“I think there’s a lot of things that were pretty apparent,” Self said.
…“It’s one thing when one player has a bad game,” senior forward Jamari Traylor said. “But I feel like pretty much everybody had a bad game.”
When you are the coach at Kansas, every loss is cause for soul-searching and reflection; every loss sparks a need for explanation. So on Thursday, two days before KU returned to the floor against TCU at 1 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, Self sorted through the issues before an afternoon practice.
In the moment, Self stuck with his traditional man-to-man, and in some ways, the reason was revealing.
“Obviously, (we) wanted to win the game,” Self said. “But if it’s the last game of the season, then maybe you do (play zone), but I really didn’t want to bail our players out by telling them, ‘OK, let’s try something different.’ I wanted them to have to guard their guards and keep the ball in front of them, and we couldn’t do it.”
…For the season, the Jayhawks remain the No. 1 three-point shooting team in the country, hitting 46.2 percent. Conversely, they rank outside the top 250 in three-point attempt percentage, with 31.7 percent of their shots coming from outside the arc.It wouldn’t be a bad thing if the number of three-point attempts crept upward, Self said, but teams are actively trying to chase Kansas off the three-point line.
“People are running at us and forcing us off the line,” Self said, “or to make plays off the bounce.”
More specifically, Self said, the Jayhawks’ three-point percentage was higher than usual against West Virginia. The Jayhawks took 49 total field goals, with 20 coming from behind the arc. In Self’s view, that’s an adequate number. The problems ran deeper than scheme or style, he said, and that may have been the most encouraging thing about Tuesday’s performance.
Another factor for sticking to man defense? KU, according to Self, hadn’t even worked on any of its zone sets in the last two or three weeks.
“I just didn't feel comfortable going to it,” Self said. “I thought our best chance was still to guard them and our best chance to rebound, obviously, was playing man.”
For now, switching up defenses will remain as a last resort for Self, a weapon utilized only in dire situations. And while KU's defense wasn't always effective against WVU, it still held the Mountaineers to 33-percent field goal accuracy — the team's worst shooting this season.
“You go on the road and you play a top-10 team and you hang 49 on them the first 35 minutes of a game. I mean, it doesn't matter what you do defensively,” Self said. “You're not going to win because you didn't score the ball.”
Once A Jayhawk, Always A Jayhawk: Nolan Ellison
Tarik Black scored six points with six rebounds and one steal in 16 minutes against the Warriors on Thursday. He basically stepped into Brandon Bass' minutes with Bass out with an ankle sprain. Bass is unlikely to play on Saturday, so Black should get another chance to play.
The Los Angeles Clippers have a thing going where the last player to get to the locker room after games has to do a dance. It’s caused a bit of chaos in postgame interviews. After the Clippers beat the Heat, 104-90, on Thursday night, their little team game gave us this amazing video of Cole Aldrich busting out his moves.
eBay auction (until 1/24) for charity: KU vs UK tiks
VOTE for Coach Self
“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
Good to have friends in high places.
…We often think of the Big 12 as a lesser peer among the Power Five conferences, and for good reason. But these committee chairmanships remind us that the Big 12 still has some prestige.
It still would be nice if the football committee had more of a Big 12 presence. None of the at-large committee members are from this part of the country. That needs to change. A few committee spots are open and will be filled in the next several weeks. Another Big 12 voice, especially with a strong personality, would be really beneficial. But having the chairman is never a bad place to start.
Norm Stewart had been Missouri's head men's basketball coach for nearly 30 seasons. Stewart had led the Tigers to eight conference titles in his Hall of Fame career. This was not one of his finest. He had cycled through waves of memorable teams throughout the early 1980s and 1990s. This team was not so memorable.
It was the first week of February 1997. Missouri was 11-10 overall, 3-6 in Big 12 play. Any hope of a postseason bid was already gone. And now Mizzou's most detested rival, No. 1-ranked Kansas, a team starring Paul Pierce, Jacque Vaughn and Raef LaFrentz, was coming to Columbia, Missouri. A ritual beating was sure to ensue.
It didn't. In one night -- and one 96-94 double-overtime win widely regarded as the greatest in the history of the Border War rivalry -- the vastly outmatched and otherwise unmemorable Tigers sealed their cult-YouTube-clip status forevermore.
Five days later, Missouri hosted the No. 2-ranked team in the country: Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons' best player was some guy named Tim Duncan. Missouri lost, 73-65.
Yes, you read right: In 1997, Missouri played two future NBA Hall of Famers in back-to-back games. This is, in retrospect, totally crazy. Even crazier? A 16-17 team split those two games, beating Pierce and pushing the best power forward in the history of basketball to a hard-fought, single-digit win.
That was the last time any program faced the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in back-to-back games -- until this week.
No. 11 West Virginia at No. 2 Oklahoma, 4 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN2: How good is West Virginia? Kansas hit 50 percent of its 3-point attempts but still managed to score just 0.85 points per possession in Wednesday’s loss to the Mountaineers. The Jayhawks committed turnovers on nearly 30 percent of their possessions against West Virginia’s pressure. But the Mountaineers will face another tough foe when they travel to Norman on Saturday. Buddy Hield leads all major conference players with 7.7 transition points per game. And Oklahoma shoots better than 46 percent from the 3-point line. Plus, Ryan Spangler's pick-and-pop will present a unique challenge to Bob Huggins’ squad. The Mountaineers are an excellent squad. But Oklahoma’s victory on Saturday will prove that this Big 12 race remains in flux.
Prediction: Oklahoma 75, West Virginia 73
1. What's Iowa State's biggest issue right now? And can Kansas State exploit it?
Andy Katz: The Cyclones lack depth. Losing Nazareth Mitrou-Long hurt. Coach Steve Prohm said as much last month. The grind of the Big 12 makes the need for a strong bench even more important.
Dana O'Neil: It's the same problem that has haunted the Cyclones for a while now -- defense. It is one thing to be a really good offensive team, but eventually you have to stop someone. Iowa State gave up 94 points in each of their last two games. That's not good enough to beat anyone. Kansas State isn't exactly a scoring machine, but the Wildcats are also much more comfortable in a more methodical game. If the Cyclones can't get their tempo or stop K-State, they could have trouble.
C.L. Brown: Sometimes the Cyclones rely too much on their jump shooting instead of driving to the basket and getting to the free throw line. Iowa State is last in the Big 12, averaging just 16 free throw attempts per game. (By comparison West Virginia leads the league with 31 attempts per game.) If the Cyclones start off missing perimeter shots early, Kansas State could stay in the game.
Scariest road game
No. 17 Iowa State Cyclones at Kansas State Wildcats
Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU
All road venues are hostile and uninviting situations; that's what makes them road games. Iowa State's trip to the Little Apple contains an added dash of malice. For starters, the Cylcones are already coming off back-to-back losses in Big 12 play, one at home (94-89, to Baylor) and one on the road (94-91 in overtime at Texas). Steve Prohm's team played valiantly in its Big 12 opener at Oklahoma on Jan. 2, a game it led deep into the second half. On Monday, Oklahoma makes its return trip to Hilton Coliseum. Which is to say: If Iowa State loses at K-State on Saturday, it would be 0-3 in its past three games and 1-4 in conference play in advance of a visit from Hield and the Sooners. See? It's a terrifying scenario. Considering how tight Bruce Weber's team is playing on the defensive end this season, it's not a far-fetched one, either.
ISU men's basketball coach Steve Prohm said he has deleted his Facebook and Twitter profiles on Thursday to avoid waves of criticism after his team's 1-3 start in conference play.
Prohm's Twitter profile is still online as of Thursday evening. He was likely referring to deleting the applications off of his phone.
"I deleted Twitter and Facebook just because I don't need them," Prohm said.
He said social media was a distraction, and he needs to focus on his players and his family. He added that "my focus doesn't need to be anywhere else."
"It's hard," Prohm said. "I deleted it now so I don't have to see it. But it's hard. I care. I came here to do great job here and I love this place, I love this school and the fans. I don't want to let anybody down. So yeah, it bothers you and it hurts you as a human."
Iowa State Daily
The Spartans found out just how engaged the Hawkeyes can be defensively. Michigan State coughed up 14 first-half turnovers, and Iowa enjoyed a 17-0 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Hawkeyes rank 11th in adjusted defense in Pomeroy's rankings. That puts Iowa with Oklahoma, Villanova and Kansas as the only teams that rank in the top 15 in both adjusted offense and defense.
That's elite company, and that's the exclusive crowd the Hawkeyes are a part of now.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
One of the nation’s best high school basketball players will visit Kansas on Saturday when No. 1-ranked Jayhawks play host to TCU at Allen Fieldhouse.
Michael Porter Jr., a junior swingman at Tolton Catholic in Columbia, will make the visit in an unofficial capacity. Porter’s high school team is set to face Blue Valley Northwest at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Johnson County Community College in the Best of the Midwest Showcase. The fortuitous scheduling will allow the entire Tolton team to visit Allen Fieldhouse in the afternoon, when KU-TCU tips off at 1 p.m..
Porter, a 6-foot-8 guard, is the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2017 recruiting class, according to Rivals.com. He has scholarship offers from every prominent program in the country, and he is drawing heavy interest from both Kansas and Missouri. His younger brother, Jontay, is a 6-foot-8 power forward and has already verbally committed to play at Washington.
The second annual 810 Varsity Best of the Midwest Showcase tips off at Johnson County Community College on Saturday, January 16, 2016. The all-day event features seven games with schools from Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia, including Father Tolton Catholic and Michael Porter, a consensus top 3 recruit nationally for the 2017 class. Over the summer, Porter cutting down his list to include Kansas, Mizzou, Duke, Kentucky and other national powers.
“Porter has been a special player that you see once in a lifetime,” said 810 Varsity’s Chad Rader of the 6-foot-8 junior. “Kansas and many others have been recruiting him a long time, and for good reason. He's the most highly regarded player nationally to play in Kansas City in a basketball game since Danny Manning.”
The Best of the Midwest Showcase was organized by 810 Varsity, the high school entity affiliated with Sports Radio 810 WHB, in starting a regional event to Kansas City. Among the matchups, the headliner with Blue Valley Northwest – the top team in Kansas Class 6A vs. Father Tolton Catholic and Porter at 8:30 p.m.
Bass Pro Tournament of Champions 1/14-1/16
TOC updates from Springfield News-Leader
Udoka Azubuike will also announce his college chioce Saturday or Sunday at the Hoophall Classic, his guardian Harry Coxsome told Scout.com.
Florida State is the clubhouse leader for the 6-foot-10 Azubuike out of Jacksonville (FL) Potter's Christian, while Kansas and North Carolina are also in the mix.
Speaking Thursday with Zach Smart, Azubuike broke down all three schools:
FSU: "FSU is a great school, good program. Coach [Leonard Hamilton] is trying to make something happen. You can see it with all the young players, Dwayne Bacon, Malik Beasley, all of them boys. It's something big."
UNC: "Coach Roy Williams, he came to my house and spoke to me about how he's trying to build a team for me next year. He told me about people who are leaving [for the NBA], people who are coming back. The way he spoke to me, the way we've built a relationship, it is pretty awesome."
Kansas: "Kansas is interesting with all the history and all the basketball tradition. I've been there and experienced it. Bill Self, everyone knows what he has done. I mean, you can't go wrong with any of the three schools."
"It's got to be based on my relationship with the coach and big man style of play and how I fit their system," Azubuike said.
The date still is not set in stone, but elite 2016 big man Thon Maker likely will visit Arizona State next month.
Maker's guardian, Ed Smith, told azcentral sports Thursday that Maker will take the SAT on Jan. 23. After that, he will start finalizing official visits with the Sun Devils a "strong possibility" for February.
First-year ASU coach Bobby Hurley and assistant Brian Merritt had an in-home visit with Maker in September. Merritt has known Maker for nearly five years, going back to his days as an instructor at John Lucas Enterprises.
…Maker also is considering Kansas, Notre Dame, Indiana and St. John's. UNLV and interim coach Todd Simon also have "come on strong," Smith said, trying to get in the mix.
Asked which schools beside ASU will get official visits, Smith said: "Kansas, we're sure about. Notre Dame, we're sure about. Indiana, we're keeping a watch on. St. John's. But those are the primary three right now that we're making arrangements to visit."
It has been nearly 13 years since Michael Jordan scored 20 points for the East in his 14th and final NBA All-Star Game, a 155-145 loss to the West in the 2003.
Jordan’s all-star spotlight on April 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., will shine on the annual Jordan Brand Classic where he will serve as host for a day of all-star games, highlighted by a matchup featuring the top senior high school boys’ basketball players in the country.
Sixteen players were named Friday to the prestigious boys game with more players will be added to the Jordan rosters toward the end of the 2015-16 season.
Jordan Brand Classic
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