At three different time outs, when K-State cued a Sandstorm instrumental number its fans respond to with great fervor anytime KU visits, the crowd chanted, “(Expletive) KU.’’ Students led the chant, but some adults chimed in ... for a Big Monday television audience to hear.
Now, no one is ever going to deputize me into the morality police. But when that kind of chant is condoned, and to some extent encouraged, over a period of two-plus hours, the vitriol can potentially turn into something more serious.
In the end, the court-storming supplanted the upset as a storyline…
Staters admin tone def as per usual
Tuesday was filled with news of reactions.
First, K-State athletic director John Currie issued an apology, saying the Wildcats “fell short” of their security responsibilities while students sprinted onto the court to celebrate. Then K-State police asked for help in identifying a K-State fan who appeared to deliberately collide shoulder-first with University of Kansas junior Jamari Traylor.
Police said later in the day they were no longer looking for the fan, adding he cooperated with authorities. No arrests were made, and a K-State student apologized for the incident in a letter to the campus newspaper.
After that, KU officials issued a statement in support of assistant Kurtis Townsend for grabbing a K-State fan who was taunting and gesturing at a group of KU players trying to exit the floor, calling it appropriate protection.
ESPN – which broadcast Monday’s game – dedicated the entirety of its “Outside the Lines” broadcast to the incident, with host Andy Katz wondering whether it could serve as a tipping point for change.
“I apologize to athletics director Sheahon Zenger, Coach Bill Self and the KU basketball team for the unfortunate situation in which they were placed last night at the conclusion of our basketball game,” Currie said in a statement. “Our security staff, which in similar past postgame celebrations has, according to our procedures and rehearsals, provided a solid human barrier to allow the teams to conduct a postgame handshake and safely leave the court, was unable to get into proper position quickly enough last night and was overwhelmed by the fans rushing the floor.
“K-State prides itself on providing a great game atmosphere in a safe environment and did successfully execute our security plan when we defeated KU last year in Bramlage as well as in 2011. Although no one was hurt last night, we fell short of our expectations for securing the court and escorting KU to its locker room without incident. We are disappointed that we did not do better.”
Hmmm, I wonder how the culture of disrespect starts?
Brent: "I don't know of a better student body in the country," as KSU students chant "F--- KU!"
State security at the ready!
“To be candid, when you are getting your butt beat, and the game’s over, and initially you walk to shake hands, you may think something is going to happen, but you don’t imagine the players being in harm’s way or whatnot,” Self said recently when asked about court storming in general. KU has had the court stormed after losses at West Virginia and Oklahoma State this season. Iowa State fans did not storm after a Cyclone victory.
“We do what we always do, shake hands and congratulate your opponent,” Self said. “Then the reality is, all it takes is just one guy to chicken wing a player or do something, and potentially you have a melee on your hands. My personal opinion, and we’ve been involved in a ton of them ... if they are handled right, and there’s good security, and they do it in the middle of the court, I always thought that was OK. I don’t like when the students can storm the areas where the players have to be.
“In the Iowa State deal (storm versus Iowa this year), it looked innocent to me. It was in the middle of the court. Players didn’t seem to be in harm’s way, still a reporter breaks his leg. That’s twice in Ames. I know an official, Darron George, broke his wrist when we played up there a few years ago. I know because I went to the locker room with him. We’ve sent up enough warning shots. It’s like, ‘OK, we have to handle this because the next one could be a really bad one.’ Nobody needs that or wants that.
“The simple solution,” Self went on, “would be don’t do it, but if you are going to allow it, you have to staff it and pay for it with more security in order to make sure none of this could happen. If you are going to make the decision to allow it, then staff it accordingly to make sure there could be no injuries. If you are not willing to pay the extra money to police it, then don’t allow it at all.”
Self is all for fans celebrating victories, just in a safe way.
“I’ve said all along I’m fine with it. Just keep it away from the scorer’s table where teams are exiting and stuff like this,” Self said. “I understand in kids’ minds ... heck, we tore down the goalposts here (in KU’s Memorial Stadium) after the Royals won the World Series. I know kids will do whatever. Certainly it adds to the energy and excitement of a big win. We’ve had enough warnings that something bad could occur ... we’ve had opposing fans put their hands on opposing players (Traylor). We’ve had two broken limbs (Peterson and George), and all occurred within our league. I’m sure our commissioner and ADs are very aware. I hope it can be corrected. I’m not saying totally eliminated, but if it can’t be corrected it has to be eliminated.”
Not to worry Coach Self, KSU has a plan....
because it's more than just a color. Wut?
3. Perry Ellis, Kansas
Ellis has been on a tear in Big 12 play, and the senior has been drawing more fouls this season than at any time in his career. For the better part of four seasons, Bill Self has been able to play the 6-foot-8 Ellis at power forward and get highly efficient scoring in an exceptionally low-foul, low-turnover and low-drama package.
…Four years of consistent production has Ellis as one of Bill Self's most counted-on players in his tenure at Kansas. Ellis doesn't foul, he doesn't turn the ball over and he isn't a diva. The power forward is the definition of reliable.
ESPN ($) Fifty players who could make the most noise in March
Following West Virginia’s 85-78 loss to Texas on Tuesday night, Kansas finds itself alone in first place in the Big 12 standings, a game up over the Mountaineers with five remaining.
So what are KU’s chances to win or share a 12th straight Big 12 title?
For help with that question, I asked advanced stats expert Ken Pomeroy to run the numbers. The following are each team’s likelihood to win or share the Big 12 title, based on 10,000 simulations.
…Three weeks ago, I thought this was the year that KU finally wouldn’t win the Big 12. Then the Jayhawks just did what they do, winning the most pivotal games of the season while watching other teams falter.
Suddenly, a 1-in-10 long shot is more like a 3-in-4 probability.
And Bill Self’s potential 12th consecutive title might just be his finest work yet.
With a 12th consecutive Big 12 crown in sight, Kansas coach Bill Self's streak is arguably the second most impressive feat of coaching in college basketball history, behind John Wooden's seven-straight national titles. Given how much parity there is in college basketball these days, where a single team can't dominate the landscape, it may be even more impressive.
Winning one conference title is hard. Winning 12 in a row is borderline impossible. Coaches tend to favor certain team makeups and formulas for success, and it's not possible to have a perfectly suited team every single year. Sustained success requires winning with different types of teams, and with less than ideal lineups. Throughout Kansas's streak, Self has managed to do exactly that.
…It's a dramatically different group from a squad that two seasons ago was led by star freshmen and NBA Draft Lottery picks Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid.
Back then, the Jayhawks dominated inside the paint; today Kansas is a dominant shooting team. Here's the progression, from Shot Analytics:
Thanks to an outstanding group of shooters in guards Wayne Selden, Devonte' Graham, and Frank Mason, Kansas has its most efficient offense since 2009-10. The Jayhawks rank fifth in the country in three-point percentage, the highest they've ever ranked under Self.
It's not just the development of the shooters, either. While Self has proven capable of winning with one-and-done players, he's also shown an ability to develop forwards. Despite often functioning as an undersized center, 6'8'' Perry Ellis is having arguably the best year of his career: he ranks No. 10 nationally in the KenPom.com player of the year rankings, with an offensive rating of 118.8. That has helped the Jayhawks have relative success under the basket to complement their three-point shooting.
The only way Kansas was going to win the Big 12 this year—particularly if it wasn't going to have much help from its freshmen—was if everyone else on the roster got better, and the team changed its playing to reflect its strengths. That's a tall task, but if we've learned one thing over the past 11 seasons and counting, it's that Self is up to the challenge.
Joel Embiid travelled to Doha, Qatar over the All-Star break consulting and rehabilitating his twice surgically repaired right foot.
Embiid is at Aspetar, which is described as "the world's leading specialized orthopedic and sports medicine hospital." Embiid is expected to remain there for a few more days.
This is being described as a "previously scheduled" trip at a facility the organization had investigated for roughly six months and referred to it as "a kick-start to the next phase" of Embiid's rehab.
Plenty of world-class soccer players work with what the main source referred to as "a high-performance hospital." The Philadelphia 76ers aren't yet sure if Embiid will be healthy enough to play in Summer League this year
“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
Toddrick Gotcher admitted he might have traveled after one of his Texas Tech teammates got him the rebound off Oklahoma's last shot in the Red Raiders' 65-63 victory over the third-ranked Sooners on Wednesday night.
"I think I picked the ball up and started running before the time was out, but I don't know," said the senior guard who hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch. "Then I seen a big black wave of people. That was the best feeling in the world. And I'll never forget it for the rest of my life."
Fans swarmed the floor when the game ended.
…Oklahoma: The Sooners entered the game ranking first nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (.443). Oklahoma's record for a season is .414 during the 1986-87 season. Oklahoma has hit at least 10 3-pointers in at 16 of 24 games entering Wednesday. The Sooners hit only 6 of 23 against the Red Raiders, or 26.1 percent. They missed all nine attempts in the second half
Texas Tech: Texas Tech's recent wins over Iowa State and Baylor marked the first time since 2007 that it beat AP Top 25 teams in consecutive games. The last time was against No. 5 Kansas on Jan. 20, 2007, and No. 6 Texas A&M on Jan. 24, 2007.
OU’s Buddy Hield is the clear front-runner to win the national player of the year award. Hield would be the third Big 12 player to win during Kansas’ dozen years of dominance. The other two winners were not Jayhawks — OU’s Blake Griffin in 2009 and Texas’ Kevin Durant in 2007.
And the next-best player in the league during that time was Kansas State’s Michael Beasley in 2008.
Heck, in the 12 years, Kansas has had the Big 12 player of the year only thrice — Wayne Simien in 2005, Marcus Morris in 2011 and Thomas Robinson in 2012.
The others: Texas’ P.J. Tucker in 2006, OSU’s James Anderson in 2010, OSU’s Marcus Smart in 2013, Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim in 2014 and Hield in 2015. Hield figures to win in 2016.
Kansas hasn’t had superstars, but it’s had great players. Simien and Julian Wright and Brandon Rush and Darnell Jackson and Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur and Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich and the Morris twins and Tyshawn Taylor and Robinson and Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore and Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid and Kelly Oubre. And dozens more Jayhawks who have contributed to a most remarkable streak.
Against a North Carolina team that wanted to push the pace and crash the boards — and did so quite effectively in the first half — Duke took its time as to not exhaust its limited personnel. In the second half, its offensive strategy centered on settling down and looking at matchups to exploit. Eventually, the strategy turned into a simple one: Give freshman stud Brandon Ingram the ball. That worked well, too, as he shot himself out of a rocky night. Freshman Luke Kennard, too, hit a monster three that helped Duke to its victory. Allen’s fearless drives to the basket — and subsequent fouls drawn — were important, too.
But while these pieces came together for an emotional victory against a hated rival, it’s not safe to assume Duke will be able to replicate this as successfully if it’s forced to play five for more than a game or two, or (gasp!) into March.
It’s this simple: You can steal one game. You can’t steal a month’s worth.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube