Entries from blogs tagged with “Kansas”

Recapping the best SXSW moments from Lawrence bands

SXSW tends to be a rite of passage for local bands, and this year's event was no different. There weren't a lot of official showcases featuring Lawrence bands. But luckily, Midcoast Takeover helped put a lot of area bands in the spotlight with a five-day stretch of shows on two stages at Shangri-La.

Here are some highlights from our time with Lawrence bands down in Austin.

Black Luck

Black Luck by Fally Afani/Special to the Journal-World

Best face-melting moments: Black Luck

Much like the name implies, Black Luck tends to bathe in bad luck these days. But things are finally coming up Milhouse for the Lawrence rockers. They (unluckily) had to follow a fairly aggravated act on the final night of Midcoast Takeover. No one wants to follow a band that gets cut off early and throws a hissy fit, but Black Luck managed to completely turn the mood around. They ripped into the loudest, hardest, thrashiest set of the entire week. By this point, the venue was packed and revelers were avoiding the rain that plagued the festival during the week. The raging sea of people moved like a storm during Black Luck's set. It was one of the best ways to end a week of nonstop rocking out.

Westerners

Westerners by Fally Afani/Special to the Journal-World

Best SXSW noobs: Westerners

The boys in Westerners, like so many newcomers before them, were warned that they would likely make several mistakes during their first SXSW venture (we all do). This rock band is hands down one of the darlings of the Lawrence scene, and every time we ran into them they were shrugging off yet another newcomer mistake they made at the festival. They had only one set for the entire week (classic noob mistake), but rocked it as hard as possible. They were the last band to play the outdoor stage at Midcoast Takeover because the rain started right after their set and didn't end until after everyone had left Texas.

The Noise FM

The Noise FM by Fally Afani/Special to the Journal-World

Best covers: The Noise FM

The Noise FM don't live in Lawrence, but they used to. So when they tour through any city full of ex-pats, they turn out by the dozens. The Noise FM put on a fun and lively, power-pop-filled set. But audiences tend to love them for their covers, which sometimes involve guest musicians and offstage antics with their fans.

Something and the Whatevers

Something and the Whatevers by Fally Afani/Special to the Journal-World

Best SXSW weirdos: Something and the Whatevers

Comedic punk rockers Something and the Whatevers created a glorious new set of fans at the I Heart Local Music showcase thanks to some serious stunts. The band tends to use an iPod instead of a drum machine, but for their Austin set the iPod came to life. The band created a life-sized version of the device, complete with a robot face that spoke to the crowd in between songs (and encouraged audiences to give into their robot overlords). It was a hilarious sight and accompanied their outrageous lyrics and shrill yelling perfectly.

Approach

Approach by Fally Afani/Special to the Journal-World

Best audience interaction: Approach

Approach is generally the belle of the ball at Midcoast Takeover. He brings along the entire Boogaloo Odyssey and leaves them onstage while he jumps into the crowd as far as his mic cord will take him. The rapper is the very definition of showmanship and interacts with as many faces in the crowd as possible, complimenting them and addressing them by name. It's hard to beat an Approach set, and we've yet to see it happen.

Wild Eye

Wild Eye by Fally Afani/Special to the Journal-World

Best crooner: Wild Eye

He's just a man and his guitar, but he kept the Lawrence folks swooning nonetheless. Ross Williams is an up-and-comer in the scene thanks to his work with No Cave and casual appearances in other local bands. But he was one of the very first acoustic acts to hit Midcoast Takeover, and Lawrencians gathered round to hear his creative guitar work and smooth vocals. It felt like a gentle hug, and we're hoping this wasn't a one-time festival appearance for the solo act.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Dean Smith thanks former players with checks

26 APR 1952:  University of Kansas coach Dr. Forrest "Phog" Allen gives his final instructions to his team before playing and winning the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four held in Seattle, WA at the Edmundson Pavilion. Kansas defeated St. John's 80-63 for the title. future North Carloina coach Dean Smith (facing camera) was a junior at Kansas.

26 APR 1952: University of Kansas coach Dr. Forrest "Phog" Allen gives his final instructions to his team before playing and winning the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four held in Seattle, WA at the Edmundson Pavilion. Kansas defeated St. John's 80-63 for the title. future North Carloina coach Dean Smith (facing camera) was a junior at Kansas.

Known not just for his contributions to the game of basketball, but also for his class and love for his players, Dean Smith’s legend continues to grow — even after his death.

Before Smith died, the former Kansas basketball player and legendary North Carolina coach made sure he left a little “thank you” behind for each of his former players.

A photo of a letter sent out from Smith’s trust began circulating on social media Thursday afternoon.

None by InsideCarolina

The message, as shown in the note sent to former UNC player Dante Calabria, explained that Smith set up his will to give $200 to each Tar Heel he coached during his time in Chapel Hill:

“Each player was important and special to Coach Smith and when he prepared his estate plan, Coach wanted to reach out to each of his lettermen. Accordingly, Coach directed that following his passing each letterman be sent a two hundred dollar check with the message, ‘enjoy a dinner out, compliments of Coach Dean Smith.’”

What a cool gesture.

Smith, a native of Emporia, played at KU under Phog Allen, and came off the bench for the Jayhawks when they won the 1952 national championship game against St. John’s.

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Weekend Picks: Final Friday, Paper Buffalo EP release show; YART Sale; Kansas City Bear Fighters; Comedy Freakout; more Marx Madness

With KU making a(nother) frustrating pre-Sweet Sixteen exit from the NCAA tournament, you should have some extra free time on your hands this weekend, so let's see what LFK has in store for you.

Our column has been heavy on music and theater in recent weeks but light on art offerings, so let's rectify that with a number of options for the first official Final Friday of spring.

Don't worry, though. There's a lot of music and comedy and movies included as well for the non-Final Friday fans.

Walk the Moon/The Griswolds, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Thursday, Granada,

If you're looking for a packed house of young indie-rock fans, you'll find it at the Granada on Thursday as Cincinnati's "dance-rock" and festival-favorite sensation Walk the Moon takes the stage.

According to their website's tour page, however, all of the band's upcoming shows (including this one) are sold out, so let's hope you planned ahead. Australia's buzzy The Griswolds open the show and, yes, of course, the name is a reference to the family in "National Lampoon's Vacation."

Edible Books Festival viewing and voting, 6-9 p.m. Friday, Lawrence Public Library

This unusual Final Friday event allows visitors to view and vote on "edible book" art submitted by participants who have created their "own edible work of art based on the title, form, or content of a book."

Are visitors allowed to eat this art as well? Probably not. But we might steal a bite when they're not looking.

Find details on the submission process at the LPL website.

Quilter and historian Marla Jackson is pictured in front of her quilts on display at the Percolator, 913 Rhode Island St., as part of Jackson’s upcoming exhibition, “Tell Mama.” The exhibit, which opens during this month’s Final Friday, features 10 quilts that honor her mother, Fern Hill.

Quilter and historian Marla Jackson is pictured in front of her quilts on display at the Percolator, 913 Rhode Island St., as part of Jackson’s upcoming exhibition, “Tell Mama.” The exhibit, which opens during this month’s Final Friday, features 10 quilts that honor her mother, Fern Hill. by Mike Yoder

"Tell Mama" art opening, 5-9 p.m. Friday, The Percolator

The Percolator's "Tell Mama" exhibition of quilts by Marla Jackson may not immediately sound like a hot-spot scenester destination, but a quilt based on Tina Turner sounds pretty intriguing to us! Check out Lawrence.com's recent piece on the exhibit and quilter/historian/teacher Jackson's inspirational relationship with her mother here.

The event coincides with Women's History Month and according to the FB event page, "This exhibition of 10 quilts reflects the stories of notable women in Marla’s personal life, as well as personal heroes. Included in the exhibition are two story quilts never before displayed for the public." In addition to the aforementioned Tina Turner quilt, you can also see quilts that are based on the Middle Passage and Cuban salsa-star Celia Cruz.

Is it possible to access the Percolator now that the Marriott TownePlace Suites loom imposingly over the area? Yes. We're confident that you can still find your way to this show!

"Variations on a Theme" art opening + music, 6 p.m. Friday, Love Garden

We know that some of you can't tolerate art unless you are also being serenaded by the likes of CS Luxem, Taryn Blake Miller, and Youngest Children. Listen to them while looking at Sam Wardy's drawings and Christian Kennedy's embroidery. For more info, check out the Facebook event page.

Paper Buffalo EP release, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Friday, The Bottleneck

The week's best local rock show (well, arguably the best, but we're pretty sure) is at the Bottleneck, which seems to be picking up the pace a bit in booking great local shows such as the recent Psychic Heat cassette release show that scenesters are STILL raving about.

Tonight brings four stellar local acts, headlined by an EP release set from the ever-rising youngsters in Paper Buffalo, one of those bands that seemed already fully-polished when we caught some of their early-career Replay patio gigs. We can only imagine that they're really killing it these days.

When asked for a blurb about this show, Paper Buffalo sent along this mysterious and somewhat frightening missive: "We're hosting a blood ceremony at the Bottleneck on March 27th to celebrate our EP's manifestation into the physical realm." Don't be alarmed, though. They seem nice.

Opening up will be Westerners, Arc Flash, and our pal Craig Comstock's always interesting (and always noisy!) one-man project This is My Condition (Craig still mostly exists on MySpace, God bless him!).

You will want to attend. Check out the FB event page here.

YART Sale, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, New York Elementary School

Looking for a quirky, family-friendly daytime event for Saturday? Look no further than the annual East Lawrence YART (yard/art) sale at New York Elementary School. The Facebook event page assures attendees that, yes, this year's sale WILL be at New York Elementary despite the construction there.

The YART sale is a fundraiser for ELNA (East Lawrence Neighborhood Association) and features donated merchandise, local art and neighborhood musicians. If nothing else, this is surely the best place to hear live music on a Saturday at 8 a.m. since the Farmers Market hasn't opened for the year yet.

Comedy Freakout, 10 p.m. Saturday, Frank's North Star Tavern

Comedy Freakout is upon us again, and the touring headliners for this month's "Good Hermanos Edition" are Colorado's The Bueno Brothers alongside a slate of local comedians. The event is hosted as always by the muy divertido Peter Lyrene and Chance Dibben. The Facebook event page claims that the event is "all ages" (really?? or is this one of their jests and japes?) and requests "no policia" at the event.

Kansas City Bear Fighters, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Saturday, The Bottleneck

Are we recommending two consecutive evenings of music at the Bottleneck? Yes, even though the always-wacky Kansas City Bear Fighters would really be better-suited to the bear-baiting pit at Frank's North Star. Even so, their bouncy singalongs about cannibals and wolfmen are welcome and usually well-received in any venue.

Combine the Bear Fighters' antics with the hot-picking bluegrass of the Ready Brothers, plus performances (and a kissing booth) from a few of the Foxy by Proxy gals, and you've got yourself a guaranteed good time. But you can find a few more details about the show and set times here.

Marx Madness, Round 2, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, Liberty Hall

With KU making a sad second-round tournament exit, you may find yourself weary of basketball and ready for a few laughs. Consider catching a couple of lesser-known Marx Brothers films, "The Cocoanuts" (4 p.m.) and "Horse Feathers" (6 p.m.) as this year's Marx Madness enters its second and final round at Liberty Hall on Sunday.

The plot of "Horse Feathers" involves silly campus hijinks such as Chico and Harpo joining a college football team, so this should provide a particularly welcome respite for any non-basketball fans at this time of year. Visit the Liberty Hall website page for "Horse Feathers" here.

Finally, a shout out to Lawrence Public Library and Love Garden for tweeting us tips and getting their events included here this week. It can happen for you too! Just visit us @LarryvilleLife.

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Watch: Lawrence rapper Approach rules Midcoast Takeover at SXSW

Approach is, without a doubt, the boss.

There's a reason we've seen people race to a venue to catch his set. The Lawrence rapper is the very definition of showmanship. When this lyricist leader speaks, everyone listens.

Once again, Approach made his way down to Austin during the SXSW music festival to perform at Midcoast Takeover's day party at Shangri-La. He spent all but a minute onstage before leaping into the crowd and going as far as his mic cord could take him.

Aided by big-shot beat maker DJ G Train (one of the few remaining DJs who actually scratches) and keyboard commander Nate Holt, The Boogaloo Odyssey tore into their top-notch lesson in hip-hop. It's important to note that while a lot of rappers tend to sample sounds and beats, Approach and The Boogaloo Odyssey created every single noise themselves. In fact, Approach spent years making every sound you hear under his rhymes.

But while every sound is calculated, most of his moves are spontaneous. His freestyles are unmatched, and you never quite know what the boss is going to do in his set.

"The beautiful part of our show is we're making it up as we go along!" he exclaimed before strutting over to a group of bystanders and encouraging to wave their arms in the air. Once he was satisfied with everyone's reaction to the beat, he declared "Rap music is good!" for all to hear before diving into his next verse.

When Approach really gets going, he tumbles all across the dance floor, interacts with everyone, and gets everyone grooving. The best part of the set is what Approach calls the "Get Down" portion of the program, when DJ G Train leaps off the stage and goes head to head with the man himself. You can watch it in the video below.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Watch: Tyler Gregory’s new music video captures West Coast road trip

A new music video chronicling Tyler Gregory's tour has just been released, and it is absolutely stunning. The video compiles clips from Tyler's 2014 West Coast tour, and if you know how his tours run, it's not just stage video.

The music video for "Solace Lying In The Open Road" details, as the name implies, life on the open road. When Tyler tours, he camps out and hits up scenic nature shots worthy of a National Geographic spread. The picturesque shots you see in the video are actually places he visited on tour. The performer is at his best when he's on the road, and it's easy to see why. Canyons, rivers and plains help weave together images of Tyler playing a number of venues.

Here's the video, courtesy Technickolor Video Productions. As the lyrics suggest, you can watch his "heart pass through every town" below. To catch him in person, Tyler plays this Friday at the Replay Lounge for an early matinee show.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Watch: Wild Eye plays Midcoast Takeover party at SXSW

Ross Williams seems to be a jack of all trades. We never quite know where he's going to pop up, even at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas.

We've seen his exquisite guitar skills in Oils and his booming voice in No Cave, but on Thursday he gently plucked away on the acoustic stage of Midcoast Takeover's day party at Shangri-La.

Wild Eye isn't your average folk music. The crooning on this guy is to die for. It sounds like CS Luxem and James Taylor had a love child. As a solo acoustic act, the versatile performer still puts his expertise with reverb and loops to use. He can play fast, slow and everything in between.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Getting to know Wichita State

Wichita State's coach Gregg Marshall talks to Wichita States guard Zach Brown (1) during Wichita States' win over Indiana Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, NE..

Wichita State's coach Gregg Marshall talks to Wichita States guard Zach Brown (1) during Wichita States' win over Indiana Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, NE.. by Richard Gwin

Separated by 161 miles of interstate and rolling plains, Kansas and Wichita State could play basketball against each other every year pretty easily.

Of course, they don’t. Which makes Sunday’s NCAA Tournament meeting — the first game between the Jayhawks and Shockers since January 6, 1993 — feel even more significant. As if that would be necessary in this scenario: winner moves on to the Sweet 16; loser’s season is over.

KU and WSU have squared off 14 times in the past, but Sunday in Omaha marks the first time that will happen with both ranked in the AP Top 25. Kansas entered the tourney at No. 10 and Wichita State is 14th.

The Shockers (29-4) also made it this far into March Madness last season, when they fell in their second game as the No. 1 seed to No. 8 seed Kentucky — the eventual national runner-up. In 2013, WSU went all the way to the Final Four. So it’s not as if this stage, hype or playing Kansas will rattle Wichita State.

If WSU can knock off its in-state big brother, that would give Gregg Marshall’s program 30 wins for the third season in a row. Since leaving Winthrop (a program he took to seven NCAA Tournaments), Marshall has gone 6-3 in The Big Dance at Wichita State.

Marshall’s teams have a reputation for playing tough, even when they are out-sized, as WSU will be against Kansas (27-8). But the Shockers’ four perimeter players all rebound, which has allowed Wichita State to average a +5.3 advantage on the glass this season (31st in the nation).

Having all those guards also makes it easier to protect the rock. WSU commits fewer turnovers a game (9.1) than all but three teams in the nation, and the Shockers have a +3.9 turnover margin.

The guy who runs the show, junior point guard Fred VanVleet, said his perimeter running mates Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton and Evan Wessel give WSU a unique look.

“They’re all irreplaceable to me,” VanVleet said.

One of the most talented point guards in the nation, VanVleet might be the most important player on the CenturyLink Center floor Sunday. So I asked him to give a little info on his teammates after he spoke with various reporters about his own development.

Here are the Shockers Kansas will have to worry about as the Jayhawks aim to survive and advance to the Sweet 16.

SHOCKERS STARTERS

No. 31 — Ron Baker, 6-4, 220 junior G

Wichita State guard Ron Baker drives to the basket in Wichita States' win over Indiana Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Wichita State guard Ron Baker drives to the basket in Wichita States' win over Indiana Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. by Mike Yoder

— Season stats: 15.0 points, 43.7% FGs, 38.4% 3s (76 of 198), 75.8% FTs (91 of 120), 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals

“Obviously Ron has been our best scorer this year, shooting the ball. And his defense is kind of underrated at times.”

hoop-math.com nugget (stats entering NCAA Tournament): Most of Baker’s shots come from downtown: 53.2% of his team-leading 355 attempts. WSU doesn’t mind that he takes the most shots, either. He leads their top seven players in eFG%: 54.6%.

No. 23 — Fred VanVleet, 6-0, 195 junior PG

Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet smiles during interviews Saturday, March 21, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet smiles during interviews Saturday, March 21, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. by Richard Gwin

— Season stats: 13.1 points, 43.3% FGs, 36.2% 3s (38 of 105), 79.9% FTs (119 of 149), 4.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.8 steals

For all he can do offensively, he has made it a point to work himself into a standout defender, as well.

“I think wanting to be a good defender is probably the first step.”

One of the assistant coaches his freshman year used to joke he had trouble finding guys VanVleet was capable of guarding when they were going over scouting reports.

“I just didn’t want to be that guy.”

“Having Tekele on our team, and seeing the respect that he gets for locking people down, I always wanted to be held in that same regard.”

“I think paying attention to game plan and scouting and just studying guys that you might guard helps a lot.”

“It’s tricky, because I try to be aggressive, but being as important as I am to this team … sometimes I got in foul trouble early on in this season being stupid.”

“You just want to be sound. If it’s a great scorer, try to make it tough on them, try to make every shot contested. If it’s a point guard who just runs the show, I just like to deny him and disrupt him, disrupt the timing of the offense and just make life miserable for the other team.”

— hoop-math.com nugget: VanVleet operates and scores in every area of the floor. He makes 52.8% of his shots at the rim, 36.8% of his 2-point jumpers and 36.2% of his 3s.

No. 12 — Darius Carter, 6-7, 245 senior F

— Season stats: 11.1 points, 51.8% FGs, 3 of 5 3s, 63.5% FTs, 5.4 rebounds

Carter leads the way inside for the perimeter-oriented Shockers, and they will need him to make his presence felt against a larger KU team.

“He’s been real great when he’s on the floor, not in foul trouble.”

That quote might sound disparaging, but you have to consider the source. VanVleet is the point guard, and a team leader. He wants Carter giving Wichita State all he can.

And Carter was sitting right next to him in the locker room when VanVleet said that. Subtle reminder. Plus, he spent time addressing his own foul issues and overcoming those. He wants his vital teammate to do the same.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Carter makes the most of his touches, converting 66.4% of his shots at the rim and 42.2% of his 2-point jumpers. He also has 21 put-backs on the offensive glass this season.

No. 32 — Tekele Cotton, 6-3, 205 senior G

Wichita State guard Tekele Cotton (32) shoots a layup while playing against George Washington guard Kethan Savage, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Diamond Head Classic on Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Wichita State guard Tekele Cotton (32) shoots a layup while playing against George Washington guard Kethan Savage, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Diamond Head Classic on Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner) by Eugene Tanner

— Season stats: 9.6 points, 41.2% FGs, 29.6% 3s (32 of 108, 70% FTs, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists

“Tekele, you know, he’s known for his defense, but he’s been great for us attacking the rim.”

— hoop-math.com nugget: There is a reason VanVleet wants Cotton finishing inside. Cotton converts 58.8% of his shots at the rim compared to his sub-par 3-point shooting.

No. 3 — Evan Wessel, 6-4, 218 junior

Wichita State guard Evan Wessel pauses during interviews Saturday, March 21, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Wichita State guard Evan Wessel pauses during interviews Saturday, March 21, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. by Richard Gwin

— Season stats: 4.1 points, 38.1% FGs, 34.2% 3s (27 of 79), 52.9% FTs (9 of 17), 3.4 rebounds

“Evan’s just a tough guy, diving on the loose balls, doing dirty work, knocking down open threes, rebounding the ball — playing out of position at the four.”

— hoop-math.com nugget: Wessel doesn’t often score, and he knows not to waste his attempts. Just 9.3% of his shots are 2-point jumpers. And only 19.6% of his shots come at the rim. If he’s shooting, it’s likely an open 3. That’s where 71% of his shots are taken.

SHOCKERS BENCH

No. 24 — Shaquille Morris, 6-7, 261 freshman F

Wichita State's guard Shaquille Morris (24) slams home a dunk in Wichita State's win over Indiana Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha.

Wichita State's guard Shaquille Morris (24) slams home a dunk in Wichita State's win over Indiana Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha. by Richard Gwin

— Season stats: 5.0 points, 55% FGs, 0 of 1 3s, 64.2% FTs (34 of 53), 2.7 rebounds

The numbers below provide all you need to know on the powerful young big man.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Morris takes 44.4% of his shots at the rim. That’s probably not enough, considering he converts 72.7% of his shots there and just 35.2% of his 2-point jumpers.

No. 0 — Rashard Kelly, 6-7, 232 freshman F

Wichita State guard Rashard Kelly celebrates in the final minutes of Wichita States' win over Indiana Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Wichita State guard Rashard Kelly celebrates in the final minutes of Wichita States' win over Indiana Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. by Mike Yoder

— Season stats: 3.0 points, 48.6% FGs, 4 of 9 3s, 52.4% FTs, 3.0 rebounds

— hoop-math.com nugget: His 15 put-backs are second on the team, and that’s where 36.8% of his made baskets at the rim come.

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Getting to know upset-minded NMSU

New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies, right, hugs center Tshilidzi Nephawe toward the end of the second half of the Aggies’ victory over Cal State-Bakersfield in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament on Friday in Las Vegas. Nephawe is one of four seniors Menzies will count on when the Aggies open the NCAA Tournament against Kansas on Friday in Omaha, Nebraska.

New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies, right, hugs center Tshilidzi Nephawe toward the end of the second half of the Aggies’ victory over Cal State-Bakersfield in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament on Friday in Las Vegas. Nephawe is one of four seniors Menzies will count on when the Aggies open the NCAA Tournament against Kansas on Friday in Omaha, Nebraska.

New Mexico State hasn’t lost a college basketball game since Jan. 17. Winners of 13 straight, the Aggies hope to keep that streak alive Friday in Omaha, Nebraska, against national powerhouse Kansas.

Dancing in March for the fourth season in a row, NMSU (23-10) also has a chance to deal the Big 12 (0-3 on the first day of The Madness) another NCAA Tournament blow — if it can find a way to topple the Midwest’s No. 2 seed, KU (26-8).

The WAC regular-season and tournament champion Aggies lost at Baylor, 66-55, back on Dec. 17. But this is March. And upsets rule supreme.

If New Mexico State wants to test — or upset — Kansas, it will have to do so with its defense. The Aggies are:

  • 19th in the NCAA in scoring defense (59.3 points allowed)

  • 10th in 3-point FG% defense (29.3%)

  • 19th in rebound margin: +6.9 boards a game

The Aggies do all of that while playing pressure defense, and an adapting half-court zone that actually specializes in taking away open 3-point looks.

Asked to describe NMSU’s defense, sixth man D.K. Eldridge labeled it the ever-popular “40 minutes of hell.”

“We try to make it impossible to bring the ball across half court,” Eldridge said. “It mostly comes from all our deflections. We keep count of that. Daniel (Mullings) leading in deflections right now. Myself, Ian (Baker) can do it. And our back wall guys, they very athletic and make plays, as well.”

In summation: It’s the kind of approach that opponents hate.

In order to get to know the Aggies better, I asked senior guard Eldridge to provide his take on each of NMSU’s top six players.

AGGIES STARTERS

No. 3 — Remi Barry, 6-8, 225 senior F

New Mexico State senior forward Remi Barry participates in a NCAA second-round practice at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE., Thursday, March 19, 2015. New Mexico State will face the Jayhawks Friday in a second-round NCAA Tournament game.

New Mexico State senior forward Remi Barry participates in a NCAA second-round practice at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE., Thursday, March 19, 2015. New Mexico State will face the Jayhawks Friday in a second-round NCAA Tournament game. by Richard Gwin

— Season stats: 13.3 points, 46.3% FGs, 44.6% 3s (41-for-92), 76.6% FTs, 4.8 rebounds

“Coming off an injury from last year, he’s had a very successful year. He brings scoring to the table and he’s a part of our defense with his length.”

“He knows his role. He don’t get outside his box too much.”

No. 43 — Pascal Siakam, 6-9, 230 freshman F

New Mexico State freshman forward Pascal Siakam (43) warms up during a early practice session as New Mexico State took to the floor in Omaha, for a short practice session on Friday 19, 2015..

New Mexico State freshman forward Pascal Siakam (43) warms up during a early practice session as New Mexico State took to the floor in Omaha, for a short practice session on Friday 19, 2015.. by Richard Gwin

— Season stats: 13 points, 57.7% FGs, 0-for-2 3s, 76.3% FTs, 7.7 rebounds (4.4 offensive), 1.8 blocks

“Oh, man. He an animal down low. Only a freshman, though. That’s what’s crazy about it. He’s got a lot left. Hopefully this’ll give him experience to have confidence for the future.”

“He’s very athletic, rebounds, scores the ball really well. He plays hard every possession.”

No. 23 — Daniel Mullings, 6-2, 170, senior G

New Mexico State senior guard Daniel Mullings warms up with his team during a practice session at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE., Thursday, March 19, 2015.

New Mexico State senior guard Daniel Mullings warms up with his team during a practice session at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE., Thursday, March 19, 2015. by Richard Gwin

— Season stats: 12.6 points, 43.5% FGs, 36.1% 3s, 70.8% FTs, 5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2 steals

“He’s the head of the program. A very good player, athletic, very strong competitor.”

“Similar to myself, we just go out there and do what we do best: play hard every possession, give it our all for 40 minutes.”

“He’s a very strong driver, capable shooter, very good defense on the ball and off the ball.”

No. 15 — Tshilidzi Nephawe, 6-10, 268, senior C

None by Benton Smith

— Season stats: 10.4 points, 53.1% FGs, 62.1% FTs, 7.6 rebounds

“Just call him ‘Chili.’ He gets mad if you don’t say his nickname.”

“Just a big presence down low. Offense, it’s hard to stop him. Big, strong kid. A guy you want to get the ball to every time. You know you’re gonna get a bucket out of him.”

“On the defensive end, he just change shots, rebound, guard. He can get down and guard guards if he want to.”

“His conditioning got better. He came off an injury not too long ago (missed 12 games before returning in mid-January).”

“He’s a senior, does the right things. Not too many mistakes — on and off the court. He’s a guy that you want, and we want. We’re lucky to have him on our team.”

No. 4 — Ian Baker, 6-0, 180, sophomore PG

— Season stats: 9.5 points, 47.8% FGs, 47.2% 3s (58-for-123), 75.9% FTs, 2.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals

“He brings a lot. For being a young player, he’s a very experienced guy. He’s very mature at his position.”

“He can shoot the ball very well. He can lead the team on offense, and when he wants to he can play very good ‘D.’”

“He comes from a family with a lot of older brothers, so I think that’s why his maturity is so strong. … He’s a very good leader. We listen to him. He puts us in the right position to win games, hits a lot of big shots for us… When we’re in a deep situation, he’ll get us out of it.”

AGGIES BENCH

No. 1 — D.K. Eldridge, 6-2, 180, senior G

— Season stats: 8.1 points, 38.6% FGs, 28.1% 3s (34-for-121), 63.3% FTs, 2.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals

Eldridge considers himself a defensive-minded guy.

“That’s where my offense comes from most of the time — playing good ‘D.’ I know this team needs me in that category, so I just try my best to come off the bench and bring energy, especially when the starting five’s not feeling too energetic.”

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Weekend Picks V: Sugar Britches debut show; Sylvan Esso and Flock of Dimes; TEDxLawrence; ‘Angels in America’ (in Kansas City)

Readers, it seems at first glance like a slow weekend in Lawrence. Many students are out of town for spring break, and many scenesters are down in Austin at South by Southwest while the rest of you are still recovering from vacation and/or immersed in the NCAA tournament.

But are there other options?

We've got a few ideas, which this week do NOT include Thursday picks but DO stretch all the way into next Monday in case you want to extend your weekend by a day. In the spirit of spring break, we're also suggesting a theatrical excursion to Kansas City as a departure from your otherwise booze-fueled LFK revelry.

Sugar Britches Debut Show, 10 p.m. Friday, Gaslight Gardens

Sometimes you need to get in on the ground floor with a new band. It's always cool to be able to say, "I saw their very first show!" Friday presents a good opportunity as The Sugar Britches make their debut, opening up for AJ Gaither, a great and gritty one-man blues band.

Do we know much about the Sugar Britches? No, we do not. But we're sold on this blurb and vow they sent us:

"Lawrence's latest sensation, Sugar Britches, is a brand new all-ladies four-piece straight out of Kansas. Heavy on the harmonies, with tunes ranging from bluegrass to blues to boogie woogie, these sassy gals aim to win your heart and break it all at the same time."

If we don't leave with a broken heart, we want our money back, ladies!!

The Britches' debut seems to be generating a lot of interest on their Facebook page and event page, and this should be a fine evening on the Gaslight patio.

Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso by Elizabeth Weinberg/Contributed Photo

Sylvan Esso/Flock of Dimes, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 on Friday, Bottleneck

Another good way to be hip is to check out solo projects of band members from more well-known bands. Consider Flock of Dimes on Friday, a new project from Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, self-deprecatingly described on the Facebook page as "a vanity project of questionable skill and intent."

If you've heard Jenn's gorgeous voice in Wye Oak, however, you probably expect — and will no doubt receive — much more "skill" than she suggests.

Flock of Dimes opens up on Friday for acclaimed North Carolina "electro-pop" duo Sylvan Esso. Fally Afani of I Heart Local Music and Lawrence.com had a chance to chat with Esso member Amelia Meath, and you can read the full interview here.

TEDxLawrence, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Liberty Hall

Everyone loves TED talks these days, and Monday's independently-organized event (as designated by the "x" in its title) is a fine opportunity to "share a TED-like experience" and hear talks ranging from a "complexity theorist" to a yo-yo master to a WORLD champion air-guitarist (LFK's own Eric "Mean" Melin).

The friendly organizers have invited us on board to live-tweet some of the afternoon sessions, so give us a follow @LarryvilleLife and enjoy vicariously if you are stuck at work all day (or don't have a ticket because the event is sold out).

Visit the event's website for a list of speakers and ticket info, and find the Facebook page here.

Jennifer Engstrom (The Angel) and Seamus Mulcahy (Prior) are pictured in a scene from Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of "Angels in America," which runs through March 29.

Jennifer Engstrom (The Angel) and Seamus Mulcahy (Prior) are pictured in a scene from Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of "Angels in America," which runs through March 29. by Don Ipock/Contributed Photo

"Angels in America," Kansas City Repertory Theatre, through March 29 (check listings)

As theater fans (and in keeping with the get-out-of-town spirit of spring break) we wanted to offer a rare Kansas City pick in this week's column.

The KC Rep's current production is Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-winning masterwork "Angels in America," a wild, searing, and often hilarious play about Reagan's America and the AIDS crisis comprised of interlocking storylines that dig deep into issues of sexual, political and religious identity.

Theaters are rarely ambitious enough to tackle both parts of Kushner's epic, which each run three-hours and are respectively subtitled "Millennium Approaches" and "Perestroika." The Rep, however, is offering a chance to see both parts either on alternating nights or in one fell swoop on Saturdays and Sundays, a Herculean but worthy task we undertook this past Sunday. Don't panic: there's a long dinner break between parts.

Seeing both parts in one day offers a truly memorable theater-going experience and, if you're up to the challenge, is certainly the best way to fully appreciate the play's continually echoing conversations above love, law, forgiveness and justice.

So consider getting out of town and getting a large dose of culture! This production is at the Rep's Copaken Stage, located in KC's Power and Light District, which provides plenty of dining and entertainment options for the three-hour break between parts.

Best of Lawrence voting, now through March 31

NCAA tournament brackets aren't the only thing you need to be filling out this time of year. Crack a PBR or two and click here to begin your (shockingly) long journey through the many categories in the annual Best of Lawrence competition (you also have the option to vote for specific categories if you don't want to go cast a vote for everything). Our favorite categories this year are "Best Secret Menu" (they won't be secret much longer!) and "Best Unsung Hero" (write them in and sing their praises!).

Perhaps you'll vote for us as "Best New Lawrence.com Column?" Is that really a category? Probably not. But there IS a category for "Best Local Blog, Facebook, Twitter or other Social Media Page" if you feel like writing your pals @LarryvilleLife in there.

Tweet us some ideas for next week's Weekend Picks while you're at it!

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Paul Pierce picks Kansas to beat Kentucky, win it all

Rhode Island coach Jim Harrick consoles former Kansas basketball
player Paul Pierce in this 1998 file photo.

Rhode Island coach Jim Harrick consoles former Kansas basketball player Paul Pierce in this 1998 file photo. by Earl Richardson/Journal-World Photo

No one can question Paul Pierce’s loyalty.

The 10-time NBA all-star hasn’t played for Kansas University since 1998, but when the longtime Celtic, one-year Net and current Wizard filled out his 2015 NCAA Tournament bracket, it was clear he still considers himself a Jayhawk.

Pierce posted his bracket on Instagram Wednesday morning.

Here's my bracket rock chalk

Here's my bracket rock chalk by paulpierce

The former KU star has the Jayhawks beating New Mexico State, Wichita State, Notre Dame, Kentucky (the same undefeated Wildcats team that smoked Kansas, 72-40, in November), Arizona and Virginia for the national championship.

A first-team All-American in 1997-98, Pierce gave the rest of the Big 12 some love, too. He put Iowa State in his Final Four, and has West Virginia in the Sweet 16.

He might not end up with a perfect bracket. But it’s not like he needs to win his bracket pool.

When Pierce played for Kansas under Roy Williams, his teams lost in the Elite Eight to Syracuse (1996), in the Sweet 16 to Arizona (1997) and to Rhode Island in the second round (1998).

Pierce likes his former Kansas coach making noise, as well. He has UNC reaching the Elite Eight before bowing out to Arizona.

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Fresh look at Morris twins’ journey to KU, NBA

Anyone with a passing interesting KU basketball has heard the story of the Morris twins.

There's Marcus and Markieff's unique bond on and off the court. The fact that they play for the same NBA team, the Phoenix Suns. The shared house, bank account and tattoos. And, of course, F.O.E.

Luckily, with the Morrii, there's always more. This week, SBNation.com posted a fresh, 10-minute look at the twins. The video includes interviews with the pair, their mother and their coaches — including "mean stepfather" Bill Self.

It's a fun watch, but Self's quotes about pushing the twins' buttons pushes it over the top:

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God bless you, Gnarly Davidson

"Can I get a hot sh*t?!" Gnarly Davidson's exuberant bassist Sam Gunnerson starts nearly every set by screaming this into the mic.

The audience always happily replies "Hot sh*t!"

Here's how one of the most brutal bands in Lawrence lights up the room. For starters, they make sure they're on the same level as their fans. They ditch the stage to set up on the floor and become one with the people.

"We don't like stages because they make us feel uncomfortable," they told the Bottleneck audience last Friday night. The self-proclaimed "beer rock" band is instant gratification for any music fan. The throbbing bass is so intense and pleasurable, you can actually feel it rumble through your body and turn your knees to jelly.

Gunnerson and the band's other guitarist, Mitch Jones, take turns screaming into the mic. The band normally trudges through one sludgy grunge number after another. But Gnarly Davidson is so polished now, drummer Franklin Fantini begins their sets by rapidly pounding away at the kit. Forget the earplugs, this is a band you'll want to take right in the face.

They divide their time between growling and grumbling through songs and telling dirty jokes. A Gnarly Davidson set has become a perfect outlet for all that pent-up frustration you built during the week. They like to jokingly announce, "Hi, we're Gnarly Davidson and this is our last song," at the beginning of their sets because the entire performance feels like one long song (which is why you're only getting a snippet of it below).

They then proceed to take you through a labyrinth of riffs and rock, but they always come full circle with a grand finish to a song they started earlier in the set.

God bless you, Gnarly Davidson. You truly are hot sh*t.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Community celebrates Pi Day with the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band

There's nothing better than a wacky Lawrence tradition, and what better way to celebrate all things weird than a made-up holiday.

On Saturday, with the date standing proudly at 3/14/15, the Lawrence Public Library became the Lawrence Public Pie-brary when the town celebrated all things pi with Lolla-Pi-Looza.

Our ambassadors of abnormal for this event were none other than the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band, who have an album dedicated to the irrational number and delicious baked treat. They came loaded with an hour's worth of entertainment, science-related tunes, musical guests and pie puns. "This is the time in March when we all get together and celebrate Saint Patrick driving the pies out of Ireland!" they announced at the beginning of the set.

The popular comedic folk band kept the mood mostly lighthearted, although they did get a few political jabs in since they're men (and women) of science. The packed audience cheered wildly when the musicians criticized the school board for their anti-science stance, and sang along sweetly when they played "You Are My Sunshine."

At the moment of pi, 3:14 p.m., they called up a local hula-hooper so that a circle was represented at the proper moment. The band also gave nods to a family that showed up in their own homemade pi shirts. "It's an entire irrational family!" they exclaimed.

Here's a song about how much they enjoy pi and pie.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music. — Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Bill Self examines the Midwest region of NCAA Tournament

Kansas players Jamari Traylor, left, Devonte Graham, Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis surround Frank Mason before a pair of free throws by Mason during the second half on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas players Jamari Traylor, left, Devonte Graham, Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis surround Frank Mason before a pair of free throws by Mason during the second half on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

As the 2015 NCAA Tournament bracket got unveiled Sunday evening, it quickly became clear Kansas University might have one of the most difficult roads to the Final Four in Indianapolis.

KU coach Bill Self discussed his team’s Friday matchup with a solid No. 15 seed, New Mexico State, as well as a potential Round of 32 game against Wichita State Sunday evening, following the selection show.

Oh, yeah. One more thing: Kentucky is the No. 1 seed in KU’s Midwest region.

Here are some highlights from the press conference:

• Saturday’s result against Iowa State in the Big 12 final might not have mattered for KU’s seeding. It would have been hard to pass Gonzaga on the 2-seed line. KU got what it should have in ending up in Kentucky’s bracket, because the other No. 2 seeds probably had better years.

• New Mexico State (23-10) had some injuries this season and that is why have lost some of the games they did.

KU could face Wichita State in the Round of 32, and Self couldn’t believe the Shockers got a No. 7 seed.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) watches as Kentucky forward Alex Poythress (22) rejects his floater during the second half of the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) watches as Kentucky forward Alex Poythress (22) rejects his floater during the second half of the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. by Nick Krug

• If this KU team gets a chance to play in the Elite Eight game, against Kentucky, “it’s been a hell of a year.”

The Jayhawks don’t even have to talk about that right now. Hopefully they will get to talk about that next week.

• Kansas took Sunday off from practicing. Kansas City was taxing on the team. They are beat up. Playing Friday helps KU. There is an extra day to get healthy, get bodies back fresh.

Perry Ellis isn’t close to being where he needs to be, but these four days will be big for him getting that bounce back.

• Self saw New Mexico State while flipping channels last night. He goes through all the teams that could end up being Nos. 15 or 16 seeds, and he had New Mexico State as a No. 13 seed.

“It is a hard first game, and we need to be ready come Friday.” When KU is good, it is really good. But it can’t afford to take 5 or 10 minutes off like it did against Iowa State.

• Self was pleased to see seven Big 12 teams get into the Big Dance.

• Self told the players: “You know how many bullets we’ve dodged?” in his time at KU, in terms of potential NCAA Tournament matchups. It isn’t guaranteed KU will play Wichita State.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson draws a foul on a shot from Purdue forward Robbie Hummel during the second half on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson draws a foul on a shot from Purdue forward Robbie Hummel during the second half on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha. by Nick Krug

• KU has always had a good crowd in Omaha, Nebraska, and Wisconsin will travel great, too. KU has had some good runs going through Omaha, too: The Jayhawks won it in 2008 and got to the final in 2012 after playing in Omaha.

• Larry Brown and SMU got in, and Self thought that might end up being a Round of 32 matchup for Kansas. Instead it was Wichita State.

• The guys are excited, and one guy who should be more excited than anybody else is Ellis. That is a pretty big potential matchup for him, maybe facing his hometown program in Wichita State next Sunday.

• Kentucky was a lot better than Kansas that day they met in November, but that team is even better now. KU is better, too.

There might not ever have been a team as favored going into the tournament as Kentucky.

• Self thinks KU has had a real good season, but you have to accomplish some things in the next few weeks to make it memorable.

For KU, losing to ISU, there was a little hangover, but that’s gone now.

• KU could have an exciting next few weeks potentially, with maybe the chance to play the hottest team in the ACC in Notre Dame and the prohibitive favorite in Kentucky.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander watches warmups on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas University officials announced that Alexander will not play against Texas after they were alerted to a potential eligibility issue involving Alexander by the NCAA.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander watches warmups on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas University officials announced that Alexander will not play against Texas after they were alerted to a potential eligibility issue involving Alexander by the NCAA. by Nick Krug

• Self doesn’t think he should even talk about Cliff Alexander anymore with the media. If new information comes out, then he will.

• Landen Lucas is banged up and at this point in time, they need him and every player as healthy as possible. KU can be as close to whole as it has been in a while very soon.

• Self talked to the entire team after the TCU game on Thursday about how disappointing that was, and part of that was the way Wayne Selden Jr. played. Selden responded perfectly in the next two days.

• KU didn’t have the same intensity level in the second half vs. Iowa State, but still had a chance to win it late after being down 7 points.

Another positive came the night before with how KU rebounded and defended against Baylor.

But the bottom line is they need Ellis back playing to his potential.

• The Big 12 didn’t do well as a league in the NCAAs last season, after a strong regular season.

This year was another strong campaign, and the seeding reflected that. To validate that you need to have three or four teams get to that second weekend.

— Listen to the complete press conference: Bill Self reacts to Selection Sunday, KU's draw

— Hear from Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr.: Ellis and Selden discuss the NCAA Tournament

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Weekend Picks IV: Documentaries, comedians, A Very Special SXSW Message From The Noise FM, Lolla-Pi-Looza and Marx Madness

Readers, we are now on our fourth week here at Lawrence.com and already the column is evolving.

Since the column tends to "go live" on Wednesdays at midnight, we realized that we should also be covering Thursday events. Let's not kid ourselves: many of you kick off your weekends on Thursdays, if not before.

So contained within you'll find a "highbrow" Thursday pick, a not-so-highbrow Thursday pick, and a lot of weekend music picks, including a "very special message" from Chicago rockers The Noise FM as they (like several other bands mentioned here) prepare to embark on the annual pilgrimage to Austin's South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival. Plus, we also threw in a couple of family-friendly Saturday and Sunday afternoon picks for good measure.

Documentary film screening: "Finding Vivian Maier," 7 p.m. Thursday, Lawrence Arts Center

Everyone is into documentaries these days. Even people you would not necessarily expect to be watching documentaries seem to be talking about documentaries (especially that recent "Blackfish" documentary, which got everyone pissed off and claiming they'll never return to Sea World).

Stop by the Lawrence Arts Center on Thursday night for a free screening of the acclaimed doc "Finding Vivian Maier." The FB event page offers this description: "This award-winning documentary shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the intriguing life story of the late Vivian Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished and insightful street photographers."

If you haven't attended one of the ever-more-numerous film events at the Lawrence Arts Center, you likely don't realize that their main auditorium is an excellent place to watch a movie. Plus, there will also be a follow-up discussion of the film with three locals bringing their perspectives to bear on the film's issues: photographer Ann Dean, filmmaker Laura Kirk, and KU photography professor John Putz.

Break away from Netflix for an evening and join the community.

Good Time open mic and comedy showcase, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Replay Lounge, followed by rock and roll from Kim and the Created at 10 p.m.

We wrote a lot about the recent growth of LFK's very active comedy scene over at our old blog, but it's possible that our new readers here at Lawrence.com are not yet aware of this weekly "matinee" event at the Replay hosted by local comedy collective Harpoon Presents. Sign-up begins at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. open mic, which is followed by a showcase of three or four local (and occasionally touring) comedians at 8.

We don't know about you, but we're fans of ritual, and it's nice to know that you can always count on hearing a few good boner jokes to start off your weekend. The cover is only $2, leaving you extra cash for PBR and (returning soon) tacos from LFK's beloved Taco Zone, which is also poised to expand into a full restaurant on Eighth Street.

Stick around late on this particular evening and catch LA's well-hyped Kim and the Created as they pass through on their way to SXSW. The flier alone is enough to sell us on this show, but the following blurb from the SXSW schedule clinches it: "Her over the top stage antics and outfits are only surpassed by the sheer strength of her Stooges and Cramps influenced garage gems."

The Noise FM/Archie Powell and the Exports/Me Like Bees, 10 p.m. Friday, Replay

Area fans of The Noise FM can almost always count on at least two area appearances per year from these "sleek...athletic...masters of the universe" and all-around golden gods who relocated from LFK to Chicago many years ago. They reliably pop up in December to spread cheer at their annual "Noise for Toys" benefit and they tend to swing through again in March for a pit-stop on their way to South by Southwest.

The "Noise Boys" will be at the Replay on Friday the 13th for a big triple-bill with fellow Chicagoans Archie Powell and the Exports. The tour is called "The Magnificent 7 Tour" (because there are seven of them and because this will be the Noise Boys' seventh trip to SXSW) and we're hoping they have a stunt planned in reference to the tour's namesake film, such as riding into the Replay on horses.

Make sure to get there early enough for a sweet-as-honey opening set from buzzy Joplin rockers Me Like Bees, since missing their show would really sting! (Yes, that's three bits of bee-wordplay in a single sentence). Visit the FB event page for the show here.

Old fans of our Larryville Chronicles blog may be aware of our long-running tradition of having The Noise FM send us a funny/silly blurb prior to their area shows, and we wanted to continue that proud tradition here. So enjoy the long tale about a very unusual fundraising campaign to insure their safe arrival in Austin next week. And make sure to buy them a PBR at the Replay on Friday!

*"Replay! Mop up the floors and fill up the pitchers – The Noise Boys are coming home!

For those keeping score, this is our 7th trip down to SXSW, and we have a strong feeling that this is reallllly gonna be The Noise FM’s year. It’s common knowledge in the music biz that it takes 7 years of playing SXSW before record execs start to take notice. There’s no way we’re coming home without a record deal this time around.

Assuming our van Topanga withstands the drive.

For the 3rd consecutive year we’re faced with several hundred dollars of van repairs before we hit the road, including repairs to a cracked radiator and a broken brake line. We’re not sure how a radiator cracks or a brake line breaks, let alone what either of them do, but our guy over at Logan Square Auto seems to think that both are necessary for our 2300 mile drive to Texas and back.

So here’s our latest idea, and it’s even better than when we invented the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last year:

There’s a song called “Miss You” by a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award-winning band called Blink 182. By all accounts, it’s an atrocious tune as well as our go-to karaoke song whenever everyone in the bar is having too much fun and we want to bring them down a notch. Some brave hero on YouTube created a 10 hour loop of Tom DeLonge’s verse -- the one where he chimes in with that tornado siren of a voice of his to ask “Where are you?” before racing to finish a sentence with way too many syllables before the chorus starts.

We plan to listen to this 10-hour piece of shit for money. We’re proposing our version of a Walk-A-Thon, a fundraiser that does nothing to help the community and exclusively benefits The Noise FM and Archie Powell & The Exports so that we can offset our van repairs costs. A Van-A-Thon perhaps?

For every $1 donated, all seven of us in The Noise FM and Archie Powell & The Exports will listen to Tom DeLelonge’s verse of “Miss You” for 1 minute in the van.

For every $5, 10 minutes.

For every $20, an entire hour.

Donations will be accepted at shows or via paypal at archiefmtour@gmail.com

We’ll be documenting the Blink 182 experiment during our travels at twitter.com/thenoisefm, twitter.com/archiepowell, IG: thenoisefm, IG: archiepowell, www.facebook.com/thenoisefm, and www.facebook.com/archiepowellandtheexports.

We have a 36 hour drive ahead of us. Bring it on, Tom!"

Till Willis and Erratic Cowboy/Jon Harrison and the Cash Cows, 10 p.m. Friday, Frank's North Star Tavern

If you're not really into the Noise Boys or you're worried that they might just get drunk and play Blink-182 songs instead of their usual set (entirely possible), head north of the river for an evening of rock at Frank's, assuming you are not afraid to hang out on Friday the 13th in a dark basement that probably used to be a cockfighting pit. (Actually, the FB event page claims the show is upstairs. We just wanted to make that joke).

Tonight's double-bill feature Till Willis and Erratic Cowboy along with Jon Harrison and the Cash Cows playing an evening of "future-rustic roots-rock." We don't think we've encountered this particular Harrison band-name before (is it a different line-up than the Harrisonics?) but we always trust Jon is up to something awesome.

Psychic Heat cassette release show, 9 p.m. Friday, The Bottleneck

This show has our favorite (local) flier of the week and is almost certainly the best bet for local music collectors, with Psychic Heat "re-releasing their EP Lighter and Brighter on Cassette through Whatever Forever with an additional unreleased B side and full live performance of the EP on side B!"

Stop by and greet the Heat (do people call them the Heat?) before they head down to impress the masses at SXSW the next week. With The Sluts and Gnarly Davidson opening up, this is also our pick for LOUDEST show of the week. Visit the FB event page here.

Lolla-Pi-Looza, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Lawrence Public LIbrary

Readers, is it possible that some of you want us to cover more family-friendly events that don't necessarily occur at night and center around beer? We're just not sure, since no one ever comments on Lawrence.com posts in this new era of talkback-accountability.

Just in case, we'll offer a plug for the Lawrence Public Library's goofily-titled Lolla-Pi-Looza, a celebration of Pi Day (3/14) featuring LFK's Alferd Packer Memorial String Band performing "songs about math and science." Find info via the LPL website.

Marx Madness, 4 p.m. Sunday, Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall's popular "Marx Madness" event returns for the second year starting Sunday to delight those who prefer to supplement their basketball-watching with some Marx Brothers hijinks. We were on hand last year for "A Night at the Opera," and a man in the audience laughed so hard at the legendary "stateroom scene" that we honestly thought he might die.

This year features four lesser-known films from the Brothers. "Animal Crackers" screens on Sunday at 4 followed by "At the Circus" at 6. "The Cocoanuts" and "Horse Feathers" are slated for March 29.

Don't worry: none of these films will conflict with actual KU basketball games, most of which (we've heard) are also slated to be shown at Liberty Hall barring conflicts with previously scheduled conflicts.

As ever, tweet us @LarryvilleLife with tips or rants or raves. We're (often) happy to plug your events if we know about them and they have enough of an online presence to warrant the space.

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Joel Embiid suffers setback in injured right foot

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid chats up Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend on the way to the locker room following the Jayhawks' 74-64 win over Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid chats up Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend on the way to the locker room following the Jayhawks' 74-64 win over Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

At this point in what would have been his rookie season, no one expected Philadelphia rookie Joel Embiid to actually put on a 76ers uniform and contribute in a game any time soon.

Not after the one-and-done Kansas product suffered a stress fracture in his right foot last summer. The Sixers snatched him up with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft for his long-term potential, and didn’t mind if an extended rehab process meant Embiid wouldn’t play a regular-season game until the start of the 2015-16 campaign.

Still, you got the sense the organization and the Philly fan base felt excited about what the future had in store for the young 7-footer, who turns 21 this month.

Putting in the work.

Putting in the work. by philadelphia76ers

It was just a few days ago that the clip of Embiid’s between-the-legs jam during a workout session blew up on social media. On Monday, though, came news of a possible hindrance to the talented prospect’s progress.

The Intelligencer’s Tom Moore reported Embiid suffered a “minor setback” in his right foot, and the center was back to wearing a protective walking boot.

What’s more, CSNPhilly.com’s Dei Lynam reported Embiid would be in Los Angeles Tuesday for a checkup on the troublesome foot — though it wasn’t clear at that juncture if this appointment had been scheduled before his recent setback or because of it.

Derek Bodner, who covers the 76ers for ESPN South Jersey and LibertyBallers.com, provided an update on that front, via Philadelphia coach Brett Brown.

None by Derek Bodner

None by Derek Bodner

Bodner wrote about those comments and more for SB Nation. Philadelphia’s coach indicated Embiid might sometimes push things too far because he so badly wants to get back to playing.

"Sometimes when we turn our heads he'll go out there and take a shot or do that dunk (the viral between-the-legs one),” Brown continued. "But he gets it. He has been responsible with most of it. We just have to make sure that we continue to help put him in environments that will allow him to maximize his health.

"When he did experience some minor pain he brought it to our attention and we just wanted to stay on top of it.”

The silver lining here? Well, Bodner might have tweeted it best.

None by Derek Bodner

This might not mean anything for Embiid's future at all. He could very well show up in Philadelphia's starting lineup on opening night next fall. Just as planned.

Once Embiid finally reaches a point where he can contribute to the Sixers, Brown envisions the center defending the rim and paint on defense and playing more like a power forward on offense, alongside fellow young big man Nerlens Noel.

“I don’t see Joel guarding people on the perimeter,” Brown said in Moore’s report for The Intelligencer. “I think Nerlens’ athleticism where he can switch out on point guards, guard 4-men, I just think there’s a versatility and athleticism that we’re going to really enjoy tapping into.”

The experiment with a modern day twin towers should be fun to watch — assuming the Sixers can get their two young centerpieces healthy simultaneously.

And assuming Noel and Embiid are both still with the team next season if Philadelphia’s latest tankapalooza (the 76ers’ 14-49 record is second-worst to New York’s 12-50) results in the No. 1 pick of 2015. The Sixers might decide they can’t pass up on a chance to grab Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. And you don’t need your three best players all occupying the same position.

Twin towers? Sure. Triple towers? Let's not go crazy.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


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Bill Self, Jayhawks turn their focus toward postseason

Coach Bill Self congratulates Kansas guard Frank Mason III after the Jayhawks overtime win over the West Virginia Mountaineers Tuesday, March 4.

Coach Bill Self congratulates Kansas guard Frank Mason III after the Jayhawks overtime win over the West Virginia Mountaineers Tuesday, March 4.

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self and his Jayhawks finally can turn their focus to the postseason.

At a press conference Monday in Allen Fieldhouse, Self spoke plenty about this week’s Big 12 Tournament and some about the NCAA madness that follows.

Of course, the status of three guys who didn’t play for KU at Oklahoma on Saturday — Perry Ellis, Cliff Alexander and Brannen Greene — came up too.

Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A:

• On being named the Big 12’s AP coach of the year: It’s nice, but it’s a reflection of the fact you have good players and a good team. There were several guys who could’ve won it.

“For the first time, I think the media actually knows what it’s talking about,” the coach joked (we assume).

• The mood after KU’s loss at Oklahoma was positive. The Jayhawks played hard, and fought and just got beat.

Losing on the last play again, like at West Virginia, made it harder to stomach. KU didn’t make shots the first half and did much better in the second half. The Jayhawks played better than they had the week prior, too.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) drives against Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) during the second half on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) drives against Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) during the second half on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

• Perry Ellis will be evaluated tomorrow, as he has been every day. The hope is he will be able to go full speed at practice by Wednesday. If that’s not the case, he won’t play Thursday.

Ellis will wear a brace the rest of the season, regardless, for precautionary measures.

• Self has never thought it is that important to win the Big 12 Tournament. The Jayhawks want to go and win, just like every team. But it’s the only game where you can lose and immediately be recharged and looking to what’s next.

As soon as you win it, your whole focus turns. There is no relishing it. You want to win it because you’re competitive and it’s against your peers, but it’s not the end of the earth if you don’t.

• One could make a case for seven or eight different teams winning the Big 12 Tournament if they get hot. You could also make a case that if those same teams don’t come out ready on Thursday, they will lose.

• Self might watch some other games this week if they’re on TV, but he won’t study them.

Kansas head coach Bill Self slaps hands with center Joel Embiid as he leaves the court following the Jayhawks' 86-64 win over Georgetown on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self slaps hands with center Joel Embiid as he leaves the court following the Jayhawks' 86-64 win over Georgetown on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

• In terms of preparing for the NCAA Tournament, Self will do something differently this year. Last year the team thought it was going to get Joel Embiid back and prepared for him to play. That was a mistake. The Jayhawks should’ve prepared not expecting him, and if he came back it would be a bonus.

KU spent too much energy thinking Embiid would come back. So this year, Self won’t count on Cliff Alexander coming back. If he gets cleared, KU will plug Alexander in.

• Based on Self’s limited information, which he read on the Yahoo! report, he doesn’t really know where Alexander’s situation stands.

So Self is planning not to have Alexander available.

“He’s a stud… He’s down.. But his attitude’s great,” Self said of Alexander. And the freshman big man probably has practiced better than ever.

Every good player in the country has “somebody meet with somebody.” It becomes illegal if there are things beyond that. And Self doesn’t have enough information on it to comment on that part of it.

• The players feel bad for Alexander, but there won’t be a negative situation if they don’t get him back. The guys are prepared and focused.

• Landen Lucas, Self thought even before the sophomore’s big day at OU, would be good enough to start at Kansas one day. He is a good player and a part of the program’s future moving forward.

• Brannen Greene should play on Thursday. He has handled his business since Saturday’s suspension. He needs to keep doing that.

• Self hasn’t talked to Wayne Selden Jr. since the game at OU, but the report from the trainer is he is fine. He should be 100 percent by Thursday.

Selden also has suffered from the flu.

“We checked everyone’s schedule and there is no time for anyone to get sick,” Self joked.

• Both Kansas State and TCU — KU’s potential opponents on Thursday — guarded Kansas really well in the regular season.

• The play KU ran to get Frank Mason III fouled on a three-pointer at the end of the Oklahoma loss worked out well. They call it “home run,” and probably every team in America runs it or something close. It is like the famous Valparaiso play.

• There is so much hype on the NCAA Tournament, it means more in people’s minds and you have to deliver. From KU’s perspective, you know the difference between some of the seeds is very small, even if some people think of certain outcomes as monumental upsets.

Everybody can beat everybody.

• Kentucky is “really good.” They won games where they didn’t play well and that’s what is impressive about their undefeated mark at this point.

But if something happens and they don’t win it all, it won’t be monumental. The best team doesn’t always win.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) dives out of bounds for an attempted save before the Jayhawks' bench during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) dives out of bounds for an attempted save before the Jayhawks' bench during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. by Nick Krug

• Jamari Traylor’s season has been up and down, but the last two games he has been really good. “He’s not big enough to do what he does,” Self said. Last year the role was easier for Traylor because he had big guys like Embiid and Tarik Black ahead of him.

Self just wishes he would defensive rebound the ball a little better. He’s on an uptick right now.

• Nothing that happened Saturday at OU will hurt Kansas, it can only help the team.

• You don’t want your guys practicing more than an hour and 10 minutes or so at this time of year to avoid fatigue. You might work on a couple of late-game situations a day and have some refreshers, but you don’t necessarily spend more time on those sorts of plays.

• “The Big 12 Tournament should stay in Kansas City.” That’s not because it is close to KU, it’s because it is the best setup. You’re guaranteed sellouts. At other conference tournaments there will be tons of empty seats in those early rounds.

Self joked, Fred Hoiberg would rather it be in Des Moines. But other league coaches like it in Kansas City, Missouri, too — not just Self.

• If KU hadn’t played such a good schedule the Jayhawks wouldn’t have had the same chance at a high seed as they do now, with a 24-7 record. The Jayhawks are used to playing hard schedules.

— Listen to the complete press conference: Bill Self talks Big 12 Tournament, March Madness and more

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Harmonizing sirens: The Ovaries-eez bring needed attention to Girls Rock Camp

The Ovaries-eez perform at the Replay Lounge on Friday

The Ovaries-eez perform at the Replay Lounge on Friday by Fally Afani

Women ruled the Replay stage on Friday night as part of a fundraiser to bring Girls Rock Camp to Lawrence. The night featured a stunningly wide array of female Lawrence performers ranging from the dainty to the nitty-gritty (we're looking at you, The Bad Ideas).

The night began with a swoon-worthy set from The Ovaries-eez. If their likable, punny name didn't win you over, their attitude did. We like to joke that this is the type of band you'd see in the feminist bookstore on "Portlandia." Amber Hansen, Johni Lacore and Monica George perfect the art of simplicity to convey female-centered themes, such as motherhood.

The three sirens who constantly harmonize over a softly strumming guitar. Very rarely do they stray from this style, although for a couple of songs they bust out the kick drum and pound away at a driving folk tune or two. After one song that featured the kick drum, they joked, "That's probably as hardcore as we get. We have a distortion pedal, but we don't use it." The rest of their time is spent softly crooning and gently swaying in their seats.

Here are a couple of clips from their Friday night performance, including one featuring that exciting kick drum!

Right now Girls Rock Lawrence needs lots of volunteers and donations. This is an extraordinary event that provides "a safe space for adolescent girls to participate in music education and mutual empowerment through Lawrence."

You can help by teaching a class, donating gear (this is something dudes can provide for the camp), or working to promote the camp, which runs the first week of June. For all information, including how to contact Girls Rock Lawrence, click here.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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These guys again: No. 15 Oklahoma

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12), forward Perry Ellis, and Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr., right, battle for a rebound with Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins (11) and Oklahoma TaShawn Thomas (35) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12), forward Perry Ellis, and Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr., right, battle for a rebound with Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins (11) and Oklahoma TaShawn Thomas (35) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Lon Kruger’s Oklahoma Sooners hoped Saturday’s regular-season finale at home against perennial power Kansas would decide the 2015 Big 12 championship.

However, two road losses in OU’s previous five games destroyed the Sooners’ chances of becoming the team that ended KU’s run of regular-season dominance.

Oklahoma lost at Kansas State by 3 on Valentine’s Day, and fell victim to a massive Iowa State comeback on Big Monday earlier this week.

Now, it’s not as if the No. 15 Sooners (20-9 overall, 11-6 Big 12) have nothing left to play for against the No. 9 Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4). There is the matter of closing down Lloyd Noble Center for the season in style, not to mention the feather in the cap a win over KU brings to a team’s résumé just before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Frankly, OU should feel pretty good about winning this rematch with Kansas. The Sooners recovered from a 20-point deficit at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 19 and took a four-point lead in the second half before Kansas won, 85-78.

KU is 5-5 in true road games. Plus, the Jayhawks, have neither Allen Fieldhouse, Perry Ellis nor Cliff Alexander to help them this time.

At home this season, OU has defeated Baylor, Iowa State, West Virginia and Oklahoma State (all ranked at the time).

OU visitors this season have been out-shot:

  • 48.3% to 36.6%, from the field

  • 40.6% to 29.2%, from 3-point land

With that in mind, here is a refresher on the Sooners KU will have to hold back to have a shot at entering the postseason on a three-game winning streak.

SOONERS STARTERS

No. 24 — Buddy Hield, 6-4, junior G

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) celebrates during the Sooners' comeback against Kansas during the second half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) celebrates during the Sooners' comeback against Kansas during the second half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 19 at KU: 26 points, 7/19 FGs, 4/13 3s, 8/9 FTs, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 TOs, 2 steals in 37 minutes

The Big 12’s leading scorer — his 18.5 points per game in conference are even better than his 17.3 average for the season — is a gunner. Hield already has taken 206 3-pointers, and has made 79 (2.7 makes a game).

In the league, the dynamic junior shoots 44.9% from the floor and 38.3% from 3-point land.

Hield and fellow starting guards, Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins, are active defenders, too. Hield has 26 steals in the Big 12, and the trio of guards all rank in the top eight in the conference in that category.

A strong candidate to be named conference player of the year, Hield torched KU in the first meeting, and now has two fewer interior defenders to worry about when he attacks off the dribble.

In eight league games, he has scored 20 points or more, and did so in each of his last two outings — 21 vs. TCU, 26 at Iowa State.

hoop-math.com update: Good luck coaxing Hield into taking 2-point jump shots, a range at which he only makes 32.9% of his attempts. He takes 2.5 of those a game and only 18.4% of his 397 shots this season have been 2-point jumpers. Hield basically lives downtown (51.9% of his shots are taken there), and at the rim. … Oh, yeah. Hield also has 20 put-backs on the offensive glass this year.

No. 11 — Isaiah Cousins, 6-4, junior G

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. reaches through for a steal against Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins (11) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. reaches through for a steal against Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins (11) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 19 at KU: 18 points, 7/15 FGs, 3/8 3s, 1/1 FTs, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 TOs, 2 steals in 38 minutes

KU didn’t have much success checking Cousins in the first game, either.

On the season, Cousins is the conference’s top 3-point shooter at 44.7%. Wouldn’t you know it, he’s even better in the Big 12: 30-for-65, 46.2%.

Basically, never leave that guy open. Especially at home, where he makes 51% of his 3-pointers.

Cousins averages 11.4 points and 3.9 boards in the conference, and he has 24 steals so far.

He has made 3 or more 3-pointers in 7 Big 12 games this season.

— hoop-math.com update: When he’s not taking 3-pointers, 38.2% of Cousins’ shots have been 2-point jumpers. He has made 39 of 113 (34.5%), and they primarily come one-on-one. Only 9 of his 2-point jumpers have been assisted.

No. 35 — Tashawn Thomas, 6-8, senior F

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) puts up a shot over Oklahoma forward TaShawn Thomas (35) and guard Jordan Woodard (10) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) puts up a shot over Oklahoma forward TaShawn Thomas (35) and guard Jordan Woodard (10) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 19 at KU: 4 points, 1/7 FGs, 2/2 FTs, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 6 TOs, 3 blocks in 25 minutes

The only OU starter who failed to reach double figures in the first meeting with KU, Thomas might not have a problem doing so this time around, what with the Jayhawks’ frontcourt looking so thin right now.

The big man averages 11.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in the league, and makes 47.5% of his shot attempts.

While Thomas has swatted away 24 shots in the Big 12, he also has drawn 8 charges in his last 9 games.

He had 4 offensive rebounds, and 8 total, in each of his last 2 games.

Thomas’s 24 points vs. BU and 22 vs. ISU this season keyed big home wins.

— hoop-math.com update: As you likely know by now, Thomas mostly operates inside, with 51.8% of his shots coming at the rim. He shoots 35.3% (41-for-116) on 2-point jumpers.

No. 00 — Ryan Spangler, 6-8, junior F

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) pulls back for an attempted dunk against Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler (00) during the second half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) pulls back for an attempted dunk against Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler (00) during the second half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 19 at KU: 13 points, 6/10 FGs, 0/1 3s, 1/1 FTs, 10 rebounds (4 offensive), 3 assists, 1 TO, 1 block in 37 minutes

Just about every KU opponent this season has had at least one guy hurt the Jayhawks on the offensive glass. For Oklahoma, that man was Spangler.

Thanks in part to his work on the boards when OU puts up a shot, he shoots 57.6% from the floor in the Big 12 — which easily makes him the league leader. Only ISU’s Monté Morris (51%) and Ellis (50%) are in the same neighborhood.

In league games, he averages 10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and has denied 24 shots.

For some reason, Spangler has taken 18 3-pointers this season in the league. He has made just 3 — 16.7%.

— hoop-math.com update: Even though most of Spangler’s boards come on defense, he averages 2.3 a game on offense, and has a team-leading 25 put-backs this season. 19% of his shots at the rim have been on the offensive glass. Spangler shoots 71.9% at the rim (87 of 121).

No. 10 — Jordan Woodard, 6-0, sophomore G

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) puts up a three from the corner as he is defended by Oklahoma guard Jordan Woodard (10) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) puts up a three from the corner as he is defended by Oklahoma guard Jordan Woodard (10) during the first half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 19 at KU: 10 points, 2/5 FGs, 6/7 FTs, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 TO, 1 block, 1 steal in 38 minutes

OU’s point guard averages 3.6 assists in the Big 12, to go with his 9.6 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Woodard isn’t quite the shooter — 11-for-32 from 3-point distance in the league — that Hield and Cousins are but he gets easy points at the free-throw line, where he connects 84.9% of the time (62 makes on team-leading 73 attempts).

His 1.59 steals a game also lead OU, and rank him tied for fourth in the league.

— hoop-math.com update: The point guard can get to the rim on his own. Of his 31 field goals at the rim this season, only six came via a teammate’s assist.

SOONERS BENCH

No. 1 — Frank Booker, 6-4, sophomore G

— Jan. 19 at KU: 3 points, 1/1 FGs, 1/1 3s, 0 TOs in 3 minutes

Booker’s role has increased significantly since the first matchup with Kansas.

He barely played back in January at the fieldhouse, but since then he has registered 15 minutes or more in 9 of the last 11 games (including each of the last 6). Booker now averages 14.4 minutes in Big 12 games, contributing 5.6 points off the bench.

Outside of Hield and Cousins, he is OU’s best 3-point shooter. In conference games, Booker has made 20 of 58 3-pointers (34.5%).

Though he went 0-for-5 at ISU on Monday, he made 4 of 8 recently — Feb. 21 at Texas Tech.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Some players take a lot of 3-pointers. And then there is Booker. This season, 79% of his shots have come behind the arc. (For comparison’s sake: Brannen Greene takes 71.8% of his shots from downtown.) Look for him to catch and shoot. 24 of his 28 makes from 3-point land have been assisted.

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Ponyboy returns from a dark place

Ponyboy at the Replay Lounge on March 5.

Ponyboy at the Replay Lounge on March 5. by Fally Afani

"This next one's called I hate myself and I wanna die."

Ponyboy went away for a little while. We don't know where they've been, but it must have been a dark place.

It's been a few months since the sludgy grunge duo's last show. We all thought they had officially called it quits. But on Thursday night, they returned to the Replay with a different feel to their set. Before the break, they were fairly saucy. But the band now has a much more somber attitude.

The lyrics are tortured and heartbreaking, but the rhythms are peppy enough to get stuck in your head. Thank God for those catchy bits, or else we'd all just surrender to sadness. Countering those mellow lyrics with more upbeat rhythms is no accident.

That's a deliberate move from frontman Charles McVey. He's very smart and knows what he's doing, and one of the few musicians left in town who comes off as a true artist.

He plays impressive solos on his bass that make you never question why there isn't a boring old six-string onstage. McVey's growls and screams are really all the rage.

He's got one of the more solid drummers in the area backing him up. David Zey's big, brawny frame owns that kick drum, and on this night he beat the drums so hard that a stick broke and flew out onto the front of the stage. He's the kind of drummer you could listen to doing sound check for hours.

The set was packed with nothing but new songs and ended on a surprise Sabbath cover. Here's one song we took to be called "I hate myself and I wanna die."

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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