Entries from blogs tagged with “kansas”

Getting to know: Memphis football

Memphis' Phil Mayhue (89) avoids being tackled by Houston's Trevon Stewart, left, during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Houston.

Memphis' Phil Mayhue (89) avoids being tackled by Houston's Trevon Stewart, left, during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Houston.

It’s only been one year since the Memphis football team traveled to Lawrence for last season’s matchup against Kansas, but the Tigers will feature a much different look Saturday.

Exit former coach Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech) and quarterback Paxton Lynch (Denver Broncos). Enter Mike Norvell and Riley Ferguson.

Norvell, the youngest FBS head coach at 34, was Arizona State’s offensive coordinator and quarterback coach from 2012-15. The Sun Devils ranked 23rd in the nation last year in total offense.

In Week One — the Tigers had a bye last week — Norvell became the first Memphis head coach to win his debut since 1984 with a 35-17 victory over Southeast Missouri. Both Norvell and KU coach David Beaty belong to the same coaching tree under current ASU coach Todd Graham.

When Graham was the head coach at Rice, he hired Beaty as a receivers coach in 2006 — his first full-time college assistant role. Three years later, at Tulsa, Graham hired Norvell in the same role.

“I know Mike really, really well. One of the finest young minds in all of college football,” Beaty said of Norvell. “Very sought after, he could’ve went a lot of different places. A really good football coach.”

Graham told the Commercial Appeal: “Very similar coaches. Guys that are very passionate, guys that are very smart. Great motivators of their players. And obviously great offensive minds. … (I'm) really proud of them.”

During Memphis season-opening win, junior transfer QB Ferguson threw for 295 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in his debut. He played for Coffeyville Community College in Kansas last year after starting his collegiate career at Tennessee.

The Tigers had no problem in their passing game against SEMO, completing 65 percent of their passes. But in the run game, they only had 110 yards on 33 attempts (3.3 yards per carry). Patrick Taylor led with 86 yards on seven carries, which included a 51-yard run.

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The Tigers might be without senior running back Sam Craft, who missed two weeks of practice because of a hamstring injury. He ran for 333 yards and five touchdowns last year, along with 114 receiving yards and two scores. According to Tom Schad of the Commercial Appeal, Craft was a limited participant at practice Wednesday and only did a portion of the 7-on-7 drills.

One player who won’t step on the field is senior defensive lineman Latarius Brady, who made two starts and had 13 tackles last year. He is recovering from a torn ACL in spring practices, but isn’t expected to return until next month.

The Jayhawks will try to keep pace offensively with Memphis, especially after last year. The Tigers recorded 651 yards of offense in last year’s matchup, the third-highest single-game total in school history. That included 281 rushing yards for five touchdowns.

Interesting note: The Jayhawks have played in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium twice, but never against Memphis. In 1973, KU lost to Tennessee in a neutral-site game, and later in the season, lost to N.C. State in the Liberty Bowl game.

FIVE TIGERS TO WATCH

No. 4: QB Riley Ferguson | 6-4, 210, jr.

  • In his Memphis debut, Ferguson completed 26 of 40 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns against SEMO.

  • Connected with 10 different pass-catchers in Week One, replacing first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch under center.

  • He redshirted in 2013 at Tennessee after suffering a leg injury. In 2015, he was quarterback at Coffeyville CC and was 225 of 332 for 2,942 yards and 35 touchdowns, earning first-team all-KJCCC honors.

No. 3: WR Anthony Miller | 5-11, 190, jr.

Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller (3) gets past Navy safety Lorentez Barbour (2) to score a touchdown on an 11-yard pass reception in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller (3) gets past Navy safety Lorentez Barbour (2) to score a touchdown on an 11-yard pass reception in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn.

  • Miller was dominant in the season opener with nine receptions for 103 yards. It was his fifth-career 100-yard receiving game and he was one catch shy of tying his career high.

  • The redshirt junior made four starts last season, finishing third on the team with 47 receptions and ranking second with 694 yards. He added nine carries for 54 yards and a score.

  • Along with his talent at receiver, Miller is the top option as a punt returner. He returned three punts against SEMO for 33 yards.

No. 54: C Drew Kyser | 6-5, 300, soph.

  • Last year, he played in all 13 games as a true freshman with 12 starts. He was instrumental in an offense that finished 19th in the nation in total offense (486.9 yards per game).

  • Named to the Remington Trophy fall watch list, awarded to the top center in the country.

No. 8: CB Arthur Maulet | 5-11, 190, sr.

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  • Don’t let the 0 receptions vs. Missouri State fool you. Cross earned first-team all-AAC honors in 2014 for a reason.

  • The tight end caught three passes for 69 yards and a TD in the Tigers’ bowl win over BYU to close 2014.

  • On the John Mackey Award watch list for the nation’s top tight end.

No. 46 : PK Jake Elliott | 5-10, 165, sr.

  • One of the top place kickers in the nation, earning preseason All-America honors from USA Today. He earned second-team honors from Sports Illustrated and third team from Athlon Sports.

  • In 2015, Elliott tied a school record by making 23 of 28 field goals. He drilled two field goals in the season opener, both longer than 40 yards.

  • The kicker set a new school record by hitting 63 extra points, going perfect in the process. He’s made his last 147 PAT attempts.

  • Four of Elliott’s seven kickoffs went for touchbacks in the season opener.

  • The two-time AAC Special Teams Player of the Year ranks third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 333 points. Elliott only trails New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski (369) and Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (362).

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Joel Embiid subject of mockumentary

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, right, of Cameroon plays around with Jahlil Okafor, left,prior to the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Philadelphia. The Bulls won 115-111 in overtime. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, right, of Cameroon plays around with Jahlil Okafor, left,prior to the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Philadelphia. The Bulls won 115-111 in overtime. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

In the two-plus years since Joel Embiid left Kansas for the NBA, his injury-plagued career has kept him from playing any games for the Philadelphia 76ers. But the 7-foot-2 center from Cameroon somehow found a way to stay relevant in the league’s zeitgeist by becoming an internet/Twitter/Instagram star.

In particular, videos of Embiid going through basketball workouts during his rehab process became both wildly popular for fans of the Sixers and the young big man, while simultaneously serving as fodder for jokes about him never appearing in an actual professional game.

Well, The Ringer took the Embiid mythology to another level Wednesday, when Kevin O’Connor’s story on the 22-year-old prospect included a mockumentary on the former KU star.

Titled, “Joel Embiid: Legacy of a Legend,” the video includes such one-liners as:

“This is what watching Wilt Chamberlain in person must’ve felt like.”

“And there’s a revelation: Oh my God. LeBron James is trash.”

“Joel Embiid is one of the bravest men, probably on the face of the planet.”

Perhaps the jokes will stop this coming season, when Embiid is on schedule to make his NBA debut. Or perhaps more injury setbacks will continue to group the promising center with the likes of Greg Oden.

Some people think Embiid could win Rookie of the Year, and others will remain skeptical until he proves them wrong.

No matter where you stand on the Embiid debate, The Ringer’s video tribute is worth checking out.

— Watch the mockumentary below:

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Getting to know: Ohio Football

Under former Nebraska coach Frank Solich, Ohio’s football program finished with a winning record for the past seven seasons, including five years with at least eight wins.

The Bobcats have similar expectations this season, voted to finish second in the MAC East preseason poll, but they were upset by Texas State last week, losing 56-54 in triple overtime as a three-touchdown favorite.

In their season opener, the Bobcats struggled with their inexperienced secondary, surrendering 440 yards through the air and watching the opposing quarterback complete 72.7 percent of his passes. Then there were penalties — lots and lots of penalties. They were flagged 13 times for 141 yards.

But the biggest challenge for the Jayhawks will be slowing down Ohio’s offense and controlling the line of scrimmage. Ohio has an experienced front seven on defense, limiting Texas State to only 2.5 yards per rushing attempt (106 yards on 42 carries).

With redshirt senior quarterback Greg Windham under center, in his first career start, Ohio posted 546 yards of offense, including 393 yards in the air. Windham also ran for 37 yards on eight attempts. He found receivers Jordan Reid (5 catches, 93 yards, 2 TD) and Elijah Ball (4 catches, 50 yards, TD) with some consistency, but also found his running backs out of the backfield.

Running backs Papi White (6 catches, 128 yards, TD) and Maleek Irons (5 catches, 54 yards) proved to be capable targets.

In the backfield, Ohio went with a running back by committee approach. Irons had 62 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 attempts, while Dorian Brown had 64 rushing yards and Papi White added 29 rushing yards and a score.

The Bobcats will likely be without injured running back A.J. Ouellette, Ohio’s leading rusher for the past two years. He left with a foot injury in the first quarter against Texas State and Solich told the media he would be out indefinitely.

Senior receiver Sebastian Smith could also miss the game, according to the Athens Messenger. Smith, the school’s leading receiver last year, injured his groin during fall camp and was unable to finish the second half last week.

It will be the first matchup between the Jayhawks and Ohio since 1967. Ohio won, 30-15.

Interesting note: One of Ohio’s biggest strengths is its continuity. It’s the only school in the country to have the same head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator over the last 12 years.

FIVE BOBCATS TO WATCH


No. 14: QB Greg Windham | 6-1, 215, R-sr.


  • Made the first start of his career against Texas State and showed off his dual-threat ability, throwing for 393 yards and four touchdowns and running for 37 yards on eight attempts. He completed 28 of his 46 passes.

  • Last season, Windham appeared in 11 games and completed 19 of his 40 passes for 298 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. He had 27 carries for 116 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per rush.

  • Windham was named the starter on the final day of fall camp after former teammate JD Sprague left the team because of a rib injury.

No. 23: FS Kylan Nelson | 5-10, 202, soph.


  • After missing all of last season because of a hip injury, Nelson marked his return in Ohio’s inexperienced secondary with two interceptions and two tackles.

  • Nelson played as a true freshman, making an appearance in 10 games. He had 16 tackles (11 solo), recovered a fumble and made an 84-yard kick return touchdown. He didn’t return any kicks last week.

  • In the 56-54 triple overtime loss last week, Nelson admitted to The Post that the defense wore down by the end of the game, “I hate to say it, but I think we just got a little tired. I really hate to say it. I thought we were in pretty good condition. We went quite a while. I thought we executed pretty well for the most part.”

No. 24: SS Toran Davis | 6-0, 206, R-sr.


  • Was everywhere on the field last week, recording a career-high 17 tackles (team-best six solo). It was the ninth-highest single-game total in program history and the most by a player since 2009.

  • The redshirt senior was fourth on the team in tackles last season (59), deflecting two passes and forcing a fumble.

  • At strong safety, Davis only has one interception in his career.

No. 93: DE Tarell Basham | 6-5, 254, sr.


  • One of the best pass rushers in school history, he only needs one-half sack to take sole possession of first place on the all-time career sacks list. He had one sack last week and has 19 in his career.

  • In 2015, Basham made 11 starts at defensive end and led the Bobcats with 5.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hurries.

  • The senior from Rocky Mount, Va., recorded 7.5 sacks in his freshman season — fifth highest in a single season in Ohio history — on his way to All-American honors.

  • Named to the Ted Hendricks Award watch list, which is awarded to the top defensive end. He was just one of two MAC players to be named to the watch list.

No. 48: K Louie Zervos | 5-9, 152, R-fr.


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  • Playing in his first game last week, Zervos set a stadium record with four made field goals, going 4-for-5 with four extra points.

  • The redshirt freshman from Tarpon Spring, Fla., was named the MAC East Special Teams Player of the Week.

  • Zervos made three of his field goals in the range of 35-45 yards. He missed an attempt from 41 yards.

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Ben McLemore dons Chewbacca mask in video parody

Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) drives past Phoenix Suns center Alex Len (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, April 11, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) drives past Phoenix Suns center Alex Len (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, April 11, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

As sweet a life as the NBA provides its players, it honestly can’t be all that much fun to play for one of the league’s struggling franchises.

Still, former one-year Kansas standout Ben McLemore proved to be a good sport when someone with Sacramento pitched him the idea of paying tribute to a viral video that exploded across social media a few days ago.

If you’ve been on Twitter or Facebook or any other social media platform in the past 72 hours, surely you’ve come across the video of a woman laughing hysterically as she tries on her Star Wars Chewbacca mask.

In a parody of the latest queen of the Internet, the third-year Kings guard claims on camera he just got back from the store and is excited about his purchase.

What did McLemore supposedly buy?

What else?

A Chewbacca mask. The Sacramento guard isn’t moved to hysteria over trying out the mask, which comes with a recorded Wookiee roar, but he enjoyed the gag all the same.

Check out the video, tweeted out by the Kings, below:

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Chris Harris: KU football players won infamous fight vs. basketball counterparts

Denver Broncos cornerback and Kansas alum, Chris Harris Jr. celebrates after his team scored a touchdown during Alumni Game prior to the Spring Game on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. Harris served as one of the coaches.

Denver Broncos cornerback and Kansas alum, Chris Harris Jr. celebrates after his team scored a touchdown during Alumni Game prior to the Spring Game on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. Harris served as one of the coaches. by Nick Krug

Former Kansas football star and Super Bowl champion Chris Harris of the Denver Broncos didn’t hold back Thursday in an appearance on ESPN’s Highly Questionable.

In the midst of an interview with co-hosts Dan Le Batard and Bomani Jones, Harris offered his recollection of an infamous on-campus altercation between members of the KU basketball and football teams, back in 2009.

“Were you on the Kansas football team that lost the fight to the basketball Morris twins?” Le Batard asked.

Smiling, Harris responded: “We definitely won that fight.”

Jones followed up: “We hear the other way.”

As reported by the Lawrence Journal-World at the time, the brawl left KU guard Tyshawn Taylor with a dislocated left thumb weeks before the start of the 2009-10 basketball season.

According to LeBetard, Marcus and Markieff Morris’ account of the incident includes them back-to-back, taking on football players “over someone who was on the track team.”

Harris remembers the fracas differently.

“Nah, man. I mean that story right there, I think it was over one of the little track girls, but, I mean, we had 300-pound dudes fighting these basketball guys, so they definitely didn’t win,” Harris said. “I definitely watched it and seen it with my own eyes. We definitely won that for sure. I love the Morris twins, though. Those my boys, though.”

Furthermore, Harris claimed there wasn’t really a football versus basketball dynamic at KU.

“We (the football team, coming off back-to-back bowl-win seasons) were actually pretty good at that time,” Harris said. “I guess you could say they were running the campus. We were, too.”

Reiterating his love for the Morris twins, Harris said he had to have his football teammates’ backs during the heated disagreement, before again laughing at the idea of a humongous defensive tackles in a melee against slighter basketball players.

“It’s not fair to fight a 6-foot point guard or 6-7, 6-9 power forward. I think we had a little advantage,” Harris recalled, wearing a grin.

Harris, who played with volatile cornerback Aqib Talib at Kansas and is teamed up with him again in Denver, also shared on ESPN one of his favorite Talib stories from back in the day.

“I was a true freshman, and I was starting opposite of Talib, who was an All-American. We were playing Missouri. They had their whole team on the 50-yard line, and Talib just like ran through their whole team,” Harris said. “And they were warming up, running plays, and he like, they had to get the cops to come drag him off there, off their side of the field for warmups, back in the tunnel. So I was like, ‘Man.’ That was one of the craziest times I’ve seen Talib right there.”

Watch the entire entertaining segment with Harris below:

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Cheick Diallo thanks fans in letter announcing decision to turn pro

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) pulls down an offensive rebound during the first half on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) pulls down an offensive rebound during the first half on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Hey, everyone. You’ll never believe this. Cheick Diallo is entering the NBA Draft.

This obviously isn’t news at this point, but we do have Diallo’s somewhat official statement on the matter as of Monday afternoon.

The big man who spent one season at Kansas tweeted out a letter regarding his decision to sign with an agent and forego his college eligibility.

“After spending the last couple of weeks thinking about my future,” Diallo stated in his Twitter message, “I took the decision to enter the 2016 NBA Draft, and signed with an agent today.

“It was not an easy call, but time has come for me to take that step up to the next level and make my goal of joining the NBA come true.”

Diallo details his unlikely life path from Kayes, Mali, to where he is now in the open letter, which includes thank-yous to those he encountered along the way.

The gregarious post player also thanks his fans, and declares himself “a Jayhawk for life.”

“This is the first step of many more to come,” Diallo says in the closing paragraph, “and I am looking forward to the new challenges with confidence and determination.”

Read Diallo’s entire letter below.

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Bill Self sends video message to young fan in hospital

Kansas coach Bill Self speaks during a news conference following the NCAA Tournament selection show on CBS, Sunday, March 13, 2016. The Jayhawks were given the No. 1 seed in the South Regional and will play Austin Peay on Thursday in Des Moines.

Kansas coach Bill Self speaks during a news conference following the NCAA Tournament selection show on CBS, Sunday, March 13, 2016. The Jayhawks were given the No. 1 seed in the South Regional and will play Austin Peay on Thursday in Des Moines. by Nick Krug

Bill Self is a popular and busy man around Lawrence, but the Kansas basketball coach doesn’t mind taking some time to boost the spirits of a young fan.

A short video message from Self began making the rounds on Facebook Monday.

The coach wished a bleated happy birthday to a young fan named Brooklyn, who, as the KU coach pointed out, had to celebrate from a hospital room.

“I know you’ve been going through a little bit of a rough stretch here recently,” Self says to the young Jayhawks fan in the video, “and your lungs are filling with blood right now, but I’m sure they’ll get that straightened out.

"But I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday. I hope you’re doing fine. I know that’s gotta get you down a little bit, especially on an important day like this.

"But I’m sure mom and dad are gonna take care of you in a big, big way.”

And, in typical Self fashion, the coach found a way to really personalize the interaction.

“I wish my players were just half as tough as what you are,” Self told the youngster.

Watch Self’s message below:

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Wayne Selden and Georges Niang trading jabs on Twitter

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) hangs for a shot against Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) hangs for a shot against Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

When former high school teammates get together, it doesn’t take long for some shenanigans to break out — even at the NBA Combine.

With Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. and Iowa State forward Georges Niang both in Chicago for this week’s pre-draft combine, it only makes sense that the former Tilton School teammates would reunite as they embark on an important step in their professional careers.

This morning, Selden didn’t hesitate to take advantage of an opportunity to try and clown Niang, a star for one of KU’s biggest rivals over the past few seasons.

Apparently when Niang wasn’t around, Selden put his KU 2016 Big 12 Tournament champions T-shirt with his buddy’s phone and snapped a pic to share on Twitter, claiming Niang was showing his support for the Jayhawks.

Not exactly a likely scenario for one of the most popular ISU players in the program's history.

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However, maybe Selden should have chosen another piece of KU gear for the joke. He set up Niang for an easy comeback, considering the Cyclones won the Big 12 Tournament in both 2014 and 2015.

“That’s cute that you only won one of those things,” Niang tweeted in response, “I’ll make sure to bring my 2 shirts out tonight!!”

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Selden had no choice at that juncture but to bring out the big guns — or big rings. The KU guard posted a photo of him wearing two Big 12 regular-season championship rings.

“Bear with me,” Selden added, “my 3rd one is being made now.”

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Perry Ellis pens farewell letter to KU fans

Former Kansas University forward Perry Ellis, who still is less than a month removed from being the face of the KU basketball program, teamed with the popular web site The Players' Tribune to pen a farewell letter to Jayhawk fans everywhere.

The letter, titled "Thank You, Kansas," takes Jayhawk fans on a journey all the way back to Ellis' freshman year and before, with pictures from his days as a young baller and tales of his childhood in Wichita.

Some of it you've heard before, but even if you have it's one final look at what being a Jayhawk meant to Ellis.

Dubbed "a new media company that provides athletes with a platform to connect directly with their fans, in their own words," The Players' Tribune has taken the sports world by storm, with letters, flashbacks, inside stories and memorable moments from some of the world's best known athletes.

Founded by former New York Yankees great Derek Jeter, The Players’ Tribune publishes first-person stories from athletes, providing unique insight into the daily sports conversation. Through impactful and powerful long and short form stories, video series and podcasts, The Players’ Tribune brings fans closer than ever to the games they love.

Fellow former KU great Paul Pierce already has been featured on the site 11 times, including this look back at the heartbreaking loss to Arizona during the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) jokes with the coaching staff during the Senior Day speeches following the JayhawksÕ 85-78 win over the Cyclones

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) jokes with the coaching staff during the Senior Day speeches following the JayhawksÕ 85-78 win over the Cyclones by Nick Krug

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Kansas vs. Villanova one of 2016 tournament’s best games

Every March — and one weekend each April — the NCAA Tournament churns out indelible moments that live on in the consciousness of college basketball fans like the very March Madness promos designed to remind us of the mega event’s greatness.

The 2016 tournament featured a phenomenal national title game, capped by a buzzer-beater for the ages by Villanova’s Kris Jenkins.

But that wasn’t the only great game of the most recent postseason — nor the only Villanova matchup that kept fans on the edges of their seats.

Zac Ellis of SI.com ranked the top 10 battles of the 2016 tourney, and the Wildcats’ Elite Eight meeting with Kansas made the list, as well.

While Villanova’s 64-59 victory in Louisville will linger in the hearts and minds of KU basketball fans for years, because it meant the end of the road for the top-seeded Jayhawks, the regional final also stood out for neutral parties.

Ellis (Zac of SI.com, not Perry of KU) said Kansas vs. Villanova, which he ranked No. 6, had a “Final Four feel to it.”

See the complete top 10 over as SI.com. (You can probably guess which game topped the rankings.)

Where does KU-’Nova rank in your mind? It certainly turned out to be a more defensive-oriented game, but the effort exerted by both teams is undeniable.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) and Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) trap Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono (15) in the Jayhawks' game against the Villanova Wildcats, Saturday, March 26, 2016 in an NCAA Elite Eight matchup at KFC YUM! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) and Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) trap Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono (15) in the Jayhawks' game against the Villanova Wildcats, Saturday, March 26, 2016 in an NCAA Elite Eight matchup at KFC YUM! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. by Mike Yoder

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Paul Pierce makes cameo in Kobe Bryant farewell commercial

Tonight's the night.

Kobe Bryant, the man Magic Johnson himself calls the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time, will play the final game of his legendary NBA career at home in front of what figures to be a star-studded crowd of some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment.

And there's no doubt that, given that this is Kobe and Hollywood we're talking about, it figures to be one heck of a send-off.

For those of you who don't care much for Kobe, I'm sure the dominant thought in your minds is, "Hasn't this whole season been a Kobe send-off?" And, yeah. It has. But that's what happens when legends say goodbye and, love or hate him, Kobe Bryant, on the floor is a basketball legend.

With that said, so much of this day and this week have been about Kobe send-offs. And one of the most recent tributes I saw, a Nike commercial which should speak to the Kobe fans and haters, featured a little Kansas basketball flavor, as legendary Jayhawk and Boston Celtic Paul Pierce made an appearance.

Here's a look...

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Highlights galore: Watch an assortment of Josh Jackson clips

Josh Jackson fever has overtaken the Kansas basketball universe since the No. 1-rated player in the Class of 2016 tweeted out Monday night his decision to play for the Jayhawks next season.

Because the 6-foot-7 wing won’t arrive in Lawrence until the summer and won’t suit up for KU until November, the only way to watch him in the meantime is to check out Jackson’s YouTube highlight reels.

We’ve compiled a small assortment of the more enthralling clips. So feel free to watch to your heart’s content and consider how Jackson will translate to the college game and fit in at Kansas — playing for coach Bill Self, alongside the likes of Frank Mason III, Devonté Graham, Landen Lucas, Carlton Bragg Jr., Svi Mykhailiuk, and the rest of the Jayhawks.

Jackson’s amazing explosiveness and fiery competitive approach to the game become abundantly clear in the array of mixtapes and highlights, viewable below.






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP8G6AtNVCg


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v05fBnDoLtk


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOMlQ1KZBuY




(This clip also mixes in highlights of Michigan State-bound Miles Bridges, but is worth viewing for the in-game display put on by Jackson.)

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Josh Jackson set to decide early next week

According to multiple recent reports, highly coveted high school senior Josh Jackson, a 6-foot-7, 201-pound McDonald’s All-American wing ranked No. 1 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, will announce his college of choice next Monday or Wednesday.

This is in line with Jackson’s original timeline of sometime after the Nike Hoops Summit game, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday and will be shown on ESPN2.

Future Jayhawk big man Udoka Azubuike also will play in the Hoops Summit game on Saturday.

As for which day is most likely between the two, Eric Bossi, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, recently Tweeted that Jackson told him that Monday would be the day.

Kansas and head coach Bill Self remain in good position for Jackson’s services and the Jayhawks are competing with Michigan State and Arizona to land the standout perimeter player who has the total package and figures to make an immediate and profound impact wherever he plays his college ball.

Jackson, who earned co-MVP honors at the McDonald's game, has said throughout the process that he's looking for the best fit for him as a person and basketball player and often talked about how important the family feel would be for him in choosing a school.

West forward Josh Jackson, from Justin-Siena/Prolific Prep Academy in Napa, Calif., dunks against the East team during the McDonald's All-American boys basketball game, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Chicago. The West beat the East 114-107. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

West forward Josh Jackson, from Justin-Siena/Prolific Prep Academy in Napa, Calif., dunks against the East team during the McDonald's All-American boys basketball game, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Chicago. The West beat the East 114-107. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Here are a couple of recent good looks at Jackson from USA Today.

•Josh Jackson is two different people on and off the court

•How often is Josh Jackson asked about recruiting?

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Elite Eight chatter: Jayhawks and Wildcats look forward to regional final

The stage gets bigger every day for the top-seeded Kansas basketball team, as the Jayhawks make their NCAA Tournament run.

Friday was a day off from basketball for KU, which is one win away from a trip to Houston for the Final Four.

The Kansas players, coach Bill Self, as well as their counterparts at Villanova, and coach Jay Wright, stayed busy this afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, with media interviews previewing their Saturday night Elite Eight showdown at the KFC Yum! Center.

— Check out the highlights from the afternoon of interviews: Jayhawks and Wildcats preview Elite Eight matchup

Kansas guard Frank Mason III rests his elbows on the shoulders of teammates Wayne Selden Jr., left, and Devonte' Graham as the starting five make their way toward interviews with media members on Friday, March 25, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III rests his elbows on the shoulders of teammates Wayne Selden Jr., left, and Devonte' Graham as the starting five make their way toward interviews with media members on Friday, March 25, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. by Nick Krug

— AUDIO: Self, Ellis and Jayhawks talk tourney run, Villanova matchup




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Media Day recap — KU vs. Maryland at the Sweet 16

As the South region’s No. 1 seed, the Kansas Jayhawks, prepare to face 5th-seeded Maryland in Louisville, Kentucky, the players and coaches went through interviews with the media and an open practice Wednesday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center.

Get the highlights from the KUsports.com team at our live blog: Sweet 16 Media Day: Kansas vs. Maryland

AUDIO: Bill Self talks Mark Turgeon, one-and-dones and more

AUDIO: Mark Turgeon on facing his alma mater in Sweet 16

AUDIO: Jamari Traylor and Devonté Graham on KU's veteran approach

Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) puts up a shot during practice on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) puts up a shot during practice on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. by Nick Krug




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Kansas vs. UConn: Media Day recap

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) jokes with student manager Chip Kueffer as Kueffer and other student managers are interviewed by media members, Friday, March 18, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) jokes with student manager Chip Kueffer as Kueffer and other student managers are interviewed by media members, Friday, March 18, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. by Nick Krug

Both the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks and No. 9-seed Connecticut Huskies had plenty of questions to answer and topics to cover Friday at Wells Fargo Arena, in Des Moines, Iowa.

KU and UConn face off Saturday night with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. Players and coaches from both schools spent a chunk of Friday afternoon sharing their thoughts on the matchup between two of the nation’s most prominent programs.

— Get the media day highlights from KUsports.com’s live coverage: Jayhawks and Huskies headed toward Saturday showdown

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Jayhawks meet the media, practice at Wells Fargo Arena before tourney opener

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and the Jayhawks react after Traylor broke a fixture on the shot clock while  attempting a half-court shot during practice on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. The Jayhawks will take on the Governors Thursday.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and the Jayhawks react after Traylor broke a fixture on the shot clock while attempting a half-court shot during practice on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. The Jayhawks will take on the Governors Thursday. by Nick Krug

3:23 p.m. Update:

Several KU players shared what past NCAA Tournaments taught them that they can use heading into this year's run.

2:55 p.m. update:

An open-to-the-public practice served as the last part of the Jayhawks' Wednesday obligations at Wells Fargo Arena. Here is a look at the highlights:

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2:10 p.m. update:

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1:50 p.m. update:

Kansas veterans Frank Mason III and Landen Lucas answered questions at a press conference early Wednesday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

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1:30 p.m. update:

A handful of Austin Peay players give their first thoughts on what hearing the words "Kansas basketball" means to them.

When the 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket came out Sunday night, Austin Peay junior forward Kenny Jones says his eyes didn’t move too far from the No. 1 seed line.

The Governors knew they would be a 16 seed and they couldn’t wait to find out which national program they would play in the first round.

Believe it or not, most of the pre-Selection Show discussion in the AP locker room focused on whether the Governors would be in a play-in game, and they actually hoped that would be the case.

Jones says Austin Peay’s players are excited to face Kansas without the benefit of a play-in game, though. And he thinks playing in what should be a packed Wells Fargo Arena, with KU, Kentucky and Indians fans descending on Des Moines, Iowa, will be a special experience, too.

1 p.m. update:

Austin Peay senior guard Khalil Davis didn’t fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket, but he has seen on social media and through other avenues that some people have picked the 16th-seeded Governors to knock off No. 1 overall seed Kansas.

A No. 16 seed never has defeated a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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This will serve as your landing spot today as the KUsports.com team covers the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks the day before their 2016 NCAA Tournament opener against Austin Peay.

— Check back throughout the day for updates.

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Jayhawks aim to ride momentum into NCAA Tournament

Kansas forward Perry Ellis talks with media members during a news conference following the NCAA Tournament selection show on CBS, Sunday, March 13, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan. The Jayhawks were given the No. 1 seed in the South Regional and will play Austin Peay on Thursday in Des Moines.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis talks with media members during a news conference following the NCAA Tournament selection show on CBS, Sunday, March 13, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan. The Jayhawks were given the No. 1 seed in the South Regional and will play Austin Peay on Thursday in Des Moines. by Nick Krug

Now that the brackets are out and the No. 1-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (30-4) know where they’re headed (Des Moines) and who they’ll play (Austin Peay), Kansas coach Bill Self reacted to Sunday’s NCAA Tournament news at a press conference.

— Get the Q&A highlights from KUsports.com's live coverage of the press conference: Self reacts to KU's draw, South region

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEWS:

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The nation speaks: Jayhawks the favorite to win it all

Results of an informal poll of college hoops fans in all 50 states from the guys at SportsBettingExperts.com.

Results of an informal poll of college hoops fans in all 50 states from the guys at SportsBettingExperts.com. by Matt Tait

Since 2016 is an election year — and since Bill Self, both before Kansas and with the Jayhawks has fared pretty well during election years in the past (Elite 8 in 2000 at Tulsa, Elite 8 in 2004 during first year at KU, national title in 2008, national runner-up in 2012 — why not put a little election-year spin on this year's NCAA Tournament?

That's sort of what the guys at SportsBettingExperts.com did recently by polling 100 college basketball fans in all 50 states and asking them for their pick to win this year's national championship.

Kansas, which enters this week's Big 12 championship in Kansas City, Mo., as the 12-time Big 12 champ and No. 1 ranked team in the nation, was the overwhelming pick by America's college hoops fans.

People in 18 different states gave Kansas the nod in the recent poll, with Villanova (7), Michigan State (5) and North Carolina (2) playing the Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich roles in the polls.

Here's a list of the states that KU claimed along with a map of how the entire country voted. It's kind of cool and completely understandable to see how the Utes claimed Utah, West Virginia went with the Mountaineers or Oklahoma went with the Sooners.

But there were a couple of strange selections, such as Villanova winning in Washington and Hawaii or Kansas claiming New Hampshire.

Either way, it was a pretty fun and clearly very unscientific way to break down what has become one of the most exciting events in today's sports landscape.

California
Nevada
Alaska
Idaho
Montana
Wyoming
Colorado
Kansas
New Mexico
Nebraska
South Dakota
Missouri
Arkansas
Louisiana
Alabama
Mississippi
Georgia
New Hampshire

Also, from betting site bovada.lv, listed below in the third column are the updated odds to win the national championship as of March 3. The second column is where the odds sat one month earlier.

As you can see, four Big 12 teams rank in the Top 20, including Kansas, which, at 5-1, is the co-favorite with Michigan State.

Kansas — 12/1 — 5/1
Michigan State — 12/1 — 5/1
North Carolina — 6/1 — 9/1
Kentucky — 20/1 — 10/1
Oklahoma — 15/2 — 12/1
Xavier — 20/1 — 12/1
Villanova — 16/1 — 14/1
Virginia — 25/1 — 14/1
Duke — 14/1 — 20/1
Maryland — 11/1 — 20/1
Iowa — 12/1 — 25/1
Wisconsin — 200/1 — 25/1
Miami FL — 28/1 — 28/1
Arizona — 33/1 — 33/1
California — 100/1 — 33/1
Indiana — 33/1 — 33/1
Iowa State — 25/1 — 33/1
Oregon — 40/1 — 33/1
West Virginia — 28/1 — 33/1
Wichita State — 25/1 — 33/1

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WATCHETOLOGY: With KU’s spot secure, 8-9 match-ups worth eyeing

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) tangles with Vanderbilt guard Nolan Cressler (24) and Vanderbilt forward Jeff Roberson (11) during the second half, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015 at Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) tangles with Vanderbilt guard Nolan Cressler (24) and Vanderbilt forward Jeff Roberson (11) during the second half, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015 at Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Hawaii. by Nick Krug

It does not appear that the powers that be in the Bracketology world are interested at all in moving Kansas off of the No. 1 seed line.

The Jayhawks, who have won 11 in a row and enter the postseason as hot as any team in the country, have a lot to do with that and, even if KU does not fare well in Kansas City this week, it seems like it will not have a negative affect on KU's seed.

The Jayhawks, barring something incredibly crazy, will be a No. 1 seed and as long as they win a game or two in KCMO, they likely will be the No. 1 overall seed.

With that in mind, it's time to start taking a closer look at which teams are on the 8-9 line. No disrespect to the 16 seeds, but since a No. 1 has never lost to No. 16, it doesn't seem like spending too much time studying who those teams might be is really worth it. Besides, would it even mean much to anyone if we started talking about Texas Southern, Wagner or Wright State?

With the possible exception of a first-round match-up between KU and Florida Gulf Coast — aka Bill Self against Joe Dooley — there's not a lot of intrigue in the 1-16 match-ups.

That second-round showdown could be something, though.

Right now, in his latest Bracketology update (March 8), ESPN's Joe Lunardi again has Wichita State in that 8-9 game in KU's region. That would set up a potential KU-WSU rematch from last season's tournament and, obviously, would bring a lot of buzz to the Sunflower State.

Looking beyond that, though, there are some teams on the 8-9 line that are pretty powerful.

South Carolina, under former K-State coach Frank Martin, has had a good year. St. Mary's is an underrated team on the rise. And Colorado, coached by former Jayhawk Tad Boyle, has a couple of signature victories over good teams.

While those are all interesting and potentially dangerous second-round teams, the one that jumped off the page at me is Vanderbilt. You'll remember Vandy from the title game in Maui, where the Commodores pushed the Jayhawks to the brink and had plenty of people leaving the islands thinking that Kevin Stallings' team was a potential Final Four ballclub. They still might be. Even though the Commodores fell on hard times during the middle of the season, they're playing much better of late and recently knocked off Kentucky at home.

I doubt that's a team Kansas would face in the second round, but, as you can tell from what's mentioned above, there are plenty of strong teams all over the bracket in the 7-10 range that easily could be waiting on the Jayhawks in Round 2.

Such is life in college basketball this season and it appears that the days of the 8-9 game being a battle of weaker teams are long gone.

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