KUAD: Coach Self previews TCU
KUAD: KU hosts TCU Pregame Notes
LJW Smithology: Getting to know TCU
This is another spread that surprises me.
I understand that bettors might be hesitant to get back with KU after Tuesday's road loss at West Virginia, but I still expected the line to go above 21 with KU returning home.
TCU's profile doesn't suggest that this should be close. A team that relies on free throws to score while also fouling too often isn't likely to get many favors at Allen Fieldhouse, and the Horned Frogs' turnover woes also should allow KU plenty of transition opportunities — another scary proposition when playing in Lawrence.
KU's biggest concern has to be its own turnovers, though I think we'll see the Jayhawks return to their pre-WVU ball-handling ways. With an extra day off and giveaways being such an issue Tuesday, it's hard for me to envision guards like Frank Mason and Wayne Selden both doubling up on such poor outings.
Though TCU surged to 65th in the KenPom rankings last season, it's fallen back in the mid-100s this year because of its dreadful offense (258th in adjusted offensive efficiency).
The Horned Frogs likely won't get calls to save them; they're unlikely to make many field goals (because of their poor shooting and KU's strong defense); and they also probably will have turnover issues.
Add it all up, it's hard to see TCU making it to 60 points, even if it ends up as a high-possession game.
Kansas 85, TCU 57
Jesse's pick to cover spread: Kansas
ABOUT TCU (9-7, 1-3 Big 12): A rebuilding program at TCU seems to have hit a plateau. A year ago, the Horned Frogs finished 18-15 overall and 4-14 in the Big 12, the program’s first winning season since coach Trent Johnson took over in 2012. This year, beset by injuries and the exit of standout point guard Kyan Anderson, TCU is treading water at the bottom of the conference. The Horned Frogs are playing without standout Kenrich Williams, who is out for the season because of a knee injury. Forward Chris Washburn also missed the season’s first 11 games. With the roster short-handed, TCU lost to South Dakota State, SMU, Rhode Island and Washington during the nonconference schedule. The Frogs have been better at home, beating Texas and playing West Virginia close. But they’ve been a disaster on the road, suffering blowout losses at Oklahoma State and Baylor. Saturday could follow the same pattern. The Horned Frogs are 1-10 all-time against Kansas, with the lone victory coming in Fort Worth during the 2012-13 season. One question: Will Malique Trent, who is averaging 11.7 points per game, return against KU? Trent missed TCU’s last game because of a violation of team rules.
In his four Big 12 games, Bragg has combined for 33 minutes, 15 points, 10 rebounds, four fouls and five turnovers.
The most skilled of the bunch, Bragg sometimes looks a little too eager to make something happen right away and ends up rushing himself into a bad pass or a missed shot from close range.
If Kansas can take control of today’s game early, the 6-foot-9, 220-pound Bragg might be allowed to play through a mistake or two, get a good sweat going, compete with a free mind, settle down and not look so much like he's rushing to make it somewhere on time. It's tough to imagine any more welcome development for the Jayhawks than Bragg emerging.
Ellis could use the help. As the season wears on and the aches and pains mount for the players, it wouldn’t hurt for Ellis to get more rest. Bragg by far is the best option to replace Ellis’ scoring punch when he rests, so a breakthrough performance for the freshman could be a big step forward for the team.
By now, of course, coach Bill Self has come to understand that this is who Ellis is. He will never possess the brash outward exterior of a classic alpha dog. He will never take over a game by the sheer will of personality. But as the Jayhawks return to the floor Saturday against TCU, 9-7, Self would like to see his team make a more concerted effort to feed Ellis in the post.
The case for more Ellis is an easy one. In four Big 12 games, he has averaged 20 points and nine rebounds, shooting 46 percent from the floor while increasing his scoring average to a career-high 16.3 points per game. On a team with limited low-post scoring, Ellis, a senior, is proving himself as more than just a versatile scorer. He’s also filling a glaring need in the paint.
…“We had a lot of trouble with getting Perry the ball and putting him in position to score,” Mason said. “Even though he scored a lot of points, I think we could have gotten him the ball more. He could have got more angles and things like that.”
As Kansas moves forward, the Jayhawks will remember West Virginia. If Ellis is rolling, it’s in their best interest to keep him well-fed.
“That’s on me and Devonte’ (Graham), but mainly me,” Mason said. “I gotta do a better job of getting him the ball and putting him in positions to score on the block.”
Ernie Grunfeld doesn’t deserve praise for much, but moving up in this past summer’s NBA Draft to snag Kelly Oubre from the Atlanta Hawks turned out to be the most impressive decision he’s made in a very long time.
…Oubre checked into the game, knocked down a key 3-point shot and immediately made an impact on the defensive end of the floor. For a 20-year-old rookie, Oubre has already shown an incredible ability to get necessary stops down the stretch. He’s found a way to rip the ball away from the offensive player inside, creating momentum-changing transition opportunities on the opposite end.
Coming into the league, I expected Oubre to go out of his way to earn minutes — meaning, he’d try to do too much. That hasn’t been the case, though. Instead, Oubre is earning playing time by committing himself defensively and knocking down 3-point shots.
The Pistons late-game meltdown in the Grizzlies game was the biggest reason they lost. But the no-call foul on Marcus Morris’ drive to the rim with 10 seconds left erased an almost certain victory for the Pistons, and gave the Grizzlies the ball with a chance to win.
The Grizzlies capitalized on the ensuing possession thanks to an off balanced Mario Chalmers game-winner. Ironically, he also drew a foul call.
A day later, the NBA reviewed the sequence of plays, and determined the officials got the no-call on Morris’ drive wrong.
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Big 12/College News
After Monmouth held on for a 110–102 win on the road against Iona, things got heated in the postgame handshake line.
Following 40 minutes of play that Monmouth coach King Rice described as “chippy,” a scuffle broke out, and Iona’s Jordan Washington slapped Monmouth bigman Chris Brady.
More words were exchanged following the incident.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Watch for This Part II: DeSoto 6-10 forward Marques Bolden is one of the nation’s top unsigned seniors. Kentucky’s Coach Cal (John Calipari) or Duke’s Coach K or KU’s Coach Bill Self could always get a private jet into Redbird airport and stop by.
Watch for This Part III: The shoes. Nike has a contract with DeSoto, Kentucky, Duke and Bolden’s summer league team. Kansas has adidas. Guess which affiliation Bolden is expected to choose?
The Naismith Trophy released its midseason team of players under consideration for the National Player of the Year award
Alabama pledge Terrance Ferguson from Advanced Preparatory International and Marques Bolden from DeSoto are among the 25 players on the boys list. Ferguson is ranked as the 12th-best recruit in the nation in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, and Bolden is No. 16.
The common question most people will have concerning Kobi Simmons lies within the starting rotation next season, and if this pushes away Josh Jackson. Jackson is the No. 1 ranked player in the country, and he's going to start where ever he goes. A Kobi Simmons commitment doesn't take Josh Jackson out of the equation, and could even help depending on their relationship and how great Simmons is of a recruiter. That just gives Arizona that much more depth next season, whether or not Allonzo Trier decides to bolt to the NBA.
Phoenix Hillcrest Prep basketball program director Matt Allen said he switched the high school players' academics in November from Starshine Academy to Arizona Connections Academy to avoid having course work denied by the NCAA.
The NCAA came to Starshine Academy in October to check on the educational status of the new national basketball prep academy that is housed on its campus in Phoenix.
In the high school portal in the NCAA Eligibility Center website, under Starshine Academy, it reads, "Coursework from this school/program does not meet NCAA nontraditional core-course legislation."
"When all of this was going on, they said they'd send a letter in two weeks and never did," Allen said. "There was no communication since they came in. It was taking too long. I didn't get an answer. So I had to fix the problem.
"When it got late in the semester, I wasn't going to put my kids in a bind. They still do classes online. All of that is accredited and approved."
One of the nation’s best high school basketball players will visit Kansas on Saturday when No. 1-ranked Jayhawks play host to TCU at Allen Fieldhouse.
Michael Porter Jr., a junior swingman at Tolton Catholic in Columbia, will make the visit in an unofficial capacity. Porter’s high school team is set to face Blue Valley Northwest at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Johnson County Community College in the Best of the Midwest Showcase. The fortuitous scheduling will allow the entire Tolton team to visit Allen Fieldhouse in the afternoon, when KU-TCU tips off at 1 p.m..
Porter, a 6-foot-8 guard, is the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2017 recruiting class, according to Rivals.com. He has scholarship offers from every prominent program in the country, and he is drawing heavy interest from both Kansas and Missouri. His younger brother, Jontay, is a 6-foot-8 power forward and has already verbally committed to play at Washington.
The second annual 810 Varsity Best of the Midwest Showcase tips off at Johnson County Community College on Saturday, January 16, 2016. The all-day event features seven games with schools from Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia, including Father Tolton Catholic and Michael Porter, a consensus top 3 recruit nationally for the 2017 class. Over the summer, Porter cutting down his list to include Kansas, Mizzou, Duke, Kentucky and other national powers.
“Porter has been a special player that you see once in a lifetime,” said 810 Varsity’s Chad Rader of the 6-foot-8 junior. “Kansas and many others have been recruiting him a long time, and for good reason. He's the most highly regarded player nationally to play in Kansas City in a basketball game since Danny Manning.”
The Best of the Midwest Showcase was organized by 810 Varsity, the high school entity affiliated with Sports Radio 810 WHB, in starting a regional event to Kansas City. Among the matchups, the headliner with Blue Valley Northwest – the top team in Kansas Class 6A vs. Father Tolton Catholic and Porter at 8:30 p.m.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube