Sports Opinion

Tom Keegan: NCAA tournament a memorable one in 2018

Kansas had a remarkable run, all right, all the way to the Final Four.Devonte’ Graham’s upbeat leadership. Malik Newman’s killer shooting. Udoka Azubuike’s battle back from a knee injury. Svi Mykhailiuk’s 3-point shot and Newman’s defensive stop that forced the game into overtime, ...

Tom Keegan: Next season’s Kansas basketball roster deeper, more balanced, greener

Turning a player into a redshirt in order to have him use a year of eligibility later in his career happens way more often in college football than basketball.It’s not that common in basketball because it only makes sense if the player has enough talent to justify tying up a scholarship for ...

Tom Keegan: Graham will be missed even more than he misses it

San Antonio — Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham could have gone on so long as to miss the team flight home when asked after a national-semifinal loss to Villanova what he’ll miss about playing basketball for Kansas.“Everything,” Graham said. “I can't say just one thing. The coaching ...

Tom Keegan: Final Four loss doesn’t take away from Jayhawks’ accomplishments

San Antonio — The better team doesn’t always win. If it did, college basketball would be dreadfully dull and not worth watching, instead of a billion-dollar industry that draws 68,257 spectators to the Alamodome for a Saturday night game on the final day of March.But the better team does ...

Tom Keegan: Kansas as underdog no longer appropriate

San Antonio — The Las Vegas book on Kansas basketball must be in an attic somewhere, collecting dust, untouched for months by the hands of those charged with updating information.That’s the only feasible explanation for KU entering Saturday’s national semifinal against Villanova as a ...

Tom Keegan: Final Four coaches cut from same good-guy cloth

San Antonio — Sitting at a raised table, the Final Four head coaches talked down to media members seated in chairs, but only in a literal sense.In a refreshing change of pace, these four coaches don’t talk down to reporters in a figurative sense.It’s the good-guy-coaches Final Four. No ...

Tom Keegan: Svi for 3 and great ‘D’ in KU’s Elite Eight victory

Omaha, Neb. — His legs weary from leaning into 7-foot Marvin Bagley III all Sunday afternoon, Svi Mykhailiuk’s jumpers started glancing off the front of the CenturyLink Center rim.Once, twice, three times in a row he missed a 3-pointer during the final 10 regulation minutes of a battle of ...

Tom Keegan: Teammates determined to launch Devonte’ Graham to Final Four

Omaha, Neb. — We can all see what Devonte’ Graham does on the court to make teammates do their jobs better, but with the senior from Raleigh, N.C., it runs deeper than that.Knowing very little English, Svi Mykhailiuk joined the Kansas program at age 16 for summer classes in June, 2014.“We ...

Tom Keegan: Jayhawks ready to let it fly in Elite Eight

Omaha, Neb. — As difficult as it was for the pro-Kansas crowd to watch a 20-point lead shrink to one-fifth that size, the final 10 minutes of KU’s 80-76 survive-and-advance victory Friday night against Clemson served a purpose.“Certainly nobody can say that we’ve played our best game ...

Tom Keegan: Udoka encouraged by pace of knee recovery

Omaha, Neb. — The moment Kansas center Udoka Azubuike earned 100 percent credibility on the topic of the fitness of his left knee was the moment he answered the question as to whether he had recovered 100 percent.“Obviously, not 100 percent, but I’m getting there,” Azubuike said from ...

Tom Keegan: Clemson thriving in the shadows of giants

Omaha, Neb. — Clemson just might be the least talked about school in the Sweet 16 field for a variety of reasons, none of which have anything to do with the quality of the team that will face Kansas on Friday night.The Tigers play for football national championships, not basketball. They lack ...

Tom Keegan: Duke vs. Kansas best of potential Elite Eight matchups

Most believe that matchups and magic play big parts in surviving and advancing in the NCAA tournament, but few ever mention another key to staying alive: timing.History tells us too much of a good thing all at once can haunt a school during March Madness.If only a few of those made shots wasted ...

Tom Keegan: Nudge in right direction awakens Malik Newman

Wichita — Kansas basketball coach Bill Self had finished talking to his team during a timeout midway through the first half of Saturday night’s second-round game against Seton Hall, but he had one more thing to say to sophomore Malik Newman.“I was leaving the huddle and he just pulled me ...

Tom Keegan: Guard Khadeen Carrington the X factor for Seton Hall

Wichita — The basketball courts in the parks of Brooklyn, N.Y., are rich with tales of superhuman feats from the likes of Connie Hawkins and Pee Wee Kirkland, Fly Williams and Jumpin’ Jackie Jackson.Generations later, Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington toughened his game on the same courts ...

Tom Keegan: Azubuike makes small progress in return vs. Penn

Wichita — Nine days after hitting the floor in practice, sent there by a sprained MCL of the left knee, Kansas starting center Udoka Azubuike checked into Thursday’s first-round NCAA tournament game with 8:32 left in the first half and Kansas trailing by eight points.Many in the pro-Kansas ...

Tom Keegan: Devonte’ Graham has sterling NCAA tournament record

This NCAA tournament features a few talented guards who have had more to celebrate in the postseason than Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham, who has a 7-3 record on college baksetball's biggest stage.North Carolina senior Joel Berry, Villanova junior Jalen Brunson and Duke senior Grayson Allen ...

Tom Keegan: Kansas could revisit the site of its last tourney triumph

Mention of San Antonio triggers one of two powerful emotions for the typical Kansas basketball fan.First is pride at memories of Mario Chalmers’ 3-point shot, delivered with just the right degree of extra loft to avoid the climbing fingers of Derrick Rose.At other times, "San Antonio" grows ...

Tom Keegan: Wilson ball of fire for Kansas shooters

An informal survey of a few of the Kansas basketball team’s talented outside shooters as to their preferences in basketball brands led to an interesting revelation from Svi Mykhailiuk, a senior sharpshooter from Ukraine.Before coming to Kansas at the age of 16, Mykhailiuk had used the ball of ...

Tom Keegan: Sleeveless Devonte’ Graham takes over with championship on line

Kansas City, Mo. — It’s called a shooting sleeve, looks like a white stocking, and stretches from just above the wrist to just below the armpit.Devonte’ Graham wears his on his non-shooting arm — at least he did until he decided to take it off in mid-dribble.All alone and just past ...

Tom Keegan: Malik Newman successfully hits reset button

Kansas City, Mo. — When a key player goes down and more is expected of every one of his teammates, not just those who play his position, it allows those who need it to hit the reset button and see what happens.Here’s what has happened with Malik Newman: Two games into the Big 12 tournament ...