Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”
Almost every spring, just before the Final Four, Kansas basketball fans get a sneak preview — courtesy of the McDonald’s All-American game — of who’s coming to Lawrence in the fall to help KU in its continuous chase of national championship banners.
Wednesday night in Chicago, 6-foot-9 forward Carlton Bragg, who committed to
Kentucky … err, make that Kansas … was the latest “next big-time player” on display.
Bragg, a five-star recruit from Villa Angela-St.Joseph in Cleveland, scored nine points and hit a 3-pointer for the West.
The Jayhawk-to-be also delivered one of the top plays of the prep all-star showcase, jumping into the passing lane for a steal, on his way to a windmill jam.
It came right after his West teammate, Kansas recruiting target Stephen Zimmerman, threw one down.
Here are a few other angles at the back-to-back, highlight-reel slams:
Want to hear something crazy? Bragg actually considered taking his uncontested jam to the next level.
“I was thinking about going between my legs, but I wasn't quite warmed up,” Bragg told Cleveland.com. “The windmill I felt like I could have got it, so I just did it."
His team lost, but really, participating in the game is a huge deal in itself, and the smiling young big man spoke about that with Cleveland.com.
He also had a message for Kansas fans:
“It’s coming, baby. Just be ready.”
Before the game, PrepHoops Illinois caught up with Bragg, who declared his love for pick-and-pop sets, explaining why he is considered a stretch-4.
Don’t worry, though. Bragg hasn’t abandoned playing in the paint. In fact, he said that’s one area of his game that he made a point to improve upon in his senior season.
“My post game got a lot better and I’m more aggressive.”
Bragg said KU’s style of play led to him choosing Bill Self’s program as his college team of choice.
“They run up and down, play the pick and pop, the pick and roll.”
With the expected departure of Cliff Alexander, Bragg could make an immediate impact for KU next season, providing the Jayhawks with another long body to man the paint with Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas and Hunter Mickelson.
If Bragg can score in the post at the college level, that would make KU’s offense — which often lacked that ability in 2014-15 — more complete and dangerous.
Four consecutive Final Fours. Three national-title games in four seasons. A coach can't accomplish those feats without having the ability to recruit, develop and make the right moves in close ballgames against strong competition.
John Ontjes has accomplished those feats as head coach of the Hutchinson County Community College women's basketball program. He starred as a player for two years at Hutch before starting at point guard for Billy Tubbs for a year and Kelvin Sampson for a year at Oklahoma. He averaged 10.5 points and 6.6 assists during his Sooners career. He was better than solid as a player and is a way better coach than player.
His team, noted for tenacious defense, held 14 of its final 15 opponents to fewer than 60 points. The Blue Dragons took a 36-0 record into the national title game March 21, a 54-46 loss to Chipola.
Brad Hallier of the Hutchinson news recently wrote a column endorsing Ontjes for the KU job and expressing the opinion that the coach is too good for any level but high Div. I. In it, Hallier cited an amazing statistic in the column: The Blue Dragons have built a home-court winning streak of 117 games for their ultra-competitive coach.
Six of the 13 players on this season's Hutch roster played high school ball in Kansas.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger has not shared the names of his 15 finalists on a list that started with 60 names, but he did say he has explored coaches from all levels, including junior college. Given that, it's difficult to imagine Ontjes at the very least was not on the original list and very well could be among the final 15.
As Angel Goodrich demonstrated when she took Kansas to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, nothing is more important than a terrific point guard.
Notre Dame assistant coach Niele Ivey (first name pronounced by saying the word “knee” and the letter “L”) was one herself and during her eight seasons as an assistint has mentored others.
A native of St. Louis who graduated from ND in 2000 with a history degree, Ivey also has been Notre Dame’s recruiting coordinator since 2012. The Fighting Irish, who rank second nationally in field-goal percentage (49.8) and fifth in scoring (80.9), face South Carolina in a 5:30 CT semifinal in a game televised on ESPN. This is Notre Dame's fifth consecutive Final Four.
Ivey has received praise for her work with ND point guard Lindsay Allen and with Skylar Diggins before that. She also has had a hand in the Irish ranking in the top five nationally in each of the past three recruiting classes.
After her All-American career at Notre Dame, Ivey spent five seasons playing in the WNBA.
“Niele is really a rising star, a rock star if you will, in the coaching profession,” Notre Dame head coach Muff McGraw said in the Niele bio on the school’s website. “... She’s got to be known as one of the best recruiters in the country and certainly with our point guards, she does just a phenomenal job.”
Ivey made the 2001 Final Four all-tournament team by averaging 16.5 points and 5.5 assists in leading Notre Dame to its first national title.
Ivey keeps the public up to date on Notre Dame basketball and on her son Jaden’s budding hoops career with the Twitter handle @IrishCoachIvey.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger started his search for a new women’s basketball coach by compiling a list of 60 names. At least 59 of them were not named by Fortune Magazine as one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.”
On a list that ranked Pope Francis fourth, LeBron James 31st and Jimmy Fallon 45th, Princeton eighth-year women’s basketball coach Courtney Banghart checked in at No. 43. The Tigers went 31-1 this past season, losing to Maryland, 85-70, in the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.
“Banghart, who has a master’s degree in leadership development, expects more of her players than great play: They must adhere to Princeton’s tough academic standards too,” Fortune wrote of the Dartmouth graduate.
Banghart’s team plays an up-tempo style and led the nation in three-point accuracy this season, which is fitting considering that in 1999, Banhart led the nation in three-point field goals per game.
Seeded eighth in the NCAA tournament, the Tigers posted the second Ivy League victory in tourney history (Harvard 1998 was the first), defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay, 80-70, in the round of 64. Before hiring Banghart, Princeton never had been to the NCAA tourney. This was the fourth trip in five seasons for the Tigers, whose season included a 30-point victory at Michigan.
Banghart’s turn-around at the Ivy League school didn’t take long. She went 21-37 in her first two seasons, 148-30 in the next six.
Throughout the past few years, the video crew at KU has done a fantastic job of capturing what goes on both on the field where everyone can see and behind the scenes of the program.
Whether you're talking practice or game highlights, players of the day video or the former feature known as The Gridiron, produced by former Jayhawk Micah Brown, there has been no shortage of entertaining video to watch about the KU football program.
That trend appears to have continued under the direction of first-year coach David Beaty, who was mic'd up by KU's video crew during the opening practice of the spring.
The video gives you a great look at the constant energy and urgency that Beaty operates with during practices. This was not just him putting on a show because he knew the mic was on. In fact, a good guess would be that he forgot he was wearing the thing about 10 minutes into practice.
This is just how the guy works on a daily basis and the hope, with the coaching staff, the KU administration and in the locker room, is that this kind of always-on attitude will become the norm for the Jayhawks in the near future.
Here's a look.
When the season ends for Kansas, it doesn’t just move the needle in the Sunflower State, the college basketball nation takes notice.
When the Jayhawks lose before the Sweet 16, it becomes an even bigger deal. Throw in the whole in-state, previously unplayed rivalry game angle and you’ve got all sorts of intrigue surrounding KU’s Round of 32 loss to Wichita State on Sunday in Omaha.
Below is some of the Twitter chatter, photos, stories — and trash talk — that showed up after the Shockers bounced Kansas from the NCAA Tournament.
Jeff Eisenberg went as far as to include one Kansas player in his “Best and worst of the NCAA tourney’s opening weekend” feature.
Spoiler alert: The Jayhawk didn’t land in the best category.
Wayne Selden Jr. received the unappealing label of “Player who shrank in the spotlight”:
“Selden scored a quiet six points in a victory over New Mexico State on Friday and then went scoreless on five shots in a 78-65 loss to Wichita State two days later. Granted Kansas' game plan was to pound the ball inside against the smaller Shockers, but Selden still acknowledged after the game that he had let down his team by not being aggressive on offense and not playing well on defense.”
A couple of former KU players felt pretty good about their Jayhawks before the game, but since then we have social media silence on the subject.
Take four more looks at the most talked-about play in Wichita State’s 78-65 victory Sunday in Omaha, one that sent the veteran Shockers on to a Sweet 16 game Thursday in Cleveland vs. Notre Dame.
The first thing you probably noticed is that at one point Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre was ahead of the Shockers' Zach Brown, but was ultimately beaten to the ball and mistimed his lunge for it.
Now watch it again and this time focus on Brannen Greene. After Brown tipped the pass, Greene, watching the ball, took three walking steps and the sprinted down the court. Three steps too late.
Now watch it a third time and this time focus on Perry Ellis. He was too far behind Brown to make a play, but had Ellis sprinted down court, making an angle to the basket, he could have been there for the rebound in the event Brown missed the dunk. Instead, he jogs very slowly down the right side of the court.
Watch it a fourth and final time and this time focus on Oubre after Brown makes the steal. Instead of sprinting after him in case he lost the ball on the dribble or missed the shot at the rim, Oubre actually drifts out of bounds and very slowly jogs for a few steps.
It was no way for any of the KU players to end a play that felt as if it ended the season.
There might not be basketball games going on Saturday in Omaha, but there certainly is pre-game buzz at CenturyLInk Center for Sunday’s Kansas University basketball game against Wichita State, in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.
The locker rooms for both the Jayhawks and Shockers were packed with media members as the anticipation for the Sunflower State’s postseason matchup grows.
This will be your landing place for all the quotes, audio, video and photos the KUsports.com team gathers, so check back as we update it throughout the afternoon.
— 4:54 p.m. update —
Kansas sophomore forward Landen Lucas understands why this Kansas vs. Wichita State game means so much in the Sunflower State, and to the fans especially.
That just makes it more exciting for the players, too, Lucas said.
— 4:49 p.m. update — By Matt Tait—
Just another quick hit from WSU guard Ron Baker, a Scott City, Kansas, native, who was asked on Saturday about the idea of playing KU and K-State on a more regular basis in the future.
“Every Kansas school would like that, I think," Baker said. "Obviously we're not the BCS school and I can see how KU and K-State wouldn't want to have a home-and-home. It's just kind of how the RPI and BPI and all that stuff works.”
“I think it would be good for the state if we had like a Sunflower Showdown. Even if we're not playing each other, maybe the three schools played different opponents in the same location. That way Kansas can kind of bond and watch those three games in a day. Something simple like that would be neat.”
Great idea. Needs to happen.
— 4:30 p.m. update — By Matt Tait
Had a chance to talk with both Perry Ellis and Wichita State's Evan Wessel about their friendship and time playing together in high school at Wichita Heights.
Interestingly enough, the two guys are pretty similar. Both quiet. Both polite. Both hard-working dudes who have made the most of their abilities.
I asked a few KU guys what they would want to know about Ellis if they had the chance to talk to Wessel and their answers were pretty funny. Evan Manning, Tyler Self and Josh Pollard said they've heard stories about how Ellis used to get technical fouls when he was younger and may even have thrown a chair once. Wessel didn't recall those incidents and said it might have happened before they started playing on the same teams.
Landen Lucas wanted to know if Wessel remembered whether Ellis would actually dance at school dances or just kind of hang back against the wall. Wessel didn't remember any specific incidents of Ellis dancing or not dancing but said he was certain that Ellis was never the one out there leading the dance party.
KU freshman Kelly Oubre might have given the most interesting answer when he was asked what he'd want to know about Ellis from Wessel: "They're the opposition right now."
I asked Jamari Traylor what he would want to know and he said he had been around Ellis for so long now that he could not really think of anything.
"I know everything I need to know about Perry," Traylor said. "I've been around him for a while now. I know I'd trust him with my wallet."
Wessel, who averages 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds a game in 23 minutes, said the one thing he always liked the most about Ellis' game was how unselfish he was.
"He could always be the best player on the floor when he's out there," Wessel said. "But he still was unselfish. He's a great teammate and a lot of fun to play with."
As for the upcoming battle between these two former Wichita Heights teammates, both sounded excited about the challenge and each said he hoped he would guard the other guy, which seems pretty likely according to players and coaches in both locker rooms.
"It's going to be a great opportunity," Wessel said. "Great teammates back in high school and it will be fun to play against him here tomorrow."
Added Ellis: "We have been competing since we were young and he's a great guy and it's going to be fun to get to play against each other again."
— 4:09 p.m. update —
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall knows this is a big game for his program, but he also realizes the ultimate goal here in Omaha is moving on to Cleveland.
It's exciting. I'm not going to tell you that I'm not excited about being in the third round against a wonderful program, a great team, a great coach, but when that ball is tossed, I'm just going to coach my team, and it's going to be just like any other game, with tremendous energy and intensity. And last year, Kentucky, that was a wonderful basketball game! It was electricity all through the building; it was one play after another, and tomorrow's game could very well be like that. I just hope we come out on the different end.
— Hear Marshall's press conference: Gregg Marshall looks ahead to Sunday's game vs. Kansas
— 3:58 p.m. update —
You might have heard that Wichita State junior Ron Baker grew up a Kansas basketball fan. He talked about that Saturday in the Shockers' locker room.
— 3:42 p.m. update —
Bill Self said it didn't take long for Kansas to turn its focus to Wichita State.
Yesterday was a great win for us, I think anybody that plays in the tournament that won would say it's a great win, but we got forgot about 30 minutes after we played and focused in on the next task, and that's a talented and well-coached Wichita State ball club.
— Listen to the complete press conference: Bill Self discusses Saturday's showdown with Wichita State
— 3:15 p.m. update —
— 3:05 p.m. update —
— 2:20 p.m. update —
You can tell some of the Jayhawks aren’t as excited about the two-programs-from-Kansas angle of this game as the media. Which is completely fine and understandable.
Kansas would want to win this game if Indiana was the opponent, too. The players don’t mind all the WSU buzz, but the subplots didn’t seem to exactly intrigue them. They’re just trying to get to the Sweet 16.
When March rolls around and the talk turns to NCAA upsets, you're liable to overhear conversations like this in Kansas basketball circles:
"Who was that shooter? Who was the little, um ... "
"He had a weird last name, right?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. What was his name?"
"Uh, Farokhmanesh? Farokhma-something?"
"Yes. Yeah, I remember him just raining jumpers the whole game."
Now what happens when the conversation starter is that guy, the infamous hero/villain of Northern Iowa's 2010 upset of KU, Ali Farokhmanesh?
To find out, the Omaha World-Herald grabbed the now-Nebraska graduate assistant and brought him to CenturyLink Center, where the Jayhawks started their 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Omaha — Greg Gurley, attending Kansas University’s public practice, had just finished watching on a courtside computer UAB finish off an upset of Iowa State on Thursday in Lousiville, when he looked back on the first time he saw UAB coach Jerod Haase in a Kansas locker room.
“He was at Cal and we hated playing against him (in the 1993 NCAA tournament) because he was kind of that annoying guy,” Gurley said. “Then we beat him and he came into our uniform, full uniform on, and I remember I was with one of my teammates and I go, ‘Is that Jerod Haase?’ It was. He and coach (Roy) Williams talked and he basically told Coach Williams he wanted to transfer.”
Kansas went on to the Final Four.
“The next weekend after that he was in Lawrence on a visit,” Gurley said. “From that point on, he was attached to coach Williams, followed him to North Carolina and has done well.”
Haase, 40, played his final three seasons of college basketball for Williams at Kansas. He spent four seasons working under Williams at KU and eight at North Carolina. He is in his third season as head coach at UAB and coached in the NCAA tournament Thursday for the first time. Until that victory, the one that gained the most attention for Haase came when his Blazers upset mentor Williams' North Carolina squad Dec. 1, 2013, in Birmingham.
Haase has a 54-45 record at UAB. His Blazers advance to a Saturday game vs. UCLA.
The Big 12 went 0-3 Thursday, with Baylor (Georgia State) and Iowa State losing to No. 14 seeds and Texas losing to No. 6 seed Butler.
The NCAA Tournament already is in full swing in some cities, but in Omaha, Nebraska, the games don’t start until Friday. That means today at CenturyLink Center, players and coaches from Kansas University, New Mexico State, Wichita State and Indiana will only be talking basketball (and going through a pseudo practice which will be open to the public).
This will serve as your landing spot for the media day, and we’ll check in as we can to update you on what’s being said about Friday’s Round of 64 games — and the Sunday could-be game between KU and WSU, when that inevitably gets brought up.
Check back in throughout the day for updates.
— 7:43 p.m. update— By Matt Tait
Just filed this story about New Mexico State big man Tshilidzi Nephawe that includes where his nickname "Chili" came from, what he's playing for and why he's proud of his homeland of South Africa.
Had a lot of fun interviewing him and writing this one. Just a really, really good dude.
— 5:08 p.m. update—
KU sent sophomore Wayne Selden Jr. and freshman Kelly Oubre jr. to the bright lights of the stage for Thursday's press conference.
Said Oubre of his upcoming first tourney:
"Guys like Wayne, Perry, Jamari, they've pretty much just calmed me down throughout this whole process and told me to take every game, one game at a time, one possession at a time; don't take anybody for granted and pretty much just play with a free mind. Try to take care of business for the name across your chest."
— Listen to what they had to say: Selden and Oubre discuss preparing for NCAAs
— 4:55 p.m. update —
At his press conference Thursday afternoon, Kansas coach Bill Self opened by talking about the excitement and urgency of playing in the NCAA Tournament.
"Obviously we're excited to play in another Tournament and something that we definitely do not take for granted, and the guys have worked real hard to put themselves in a position to be here. And, of course, being in Omaha is like a double bonus to us. It's certainly close for our fans. But even more importantly to us, it's a great venue, it's a great setup and a great city, and we have experienced a little bit of success the last couple of times we've been here, so we're very happy to be here in Omaha."
— Listen to the complete press conference here: Bill Self talks expectations, New Mexico State
— 4:47 p.m. update — by Matt Tait
The Jayhawks were in, by far, the smallest locker room I've seen them in during an NCAA Tournament (New Mexico State's was not any bigger) and it was incredibly packed during the entire open locker room session.
Jamari Traylor was so far back in the corner of the locker room that he just hung back in his locker and stayed out of sight. I was able to get back into the corner eventually and I asked him how the past four days had been for the health of the Jayhawks.
"We're good, man," Traylor said. "Everybody's healthy, feeling good and ready to go."
Down the row from Traylor, Brannen Greene held the edge and that made the access to him easy in and easy out. I talked to Greene a lot about the difference between the feeling he has this year at the tournament and the feeling he had last year, as a true freshman.
The basic answer was this: Instead of having his head on a swivel and being a little bit in awe of all that takes place here, from the media hype to the fan frenzy to the intensity of the games himself, Greene feels much more comfortable and enjoys that he knows what to expect.
"Your energy has to be at an all-time high at a tournament like this," Greene said. "And I think we all know that now. Instead of worrying about all of the things going on around us, we can focus more on basketball and getting ready to play."
— 4 p.m. update —
The Kansas locker room was crowded with working media Thursday afternoon, but our photographer Mike Yoder got in there for video.
— 2:20 p.m. update —
You can't tell a whole lot from these open "practices" that the NCAA Tournament holds for the fans, but Brannen Greene — just like his teammates — worked on his shot during the session.
Some fell, some didn't. But that's the way it goes when three or four players are shooting at once.
If KU wants to turn a corner and start playing at a higher level on offense, they'll need Green to find that shooting touch again.
Here's a look at all of the perimeter players going through drills Thursday afternoon.
— 1:33 p.m. update —
— 1:05 p.m. update —
— 12:53 p.m. update —
— 12 p.m., from Benton Smith —
Just got back from the New Mexico State locker room and the Aggies seem loose and confident.
They pride themselves on playing disruptive, turnover-focused defense and they hope that creates easy offense for them.
NMSU opponents average 13.2 giveaways a game this season, so it’s not a ridiculous number. But that mindset can get under opponents’ skin, and that can be just as beneficial.
Both point guard Ian Baker and sixth man D.K Eldridge talked about that peskiness and pointed to it as one of NMSU’s strengths.
Check back for video from the locker room and quotes from the Aggies (23-10).
I came up with one more way to look at the unfairness of the NCAA tournament seeding to see if I could confirm my suspicions that the Midwest region is strangely stacked, so much more loaded than the others.
I looked at the points each school received in the final 2014-15 Associated Press college basketball poll and compared them, region-by-region. Sure enough, it confirmed the power of the Midwest regional.
Led by Kentucky’s 1,625 points, the Midwest has 6,014 AP poll points. The East finishes second with 5,527 points, the West (4,855) third and the South (4,824) fourth.
The top 25 ranking of Midwest regional teams: 1. Kentucky, 8. Notre Dame, 10. Kansas, 12. Maryland, 14. Wichita State, 20. West Virginia, 24. Butler.
Think about this for a moment: There are four regionals and the Midwest has five of the first 14 teams in the Associated Press poll. Not cool. Four East schools rank in the top 14: 2. Villanova, 6. Virginia, 11. Northern Iowa, 13. Oklahoma, three from the South regional (4. Duke, 7. Gonzaga, 9. Iowa State), just two in the West (3. Wisconsin, 5. Arizona), plus Nos. 15. North Carolina and 16. Baylor.
Oh well, the games begin in full today and tomorrow, so it’s probably time to focus on them and stop griping about the unbalanced brackets.
Sixteen teams capable of winning the national title and why in 16 words:
1 - Kentucky: Several NBA teams lack legitimate NBA center. Kentucky has three: Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie-Cauley Stein, Dakari Johnson.
2 - Duke: Overlooked key Quinn Cook, senior guard, beautifully complements freshmen Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones.
3 - Arizona: Experienced point guard T.J. McConnell brings out best in forwards Stanley Johnson, Brandon Ashley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
4 - Wisconsin: Frank Kaminsky, 7-foot center with guard skills, one of many Badgers with Final Four experience.
5 - Gonzaga: Big Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer and veteran guard Kevin Pangos just two of many three-point threats.
6 - Villanova: Think Pink: Can JayVaughn Pinkston lead ’Cats to a national title 30 years after Ed Pinckney did?
7 - Virginia: Pack-line defense: The only defender who ever extends to three-point line is the man guarding the ball.
8 - North Carolina: Marcus Paige latest Roy Williams superstar Iowan, joining Kirk Hinrich, Harrison Barnes, Raef LaFrentz, Nick Collison.
9 - Lousiville: Rick Pitino’s scoring-challenged, hard-working Cardinals led by relentless Montrezl Harrell, all muscle and hustle.
10 - Ohio State: If “next Michael Jordan” tag had not died, D’Angelo Russell would be guy wearing it now.
11 - Kansas: Only if Kelly Oubre, Hunter Mickelson disrupt defensively and Brannen Greene makes three threes a game.
12 - Iowa State: Free-minded shooters, versaitle players, a coach with professional demeanor, no deficit too big to overcome.
13 - Michigan State: You’ll never find another love like mine for first name of Spartans guard Lourawls Nairn, Jr.
14 - Ole Miss: Third in nation in free-throw shooting, experienced, play hard, take smarter shots without Marshall Henderson.
15 - Northern Iowa: Five three-point shooters get hot for six games in a row and a miracle can happen.
16 - SMU: Coach Larry Harvey Brown. Coach Larry Harvey Brown. Coach Larry Harvey Brown. Coach Larry Harvey Brown.
The KU Sports Extra team, Tom Keegan and Matt Tait, breaks down the four regions of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket.
Don't forget to make your picks in KUsports.com's Bracket Challenge.
Kansas, which drew a No. 2 seed in the loaded Midwest region, was ranked No. 10 in the final 2014-15 Associated Press college basketball poll, one spot behind Big 12 rival Iowa State.
The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through March 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
- Kentucky (65) 34-0 1,625 1
- Villanova 32-2 1,522 4
- Wisconsin 31-3 1,460 6
- Duke 29-4 1,406 2
- Arizona 31-3 1,405 5
- Virginia 29-3 1,333 3
- Gonzaga 32-2 1,229 7
- Notre Dame 29-5 1,178 11
- Iowa St. 25-8 1,043 13
- Kansas 26-8 |995 9
- N. Iowa 30-3 |979 10
- Maryland 27-6 |935 8
- Oklahoma 22-10 |740 15
- Wichita St. 28-4 |737 12
- North Carolina 24-11 |703 19
- Baylor 24-9 |680 16
- Louisville 24-8 |614 14
- SMU 27-6 |485 20
- Utah 24-8 |455 17
- West Virginia 23-9 |398 18
- Arkansas 26-8 |373 21
- Georgetown 21-10 |177 23
- Michigan St. 23-11 |159 |_
- Butler 22-10 |142 22
- VCU 26-9 |109 |_
Others receiving votes: Oregon 91, Providence 62, Xavier 18, Davidson 16, Ohio St. 12, Stephen F. Austin 12, Wyoming 6, Boise St. 5, LSU 5, BYU 3, Valparaiso 3, Harvard 2, Murray St. 2, Wofford 2, Colorado St. 1, Dayton 1, Iowa 1, Purdue 1.
My top 25 ballot:
1 - Kentucky: Going undefeated made the regular season and NCAA tournament more interesting. Win or lose, it's a bigger story than if 'Cats had come into it with a loss.
2 - Virginia: Won the ACC regular-season title, has three losses, and didn't get a No. 1 seed .
3 - Wisconsin: Size, extensive tourney experience, skill shooters, coach Bo Ryan. Book a return trip to the Final Four.
4 - Villanova: Big East landed 6 of 10 members in the field and Villanova dominated the conference. Don't count the 'Cats short.
5 - Arizona: Did more to earn a No. 1 seed than Duke did.
6 - Duke: If Duke had Virginia's season and Virginia had Duke's, does anyone believe the seeds would be the same? No? Didn't think so.
7 - Gonzaga: Most talented Zags team ever has size, experience and a ton of shooters. If chalk rules in the South, regional final with Duke could be high-scoring game.
8 - Notre Dame: Unlike many of Mike Brey's past teams, this one can do more than get hot from the perimeter, but Irish can still do that.
9 - Maryland: Deserve better fate than having to face Kentucky in Sweet 16 game.
10 - Kansas: Normally, an Indiana-Kansas matchup would excite the masses, but in this case it would be a buzz-kill because it would cancel anticipated rare matchup with Wichita State. If you're scoring at home, four of my top 10 teams are in the Midwest Region. That shouldn't happen.
11 - Iowa State: You turn off the TV when Cyclones get way behind you're just not paying attention.
12 - Oklahoma: As do Cyclones, Sooners have easier path to Sweet 16 than Kansas.
13 - North Carolina: Very talented team that has shown recent signs of putting it together. Even so, with Wisconsin and Arizona in the West, projecting Heels to make Final Four is a bit of a reach.
14 - Louisville: Lousy shooters can make teams play poorly with disruptive defense. If Cards defeat UC Irvine and face Northern Iowa in Seattle on Sunday it would be fascinating matchup between great shooters and top-notch defenders.
15 - Northern Iowa: America, meet Seth Tuttle, a 6-foot-8, 240 pounds worth of pure basketball skill.
16 - Wichita State: Shockers must be so mad over getting seeded seventh they're going to play like hornets for as long as they last in the tournament.
17 - Michigan State: Guard Travis Trice averaged more than 20 points in eight games leading up to overtime loss to Wisconsin in Big Ten title game.
18 - Baylor: Not as talented as some Bears teams of recent past, but grittier.
19 - Utah: Utes have lost 4 of past 7. Looking for a first-round upset. Try Stephen F. Austin.
20 - West Virginia: Juwan Staten and Gary Browne expected back for game with Buffalo, coached by former Duke star Bobby Hurley.
21 - Oregon: Ducks not a horrible sleeper choice, but it will be tough to get past Wisconsin in second game.
22 - Georgetown: Many puzzled by No. 4 seed for Hoyas, but if Joshua Smith can stay out of foul trouble, he presents a lot of problems for the guys trying to guard him.
23 - Arkansas: If Hogs and North Carolina meet, that's a lot of talented size on the court and a must-watch game.
24 - Butler: Bulldogs love the underdog role but are seeded five spots higher than talented Texas. Still, it will feel like the Bulldogs are underdogs.
25 - Purdue: Legendary Boilermakers coach Gene Keady is coaching in the tournament as an assistant at St. John's.
Former Kansas point guard Mark Turgeon has coached Maryland to a second-place finish in the prestigious Big Ten and his Terps were ranked No. 8 in the nation, one spot ahead of his alma mater, heading into conference tournaments. Even so, he has not yet clinched coach of the year honors in the Turgeon family. That fierce competition is far from over.
Turge's older brother, Jim Turgeon, 52, brings a 30-3 record in his eighth season for Iowa Western Community College into the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament, which takes place today through Saturday at the Bicentennial Center in Salina. Iowa Western, in Council Bluffs, is located just across the river from Omaha. His Reivers play their fist tourney game Wednesday.
Turgeon searches the globe to put together his roster of 13 players. Four countries (Australia, Cyprus, Hungary, United States) and eight states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Dakota) are represented.
In coaching his international roster, Turgeon pulls from coaches with Kansas ties.
"We play aggressive man-to-man defense and we run my brother's secondary break and then we'll usually go into Bill Self's high-low offense," said Turgeon, a graduate of Washburn University." We like to score in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock or the last 10 seconds."
"We'll try to create turnovers and score when the defense isn't set," he said. "When the defense is set, we try to be patient and break down the defense."
Comparing himself to his more famous, wealthier brother, Jim said, "I'm two years older, much better looking and taught him everything he knows."
The brothers, natives of Topeka, share a down-to-earth, Kansas vibe.
"He is (down-to-earth) and he's brutally honest and sometimes that gets him into trouble," Jim said. "When we talk on the phone, first we talk about family and then we talk about our teams, share frustrations and also talk about the positive things that do work."
Jim Turgeon, 191-64 at Iowa Western, has the school record for victories. He is the second-winningest coach in Dodge City Community College, where he went 123-97. Check out these turn-around numbers: In three seasons before Turgeon took over at Dodge City, the school went 28-63. In his final five seasons before getting the heck out of dodge, his record was 105-55.
The year before going to Dodge, Turgeon was an assistant coach at a men's junior-college program near Dallas.
"I wanted to get back to Kansas," he said of the move to Dodge. "I never dreamed I'd be a woman's basketball coach, but it turned out to be my niche. My dad worked with girls most of the time (as assistant at Topeka Hayden High) and it's become my niche. I love it. I'll never go back to coaching men, unless Mark wants to pay me a half-a-million dollars a year to be his assistant. I don't see that happening. I don't know if any university could take two Turgeons at the same time."
Asked if he would be interested in becoming Kansas women's basketball head coach, Jim Turgeon said, "I guess the best way to answer that is that I grew up wanting to be the head coach at Kansas on the men's side, but now I'm on the woman's side. Of course, I'd be interested."
Turgeon isn't campaigning for the job. He merely picked up a phone call and started answering questions honestly.
"I'm in a really good situation," he said. "I have an opportunity to win every year and my family's happy here. That's coach-speak, I know, but it also happens to be true."
Dodge City's a tough place to build a winner, as proven by the program's performance before and after Turgeon. The guy knows how to recruit, coach and develop talent and he does it while maintaining an enjoyable atmosphere for his players.
My knowledge of the women’s college basketball coaching world is limited, but now that Kansas has an opening, I have started asking a lot of questions and doing some research in order to blog about potential candidates. It’s important to understand that by writing about coaches, I’m not saying KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger is planning to interview them. I’m not even saying they necessarily would leave their jobs for KU, which some, Zenger included, believe to be a sleeping giant in women's basketball. I’m just trying to call attention coaches who have winning backgrounds and could possibly be interested in the opening.
Wichita State head coach Jody Adams, the first potential candidate in this, the latest KU coaching-search blog, has done a remarkable job in building a winner and bringing positive attention to the Shockers' women's program.
Wichita State’s Missouri Valley Conference records in seven seasons before Adams took over: 8-10, 7-10, 7-11, 2-16, 8-10, 4-14, 3-15. That’s 17-55 in the four seasons leading up to Admas’ first.
Under Adams: 4-14, 8-10, 10-8, 12-6, 15-3, 14-4, 17-1. That's 46-8 in Adams' past three seasons. Phenomenal. Adams has taken the Shockers from worst in the Missouri Valley to first.
This will be the third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for Wichita State, which never had earned a berth pre-Adams.
Her amazing turnaround job at Wichita State should not come as a huge surprise to anyone familiar with her background. Adams was known as among the nation’s top recruiters at various assistant-coaching stops, including at MInnesota and UMKC.
Her competitive spirit was evident long before she put it to use as a recruiter. Adams’ winning ways started as a player. As a sophomore, she was starting point guard of the 1991 Tennessee national-championship team. She started her coaching career as a graduate assistant under the legendary Pat Summitt.
Adams, in her seventh season at Wichita State, takes a 26-4 record and nine-game winning streak into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, which starts today in St. Charles, Mo.
Considering her playing background and coaching success, Adams shapes up as the Kim Mulkey of the Missouri Valley. Wichita State recognized Adams' efforts last July by signing her to a five-year contract extension through 2019. You know how that goes. In sports, contracts are made to be broken.
Kansas stayed at No. 9 in the Associated Press college basketball poll, released today. Maryland replaced Wichita State at No. 8 and the Shockers dropped to 12th.
The top 25 teams in APpoll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Sunday, 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
- Kentucky (65) 31-0 1,625 1
- Duke 28-3 1,544 3
- Virginia 28-2 1,454 2
- Villanova 29-2 1,444 4
- Arizona 28-3 1,360 5
- Wisconsin 28-3 1,344 6
- Gonzaga 30-2 1,229 7
- Maryland 26-5 1,103 10
- Kansas 24-7 1,040 9
- N. Iowa 30-3 1,037 11
- Notre Dame 26-5 1,026 12
- Wichita St. 28-4 797 8
- Iowa St. 22-8 786 17
- Louisville 24-7 780 16
- Oklahoma 21-9 772 15
- Baylor 23-8 701 14
- Utah 23-7 587 13
- West Virginia 23-8 525 20
- North Carolina 21-10 406 19
- SMU 24-6 339 22
- Arkansas 24-7 300 18
- Butler 22-9 287 21
- Georgetown 20-9 223 _
- Davidson 23-6 99 _
- Boise St. 24-7 82 _
Others receiving votes: Oregon 69, Providence 63, Ohio St. 40, BYU 18, Michigan St. 15, LSU 8, Iowa 7, St. John's 6, San Diego St. 3, Stephen F. Austin 2, Dayton 1, North Florida 1, Purdue 1, Valparaiso 1.
My AP top 25 ballot:
1 - Kentucky: Wildcats (31-0) are fifth team since Indiana’s 1976 undefeated national championship team to make it through regular season undefeated. The others: Indiana State (1978-79, 26-0), UNLV (1990-91, 27-0), St. Joseph’s (2003-2004, 27-0), Wichita State (2013-14, 31-0).
2 - Virginia: Senior star Justin Anderson had hoped to return to the lineup Saturday after missing eight games with a broken finger, but he underwent an appendectomy Thursday. The Cavs’ 59-57 Saturday loss at Lousiville makes them 7-1 without Anderson, who is questionable for the ACC tournament.
3 - Duke: At his best in big games throughout the season, freshman point guard Tyus Jones had a second terrific performance vs. North Carolina, scoring season-high 24 points Saturday. He also has shown big improvement in the second half of the season and is shooting .446 from three and averaging 14.4 points in the past 15 games.
4 - Wisconsin: National player of year candidate Frank Kaminsky averages in past five games: 23 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.8 blocks, .719 overall shooting, .467 from three.
5 - Villanova: St. John’s came into Philadelphia with a four-game winning streak, the most victories (21) during the Steve Lavin era and took an 18-7 lead. Villanova outscored the high-flying Johnnies a stunning 98-50 the rest of the way.
6 - Arizona: Finished Pac-12 regular season in style, destroying California by 39 and Stanford by 22. T.J. McConnell (11 assists both games) and Brandon Ashley (averaged 18 points, 7.5 rebounds and made 13 of 19 field goals and 10 of 12 free throws) had huge weeks.
7 - Gonzaga: This will be 16th time in 16 seasons under Mark Few that Zags make the tournament. This could be the year Few makes the Elite Eight for the first time. He has made it to the Sweet 16 in four seasons, including his first two. Zags have lost in Round of 32 in each of past five seasons. With so much size and skill, this looks like the best Gonzaga team ever.
8 - Maryland: Turge’s Terps finished Big Ten season riding seven-game winning streak with Dez Wells averaging 18.7 points. In final two games, victories at Rutgers and at Nebraska, Wells averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds. Let’s see, Maryland used to be in the ACC, Rutgers the Big East and Nebraska the Big 12. It still feels weird to call those games Big Ten matchups.
9 - Notre Dame: Irish are nation’s No. 1 two-point shooting team (.586) and rank 24th in nation with .390 three-point percentage. They don’t play rugged defense, but at least make teams earn it from the field by not fouling very often.
10 - Kansas: Frank Mason, Brannen Greene, Devonte Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have combined for nine blocked shots in 2,157 minutes. Hunter Mickelson has 14 blocked shots in 109 minutes.
11 - Oklahoma: Sooners try to make it three victories in one season vs. in-state rival. Whatever Cowboys have tried to do to throw off Buddy Hield’s shot hasn’t worked. In two games he has made 15 of 18 shots, including 5 of 6 three-pointers and has averaged 21 points.
12 - Iowa State: In conference games, Monte Morris leads Big 12 in assists (5.44) and assists-to-turnovers (4.08) and ranks second in minutes (34.5), field-goal percentage (.518) and steals (tied with two others at 1.72). Most underrated player in conference.
13 - Louisville: Mangok Mathiang, averaging 2.6 points, had not taken a shot until making a 15-footer with 2.7 seconds left to deliver Louisville a 59-57 victory vs. Virginia. Rick Pitino: “Mangok was the 64th option.” Mathiang: “I was just shocked that I made it.”
14 - Baylor: Rare is the conference that can pit teams as good as Baylor and West Virginia against each other in first-round conference tournament game..
15 - West Virginia: Mountaineers looking to avenge regular-season sweep by Baylor, which won the two games by average margin of 15 points.
16 - North Carolina: Tar Heels have lost 6 of 10, but four of the losses were to top 10 teams, two coming in overtime.
17 - Utah: First 25 games: 21-4; Past five games: 2-3. Three-point shooting percentage in 23 victories: .435, compared to .297 in seven losses.
18 - Northern Iowa: Down 36-22 at halftime vs. Illinois State in the Missouri Valley conference tournament title game, the Panthers took over the game with a 25-4 run..
19 - Wichita State: Ron Baker was held scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting in second half in loss to Illinois State. At the half, Baker had 13 points, four rebounds and five assists.
20 - Oregon: Ducks finished Pac-12 regular season on five-game winning streak, including 11-point victory vs. Utah. Only loss in past 10 games came at UCLA.
21 - Georgetown: Hoyas tied for second with Butler in Big East by going 5-1 at end of schedule.
22 - Arkansas: Sophomore center Bobby Portis averaging 17.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots.
23 - Michigan State: Guard Travis Trice, who scored 18 of his 21 points Saturday in the second half in 74-72 victory at Indiana, getting hot just in time for postseason. Averaged 20.8 points in last six games
24 - Butler: Coach Chris Holtmann took over on an interim basis in October when Brandon Miller requested a medical leave of absence. He was named permanent head coach in January, meaning his gamble of leaving his post as head coach at Gardner-Webb for an assistant’s job at Butler paid off. Holtmann’s records at Gardner-Webb: 11-21, 12-20, 21-13, an impressive turn-around.
25 - Purdue: If I see the Boilermakers listed as a bubble team one more time my head will explode. The Boilermakers tied for third in the always-strong Big Ten with 12-6 record.
No need to look at the calendar to check the month. Kansas University basketball fans will remind you by saying what they say annually in early March. “You know,” they start, “I think this is Bill Self’s best coaching job yet.”
Since that’s such a hot topic, I decided to take a stab at ranking Self’s most impressive coaching jobs during this run of 11 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles. Naturally, because the NCAA tournament hasn’t been played yet, the ranking for this season is subject to change. I released one every 15 minutes, starting at No. 11 and working my way down to No. 1.
I thought it would be a fun exercise because it really is amazing how often someone will express the sentiment that “this is Self’s best coaching job yet,” at this time of year.
The truth, of course, is that it requires a strong coaching job to win one Big 12 title and to do it 11 times without interruption is mind-blowing.
Self’s intelligence, the ability to read people and find the right means of getting the most out of each individual, his direct nature and 100 percent confidence that his way is the right way, combine to make him a coach who is able to construct a roster, coach it up and win back-to-back titles.
I would be interested to know how others would rank the job he did in coaching each of the 11 Big 12 title teams.
Tom Keegan's Rankings of Bill Self's best coaching jobs in the last 11 years:
1. 2007-08: The only Final Four with four No. 1 seeds featured coaches John Calipari, Roy Williams and Ben Howland, who was coaching in his third consecutive Final Four, and Bill Self, the only Final Four first-timer. Self had established such an unselfish culture and such superior ball movement with this group that Brandon Rush led the team in scoring in three consecutive seasons and never averaged more than 13.8 points per game in any season. Yet, even though Rush was the leading scorer, it was fellow junior Mario Chalmers who had developed into the man teammates looked to get the ball to in the biggest moments. In the semifinal, freshman Cole Aldrich’s coming out party, Kansas took a 40-12 lead vs. North Carolina, which stormed back to within 54-50, only to lose to Kansas, 84-66. In the title game, Chalmers’ three-pointer sent it into overtime, where Kansas won, 75-68. Chalmers had 18 points and four steals, but was he the player of the game? Or was it Darrell Arthur (20 points, 10 rebounds), Brandon Rush (12 points, six boards, superior defense) or Sherron Collins (11 points, six assists, four rebounds, three steals, clutch play at the end). The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t matter. Wearing his general manager’s cap, Self had put together a talented team in which all the parts fit and made sense. Wearing his coach’s whistle, he brought them to a place where each individual put the team first. It remains his best of many great coaching jobs.
Big 12 standings:
Kansas State 10-6
Texas A&M 8-8
Texas Tech 7-9
Oklahoma State 7-9
Iowa State 4-12