VIDEO: Trophy presentation, Senior night speeches, Coach Bill Self
AUDIO: Highlights with Davis and Gurley
Keegan Ratings: Tarik Black at the top
Justin Wesley, thanking The Wheel for the Wang Burgers
"You know you're getting recruited by Kansas," Tarik Black says, "when you get that text from coach Self like, 'hey stud.'"
Tarik Black just went legend.
Wiggins on tonight being his last game at AFH: I don't think it hit me yet. It feels like just yesterday we had Late Night…
Wiggins on the season: Too quick. I wish I had more time to stay here and do my thing and be with my team and the fans
S/o to @TarikBlack25 on his Senior night & last game in Allen Field House. Gr8 college career with much more to come..Respect dude! #Beast
KU bigs Tarik Black, Jamari Traylor, Perry Ellis shot combined 15-for-15 from the floor. Totaled 38 points between them.
Couldn't ask for a better Wednesday night!! Love this place... #KUCMB
In the final home game of the season, the @KUHoops victory gave @CoachBillSelf his 175th win in Allen Fieldhouse.
Andrew Wiggins still rolling through the autograph line at 11:13. pic.twitter.com/1eOqD0CmX0
The biggest heirlooms on campus were hidden in a fan relations room in a corner of Allen Fieldhouse.
On a cart next to a T-shirt cannon sat nine Big 12 trophies dating back to 2004. Trophy No. 10 was on the ground, waiting to be unveiled in front of the masses.
Wednesday night was a celebration of certain yearly KU traditions, such as winning a Big 12 championship. Or, with eight minutes left in a Big 12 game, the crowd chanting for an often benched senior — Niko Roberts — and erupting when Bill Self obliged.
Senior night for the Jayhawks started the same way it always does — with a rose petal-filled senior walk. It ended routinely, as well, with KU cruising to an 82-57 victory against Texas Tech before the senior speeches began.
“Tonight is about our three seniors,” Self said. “Before we go into that, we’ve been very fortunate to recruit some guys that will probably never get to a senior night.”
…When introducing Tarik Black, who had a team-high 19 points, Self referenced how Black could have gone almost anywhere for his final year of eligibility.
“He chose us,” Self said, “and what a blessing he’s been.”
Black said the texts from Self, starting with “hey stud,” were a major selling point.
Black, who came to Lawrence from Memphis, shared a story of a KU fan telling him that Allen Fieldhouse would be full for every game. Black, who had yet to play a KU game, remained skeptical.
“Even the exhibitions?” Black asked.
Black said he wasn’t disappointed.
“I am still amazed at everything,” Black said. “The sky is the limit for us. We can go as far as we want to.”
…Welsey, who lost his father at a young age, and was raised with former KU guard Keith Langford as a father figure, made sure Self realized how influential he’s been in Wesley’s life.
“Since I’ve been here you’ve taught me a lot on the court,” Wesley said. “You’ve also taught me a lot about being a man off the court.”
But the night didn’t end with the microphone in Wesley’s hands. Self took the stage back for one last statement.
“It’s time to get serious,” Self said.
Oh, and those trophies? They were the background for every single senior speech, spread out on four tables across James Naismith Court showing just how dominant this program’s recent past has been.
It was Senior Night at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, but in a way, it was also a night for freshmen. Kansas coach Bill Self didn’t want to admit that earlier this week — not explicitly — but it was true.
So in the moments after the victory, after the Jayhawks, 23-7 and 14-3 in the Big 12, had busted out the Big 12 championship T-shirts and displayed all 10 championship trophies on a long table at midcourt, Self grabbed a microphone and started looking toward his team on the baseline.
It was Senior Night, of course, but Self wanted to take a moment to look over toward Wiggins and freshman center Joel Embiid, who was decked in suit and tie while shut down for the rest of the regular season with a lower-back strain.
“Wiggins!” Self shouted. “Stand up!”
“Jo,” Self said, looking toward Embiid, hiding near the corner of the court. “Stand up!”
One by one, Self kept naming players, not stopping at the potential one-and-dones on the roster. Wayne Selden. Perry Ellis. Jamari Traylor.
“Stand up,” Self said again.
One year ago, Wiggins had been sitting behind the KU bench during another Senior Night dismantling of Texas Tech. His parents, Mitchell and Marita, were sitting by his side that night. He noticed how the KU fans stayed all night, through the speeches and everything. Even the little kids, he says. So on Wednesday, the Wiggins family was back in the building. Perhaps it’s a reminder of the turbo-charged life cycle of college basketball. One year, you’re on your recruiting visit, the next you’re scoring nine points in 23 minutes while another set of teammates go through the Senior Night ceremonies.
“Too quick,” Wiggins said. “I wish I had more time to stay here and do my thing and just be with the team and the coaches and all these wonderful fans.
“Last year, that’s one of the reasons I committed here. I came on Senior Night. And the fans were just so loyal.”
Wiggins didn’t shy away about this being his last game in Allen Fieldhouse, and neither did Self. But if the end is coming for Black and Wiggins, Wednesday was a decent springboard toward the postseason.
…This is why he came to Kansas, Black says. He wanted to win — and win big. So during an 11-minute senior speech after the game, Black recalled his phone conversations with Self last year during the recruiting process.
“You know you’re getting recruited by Kansas,” Black said, “when you get that text or call from coach Self, like, ‘Hey stud.’ ”
Black laughed. The crowd laughed. Self cracked a wide smile on the sideline. For another year, this night had gone to script. Now the Jayhawks could celebrate a 10th straight Big 12 title — and look forward.
“We have one more month,” Black said, “to put it all together.”
Black, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound transfer from Memphis, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the field and finished with a KU career-high 19 points in the Jayhawks’ 82-57 annihilation of Texas Tech in Allen Fieldhouse.
“Tonight ... to want anything more would be ungrateful,” said Black, who gave an 11-minute speech after the game while wearing a “10 straight” Big 12 title T-shirt. “The way the night ended ... we won by almost 30. I had a great game. The team had a great game. It wasn’t a struggle. I can’t ask for more.”
Black, now KU's starting center with freshman Joel Embiid resting a strained back, was able to bask in the glow with 15 minutes left, flexing his muscles at the free throw line for the fans after dropping in his seventh hoop of the night in as many tries.
“That’s the way we practice every day,” said Black, who also grabbed six rebounds in 27 minutes. He was seven points off his career high of 26 points in a game against UTEP last season at Memphis.
“Some practices I rebound some. Some practices I get steals. Some practices I score. I got a couple more minutes tonight (in replacing the injured Joel Embiid). It was one of those nights it just clicked for me.”
Judith Moore sent a text message to her son, Tarik Black, a few hours before Kansas’ game Wednesday night.
“This is it. Manifest your destiny,” it read.
“I think he did,” Moore said in the minutes after No. 8 KU’s 82-57 victory over Texas Tech on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse. “He’s well on his way. This was a very, very good start.”
In his final home game, Black scored a season-high 19 points on 9-of-9 shooting. The 6-foot-9 forward topped his previous season high of 17 set against Georgetown on Dec. 21.
“I thought it was a special swan song for him,” Moore said.
Black’s highlight play came early in the second half, as he grabbed a missed jumper from Wayne Selden Jr. and put it back in for two with a foul.
The senior raised both fists near his ears, flexing toward the crowd to celebrate.
Moore has seen that same move from him before, whether it was rejoicing after a play at his previous school Memphis or enjoying a triumph over his older brothers Bilal and Amal.
“Tonight was one of those nights,” Black said, “where it just clicked for me.”
The senior added six rebounds and two blocks in 27 minutes.
“I thought that was about the most aggressive he’s been all year,” KU coach Bill Self said.
…San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh attended the game after speaking to the team during its pregame shoot-around. Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy also was in attendance, wearing a blue KU sweater.
Former Toronto Blue Jays slugger Joe Carter also sat behind KU’s bench.
Tarik Black pulled a Big 12 championship T-shirt over his broad shoulders, slipped a title hat on his head, and then gave Andrew Wiggins and the rest of his teammates a hug.
In the background stood the trophies, all 10 of them, brought onto the court at Allen Fieldhouse — a perfect ending to Black’s nearly perfect senior night.
The transfer from Memphis scored 19 points on 9-for-9 shooting, more than making up for the loss of injured center Joel Embiid, and led the eighth-ranked Jayhawks to an 82-57 victory over Texas Tech on Wednesday night.
“Wow, did he play good tonight,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Black matched the school record for field goal attempts without a miss held by C.J. Giles (2005) and Mark Randall (1990). The only shots he missed came at the free throw line.
Wednesday’s game marked just the fifth game of the season Wiggins has not reached double figures in scoring. He ranks in the top 15 in the conference in points, field goal percentage, steals, blocks and minutes played.
Self believes Wiggins deserves to be in the conversation for Big 12 Player of the Year, noting that he is the best player on the best team in a league where there is no obvious choice for that award.
“It’s almost a logical no-brainer,” Self said.
Some of Wiggins’ most memorable games at Allen Fieldhouse include setting a career-high 29 points against Iowa State on Jan. 29 and scoring 15 points in a dominating first half against second-place Texas on Feb. 22.
Wiggins had his highlight-reel dunks and high-scoring games, but the freshman should also be remembered for his defense. In the first conference home game, Wiggins held Kansas State star freshman Marcus Foster to seven points on 25-percent shooting. He was often regarded as the Jayhawks’ best on-ball defender and would frequently guard the other team’s best scorer.
After tonight’s game, Wiggins ranks as the third-highest scoring freshman all-time at Kansas and will move into second place with at least three points against West Virginia on Saturday. He already set the freshman record for free throws made (138), free throws attempted (181) and scoring average (16.03 points/game).
Wiggins said he has enjoyed his time here.
“I am thankful for everything,” Wiggins said. “I have been blessed with a good team, great coaches and the best fans anyone could ever ask for.”’
And, even though the night was about seniors, about 10 straight conference titles and about looking ahead to the postseason, Self urged his star freshman to stand up and have one final moment.
So Andrew Wiggins clambered to his feet and waved to the crowd one last time.
“I’m happy,” Wiggins said. “I’m sad … it’s my last time. But I’ve enjoyed my time here. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Still, the packed crowd was keenly aware that it was probably the last time Wiggins would step on the Phog's court, too. The fans roared at every basket made by the star forward, who has already made it clear that he plans to enter the NBA draft this summer.
"We've been able to recruit some guys that will probably never get to a senior night, and we should be happy to have those guys," Self told the crowd after the game. "So one last time, let's give the entire team a loud ovation and thank them for their efforts."
…By the time Conner Frankamp buried a 3-pointer and Frank Mason added a free throw in the final seconds, the lead had swelled to 39-19 and Kansas was well on its way.
The second half was merely an excuse for another sellout crowd, this one including 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Packers coach Mike McCarthy, to enjoy a rollicking party.
It was a far cry from when the teams met on Feb. 18 in Lubbock, Texas. In that game, Kansas needed a late tip-in from Wiggins to escape with a 64-63 victory.
"We were taking that confidence from that game and we knew that we could compete with them tonight," Crockett said. "We just didn't come out with the right attitude like we did when we were at home."
No matter the result or how far Kansas makes it into the NCAA tournament, the University of Kansas will have a special place in the hearts of all the college basketball seniors who have come and gone here. Black, Roberts and Wesley are now part of that fraternity as forever Jayhawks.
Asked about the fans imploring him to stay, Embiid said: “I mean it was amazing. They have been there from the beginning.”
Asked if he’s coming back to KU or going pro, Embiid said: “I am not thinking about that right now. I am thinking about winning the Big 12 championship and national championship.”
Self cut a joke in addressing the fans about Embiid: “Hey, didn’t you guys think Joel looked great in a suit tonight?” Self asked the fans postgame. Embiid didn’t dress for the game because of his bad back. “But Jo,” Self said to Embiid, “everybody thinks you look much better in a uniform than you do street clothes.”
Freshman Wayne Selden, who had four points and four rebounds in 23 minutes, said “no,” when asked if he’s decided if he will return next year. He’s also considered a likely first-round NBA prospect.
The 7-foot Embiid says his back is improving after he reinjured it in Saturday's 72-65 loss at Oklahoma State.
"I've been getting treatment," Embiid said. "It's getting better."
KU coach Bill Self announced Monday that Embiid would sit out the final two regular-season games to try to heal up.
The Cameroon native hopes to be able to return for the Big 12 tournament next week.
"I don't know," Embiid said, "but I think I'm going to be able to play."
Embiid sat in an elevated chair on KU's bench during the game to avoid injuring his back worse.
He said it was a different issue than the one he had at The Rock High School in Gainesville, Fla.
"In high school, my back was just tight. It wasn't hurt, it was just tight," Embiid said. "Since I got here, it stayed tight, but I've been getting treatment to loosen it up so it's better."
The popular big man was impressed by KU's fans on senior night.
"It was amazing. It was fun," Embiid said. "They've always been there from the beginning."
It has happened here and there, but not very often.
Might we see the centers playing together once Embiid returns?
“It could happen,” Self said. “There’s no question. But if you play them together some that means (Perry) Ellis and (Jamari) Traylor aren’t in there, too. The majority of the teams we play — Texas Tech is one of the few that plays with two low-post players — most of them play with a stretch four (three-point shooting threat) and a big. So sometimes that makes it a little harder for those guys to guard three-point shooters. But yeah, they could play together. There’s no doubt about that.”
Only junior guard Naadir Tharpe (96 minutes in five games) has logged more NCAA Tournament time than Black (93 minutes in four games), who played well in plenty of big games during his three seasons playing for Memphis, his hometown university. In the regular season a year ago, Black scored 21 points in 22 minutes against a Louisville team that went on to win the national title.
If a tourney game with the right matchups presents itself so that it makes sense for Embiid and Black to play in tandem, it’s nice to have the luxury of turning to such an experienced, talented player.
Black’s performance won’t change Self’s approach as to when he decides to bring back Embiid (out with a strained lower back). Embiid will sit out Saturday at West Virginia and then Self will go from there.
No point in rushing Embiid back into the lineup.
Self on Harbaugh: "He came dressed for work"
Self said he asked Jim Harbaugh about his pants: Are those the $5 pants? Harbaugh's answer? No, they cost $43
Harbaugh with the half-court swish!
West Virginia University ticket manager Debby Travinski announced Wednesday that the Mountaineers' men's basketball game against Kansas this Saturday is sold out.
Kansas is ranked No. 8 in this week's The Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Mountaineers haven't defeated a team ranked that high since Feb. 19, 2011 when they knocked off No. 8 Notre Dame, 72-58, at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
WVU and Kansas will tip at noon (Eastern) and will be televised nationally by ESPN.
The University of Kansas men's basketball team and adidas unveiled the Made in March Uniform System for the 2014 NCAA basketball postseason Thursday morning. The collection was created to provide the Jayhawks with adidas' most advanced uniform system and basketball apparel technology so they can take on the challenges and intense play of March.
Made in March Uniforms feature a functional perforated print pattern along the leg of the stretch woven short to enhance breathability and ventilation, keeping players cool as the clock winds down. adidas' quick-drying jersey technology, found in current NBA uniforms, along with ClimaCool zones on the chest, back and side, move heat and moisture away from the body to keep the jersey light and dry during competition.
To spark team unity and pride, Made in March uniforms feature the school's "Rock Chalk" rally cry on the inside collar of each jersey.
The Made in March Uniform System debuts on-court beginning with the Big 12 Conference tournament play and fans can grab their Made in March gear at adidas.com, KUStore.com, and other fine retailers of Kansas officially licensed product.
For more on the Made in March Uniform System, stay tuned to the adidas Basketball Facebook page, and follow on Twitter and Instagram @adidasHoops with #teamadidas, #MadeinMarch.
Big 12 Women’s Bracket Set
Kansas forward Chelsea Gardner received All-Big 12 First Team honors as announced by the conference Thursday morning. Fellow junior Natalie Knight earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades.
Gardner, a native of DeSoto, Texas, collected her first career All-Big 12 honor and becomes the 10th Jayhawk to garner All-Big 12 First Team distinction. Gardner has posted 13 double-doubles during the 2013-14 season and nine during Big 12 action, which is the most in the Big 12 and 38th in the nation. She is the 14th Jayhawk in Kansas women's basketball history to record 10 or more double-doubles in a single season.
This season, Gardner is averaging 16.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.9 per game blocks per game. She is shooting 56.7 percent from the field, which is the second-best field goal percentage in the Big 12 and 20th in the country. Gardner has scored in double figures in 27-of-30 games this season, including the past 15 contests.
Knight, a guard from Olathe, Kan., earned her first career Big 12 honor and is the 18th Jayhawk to be named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Knight is among the top 10 three-point shooters in the Big 12. She is shooting 42.5 percent from beyond the arc, which is the second-best percentage in the league and 18th in the nation. She has shot 50 percent or better from the three-point line in seven of the last nine games and 13 times this season. On the year, Knight is averaging 10.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. She recorded a career-high 25 points against Oklahoma (2/9). Knight is playing a team-high 35.0 minutes per game.
In all 34 Jayhawks have received All-Big 12 accolades and 18 have earned conference awards under head coach Bonnie Henrickson. No. 8 seed Kansas will open the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship against No. 9 seed Kansas State on Friday, March 7, at 6 p.m. inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Good news Kansans! A new study from a KU researcher confirms that Kansas is not the flattest state.
Researchers took the measure of 48 states and the District of Columbia and ranked them for flatness.
Despite popular belief, Kansas didn't even crack the top five states for flatness.
Florida took the prize for the flattest state in the nation because the highest point in the state is only 345 feet above sea level.
Kansas ranked seventh in flatness.
The other states in the top were Illinois, North Dakota, Louisiana, Minnesota and Delaware.
The hilliest state is West Virginia.
Vote for Wiggs for the Wooden Award
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
Every February and March, college basketball fans and pundits spend an inordinate amount of time debating the various merits of the teams in contention for No. 1 seeds. Only the bubble drama can match the top-line debate for annual volume. Entire programs and conferences are called into question. (See: State, Wichita.) Résumé nits are picked. Teeth are gnashed. And every year, we conveniently forget that the on-paper difference between a No. 1 or No. 2 -- or even a No. 3 seed -- is almost irrelevant to a top team's national title chances.
This sounds like college hoops heresy. It's actually just common sense.
Last March, writing for Slate, Ken Pomeroy explained why. Seeding doesn't "significantly influence title chances," Pomeroy wrote, because "a team's chances of winning the tournament will be restricted most by its potential matchups against the great teams in the field." Usually, matchups against a tournament's best teams won't come until the Final Four, and "the chance of playing one of them doesn't differ much whether a team is a No. 1 seed or a 3."
Every year, Pomeroy ranks all 68 tournament teams based on his adjusted efficiency formula and projects odds of each team's chances of winning the national title. Year after year, swapping a No. 1 seed for a No. 3 produces only marginal tweaks in a team's title odds. Instead, what really matters is the potential matchups in various quadrants of the bracket. As we see every year, there is no guarantee a No. 1 seed won't find itself in a more imbalanced and fraught spot than a given No. 2 or No. 3. There is always a loaded region. It all just depends.
Which is not to say seeding doesn't matter at all. For lower-seeded teams, it matters a great deal -- and teams with big gaps between their RPI-based résumé and their per-possession performance tend to suffer for it.
You don't have subscribe to Pomeroy's brand of efficiency metrics to see the sense at work here. You can use Vegas odds, or the RPI, or your own eyeballs. No matter which you prefer, the simple fact is that being a No. 1 seed matters only if it gets you into an easier region -- and out of the way of other top teams.
Cam Clark certainly went out in style.
In his final basketball game at Lloyd Noble Center, Clark turned in one of the best all-around performances of his career, finishing with his second double-double of the season as No. 23-ranked Oklahoma beat West Virginia 72-62 to move one step closer to wrapping up second place in the Big 12.
With Jonathan Holmes resting his sore right knee, Texas held off TCU to finish its home schedule with a glistening 16-2 record.
Facing a TCU team threatening to become the first Big 12 squad since the '03-'04 Aggies to finish the year without a conference win, Texas decided to let Jonathan Holmes rest his sore right knee. The team's performance on offense certainly reflected his absence, but the gambit wound up paying off, as the Longhorns successfully kept the Horned Frogs at bay to secure a 66-54 win in their final game of the year in Austin.
…Oh, one last bit of good news: with K-State falling in Stillwater on Monday, and Iowa State getting hammered in Waco on Tuesday, Texas is in prime position to secure the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, which would likely mean a quarterfinal match up against Baylor or Oklahoma State, and should they win that, a semifinal in the non-Kansas half of the bracket.
Different team, different coach, different situation.
Same Dunk City magic. At least, that's what Florida Gulf Coast hopes is the case.
The team that stole the show over the first week or so of last season's NCAA tournament — reaching the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed that ran and dunked with so much flair that it rebranded the school almost overnight — has the Big Dance within reach again, now just two home wins away from getting back to the field of 68.
The Eagles (21-11) play host to East Tennessee State (18-14) in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament on Thursday night, and a win in that game means the title game would be back in Fort Myers, or Dunk City, on Sunday.
And yes, this team still has some of the swagger left from last spring.
"I feel like when we play the right way, no matter what, nobody's going to be able to beat us," FGCU guard Brett Comer said.
He was asked to clarify — did he mean nobody in the Atlantic Sun, or nobody, period?
"Whatever you guys want to write it down as," a smiling Comer told a roomful of reporters after the Eagles topped Stetson in Tuesday's Atlantic Sun quarterfinals. "Whatever you guys say."
…Make no mistake, Dunk City still dunks, preferring an up-tempo style with plenty of emphasis on 3-pointers and ringing up plenty of points.
But overlooked last season, and probably again this season, is defense is emphasized as much as the dunks are celebrated.
"These guys will be the first to tell you, because I wasn't here last year, that when they got good defensively is when they got good," said FGCU coach Joe Dooley, the former longtime Kansas assistant who took over at Dunk City following Enfield's departure. "I think there's got to be a bunch of different ways to win. You're not always going to score."
Upsets, buzzer beaters, topsy-turvy standings.
Has this been the nuttiest Big-12 season ever?
“It is the best Big-12 season that I’ve been (a part of),” 11th-year Baylor head basketball coach Scott Drew said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “We’ve had a lot of great players (over the years). Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Michael Beasley – I mean, you (can) name a lot of players that are not only in the NBA, but are the best in the NBA, and this is (far) and away the most parity (we’ve had) in our league.
“Each and every night, it’s a grind, and it seems like every night comes down to one or two possessions. If you talk to other coaches, it’s frustrating too because you know your record would be a lot better if you were in a different league because the competition is so tough – but that’s what competitors want to do. They want to compete against the best and our players had the chance to do that this year.”
Baylor (20-10, 8-9) started the year 12-1 but lost eight of its first 10 conference games. After getting blown out by then-No. 21 Oklahoma on Feb. 8., the Bears were 14-9 – but they did not give up on their season.
“At the end of the day, we know we’re in a position where we’re playing in the No. 1 ranked conference in the country and each game we have a chance to get quality wins against quality opponents,” Drew said. “We knew our record wasn’t going to allow us to get in the tournament unless we started winning games.”
Mike Krzyzewski may have poured too much emotion into No. 4 Duke’s trip to Wake Forest.
The rest of the Blue Devils didn’t seem to have enough.
The Demon Deacons upset Duke 82-72 on Wednesday night after Coach K experienced enough dizziness and light-headedness to force him to kneel during a late timeout and skip his postgame news conference.
Associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski — who filled in for him — says Krzyzewski has not been sick, is in good shape and expects to make a full recovery.
‘‘There was a great emotional investment in the game,’’ Wojciechowski said, ‘‘and I think maybe the emotion got the better of him.’’
The rest of the team might not have had that problem.
Duke (23-7, 12-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) was playing for the first time in over a week — after going 4-1 in an 11-day span before that — and Wojciechowski says the Blue Devils simply weren’t prepared emotionally.
Julius Randle simply overwhelmed opponents earlier in the year, but they’ve since caught on and largely held him in check (just two games of 20 or more points since the New Year). Rather than developing nuances in his game, he’s just kept on going back to what worked before, only with far less impressive results this time around.
Is this truly the team that we thought we’d be watching out for come March? Is this truly the team that many predicted would challenge the dominant 2011-2012 squad as the best one Calipari has coached in Lexington? Because you can forgive us if we have tempered expectations as to how the rest of Kentucky’s season will shake out.
Don’t be shocked if top-ranked Florida beats the Wildcats going away in Gainesville on Saturday. Unlike Kentucky, the Gators have gradually improved as the season has progressed. Unlike Kentucky, they’ve actually shown their mettle, playing a near-flawless second half in a 69-59 statement win at Rupp Arena on Feb. 15. And unlike Kentucky, they’re playing to the best of their ability as both individual players and as a team.
And considering how much trouble the Wildcats have had with SEC opponents who (on paper) aren’t nearly as talented as they are, what’s to say there will be a third clash with Florida in the conference title game? At the rate it’s going, it wouldn’t be a huge shocker if Kentucky - which has clinched the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament - fell in an earlier round to an unregarded foe. Subsequently, it wouldn’t be a huge shocker if the Wildcats don’t make it out of the first weekend of the NCAAs.
It’s a far cry from all the great things expected of them. A far cry from all the things we thought we’d see from this team if we just waited until March.
Walter Pitchford and Shavon Shields each scored 17 points Wednesday, and Nebraska’s defense held off Indiana’s second-half rally for a 70-60 victory.
The Cornhuskers (18-11, 10-7 Big Ten) have won seven of eight and this one strengthened their resume for the NCAA’s selection committee. It’s also the first time in six tries Nebraska has won in Bloomington.
Dean Smith doesn't watch the games anymore. The motion on the screen is too hard to follow. Now he thumbs through golf magazines and picture books. Most of the books are about North Carolina basketball. They seem to make him happy. He turns the pages past photo after photo of himself. Nobody knows if he knows who he is.
Music seems to make him happy, too. About a year and a half ago, a friend named Billy Barnes came over to the house to play guitar and sing a few songs. Barnes played old Baptist hymns and barbershop quartet tunes -- Daisy Daisy, give me your answer true. Music he knew Dean liked. But nothing seemed to get through. Dean was getting restless. Barnes asked if he could play one more song.
After every basketball game, win or lose, the UNC band plays the alma mater and fight song. The Carolina people stand and sing. Barnes knew Dean had heard the song thousands of times. He started to play.
Dean jumped to his feet. He waved at his wife, Linnea, to stand with him. He put his hand over his heart and sang from memory:
Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices
Ringing clear and true.
Singing Carolina's praises,
Hail to the brightest star of all
Clear its radiance shine
Carolina priceless gem,
Receive all praises thine.
I'm a Tar Heel born, I'm a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I'm a Tar Heel dead!
So it's rah-rah Car'lina-lina, rah-rah Car'lina-lina, rah-rah Carolina, rah, rah, rah!
"It was just pure joy. That uninhibited joy in the music," Linnea says. "It's one of those moments that you know there's more there, or momentarily there, than sometimes you're aware of."
This is what she hopes for now. A moment of joy. A moment of connection. A moment when Dean Smith is still there.
Mizzou season average for home attendance: 9,402. Lowest since 2007-08 season (8,060)
Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston sued the NCAA and five major conferences Wednesday, saying they violated antitrust laws by agreeing to cap the value of an athletic scholarship at less than the actual cost of attending school.
Attorneys Steve Berman and Bruce Simon, who have been involved in cases challenging the NCAA’s ability to sell college athletes’ likeness to video-game makers, filed the proposed class-action lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco.
Coaches like to say it’s all about the players, but don’t let them kid you. They enjoy a little glory, too.
And why wouldn’t they?
Even though their job isn’t as physically demanding, coaches work just as hard as the athletes we see on the court. They endure the same amount of stress, work ridiculous hours that cause them to be away from their families, and are the subject of criticism and ridicule after every loss—and sometimes after wins.
The bottom line is that coaches need pats on the back sometimes, too. And that’s where King’s Court comes in. Less than a week from now news outlets across the country (including this one) will unveil various postseason awards to honor players.
But right now let’s recognize the guys on the sideline with the “King’s Court Coaches All-American Team.”
Bill Self, Kansas—The Jayhawks lost all five starters but still found a way to win the nation’s toughest conference for the 10th consecutive year. Kansas’ string of Big 12 championships is the most since UCLA won 13 straight from 1967-79. Self’s ability to sustain success at such a high level is remarkable in an era defined by one-and-dones and transfers. Yes, Kansas freshmen Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins may be the top two players selected in this summer’s draft. But coaching top-flight talent can be difficult. Just ask John Calipari.
Billion Dollar Bracket signups begin
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
3/5/14, 11:18 PM
GREAT NIGHT IN THE PHOG!
Self probably owes Black a hug after this speech. With Myles Turner courtside, Black is giving the best KU recruiting pitch you could give
myfoxdfw VIDEO: Turner explains why he’s delaying his decision
A lot of people were shocked when I said I was taking an official to Duke; I think my Twitter blew up after that came out. Ever since I was a kid I've always been a fan of Duke basketball. That was my cousin and I's favorite school to watch.
I'm definitely looking forward to the visit. I've heard a lot about the Duke visit. This will be my first time being there so I can't wait.
I haven't talked to Coach K in a minute, I know he's been busy with his season, but I've been talking to Coach James and Coach Capel pretty regularly.
My plan is to use these all star games I'm about to play in to see how well I play with some of my potential teammates. I definitely plan to have a decision by May.
OK guys, once again, thanks for tuning in for my blog. I'm very excited for my college decision; I think it's gonna be a lot of fun.
Check back soon for my next blog.
USA Today: Myles Turner blog
My Late Night in the Phog videos, KU Alumni games videos, 2011-12 Border War videos, Legends of the Phog videos, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more now on YouTube