KUAD Postgame Notes, Recap
KUAD Box Score
FW Star Telegram Photos
KC Star Photos
Fans in TCU’s student section brought signs reminding Kansas University’s basketball players of last year’s famous flop in Fort Worth.
“Welcome back,” was Saturday’s greeting from one purple-clad spectator seated a stone’s throw from the KU bench.
“Pick Up Game Later at the Topeka YMCA,” read another, targeting Bill Self for his statements after last season’s loss to the Horned Frogs in which he said the Jayhawks hadn’t played as poorly since losing to Topeka YMCA in James Naismith’s days.
There would be no need for any such fan ridicule — or coach criticism — following the 2013-14 rematch at sold-out Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. The Jayhawks, who tallied just 13 points at halftime a year ago, rolled to 53 first-half points in a 91-69 rout of the Horned Frogs that silenced anybody in a record crowd of 7,494 who might have been hoping for a repeat of last February’s monumental upset.
There was no court-storming Saturday night for TCU.
A record, sold-out crowd of 7,494 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum hardly got the chance to become a factor as eighth-ranked Kansas pulled away early and coasted to a 91-69 win.
It’s hard to fault TCU (9-10, 0-7 Big 12), which is still looking for its first league win. The Jayhawks (15-4, 6-0) are arguably the hottest team in the country, winners of six consecutive games, including four in a row against ranked opponents. That’s a far cry from last Feb. 6, when TCU shocked the basketball world with a 62-55 upset of then-No. 5-ranked Kansas, eliciting TCU students to rush the court.
That night, the Jayhawks were mired in the middle of a three-game losing streak, shot a season-low 29.5 percent and failed to score for the first seven minutes of the game.
Scoring wasn’t an issue for Kansas on Saturday.
Freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid took turns torching TCU — Wiggins from outside or on the drive and Embiid in the paint.
Wiggins finished with a career-high 27 points, including 19 in the first half when the Jayhawks built a 53-32 lead, almost matching their points from last year’s disaster at DMC. KU shot 57.4 percent rom the field, including 61.5 percent in the first half. TCU struggled offensively early, shooting just 30.8 percent at the break.
FW Star Telegram
TCU coach Trent Johnson didn't see a Kansas team fired up about making amends for a miserable night in Fort Worth a year ago.
He just saw a "really good" bunch of Jayhawks coming off wins in four straight games against ranked opponents, the first team to do that since North Carolina in 1996-97.
Andrew Wiggins scored 19 of his career-high 27 points in the first half and No. 8 Kansas answered last year's stunning loss by taking control early in a 91-69 victory over the Horned Frogs on Saturday night.
"Why would they get all fired up about what?" Johnson said. "You talk about Kansas basketball and we're just trying to make this team relevant. We haven't been to the postseason since the dinosaurs. So I don't think they get all worked up over something like that."
So quick. So dominating. So Kansas.
Seven or eight minutes into Saturday's game, TCU was clearly flustered by Kansas' impenetrable thicket of bodies and hands in the paint, and the Jayhawks' Joel Embiid already had three blocked shots and seven points.
The only question that remained unanswered was, "How did Kansas ever lose four games?"
In the Big 12 Conference universe, clearly there is no one better. Not now, after the Jayhawks have run their league record to a perfect 6-0. And likely not in March, either.
The No. 8 Jayhawks snuffed the Horned Frogs in the first half, and the rest was easy in Saturday night's 91-69 KU victory.
Revenge may appear to be a popular theme in reports of this game.
But hold off on the "vengeful Jayhawks" bit. Kansas may be loaded with McDonald's All-Americans, but they look like all steak to me.
TCU officials said that 15 pro scouts were in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum for the game. It wasn't hard to figure out who the attraction was.
The sorta scary part is that coach Trent Johnson's Frogs really didn't play that poorly. The 30.8 percent (8 of 26) that TCU shot from the floor in the first half wasn't all the fault of the Frogs' chronic shooting inconsistencies.
…"We're not deep enough to compete with that," Johnson said. "That's just a good basketball team. I would be very, very surprised if they're not back here in April."
The TCU coach was talking about the NCAA Final Four that will be played down I-30 at AT&T Stadium.
"That's a basketball team that really competes," Johnson said of Bill Self's KU bunch. "They're not caught up in their ranking. Bill's teams are always focused."
KU fans make up almost half of the crowd here #kubball
FYI: Horned frogs taste like chicken. #kubball #rockchalk
Kansas now 6-0 in league play. Wiggins finishes with 27. Fairly certain Bill Self knew exactly what he was doing with the non-league slate.
JoJo Embiid killed a lion, I would hate to be that TCU cat who ran into him!
Joel Embiid feet are so good! Size 17's that move like a butterfly sting like Embiid
Embiid decides to add handles to his repertoire, resume building #kubball
Embiid back in game up 27. Dude should go to locker and declare for draft IMMEDIATELY!
Hear that #JayhawkNation? “Let’s Go Jayhawks” is the loudest sound in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum… #rockchalk
#KUCMB we ballin!!!
“He’s got a great attitude, he’s ready to perform. Really proud of him.” - Coach Jerrance Howard on Landen Lucas #kupostgame #kubball
Thanks to all the fans that made the trip down to Dallas with us!! Helped bring us some energy. Good road win! #rockchalk
Great road win for the squad! On to the next... #KUCMB
Just saw that nasty replay of my knee..... I'm glad I'm ok
Strengths: This is a kid who is raw but coming on and quickly. The Cameroonian big man has all the physical tools but that's not why he's going to make it big. In addition to the tools, size and athleticism he has coordination, explosion and an uncommon agility and feel. For a big he's got super touch to mid-range. He eats rebounds and collects blocks. With both hands he finishes around the rim. Each time we've seen him on the court he's gotten more aggressive. If you watch him in drills you'll quickly notice that he handles the ball with more fluidity and natural basketball acumen than many guards. This kid is a worker. He's intelligent, committed and sees the big picture. He has the desire and ability to actually max out his potential.
Weaknesses: There is room for improvement. As a defensive stalwart, he can be suckered into fakes so he's got to stand his ground. Offensively, he does need a comfort zone. He has a lot to work with but requires a signature move. There's the issue of game experience which he has very little. Physically he has a way to go but again, that's natural development.
Bottom Line: This is a potential NBA prospect, he's got that much natural ability. His senior year will be his first full season. A product of "Basketball Without Borders", Embiid is a real success story. He played a game on ESPN in 2012 where he was dominated by Brandon Ashley. Embiid will get his revenge. This kid is a season away from becoming a legit elite prospect and player. Because he moves so well and is eager to learn, combined with his size and explosion he should have aspirations to spend a few years in college and take it a step further. He should be playing this game for the next 20 years.
Looking back at what we saw in Joel Embiid in HS. His in depth evaluation
It was the final minutes of the first half on Saturday night at TCU, and Kansas coach Bill Self sent freshman wing Brannen Greene to the scorer’s table to check in for sophomore forward Perry Ellis.
No. 8 Kansas had built a comfortable double-digit lead, taking control with an onslaught of offensive firepower, and Self felt like experimenting. So Greene joined fellow guards Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden Jr. and Conner Frankamp on the floor, and the Jayhawks went into a four-out, one-in offense with freshman center Joel Embiid manning the paint.
It was a new offensive wrinkle, something the Jayhawks could add to their repertoire moving forward, but it was also something more: For one of the first times this season, Kansas was playing five freshmen at once. And Self didn’t even notice.
“I didn’t even know that,” Self said, answering a question about the all-freshman lineup after the game. “… That’s the first time we’ve worked on our little small package that we put in, and it actually worked pretty well. But I don’t even look at these guys as freshmen anymore.”
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self presented an amazing statistic to staff members after examining the box score following Saturday’s 91-69 victory over TCU at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.
“The oldest kid we had score was a sophomore. We had seven freshmen score 75 out of 91 points, and two sophomores scored 16, and nobody else scored because ‘Naa’ (Naadir Tharpe) didn’t take a shot and Tarik (Black) was hurt,” Self said Sunday.
“I do not ever remember one of our teams being that young on the court. It goes to show how young we are,” added Self, who at one point in the first half had five freshmen on the court at the same time.
…“We’re so young it’s crazy,” said red-shirt freshman center Lucas, who hit three of four shots and one of three free throws for his career high in points. He tied a career-high with five rebounds.
“We could easily play five freshmen and a very young team and be successful. That’s good news for the future even with the guys we are bringing in (Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre so far in recruiting), how we can all kind of mesh together and have a very good team,” Lucas added.
Lucas on Saturday played in a Big 12 game for the first time.
“It was great. I know what I’m capable of. Coach called my number. I was ready to go,” said Lucas, a 6-foot-10, 240-pounder out of Portland, Ore. “I’m ready whenever he needs me, whatever circumstance it is. Even though I haven’t played at all in the Big 12, I’m still ready whenever he needs me.”
Self was impressed.
“Landen played well. He made the most of his opportunity,” Self said. “Tarik is nicked up right now. Landen has played well in practice the whole time. He deserves to play more. It’s just hard to play five big guys. He gives us more depth, and this certainly gives him confidence.”
Lucas showed off an effective baby hook shot Saturday.
“It’s something I work on a lot. Coach is always talking about going straight to the side. I felt I did it that time. It went in. I’m happy about it,” Lucas said.
Noted Self: “It’s one of his moves. We work on jump hooks every day. That’s something, to be honest, all of our players have in their arsenal. It’s one of his better moves.”
Just a few minutes after Kansas’ 91-69 victory over TCU on Saturday, Landen Lucas wasn’t surprised to hear his seven points were a new career high
“I assumed it probably was. I haven’t had too many opportunities,” he said with a smile just outside the locker room. “I’m definitely happy about that. Hopefully I top that sometime soon.”
The 6-foot-10 freshman forward received extended playing time against the Horned Frogs, playing a career-best 13 minutes.
Lucas’ seven points came on 3-for-4 shooting and 1-for-3 accuracy from the line.
…Part of the reason for Lucas’ move into the rotation was an injury, as senior Tarik Black sat out the game with a sprained right ankle.
Before Saturday, Lucas hadn’t played in any of KU’s previous five Big 12 games while logging just 42 minutes all season.
“It’s definitely hard. It’s hard,” Lucas said. “But you’ve got to stay strong and stay ready, pray about it, and when it’s time for you to go out there, you’ve just got to show what you can do as best as possible. I try to do that every time I step on the floor.”
The Portland, Ore. native was a factor on the boards as well, grabbing five rebounds in his 13 minutes. He also had four fouls and one turnover.
“He came in and gave us great energy,” KU freshman guard Frank Mason said. “He got some inside baskets, rebounds. He just played his part, and he did good.”
Though it’s a small sample size, Lucas has been a strong rebounder in his limited time this year. His 13.6 rebounds per 40 minutes is tops among KU's scholarship players.
“I’m ready,” Lucas said. “I’m ready whenever (coach) needs me, no matter what circumstance it is.”
The timing couldn’t have been worse.
No, this wasn’t the right night for TCU students to hold up a sign that said, “You’re not even the best Wiggins in Kansas.” Or the correct time to chant, “O-ver-ra-ted” during a first-half Andrew Wiggins free throw.
After all the recent talk about lowering the expectations for Wiggins, the top-ranked freshman showed Saturday just how dangerous Kansas could be with him playing at his best.
Wiggins scored a career-high 27 points — including 19 points in a decisive first half — as the eighth-ranked Jayhawks rolled to a 91-69 rout over TCU in front of a record crowd of 7,494 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
“He can defer a little bit and he can kind of get lost, but he never got lost today,” KU coach Bill Self said. “He was able to put his handprint all over the possessions and create opportunities for himself and others. I just thought he played the way he should play every game.”
Wiggins said his coach’s words weren’t on his mind when he took the floor, but also said he’s motivated by such challenges.
“He tells me a lot that I can do more, do more for the team, do more for myself and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Wiggins said. “... It’s never a negative thing. People might take it as negative criticism, but it’s not. That just motivates me to do better and try to provide more.”
…“I think from an offensive point of view, I would call it my best game because I was hitting my shots and hitting my free throws,” Wiggins said. “At the other end, I think I could have stepped up my game more and (done) other things like rebound.”
Wiggins dunked a perfect lob from Selden and delivered a perfect lob that Jamari Traylor dunked.
Which end of the lob play gives him a bigger charge?
“Both,” Wiggins said. “I don’t throw many lobs, and when I do I try to make the best of it.”
Self called it, “one of his more aggressive games. He was a little thirsty to score in the first half, which is what we want. It helps when he makes shots. He just needs to relax and be him. He can defer a little bit and he can kind of get lost, but he never got lost today. He was able to put his handprints all over possessions and he created opportunities for others and for himself.”
Self said there is still “another step” the three freshmen starters — Wiggins, Selden and center Joel Embiid — can make.
“I’ve seen Andrew play before,” Johnson said. “He’s special. He can play. Joel can play. Wayne can play. You can go right down the line. The bottom line why I think they’re so much better nobody talks about, (Naadir) Tharpe. I like the way he runs the team, the way he competes.”
Johnson was referring to the body of Tharpe’s work this season, not Saturday night’s game, in which the junior point guard didn’t attempt a field goal or a free throw, didn’t commit a turnover and dished four assists.
Kansas didn’t need a big scoring night from Tharpe the way Wiggins played.
TCU’s Amric Fields summed up Wiggins in one word, and then expanded his thoughts.
“Talent,” Fields said. “Just a talented guy. To be a freshman and be as efficient as he is, that’s pretty great.”
He wasn't alone in playing well.
"In my shallow opinion, they probably have six pros," Johnson said.
For the past week, Self has asked his freshman star for more, riding him in practice and pushing him to make the Jayhawks better. For a night, this was that Wiggins.
“Sometimes you just want to go see him snatch somebody’s head off,” Self would say. “Or be in attack mode all the time. And he’s capable of doing that. But that’s not really who he is.”
Maybe he’s learning.
…“When he’s on a roll,” KU freshman Wayne Selden Jr. said, “You never know what you’re going to get from him.”
“He just needs to relax and be him,” Self added. “He can defer a little bit. He can kind of get lost, but he never got lost today. He was able to put his handprint all over the possessions.”
Wiggins would finish eight of 13 from the floor and nine of 10 from the free throw line. And he was aggressive from the start.
“I just thought he played the way he should play every game,” Self said. “I don’t think he’s going to score 19 in a half every game obviously. But I thought, without question, that he didn’t do anything tonight that he couldn’t do in any game.”
At least 30 KU fans waited along the route from the locker room to the team bus on Saturday. After speaking with reporters, Wiggins took a few pictures and signed a few autographs, including a Canadian flag that was waving in the stands for much of the evening.
Wiggins' hype has been easy to forget as 7-foot Cameroonian Joel Embiid (who may or may not have killed a lion in his home country) has risen to the pedestal of sure-thing No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft that Wiggins occupied for most of 2012 and 2013. It's been the story of KU's 6-0 start in Big 12 play.
This was Wiggins' night, though. A record 7,494 fans filled Daniel Meyer Coliseum, but those wearing Kansas red and blue were louder than the home crowd, and for good reason.
A pair of free throws gave Wiggins his career high with 1:56 to play. Self called him to the bench, ending his night. The KU crowd gave him a loud sendoff, offering one of the loudest cheers of a sleepy second half in which KU never led by fewer than 17.
About half of them stood.
Kansas University freshman guard Andrew Wiggins has been chosen as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
Th 6-foot-8 freshman is recognized for the second time as top rookie, and his award marks the eighth weekly honor for KU in 2013-14.
Wiggins had two double-figure scoring efforts as the Jayhawks extended their win streak to six games with victories over Baylor, 78-68, and at TCU, 91-69.
The freshman guard averaged 22.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 55.0 percent. He opened the week with 17 points against the Bears, including 11 points in the second half. Wiggins was then the main catalyst versus the Frogs, with a career-best 27 points, including 19 in the first half. He also made 19-of-22 (.864) from the free throw line on the week and leads all Big 12 freshmen in scoring with 15.8 points per game.
LJW Keegan Ratings: Wiggins’ career night lands him at top of ratings
Room For Improvement
It didn't end up mattering, but KU's defense was not good against TCU. The Horned Frogs' 1.03 points per possession was their second-best mark in seven conference games, and even though KU extended its defensive pressure against TCU, it didn't result in a higher number of turnovers (TCU's turnover percentage was 14.9 percent). The Jayhawks also didn't do a good job of avoiding whistles, as TCU had its second-best free-throw rate of Big 12 play while putting in 21 of 25 fouls shots.
Stat of the Day
For a second straight game, KU dominated by getting more easy shots than its opponent. According to Hoop-Math.com, 34 of KU's 54 field-goal attempts against TCU on Saturday came at the rim (63 percent); to give some context, the NCAA average for percentage of shots at the rim is 38.3 percent. As a result, the Jayhawks made 27 of 44 2-pointers (61.3 percent), while the Horned Frogs made 18 of 41 2s (43.9 percent).
KU's defense wasn't great on Saturday, but that was irrelevant because the offense turned it up to a different level.
According to StatSheet.com, Saturday's game against TCU was the f0urth-most efficient offensive performance by a Self team in a Big 12 game and also was the best against a conference opponent in the last three seasons.
It helped that KU was great on the offensive glass (pulling down 45.5 percent of its misses) and worked it around for easy shots, but the fact that the Jayhawks limited themselves to just 10 turnovers was one the biggest reasons for the offensive explosion.
The Jayhawks now rank seventh nationally in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency measure, and they could even go up from there if Saturday is the first step towards a team that better values its possessions.
TCJ Newell Post
KU coach Self most certainly does give a flip that there’s been a lot of flopping going on in college basketball this season.
“I don’t think any coach would be a fan of it,” Self said of players falling backward or even hitting the deck after questionable-to-light contact.
“I’ve had players in the past that were pretty good at doing that. We’ve coached against some players good at doing it. I don’t think it’s good for our game at all. It makes it that much harder for officials to actually call the game.
“There’s a difference between flopping and being able to sell a foul,” Self added. “Some guys are good at selling fouls which gives the appearance of flopping. To me that’s making a smart basketball play,” he added of selling a foul.
The topic of the flop came up recently in the wake of Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart hitting 10 free throws in as many tries in last Saturday’s 80-78 loss to KU. His head snapped back on one occasion despite the fact replays showed a Wayne Selden elbow may not have even made contact.
“He is a pro at selling a foul,” Self said. “I did not say flop. If he gets fouled, he’s a pro at selling it.”
Self hasn’t publicly singled out any players for flopping, except himself.
“I probably faked it or flopped quite a bit just to get a call back when I played many years ago,” said Self, a former Oklahoma State point guard. “Being able to sell a foul is part of the game. Some guys are unbelievable at it, especially at the NBA level. Some guys are professionals at it. The flop without contact obviously is not good for our game. I don’t go as far as say (affect) integrity (of the game). Certainly it takes away from what the game is supposed to be like.”
Kansas men's basketball played host to 100 Special Olympians at the 30th Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympics Clinic Sunday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.
The annual Special Olympics clinic began in 1984 by former Kansas men's basketball head coach Larry Brown. It was then renamed for Chamberlain, who left money from his estate to sustain the program.
Prior to the 2014 clinic, Special Olympian Chevi Peters from the New Hope team in Pittsburg, Kan., 2013 Big 12 Special Olympian of the Year Beckah Henderson from the Topeka Junior Blues and Chris Hahn, president and CEO of Special Olympics Kansas, presented KU head coach Bill Self with a plaque commemorating the 30-year history of the event. The plaque included photos KU coaches Brown, Roy Williams and Self with Special Olympians from past clinics.
"I've always wanted to be part of a team," the 29-year-old Peters, who has endured 38 surgeries, told the crowd when presenting the plaque to Self. "Special Olympics has allowed that dream to come true. In addition to being part of a team, Special Olympics has extra cool things athletes can do. The KU Clinic is one of those cool things. You have touched the lives of thousands of Special Olympic athletes and friends in the past 30 years. Thank you for being cool and spending your Sunday afternoon with us."
Truly a blessing to be able to take part in the special olympics in the Fieldhouse! Hope everyone had fun, cuz we sure did ! #RockChalk
It was a blessing to be apart of my first special Olympics,thanks for everybody who participated #KUCMB
Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson scored five points and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds in Sunday's 15-point loss to the Warriors. He added one steal and one block in just 15 minutes to provide an encouraging footnote on a forgettable night for the Blazers.
While defense was a main component of the second-half turnaround, so too was the play of third-year forward Markieff Morris.
The former first-round pick scored a game-high 27 points and also grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds.
Sunday's output marked Morris' 10th 20-point game of the 2013-14 campaign. Phoenix improved to 8-2 in those 10 contests.
Danny Manning and Chris Piper made quite an impact on the history of basketball in Lawrence after winning a national championship at Kansas University in 1988.
What they could not have realized after cutting down the nets in Kansas City’s Kemper Arena in 1988 is that their legacies would continue through their daughters at Free State High a couple of decades later.
Free State freshman Madison Piper leads the Sunflower League in scoring and rebounding, while Taylor Manning is in her first season as an assistant coach for the Firebirds.
VOTE for Kansas fans at the NCAA 6th Fan Contest
VOTE for Coach Self & his Assists Foundation (currently 22nd out of 48 coaches!)
“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
before it was later deleted from the account
Anyone who knows college basketball — especially when it comes to a freshman playing this level for the first time — knows it can take a while to get acclimated to the big time. And Iowa State is big time — with a big time task waiting at 8 p.m. Wednesday against Big 12 Conference unbeaten Kansas at storied Allen Fieldhouse.
So to the vocal minority that fired away with venom at Cyclone rookie Matt Thomas – you misfired from long range, too.
Your comments were harsh — as incorrect as they were uncalled for.
Thomas sank the first four 3-point baskets he attempted while helping 16th-ranked Iowa State end a three-game losing streak during Saturday’s victory against No. 22 Kansas State.
Take that, doubters.
Thomas matched his career-best of 14 points. He was stroking — just like he did back in his high school days.
Much to the chagrin of people who hide within the framework of social media and other modes that allow anonymous comments.
Des Moines Register
The solutions for Baylor’s spiral toward the bottom of the Big 12 will come later, if they come at all.
For the moment, coach Scott Drew offered a statistic to give his staggering team hope of a turnaround. After going 12-1 in nonconference play and climbing into the AP Top 10, the No. 24 Bears have dropped five of their first six Big 12 games and sit ninth in the conference. If a game in January can qualify as must-win, Baylor’s home contest with West Virginia (11-9, 3-4) on Tuesday surely qualifies.
Against that backdrop, Drew offered a recent example of how things can change.
“Last year we were at this time 5-1 [in the Big 12]. We thought everything was great and finished 9-9,” Drew said. “This year, we’d rather finish well than start well, so we’ll see what we can do.”
Actually, Baylor doesn’t have much choice — unless it really wants to defend its NIT title from last season.
If you crunch the numbers a bit more, the trend isn’t exactly encouraging. Since that 5-1 start last season, Baylor has dropped 13 of its last 18 regular-season conference games.
Maybe the Big 12’s high RPI will make this a breakthrough year. But in its history, no Big 12 team has been an at-large NCAA selection with a conference record under .500.
The head-scratching thing is that Baylor actually possesses the talent to justify a high national ranking.
Sophomore post Isaiah Austin was viewed as a possible NBA lottery pick before his freshman
season. Senior forward Cory Jefferson played key minutes for Team USA at the World University Games. Brady Heslip remains one of the most dangerous 3-point shooters in the country. And junior college point guard Kenny Chery has been as good as advertised.
With that collection of talent and the deepest roster in Drew’s tenure, Baylor is shooting just 39.9 percent, ninth in the Big 12, in its six conference games this season. The Bears are dead last in field-goal percentage defense in conference games (48.8 percent).
Oh, the Bears are also last in free throw percentage, a direct factor in a two-point home loss to No. 25 Oklahoma.
Dallas Morning News
The saying says: If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
That’s what Trent Johnson must be thinking now as he has learned his best freshman Karviar Shepherd will miss an indefinite amount of time to undergo surgery on his non-shooting hand.
Shepherd suffered the injury in Saturday’s game against Kansas, a source confirmed. Shepherd finished the Kansas game with eight points and four rebounds, and he fouled out with over eight minutes remaining.
The Frogs will now play with just seven scholarship players, and the seventh, sophomore Clyde Smith, has played in just eight of the team’s games, averaging just over four minutes per contest.
Devonta Abron is out with a torn achilles. Aaron Durley is out with a torn ACL. Chris Washburn was not granted a waiver to play this season by the NCAA after transferring from UTEP. Trey Ziegler is sitting out due to transfer rules, and Charles Hill is academically ineligible.
That was the scene Saturday, when Smart simmered throughout and eventually boiled over late in the game, inconsolably leaving the bench area and disappearing beyond the stands at Gallagher-Iba Arena for a few moments during OSU's 81-75 win over West Virginia.
Smart was having a rough day, and not just in reference to his season-low four points and 1-of-7 shooting performance.
It was rough, too, in his treatment by the Mountaineers, who put hands and more on the Cowboys star at every opportunity.
And Smart didn't manage it well, his mood worsened by the few calls that went his way from officials — and the many that went against him. Smart missed the final 7:26 of the first half after picking up his second personal and eventually fouled out, ending his frustrating afternoon.
Yet long before foul No. 5, he'd been taken out of his game.
And that can't continue, even as the tactics are sure to continue, if not intensify.
Oh, and Bedlam is up next, Monday night.
Ironically, the roughhousing of Smart is reminiscent of what Blake Griffin endured in his final season as a Sooner in 2009. During that season, Griffin was prodded and poked (in his privates), tripped and flipped, and literally bloodied and bruised.
And while Smart hasn't faced that gamut of physical affronts, there's still time.
So much for star treatment.
For all the chatter about Smart as a flopper — and there's some validity to the claims — opponents are inflicting plenty of unpunished shots on him, too.
“He takes a lot of punches,” Cowboys coach Travis Ford said, speaking figuratively rather than literally. “I know everybody thinks he does this and he does that. He's getting hit. I've watched tape. And I've sent it in (to the Big 12).
“We all understand that everyone's game plan is to take him out.”
And that won't change. What Smart can't allow is for those methods to lead to him taking himself out.
When Smart stomped off the court late in a tight and tough game, it was a surprising scene, even for his teammates, who have mostly adopted his gritty, tough and poised persona.
“Yeah, it surprised me, too,” said Markel Brown. “That's not Marcus' character. But if you ask me, I think he handled it in the right way. He walked away. He gathered himself.
“I probably would have gotten a technical or something like that.”
Markel Brown's in-air, 360-degree dunk against West Virginia ranked No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Play list for Saturday.
Personally, Brown placed it among his top five.
“I have a great set of athletic (skills), and it would be a shame to waste it and not do something for the crowd,” Brown said. “I feel like they come to the game to see things like that. I had to give it to them.
“It's a great sparkplug for this team when I do a dunk like that and the crowd gets rowdy. It gives a
boost of energy for the defense.”
Wichita State’s latest win — combined with an ugly home loss by No. 4 Villanova to Creighton during the week and No. 3 Michigan State’s home defeat against No. 21 Michigan on Saturday — could put the Shockers (21-0, 8-0 MVC) in position to leapfrog both on Monday.
Coach Gregg Marshall appeared to be stumping for his team with what seemed to be a bit of a jab at Michigan State (18-2) after the game.
“Did the mighty Spartans lose again?” Marshall asked as he left his postgame news conference.
How do the best alliances in college basketball line up against each other? Which league is at the top of the sport this season? Which has collectively underachieved? Overachieved? College sports fans in general do enjoy boasting on behalf of their conferences (albeit much, much more in college football than college hoops). So with that in mind, I'm coming to you with a load of information today on the best of the best and how they align.
As we turn to February, we're getting a really good grasp on which conferences can expect how many bids. The picture is getting clearer while at the same time, detail only increases our perceptions of programs and conferences. Today's piece isn't a true bubble forecast or bracketology session, but since SOE college hoops/Illinois basketball/Georgia basketball devotee Will Leitch will take those reins after his return from Sochi, I figured we'd start to define the pool or programs this year's NCAAs will draw from.
The number of forecast bids (and teams selected) below isn't anywhere near setting in cement, but no question a general sense has been established now, since most teams have played approximately 20 games -- or two-thirds of their season.
I've ranked what really are the consensus top 10 leagues in college hoops this year. Whether you agree or disagree about where the Big East should fall is up to you, but there seems to be a firm line of demarcation that's separated this upper third within the sport. I've ordered the leagues in accordance to their average ranking among the three biggest metrics: KenPom.com, Jeff Sagarin and the RPI. Now, I'm not an advocate of the RPI (OK, I want to kill it with lava), but it is still the primary tool of judgment for the NCAA selection committee for the big tourney, so we have to keep that in mind when projecting inclusion and seeding for the Field of 68.
Maybe one day down the road the RPI will be an afterthought. Like Macklemore. But in the here and now, that is not a world any of us, sadly, can envision. Let us live on hope, then.
You'll see the Missouri Valley doesn't fall among the top 10 leagues this year. I do think Wichita State will lose prior to Selection Sunday. I'm slotting WSU as a No. 2 seed for the time being. I think it loses one game, and that will put it on the second line.
USA Today Norlander (Big 12 #2)
While this may be college basketball’s Year of the Freshman, it is a senior who is the sport’s very best player. The attention and hype foisted upon this season’s freshman class is well-deserved.
With Kansas’ Andrew Wiggans and Joel Embiid, Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon it is one of the most talented collections ever. Freshmen will very likely make up more than half of the first 10 picks in the NBA draft.
Yet none of them is likely to surpass Creighton senior Doug McDermott for the John Wooden Award as college basketball’s most outstanding player. The 6-8 small forward doesn’t leave people talking about “upside” and “potential” because he already is realizing both. The Bluejays’ leading scorer is averaging 24.8 points and has been stunningly consistent in a way that none of the freshman has.
He is the biggest reason that the Bluejays (17-3) have rocketed to the top of the Big East standings in their debut season in the conference. They next play Tuesday night at 9 when they host St. John’s.
“I think he’s the best player in the country,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said last Monday after his then-No. 4 Wildcats suffered a 28-point obliteration at the hands of Creighton in Philadelphia. “I love his combination of skill and intelligence. It seems like he rarely takes a bad shot.”
NY Daily News
En route to yet another school record Sunday, the unbeaten Arizona Wildcats proved again that shooting percentage isn’t everything.
If you miss, simply grab the ball. Then put up another shot.
Like, 20 times.
Aaron Gordon can explain how that works.
During the No. 1 Wildcats’ 65-56 win over Utah, which gave Arizona a school-record 20th straight win over college teams, the freshman forward threw up an airball from the free-throw line.
He missed five other free throws, and was 3 for 13 from the field.
He became angry.
Aaron Gordon being angry is not a good thing for the other team.
Gordon finished with 12 rebounds and scored 10 points, on two dunks, a layup and four free throws. He was still, even with his offensive struggles, one of the most effective players on the floor, along with UA guard Nick Johnson, who had 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting.
“My all-around game wasn’t too well, so rebounding was one thing I can focus on,” Gordon said. “It comes pretty naturally to me. I was just taking out my frustration and aggression on the rebounding.”
Keith Frazier, a former McDonald's All-American and current freshman guard at SMU, had a failing grade changed to a passing one in order to graduate from Kimball High School in Dallas, according to a report by WFAA TV in Forth Worth.
A Dallas Independent School District internal investigation has raised questions about whether Frazier should have been allowed to graduate from Kimball High last year and about what SMU coaches knew about Frazier's grades, WFAA reported.
Mississippi State coach Rick Ray issued an apology via an Instagram post after he appeared to yell profanities at Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson on Saturday night.
Professional football is the most popular sport in America. You likely didn’t need results of the latest Harris Poll, which found that NFL fans outnumbered the rest for the 30th year in a row.
What surprises, given the NCAA tournament’s spike in popularity, is college basketball’s lack of movement up the ladder. While 35 percent of adult fans polled said pro football was their favorite sport, just 3 percent selected college hoops.
That’s a drop from college hoops’ 5 percent share of the vote in both 2011 and 2012 despite increased viewership of last season’s NCAA tournament, when ratings reached their highest point in 19 years.
Wondering how the ballots break down state by state? Harris doesn’t make that data available.
…Other results in this year’s Harris Poll included: Major League Baseball (14 percent), college football (11 percent), auto racing (7 percent), NBA (6 percent) and the NHL (5 percent).
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
Findlay was out of sync most the game. On a team of multiple blue-chip recruits, including sure-thing McDonald’s All-American and Kansas commit Kelly Oubre, the Pilots managed just three first-quarter points and missed their initial 11 field goal attempts. From the free throw line, they made just 21 of 38 attempts, which was likely the difference in the game.
Vaughn, with UNLV coach Dave Rice and assistant coach Todd Simon sitting courtside, scored 11 points in the second quarter to keep Findlay in the game and finish with 21 points. Oubre tallied 22 points.
But, on this afternoon, Gorman finally had Findlay’s number. All thanks to a player finally living up to his spot in the “Big Three.”
“Of course I was humbled (by the struggles),” said Blair, who finished with 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting. “I went down and (Jeter and Zimmerman) went up. But I told myself not to worry about. I got back to the lab and kept working hard. ...To be the first team to beat Findlay Prep is huge. It will go down in the record books.”
Las Vegas Sun
Kelly Oubre had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Pilots, and Vaughn scored 21.
Las Vegas Review Journal
It's one thing to be one of the best teams in Northeast Ohio. It's another thing to be one of the best teams in the country.
No. 2 Shaker Heights' boys basketball team learned the difference on Saturday night, as the Raiders fell, 78-36, to Huntington Prep (W. Va), which is ranked No. 12 in the USA Today national poll, at the Dunk 4 Diabetes Shootout at Walsh University.
On offense, the Irish had a balanced attack with four players scoring at least 11 points. Senior Jaquan Lyle had a team-high 17 points.
Video highlights at the link
Had great time at the Michigan State vs Michigan game!!!
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