Posts tagged with Basketball
The website www.Bovada.lv, sent an e-mail to me and others in the media with its odds to win remaining men's basketball conference tournaments. The Big 12 basketball tournament gets under way Wednesday night at Sprint Center with two quarterfinal contests.
The odds might surprise some who have reached the conclusion that because Kansas played so poorly for much of its loss at West Virginia without Joel Embiid and will be playing without him throughout the Big 12 tournament, the Jayhawks have no shot at turning the Sprint Center home-court advantage into a conference tournament title.
Kansas has played three full games without Embiid, going 2-1, with home victories against TCU and Texas Tech, the last two finishers in the conference, and a loss at West Virginia.
Bovada.lv odds to win Big 12 tournament:
Iowa State 5/1
Oklahoma State 5/1
Kansas State 16/1
West Virginia 16/1
Texas Tech 250/1
Since 3/2 odds translate to a 40 percent chance, there is no "odds-on-favorite" here, but it is interesting that at least one offshore sports book believes KU to have the best shot of the 10 teams.
The only schools Bovada lists as odds-on-favorites to win remaining conference tourneys are Arizona (2/3), Louisville (2/3) and Florida (2/3), three schools that likely will be the most popular Final Four selections in office bracket pools.
Parity scored another victory last week in college basketball when 17 of the top 25 teams in the Associated Press college basketball poll lost at least once and two schools lost twice.
The rash of winning teams losing games has created a mad scramble for the fourth and final No. 1 seed. At the moment, Villanova appears to have a shaky hold on it, but several remain in contention. Surprisingly, Arizona is not the top-ranked school with the Wildcats' mascot. Villanova jumped Arizona, but the guess here is Sean Miller's team has a more firm hold on a No. 1 seed.
The Kansas loss at West Virginia dropped the Jayhawks two spots in the AP poll, released Monday, which has Kansas at No. 10.
The AP top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through March 9, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Florida (50) 29-2 1,610 1
- Wichita St. (15) 34-0 1,574 2
- Villanova 28-3 1,454 6
- Arizona 28-3 1,435 3
- Louisville 26-5 1,237 11
- Virginia 25-6 1,186 5
- Duke 24-7 1,185 4
- Michigan 23-7 1,143 12
- San Diego St. 27-3 1,143 10
- Kansas 23-8 1,087 8
- Syracuse 27-4 1,055 7
- Wisconsin 25-6 973 9
- Cincinnati 26-5 922 15
- Creighton 24-6 752 13
- North Carolina 23-8 709 14
- Iowa St. 23-7 572 16
- Oklahoma 23-8 472 23
- Saint Louis 26-5 433 17
- Memphis 23-8 367 20
- New Mexico 24-6 344 21
- UConn 24-7 330 19
- Michigan St. 23-8 318 22
- VCU 24-7 205 NR
- Ohio St. 23-8 165 NR
- SMU 23-8 152 18
Others receiving votes: Gonzaga 82, Stephen F. Austin 56, Oregon 39, Texas 31, Harvard 27, Kentucky 19, Baylor 18, UCLA 14, Nebraska 8, Iowa 4, Tennessee 2, George Washington 1, NC Central 1.
My AP top 25 ballot:
1 - Wichita State: First team to enter NCAA Tournament without a loss (34-0) since UNLV in 1991. Any outlandish talk of Shockers becoming first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 based on fantasy and/or wishful thinking. Shockers have been pounding teams as good or better than a No. 16 seed all season. The second-game (now confusingly called the third round) opponent is the one that will be better than any Shockers have faced since they beat Tennessee by nine points Dec. 14.
2 - Florida: Billy Donovan could join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski as only active coaches to win three national titles. (Coach K has four). Louisville’s Rick Pitino and North Carolina’s Roy Williams also have shot to win a third title.
3 - Arizona: Kenpom.com stats rank Wildcats No. 1 in nation defensively, fourth with opponents shooting 41.2 percent on two-point field goals.
4 - Villanova: Nothing short of winning Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden can land Wildcats a No. 1 seed.
5 - Louisville: Cardinals peaking at right time for another Final Four. Intense defensive pressure No. 1 attribute. Opponents turn it over on 25.1 percent of possessions, second in nation to VCU. Under former Kansas State assistant and first-year coach Brad Underwood, two-loss Stephen F. Austin ranks third in that statistical category.
6 - Virginia: ACC regular-season champions have come a long way since losing by 35 points at Tennessee, but as soon as they positioned themselves to gain serious consideration for a No. 1 seed, the Cavaliers lost at Maryland.
7 - Michigan: Regular-season Big Ten champ Wolverines play strong defense without fouling, don’t take bad shots, don’t turn it over and move the ball so well they get an unusual number of open three-pointers, all of which makes coach John Beilein’s reputation as one of the nation’s finest coaches deserved.
8 - San Diego State: Aztecs 4-1 vs. teams in AP top 25, including victory in Allen Fieldhouse. Favorite statistic in college basketball: Aztecs riding 116-game winning streak when leading with five minutes remaining. So when they took a 44-42 lead with exactly five minutes left against New Mexico, everybody headed for the parking lot, knowing game was in hand. Not really, but they might as well have done so.
9 - Syracuse: First loss started stretch of four in five games, but the way Orange hit the road and pounded Florida State, 74-58, could be indication this team back to being tournament ready.
10 - Kansas: Opponents turn it over on 16.7 percent of possessions, which ranks 283rd in nation. When Joel Embiid not playing, defending the goal also a problem.
11 - Duke: Freshman Jabari Parker saved his best for last, dropping 30 points and 11 rebounds on chief rival North Carolina in regular-season finale.
12 - Wisconsin: Not even making 9 of 20 three-pointers enough to win at Nebraska, which is coming to life so quickly under second-year coach Tim Miles.
13 - North Carolina: If guards truly are key to NCAA Tournament success, look out for UNC. Marcus Paige averaging 22.4 points and shooting .531 from three in past five games.
14 - Cincinnati: Opponents turn it over on 22.6 percent of possessions, 12th in nation, per kenpom.com.
15 - Creighton: Blue Jays bounced back from consecutive road losses to Xavier and Georgetown and Doug McDermott made sure of it. On same day Andrew Wiggins scored 41 points for Kansas, McDermott exploded for 45 on Senior Day in victory vs. Providence. He became eighth Div. I player to reach 3,000-point milestone.
16 - Oklahoma: Sooners are America’s best team that nobody ever mentions.
17 - Michigan State: Keith Appling saying all the right things about his wrist feeling better, but he’s still not scoring at anywhere near the rate he did before he injured it, so it must be bothering him.
18 - Iowa State: The magic this team has doesn’t travel well outside Hilton Coliseum. Went 3-6 on road in league play.
19 - New Mexico: Power forward Cameron Bairstow had 20 of team’s 48 points in three-point loss at New Mexico.
20 - Memphis: Former Missouri Tiger Michael Dixon leads team in three-point percentage (.393), second in scoring (12.2).
21 - Ohio State: They pressure the ball, don’t give teams space to shoot threes and still don’t get abused inside. But do the Buckeyes have enough offensive firepower to do serious damage in the tournament?
22 - Connecticut: Standout point guard Shabazz Napier shot 2 of 13, 1 of 10 from three and had six turnovers at Louisville in 81-48 loss, but that was as much about Louisville as Napier.
23 - Oregon: Will the real Ducks please waddle up. Talented bunch started regular season 13-0, finished it 7-0 and went 2-8 in between. Good luck trying to catch up to Ducks by fouling late in games. They shoot .772 from the line and .390 from three. Three-point percentages of three leading scorers: Joseph Young (.406), Mike Moser (.379), Jason Calliste (.517).
24 - Saint Louis: Billikens rebounded from three-game losing streak with two-point victory at UMass.
25 - VCU: Non-stop defensive pressure makes Rams different and different can go a long way in March.
Florida, Wichita State and Arizona are pulling away from a crowded pack in the race for No. 1 seeds and it’s a tough call getting tougher by the day for the fourth one.
This is one of those years in which the difference between the No. 4-ranked team in the nation and a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament is slight. The way it looks now, plenty of round of Sweet 16 games could light up the tournament with buzzer-beaters and overtime battles.
For now, let’s focus on the field in contention for the fourth No. 1 seed, ranked in order of where I would seed them at the moment, with the understanding that plenty can change during the final two weekends leading up to Selection Sunday, March 16.
1 - Virginia: The NCAA Tournament selection committee does not look at conference standings, in part because of imbalanced schedules and the Cavaliers did benefit from their ACC slate. Still, Virginia has been smoking good teams for the majority of conference play, putting a shaky nonconference season in the distance.
The Cavs have gone 16-1 in ACC play, won 11 of those games by double figures and seven by 19 points or more. The lone conference loss came at Duke by four points, which is about the margin of home-court advantage. Other losses: Virginia Commonwealth by three, Wisconsin by 10, at Wisconsin-Green By by three, at Tennessee by 35.
2 - Kansas: None of the seven losses could be characterized as bad ones. Don’t forget, the three-point loss at Colorado came when the Buffs had Spencer Dinwiddie, lost for the season five weeks later.
The most impressive nonconference victories came against Duke in Chicago by 11 points and vs. New Mexico in Sprint Center by 17. Sweeping Iowa State and Oklahoma won’t hurt.
3 - Wisconsin: No team in the country has more big-time victories, but a stretch of five losses in six games hurts the Badgers’ cause. Three of the losses — at Indiana and Minnesota, and at home vs. Northwestern — don’t look good.
Badgers won vs. Florida, at Virginia, vs. Michigan State, at Michigan and swept Iowa.
4 - Villanova: On the rare occasions Villanova loses, it gets slaughtered, but the Wildcats win all their close ones. Three losses — to Creighton twice and to Syracuse — came by a combined 65 points. Victories against Kansas and Iowa in the Bahamas remain Nova’s best lines on a shaky resume for a No. 1 seed.
5 - Syracuse: Orange have completely collapsed. Did somebody figure out how to attack the zone and everybody else copy it? More likely, Syracuse's lack of scoring depth has been the main cause of the unraveling. The Orange have lost four of last five games, including a home setback to Georgia Tech.
6 - Duke: Like Kansas, Duke has seven losses. Unlike Kansas, some bad ones are in the mix. Blue Devils have lost ACC road games to Notre Dame, Clemson and Wake Forest. They rely too heavily on perimeter shooters because Jabari Parker, a threat from anywhere on the court, is the only reliable inside scorer.
7 - Michigan: The Big Ten champion has lost seven times, but only three in a competitive conference. Lost to Charlotte early in the season. Only shot at gaining consideration for a No. 1 seed lies in winning the regular-season finale vs. Indiana and taking the conference tournament title.
8 - North Carolina: included here as much because of the opportunities in front of the Tar Heels to leapfrog schools in front of them by winning at Duke on Saturday and then winning three games to take the ACC conference tournament title. That would give UNC 16 victories in a row and seven losses on the season. The Heels already have victories vs. Louisville, Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke.
If KU were to land the fourth No. 1 seed, the tournament selection committee might send Florida to Memphis, with Arizona going to Anaheim, Wichita State to Indianapolis and KU to New York. As a No. 2 seed, KU could go to Indianapolis, setting up a potential Elite Eight game with the Shockers.
Kansas had plenty of elite company in losing. Six of the eight teams ranked from No. 4 through No. 11 lost Saturday.
How did that happen?
All but one of the losses happened in road games, another reminder that parity places even greater importance on a game’s location.
Somewhat surprisingly given all the losing going on near the top, KU’s loss at Oklahoma State dropped the Jayhawks three spots in the Associated Press college basketball poll released Monday.
The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through March 2 and total points, based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Florida (46) 27-2 1,606 1
- Wichita St. (14) 31-0 1,555 2
- Arizona (5) 27-2 1,514 3
- Duke 23-6 1,364 6
- Virginia 25-5 1,304 12
- Villanova 26-3 1,292 8
- Syracuse 26-3 1,240 4
- Kansas 22-7 1,200 5
- Wisconsin 24-5 1,075 14
- San Diego St. 25-3 995 13
- Louisville 24-5 959 7
- Michigan 21-7 899 16
- Creighton 23-5 892 9
- North Carolina 22-7 755 19
- Cincinnati 24-5 737 11
- Iowa St. 22-6 613 15
- Saint Louis 25-4 539 10
- SMU 23-6 427 23
- UConn 23-6 423 NR
- Memphis 22-7 364 21
- New Mexico 23-5 338 25
- Michigan St. 22-7 322 18
- Oklahoma 21-8 183 NR
- Iowa 20-9 94 20
- Kentucky 21-8 92 17
Others receiving votes: Texas 70, VCU 58, UCLA 45, Gonzaga 38, Stephen F. Austin 38, Kansas St. 19, Saint Joseph’s 19, Ohio St. 17, Green Bay 13, Harvard 7, Arizona St. 5, UMass 5, Colorado 2, Pittsburgh 2, Xavier 2, NC Central 1, Oklahoma St. 1, Southern Miss. 1.
My AP top 25 ballot:
1 - Wichita State: In the eyes of some, not even a 31-0 regular season, nonconference victories at Saint Louis and Alabama, a home victory vs. Tennessee and attempts to schedule schools that wanted no part of the Shockers are enough to make believers out of some national college basketball analysts. Too bad. No way Wichita State doesn’t earn a No. 1 seed if it wins the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
2 - Florida: Projecting high school point guards is more difficult than any other position. For example, Florida senior Scottie Wilbekin, from Gainesville, was offered scholarships from Liberty, Nevada and his hometown university. He’s averaging 13.4 points, shooting .388 from three, .754 from the line and has nearly as many steals as turnovers.
3 - Arizona: Since starting power forward Brandon Ashley suffered a season-ending injury, Wildcats have gone 6-1 and freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has averaged 10.9 points and six rebounds.
4 - Virginia: No more operating under the radar for the Cavaliers. Not now that they have won their first outright ACC regular-season championship in 33 years, Ralph Sampson’s sophomore year.
5 - Kansas: Jayhawks clinched the Big 12 because they are only ones with winning record (5-3) on the road. Oklahoma (4-4) is next best.
6 - Duke: Freshman Jabari Parker leads Blue Devils in scoring (18.8), rebounds (8.9) and blocked shots (1.4).
7 - Syracuse: Has lost 3 of 4, including 75-56 at Virginia on Saturday when Cavaliers closed on a 33-14 run.
8 - Villanova: Three losses have come by a combined margin of 65 points, but they really know how to close close ones. Wildcats are 4-0 in overtime. Won last two games by combined 36 points.
9 - Creighton: Not even 27 points and 10 rebounds from Doug McDermott, nation’s leading scorer, could ride Blue Jays to victory Saturday at Xavier.
10 - San Diego State: Aztecs have reached 25 victories five times in past six seasons, the five highest victory totals in school history.
11 - Michigan: Wolverines clinched at least a share of Big Ten title Saturday, an amazing feat considering Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are in the NBA and Mitch McGary is sideline by back surgery.
12 - Wisconsin: More consistent teams can be found throughout country, but nobody has a more impressive six-pack of victories than Badgers: Florida, Saint Louis, at Virginia, Iowa twice, Michigan State, at Michigan.
13 - North Carolina: Another impressive list of victories: Lousiville, at Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke twice.
14 - Cincinnati: Feisty coach Mick Cronin got into ref Ted Valentine’s face, was restrained by a few players and then shoved assistant coach Larry Davis. All in all, not a great day for Cronin during loss to Connecticut.
15 - Louisville: Cardinals swept in season series with Memphis. Next up: Wednesday battle of coaching legends Rick Pitino and Larry Brown at SMU. Pitino won the first one, 71-63, in Louisville.
16 - Michigan State: Banged-up Spartans on two-game losing streak, including a 53-46 loss to Illinois.
17 - Iowa State: Terrific at home, Cyclones only 3-5 on road in Big 12. Even 30 points and 16 rebounds from Melvin Ejim couldn’t get the job done in Manhattan.
18 - Oklahoma: Sooners have good shot to break from three-way tie to finish second alone, which would make Lon Kruger favorite to win Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.
19 - Texas: Three losses in past four games, which in Big 12 lingo is another way of saying three of the past four games have been on the road.
20 - SMU: Winners of 7 of 8, Mustangs staring at a tough week with home game Wednesday vs. Louisville and Saturday road trip to Memphis.
21 -New Mexico: Lobos could do wonders for their seeding with victory Saturday night at San Diego State.
22 - Connecticut: Shabazz Muhammad has appeared in 22 games for Minnesota Timberwolves and averaged seven minutes and three points. Senior Shabazz Napier averaging 17.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists for Huskies. Muhammad making more money. Napier having more fun.
23 - Memphis: Two leading scorers, Joe Jackson and Shaq Goodwin, combined for eight points on 2 of 18 shooting and Tigers still defeated Louisville. Great sign.
24 - Saint Louis: Billikens doubled season loss total in one week, losing at home to Duquesne and at Virginia Commonwealth.
25 - Harvard: Tommy Amaker has coached Harvard to its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Pre-Amaker, the school had made one appearance and that was in 1946.
In the wake of his team's 85-54 loss to Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse, Texas coach Rick Barnes accused himself of being premature while at the same time saying I told you so.
"I said at the beginning of the year that Kansas is the best team in the country," Barnes said. "What I should have said was that by the end of the year they would be the best team in the country."
KU still has to prove it can bring its best effort consistently before living up to that statement, but the Jayhawks certainly look as if they have turned the corner. Andrew Wiggins and Tarik Black, to name a couple, are playing with season-high confidence and the way they attacked the rim had a contagious effect during the Texas rout.
The entire country took note of the way Kansas manhandled the Longhorns and vaulted KU to fifth in the Associated Press college basketball poll released Monday. After a week in which Syracuse fell from the unbeaten ranks with two losses, Florida moved to the top, followed by Wichita State.
The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 23, and total points, based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Florida (47) 25-2 1,606 2
- Wichita St. (14) 29-0 1,549 3
- Arizona (4) 25-2 1,494 4
- Syracuse 25-2 1,410 1
- Kansas 21-6 1,310 8
- Duke 22-6 1,286 5
- Louisville 23-4 1,152 11
- Villanova 24-3 1,113 9
- Creighton 23-4 1,103 11
- Saint Louis 25-2 1,047 10
- Cincinnati 24-4 921 7
- Virginia 23-5 909 14
- San Diego St. 23-3 886 6
- Wisconsin 22-5 818 16
- Iowa St. 21-5 709 17
- Michigan 19-7 653 20
- Kentucky 21-6 629 18
- Michigan St. 22-6 552 13
- North Carolina 20-7 440 NR
- Iowa 19-7 418 15
- Memphis 21-6 288 22
- Ohio St. 22-6 253 24
- SMU 22-6 155 NR
- Texas 20-7 129 19
- New Mexico 21-5 113 NR
Others receiving votes: UConn 81, UCLA 41, Oklahoma 35, Stephen F. Austin 11, UMass 9, Gonzaga 2, Green Bay 2, NC Central 1.
My AP top 25 ballot:
1 – Wichita State: When trying to catch up, don’t foul any of the three leading scorers because they all make their free throws. Cleanthony Early, Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet combine to shoot .844 from the line.
2 – Florida: Gators didn’t have greatest week, beating two lousy SEC teams by a combined nine points, but they’ve won 19 in a row, so why complain? First victory of the streak came at home against Kansas.
3 – Arizona: Any opponent with enough fouls to put the Wildcats in the bonus should employ a hack-an-Aaron strategy. Star freshman Aaron Gordon .308 from line in last seven games, .411 for season.
4 – Syracuse: Jim Boeheim entered week undefeated, lost twice in a row and grew even way angrier than usual with zebras. Time to reflect. Here’s a suggestion: Discourage C.J. Fair (.271) from shooting three-pointers. He’s launched 70 of them.
5 – Kansas: Tarik Black and Joel Embiid looked good together on the court in Texas blowout.
6 - Duke: Freshman Jabari Parker in victory against Syracuse: 19 points, 10 rebounds, 6 of 8 field goals, 3 of 3 three-pointers. Guy knows how to make his shots count.
7 – Creighton: Doug McDermott’s shooting the past five games: 51 of 80 (.638) from the field, 11 of 20 (.550) from three. Foul him? Not a good idea. He’s shooting .898 from the line for the season.
8 – Villanova: Deafeating St. John’s 57-54 at home doesn’t sound so hot, unless you’ve seen the Johnnies play. Wow! One of the most athletic teams in the country.
9 – Virginia: During the same week Pat Knight, son of coaching legend Bob Knight, was fired from Lamar with a 3-22 record, Tony Bennett, son of coaching legend Dick Bennett, ascended into first place in the ACC.
10 – San Diego State: Shot just .323 and scored just 44 points in loss to New Mexico in The Pit.
11 – Louisville: Finally a big victory for the Cardinals, a come-from-behind defensive tussle at Cincinnati.
12 – Cincinnati: Bearcats play such tough defense that Sean Kilpatrick doesn’t need much help in the scoring department, but during 28-point effort in 58-57 loss to Louisville, Kilpatrick needed more than 29 points of support rest of team gave him.
13 – North Carolina: Rushing is for fraternities and sororities, not basketball crowds that support perennial powerhouses.
14 – Saint Louis: Now winners of 19 in a row, the Billikens cracked the top 10 last week for the first time since 1964 and did so on what would have been the 66th birthday of Rick Majerus, who upon becoming too ill to coach passed the job onto Jim Crews. ESPN’s Paul Biancardi posted on Twitter this quote from Majerus from March, 2012: “We’ll be a Top 10 team in about three years. I did it at Ball State, did it at Utah, and we’re going to do it here.”
15 – Michigan: Completed sweep of Spartans with 79-70 victory to move into sole possession of first place in the deep Big Ten, just as everyone thought would be the case when Mitch McGary went down for the season with a back injury. And by everyone, I mean nobody.
16 – Michigan State: Not the same team with Brandon Dawson out with broken hand and Keith Appling playing with wrist injury that keeps him from being much of a scoring threat.
17 – Kentucky: freshman Julius Randle averaging a double-double with 15.7 points and 10.3 rebounds.
18– Wisconsin: Badgers have a few tough losses (Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern), but a most impressive list of victories (Florida, Saint Louis, Virginia, Iowa twice, Michigan state, Michigan).
19 – Ohio State: Has held 11 opponents to 55 points or fewer, including a 48-39 victory at Illinois.
20 – Iowa State: Looking like the leading contender to finish in second in the Big 12, having already gotten games with Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas out of the way.
21 – Iowa: Hawkeyes makeup game at Indiana rescheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday and will be carried by ESPN. The metal beam that fell and damaged seats hours before the gates were opened for the originally scheduled game was 8 feet long and more than a foot wide, which is a little scary when you think about it.
22 - Texas: Smelling salts are in order. Then a huge raw steak over each eye to contain the swelling while taking an ice bath followed by two aspirin.
23 – SMU: Larry Brown took his team into Storrs, Conn., and walked away with a 64-55 victory. Brown’s the Bill Snyder of college basketball, an ageless wonder.
Danny Manning, the best college basketball player Brown ever coached, is having a nice season himself. Manning’s Tulsa squad has won five in a row, all by double digits, and is in a four-way tie for second in Conference USA with a 10-3 record.
24 – New Mexico: Great quote from Lobos coach Craig Neal after Australian Cameron Bairstow scored 26 points in 58-44 victory against San Diego State: “I said it before and I said it on national TV, I’ve got the best power forward in the country playing for us.”
25 - Oklahoma: Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.
Sometimes the best way to reach a decision as to how to guard a player who presents a particularly different matchup lies in trying to put yourself in the head of the player in question.
Ask yourself: If I’m Texas freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor, who’s the last guy on the Kansas basketball team I want to see crouched in front of me, charged with keeping me out of the paint?
Not Naadir Tharpe. Not Frank Mason. Not Conner Frankamp. Not even Wayne Selden.
If I’m Taylor, who scored 23 points in UT’s 81-69 victory against KU in Austin, the last guy I’d want to be guarded by at the start of the game is Andrew Wiggins. Long enough and quick enough to frustrate Taylor, Wiggins just might be the most equipped of all KU’s players to defend him.
Self is more likely to open the game with Tharpe taking his second shot at slowing down Taylor. It’s a good litmus test for Tharpe, to see if taking pride in the rematch can motivate him to play better defense. But even a motivated Tharpe might not have the physical tools to avoid landing on the wrong side of the mismatch.
A 44-37 advantage on the boards also played a big part in Texas winning the first game. Don’t be surprised if Texas coach Rick Barnes tries to win the battle of the boards again by shifting Jonathan Holmes to small forward at times and playing center Cameron Ridley and backup Prince Ibeh together. Ridley and Ibeh combined for 40 minutes and eight blocked shots in the game in Austin.
Lubbock, Texas — The Kansas University basketball statistics crew tracks a number of interesting categories, such as dunks and floor burns, also known as hustle plays. Here's a look at where the Jayhawks stand heading into tonight's 7:05 Big 12 tipoff against Texas Tech in United Spirit Arena, which is expected to be close to full, if not sold out by game time.
1 - Joel Embiid: 28
2 - Andrew Wiggins: 21
3 - Perry Ellis: 19
4 - Tarik Black: 11
5 - Jamari Traylor: 7
6 - Wayne Selden: 6
7t - Brannen Greene: 1
7t - Landen Lucas: 1
7t - Frank Mason: 1
7t - Andrew White: 1
1 - Embiid: 40
2 - Selden: 34
3 - Ellis: 33
4 - Wiggins: 26
5t - Mason: 21
5t - Traylor: 21
7t - Black: 13
7t - Tharpe: 13
9t - Greene: 6
9t - Lucas: 6
11 - White: 3
12 - Conner Frankamp: 2
13 - Justin Wesley: 1
1 - Embiid: 6
2 - Ellis: 4
3t - Wiggins: 2
3t - Tharpe: 2
1 - Black: 5
2t - Embiid: 1
2t - Mason: 1
2t - Selden: 1
Kansas drops one spot to No. 8 in Associated Press basketball poll; Doug McDermott shoots Creighton up to No. 11
Kansas dropped one spot to No. 8 in the Associated Press college basketball poll, released Monday, and Creighton made the biggest upward move, bolting from 18th to 11th.
The senior star system isn’t dead after all.
Creighton walk-on Doug McDermott is running away with national player of the year honors.
In leading the Blue Jays to their second blowout victory against Villanova by an average margin of 24.5 points, McDermott matched his season high with 39 points. He passed Larry Bird and moved into 13th on the NCAA Div. I all-time scoring list.
“Imagine if he had a three-point line and stayed all four years,” McDermott said in the post-game interview on Fox1 Sports. “He’d be way ahead of me.”
Typical walk-on humility. McDermott's father, Blue Jays coach Greg McDermott, is footing the bill for his son's senior year, making that decision once Grant Gibbs was granted a sixth year of eligibility.
In honor of McDermott and in case anyone else is tired of will-he-stay-or-will-he-go-to-the-NBA talk dominating college basketball, this week’s rankings blog will highlight the top senior on each team.
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 16 and total points, based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Syracuse (64) 25-0 1,624 1
- Florida (1) 23-2 1,543 3
- Wichita St. 27-0 1,489 4
- Arizona 23-2 1,427 2
- Duke 20-5 1,296 8
- San Diego St. 22-2 1,232 5
- Cincinnati 23-3 1,157 10
- Kansas 19-6 1,129 7
- Villanova 22-3 1,020 6
- Saint Louis 23-2 1,019 12
- Creighton 21-4 991 18
- Louisville 21-4 991 13
- Michigan St. 21-5 788 9
- Virginia 21-5 752 17
- Iowa 19-6 721 16
- Wisconsin 21-5 609 21
- Iowa St. 19-5 597 11
- Kentucky 19-6 579 14
- Texas 20-5 577 19
- Michigan 18-7 421 15
- UConn 20-5 382 24
- Memphis 19-6 204 20
- UCLA 20-5 168 NR
- Ohio St. 20-6 133 22
- Gonzaga 23-4 112 NR
Others receiving votes: North Carolina 54, Arizona St. 45, Pittsburgh 21, SMU 21, Stephen F. Austin 8, Oklahoma 7, New Mexico 3, VCU 2, Green Bay 1, Kansas St. 1, Louisiana Tech 1.
My AP ballot:
1 - Syracuse: Forward C.J. Fair, from Baltimore, leads the Orange in scoring (16.5) and rebounding (5.8).
2 - Wichita State: Cleanthony Early, from Middletown, N.Y., leads the undefeated Shockers in scoring (16.3) and rebounding (6.2).
3 - Florida: Hometown hero Scottie Wilbekin ranks second among Gators in scoring (13.5), first in assists (3.7), steals (1.6) and minutes (33.8).
4 - Arizona: Jordin Mayes of Los Angeles, the lone senior on the roster, has played just 104 minutes. He certainly made the most of his five minutes on Feb. 9 vs. Oregon State, scoring nine points.
5 - Duke: Andre Dawkins of Chesepeake, Va., had a four-game stretch a couple of weeks ago in which he made 17 of 29 three-pointers and scored 62 points in 77 minutes. Perimeter minutes are tougher to come by this season with the addition of two terrific newcomers, but Dawkins is playing the best basketball of his career. He’s averaging 9.3 points in 15.2 minutes, which computes to 24.5 points per 40 minutes.
6 - San Diego State: Potential first-team All-American Xavier Thames, from Sacramento, leads Aztecs in scoring (17.7), assists (2.8), steals (1.6), free-throw shooting (.819) and three-point shooting (.409).
7 - Creighton: Four minutes into Sunday’s game, the score was Doug McDermott 11, Villanova 6 and McDermott was just getting started. His 39 points made it nine times he has reached 30 points in a game. He ranks second in the nation (25.3) in scoring, behind only Antoine Mason (26.0) of Niagara. Nobody moves better without the ball than McDermott and teammates have so much experience playing with him they know when and where he likes the ball delivered. Plus, they shoot so well they make teams pay for paying too much attention to the star.
8 - Villanova: James Bell of Orlando leads ’Nova with a 16-point average, shoots .396 from three and is tied for the team lead with 1.3 steals a game and tied for second with 5.9 rebounds.
9 - Kansas: Reserve center Tarik Black, from Memphis, has scored 26 points in 52 minutes the past three games.
10 - Cincinnati: Sean Kilpatrick from Yonkers, N.Y., averages a team-best 20.1 points and shoots .859 from the line.
11 - Michigan State: Keith Appling of Detroit scores 15 points a game, dishes a team-high 4.9 assists and shoots .405 from three.
12 - Virginia: A four-year starter from Chelan, Wash., Joe Harris has had a double-digit scoring average all four seasons. His year-by-year three-point percentages: .418, .442, .468, .464. Underrated player.
13 - Iowa: Leading scorer Roy Devyn Marble (16.4), from Southfield, Mich., made 6 of 10 three-pointers in big victory vs. Michigan and ranks 10th Iowa’s all-time scoring list (1,544 points), a list headed by his father, Roy Marble (2,116 points).
14 - St - Louis: Dwayne Evans from Bolingbrook, Ill., leads all-senior starting lineup in points and rebounds (14.8, 6.5) for Billikens team that has won 17 in a row.
15 - Texas: Longhorns don’t have a senior on the roster.
16 - Michigan: Physical presence Jordan Morgan of Detroit, lone senior on the roster, has made more than 100 career starts.
17 - Kentucky: Jarrod Polson from Wilmore, Kent., has scored 28 points this season, which by Kentucky standards isn’t so bad for a senior.
18 - Louisville: Russ Smith, pride of Brooklyn, leads defending national champion with 18.2 points and
19 - Wisconsin: Ben Brust of Hawthorn Woods, Ill., is the Badgers’ second-leading scorer (13.2), leader in minutes (34.8) and a .396 three-point shooter.
20 - UCLA: Twins David and Travis Wear of Huntington Beach, Calif., both listed at 6-10, 230, transferred to UCLA after a year at North Carolina. As so often seems to be the case with twins, their statistics are similar to each other. They never found stardom some predicted of them, but they are solid contributors to the Bruins. In a combined 41.7 minutes, they average 12.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and shoot 90 percent from the line.
21 - Connecticut: Shabazz Napier of Roxbury, Mass., leads Huskies in points (18), rebounds (5.8), assists (5.5), steals (1.9) and free-throw shooting (.872). He’s also shooting .421 from three-point range and is coming off a 34-point effort outburst in huge vcitory against Memphis.
22 - Ohio State: Point guard Aaron Craft of Findlay, Ohio, remains a huge pain in the neck for opposing point guards and is averaging 2.5 steals a game.
23 - North Carolina: Leslie McDonald of Memphis ins one of four double-figures scorers for a rebounding Tar Heels team that hwas won six in a row.
24 - Arizona State: Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 Canadian center, averages 12.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.6 blocks for the Sun Devils. He recently exploded for 26 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots in a two-point victory against Oregon.
25 - Iowa State: Fellow Canadian Melvin Ejim torched TCU for 48 points and 18 rebounds and leads Cyclones with 18.9 points and 8.6 rebounds.
No college basketball team has played better in the month of February than the one coached by a man who was 11 when Kansas won its first of three NCAA Tournament titles.
Larry Brown was 48 and coaching the Jayhawks when Kansas won its second NCAA tournament in 1988. He was in the stands in San Antonio when KU won its third title, in 2008.
Now, at the age of 73, Brown has his SMU team in the Associated Press college basketball Top 25 poll, ranked 23rd, and playing so well that it’s not out of the question he could reach a third Final Four with his third team in a span of 35 years. SMU had not been ranked for longer than that. The most recent ranking came in the second-to-last week of the 1985 poll.
By the way, Brown’s second school, Kansas, is ranked seventh.
Brown, 73, coached UCLA to the national-title game in 1980, when the Bruins lost to Denny Crum’s Louisville Cardinals, then known as the “Doctors of Dunk,” led by Dr. Dunkenstein himself, Darrell Griffith.
Brown was head coach of six different ABA teams and nine different NBA squads. And here he is now resuscitating a basketball program that had not scored a victory over a ranked opponent since 2003.
Brown’s Mustangs defeated No. 7 Cincinnati, 76-55, Saturday, their third victory in four tries against ranked opponents. They have won their three February games by an average margin of 19.7 points, the first a 15-point victory against then-No. 22 Memphis.
SMU (19-5, 8-3 in the American Athletic Conference) has won 8 of 9 and three of its losses this season (Virginia, at Cincinnati, at Louisville) have come against teams now in the top 25.
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 9, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Syracuse (65) 23-0 1,625 1
- Arizona 23-1 1,525 2
- Florida 21-2 1,477 3
- Wichita St. 25-0 1,445 4
- San Diego St. 21-1 1,373 5
- Villanova 21-2 1,288 6
- Kansas 18-5 1,234 8
- Duke 19-5 1,130 11
- Michigan St. 20-4 1,025 9
- Cincinnati 22-3 970 7
- Iowa St. 18-4 925 16
- Saint Louis 22-2 908 13
- Louisville 19-4 866 14
- Kentucky 18-5 769 18
- Michigan 17-6 702 10
- Iowa 18-6 686 17
- Virginia 19-5 608 20
- Creighton 19-4 552 12
- Texas 18-5 417 15
- Memphis 18-5 333 24
- Wisconsin 19-5 242 NR
- Ohio St. 19-5 214 NR
- SMU 19-5 205 NR
- UConn 18-5 194 22
- Pittsburgh 20-4 175 25
Others receiving votes: Oklahoma 99, Gonzaga 44, UCLA 43, New Mexico 23, Oklahoma St. 10, George Washington 6, Southern Miss. 6, Stephen F. Austin 3, Arizona St. 1, Kansas St. 1, North Carolina 1.
My top 25 AP ballot:
1 - Syracuse: Teams in foul trouble often shift to zones to slow down their rate of fouls, so it’s no surprise that Syracuse, which plays a 2-3 zone, averages just 15.9 fouls per game, eighth-lowest number in the country.
2 - Arizona: Power forward Brandon Ashley (11.5 points per game, 5.8 rebounds) suffered a broken foot that sidelined him for the season, a big loss, but not as big as it would be for less talented teams. Not many schools could replace Ashley with a freshman as talented as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a McDonald’s All-American averaging 15 points and 7.5 rebounds in two starts since the injury.
3 - Wichita State: Trivia question: What does Shockers coach Gregg Marshall have in common with Jud Heathcote, who coached Michigan State team led by Magic Johnson to 1979 national title, and Phil Jackson, coach of 11 NBA champions? They all are members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Or would calling them fraternity “brothers” be the correct terminology? Or do they have to live in same house to be considered “brothers?” It’s all Greek to me.
4 - Florida: Coach Billy Donovan bringing along slowly 6-10 freshman Chris Walker, ineligible the first 12 games for receiving impermissible benefits. Two games into his college career, he has played 11 minutes and totaled eight points, three rebounds and two blocked shots and has made 4 of 5 shots. He’s doing his best to speed up the coach’s plan.
5 - San Diego State: Point guard Xavier Thames big reason Aztecs, winners of 20 in a row, close games so well. For one thing, he makes his free throws and has made 30 of 32 of late.
6 - Villanova: Four of the top seven schools on my ballot have either an Ennis or Wiggins in the rotation. Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis and Villanova’s Dylan Ennis of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, combine to average 17.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists. KU’s Andrew Wiggins and Wichita State’s Nick Wiggins of the same Canadian province combine to average 20.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
7 - Kansas: In the 14 games since his rough performance at Florida, freshman Frank Mason has 33 assists and 11 turnovers and for the most part has played tough defense.
8 - Michigan State: Games lost to injury by top four players: Adreian Payne (seven), Branden Dawson (six), Gary Harris (three), Keith Appling (two).
9 - Duke: Quietly, Blue Devils playing terrific basketball. Only loss in past eight games came at Syracuse in overtime. Last six victories by average margin of 22.3 points.
10 - Iowa: Roy Devyn Marble made 6 of 10 three-pointers to lead rout of Michigan.
11 - Michigan: Spike Albrecht averaged 2.2 points a game last season, 3.5 this season and neither number can change his remarkable storybook moment. He played 11 minutes and scored 17 points in the first half vs. Louisville. Nobody can ever take that away from him.
12 - Cincinnati: Bearcats suffered 21-point loss to SMU, but can take comfort in knowing they won’t face coaching legend every time they lace up their sneakers.
13 - St. Louis: Once upon a time, this wasn’t such a shocking sentence: Five senior starters.
14 - Kentucky: Best victory: Louisville. Second-best: At Missouri. Needs another big victory to ensure high seed.
15 - Louisville: Best victory: At UConn. Second-best: Home game vs. SMU. Needs another big victory to ensure high seed.
16 - Creighton: No shame in losing to very talented, just-now-jelling St. John’s team that has won six of past seven games.
17 - Texas: Jonathan Holmes left Kansas State loss with knee injury after just nine minutes of action.
18 - Iowa State: UCLA’s Bill Walton in 1973 national-title game vs. Memphis: 21 of 22 field goals, 2 of 5 free throws, 44 points, 13 rebounds. . Melvin Ejim 41 years later in Big 12 game vs. TCU: 20 of 24 field goals, 6 of 6 free throws, 2 of 2 threes, 48 points, 18 rebounds.
19 - Oklahoma: Give sophomore Buddy Hield any breathing room and he’ll give you three reasons to regret that. Has made 17 of 34 threes in Sooners past five games, increasing his season accuracy rate to .399.
20 - Virginia: Two leading scorers are three-point marksmen: Malcolm Brogdon (12. 1 points, .405 from three), Joe Harris (11.3, .424). Their coach, Tony Bennett, shot .497 on 584 long-ball attempts in four years playing for his father, Dick Bennett, at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
21 - Ohio State: Toss out January and Buckeyes might be No. 1. Record by month: November: 6-0; December: 8-0; January: 2-5; February: 3-0.
22 - SMU: Nick Russell, in his second season playing for Brown after two seasons at Kansas State, scored season-high 15 points in blowout victory vs. Cincinnati.
23 - UCLA: Coach’s son Bryce Alford shoots better percentage from three (.400) than two (.393). He plays 22.3 minutes per game.
24 - New Mexico: Australian Cameron Bairstow, the 6-foot-9, 250-pound senior forward from Australia who scored 24 points in loss to KU, averages 20.2 points and 7.1 rebounds and shoots .561 from the field, .740 from the line. He never averaged double figures in scoring before this season, which makes him one of the nation’s most improved players.
25 - Wisconsin: Traevon Jackson, the junior point guard who hit a jumper with 2.1 seconds left to defeat Michigan State, is son of Ohio State two-time All-American Jim Jackson, who now does color commentary for the Big Ten Network. The elder Jackson wore the uniform of 12 different NBA organizations. Father and son would have made a good backcourt tandem since son is a pass-first guard, father a gunner.
Let's hope Marcus Smart, spiraling dangerously out of control, gets the suspension he deserves and the counseling help he clearly needs.
Something — perhaps the decision to turn down probable guaranteed millions by returning to Oklahoma State for a sophomore season back-firing with each missed three-point shot that easily could have been an assist for a better shooter — clearly is eating at the projected lottery pick of a year ago.
Smart's decision to shove a Texas Tech fan in the stands, supported by nobody in the building, maybe even the planet, will qualify as the bottom for the point guard who is hurting his team and his draft stock in a louder way every day.
The saddest aspect of Smart's night came after his unbelievable shove of a man who appeared to be in his late '50s or so. He barked at teammate Markel Brown, who tried to restrain him, yelled at the ref and his coach and everyone else in his path, hoping to hear words of support from somewhere.
He was escorted off the court by a man from the Oklahoma State bench who clearly was concerned Smart was capable of making a horrible situation worse. Smart probably feels as if he doesn't have a friend in the world right now. It's his No. 1 enemy who should concern him most. That would be himself.
Smart needs professional help. After he gets it and is allowed to return to the court at some point, his road map back to a spot in the NBA draft is not all that difficult to follow: 1. Break down the defense with drives to the hoop and pass the ball to one of three more skilled scorers on the floor with him: Brown, Le'Bryan Nash, Phil Forte; 2. Stop flopping; 3. Stay on the court.