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

BY TODD PANULA                                                                                        February 4, 2001

TEST OF METAL                                                                                                                                

Well unfortunately Santa was not all together kind to our beloved Roy Williams on his Christmas list. But as they say, you can't have everything you want. Roy wanted to finally make the season sweep over hated rival, Missouri. Baby faced Quin Snyder's team decided to give ol' Roy a lump of coal instead. They beat the Hawks, as usual, in the Hearnes Center. What made it even sweeter for the Tigers was the fact that during the night they honored Norm Stewart and named the floor after him. Not unlike Naismith Court.

Earlier in the week, however, the Jayhawks soundly defeated our other big rival, K-State. There were times that the boys looked very lackadaisical, even letting the "purple pussies (cats that is)" back into the game. The Hawks eventually made short work of the men in sissy purple in a blowout of  92-66.

The Monday following, the Jayhawks crossed the border, not unlike the Jayhawkers of history, hoping to raid a victory out of the Hearnes Center. Unfortunately, Columbia was well defended by Quin Snyder, his troops, and all were overshadowed by Norm Stewart. The Hawks showed signs of life, making a few comebacks, but were outhustled overall by the Tigers. A few too many fouls on Rush didn't help either.

This past Saturday, the 24th ranked Longhorns made their way up from Austin. They looked to take advantage of what they hoped was a down Kansas team. They would find no such luck. The Hawks were neither down nor even close to out. They showed that early against Texas. The Longhorns kept in the game for a while, but overall there was no doubt that the Hawks would pick up the W.

With each passing game the Fieldhouse gets louder and rowdier. Obviously the K-State game there was a good rumble, but surprisingly the Texas game almost blew off the roof. The student section did it's usual best to make noise, but finally (to my delight), the general public joined in. The Fieldhouse is one of the toughest places to play and everyone needs to get involved in rooting on the Jayhawks to keep it that way.

Now, at the beginning of the season, the Jayhawks took the moniker of "Men on a Mission." They will have to hold to that statement with their upcoming schedule. They will face a highly ranked Iowa State game this Monday at Allen Fieldhouse (look for me on TV!!). Then they play Oklahoma State. That will be a difficult game due to the emotion the Cowboys will most likely have after the very unfortunate deaths of their teammates and friends.

Only 12 days after playing them at home, KU will have to travel to Iowa State to face the Cyclones once again. The rest of the schedule is light, but Baylor, Nebraska, Colorado, and K-State will look to take part in knocking off KU as the top seed in the Big 12. Finally, the last game before March Madness. March 4th at 1:00 pm the Tigers cross the border. The Jayhawks will be looking for blood as they desperately want revenge against the hated Tigers. Naismith Court will definitely be shaking for that one. Hope as many of you can attend as possible.

With all the upsets going on at the top of the ranking's, we will only know what the Hawk's ranking is for sure tomorrow. By wins and losses they should fall no farther than 5th. But nothing is for sure as it seems, at times, that the rankings people have some sort of grudge against KU. We will have to see. Regardless, the Hawks will take no notice of rank, or if they do they will use it as motivation with the belief that they should be higher. Though only in early February, many can already smell March Madness coming. The tourney is only a few short weeks away and the Hawks are still only getting reved up. Hopefully they will hit full speed by that time.

Until next time, this has been Todd Panula coming.....