Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When High Standards Equal Wins

I will admit that I'm not too aware of what the fan bases are like in any towns not named Kansas City or Lawrence. Perhaps those who follow the Tarheels, Longhorns and Bruins act the same way as those who follow the Jayhawks. All I know is from my own experiences, so with that being said, this is what I know: criticism breeds winning.

Last night's domination of Kansas over Texas was just that - a domination - unless you happen to be in Jayhawk country. Nationally, it would seem as if KU had just cemented their sixth straight Big 12 title and is now waiting for April to begin. But locally, you only hear one thing from the fans: Kansas has a lot of work to do.

This might seem a little out of place if you don't follow the team every day. Because when you compare them to your favorite team, no matter who that might be, then the Jayhawks come off as being better. But in Kansas, you have only one team to compare them to: themselves. When you do that, then you are never satisfied.

All I hear day after day is how Sherron Collins has too much on his plate or Cole Aldrich isn't playing very well or Marcus Morris needs to stay out of foul trouble or that Xavier Henry is a disappointment or Tyshawn Taylor makes too many mistakes or how Brady Morningstar is offensively challenged. You know what the reality is? Every single one of those players is better than the guy he's matched up against in most of the games they play. I dread every time Markieff Morris comes onto the court, but that's only because he isn't as good as the other KU players. He's still better than your sixth or seventh man.

You can find a flaw in any championship team, especially when you know them like the back of your hand. The truth is they rank in the top ten in most of the statistical categories that matter, and they've lost one - count 'em, one - game all season long, which was a road game against a ranked team early in the season. They are undefeated in the conference with the highest RPI. They have three NBA draft picks. They have a shoe-in Hall of Fame coach. They have veteran leadership. What more do you want?

Kansas fans want perfection, just like Bill Self does. No, perfection isn't possible. But when K-State beat Texas while their two top players struggled, at home, it was seen as the biggest win of the year. When Kansas beats Texas with their two top players struggling, on the road, in dominating fashion? We pick out the negatives. That's the difference.

But when you do that, when you demand perfection and are never happy, it's hard for the players to think any other way. These players know that somehow, some way, being 22-1 and the #1 team in the country doesn't satisfy their fans, so it shouldn't satisfy them.

It's why certain teams always rise to the top, and why those teams can still have a chip on their shoulder. It's also why other teams should fear the Kansas Jayhawks. Yes, we're good, but guess what: we're only getting better.


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