Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”
A few of us were in the office trying to pick out the photograph that struck the loudest chord with us from Nick Krug’s "Jayhawk Decade" book, a best-of collection of photograph’s from the most successful 10-year run in Kansas basketball history, Bill Self’s first 10 seasons in Lawrence.
So I figured I would take a quick survey of four of the guys who share the sports department’s space in an office building that was transformed by Treanor Architects from an old post office into one of the cooler newspaper offices in the nation.
First, my favorite of the 144-page hard-cover book:
This emotional moment pops the connection Self shares with the Kansas fan base and shows why he remains in his job instead of caving to the temptation of moving to the NBA.
A seriously whipped-up Self is pictured thanking students in the crowd for lending such wild support during a Tyshawn Taylor-led comeback from an 18-point deficit to victory against chief rival Missouri. No regular-season NBA game could come close to making a coach, his players, and the spectators fly as high as the Jayhawks were flying in the emotional aftermath of this game.
Self’s an intense guy and a fun guy. KU students so loudly shared those qualities with the coach that day, when the strong connection burned deeper than ever. —Tom Keegan
Pages 84 & 85
My favorite photo in the book is Nick Krug's classic shot of Thomas Robinson dunking against Baylor. It shows the power of top players in the Bill Self era. The looks on the other players' faces were remarkable as well. —Gary Bedore
My favorite photo in the book features Self and forward Thomas Robinson having a moment after Robinson fouled out during KU’s November loss to Kentucky in New York City. The reason I like this photo above all of the other incredible images in the book is because it captured the essence of both Self and Robinson to perfection. Robinson was such an emotional player and I’m sure it was sometimes tough to reach him because of the passion and tenacity with which he played. In the moment depicted in the picture, a clearly calm and collected Self stands tall right in front of his All-American forward, nearly butting his forehead against Robinson’s, and seems to be going to whatever lengths necessary to calm Robinson down and lift him up at the same time. Self’s ability to do that throughout Robinson’s junior year was a big reason why the Jayhawks finished that season in the national title game in New Orleans. —Matt Tait
Nobody makes Jeff Withey bleed his own blood. This looks like a still from a Rocky movie. Withey just got smashed in the face and Krug’s photo perfectly captures the rage in the big man’s eyes. He’s waiting for the bell to ring, and he can’t wait to clock someone. Or, more likely, deny some player’s layup or dunk at the rim. —Benton Smith
It’s not a dunk, block or clutch three-pointer. And it’s a much quieter celebration than a Morrii chest bump or a spittle-spraying scream. But, to me, there’s something equally as striking about Chalmers’ and Rush’s salutes during overtime of the 2008 national championship.
It’s a surreal moment, on the verge of a title just minutes after a loss seemed all but inevitable. Chalmers and Rush have swapped emotions with the Memphis players hunched over behind them. The photo captures the prevailing feelings of the night: relief combined with that cool, of-course-we-got-this confidence I associate with the 2007-08 Jayhawks. — Nick Gerik
I know what you're thinking: What's with the shameless plug? Don't blame you for thinking that, but it doesn't happen to be the case. (Remember, it's Nick's book. I save shameless plugs for my own books.) "Jayhawk Decade" will sell out. A limited supply remains. This is just a helpful hint for shoppers stumped as to what to get for a Christmas present for the KU basketball fan in their lives. Order today and it should arrive ahead of Christmas Day. Wait until tomorrow and they might be gone. Click here to order the book. — Tom Keegan
Kansas started the week with a horrendous half of basketball in which it had 18 turnovers at Florida and finished the week with a terrific half that had Joel Embiid dominating and Naadir Tharpe facilitating against New Mexico in the Sprint Center. It translated to a tumble from 13th to 18th, seven spots behind Wichita State, in the Associated Press college basketball poll released Monday.
The AP top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 15, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Arizona (63)— 11-0— 1,623— 1
- Syracuse (2)— 10-0— 1,528— 2
- Ohio St.— 10-0— 1,464— 3
- Wisconsin— 12-0— 1,381— 4
- Michigan St.— 8-1— 1,297— 5
- Louisville— 9-1— 1,264— 6
- Oklahoma St.— 9-1— 1,165— 7
- Duke— 7-2— 1,053— 8
- Villanova— 10-0— 1,053— 10
- UConn— 9-0— 1,035— 9
- Wichita St.— 10-0— 923— 12
- Baylor— 8-1— 898— 14
- Oregon— 9-0— 834— 15
- North Carolina— 7-2— 792— 18
- Memphis— 7-1— 755— 16
- Florida— 7-2— 699— 19
- Iowa St.— 8-0— 698— 17
- Kansas— 7-3— 482— 13
- Kentucky— 8-3— 414— 11
- Colorado— 10-1— 405— 21
- Gonzaga— 10-1— 376— 20
- UMass— 9-0— 351— 22
- Missouri— 10-0— 222— 24
- San Diego St.— 7-1— 176— 25
- Iowa— 10-2— 72— 23
Others receiving votes: UCLA 69, Pittsburgh 66, Saint Mary's (Cal) 11, George Washington 5, Harvard 4, Oklahoma 4, Michigan 3, Toledo 3.
My AP ballot:
Arizona: Freshman star Aaron Gordon knows how to draw fouls, which isn’t necessarily such a good thing for nation’s top-ranked team. Gordon shooting just .447 from line.
Syracuse: With the possible exception of Indiana center Noah Vonleh, Orange point guard Tyler Ennis is the nation’s most underrated freshman. Canadian shoots .429 from three and has a 5-to-1 assists-turnover ratio.4. Ohio State: All 10 victories by double digits. ... With as much trouble as Trey McDonald has shooting from 15 feet (6 for 18), it’s no surprise he hasn’t attempted a trey.
Ohio State: With as much trouble as Trey McDonald has shooting from the free-throw line (6 for 18), it's no surprise he hasn't attempted a trey.
Wisconsin: All five starters shoot .390 or better from three and three of them are at .419 or better.
Louisville: Rick Pitino’s coaching tree bears a ton of fruit: Mick Cronin (Cincinnati), Billy Donovan (Florida), Richard Pitino (Minnesota), Herb Sendek (Arizona State), Tubby Smith (Texas Tech), Reggie Theus (Cal State Northridge) and Kevin Willard (Seton Hall). Pitino not only had excellent vision as a UMass point guard, he can see future head coaches when he hires them as assistants.
Michigan State: Nation’s top backcourt battling injuries. Gary Harris (out with ankle injury) and Keith Appling (playing with sore wrist and hip) make the Spartans go.
Oklahoma State: Marcus Smart settling for threes as often as he does is akin to a flame-thrower feeding the No. 9 hitter off-speed pitches.
Duke: Comparisons to Carmelo Anthony looking pretty good for Jabari Parker so far.
North Carolina: The season opened with Kentucky, Michigan State and Louisville holding down the top three spots in the AP poll. Carolina has beaten all three of them by a combined margin of 28 points, overshadowing losses to Belmont and UAB.
Villanova: A whopping 45.6 percent of Wildcats’ shots are three-pointers, eighth-highest percentage in the nation, yet they make only 32.1 percent. So how do they stay undefeated? By playing terrific defense.
Wichita State: Shockers hit the road to try to make it two victories against SEC schools in four days Tuesday vs. Alabama. Senior Trevor Releford, brother of former KU starter Travis, leads Crimson Tide in scoring (16.4), three-point shooting (.386) and turnovers (3.5). Getting the ball inside will be key to staying undefeated for Shockers.
UConn: Huskies No. 1 in nation with .465 three-point accuracy, compared to .295 for opponents.
Baylor: Cory Jefferson and Rico Gathers hammer the offensive boards consistently for Bears.
Kentucky: Youngest team in nation gets 83 percent of its points from freshmen, led by Julius Randle (17.2), who also gives UK 11.4 rebounds per game.
Oregon: For more than a quarter-century people looked at me funny when I told them field-goal percentage is meaningless since it assigns equal value to three-point and two-point field goals, instead of giving a three-point bucket 150 percent of the value of a two-pointer. In recent years, the stat is tracked and called “effective field-goal percentage.” Oregon ranks fourth in the nation at .594.
Florida: What a week for the Gators. It started with defeating Kansas (24 turnovers) and ended with news that 6-10 McDonald’s All-American Chris Walker had been admitted to school and cleared to practice with the team. He still needs to make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse before he can play in games.
Kansas: Georgetown started its winning streak with a 27-point victory against Kansas State. Streak should grow to seven after Hoyas play Elon on Tuesday. KU will be facing confident squad Saturday (11 a.m. tipoff) in Allen Fieldhouse.
Memphis: Tigers have tough one Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden against Florida in Jimmy V Classic.
Iowa State: Some day, Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle can tell his grandchildren he played the part of Ben McLemore in Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg’s recurring nightmare. Tuttle, as McLemore did a year ago, banked in a three-point shot after Hoiberg, up three points, decided not to foul. It forced overtime. The difference this time: The Cyclones went on to win. “I’m sick of seeing people bank in threes,” Hoiberg said. Put in the same situation vs. Iowa, Hoiberg told his players to foul, but they didn’t execute his wishes and Iowa launched a potential game-tying three. Seeing a terrific coach like Hoiberg struggle with a no-brainer decision is like watching a great basketball player struggle at the free-throw line. Foul. Period.
UMass: Junior center Cady Lalanne, who originally signed with Georgia but was denied admission at the last minute, having break-through season, his first without injuries. Averaging 15.2 points and 9.8 rebounds.
Colorado: Fourth-year coach Tad Boyle has Buffs on course for third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Last season was first time CU made the field in consecutive years since 1962-63.
Gonzaga: Zags, shooting .444 from three-point land, will face pro-K-State crowd against Wildcats for 2:30 tipoff Saturday.
Pittsburgh: Young, undefeated team fattening up on soft schedule won’t have that luxury once ACC season starts.
Missouri: Averaging 37.2 minutes, 19 points and 5.5 rebounds and shooting .422 from three, Jabari Brown isn’t the best Jabari in college basketball, but he is the Tigers’ most valuable player.
San Diego State: Hot-shooting Aztecs visit Allen Fieldhouse Jan. 5. Senior Xavier Thames and freshman Matt Shrigley combining to shoot .532 from three.
Gainesville, Fla. — If talent wins tonight's game in Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Kansas will prevail. If experience is the deciding factor, Florida will win. That can be said about most of KU's games, of course.
For the first time this season, KU coach Bill Self will start four freshman, the same lineup he sent to the floor to start the second half in Boulder, Col. Frank Mason is making his third start, joining regular starters Wayne Selden Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Perry Ellis. Center Joel Embiid, who played high school basketball in Gainesville last season, makes his first start for the Jayhawks, replacing foul-plagued power forward Tarik Black.
Florida's starting lineup, listed in the pre-game notes: Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II at guards, Casey Prather and Will Yeguete at forwards and Patric Young at center. Prather leads Florida four Gators in double figures with 19.1 points per game. Yeguete is the only Gator starter not in double figures.
Thanks to the return of freshman guard Kasey Hill, the talent disparity won't be as much as the starting lineups suggests. Freshman guard Kasey Hill is back from a sprained ankle injury that sidelined him for four games. He and Wilbeken will play together for the first time this season. Wilbeken was suspended for the first five games.
It will be interesting to see whether KU coach Bill Self will start the game with Wiggins or Selden guarding Prather, a 6-foot-6, 212-pound senior who has attempted just three three-point field goals all season.
The Gators do have a couple of three-point threats, most notably Frazier (23 for 44, .523) and Wilbekin (4 for 8 in three games.)
Florida is coming off a buzzer-beater loss at UConn, a game in which the Gators lost despite winning the battle of the boards, 34-26. The Jayhawks are coming off a buzzer-beater loss at Colorado, where the Buffaloes made good use of 15 offensive rebounds.
Gainesville, Fla. — The second consecutive brutal travel day was halfway done when I checked my phone for messages during a layover in Atlanta.
Four voice mails from the Associated Press man in charge of compiling the college basketball poll from his 65 voters, the first coming a few minutes after the flight from Kansas City to Atlanta took off. The last came shortly after it landed, informing me, as it turned out, it was too late.
My first fear was that the ballot I had e-mailed at 2:29 a.m. Monday was lost in cyberspace, out there somewhere in never land, where bags lost by airlines end up.
As far as the integrity of the AP poll itself, not receiving anything would have been worse. As for my credibility with the fan base of the team I accidentally left off when moving teams around by cutting and pasting, well, there could not have been a more unfortunate omission. Never mind that I consistently have lobbied for Kansas to play Wichita State on an annual, home-and-home basis, believing it would be great preparation for Kansas for the NCAA tournament, must-see entertainment for the entire state of Kansas and selfishly, a great story to tell.
Nobody wants to hear that now. I cut Wichita State without pasting in attempting to move the Shockers to 11th and didn’t notice the mistake when reviewing my top 25 for the final time before sending it.
The AP figured that was what happened, but couldn’t read my mind, so as the deadline passed, left it as it was. It didn’t change the Shockers’ 12th-place standing in the poll. (The 145 points they lost would have given them 899, 27 points shy of No. 11 Kentucky).
On my previous five ballots, starting with the preseason, I had the Shockers ranked 19th, 19th, 13th, 12th and 13th.
In trying to find a bright spot to my goof, I arrived upon this: If anyone uses this to bring the need for the the two Big 12 schools from Kansas to play Wichita State every year back into the conversation, well then, it’s not all bad.
I encourage everyone reading this to do what I did a couple of hours ago. Go to pollspeak.com and vote for me as the bad voter of the week.
Here’s the ballot I sent to the AP, which really was a top 26, minus 1:
1. Arizona: A year out of college, I was watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson when a 14-year-old basketball prodigy came on, seemed so at ease kicking back and chatting with Johnny and then wowed with him a variety of ball tricks. I remember telling myself to commit his name to memory to see if he would resurface as a college basketball player. He sure did. Sean Miller of Ellwood City, Pa., was the starting point guard for four years for Pittsburgh and now coaches the nation’s No. 1 team. He always had even more substance than style to his game.
2. Syracuse: If you ever get there, find your way to Heid's Hot Dogs, home of delicious white hot dogs, aka porkers, not to be confused with bratwursts. White hots go well with a nice root beer and french fries smothered in ketchup. Then again, what doesn’t?
3. Ohio State: First rough week in football, another strong week in basketball.
4. Michigan State: First rough week in basketball, another strong week in football.
5. Louisville: Rick Pitino’s son, Richard Pitino, is off to a good start at Minnesota, where the Golden Gophers are 8-2 and scored a big victory against a big Florida State team.
6. Wisconsin: Sam Dekker, 6-7 sophomore forward, inspires so many adjectives. Explosive, dynamic, intense, relentless. He’s a threat to score from three-point range or from three feet above the rim.
7. Oklahoma State: Three-point shooting a forte for Cowboys (.410 from long distance) and nobody does it better than Phil Forte (.532).
8. Kentucky: Youngest team in the nation plays host Tuesday to undefeated Boise State, a veteran team that doesn’t beat itself.
9. Duke: Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, nation’s top tandem, combining to shoot 50 percent from three and scoring 41.4 points per game.
10. Villanova: Remains undefeated despite shooting just .439 overall, .328 from three.
11. Kansas: Three-point shooting woes: Frank Mason (3 for 19), Brannen Greene (1 for 5), Conner Frankamp (3 for 13).
12. Connecticut: Good in the clutch. Huskies have beaten Maryland, Indiana and Florida by one, Boston College by two.
13. Baylor: Rico Gathers, 6-foot-8, 270-pound sophomore from Laplace, La., an absolute monster on boards. Averaging 15.9 minutes and 7.1 rebounds per game. Interesting stat line in five-point victory against Kentucky: six points, 13 rebounds, three steals.
14. Oregon: Ducks remained undefeated with 115-105 overtime victory at Ole Miss. Could it be Ducks women’s coach Paul Westhead has been making guess appearances at Dana Altman’s practices? Westhead coached the Loyola Marymount men’s team when the Lions won a game 181-150 the year before they averaged 122.5 points a game.
15. Florida: Both Gators losses were to teams that remain undefeated, Wisconsin and UConn. ... KU defenders can’t lose sight of Michael Frazier II. In the loss to Wiconsin and victories against Jacksonville and Florida State, Frazier has made 15 of 21 (.714) three-pointers.
16. North Carolina: When your buddy uses comparative scores to prove his team is better than yours, hit him with a series of your own. North Carolina beat Michigan State by 14. UAB beat North Carolina by four. Temple beat UAB by 21. Towson beat Temple by 6. Sam Houston State beat Towson by 12. Liberty beat Sam Houston State by four. So that makes Liberty 61 points better than Michigan State. I’ll take the 61 points and the Spartans. You take the Flames.
17. Memphis: Coach Josh Pastner looks so much older than when he coached his second game for the Tigers, a 57-55 loss to Kansas, in 2009. Another few years or so and he’ll blend right in with college students. Youthful appearance hasn’t prevented him from compiling .760 winning percentage.
18. Iowa State: Scientists are hard at work at this very moment, trying to figure out how to wax the hardwood in such a way as to necessitate wearing a different type of shoe, but keeping it a secret. Best guess as to when the project will be completed. Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, the day Kansas comes in for an 8 p.m. tipoff.
19. Iowa: The nearby Amana Colonies feature fine family-style dining with delectable corn.
20. Colorado: It’s official: The wording “rising” can be removed from “rising star in the college basketball coaching ranks” next to Tad Boyle’s name. Smart, fiery yet poised, charismatic, confident, Boyle shares many qualities with the coach of his alma mater.
21. Gonzaga: Canadian sensation Kevin Pangos averaging 19.8 points, shooting .927 from the line, .500 from three and has an assists-to-turnover ratio of 3.5 to 1.
22. UMass: Minutemen should be called Secondmen as quickly as they put up shots. Chaz Williams, 5-9, 175-pound senior from Brooklyn, put up just 14 from field during 32-point night vs. BYU.
23. Pittsburgh: Panthers haven’t played much of anybody yet, but they sure do know how to beat up on sparring partners.
24. Missouri: Enjoyed defeating West Virignia 80-71 so much Tigers decided to do it again, beating UCLA by the same score.
25. San Diego State: In their last 99 games, the Aztecs are 99-0 when leading with five minutes left. Coach Steve Fisher’s poise is contagious.
Nick Harwell likely to be big hit for Kansas football, based on performances of other recent transfers from four-year schools
Dayne Crist, Anthony McDonald and Mike Ragone from Notre Dame. Jake Heaps from Brigham Young. Josh Williams from Nebraska.
All five were highly rated out of high school and for various reasons were not able to either earn or keep starting assignments at their original colleges.
Based on those five transfers’ performances for Kansas under Charlie Weis, expect big things from Miami (Ohio) transfer wide receiver Nick Harwell. Why? Because the others performed at a similar level at Kansas as they had at their first schools.
The lesson to be learned: It’s generally not the school, the coach, or the system that keeps a player from excelling. It’s how his ability translates to college competition and the degree to which his body holds up. Obviously, how they do against college competition is a far greater predictor of success than how highly they were ranked in high school.
In three seasons at Miami, Harwell averaged 76.3 receptions, 1,055.3 yards and 7.6 touchdowns. In 11 games as a sophomore, Harwell caught 97 passes for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns. In a five-game stretch that ended with the 2012 season-opener, he caught 55 passes for 867 yards and eight touchdowns.
No need to worry whether he can handle Big 12 competition. Harwell played two games against Big 10 schools. His combined totals vs. Minnesota and Ohio State: 20 receptions, 282 yards, one TD.
Harwell was suspended by Miami last April after he was arrested. He ultimately pled guilty to attempted theft, a second-degree misdemeanor. He is eligible to play in 2014.
To put his numbers in perspective, consider KU’s TD reception leaders from the wide receiver position the past four seasons: 2010: Daymond Patterson and Johnathan Wilson, two; 2011: D.J. Beshears and JaCorey Shepherd three; 2012: None; 2013: Rodriguez Coleman, Justin McCay, Tony Pierson, Andrew Turzilli, one.
Despite book-ending his junior season with multiple drops, tight end Jimmay Mundine had five of the team’s nine TD catches.
The voters in the Associated Press college basketball poll didn't punish Kansas too severely for losing to Villanova in a Battle 4 Atlantis semi-final game played in the Bahamas. The Jayhawks (6-1) dropped from second to sixth, one spot behind Ohio State, one spot ahead of defending national-champion Louisville.
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 1, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Michigan St. (63)— 7-0— 1,623—1
- Arizona (2)— 7-0— 1,547— 4
- Kentucky— 7-1— 1,473— 3
- Syracuse— 7-0— 1,375— 8
- Ohio St.— 6-0— 1,340— 7
- Kansas— 6-1— 1,240— 2
- Louisville— 6-1— 1,139— 9
- Wisconsin— 8-0 — 1,094— 10
- Oklahoma St.— 7-1— 1,070— 5
- Duke— 6-2— 1,021— 6
- Wichita St.— 8-0— 911 — 12
- UConn— 7-0— 836— 13
- Oregon— 7-0— 801— 14
- Villanova— 7-0— 785— NR
- Florida — 6-1— 758— 15
- Memphis — 5-1— 748— 21
- Iowa St. — 5-0— 623— 17
- UCLA— 7-0 — 548— 19
- Gonzaga— 7-1— 380v 11
- Baylor— 7-1— 377— 18
- UMass— 6-0— 274— 24
- Michigan— 5-2 — 223— 22
- Iowa— 7-1— 171— 23
- San Diego St.— 5-1— 150— NR
- Dayton— 6-1— 90— NR
Others receiving votes: Indiana 74, Virginia 73, New Mexico 71, North Carolina 62, Florida St. 40, Boise St. 36, Pittsburgh 36, VCU 30, Charlotte 20, Colorado 17, Creighton 17, Missouri 16, Harvard 10, Illinois 10, Cincinnati 8, Mississippi 3, George Washington 2, Saint Mary's (Cal) 2, Xavier 1.
My AP ballot:
1. Michigan State: Crossword puzzle authors rooting for senior do-it-all center Adreian Payne to hit winning shot in NCAA title game so he will be famous enough that his first name can become a common answer, such as “aloe,” “area,” “aria,” and “Erie.”
2. Kentucky: The Cats attack offensive glass with muscle, hustle and quickness to snare 48.0 percent of the shots they miss, second nationally only to Cincinnati (48.1), per kenpom.com.
3. Arizona: Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-foot soph KU finished second on coming along nicely for Zona, averaging 9.7 points, 6.7 boards, 1.9 blocked shots.
4. Louisville: One of five schools on this ballot that will be play in ACC next year and North Carolina isn’t one of them. With Cards coming on board, ACC will be more loaded than Otis from the Andy Griffith Show.
5. Syracuse: The sun never shines in this central, N.Y. town, which is a shame because sunlight brings out the best in the Orange. Jim Boeheim has a 9--0 record in Maui Classic. He has C.J. Fair to thank for another tourney title.
6. Ohio State: All six victories by double digits, but it’s how many, not by how many, that counts. Just ask the football team, which edged that school from up north by a point. Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller, join the Heisman Trophy race.
7. Kansas: Ranks 265th in nation with .307 three-point marksmanship and 347th in experience of 351 teams, according to kenpom.com. Only James Madison, Evansville, Howard and Kentucky, the nation’s least experienced squad, rank below KU.
8. UConn: Rank sixth in nation with .446 three-point accuracy. Even retired coach Jim Calhoun wouldn’t sneer at that, except 55.4 percent of the time.
9. Duke: Freshman Jabari Parker finally held under 20 points, scoring 19 in loss to Arizona. It wasn’t for lack of effort. He hoisted 21 shots.
10. Villanova: Size matters, but ‘Nova proves it’s possible to compensate with a good game plan executed with serious passion and timely long-range shooting.
11. Oregon: Schedule thickens with next two games at undefeated Ole Miss and at home vs. unbeaten Illinois. Nike marketing department finally forming sweat beads.
12. Oklahoma State: Markel Brown (.516/.806/.471), not Marcus Smart (.460/.657/.340), needs to lead this team in shots. Smart’s the only one who can make that happen.
13. Wichita State: Fred VanVleet, 5-11 soph shooting .471 from three, more than just an All-Name Team candidate. Has 3.1 assists-to-turnover ratio and shooting .838 from line.
14. Wisconsin: One of the nation’s most deliberate teams, Badgers keep working Bo Ryan’s swing offense until they get a good shot. And then the students head into the cold night and make up for lost time at a rapid pace. Madtown a fun town.
15. Florida: Next three games all against ranked opponents: At UConn, vs. Kansas, Memphis on a neutral court.
16. UCLA: Aside from Yogi Berra quotes, some of which he said, as far as I can tell, JFK’s “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” is the only famous 20th century quote not yet attributed to John Wooden. Give it time.
17. Iowa State: Senior DeAndre Kane, transfer from Marshall, turns 25 in June, which makes him a much more muscular version of Brady Morningstar. Kane, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound native of Pittsburgh, tearing it up for Cyclones. Averaging 16.4 points and 8.4 rebounds and shooting .617/.400/.714. That doesn’t mean Andrew Wiggins can’t shut him down.
18. Florida State: Thinking he is original, an announcer, perhaps several, will say of the Seminoles: “I’ll tell you what, you do NOT want to play these guys in March.” Lost by one point in Gainesville.
19. Gonzaga: Bounced back nicely from loss to quality Dayton team.
20. Iowa: Big and fast Hawkeyes went down in OT to Nova in Battle 4 Atlantis title game. No word yet on what Iowa coach Fran McCaffery’s wife, Margaret, thought of the officiating. I think we all know what she thought of it, though, don’t you think?
21. UMass: Had the week off to bask in the glow of national ranking.
22. Baylor: Fascinating matchup with Kentucky, which features two of the nation’s tallest teams, will take place Friday in a big building, the Jerry Jones Dome in Arlington, Texas, aka AT&T Stadium.
23. Pittsburgh: On your next visit to this town that has such a beautiful baseball park, make sure to experience a meal at Primanti Brothers. Sandwiches come with fresh-cut french fries and coleslaw jammed between the meat and the top slice of bread. Goes well with a side of fries.
24. Memphis: Tigers knocked off Oklahoma State to improve coach Josh Pastner’s record against AP Top 25 teams to 1-13. We knew you could do it, Josh.
25. San Diego State: When Xavier Thames shoots from long range, flames fly off the basketball. Combined to make 9 of 11 threes to help Aztecs knock off then-ranked Big East teams Creighton and Marquette over the weekend.
Spread the field and run the football. It worked for Kansas against West Virginia and it worked for Oklahoma against Kansas State.
Sometimes, it pays to take the obvious approach. I’ll be shocked if Charlie Weis makes the mistake of thinking that just because K-State knows it’s coming means it’s time to throw a changeup. You know, start Jake Heaps and fire passes all over the field to receivers who have trouble getting open and a tough time catching passes when they are open.
James Sims doesn’t need the surprise element to run effectively with the field spread, true freshman Montell Cozart at quarterback and Kansas State playing without injured run-stopper supreme Ty Zimmerman.
Sims, the only running back in KU history who has rushed for back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, wraps up an underrated senior year today.
Sims is averaging a career-best 4.9 yards per carry and career-high 24 receptions. Sims needs two rushing touchdowns today to make it four consecutive seasons with nine rushing touchdowns.
After a poor performance a week ago in Ames, Iowa, where he stepped out of bounds a yard in front of the first-down marker and seemed bothered by the extreme cold, Cozart has a chance to show he’s a tough competitor by running more aggressively than he ever has with a Jayhawk on the side of his helmet.
A strong season finale would establish Cozart as the favorite to win the quarterback competition heading into spring football, not that means much. Whichever quarterback performs the best and is seen as the best fit for incoming offensive coordinator/O-line coach John Reagan’s offense in the battle that includes UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard, will win the job.
Still, Cozart can only help his cause with an effort that shows he has the physical toughness and passing accuracy (20 for 56, 3.8 yards per attempt, no touchdown passes so far) to lead a Big 12 team.
The weather.com forecast calls for 7 mph winds and 44 degrees for the 11 a.m. kickoff, which ought to feel plenty comfortable for a game to be played on an ice-free field.
Naturally, Kansas State is favored by a couple of touchdowns and a field goal, in that range.
No player in a Kansas uniform for today’s game has won the state-rivalry game. K-State has won the past four games, the past three by an average score of 58-15.
This one doesn’t feel like that sort of a lopsided game. It’s starting to feel as if KU can make a game of it.
When giving thanks today, don't forget to send a little the way of the basketball gods for enabling you to watch potential superstar Joel Embiid play during his formative years. Shockingly, this is only his third year of organized basketball.
Embiid played more soccer and volleyball growing up and the soccer clearly contributed to his amazing footwork, so rare for a 7-footer. He moves his feet like a point guard and sees the floor like one too. Coach Bill Self listed Embiid, Frank Mason, Naadir Tharpe and Wayne Selden as the team's four best passers.
Check out this feed of Andrew Wiggins in the Duke game:
And this find of hot-shooting Brannen Greene, again in the Duke game:
Against Towson in Allen Fieldhouse, Embiid showed he's a quick study by applying his coach's advice.
"I talked to coach (Bill) Self and I had to watch Jeff Withey video tape and coach just told me to stay on the ground and not go for shot fakes, so that's what I do."
He also showed extraordinary ability throwing the outlet pass to teammates fast enough to run them down.
"I'd like to say I've been working with him on that, but I think it's more instinctive," Self said of the outlet passes. "He's smart. He understands. He's got feel. You know, he played with that AAU team with Chris Walker (Florida) and Brannen (Greene) and Kasey Hill (Florida). The only time he touched it was when he rebounded it, so he wanted to try to do something positive. He's been doing that for a while."
In the event you promised you wouldn't watch KU basketball highlights at the Thanksgiving dinner table, we'll leave the sound off these highlights of Embiid blocking shots and throwing outlet passes against Towson. Just hide your iPhone under the table and keep your reactions to yourself.
Charlie Weis is coming back for his third season as Kansas University’s football coach, but his offense isn’t.
That’s why news that John Reagan will join KU as offensive coordinator/O-line coach is a win-win for a football program that can’t keep firing its head coach every two years and can’t expect to become competitive in the Big 12 running an offense ill-suited for the college game.
One criticism of Weis you never have read here was the one so often aimed in his direction: He’s an arrogant know-it-all.
No, he’s not. He’s an obnoxious Jersey wise-donkey, but he’s not as stubborn as a mule. Never has Weis shown that he doesn’t claim to know it all more clearly than now, by going outside the program to bring in a guy who has shown he knows college X’s and O’s and wins games even when he doesn’t have the fastest Jimmies and Joes.
Weis couldn’t beat Reagan, so he enticed him to join him, not the move of a man too proud to acknowledge he is not the master of the football universe.
Reagan’s plate will be full, handling both OC and O-line duties, but maybe he’ll be able to bring one of his former KU linemen who has been working under him at Rice with him to help out. Adrian Mayes and Ryan Cantrell both are on the Rice staff.
What happens to Tim Grunhard? He’ll resign from KU.
Word began to spread throughout high school football circles in recent weeks that Aquinas High in Overland Park, which has a football head coaching vacancy, would be interested in talking to him. It’s not known whether Grunhard, former head coach at Miege, will pursue the opening.
Next season, Weis’ two most influential assistants will be former Mark Mangino aides, with Reagan running the offense and Clint Bowen the defense. Weis has proven he knows how to motivate players to bring the energy on Saturday and get it done in the classroom. Winning in football is a tough challenge at Kansas.
Heading into next season, Weis will have two years’ worth of trial and error on which to bank, and two assistants who won three bowl games in a four-year span.
If you passed on taking a Thanksgiving trip to the Bahamas to watch the Kansas basketball team compete in a tournament and are regretting that decision, start planning now to work on the tan two Novembers from now.
Kansas is one of eight schools that will participate in the championship round of the 2015 Maui Classic, played in the cozy Lahaina Civic Center. The rest of the field, announced by the tournament Monday: Chaminade, the host school of the event since 1984, Indiana, St. John’s, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
KU last participated in the tourney in 2011, when it lost to Duke in the title game, 68-61. Other than Div. II host Chaminade, schools are only allowed to participate in the Maui Classic once in a four-year span.
The Jayhawks won the Maui Classic in 1996, defeating Virginia, 80-63, in the title game. Raef LaFrentz was named MVP.
KU is the favorite in the “Battle 4 Atlantis” tournament that starts Thanksgiving Day and runs through Saturday. KU’s first game, vs. Wake Forest on Thanksgiving, is scheduled to tip off at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Iowa, 23rd in the Associated Press poll, is the only other Top 25 team in the field. Three schools appear in “others receiving votes,” listed under the poll: 35. Villanova, 36. Xavier, 39 (tie). Tennessee.
Louisville lost Sunday to North Carolina in the biggest game of the weekend in college basketball, which changed how the top of my ballot looked, but not how the final Associated Press poll shaped up. Michigan State remains first, Kansas University second.
The AP top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 24, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Michigan St. (56) — 6-0— 1,616— 1
- Kansas (8)— 4-0— 1,559— 2
- Kentucky— 4-1— 1,445— 4
- Arizona— 5-0— 1,425— 5
- Oklahoma St. (1)— 4-0— 1,347— 7
- Duke— 5-1— 1,285— 6
- Ohio St.— 4-0— 1,206— 8
- Syracuse— 4-0— 1,161— 9
- Louisville— 5-1— 1,103— 3
- Wisconsin— 6-0— 960— 12
- Gonzaga— 4-0— 830— 13
- Wichita St.— 5-0— 809— 14
- UConn— 6-0— 798— 18
- Oregon — 4-0— 731— 17
- Florida— 4-1— 729— 16
- North Carolina— 4-1— 712— 24
- Iowa St.— 4-0— 521— 21
- Baylor— 4-0— 437— 20
- UCLA— 5-0— 416— 22
- Creighton— 4-0— 373— 23
- Memphis— 2-1— 354— 11
- Michigan— 4-2— 238— 14
- Iowa— 5-0— 197— NR
- UMass— 6-0— 188—NR
- Marquette— 3-1— 126— 25
Others receiving votes: New Mexico 82, VCU 71, Florida St. 63, Virginia 61, Indiana 47, Boise St. 35, Charlotte 35, Belmont 31, Arizona St. 23, Harvard 22, Colorado 19, Villanova 16, Xavier 11, Pittsburgh 10, Missouri 8, Cincinnati 7, Tennessee 7, Minnesota 6, Illinois 2, George Washington 1, Georgetown 1, Texas A&M 1.
My AP ballot:
1. Kansas: When I started typing this sentence, Joel Embiid was a good basketball player. Now he’s really good. By the time you read this, he will be really, really good.
2. Michigan State: Strong, quick, tough, skilled, experienced. Weird stat: Only four blocked shots six games into season.
3. Kentucky: Freshmen scoring 84 percent of points, compared to 59 percent for Kansas.
4. Oklahoma State: With impressed Kevin Durant watching, Marcus Smart scored 39 in 101-80 blowout of Memphis.
5. Arizona: Nick Johnson — not the sweet-swinging left-handed hitter whose career could have been better had he been more dedicated to injury rehabilitation assignments, the junior guard — improves steadily. Shooting percentages: .372, .448, .588.
6. Duke: Vermont (1-5) shot .648 and stormed back from 15-point deficit only to lose, 91-90. Afterward, Duke’s Rodney Hood summed up Blue Devils’ shortcomings, saying, “We’re not connected on the defensive end.”
7. North Carolina: Lefty point guard Marcus Paige was pretty doggone good, scoring 32 points to lead Heels to nine-point victory against defending national champions.
8. Louisville: Don’t blame Russ Smith (36 points) for 21-game winning streak ending in loss to UNC.
9. Syracuse: St. Francis (NY), scoreless the last 4:10, led by four until Orange finished on 10-0 run to win 56-50.
10. Oregon: More than just the football team scores a lot of points. Ducks averaging 89.5 and unlike the football team, they don’t mind settling for three-point field goals.
11. Ohio State: More than just Crafty guard play has Buckeyes battling to stay undefeated. Junior shot-blocker Amir Williams emerging. He has worked hard to improve his free throw-shooting from year to year: .357, .557, .824.
12. Wichita State: Soph Ron Baker from Scott City shooting 50 percent from three and has a 3.7 assists-to-turnovers ratio.
13. Wisconsin: College basketball players do improve during their careers so be careful of labeling a freshman project as a stiff not worth developing. Frank Kaminsky, a junior 7-footer, scored a school-record 43 points, made 16 of 19 shots, all six three-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws in a 103-85 victory against North Dakota.
14. Florida: At some point in the Dec. 10 game vs. Kansas in Gainesville, Fla., look for Andrew Wiggins to lobby Bill Self to guard Casey Prather (17.2 ppg), unless that is, Wiggins checks him the whole game, in which case that will make for an interesting matchup.
15. UConn: German swing man Niels Giffey, a junior, shooting beleuchtungen out for Huskies. Has made 14 of 20 three-pointers. But it was Shabazz Napier who scored 47 percent of team’s points in one-point victory vs. Indiana.
16. UCLA: Nation’s most underrated player? Small forward Jordan Adams (22.2 points, 3.4 steals a game, .462 three-point shooter). He loves it though, based on his Twitter (@jordanadams 1231) motto: “I’m like a pillow I love when they sleep on me!”
17. Iowa State: I’m old enough to remember when Canada was a hockey country. Do-it-all senior Melvin Ejim of Toronto metro area scored 22 vs. Michigan, 21 in Provo against BYU.
18. Florida State: Boris Bojanovsky, 7-foot-3, 235-pound soph from Slovak Republic, spotted walking, chewing gum at same time and pitching in with 10 points and three blocked shots in OT loss to Michigan. Backup Michael Ojo, 7-1, 292, of Nigeria added eight points on night 7-footers combined for 8 of 11 from field.
19. Gonzaga: Ex-KU half-freshman Micah Downs, playing for Budivelnyk Kyiv of the Ukrainian Super League, never averaged more than 10 points for Zags, but did develop into defensive stopper. Was West Coast Conference tournament MVP as senior in 2009. I’d still like to know how he snuck out of Lawrence. Was it in the middle of the night, the way Bear Bryant’s Junction City Boys escaped? Did he do it in broad daylight? Did he hitch-hike to the airport? Micah, if you’re reading this, contact me via Twitter @TomKeeganLJW.
20. Iowa: Roy Devyn Marble won’t eclipse his father’s school record (2,116 points), has scored 1,207 points and leads team in scoring for second year in a row.
21. Creighton: Doug McDermott is the greatest walk-on ever. Father was out of scholarships when NCAA granted Grant Gibbs a sixth year of eligibility. That’s worked out well for both McDermotts. Gibbs averaging 5.8 assists.
22. UMass: Stirring memories of Marcus Camby, emerging star Cady Lalanne, a 6-10 junior, averaging 17.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and shooting .643 from field, .727 from line.
23. Baylor: Slender 7-1 soph Isaiah Austin blocking 4.8 shots a game but still hasn’t figured out how to get easy buckets at other end.
24. Xavier: Tough Battle 4 Atlantis game against Iowa on Thanksgiving could reveal plenty about both teams.
25. Pittsburgh: If Talib Zanna (15.3 points, 9 rebounds) ever makes it to the NBA and TV goes to NFL-style introductions, look for Talib to stare at the camera and proudly state, “Pittsburgh,” showing love for his school.
It certainly doesn’t rank in the top five of reasons the Kansas basketball program is the No. 1 choice of so many elite athletes, but the lob play might just be the most subtle factor that never is discussed.
Basketball prospects watch SportsCenter highlights. So often they feature a player on the run tossing a pass to a teammate who soars above the rim and flushes it. Typically, that is followed by a crowd shot of students going wild. What better way to market a basketball team and its wild atmosphere? Fun games in which to play and attend.
Most of the highlights from Tuesday night’s victory against Iona College came from players in the 5-foot-something/7-foot category.
The best in the former category involved Naadir Tharpe setting up Frank Mason, the two shortest players on the team playing so fast.
The highlight of Mason throwing down Tharpe’s lob might have taken the television audience by surprise, but nobody in the program was shocked.
“We watch him in practice,” coach Bill Self said of Mason. “That would have surprised us if he didn’t dunk.”
Kansas had seven dunks against Iona, which did not have any. KU leads opponents, 14-4, in dunks three games into the season. The totals: Andrew Wiggins (7), Joel Embiid (4), Perry Ellis (1), Mason (1), Jamari Traylor (1).
Here are the Cliff's Notes from the weekly Charlie Weis press conference at Kansas University, as the Jayhawks (3-7 overall, Big 12 1-6) prepare to travel to Iowa State (1-9, 0-7) on Saturday.
• Weis has a ton of respect for ISU coach Paul Rhoads. He anticipates the fifth-year coach will have the Cyclones poised to win for the first time since Sept. 26, against Tulsa. They've been close in games for quite some time — lost 31-30 to Texas, 42-35 at Texas Tech, 21-17 to TCU. You can see the Cyclones play with the same toughness as their coach. It would do wonders for KU if it could go on the road and win.
• The Jayhawks are coming off win for first time since Sept. 21. But it's really easy to bring them back to earth on Sundays. Weis sarcasm will be at an all-time high this week at practice: You win one game and all the sudden that's how it's going to be? This week, Weis is looking for any signs. Even when there's not a sign he'll try to create one. It's up to the coaches, captains and leadership committee to take care of that. For example, even though Ben Goodman's not a senior, he's been playing all year long and taking that kind of role, too.
• Weis admitted the gray KU jerseys the team wore in beating West Virginia were hard to read. The numbers might have been tough to decipher, but it won't be the last time Kansas wears them. He stays out of those decisions. If you ask him what the team is wearing two weeks from now he has no idea.
• When KU loses, Weis doesn't play music at practices. And if he does, it's to get them mad. Last Tuesday he played the same song over and over again: "Country Roads," by John Denver, a popular title in West Virginia among the Mountaineers fan base.
• Weather will be a problem for both KU and ISU this Saturday. During the week leading up to Saturday's game it'll be significantly warmer. Can't simulate how cold it's going to be; estimates are the low 20s for the 7 p.m. kickoff. It could dip down in the low teens with the wind chill. But ISU is going through the same thing. Weis will address it once at end of practice today and not bring it up again. Wind affects the game plan much more than cold, so he doesn't expect much to change on that front.
• As far as playing a night game, which hasn't happened often, players love it, coaches absolutely hate it.
• On Montell Cozart, now officially the team's starting quarterback: He's been pretty quick to learn how to avoid hits when possible. There are sometimes, on short-yardage situations, where it's unavoidable, but Cozart is learning quickly … With Cozart, the more the field is spread, the more opportunities come for the KU offense. Weis sees why Baylor plays how it plays. When you have guys lined up wide, there is so much more field to cover … Weis still gets on Cozart while everybody else is ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and talking about the good things he has done. Weis is more interested in the points KU left on the field, like Cozart's overthrow on what should have been a touchdown.
• The dynamic between Cozart and former starter Jake Heaps: Weis thinks QBs are careful not to overstep their bounds. Cozart had never tried to be the leader when Heaps was the starter. Now Cozart can feel more in command, because he started and won against West Virginia. Heaps has handled Cozart's emergence well, which Weis said has been a blessing. Heaps pushes Cozart, even though this transition means he has lost his starting job.
• Upon examination, KU junior receiver Tony Pierson might be shut down for the season. If KU wanted to play him, it could, but Weis indicated he doesn't think it would be right to do so. Check back later today for much more on this from Matt Tait.
• More on concussions: Because of some of the tragedies related to football players and head injuries, such as former players killing themselves, Weis thinks the game is headed to a point where there will be a mandate to remove players from the game longer and err on the side of caution even more. KU trainers and doctors do a good job of making sure they don't put players at risk, he said, before adding it's up to the head coach to take steps to make sure they practice what they preach. Weis thinks it will get worse before it gets better and then there will be a national protocol — which probably won't be in place until after he has retired from the game.
• After beating WVU, Weis told all the fifth-year guys — "on the John Belushi plan" of being in college so long — this is why they kept showing up and working so hard. It was good, as a coach, to look and see the joy on the Jayhawks' faces. One player described it as a kid on Christmas morning and that's what it looked like.
• On return specialist Connor Embree: Has good hands, makes good decisions and can make the first guy miss. Those three things are the most important part of returning punts. Weis says Embree is more shifty than speedy. Good at contorting his body and making defenders fail on their tackle attempts.
• Right guard Damon Martin has turned the corner. He is one of the strongest guys KU has, but he wasn't consistent before. Sometimes he looked really good, sometimes he looked really bad. Weis looks each week at who is playing the best and right now Martin is outperforming Mike Smithburg at RG.
• Center Gavin Howard's growth: He's a 4.0 student and that's tough to do, even when you don't have the time requirements of football.
• Weis loves video replay, because it covers up a lot of sins. If a replay clearly shows a spot was incorrect, he is all for it being overturned.
I asked Kansas sophomore Buck (hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker) Ben Goodman during summer camp if he had ever listened to big band leader/clarinet player Benny Goodman, to whom my father used to tap his foot and snap his fingers while wearing the sort of grin Ben wore after starring in Saturday’s 31-19 victory against West Virginia. He said he had not and named Jay-Z as favorite recording artist.
After Goodman’s big day at the office — a great catch to start a 54-yard interception return, six tackles, two for a loss, one sack and a blocked field with his right hand while showing a strong vertical leap — I again asked him if he had had a chance to check out Benny Goodman.
“I haven’t listened to him, but every time I try to look up an article on me, he’s the first person to pop up,” Goodman said. “I always said if I scored a touchdown, I was going to take a personal foul and go to the band and lead it.”
Goodman was having a great time talking after the death of KU's 27-game Big 12 losing streak, the start, he hopes, of a Big 12 winning streak.
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had playing football,” he said. “I love my teammates. I love my coaches and I love the atmosphere and our fans.”
And he would love Benny Goodman’s music if he just would give it a listen. Now that Ben has gone from the bad-hands club — he said he repeatedly dropped the football in a pre-game catch with Andrew Turzilli — to the good-hands club, he really does need to check out the ultra-quick hands of drummer Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton on vibraphone, Teddy Wilson on piano, all in their primes playing in Benny Goodman’s big band.
Listen to this call and see if it doesn’t rekindle your anger over the Royals turning Bob Davis into a mop-up relief pitcher. Such passion, such a distinct voice and style. And nice work by David Lawrence pointing out that right guard Damon Martin took out the linebacker, one of the keys to James Sims scoring on a 68-yard run with 28 seconds left in the half. Whereas most of us tend to watch the ball, Lawrence sees the whole field every play.
Fifth-year senior center Gavin Howard supplies background on the play call.
“All of us had been telling the coaches that they’re trying to stop the inside stuff because we’d been gashing up the middle,” Howard said. “I was like, ‘We’ve got to start running some outside stuff.’ And honestly, I mean, it was just a play to kind of end the half. We weren’t thinking we were going to get 75 yards on the play because you don’t ever think that on a run play. But I reached my guy, Aslam (Sterling) reached his guy, Damon (Martin) got up on the linebacker, Ngalu Fusimalohi off the back side and James’ got some speed on him that I didn’t know he had.”
Coach Charlie Weis said he was hoping the play could get 30 yards, at best, setting up a pass into the end zone.
“When he came through the hole, I couldn’t believe how big the hole ended up being,” Weis said.
It was only the second time on the day that KU used the unbalanced-line formation and the first time was near the goal line. Left tackle Riley Spencer moved to the right side of the line, lining up outside Sterling, the right tackle.
“I’m pretty sure if you watch it on the film, Riley pushes his guy out and we kind of cut it at Aslam,” Howard said. “So all of us back-blocked and the safeties didn’t make the play.”
Check out Sims' 68-yard TD run:
Kansas leaped from fifth to second in the Associated Press college basketball poll released Tuesday, ranking behind only Michigan State.
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 17, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv<br>
- Michigan St. (51) — 3-0 — 1,608 — 2
- Kansas (7) — 2-0 — 1,523 — 5
- Louisville (7) — 3-0 — 1,511 — 3
- Kentucky — 3-1 — 1,410 — 1
- Arizona — 3-0 — 1,339 — 6
- Duke — 2-1 — 1,320 — 4
- Oklahoma St. — 3-0 — 1,198 — 8
- Ohio St. — 3-0 — 1,172 — 10
- Syracuse — 3-0 — 1,135 — 9
- VCU — 3-0 — 928 — 14
- Memphis — 1-0 — 871 — 13
- Wisconsin — 3-0 — 763— 20
- Gonzaga — 3-0 — 710 — 15
- Michigan — 2-1 — 705— 7
- Wichita St. — 4-0— 705— 16
- Florida — 2-1 — 619 — 11
- Oregon — 2-0 — 613— 18
- UConn — 4-0— 600 — 19
- New Mexico — 2-0— 353— 22
- Baylor — 3-0 — 342— 23
- Iowa St. — 3-0 — 296 _
- UCLA — 2-0 — 291 — 24
- Creighton — 3-0 — 246 _
- North Carolina — 2-1 — 213 — 12
- Marquette — 2-1 — 144 — 17
Others receiving votes: Iowa 122, Indiana 109, Virginia 77, Harvard 72, Boise St. 28, Belmont 18, Arizona St. 13, Villanova 11, Xavier 10, Tennessee 9, Pittsburgh 7, Colorado 6, Missouri 5, Florida St. 4, Minnesota 4, Saint Louis 4, Cincinnati 3, BYU 2, Indiana St. 2, UMass 2, George Washington 1, Notre Dame 1.
Here's how I filled out my ballot:
1. Louisville: Chane Behanan reinstated after one-game benching. No word yet on when suspension will be lifted on his free-throw touch (1 for 7).
2. Kansas: Next time commitment comes from low-ranked recruit, remember two words: Frank Mason. Ranked 131st by Rivals the day he committed; shot up to 76 later.
3. Michigan State: With Magic Johnson sending triple-double karmic waves from United Center seat, senior PG Keith Appling nearly scored one with 22, eight and eight vs. Kentucky.
4. Duke: Chicago has been very kind to the Blue Devils, sending Coach K, Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor to Tobacco Road.
5. Kentucky: So little experience, so much talent, Wildcats looked very good in United Center comeback that fell short.
6. Syracuse: Jim Boeheim has been head coach at his alma mater during the administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama. The vice presidents: Rockefeller, Mondale, Bush I, Quayle, Gore, Cheney, Biden.
7. Arizona: Frosh sensation Aaron Gordon needed one more rule change: Allow free throws to be shot behind top of key. He’s hit 80 percent from three, 30 percent from line.
8. Oklahoma State: Phil Forte averaging 22 minutes, 21 points and shooting .636 from three.
9. Oregon: Joseph Young, granted immediate eligibility after transfer from Houston, averaging 30 points and has made 27 of 28 free throws.
10. Ohio State: Shot .167 from three, .333 from line in 52-35 rout of Marquette in game that took basketball back to peach-basket days.
11. VCU: Virginia dictated slow pace and still Rams won thriller. Good sign.
12. Memphis: Be it Missouri or Memphis, K.C., Mo., native Michael Dixon same Tiger of a point guard. Had 15 points, four rebounds, four steals and made 5 of 7 shots in debut with new school.
13. Wichita State: Too bad Andrew Wiggins didn’t make a condition of his coming to KU scheduling a game against Shockers so he could face his brother, Nick. Not his style, but I wonder if he could have pulled it off?
14. Wisconsin: Bo Ryan’s swing offense results in open threes and Badgers hitting them at .410 rate.
15. UConn: Headline in New Haven Register: “UConn’s Omar Calhoun getting his confidence back.” First sentence of story that appeared under that headline: “One thing Omar Calhoun has never lacked is confidence.” I hope to get back my putting touch, which is the only thing I’ve never lost.
16. UCLA: “Steve Alford All-American Inn” still in business, just off I-70 in New Castle, Ind. If he wins a national title with the Bruins, look for him to expand the chain.
17. Florida: Consider this back-to-back-to-back schedule buzz saw: Dec. 2, UConn; Dec. 10, Kansas; Dec. 17, Memphis.
18. Gonzaga: His unproductive professional playing days over, Adam Morrison, 29, is a student assistant for Mark Few and is taking classes.
19. Iowa State: Mayor of Ames more popular, fitter, better dressed and better behaved than Toronto mayor.
20. Michigan: Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim (22 points, nine rebounds, three steals) and Michigan’s Mitch McGary (nine points, six boards, four steals) returned from injuries in same game, won by host ISU.
21. Iowa: Coach Fran McCaffery’s wife, Margaret, former Notre Dame hoops player, became notorious for loudly urging reporters at post-game press conference to ask about officiating. That was when he coached at Siena. She has behaved at Iowa and his players also listen to him.
22. Creighton: POY candidate Doug McDermott averaging 25.7, shooting .533 from three.
23. Virginia: Coach Tony Bennett holds NCAA career three-point percentage (.497), scoring 2,285 points for for Wisconsin-Green Bay, then of Mid-Continent Conference. Father, Dick, was his coach.
24. Baylor: Coach Scott Drew’s brother, Bryce, shot .435 from three and scored 2,142 points for Valparaiso, then of Mid-Continent Conference. Father, Homer, was Bryce’s coach.
25. Xavier: Soph guard Semaj Christon averaging 17.3 despite shooting 11 of 27 from line.
Weather forecasts call for south winds of 27 mph at kickoff and staying close to that throughout the game.
Not that Kansas football coach Charlie Weis needed another reason to hand the football to true freshman quarterback Montell Cozart and let him win it or lose it without feeling as if he’ll be replaced by Jake Heaps at the first sign of trouble, Mother Nature drove home the point.
At least half the time, passing the ball will be extremely difficult. Defenses geared to stop the run have a tougher time doing that with fast, elusive Cozart at QB than with the immobile Heaps.
Look for Weis to not only give Cozart his first start for today’s 11 a.m. kickoff against West Virginia. Look for Charlie to let the young talent finish what he starts. I’ll be surprised if the coach does otherwise.
West Virginia is better against the run than the pass, but Kansas runs better than it passes, so that’s a push. The weather breaks the tie.
When handing out the kudos to those responsible for influencing power forward Cliff Alexander’s decision to come to Kansas, head coach Bill Self, a terrific closer, will be at the top of most lists.
KU’s tradition, the Allen Fieldhouse atmosphere, and the fact that Alexander’s girlfriend, Caelynn Manning-Allen, plays basketball for the KU women’s team, also will get many mentions.
But don’t forget a hidden hero in this big recruiting score.
Jerrance Howard, hired to join Kurtis Townsend and Norm Roberts as full-time assistants on Self’s staff after Joe Dooley left to take the head-coaching job at Florida Gulf Coast, can’t be overlooked in the role he played in landing the backboard-shattering power player.
As is the case with so many strong recruiters, Howard has a knack for making someone he met 20 minutes ago feels as if they have been friends since grade school.
Howard played for Self at Illinois, worked for former Self assistant Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M and Kentucky and then was hired by Bruce Weber at Illinois.
Illinois, which finished second to KU for Alexander, has had an on-again, off-again, relationship with Chicago recruits. Weber struggled recruiting top talent from Chicago and Howard’s hometown of Peoria until bringing Howard on board in 2008. After Weber, now Kansas State's coach, was canned by Illinois, Howard spent last season working on Larry Brown’s SMU staff.
Alexander counts as Howard’s first big Chicago score for Kansas, first of many.
The 2013-14 college basketball season has barely started, and already Kansas has its second Sports Illustrated cover boy.
After freshman Andrew Wiggins graced the cover of the Oct. 14, 2013 issue, along with images of KU legends Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning, fellow frosh Wayne Selden is the latest Jayhawk to earn the honor.
Selden shares the cover with Oklahoma State star point guard Marcus Smart in one of four regional covers for SI's season preview edition.
Following KU's marquee victory over Duke in the Champions Classic Tuesday night, one can only expect even more attention for Bill Self's program in the weeks and months to come.
Here's a look at what some national media are saying about the Jayhawks' win and their loaded freshman class.
ESPN's Jay Bilas, on Twitter:
Was he hyped? Yes. But, KU's Andrew Wiggins is averaging 19 pts, 5.5 rebs, and is shooting 58%. He'll get better, too. #scratchingthesurface— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) November 13, 2013
SI's Seth Davis video interview with Self after win over Duke: http://campusinsiders.com/videos/4zdHA2aDqb3UXDpmdQyHJEP3tlcw74be
Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Kansas football coach Charlie Weis' comments at his press conference today.
• Weis has changed his team’s schedule this week. He’s trying to get his team out of a routine. Routines can be good, but they also sometimes can be bad, too. Today, KU won’t practice any special teams. It will spend all its time on offense and defense. The reason for that is many guys aren’t on special teams, so once they get their juices flowing in practice, they have to stand around and wait to get going again. Weis says his team has to do a better job of translating things from the classroom to the practice field, then from the practice field to the game field. Changing the practice routine is an example of a tweak that Weis thinks about on Saturday nights. When you lose and you accept it and you stand pat, that’s never a good thing.
• Weis knows who’s starting at QB for KU. He says he’s not going to say who it is because there’s no reason to tell WVU more information than he needs to. As a coach, Weis says he can’t go into practice not knowing who’s going to start at QB. Now, WVU has to prepare for two different QBs and two different offensive styles.
• The only receiver KU doesn’t have this week is Tre’ Parmalee, and he will be out for another week or two. A lot of the receivers were turning a corner before they got injured. Weis says he’ll be interested to see how that position plays out.
• All of KU’s offensive linemen pretty much played the whole game against Oklahoma State. Weis said Riley Spencer was more physical at the point of attack than anyone else that KU has had at right tackle.
• Weis says KU is in a must-win situation like WVU. Since KU was eliminated from bowl contention, these last three games are KU’s playoffs. Its bowl game is against Kansas State the last week. That’s how KU is approaching this week.
• Weis says the big difference between KU and Oklahoma State was chunks in the passing game. KU’s rush defense stifled OSU pretty well. KU rushed for 200 yards, and OSU hadn’t been getting near that.
• JaCorey Shepherd is very gifted with the ball in his hands. That’s why he originally was an offensive player, though he had some problems as a receiver catching it earlier in his career. Catching a kickoff usually isn’t a tough thing to do, because no defender is around you when you catch it. Shepherd is good at kickoff return because he’s fast, physical, can read the openings and run with power. Weis is going to use him again at kickoff return this week. He’s proven to be KU’s best kickoff returner. Weis would rather not use him there, as KU is thin at corner, but you have to put your best player there.
• It’s been good for KU to ease quarterback Montell Cozart into games. In the beginning, he was pretty nervous. Each week, he’s gotten more comfortable. One tough thing is calling the plays. It’s not as easy as people think it is. An example of a play call is, “Zero out slot alert fip jep 36 sub Z swing on the second sound.” There’s a lot of talking in there. Then, the quarterback has to process that information.
• When Cozart sees something he doesn’t like on defense, he keeps the ball and runs. Sometimes in college football, a play looks like garbage, and a QB still takes off for 30 yards down the sideline. There were times in the OSU game when QB coach Ron Powlus wanted to say something to Cozart after he improvised, and Weis told him to not say anything. Weis calls those ‘Attaboy’ plays. Weis says the worst thing you could do is freeze on the field. Weis says there are times when he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Cozart gave Weis a heart-attack when he reversed field on one run against OSU, then he turned it into a nice gain.
• KU went through a brutal stretch with a lot of ranked teams recently. Weis doesn’t look at the schedule as being softer through the next three weeks. The good news for WVU is it scored 40 against a good defense (Texas). The bad news is it allowed 47. Weis respects everybody. He has to be more concerned with what his guys do, though.
• Weis hasn’t seen his team quit this year. A win against WVU would change the atmosphere in KU’s football facility.
• Weis thinks there was some good and some bad with Tony Pierson in his return against Oklahoma State. He looked a little tentative, but he didn’t look tentative when he ran the sweeps and reverses. Weis thinks he will be less tentative this week. Weis thinks that after you have a concussion, you probably have that thought in the back of your mind that another hit could give you a second concussion.
• Jake Heaps wants to be the starting quarterback and wants to be in there every snap. But he’s such a team guy that he’s handled the situation well.
• Running back Darrian Miller has some personal issues he has to deal with that are more important than football. When they get resolved, he’ll be back. He is not in trouble with school or with the football team.
• KU had a couple of screens that should have been home runs against Oklahoma State, but its receivers missed a couple of crack blocks. A couple plays that went a couple yards could have went for 50 yards. Weis went to the screen pass a lot against OSU because it’s a short completion that has little risk.