Here is everything you need on Kansas from Andy Mitts.
1. OK, let's get this out of the way at the beginning. How do you all feel now that you finally get a chance to play against Wichita State if you both can get to the second round? I mean, you have been dodging them for... ever?
At this point you can't really treat it as anything other than another basketball game, especially since there is no guarantee we actually see the game. Of course, even a convincing KU victory won't be enough to keep them from clamoring for us to play them every single year. This game really is a lose-lose, because if Kansas wins it, then no big deal because we were supposed to win. But if they pull off the upset, then they will see that as proof that we haven't played them because we are scared of them, which really isn't true at all.
2. Obviously we kid. We know that you wouldn't dodge anyone, because you wouldn't have the success you have had filling up on cupcakes. So what is the secret to Bill Self? He was here at Illinois (I live in Chicago), and he didn't seem to have this same magic, at least not like he has in Kansas. So what makes it click?
Well, a school like Kansas has all kinds of advantages that other schools don't have, just in terms of the attitude towards the hoops team and resources available. Plus, Self has developed as a coach, being able to hone his system and take advantage of the recruiting power that the school name has.
But the secret weapon is one Andrea Hudy. ESPN did an excellent job profiling her a couple years ago, and like Bill says in the article, she is the secret to his success.
3. The Big 12 got a lot of love in the seeding this year. Was the league really this good, or was it some odd RPI manipulation that made this all work out?
It really was the strong nonconference that sealed it. Even though a team like Texas completely fell apart during the conference season, their strong nonconference record elevated everyone that beat them this year. When pretty much everyone in the conference has a strong nonconference, it makes it hard for even the basement dwellers of the league to drag everyone down. Even though all 3 teams that played yesterday lost, they still earned the high seeds that they got.
4. Time to flash back to when you watched the movie Saw. You are locked in a room with Doug Gottlieb, Steve Lappas, Reggie Miller and Verne Lundquist during the tournament. There are four TVs, each showing a different game, and you know these four won't keep quiet. You have to kill one to leave the room. Who moves to the top of the list? (Yeah, that got dark...)
Yeah, that really did. But I never actually saw any of the Saw movies. Gore movies just aren't my thing. I have it on high authority though that every "puzzle" in that movie had a way for everyone to make it out alive, but everyone was just too scared and trusted that they actually had to kill someone to make it out themselves.
But if the question is which guy can I not stand the most, I'll have to go with Gottlieb. There are just way too many times I've heard his hot takes to really take anything he says serious anymore. And if I'm agitated from having to hear too many guys, I'll have no tolerance for stupidity of any sort.
5. Can you explain for all the lay people out there what the heck that Rock Chalk chant is all about? I am sure we are going to hear it about 100 times.
Actually, the chant originated from a cheer that a chemistry professor made up for the science club. You can actually read all about it's history. It's pretty interesting.
At this point though, my son has started to ask how early he is allowed to start the chant when we are watching from home. I told him the only requirement is that victory is assured at the point you start. He frequently starts it around halftime, but he is only 9 so I'm willing to forgive him.
6. Who is the one guy that is hands down going to make New Mexico State fans smack their head, and who is the X-Factor in this one?
Gotta be Frank Mason. Even I still wonder how a guy that small can make so many big plays. He just seems to find little creases that materialize around him as he drives to the basket. As for the X-factor, I'm going to have to say Landen Lucas. His development these last few weeks has been incredible, and with Perry Ellis still recovering from his knee injury against West Virginia, Lucas is going to be an important part of the rotation.
7. Prediction Time! Tell us who you got and the score.
Obviously I have to take Kansas here. New Mexico State is going to muddy up the game and do everything they can to keep it close. Kansas will probably let them for a while. But ultimately, the Jayhawks need to win this game, and by a pretty handy margin to, if they want any realistic chance to make some noise this year. I'll go Kansas 78, New Mexico State 68.