8 Conference Titles
4 Conference Home Losses
Saturday's win sealed Kansas's share of the 2012 Big 12 regular-season title. This feat marks the eighth straight time Kansas has won at least a share its conference regular-season championship. After Saint Mary's strong finish in the West Coast Conference, which felled Gonzaga's bid at an 11th straight WCC title, KU's mark is now the longest active win streak in the country. Per ESPN Stats & Information, the next-longest are, or were, Xavier's five-year run in the A-10 (which is coming to an end this week) and Murray State and Belmont's three-year runs in the OVC and A-Sun, respectively.
The Atlantic 10 is a good league. The OVC and A-Sun occasionally berth a challenger or two. Saint Mary's has pushed Gonzaga for years. But none of those leagues are as consistently deep or talented or difficult to navigate as the Big 12.
At various times in Kansas's run, the Big 12 has been the best or second-best conference in the country. (Per Ken Pomeroy, that's the case again this year; the Big 12 ranks behind only the Big 10 in overall strength.) At various times in Self's tenure, his competition has recruited and rostered the likes of Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Acie Law, Tristan Thompson, James Anderson, Tony Allen, and D.J Augustin -- and that's literally just the NBA guys that first came to mind. I'm sure there are countless more worthy of inclusion, including future lottery picks like Perry Jones III, or stars like Jacob Pullen, or Missouri's unique lightning-in-a-bottle squad this season.
But despite all that, Self has managed to recruit the Jayhawks as well as any coach who came before him. In many years, he's had an embarrassment of talented riches. The sheer fact that Thomas Robinson came off the bench last season should tell you that much. But even in seasons in which Self lost scores of former stars -- like in 2011, when he lost Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry and Sherron Collins, or this season, when he lost two-thirds of his starting backcourt and both starting forwards to graduation and/or the NBA draft, and lost two incoming freshmen to partial qualifier status in the offseason -- he's managed to get the Jayhawks to the top of the league anyway.
There may have been some NCAA tournament upsets along the way, and some have been more dramatic than others, but in the biggest sample sizes, against some of the best college hoops talent of the past decade, Self's Kansas program has prevailed. It's a ridiculous, mind-blowing run of success, and we don't talk about it enough.
At the end of the day, coaches are measured by national titles, and you get national titles by surviving the insane landmine that is the NCAA tournament. But when you peel back the March Madness and really dig in, this is what college hoops success looks like. In the past 10 years, few have done it better than Self.
The Jayhawks (25-5, 15-2) have won the conference title outright the past four years, and players wore blue T-shirts with "8 STR8" on the front after the game, signifying their eight straight titles overall -- including shared crowns in 2005, 2006 and 2008, when they weren't the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament.
This time, they waited to celebrate until they had it wrapped up all alone, instead of after beating archrival Missouri in a top-five showdown Saturday to clinch at least a shared championship.
"It feels amazing, because a lot of people didn't think we'd be this good this year," Taylor said. "I think if you asked us at the beginning of the year, our goal was to always win a Big 12 championship. We prepared like we wanted to win."
“I just want to thank everybody that said we weren’t going to win it this year,” Robinson said with a smile, before taking questions from reporters.
“We got (No.) 8 baby. This one feels good, too,” Robinson added after scoring 17 points off 6-of-15 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds in 36 minutes.
“We knew what we had before we hit the floor (this season), before the whole world saw it,” he noted after the Jayhawks improved to 15-2 in league games with one remaining. Second-place Missouri is 12-4 with two to play. “I knew our guys weren’t scared to work hard. Proving ourselves to people was motivation to us. I think it had everything to do with it, to prove to everybody we could come back and defend our title.”
…“We are tired,” Self said. “This is as tired as I can remember being, personally. I know the players are. That game Saturday was the most emotional regular-season game ever. There was a lot of pressure on our guys to win that game. This was probably the hardest game we’ve had this year other than that game. Our guys were pretty efficient.”
Robinson agreed that the Jayhawks were dead tired.
“Coach said something in the locker room, that this was an emotional letdown. That’s a good way to describe it,” Robinson said. “We were so high the other night, so geeked up. Today we were still talking about it. Our bodies were tired. We had to come back and get it rolling today.”
The victory and title seemed to energize the Jayhawks, who posed for pictures with the trophy with family members and fans before heading to the team bus.
“Where’s the trophy?” Robinson said, unable to locate it.
Freshman Merv Lindsay had carted it safely to the team bus, signaling it was time for the players to board the vehicle for a four-hour ride home.
“This team,” Self said, “has been awfully fun to coach.”
Two things were confirmed in an ESPN "Big Monday" game at Gallagher-Iba Arena:
Keiton Page, as Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford will tell anyone within earshot, is special.
And Kansas is Kansas.
…With the outcome assured, Ford took Page out of the game with 37.6 seconds remaining so the senior guard could get one last round of applause from fans.
Page was embraced by teammate Cezar Guerrero and KU's Taylor on the court before he headed to the bench area for another round of hugs.
"I've been playing against him for four years," Taylor said. "He's been a tough guard all four years... It was his senior night and he came out and played well. I'm happy for him."
"All props go to him (Page)," Robinson said. "He's a great player."
KU led by eight at halftime and the lead was up to 14 with about 11 minutes to go. OSU did not threaten to make this a tight game the rest of the way.
As a result, the Jayhawks continue to roll toward March looking very much like a national championship contender.
…Kansas looks to be as good as any of the top national contenders out there in a season without dominant national powers.
In other words, Self has the Jayhawks right where they need to be.
The Jayhawks were not expected to be a national power this season.
But, that is shortchanging what everyone knows about Self. When it comes to pure coaching, getting teams to maximize their skills, Self may be at the top of the profession.
OSU football players and coach Mike Gundy poured onto the court at halftime for a Fiesta Bowl trophy presentation. Students chanted "Gundy, Gundy, Gundy."
Receiver Justin Blackmon, who is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, showed off his arm by throwing orange T-shirts into the crowd.
During a stoppage of play midway through the second half, Reece acknowledged the presence of former OSU players Mel Wright (who once hit a shot to beat Wilt Chamberlain-led KU), Eddie Sutton and Desmond Mason. Fans chanted "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie" when the former coach was introduced.
The blue championship hats were passed out in the locker room: Big 12 champions, 2012.
Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor sported the new look — wearing the ball caps backwards, naturally, as they discussed the Jayhawks 70-58 triumph over Oklahoma State on Monday that gave them a title they won’t have to share.
“It’s amazing,” Taylor said. “A lot of people didn’t think we would be this good. Our goal is to always win the Big 12 championship.”
…At one point, Self was so mad at Taylor’s defense on Page that Self assigned Elijah Johnson to guard Page.
But on this night, Taylor’s made up for shaky defense with terrific offense.
He scored 27, and just when it appeared the Cowboys would make a run, Taylor poured in 10 straight.
Robinson added 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Kansas’ big weapon against Oklahoma State in a 15-point victory earlier this month, Jeff Withey, played on a sore ankle and wasn’t much of a factor with six points and two rebounds.
Withey had 18 points and 20 rebounds previously against the Cowboys.
…Perhaps most satisfying, this championship came in the marathon season created by the 10-team league. Before the year, Self said he believed a 14-4 record would be good enough to win.
Kansas has gone at least one better, and has a chance on Saturday at home against Texas to make it 16 victories in a league that this week again sports three top-10 teams.
Kansas coach Bill Self was none too pleased with Jeff Withey after Page missed the front-end of a one-and-one in the final minutes. Nobody seemed to know it was a one-and-one, including Withey, who got the miss and attempted to hand the ball to an official.
“That was not top 10,” Self said. “I’ve never seen that in a basketball game.
“We’re the leaders of this team,” said Taylor, who has been a starter for half of the eight consecutive league titles. “After a few of our early games, we just established T-Rob and I have to come to play every game or our team won’t be as effective. T-Rob and I have been having a lot of talks about that.”
…Robinson has as good a shot at anyone of winning National Player of the Year honors. If Self’s case for National Coach of the Year isn’t stronger than everybody else’s, then whose is? And if Taylor isn’t the first-team All-American point guard, name a better one.
Taylor played 44 minutes against Missouri, 37 against Oklahoma State. He lit up the Pokes for 27 points and turned it over just twice. That’s three turnovers in 81 minutes in three days. Tired or not, he had to keep track of Page, never an easy assignment. On every play, the Cowboys set more screens for Page than Joan Rivers has faces.
Taylor still had enough left in his tank to score the game’s only points during a span of 3:03 when KU’s lead expanded from eight points to 18. Three-pointer, tear-drop shot, dunk and another three-pointer, and Taylor alone gave KU a 70-52 lead with 2:07 left.
Taylor sounded gassed after the game, and he wasn’t alone in that regard. This is a team that needs to catch its breath before playing again. That’s why the quick turnaround from Saturday, although it increased the chances of an upset Monday, was a fortunate bit of scheduling.
The Jayhawks can re-energize in time for an 8 p.m. tipoff Saturday and a Taylor senior speech that would have to run past midnight to cover all the twists and turns of his ever-compelling, ever-improving Kansas basketball career.
"Give Kansas credit," OSU coach Travis Ford said. "When you play a team as good as they are, you have to bring your A-game, and we didn't tonight."
Page finished with 29 points and coach Bill Self was not pleased with Taylor’s defense at times. Self said he and Taylor argued about the defensive assignment in a team huddle.
“I told Elijah, ‘He can’t guard him; You take him,’ and he got kind of upset at that and he did a better job later,” Self said. “Fortunately for us, he was able to match him basically basket for basket down the stretch when we had to make a couple of plays.”
Page narrowly won the individual matchup, but Taylor’s timely scores, which included four three-pointers, were enough to keep the Cowboys at a comfortable distance throughout the game.
“Tyshawn Taylor kept making big shots,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said.
“I kept telling our guys, ‘The time’s good, the score is right, we just need to just go on a run here at some point.’ And he would just always make a big shot.”
Kansas clinched the outright Big 12 regular season title and Taylor is playing as well as he’s ever played in a Kansas uniform. He credited his teammates and Self for trusting him as well as a good amount of maturation.
“I’ve been a starter for four years so I feel like I’ve been in a lot of these situations before.”
KU junor forward Thomas Robinson on Monday was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the fourth time this season.
Robinson scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Saturday’s 87-86 overtime victory over Missouri. He had 18 points in the second half and overtime. His block of Phil Pressey’s inside shot with two ticks left forced overtime.
Earlier in the week, he had 13 rebounds and 10 points in a 66-58 victory at Texas A&M.
The four Big 12 Player of the Week honors tied for third-most in a season in conference history. The list of four-time honorees includes KU’s Drew Gooden in 2001-02, Texas’ Kevin Durant (2006-07) and P.J. Tucker (2005-06) and Iowa State’s Marcus Fizer (1999-00).
All of the previous four-time honorees were named Big 12 Player of the Year.
...“We practiced 15 minutes, saw that wasn’t going anywhere, then got on the bus and drove four hours down here.
“With Saturday/Monday games, we never practice more than 45 minutes to an hour anyway,” Self added. “It was a draining deal. Fortunately we won. Not winning ... that game in the fashion in which it was played would have been very very hard to have this recovery time. That’s life. In the NCAA Tournament we practiced 18 minutes on Sunday when we played Memphis (Monday). This is nothing unusual.”
ESPN Video: KU vs OSU highlights
" They saying I'm doing the unexpected ..I'm saying I'm jus doing what I projected "
Guys on two different Big 12 coaching staffs tonight told me Tyshawn Taylor is Kansas' most important player. Guys who compete against him.
I meant what I said ...that wasnt jus for tv ...keton page is a bad boy ...he can play ... #respect
You can say many things about Tyshawn, and everybody seems to have something to say about him. But whatever you say, say this too: Tyshawn Taylor is unforgettable.
If that wasn’t true before, I don’t think anybody at Kansas will ever forget about him now. I do believe Tyshawn became a Kansas legend on Saturday, when he played 44 minutes at an intensity and under a pressure most people will never know. He made one turnover. He scored 24 points. He scored nine points in overtime. Twice, he answered a huge Missouri play with one of his own, and when it came time to decide the game, it was Taylor on the foul line, with that face and those shoulders. He made them both, and Kansas won.
…it is fair and accurate to say Tyshawn carries a heavy burden in his family, a greater one, even, than most kids from tough backgrounds. A greater one than someone his age should have to. I don’t know much, and I don’t mean to imply I do, but I know enough to know some of the valleys in the rolling hills of his career have not been his fault.
And yet there he was. Here he is. He has been on a peak for two months, mostly. He might be the Big 12 player of the year. He might end up on the All-America team, and if he does for the rest of time you’ll look up into the rafters at Allen Fieldhouse and see it: Taylor 10. Right up there with Chamberlain, Manning and Pierce. Can you imagine that?
Not 1,2,,3,4,5,6,7, but 8 big 12 titles
Congrats to my jayhawks on 8 straight big 12 championships. That's how we do it. Rock chalk baby
Congrats to my #kuboys on 8 straight Big 12 conference champs!
Congrats to tha young boys on 8 straight #RCJH#kubball
8 in a row!!! Congrats to my boys for taking care of of okstate!!
Kansas got that 8th straight Big 12 title! Gonna keep the streak alive next year!
That was a little high at the time, in my opinion.
I could live with it because after Kentucky and Syracuse the next few spots were up for debate, and KU at No. 4 wasn't unreasonable. So I left Fletcher alone and focused my attention on the 15 AP voters who inexplicably left Indiana off their ballots. But now I have to highlight Fletcher because he's confusing the hell out of me. Again, he had Kansas fourth last week. The Jayhawks then won at Texas A&M and beat Missouri to claim at least a share of the Big 12 title, and now Fletcher has Bill Self's team ranked ... seventh?
So this might be the first time in the history of AP voting that a man has dropped a team three spots after a 2-0 week that featured a win over a Top 10 opponent. Fletcher had Kansas ahead of everybody except Kentucky, Syracuse and Missouri last week. Now he's got Kansas behind Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina and Marquette -- meaning Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina and Marquette all jumped the Jayhawks after the Jayhawks' perfect and impressive week. Following tha logic, my guess is that KU will beat Oklahoma State and Texas this week, win the outright Big 12 title and then fall behind Georgetown, Wisconsin and UNLV on Fletcher's ballot next Monday, at which point Fletcher will also drop Thomas Robinson to Third Team All-American because all this playing well and winning isn't really that impressive.
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Former NBA forward Julian Wright to join D-League Austin Toros.
The Memphis Grizzlies recalled guard Josh Selby from the Reno Bighorns, the team’s NBA Development League affiliate, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.
Selby (6-2, 183) saw action in four games with the Bighorns, including one start, and averaged 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.25 steals in 31.0 minutes. He shot .483 from the field, .500 from three-point territory and .714 from the free throw line.
Marcus Morris, a former KU standout who currently plays for the Houston Rockets, was cited for misdemeanor battery early Sunday in Lawrence, city prosecutor Jerry Little told the Lawrence Journal-World on Monday.
Kim Murphree of the Lawrence Police Department told The Star that police were called at 2:37 a.m. Sunday to The Cave, a nightclub at The Oread, a hotel near the KU campus. She said a male employee alleged he was punched by another man after an argument and that it was also alleged another man punched the employee from behind.
Murphree said two men were given citations for misdemeanor battery but could not confirm their identities. Little told the Journal-World that Morris, 22, and Julius K. Harris, 23, of Philadelphia, were cited and ordered to appear March 20 in Lawrence Municipal Court.
Morris and his twin brother, Markieff, who currently plays for the Phoenix Suns, were off during the NBA All-Star weekend and attended KU’s victory over Missouri on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
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The Jayhawks will meet either Oklahoma or Texas A&M in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. on March 8.
The Sooners and Aggies are tied for eighth, and no matter what else happens this week, those teams will play two games in a row.
Oklahoma and A&M meet in the season finale on Saturday, and they’ll open the tournament at 6 p.m. March 7.
The only other seed known after Monday’s games: Texas Tech will finish 10th and play at 8:30 p.m. on March 7.
A Missouri victory over Iowa State on Wednesday in Columbia clinches the second seed for the Tigers.
The top four seeds are known. Baylor and Iowa State can’t fall below a fourth seed.
In the first year of a 10-team league, the top six teams will receive byes.
Not a chance.
After being recognized before the Bears' home finale Monday night as the winningest senior class in school history, Quincy Acy, Fred Ellis and Anthony Jones easily got their 95th victory, 77-48 over the Red Raiders.
"You don't get a win just because it's senior night. But they played, and they made it a special night because of their play," Gillispie said. "Those guys have had great careers here. They've won a lot of games. My hat's off to them, and hopefully they'll do very well in the postseason."
Perry Jones III, the sophomore who is not related to Anthony, had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears (25-5, 12-5 Big 12). A.J. Walton scored a season-high 13 points, while Anthony Jones also had 13 and Acy 12.
Even the little-used Ellis, who hadn't scored a point since Dec. 19, made two free throws.
When coaches and recruits want to know about Illinois basketball, they no longer ask Chicago-based recruiting analyst Joe Henricksen about coach Bruce Weber’s job status. They’re already onto the next name.
“Just in the last week or so, the conversation is ‘Who is the next Illinois coach?’’’ Henricksen said Monday.
At this point, it would be a major upset for Weber to save his job, even after the Illini ended a six-game losing streak with a 65-54 win over Iowa on Sunday.
Illinois (17-12 overall, 6-10 in the Big Ten) hosts No. 13 Michigan (21-8, 11-5) on Senior Night at Assembly Hall on Thursday (6 p.m., ESPN). The Illini would need to string wins together like they haven’t since January in order to have a chance at an NCAA tournament bid.
Like nearly everyone else, recruits and those advising them are watching and expecting a coaching change. The clock is ticking with the state’s loaded prep classes of 2013 and 2014. The recruiting folks also want to know the future of Illini assistant coach Jerrance Howard.
“The one thing that always happens when there is a new hire is that sense of joy, pride and feel-good in a program,’’ Henricksen said. “With a new guy and new energy, it’s kind of like a new lease on life.
“That’s always a plus for a program. A lot will depend if Jerrance Howard is around.’’
Three important names in the future of Illini basketball, Henricksen said, are Howard plus committed juniors Jalen James and Malcolm Hill. And then there’s Jabari Parker, a superstar Chicago Simeon junior in his own stratosphere.
Every Illinois Paper
The widespread perception may be that Kentucky, UCLA, Duke or even UNLV may end up securing the services of 6-foot-6 senior wing Shabazz Muhammad, but his father says Kansas has a legitimate shot to land his son.
“Kansas has a real shot, definitely,” Ron Holmes told SNY.tv Monday following his son’s official visit there this past weekend. “They did a great job.”
…“When you go on these official visits, you might have a perception about a school but you can really see yourself playing there if the official visit goes right and the official visit definitely went right,” Holmes said.
Muhammad is considering Kansas along with Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, Arizona and UNLV.
“We go to Duke next week and do the North Carolina game,” Holmes said of the March 3 game at Cameron Indoor. “Just interested to see how it compares because I was very, very impressed with Kansas.”
…As for Kansas, Holmes said he was very impressed with the strength and conditioning program run by Andrea Hudy and the academic and career counseling program run by Scott Ward.
“Andrea Hudy was very thorough on how they would help Shabazz become a better athlete, make his movement better, all that kind of stuff, so I was really impressed with that,” Holmes said. “The academic situation is really, really good…Those things are helping your kid go the right away academically, physically with weight training.
“And it’s just a program, man. You look at winning eight Big 12 championships in [Bill Self's] years. And even if you look at the team this year, it’s not as good as the team last year, so there’s never a dip there.
“The crowd support was very, very good after the game, wherever we went to go eat. Just everybody wearing their Kansas stuff. It’s just a program. I was just very, very impressed.
“I understand why when kids go there, they commit after an official visit because it was second to none in that area.”
The Wolves (15-11) travel to the fifth-seeded Miller School (19-9) for a 6 p.m. first-round game Tuesday. The Miller School, which is in the Charlottesville area, is led by 6-foot-6, 210-pound senior forward Andrew White. White, rated among the nation’s top 100 seniors, committed to Kansas in December. He is averaging 22.5 points per game.
White’s size is typical of the Mavericks’ lineup. Five of their 11 players are 6-6 or taller, including 6-7 sophomore Markell Lodge, who has an offer from George Mason University.
Mountlake Terrace is going to get an early wake-up call Thursday.
Fifth-ranked Mountlake Terrace plays third-ranked Rainier Beach at 9 a.m. in a Class 3A state quarterfinal boys basketball game at the Tacoma Dome.
And the 23-1 Hawks are going to need to hit the court running against the 24-3 Vikings.
According to local coaches who have seen Rainier Beach play this season, the Vikings are pedal-to-the-metal for 32 minutes.
…the Hawks certainly have to prepare for Rainier Beach's Anrio Adams, a 6-3 guard who has made a verbal commitment to play his college basketball at Kansas. But Adams has his sights set on a state championship first.
"Athletically he is at a different level than Terrace is used to seeing," Hunter said.
Adams seemingly can do it all on the floor and Hunter said the Hawks need to beware of how good a shooter Adams is.
"We are going to make him work," Sood said of Adams. "Great players are going to get theirs. We hope if Adams is going to get his points its not going to be on 60 percent shooting, but 40 percent."
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