KUAD: Kansas vs Maryland Pregame Notes
Kansas will participate in an open practice on Wednesday, March 23 inside the KFC Yum! Center. The practice will begin at 2:10 (CT)/3:10 (ET) p.m. and last for 50 minutes. The session is the fourth and final open practice of the day and is open to both the public and media.
Pregame Party and Pep Rally Info
Join Kansas Athletics, the Williams Education Fund and the KU Alumni Association for a pregame party and pep rally on game day. Visit this page or follow @KUHoops and @WilliamsFund on twitter for updated information.
Kentucky International Convention Center
Room: Cascade ABC
221 S 4th St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Thursday, March 24
3:30 p.m. - Doors Open for Pregame Party
6:15 p.m. - Pep Rally
KUAD: Kansas Postseason Info for Fans
One coach certainly isn’t shying away from the Western Kentucky men’s basketball job.
Kurtis Townsend, a former WKU player and current Kansas assistant, said in a radio interview Monday on “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” that coaching the Hilltoppers would be “a dream job for me.”
Townsend, now in his 12th season on the Kansas bench, is the longest-tenured assistant coach in Jayhawks history. His time has included the program’s 2008 NCAA championship.
No. 1 seed Kansas faces Maryland on Thursday in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, and while Townsend made it clear Monday that he has interest in the WKU position, he said his full focus is on the Jayhawks’ players.
“Right now, the biggest thing is no distractions for these guys so they can reach as high as they can,” Townsend said. “All that stuff ends up working out the way it’s supposed to.”
Townsend, 58, played point guard at Western Kentucky for two seasons from 1978-80 after transferring from Menlo (Calif.) Junior College.
He helped the Hilltoppers to the 1980 Ohio Valley Conference title and an NCAA Tournament bid. He spent the 1981 season in the CBA for the Montana Golden Nuggets and earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation from Western Kentucky in 1982.
“I love Western Kentucky,” Townsend said Monday. “I found my wife there. She went to school there, too, and is from Nashville originally. ... I loved it out there. They care about basketball, I know that.”
Townsend, who has been ranked in recent years as one of the top recruiting assistants in the nation, played a major role in Kansas landing NBA draftees Andrew Wiggins, Ben McLemore, Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Julian Wright and Josh Selby, as well as 2010 Consensus All-American Sherron Collins.
Coaching intrigues him. Sitting behind the KU bench this season, and occasionally jumping off that seat to offer encouragement or wisdom, appealed to Miles.
“Mentally at times, I want to get back out there, but then also there’s times I just enjoy doing this in some capacity,’’ Miles said.
“At some level I would like to be a head coach someday, and I’ve had an opportunity to work with the best. Coach Self, he’s just off the hook.’’
The former KU point guard played his last two seasons for Self and finished with 954 assists, which ranks ninth all-time in Division I. At the NCAA Tournament, he looks for any subtleties to pass along after tying the KU record with 16 games played at the Dance.
“He’s great,’’ KU coach Bill Self said. “He’s strictly in an administrative role, but certainly I think having him around has been good with our players just from an approach standpoint.
“He’s been really, really good with helping guys kind of understand from a mindset of what it takes to be a really good player at this level.’’
“I went on a recruiting visit to Maryland. I got a chance to get out of the mountains and go watch them play (a football game). I couldn’t do that often. It was a great time. The game was great. I think they won,” said Mason, who ultimately chose KU over Maryland, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Providence, Seton Hall and Rutgers.
“The environment was special. They’ve got a very good basketball program, a good football program. It’s just a good school overall,” Mason added of KU’s upcoming basketball opponent in the NCAA tournament Sweet 16. Tipoff is 8:40 p.m. Thursday in KFC Yum!Center in Louisville, Ky.
“We can’t wait to get there,” Mason said of Louisville. The Jayhawks are scheduled to leave Allen Fieldhouse at 1 p.m. today, drive to Topeka, then fly charter for the next round of the NCAAs. “We’ve not made it to the Sweet 16 since I’ve been here. It’s a different feeling. I think the guys are still not satisfied. We want to accomplish more,” Mason added.
…“I honestly believe they have as good or the best starting five in the country,” Self said Monday on USA Today’s national podcast. Maryland boasts starters Melo Trimble (6-3, sophomore), Rasheed Sulaimon (6-4, senior), Diamond Stone (6-foot-11, 255-pound freshman), Damonte Dodd (6-11, 250, junior) and Robert Carter (6-9, 235, junior). Jake Layman, a 6-9, 220 senior, lends more muscle off the bench.
“I don’t think it’s one of those things you look at them and say, ‘If we could stop this and that, then we should be good.’ There’s a lot of this and that with them,” Self said. “We’re evaluating it and breaking it down right now. We’ll have a game plan, but when you are balanced at all five spots, you are much more difficult to guard. All their guys are capable of having very big nights.”
This will not be Turgeon's first game against Kansas, but he'll be seeking his first win. In four seasons as a head coach at Texas A&M, Turgeon went 0–6 against the Jayhawks from 2008–2011.
This is not the first time Turgeon has reached the Sweet Sixteen as a head coach. In Turgeon's sixth season at Wichita State, the Shockers earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after a 26–9 regular season in 2006, which is a regular-season best for Turgeon. As a No. 7 seed in the tournament, the Shockers upset second-seeded Tennessee in the second round. Turgeon's Shockers eventually fell to No. 11 George Mason.
Maryland is not expected to beat top-seeded Kansas. The Terrapins open as a seven-point underdog playing the late game on Thursday night. But Turgeon needs this victory for Maryland to advance to the Elite Eight for two big reasons: Maryland needs to redeem themselves after a poor end to the regular season and Turgeon wants to create his own legacy by beating his alma mater.
SI Campus Rush
The Terrapins, who opened the season ranked No. 18 in The Associated Press’ preseason poll, spent all but two weeks after that ranked in the Top 10 before finishing the regular season right where they began the preseason — ranked No. 18.
Maryland reached as high as second in the AP poll for three different weeks — Weeks 3, 4 and 14 — and was in the Top 5 for nine weeks.
After reaching the No. 2 spot in Week 14 back on Feb. 8, Maryland lost five of eight down the stretch and watched a 22-3 mark turn into a 25-8 record heading into the Big Dance.
The losses during that stretch were: vs. Wisconsin (70-57), at Minnesota (68-63), at Purdue (83-79), at Indiana (80-62) and vs. Michigan State (64-61).
Four of those five teams made the tournament and two of them — Indiana and Wisconsin — joined Maryland in reaching the Sweet 16.
Maryland’s other losses during the 2015-16 season were at Michigan State (74-65) on Jan. 23, at Michigan (70-67) on Jan. 12 and at North Carolina (89-81) on Dec. 1.
Despite the impressive sound of those defeats, you should remember that they all were losses and kenpom.com ranked Maryland’s schedule as the 47th toughest in college basketball this season.
KenPom.com ranked KU’s schedule as the seventh toughest.
KU and Maryland had two common opponents — Michigan State and UConn — and had similar results against both, with Maryland losing twice to Michigan State in tight games and KU losing to the Spartans 79-73 in the Champions Classic in November, and both beating Connecticut, Maryland 76-66 at home in December and KU 73-61 last week in Round 2 of the NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina doesn’t defend like Kansas. Virginia — undervalued nationally, I think — plays a slower pace that lessens its margin for error. Oklahoma doesn’t defend, and lacks depth. Oregon’s defense can be had. Villanova’s interior defense is just OK. Duke is inconsistent, and vulnerable defensively. And those are the “other” best teams left.
Kansas has flaws too, of course. But they can also score from all parts of the floor, have good defenders on the perimeter and inside, insulate themselves from foul trouble with depth, and have proven themselves at their best in tough games.
Now, obviously they can lose. If you took Kansas and gave me the other 15, I would feel very good about my bet.
But, you know, they are the best team, which is something.
KC Star Mellinger
The wise guys in Vegas have posted the Maryland men's basketball team as a seven-point underdog going into Thursday night's (9:40 p.m.) game against No. 1 seed Kansas, but if the Terps stumble out of the gate like they did on Sunday, they'll be lucky to still be in the game at halftime.
The Jayhawks aren't just the No. 1 season in the region, they were the near-unanimous No. 1 team in the nation in the USA Today coaches poll entering the postseason. The Terps, of course, had slipped to No. 17 over the final weeks of the Big Ten season, but it might be wise for coach Mark Turgeon to remind them that they are the same group of players that was ranked ahead of Kansas in both major preseason polls.
Still, the seven-point line seems kind after the way the Terps played in the first half of Sunday night's game against 13th-seeded Hawaii.
In 15 games since the start of February, KU’s opponents have made 40 percent of their two-point shots. To give some context, San Diego State led the nation in two-point defense for the season at 41 percent.
Self says much of the credit for KU’s improvement should go to the players, who have taken additional pride in shutting teams down.
“Every scouting report, ’Mari’s got them all huddled up, and they’re all talking about, ‘Hey, the roll man has got to take the roll man. We have to guard ball screens this way. We can’t be lax,’” Self said. “So they are policing each other more.”
Forward Landen Lucas also admitted the team was fired up early by Traylor’s blocks — even if he didn’t complete them the way Diallo suggested.
“Jamari came in and gave us great energy, and we were talking to each other, communicating,” Lucas said. “That’s how we need to start each game.”
“I hate that I have to play Kansas,” Turgeon told TBS. “I’m just glad we’re there. They’re the best team in the country. We’re just excited to be in the game.”
The Topeka native, a member of two state high school championship teams at Hayden, played as a point guard at Kansas from 1984-87 under Larry Brown.
Turgeon was a captain during his junior and senior seasons, and part of the Jayhawks’ run to the 1986 Final Four. KU coach Bill Self was on Brown’s staff that season.
“Mark was one of the beloved Jayhawks during his time in Lawrence,” Self said Sunday. “I was a graduate assistant coach at Kansas when Turg was a junior. He has had a great coaching career and has really got that Maryland program on a very solid foundation.”
Layman said the team felt "disrespected a little bit" for being shipped to the NCAA tournament's farthest outpost and then having to turn around and play Thursday in Louisville against a Kansas team ranked No. 1 nationally after the Terps spent most of the year in the Top 10.
"They stuck us all the way out here in Spokane, it felt like two away games a little bit," said Layman, who needs to play in two more games to break Juan Dixon's school record of 141 consecutive games.
Asked if reaching the Sweet 16 validates his decision to come back this season after briefly contemplating leaving to turn pro after last season, Layman said: "Losing that game last year, It feels like we're taking that next step forward. This team is dangerous. [Some teams] don't want to play us."
Indeed, for all the enthusiasm and potential Bragg shows, fouls have been an issue lately. He fouled out after scoring his career high against K-State, and then got whistled for 4 fouls in both the Big 12 semis and championship game. Bragg had 3 more fouls against Austin Peay, then managed to avoid a penalty in 4 minutes against UConn.
Still, Bragg’s potential and growth make him an intriguing X-factor every time Kansas plays. Particularly with his ability to stretch the floor with his shooting touch. Against K-State to open the Big 12 Tournament, Bragg hit a pair of 3-pointers, making him 4-for-7 from long range this season.
“Lately, especially in practice, he’s been knockin' them down,” Graham said of Bragg’s 3-point attempts, “and his confidence has gone up by showing it. I feel like, as a freshman, and playing his position, he got spot minutes, so he’d be kind of hesitant on taking that shot — thinking about maybe coming out and stuff like that. But lately he’s been knocking it down in practice, so coach has been giving him confidence and we’ve been giving him confidence and telling him to shoot the ball.”
Bragg said, much like in games, he doesn’t try to take a lot of 3-point shots at practices. Sure, he’ll let it fly when he’s open, but normally he just swings the ball on a perimeter touch and goes to set a screen.
That’s the perfect approach for a role player, and Bragg’s ability to embrace that also leads to his role expanding. Coaches and teammates now trust the energetic freshman to make smart choices within the offense.
No. 1 seeds Kansas and North Carolina head into the Sweet 16 as the co-favorites to win the NCAA tournament.
The Jayhawks and Tar Heels are each 7-2 at the Westgate SuperBook. Kansas is a 6.5-point favorite over Maryland on Thursday, and North Carolina is a 5.5-point favorite over Indiana on Friday in the Sweet 16. The Jayhawks and Tar Heels are on opposite sides of the bracket and would not meet until the championship game.
No. 1 seed Virginia is next at 5-1, followed by No. 2 seed Villanova at 8-1. The Cavaliers' stock climbed after the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, Michigan State, was eliminated in a first-round upset. More money was bet on the Spartans to win the tournament than any other team at the SuperBook. Michigan State was the favorite at most books before Selection Sunday.
Kansas' basketball team will head to Louisville this week the favorite to win both the South Region and the NCAA tournament.
Online sports book Bovada.LV established the Jayhawks on Monday as a heavy, 10-11 top choice of four teams set to play Thursday and Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.
Villanova (12-5), Miami (6-1) and Maryland (13-2) received significantly higher prices.
Additionally, Kansas is Bovada's 7-2 favorite among teams in the Sweet 16 to go on to win an NCAA title.
The book made Indiana the 3-1 second choice to get out of the East Region and to the Final Four with North Carolina the 5-7 favorite.
Number to know: 71
The Jayhawks have the ability to score on either side of the arc but have been pounding the ball into the paint in the tournament. Connecticut, a very good defensive team, held KU to a (relatively) low 1.08 points per possession, yet the Jayhawks still connected on 55 percent of their 2s. Perry Ellis is shooting 71 percent inside the arc in two tournament games, and Wayne Selden isn't far behind at 62 percent.
Number to know: 5.6
In most cases, shooting 1-for-18 (5.6 percent) from 3-point territory in a second-round game would be a problem. Not so for Maryland. The Terrapins overcame their woeful long-range shooting against Hawaii thanks to outstanding 2-point shooting (70 percent), exceptional individual performances from Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon, and suffocating defense. Their reward? A date with Kansas.
Number to know: 2
Jim Larranaga has coached 174 games during his five seasons at Miami and he has earned just two technical fouls during his tenure. The first occurred on Feb. 18, 2015, against Virginia Tech; the second happened in the round of 32 against Wichita State. I have long been a skeptic of the motivational value to be found in giving your opponent undefended chances to score points with the clock stopped, but I suppose if you're going to try that tactic you can at least pick your moment deliberately. Larranaga chose his moment when the Shockers had cut a 21-point deficit to three, and the effect was not lost on his players. "I was surprised," Ja'Quan Newton said after the game. "He never gets techs."
Number to know: 173
Villanova has scored 173 points in just 135 possessions in wins against UNC Asheville and Iowa. Such a prolific output is being fueled by team-wide insane shooting, to the tune of 49 percent on 3s and 66 percent on 2s. Scoff at those numbers as "unsustainable" if you wish. Of course they're unsustainable over the long haul, but there is no long haul left. Every team that has made it this far is just 160 minutes from a national title. What's more, Jay Wright isn't relying on any single great hero-ball scorer to produce this kind of efficiency. No Wildcat has scored more than 19 points in either game; Nova comes at you en masse.
ESPN ($) Numbers to know for each Sweet 16 team
What they did right: The Jayhawks were terrific defensively against UConn after being lackluster on that end of the court in the rout against Austin Peay.
What they did wrong: Coach Bill Self's team is one of the deepest in the country, but he only played his bench a total of 29 minutes in the win against UConn.
What they need to do to survive: Play defense. The Jayhawks have plenty of guys who can score, but if they guard at a high level, they will likely have a trip to Houston in their future.
What they did right: The Terps made shots against South Dakota State and were great on the defensive end against Hawaii. Point guard Melo Trimble also shot 23 free throws in the two games.
What they did wrong: The Terps need to be better on the glass. They were outrebounded by Hawaii and barely edged South Dakota State on the glass.
What they need to do to survive: The Terps need Trimble to be aggressive. They have to hang with Kansas on the glass -- and will also need some production from their bench, especially Jared Nickens.
Some Jayhawk fans in the Kansas City area are celebrating a Sweet 16 birth by filling out a different kind of bracket.
An orthodontist in the Leawood area is placing Jayhawk shapes on braces. KU alum, Dr. Jeff Thompson says his patients wear Jayhawks on their shirts and hats; so, why not support KU on their teeth too?
Most people wear braces for 18 to 24 months, so the fans choosing to put Jayhawks on their teeth are committed fans.
Kansas junior guard Wayne Selden Jr., has been named one of five finalists for the 2016 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award.
Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis has been named one of five finalists for the 2016 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.
VOTE HERE (Final day 3/25)
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!”
Big 12/College News
Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder has announced the hiring of Brad Underwood as the program's 19th men's basketball coach.
He will be formally introduced to the Oklahoma State fans and media at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Henry Iba was born 111 years ago. He arrived in Stillwater 81 years ago. Last coached OSU basketball 46 years ago. Died 23 years ago.
It's getting harder and harder to find the links to Iba. The Iba coaching tree, the grand men who learned under Iba and proudly kept his legacy alive, the Eddie Suttons and the Don Haskinses, are grayed or gone.
Third-generation Iba men are the best for which you can hope here in 2016. And Mike Holder found one Monday night when OSU announced that Brad Underwood would become the Cowboy basketball coach. Underwood became one of the hot names of this NCAA Tournament when his Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks took down third-seeded West Virginia 70-56 Friday in the East Regional, and the ‘Jacks dang near did the same to Notre Dame on Sunday before losing 76-75 amid a bunch of late whistles that went the Irish's way.
But Underwood was a hot name already among anyone who respects the Iba tradition. Underwood played basketball at Kansas State in the 1980s for Jack Hartman, who is in the trinity of Iba's greatest coaches. Haskins, who won the 1966 NCAA championship with Texas Western and became an El Paso legend. Sutton, who you know all about. And Hartman, who coached Southern Illinois and Walt Frazier to the 1968 NIT title (a big deal in that day) then spent 16 years coaching Kansas State to great heights.
University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon accepted a job offer Monday to become the next coach at his alma mater, Texas Christian University. And, although it was mostly his decision to leave, Pitt didn’t exactly beg Dixon to stay.
In the past, when Dixon was building Pitt’s basketball program into one of the best in the country, university officials had to fend off outside interest in their coach, offering Dixon better contracts and other perks to keep him in the fold.
That changed in the past couple of weeks, as it became apparent Dixon was TCU’s top choice, even before the school officially fired its previous coach, Trent Johnson. Rather than enticing Dixon to stay, Pitt officials worked with TCU to negotiate a smaller buyout from Dixon’s contract to help ease his exit.
“We knew where his heart and his head were, and it wouldn’t have been good for our program to hold him hostage,” Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes said at a news conference Monday announcing Dixon’s departure.
Texas needs to eliminate the Longhorn Network in order for the Big 12 to avoid facing increased instability, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told CBS Sports on Monday.
Gundy's comment was made as he said the league overall needs to market itself better. The conference, he said, is at a disadvantage because of the widespread distribution and success of the SEC Network and Big Ten Network.
Eliminating LHN, which he called a “failure,” and creating a conference-wide Big 12 Network would give the league more national exposure, Gundy added.
“If we don't eliminate the Longhorn Network and create our own network, they're going to continue to have issues with this league,” Gundy said as the Cowboys returned from spring break to continue spring practice.
He continued: “You don't have a Big 12 Network; you have a network within the league that people consider a failure.”
The ACC's stellar run in the 2016 NCAA tournament, which has resulted in a 12-1 record and six of its teams making the Sweet 16, will be worth more than $30 million to the conference.
The money comes from the basketball fund, a pool set aside by the NCAA since 1991 to reward conferences for their teams' advancing in the tournament.
Each game played in this year's tournament is worth $265,791. That money is paid out in each of the next six years (2017-22), with the number for each game, or unit, growing each year of the payout. Over that six-year span, the total value of a game played in this year's tournament will be at least $1.59 million.
KUAD: Postseason Information Hub for Fans
Find out the tournament history for specific seeds, teams, coaches or conferences.
NCAA Tournament Brackets and History interactive tool
CBS Interactive Tool: Pick two teams to compare record, RPI and SOS details head to head. By default, the top two teams in RPI are shown.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube