he wasn’t that way on the court. I think if you watch  him play, you can’t help but think he can be more aggressive but he’s young and he seems to just be getting better. His matchup with Kansas center Jeff Withey today will be key.

-There was a lot of talk after KU’s win over Western Kentucky on Friday about the inability of KU guard Ben McLemore to handle the ball in the open floor, and he seems to be struggling down the stretch. Here’s Rick Plumlee’s article on how the Jayhawks need more out of McLemore if they want to advance to the Sweet 16.

-Great read by Rustin Dodd on what happened a decade ago when Roy Williams decided to leave Kansas for North Carolina and the Jayhawks and Bill Self came together. Some of the details in there, including the one on Williams dipping his head after making eye contact with the KU interim AD on a flight back from LA – after he knew he’d already taken the UNC job – are just fantastic.

“I will remember this as vividly as yesterday,” he says. “I looked over at Coach Williams, and our eyes met, and he dropped his head. And I thought, ‘Oh my god, he’s leaving.

-Here’s a photo gallery from yesterday’s media sessions for KU and UNC.
-Here’s a notebook Rick and I put together, including stuff on Roy Williams’ “spells” he suffers through and a few more KU and UNC items.
TA

Surviving the Hilltoppers, Perry Ellis shines, all the KU links you need

Yesterday was a basketball marathon in Kansas City, one with a pair of huge upsets in the West Regional as No. 12 seed Ole Miss defeated No. 5 seed Wisconsin and No. 13 seed La Salle defeated No. 4 seed Kansas State.

And, of course, there was an almost-upset when No. 1 Kansas struggled with No. 16 Western Kentucky but still came out with a 64-57 victory and will face North Carolina on Sunday at 4:15 p.m. at the Sprint Center.

We had the Jayhawks covered from all angles – here’s links to what we wrote and shot yesterday:

-Kansas made sure it wouldn’t be the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16.

-Photo gallery from KU’s win over Western Kentucky with 95 pics … props to Eagle photogs Bo Rader and Travis Heying. 

-KU freshman forward and Wichita native Perry Ellis continues his string of KC masterpieces.

-Adjustments led the Tar Heels to Kansas City. 

-Notebook package from Kansas City – better than your Christmas stocking. 

And here’s Twitter links to our team in Kansas City – KU beat writer Rustin Dodd, Travis, Rick Plumlee and myself.

I’ll be back later today with some more stuff after we get to talk to UNC and KU.

TA

 

 

All the KU links you need

Kansas has been locked in on Western Kentucky since Selection Sunday and the Jayhawks get the late game Friday at the Sprint Center, which should be a pretty wild scene with Roy Williams and North Carolina taking on Villanova right before. Here’s links to all of the KU stuff from our NCAA Tournament preview edition that came out today.

-Perry Ellis finally finds his footing for KU. Watching Ellis’ turnaround in the Big 12 Tournament was nothing short of amazing – if you watched as many KU games as I did this year then you spent most of the season wondering where his head was at. No question about that now.

-Defense helped KU get past midseason slump. 

-The Kansas women’s team isn’t just happy with being in the tourney.  Still can’t believe they got a bid, but all that matters is you make it.

-Hilltoppers get healthy at the right time.

-Looking at the teams in KU’s pod. 

Here’s Twitter links to our Eagle crew covering KU in Kansas City this week – @rustindodd @rickplumlee @t_adame.

TA

KU memories

PHOTO/TRAVIS HEYING

The first girl you kissed. When someone close to you died. Where you were when you asked your wife to marry you. The memories that make up your life come in all different shapes and sizes. Today was another one for me, which isn’t a surprise because lots of mine are sports-related. Here are some I have of KU in the NCAA Tournament … it goes back a minute:

1988: Sitting on the floor in my father’s office in Fairbanks, Alaska, watching Danny and the Miracles. We moved to Wichita a little over a year later. Also, my dad breaking down for me how Danny Manning had moved to Lawrence for his senior year of high school and why a No. 6 seed winning the whole thing was a big deal.

1997: On spring break visiting my family in Colorado. Had basically guaranteed everyone in the room that Kansas was going to win the national championship. My Uncle Felix, a good dude, cheered for the Jayhawks that year only for the fact that I was from Kansas. They lost to Arizona in the regional semifinal. Lost a 15-dollar bet to my cousin Fabian that I paid off in late 2006.

2003: Went up to Topeka to visit my best friend, Chris, and his cousin Erin on the weekend KU beat Duke in the regional semifinal. He was in his last year of law school at Washburn and had a deep, deep hatred for Roy Williams and was cheering for Duke … in a sports bar in Topeka.  Jeremiah Bullfrog’s. Thought about halfway through we were going to have to scrap our way out of that place. Thank goodness Kansas won that night.

2008: I’d just started working on the copy desk at The Eagle a few weeks before, and I distinctly remember sports editor Kirk Seminoff going in a back office to write down the play-by-play because we were worried we wouldn’t get it because the game started late. I also remember Eagle photog Travis Heying’s shot of Chalmers (above) coming across the desk that night and everybody being blown away. A few days later I bought my little sis the t-shirt of our sports cover with that photo on it. Not a bad way to start off my career at The Eagle — you see the kind of work that goes into covering something like that, from the production level all the way to the writing, and it leaves an impression. There’s just a certain way we do things that’s hard to describe. A lot of work, a lot of people not caring about how many hours they work in that span of time.

2010: My first year covering the NCAA Tournament. Sitting next to Jeff Lutz in Oklahoma City when Ali Farokhmanesh hit the shot that sank the Jayhawks for good. As the final buzzer sounded, I looked left to right and saw about 20,000 hearts breaking at once … as the N. Iowa fans began to chant “MVC! MVC!”

2011: Read tomorrow’s paper :)

Y’all take it easy.

-Tony Adame

Saturday in San Antonio with KU … plus a few thoughts on Josh Selby

TYREL REED AND JOSH SELBY (PHOTO/RICH SUGG)

The exciting part of the KU’s Sweet 16 rout of Richmond, apparently, was in the hallway leading up to the court before the game. Eagle columnist Bob Lutz had a great take on it in today’s paper, and here’s the video if you haven’t seen it already. They were jawing at each other the last couple of days, so it didn’t surprise me. Like Bob says … what in the world was the NCAA doing having them come through the same entrance?

Today at the Alamodome it’s closed practices for KU and VCU, followed by extended media sessions. Last night in the KU locker room, there wasn’t a lot of jubilation on the part of the Jayhawks. They thought they played well, maybe their most complete game of the year. But not a single one I talked to failed to mention Sunday’s game. That’s where the focus is.

My sidebar out of last night was on KU freshman Josh Selby getting back on track. He’s a huge wild card for KU, as both Tyrel Reed and Tyshawn Taylor pointed out, and if they can get that kind of production out of him then they’re tough to beat. I agree. And when I hear people talking about him leaving early to the NBA, I just shake my head. There’s no way he’s ready. But if he stays another year or two you could see someone who could do things offensively like Jimmer Fredette has done this year. He’s just so raw right now, and a little immature at times. Like last night, hitting two big 3s in the first half … that little bit of success took him out of his game. Would love to see him stay, but it’s hard to knock somebody for pursuing their dream.

Here’s a few more links from last night:

-A photo gallery from KC Star photog Rich Sugg of the win over Richmond

-J. Brady McCollough’s game story on the big win.

I’m out.

-Tony Adame

Jayhawks in San Antonio

THE ALAMODOME

The Kansas men’s basketball team has been in San Antonio for a couple of days already in preparation for tomorrow night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Richmond in the Alamodome (6:27 p.m., KWCH) but today is the first day the top-seeded Jayhawks will be put on display for the public in the form of open practices and media interviews. They seemed focused in Lawrence on Tuesday afternoon when the five starters — Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar, Tyshawn Taylor, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris – did interviews before practice. Our Sweet 16 special section came out today and here’s a gaggle of links to stories from KU beat writer J. Brady McCollough, Eagle columnist Bob Lutz and myself:

-Bob on KU trying to escape past failures against teams with double-digit seeds

-Brady on why KU says its seed means nothing

-My story on why the NCAA experience is unique, even for a bunch of jet-setters like the Jayhawks

-My story on how the KU backcourt plans to deal with Richmond’s star guard, Kevin Anderson

Richmond is up first with practice then media time, followed by KU, VCU and Florida State. The Southwest Regional is in full swing. Are you ready for it?

I’m out.

=Tony Adame

Live blog: Kansas vs. Lehigh

KU 90, Lehigh 74 FINAL Marcus Morris scored 26 points and Jayhawks struggle early but move on. In March, that’s all that matters.

KU 75, Lehigh 55 6:34 Reed 3 gives Jayhawks 20-point lead. They’ll be playing UNI on Saturday. That should be a great big man battle — two future NBA centers duking it out.

KU 68, Lehigh 53 8:23 Here’s where KU puts the game away — four threes in less than four minutes. Two from Reed, one from Morningstar and one right now from collins.

KU 52, Lehigh 44 11:59 Nice alley from Collins to Aldrich for the slam. Jayhawks just can’t put Lehigh away, though. SWEEP THE LEG, JOHNNY!!! FINISH HIM!!!

KU 50, Lehigh 39 14:29 Great sequence by Jayhawks … Collins hits a three, steal on the other end, hits Taylor in transition who flips it back to Henry for the lefty leaner … he was eyeing the rim from about middle of the lane. Throw it down in your hometown!!! That’s 13,000 and change watching this one, they just announced over PA.

KU 43, Lehigh 32 17:15 X hits tough shot in lane. Love watching lefties play that make the game look so easy.

KU 41, Lehigh 32 17:56 Aldrich opened with a quick bucket, Lehigh had answer with Buchberger’s 3 but X. Henry had a nice drive to the whole to push lead back to 9.

Kansas 35, Lehigh 29 HALFTIME Collins gives KU a minor surge late in the half with a three, reverse layup then nice dish to Taylor as time was running out. Carrington and McCollom are keeping Lehigh in this game. That it’s this close at halftime is already kind of a win for the Mt. Hawks.

KU 25, Lehigh 23 3:30 Carrington on the back-to-back buckets and I guess the Mountain Hawks aren’t dead after all. KU had a chance to stomp the neck (Gregg Marshall terminology) and didn’t do it.

KU 21, Lehigh 14 7:58 Three-pointer from Xavier Henry followed by a bucket from Collins. Lehigh’s Zahir Carrington dunked on T. Rob’s head.

KU 16, Lehigh 12 10:21 Ok, so Lehigh just remembered it was Lehigh. McMorris gets back-to-back buckets to give KU its first lead of the game. Watching McMorris play all year I’m not sure how he stays in school. Gotta be a ltotery pick, right?

Lehigh 12, KU 12 11:53 three from McMorris, steal and a layup by Taylor, then shot plus a foul from Aldrich. That was quick. You can feel the energy surge in the building. Aldrich already has 3 or 4 blocks by my count.

Lehigh 12, KU 4, 14:23 – The sluggish start continues. Self is trying to sub to spark some energy but he’s not even getting it off the bench. Down by 8? This place is quiet right now.

Lehigh 4, KU 2 15:59 – Jayhawks didn’t score for almost four minutes until a bucket from Marcus Morris. KU is playing sloppy basketball right now and I think they’re hearing about it in this timeout

Lehigh 3, KU 0 19:00 Three from Knutson. Ballgame!

Starting lineups right now. It’s Xavier Henry’s hometown, but nobody gets a bigger ovation than Sherron Collins.

Tony Adame checking in courtside at Ford Center, where we’re just minutes from the tip of the Kansas-Lehigh game. This is the biggest crowd we’ve had for any of the four games today, and K-State had a pretty sizable following.

Just think of me as your cyber-stewardess for the next couple of hours. Hands and feet in the vehicle at all times, please.

All about Sherron

SHERRON COLLINS

SHERRON COLLINS

Got caught in a smash of KU players and coaches on the way into the locker room as I was walking out of the UNLV locker room — standing there with Sherron Collins as this nice, nice lady asked him for his ID as the rest of his (taller) teammates kept walking past him. He didn’t trip, just stood there looking at her for a second, I asked him what he was listening to and he flashed me his IPod. Soulja Boy’s “All The Way Turned Up,” in case you were interested.

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