KUAD: Kansas hosts Texas Tech Pregame Notes
The Texas Tech men’s basketball team will carry a five-game winning streak and meet its fourth Top 5 opponent of the season versus No. 2 Kansas Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. CT, and the game will be televised by ESPN in addition to being available on www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app. Mark Nealy and Miles Simon will serve as the announcing team.
TTAD: Pregame Notes
From his experience watching Tech face the Jayhawks, sophomore guard Justin Gray said the Allen Fieldhouse presents an overwhelming level of energy.
“It’s probably by far the most hostile environment I’ve ever been in,” Gray said. “It’s definitely going to be eye opening for some of the guys.”
“We have to rebound the ball and limit their second shots,” Smith said. “I believe in this team. Of any team I’ve had here in position to go in and win and compete in Allen Fieldhouse, it’s this one.”
With all due respect to the Red Raiders -- and we mean that sincerely, considering their five straight wins, upsets of Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma, and furious push into the NCAA tournament bracket -- Saturday afternoon in Lawrence, Kansas, is all about the Jayhawks. More specifically, it's about the Jayhawks officially sealing their 12th consecutive share of the Big 12 title. One win will do the job. Given that this game is at home, and that Bill Self has more Big 12 titles than home losses in the past decade-plus, no one would blame the craftsmen down at the conference trophy shop if they got a head start engraving.
1. Can Texas Tech stand in the way of Kansas getting the win and earning at least a share of the Big 12 title?
Andy Katz: Can it? Yes. Will it? No. The game is at Allen Fieldhouse, and as well as Texas Tech is playing I don't see them winning in Lawrence.
Jeff Goodman: I'm going to try and waste as few words on this as possible: NO.
John Gasaway: I never say never, but I do say not likely. The Red Raiders are on the cusp of a really nice NCAA tournament seed, and that's their own great story. But Tech couldn't beat Kansas in Lubbock last month, and Tubby Smith's guys have actually been outscored to this point in Big 12 play. I'll take the Jayhawks.
"There are a lot of positives about our league that winning it this year, at least from our perspective, would probably be more of an accomplishment," Self said, "because you're not going through one or two teams. You've got to beat six or whatever. And so that to me is pretty significant."
Just to be clear, Self adds: "If we're fortunate enough to win it."
But consider the fact that the Red Raiders are 0-15 at Allen Fieldhouse, and Kansas has won 38 straight in their building, and the enormity of the challenge facing coach Tubby Smith's crew comes into focus.
…"We should be talking about playing Texas Tech, and that's how we'll handle it with our guys," Self said. "If we are able to take care of business and do well, then you have a chance to celebrate a little bit. But the reality of it is our last three games are against teams that are all ranked in the top 25 in the RPI, so we've still got a lot of work to do."
It has been an extended cold streak with predictions as KU has continued its strong play.
The Jayhawks have covered the spread in eight straight games, and that seems to have been a factor in the line creeping a bit higher for Saturday’s contest.
Obviously, Texas Tech enters with some red flags. The Red Raiders are unlikely to get a friendly whistle at Allen Fieldhouse, and that could be an issue for a team that relies to heavily on free throws for scoring. Having poor three-point defense also can be costly when going up against KU’s sharpshooters.
Texas Tech has a chance to make it difficult for KU inside, though. Add in the fact that the Red Raiders’ lack of turnovers should help them limit the Jayhawks’ transition opportunities, and I don’t see this game turning into a blowout.
I do see it as a KU win, though.
Kansas 75, Texas Tech 65
KC Star Newell Quick Scout
Even if the Red Raiders, 11-point underdogs, set off the improbable series of events with their first-ever victory at Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks could still clinch the conference Saturday with losses by OU (1 p.m. at No. 25 Texas) and WVU (5 p.m. at Oklahoma State).
For now, though, the rare opportunity to be the Big 12’s morning game appears to give KU an unintended opportunity to wrap everything up ... with enough time left to grab an afternoon special somewhere in Lawrence.
“There’s nothing better than a Saturday afternoon game in the Fieldhouse — sunshine coming through the windows, it’s great,” Self said. “And the good thing about it is, you know, it’s so early, you’ve got time to go get lunch afterward.
“Hopefully 10 hours of sleep will be enough for (the students) that particular night,” Self added, “and they can actually get out of bed.”
“If you go through each conference, you’ll find that maybe over half the time, the best team wins it, but barely over half,” Pomeroy said. “An 18-game schedule is a really short time to try to prove who the best team is, and so often, it doesn’t do that good of a job of it.”
Yet no unexpected team has risen up to beat KU in the Big 12 — not even at a time when the conference is at its strongest.
According to Pomeroy’s numbers, this year’s Big 12 is tied as the toughest out of 390 conferences in the last 12 seasons, matching the Big Ten in 2010-11. Pomeroy, who calls this year’s Big 12 “historically good,” says if he’d have known the league would turn out this competitive at the beginning of the season, he would have predicted KU’s title streak would have come to an end.
Of course, that doesn’t look like it will happen.
“You have to obviously give Bill Self a ton of credit for what he’s been able to do to prepare his team during the streak,” Pomeroy said. “He obviously gives Kansas some sort of advantage beyond the talent.”
Other college basketball analysts have taken note as well.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas, when asked about KU’s 11 straight conference titles last month, called it “one of the great accomplishments in the history of college basketball.”
“It’s become so commonplace,” Bilas said, “that it’s almost passé to talk about it.”
Seth Greenberg, who is Bilas’ colleague at ESPN, believes the streak is a testament to Self recruiting the right guys then getting them to trust each other while playing hard.
“To be that consistent, to be that good, to be the team — the red-letter game, the biggest game on everyone’s schedule — and have that consistency, it’s mind-boggling. It’s phenomenal,” Greenberg said. “It’s even hard to fathom.”
KC Star via The Oklahoman
Kansas can secure at least a share of its 12th consecutive Big 12 title Saturday with a win over Texas Tech, and -- despite what I think of the job Tubby Smith has done with these Red Raiders -- I'm assuming the second-ranked Jayhawks will do exactly that, if only because they almost never lose inside Allen Fieldhouse.
So congratulations, KU!
And this really is a remarkable achievement.
Indiana's Bob Knight, great as he was, never won more than four consecutive Big Ten titles. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, great as he is, never won more than five consecutive ACC titles. And yet here's Kansas' Bill Self, without a single projected first-round pick in his starting lineup, headed toward a 12th consecutive Big 12 title, and I really don't think we'll ever see anything like this at the Power 5 level again.
That's not hyperbole, by the way.
I really don't think another man will ever string league titles at the Power 5 level the way Bill Self is stringing Big 12 titles right now. So if you're a Kansas fan, enjoy it. And if you're a fan of another Big 12 school, well, nobody coaches anywhere forever, you know?
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Big 12/College News
Eddie Einhorn, who created a sports network that propelled national interest in college basketball, laying a foundation for the immense popularity of the annual tournament known as March Madness, died on Wednesday in Norwood, N.J. He was 80.
…Mr. Einhorn made a more consequential contribution to sports as a television executive. He was in his 20s, a law student at Northwestern University in Chicago, when, working out of his dorm room, he put together a network from a handful of radio stations to broadcast the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament.
This was the late 1950s; college basketball had little more than a regional following for local teams, and Mr. Einhorn was able to purchase the radio rights for a tiny fee.
By the early 1960s, he was broadcasting games on television. But as he recalled in “How March Became Madness,” a 2006 book written with Ron Rapo, interest in college basketball was still so circumscribed that the telecast of the 1962 national final, in which Cincinnati defeated Ohio State, was seen only in Ohio.
The breakthrough came on Jan. 20, 1968, when U.C.L.A., with Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) at center, took a 47-game winning streak into the Houston Astrodome — then just three years old and still thought of as a glamorous building — to face the also undefeated University of Houston and its star center, Elvin Hayes.
More than 52,000 people attended, an extraordinary number for a basketball game even today, and they saw a captivating, tight contest dominated by Hayes, who scored 39 points in a 71-69 Houston victory.
The invincible reputation of U.C.L.A. was punctured, and so was the dominance of Alcindor, who had recently been sidelined with an eye injury. (In a rematch in the N.C.A.A. tournament that year, U.C.L.A trounced Houston, 101-69, holding Hayes to 10 points. Alcindor scored 19.)
The contest in the Astrodome, which came to be called the Game of the Century, was the first college basketball game to be televised nationally in prime time.
Millions watched on TVS — for television sports — as Mr. Einhorn had named his network of some 150 stations in 49 states. Many of the stations were affiliated with CBS, ABC or NBC and angered the parent companies when they broadcast the game instead of the regular network programming.
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