It looks as if KU’s players and coaches will meet with President Obama sometime Thursday on his visit to KU.
‘I’m excited about that. He is a big basketball fan,” Townsend said of Obama. “I got to know his brother-in-law, Craig Robinson (former Oregon State coach) over the years. What a great guy he is. He’s doing some commenting (on broadcasts) now.
“It would be nice to get back there (Washington, D.C.) while he’s still there,” Townsend added of the Jayhawks winning it all and visiting Obama in the White House as a national title team. “We’ll see what happens. He’s picked us a couple times to win it all. He probably feels we let him down. It will be fun (to talk to him). I know our guys are really excited.”
Noted soph Brannen Greene: “I’m excited about it. From what coach said talking to us in pre-game we’ll probably get to sneak in and meet him. We are all excited. Everybody wants to see the president. It will be fun.”
Bill Self spent Saturday in a down-to-the-final-buzzer game that Kansas ultimately lost against a top-20 team inside Hilton Coliseum, a building Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, the victor on that night, told me Sunday was as loud as he's ever heard it. Just a draining experience for the visitors, I'm certain. Roughly 48 hours later, Self was in another down-to-the-final buzzer game against another top-20 team inside Allen Fieldhouse, where his Jayhawks took a 20-point lead and then blew a 20-point lead before recording a win over Oklahoma during which Self punched the scorer's table three times and broke it.
Next up for Kansas?
A road game at No. 17 Texas!
Such is life in the Big 12 this season -- and not just for KU.
This is life for everybody.
Seven of the Big 12's 10 members are currently ranked in the Top 25 (and one), eight of the 10 have been ranked in the AP poll at one time or another, and nine of the 10 have at least received votes. Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma State are all in the top 25 of both the KenPom and Sagarin ratings, and CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm now has seven Big 12 schools projected to make the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Armed with this information, I asked Self a simple question.
Is coaching in this league fun and exciting -- or just plain exhausting?
…Simply put, it's almost impossible to go a week in the Big 12 without playing a ranked opponent, which is obviously challenging and undeniably rare. For the purposes of context, understand that Kentucky and Gonzaga have no more scheduled games against currently ranked opponents, Arizona won't play another until Feb. 28, Villanova doesn't play another until Feb. 16, and Virginia will end up going 21 days -- from Jan. 10 to Jan. 31 -- between games against currently ranked opponents. That's light work, relatively speaking.
"I think what's a little surprising is that we'd have this many good teams," Self said. "[The Big 12 has] been good in the past. But it's better now because of the depth of the league."
Every game creates its own identity, but Monday offered some of the wildest swings you’ll see.
Kansas led by 19 at halftime. According to the victory probability chart devised by analyst Ken Pomeroy, the Jayhawks had a 92.3 percent chance of winning the game.
…Once the Jayhawks cooled off, Oklahoma roared back. KU missed nine of its next 11 threes, and with 11:02 remaining, the Sooners had caught up, 56-56. OU’s fourth straight three-pointer tied the game.
A 19-point deficit erased in 8:58! Incredible.
The Sooners led 69-65 with 4:56 remaining, and according to the same Pomeroy chart, Oklahoma now had a 75.3 percent chance to win.
Here, Kansas had its best defensive possessions of the game. The Sooners missed seven of their last eight shots, often forcing rushed, off-balanced attempts.
“The basket got thimble-sized for us the first 15 minutes of the second half, and looked like a big water tub for them,” Self said.
In order to understand Alexander’s proclivity for collecting offensive rebounds, The Chalkboard re-watched Monday’s game and charted Alexander’s seven offensive rebounds. Some were simply the result of a fortunate bounce or carom, and some showcased his long wingspan, but the fact Alexander finished with seven perhaps says something about his physical tools (his hands and strength) AND his ability to be in the right place.
Here are Alexander’s seven offensive rebounds, including two key offensive boards during the final minutes.
…By our quick count, Alexander’s seven offensive rebounds led directly to eight second-chance points, which, if you’re paying attention, came in a seven-point KU victory. For the season, Alexander has collected 13 percent of available offensive rebounds, which would be the best for a Kansas player since Kevin Young (13.2) in 2012-13.
Perhaps Kansas could have found a way to win Monday without Alexander imparting all this motion on the offensive glass, but in one very simple way, he proved to be the difference.
Since Big 12 play began, Cliff Alexander ranks third in the conference in defensive rebounding percentage, fourth in offensive rebounding percentage and fifth in block percentage.
Not even five minutes into the first half against No. 19 Oklahoma, Kansas freshman guard Kelly Oubre is roaring to the crowd and flexing his biceps.
He had to roar. He had to flex. He had to do something because just forcing a ball out of bounds, like he did, wouldn’t make highlight reels. Except this was about Oubre’s hustle, not the turnover he created.
Oubre knocked the ball loose from OU’s Isaiah Cousins and dove for it twice before forcing Cousins to throw it out of bounds after he beat him to the ball.
This was one possession in No. 11 Kansas’ 85-78 victory over the Sooners on Monday at Allen Fieldhouse. This is one example of a player who is starting to find his way, and one reason his coach is finally letting him.
“When you play with energy and that kind of stuff, it camouflages all of your sins,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Kelly is playing that way.”
There were other examples of that energy on Monday — Oubre finished with team-high 19 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals — but none were more significant than his hustle to a loose ball, and not just because KU point guard Frank Mason knocked down a 3-pointer after Oubre’s steal.
It mattered because of what Oubre did before the steal, committing a flagrant foul on Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield.
This was the type of play that would’ve gotten Oubre benched earlier in the year. A bad foul against a great team. But earlier in the year, Oubre was a different player, and Self was a different coach.
Oklahoma didn’t lose this game. Kansas won it.
Afterward, Self did a nice job of explaining how this thriller was different from other wild swings.
“I think in the Florida game we started off miserably and flipped it in a positive way,” Self said. “Utah, we were miserable in the second half and almost couldn’t get it back. ... I don’t think we played as bad tonight in the second half. I thought we missed shots and I thought they played really well.”
And then KU played really well, winning the final 3:28, 16-7. The most crucial bucket came when Oubre missed a free throw and Cliff Alexander pulled it out of a sky crowded by long Oklahoma arms and fired a pass out to Frank Mason at the top of the key. Mason quickly swung it it to Greene on the right wing for a three-pointer that put Kansas up two points. KU never trailed again.
It triggered a string of memorable plays. Right after the big offensive rebound, Alexander sold a charge without overselling it. Frank Mason hit a pull-up jumper from the right elbow to push the lead to four points.
Greene was late recovering to his man and Cousins burned him for a three that cut the margin to one point. Mason sucked the defense to him in the lane and dished to Alexander for a dunk. Three-point lead. The left-handed Oubre drove right — he’s getting better all the time and is tough to guard — and made a bucket that put Kansas up 79-74 with 1:18 left. Oubre went coast-to-coast for another bucket.
At that point in the game, the crowd, not sapped of its energy by the ridiculous manufactured, pre-game noise, generated the volume on its own, not having to worry about competing with loudspeakers that really do need to be unplugged.
It was a wildly entertaining three-game series in one night, a 40-minute whirlwind that in some ways recalled KU’s Final Four victory vs. North Carolina on the way to the national title in 2008.
Kansas University freshman guard Kelly Oubre Jr., says he wasn’t surprised to see a school-record nine three-pointers swish in the first half of Monday’s 85-78 victory over Oklahoma in Allen Fieldhouse.
“We had a bunch of guys step up and make shots and show what kind of shooters they are,” Oubre said of himself, Devonté Graham and Brannen Greene, who hit two apiece and Perry Ellis, Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr., who each hit one as the Jayhawks raced to a 51-32 halftime lead.
KU actually hit eight straight threes for the first time in the 12-year Bill Self era. Most threes in a row in KU history is nine in 1994 at North Carolina State. The nine overall threes in 13 attempts tied the nine KU hit in the first half in 2010 at Nebraska; nine in the second half against Hofstra in 2009 and nine in the first half in 1994 at N.C. State.
“At the beginning of the game, we had in the back of our mind we went to Ames and didn’t come out as successful as we wanted to,” Oubre said of Saturday’s 86-81 loss at Iowa State in which KU hit nine of 23 threes. “So we wanted to come out from the jump and do things better than we did at Iowa State.”
…Oubre, who averages 8.6 points and 4.7 rebounds a game, has kept a good demeanor all season, assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said on Monday’s Hawk Talk radio show.
“The greatest thing ... when Kelly was not playing early, his attitude never changed. He came to practice and wanted to show you he could play better and play on the defensive end,” Townsend said. “If you want something given to you, this isn’t the place to come. Coach (Self) will hold your feet to the fire and make sure you do it the right way. Kelly listened. He could have sulked and had a bad attitude. If you watched him, he was waving the towel and cheering for the guys at Disney (Orlando Classic) when he wasn’t playing. He was happy we won the championship no matter how much he played. Good things happen to kids who have that attitude,” Townsend added.
The Demon Deacons (9-9, 1-4 ACC) host the 15th-ranked Tar Heels (14-4, 4-1) on Wednesday night, and Manning's transition from standout player to successful coach comes as no surprise to Williams. He took over the Jayhawks' program in 1988, after Manning carried Kansas to an improbable national title, and worked in Lawrence, Kansas, throughout Manning's pro career.
Manning retired from the NBA and joined the Jayhawks' staff in 2003, when Bill Self replaced the departed Williams.
"Danny lived in Lawrence in the offseason and played a lot of pickup with my teams at Kansas," Williams said. "Everybody also talked about the best pickup games were when Danny was in town because he was such a leader. He got them to play instead of spending all their time arguing or taking breaks. What they did was played and worked on their games.
"He was a great leader for all the players that I had during the 16 years I was there."
The new plane — purchased with a gift from KU Endowment — has been delivered to KU and already has taken its first trips, KU confirmed this week.
The Cessna Citation CJ4 carries seven passengers, university spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said. She said it arrived, fully painted, on Dec. 23.
The new business jet replaces a 1997 Cessna Citation Bravo, which was traded in, Barcomb-Peterson said.
KU Endowment agreed to provide KU with a grant not to exceed $8.1 million to buy the new plane, the Journal-World reported in November. KU did not provide an exact purchase price this week.
In addition to the business jet, KU owns a share in a second plane. KU Endowment funded the purchases, and KU pays ongoing expenses.
The planes are used for KU Medical Center’s medical outreach program serving rural Kansas, administrator travel and KU Athletics recruiting trips.
The new plane evokes school spirit. It’s painted with a crimson and blue swoosh and a Jayhawk on the tail. The Federal Aviation Administration registration number ends in “4KU.”
VOTE for Coach Self: Infinite Coaches’ Charity Challenge
“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 easily won its home rivalry game over OSU, 82-65, but in the midst of that victory came some unwanted behavior from one of the mascots, which reportedly repeatedly bothered a section of visiting Cowboys fans.
"The individual involved has been dismissed from the mascot program for unsportsmanlike behavior," the school said in a statement. "The University of Oklahoma apologizes for this occurrence, which in no way reflects the standards of hospitality and sportsmanship of the University of Oklahoma."
…According to multiple sources familiar with the incident, Heather Ford -- the wife of OSU coach Travis Ford -- was among the OSU fans being harassed. In a prepared statement, OU did not identify the dismissed mascot or specify what happened. ... OU sources said the dismissed mascot was told multiple times not to return to the section where he was causing trouble. The mascot blocked OSU fans' vision of the game, taunted them and spilled popcorn on a group of them that included Heather Ford, sources said.
The quality of play in the first few games of Big 12 play has confirmed early-season suspicions.
"Every league will talk about how hard conference play is, but you have to talk about what our league did outside the conference this season," Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
I can do that, Rick.
The Big 12 is enjoying its best season ever and sits atop the conference RPI thanks to a 104-22 record in nonconference play, the best in the nation this year and the best of any league in a decade. Only one conference since 2004-05 has topped a winning percentage of .800.
…"It's one of the best conferences in the past 10 years," Pomeroy said. "It's hard to say it's the best, but it's in the top three or four."
Six Big 12 teams are currently ranked and Kansas State, which sits atop the conference standings, was not one of them.
"There's no easy games," Barnes said. "Anybody in this league on any given night can beat anybody and the coaches in this league know that."
The "any given night" mantra is most often a ripe cliche, but in the Big 12 this season, it's already played out in what one of my Twitter followers called the most confusing game ever of rock, paper, scissors.
Fox Sports Ubben
Even with Kansas State sharing first place in the Big 12, it didn’t feel like a statement opportunity for the Iowa State men’s basketball team coming off its win against Kansas.
Maybe, though, the Cyclones further established themselves simply as winners.
No. 9 ISU sturdied itself late to hold on to a 77-71 victory over the Wildcats on Tuesday night, keeping pace atop the conference standings.
The Cyclones (14-3, 4-1 Big 12) outscored the Wildcats (11-8, 4-2) 10-2 over the final 4 minutes of the game with Kansas State’s only points coming with 1 second left and the game already decided.
“I felt we could have played harder,” forward Jameel McKay said after tallying 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, “but we came out with the ‘W.’
“We played hard when it counted, and we knew when it came down to it we needed to get stops and that’s what we did.”
…ISU could be partially excused for its lukewarm effort early after having ESPN’s College GameDay in town to cover its huge win against 10-time defending league champion Jayhawks and with a Kansas State, team that despite its hot start to league play, has been lackluster at best throughout the season.
“It’s probably a little bit natural that you have a bit of a hangover,” Hoiberg said.
Whatever the problem, ISU figured it out in the final four minutes, holding Kansas State to 1 of 8 shooting with one turnover.
“With four minutes left, it was a tie game,” McKay said. “It’s do or die. We didn’t come out and drop one after a big win last week against Kansas.
“We knew it was gut-check time and we had to get stops. That was the focus in the huddle.”
If there was any lingering doubt that Monday was Georgetown's night -- the night it would finally put a complete performance together, the night it would demonstrate how much better than its 12-5 record it really is -- Jabril Trawick wiped it away just in time for Jack the Bulldog to take his halftime skateboard run.
In retrospect, Trawick's step-back 3-pointer was preceded by one of Villanova's better defensive possessions of the half. The Hoyas forward was isolated on the wing and defended well. It was a short possession -- just 10 seconds into the shot clock. Trawick is more of a broad-shouldered battering ram than a 3-point shooter by trade: He'd attempted just 28 3s all season entering Monday night.
It was an ill-advised attempt, no doubt about it, the kind Villanova point guard Ryan Arcidiacono said the Wildcats didn't force enough. But Trawick squared up and banged home that step-back 3 anyway, and the result was a 42-19 lead over the fourth-ranked team in the country -- and, after the 78-58 final was in the books, a full look at just how good Georgetown can be when all its proverbial cylinders are firing.
"I think they're a really good team," Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
The NCAA investigation into Tennessee men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall’s former Southern Miss program has resulted in a self-imposed postseason ban for the Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss announced Tuesday that it will not participate in postseason competition this season as a result of “an ongoing university and NCAA inquiry of the basketball program related to the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.”
Tyndall was the coach at Southern Miss from April 2012 to April 2014.
Southern Miss’ ban includes both the Conference USA tournament and the NCAA tournament. Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, citing an anonymous source, reported Southern Miss players refused to practice Tuesday after they were informed of the ban. The Golden Eagles are 5-11 and 0-5 in Conference USA play under first-year coach Doc Sadler.
With Kentucky's slim lead threatened by a Vanderbilt squad that wouldn't go away, Aaron Harrison coolly stepped up to drain the clutch 3-pointer that has become a familiar sight for the top-ranked Wildcats.
Twin brother Andrew Harrison provided a little more cushion with a layup a minute later before Aaron sealed Tuesday's hard-fought 65-57 victory with two free throws that kept the Wildcats perfect on a night that featured plenty of blemishes.
All of those flaws were forgotten thanks to the Harrisons' 11 combined points down the stretch, with nine coming from Aaron.
"He's as good as any player in the country the way he played in the second half," Kentucky coach John Calipari said of his sophomore guard, whom he hugged tight after the tense contest.
An Iowa State Patrol supervisor faced a disciplinary investigation Monday after he joked on Facebook that he wanted a sniper to shoot an ESPN announcer in the head.
Lt. Kelly Hindman, district commander of Post 7 in Fort Dodge, posted about broadcaster Dan Dakich on Saturday during the Ohio State-Iowa basketball game.
Hindman wrote that he wished "there was a sniper at Carver Hawkeye (Arena) to shoot the color commentator in the head...cause he is driving me nuts."
The Iowa Department of Public Safety, which includes the patrol, learned of the comment Monday afternoon and launched an internal investigation.
"The Department takes the matter seriously," spokesman Alex Murphy said. "We will look into this allegation and take any necessary actions regarding this personnel matter."
Within hours, Hindman took down the comment and disabled his Facebook account. He didn't return an email seeking comment.
Many other Hawkeyes fans took to social media to criticize Dakich's call of the game, which included mistakenly referring to star player Aaron White as "Andrew."
Hindman made the post to more than 500 friends on his personal Facebook page, which notes his position with the patrol and features pictures of him in uniform.
A western Pennsylvania university student and basketball player likely inhaled chewing gum into her lungs while asleep before being found dead in her dormitory over the weekend.
The Washington County coroner's office said 21-year-old Shanice Clark of Toronto was found unresponsive at about 3 a.m. Sunday at California University of Pennsylvania.
University officials said they were "deeply saddened" by the death of the 6-foot senior forward, who was redshirting after playing two dozen games for the Vulcans last season.
California borough police say a preliminary report from medical personnel indicated that the death appeared to be accidental.
An autopsy was conducted Monday.
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Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
The Hoophall brought together many of the nation's most talented teams and individual nationally ranked players. With the updated ESPN rankings set to roll out Wednesday let's take a look at a few players that boosted their stock at this high-level event.offer
2. ESPN 100's current No. 18 Carlton Bragg. His length and athleticism are major league and factor in he is an excellent passer with a smooth jumper with range beyond the arc. Bragg is a good rebounder as well. All the tools are in the tool belt for this power forward that has the potential to share time at small forward with continued ball skill development. When Bragg is full attack mode he has the potential to stuff the stat sheet. The Kansas Jayhawks will definitely benefit from the upside of Bragg.
Despite 23 points from Kansas commit Carlton Bragg, Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s boys basketball team allowed Oak Hill Academy (Va.) to rally to a 76-72 win Monday afternoon at the Spaulding Hoophall Classic at Springfield College.
The game featured two teams ranked in the top 10 nationally and marks VASJ’s first loss of the season.
“We didn’t come out as hard as we wanted to,” said Bragg, who also had six rebounds and six assists. “We didn’t play together.”
…“We had to keep Carlton off the glass, he was killing it at first,” said Bacon. “Once we got him in foul trouble, stopped him a little bit, sent a couple guys at him, we were able to get out of there with a win.”
Bacon went on to score six of Oak Hill’s nine points in the final minutes of the game while VASJ was held to seven as a team.
He said it was easier to find his offense with Bragg on the bench at the start of the quarter.
“They’re not worse without him, they’re a great defensive team but they kind of don’t have as much effort as when they have him in,” Bacon said. “It’s not the best team with him out so I had to push when he was out.”
The second half struggles came after a first half in which Bragg showed off his all-around game.
The senior forward was a threat in the open floor, the post and served as a facilitator for the team. The Vikings went into the half up 45-36.
Bragg will certainly be in good company at Kansas. Coach Bill Self has had some very talented big men the last few years, with Joel Embiid starring last year and Cliff Alexander in Lawrence this season.
“It’s really good,” said Bragg of the pedigree at KU. “I didn’t think I was going to be one of those guys, but it’s a blessing. I’m ready to take one of those spots.”
Bragg said the decision to attend Kansas came down to how comfortable he felt around the team.
“The chemistry, how they play together,” he said. “Their style fit mine, and I liked the coaching staff and the players.”
With that decision behind him, it’s now about guiding Villa Angela St. Joseph to a run at a title.
“Oh yeah. Now I can just focus on my high school season and trying to win a state championship,” he said.
2017 Mitchell Ballock was at Oklahoma over the week and got an offer. He was at Kansas this evening.
Wheeler’s Jaylen Brown outplayed Bishop O’Dowd’s Ivan Rabb in a matchup of two of the top five players in the country, but it was Rabb’s Dragons that upset the Wildcats 79-70 Monday in the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Brown, the second-ranked player in the country, had 31 points and 12 rebounds during the game that was televised on ESPNU. He had half of Wheeler’s 38 points at the break, as the Wildcats led 38-37.
But after trading baskets for the first 4 minutes of the third quarter, Rabb gave Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) a 47-46 lead that started an 11-4 run. Wheeler would not get closer than five points the rest of the way.
Rabb finished the game with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
Marietta Daily Journal
Malik Newman’s 42 points was nothing new to Callaway coach David Sanders.
“I guess I’ve gotten used to it,” Sanders said. “He gets them so easily, it’s almost unfair the way he gets baskets like that in bunches. It’s a hard thing to guard.”
Behind Newman’s performance, the Chargers, ranked No. 1 in The Clarion-Ledger’s Super 10, cruised past Hattiesburg 88-66 in Monday’s Lanier MLK Classic.
While Sanders is accustomed to Newman’s dominance, Callaway’s (19-2) opponents aren’t.
“You can’t game plan for a professional player so you try to do the best you can with the other high school players,” Hattiesburg coach Ernie Watson said. “Malik is a great player, his team is a great talent and there’s nothing you can really do a lot of as far as preparation because we don’t have those kind of players to practice against.”
Most of Newman’s damage was done early. The guard, who averages 30.9 points per game, scored 32 points in the first half.
“I really think everything just started clicking lately,” Newman said. “My teammates are doing a really good job finding me in spots I’m comfortable in.”
Kansas coach Bill Self paid a visit to Snow Hill on Tuesday night, and Kinston recruit Brandon Ingram did not disappoint in Kinston's 79-64 win over Greene Central.
Ingram scored 25 points and hauled in 10 rebounds for a double-double. He also had eight assists, six blocks and five steals.
Coach Self seemed to enjoy the big crowd at Greene Central, taking pictures and visiting with many of the fans. He had to be impressed with Ingram, who once again shined with the pressure to perform on.