“We showed a tremendous amount of what we can do defensive-wise against West Virginia (in Tuesday’s 74-63 home win),” Ellis said. “It’s a mindset of helping each other out. If we take that on the road, we’ll be good.”
“In order to win this league you’ve got to go beat top 15 teams on the road because there’s so many of them. Texas won at West Virginia. Baylor won at Iowa State. OU played unbelievably well at Iowa State and won big at Baylor,” Self said, noting KU’s win at San Diego State is looking good right now with the Aztecs 18-7 overall and 11-1 in Mountain West play. “The other teams in our league have done it and certainly we need to do that as well,” he added.
Bill Self commented earlier this week that this Oklahoma starting lineup is one of the toughest offensive combinations he's had to prepare for during his 13 seasons in Lawrence.
One can certainly understand why. With other Big 12 opponents like Kansas State and West Virginia, the Jayhawks were able to shrink the floor and overhelp on drives, daring those teams to shoot 3s that they weren't comfortable taking.
Obviously, that's not a luxury KU has against OU.
The Sooners are dangerous because Hield, Woodard, Cousins and Spangler are all offensive threats. The three guards can drive to create for themselves, but help too much, and it leaves players open on the perimeter, where the Sooners are the most lethal.
KU actually did a decent job defensively on a per-possession basis in the first matchup, but one has to assume the challenge will be tougher here. Not only will the Sooners get the slight benefit of playing at home, they also shouldn't have to worry about foul trouble issues as much, which is a major factor considering OU's short bench.
KU hasn't shown much ability this season to limit opponents' runs while on the road, and the Sooners' transition offense and outside shooting ability make at least a few quick spurts likely.
Will the Jayhawks be able to counter that while keeping up their own scoring? That seems like a lot to ask from KU, which hasn't been able to keep its composure often enough during previous Big 12 road games.
Oklahoma 83, Kansas 73
LJW Tait: Who Will Guard Buddy?
Kansas coach Bill Self recalled a stretch last year when forward Perry Ellis killed it. It was late in the season, a two-week period when Ellis averaged 23.5 points and shot 66 percent from the field.
“All-America, first-team-type dominant, right before he got hurt,” Self said.
A knee injury ended the run and slowed Ellis. A year later, he is on a similar tear, only this one started earlier and has lasted longer.
Over the last six games, Ellis averaged 20.3 points and shot 63 percent from the field, increasing his season averages to 16.9 points and 53 percent.
It’s Ellis’ best stretch of the year, and he looks to keep it going Saturday when sixth-ranked Kansas visits No. 3 Oklahoma at 1:30 p.m.
The shooting percentage is the key. More efficient offense — and a greater determination by Ellis —has led to the increased production.
“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
Over the course of the season, many opposing players have complained about Maryland's Under Armour basketballs. One Iowa player said that they were too heavy, and felt like street balls.
"It feels different," Hawkeyes junior guard Peter Jok said. "It’s heavy like a street ball, like an outside ball. No excuses. It does feel weird."
Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes took things one step further. While discussing the Under Armour basketball controversy, Hayes lambasted the NCAA. Said Hayes:
It’s definitely different. Personally, we don’t like it too much. I don’t like the Under Armour ball whatsoever. But that’s the way this amateur sports league is set up. We’re supposed to be having fun, but all the money is in these basketballs that colleges play with. But it’s an amateur sport, we’re just here for fun. It’s not really that serious. So I guess any ball should be OK.
He went on:
Maybe we should have a universal ball like the NBA. You don’t go to the Clippers’ stadium and play with a Nike and then go to Golden State and play with a Rawlings. But in this amateur sport of college, where money isn’t the goal — it’s the student education and experience that you get — we play with a million different basketballs.
Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix) center DeAndre Ayton and Athlete Institute (Can.) forward Thon Maker sat courtside Friday night at the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge which kicked off NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto.
Perks of being widely regarded as the No. 1 players in their respective classes?
Ayton and Maker are two of 53 campers from 27 countries participating in the second-annual Basketball Without Borders Global Camp over All-Star weekend.
Ayton, who is ranked No. 1 overall in the ESPN 60 for 2017, is originally from the Bahamas and Maker, who was ranked No. 1 overall in the ESPN 100 for 2016 before transferring out of the country, is from Australia.
Future KU forward Udoka Azubuike and several other KU prospects, including Josh Jackson, Thon Maker, DeAndre Ayton, Billy Preston, Deshawn Corprew and Trevon Duval will be competing at the Tanager National Championships on March 24-27 at Free State High School, the organizer of the event tells Matt Scott of 247sports.com. Game schedules and specifics will be released in coming weeks.
Marvin Bagley III, who a year ago was getting ready to lead Tempe Corona del Sol to its fourth consecutive state basketball championship, won't have a sophomore season after the California Interscholastic Federation's Southern Section on Thursday night upheld a decision to deny eligibility .
Bagley, a 6-foot-11 sophomore who is rated by ESPN as the No. 1 2018 prospect in the country, had been ruled ineligible to play at Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon because it was considered athletically motivated.
Bagley's father hired an attorney to appeal the ruling, citing that they had come to Sierra Canyon for academic reasons. Sierra Canyon gave Corona del Sol its only loss last season in the Hoophall West.
In a statement, attorney Kevin Boyle said: "The CIF relied solely on public statements made by Marvin's dad, and disregarded the decision the family ultimately ended up making, which was to put its three children in a strong academic school. It is beyond unfair that Marvin III can't play the sport he loves because of the CIF."
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