‘Turg’ here tonight
Fourth-year Texas A&M; coach Mark Turgeon is 0-5 versus his alma mater, Kansas. His Aggies fell to KU, 73-53, on Jan. 19, 2009, in his only coaching appearance in Allen Fieldhouse.
Turgeon believes this year’s challenge may be the toughest, yet.
“They are scoring so well. They have so many guys who can score,” Turgeon said of the Jayhawks. “The Morris twins are off the charts now the way they are playing.
“You’ve got to do it on both ends. You have to try to slow them down. You have to have a great defensive game plan and hope it works. There really isn’t a game plan for them. They can do so many things offensively. You’ve got to take care of the ball and get good shots.”
Turgeon, who played at KU from 1984-87, knows the fieldhouse will be full of electricity tonight.
“It will be exciting in there for Senior Night, loud,” Turgeon said. “They are still playing for the conference championship now. We’ve got to be good on both ends and be efficient offensively, which we haven’t been. You can’t go in and try to play a 100-point game, that’s for sure.”
Of the fieldhouse, Turgeon said: “It’s a special place. There’s tremendous confidence in the building among the coaches, players and fans. It’s an intimidating place for opposing teams to play.”
About the Aggies
A&M; enters 22-6 overall and 9-5 in the Big 12. The Aggies, who average 69.4 points per game and allow 60.5, lead the league in defensive rebounds at 29.5 boards per game and have a +7.3 rebound margin.
Khris Middleton averages a team-leading 14.6 points per game. David Loubeau is next at 11.2 ppg.
“They're well coached. Turg and his staff have done a great job. They don’t beat themselves. They don’t give up easy baskets,” Self said. “They’ve had a couple players really mature and become terrific players. I think (David) Loubeau may have a chance to be an all-league player, and (Khris) Middleton may have a chance to be an all-league player this year, and that’s just as a sophomore. Those two are terrific.”
KU leads the overall series 16-1 and has won the last five meetings. ... Prior to Texas ending KU’s school-record 69 home-game winning streak earlier this season, Texas A&M; handed Kansas its previous home loss on Feb. 3, 2007. ... Kansas is 6-1 against Texas A&M; in Allen Fieldhouse.
KU seniors Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Mario Little will be introduced with family members amid a shower of flowers before the game. The three will speak to the fans after the contest. Self has said speeches will be limited to four minutes apiece.
“There’s going to be a lot of emotions and it’s going to be fun to look back on some of the experiences and games I’ve played here,” Reed said. “I’m sure if I see somebody else tearing up, I will. I’m an emotional guy deep down at the core.”
Growing up in Burlington as a KU fan, he’s heard lots of Senior Night speeches. His favorite?
“I don’t think I could pick one. I’ve loved hearing from everybody,” Reed said. “The first one I remember is Ryan Robertson. I thought that was a pretty cool one.”
Chicagoan Little said “you never know,” when asked if he’d shed a tear. “Sherron (Collins) was saying last year he didn’t know what he was going to do and he did (cry a lot). He didn’t have a speech ready but when the time came he gave a great speech.”
Of his last home game, Little said: “Every good thing comes to an end. It’s all good. I’m going to try to make the best of it and cherish my last home moment.”
Title on the line
A victory tonight would assure KU at least a tie for its seventh straight Big 12 title. It is believed a Big 12 trophy will be in the house to be given to the Jayhawks in case of a victory. It is not known whether a presentation would be made. KU has one game remaining in the regular season, Saturday at Missouri.