"This is a great opportunity for us. On any given night, anything can happen."
Today's contest is one of Southeast's annual "guarantee" games to raise money for the university's athletic department.
The trip to Kansas, along with a visit to 15th-ranked Missouri Dec. 4 and three games in Chattanooga, Tenn., Nov. 18 to 20 as part of the CBE Classic, will net about $240,000. The money benefits Southeast's general athletic department revenue.
"We have to play a couple of these. Why not play the best?" Nutt said.
Kansas represents the best of the best. The Jayhawks are the winningest NCAA Division I team over the past six years with a record of 197-29. Included are five 30-win seasons. Kansas is 100-13 over the last three campaigns.
The Jayhawks are even tougher to beat at Allen Fieldhouse. They are 91-1 over their last 92 home games and own a current 22-game home winning streak.
"Their record speaks for itself. What they've done over the years is phenomenal," Nutt said. "They've been just about impossible to beat at home."
Nutt probably knows more about the Jayhawks' recent history than most people because he and Kansas coach Bill Self are longtime friends.
Nutt and Self, both Oklahoma State graduates, were on the same Oklahoma State coaching staff in the 1980s. Self, as a favor to Nutt, was the guest of honor and featured speaker at Southeast's season tip-off fundraising reception in 2010.
"We went to school together, coached together," Nutt said. "We've been friends for a long time."
Perry Ellis, who came off the bench in Kansas University’s two exhibition basketball games, will start today’s 7 p.m. regular-season opener against SE Missouri State, KU coach Bill Self said Thursday.
Ellis, a 6-foot-8 McDonald’s All-American out of Wichita Heights, will be joined in the lineup by freshman Ben McLemore and seniors Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey.
“It (starting) is something we’re not worried about. We’re just trying to win,” Ellis said. “One goal: Everybody wants to win.”
…Freshman forward Landen Lucas will not play tonight to keep a red-shirt option open.
“He may not play Tuesday (vs. Michigan State in Atlanta), because he’s definitely a guy that we are strongly considering red-shirting,” Self said. “We visited with Landen and his family about it, and they are in agreement with that. It’s not 100-percent sure, because he could still play two weeks from now, but our thinking is, right now, put a red shirt on him.”
…Self said freshman forward Zach Peters (6-9, Plano, Texas) was feeling a little better, but remains out because of a rotator cuff injury in his left shoulder.
“I’m not going to make a decision now on what we’ll do with Zach, but if he can’t get back soon, we have no choice but to red-shirt him,” Self said, “because he’ll be so far behind, he won’t be able to catch up.”
Senior forward Kevin Young, who had a brace on his right hand Thursday, is to return to practice Saturday and may play Tuesday vs. MSU.
Kansas seniors Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey were named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 for the 2012-13 season, the Los Angeles Athletics Club announced Thursday.
The list is made up of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for the Wooden Award and Wooden Award All-America team, which consists of 10 players.
“I was kind of in a funk the last month and a half. Probably just in practice I haven’t been doing that well,” said Withey, Kansas University’s senior basketball center, who believes his 9-point, 7-rebound, 6-block second half against Washburn on Monday has snapped him back to reality heading into tonight’s regular-season opener against SE Missouri State (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse).
“That second half I kind of got it going. That’s how I need to play every half. I felt I was kind of back to myself. It definitely gave me some confidence. Hopefully I can build off that and bring it (tonight).”
Withey, who was named first-team preseason All-Big 12 and honorable mention All-America, said he doesn’t know why he’s been spaced out.
“Starting practice up again, early jitters maybe,” he said.
He hopes he and his teammates heed the words of coach Bill Self, who held a long film session Wednesday after Monday’s uninspired 12-point victory over the Ichabods.
“I talked to them, and the talk lasted longer than what I had hoped,” Self said. “It’s the same thing that we’ve been talking about. It’s leadership, enjoy winning whatever way you need to win that night. We used to make a big deal out of it like when we play teams that guard a certain way or slow it down: ‘Hey, enjoy this. Enjoy playing this way. That it’s OK to win ugly. But you’ve got to enjoy it or you can’t do it consistently over time.’”
“I want to be the Big 12 player of the year,” Withey said at Big 12 media day last month. “But we’ll see. I don’t want to make any predictions or anything like that. That’s just a personal goal.”
From a defensive standpoint, Withey is positioned to be the sort of force that could anchor one of the best defenses in the country. According to advanced metrics, Withey was the best shot blocker in the country last season. He finished the season with a KU and Big 12 record 140 blocks. And when he was on the floor, he blocked 15.3 percent of opponents’ field-goal attempts, the best mark in the country.
“I think he’s the best defensive big guy in the country,” Self said. “He may have been that last year. If you eliminate (Kentucky’s) Anthony Davis, I think you can make a strong case that he was.”
Still, Withey’s season may ultimately be judged by two things: The development of his offensive game and whether he can help Kansas live up to its top 10 billing.
For now, Withey is still learning how to play without Robinson. There are more touches inside. But there are also more defenders cheating in his direction.
“It’s really exciting to be able to be the focus point down low,” Withey said. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
Kansas isn’t thinking about Michigan State in any conscious way, because doing so would violate one of those unwritten rules of sport.
Before Michigan State, the Jayhawks have to worry about Southeast Missouri State, the team that visits Allen Fieldhouse for Friday’s regular-season opener.
Hypothetically speaking, though, everyone agrees it wouldn’t be a bad idea to build some momentum for Tuesday’s Champions Classic.
“Michigan State is going to be a really tough game,” center Jeff Withey said. “We’ve got to get right.”
That’s especially important considering how much went wrong in Monday’s exhibition against Washburn. KU won 62-50, but the performance wasn’t anything the Jayhawks will brag about when they rub elbows with the other bluebloods in Atlanta. KU committed 24 turnovers, allowed the Ichabods to grab 39 rebounds and too often settled for jump shots instead of attacking the basket.
Rough edges can be expected in exhibition play, but the Jayhawks feel some urgency to show a more polished product when they take the floor Friday night.
“Usually in the past I’ve liked our chances to play better when we’re coming off a time where basically their pride has been challenged,” coach Bill Self said. “I think we’ll come out and play hard, no question.”
The official name of the event was “Big 12 Media Day,” but it could just as easily have been called “Your Chance to Talk to Bill Self Day.”
Inside the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., last month, tables were set up for each of the Big 12 basketball coaches. Each coach fielded questions from a few reporters who strolled by periodically over the course an hour-long session.
Then there was Self, the Kansas coach who guided his team to the national championship game last season, where it lost to a Kentucky squad that looked more like an NBA farm team than a college basketball squad.
Surrounding Self was a wall of cameras, voice recorders, pens and note pads, all recording for posterity the coach’s words about a season still more than a month away.
Such is the life at the top of the college basketball universe.
“I’ve done this three years now, and I think it’s pretty much expected that this is how this thing works,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said, cracking wise about the Jayhawks adulation.
It all comes with the territory of winning at least a share of eight straight Big 12 regular-season titles. Just how dominant has Self been in Lawrence? During his tenure, Kansas has more Big 12 titles (8) than it has losses inside Allen Fieldhouse (7). To put that into perspective, Texas Tech lost eight home games — last season.
Following Thursday practice, Thomas Robinson apologized for actions that earned him a two-game suspension. With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Sacramento Kings forward threw a vicious elbow to the neck of Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko and was ejected from last nights 105-103 win at Sleep Train Arena.
On how he feels today:
“I feel pretty bad today. I feel worst today after the aftermath. You know I knew I was wrong. So as a man, I have to take responsibility with that and I’ll take my consequences and move on. And hopefully this doesn’t stick with me because I’m not that type of person. I’m not a bad kid, you know I just made a mistake and it won’t happen again.”
Champions Classic: KU vs Michigan State
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
The NCAA and the North Texas Local Organizing Committee unveiled the logo for the 2014 Men’s Final Four on Thursday. The Final Four will be hosted by the Big 12 Conference and take place April 5 and 7 at Cowboys Stadium.
This will be the seventh Final Four played in Texas and the second in the North Texas region. Dallas’ Reunion Arena hosted the 1986 Final Four, won by the Louisville Cardinals, who featured freshman sensation Pervis Ellison. San Antonio hosted the Final Four in 1998, 2004 and 2008, while Houston hosted the event in 1971 and 2011. Houston is scheduled to host the 2016 Men’s Final Four as well.
“The NCAA is looking forward to bringing the Final Four back to North Texas after nearly 30 years,” Division I Men’s Basketball Committee chair and Xavier Athletic Director Mike Bobinski said. “The next 500 days will be an exciting time for basketball fans in this area, who can celebrate 75 years of March Madness by going to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games at Cowboys Stadium in March, and then watch as the Big 12 Conference and the North Texas Local Organizing Committee stage what promises to be a Final Four to remember in 2014.”
ESPN: College Basketball is BACK! Game previews
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon schedule
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Big 12 Composite Schedule
The nation’s No. 1 basketball prospect, Andrew Wiggins, put on a dunking exhibition Wednesday night as his Huntington (W.Va.) Prep team scrimmaged the Alice Lloyd College junior varsity.
Huntington Prep won the scrimmage 102-57, and Wiggins had 34 points.
Wiggins, who recently joined the 2013 class, is a top recruiting target of the University of Kentucky. Florida State is also a strong contender for. North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio State and Syracuse are others involved in his recruitment.
Three of the nation’s top 10 top postgrad basketball teams will be in Waynesboro this weekend for the FMS 2012 Holiday Inn Express Waynesboro Tip-Off Challenge.
Host Fishburne Military School, ranked #3 in the PG Sportswriters Top 10, is led by Kuran Iverson, a 6’9″ small forward who last month announced his commitment to Memphis. The Caissons roster includes several other players who will be signing with D1 schools on National Signing Day next week, including Towson commit Walter Foster, Barnett Harris (Delaware), Daniel Dixon (William & Mary) and Alassane Kah (Western Kentucky).
Massanutten Military Academy (Woodstock, Va.), ranked #6 nationally, has three recruits headed to ACC schools on its roster, including Deandre Burnett (Miami), Garland Owens (Boston College) and Damonte Dodd (Maryland). MMA is led by Frank Mason, a 6’0″ point guard who has committed to Kansas.
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