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Bill Self’s lucky tie couldn’t compete with Kentucky’s talent


Mike Miller

Bill Self needed more than a lucky tie. Even Mario Chalmers might not have been enough.

Kansas’ coach wore the same tie for Tuesday’s game against No. 2 Kentucky that he wore when his Jayhawks faced John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers in the 2008 national title game. (It does look awfully similar to this tie.)

But it’s clear that Kentucky’s loaded roster – headed by the physical freak known as Anthony Davis – overwhelmed any residual luck that tie might’ve had from Mario’s miracle. A 75-65 win over the No. 12 Jayhawks showed as much.

“Their best offense for a long period of time was our offense,” Self said. “Our bad shots and turnovers led to run-outs and dunks and easy baskets that you’re going to have a hard time defending. So I really think that we helped them, but they were also a lot better in the second half than the first half.”

Not that Kansas should be embarrassed.

The Jayhawks don’t have nearly the talent Kentucky does – a mix of early NBA departures, recruiting misses and some bad luck with the NCAA clearinghouse accounts for that – and hung with the ‘Cats throughout the first half.

The second half was a different story, particularly when Davis (seven blocks) and that Kentucky defense got rolling and guys started hitting shots.

If there’s a Kansas consolation, it’s that the Maui Invitational next week offers a chance to build a little confidence. If it beats Georgetown on Nov. 21, it gets the UCLA-Chaminade winner. The Bruins have hit bottom, while Chaminade is usually the weakest team in the field.

And hey, there’s trophy the memories from when that lucky tie did work …

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