WRNL: Kansas comes into tonight's game having lost two of their last four, but those two losses came in arenas that the Jayhawks have struggled in before. Are you concerned about the state of the team right now, or are brighter days ahead for KU during the rest of the conference schedule?
Misterbrain: Honestly, I'm pretty concerned about the health of the team right now. Ever since that 3OT game against Oklahoma, the team just hasn't looked the same. We saw Frank Mason run down as the season came to a close last year, and Perry Ellis seemed to struggle more as the season went on. With such a large workload being heaped onto the starters, there is some concern that they won't be able to hold up. Some of our commenters even floated the crazy idea that maybe Mason needs a minor injury that will heal up by the end of conference play but that will let him get some rest. As you can see, we are all going a bit crazy right now...
But ultimately, I think that better days are ahead for this team. It's rough right now for Chieck Diallo and Carlton Bragg, but they are starting to show a bit more of what they can do. We really need them to get settled in and take some of the pressure off of the starters. Once we can start relying on our deep bench, the rest should follow.
WRNL: As one of the teams that was vying for his services not too long ago, what's the deal with Bill Self's choice to limit Cheick Diallo's playing time so far?
Misterbrain: I don't think Self is actively trying to limit his minutes. Diallo was already going to have to integrate himself into the team really well to take playing time away from the veterans on the team, and his eligibility issues (completely BS by the way) destroyed any chance he had of getting into a rhythm with the rest of the team. Like most high school super stars, he isn't used to playing in a system, and the inability to get acclimated to it is showing in his play. He has the physical talents to start for this team, but his court awareness was stunted by the de facto suspension.
WRNL: Let's hear your opinion on the Big 12 this year. Is it as good as people are hyping it up to be?
Misterbrain: I always think the Big 12 gets shafted in the eyes of public opinion, and I still think it's happening to a degree. Since the conference still has a dearth of NCAA Tournament success outside of Kansas in the last decade or so, everyone assumes that the conference is no good. So rather than acknowledge how good the conference is in general, they talk about how Kansas is struggling and that means the Big 12 has no real good team. Rather than admit that Oklahoma is a great team, we get an article about there really isn't a good team at all this year.
The Big 12 is by far the best overall conference this year, at least according to Ken Pomeroy. He looks at the numbers and the play on the court, not any ideas of his own about how good these teams are subjectively.
WRNL: You are now Coach Self and are tasked with game planning for tonight's tilt. What's your offensive and defensive game plan against the Cyclones?
Misterbrain: As head coach at a major university, I delegate that responsibility to one of my assistants. I don't need to come up with the game plan, I just get to take credit for it if it goes right.... Seriously though, the offense for the Jayhawks has to start up top. This is a talented team that can shoot the long ball, so they need to play to that strength. They also need to move into the post using their big men, instead of the guards driving down the edge of the lane and throwing up a prayer through contact.
On defense, they really need to lock down on Monte Morris and Matt Thomas. While this Iowa State team is not a spectacular long-range shooting team, they seem to be extremely streaky and it will be important to keep them from getting started, especially in Hilton. Also, it will be important to stay out of foul trouble, as defensively the depth just isn't there for this Jayhawk team.
WRNL: Give me your prediction. Who's coming away with another conference victory tonight?
Misterbrain: I'm loathe to pick against my Jayhawks, but I'm having a hard time seeing them overcoming Hilton Magic when they couldn't overcome the ambiance of a half-full Gallagher-Iba Arena. Saturday's second half against Texas gives some hope, but it was done with a minimal lineup that can be prone to foul trouble, especially on the road. I'm thinking it will stay close, but I have to go with Iowa State 78, Kansas 75.
WRNL: BONUS QUESTION - FMK: Anna Kendrick, Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence. GO!
Misterbrain: Funny how this question took the most time to answer.... First of all, I'd like to say my wife probably wouldn't approve of this question, but I'll answer anyway. The easiest to decide is to kill Jennifer Lawrence. If I did either of the other two, I think she would end up wanting to kill me anyway eventually, so think of it as a preemptive strike. The big "F" would go to Emma Watson, because that would mean I wouldn't necessarily have to talk to her, and there is nothing saying I'd have to stick around. That leaves 'marry' for Anna Kendrick, and after reading up a bit, I think that is the obvious choice anyway. I mean, any gal that can shame-eat Taco Bell with the best of them and loves sci-fi/fantasy movies HAS to be a keeper, right?
A wise, knowledgeable choice on that bonus question from misterbrain. Be sure to be on the lookout for the answers I gave him over on RCT.