The majority of the players on the Colorado men's basketball roster only know Allen Fieldhouse from what they've seen on SportsCenter or heard from their head coach. They've been told it is uproariously loud and legendary among college hoops venues - and they're about to find out that scouting report is accurate.
In the schools' first meeting since CU changed conferences, the Buffaloes venture to Kansas on Saturday to face the No. 9 Jayhawks (noon MST, ESPN2). If CU coach Tad Boyle, a former KU player (1981-85), is familiar with "The Legend of The Phog," most of his players will need a briefing.
Boyle calls 16,300-seat Allen Fieldhouse "a special place," and after Wednesday night's intense 70-61 win against Colorado State, he's eager to see if the Buffs can accomplish something special at his alma mater. It's been a while since that happened for CU - try Feb. 10, 1983, or when Boyle was a KU sophomore. The Buffs won 75-74, and since then they've been beaten in 28 straight trips to the Heartland.
CU junior forward Andre Roberson, one of only a couple of Buffs upperclassmen who have played on KU's home court, remembers the Allen Fieldhouse environment: "It's going to be a tough atmosphere, just like Colorado. They really feed off their crowd, just like us . . . when they get rocking and rolling they're hard to stop, especially in their building. I don't know what it is when you go in there, but it's just a tough place to play. Everybody's screaming consistently . . . it's a great place to play."
Sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie has been to Allen Fieldhouse, but has not sampled the game-day ambience. As a high schooler, he participated in an elite camp there on what he called "kind of an unofficial visit" to KU. "So I'm familiar with it, but I've never actually been there for a game and I've only heard stories. I've heard it's amazing. I excited for the atmosphere."
…Dinwiddie has been on a tear for the past three games (25.2 average) and appears to be gaining confidence by the minute. After scoring a career-high 29 points against CSU, he said, "I think every basketball player believes nobody can stop him. So do I think (the Jayhawks) can? No. If they do, that's a great night for them. But I think I'm going to go out there and do my thing."
KUAD: Kansas vs Colorado pregame notes
1. Don’t expect the SEC/Big 12 Challenge to produce matchups that conference realignment has dashed. You won’t see Kansas-Missouri or Texas-Texas A&M, at least for the foreseeable future. You also won't see Kansas-Kentucky, at least in the event's first season. Kansas had some scheduling issues and couldn’t work things out to play Florida, either, on a proposed date. So a more likely opponent for the Jayhawks in the inaugural series may end up being Arkansas -- at home in Lawrence. Kentucky will probably have its Baylor game at Cowboys Stadium folded into the challenge. This practice of pre-existing games counting as part of a challenge happened in the old Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, as well. A Florida-Oklahoma State matchup could happen; if so, that would be one of the more marquee games of 2013. Four of the 14 SEC teams won’t play in the challenge since there are only 10 Big 12 teams.
2. The Colorado-Kansas series, which starts Saturday in Lawrence, was not at all hard to schedule for either school. Kansas wanted a series against a top-50 team and has always maintained a strong relationship with the Buffaloes. Kansas alumni in the western part of the state are actually closer to Colorado than to Lawrence, and have consistently gone to watch the Jayhawks in Boulder. CU coach Tad Boyle is a Kansas alumnus and jumped at the chance to schedule its former Big 12-mate. “I want to test our young guys in a challenging environment,’’ said Boyle. “We are in the midst of playing three of four on the road. I also wanted to challenge our season ticket-holders to pre-sell out the arena next year with Kansas coming back.’’
OK, so don’t expect to see forward Kevin Young running the point guard spot for Kansas anytime soon. But Young, a 6-foot-8 forward, did get a brief trial run at the position during a recent practice, coach Bill Self said Thursday.
“He actually passes it pretty good,” Self said of Young. “And it only lasted about 10 minutes, but we’ve looked at some different things to try to get some guys back there. We haven’t just got a comfort level with that yet.”
In short, the Jayhawks need a guard off the bench to handle the point guard duties in relief of starter Elijah Johnson, and no player has yet stepped up to assume that role.
Sophomore Naadir Tharpe has averaged 16.9 minutes while turning the ball over just seven times in seven games. And Self said that freshman Rio Adams could be in the mix as well as the season progresses. Self, though, said that he was also looking at playing Adams off the ball to ease some of the pressure early in his career.
“You would think that maybe Rio would have that potential more so than anybody,” Self said. “But maybe we’re looking at it wrong. Maybe we should play Rio, but maybe take some pressure off of him and play Travis (Releford) at the point. There’s some different things that we can do.”
“We play harder in practice than we do the games. That’s what blows my mind,” Self said. “We’ll have a possession in practice, seven guys on the floor diving for a loose ball. And we’ll go through a whole half and not have anybody dive against Oregon State. So it’s kind of a weird deal. If we keep practicing the way we’ve been practicing, I know it’s going to click in and become a habit. It just hasn’t quite clicked in yet.”
...“I respect Kevin so much just knowing every play coach (Bill Self) called and knowing exactly what to do, not even looking at me to tell him what to do,” Johnson said of senior power forward Young.
“He didn’t really turn the ball over. He got us in the offense. He can feed the post better from being on the perimeter, seeing all the defenders. I thought he looked good, honestly,” Johnson added.
Of senior shooting guard/small forward Releford’s work, Johnson noted: “He knows how to run the point. He doesn’t try to do too much. He gets us in the offense. Once the ball gets to the third or fourth side, he knows to attack and give us something to feed off of.”
Johnson joked that a certain power forward from last year’s team truly would have relished a chance to run the offense.
“T-Rob would have loved that,” Johnson said with a smile, referring to 6-10 Thomas Robinson, now with the Sacramento Kings.
Thomas Robinson is still learning the NBA game. Like most college stars coming into the league, he expected a lot out of himself. But he's learning he needs to learn how to play the NBA.
"Pace, reading my defender, the situation of the game," Robinson said of what he's learning. "When to take a shot when not to take a shot. I think I really have one problem and that's pretty much it, just trying to catch up with the pace."
Smart mentioned this yesterday during pregame and brought it up again today.
He said he had to show Robinson film of himself not running as hard as he thought during games.
Smart wants and needs Robinson running as fast as possible. He's probably the most athletic player on the team. Unlike many of his teammates, Robinson has the ability to make defensive plays with his athleticism.
The three-point shooting of Angel Goodrich and Tania Jackson wasn't enough, as Arkansas' stingy post defense stifled the Jayhawks in a 64-56 loss at Bud Walton Arena Thursday night.
With the loss, the Jayhawks' season-opening seven-game win streak came to an end, while Arkansas improved to 8-1 on the season.
KUAD post game recap, notes, stats
Sportswriter, author and commentator Frank Deford will receive the 2013 William Allen White Foundation National Citation in February at Kansas University.
Deford has written for Sports Illustrated, for which he is now senior contributing writer, since 1962. He has written 18 books, fiction and nonfiction, the latest of which is a memoir released earlier this year, "Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter." He also provides commentary on NPR's "Morning Edition" each Wednesday and serves as senior correspondent on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel."
He will receive the annual citation and speak at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 8 in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union. The event will be free and open to the public.
The honor is awarded each year by the trustees of the William Allen White Foundation, established in honor of the famous publisher of the Emporia Gazette to support journalism at KU and elsewhere.
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
December is a month in which power-conference schools barely play true road games, and getting anybody to visit two different campuses is fairly rare. But don't tell that to Colorado because the Buffaloes will actually play three true road games in the first 12 days of this month. The stretch started last weekend with a loss at Wyoming, will continue Saturday with a game at No. 9 Kansas and conclude Wednesday with a game at Fresno State. That's tough -- especially the game at Allen Fieldhouse. Barring a surprise, Tad Boyle's team will fly home with a loss for the second straight weekend.
…"I've been told he thinks it's his best team," Illinois coach John Groce said this week when asked about Mark Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs, which means Groce is well aware of what he'll be up against when the Illini visit the McCarthey Athletic Center for what will be the weekend's only matchup of Top 25 teams. Gonzaga is 9-0 and ranked 10th. Illinois is 9-0 and ranked 13th. So either Groce or Few will take his first loss late Saturday.
…Missouri losing Michael Dixon means the Tigers have one fewer accomplished scorer. Which leads to Phil Pressey trying to score more than he otherwise would. Which leads to more shots for the junior point guard. And there's no evidence to suggest that's a good thing heading into Saturday's game against Tennessee State because Pressey is shooting a career-low 37.9 percent from the field through Missouri's first eight contests thanks in part to a 4-of-18 effort in Tuesday's win over Southeast Missouri State. Simply put, he must be better or No. 12 Mizzou's preseason goals will never be achieved.
In news that should be music to many college basketball fans’ ears, new NCAA VP of Championships Mark Lewis said the association was “actively discussing” moving the men’s basketball championships back into arenas and out of cavernous NFL stadiums.
The statement was bolstered by Burke Magnus, ESPN’s head of college sports programming, who said “there will be a Final Four back in an arena (within the next five years). Bank on it.”
Lewis and Magnus made the comments Thursday at the annual IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
The last arena to host a Final Four was the Meadowlands in 1996.
The next four Final Fours are booked into domes in Atlanta (2013), Arlington, Texas (’14), Indianapolis (’15) and Houston (’16).
Mark Hollis’ latest big idea has been rolling around in the back of his head for several years, but it got pushed to the front on a trip to Dallas a month ago.
One thing he wanted to make clear Thursday is that it’s far from a sure thing.
“We should know in the next week or two which way we’re going,” the Michigan State athletic director said of a proposed eight-team, four-court event to open the 2013-14 college basketball season at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the site of the 2014 Final Four. “We’ve got to have a ‘Yes’ from everybody or it’s not happening.”
The proposed event, initially reported Thursday by Sports Illustrated, would involve Michigan State and seven other schools. Hollis said the other seven have been chosen and are discussing logistics, but he would not reveal the others.
The idea is to have four games running simultaneously on four courts on the field, starting 15 minutes apart – getting a “March Madness” feel in one building. Hollis has discussed such an event at Detroit’s Ford Field in the past, but the concept got new life on his trip to Dallas to meet with other members of the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee.
“The thought was ‘What can we do to enhance college basketball in Dallas the year the Final Four is there?’” he said. “Because they do everything big in Texas.”
Detroit Free Press (Except attend basketball games. Can't wait to see the crowd for Texas vs UCLA in Houston lol.)
Ken Trickey may have been among the two most influential coaches in Oklahoma college basketball history.
Trickey came to Oral Roberts at a time when basketball remained clearly dominated by the large shadow of Henry Iba at Oklahoma State.
Iba's mantra of defense and rebounding dominated this state and remained the primary style of college basketball nationwide.
Trickey showed up in south Tulsa preaching offense.
It was from his basketball pulpit at ORU that Trickey changed the culture of basketball in our state and built a nationally-prominent program in just five years.
Trickey died this week at age 79.
"Ken had a huge influence in basketball not only in this state but all over the country," said former Kansas coach Ted Owens. "What he did at Oral Roberts is amazing."
Trickey was the architect of a college basketball program that played in and hosted the most significant college basketball game in our state's history.
In 1974, ORU reached the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight against Kansas at the deluxe Mabee Center in south Tulsa. Kansas won in overtime.
Few voices within college basketball carry as much weight as Mike Krzyzewski. The Duke coach is essentially a modern-day John Wooden. So when he takes college presidents and administrators to task over conference realignment, the criticism produces waves instead of mere ripples.
Basically, the Maryland move to the Big Ten has Coach K upset, lamenting and generally just sick of the new normal in college athletics. He, in a word, "hates" it.
"I hate the fact that we get rid of, in our own conference with Maryland leaving, 60 years of tradition based on a decision right now because you think you're going to make more money in a certain situation," Krzyzewski said. "You give up what really makes college athletics, which is the traditions."
Hospital officials say a Utah State basketball player who collapsed at practice has been moved out of the intensive care unit and upgraded to fair condition.
Creighton guard Josh Jones will be held overnight and undergo further testing Friday at a Lincoln hospital after passing out before the Bluejays' game against Nebraska.
Long Beach State coach Dan Monson knew what his 49ers were up against in facing No. 4 Syracuse. His game plan went out the window in a hurry.
C.J. Fair had 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds and Michael Carter-Williams added 15 points and 10 assists as the Orange bolted to an early lead and breezed to an 84-53 victory Thursday night.
The Orange outrebounded Long Beach State 10-2 and gained a 16-4 lead in less than 6 minutes, then used the long ball to pull away.
"Our margin for error is zero," Monson said. "You can't simulate that length. You can do all the rebounding drills you want. It just knocked us back and we were never able to recover. We let them get off to a good start and didn't make them uncomfortable."
Syracuse entered the game 33 of 112 from beyond the arc (29.5 percent), and without super sub James Southerland's contribution - 18 of 38 (47.4 percent) - that figure was a whole lot worse (20.3 percent). In its win over Eastern Michigan on Monday night, Syracuse shot 1 for 10 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished 5 of 22.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Big 12 Composite Schedule
The Gulfshore Invitational, which has been a staple of the Collier County winter sports scene, announced its new, national format and field of 21 teams today.
Brackets for the two tournaments, a 14-team bracket of sanctioned schools and a seven-team bracket of unsanctioned ones, will be revealed within a week, associate director Mike Horn said.
The title games will be played on New Year’s Eve at a time to be announced next week.
The Invitational will take place Dec. 27-31 at Community School of Naples, a week after the similar State Farm City of Palms Classic is played Dec. 18-22 at Bishop Verot.
There are no local teams in the Invitational’s field.
Prime Prep Academy, a school co-founded this year by Fort Myers native and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, will be in the Invitational’s unsanctioned bracket.
Other teams of note include Montverde Academy and Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln.
Players of note include Wayne Selden, a University of Kansas recruit at Tilton (N.H.) School. He is believed to be one of the top five players in the nation, and Kasey Hill of Montverde Academy, a University of Florida recruit.
“We’re putting together a tournament as something special for the community,” said Horn, a Naples native. “Everybody was great to work with. The teams all expressed an interest in coming down to Florida.”
One high-major college coach who was in attendance left thinking there was no doubt Okafor is the best player in the nation after witnessing his 34-point, nine-rebound performance against N.C. State recruit BeeJay Anya, who had 11 points and five rebounds.
"I think he's the No. 1 player in the country no matter the grade," the coach said. "Just his offensive package, you don't see that from a center, especially a kid his age. Left hand, right hand, putting it on the floor, jab step, you name it, he's got it all, makes free throws. It's ridiculous."
City/Suburban Hoops Report publisher Joe Henricksen, an Illinois-based evaluator, agreed with the coach.
"I can't remember ever seeing a more dominating performance in a season-opening game," Henricksen said. "We -- and by we, I mean fans, media and analysts -- should be celebrating a Jahlil Okafor here in Chicago and in Illinois. He's that type of rare, eye-opening talent. Just an absolutely dominating figure. At his age, at his position and with his advanced skill at that size, he most certainly needs to be mentioned with any high school player in America regardless of class."
Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter may be biased, but he backed up the same belief with an explanation.
"He's the best player in the country, in our opinion," Slaughter said after Saturday's game. "A lot of times, it gets diluted because we live in a city of great basketball, but when we look at it, when we ask ourselves and we ask other people, he's the one person no one can compare. So at the end of the day, that's what he is -- the best player."
My 2012 KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube