KUAD: Kansas vs Texas Pregame Notes
1/23/15, 10:45 AM
As of last night, 26 NBA scouts were scheduled to attend Texas-Kansas on Saturday. Huge opportunities for Oubre, Alexander, Taylor, Turner.
CBS VIDEO: Preview Kansas vs Texas
The promising freshman big man, the one with the NBA future and impressive stat line and McDonald’s All-American pedigree, is still not a starter.
The promising big man comes off the bench, a consensus top-10 recruit playing fewer than 23 minutes per game on a ranked team in the nation’s deepest conference. He is his team’s most dangerous shot-blocker, its longest inside presence, but he is still not starting. At least not yet.
For the moment, the freshman big man plays behind a cast of veterans, including one forward averaging fewer than six points per game.
Does this sound familiar? This could be Kansas freshman forward Cliff Alexander, of course, but it is not. This is Texas freshman forward Myles Turner, a 7-footer who leads the Longhorns in scoring (11.8 points per game) and rebounding (6.8 boards per contest).
Turner, a native of Bedford, Texas, picked Texas over Kansas last spring after a highly publicized recruitment, donning a burnt orange bucket hat inside his high school gymnasium. His decision, which left Kansas without a classic five-man and added to a collection of emerging talent in Austin, appeared to throw the Big 12’s power structure into question. Perhaps Texas, with its five returning starters and massive frontline, would finally be the team to snuff out Kansas’ streak of 10 straight Big 12 titles.
Kansas men's basketball freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre, Jr., have been named to the 2015 Integris Wayman Tisdale Award Midseason Watch List, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) announced Friday. Members of the USBWA's board of directors chose the players to be included on the list as contenders for the national freshman of the year award.
Alexander and Oubre were two of 14 named to the midseason list and Texas' Myles Turner is the only other Big 12 representative.
Best game of the day -- Kansas at Texas ; 2 p.m. ET, CBS
After getting back over .500 in conference play with back-to-back wins against West Virginia and TCU, Texas kicks off a tough three-game stretch at home against a Kansas team that has been hot-and-cold all season -- even looking like two different teams in the same game against Oklahoma. Yet, Kansas looks like the most reliable option in the Big 12. The Jayhawks' only three losses came against Kentucky, in the CBS Sports Classic, and to Temple and Iowa State on the road. At the same time, there are only a handful of wins where Kansas has looked like a team prepared to make a run in March. Things have felt different recently as Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander have made marked improvements over the last 5-6 games, so it seems like Bill Self has this team close to its peak at an opportune time. Texas' defense has been the star of the last couple wins, but can it lead the Longhorns to two wins in this upcoming stretch against Kansas, Iowa State and Baylor? A third and fourth conference loss before February likely takes Texas out of the regular season title hunt.
The Big 12 has more ranked teams than anyone else, and will likely finish with the highest percentage of teams in the tournament, but we're still waiting for one team to separate itself from the pack. The Big 12 might have eight teams in the field of 68, but how many will be in the conversation for a top seed? This game should help us figure that out, and we're fired up to have it available for you on CBS and here on CBSSports.com.
Last year, I was baffled by the Jayhawks' decision not to shoot more 3s at Austin in an 81-69 loss at Texas. The Longhorns had a clear weakness defending the 3-point line, and instead of trying to take advantage, KU was content to go to the lane while getting 12 shots blocked.
The verdict isn't quite as clear this year on how to attack UT's defense. The Longhorns have done a much better job of limiting opponents' 3-point attempts (98th nationally), so it's not quite as easy to get long range shots as it once was.
If a team had to choose, though, 3-pointers are the better option. Opponents have made 30 percent of their 3s and 36.4 percent of their 2s against the Longhorns, and I don't have to tell you one of those shots gets you an additional point. The math might be different if Texas fouled more, but it's going to be tough to draw whistles in Austin against a team that isn't hack-happy.
…While there is a hint at the end of Self being receptive to "open man taking the open shot" 3-pointers, all that early shot-blocking talk has me thinking the Jayhawks still are going to take it right at Texas' greatest strength.
It didn't work last year, and if KU tries it again, it's unlikely to lead to better results.
Texas 71, Kansas 61
“That definitely adds some emphasis on it,” KU junior forward Perry Ellis said of playing a team that before the season was expected to be KU’s main competition for the title. Two coaches in addition to Self voted UT first in the league.
“As players you compete, and you want to overcome that. That just motivates us to go even harder,” Ellis added.
Self said the Longhorns will be mighty difficult to beat.
“They are huge. They go after every ball. They try to block everything,” Self said of the Longhorns. “They’ll play zone. We’ll have to move the ball and make shots. We have to go with the mindset to get in transition and compete on the glass. If not, it’ll be a long afternoon like last year there.”
ABOUT TEXAS (14-4, 3-2 Big 12): When the Big 12 released its preseason coaches poll in October, Texas was just short of edging perennial favorite Kansas in the coaches’ vote. The Jayhawks received six first-place votes and 78 points; Texas had three first-place votes and 74 points. The Longhorns, of course, returned all five starters off last year’s team and added five-star center Myles Turner, so they were a trendy selection to dethrone Kansas. It hasn’t quite been that smooth. Star guard Isaiah Taylor was sidelined 10 games after suffering a wrist injury in November, and Texas dropped games to No. 1 Kentucky and Stanford while he was out. Taylor returned for Big 12 play, but the Longhorns began 1-2, getting throttled at home by Oklahoma and losing at Oklahoma State. The Longhorns, who rank sixth in the country in defensive efficiency, have rebounded with impressive victories over West Virginia and TCU, but they need a victory on Saturday to keep pace in the ultra-competitive Big 12. Turner, a major Kansas target in recruiting, has mostly come off the bench while leading the team with 11.8 points per game. With the 7-foot Turner in the fold, the Longhorns are one of the nation’s best at protecting the basket. They rank second in the country in block percentage, swatting 19.7 percent of team’s shots inside the three-point line.
1/23/15, 10:51 AM
Tip-off for the January 31st edition of the #SunflowerShowdown is set for 1pm on @espn.
When Missouri Southern visits the MWSU Fieldhouse today for an MIAA clash with Missouri Western, Kansas Jayhawks fans in the stands will see familiar faces sitting with the Lions.
Former KU point guard Jeff Boschee is in his first year as the Southern’s coach and he has former Jayhawks’ teammate Nick Bradford with him on the Lions’ bench as one of his assistants. Boschee joined the Southern coaching staff in 2011 under then-coach Robert Corn. When it became apparent that he would be Corn’s successor, the outgoing coach told him to hire someone he trusted. Boschee found Bradford.
“I called Nick and talked him out of leaving his position at Labette Community College and it’s been great,” Boschee said. “Last year, winning the MIAA championship and making the NCAA tournament and having him be a part of it was pretty cool.
“Having him around is a pretty fun thing.”
Both men played for Kansas under now-North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Boschee said his time on those teams is reflected in both his style of coaching and in his teams’ style of play. He said he still loves the up-tempo and high-energy style of play he learned under Williams and that he tries to treat his players the way he was treated at Kansas.
“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
Across the country, though, the sport remains at an all-time low in popularity since 1985, according to results of the Harris Poll published this week.
The survey conducted in December measures what sport the general population considers its favorite, and for the third year in a row, college hoops claimed 3 percent of the result. Dating back to the Harris Poll's beginning, it's down 3 percentage points.
Notably, men's soccer for the first time jumped past college basketball in the United States with 6 percent of respondents selecting it. That's up 3 percent since 1985.
Topping the Harris Poll — of course — is pro football at 32 percent, followed by baseball with 16 percent and college football at 10 percent. Then came auto racing (7 percent), men's pro basketball (6 percent), soccer and ice hockey (6 percent) before college basketball.
Despite all of the national fame and media attention, when asked the question of whether Morris is ready to turn pro, Beecher's Mr. Basketball is completely honest with himself.
"I need another year," Morris told The Des Moines Register on Thursday. "Deep down inside, I know I'm not ready to guard (players like) Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving."
Morris is enjoying a phenomenal sophomore run with the ninth-ranked Cyclones as one of the hottest guards in college basketball. He averages 10.2 points, 5.8 assists and 3.7 rebounds.
His personal journey from Flint to Ames is frequently the subject of national feature articles from the likes of SI, ESPN and NCAA.com, but Morris is staying level-headed. Professional basketball is another level, so he's not focusing on entering the NBA draft until his game matures.
"Not right now," Morris added. "I'm not looking forward to that anytime soon. God showed me the way my whole life. Whenever it's time, everybody will know, but I don't think it's anytime soon.
"I'm focusing on the season."
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VOTE for Carlton Bragg’s HS Villa Angela-St Joseph
If VASJ is going to advance to the final round and earn the right to compete for a $1,000 donation to the school’s athletic department and the right to earn the title of “America’s Best Boys Basketball Program,” it is going to need the support – and voting power – of all Northeast Ohio hoops fans.
Fans may vote as many times as they’d like for a particular program during the contest period.
Coming off its first loss of the season, Villa Angela-St. Joseph's boys basketball team showed no ill effects as it picked up a 81-65 home win over Central Catholic.
Led by 25 points from seniors Carlton Bragg and Brian Parker, the Vikings (10-1, 4-0), who are ranked No. 1 in the cleveland.com Top 25, won Friday's showdown between the two remaining teams with undefeated conference records in the North Coast League White Division.
…The game also showed a glimpse of how dominant Bragg, who scored 21 points in the second half, can be. It's only a matter of time before he puts two of those halves together and has a game for the ages.
Who stood out for Villa Angela-St. Joseph
Bragg: With 21 points in the second half, Bragg was the closer his team needed. He showed some range, as he hit two 3-pointers.
The Matchup: No. 1 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) will take on Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) at South Point Arena (5 p.m. ET).
Findlay Prep players to watch: Allonzo Trier, an Arizona signee who is ranked No. 15 overall in the ESPN 100, has been lighting up the scoreboard all season long. Trier, a shooting guard, is just picking up where he left off this summer when he led the prestigious Nike EYBL in scoring. Derryck Thornton, a junior who is ranked No. 2 among point guards in the ESPN 60, is widely regarded as the best passer in the 2016 class.
Bishop Gorman players to watch: Stephen Zimmerman, ranked No. 10, and Chase Jeter, a Duke signee who is ranked No. 9, wreak havoc on opposing frontcourts. Their size, strength and versatility are tough to stop.
What to expect: The top ranked Pilots are coming off of a shocking, 76-68, overtime loss to Wayne (Huber Height, Ohio) last weekend and the Gaels fell to No. 4 Montverde (Montverde, Fla.), 76-57, Monday. Neither team wants to make it two in a row, but who has what it takes to get back to the winner’s circle?
The No. 1 large school in the STLhighschoolsports.com rankings, Chaminade (12-3 overall, 4-0 MCC) got another monster performance from junior guard Jayson Tatum. He finished with 34 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals and hit 20 of his 22 free throws.
And, more importantly, a win over a strong league opponent.
“It's a good feeling,” Jayson Tatum said. “Any conference win is a good one, especially beating my pops.”
St Louis PD
Maranatha 67, valley christian 61 >> Tyler Dorsey had 40 points, eight rebounds and five assists
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