Archive for Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wait and see: KU must sweat out NCAA seed

Kansas center Jeff Withey looks to the bench as Baylor guard Brady Heslip celebrates a big three-pointer to widen the Bears' lead during the second half on Friday, March 9, 2012.

Kansas center Jeff Withey looks to the bench as Baylor guard Brady Heslip celebrates a big three-pointer to widen the Bears' lead during the second half on Friday, March 9, 2012.

March 10, 2012


Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 81-72 loss to Baylor on March 9, 2012.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU players Tyshawn Taylor and Jeff Withey

KU players Tyshawn Taylor and Jeff Withey talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 81-72 loss to Baylor on March 9, 2012.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

BU's Scott Drew, Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson

Baylor coach Scott Drew and players Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson talk to reporters following the Bears' 81-72 victory over Kansas on March 9, 2012.

KU vs. Baylor

Box score

— Senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor spoke up, breaking the silence in a somber Kansas University basketball locker room Friday night in Sprint Center.

“I just told my team once coach walked out that everybody should be disappointed because we shouldn’t have lost,” Taylor said after the Jayhawks’ 81-72 Big 12 tournament semifinal setback to Baylor.

“But our goal is not to win the Big 12 tournament championship. Our goal is to win the Big 12 (regular-season) championship, which we have, and the national championship, which we still can.

“It sucks to lose any game,” Taylor added of his message to his teammates after the Jayhawks’ sixth loss against 27 victories, “but it’s not the end of the season. It’s not. A lot of teams lose their conference tournaments and go home and still have something to play for. We’ve got to get back in the lab and need to be getting better, not dropping. We’re going to be all right.”

The Jayhawks, who will anxiously be awaiting their NCAA Tournament fate on Selection Sunday, believe they know why they are not playing in the Big 12 tourney finals today.

As simplistic as it sounds, the Jayhawks believe Baylor (27-6) merely wanted it more. KU blistered the Bears, 92-74 in Lawrence, and 68-54 in Waco, this season.

“It’s human nature. How would you feel if somebody beat up on you twice?” KU junior guard Elijah Johnson said after scoring 15 points off 6-of-16 shooting (one of six from three).”

After all, it’s not as if the Bears have a bad team. BU is ranked 12th in the country, KU third. And yet the Jayhawks easily handled Scott Drew’s crew twice.

“They were a little more aggressive. You could tell they wanted this bad. They came out like we would if we lost two games,” noted Taylor, who scored 20 points off 8-of-15 shooting. He hit one of four threes on a night KU made just two of 13 to Baylor’s nine of 19.

“I hate that that’s always our excuse, that we came out flat,” Taylor added. “When it’s game time and the ball goes up, you’ve got to be ready. We have to understand that.”

Whatever the reason, KU, which rallied from a 14-point deficit (49-35 with 18:39 to play) to grab a two-point lead (58-56 with 10:21 left), faded down the stretch and will be sitting home today while BU plays Missouri in the 5 p.m. final.

“I don’t know if overconfidence is the right word. I guess it could be,” said KU coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks won five of the past six Big 12 tourney titles. “We beat them twice. We had Baylor down over 20 both games we won.

“If that is the case, then how immature is that? That’s the thing that bothers me. I’m not buying in to that at all. When you are playing for a championship of any kind, how in the world could that ever be the mind-set? Going into the NCAA Tournament, that can’t be the mind-set. Maybe it’s a good lesson for us.”

Taylor scored seven points and Thomas Robinson (15 points) six in an 18-3 run that turned a 53-40 deficit into a 58-56 lead at 10:21.

BU woke up at that point, embarking on a 19-8 run to build a 75-66 lead at 1:07. Brady Heslip iced three three-pointers (including one that gave the Bears a 59-58 lead) in that stretch. Also, Perry Jones (18 points) contributed eight in that surge.

“I think it was a lot more than that,” Taylor said, asked if Heslip’s bombs beat the Jayhawks, “but it came down to him hitting those threes. He’s a great shooter. The first one, Travis (Releford) had his hand up. We know better than to let him shoot open shots like that.”

Noted Self: “The whole deal on Heslip is, the most we’re ever going to leave him is to bluff at the ball and get back to him. We made two critical mistakes, critical. You can’t just put it on Travis because if we got through the back screen quicker maybe we could have released and got to the shooter quicker. That definitely went against scouting report.”

The Bears, who wore their new, camouflage uniforms for the first time against KU, added another new wrinkle in the third meeting this year: man-to-man defense.

“I would rather them play man, honestly,” Taylor said. “I don’t think that was it (reason for defeat) at all. I think defensively we didn’t play our best. They rebounded the ball well (the teams tied 37-37 on the boards) and made big shots when they needed to.”

KU All-America candidate Robinson sat out the last five minutes of the first half after picking up his second foul. KU trailed, 43-35, at the break, the lead growing from four to eight with Robinson out.

“The reason Thomas came out was because of two fouls,” Self said. “But let’s call it like it is. Withey (Jeff, 11 points, seven boards) and Young (Kevin, five points, five boards) were our best guys the first half. We had so many bad possessions (at the end of the first half). The foul situation was the biggest reason he came out.”

KU is expected to be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed and play first-round games in Omaha, Neb., starting Friday.

“Our season is not over,” Taylor said. “The exciting thing is it’s just getting started for us. We can learn from this and do some great things.”


Jim Johnson 6 years, 1 month ago

It's not over but it was awfully disappointing. It just seems like deja vu.

ShockHawk10 6 years, 1 month ago

Personally, I strongly dislike the Big XII tournament. In most years, win or lose, the Big XII tourney does nothing for the Hawks. A #1 or a #2 seed was solidified for KU prior to their game with A&M. Additionally, I have no desire to see KU play Baylor, KSU, or even MU for a third time. On the flip side of the coin, for a team like Baylor, winning out probably improves their seed in the NCAAs, but I'm not a Baylor fan. There may come a time when KU's NCAA fate relies on their Big XII tournament performance (I hope not), it just hasn't happened. The conference season seemed so long this year, I wish that KU had the option of opting out of the Big XII tourney. Rest and practice is what the Hawks need, not another opportunity to beat up on A&M for the third time while risking injury. It's mostly about $$, and that's a shame. I suppose it gives the little guy a chance to play their way into the "big dance", but does it really?

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, actually it does. It did for Texas. It rarely helps us because we're often at the top, so we can only come down. We were a solid #1 seed going in, we'll probably get a #2 if MU wins today. I suppose one could make an argument for the MSU/OSU winner to get a #1 seed as well, but I think that's a bit weaker. UK & Syracuse solid locks, UNC will probably be the third #1 regardless of what happens tomorrow.

In the end, you gotta win six.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 1 month ago

I think Self should have put in some sort of trap down the stretch to speed up the tempo of the game.

drillsgt 6 years, 1 month ago

T-rob..would rather look good and lose than win and look bad...move on the the D-league

Jock Navels 6 years, 1 month ago

sir, go wash your mouth out with soap, sir. same to you just below. brain dead, both of you.

Jayhawk_4_Life 6 years, 1 month ago

ignorant statement by an ignorant person.. Get to the missouri boards if you're gonna post s*it like that

Mandie Eutsler 6 years, 1 month ago

Lamest troll ever... I would have expected more, you are so much better than that...

Mandie Eutsler 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm still proud of my team. You guys have worked hard and played some really great games this season and it has been fun to watch. The best part is that the season isn't over yet! I'm really looking forward to the selection show, and having a few days to plan how I can get out of work to watch our first round game if it ends up scheduled during business hours. I love March!!!

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

First loss in more than 5 weeks. Relax.

always_correct 6 years, 1 month ago

"[S]weat out" an NCAA bid? Seriously, LJWorld? Better get the towels ready while we sweat out that 1 or 2 seed.

Gregory Newman 6 years, 1 month ago

I keep saying the problem is EJ and REL not forcing shooters to play defense. They have to dribble drive for mid-range jumpers which takes away the freshness of the legs of shooters. They are just as fast as TT plus bigger and can jump to the moon.

That 3 point shooting crap is stupid for either leave that up to Teahan. If folks would look back to 88 and 08 champs its because of the dribble drive of the guards and knowing where and when to find that spot for uncontested 7-14 jumpers. Guard play is drive draw dish or shoot.

Right now offensively we are solidly playing with two players T-Rob and TT. To live on three pointers like EJ is doing is equivilent to playing horse. BS told EJ to get where he saw when he recruited him "the mid-range" If he does it? It could be lob city to T-Rob and Withey.

REL needs to bend his knees and punch on the gas with pull-up jumpers or blast in with dunks. The ability is there he plays scared. This team has the ability to be like that 90"s Las Vegas team that won it. BS once said EJ is soft but got *&%$#@

Jayhawk_4_Life 6 years, 1 month ago

Releford and EJ are no where near as fast as TT

Brian Conrad 6 years, 1 month ago

hope the NCAA holds to reality and awards seeds based on Conference and not tourney... KU won conference by 2 games.. the big 12 tourney basically for money... but never know... If Baylor wins think we are lock for #1 seed. and may be anyway... Kentucky won SEC // Syracuse Big East and NC the ACC.. all #1 seeds to win the round robin big 12 should put us in for the last 1... the problem is this team looks scattered and tired right now... they were playing Much better 3 weeks back.. hope they understand only 6 games left and give all they have every game... T Rob needs to slow up just a bit and go back to dunking instead of missing bunnies.. all the team needs to go to the basket stronger.. Tyshawn and EJ look good... Tyshawn needs to focus a bit more.. but think his turnovers going up because of the being tired... the games have longer rest periods in tourney so the team needs to focus mentally on the fact they will get more breaks... Withey needs to finish last 6 games strong. If T Rob, TT, Withey, EJ, Releford, Young , Westley and Teahan finish with 100% focus and energy... well the sky is the limit... Our hope is they can focus for the next four and get into the Final Four... then anyone can have a chance in 2 games.. Rock Chalk... hope to see more dunks with energy up.. now lets all root for Baylor.. to help the NCAA folks remember why KU IS a #1 seed !!

Brian Conrad 6 years, 1 month ago

as of today Joe Lunardi and ESPN have #1 seeds Kentucky midwest, Syracuse east, North Carolina south and Kansas west /// really seems like the way it will end up... also if things went perfect 3 # 1 seeds and a number 2 make it to Final Four... could be the 4 winningest programs in history.. wow that would be cool Final 4 ... Kentucky, KU, North Carolina and Duke

Brian Conrad 6 years, 1 month ago

seems fairly clear KU will go to the west... even if 2 or 1 seed.. think 1 but if we are 1 then Michigan State 2 or if we are MSU a 1 either way looks like KU MSU matchup to get to Final Four, if we both get that far... energy energy energy

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

I know that Coach Self makes 0% excuses for losing. He has to do that as coach. But we fans have the knowledge that 27-6 is a great rebuilding record, which is what this year was called.

Going west wouldn't be bad at all. Just need the 3 to drop and we can beat anyone.

FanFan 6 years, 1 month ago

Falsehope.....yep MU looked like a powerful #1 seed on neutral ground. It's a shame KU won't continue the border rivalry after this season, MU wants to. The national joke is that KU is changing its colors to yellow. Hate to see it end this way.

bankboy119 6 years, 1 month ago

FanFan, that's not a national joke; that's an MU joke. There were several talking heads on ESPN that said it was "sad" the rivalry was ending. There were more who compared the divorce MU initiated to a spouse who is leaving asking the other to continue to have "relations". Obviously the actual speeches were more colorful but don't want this taken down.

If MU really wanted the rivalry then they wouldn't have left. KU will do what's best for them. And continuing to beat up on their little sister just isn't fun anymore.

Hammertoe 6 years, 1 month ago

Football is ruling the world of college sports. The money in basketball pales in comparison to the money in Football. Football at KU is a joke. Wake up and smell the coffee!

Hammertoe 6 years, 1 month ago

18000 Mizzou fans proved Kansas City, MISSOURI is a MIZZOU town. Great crowd. A final victory and trophy in the last Big 12 game was icing on the cake, the perfect ending. Only disappointment was it wasn't against ku. Don't be jealous of the Mizzou Tigers as we move on to a bigger and more nationally prominent conference as your Jayhawks will be kissing up to the Texas Longhorns for eternity.... Basketball is only a warm up band for the main act...Football. Football is King in Texas and in the state of Kansas, Football is King down the road in Manhattan. The new SEC TV contact is rumored to be $40 - 50 Million per school! The future in Missouri is bright!

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

FanFan 6 years, 1 month ago

It was kind of pathetic, listening to Self try to sell off KC as a Kansas town, and then having KU humiliated in his loss. Even worse, for MU to step up and own the last real Big 12 Tournament crown. The Big 12 (or is it Big Texas Conference) will dwindle on as a sub par NAIA talent). So be it.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

You're overstating the whole point. KU did not get humiliated. They lost a game. Their 27-6 record is not humiliating to me. Fair weather fan much? Get back on the Missouri boards where you belong.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago know something about sports really....the SEC heavyweights are going to punk Mizzou in football. Florida, Florida State, Alabama, LSU....they are basically NFL teams at the college level. Basketball is not an SEC sport in spite of all of the LSU, Alabama, and Florida alums in the NBA. You're no better with sports than you are in politics.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.