Among all the school still playing, Kansas is the team to beat. The Jayhawks have the talent, the depth, the balance and the coaching to win the NCAA tournament. That’s clear.
But why must Kansas be so brash?
Whether it’s jawing and tussling with Richmond before a Sweet 16 game or midseason declarations of “we want to be No. 1,” the Jayhawks have shown they aren’t a team that quietly goes about its business of winning. Brash and bold has worked thus far in the NCAA tournament. Don’t expect it to stop now. Not with the Final Four on the line.
So why do it? Frankly, they play better when they get all jacked up. If they’re not talking, the Jayhawks may not be focused. From Sam Mellinger’s column in the K.C. Star:
KU coach Bill Self will try to downplay this, dismiss it as a media creation, but this is what the Jayhawks need to be at their best. This is an emotional team, good and bad.
They lost when they didn’t have it after grieving the death of Thomas Robinson’s mother the night before the Texas game, they lost when they couldn’t juice themselves after going to No. 1 in the polls the day of the game at Kansas State, and they’ve played sleepily against opponents they didn’t respect. … If you’re a KU fan who thinks the talk is ugly — and there is a clear generation gap on this — then maybe you should ask yourself something.
Do you want a team that manufactures motivation in a way that might make you cringe at times?
Or do you want one that loses to Bucknell and Northern Iowa?
Throw the name “Northern Iowa” out there and it’s easy to manufacture raw emotions in these Jayhawks. More than a year later, that loss still stings Bill Self’s team. This is how they’re avoiding any new letdowns.
“We’re not going to overlook no team,” junior Markieff Morris said. “I think that’s making us go. I think we respect them enough to execute and guard them like they’re the Dukes and North Carolinas.”
Given that Kansas plays 11 seed VCU on Sunday and 8 seed Butler if they reach the Final Four, don’t expect Kansas to stop now. Not with a title three properly motivated wins away.
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