“The guys were fine. I think they are confident in those situations,” Self said, referring to needing to score on the game’s final possession to overcome a 63-62 deficit and pull out a huge road win.
“The demeanor was good. I think everyone felt comfortable with what we were trying to do. Certainly, we were fortunate, but it worked out well,” Self added.
What happened, of course, is forward Perry Ellis flipped a pass to center Joel Embiid, who drove the baseline, but had the ball poked away with four ticks left. Andrew Wiggins retrieved the ball in the lane and dropped in a one-footer with 1.7 seconds left for the winner.
“Very rarely do you ever choreograph a play where it works out perfectly in a situation like that,” Self said Wednesday on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show. “What you have to do is have your best players step up and make plays and that’s what happened.”
Self’s version of the play goes something like this: “Perry threw the ball to Jo. Jo did the right thing trying to score, but he fumbled it. Andrew was ‘Johnny on the Spot’ there,” Self said.
Wiggins after the game told Self, then related to reporters, that it was the first time since he’d started playing basketball that he’d hit a buzzer-beater for the win.
“I started thinking about that. The kid is a freshman. His high school team (Huntington Prep in West Virginia) was so talented and so good I bet they didn’t play three close games a year,” Self said. “When you stop and think, he hadn’t been put in any situations like that ever. I bet he hadn’t shot the ball at game point with a chance to win maybe but once or twice in his life. Even though it was not a long shot ... he said he’s made several to tie, but not win, so I thought that was pretty neat.”
Sometime over the last 11 years, Bill Self’s coaching reputation began to evolve. He was always The Master Recruiter, an accomplished winner who could manage a roster and put a team of top-50 recruits on the floor.
But in those early years at Kansas, Self was never thought of as a late-game tactician. But now, you can hardly go a game without a color analyst talking up Self’s ability to take advantage of in-bounds opportunities and draw up useful sets. Perhaps nothing has changed in the last 10 years. But perception can be a powerful thing.
If you watch enough Kansas, you notice a familiar trend. It’s not that Self draws up late-game plays that opponents haven’t seen before. It’s generally that KU runs the same two or three late-game sets — sets with multiple options — and the Jayhawks generally run them well.
On Tuesday night in Lubbock, Kansas beat Texas Tech in the final seconds. There was an element of luck involved, of course — maybe a lot of luck. But it’s worth taking a look back at that final possession, when Andrew Wiggins swooped in and dropped in a last-second layup after Joel Embiid lost the ball across the lane.
It’s not just that it was essentially the same set that Kansas ran to tie the game against Colorado earlier in the season. (Remember that play?) It was the exact same play that the Jayhawks had run on the previous possession. So before we get to Kansas’ final play, let’s look at the possession before that, when the Jayhawks trailed 61-60 with under 40 seconds left.
Kansas spread the floor with Andrew Wiggins on the left wing, and Joel Embiid on the block. And Perry Ellis set a high ball screen for Naadir Tharpe.
In the next moment, Tharpe delivered the ball to Ellis on the pick-and-pop, setting up numbers for Kansas on the left side. Ellis had the option to attack the basket or look for Andrew Wiggins in the corner. With the help defense shading into the paint, Ellis quickly looked toward Wiggins.
Wiggins, as he had done for most of the night, attacked the basket. He missed the dunk, but Embiid was there to grab the offensive rebound and throw down a two-handed jam.
So that’s the set Texas Tech had seen just 30 seconds earlier. Now Texas Tech had made two free throws, regaining the lead. And Bill Self called timeout with 12 seconds left.
So what would Kansas run?
Once again, Kansas came out in the same look: Wiggins and Wayne Selden on the wing, Embiid on the block, and Ellis setting a high ball screen for Tharpe. Except this time, Texas Tech packed it in the lane, surrounding Ellis and essentially taking away the options on the pick-and-pop.
Here’s where it gets a little confusing. Ellis said after the game that Texas Tech “hedged (the screen) real hard” containing Tharpe at the top of the key. So instead of going to his right, Tharpe moved to his left and Ellis took a step toward the lane before flashing back toward the top of the key.
By packing in the defense, Texas Tech took Wiggins’ side away, and Tharpe quickly swung the ball to Ellis, who looked inside to Joel Embiid on the block. Thing is, I’m not sure if this was the play all along. Ellis and Self seemed to suggest that it was the same play, that KU was just going off how Texas Tech played it. Maybe KU really did want to get Ellis on the same side as Wiggins again. It was so seamless, though, it almost looked as if they were using the past set as a decoy. Either way, Ellis adjusted on the fly and delivered the ball to Embiid.
KU vs. Texas Sat. 6:30 CT ESPNU. Student Camping Group Name of the Week: Frankly Naadir, I Don't Give a Damn
Last week, I wrote about Kentucky’s struggles to get all its young talent playing together and on the same page. I noted that every game, one or two UK players disappear while another couple guys play out of their minds. I suggested that fans see names like Randle and Harrison on Kentucky’s roster, and they expect the Wildcats to be unstoppable, but the on-court product rarely matches those expectations. I might as well just copy that entire section on Kentucky and use it to describe Kansas. Here’s what I mean:
Andrew Wiggins — Been great lately, but not too long ago he followed up a 29-point, seven-rebound game by going 2-for-12 and fouling out against Texas.
Joel Embiid — Battles foul trouble just about every game.
Perry Ellis — Scored 32 points and grabbed eight boards against TCU on Saturday. Three days later, he went oh-fer at Texas Tech and finished with four points and two rebounds.
Wayne Selden — Scoring totals in the last six games: 21, 4, 17, 2, 15, and 6.
Naadir Tharpe — In the last month, he’s had two double-doubles and a game where he scored 22 points. He’s also had two games where he’s gone scoreless, he was awful at Texas Tech (38 minutes, 1-of-7 shooting, four turnovers, two assists), and he almost put up a 20 trillion at TCU.
We’ve seen glimpses of Kansas at its best at home against Kansas State and against New Mexico in December, but we still haven’t seen Kansas consistently play at its full potential. If you’re a Jayhawks fan, this must be frustrating, since now would be a good time for teams to find their groove and hit the ground running in the NCAA tournament. If you’re a fan of any other team, however, it must be frightening to think that the team with the no. 1 RPI in college basketball should be even better than it already is.
Grantland Titus’s Top 12
Who's the top freshman in college basketball? It's a debate that has simmered since before the opening tip of the 2013-14 season, has continued weekly thanks to Jeff Borzello's Wayman Tisdale Watch, and will come into sharper focus during CBS Sports' Super Social Saturday initiative this week.
Throughout the day Saturday, fans will get the chance to vote their choice for the top freshman by using the hash tag #TopFrosh on Facebook and Twitter.
The top five players in Borzello's current edition of the Tisdale Watch -- Duke's Jabari Parker, Syracuse's Tyler Ennis, Kansas' Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky's Julius Randle and Kansas' Joel Embiid -- will be eligible as part of the #TopFrosh voting, along with Arizona's Aaron Gordon who is currently listed with Borzello's "next in line" group for the Tisdale. The results of the #TopFrosh voting will be announced during Saturday night's UNLV/Boise State contest (8:00 PM, ET) on CBS Sports Network.
Vote for Wiggs for the Wooden Award
NBA.com VIDEO: All Access with Ben McLemore at the All-Star Weekend
Student body President Marcus Tetwiler and three other Advisory Board members recommended eliminating a student fee funding women’s and non-revenue sports for Kansas Athletics Monday afternoon.
University of Kansas students are required to pay the semesterly $25 student fee to offset travel expenses for women’s and non-revenue sports. Students pay between $1.2 and $1.3 million annually to the athletic department fund through the current fee.
The Senate’s responsibility to help finance Title IX, a federal law, was a main question of senators. Tetwiler pointed to the Senate’s earlier decision to forgo funding a federally required accessibility ramp at Strong Hall. The Senate questioned if students should pay for the University to meet government standards.
“Our opinion is that that’s not a responsibility of student fees,” Tetwiler said.
The committee recommended two different options to a separate Student Senate Fee Review Committee: That the student fee be eliminated entirely, or that the fee be lowered from $25 a semester to $20.
The $20 recommendation came based on a 2004 contract signed by former student body President Andrew Knopp and former Athletic Director Lew Perkins that guaranteed a fee of $20 or more until at least the year 2020. David Catt, the chairman of the Women’s and Non-Revenue Intercollegiate Sports Advisory Board, who voted on the recommendation, disputed the validity of the contract.
“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
Been asked for my Final Four a couple times on radio past few days: Florida, Kansas, Duke, Iowa State.
1. How many teams in the Big 12 can reach the title game of the conference tournament?
Nine. After Texas Tech took Kansas to the wire Tuesday night in Lubbock, losing 64-63, the Red Raiders officially joined the conversation as a team that can make a run during championship week. Tubby Smith's team has already beaten Baylor, Oklahoma, as well as Oklahoma State and their performance against the Jayhawks reiterated that they're going to be a tough out moving forward. What does that mean in terms of the big picture? The Big 12 has reached a point where 90% of its teams have a legitimate chance in March to play for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. You can't say that about any other league in America. With the exception of TCU, every team in the Big 12 is going to have a chance during the final weekend of the season. This conference is truly the gift that keeps on giving for college basketball junkies. We simply can't get enough of it.
K-State was on its way to a comfortable win over last-place TCU, the only team in the Big 12 without a conference victory. Just like everyone had expected.
Though the final score didn’t show it, this game was in doubt most of the way.
“It’s disappointing in some ways, but also kind of what you expected,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “We had three emotional games in a row against Texas, Kansas and the overtime loss at Baylor. No matter what we say, you’re probably not going to come out with great energy and focus.”
K-State made mistake after mistake — 13 turnovers and an air-balled layup — in the first half and took a 27-26 lead into the break. Things didn’t improve for the Wildcats in the early going of the second half, and the score was tied at 42 with 12:52 remaining.
With a smaller-than-usual crowd on hand, the arena felt dead and the Wildcats looked deflated. They weren’t sprinting to an effortless victory the way they have so often during their 14-game home winning streak, which ties the Bramlage Coliseum record.
“Our intensity wasn’t there,” junior forward Thomas Gipson said. “In the second half, we got things together.”
2/19/14, 4:15 PM
NCAA tweaks existing rule.Now any player going into stands to confront a fan will be assessed a Flagrant2 foul and ejection from the game.
Baylor chants "Where's Marcus?"
AT YO MOMMA'S HOUSE vine.co/v/MZqObiYuer6 -- funny comeback from Markel Brown”
Everybody's luck runs out.
That's what people will say about Syracuse in the coming days: That it was bound to lose eventually. And that's right, to a point: There are only so many times you can bet on red and expect to hit.
In the past week alone, Syracuse barely got past NC State, 56-55, thanks to a late steal and go-ahead bucket in the final moments. Last week, Pittsburgh had a huge home win in hand four seconds before Tyler Ennis made the 35-foot buzzer-beating shot of the season. On Feb. 3, two days after a thrilling 91-89 overtime win against Duke, the Orange needed 33 points (on 9-of-12 from 3) from Trevor Cooney to squeak past Notre Dame 61-55.
There are plenty of other examples: The first Pittsburgh game, on Jan. 18, a 59-54 win very much in doubt until the buzzer sounded. Or Jan. 4's ugly 49-44 win over Miami. Or on Dec. 15, when Syracuse flirted with St. John's at the Garden just a little too long. Much of Syracuse's 25-0 start was built on solid, obvious victories -- on simply being better than the other team. But nearly as often, Jim Boeheim's team has had to figure out a dramatic method in the final moments. Until Wednesday, it always did.
None of which should serve to obscure just how surprising Wednesday night was.
Yeah, sure, Syracuse lets people hang around in its own gym, but Boston College? Six-and-17 Boston College? Before Wednesday, Steve Donahue's team ranked No. 324 in the country in points allowed per possession (adjusted for competition, per kenpom.com). That ranked them among the High Points and Tennessee States and Furmans and Abilene Christians of the world, teams that accept guarantee sums to go on the road and take ritual beatings for the first two months of their season. The Eagles are allowing 1.16 points per possession in conference play. BC opponents shoot 37.9 percent from 3 and 49.7 percent from 2. The Eagles have played more than competently on the offensive end this season, but they've been so, so bad on defense that no one has taken the time to notice. And why would they?
Already two key players for Arizona, Hollis-Jefferson and York became even more important when Ashley was lost for the remainder of the season. Can both, especially York, build on their performances against Colorado on Saturday night? And can Arizona do a better job rebounding the basketball? If Arizona gets positive answers to those questions they’ll have a good chance of retaining sole possession of first place in the Pac-12, with UCLA currently making a late charge.
But this result, and its impact, is more about Utah than Arizona. Remove BYU and Boise State and just one of Utah’s remaining non-conference opponents didn’t have an RPI of 200 or worse, Texas State.
ESPN: Will next generation of college football fans show up?
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
A well-executed game plan by Hyde Park nearly derailed No. 1 Curie in the semifinals of the Public League playoffs before the Condors pulled out a 58-56 victory Wednesday at Chicago State University.
After walking off the court, Curie coach Mike Oliver said “We were lucky. We won the game inspite of ourselves. This team needs to remember who Cliff Alexander is.”
- See more at: #sthash.LCb8ZwRu.dpuf
Hyde Park used as many players as necessary to prevent Cliff Alexander from catching the ball.
Alexander was in a preventative mood himself.
Held to a season-low 10 points, the 6-foot-9 Kansas recruit also grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 10 shots as No. 1 Curie survived a scare from Hyde Park for the second time this season in a 58-56 victory in a Public League semifinal Wednesday at Chicago State.
…"Defense is the best part of my game," Alexander said. "I didn't have fouls, so coach told me to block everything I could. Joseph Stamps stepped up real big for us. He kept us in the game. I give all the credit to him."
Alexander's defensive presence ultimately saved Curie's day, but Hyde Park guards Marcus Smith (19 points) and Kendall Ivy got off to a fast start by forcing him to defend the pick-and-roll.
…The teams were tied at 47, 53 and 55 before Joseph Stamps drove the length of the floor to give Curie the lead for good. Alexander blocked two shots on the ensuing Hyde Park possession, but Antoine Pike corralled the second and was fouled.
He split two free throws to cut Curie's lead to 57-56 with 11.5 seconds left, and Gage scored the final point with 3.6 showing. Hyde Park did not get off a shot before the buzzer.
"They played us well," Curie coach Mike Oliver said. "It is hard to get Cliff the ball when they've got three guys around him. That's why it's 5-on-5. We win as a group. We're 23-1 for a reason.
Young's escape act made Curie's two-point victory look like a cakewalk.
The dream matchup is on.
Down 15 at half with two of its three Division I players hurting, No. 3 Young stormed back to slip past No. 5 Orr 55-53 in a semifinal of the Public League playoffs Wednesday night at Chicago State.
Little-known senior Erwin Henry scored 18 points off the bench, and Duke-bound center Jahlil Okafor had eight of his 16 in the fourth quarter to set up the highly anticipated matchup with No. 1 Curie and Cliff Alexander in Friday's Public League final.
The 6-foot-10 Okafor and Alexander, a 6-9 Kansas recruit, are the two top-ranked big men in the country.
"It is going to be a lot of fun," said Okafor, who led Young to the city title last season. "It is going to be a really good battle, but it is Whitney Young vs. Curie.
"My teammates pretty much know it's not about that (individual matchup). They want to win city as much as I do. No matter the outcome between me and Cliff, I will have the better of him if we win the game."
The two players are a contrast in styles. Okafor is a true big man with a well refined arsenal in the post. With huge hands and a powerful body, he loves to overpower people down low. Okafor is able to hold the ball out like a tennis ball before backing his defender down for a bucket. He loves to catch the ball on the right block and take one to two dribbles before utilizing a left to right spin move. The advantage goes to Okafor when it comes to low post moves, but Alexander shines in other departments. Alexander, with his broad shoulders and long stride is a freak of an athlete. He runs the floor hard and fast and attempts to rip the rim down every chance he gets. He attacks the glass hard and is relentless pursuing the ball. He is a monster in the paint on the defensive end and tries to block every shot he sees, usually with great success. His low post game is not nearly as refined as Okafor’s (although its steadily improving) but he does like to shoot a right handed hook when he isn’t busy dunking on helpless defenders.
Okafor and Alexander are both once in a generation type players and they get to go against each other with city bragging rights on the line. What could be better than that? While the individual match-up will get the hype, if the past two years has taught us anything it’s that the match-up will most likely be dead even. That means someone other than the five-star big men will need to step up to help decide the outcome. The most likely candidate would be Whitney Young’s Paul White. The future Georgetown Hoya is a 6’8” match-up nightmare but has been slowed by a leg injury this past week. With White not 100 percent, it could be Curie junior guard Josh Stamps that could provide the deciding edge.
The Intentional Foul: Big Man Battle Part 3 Preview
JaQuan Lyle confirmed to @SNYtv he plans to decide over break March 15-23. First reported by @GrantTraylor
Kentucky’s Julius Randle reminds us of Kansas signee Cliff Alexander.
While Alexander is likely to be anchored more exclusively on the interior for Kansas than Randle has been at Kentucky this year, he has a similar combination of size, power, and athleticism to make an immediate impact. Randle has been a double-double machine for Kentucky this year and while he’s scoring close to 16 points per game, he’s done that with an offensive game that is clearly still in the development stages. Alexander should be an immediate double-figure rebounding threat from Day 1. Offensively, his offensive game is also a work in progress, but much farther along than he often gets credit for, and so he should be right there in terms of his ability to match Randle’s double-doubles.
Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins reminds us of Kansas signee Kelly Oubre.
While Oubre doesn’t have quite the same level of celebrity that Wiggins had at this time last year, he’s got similar physical tools with his size, length and explosive athleticism on the wing. His offensive game shows plenty of similarities as well. He’s at his best in transition or when able to get all the way to the rim but is otherwise reliant on space in order to create in a half-court set. Oubre may actually be a more consistent 3-point shooter at this stage, although he is noticeably behind in his ability to score points in the mid-range game. Similar to Wiggins he’ll need to figure out how to score in a crowded half-court game while committing to utilizing his physical tools on the glass.
Kansas’ Joel Embiid reminds us of uncommitted Myles Turner.
The notion that Embiid came out of nowhere to take college basketball by storm is simply false. In fact, his rapid development went into first gear about 12 months before he arrived in Lawrence, Kan., making him one of the most notable late bloomers in recent recruiting history and shooting him up the 2013 ESPN 100 as a result. Turner has followed a similar trajectory in recent months, emerging as the biggest late bloomer in the class while showing off a wealth of tools and long-term potential. He’s likely to continue to follow a similar track as Embiid did in his first season in college. Turner’s sheer talent will allow him to have moments of pure stardom but there will be some subtle bumps in the road as he turns his huge potential into production on a more consistent basis with NBA personnel following his every move.
Before last night, it had been a really long time since Myles Turner visited SMU.
When the five-star big man came to the Hilltop last season, the Mustangs were playing .500 basketball in an old arena with a shallow roster of players.
Now, SMU has built a reputation around the country as a program on it’s way to the top. They have a Hall of Fame coach, a beautiful newly renovated arena, and a roster of young, talented players.
In the Mustang’s victory over Houston last night, they showed Turner, the top-ranked uncommitted player in the class of 2014, just how far the program has come since a year ago.
“It’s my first time to new Moody and it’s awesome,” Turner said. “It’s definitely changed a lot from last year, which was the last time that I came. The team and the fans have showed a lot of energy. The place looks beautiful and they got a full support system now, so everything is great.”
Turner, the No. 2 rated center in the class, had previously cut his list of schools down to just Oklahoma State, Kansas, Texas, Ohio State, Duke, Arizona and Kentucky. However, Turner says the recent success of the SMU program, which is now 21-6 this year, has changed his mind on them a little bit.
“They weren’t on my list last time, but they are somewhat back in the running now,” he explained. “They are kind of like a dark horse so to say. I still have my official list, but SMU is still kind of in the mix.”
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