KUAD: Kansas vs Iowa State pregame notes
NCAA releases first RPI ranking of the season. KU #2.
ESPN Power Rankings: KU #5
Iowa State defeated UMKC on Dec. 19, took nearly two weeks off and beat Yale on New Year’s Day. After another week off, it will play one of the hardest games on its schedule.
“I’ve never had a situation where you play one game in 21 days,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
He is trying to make the best of the situation by allowing players to rest and hitting them with drills he wouldn’t normally have time for in the regular season.
Hoiberg labeled KU as "scary good," saying the Jayhawks excel at making other teams uncomfortable offensively. "Their defense is phenomenal," he said. Hoiberg indicated the single most important thing for Iowa State would be taking care of the ball, noting that worked well out for Temple, which hung around with KU before eventually falling, 69-62, on Sunday.
• Hoiberg on scouting KU's defense: "I didn't sleep much after watching the Colorado game. ... It was like there were eight guys out there on the court." Something to keep in mind: ISU has had a lot of time to prepare for this game, as the Cyclones have only played one game after Dec. 19. That will make Wednesday's game only ISU's second in 21 days.
• ISU has been simulating crowd noise in practice to prepare for Allen Fieldhouse. Hoiberg even mentioned the team working on its hand signals.
Most coaches in the Big 12 would trade their next recruiting class for a shot blocker like Jeff Withey, so it’s not like Bill Self is complaining.
With a defender as dominant as Withey, though, there’s always a risk of becoming dependent, and right now Kansas is showing some signs, Self said.
“It is pretty remarkable to have a guy back there who can cover up for mistakes, because we’re making too many,” Self said. “We’re putting too much pressure on him, to be honest.”
Withey blocked nine shots in Sunday’s 69-62 win against Temple, finishing one block and two points shy of his second triple-double. His defense helped No. 6 KU limit the Owls to 30 percent from the floor, marking the sixth straight game in which an opponent failed to reach 40 percent against the Jayhawks.
Teams are shooting 34.7 percent against KU this season, a number that ranks second nationally behind 33.7 percent for Texas. That has a lot to do with Withey, Self said, and not as much to do with KU’s team defense.
“We’re so overrated defensively, in large part because of him,” Self said. “Our field-goal percentage defense is off the charts.
“We make so many mistakes, and he makes up for our mistakes.”
The 7-foot Withey, as reddit.com pointed out Monday, actually has had a better nonconference campaign than former Kentucky phenom Davis did a year ago. Through 13 games last season, Davis had 58 blocks and 29 fouls. Through 13 games in 2012-13, Withey has 68 blocks and 16 fouls.
By last season’s end, Davis totaled 186 blocks, or 4.7 per game.
Withey is averaging 5.23 blocks a game.
KU’s anchor from San Diego enters the upcoming Big 12 season as a rival to Davis, No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, on the offensive end as well.
Davis last season averaged 14.2 points a game off 62.3 percent shooting.
Withey currently averages 13.4 points per game (second on team to Ben McLemore’s 15.6) off 55.8 percent marksmanship. Withey has made 71.4 percent of his free throws; Davis hit 70.9 percent his only season at UK.
“Cole (Aldrich, Houston Rockets) was the best shot-blocker we’ve had since I’ve been here up until Jeff. I bet you Cole averaged less than three blocks a game. He’s the best, and Jeff is averaging 5, almost double of the best we’ve had. Jeff is really good at it,” KU coach Bill Self said.
Aldrich, who is second on KU’s all-time block charts with 253 compared to Greg Ostertag’s 258, averaged 3.5 blocks a game in 2009-10.
Withey has 233 career blocks, which is fifth all-time at KU. If he stays healthy, of course, he’s a lock to become the school’s all-time leader.
If KU’s single-season blocks leader (140 last year, compared to Aldrich’s 125 in 2009-10) wants to dream big, he can shoot for David Robinson’s single-season NCAA-record total of 207 rejections, set in 1985-86.
“Jeff can block it almost flat-footed or from a rotation standpoint. He’s just so long,” Self said Monday on his “Hawk Talk” radio show. “Jeff chooses his spots pretty well. I don’t know if his shot blocks (total) does justice to his defensive ability because he changes the game. He changes how people think. He changes scouting report just because he is effective and has an unbelievable knack for blocking shots and keeping it in play where we can retrieve it.
“From a defensive standpoint, we don’t win the game (69-62 Sunday vs. Temple) without him back there blocking and altering,” Self added.
ESPN.com noticed Withey’s effort in Sunday’s victory over the Owls.
“Withey is having an insane defensive season,” Eamonn Brennan wrote Monday in a blog under the headline, “Jeff Withey is having a crazy season.”
“Through 13 games, Withey is making Davis look like an amateur,” Brennan added.
…Self was asked by a caller if freshmen Rio Adams and Andrew White III “could help us” in games during the Big 12 season.
“I do. I told our team today, this is very blunt but very true, I doubt both of them will. The reason I say that is, I don’t see any reason why we’d play six perimeter players unless there are foul problems or injuries,” Self said. “Just like there’s no need to play five big guys unless we have foul problems or injuries. Unless it’s an energy deal and you bring them in and certainly hope they change the pace of the game or change the negative we have going on, give us a positive boost. That could happen. I think they both are capable.”
He applauded White for his three minutes of work in the second half of a close game Sunday.
“I thought he did a good job,” Self said. “I don’t know if we have a lot of games that everybody will get a chance to impact it. Maybe one of the two, but not both.”
If all goes well during tonight’s vote by the Lawrence City Commission regarding land usage and zoning specifications — as is expected — the Kansas University athletic department could begin construction on what has come to be known as “Rock Chalk Park” within weeks.
Speaking publicly about the issue for the first time, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger on Monday shared with the Journal-World the many reasons behind the university’s eagerness to begin construction on a $50 million project that will deliver a new home for KU’s soccer, softball and track and field programs.
Those reasons include everything from financial and competitive advantages to important aesthetic and long-range visions for the department. Most critical, however, is the benefit such a move figures to have on KU’s status within college athletics.
“Kansas Athletics, for over a decade, has been searching for a way to address the needs of track and field, soccer and softball,” Zenger said. “Without this opportunity, we would spend the next five to seven, and maybe 10 years, trying to raise $50 million to build these three structures, all the while putting the completion of the renovations to Allen Fieldhouse on hold and, even further, putting on hold the renovations to Memorial Stadium. In light of what we’ve witnessed with BCS-conference realignment over the past several years, that would be the most foolish action that we could ever take.”
…As it stands now, KU is not eligible to host any conference, regional or national track meets because the existing track at Memorial Stadium is not a true 400-meter track. If and when the new track is built, it will be a state-of-the-art IAAF track, of which there are only a handful in the country. Zenger said would return the luster to KU’s historic track programs.
“This will allow the Kansas Relays to become once again what they used to be,” Zenger said.
Moving forward with the current setup is the equivalent of the men’s basketball program playing its home games at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
“So many people think that we need and want to get that track out of Memorial Stadium because of football,” Zenger said. “And they are absolutely correct; we need it out of there. But first and foremost we need it out of there for track and field. It’s been too long, and, when it comes to competition sites, this project is our greatest undertaking since the building of Allen Fieldhouse, preceded by the building of Memorial Stadium.”
tOSU pre game video (Once again, be grateful for the amazing vid dept at KU)
Robinson played 23 minutes with the energy and hustle the Kings want in a 105-96 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday. Robinson had five points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
"Yeah, it hit me," Robinson said. "I tried to fight it. Maybe it was just (Friday), maybe it's a new start, I don't know. I just know when I do get the chance from now on, I'm going to be who I am."
Robinson, drafted fifth overall, said he listened to the wrong people and his approach to the season was wrong.
"I got away from who I am," Robinson said. "I've never been a 20-point scorer or played like that. I've always been a hustle guy, and I got away from that, and it didn't help me. I don't mind being that guy. That's what got me here, and that's what's going to keep me here."
Thomas Robinson grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds in Monday's blowout loss, and also added eight points on 4-of-8 shooting with one steal and four turnovers.
Suns power forward Markieff Morris is drawing triple-teams.
After a practice, he has the attention of assistant coach Elston Turner and player-development staffers Ralph Sampson and Sean Rooks. Morris shows the willingness to work year-round on his game so, the staff is willing to invest time before and after practices to improve his play.
“Most of the time with ET, it’s getting a lot of shots up,” said Morris, who went 1 for 7 Friday and had an 0-for-4 start Sunday. “We go all around the horn — 3s, off the dribble. I just get the reps up so it can stay where it’s at.
“With Ralph, it’s more technique — a lot of footwork, jab steps, crossovers. He’s basically working on the mechanics of my game. He’s been around for a long time and has a lot of things that I can learn every day. Sean is who I play against when I want to work on something. He’s still young and can move. When I need a body out there, he’s my guy.”
Morris has sage influence beyond the staff with how Luis Scola has taken to him in the same way he did for Morris’ twin, Marcus, last season in Houston.
“Luis has shown me stuff from Day 1,” Morris said. “Every time out, I try to steal a move from him and do a little scoop shot, his patented move. Every time, I say I’m doing ‘The Scola.’
KUAD WBB: #17 Kansas at #21 OSU pregame notes
Just two days after losing to No. 1 Baylor, Oklahoma State faces another major test.
The No. 21 Cowgirls (11-2, 0-2) will host No. 17 Kansas (11-2, 2-0) tonight at 7 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The Jayhawks are coming off a 60-59 comeback win Saturday at West Virginia and have quickly shot up in national rankings thanks to the team’s 2-0 start in conference play.
For Oklahoma State, the goal is to get its first conference win. The Cowgirls’ 11-0 start has been blemished after losing to Texas Tech and subsequently falling to Baylor. Even a month ago, Cowgirls coach Jim Littell knew his team had to take its game to a higher level.
“The Big 12 is about playing for 40 minutes and valuing every possession,” Littell said in December. “We’re not right there where we need to be right now.”
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Composite Schedule
Though five teams are in position to reach the NCAA Tournament, it’s undoubtedly a down year for Big 12 hoops. It is ranked sixth in the RPI, behind the Big Ten, Big East, Mountain West, ACC and the Pac-12.
The same slogan that fans coined as a dig at Kansas during football season could also be used for basketball. The Big 12: Kansas and nine other teams.
Not that Jayhawks coach Bill Self looks at it that way.
“Our league RPI is six, but we are just a fraction of being out of second,” “It’s not like there are so many leagues that are separating themselves above us. That’s not the case.
“When you look across America … the Big Ten without question is the deepest league in the country, but after that you have some leagues that look better than others. But when you really study the RPI, we have seven teams in the top 75. We are going to have teams in position to make the NCAA Tournament.”
Kansas, K-State and Oklahoma State are on their way to the NCAA Tournament. Baylor seems likely to make it, with Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa State hoping to join that group.
But they will have to prove themselves in conference, where there aren’t many head-turning wins to come by. TCU and Texas Tech look like pushovers, West Virginia is down and Texas and Baylor have been maddeningly inconsistent.
The Bears won at Kentucky but lost at home to Charleston. The Longhorns stomped North Carolina but couldn’t beat Division II Chaminade. K-State and Kansas helped the league by beating Florida and Ohio State in nonconference play, but five teams hurt the league by losing to Gonzaga.
There is concern the Big 12 will receive worse seeds than usual in the NCAA Tournament. Coaches are using that as motivation in some situations, ignoring it in others.
“Unfortunately we don’t have time to make that up,” Self said. “It’s not even a consideration with us. We are just thinking about winning our league. If you are one of the better teams in our league, there is no question you are going to get a good seed.”
What started out as something of a Kansas reunion — and a Tulsa blowout — actually turned into a game, and Brown’s feeling of dread long before tipoff got worse when his team rallied from 34-17 down at halftime to take a 46-42 lead in the final minute, only to give it away with a missed free throw and some missed defensive assignments.
“I didn’t like the idea of playing against him,” Brown said. “Once the game went on, I wasn’t thinking about Danny. I think we were thinking about our team and how we could win the game.”
The coach and his former player shared a brief pregame chat, a brief hug a few minutes before the game, and another brief one after the chaotic ending — moments after Brown was waving his arms on the bench, trying to get his players to move up the floor for a final shot. He mouthed “No” as a desperation shot from half-court didn’t come close, reached his hands out as he got out of his chair and put his hands on his head.
“Then you look at the way the game ended, it’s a terrible feeling,” Brown said. “I’m happy for Danny.”
North Carolina guard Dexter Strickland stood beside his locker in a quiet, somber UNC locker room on Sunday night, and while he tied his tie he thought about how the Tar Heels went from leading Virginia by eight early in the second half to suffering a listless 61-52 defeat.
"I thought we were getting it going," Strickland said, and who didn't after UNC turned its one-point halftime lead into a 36-28 advantage with 16:25 to play?
…Strickland wasn't alone in his quest for answers. He and his teammates searched for them in the moments after one of their most puzzling performances of the season.
UNC's other three defeats came by worse margins, and after worse showings than what the Heels provided at John Paul Jones Arena. But rarely had a game gone so badly, so quickly for the Heels.
Kansas’ basketball stock is peaking.
All three of the state’s NCAA Division I schools are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since the 1964-65 preseason poll. No. 3 Wichita State led the way that season, followed by No. 8 Kansas State and No. 18 Kansas.
On Monday, the No. 23 Shockers, 14-1, joined No. 6 Kansas, 12-1, and No. 18 Kansas State, 12-2, in week 10 of the current poll.
Indiana — with No. 5 Indiana, No. 14 Butler and No. 17 Notre Dame — also has three schools ranked.
The Texas Tech men’s basketball team beat TCU 62-53 on Saturday to begin Big 12 Conference play.
Jaye Crockett led Tech in scoring with 13 points. Dusty Hannahs contributed with 12 points. Jordan Tolbert rounded out the scoring with 11 points and nine rebounds. Texas Tech has won three games in a row and its first road game of the season.
One game into its Big 12 life, the West Virginia basketball program finds itself faced with serious challenges.
Nowhere in the coach’s instructional manual is it written that a 7-6 start with a giveaway loss in the conference opener on the home floor before a sellout crowd while looking at following that up with a trip to Texas for game No. 2 should be considered an omen of good things to come.
Freshman Terry Henderson, who did his part to make the situation a better one, scoring 21 points with some torrid first-half shooting that kept WVU from falling completely out of the 67-57 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, had trouble grasping exactly what had happened.
“First Big 12 game, home opener, packed crowd — what more could you ask for?” Henderson said, shaking his head.
“I really thought we were going to pull it out,” he continued.
But there was no one there to carry his heroics of 18 first-half points into the second half and, for the lack of a daintier phrase, they were out-toughed through the second half as the Sooners took one from them in a situation where that just could not be allowed to happen.
AND NOW THINGS GET TOUGH!
See, living life in the Big 12 in basketball is a grind, not just on the court, but off it.
Road trips in this conference when your home court is located in West Virginia are just that … road trips.
Until now, the Mountaineers have been cruising through a travel-friendly schedule, one which may have taken them to a lot of far-spread places but given them a week or more in between to get there. True, they opened as far away as you can get in Spokane, Wash., and followed that up in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., but there was a 10-day gap.
Conference play is different and WVU isn’t in the East Coast friendly Big East where you went from New York City to Syracuse to Providence to D.C. and so forth.
Now its trips to Austin and Lubbock and Lawrence and Oklahoma City and places where you change time zones almost as often as you change underwear and when instead of jumping on a plane after a game and being home after an hour or an hour and a half flight, you spend the night.
This next trip to Texas isn’t a terrible problem with school still out, but consider that WVU plays a rather important against against Kansas State on Jan. 12, flys to Iowa State for a game on Jan. 16, then flys to Purdue three days later for a game against the Boilermakers.
“It’s not like flying to Philadelphia and back. We’re going to have to adjust things,” coach Bob Huggins admitted. “When you’re playing at 9 o’clock you are getting out of the arena at midnight.”
What was feared became fact Sunday for Lehigh basketball. Senior guard C.J. McCollum did indeed suffer a fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot in the first half of his team's 59-55 loss to VCU on Saturday night. Lehigh coach Brett Reed confirmed the news to multiple outlets.
College basketball's second-leading scorer (McCollum entered Saturday averaging a national-best 25.7 points; his injury/four-point game caused him to dip to 23.9 and fall behind Virginia Tech's Erick Green) is expected to miss the next eight to 10 weeks. That could mean his college career is over.
When word filtered out two summers ago that Missouri State's Kyle Weems was on pace to earn his degree early and would be eligible to transfer without sitting out a year, it didn't take long for other programs to start calling.
Coaches from high-profile programs like Kansas, Kansas State, Oregon and Cal sent word via Weems' family or high school coach they had a scholarship available for the reigning Missouri Valley Conference player of the year if he was interested.
Stories like that are common today in college basketball, but they'd be downright rampant if a new transfer model were to go into effect eliminating the mandatory one-year transfer penalty for players with a 2.6 GPA or higher.
According to Bylaw Blog's John Infante, that's one of the main prongs of a new transfer policy for college basketball that could go into effect as soon as August 2014 if it receives approval by the NCAA Board of Directors this summer. The model is based on a set of principles published by the Division I Leadership Council and addresses some of the issues players had obtaining waivers during some of the highly publicized transfer battles that made headlines during the summer.
Among the highlights of the new transfer model under consideration, according to Infante:
• Athletes who maintain a 2.6 GPA or higher would be permitted to play immediately for their new school.
• Athletes would still need permission from their former school to practice and compete right away at another school, but even if the request was denied, they'd still be able to accept a scholarship from the school of their choice and compete after sitting out a year.
• Athletes who can't play immediately at the next school would receive an extension of their five-year clock, giving them potentially six years to use their four years of eligibility.
• The NCAA would consider tampering with an athlete by another school a Level I violation, the most severe breach of conduct in the new enforcement structure.
From an athlete's perspective, there's a lot to like here. By tying an athlete's GPA to his or her right to transfer without sitting out a year, it gives an incentive for athletes to perform well in the classroom. And by making it easier for athletes to transfer without a one-year penalty, it limits the power of coaches and gives them reason to treat players well and follow through on promises made during recruiting.
Nonetheless, it's hard to shake the idea that what would be good for the players would come at the expense of the fans and the sport itself.
Boeheim has long spoken of his affinity for the Big East, the league that was founded in 1979 as a basketball conference and counted Syracuse as a charter member. These days, even someone like Boeheim has trouble figuring out who's coming and going through the Big East in this realignment trend for major conferences.
"It's Houston and SMU and you can't even name all the teams that are going to be there and when they're going to be there," Boeheim said. "It's not the same. The ACC is a very stable league, I think -- knock on wood, knock on some president's head. We hope it's stable. But who knows? Nothing's really stable. Things are going to be changing. I'll be fishing someplace and playing golf. But there's many changes yet to come, no question."
Those changes don't include Boeheim looking elsewhere.
He has 904 wins and passed Bob Knight (902) for No. 2 on the men's college basketball all-time victory list last week, trailing only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski -- someone whom Boeheim has no designs on catching, since he said Krzyzewski plans to coach forever.
"I feel I have a good job," Boeheim said. "I'm from Central New York. I grew up there. I was a walk-on there. I've been there for 68 years. I've been at Syracuse for 50. I've never seriously considered leaving, ever, at any time. If I knew what I knew about the NBA a couple years ago I might have thought about going to be the NBA, but it's a little bit past my time for that right now."
SEC teams have gone 3-6 against the Atlantic Coast Conference, 2-5 against the Big 12, 2-4 against the Big Ten, 4-13 against the Big East and 4-5 against the Pac-12. SEC teams also are just 3-11 against the Top 25. Missouri’s 82-73 victory over No. 10 Illinois on Dec. 22 is the SEC’s lone win over a top-10 team in eight attempts.
The SEC’s nonconference performance could mean that going slightly above .500 in conference play may not be enough to reach the NCAA tournament.
Alabama visits No. 10 Missouri on Tuesday in the season’s first conference game.
SEC coaches say it’s too early to panic — or to write the conference off.
Florida’s Billy Donovan believes it’s unfair to base a league’s reputation solely on its November or December performance.
The Devils are 10-2 after defeating the Camden County Wildcats on Saturday, 90-47. They are averaging an amazing 74.6 points per game while giving up 58.8.
Through the first 12 games of the season — stats are not available yet for Camden — the team’s leading scorer is future Kansas Jayhawk Brannen Greene, who has scored 289 this year for an average of 26.3. In any other year, Tadric Jackson’s points per game would appear flashy, but his number almost appears minuscule beside Greene’s. Jackson averages 16 points per game, netting 176 through the first 12 games.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has noticed the Devils’ domination. In their initial Class AAAAAA poll released Sunday, they are ranked No. 1 in the state.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Devils were clinging to a 60-58 lead and had just missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw. Brunswick had the ball and a chance to take the lead, but with the ball in their frontcourt, defensive pressure forced a turnover on a five-second call. With the ball back in their hands, Brannen Greene hit a three-pointer to put them up by five and start an offensive barrage.
Soon the lead was up to six. Greene would make it nine with another three off an inbounds pass. The Pirates never totally faded from view, but the Devils kept a steady 10-point lead for most of the final three minutes, the final being 82-72.
…Brunswick led off the third with a Norman basket and kept the Devils on their toes for the entire quarter, though they were unable to grab the lead as Tift had a response every time the Pirates edged closer. They were up 54-51 going into the fourth, when the Bucs nipped at their heels before the offense began to establish firm footing, mostly at the hands of Kansas signee Greene, who had 15 points in the final eight minutes.
Brannen Greene's HS Schedule
The Kansas State basketball team rounded out its 2013 recruiting class on Monday, picking up a verbal commitment from Neville Fincher.
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward who currently plays at Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.) is exactly the type of player the Wildcats’ coaching staff wanted to get with its fourth, and final, available scholarship.
Fincher describes himself as a defensive-minded player that also has “a few moves on the block. I can score and get the ball in the hoop.”
“I’m long, I block shots, I grab rebounds and I try to dunk everything when I’m down low,” Fincher said Monday by phone. “I’m quick off my feet and I run the floor really well … At Kansas State, I want to develop a little with my mid-range game and get to the point where I can shoot a few jumpers.”
Fincher said he was also recruited by Marshall, Seton Hall, Duquesne, Western Kentucky and Houston. He chose the Wildcats over that group, because of the school’s academic reputation and his strong relationship with assistants Chester Frazier and Chris Lowery. He also visited Manhattan over the weekend and watched K-State defeat Oklahoma State from behind the team’s bench. He said he was blown away by the atmosphere at Bramlage Coliseum.
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