Long Distance Jayhawk


After Battle Report: Oklahoma State Cowboys by longdistancejayhawk
January 14, 2015, 10:15 am
Filed under: Recap
In looking for a shot of the CLIFF SMASH, I stumbled on this beauty. I think it pretty much sums up the night.

In looking for a shot of the CLIFF SMASH, I stumbled on this beauty. I think it pretty much sums up the night.

Recently, I’ve been taken to task over comments I’ve made about Oklahoma State and Marcus Smart, specifically. The truth is that I want to hate Smart because he’s kind of a cocky asshole. He’s a flopper1, sure, and he did the backflip on Naismith Court which really pissed me off. But I’ve also sort of softened in my old age. These are just kids, after all. Kids trying to win basketball games. Obviously, these kids annoy us, but we shouldn’t take it to extremes2. Marcus Smart is a prime example3.

The continued hatred directed at Smart seems to speak of a burgeoning rivalry with Oklahoma State. Hell, I look forward to our games against them because they have had good players and have been a pain for us the last three or so years. But I don’t feel the complete hatred that some other fans of God’s Team seem to harbor. In a rare moment of introspection, I wanted to figure out why I get excited for OSU but don’t feel supreme hatred. I couldn’t figure it out until I thought about my parents and the Duke rivalry.

Long time readers will know that both my parents are alums of UNC and rabid Carolina fans. We’ve talked about the Duke rivalry and they’ve confirmed something strange about it: it wasn’t really a thing back when they were in school. Duke was kind of shitty up until Coach K showed up in the 1980. According to Jay Bilas in a trailer for Coach K 1K, Jay Bilas mentioned that the program was in a bad place when K got there. And then, they turned into this power. When my parents were going to games, NC State was the rival4, not Duke. They had to build their hatred of Duke long after they’d graduated.

Which is how I feel about OSU right now. I’m nearly a decade out of college, so the Cowboys were a decent team, Eddie Sutton was a curmudgeon, but they weren’t a true threat to knock us off. Besides, Missouri5 was always there, waiting to spoil our party. Oklahom State was an afterthought to me. I feel like most KU fans that have a supreme distaste for OSU were there when the flip happened. They were in school when Smart was being a brash asshole in interviews. I missed that because you get out of school, you grow up and you find you have less hatred for a team that didn’t rate when you were in school.

What I’m curious about is whether or not the hatred will come, as it did with my parents and Duke. Will I find that I’ve replaced the Missouri hatred in my heart? Only time will tell, but I can admit that, right now, I still don’t feel the bitter hatred for Oklahoma State6.

Final Score: Oklahoma State 57-67 Kansas

The Good: The first half was the most fun thing I’ve seen all year in all basketball ever (of the year). Not for basketball reasons, mind you. Anytime you get treated to a slew of technicals and Le’Bryan Nash chesting up on the Ombre Warrior, followed by Jamari threatening to eat all of Nash’s Skittles if he every tries that shit again, you know you’re in for a wild game.

Well, a half anyway.

If reports are to be believed, Iowa State has a mystery recruit they've brought in to try and stop Cliff.

If reports are to be believed, Iowa State has a mystery recruit they’ve brought in to try and stop Cliff.

That first half also saw BIG CLIFF SMASH over all 15 dudes on OSU at one time that dunk truthers will try to tell you was a layup7. Watching Cliff get that was fucking relief. I just didn’t know that I was going to need it at the time.

Outside of that theatrical slam by the big man, we shot a respectable 69.6% on free throws…

The Bad: …which is huge when you shoot 46 fucking free throws on the night. How? What? Why? Did the Big XII X XII send out a memo after the Baylor game that we should get some make up calls a week later? Seriously. What the shit was that?

For all the “let ’em play” that was going on in the first half, the refs were hell bent on getting the game under control in the second half. Which would make sense if the end of the first involved the chest bump and double tech. I’d say you could make the argument that they needed to get it under control if all that went down with three or less in the first half. Not twelve-plus. Between the whistle heavy second and them t’ing up Cliff on the post dunk flex8, the refs were all over the place last night.

I’m all for wins. And I’m all for gritty, do whatever it takes wins. But going 32-46 on gimmies? There has to be a better way to win games. Some people knock the Rockets for going all-in on playing the most efficient basketball possible, but I’d rather watch one possession of Harden drawing a foul than what we got last night.

Withering Bill Self Quote of the Night: The Reporters look around, nervous that the Coach won’t be happy with just a ten point win. The Reporters have all been here before. They know what to expect. The Coach is never happy, never satisfied.

Wins are never enough. Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.

That is the only victory the Coach knows.

One of the Reporters screams. A large snake has appeared from the side door, slithering to the dais. The snake slips into the Coach’s chair, sitting there. The dead eyes stare ahead, unblinking, unflinching. All seeing.

The fearful Reporter regains his composure and raises his hand. The snake turns into the Coach. Before the Reporter can say anything, the Coach speaks.

It was a hard game to play. A hard game to coach. Probably a harder game to officiate. Good thing I didn’t drink a lot of water at halftime. I would have been in trouble.

The Reporter, undaunted, raises his hand again. “Is that what happened to Cliff? Too much water? I thought maybe he’d boned your wife or-”

The Coach is a snake again and out the side door. Storming Norman Roberts lifts the Reporter up from his underarms so that he can face Kurtis Blow Townsend’s bastard sword like a man. Standing up. The Reporter is cleaved in two with one stroke. The rest of the Reporters stand and file past the two chunks, each tearing a single page from there notepad and throwing it on the pieces. Even in such horrific death, rituals must be observed.

Mason's live reaction to finding out that he'd netted another Man of the Match.

Mason’s live reaction to finding out that he’d netted another Man of the Match.

Man of the Match: Given that the game never got into much of a flow, it’s hard to really tell who had a monster game. Other than a couple of SportsCenter Top 10 Highlights from Cliff, I couldn’t tell you thing one about anyone’s individual performance. Should it go to Cliff, just because he’s getting on the ol’ highlight reel? What about Oubre just for goading Nash into the tech? Or Magna for looking like he was saying some serious sick shit about what was going to happen to Nash’s Skittles supply? Each of these things certainly kept me on the edge of my seat in the first half. But that seems like a usual cop out for me, giving the award to someone just because of something trivial.

So, seriously, Francis Mason, Renegade Cop deserves the award. Francis went out and damn near got a double-double with 19 points and 9 boards. That isn’t a typo. No, he got nine rebounds. He wasn’t even close on assists (three). That stat line alone would be enough to get him the award in a regular game. But it was his Harden-lite performance at the charity stripe, going 9-11. If the refs are going to gift you that many points, make the most of them.

Looking Ahead: We have a showdown with Iowa State on Saturday, at Ames. I know I just spilt a shit ton of ink talking about not hating a team or anything…but I really hate Iowa State. Not just because of Weatherwax either. I hate them for that win they took off us in Hilton like three years ago. I’d had a perfectly charming day at Brooklyn Flea and missed the first half. I was on the G train heading home, checking the score and when I got in the door, we were well on our way to losing.

Fuck those guys. You might be the Mayor of Ames, Hoiberg. But you’re also the Mayor of Asshat Town, population you.

*

FOOTNOTES

1 – Yes, he was a flopper. An eggregious one. However, how many times does Shape-Shifting Lizard Man Eyes toss his head back like he’s Kennedy in the motorcade on minimal contact? That sort of this makes sense for pre-paleo LeBron who was so big and strong that if he didn’t toss his head back, he’d never get a foul called on him. If anything, Smart’s only real floppy transgression is that he did it all the time. But you know what? It’s gamesmanship. Annoying, frustrating gamesmanship, but you really can’t be mad about the fact that refs fall for it9. Back

2 – One extreme I saw on Kansas Twitter recently involved belittling Marcus Smart for getting the number three tattooed on both of his triceps which were visible in his Celtics photo showing off his first NBA jersey. People took him to take along the lines of “Look at this dumbass! He’s got 33 on his arms and his jersey is 36! Fucking stupid dum-dum pop!” Which would be okay if the number were, say, eleventy-infinity rather than 33. Because it’s the Celtics. Basketball Jesus’ #33 jersey is in the rafters, so I don’t think it was Marcus’ fault that he couldn’t rock his preferred jersey number. Also, let’s cool it with making fun of dumb tattoos since that’s kind of a calling card of Kansas. Dearly departed Tharpapalooza had the Batman logo with a cursive “My Hero” close enough to it that it seemed like part of one piece. Back

3 – I’m not really going to get into it too much here since Smart is really meant to be more of a transition, but longtime reader Josh got off the rails thanks to me saying the following in Part 1 of the Big XII X XII preview:

A trainwreck of a season that featured a seven game losing streak at the worst possible time, Marcus Smart (justifiably, in my opinion) attacking a fan, and a mercy killing at the hands of Gonzaga in the tournament.

If I had it to do over, I would revise “justifiably” to “somewhat understandable.” I’m not saying that I back off from the general intent of my statement. Obviously, attacking fans isn’t a good look, but bear with me for a second. Who among us were 20 years old? Who among us did shit we weren’t proud of? That’s part of growing up and, if presented with the kind of vitriol coming from that fan, then I can see why he did what he did. None of us are perfect. None of us can sit on a high throne and act like being called the worst possible thing (and I can’t even speak to the venom in the particular word since, full disclosure, I’m white) and being a kid. Throw in OSU’s struggles on the court at the time which, at the risk of drawing on a cliches, was probably Smart’s refuge and I can understand why that happened. Sure, he shouldn’t have done it, but I don’t think it shows a failing of character to the point that we have to hate the guy now that he’s gone on10. I feel kind of dirty defending Marcus Smart, especially since I was reminded of the goddamned court flip, but I just wanted to put it out there. Sometimes you do stupid shit. Back

4 – The classic taunt appended to the end of “I’m a Tar Heel Born” is now “Go to Hell Duke!” but when they were in school, it was “Go to Hell State.” What a difference like 500 years since graduation makes. Back

5 – As I’m writing this, Mizzou is getting fucked with a sandpaper and broken glass covered dildo by Kentucky. They were nearly doubled up going into halftime and with 7:35 left (as of writing), a doubling up isn’t out of the question. Doesn’t that just warm the cockles? Which is more than they deserve. I guess you really don’t grow up, huh11? Back

6 – For what it’s worth, I want it to happen. I really do. I want something to look forward to every year. I want a rival that gets me pissed off and makes me want to embarrass them. It’ll probably happen. I’m just not there yet. Back

7 – Dunk truthers are the absolute worst. Who fucking cares if he didn’t rip the rim down, shattering the glass, then wear the hoop around like a necklace of his enemies’ ears? That was fucking brutal and no one can take that away from what BIG CLIFF SMASH did on that play. Back

8 – Speaking of Cliff and the second half…what the shit was Toupee doing sitting him for nearly the whole second? I know he got the black mark of three fouls, but a tentative Cliff had to have been better than fucking Brick Hands getting 12 minutes. It wasn’t like we were cruising to an easy victory at that point or anything. Back

9 – Like four years ago, I almost wrote a scathing indictment of Americans and their resistance to soccer. The main thrust of my argument is that Americans have a disconnect between what we want to believe leads to success and what actually does. We’re obsessed with the noble path to success, decrying anything that seems duplicitous. My example was the house crisis and how we react to that, but put any of us in the shoes of anyone who figured out a way to use mortgages as a license to print money and I imagine pretty much everyone would take what looks like free money. Just like soccer players should flop because it is a way to achieve free money, as it were. I think the parallel can be drawn to basketball, too. Back

10 – Pretty sure I’ve lost most of you at this point and believe me, but if you’re still reading this, Schuyler, you’re going to hate what I have to say here too. I feel that once a player has left the orbit of being a thorn in the Jayhawks’ side I can let them be basketball players. Like Anthony Davis, Destroyer of Worlds. I love watching him play! Am I bitter that he helped put the kibosh on our magic tourney run? Of course! But I also appreciate how fucking good he is at basketball and I’m not going to root against a once in a generation talent just for that. Now, comparing Davis and Smart is like comparing cara cara oranges (the best of the navel orange family) and granny smith apples (the worst of the apples while mutsu are the best of the apples), but you get the point. At a certain point, I’m going to let things go. Maybe I’m just getting older and I want to have a more Gamblero mentality. Well, unless you’re Keiton fucking Page. That guy can go die in a fire. Back

11 – And now that I’ve finished writing all this crap, the Missouri-Kentucky game went final. Holy fucking shit Mizzou got their asses annihilated. Kentucky punched the Tigers in the gut, doubled them over, then shoved their feet up Mizzou’s asses and walked them around like boots. Missouri scored 37 which would be fine it it were the Patriots. Jesus, thirty-fucking-seven? The only thing I ask, basketball gods, is that they got embarrassed worse than KU. Is that too much to ask? What’s that you say, dunk god of basketball? You say they…oh, lord. Oh, man…49. That’s too much. You’re too kind, basketball gods. Is there anything left of them? Back

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2 Comments so far
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SO much to say here. First, Marcus Smart. I guess you’re saying that Tech fan called him the N word? I never actually heard that was the case. I stand by my original take on Smart shoving the guy, but if that’s what he said, that makes it a little more, like you said, understandable.

Second, yes, I hate OSU, and yes, a big part of that is the one-two combo of being in the building when they beat us in Allen, and the backflip on Naismith which still makes me stabby. But it’s also because Smart makes a joke out of the game of basketball. It’s because Keiton Page. It’s because Phil Forte. It’s because they are a pain in our asses, and it’s because I HATE ORANGE TEAMS.

Speaking of making a joke of the game, I can’t really comment on the resistance to soccer since I don’t have it, but I can say you’re spot on about us having this expectation that you get there in a noble and respectable way. You play the game, you don’t play the rules, at least not like that. It’s punkass bitch stuff. I hate soccer flops as much as I hate LeBron head moves (which, by the way, look 200% more exaggerated when James Harden does it (which he does all the fucking time) because his beard makes his head look twice as long as it really is). Is it effective? Is it what actually gets you success, as you argue? Yeah, probably sometimes. Doesn’t mean it’s respectable. See: Koch Brothers.

I’m pretty happy with that analogy, actually. Marcus Smart and James Harden are the Koch Brothers of basketball.

DUNK TRUTHERS? WHAT THE SWEET MUSCULAR SHIT IS THIS? FUUUUUUUUCK. Tarik did one of those last year and our bench lost their collective minds. Naadir responded with my favorite thing he ever did on a basketball court, which is the robot. Look, with a layup, the basketball leaves the hand traveling in an upward direction. With a dunk, the ball leaves the hand in a downward direction. That’s the definition I’ve just decided on, and anyone who says differently is just wrong, that’s all. Big Clifford fisted the ball through the hoop, elbow deep like some nasty porno shit. Anthony Allen lost his life (RIP). Lawrence Fire and Rescue had to clean him off the floor with a spatula. The coroner doesn’t haul remains away from layups.

And yeah I don’t know what’s with this softening in your old age shit, you should be getting crankier. You’re no Grandpa Simpson.

I’m glad to hear you hate Iowa State though, that’s redemptive. I do feel like we have about a 40% chance to win that one though.

Comment by Josh Dutcher

So much to respond to here ;). Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Now, it was never stated outright and, if I remember correctly, the official story is that something else was said or the guy had been a shit all night and Marcus just snapped. But enough reports initially made it seem that he’d said it that I feel like there must be some validity to it. I think OSU and Smart eventually made the official story bury that angle so as to show the appropriate amount of mea culpa leading into the suspension. I forgot to really get into it, but my larger point (one that, some of my NY friends have been treated to me workshopping recently) is that I feel like there’s a fine line between hating someone for solid reasons and just being an asshole. Like the jersey/tattoo thing. Like, why not hate him because he’s a chucker? That’s a pretty good reason. Hating orange, also acceptable because no one looks good in orange (also, the Nike Aerogramme design on the back of OSU’s orange jerseys looks like a fucking blob; not that other schools (Texas, Duke, UNC) have easier to see designs, but OSU’s are the most unintelligible out there).

I love Harden and I love LeBron. I would totally be on board with a full scale ban on flopping (soccer and basketball), it’s just how do you legislate it? Especially in the flow of a game. The NBA has tried to snuff it out by retroactively penalizing people. However, that is retroactive and almost completely subjective. Fining a player for simulation doesn’t right any wrongs that may have come as a result of the flop (like FTs and the points that come with them). As such, I kind of accept that it’s a part of the game and don’t totally hate on people when they exploit the rules. I’m sure people are out there trying to figure out a way to legislate/police it better. Besides, flopping is just a loophole and gimmick the way that the Rockets (because of course Harden comes up (yes, the beard absolutely makes his head seem twice as long)) do the whole nothing between 8-22 feet approach to offense. The game’s designed for that to be exploited right now.

Also, I know you hate Smart, but I find he’s a bit like KG in that people hate him when you’re playing against him and love him when he’s on your team. A maddening guy who pulls all kinds of shit that’s so frustrating. I mean, we have to take a moral relativism here, right? I mean, Selden shocks his head back every damn time contact happens and I still love the guy (side note: perhaps throwing the old head back is why he keeps trying to layup through a blocking defender? Taking those eyes off the basket, Wayne…I see you in the opposite way of you seeing the basket).

Dunk truthers, man. It’s a thing. Seriously, take a look at any dunk highlight on Deadspin and watch people rip every dunk around as if the only way to dunk is a 360 tomahawk that ends with the rim ripping off the backboard and the glass shattering. It blows my mind that these people just want to ruin fun. Fuck them. Totally agree with your assesment vis. dunk vs. layup. The venom with which he threw that ball down, I’m shocked it didn’t explode in embarassment. I mean, the rim was practically on fire from the friction. That’s a dunk. Fuck dunk truthers.

Yeah, I don’t know. I still get riled up over games and shit, but I just don’t know that I feel comfortable totally hating on a college kid, you know? I think that’s part of it. That calling them names and specifically attacking them is just kind of mean spirited. Unless you’re Keiton fucking Page. Or Gerry McNamara. Or Brady Heslip. Or any of the other 100 white dudes who torch us from distance on an annual basis.

Comment by longdistancejayhawk




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