Bill Self called the Woodside, "The best guard we've faced this year". The Kansas Coach threw five different platers at Woodside(including Collins) and he still hit 13 of 23 shots. With all due respect to Collins, who does it night after night against better competition, Woodside's effort was the best I've seen in years. Which got got me to wondering.
How does a kid from suburban Minneapolis end up at North Dakota St.? Woodside, reportedly, had only two scholarship offers out of high school and neither were at division one schools. Both North Dakota St. and South Dakota St. had just petioned for division one status. Where was the University of Minnesota on this kid?
It's bad enough that they swung and missed on the home grown Cole Aldrich, but they never even stepped to the plate for Woodside. That's what gets coaches fired, and that's why former Gophers Coach Dan Munson is now working at Long Beach St. I'm trying to remember the last time I saw a player dunk eight times in a game. I think it was me on an eight foot foot basket against my ten year old son(he still beat me).
KU center Cole Aldrich is the key to any deep run the 'Hawks make in this tournament. Their offense is so much better when they go inside-out. It's a sharp double-edged sword Kansas plays with when they're hitting jump shots. "We've got to be more patient", says Self. "Sometimes when we make shots, we forget to throw it inside".
Freshman Tyshawn Taylor agrees, "When we make three or four passes side to side, we can pretty much get what we want with Cole. We don't want to break down and go one on one too much".
Collins was brilliant against NDSU scoring a career high 32 points, but he did it on 26 shots. It wasn't until Aldrich became more involved that the Jayhawks took charge of the game.
Dayton is next for Kansas. The Flyers, out of the Atlantic 10, were pretty much in charge against a West Virginia team that I thought could give KU fits on Sunday. I'm not sure about Dayton, they appear to have a star in forward Chris Wright who had 27 points and 10 rebounds against Bob Huggins Mountianeers, but there's not a lot depth. Interesting that one of Dayton's seven losses is to the Missouri Valley's Creighton. While I'm homering for the Valley, notice that Wichita St. is 2-1 against the round of 32, with wins over Siena and Cleveland St.
I wish I could tell you something about the rest of the field here in Minnesota, but television duties kept me holed up until about 9:00pm.
Friday. Things slow down a little on Saturday with only press conferences for the four remaining teams. Practices for those teams are closed to the media, not that any of us would know what we were looking at anyway--right?
Wouldn't it be great if athletes and coaches really spoke their minds. "Coachspeak" has become so much a part of our sporting culture that we swallow whole and call it filling. But it wouldn't it be much more appetizing to hear an unfiltered version of their thoughts?
For instance, does Kansas Coach Bill Self really fear North Dakota St. as he made it sound today? Or does he see a team which lost at Idaho and knows that if he just plays well-- he'll be in the round of 32 with West Virginia. If Self is really worried about a game, that's probably the one. When reporters pelted KU's Sherron Collins with questions about the prowess of the Bison's Ben Woodside, he responded in the respectful manner we have become accustomed to. But don't know that he fully expects to dominate a player he considers no more than an interloper?