Temple’s basketball team will meet sixth-ranked Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 6. The tip-off time was set by CBS on Sunday. The television network will broadcast the game.
The Owls (9-2) host Bowling Green on Monday before traveling to Kansas. The Jayhawks (11-1) own a 29-game winning streak at their fieldhouse.
Tharpe, who has made nine of his last 11 shots and seven of his last nine threes, shattered his previous career-high assist mark of five set against Chattanooga this season and Howard his freshman campaign. The 12 assists were sixth-most in a game in KU history, just six off Tom Kivisto’s record of 18 dimes in 1973.
All in all, it was spectacular play in just 20 minutes.
“I definitely played better than this in high school, but I’m not going to compare a high school game to a college game. I had a game where I had 16 assists, close to 20 (at Brewster Academy). I just have a different mind-set right now when it comes to basketball,” added Tharpe, a Worcester, Mass., native.
The modest Tharpe didn’t list himself when asked who was “responsible” for his emergence as a solid sub to Elijah Johnson.
“I would say mostly my older brother, Tishaun,” Tharpe said. “We’ve been sitting down and talking to each other a lot, as well as coach (Bill Self) and my teammates encouraging me.”
Tharpe, who lost his dad, Ronald Edward Tharpe, to cancer in 2006, has a mentor and role model in 34-year-old brother Tishaun Jenkins, who was a first-team NCAA Div. III All-America point guard at Salem State University in Massachusetts.
Jenkins led Salem State to its first and only Final Four appearance in 2000 and was recently named to the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
…“He was down, almost to the point, ‘I don’t know if I can do this, Ti,’” Jenkins related. “I was like, ‘You don’t quit. When the going gets tough, you get tougher. When it gets tougher you get tougher and tougher. That’s how it goes. You take that motivation to get better and show what you are about. Meet the challenge.’”
Sensing a need to catch his brother’s attention further, Jenkins after the Saint Louis game told Tharpe of a conversation he had with Self last January.
“Last year, coach said, ‘Tishaun, let’s be honest. Naadir is not going to go and dominate a basketball game,’” Jenkins said. “I am one of those guys … my coach told me as a junior in college that I reached my pinnacle. I put signs everywhere in my dorm room to stay motivated because this guy thought I was as good as I was going to be. I told my brother, ‘Coach Self said you can’t dominate a game.’ I don’t know if that put a little fire under his butt. It seems it has.
“I think coach Self is one of the best coaches in the country. I said to him (Tharpe), ‘If he thinks you can’t dominate, either that’s a lack of effort in practice or you are not showing him what you can do. On the court, you are definitely not showing him what you can do.’”
That was about the time Jenkins asked Self if KU could provide a counselor to help Tharpe work on some issues regarding his dad’s death.
“He spoke to someone the course of the whole year,” Jenkins said, expressing thanks to KU and Self for the forum for Tharpe to speak about his dad. “When you lose your father, you lose your sense of security. You could talk to him. He didn’t make decisions for you but gave you options, methods, ways to go. When you lose that, it’s on you.”
KU ran the table in 2001-2002 en route to a 33-4 record that ended in the Final Four in Atlanta with a semifinal loss to national-champion Maryland and never has done so again.
The conference schedule is two games longer now with 18 games, which makes the feat even tougher. If the Jayhawks pulled it off this season, it would come as no greater a shock than some of the remarkable streaks going on of late with a team that only vaguely resembles the squad that lost Nov. 13 to Michigan State in Atlanta in the Georgia Dome, site of this year’s Final Four.
Streaks such as:
In the past four games, sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe has played 71 minutes without committing a turnover and has 22 assists. He has made seven of nine three-pointers in the last three games.
Senior starting power forward Kevin Young has not missed a shot from the field in three consecutive games. In 69 minutes of action, he has shot 8-for-8 from the field against Richmond, Ohio State and American.
Since busting out of an 0-for-11, season-opening three-point shooting slump, senior guard Travis Releford has made 16 of 25 three-pointers (64 percent), nine for 11 (82 percent) in the last four games.
In the last five games, scholarship players have made more three-point shots (43) than they have missed (42) for a percentage of .506. During that span, each opponent had an overall shooting percentage of less than .40.
KU’s home-court winning streak stands at 29 games, second only to Syracuse (31). Saturday’s victory against American, the weakest team on KU’s schedule, pushed the Allen Fieldhouse winning streak against nonconference competition to 62 games.
Just eight of those 62 victims have lost by single-digit margins since Oral Roberts defeated Kansas, 78-71, Nov. 15, 2006. Would you believe 27 of the 62 victims (44 percent) have lost by margins of 30 points or greater? In both the 2007-08 and 2009-10 seasons, KU blistered seven teams by 30 points or more.
Bill Self’s record stands at 152-7 in his favorite basketball building.
If KU can defeat Temple and win each of its nine conference games in Allen Fieldhouse en route to a conference championship, Self would finish the season with two more consecutive Big 12 titles (nine) than Allen Fieldhouse losses (seven). Remarkable.
One year ago today — Dec. 31, 2011 — the Kansas Jayhawks were 9-3 and preparing for a New Year’s Eve matchup with North Dakota. Remember? KU was ranked outside the top 15 – and still just two weeks removed from a non-conference loss to Davidson at the Sprint Center. Maybe the Jayhawks could regroup and win their eighth straight Big 12 title. But on that day, nothing was guaranteed.
What a difference a year makes.
Kansas, which entered Monday ranked sixth in the AP poll, is now prepared to leave another calendar year behind. The Jayhawks will play Temple at Allen Fieldhouse in six days, but first, it’s that time of the year, a time to look back and digest the last 12 months, a time to compile KU’s top five moments from 2012.
…That brings us to the top three moments, all quite obvious picks, with apologies to Jeff Withey’s triple-double and Ben McLemore’s performance against Ohio State earlier this month.
The top three:
** The Last Border War at Allen Fieldhouse
** Kansas’ victory over North Carolina in the Elite Eight
** Kansas’ victory over Ohio State in the national semifinals
There are cases to be made for all three games. The Missouri victory featured an emotional, 19-point comeback and could be the last time the two old rivals will ever play at Allen Fieldhouse. The North Carolina victory sent Kansas to the Final Four – a key benchmark – and pushed KU’s record to 2-0 against Roy Williams. And the victory over Ohio State in New Orleans clinched a spot in the NCAA title game; if the point of college basketball is to win titles, there’s only one game more important than a national semifinal.
So, my original inclination was to put Ohio State at No. 1, followed by North Carolina, and then Missouri. The Ohio State victory, another dramatic comeback, put KU on the brink of an unlikely NCAA Championship, and that seemed to outweigh whatever emotions came from the victories over North Carolina and Missouri.
But when the question was put to Kansas fans on Twitter, my feed and email inbox filled up with a prevailing sentiment: My original inclination, according to most KU fans, was wrong.
In a very unscientific poll that included close to 50 voters, the victory over Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse was the nearly overwhelming choice. Here’s how the numbers shook out:
(We assigned three points to a first-place vote, two to a second and one for a third.)
1 Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse (117 points, 26 first-place votes)
2 North Carolina in the Elite Eight in St. Louis (89 points, 14 first-place votes)
3 Ohio State in the Final Four in New Orleans (77 points, nine first-place votes)
There’s room for debate, of course. In our unscientific poll, there was a clear winner … but only a slight majority for the victor. And maybe another 50 KU fans would vote another way. Essentially, it breaks down like this: If you’re a calculated pragmatist, maybe you preferred the Ohio State victory – and many did. If you’re a traditionalist, maybe the environment during the last Border War put it over the top. And if you’re the type that holds grudges, well, we'll note that the North Carolina victory was still pretty popular.
A 12-day gap in the schedule between their nonconference finale at Cal and their Big 12 opener at home against Kansas State afforded members of Kansas University’s women’s basketball team the chance to get away for the holidays.
They’ve been back in town a few days and broke up the monotony of semester-break practices leading up to Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Wildcats by entertaining close to 300 girls and boys, as well as some of their family members, at KU’s annual Holiday Hoops Clinic Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.
Of course, Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson made sure her players practiced beforehand, in the morning. She didn’t want the youngsters wearing out the No. 22 Jayhawks (9-2) before the coaching staff had a crack at doing the same.
“The most important thing here is just the energy our players have to teach and to interact,” Henrickson said of the clinic. “We’re teaching some, but it’s more about being able to show your personality.”
KU senior forward Carolyn Davis called it a fun afternoon with the youngsters, kindergartners through eighth-graders.
“They just want to play, shoot the ball, run around and have fun with us,” Davis said.
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
The conference is down and the members have changed, but the reigning champs remain.
And in Big 12 hoops, providing a stark contrast to football season, everything begins (and has ended the past eight seasons) with Kansas.
Here's five Big 12 storylines, starting with the powerful Jayhawks but expanding leaguewide, to get you prepared for the impending conference season:
Can anyone dethrone Kansas from its regular-season pedestal?
Eight titles in eight years. Without much resistance, coach Bill Self's Jayhawks have consistently maintained a stranglehold on the Big 12's regular season crown. Can anyone change that? There's a trio of viable candidates (K-State, Baylor and, most notably, OSU), but Kansas once again enters as the heavy favorite to repeat.
The Oklahoman: Big 12 Preview
1. Kansas (11-1). Since an early loss to Michigan State, the Jayhawks have reeled off 10 straight wins to re-establish their place among the nation's elite. Behind center Jeff Withey and freshman Ben McLemore — and a strong supporting cast that includes veterans Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford — KU looks like the league's most complete team. Best win: at No. 10 Ohio State, 74-66.
2. Oklahoma State (10-1). The Cowboys bolted out of the gate with an impressive run to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship, hinting at a restoration of pride to the program. Freshman Marcus Smart has transformed the feel of a squad that now relies on rugged defense and toughness over Lob Stilly showmanship. Still developing — and recovering from injuries — the Cowboys carry upside, too. Best win: No. 23 North Carolina State, 76-56, in Puerto Rico.
3. Kansas State (10-2). The Wildcats seem to be making a smooth transition from coach Frank Martin to Bruce Weber, winning 10 games in the nonconference for the seventh straight season. Weber inherited a veteran and talented roster, featuring a scorer in guard Rodney McGruder, who has three 30-point games to date. Best win: No. 14 Florida, 67-61 in Kansas City.
4. Baylor (8-4). It's been an uneven start for Baylor, where Scott Drew has gathered talent — again — yet has so far struggled to produce any consistency. A solid win over Kentucky is overshadowed by bad losses, including a setback to the College of Charleston in Waco. Still, the Bears have a lethal backcourt in Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip and serious upside. Best win: Kentucky, 64-55.
The Oklahoman: Big 12 Power Poll
“Over the past couple of years, Oklahoma State basketball has been down the drain,” said Cowboys point guard Marcus Smart. “This is a game that can really establish things.”
Establish legitimacy — to outsiders and a fan base apparently needing reason to hop on the bandwagon.
“It'll be a big game for us, a statement game, and one to prepare us going into the Big 12,” said OSU forward Michael Cobbins.
“It'll be a great test for our team, to see where we're at and how the rest of our season could go.”
The Zags have already mowed through four Big 12 teams, recently adding Baylor to a list of conquests that also includes Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
John Calipari is crafty.
Russ Smith of Louisville fouled Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel in the lane late in the first half Saturday. The ref points at Smith, and the box score has a foul charged to Smith. Noel, a 52 percent foul shooter, steps to the line. Then, at the :23 mark, you see Noel look to the bench, and No. 22 on Kentucky, Alex Poythress, does the same. Then, Noel heads to the Kentucky bench to get a word with Calipari.
Poythress slyly replaces him at the foul line.
The refs completely miss it, as does everyone on Louisville. Poythress made one of two free throws.
Louisville staved off a furious Kentucky rally, winning, 80-77. The Wildcats could have used better free throw shooting – 11-of-23 (47 percent) isn’t going to cut it. Would Calipari be as brazen to try something like this in an NCAA tournament game? [video via Mark Ennis]
The Big Lead (Video at the link)
UK associate athletic director DeWayne Peevy said in a phone interview Sunday that UK’s bench argued to officials after the whistle that Poythress should be the foul shooter on the play, that the officials concurred and acknowledged to the scorer’s table that "No. 22" (Poythress’ number) would be the shooter in the official book. He said Noel was never ruled the official shooter.
"As I recall, there was some confusion over who the shooter was between Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress. I know our bench was arguing that No. 22 was the shooter, and the official acknowledged it to the table that ‘22’ was the shooter. And I didn’t really think much more of it after that."
Peevy later posted on Twitter: "Our bench argued that Poythress was fouled & the ref notified the official scorer that #22 was the shooter. It wasn't a switch-a-roo."
He said he and coach John Calipari hadn't discussed the play.
Poythress is a 64.2 percent free-throw shooter, and Noel shoots 52.2 percent.
Big 12 Composite Schedule