KUAD: Kansas at Texas Tech pregame notes
2/9/15, 9:59 PM
Kansas just won the #Big12 again
Six lucky numbers on a scratch-off ticket could see one lucky fan at the Texas Tech men’s basketball game versus the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks win $1 million.
To draw fans in for the Red Raiders Big 12 Conference matchup versus Kansas, Tech promotions scheduled a lottery-based contest for its million-dollar giveaway.
At the arena’s entrances, Tech promotions will hand out one scratch-off card to each of the first 10,000 fans to enter the arena. Both students and local fans can take part in the giveaway.
During the second half, Tech will play a video revealing the six winning numbers for the $1 million prize.
Tech promotions does not guarantee a million-dollar winner, but if a fan’s card reveals five of the six winning numbers, they win a $1,000 prize.
…Although Tech expects a large crowd at the Kansas game, Goodson said the promotion encourages more fans to attend the game.
“I know Kansas is Kansas,” Goodson said. “We wanted to make sure that it’s not only normally full like it would be for a Kansas game, but it’s extra packed.”
By packing in more fans into the stadium, the Tech promotions team looks to create a loud environment against a ranked Kansas team.
• Drawing fouls: Much like TCU, one of Texas Tech's best offensive weapons is getting to the free throw line. The Red Raiders are eighth nationally in offensive free throw rate and second out of 10 teams in Big 12 play.
• Shot blocking: Tech's defense has been significantly better than its offense thanks to a defense that doesn't have a glaring weakness. The Red Raiders' D doesn't have many overwhelming strengths either, though, other than a block percentage that ranks 69th nationally. TTU is best rejecting shots at the rim, ranking 49th nationally in that stat.
• Offensive rebounding: Tech misses a lot of shots, but it also gets a high percentage of those attempts back. The Red Raiders are 47th in offensive rebound percentage with numbers that have dropped slightly in Big 12 play.
…Both teams have been trending in different directions since conference play began, which makes me like KU to cover here. I'd expect a win in the mid-teens, which would be a nice recovery for the Jayhawks following Saturday's road loss to OSU.
Kansas 68, Texas Tech 53
Jesse's pick to cover spread: Kansas
TCJ Quick Scout
After a couple days of self-reflection, Bill Self says his team has an understanding of what went wrong in a 67-62 road loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday.
“We didn’t play with fire that you’d hope to play with,” Self said. “We’ve said it a thousand times. I go around with our guys, ‘What was different the second half?’ Basically it’s similar responses: ‘Our energy level wasn’t the same,’ this and that.
“Certainly, I think we’ve identified what our situation is and when we don’t play as well, but I don’t think we are yet able to correct it when things start in a downward spiral.”
…More than anything, Self wants to see an improvement in his team’s energy level and attention to detail, especially when it comes to the scouting report.
“That happens a lot with teams throughout a season, they get a little full of themselves and take the foot off the gas or they lose their edge a little bit. So we’ve got to get back and get our edge back,” Self said. “The last two road games we’ve played, we haven’t played well at all. We need to get back on a better track.
“Everybody talks about winning all the time, winning and losing, and obviously, we’re all judged by that. More important to me is if we just that we play better, play right, then the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”
KU junior Perry Ellis has 983 career points entering the game, meaning he needs 17 to become the 56th KU player to score 1,000 points. ... KU leads the all-time series with Texas Tech 28-4. KU has won 11 straight in the series. The Jayhawks are 6-3 in United Supermarkets Arena. ... Self is 15-6 against Tech, including a 14-3 mark as KU coach. Smith is 2-6 vs. KU, 0-3 while at TTU.
In Self’s first 11 seasons at Kansas, his teams lost 31 Big 12 games. More than 41 percent of those losses (13 of 31) came during the first two weeks of February. There are various theories to explain Kansas’ February swoons. Perhaps the Jayhawks let up after a strong start in Big 12 play; perhaps an opponent has more motivation to secure a signature victory; perhaps the real outlier is Kansas’ ability to roll through the first month of the Big 12 conference, and the February losses are just a natural regression to the mean.
Saturday’s loss at Oklahoma State, of course, was not quite in the category of stunning or unexpected. The Jayhawks lost on the road to a team that is likely headed for the NCAA Tournament. Road losses happen. Self’s teams have historically struggled at Gallagher-Iba Arena. And according to advanced statistical site KenPom.com, Oklahoma State was a one-point favorite on Saturday.
But as No. 8 Kansas prepares for a trip to Texas Tech on Tuesday night, the Jayhawks will try to fight against any tendency to let one February loss turn into a full-fledged slide. The Red Raiders enter with just two conference victories, but Kansas has had its share of struggles inside United Spirit Arena, especially during the early years of the Self era. Last year, the Jayhawks needed a layup from Andrew Wiggins on a broken play in the final seconds to escape with a 64-63 victory.
The Red Raiders are a half-game ahead of last-place TCU in the Big 12, but have been considerably more competitive at home. After notching a shocking upset of Iowa State on Jan. 24, Texas Tech handled a short-handed Kansas State team 64-47 last Wednesday. The Red Raiders are coming off a 75-38 loss at Iowa State and have lost their last four road games by an average margin of 30.2 points. Texas Tech also lost 86-54 to Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 10. For the Red Raiders, the struggles have been most glaring on offense. Texas Tech ranks 262nd in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. The Red Raiders are making just 36 percent of their two-point attempts during Big 12 play. Injuries haven’t helped, either. Freshman forward Justin Gray, who started 13 games, is expected to miss the rest of the season because of nagging knee injuries. Gray was averaging 6.7 points per game.
KC Star preview
2/8/15, 6:25 PM
#NBLCanada is pleased to announce that Kevin Young has been named Player of the Week two weeks in a row!! BIG CONGRATS to our @KevinYoung40
Apparently, Joel Embiid can really stroke it.
Embiid, the Sixers’ No. 3 overall pick, continues to rehab his foot while fans eagerly anticipate his NBA debut. However, if you get to the game early enough you will probably see the smooth big-man making it rain.
“We tell people if you want to see Joel, come at 5:30 [p.m.] and watch him shoot before the game,” Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie told play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff on Comcast SportsNet, during the Sixers-Warriors game on Monday night. “[Head coach] Brett [Brown] says he may be our second best shooter. He’s really shot it well just from the perimeter early on. He’s obviously not available to fully run.”
While the Sixers are admittedly taking a safe, methodical approach with their hopeful franchise player from Cameroon, Hinkie is not ruling out the possibility of seeing Embiid lace ‘em up this season.
“It’s still too early,” Hinkie said on Embiid playing this season. “We still talked about that. He’ll have a number of benchmarks that he’ll have to meet and if he meets them he’ll play. But if he doesn’t, well do what’s in the best interest of him for his long-term health. I think it’s so key to really be focused on the sober reality of what it is you’re trying to do and our goals here are really high. Our goals are to build over time a championship caliber team that can compete year in and year out and that doesn’t happen overnight.”
But, Wiggins perceived shift in mindset goes beyond statistical analysis, as the eye test tells you that he's gained confidence and looks more comfortable with his instinctual decision-making. His mind has caught up to both his body and the speed of the NBA game. Wiggins now comes off screens prepared to attack and defenders have been far more back on their heels than they found themselves being in the early goings.
But what should we have expected? Wiggins was the number one overall pick. And Wiggins is young. Very young. Young enough that perhaps we should allow more time for a player of his abundantly apparent physical tools to develop. Not every star is Lebron or KD, pre-packaged and ready for primetime right from the jump. Wiggins is rapidly becoming a dichotomy in the nature of immediacy within basketball. While the criticism levied here was simply based on Wiggins possibly winning the rookie of the year while enmeshed in a woeful statistical season, Wiggins superior skillset has lead to unfairness in terms of the quickness to judge) What level of star he will be seems uncertain, but he will be a star. For some it takes more time than for others. Paul George and Dirk Nowitzki didn’t come out the gate superstars, and perhaps we need to be more conscious in terms of our patience, or lack thereof, when defining a player who is still so far from defining himself. To those that were so ready to write Wiggins off as just a good player, be it due to his motor or otherwise, it's important to remember that while Wiggins may be flawed, he's also still raw. He is raw, both of physical ability and mental composition, but just like Wiggins himself, the narrative of Andrew is still developing. And I, for one, am excited to watch him write it.
Big 12 Student-Athlete Spotlight: Asia Boyd
“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
2/9/15, 11:23 AM
The Big 12 has the No. 1 RPI in the nation and has the best record in the nation posting a 105-22 (.827) overall record.
With KU sitting at 8-2 heading into Tuesday's night's road battle at Texas Tech, the Jayhawks, once again, appear to be in great shape in the race to win their 11th straight Big 12 title, two wins clear of both teams in the loss column with eight games to play.
Here's the thing. Both Oklahoma and Iowa State are plenty talented enough to threaten KU's streak, but both teams are running out of time. The Cyclones don't play KU again and, therefore, will need some serious help to catch Kansas. Oklahoma has one more head-to-head match-up with KU on the schedule, but it's not until March 7. Given the way things have played out in the Big 12 Conference so far this season, is there anyone out there who thinks OU will avoid suffering another loss before then?
One thing that's important to remember is that these two teams play each other again — Monday, March 2 in Ames, Iowa — so at least one of them is guaranteed to finish with at least five conference losses.
West Virginia, at 6-4, is the only other team in the Big 12 with four losses, but the Mountaineers have lost two straight and still have to go to Ames, Lawrence, Stillwater and Waco. WVU has the most to gain in that it plays KU head-to-head two more times, but Bob Huggins' squad also has the toughest remaining schedule of the four Big 12 title contenders.
Nothing was more must-see TV on Monday night than OU-Iowa State — and everyone in college basketball should be thankful for that.
College basketball has an excitement problem. As in, the sport doesn’t have enough of it. Too many fouls. Too much time on the shot clock. Too little flow.
It’s just hard to watch.
For the most part, you’ve got to really love a team to sit and watch a bunch of college basketball. If you don’t have any heart strings attached, you don’t have a lot of reasons to watch.
OU and Iowa State gave people reason to watch.
At one point midway through the first half, Iowa State hit four consecutive threes, and every single one of them was assisted. Textbook offense. Pretty basketball. What’s more, the last three of those threes came on three consecutive possessions in less than a minute. Bang. Bang. Bang.
It was a barrage.
Kruger was so desperate for something — anything — that could change the complexion of the game that he subbed out TaShawn Thomas for Austin Mankin. One of the league’s better big men was replaced by a guard who had played a total of 11 minutes since the start of the calendar year.
Darned if it didn’t work.
Oh, Mankin didn’t come in and score a dozen points, didn’t even score any in the minute-plus that he was on the floor, but the Sooners’ four-guard lineup disrupted the Cyclones’ flow. Iowa State had two empty possessions, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but at that point, it was like the eye of a hurricane.
The Sooners pounced on the opportunity. They scored on back-to-back possessions, a Buddy Hield jumper and an Isaiah Cousins three. The Cyclones’ lead went from 10 to five in the blink of an eye.
OU ended the half on a 14-4 run that tied the game.
With five teams in the Top 25, the Big 12 has big games pretty much every week.
This one will be no different as the 10 teams in college basketball’s deepest conference jockey for position.
It started on Monday night, when No. 21 Oklahoma State won at No. 16 Baylor 74-65 and No. 17 Oklahoma beat No. 14 Iowa State 94-83.
On Wednesday, No. 21 West Virginia tries to end a two-game losing streak at Kansas State, which may need a late push to get an NCAA Tournament bid.
The Big 12’s big day is Saturday, highlighted by Kansas at Baylor.
The rest of Saturday’s schedule includes more important games in the Big 12 race.
Iowa State (17-6), down three spots to No. 14 in the latest poll, faces a tough test at West Virginia.
After knocking off the Cyclones, Oklahoma (17-7) plays at Kansas State after climbing four sports to No. 17 in the latest poll.
Oklahoma State (16-7) closes out its week against TCU, which is 1-9 in Big 12 play.
Beating Baylor in Waco was just the latest chip in the Cowboys pile they're hoping to cash in come Selection Sunday. Check out its last five games: four wins (all over ranked teams), two of them on the road. The only loss? That came to a ranked Oklahoma team, at home, by eight points.
Suddenly, this is a team that is playing its way deeper into the NCAA Tournament "lock" position.
When Oklahoma State began conference play on January 3, it was 10-2. Decent enough record, but lacking any real substance. Sure, there was a nice RPI win over Tulsa, but a lot of the other Cowboy non-conference marquee opponents have fizzled out. Oregon State has been mediocre; Memphis has struggled; while Oklahoma State lost to both South Carolina and Maryland.
…Kansas has owned the conference for the last decade and appears headed in that direction this season, but has lacked a true contender.
Iowa State looked like the natural choice, winning the first meeting between the two teams this season, but was run out of the gym last week, losing by 13. Oklahoma? Maybe, but we won't know until the final game of the regular season when the Sooners host the Jayhawks. West Virginia? It has some soul-searching to do after back-to-back double-digit losses last week.
So why not Oklahoma State?
Of its six remaining games, the Cowboys have three against the bottom two teams (Texas Tech and TCU, a combined 3-18 in the league), two against West Virginia and a home game against Iowa State. If nothing else, it's a very favorable slate to have in the stretch run of the season.
We've learned to take everything in the Big 12 with a grain of salt this season. One week, a team is hot. The next, it's scrambling.
College basketball fans unaware that the NIT still exists might have reason to tune in next month to the tournament that steadily has faded from prominence.
The shot clock for the 32-team men's tournament that features the best teams that come away empty on Selection Sunday will be reduced from 35 seconds to 30 in order to see what impact it has on scoring and pace of play, the NCAA announced Friday. Also, the restricted arc area under the basket will be extended from 3 feet from the center of the basket to 4 feet.
Kansas coach Bill Self consistently has spoken in favor of shaving the shot clock to 30 seconds.
“A lot of coaches are not in favor of shot-clock reduction,” Self said last month when the discuss the down-ward scoring trend in college basketball. “They think that if you have trouble scoring now try getting a shot earlier in the clock where you don’t give the defense a chance to break down. I’m not one who feels that way. I think the shot clock should be reduced because coaches will adjust and try to score earlier in the clock than if there was a 35-second clock, as opposed to 30, but a lot of coaches across America do not feel strongly about that at all.”
The signage is everywhere: in giant lettering over the entrance to Alico Arena, on facades ribboning the inside of the gym, all over pregame media materials and in most every Tweet the school sends out.
In retrospect, though, Dunk City died on the court in Cowboys Stadium in the Sweet 16 almost two years ago. It never got on the plane with FGCU back from Dallas.
It's just taking varying lengths of time for many to realize it.
Even before FGCU has received final exclusive rights to the valuable brand name that in many ways has come to define an entire university, other signs – proverbial ones – are flourishing to indicate that Dunk City, the playing style and maybe that valuable brand name too, is a moniker best meant for the past.
For a host of reasons ranging from a different philosophical approach to the game to the life-sapping zone defenses that are making college basketball "unwatchable" around the country this year, FGCU's game isn't quite the same as the one that produced a magical March two years ago.
And the Eagles – tied atop the Atlantic Sun Conference after Saturday's 67-51 victory at Stetson with a 17-7 overall record – say they're fine with that.
"I think winning matters, no matter how you do it," said senior point guard Brett Comer, he of the famously daring lob passes that helped make FGCU the first No. 15 seed ever to reach the Sweet 16.
"When I was younger I thought (style points matter). But that was me being young. I realized that the flashy plays aren't always the best plays. If it's there it's there. Just do whatever you've got to do to win."
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Stephen Zimmerman continued his outstanding senior campaign as he dominated the Etiwanda with his vast perimeter skill set and feel for the game.
…Ivan Rabb (No. 5 in the ESPN 100) and Boise State-bound Paris Austin had their moments against national power Oak Hill Academy. Rabb has some big finishes over Ohio State-bound Daniel Giddens while Austin continues to prove he is a major steal for the Broncos due to his ability to create plays for his teammates in traffic.
…After unveiling his talents at the Hoop Hall, sophomore Charles O'Bannon Jr. continued to exhibit his scoring prowess at the Nike Extravaganza. The rangy wing-type will be one of the most sought after players in the country in his class.
ESPN ($) Nike Extravaganza
.@iammaliknewman & Callaway set to play Dominican (Wi.) & @Diamond_Stone33 in a nationally televised game on Feb. 14
2/6/15, 11:37 PM
Wheeler (GA) F Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO): 29 PTS, 20 REB in a 61-58 win over Pope @Wheeler_Cats @WheelerHoops
Jayson Tatum was trying to make his way out of the O’Fallon Panther Dome on Saturday night, but the people around him weren’t cooperating.
Considered by most recruiting services as the top junior prospect in the country, the 6-foot-9 Chaminade College Prep star did his best to accommodate those seeking autographs, photos and “selfies” or videos.
Tatum won over the Panther Dome sellout crowd of more than 3,000 Saturday night at the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout by erupting for 42 points. He did it with 3-pointers, impressive fadeaways, thunderous dunks and smooth moves to the rim, lifting his season scoring average above 27 points.
The 42 points wasn’t even a season high; he had 45 in a game earlier this season.
These were the types of moves that had fans flying out of their seats, clapping and pointing to the court or trying in vain to capture them on cell phone pictures or video. Chaminade (16-3) is invited to shootouts all over the country and Tatum and his talented teammates fill gyms wherever they go.
He had 16 points at halftime, then exploded for 26 in the final two quarters as the Red Devils finally overtook upset-minded East St. Louis on the way to an 80-66 victory.
After signing and posing dozens of times, he finally was able to begin eating a small bag of chips and was walking out of the near-empty gym.
“Hey Jayson,” a voice said, and it was time for one more photo.
This is nothing new for Tatum, who has scholarship offers from virtually every top program in the nation and highlight reels all over YouTube and the traditional recruiting sites. As of Monday he had 11,666 followers on Twitter (@Im_that_dude22).
When he played at the Highland Optimist Shootout earlier this season, more than 50 youngsters were camped outside the Chaminade locker room just hoping to get an autograph. He made sure to sign for as many as he could.
Polite and humble to a fault, he took care of this last autograph and photo at O’Fallon and finally was able to leave.
“I’m just happy that people enjoy watching me play,” said Tatum, whom some feel could be playing in the National Basketball Association someday. “I’m just excited we got this win with the adversity, we were down most of the game and to come back and win by 14, an away game, most of the crowd was against us, I’m just happy we won.
“This shows how good of a team we are, how much depth. Guys are growing up this year.”
Nike Hoops Summit USA Roster announced (Asst Coach L.J. Goolsby, KC Run GMC)
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