Here’s the deal…
Things are going to heck in Lawrence after three straight losses by the KU men’s basketball team. You see, they’re a little spoiled. Actually, they’re a whole lot spoiled.
I think former KU coach Roy Williams was onto something when he described Kansas basketball fans as the “wine and cheese crowd.”
“If you don’t want to cheer for us, keep your big butts at home,” Williams added.
Since losing to TCU, those big wine and cheese-scarfing butts have been in an uproar. Practically suicidal, with the hyperbole flying off of the keyboards of sportswriters like there’s no tomorrow.
Case in point, this lollapalooza unleashed by Lawrence Journal World sports columnist-turned-doomsayer Tom Keegan:
“If James Naismith had known Kansas University one day would butcher the game of basketball as badly as it did in the first half of a stunning loss Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Texas, he not only might have thought twice about starting the program, he might have passed on the entire idea of inventing the sport.”
Did the newspaper’s sports staff have a pool to see who could come up with the most ridiculous statement?
Then again KU coach Bill Self more or less set the table for Keegan with this over-the-top utterance after losing to the last place team in the Big 12:
“It’s the worst team Kansas has ever put on the floor since Dr. Naismith was here.”
Keegan’s followup column was far more boosterish, beneath the headline: “Can’t count KU out if losses mount.”
Noting essentially that past KU teams had fared poorly in February then gone on to greatness. Keegan’s column preceded a second KU loss, sending the city of Lawrence into something approaching shell shock.
These days this little town lives and dies KU men’s basketball.
I kid you not.
Here’s how I see it:
Wasn’t this supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Jayhawks to begin with? As late as January 19th Keegan was celebrating KU’s good fortune (i.e. luck) by reminding the faithful, “It’s time to embrace this team’s ugly way of winning.”
In other words, deep down everyone knew this KU team was not the stuff of Cinderellas, so relax and enjoy the ride while it lasts.
“Do your blood pressure a favor,” Keegan counseled. “Enjoy the way Kansas finishes games and trust that in time your favorite basketball doctor, 10th-year coach Bill Self, will figure out a way to remove all the hideous warts you have to see leading up to the pleasant part.
“The formula of winning ugly and finishing pretty doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so you might as well get used to it.”
Viewed more realistically, what Keegan maybe meant to say was KU had been extremely lucky.
Meanwhile back at the Wine & Cheese Ranch, all is not well in the kingdom of Dr. James Naismith.
The bad basketball flu season is alive and kicking.