The Wildcats wouldn't strut around the court showing Jayhawk fans the front of their jerseys. Their coach certainly wouldn't show them his middle finger, as legend has it a certain Oklahoma coach once did after winning there.
"No, I don't think we did that," Kruger chuckles today. "We just got to the locker room and acted like we expected it."
Still, no matter how hard the Wildcats tried, there was no denying it: Jan. 30, 1988, was a very big deal indeed. Kansas' four-year, 55-game homecourt winning streak was gone, leaving devastation behind.
"I feel like the world is over," KU starting guard Milt Newton told the Lawrence Journal-World.
This is what it's like for the Jayhawks to lose at Allen Fieldhouse. Current players will be equally sad if KU falls to Kruger's Oklahoma Sooners at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Their homecourt run is 32 and counting, and that just hints at their Allen Fieldhouse invincibility.
Over their last 102 home games, the Jayhawks are 101-1. It sounds like a record a second-grader might dream up on the playground to impress his pals.
But it is very real.
"Some kind of volume," OU assistant Steve Henson, Kruger's starting point guard in 1988, says of "The Phog."
"Their fans know when a team is on the verge of collapse, and they change their pitch and involvement even more," says Mike Shepherd, an OU assistant who sat on K-State's bench that day in '88 as Kruger's head student manager. "They know the game so well that they understand their significance. It's a unique situation, it really is."
…KU went 4-of-16 on 3-pointers. The Wildcats went 9-of-12. Henson made both of his 3s and outplayed Edison graduate Kevin Pritchard, his friend from high school all-star camps, at the point. Will Scott made four.
It all blended perfectly. Experience. Composure (K-State went 10-of-10 from the line down the stretch). Shot-making. Toughness (K-State won the rebounding battle 36-22). A star playing to his capability.
Take these ingredients into Allen Fieldhouse, you have a prayer. It is answered every three or four years, every 55 or 60 games, and it leaves the Jayhawks in disbelief.
"I didn't think we'd ever lose here," forward Chris Piper told the Journal-World.
Twenty-five years ago, and despite how Kruger remembers it today, the mood at the other end of the Fieldhouse was quite different.
"I remember the excitement in our locker room once we got back there after the game," Shepherd says, "with Mark Dobbins and Mitch and Charlie (Bledsoe) and Will and Steve. It was an awfully, awfully hard place to win basketball games.
"It still is."
Give credit to Kruger, who has helped his team jump 31 spots in KenPom's rankings since Dec. 29. This is an improved team from a year ago, and also one that has played its best since Big 12 play began.
This feels like a tough spot for the Sooners, though. For one, the game is at Allen Fieldhouse, a location where OU has lost by an average of 21.7 points in its last three games.
For two, OU's two biggest offensive strengths (scoring inside and offensive rebounding) appear to line up perfectly with two of KU's biggest strengths (interior defense and defensive rebounding). OU doesn't get to the free throw line much either, meaning the potential for long offensive droughts will be there if the Sooners can't hit jump shots.
Here's my feeling: KU's offense will be able to score inside, while OU's offense will struggle there.
If that happens, expect a runaway victory for the Jayhawks.
Kansas 73, Oklahoma 56
LJW Newell Preview
So Bill Self was watching some basketball the other day — Georgetown versus Notre Dame — and his ears perked up for a second as the announcers began to talk about Georgetown’s offense.
Wait, what are they saying?
The announcers, it seems, couldn’t stop praising Georgetown’s version of the Princeton offense. They were hard to guard, efficient, fundamental.
“And they score (63) points,” Self says. “Then, you talk about us, about how lame our offense is, and we score (the same).”
For Self, there was a point in this little story, an appeal to those that have wondered what’s happened to Kansas’ offense in the last six games. The Jayhawks have scored fewer than 70 points in five of their last six, averaging 68.2 points per game in Big 12 play. But as Self wants to point out, this doesn’t give a true indicator of how KU, 17-1 and 5-0 in the Big 12, has performed offensively while taking an early lead in the conference race.
“Everything is so distorted when you look at it statistically,” Self says.
In this case, Self is talking about pace of play. In KU’s victory over K-State at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night, the Jayhawks scored just 59 points while pulling out a four-point win that was more stinging bee than floating butterfly. It was slow, physical, ugly — and it featured just 60 field-goal attempts. Thus, if you account for tempo, the Jayhawks’ offense was nearly as efficient as it was in their 74-66 victory at Ohio State on Dec. 22 — their other road victory against a ranked team.
According to advanced efficiency numbers at KenPom.com, the Jayhawks scored 1.03 points per possession against Ohio State, while managing 0.98 points per possession at K-State.
“You can have great offense and score less points,” Self says, “because of the length of the possessions and the way the game goes.”
Aside from Iowa State, which bombed away from the outside, Big 12 opponents have used a pretty standard strategy against Kansas: Control the clock, use long possessions, don’t turn it over. And when Kansas returns to the floor against Oklahoma at 3 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, it’s likely that the Sooners will employ a similar game plan.
…So it may not be a surprise that Self believes KU’s offensive struggles can be fixed on the defensive end. In Self’s view, the Jayhawks aren’t constructed to be great finishers in the half-court. They don’t have a natural low-post scoring option, nor do they have a guard that can create offense on his own at the end of the shot clock.
Senior Elijah Johnson and sophomore Naadir Tharpe are improving in this area, but Self believes the Jayhawks need to create more buckets off turnovers and in transition.
“I think that what happens with us, is we are very opportunistic in transition, but we need to be able to run off our defense,” Self said. “In the K-State game the other day, we were terrific on the defensive glass. But Jeff doesn’t block a shot, which blocked shots usually lead to transition for us. And we don’t turn them over.”
If his team could create three extra buckets off turnovers, Self says, the offense doesn’t quite look as sluggish.
“Then you look like a team that’s flying around,” Self says.
BOTTOM LINE: Oklahoma has the poise and talent to give KU another league test at Allen Fieldhouse, but the Jayhawks’ defense should push their home-court winning streak to 33 games.
Some might consider it shocking that Kansas University and Oklahoma will be playing for first place in the Big 12 Conference today.
Lon Kruger’s second OU team (13-4 overall), which was picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 preseason basketball coaches poll after placing eighth in 2011-12, enters a 3 p.m. battle in Allen Fieldhouse with a 4-1 record in league play.
The Sooners are tied with Baylor and Kansas State and just a game behind preseason-favorite KU (17-1, 5-0), winner of eight-straight league crowns.
“Every game in conference is a battle for first place. That’s how we are taking it,” said KU senior forward Travis Releford. He scored 12 points in Tuesday’s 59-55 victory at Kansas State, which also was billed as a battle for the top spot in the league. “Oklahoma is a good team. They are very athletic. It’s going to be a tough game,” Releford added.
The Sooners (14-3, 4-1 Big 12) have shown signs of serious growth since that 25-point loss in Orlando, Fla. After all, they are in a three-way tie with Kansas State and Baylor for second place in the Big 12 Conference.
Nevertheless, if you want to be considered a serious contender in this league, you must be able to go toe-to-toe with the Jayhawks (17-1, 5-0).
OU found out in November it was nowhere near that level. Gonzaga exposed that early and often. There wasn’t a facet of the game where OU wasn’t bested. It was a mental and physical beating that some teams have a difficult time recovering from.
The Sooners did recover. In fact, they’ve been a better team since. There’s been obvious growth in the time since. Junior forward Amath M’Baye and guards Buddy Hield, Je’lon Hornbeak and Isaiah Cousins will all play in their 18th game as Sooners today. The Gonzaga game was their fourth. Fourteen games put teams in a lot of situations and countless opportunities to grow.
“When you have so many freshmen playing big-time minutes; five games is a lot of time for them to improve. They’ve played in a lot of games and it’s given them time to pick up on stuff. The Gonzaga game was a long time ago,” M’Baye said. “I think we played pretty good against a Top 15 team in Kansas State, and I think we should be able to show pretty good production against Kansas.”
Oklahoma University basketball walk-on James Fraschilla and former Kansas walk-on Jordan Juenemann aren’t related, but forever will be linked by blood. To say that most friendships start under less brutal circumstances would be an understatement.
This is pretty much how the introduction that planted the seeds of a friendship went late in the KU-OU game on Jan. 7, 2012, in Norman, Okla.: James Fraschilla’s nose, meet Jordan Juenemann’s elbow. Hello blood and hello a return to the bench for both players. Juenemann was whistled with a flagrant foul and taken out of the game by coach Bill Self. Trainers were putting Fraschilla’s face back together, so someone else shot the free throws.
…Juenemann and Fran Fraschilla shared a pleasant post-game chat to ensure nobody thought the play was intentional. Less than a month later, the Sooners visited Allen Fieldhouse and the two walk-ons chatted on the court before official warmups.
“We started messaging each other on Twitter and we’ve kept in touch ever since,” James Fraschilla said. “He’s a real cool guy.”
The two young men share a passion for basketball. Juenemann is working as a graduate assistant on the staff of University of Missouri-Kansas City head coach Matt Brown and is taking classes toward his Master of Business Administration degree. Fraschilla said his goal is to become an NBA coach, starting with a job as a video coordinator.
“How funny is that?” Juenemann said of the genesis of the friendship. “I hit James, gave him a black eye, and I’ve become good friends with Fran and James. That’s how it works. Give a guy a black eye and become friends with him and his dad.”
Kansas men's basketball will host its 115th-year celebration on Saturday, Feb. 23, when the Jayhawks play host to TCU at 3 p.m. (Central) in Allen Fieldhouse. Former Kansas coaches, players and managers will be recognized at halftime of the game.
Included in the celebration is the 25th anniversary of Kansas' 1988 NCAA National Championship team. For the KU-TCU contest, the 2012-13 Jayhawks will wear retro attire resembling the 1988 uniforms, warm-ups, etc.
Former KU legend JoJo White will be on hand prior to the contest, autographing his book "Make It Count" in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. White was a two-time All-American in 1968 and 1969 and a three-time All-Big Eight Conference First Team selection while at Kansas. He also left his mark in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. Both Kansas and the Celtics have retired White's jerseys. "Make It Count" is a book described as one athlete's career that was the product of genuine good values.
Shane Southwell's Sunflower jab: "I should never have let that guy get that rebound... I mean, it’s Kevin Young."
We start with the current NCAA top seeds (in order). This includes the teams' S-curve number, conference and ranking within the conference.
1. KANSAS (Big 12/1)
2. Michigan (Big Ten/2)
3. SYRACUSE (Big East/1)
4. Indiana (Big Ten/2)
BRACKET BYTES: The Kansas Jayhawks are suddenly the big winner at the top of the new S-curve. Not only do the Jayhawks find themselves No. 1 overall, they have an excellent chance to hold that spot far longer than recent entries Duke and Louisville. As noted a week ago, the Jayhawks will be favored in every game the rest of the season. In fact, the only thing close to a 50/50 contest for KU is a trip to Oklahoma State on Feb. 20.
ESPN Insider ($)
In honor of the 27th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), Kansas Athletics is offering a special opportunity for women of all ages Saturday night with FREE admission into Allen Fieldhouse at 8 p.m., for a Big 12 Conference women's basketball game between Kansas and No. 12/11 Oklahoma State.
FREE general admission tickets will be granted on game day at any general public entrance while supplies last. This year's theme for the national event is "Girls in Sports, an Investment in the Future."
NGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies and activities honoring the achievements and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports.
KUAD: WBB vs OSU pregame notes
When the Kansas University women’s basketball team welcomes No. 12 Oklahoma State to Allen Fieldhouse for an 8 p.m. tipoff tonight, it will take the court for the first time with three players in the 1,000-point club in the starting lineup.
The trio became complete last Wednesday when senior point guard Angel Goodrich joined fellow seniors Monica Engelman and Carolyn Davis in eclipsing the milestone with a 20-point night in a rout of Texas.
A federal judge wants a previous attorney for a former University of Kansas athletics consultant to testify before he rules on a request seeking a shorter sentence in a ticket-scalping conspiracy.
U.S. District Judge Monti Belot said Friday he was surprised neither side called the former attorney for Thomas Ray Blubaugh at an evidentiary hearing last week. Blubaugh claims attorney Stephen Robinson did a poor job during his trial.
Belot wants Robinson to testify at a Feb. 11 hearing.
Blubaugh is serving a 46-month sentence for conspiracy to defraud the United States. He is the husband of Charlette Blubaugh, former ticket director for Kansas athletics.
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VOTE for Kansas players, team, and moment in NCAA 75th Anniversary of March Madness (Vote for Wilt, Clyde, Danny, 51-52 Kansas, Mario's Miracle)
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
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Big 12/College News
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league is actively exploring a possible alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and two other unspecified leagues for the purposes of scheduling, marketing and possibly even television partnerships, an arrangement that might prevent further expansion.
“We’ve had conversations with three other leagues,” Bowlsby told the American-Statesman on Friday afternoon. “The ACC is one of them. It’s a process of discovery that would provide some of the benefits of larger membership without actually adding members.”
Bowlsby declined to name the other two leagues, but the Pac-12 Conference is presumed to be one of them because that 12-team league faces significant geographical obstacles to expansion. The Pac-12 and Big Ten had announced the framework for a similar alliance more than a year ago, but the arrangement didn’t come to fruition.
Bowlsby said the possibilities for alliances and expansion would be discussed during a two-day gathering of the Big 12 athletic directors that begins Monday in Grapevine. He stressed, however, that “certainly nothing is imminent” regarding a potential alliance with another conference. Bowlsby was scheduled to be in Austin on Saturday to address a group of aspiring athletic directors who are part of a sports-management institute.
Asked if a consensus to stand pat at 10 members remains in place within the Big 12, Bowlsby said, “I haven’t had any indication that is not the case. We want to do this by empirical evidence, not gut reaction. That may lead us back to 10 (teams) or somewhere else.”
A partnership between the Big 12 and other leagues would include football and basketball, but it could expand to other sports. The agreement also could involve participation between the leagues in bowl games to “share post-season inventory, allowing us more flexibility” to set up attractive matchups.
“It’s purely exploratory,” said Bowlsby, who added that the leagues involved have had “multiple discussions” about the subject.
The NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) voted at its December meeting to set the threshold for a positive marijuana test at NCAA championships at a level that is consistent with current best practices in drug testing and which will more accurately identify usage among student-athletes.
The new threshold of five nanograms per milliliter will take effect on Aug. 1, 2013. The NCAA currently tests for marijuana at its championships and postseason bowl events. The NCAA’s year-round testing program focuses on testing for performance-enhancing substances and masking agent.
As inevitable as watching Jerome Lane elevate for the tomahawk dunk that ripped off the rim and shattered the backboard at Fitzgerald Field House is the call that perfectly captured the monumental moment.
Twenty five years later, college basketball analyst Bill Raftery remains amazed at how his emphatic “Send it in, Jerome!” shout following the thunderous dunk is forever linked with the most famous play in Pitt basketball history and one that ranks among ESPN‘s greatest highlights.
“It was an innocent fast break that Sean Miller screwed up by making the right decision,” Raftery said. “It was one of those goofy things that happens in a game, and I was fortunate enough to be there. There was so many great things announcing games, but this thing has had more legs than anything I‘ve ever seen. It‘s extraordinary.”
Lane‘s backboard-breaking dunk against Providence Jan. 25, 1988, remains the most prominent play in a season that put the Panthers on the college basketball map. They finished 24-7, rising as high as No. 2 in the national rankings and won the Big East Conference regular-season championship before their magical season was spoiled by Barry Goheen‘s buzzer-beating heave as Vanderbilt pulled a second-round upset in the NCAA Tournament.
Twenty-five years later, the dunk endures.
Lane is believed to be the first player to shatter a backboard following the introduction of the breakaway rim. That he did so in such a powerful display before a live national television audience – it was ESPN‘s Big Monday game – only made it more memorable.
Following a steal, Miller, the freshman point guard, led the three-on-two fastbreak with shooting guard Jason Matthews to his left and Lane on his right. Miller drew a defender near the top of the key and dished to the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Lane.
A power forward who led the nation at 13.5 rebounds a game the previous season, Lane took one step, elevated and cocked his right arm back. He slammed the ball, ripping the rim from the glass.
“I didn‘t realize anything until I looked at Demetreus (Gore),” Lane told ESPN.com in 2011. “His mouth was open. Then I saw glass on the floor. It came down like snow.”
At first, there was a sense of shock. Everyone was in disbelief, wondering if their eyes were deceiving them.
“Everyone paused for, like, five seconds because no one understood what had just happened,” Matthews said. “I was trying to get away from the glass coming down because I was under the basket. It was all over the floor. He hit it at the right place, right time and with the right force.”
Darelle Porter, then a freshman guard, was walking to the scorer‘s table to check into the game when assistant coach John Calipari shouted to him. Porter turned around, hearing the commotion but not witnessing it.
“I saw the rim torn away from the glass backboard,” Porter said. “I told ‘Rome‘ as we were walking to the locker room that somebody probably shot the backboard with a BB gun at the same time he dunked it.”
It was still early in the first half when the game was stopped. To the delight of the cameras and the crowd, Roc, the Panther mascot, ran around the gym with the wrecked rim. As the glass was swept from the floor, a replacement basket was brought out from below the bleachers.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
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Tift County's 2013 Kansas Signee Brannen Greene @b_greene14 Drops 33 Tonight in Win over Camden Co.,Not sure why he wont win MR GA BBALL!
Julius Randle's mom Carolyn sent me this pic of her red velvet cake for Fri. She's getting a cake everyday. #NCState pic.twitter.com/11HFh8gz
Sources indicate Randle loves the Jayhawks' tradition and wants to play for Bill Self. As for Texas, multiple sources pointed to the close relationship that Randle has with his mother as a major factor in his recruitment. Being from Texas, his mother would love for him to don a Longhorns jersey. It's only three hours from their house -- and the mother-son relationship is tight enough where he might look to stay close to home. Kentucky is also in solid shape, Randle does visit North Carolina State this weekend, but the Wolfpack have plenty of ground to make up. Kentucky seems optimistic, but people close to the situation think the Wildcats are chasing Kansas and Texas.
Leader: At the end of the day, the winning tradition of Kansas might be too much to pass up. The home-state pull of Texas is strong, though.
What’s up world!
Happy New Year! This is my first blog for 2013 so let’s get this kicked off the right way.
OK, well we’re well in to the season now and my team is playing really well right now. We’re 13-1, and I like how we’re clicking. We dropped that one game early and, to be honest, that kinda helped us so I like where we’re at.
I’m averaging 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds a game.
The only bad thing is that I’ve had to deal with a few injuries this season. First, I hurt my back and that kept me out about three weeks. Then I sprained my ankle and that had me out another game.
Now I’m back to 100 percent and of course I’m feeling good about that.
Most of you know that I had my unofficial visit to Kentucky the weekend before last. I had a great time down there in Big Blue Nation. I definitely see what people mean when they say that Kentucky fans show a lot of love because they definitely let me know that they wanted me down there.
…My next visit will be to Kansas for an unofficial from Feb. 23-24. I’m definitely looking forward to that one.
Everyone always asks me when I’ll decide. I don’t really have a timetable for a decision though. There are so many things that go in to making that decision and I don’t want to rush it. I do think that I need to be getting these visits in to see the schools so I can learn more about them. I think it will just hit me one day and I’ll know where I’m going. That’s how I think it will happen.
Most of you know that my man Joel Berry committed to North Carolina recently and I think that’s a great pickup. I was really happy for him because that’s where he always wanted to go. Joel is one of my best friends. We grew a tight bond over the summer and that’s something that you can’t really replace so I called him and congratulated him. We had a long talk and I know he’s gonna kill it for UNC.
That pretty much takes them off of my list because you don’t really see two point guards going to the same school in the same class. That’s no dis to them. Hey they got a great point guard, and I’m just glad it worked out for everyone.
Tyus Jones blog for USA Today
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