One of those, guard Khris Middleton, is indeed recently back from a knee injury, while point guard Dash Harris's availability is again in question. Harris has missed the last seven games — dating to the contest at KU — with a foot injury.
“Anybody who's played with Dash knows he contributes so much,” A&M guard Elston Turner said Tuesday. “But we're just going to have to wait and see.”
Kansas has won all seven of its previous visits to College Station that started in 1998, and tonight marks the Jayhawks' final scheduled stop in College Station, with the Aggies bound for the Southeastern Conference this summer. Unlike the Jayhawks (22-5, 12-2 Big 12), the Aggies (13-13, 4-10) are chatting plenty about Missouri, after the Tigers prevailed 71-62 on Saturday.
...Turner added the Aggies are simply glad to have another shot at a top team on their home floor.
“Not many teams have the opportunity to play consecutive games against top-five teams,” he said. “Missouri and Kansas are two very different teams, and we match up better with Kansas than Missouri.”
Texas A&M assistant basketball coach Kyle Keller, who worked on Kansas University’s staff the past three seasons, has taken great pride in watching the Jayhawks from afar during the 2011-12 campaign.
“Gosh, as well as coach (Bill Self) has them playing, obviously it’s been fun to watch those guys get better. I root for them every game except when we have to play them,” said Keller, former KU video coordinator, now in his first season as an assistant coach on Billy Kennedy’s A&M staff.
“It’s been exciting to watch,” Keller added of the progress of the Jayhawks, who take a 22-5 record (12-2 in the Big 12) into today’s 8 p.m. clash against the (13-13, 4-10) Aggies.
Keller, who had the title of video coordinator at KU, is not surprised the Jayhawks are in the hunt for an eighth consecutive Big 12 regular-season title.
“I think not only Coach (Self), but I think everybody on the staff — Kurtis (Townsend), Joe (Dooley), Danny (Manning), Hudy (trainer Andrea) — everybody that’s involved has done a great job,” Keller said of the squad perhaps exceeding expectations.
“I think Coach needed something like this. He is great when he’s got a chip or he’s got something to prove. He’s been dynamite. He’s unbelievable.”
Kansas is about to play the Big 12’s muddiest team, which is a nice way of saying the team that’s best at playing ugly.
Texas A&M’s recent history is one filled with what Kansas coach Bill Self describes as muddy basketball. Billy Gillispie started it eight years ago. Mark Turgeon kept it alive, and if this season is any indication, first-year A&M coach Billy Kennedy is following those roots.
The Aggies (13-13, 4-10 Big 12) can wear on teams because their games are usually low-scoring and methodical, bogging down into half-court standoffs.
“You just have to be more patient,” KU guard Tyshawn Taylor said. “You have to understand it’s going to be a low-possession game and grind it out. You’ve got to enjoy those kinds of games.”
…Yet as good as the Aggies can be defensively, their offense is one of the league’s worst. A&M, though, will start second-leading scorer Khris Middleton, who didn’t play in the first meeting. Guard Dash Harris also is expected to return from a foot injury suffered at Kansas.
The Jayhawks have shown they can win ugly, and most likely they’ll need to do so again against a team intent on keeping the game that way.
“We know A&M always gives us trouble,” Taylor said.
RPI: Kansas 6, Texas A&M 157
• BOTTOM LINE: The Aggies played Kansas tough at Allen Fieldhouse last month. They led at halftime and trailed by two with seven minutes remaining before the Jayhawks prevailed 64-54. It was the kind of pace A&M wanted, and Kansas helped keep it close by shooting poorly. Tonight marks Kansas’ final Big 12 game against A&M, and KU’s final appearance in Reed Arena as league members. The Jayhawks have won all six games there. Saturday’s big game with Missouri looms, but as seven straight Big 12 titles attests, Kansas doesn’t overlook opponents and the Jayhawks should emerge from a low scoring contest with a victory.
LJW: Gameday Cram Session
Thomas Robinson, Kansas - The junior forward had 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals in just 24 minutes against Texas Tech Saturday. Robinson continues to move up NBA draft boards and is now projected as a top-five pick by most media outlets, meaning this is likely his final year in college.
Thomas Robinson is the only player in the Big 12 to average a double-double and leads the league in rebounding. His average of 11.8 rebounds is second in the nation. Plus, he averages 17.7 points.
Anthony Davis averages 13.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and shoots 65.5 percent. Davis also averages 4.9 blocks, the best in the nation while leading his Wildcats to first place in the SEC.
But here’s the real question: What happens when those players aren’t on those teams?
If Robinson wasn’t a Jayhawk, the team still would be good, but the down-low presence would be completely wiped out. If Davis wasn’t with the Wildcats, the team would be altered, but the Wildcats would still have a loaded roster with Doron Lamb, Michael Kidd-Cilchrist, Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague.
These three categories are crucial and the players should fall into them. All of these players are deserving, but only Thomas Robinson is truly fit for this honor and will give Kansas its second player in history to hoist the trophy.
The first thing Manning taught him, Withey said, was a go-to offensive move. That led to a jump hook, like the one Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made famous. Withey’s jump hook pales in comparison, he admits, but he’s making progress.
And with every move or shot Withey adds to his arsenal, his confidence grows. A player who looked like he would never do more than help the Jayhawks’ airport look has become a solid contributor and often times more.
He loves talking basketball with Manning. Their personalities are similar; neither is going to ever grab a megaphone and start hawking cotton candy. Manning teaches with a quiet demeanor, but one that is straight to the point. And Withey is an attentive student, eager to reach the potential he has only recently begun to know exists within him.
“Coach Manning knows so much about the game,’’ Withey said. “Whenever he says something, all of the big men listen because we know he knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t have to raise his voice. Every now and then he’ll get after us for not doing something he’s just told us to do. But he usually coaches in a soft voice. He’s a teacher.’’
Give that teacher an apple for his work with Withey, who was a huge X-factor going into the season. For Kansas to be a Big 12 threat, Withey had to develop into exactly what he has become, a legitimate post player who can swat away shots, grab rebounds and be a threat to score.
Withey’s personality is a lot like that of Manning. But when Manning was a player, something took over. He found another aspect of his personality that made him more aggressive and passionate.
Withey is working on that, too.
“When I was in high school, I had all this intensity and passion,’’ he said. “I definitely love to win and hate to lose.’’
Withey played 207 minutes for Kansas the previous two seasons. He mostly sat during games and spent practices working, but wondering if it was all being done in futility.
“Not playing much took a big toll on me,’’ he said. “It might have hurt my energy, my motor for playing. But being able to be out there as much as I have this year has established my love for basketball again.’’
Withey throws his 7-foot body around with reckless glee. He dives for loose balls, bangs for rebounds and works relentlessly for position. He has slowly won over a fan base that spent a long time thinking they could probably do without Withey.
“I know that people didn’t think I could play going into this season,’’ he said. “I know a lot of people had doubts. It’s been nice to kind of shut those critics up, I guess. I knew I could play this game since I was in high school. But I hadn’t ever had the opportunity to be a real contributing member of the team here at KU.’’
KANSAS. The Jayhawks are the most efficient team in the "omission" section, which means they're being left off for intangible reasons. The Eight Ball fears the Upset Curse is still lingering in Lawrence, potentially spelling second-weekend doom for a team with the nation's best player (Thomas Robinson) and a championship-caliber defense.
SI Luke Winn's Magic Eight
Nick Collison asks, YouTube delivers
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said assistant Dan Craig deserves some of the credit for the improvement in point guard Mario Chalmers.
Chalmers is arguably having the best season of his four-year career. He is shooting 46 percent from 3-point range, hitting a team-high 61. Chalmers will participate in Saturday's 3-point shooting contest at All-Star Weekend in Orlando.
Josh Selby scored 23 points, Zach Graham added 21 and Bobby Simmons had 20 points and a team-high nine rebounds as the Bighorns improved to 16-18.
Will Blalock and Selby each dished out six assists. Reno outrebounded Idaho, 35-29.
Angel Goodrich (Kansas) and Odyssey Sims (Baylor) has been named two of eight nominees for the
Nancy Lieberman Award, which honors the nation's top collegiate point guard in NCAA Division I women's basketball.
The criteria for the award are the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer, Nancy Lieberman during her career. Sportswriters from across the country have determined this final nominee list.
Other nominees include Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Chelsea Gray (Duke) Bria Hartley (Connecticut), Lindsey Moore (Nebraska), Samantha Prahalis (Ohio State), and Haley Steed (BYU).
Three finalists will be selected from this list and one winner at the beginning of April 2012. The announcement of the three finalists and one winner will be made during the Final Four Weekend (April 1-3, 2012).
This year's award will be presented at a noon luncheon at The Detroit Athletic Club on April 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.
Big 12 Sports
Chynna Brown matched her season-high with 21 points but Angel Goodrich's 20 led three Kansas players in double figures as the Jayhawks finished the season sweep over Texas Tech with a 69-64 win Tuesday night at United Spirit Arena.
Kansas University’s Angel Goodrich led the KU women’s basketball team to a road victory against Texas Tech Tuesday night, and the junior guard did it in record-breaking style.
Goodrich’s eight assists broke the KU single-season assist record, while her team-high 20 points pushed the Jayhawks past the Lady Raiders, 69-64.
The Jayhawks (18-9 overall, 7-8 Big 12), who put a stop to a three-game losing streak, had not won in Lubbock since 1978. It also marks the first time since 2000 that KU has won at least seven Big 12 games.
Goodrich will deny the importance of numbers, but she is scoring more than 40 percent of the team’s points this season and has led the team through the last 10 days of injury and losses valiantly. Coach Bonnie Henrickson talked about how she is everywhere for the team, and Harper agreed.
“Angel is having a great season: from getting everybody open shots to knocking down open shots when she can and keeping us in offenses,” Harper said. “She plays for everyone else and she is very good to play with.”
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
For the second straight week, Time Warner Cable of Kansas City subscribers missed part of ESPN’s “Big Monday” game featuring Big 12 teams.
Instead of seeing Baylor’s come from behind victory over Texas on Monday, screens went mostly black in the first half, and the game never returned.
A similar problem happened a week earlier, when the first half of the Kansas-Kansas State game from Manhattan wasn’t available.
The Big 12 isn’t happy.
“It is disappointing that these problems have been encountered the past two weeks,” Big 12 senior associate commissioner Tim Allen said in a news release. “When this problem occurred last week, the conference asked ESPN to address the issue and both groups believed it had been corrected.”
But it wasn’t.
Mike Humes, a spokesman for ESPN said, “We are working closely with Time Warner Cable to ensure the issue is resolved.”
One more game remains in the “Big Monday” lineup, next week’s Kansas at Oklahoma State meeting.
After last week’s problem, Time Warner Cable of Kansas City apologized and explained through a news release that a receiver failed to respond to a change in satellite frequencies initiated by ESPN.
…Allen said the Big 12 became aware of Monday’s problem during the game.
“It is a testament to the passion of our fans on our social networks that we were alerted much quicker than in the past,” Allen said, “which allows us to address the issue as games are in progress.”
But once the game was lost, it never returned.
ESPN Conference Rankings: Big 12 gaining quickly on Big 10
If Kansas State hadn't already punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament with its win at Baylor on Saturday, then the Wildcats moved to near-lock status by finishing a season sweep of Missouri on Monday in Columbia. Kansas State dominated the paint and the glass for much of the game and limited the Tigers to 38.3 percent shooting, rolling to an impactful 78-68 victory. Now the Wildcats have a realistic chance of playing their way into a favorable seed if they can close the season with wins over Iowa State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
For the second time this season, K-State put on a show that exposed the most bothersome blemishes of this talented Mizzou ballclub. This was that night when the Tigers couldn't shoot straight, got into foul trouble, failed to play physically on defense and once again allowed K-State to push and shove them around.
Kansas State 78, Missouri 68.
If the Tigers are lucky, they won't see Kansas State again for the rest of the season. Frank Martin's Wildcats are just too long, just too aggressive, just too physical.
"Their length does bother us," coach Frank Haith admitted. "And they're very physical."
K-State is a matchup headache for Mizzou, and everyone in that MU locker room knows it. But you know what? I hope the Tigers aren't lucky. I hope that in a couple of weeks in Kansas City, somewhere during the course of the Big 12 tournament, we get to see Mizzou vs. K-State Round III.
Because this special season shouldn't be about being lucky. It ought to be about being good. It ought to be about firmly establishing who is the best. It ought to be about going through the competitive gantlet of the Big 12 Conference and withstanding all challenges. And if you think I'm wrong, you probably didn't see Kim English's pained expression as he sat in the interview room after Tuesday night's game at Mizzou Arena. The look on his face — all twisted and seething — spoke louder than his words, and his words were pretty exclamatory.
"We didn't defend the way we usually defend," said the senior guard, who fouled out after scoring only nine points in 31 minutes. "We need to defend."
He paused just long enough to let his displeasure simmer.
"That will be fixed," English said. "It won't happen again."
Losing to Kansas State doesn't change much in the way of how Missouri should be regarded in the big picture. They are still probably one of the top five or six teams in the country. They can still go into Lawrence on Saturday and beat Kansas and regain a share of the Big 12 conference lead. They are still very much in the hunt for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, even if the road to the Midwest Regionals in St. Louis probably got a bit more challenging with this home loss Tuesday night.
St Louis PD Burwell
Allen's testimony fails to confirm one of Shapiro's biggest allegations: that he gave a UM assistant basketball coach $10,000 to lure DeQuan Jones to the school. Shapiro told Yahoo that he, Allen, and assistant basketball coach Jake Morton played pool at Shapiro's mansion before handing over the cash. Although Allen confirmed the three had played pool, he told Perez he had no memory of Shapiro paying the coach.
It's probably no coincidence that exactly two days after Allen's deposition, UM lifted Jones's season-long suspension.
Miami New Times
The arguments for and against the RPI
There are a couple of problems with speculation that Gregg Marshall will be South Carolina’s next men’s basketball coach.
First, it is premature. Darrin Horn remains coach and is likely to continue in that capacity at USC through next season, and perhaps beyond.
The other is that Marshall might have a better job at Wichita State.
Marshall returned to the Carolinas on Saturday as part of ESPN’s Bracketbusters package. He paced the Wichita State sideline like he did at Winthrop, impeccably attired as always in a black suit, white shirt and yellow necktie.
He used the trip to Davidson to show off his outstanding basketball team, recruit and catch up with old friends. Marshall, a USC fan growing up in Greenwood, remains beloved in the Charlotte/Rock Hill area, but nothing like he is at Wichita State.
Marshall could run for mayor of Wichita these days. Heck, he is on his way to joining a who’s who list that includes the likes of Annette Bening, Wyatt Earp, Don Johnson, Barry Sanders and Gale Sayers, all of whom passed through the city of 370,000 on the Kansas plains.
You gain that elite status when your Wichita State basketball team wins. That is because basketball is king in Wichita.
CBS: Top 16 College BBall Teams of All Time
More stupidity appeared in the twitter sports world this week:
OU football coach tweets offers to recruits…during the NCAA "quiet" period
Missouri football recruit tweets racist joke…backtracks and apologizes
The Wichita East Blue Aces jumped out on the number one team in the state, the defending champion Heights Falcons, and outscored them 21-8 in the first quarter, never giving up the lead en route to a 57-51 Senior Night stunner on Tuesday.
East got 27 points from its star senior, Jalen Love, and another 10 from Nathan Jackson in what became Heights' first loss since December 2009. The Falcons had already captured the state record last week for the longest win streak in boys basketball at 60, then defeated Southeast over the weekend for number 61. But as they visited a jam-packed gym at East High School Tuesday, 61 was where it ended.
With it's Roger Maris-like mystique, 61 is a record likely to be remembered for many years to come. Pointing out its inevitable longevity - the prior record held by Moundridge's boys from 1991-1994 lasted for 18 years - Blue Aces coach Ron Allen acknowledged the Falcons' accomplishment amongst the post-game celebration.
…Perry Ellis, 30 pts
KAKE (video at link)
The Falcons were down big in the game, but battled back only to have the Aces pull away and grab the upset. Heights’ fourth loss in Perry Ellis’ tenure cannot be laid at his feet as the University of Kansas commit dropped 30 of his team’s 51 points.
The problems came with his supporting cast.
Only four Falcons scored on the night and Gavin Thurman was the only other player in double figures with 12 points. East’s Jalen Love provided the spark for East with 27 points to lead the way.
Heights is now 80-4 in Ellis’ time at the school.
Kansas CW (video at link)
Heights is ranked No. 11 nationally in this week's Xcellent 25 and received a valiant effort from Kansas-bound senior forward Perry Ellis against East. The 6-8 McDonald's All-American piled up 30 points and 13 rebounds, experiencing just his fourth loss in 94 games in a Falcon uniform.
The nation's longest active winning streak now belongs to defending national champion St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.). The Friars beat Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 51-45 on Tuesday night to extend their run of victories to 55 games in a row.
When the state high school basketball tournament starts Thursday in Reno at the Lawlor Events Center, the general consensus is perennial power Bishop Gorman High will hardly be challenged in winning a third championship in four years.
The No. 17-ranked Gaels (26-4) are led by four Division I recruits, including the nation’s top prospect in senior Shabazz Muhammad; have played and beaten a schedule of highly respected nationally ranked opponents; and enter the tournament on a 12-game winning streak.
The Gorman players, however, aren’t buying into the hype.
After all, it was the same drill last year when Gorman was upset by Northern Nevada’s Bishop Manogue in the semifinals, a shocking 45-44 defeat. It was one of the biggest upsets in recent state history.
...Muhammad, who has averaged nearly 30 points per game the past two years, was limited to nine points on 2-of-7 shooting in arguably the worst performance of his Gorman career. This year, Gorman plays at 4:40 p.m. Thursday in the state semifinals against Northern Nevada’s Douglas High — a team, like last year against Bishop Manogue, they should have little problems beating.
Las Vegas Sun
Nike EYBL Schedule
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
My 2011 Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, KU Alumni games, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos now on Youtube