This is just cruel KU! Why tease us like this?
KU vs OU pregame notes
The decline in bench production has certainly hampered Self’s opportunities to invite players to take a seat after mistakes, but even a productive starting-five needs a rest every now and again. Four players — Taylor, Johnson, Thomas Robinson and Releford — are currently averaging more than 30 minutes per game. If the season ended today, it would be the first time that many players have averaged at least 30 minutes in Self’s career at Kansas.
Self has had three players play more than 30 minutes per game in two seasons. In terms of winning percentages, they were two of his three worst seasons at Kansas (2003-04, 2004-05)). In 2003-2004, the bench consisted mainly of Jeff Graves and David Lee, but both were able to shoulder the load with 18 minutes per game a piece.
The following season, there were four players coming off the bench to form a nine-player rotation.
“I do think it’s hard to develop great chemistry if you’re playing nine,” Self said, but he didn’t agree that seven players were too few either, arguing that the size of the rotation doesn’t always matter.
“But that ‘08 team, we played seven a ton of minutes,” Self said. “You look at that team and we had seven starters. I don’t quite feel that way this year. I feel like we have six.”
He was presumably speaking of Conner Teahan as the extra starter, whose 20.8 minutes per game nearly double the action seen by forwards Kevin Young and Justin Wesley.
With only one bench player seeing considerable action, starters are being relied upon much more than in the past. At the same time, Self hasn’t been happy with his team near the end of a shot clock after playing defense for sometimes 30 seconds or longer. One theory for the breakdowns on defense is fatigue.
“I would say the percentage of people scoring against us is far higher in the last seven to eight seconds of a possession than it is in the first 27,” Self said. “We don’t finish possessions.”
If this season is in fact the last year of the “Border Showdown,” at least it will go out with a bang.
Saturday’s game against rival Missouri in Columbia promises to be one of the most anticipated games of the series in years.
With animosity between the two sides dating back to actual violence in the Civil War, Kansas and Missouri have taken this hatred out on one another in athletic competition for 120 years. The history and intensity of this series makes the “Border Showdown” worthy of comparable national recognition as Ohio State-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn and Duke-North Carolina. However, the rivalry has rarely received the national exposure and hype that it deserves.
That will change on Saturday.
ESPN’s College GameDay will make its first-ever trip to Columbia to showcase one of the final meetings between Kansas and Missouri. For just the third time in the series’ history, both Kansas and Missouri will square off while ranked in the top 10: Missouri at No. 4 and Kansas at No. 8.
The whole nation will be watching as a sold out Mizzou Arena bids farewell to the Kansas Jayhawks before the eventual leap to the Southeastern Conference. The Jayhawks are no stranger to hostile environments, but the scene on Saturday night will blow away the “Hilton Magic” that led to the Kansas defeat over the weekend.
From the looks of it, this game at Mizzou Arena should mean more to the Missouri faithful than it does for Kansas. The Missouri Alumni Association is even holding a contest for free tickets awarded to the person with the three best reasons he or she is not a Jayhawk.
Saturday night’s game is the most important regular season game in the history of Missouri basketball as beating Kansas in the last-ever meeting at Mizzou Arena would give the Tiger faithful bragging rights that they’d cherish forever.
Is this game really the be-all and end-all for Kansas? Absolutely not. The Jayhawks lead the series 171-94, so if the rivalry does end this year, Kansas dominated the basketball side. If both Kansas and Missouri take care of business during the week, the Jayhawks will enter Saturday’s match-up with a one-game lead on the Tigers in the Big 12 race. Yes, a win over Missouri would double Kansas’ lead in the standings, but there is still so much basketball yet to be played.
“I think it’s a coin toss, I really do,” said Self, whose Jayhawks have won seven straight conference championships. “You can make a case that we’re in good shape, but we still have to go to hard places – some real hard places.”
In Self’s estimation, Missouri may be the front-runner heading into the Tigers’ game Monday night against Texas. They’ve had arguably the toughest road so far.
“To me, even though teams with four losses, whether that be Kansas State or Iowa State or whatever, they can still win the league,” Self said during the coaches’ Monday teleconference. “I think 14-4 would be a really good record and 15-3 would be one that wins it outright.”
What would be worse for Mizzou fans than not getting sent to the St. Louis regional?
Having the Jayhawks get their spot.
St Louis Today
13. Danny Manning, Lawrence (Lawrence, Kan.), 1984
Manning was national junior of the year in 1983 when he led Page (Greensboro, N.C.) to a 26-0 record and No. 2 national rating. When Kansas coach Larry Brown hired Manning's dad, Ed, to his staff, Manning spent his senior season at Lawrence (Lawrence, Kan.) where he was a national player of the year candidate. Before leading the Jayhawks to the 1988 NCAA title, he was one of two preps to earn a tryout for the '84 U.S. Olympic team along with guard Delray Brooks (Indiana).
23. Paul Pierce, Inglewood (Inglewood, Calif.), 1995
After leading the Boston Celtics to their first NBA title in more than two decades in 2008, a strong argument was made that Pierce was the greatest player ever produced from California's massive CIF Southern Section. Pierce was an All-American at Kansas and the finest player on the West Coast as a senior at Inglewood. He averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists for a 26-4 state-ranked team. In his last game, he scored 37 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, in a loss to state power Dominguez (Compton, Calif.). He scored 28 points in the McDonald's game. In that game, he actually had to wear the jersey of West teammate Jelani McCoy because some jerseys were stolen prior to tip-off.
ESPN: Ranking McDonald's game top 35 players
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VOTE for Thomas Robinson for Zag's Blog's National Player of the Year (Anthony Davis 39%, TRob 36%)
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
The 19 #Big12 MBB NCAA teams with RPI's of 40 or below is most of any conference (6 more than the next league!).
Missouri forward Ricardo Ratliffe continues to lead the nation in field goal percentage (.751). Only three other Big 12 regulars — BU’s Perry Jones (.554), ISU’s White (.535) and KU’s Thomas Robinson (.532) — have made more than half their attempts.
... Entering play Monday, five Big 12 teams were among the top 50 in RPI — Baylor (3), Kansas (8), Missouri (12), Kansas State (41) and Iowa State (50).
In mid-December, Andrew Carter — a junior journalism major at Missouri — recalls feeling “maxed out” due to his studies. He needed a break, so he decided to hop on the Internet.
“So basically I’m on YouTube, and I see there’s a lot of spirit videos for other schools,” said Carter, a 21-year old Naperville, Ill., native. “I remember thinking, ‘Man, our basketball team is good this year, someone should do a video in honor of them.’
“Then I thought wait — why can’t we do it?”
He met his fraternity brothers, sophomores Tanner Brandell and Matt Roberts. The three friends had never made a music video before, but really, how hard could it be?
Just find a catchy beat, write some clever lyrics, shoot at various spots around campus and … voila, you get “We Are Mizzou,” a musical love letter to their school that also packs as many swipes at Missouri’s rivals they can pack into 3 minutes and 34 seconds.
...“I’m pretty proud of it,” said Roberts, a 19-year old sophomore finance major from St. Charles, Mo., who wrote the chorus. “Everybody says it’s really catchy. We got it in everybody’s head.”
...But again, the video has received a mixed reaction - as of Monday afternoon, it had 619 likes and 1,258 dislikes on YouTube, and comments for the video had been disabled.
However, Carter contends the numbers are skewed due to the number of schools they swipe in the video.
“Anytime you call people out in sports, there’s gonna be a reaction,” Carter said. “Everyone is gonna back their team.”
Besides, Carter continued, it’s Kansas week — Missouri plays host to the Jayhawks on Saturday night at Mizzou Arena.
“So you know their fans weren’t going to like it,” he said. “And not everyone is fond of us in the Big 12, so you know some of those fans at other schools aren’t going to like it. And even the SEC, not everyone is thrilled about us going there, either.”
So really, the only support they expected to receive is from Missouri fans, and they say that’s been positive, for the most part. They estimate roughly 75 percent of Missouri fans who have reached out to them through Twitter, Facebook and email support the video.
“They think it’s awesome,” Carter said. “Some people at Mizzou don’t like it, but they are probably feeling that way because they think we are representing them poorly. They don’t like that other people are trashing Mizzou because of it.”
The win was clearly a satisfying one for Missouri, which improved to 20-2 overall and 7-2 in Big 12 play. The Tigers were criticized by Haith for failing to close out Oklahoma State on Wednesday after also leading late on the road. But from the looks of Monday’s game, they certainly learned their lesson.
“Coach was stressing growth from the Oklahoma State game,” senior guard Kim English said.
And Let’s face it, Missouri had plenty of chances to cave in this game, too. But the Tigers held on, thanks to a combination of toughness and guile that allowed them to overcome a 38-26 rebounding discrepancy and beat a young, energetic Longhorns team that plays well at home.
Game by game, the Texas' Longhorns season is getting more and more desperate.
Aching for a big win to turn their sinking season around, the Longhorns lost another close game, 67-66 to No. 4 Missouri on Monday night.
And once again, Texas rallied only to give away a late lead and missed the potential winner at the buzzer. The Longhorns (13-9, 3-6 Big 12) have lost five of their last six and are 0-7 this season in games decided by six points or fewer.
"Every guy in that locker room wants to win," freshman guard Myck Kabongo said.
…After the game, Texas coach Rick Barnes said officials didn't call a foul on the Tigers' Matt Pressey who had slapped Kabongo's left, non-shooting arm on the final shot.
"He did get fouled," Barnes said.
Before they came together at Iowa State and helped turn the Cyclones into the potential NCAA Tournament team they are today, Royce White, Chris Babb, Chris Allen and Anthony Booker were spread across the country at different Division I schools.
But when you ask Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg about the development of the four high-profile transfers, he doesn’t say much about the time they spent at Minnesota, Penn State, Michigan State or Southern Illinois. Although they came to Iowa State from those destinations, they became the players they are today behind closed doors in practice jerseys.
…“They weren’t running our stuff, but they were running the other team’s plays in practice,” Hoiberg said. “They really embraced their roles and tried to help our guys who were out there, eligible to play.”
Big 12 teams have never had a more active January.
By Wednesday, all teams will have played nine conference games, more than ever because of the 18-game schedule in the 10-team league.
Fatigue could come into play as the weeks continue. Who might be in the best position to handle the work load?
Teams that play a deeper rotation could have an edge. Starting near the top of the standings, the team with the advantage in depth is Baylor.
…Kansas coach Bill Self knows the challenge that lies ahead.
“We play five guys 30 minutes,” Self said. “How do we keep guys fresh mentally and physically? Two weeks from now we’ll have a better indication.”
NCAA releases "Team Sheets" for the NCAA tourney selection and seeding process
This was supposed to be college basketball’s Big Year, its once-in-a-generation moment when older stars (at least by one-and-done era standards), historic teams and a weakened, post-lockout NBA conspired to drive interest in a sport that struggles to rise above niche status for 11 out of 12 months.
And yet, with roughly two-thirds of the games already played, college basketball’s regular season has settled into an all-too-familiar place. Despite everything the sport was supposed to have going for it, this year has turned out to be no different than the one before it or the one before that. It is, for lack of a better term, largely irrelevant.
There’s no joy in acknowledging that, by the way. Over the last 10 years, I’ve watched, covered and enjoyed college basketball more than any other sport. Give me Florida-Ole Miss, Indiana-Wisconsin and Gonzaga-Portland on a Thursday night, and I’m happy. But I’m a die-hard, stone-cold college hoops junkie.
I’m also the minority.
Sure, there are a few places where college basketball is king year-round. The states of Kentucky, Kansas and Indiana come to mind, as well as some major cities like Raleigh and Memphis where it’s long been part of the culture. But while the small group of loyalists have been watching since mid-November — dissecting what’s wrong with North Carolina, marveling over the potential of Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, familiarizing ourselves with upstarts like Murray State and Missouri — most of you will only start to pay attention right now, if at all.
College basketball has essentially become a six-week sport. In the big picture, it might as well not even exist before the Super Bowl. So why not change? Football owns the winter, but college basketball can own the spring.
March Madness is great, but you know what would be even better? May Madness — a 4½-month season, starting around New Year’s and ending just before the NBA playoffs take center stage.
There are a combined 96 voters in The Associated Press writers’ and USA Today coaches’ college basketball polls. Just two of the 96, one writer from Mars and another from Pluto, do not believe that the University of Kentucky is the best team in the country.
There are three primary computer ranking systems. You’re more likely to find Kentucky ranked fifth than first by the computers. You won’t find the Wildcats first in any of the three computer rankings — the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) or formulas by Jeff Sagarin and Ken Pomeroy.
…The computer formulas are not convinced. Pomeroy and Sagarin favor Ohio State. The RPI prefers Syracuse. Kentucky is ranked second in Sagarin and third in Pomeroy. But the Wildcats lag at fifth in the RPI, trailing Duke, Baylor and Michigan State in addition to Syracuse.
The computer formulas appear to penalize Kentucky because of its strength of schedule and because the Wildcats compete in the Southeastern Conference.
Hmmm, extra benefits for Syracuse players?
The future Kansas Jayhawk put the Mavericks on his back and carried them in the third quarter. White scored on eight of Miller’s first ten possessions to bust the game wide open. The senior scored 18 of his game high 38 points in the third quarter.
“This game, it was just a matter of scoring when I could,” White said. “I had some lanes to drive and the other players did a great job of finding me.”
Added Miller head coach Scott Willard: “He has the skill to take over a game. He’s a high major player that gave us a great effort tonight in limited minutes."
White sat the entire fourth quarter, but the Mavericks continued to pour it on.
Video: Julius Randle goes off for 50 points (Some nice assists from Zach Peters)
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My 2011 Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, KU Alumni games, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos now on Youtube