Bill Self’s teams win on the road. Whenever people speculate why Kansas has won seven straight Big 12 titles, it’s because the Jayhawks win on the road more often than not.
That’s it in a nutshell.
They’ve continued that trend this year, winning all four games away from home. They’ve won ugly at USC, won ugly at Oklahoma, played ugly early and won at Texas Tech and played ugly late and won at Texas.
They’ve won them all, which is what counts, but they’ve yet to play a clean and efficient game away from Allen Fieldhouse. Ugly is fine — ugly, in Self’s opinion, can be good — but Kansas will need to be better at Iowa State on Saturday.
“We’re going to have to play the best road game we’ve played all year to have success,” Self said.
…“When you go on the road,” Self said, “it’s going to come down to the last few possessions if you play well. Certainly I hope we’re in that position again Saturday.”
They made those gutsy plays against Texas. The challenge, as always, is to make them again.
This is no recent phenomenon. In each of the past seven years, when the Jayhawks have won outright or shared the Big 12 regular-season championship, they’ve had the best league road record — by themselves or shared — in each season.
Kansas won more than half of its road games all of those seven years. The rest of the Big 12 combined has a total of eight winning records in conference road contests.
Entering this season, the Jayhawks were 43-13 on the road during their seven-year run. The next best record belonged to Texas at 30-26.
The buzz phrase among the Jayhawks for this success was “tight huddle.”
“It takes a tight huddle and having everybody on the same page out there understanding their responsibilities and taking care of them,” said top reserve Conner Teahan.
Coach Bill Self added “foxhole” mentality and “blinders on” to “tight huddle … those things are very important when going away from home.”
Oh, and it helps to be good.
Self also knows that beginning today, Kansas’ next four road games are against the teams in the upper half of the standings. Next Saturday, the Jayhawks travel to No. 2 Missouri. Four days later they’re at No. 6 Baylor, then a trip to No. 22 Kansas State on Feb. 13.
“I don’t think there’s any question that this is the toughest stretch of our season starting out right now,” Self said.
“They call it, ‘Hilton Magic,’” Self said of the term coined by Des Moines Register sports writer Buck Turnbull back in 1989 after an 82-75 home victory over No. 3-ranked Missouri.
“Kansas had some great teams with Larry (Brown). Larry never won at Hilton (0-5). I’ve been part of teams that lost some heartbreakers there. When that place is jumping, it’s really a great place,” Self said.
The Jayhawks have won seven-straight games in Hilton, where they are 22-18 all-time.
Self’s first KU team fell at ISU, 68-61. Since then, the Jayhawks have won by five points twice and four points once (in overtime in 2007) to go with double-digits victories of 10, 11, 15 and 23 points.
The Cyclones are 10-2 in Hilton this season, with the only losses coming to Missouri and Northern Iowa. In the league, ISU has home wins over Texas and OSU.
It's the start of a brutal stretch that includes a home game against Oklahoma and back-to-back road games against the second-ranked Tigers and No. 6 Baylor.
"Statistically, those are the four teams that are the best in the league," Self said. "As a matter of fact, I think they are the only four teams in the league with winning records, if I'm not mistaken. Besides us. So yes, without question, this is the toughest part of the season."
The two-game lead may sound luxurious, but senior guard Tyshawn Taylor remembers what happened to Texas last season.
The Longhorns beat the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in late January, and then took a two-game lead when Kansas lost to rival Kansas State on Feb. 16. But the Longhorns eventually lost three of four to lose the lead, and the Jayhawks ultimately won their seventh straight league title.
"It's always good to have a cushion, especially now," Taylor said. "It's good to have, but it really doesn't mean much. Those are good teams and them being two games behind us, I'm sure they're going to bounce back. We're not going to be too giddy."
The fact that Kansas plays four of its next six games on the road doesn't help. The home team is 23-12 in conference play, with the Jayhawks and Tigers perfect. Five teams have yet to win on the road, including Texas Tech, which is winless in the Big 12.
"A two-game lead can be squandered quickly," senior guard Connor Teahan said. "We still have to go out there and take every game seriously and I think that's what we'll do Saturday."
Saturday presents an ESPN-televised shot at redemption, an opportunity Cyclone forward Royce White relishes.
“For us, the motivation is probably as high is it’s going to have been for any game previously,” said White, who scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the loss at Lawrence, but shot 3 of 8 from the free throw line. “And for me, personally, it’s the most motivated I’ve been for a number of reasons, a number of different reasons that have to do with how people view them as a team, how people view us as a team, how this whole process goes with your goals as a team.”
Chris Allen’s NCAA tournament clock is ticking.
Iowa State’s point guard — when Royce White isn’t handling the ball — played in three of those postseason events before transferring from Michigan State.
An opportunity at a four-peat could depend on the Cyclones’ outcome the next two games, starting at 1 p.m. today against fifth-ranked Kansas at sold out Hilton Coliseum. After the Jayhawks, it’s No. 22 Kansas State, again at home on Tuesday.
That’s two chances for eye-popping victories against ranked teams, always important when the NCAA tournament selection committee examines resumes for its 68-team tournament.
“It’s definitely a different kind of focus us now,” Allen said. “We’ve got to have a straight-point focus to win these games.
“These games basically determine the rest of our season. If we win these games, it’s almost a berth in the NCAA tournament.”
Iowa State hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since the 2004-05 season, when it upset ranked teams Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas.
…White had 18 points and 17 rebounds in the first Iowa State-Kansas game.
“He’s built like a tight end, and plays like a point guard,” said Fran Fraschilla, who will analyze today’s game for ESPN. “He’s going to be one of the intriguing storylines.”
Detroit Free Press
Go mess with the Des Moines Register poll and VOTE for Kansas to win
The Bottom Line: Iowa State is better than many may think. Robinson’s going to be a tough cover, but unless he goes crazy (which he’s clearly capable of doing), expect the Cyclones to pull off a minor upset.
The Pick: Iowa State 74, Kansas 71
Go mess with collegehoopsnet.com poll
Looking to snag a ticket to next weekend’s Border War hoops showdown?
Be prepared to empty your wallet.
Missouri’s final home game against Kansas as Big 12 rivals is the city’s toughest ticket in years. A spokesperson at StubHub, an online ticket resale company, said the game is trending as the hottest Columbia event in the company’s 12-year history.
Hundreds of tickets remain available on the secondary market. But on StubHub, sellers are asking for between $200 and $2,000 per seat, with a mean listing of $375. In some instances, it would cost less to sit courtside at
Madison Square Garden for next month’s Knicks-Lakers game.
The Ticket Guys, a broker in St. Louis, lists Missouri basketball among its five hottest tickets and is asking up to $840 per ticket for the MU-KU game.
Looking for something cheaper? Two tickets in Section 106, Row 14 are yours for $1,391 on eBay.
“We’ve seen incredible demand for this game,” Stubhub’s Joellen Ferrer said in an email. “Fans have been searching on StubHub for this over 8 times that of any other Missouri Tigers home game.”
MU sporting events have rarely been a scalper’s dream. No tickets for second-ranked Missouri’s game against Texas Tech today reached the three-figure range on StubHub — seats in the lower bowl are available for less than $40. And even for the Tigers’ football victory over Oklahoma in 2010 — a meeting of undefeated teams that brought ESPN’s “GameDay” to campus for the first time — tickets were available at the box office days before the game.
VOTE for the Kansas Jayhawks student section
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Jayhawks in the NBA
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Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
The NCAA's national coordinator of officials for mens basketball fired off a scathing memo on Thursday urging referees across the country to do a better job of enforcing sportsmanship rules.
John Adams posted the memorandum on the NCAA men's basketball officiating website. "In games I have attended, I have noticed minor unsporting indiscretions between opposing players go unnoticed by officiating crews and invariably, these unnoticed acts later turn into much bigger problems," Adams wrote. "Quite simply, we are doing a poor job of enforcing Rule 10, Section 5, as written."
Adams was referring to the passage in the basketball rulebook which governs the way referees should react to unsportsmanlike conduct. Sportsmanship was one of three main areas of emphasis as determined by the mens basketball rules committee last summer, but the sport has been sullied by several ugly incidents this season, most prominently a brawl between Cincinnati and Xavier in December that led to multiple player suspensions. That melee was ignited by trash talking between players and coaches.
In his memo, Adams specifically urged referees to enforce rules against taunting, profanity, and gestures like "waving off" an official after a call. He also reminded them that coaches should be immediately penalized if they leave the coach's box to complain about a call. "These types of actions call for technical fouls. Call them!" Adams wrote. "Your coordinators and commissioners will support you."
Reached by phone on Friday, Adams cited the decision to assess a technical foul on Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown for taunting after a dunk during the Cowboys' win over Missouri Tuesday night as an example of the type of enforcement he wants to see. That was Brown's second technical foul of the game, which warranted an automatic ejection. "I really felt like we had to have a call to action," Adams said. "Most coaches and players are good guys, but the aberrations are the ones that get the most attention, and that's something we have to deal with."
The moment the Missouri basketball team’s hopes died Wednesday at Oklahoma State was when Phil Pressey lost control of the ball in the lane and fell to the floor with less than two minutes left.
The second-ranked Tigers trailed by four with a chance to cut into the deficit, but the Cowboys came up with the loose ball — Pressey’s third turnover on a night when he mustered only two assists — got a three-point play from Brian Williams at the other end and closed out the game, handing Missouri its second loss.
That play spoke volumes about Pressey’s value to the team. When the sophomore point guard stumbles, the Tigers are at risk of going down with him.
U-G-L-Y you ain't got no alibi, you ugly.
Academics: 4.0 GPA
College: University of Kansas
Extracurricular activities: In addition to donating his time as a youth basketball instructor, he has volunteered locally as part of multiple youth literacy-outreach initiatives and as a motivational speaker for young student-athletes, addressing the importance of education and positive thinking. He has also served on behalf of the Wichita Children’s Home.
Paul Biancardi, National Director for ESPN Basketball Recruiting: “He’s a three-time Gatorade Player of the Year winner, that’s extremely impressive because of the criteria you have to meet to do that. It speaks volumes about his abilities on the court and his character off it. He’s a strong, physical power forward who can score on the blocks. He has increased his ability to play facing the basket out to 15 feet. He’s a low-post and high-post threat and a good rebounder on both ends of the floor.”
Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning boys basketball underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11.
Willie Cauley: Senior center, Olathe Northwest (Olathe, Kan.)
Conner Frankamp: Junior point guard, Wichita North (Wichita, Kan.)
Clint McCullough: Junior forward, St. James Academy (Lenexa, Kan.)
Colin Murphy: Senior forward, Basehor-Linwood (Basehor, Kan.)
Micah Swank: Junior guard, Pratt (Kan.)
Trey Unrau: Junior guard, Moundridge (Kan.)
Gatorade State POY profiles: Perry Ellis
Westview 62, Southridge 54: Landen Lucas had 13 points and 17 rebounds to help the visiting Wildcats pull away from the Skyhawks in Washington County.
Anrio Adams had 22 points and top-ranked Rainier Beach (16-1, 12-0 Metro Sound) pulled away in the fourth quarter at Bainbridge for a 66-48 win over the Spartans.
Andrew White highlights in this video, five three-ptrs in 1st quarter, had all 21 of teams its, finished with 33
Muhammad, a 6-foot-5 small forward, has had a pretty static list for the past year. UCLA, Kentucky, UNLV, Duke, Arizona, Kansas and USC are the ones jockeying for his services right now.
He’s taken his time throughout the process, only taking official visits to Kentucky and Texas A&M so far. He won’t make a decision until he’s taken all five of his officials.
“Probably when I’m done with my visits,” Muhammad said. “I have three more officials, and I’m definitely going to take them. I’ll have them scheduled in a month or so.”
For now, he said he’s looking at Duke, Kansas and Arizona for the remaining visits. Because they’re so close to home, UCLA and UNLV likely won’t receive official visits.
“It’s worthwhile to go to a farther school for an official, since they’re paying,” Muhammad said.
It’s easy to lose sight of his uniqueness as a player. He can made the three-pointer. He can play the post. He can make a move at the top of the key to shake a smaller defender. So? So you have to keep reminding yourself he’s 6-8, not 6-3, like former Simeon star Derrick Rose. And that he’s a 16-year-old junior.
‘‘He’s truly the best player I’ve ever coached at this level,’’ Simeon coach Robert Smith said. ‘‘Derrick was great; you never can take away from his speed and athleticism. But when you’re talking about basketball and being able to do everything completely, it’s Jabari.’’
Duke is after him, as are Illinois, Kansas, Michigan State and many other top programs. He hasn’t decided on a college, and he said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll go on a Mormon-sponsored mission. One of his brothers did.
A boy has talent, and everybody wants to shove him through the one mandatory year of college and into the pros.
Everybody’s in a rush these days.
‘‘We don’t want to put that thought in his head,’’ said Sonny, who runs a youth foundation in Chicago. ‘‘That’s why we keep him away from a lot of this stuff. People get to saying things. I told him, ‘We’re OK [financially]. We could be better, but we’re fine.’ If the time comes, we’ll sit down as a family and look at those options. But right now, we’re just getting through high school.’’
Jabari, meanwhile, keeps working.
‘‘I have big goals and dreams,’’ he said.
Chicago Sun Times
But why do some Mr. Basketball USA selections and top-rated players go on to be NBA stars, while others turn into fringe or complementary players? The Mr. Basketball panel offers some perspective.
"Some of them stop working and begin to read their own press clippings," said Fullctpress.net editor and panel member Dinos Trigonis. "Some maximize their ability early, while others max out their potential in high school."
It's interesting to note that Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, last year's NBA MVP, and 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year John Wall of the Washington Wizards were not consensus No. 1 prospects or named Mr. Basketball USA. In the case of Rose, not one organization ranked him the No. 1 high school player in 2006-07, the year O.J. Mayo was named Mr. Basketball USA. Wall (not eligible for Mr. Basketball honors) was No. 5 in the 2008-09 ESPNU 100 with Avery Bradley ranked No. 1.
"Even if we had included John Wall (he was our No. 1-ranked 5th-year player), he would not have been any higher than No. 4 on our list, behind Bradley, Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins," said HoopScoop editor and panel member Clark Francis.
"In the summer of 2006, I thought Eric Gordon was better than Rose," Trigonis said. "Not that Gordon is a bad pro, but D-Rose has elevated his game above Gordon."
The last two Mr. Basketball USA picks -- Harrison Barnes in 2009-10 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last season -- were known for their tremendous work ethics and competitive nature. The same holds true for Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), this year's front-runner with 94 out of 100 points in this week's balloting.
All-access inside look from SLAM at the Pangos All-American Camp. Video is 16 min long but worth the watch for recruitniks.
Social media has irreversibly transformed how recruiting works in college football. For coaches, it's another medium to contact, recruit and gather information about players. For players, it's a way to get recruited, control the message and interact with fans and other recruits at unprecedented levels.
"We are very involved with Facebook," said North Carolina coach Larry Fedora. "We are constantly messaging kids."
The NCAA limits how many phone calls coaches can make to recruits. Text messaging is banned altogether. Social media, meanwhile, is far less regulated.
Coaches can't write on a recruit's Facebook wall or instant message him, but are free to send private messages during contact periods. On Twitter, coaches can't publicly mention recruits, but they are allowed to send direct messages.
As a result, social media messaging has become the en-vogue method of communication between coaches and the players they recruit. Often, recruits even have Facebook and Twitter messages sent directly to their smartphones in the form of a text, one reason why there's an ongoing push to relax the rules on text messaging.
Social media "is an incredible tool," said former Stanford assistant Brian Polian, now tight ends coach at Texas A&M. "If you are not using it, you will fall way behind."
Through social media, coaches can learn who else is pursuing their recruits by whom they "friend" and "follow." It can also give them useful information on how to best recruit those players.
"Some guys that come on an official visit, they want to go see the town," Curry said. "Others want to go to an F.C.A. meeting. You need to know which is which."
Florida coach Will Muschamp said social media also provides another glimpse into a player's character, warning that "kids need to understand that they have to be very careful about what they do on social media."
…When fans aren't attacking recruits on social media, they often are trying to persuade them to come play for their schools.
"That part surprised me a lot," said Arkansas wide receiver commitment Keon Hatcher, a four-star prospect out of Owasso (Okla.) High School who flirted with Oklahoma State before reaffirming his pledge to the Razorbacks. "It felt good to be wanted."
Hatcher was also surprised at the outset of his recruitment by how many Facebook messages he would get from coaches.
"I got messages every day asking, 'How's it going?' and everything like that," Hatcher said. "But this is the Internet age. Almost every recruit is on Twitter and Facebook. It's a good way to get in touch with recruits."
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
ESPN HS TV schedule
My 2011 Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, KU Alumni games, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos now on Youtube