Not by the World University Games gold medal. Not by a regular-season Big 12 championship nor by the conference tournament crown secured Saturday. Not even by the selection of his Jayhawks as the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
All of those accomplishments are nice, but they aren’t what the junior had in mind when he committed to the Kansas basketball team six-plus years ago.
“I’ve said this since I’ve been here: You come to Kansas to make a deep run in the tournament, and we haven’t done that, and it’s been disappointing,” Lucas said. “I’m looking forward to doing that this year. We definitely have the team to do it.”
The top-seeded Jayhawks will look to buck a trend of early exits in the NCAA Tournament when they begin their postseason run against Austin Peay at 3 p.m. Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
Lucas and his teammates were shown giving a muted reaction Sunday night from their movie room at McCarthy Hall following the announcement that they were the No. 1 seed in the South Region. Most gave a polite golf clap. A couple busted a brief dance move while remaining seated.
It was par for the course, really, for a Jayhawks squad (30-4, 15-3 Big 12) known for its collective understated demeanor.
“The big staged deal with all the fans and cheerleaders and everything like that, I don't think that that plays near as well here and wouldn't mean as much to our guys,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Not saying it's wrong, but our guys are pretty much matter-of-fact when it comes to that.”
Dave Loos knew Kansas basketball coach Bill Self long before the national championship, before the coach of the year honors and before the No. 1 overall seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
For that reason alone, the 25-year coach of Austin Peay also knows exactly what to expect when his Governors meet the top-ranked Jayhawks in the opening round of this year’s tournament at 3 p.m. Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Boy, it’s a tough matchup, to be honest. A very tough matchup,” Loos told The Capital-Journal. “Things have to go right for you in a game like that.”
Loos first met Self when the former was an assistant at Memphis and the latter was just getting his footing as an assistant for Leonard Hamilton (1986-90) and later Eddie Sutton (1990-93) at Oklahoma State.
One of Loos’ most memorable interactions with Self involves a story the KU coach told him once about overwhelming instructions he was receiving from a coaching legend in his younger days.
“Mr. (Henry) Iba used to come up to him in practice all the time at Oklahoma State and tell Bill he would like to see him develop an offense that you could play against any defense, man or zone,” Loos said. “Coach (Self) said after reflecting on that, ‘Man, this guy is one of the greatest coaches ever, and if he couldn’t figure it out, I don’t know how he expects me to.’
“It was a really interesting story.”
…“I guess I was a little surprised,” Loos said. “There was a lot of talk about us going to Dayton (for a First Four play-in game), but I think it’s exciting. We certainly respect the tradition and all the success Kansas has had, but we welcome the challenge.”
Loos’ Governors (18-17, 7-9 Ohio Valley) made the tournament as an automatic qualifier with an improbable run through their conference tournament, capped with an 83-73 victory over Tennessee-Martin in the championship game on March 5 in Nashville, Tenn. Austin Peay was led by a 24-point outburst by freshman guard Jared Savage, who is averaging 6.5 points this season. Chris Horton leads the Governors in scoring (18.9) and rebounding (12.1).
One — and perhaps the only — advantage Loos will have over Self is familiarity. While Self admittedly hadn’t seen much of the Governors at the time of the announcement, Loos said he watches the Jayhawks “every time I get an opportunity.” He has a soft spot for KU senior forward Perry Ellis, a four-year guy “ ... who answers the bell every day,” Loos said.
“I think in some ways, in several ways, Coach Self and I are kind of from the same school of basketball,” Loos said. “So I enjoy watching them. I study what they do. I study them a lot.”
…As for the request he once received from Hall of Fame inductee Iba? Self said he is no closer to figuring out that answer today than he was when it first came up three decades ago.
“I kept telling myself, ‘You invented the passing game, and you’re one of the greatest coaches of all time, and you’re asking a 24-year-old to figure it out?’ ” Self recalled. “Which I thought was amazing. At 80 years old, he was still trying to figure it out.”
When University of Missouri assistant coach Brad Loos saw the NCAA Tournament bracket unveiling that overall No. 1 seed Kansas would play Austin Peay, coached by his father, Dave, Brad Loos’ first thoughts were stoked by the embers of the obsolete KU-MU rivalry.
How cool would it be if his father’s team could become the first No. 16 seed ever to topple a No. 1 seed … and have it be at the expense of the Jayhawks?
Then Kansas coach Bill Self went and said kind things about Loos’ father, whom Self has known for more than 25 years and with whom he shares an Henry Iba coaching tree lineage.
“I’ve always thought he was first-rate,” Self said of Dave Loos. “He always treated me very, very well when I was a young guy.”
Worse yet, Self went on to speak with compassion and wisdom about Dave Loos’ granddaughter and Brad’s daughter, Rhyan, 6, as she continues her battle against cancer at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“Hopefully, playing Austin Peay in some way, shape or form will bring attention to the cause and what they are trying to do with his granddaughter,” Self said Sunday.
All of which threw off Brad Loos.
“I was trying to get into the whole ‘hate KU’ thing, and Bill’s killing me with this,” Loos said by telephone Sunday, laughing, as he stood outside his daughter’s hospital room. “I had my Mizzou gear on, I’m ready to go, I’m ready to hate KU — and then Bill comes out and says nice things about my dad and my daughter. … What are you doing?”
More seriously, Loos was grateful to Self.
Not just for the consoling thoughts for his own daughter but in terms of the awareness Loos and his wife, Jen, have been seeking to promote for her illness, neuroblastoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer and, in her case, stage four.
Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self is happy his team earned the No. 1 overall seed when the brackets were released Sunday night. He just doesn’t think it means all that much starting now.
While standing in front of reporters Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse, the 13th-year KU coach compared the situation to a basketball player having a stellar high-school career before heading off to college: That might be nice for a while, but it means nothing if you don’t prove yourself again.
“Certainly now,” Self said, “is where it counts the most.”
…Self says there’s reason to like KU heading into the season’s most important games. He was impressed by his guys following Saturday’s victory, as they celebrated, but not to a point where they got “wild and crazy” while preparing themselves for what was next.
The coach used Saturday’s game as an example of his team’s focus. The Jayhawks won by double digits against a top-10 opponent, but the players knew they struggled guarding the post while allowing a career-high 31 points to Devin Williams. Guard Frank Mason didn’t score like he often has, and forward Perry Ellis only emerged late in the second half. KU also was careless, committing a number of unforced turnovers and botching a few transition opportunities.
“I still think our guys feel like there’s better play out there for us,” Self said. “Certainly I do.”
While the Govs and the Jayhawks have never met on the basketball court, Austin Peay has played five other teams that are members of the current Big 12 Conference in Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech with an overall mark of 2-5 versus these teams.
The two wins both came versus Texas Tech in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.
While most of those games versus the Big 12 have been several years ago there is one more little bit of history you can compare between Austin Peay and Kansas – and this bit happened this season.
If you look at both teams schedules this season they have one common opponent, Vanderbilt.
The Govs played the Commodores in their season opener, back on November 13th, coming away with an 80-41 loss; while Kansas faced Vanderbilt in the Maui Invitational on November 25th — less than two weeks after the Govs played Vandy – with the Jayhawks rallying in the second half for a 70-63 win.
So if you add it all up, the Govs don’t have much of a chance and will go into the NCAA Tournament with Kansas as big underdog and probably a one-and-done. But it’s not called March Madness for nothing … one day, one game, one upset. It’s going to happen sooner or later, so why not Austin Peay and why not this year.
When Austin Peay senior Khalil Davis saw his team’s name pop into the NCAA Tournament bracket against No. 1 overall seed Kansas University when the field was revealed Sunday evening, Davis could only shake his head.
Not because the task of taking on Kansas (30-4) in the first round on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, was too daunting. Instead, because Davis could not believe that he will be able to tap into a lifetime’s worth of anti-KU vibes.
See, Davis, a native of Kansas City, Mo., who attended Grandview High, grew up rooting against the Jayhawks and for his father, Tyrone, who played at Kansas State and has told his son plenty of tales about battles with Paul Pierce and the Jayhawks in the late ‘90s.
“It’s really a dream come true,” Davis said via telephone Sunday night. “At the beginning of the year, I talked to my pastor and he told me it was going to be the biggest year of my life. To be able to get to the NCAA Tournament and to play Kansas is just an incredible blessing and I’m looking forward to it.”
No. 1: Is my memory failing me, or did Kansas University defeat Oklahoma in that triple-overtime thriller in Allen Fieldhouse and again in Norman, Okla., when Devonté Graham outplayed Buddy Hield?
No. 2: Am I incorrect in thinking that the No. 1 overall seed, and not the defending national champion, is supposed to be rewarded with the least difficult path to the Final Four?
I ask these questions because when I looked at the bracket, the first two things I noticed were that No. 2 seed Oklahoma and No. 4 seed Duke, both in the West region, were given easier roads than Kansas to the Final Four. I still like KU’s chances better than theirs, but its seems KU drew the short straw despite winning the Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles and finishing 30-4 with 14 consecutive victories.
Not only that, KU has the toughest potential second-round opponent of the four No. 1 seeds, facing either Connecticut, one of the nation’s hottest teams, or Colorado. Oregon plays the winner of Saint Joseph’s (22-7)/Cincinnati (22-10). North Carolina faces the USC (21-12)/Providence (23-10) winner. Virginia meets either Texas Tech (19-12) or Butler (21-10).
Compare KU’s potential second-round foes to those of Oklahoma, a No. 2 seed. The Sooners play the winner of Oregon State (19-12)/VCU (24-10).
Kansas is the top seed in the South Region. And for good reason. But the selection committee created a difficult path for the top-ranked Jayhawks. Here's proof: Seven schools in the South were ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll during this season.
That's nearly half of the schools in the South Region.
Again, KU is the favorite. But would it really be that crazy to see California or Maryland catch the Jayhawks in the Sweet 16? Honestly, I don't think so. Because Cal and Maryland are really talented and good. And, beyond that, nine of the top-23 NCAA Tournament-eligible KenPom teams are in the South, which is four more than any other region. So, bottom line, no matter how this unfolds, KU will be tested multiple times and as early as the Round of 32.
…The champion of the South Region will be … No. 1 Kansas. I just can't bring myself to pick against the Jayhawks before Houston. They're experienced, talented and in possession of 15 top-50 RPI wins. That means they've been beating good teams for four months now. And I believe they'll keep doing it for at least a couple of more weeks.
CBS Parrish: What you need to know about the South
There are seven teams in the South that were ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll at some point this season, and nine of the teams in the South are currently ranked in KenPom's top 25. They are Kansas (No. 1 at KenPom), Villanova (No. 5 at KenPom), Wichita State (No. 12 at KenPom), Miami (No. 13 at KenPom), Arizona (No. 16 at KenPom), Iowa (No. 20 at KenPom), California (No. 21 at KenPom), Maryland (No. 23 at KenPom) and Connecticut (No. 25 at KenPom). For what it's worth, no other region has more than five top-25 KenPom teams. So the South is tough, tough, tough. And it's filled with great coaches, too. There are five men in the South who have coached in a Final Four -- namely Bill Self (Kansas), Jay Wright (Villanova), Jim Larranaga (Miami), Kevin Ollie (Connecticut) and Gregg Marshall (Wichita State). And that list doesn't include Arizona's Sean Miller, who has four Elite Eights on his resume but is still chasing a Final Four.
FIVE TEAMS I CAN SEE WINNING IT ALL
- Michigan State
- North Carolina
MY FINAL FOUR
- Kansas vs. Oklahoma
- Michigan State vs. North Carolina
MY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
- Kansas vs. Michigan State
MY NATIONAL CHAMPION
- Michigan State
These are your 10 hottest teams in the field of 68:
1. Kansas Jayhawks
Congratulations to Bill Self and the Jayhawks, proud owners of the overall No. 1 seed and (equally important!) the top spot in John Gasaway's list of the field's hottest teams. I realize "no great teams" was the evaluative battle cry of choice this season, and I used it as much as anyone. That being said, a KU team that sits at 30-4 and hasn't lost a game in seven weeks sounds like it's on the verge of the "G" word to me. Once Self settled on Landen Lucas as the answer at center alongside Perry Ellis, Kansas played consistently excellent D and made 55 percent of its 2s over the remainder of the Big 12 regular season.
ESPN 10 Hottest/10 Coldest
@TheUncleAnthony made the Washington Post lol
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 DAILY!
“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
Since 2006, the Big 12 is dead last in NCAA Tournament winning percentage and Final Four teams when compared with the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences. The league has more total wins than the Pac-12 but trails each of the other four leagues.
In the last five years — a college sports election cycle, if you will — the numbers are even worse.
Over that time, the Big 12 is 29-30. Each of the other leagues is at least seven games over .500. The ACC (43-24), Big Ten (54-33) and SEC (39-19) are lapping the Big 12. Since the Big 12’s most recent Final Four team (Kansas in 2012), the Big Ten has had four, the SEC three, the Big East two and the ACC one.
The Big 12 has lost more games than it has won in each of the last three tournaments. In the last 10 years, no major conference has more than two such tournaments. The ACC has had none, and the Big Ten just one, back in 2006.
Much of the talk about the Big 12’s strength this season has focused on depth. Seven of 10 teams in the field is hard to do, and having them all seeded eighth or higher is even harder. But the league’s middle class is actually what’s let it down the most, even considering three consecutive early losses by Kansas.
Take away the top programs — for our purposes here, that’s Kansas, Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke — and the Big 12 is even worse off. Its record in the last five years drops to 17-25. The ACC drops to 32-20, the Big Ten to 43-28, and the SEC to 20-16. At this point, there really isn’t a glamor program in the Pac-12, so it stays at 28-21.
The league’s general failures sting more than they otherwise might, and not just because of its institutional insecurity. Big 12 marketing centers largely on its double-round robin schedule being the nation’s toughest.
Coaches often talk about how the conference’s diverse styles — from Press Virginia’s intensity to Kansas’ size and defense to Baylor’s amoeba zone to the wide-open offenses of Oklahoma and Iowa State — are particularly good preparation for the postseason.
That sounds logical. But the results aren’t there.
Any excuses this year will be met with deserved derision. The league’s depth and strength has been among the sport’s most popular talking points, and what’s more, the Big 12’s best teams are generally led by experienced players.
KC Star Mellinger
Over the past two weeks, barring a championship run through the Big 12 Tournament to earn an automatic NCAA Tournament berth, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber and the Wildcat basketball players lobbied for a bid to the NIT.
The Wildcats were not selected for the NIT on Sunday, and following that news Weber announced the Wildcats would not participate in any postseason tournament.
KUAD: Postseason Information Hub
No. 1 seed Kansas (-24.5) vs. No. 16 seed Austin Peay
No. 8 seed Colorado (-3.5) vs. No. 9 seed Connecticut
No. 5 seed Maryland (-8.5) vs. No. 12 seed South Dakota State
No. 4 seed California (-6.5) vs. No. 13 seed Hawaii
No. 3 seed Miami (-13) vs. No. 14 seed Buffalo
No. 7 seed Iowa (-7) vs. No. 10 seed Temple
No. 2 seed Villanova (-15) vs. No. 15 seed UNC Asheville
ODDS and LINES
Top-seeded Kansas opened as a 9-2 favorite to win the NCAA Tournament, according to odds released immediately after the bracket reveal Sunday night by Las Vegas' largest sportsbook, the Westgate SuperBook.
Michigan State, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, had been the favorite before Selection Sunday's bracket was revealed. The Spartans and North Carolina, the No. 1 seed in the East Region, are next at 5-1. Midwest No. 1 Virginia (12-1) and West No. 1 Oregon (15-1) carried the longest odds for top seeds Sunday night.
ncaa.com: 2016 NCAA Tournament Schedule w/game times
Announcing crews, etc
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.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
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