Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harris remembers the fracas differently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the entire entertaining segment with Harris below:

None by Highly Questionable

Reply

Cheick Diallo thanks fans in letter announcing decision to turn pro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Diallo’s entire letter below.

None by _cd13

Reply

Bill Self sends video message to young fan in hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch Self’s message below:

Reply

Say something nice about Kansas football: On Cajun Country recruiting

Kansas running backs coach Tony Hull encourages his players as they warm up during practice on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

Kansas running backs coach Tony Hull encourages his players as they warm up during practice on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. by Nick Krug

Only five schools from the state of Louisiana compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision: LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, Louisiana Tech and Tulane.

Only one of those five schools, LSU, is a member of one of college football’s Power Five conferences. The SEC is recruiting the state of Texas harder than ever, a benefit of enticing Texas A&M into the conference. More Texas recruits means fewer from Louisiana, which translates to opportunity for other schools.

The state has far more Div. I prospects than LSU can recruit and Kansas head coach David Beaty has made an aggressive play to become a place for Cajun Country recruits to visit. Beaty hired Tony Hull, former head coach of Warren Easton High in New Orleans, as his running backs coach.

Kansas gained a commitment from dual-threat QB Class of 2016 recruit Tyriek Starks, who played for Hull, before Hull joined the staff. Travis Jordan, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound, three-star athlete from Louisiana, committed to KU in early April. Nebraska reportedly wanted him and Kansas landed him. Take a bow, coach Hull.

Just last weekend, Hull brought in two more Louisiana prospects for a visit. Wide receiver L’Dontrae Davis is being recruited by LSU, Ole Miss, etc. And he visited Kansas and was quoted as saying he loved it. That doesn’t mean Kansas will land him. It does mean he will spread the word in Louisiana about a Big 12 school that otherwise might not have been on their radar. His cousin, defensive end prospect Justin Harris, joined him on the visit.

Because Kansas lacks a winning tradition, convincing prospects to visit campus always has been the toughest challenge for football coaches throughout the decades. Once they make the visit, most are pleasantly surprised with the beauty of the campus, the family feel, and in recent years, the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Developing talent, putting it in the right place on the field, and playing smart football with a nasty edge still rank as the biggest keys to establishing a winning culture, but upgrading recruiting certainly plays a big role as well. I believe starting from scratch in Louisiana is well worth the gamble.

There, I just said something nice about Kansas football, which is coming off an 0-12 season. Now it’s your turn. Say something nice about Kansas football.

Reply

Wayne Selden and Georges Niang trading jabs on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

None by 1

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

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

None by Georges Niang

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

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

None by 1

Reply

A different view on Brannen Greene’s decision

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) puts a three over West Virginia guard Jaysean Paige (5) from the wing during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) puts a three over West Virginia guard Jaysean Paige (5) from the wing during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

I agree with colleague Matt Tait's opinion that Brannen Greene made the right decision in leaving Kansas, but disagree that he did the right thing by declaring for the NBA draft and hiring an agent.

Transferring to a school that would have built its offense around his three-point shooting touch, spending two more years in school, improving his ball-handling, earning credits toward a graduate degree and proving he can go two years without a suspension, all would have served to pique the curiosity of NBA talent scouts, maybe even enough for him to earn an invitation to the NBA combine.

As it is, he was left off the guest list, despite having one of the prettier jumpers on the planet. He carries the baggage of never having established himself as a major-minutes player, the baggage of multiple suspensions.

Greene wasn't the right player for Bill Self and Self wasn't the right coach for Greene. But that doesn't mean that with a long look in his mirror and fresh start, he could not have succeeded at another school.

Davidson and Wyoming are two programs that jump to mind as ones Greene could have explored as potential destinations. Davidson's Jack Gibbs averaged 23.5 points per game as a junior, and averaged 18.2 shots, 7.9 from beyond the three-point line. Wyoming's Josh Adams averaged 24.2 points, 16.1 shots and 8.4 three-pointers in his junior season. Greene could have practiced with either player for a year then inherited the available shots.

Those are just two examples of schools that might have been interested. An NBA franchise would be more interested in Greene coming off a stellar senior year. He wasn't going to get that at Kansas, where he had exhausted his chances.

Transferring would have required patience, a quality in short supply among basketball players seeking paychecks.

Reply

Say something nice about Kansas football

KU coach David Beaty celebrates an early score in the Jayhawks' 45-14, season-ending loss to Kansas State on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, at Memorial Stadium.

KU coach David Beaty celebrates an early score in the Jayhawks' 45-14, season-ending loss to Kansas State on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, at Memorial Stadium. by Richard Gwin

Welcome to the first “Say something nice about Kansas football,” blog, which will appear here every Monday.

Here’s how it works: I’ll say something nice about the KU football program and challenge you to do the same.

Sure, it’s not necessarily easy given that the Jayhawks have gone 4-57 in the Big 12 in the past sevens seasons and have lost their last 38 games played outside of Lawrence. Going 0-12 in 2015 and losing their conference games by an average of 35.7 points doesn’t make it easy. Who said life is supposed to be easy all the time?

To ease the challenge, nice comments unrelated to on-field performance count. For example, you might like a certain uniform combination, a particular food or drink from your friend’s tailgate, a specific chant from the students, etc.

All nice words, provided they aren’t linked in any way to basketball, are welcome. This is a football blog. Jokes about basketball season starting early are so stale and weren’t particularly funny in the first place. No basketball comments of any kind allowed in the “Say something nice about Kansas football” blog.

Sarcasm, although not encouraged, is not discouraged. For example, if someone were to write, “I like the bathrooms in Memorial Stadium because I can’t see the scoreboard from them,” that might not be within the spirit of the blog, but certainly is within the letter of the law.

One more rule: If you disagree with someone who says something nice, that’s fine, but you must then say two nice things about Kansas football to make your contribution a net positive, twice the challenge. Here’s your chance to prove you can say something nice about KU football.

I can.

Here goes: Coach David Beaty has parted from recent reliance on recruiting offensive linemen from junior colleges. More than any position, O-linemen must be recruited out of high school and grown in the weight room. That takes five years, the first as a redshirt, in most cases the first few as a backup building strength and polishing technique.

Beaty’s recruiting class of 2016 included four offensive linemen (Cam Durley, Antione Frazier, Hunter Harris, Chris Hughes), all from Texas high schools.

Kansas already has received a verbal commitment from a Texas high school O-lineman, Jared Hocker, in the Class of 2017. Grant Polley, another prep O-lineman, withdrew his commitment.

Beaty gets that it’s impossible to rebuild a football program without building the foundation with high school blockers. I like that.

Your turn. Say something nice about Kansas football.

Reply

Perry Ellis pens farewell letter to KU fans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reply

Video of poignant pint-sized patriot with KU family ties goes viral

Starting with Bob Frederick, late athletic director of Kansas University, the Frederick family has built a rich Final Four tradition.

Bob served as the chairman of the NCAA tournament selection committee and hired Roy Williams, who took the Jayhawks to four Final Fours.

Bob’s son, Brad Frederick, director of operations on Williams’ staff at North Carolina, went to two Final Fours as a player at North Carolina and earlier this month was in Houston, where the Tar Heels lost at the buzzer to Villanova in the national-title game.

But a pint-sized patriot by the name of Sawyer Frederick, the youngest of Brad and Jocelyn’s three children, has become the most famous of all the Fredericks.

A video of Sawyer, all of 2 years old, shaking the hands of several military personnel on the tarmac after the North Carolina basketball team’s chartered flight landed for the Final Four has gone viral.

Jocelyn took the video with her phone, and her brother-in-law, Chris Frederick, a KU graduate student and bartender at The Sandbar, posted it on Youtube, triggering a frenzy of interest from global media outlets, including (London-based) The Telegraph.

“Sawyer is really funny because he is adorable to look at, but he doesn’t talk a whole lot,” Jocelyn said by phone from North Carolina. “But he’s a busy body, toddles around like a pint-sized version of an adult, so he’s very funny.”

Jocelyn said the "Pint-Sized Patriot," nickname has caught on in North Carolina.

Jocelyn and Sawyer appeared Thursday on “Fox and Friends,” and the video appears on the ABC news website.

Margey Frederick, Sawyer’s grandmother and a Lawrence resident, said she is “incredibly proud. We are a family that always supported the military. It was really fun. I had no idea it would mushroom into this much attention.”

Chris Frederick, the youngest of Bob and Margey's four sons, said that at last check, one of the Youtube postings had reached 1.3 million views.

“I read the comments under it and so many people posted that watching it brought them to tears,” Chris said. “So I sent my sister-in-law a text saying, ‘I bet you didn’t imagine when you were filming this you would make people all over the world cry.’ ”

Reply

Paul Pierce makes cameo in Kobe Bryant farewell commercial

Tonight's the night.

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

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

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

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

Here's a look...

Reply

Highlights galore: Watch an assortment of Josh Jackson clips

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

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

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

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






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


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


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




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

Reply

Josh Jackson set to decide early next week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

•How often is Josh Jackson asked about recruiting?

Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Reply

Kansas vs. UConn: Media Day recap

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

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

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

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

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

Reply

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

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

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

3:23 p.m. Update:

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

2:55 p.m. update:

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

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Benton Smith

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

2:10 p.m. update:

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

1:50 p.m. update:

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

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

None by Benton Smith

1:30 p.m. update:

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

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

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

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

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

1 p.m. update:

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

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

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

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

— Check back throughout the day for updates.

Reply

Jayhawks aim to ride momentum into NCAA Tournament

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

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

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

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

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEWS:

Reply

The nation speaks: Jayhawks the favorite to win it all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That second-round showdown could be something, though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reply