OUT OF THE PHOG.............                                   

BY TODD PANULA                                                                                        January 16, 2001




Well the Jayhawks, as well as myself, returned to Mount Oread second semester to complete what they started this season.  For me, it is my first year of college.  For the Hawks, it is the quest for that elusive national title.  Over the break we all had a good time.  I had a wonderful Christmas, as I got most everything I asked for.  From the looks of it the Jayhawks may have gotten what they asked for as well. 

Roy William's list: 

         Road wins (especially in conference)

         Toughness on the boards (Chenowith in particular)

         Good D

         Boshee to score

         Beat Mizzou both times

         Win title

                                  (list may or may not be real)

So far the men in crimson and blue have given Roy his gifts, though we will have to wait on a couple of them.  Hopefully they will be belated gifts.  KU showed they could win on the road as they have played away from Allen Fieldhouse since December 16.  They knocked off Southwest Missouri State (though in K.C.) and 22nd ranked Oklahoma, adding to their current six game winning streak as they head into the Nebraska game. 

In the Oklahoma game especially they made good on most of Roy's wish list. They picked up an all-important road win in a conference game, against a ranked team no less.  They showed toughness on the boards with Kenny Gregory grabbing a career high 13 and Eric Chenowith taking 15 off the glass.  The defense also picked it up by a lot.  Early in the season the Jayhawks D looked shaky against teams like Washburn and Illinois State.  They finally lived up to their potential in the Oklahoma win as they held off a late surge at the end of the game.  Jeff Boshee returned to his scalped ways as well.  After shooting only 5 out of 31 from three range, he jumped out of the slump.  He made 4 of 8 from the land of plenty finishing with a total of 16 points.

But now the break is over and no matter how much fun we all had, we have to get back to work.  The Hawks must continue their winning ways as they dive deeper into a very difficult conference schedule.  They must face still ranked Iowa State.  A ranked Texas team has shown they can play with the big boys, knocking off U-Conn, but also lost to Nebraska.  A well-oiled Mizzou is also coming up.  Mizzou, much to my dismay, is pulling off some big wins including a huge win in quadruple overtime against ISU.  MU always manages something big against the Hawks and having this much confidence could be bad, as the Jayhawks have to play them at the Hearnes Center on January 29. 

The Jayhawks still have their problems, but even Stanford probably has problems.  So all they need to do is stay their present course.  They are nearing the top of their game and there is still room for improvement which is scary to some other teams.  Other than that horrific game against Wake Forest, The Hawks have shown that they deserve their current ranking and that they are a definite title contender.  So while Roy may have to wait until March to see if he gets his other gifts, waiting as they say makes it all the sweeter. 

So until next time, this has been Todd Panula coming...