For the third straight week, a Kansas player has earned National Freshman of the Week. This time it's Andrew Wiggins
For the third straight week, a Kansas player is the winner of the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week.
And this time, it's the one we expected the entire season.
Andrew Wiggins entered college with more hype than any player in recent memory, compared to the superstars of the NBA, from LeBron James to Kevin Durant to Paul George. All the comparisons were unfair to Wiggins, who showed his supreme talent time after time on the high school and AAU levels -- but was entering a balanced Kansas team that also features at least two or three other possible first-round picks. As a result, the expectations were skewed in the preseason.
For most freshmen, averaging 15.8 points and 6.0 rebounds -- while also showing flashes of being a lockdown perimeter defender -- through three months of the season would be terrific. For Wiggins, some people look at as a disappointment. They're waiting for him to truly break out and be the next-level talent they heard about back in October.
If last week is any indication, that could be coming soon.
In two games last week, Wiggins averaged 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists, as Kansas knocked off Baylor and TCU. The highlight was his performance against TCU, in which Wiggins went for 27 points, five rebounds and five assists, knocking down two 3-pointers and shooting 8-for-13 from the field. That was on the heels of a 17-point, seven-rebound effort in a home win over Kansas.
In the contest with the Bears, most of Wiggins' offense came via the free-throw stripe; he showed the same inconsistent aggressiveness and assertiveness that he's demonstrated at times this season. But he certainly showed the ability to take over a game against TCU.
Things are looking positive for Wiggins. He has scored at least 17 points in four of his last five games, including going for 22 against Kansas State and the outstanding 17-point, 19-rebound performance against Iowa State two weeks ago.
Off to a 6-0 start in Big 12 Conference play for the third straight season and sixth time in the 11-year Bill Self era, Kansas University’s basketball team now moves on to the next portion of the 18-game schedule.
“Our next three games are what we are focusing on,” Self said of Wednesday’s 8 p.m. home game against Iowa State, followed by Saturday’s 3 p.m. contest at Texas and Tuesday’s 6 p.m. battle at Baylor.
“We try to take ‘em one at a time. We (also) break them up into short segments. We’re breaking our next one into a three-game situation because we play three teams — Baylor has been in the top 10, Texas will be ranked (25th) this week and Iowa State has been in the top 10, and two of the games are away from home. That’s a tough stretch,” Self added.
Kansas coach Bill Self provided injury updates on a pair of his big men during his Hawk Talk radio show on Monday night.
That included freshman center Joel Embiid, whose knee injury from Saturday’s 91-69 victory at TCU was more severe than previously thought.
“Joel did sprain his knee against TCU, but certainly not enough that it kept him from practicing (Monday). He should be fine,” Self said. “I watched it on tape. I didn’t know it looked bad, but it looked bad during the game if you watched it. Certainly, we’re fortunate that we got out of that with it only being a slight sprain.”
Meanwhile, senior forward Tarik Black is still in the recovery process after sitting out the TCU game with a sprained right ankle.
“He’s doing OK. He practiced (Monday), which was probably about 50 percent, but he did try to go up and down, which was the first time he’s done anything since the last game (against TCU),” Self said. “We didn’t think it would be as slow as it has been for him coming back, but he’s hurt. It’s a pretty bad sprain. I think sometimes I take for granted he’ll come back immediately because he’s such a tough kid. He's trying to.”
Self said Black reinjured the ankle when it was hit during shootarounds before Saturday’s game. KU’s next contest is against Iowa State on Wednesday.
“I hope he’s able to go,” Self said. “He’s important because we need to have an agile five man that can switch ball screens and things like that when we have to.”
Bill Self has been around the block. Kansas’ basketball coach knows what to believe — and what not to believe. He can spot a trend, yet he has the experience to know some aren’t as they appear on the surface.
So Self was prepared Monday when asked about Iowa State ending its three-game slump with Saturday’s victory against Kansas State.
“I never looked at them in a major slump whatsoever,” Self said. “I looked at them as going on the road. The teams they played were good.”
…“They missed looks they normally make,” Self said of his previous meeting against Hoiberg’s team. “We certainly can’t bank on them missing those again — and we played really well.”
The Cyclones missed 21 out of 25 3-point shots during that 77-70 loss on Jan. 13. They were out-rebounded by 17.
Those figures must change if Iowa State hopes to end its eight-game losing streak in the Jayhawks’ facility.
“We’ll go down there and hopefully knock down some shots,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll try to limit their transition baskets, and keep them out of the paint as much as possible.
“If we do that, we’ll have a chance. If we don’t, then we won’t be in it at the end of the game.”
And even then, there’s always a chance for something crazy. Like Ben McLemore banking home a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation that sent last season’s game at Kansas spiraling into a dominant overtime sessionn.
“When it went off his hands, it looked like it was three feet to his left,” Hoiberg painfully recalled Monday. “Then it banked and went in. It was a hard one to handle.”
He’s not alone. Georges Niang saw the play unfold while sitting toward the end of the bench after having fouled out 20 seconds earlier.
It still haunts him.
“I thought we had the game won,” Niang said Monday. “I figured we had the game in the bag. ... I thought the shot looked a little to the left, then it hit the backboard, and we were into OT. I can’t believe it went in. It was crazy.
“That loss still sticks to me this day.”
“It’s just not a place you go down there and win very often,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg of the historic arena in Lawrence, Kan., home of the No. 6 Jayhawks. “If you win one there, obviously it’s huge.”
Huge, and, in recent memory, unprecedented.
In the 11 seasons since Bill Self arrived at Kansas in 2003, his Jayhawks have gone 169-9 in front of the home crowd. The Allen Fieldhouse sellout streak goes beyond that, with fans packing every available seat for 206 consecutive games dating back to the 2001-02 season.
All-time, Kansas has gone 48-9 against Iowa State at Allen Fieldhouse since it opened in 1955.
“It’s a fun place to play at, there’s a lot of energy in that building,” said sophomore Georges Niang, who experienced it for the first time last season.
The definition of fun depends on who is being asked.
“It’s fun for a lot of people; it’s not fun for the coaches,” Hoiberg said with a laugh. “It’s a cool place, it’s a great atmosphere and obviously they have a lot of history. I think the two loudest arenas, if you asked anybody in our league, would be Kansas and Iowa State. I think we’ve got the two best atmospheres.”
The low ceiling and one block of wooden bleacher seats that circle the arena have created an electric atmosphere and one of the strongest home court advantages in college basketball. Kansas doesn’t often lose at home, especially in Big 12 play.
…“Anytime you can get a road win is huge, but anytime you can go into Phog Allen and win is huge, also,” Niang said. “They don’t lose much there. If you can do that, then you have a pretty talented squad.”
The Cyclones have had chances for other victories at Allen Fieldhouse in recent memory, losing in overtime in 2004 (90-89) and last season (97-89) after Kansas’ Ben McLemore hit a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation.
“We put ourselves in a position to win there last year, and that’s not something that’s easy to do,” Hoiberg said. “Obviously we didn’t finish it off.”
No. 16 Iowa State will attempt to pull off the irregular feat Jan. 29 when it travels to Lawrence. This season the Cyclones will have two freshmen playing at Kansas for the first time. Hoiberg knows well what that is like.
“We either got beat by 30 or 40. I can’t remember the exact final score,” Hoiberg said of playing at Allen Fieldhouse his freshman season. “You can’t simulate [the atmosphere]. It’s an unbelievable place to play, I’ll say that.”
The Cyclones found that out first hand last season as 16,300 fans in attendance erupted as McLemore’s shot sent the Jayhawks to overtime.
“I don’t think any KU fan likes any opposing team that comes in and plays their Jayhawks,” Niang said. “There’s a lot of anger and it’s very loud in there.”
…“If you beat them down there in front of that crowd, that’s one of the games you remember and tell your kids about,” said senior DeAndre Kane.
Iowa State Daily
Why is Bill Self so good?
Well, there has been a lot written about Bill, obviously, including a lot by me. He is a chameleon, first of all, a man who can talk to his players about rap music and boosters about the old days and his bosses about revenue^. He is constantly adjusting, both around the talents of his different teams but also picking off things that work for other teams. He is ridiculously good socially, and I mean that specifically with his players. He can cuss them like dogs one minute, and then the next put his arm around them and make sure they know where he’s coming from.
I’ve always thought a great example of this is how often he uses the word "soft." In a lot of ways, Bill sees the world through the lens of whether something is soft or not soft. If you’re soft, Bill does not have time for you. If you’re not, he wants you to play for him. Soft is mocked, not soft is cheered. Anyway, Bill is not unique in wanting tough players, of course, but I do think he uses this particular word more than most coaches and I also believe it is not a coincidence that it is a word that unlike perhaps any other resonates with the demographic he is coaching but also plays well in press conferences and publicly.
But one thing that doesn’t get mentioned a lot is how smart he is. Most successful coaches are smart, obviously, but Bill’s mind works at another speed. In practice, he’ll often stop a drill or a scrimmage after a minute or two and then run down a dozen different things that happened involving eight different players, complimenting this, destroying that, you-should’ve-screened-instead-of-cutting there, going all the way back to the last stoppage, without missing a thing.
That’s the same quick mind he uses to deliver recruiting pitches, donor speeches, press conference analysis, everything. He’s so smooth that people sometimes overlook this part of his game, but I think it’s the backbone of everything he does.
KC Star Mellinger Twitter Tuesday
BTW- Congrats #KU 10 in a row (they will lose a couple) seems like a done deal - Decade of dominance
In simple terms, Kansas’ magic number is 10.
That, of course, is the number of consecutive Big 12 regular season titles KU will own if the Jayhawks can hold on to a two-game conference lead over the season's final 12 games.
But if we’re thinking about the Big 12 season in terms of a baseball pennant race, that’s also the Jayhawks’ “Magic number” — the combination of KU wins and losses by Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas that the Jayhawks (6-0) would need to clinch the title.
For example: If KU finishes 10-2 over its last 12 games, it would clinch at least a share of the title; Texas (5-2), Oklahoma (5-2) and Oklahoma State (4-2) could still earn a share by doing the near impossible and winning out. If the Jayhawks finish 9-3, they would just need all three of those teams to lose one more game to clinch a 10th straight title.
After a tough stretch that included a rivalry game and two contests against teams ranked in the top 10, Kansas women's basketball is ready for a second chance against Texas on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse. It was just two weeks ago that the Jayhawks (10-10, 3-5 Big 12) fell to the Longhorns (13-6, 4-3 Big 12), 70-58, on the road. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Television Network and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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“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!
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Against OU, Marcus Smart, again, found himself in early foul woes, limited to just six minutes in the first half. Le'Bryan Nash, who started off defending Sooner big man Ryan Spangler, played but eight first-half minutes and 17 overall before fouling out.
Kamari Murphy, Cobbins' replacement, fouled out with four points and nine rebounds. Even little Stevie Clark fouled out, needing just 11 minutes to accumulate his five personals.
“We've just got to go out there and play hard,” Brown said. “Guys are playing out of position. Kamari is playing the five, Le'Bryan is playing the four. We've just got to go out there and give it all we've got. We're all we've got on this team.
“Mike is down. And we've got to move on from that. We've got to move on from that and get some wins.”
And get some stops. And some rebounds. And some garbage points inside.
All the things that Cobbins aided.
And the Cowboys must quit fouling so much.
The Sooners attempted 42 free throws and outscored OSU 30-15 at the foul line.
“I don't want to make excuses, but it's a major issue,” Ford said. “We can't keep getting in foul trouble. We know that. It's tough to go to our bench, especially in this game, the way they play.
“Our room for error is very small, especially in this game.”
Teams on five-game winning streaks don’t normally want a break in the action, but Texas coach Rick Barnes probably doesn’t mind having a few extra days to prepare for his next opponent.
The Longhorns (16-4, 5-2 Big 12) moved into The Associated Press poll at No. 25 Monday for the first time since 2011. They host No. 6 Kansas (15-4, 6-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Erwin Center.
The matchup pits the two hottest teams in the Big 12. Texas has won five straight since losing its first two league games.
…Since losing to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to start league play, Texas has beaten ranked opponents Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor.
“From the beginning of the year, we really haven’t worried about what people from the outside have said,” Jonathan Holmes said after Saturday’s 14-point win at Baylor.
“I don’t think that’s going to change now. If we’re in the Top 25, that’s fine. If we’re not, that’s fine. We’re going to go at Kansas like we’ve gone in every game this year. We’re playing a real good Kansas team so we have to get rest and get ready to play them.”
Barnes said Texas is playing better defense since putting its first two opponents at the line a combined 77 times.
“Over the last couple games we’ve had some really good moments but we can get better,” he said. “I know we’re going to have to get a lot better. The chemistry has been good. They want to win. They like each other. They do know we still have a lot to work and it’s been fun coaching them. I don’t think the mindset has changed since we started the season.”
FW Star Telegram
A limited number of tickets will be made available to the public for the 2014 Philips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship.
The 2014 event marks the 13th time that Kansas City has hosted Big 12 postseason competition - more than any other city in the conference.
"Sprint Center is proud to be the home of the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship. The Big 12 Conference’s continued commitment to make tickets available for sale to the public is truly commendable,” said Brenda Tinnen, general manager and senior vice president of AEG Kansas City. “Fans from throughout the Kansas City region will again have the opportunity to reinforce our reputation as the enthusiastic and passionate home of college basketball.”
Each ticket includes all sessions for the four-day Championship, scheduled for March 12-15 at Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City.
Tickets for the 2014 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship go on sale to the general public on Friday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. online only at SprintCenter.com. A special presale is scheduled for Sprint Center ‘Connection Newsletter’ subscribers on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m.
Coaches say consistency of the block-charge call needs work — Curtis Shaw, who oversees officiating in five conferences, including the Big 12, agrees — but the overall impact gets a passing grade.
“I think it’s cleaned up the game,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “We’re going back to what the game should be.”
Scoring in men’s basketball reached its lowest point since 1952 last season when teams averaged 67.5 points per game. The team three-point shooting percentage was the lowest since the arc was introduced in 1986.
Not coincidentally, the 2012-13 season marked an all-time low in fouls called.
Nearly everybody believed some type of change was required, but not all agreed on the method. Kansas’ Bill Self feared a flood of free throws. Scoring would increase, Self said, but at the line and not from the floor.
But Self has been surprised by the results.
“I didn’t like it at first, but it’s not been as big a factor as I thought it would be,” Self said.
According to the basketball analytics website KPI Sports, scoring is running about 5.5 percent ahead of last season at 71.4 points per game, which would be the NCAA’s highest mark since 2001.
The foul calls and free-throw attempts are running ahead of last season’s pace. Free-throw attempts are up 14.6 percent to 22.6 per game throughout basketball.
In the Big 12, teams average 25.45 free-throw attempts per game, about 4 1/2 more than last year. A Southeastern Conference team goes to the line an average of 25.36 times a game, compared to 20.27 last season.
…Shaw insists the block-charge has become more difficult to call because officials have to process multiple things in an instant: whether a defender is in a legal guarding position when the shooter becomes airborne and if the defender is in the restricted area under the basket.
“It’s a very difficult play to referee generally, and now we’ve added aspects to it,” Shaw said. “In watching games, I would tell you we’ve called more blocks than we did before, however half are incorrect calls. We never intended to penalize legal defense. But we’re trying to define the time frame you have to make a legal play.”
Perhaps the height of confusion: Late in Kansas’ home victory over Oklahoma State on Jan. 18, the Jayhawks’ Jamari Traylor collided with the Cowboys’ Kamari Murphy. One official called a block, the other a charge. After an officials’ meeting, both players were assigned a foul, and the possession arrow favored Kansas.
“The game is better,” Shaw said. “But we still have work to do.”
St. Louis has been named one of eight finalists to host the men’s Final Four in 2017, ’18 or ’20, the NCAA announced this afternoon. The competition includes Atlanta, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, North Texas, Phoenix/Glendale and San Antonio.
The bid process also includes 2019 but St. Louis is not able to hold the event that year.
Final proposals are due May 9 and the sites will be announced in November.
Daily Orange: How Jim Boeheim became the master of the 2-3 zone
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
As far as my recruitment, honestly, it’s been pretty quiet. The only thing that I’ve got coming up is an official visit to Oklahoma State this weekend. I’m definitely excited to get down there to see the campus and see everything they have to offer. I’m looking forward to hanging out with Marcus Smart and Phil Forte. We’re all from the same area so we should have a good time hanging out.
Right now I haven’t decided on where my other visits will be, but I’ll figure that out at some point.
I do want to say that after more consideration and talking to some of the different coaching staffs I definitely feel like I can play with any player that’s coming in. I kind of jumped to a conclusion earlier, but I feel confident that I can play with anyone and be successful.
A lot of the players that are already committed to the schools that are recruiting me have been reaching out to me lately. I’ve talked to Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow about coming to Duke, Stanley Johnson texted my dad, D’Angelo Russell has been hitting me up and Phil Forte’s dad has been talking to my parents here lately too.
It’s tough because everyone has a great pitch and I really can’t go wrong wherever I decide to go. It’ll be tough, but I know since I’m taking my time that I will make the right decision in the end.
I’ve been working out with John Lucas a lot lately and he gives the best advice. He told me not to be afraid to dominate. I’ve been told that I can dominate a game anytime I want to, but I feel like, at times, I get a little too passive. So that advice really helped me out a lot mentally.
USA Today: Myles Turner Blog
Australian phenom Dante Exum has decided to declare for the 2014 NBA draft, his family and agent told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Exum has agreed to hire agents Rob Pelinka and Brandon Rosenthal of Landmark Sports Agency. Pelinka's clients include Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Andre Iguodala and Andre Drummond.
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