Kansas versus TCU didn’t exactly stand out on the college basketball schedule Wednesday night in terms of mass appeal, what with Duke facing Syracuse and North Carolina tangling with Louisville. But there’s something about a team winning its league 13 seasons in a row that will capture any college basketball observer’s attention.
Though some might have considered it a foregone conclusion, the Jayhawks officially became Big 12 champions yet again, sealing at least a share of the title with an 87-68 win over the Horned Frogs, allowing them to hoist a league championship trophy at Allen Fieldhouse afterward.
KU’s latest hardware put the program in a tie with the UCLA teams of the 1960s and ’70s for most consecutive conference championships in a row and set off reactions from current and former KU players on social media platforms.
National analysts, too, weighed in on the Jayhawks’ long run of dominance. Below are some of the highlights from the aftermath.
— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.
More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU
- Historic Achievement: Jayhawks crush TCU, earn 13th-straight Big 12 title
- Benton Smith: Carlton Bragg looked more like the player KU hoped for
- Notebook: Birthday Boy Graham celebrates ‘special’ day; Jackson OK after injury scare
- Brandon Rush fights back emotions during jersey retirement ceremony
- The Keegan Ratings: All-around action puts Josh Jackson at top of ratings in title-clincher vs. TCU
- Matt Tait's Postgame Report Card
- Make it 13: Jayhawks match UCLA’s league-title run
A five-star point guard from the heart of Big 12 country, Norman North High (Okla.) senior Trae Young made his college basketball destination official Thursday just after noon.
A dynamic 6-foot-2, 170-pound play-maker who is ranked the 14th-best prospect nationally in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, Young’s options came down to choosing between the University of Kansas and Oklahoma.
Play for Bill Self at Allen Fieldhouse? Or stay at home and star in your own backyard for Lon Kruger at OU?
Ultimately, Young went with the Sooners.
It had to be a difficult, yet exciting, decision for Young, as he weighed the pros and cons of his options.
Young’s choice was big news not just in Lawrence, but also in his home state, where The Oklahoman covered his announcement live.
Watch Young's press conference from the NewsOK.com live feed below.
No one who stuck around for the entirety of the Kansas Jayhawks’ Big Monday showdown versus West Virginia could quite believe what they witnessed.
The No. 9-ranked Mountaineers let a 14-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in the second half slip from their grasps and the No. 3 Jayhawks happily took advantage, setting up an epic rally and 84-80 overtime victory that seemed just about impossible minutes earlier.
From Super Bowl comparisons, to bewilderment regarding the Mountaineers’ collapse, to giving KU credit for pulling it off, the college basketball world had plenty to say about the Kansas comeback.
Some famous Jayhawks who used to call Lawrence home had to hop on Twitter to let their followers and fans know about the victory, while a number of college basketball media members chimed in, as well.
Even a few of the players who helped pull off the unlikely victory shared some of their thoughts.
Below are the social media highlights from the aftermath of an absurd night at Allen Fieldhouse.
Bill Self will tell you his Kansas basketball team’s game at Kentucky Saturday night doesn’t mean as much as the Big 12 games against West Virginia and Baylor that bookend it. But the KU coach also realizes how important a showcase matchup such as KU versus UK is to fans and the people who follow college basketball closely.
As you might have guessed, when the Jayhawks toppled Kentucky Saturday night at Rupp Arena, it sent KU fans, and even some former and future players, into a frenzy on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Analysts and national journalists, too, had plenty of praise to send KU’s was following an impressive road victory.
Below are some of the highlight reactions to the Jayhawks’ win in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, including some from the men who made it happen.
Nearly every time Kansas basketball coach Bill Self fields questions from the media, someone will bring up Jayhawks senior point guard Frank Mason III and the impact he has made this season.
“How good has Frank been?”
“What has Mason meant to your team?”
“Did you think when you were recruiting him Frank would turn out this good?”
Without hesitation, Self will highlight Mason’s toughness, driving, shooting, passing, rebounding, etc., and share his opinion that his senior point guard has been as good as any player in the country at this juncture.
Self isn’t the type to campaign for his players to win national awards, but such statements are his way of doing so in a low-key fashion. When Self talks, people around the college basketball world listen.
Anyone who has watched No. 2 Kansas (17-1 overall, 6-0 Big 12) play this year knows where the team would be without Mason, who is averaging a team-best 20.3 points per game, while also contributing 5.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds. The 5-foot-11 senior from Petersburg, Virginia, is even shooting 52.4% from the field and connecting more often from 3-point range, where he is 42-for-78 (53.8%).
As KU keeps on winning and Mason continues to carry the team, it boosts his case for national player of the year honors. At CBSSports.com, Gary Parrish ranked the top 25 candidates for the ultimate individual award gave Mason No. 1 billing, edging out the heart and soul of defending national champion Villanova, senior guard Josh Hart.
Neither Mason nor Hart are going to be NBA lottery picks the way past Wooden Award winners such as Buddy Hield, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin were, but both are integral parts of two of the nation’s best teams, so Parrish ranks them ahead of UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball, who many expect to have a long, successful NBA career.
As can be found on sports-reference.com, Hart’s player efficiency rating of 29.5 is one of the best in the country, ranking sixth overall. But Mason isn’t too far behind, with a PER of 26.1 (27th nationally).
Likewise, the debate between Hart and Mason, Parrish wrote, is close:
“I’ve had Josh Hart atop these Player of the Year rankings, and it's reasonable to keep the Villanova senior there. He's still fabulous and leading a team ranked No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one). But Frank Mason has never been far behind. And he's playing better than Hart lately. So now the Kansas senior is the headliner.”
The top 10 players in the running, according to Parrish, also includes one of Mason’s teammates, freshman Josh Jackson.
No. 1: Frank Mason III, Kansas
No. 2: Josh Hart, Villanova
No. 3: Lonzo Ball, UCLA
No. 4: Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
No. 5: De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
No. 6: Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga
No. 7: Johnathan Motley, Baylor
No. 8: TJ Leaf, UCLA
No. 9: Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame
No. 10: Josh Jackson, Kansas
— See the complete list: KU’s Frank Mason moves to No. 1
When a team such as Duke squares off with a team the likes of Kansas, the entire college basketball universe tunes in to see what happens.
Such was the case Tuesday night, when Bill Self’s No. 7-ranked Jayhawks battled Mike Krzyzewski’s No. 1 Blue Devils at the Champions Classic, inside Madison Square Garden.
KU’s victory over Duke, as you’d expect, set off a flurry of reaction all over social media — particularly from those with Kansas ties, after they watched Frank Mason hit a clutch, game-winning jumper.
From former Mason teammates singing his praises, to a former Duke star losing a bet, to media and analysts weighing in on the significance of the Kansas win, there was plenty to digest on Twitter.
Below are some of the many social media highlights that accompanied the memorable regular-season classic.
— See what people were saying about KU's matchup against Duke during KUsports.com’s live coverage.
More news and notes from the win against Duke
- Fearless Frank: Mason drills game-winning shot for 77-75 win over No. 1 Duke
- Tom Keegan: KU’s bench delivers big punch during win against Duke
- Notebook: Jackson ‘sparked’ Jayhawks in second half; KU-Stanford create series
- Duke’s Krzyzewski on Kansas: ‘They’re really good’
- The Keegan Ratings
- Matt Tait's postgame Report Card
KANSAS CITY, MO. — After finishing two games behind Kansas in the Big 12 conference standings last year, West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins said the key to unseating KU at the top of the conference is learning to win at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks own a 206-9 record at home under coach Bill Self, including only two league losses since 2007. Obviously, no other team in the Big 12 enjoys the same level of success on its home floor.
"People have to go into Allen Fieldhouse and win once in a while," Huggins said. "Because the rest of us all lose at home, and I think if you look at it, that's without a question, the difference. That has a lot to do with the job that Bill does. Bill does a great job. And they have really good players."
On a 12-year conference title streak, the Jayhawks are one season shy of tying the longest consecutive conference title streak, set by UCLA in 1967-79.
"Kansas' dominance is really -- it comes down to three things," Huggins said, "they've got a great coach, they've got great players, and they never lose at home. Until we start beating them at home -- and we had chances, we had chances. We missed free throws and a lot of crazy things happened at Allen Fieldhouse now. So we end up losing. If we had beaten them, I think somebody else would have had a chance to maybe tie for the league championship or whatever."
Despite KU's long streak at the top of the conference, Huggins disagrees with people that believe it hurts the image of the Big 12 to have one team with a monopoly on conference titles.
"I don't know why that would taint anything, you know what I'm saying?" Huggins said. "Because they've been one of the top three or four teams in the country for how many years, and that's not going to change. They can be in whatever league you want to put them in and they're still going to be. Don't listen to those people."
KANSAS CITY, MO. — After coaching for 13 seasons at Pittsburgh, TCU men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon enters the Big 12 Conference with some appreciation for Bill Self and the Kansas program.
Speaking at Big 12 Media Day for the first time, Dixon compared Self to some of the coaching giants in the industry and said he's on his way to earning a plaque in the basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
"We've gone against some pretty good coaches over the years and Hall of Famers. He's obviously a future Hall of Famer if not already," Dixon said of Self. "And, yeah, I mean, what they've done is inconceivable. No one could have predicted it, and it's still hard to believe."
Coaching in the ACC, Dixon matched up against some of the giants of the industry throughout the season. But he's amazed by the Jayhawks' 12-year reign at the top of the Big 12.
"There's nothing like this. I mean, to win it 12 years in a row and what Kansas has done, it's unheard of," Dixon said. "I guess it hasn't been done since UCLA, I guess is what they said. And that was obviously a different time. So, yeah, it is different in that regard. But probably stands out even more when you get the picks for the year, and the 12, 13th time, and they're claiming them the champion in the 13th year already."
The Horned Frogs are ranked last in the Big 12 coaches' preseason poll, but Dixon said it's ultimately up to the rest of the conference to unseat the Jayhawks from their spot at the top of the conference.
"I was talking to somebody earlier, it's unbelievable," Dixon said of the streak. "Obviously that was the thing about the Big East. There was no clear-cut team year-in, and year-out. We had the best record in the conference over a ten-year span. But we weren't looked at as the leader of the conference.
"There's no question about it. I guess it's up to the other nine to do something about it."
KANSAS CITY, MO. — Speaking at Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday at Sprint Center, Iowa State men's basketball coach Steve Prohm addressed his team's play in Kansas City, winners of two of the past three Big 12 tournament titles.
"What I think the number one factor coming over here is being just three hours from here, that Cyclone Nation really makes this — Hilton South is what they call it, it's an unbelievable atmosphere here," Prohm said. "I think that obviously goes a long way in winning games in this arena."
The Cyclones, coming off a 23-12 season, were ranked fourth in the Big 12 coaches' preseason poll behind Kansas, West Virginia and Texas. KU coach Bill Self gave the Cyclones his first-place vote.
Iowa State split the season series with the Jayhawks last year, winning in Ames, 85-72. When the two schools played again in the regular-season finale, the Jayhawks won, 85-78.
"I thought both games were really well played," Prohm said. "We were fortunate to beat them at our place. Then we went to their place last game of the regular season and actually really played well. I think we led by three with three minutes to go. But when you're playing Kansas, you're playing elite teams, you have to make tough plays down the stretch and you have to finish games. We weren't able to do it up there this past season."
Iowa State senior Monté Morris was picked as the conference's preseason Player of the Year. The dynamic point guard is the top returning scorer in the league after averaging 13.8 points per game, adding a league-leading 6.9 assists per game last year.
But of course, Prohm wants the Cyclones to contend for a Big 12 title and work their way to the level of success that is common at Kansas.
"Obviously Kansas is the standard, like I touched on, and our goal is to continue to put ourselves in a position to challenge them," Prohm said.
"But Allen Fieldhouse, Hilton Coliseum, there's probably, like I said, not five better places to play college basketball."
One of the top defensive backs in the NFL, former Kansas football star Aqib Talib has once again made headlines for the wrong reasons this week.
The ninth-year corner, who already has three interceptions and a touchdown return through five games this season for defending Super Bowl champion Denver, reportedly shot himself in the right leg this summer.
On Tuesday, the 30-year-old Talib told Denver’s 9News Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “may fit in” in the Broncos’ locker room. Talib’s comments came days after an old recording emerged of Trump using vulgar language while denigrating women.
Talib played at Kansas from 2005 to 2007 and ranks second all-time in program history, with 13 career interceptions (Ray Evans, who played in the 1940s, is first, with 17).
Watch the Talib clip below.