Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”

Western Kentucky has two of three traits that huge underdogs want

Western Kentucky's T.J. Price (52) celebrates with teammates after the Sun Belt Conference championship game against Florida International on Monday, March 11, 2013, in Hot Springs, Ark., Monday, March 11, 2013. Western Kentucky won 65-63. Price was named the tournament's most valuable player. WKU will face Kansas University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 22, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo.

Western Kentucky's T.J. Price (52) celebrates with teammates after the Sun Belt Conference championship game against Florida International on Monday, March 11, 2013, in Hot Springs, Ark., Monday, March 11, 2013. Western Kentucky won 65-63. Price was named the tournament's most valuable player. WKU will face Kansas University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 22, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo.

Team: Western Kentucky
Record: 20-15
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 183
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted

3 Strengths

Offensive rebounding: Let's get the scary part out of the way for Kansas fans: ESPN's "Giant Killers" blog has identified three high-risk, high-reward characteristics that most NCAA Cinderellas share, and WKU is strong in two of the three. The first is offensive rebounding, which helps an underdog avoid a knockout scoring run by a favorite.

The Hilltoppers rank 73rd nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, pulling down 34.8 percent of their missed shots. That number was even higher (36 percent) during Sun Belt Conference play. The good news for KU? It has been a strong defensive rebounding team all year, ranking 61st nationally in defensive rebounding percentage.

Shooting a high percentage of threes: This is the second characteristic that Cinderellas often have, as shooting lots of threes is another strategy that has the potential to reward an underdog in a one-game setting. The Hilltoppers rank 78th nationally in percentage of three-pointers taken, as 36.4 percent of their field goals are threes.

WKU hasn't shot it particularly well from the outside (33.2 percent is slightly below NCAA average), but again, that number can fluctuate up or down in a one-game sample size. Allowing threes has been a weakness for KU this year, as 36.2 percent of the field goals against the Jayhawks this season have been treys (291st-lowest split nationally).

Defensive rebounding: WKU ranks 139th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage and actually improved in that area during conference play. The Hilltoppers ranked third in league play in that stat, pulling down 69.7 percent of the available defensive rebounds.

3 Weaknesses

Creating steals: The third item on the "Giant Killers" Cinderella checklist is defensive steal percentage, and this is one of WKU's biggest weaknesses. The Hilltoppers rank 240th nationally in defensive steal percentage, coming away with swipes on just 9.1 percent of opponents' possessions.

Carelessness: Western Kentucky's biggest issue offensively has been turnovers, as it ranks 300th nationally in offensive turnover percentage while giving it away on 22.4 percent of its possessions. This doesn't match up with a KU strength, though, as the Jayhawks are 242nd nationally in forcing turnovers.

Gettting shot blocked: WKU appears to be a team that KU center Jeff Withey should affect. The Hilltoppers had 10.6 percent of their two-pointers blocked this year, which ranks 273rd nationally. Withey, meanwhile, has the nation's seventh-best block percentage, rejecting 13.6 percent of opponents' twos when he's in the game.

3 Players to Watch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1625ZxJ0Ujk

Six-foot-4 guard T.J. Price (No. 52) takes on the biggest offensive load for WKU.

The sophomore takes 29.4 percent of WKU's shots when he's in (111th nationally), and his specialty is threes, as he's shot more threes than twos this year (218 to 199) and has made a high percentage of them (79 of 218, 36.2 percent). Price isn't much of a penetrator (only 20 percent of his shots this year have been at the rim, according to Hoop-Math.com) and also doesn't draw many fouls, so he looks to be an ideal matchup for KU's best perimeter defender Travis Releford.

• Six-foot-3 guard Jamal Crook (No. 14) is the player that can attack KU off the dribble and also find teammates, ranking 74th nationally in assist percentage. The senior draws five fouls per 40 minutes (265th nationally) and is dangerous inside the arc, making 53 percent of his twos (94 of 179).

Crook is a good shooter off the dribble, as according to Hoop-Math, he has made 42 percent of his two-point jumpshots (NCAA average is 35 percent), though only 28 percent of those shots were assisted. Though Crook is not a threat from the outside, making just nine of 33 three-pointers (27.3 percent), he is WKU's best perimeter defender, ranking 223rd nationally in steal percentage.

Six-foot-6 George Fant (No. 44) is an undersized forward whose best skill is getting to the free throw line. The sophomore draws 6.2 fouls per 40 minutes (50th nationally) and has shot 197 free throws, which is more than any KU player. Fant also is WKU's best rebounder, ranking 263rd nationally in offensive rebounding percentage and 473rd in defensive rebounding percentage. Overall, though, Fant is one of the Hilltoppers' least efficient players because of a high turnover rate, below-average free throw shooting (60.4 percent) and poor two-point jump shooting (32 percent on two-point jumpers, according to Hoop-Math).

Bottom Line

KU opening as a 20-point favorite sounds about right, but WKU's style of shooting a high percentage of threes and grabbing a lot of rebounds leaves the possibility for a large number of outcomes to be possible. The Hilltoppers' perimeter shooting should play a huge factor in whether the game turns out to be a laugher or one that is decided in the second half.

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Jeff Withey flummoxes Kansas State once again

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends against a shot from Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez during the second half of the Big 12 tournament championship on Saturday, March 16 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends against a shot from Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez during the second half of the Big 12 tournament championship on Saturday, March 16 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

1. Jeff Withey: After three games, Kansas State is still no closer to solving the defensive riddle that is Jeff Withey. Though KU's senior center had only one block, he altered numerous shots and was the big reason KSU made just 15 of 36 shots from two-point range (42 percent). Withey also came up big on the defensive glass against a strong offensive rebounding team, contributing 17 points (5-for-9 shooting), nine rebounds (seven defensive) and two assists with two turnovers in 34 minutes.

2. Perry Ellis: Though Withey took Most Outstanding Player honors, Ellis' play in the last two games certainly put him in the conversation. Ellis was key during a second-half run that put the game away, finishing with 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting with six rebounds in just 14 minutes. KU coach Bill Self said after the game that Ellis "looks like a different guy from a confidence perspective."

3. Kevin Young: Saved KU's sluggish offense in the first half, as he posted seven rebounds, six rebounds (three offensive) and two assists before halftime. The senior didn't appear hampered by a lower right leg injury, finishing with nine points (4-for-8 shooting) and nine rebounds with three assists to go with two turnovers in 27 minutes.

4. Travis Releford: After the game, Self said Releford "did an unbelievable job" defensively on KSU's Rodney McGruder, who finished with 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting. Self also said many times when McGruder scored, it was the result of a switch and, therefore, not Releford's fault. The senior added six points on 3-for-7 shooting and had three of KU's seven steals.

5. Naadir Tharpe: When Elijah Johnson struggled at point, Tharpe stepped in to provide needed stability for KU at that position. It also ended up being one of his best shooting nights of the year. Tharpe scored a career-high 12 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting, making four threes for the first time in his career. He also added two assists to go with one turnover in 19 minutes.

6. Ben McLemore: McLemore was quiet offensively, scoring a season-low five points on 2-for-7 shooting. The rest of his line was OK, though: three rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal to go with a turnover.

7. Elijah Johnson: Was careless in the first half, then let those mistakes affect his play after that. The senior scored nine points on 3-for-9 shooting, but he had just three assists to go with six turnovers. His three-game hot streak seems like a distant memory, as in his last four games, he's made 12 of 40 shots (30 percent) with as many assists as turnovers (16).

8. Jamari Traylor: Missed his only shot but also had an impressive block in his two minutes.

9. Rio Adams: Played in the final seconds. Winner of the three-man KUsports.com lottery for ninth place.

10. Andrew White III: Played in the final seconds. Second place in the three-man KUsports.com lottery for ninth place.

11. Justin Wesley: Played in the final seconds. Loser in the three-man KUsports.com lottery for ninth place.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (275 points)
2. Ben McLemore (258 points)
3. Travis Releford (243 points)
4. Kevin Young (210 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (192 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (173 points)
7. Perry Ellis (161 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (111 points)
9. Andrew White III (52 points)
10. Rio Adams (38 points)
11. Justin Wesley (24 points)

Big 12/Postseason Standings
1. Jeff Withey (184 points)
2. Ben McLemore (169 points)
3. Travis Releford (158 points)
4. Kevin Young (151 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (116 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (112 points)
7. Perry Ellis (109 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (70 points)
9. Andrew White III (29 points)
10. Rio Adams (23 points)
11. Justin Wesley (17 points)

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Grabbing defensive rebounds critical for KU against Kansas State

KU's center Jeff Withey (5) looks to control a rebound against KSU defenders Thomas Gipson and Angel Rodriquez (13) as KU hosted the K-State Wildcats on Monday February 11, 2013 in Allen Fieldhouse.

KU's center Jeff Withey (5) looks to control a rebound against KSU defenders Thomas Gipson and Angel Rodriquez (13) as KU hosted the K-State Wildcats on Monday February 11, 2013 in Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

Team: Kansas State
Record: 27-6
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 27
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted.

• For a refresher of Kansas State's strengths/weaknesses, check out the Five-minute Scout from Feb. 11.

3 Numbers to Know

0.867 — The number of points per possession Kansas State's defense allowed against Oklahoma State on Friday night — the second-worst output for the Cowboys this season. OSU especially struggled with its shooting, as its 34.7 effective field goal percentage against KSU was its worst in the last two seasons. The Wildcats also played exceptional defense against Texas on Thursday, holding the Longhorns to 0.862 PPP.

38.8 percent — Kansas State's offensive rebounding percentage this season, which ranks 13th in the country. Interestingly, KSU's offensive rebounding, according to KenPom's correlation stats, seem to have a positive impact on the Wildcats' offense and defense. The numbers seem to reflect this. When KSU's offensive rebounding percentage is over 33 percent this year, the Wildcats are 25-0. When KSU's offensive rebounding percentage is under 33 percent, the Wildcats are 2-6.

39.6 percent — Kansas State's two-point percentage against KU this year (23-for-58). The Wildcats have tried two different styles of play offensively against KU with similar results. KSU avoided KU center Jeff Withey altogether in the first matchup, shooting 30 threes compared to 27 twos (Withey had no blocks) while putting up 0.92 points per possession in a 59-55 loss. In the second matchup, KSU shot quite a few more twos (31 twos, 19 threes) but that also resulted in getting to the foul line more for 0.91 PPP. Still, the tradeoff was that KU had six blocks that led to transition baskets, and consequently, KU scored 1.22 PPP to blow KSU out. If I'm KSU coach Bruce Weber, I go back to option No. 1, slow it down and believe that guys like Rodney McGruder and Shane Southwell will hit shots (and hope if they don't, the big guys underneath will battle to get the rebound).

3 Players to Watch (and one sentence explaining why)

Six-foot-4 guard Rodney McGruder (No. 22) is a high-volume shooter that rarely turns it over, though his strength is actually two-point jumpshots (40 percent according to Hoop-Math.com; NCAA average is 35 percent) more than it is three-point jumpers (33 percent; NCAA average is 34 percent).

Five-foot-11 point guard Angel Rodriguez (No. 13) has always been a good passer (15th nationally in assist rate), but now he's shooting with confidence too, as he's made 42 percent of his threes in his last 10 games (26 of 62).

• KU has had problems guarding 6-foot-6 Shane Southwell (No. 1) on the perimeter, as he's made 44 percent of his threes against the Jayhawks this year (7-for-16), which also matches his season percentage from three (43 of 98, 44 percent).

Prediction

Kansas State's best chance against KU is trying to "out-possession" the Jayhawks. By that, I mean the Wildcats — by grabbing offensive rebounds and winning the turnover margin — can gain a few points by simply having more shot attempts than KU.

So the two keys for KU are simple: Be strong on the defensive glass and limit turnovers against a KSU team that forces a lot of them (46th nationally in defensive turnover percentage).

In KU's two wins against KSU, it has done well in both areas. The Jayhawks have been especially dominant on the defensive boards, as KSU had its second- and sixth-worst offensive rebounding games against KU.

The Jayhawks will have to chase down shooters like McGruder and Southwell on the perimeter, but the advantage for KU is that KSU plays traditional 5 men like Thomas Gipson and Jordan Henriquez around the rim. This allows Withey to stay where he's comfortable and also gives KU an advantage on the defensive glass.

As mentioned above, if KU can play well in that area, it puts itself in great position to beat KSU.

Kansas 66, Kansas State 58

Hawk to Rock

Because KSU's offensive rebounding will be so important, I'll go with Jeff Withey as the Hawk to Rock. The senior might not have many blocked shots — the Wildcats actually are best in the conference at avoiding blocks because of the high number of jumpers they shoot — but I think he'll still have a huge defensive impact by grabbing KSU's misses.

Predictions tally
26-7 record, 389 points off (11.8 points off/game)

Hawk to Rock
SE Missouri: Perry Ellis (2nd in KUsports.com ratings)
Michigan State: Jeff Withey (4th)
Chattanooga: Andrew White III (10th)
Washington State: Ben McLemore (4th)
Saint Louis: Perry Ellis (7th)
San Jose State: Travis Releford (2nd)
Oregon State: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Colorado: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Belmont: Kevin Young (6th)
Richmond: Jeff Withey (1st)
Ohio State: Ben McLemore (1st)
American: Jeff Withey (5th)
Temple: Kevin Young (2nd)
Iowa State: Travis Releford (4th)
Texas Tech: Ben McLemore (4th)
Baylor: Jeff Withey (4th)
Texas: Elijah Johnson (8th)
Kansas State: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (3rd)
West Virginia: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (1st)
TCU: Kevin Young (3rd)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (5th)
Kansas State: Naadir Tharpe (3rd)
Texas: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (7th)
TCU: Travis Releford (4th)
Iowa State: Jeff Withey (4th)
West Virginia: Perry Ellis (10th)
Texas Tech: Jeff Withey (1st)
Baylor: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Texas Tech: Kevin Young (2nd)
Iowa State: Travis Releford (7th)
Average: 4.2nd in KUsports.com ratings

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Bench play a highlight for KU against Iowa State

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe hangs for a shot past Iowa State center Percy Gibson and teammate Jamari Traylor during the first half of the semifinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe hangs for a shot past Iowa State center Percy Gibson and teammate Jamari Traylor during the first half of the semifinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. by Nick Krug

1. Perry Ellis: The more he plays, the more teams will have to start respecting KU's 4 man offensively, which in turn should open up some room for Jeff Withey in the lane. Ellis scored in a variety of ways Friday, which included pinning his defender deep for layups and shooting jumpers over the top. The freshman scored a career-high 23 points on 10-for-12 shooting, adding six rebounds and two steals to go with no turnovers in 28 minutes.

2. Naadir Tharpe: Attacked ISU's defense well, especially in the first half. Tharpe finished with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting, which included perfect 4-for-4 two-point accuracy. He also had eight assists — tying for his second-highest mark this season — with a steal and just one turnover in 21 minutes.

3. Elijah Johnson: Though he didn't have a good shooting game, Johnson still posted 14 points (4-for-12 on field goals) and seven assists to go with five turnovers. Other than a late giveaway, the senior managed KU's late possessions well, breaking the press and also nailing a deep three late in the shot clock to put KU up 17 with 2:25 left.

4. Kevin Young: Played with great energy — especially on the offensive glass — before his playing time was limited because of a leg injury. In just 10 minutes, Young had four points on 2-for-3 shooting with six rebounds (four offensive). He also added an assist and a block with no turnovers.

5. Jeff Withey: A rare inefficient scoring night for Withey, who shot under 50 percent from the floor for the first time in six games. The senior still posted 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting with six rebounds in 29 minutes.

6. Ben McLemore: The freshman shot it well — making four of five shots and two of three three-pointers for 10 points — and also led KU in rebounding with seven boards. That still didn't make up for a sloppy night offensively, as he posted a season-high six turnovers.

7. Travis Releford: Releford found some openings in transition early, but he never could get his three-pointers to fall. The senior made just three of nine shots and one of six threes, ending with nine points and six rebounds to go with two assists and two turnovers in a team-high 36 minutes.

8. Jamari Traylor: Solid production in limited time, as Traylor scored six points with help from 4-for-4 free throw shooting (he now has made 13 straight free throws). The freshman also had a rebound, two blocks and no turnovers in 10 minutes.

9. Justin Wesley: Recorded no stats in one minute at the end of the first half.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (265 points)
2. Ben McLemore (253 points)
3. Travis Releford (236 points)
4. Kevin Young (202 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (188 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (167 points)
7. Perry Ellis (152 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (108 points)
9. Andrew White III (51 points)
10. Rio Adams (36 points)
11. Justin Wesley (24 points)

Big 12/Postseason Standings
1. Jeff Withey (174 points)
2. Ben McLemore (164 points)
3. Travis Releford (151 points)
4. Kevin Young (143 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (112 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (106 points)
7. Perry Ellis (100 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (67 points)
9. Andrew White III (28 points)
10. Rio Adams (21 points)
11. Justin Wesley (17 points)

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Here’s why Iowa State’s offense is tough on Jeff Withey

Kansas forward Perry Ellis dives for a loose ball with Iowa State defenders Korie Lucious, front, and Tyrus McGee during overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis dives for a loose ball with Iowa State defenders Korie Lucious, front, and Tyrus McGee during overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

Team: Iowa State
Record: 22-10
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 35
All statistics from KenPom.com

• For a refresher of Iowa State's strengths/weaknesses, check out the Five-minute Scout from Feb. 25.

3 Numbers to Know

1.157 — The number of points Iowa State scored per possession against Kansas in its 108-96 loss to the Jayhawks on Feb. 25. That's the third-highest number KU has allowed this season and the most KU's defense has given up in a win. ISU also scored 1.102 PPP against KU at Allen Fieldhouse in a 97-89 overtime loss, which was the fourth-highest total against KU's D this year.

47.5 — The percentage of Iowa State's field goals attempts in Big 12 play that have been three-pointers. The Cyclones don't care how many threes they shoot, and for good reason: Even with the high volume of threes taken, ISU leads the conference with 39.1-percent accuracy from long range.

17.3 — Iowa State's defensive turnover percentage in conference play, which is the worst mark in the Big 12. The Cyclones play passive defensively, an in trying to keep up with the league's best offense, KU can't afford unforced turnovers against a defense that usually doesn't create them.

3 Players to Watch (and one sentence explaining why)

• The Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year (start him already, Fred!) 6-foot-2 guard Tyrus McGee (No. 25) has three elite skills: He can shoot threes (87 of 185, 47 percent), never turns it over (nation's 48th-best turnover rate) and is ISU's best perimeter defender (289th-best steal rate nationally).

Six-foot-7 freshman Georges Niang (No. 31) is a nightmare matchup for KU at the 5, as he forces KU center Jeff Withey to guard perimeter because of his 39 percent three-point shooting (33 of 85).

• The Big 12 Newcomer of the Year 6-foot-7 forward Will Clyburn (No. 21) is dangerous because he can penetrate and get to the free throw line (116th nationally in fouls drawn per 40 minutes) while also shooting well enough that teams still have to pay attention to him on the perimeter (31 percent three-point shooting).

Prediction

A team that can shoot from all five spots is the worst possible matchup for KU's defense, which is centered on Withey camping in the lane and blocking shots.

Here are a couple plays that show why ISU's spacing and offense are so difficult to defend.

In this first play, notice how the high ball screen puts Withey (and KU) in a bad spot. Ben McLemore is late to recover, and because of that, both Withey and Kevin Young step up to help on the ball-handler Chris Babb.

Notice what this does to KU's defense.

With Withey sagging to help on a possible drive, Babb stops to pass to Georges Niang on the perimeter. The pick-and-pop results in a wide-open three, as Withey has no chance of recovering in time.

In this play, Korie Lucious' lob attempt luckily goes in, but pay attention instead to how many options ISU has.

After Perry Ellis helps up top, he hustles back to guard Melvin Ejim, who cuts to the basket.

Travis Releford takes one step forward to help Ellis recover, and that leaves Clyburn open on the baseline for a lob if Lucious would have gotten it next to the rim.

Notice also how Withey instinctively takes a step back to guard the basket. If Lucious had made a short pass to the wing, Niang would have had another open three-point attempt.

Fred Hoiberg's NBA experience is serving him well at ISU, as his team's spacing and pick-and-roll offense is tough to guard, especially for a team with a true center like Withey.

The Jayhawks, who aren't as good offensively this year as some years past, simply outscored the Cyclones in the first two meetings.

I don't see KU being able to do it a third time.

Iowa State 79, Kansas 75

Hawk to Rock

After scoring just eight points in his last two games combined, I think we'll see a bounceback effort offensively from Travis Releford. ISU has poor transition defense, so look for Releford to try to leak out whenever possible to get KU easy buckets. Releford also took advantage of some openings on the perimeter against ISU, making five of nine three-pointers in the last matchup. Give me 15-plus points for Releford — a total he hasn't hit since the last ISU game.

Predictions tally
26-6 record, 370 points off (11.5 points off/game)

Hawk to Rock
SE Missouri: Perry Ellis (2nd in KUsports.com ratings)
Michigan State: Jeff Withey (4th)
Chattanooga: Andrew White III (10th)
Washington State: Ben McLemore (4th)
Saint Louis: Perry Ellis (7th)
San Jose State: Travis Releford (2nd)
Oregon State: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Colorado: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Belmont: Kevin Young (6th)
Richmond: Jeff Withey (1st)
Ohio State: Ben McLemore (1st)
American: Jeff Withey (5th)
Temple: Kevin Young (2nd)
Iowa State: Travis Releford (4th)
Texas Tech: Ben McLemore (4th)
Baylor: Jeff Withey (4th)
Texas: Elijah Johnson (8th)
Kansas State: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (3rd)
West Virginia: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (1st)
TCU: Kevin Young (3rd)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (5th)
Kansas State: Naadir Tharpe (3rd)
Texas: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (7th)
TCU: Travis Releford (4th)
Iowa State: Jeff Withey (4th)
West Virginia: Perry Ellis (10th)
Texas Tech: Jeff Withey (1st)
Baylor: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Texas Tech: Kevin Young (2nd)
Average: 4.1st in KUsports.com ratings

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KU’s big men battle for No. 2 spot behind Ben McLemore

Kansas guard Ben McLemore looks to maintain possession against Texas Tech players Daylen Robinson, left, and Toddrick Gotcher during the second half of the second round of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore looks to maintain possession against Texas Tech players Daylen Robinson, left, and Toddrick Gotcher during the second half of the second round of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. by Nick Krug

1. Ben McLemore: An elite shooter when he has his feet set on the perimeter. McLemore helped KU get off to a good start with hot shooting, posting a game-high 24 points on 8-for-12 shooting, which included 4-for-8 accuracy from three-point range. The freshman also added four rebounds, an assist and steal to go with a turnover.

2. Kevin Young: In a game where three guys could make a claim for the second spot, Young takes it with an efficient line. In 21 minutes, the senior made all three of his field goals to finish with nine points, which tied for the second-most among KU's regulars. Young also had three assists, two rebounds, a block and a steal to go with a turnover.

3. Jeff Withey: For the second straight game, Withey only shot three field goals but made all of those attempts. Withey struggled early against the physical Jordan Tolbert inside, but he also scored KU's final five points of the first half to give the Jayhawks some breathing room at the break. The senior added four rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal but also had a team-high four turnovers.

4. Perry Ellis: Another encouraging step for the freshman, who posted eight points (3-for-5 shooting) with a team-high seven rebounds. He also had one assist and no turnovers in 14 minutes.

5. Travis Releford: Quiet game for Releford, who scored six points on 2-for-4 shooting with five assists and three turnovers in 31 minutes.

6. Jamari Traylor: Didn't miss a shot, making both of his field goals and all three of his free throws to finish with seven points in 11 minutes. He also had no turnovers.

7. Elijah Johnson: Led KU with three steals, but he wasn't efficient offensively on an afternoon when his team shot 66 percent. The senior made two of six field goals for four points with four assists and two turnovers.

8. Naadir Tharpe: Angered KU coach Bill Self with some poor passes, but the sophomore's final line wasn't bad: five points, 2-for-3 shooting, three assists, two turnovers and two steals in 13 minutes.

9. Rio Adams: Great game for Adams, and the only reason he's not higher on this list is that his offensive production came when the game was already decided. Still, scoring 11 points in five minutes on 4-for-5 shooting (2-for-2 three-point shooting) is tough to do regardless of the circumstances.

10. Andrew White III: The freshman doesn't hesitate to fire up threes, and that's a positive since his main purpose on the floor is to produce offensively. White made two of three three-pointers to finish with six points in six minutes. That ends a mini-slump, as he'd missed seven threes in a row before Thursday.

11. Justin Wesley: Made both field goal attempts, had two rebounds and two assists to go with a turnover in five minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (259 points)
2. Ben McLemore (248 points)
3. Travis Releford (232 points)
4. Kevin Young (195 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (180 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (158 points)
7. Perry Ellis (142 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (105 points)
9. Andrew White III (51 points)
10. Rio Adams (36 points)
11. Justin Wesley (22 points)

Big 12/Postseason Standings
1. Jeff Withey (168 points)
2. Ben McLemore (159 points)
3. Travis Releford (147 points)
4. Kevin Young (136 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (104 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (97 points)
7. Perry Ellis (90 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (64 points)
9. Andrew White III (28 points)
10. Rio Adams (21 points)
11. Justin Wesley (15 points)

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Position-by-position look at Kansas football: wide receiver

Throughout spring football, I’ll be writing a series of blogs looking at each position unit on the Kansas football team, starting with the one that on paper — rather in cyberspace — looks like the weakest and building to the strongest. Wide receiver has the dubious distinction of batting leadoff.

Logic says if a wide receiver couldn’t earn playing time as a junior on a team that didn’t have a single touchdown reception from the position for the entire 12-game season there is no reason to believe he’ll do anything memorable as a senior.

So why am I thinking, yet again, that things finally will click for Christian Matthews? Maybe it’s because when he does do something well he does it in a way that makes it look as if a big-time athlete is trapped in there waiting to bust loose. This will be his last chance and that senior sense of urgency sometimes can lead talented athletes to stop thinking and start playing.

In limited action the past two seasons as a running quarterback in the wildcat formation, Matthews has blended speed with sharp cuts to make moves that would seem to translate well to yards after catches. So far though his spring-game success hasn’t carried him into autumn. He followed a 37-yard TD reception in the 2010 spring game with a 53-yard score in the 2011 game. His regular-season receiving stats: A 41-yard catch in 2010, 11 receptions for 100 yards in 2011, no receptions in 2012.

Without having anything solid to back up my hunch about Matthews in 2013, I thought about keeping it quiet. Then I asked tight end Jimmay Mundine for his opinion as to the best wide receiver on the squad.

“If I had to pick a guy now I’d pick Christian Matthews,” Mundine said. “He’s working hard. He’s starting to take more of a leadership role. We’re expecting more out of him than last year, that’s for sure.”

Why?

“His work ethic,” Mundine said. “When we’re out there doing seven on seven, he’s catching the ball, finishing his route, exploding upfield, things that you hate doing. You hate the coach being on you about it. When you see a guy doing it when no one’s telling him to do it, it makes you realize he really cares.”

Mundine said he thinks Matthews and Chris Omigiee are the two hardest workers among the receivers participating in spring football.

“I’m going to try my hardest senior year,” Matthews said. “I don’t want to go out like a sucker, so I’m going to give it my all.”

Matthews lined up at receiver at the end of a few games last season but said he didn’t have a single pass thrown to him. He’s listed behind Tre’ Parmalee on the depth chart at the slot, a big step toward more snaps.

Matthews has something in common with every player except one listed on the roster at receiver in that he is seeking his first career TD catch. Andrew Turzilli, who is entering his red-shirt junior season, caught a TD pass against Georgia Tech in 2011. That makes one Division I TD catch on the entire roster at the position. (Junior-to-be JaCorey Shepherd, who shifted to cornerback last season, had two TD receptions in his first college game, against McNeese State in 2011, and picked up a third against Oklahoma State.)

Asked to name a receiver who has caught his eye, Matthews said, “Drew Turzilli. He’s big. He can catch, fast. Can’t stop that.”

Things didn’t work out at Oklahoma for Justin McCay and the Sooners had no trouble signing off on letting him transfer to another Big 12 school. Chances are he never would have played his way onto the depth chart in Norman, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make an impact for Kansas. He’s not a burner, but he’s not slow either. He’s physical with sure hands.

With no sure things on hand, the Jayhawks needed to score big at this position in recruiting and didn’t. Or did they? Mark Thomas, a junior college receiver from New York, runs a 4.4 40 and was overlooked early because he played in a run-first offense. West Virginia recruited him late and the Mountaineers don’t mess with slow receivers. Something about the way head coach Weis looks when he talks about Thomas indicates he thinks he might be the sleeper of the recruiting class.

Weis talked up the receiving unit a year ago at this time and, next to quarterback, it became the team’s most disappointing unit. Don’t look for disappointment to enter the picture this year because expectations hang low.

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Don’t be surprised if this KU senior has a big game against Texas Tech

Kansas guard Ben McLemore tries to wrap up a pass by Texas Tech guard Dusty Hannahs during the first half, Monday, March 4, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore tries to wrap up a pass by Texas Tech guard Dusty Hannahs during the first half, Monday, March 4, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Team: Texas Tech
Record: 11-19
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 254
All statistics from KenPom.com and are as of Thursday unless otherwise noted

• For a refresher of Texas Tech's strengths/weaknesses, check out the Five-minute Scout from March 4.

3 Numbers to Know

27.8 — The Red Raiders' three-point percentage during the regular season, which was the worst mark in the conference and 10th-worst in the NCAA. It was a shock, then, when Texas Tech hit eight of 12 three-pointers in Wednesday's 71-69 victory over West Virginia in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament. Jaye Crockett — previously a 29-percent three-point shooter — made three of three, while Ty Nurse — a 25-percent long-range shooter — was 3-for-4.

0.61 — Texas Tech's points per possession in March 4's 79-42 loss at KU. That was the second-worst offensive performance by a Red Raiders' team in the last 16 seasons and also was the worst offensive effort by a team in a Big 12 game this season. Texas Tech's biggest nemesis was poor shooting, as the Red Raiders' 27.4 percent effective field-goal percentage that night was their worst mark since at least the 1997-98 season.

• 2-18 — Texas Tech's record this season against KenPom top-200 opponents. TTU defeated Iowa State (No. 35) at home on Jan. 23, 56-51, and West Virginia (No. 119) on Wednesday, 71-69. Take out those two wins, and the Red Raiders had only three other Big 12 games in which they stayed within single digits of their opponent.

3 Players to Watch (and one sentence explaining why)

Six-foot-7 Jordan Tolbert (No. 32) is automatic around the basket, making 55 percent of his twos in the regular season with 62 percent of his field goal attempts coming at the rim (according to Hoop-Math.com).

Six-foot-7 forward Jaye Crockett (No. 30) plays bigger than his size, ranking in the top 100 in offensive rebounding percentage while making 78 percent of his layup/tip/dunk attempts (NCAA average is 61 percent).

Six-foot-1 guard Josh Gray (No. 5) had six assists against West Virginia on Wednesday, but his offensive production is hurt by a high number of turnovers and a poor three-point percentage (15 of 79, 19 percent).

Prediction

KU hasn't always played well in its opening game of the Big 12 tournament. Still, the Jayhawks have never played an opponent this bad.

Since 2003 when KenPom started posting his numbers, KU has never played a team ranked in the Pomeroy 200s in the Big 12 tourney. In fact, KU's only played one foe that was in the 100s, and that was Nebraska back in 2006 (104th).

This was a good year to be the No. 1 seed, and KU shouldn't have any issues against an overmatched Texas Tech team that doesn't do much well offensively or defensively.

Kansas 71, Texas Tech 51

Hawk to Rock

Kevin Young has made 12 of 15 field goals against Texas Tech this year (80 percent), and if he stays out of foul trouble, he should be able to put up numbers again Thursday. Texas Tech allows a lot of layups, struggles with defensive rebounding and is vulnerable to opponent steals, and those three weaknesses match up with Young's strengths. Mark me down for double-figure scoring and at least four offensive rebounds and two steals from the senior.

Predictions tally
25-6 record, 362 points off (11.7 points off/game)

Hawk to Rock
SE Missouri: Perry Ellis (2nd in KUsports.com ratings)
Michigan State: Jeff Withey (4th)
Chattanooga: Andrew White III (10th)
Washington State: Ben McLemore (4th)
Saint Louis: Perry Ellis (7th)
San Jose State: Travis Releford (2nd)
Oregon State: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Colorado: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Belmont: Kevin Young (6th)
Richmond: Jeff Withey (1st)
Ohio State: Ben McLemore (1st)
American: Jeff Withey (5th)
Temple: Kevin Young (2nd)
Iowa State: Travis Releford (4th)
Texas Tech: Ben McLemore (4th)
Baylor: Jeff Withey (4th)
Texas: Elijah Johnson (8th)
Kansas State: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (3rd)
West Virginia: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (1st)
TCU: Kevin Young (3rd)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (5th)
Kansas State: Naadir Tharpe (3rd)
Texas: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (7th)
TCU: Travis Releford (4th)
Iowa State: Jeff Withey (4th)
West Virginia: Perry Ellis (10th)
Texas Tech: Jeff Withey (1st)
Baylor: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Average: 4.2nd in KUsports.com ratings

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Bill Self does his version of the Ben McLemore dance; Jack Harry says KU deserves Big 12 title

An abbreviated Seen It? blog for your Tuesday ...

• The regular-season finale trailer of the "Pay Heed" videos series from the KU Athletics department was released late Monday, and once again, dancing is the highlight.

This time it's from KU coach Bill Self after he receives his 500th win gameball in the locker room after the Jayhawks' overtime victory over Iowa State.

At first Self doesn't dance, and then he does, going into full Ben McLemore mode.

You'll definitely want to watch the video below (starting at the 1:32 mark) at least twice: once to watch Self's dance moves and another time to watch McLemore's face as Self is dancing.

The Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd points out in his latest "KU Chalkboard" blog that heading into the season, KU coach Bill Self had the same number of conference losses at KU as NCAA Tournament wins (23).

To keep that streak going, Self will have to get four NCAA wins with KU this season, meaning the Jayhawks would have to advance to the Final Four.

The Jayhawk Talk blog had CBS senior blogger Matt Norlander on a podcast to discuss the NCAA Tournament and KU.

Former Lawrence Journal-World staffer Alex Parker had a story last week about how backlash over the KU alternative adidas uniforms helped bring a spike in traffic for the Zubaz website ... even though Zubaz has no affiliation with the new uniforms.

And finally, KSHB's Jack Harry — a well-known Missouri Tigers supporter — says that KU deserved the Big 12 title outright over Kansas State because it beat the Wildcats twice in his latest "Jack's Smack."

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 3/11/13

Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Self's comments at his press conference today.

Full audio has been posted.

Self said KU didn't play well Saturday, but KU could have played well Saturday and still come up short. Baylor was really good. It was a six-point game with six minutes left, so the final score was worse than what the game actually was. BU still controlled it from start to finish. Self thinks he'll have his team's attention after the loss. KU didn't play poorly because it wasn't prepared or excited. KU didn't play well because it didn't play well.

On Monday, KU will spend some time preparing for Iowa State or Oklahoma. Both teams did things to KU that hurt the Jayhawks. KU does the same kind of prep for the NCAA Tournament, preparing for the second game early in the week before preparing for the first game. On Tuesday, KU will start preparing for its first-round opponents. That's not being cocky, Self says. Self doesn't think any coach practices four days for one opponent when that team knows it could play a different team the next day.

Lots of people have reached out to Self saying, "Congratulations, but it sucks how you won the league title." Self says that's not true. It doesn't stink. He's proud of his guys. Once KU was 7-3 in conference, it wasn't in charge of the league race. KU had to do what it did, and it didn't get much help from other schools knocking off the other top teams. KU did earn its share of the Big 12 title. Self says KU isn't going to apologize for sharing it at all. K-State deserves a share of it, too, because it had a great year. After you spend 2 1/2 months trying to win a league championship, you shouldn't discredit it even if you tie. Self is proud of his guys. To get a piece of nine in a row is cool. Every player in the locker room is maxed out on Big 12 championship rings. Self hopes that streak continues.

Self has never seen the league better with more teams that can win the conference tournament than what the Big 12 has right now. Not very often can you go in and say that six teams can positively win three games in a row. That's not counting Texas with guard Myck Kabongo back or West Virginia and Texas Tech, who are playing better now. TCU also beat two NCAA Tournament teams. There are six teams that can win three games in a row, and no one would think of it as an upset.

Self says Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson is a first-team all-leaguer in his mind. KU saw him when he was pretty good. So much of postseason accolades are based on numbers and how your team does. If there was a year when six players should have been on the first team, Self said this was the year.

KU hasn't celebrated its Big 12 championship yet. The team did talk on the bus some. Self is proud of his guys. This team isn't finished yet, but Self's guys did some special things. It's never great losing the last game of the regular season, but the body of work for KU since Jan. 10 has been pretty impressive. The team will talk about the championship, but Self doesn't think KU should be giddy or excited about the way it played. KU has to get its killer instinct back. KU didn't do anything to make Baylor play poorly. The Bears were comfortable the whole game.

Elijah Johnson can do a better job of "putting himself in the game." Tyshawn Taylor loved being the guy. So much of Johnson's criticism has been from him not making shots. Taylor didn't make shots in last year's NCAA Tournament, but everyone still credited him for playing great. Johnson has to make sure he impacts as many possessions as he can down the stretch.

• Having assistant coach Doc Sadler on the bench gives KU a different perspective. Self thinks Sadler's been good for him to get that differing point-of-view.

Self thought forward Perry Ellis was KU's best player against Baylor, hands-down. He was aggressive. It tells you what he's capable of. It also shows how valuable Kevin Young is, because when he's playing well and Ellis is playing aggressively, KU's front line totally changes. Self was excited about Ellis, but the team needs everybody to contribute at a high level.

Self thinks No. 1 seeds are overrated. He said he still told his guys, "Do you deserve a No. 1 seed if you don't win the Big 12 Tournament? The answer is no." Self is not hung up on a No. 1 seed, though. The NCAA Tournament is all about matchups. Self would like to be as high of a seed as possible because that helps guarantee his team plays close to home.

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KU’s bench and some numbers that are hard to believe

Kansas head coach Bill Self waves to the fans after the Jayhawks' 83-62 win over Kansas State on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

Kansas head coach Bill Self waves to the fans after the Jayhawks' 83-62 win over Kansas State on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. by Nick Krug

Let's start with a trivia question: In coach Bill Self's 10 seasons at Kansas, who had the worst shooting season with a minimum of 100 field goal attempts?

While you think about that, let's examine just how thin Self's bench is this season.

Since the 2006-07, KenPom.com has tracked the percentage of a team's minutes that come from its bench. NCAA average each year is right around 30 percent.

Self has only had one team — 2010-11 — that was above the NCAA average in percentage of bench minutes. The last two years, he's gone almost exclusively with his starters, as 22.7 percent of his minutes went to bench players last year and 22.2 percent have gone to reserves this season.

There is good news for KU: Final Four teams typically don't have deep benches.

In fact, only five Final Four teams in the last six seasons have had benches that have played 30 percent or more of their team's minutes.

Five other Final Four teams — including one national champion — actually played their bench less than KU has this year.

Bench minutes percentage for Final Four teams

Bench minutes percentage for Final Four teams by Jesse Newell

The bigger issue for Self isn't his team's lack of bench minutes, though — it's the lack of offensive production he's getting from those bench players.

Let's get back to the first question: In Self's 10 seasons at Kansas, who had the worst shooting season with a minimum of 100 field goal attempts? For, this, I'm using effective field goal percentage, which gives 1.5 times credit for threes, because they're worth 1.5 times the points.

Any guesses?

The student section throws confetti on Monday February 11, 2013 in Allen Fieldhouse.

The student section throws confetti on Monday February 11, 2013 in Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

Out of 71 players that qualified, the correct answer is Naadir Tharpe this season.

His teammate, Perry Ellis, is second.

Worst shooters, min. 100 FGAs.

Worst shooters, min. 100 FGAs. by Jesse Newell

See the full list.

If that's not scary enough for Self, let's lower the bar to 50 field goals attempted in a season.

If we do that, KU's four top bench players (Tharpe, Ellis, Jamari Traylor, Andrew White III) all rank as four of the worst five shooters that Self has had at KU.

Worst shooters, min. 50 FGAs.

Worst shooters, min. 50 FGAs. by Jesse Newell

See the full list.

It's not impossible for a team with a thin bench to make a Final Four or even win a national championship.

Having said that, I'm sure Self would feel a lot better about his team's chances if his reserves started hitting a few more shots.

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Perry Ellis one of few positives for KU against Baylor

Perry Ellis (34) splits defenders for a layup in KU's 81-58 loss to the Baylor Bears Saturday in Waco.

Perry Ellis (34) splits defenders for a layup in KU's 81-58 loss to the Baylor Bears Saturday in Waco. by Mike Yoder

1. Ben McLemore: The freshman's best road game ended up being his last one. McLemore led KU with 23 points on 8-for-16 shooting, which included 5-for-9 shooting from three-point range. A few of those threes were impressive too, including one where he jumped to catch a pass from the lane, landed, and immediately sprung up to drain a three. McLemore added three rebounds and two assists but also had a team-high four turnovers.

2. Perry Ellis: If you're looking for a positive for KU, Ellis was definitely it. The freshman easily had his best game in Big 12 play, looking sure of himself offensively against a good shot-blocking team in Baylor. The freshman finished with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting with three rebounds, two assists, one steal and no turnovers in 22 minutes.

3. Jeff Withey: One of KU coach Bill Self's frustrations after the game was that Withey was only able to get three shots up. The senior made all of them, posting eight points with eight rebounds in 34 minutes. While battling foul trouble, Withey had a few nice defensive stretches, adding four blocks to go with an assist and two turnovers.

4. Elijah Johnson: After three great games, Johnson struggled Saturday, making just three of 13 shots and one of six threes. He finished with 10 points, two assists and three turnovers, but his biggest issues were on the defensive end, where he was one of a few Jayhawks who couldn't do anything to keep Baylor guard Pierre Jackson in front of him.

5. Travis Releford: Releford has now scored two points or less in two Big 12 games: at TCU and at Baylor. When he doesn't score, KU usually doesn't play well. Releford contributed just two points on 1-for-6 shooting, adding three rebounds and two assists to go with two turnovers. Like Johnson, he wasn't able to slow down Pierre Jackson defensively.

6. Jamari Traylor: Missed a shot, but had two rebounds, an assist and a block in six minutes.

7. Kevin Young: The senior was shut out for the first game this season. He never seemed to get into the game after picking up two early fouls, missing both of his field-goal attempts, which included an alley-oop. Young also had two rebounds and a turnover in 15 minutes.

8. Naadir Tharpe: The sophomore didn't give KU a boost when he went in, making just one of six field goals for two points. He had an assist and no turnovers in 13 minutes.

9. Justin Wesley: Had a foul and no other stats in two minutes.

10. Rio Adams: Made one of four free throws and had a turnover and two rebounds in two minutes.

11. Andrew White III: Missed both three-pointers he attempted and had a foul in two minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (251 points)
2. Ben McLemore (238 points)
3. Travis Releford (226 points)
4. Kevin Young (186 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (176 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (155 points)
7. Perry Ellis (135 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (100 points)
9. Andrew White III (50 points)
10. Rio Adams (34 points)
11. Justin Wesley (22 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (160 points)
2. Ben McLemore (149 points)
3. Travis Releford (141 points)
4. Kevin Young (127 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (100 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (94 points)
7. Perry Ellis (83 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (59 points)
9. Andrew White III (27 points)
10. Rio Adams (19 points)
11. Justin Wesley (15 points)

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Unlucky Baylor should play KU close

Kansas guard Travis Releford comes away with the ball as both Baylor center Isaiah Austin and teammate Jamari Traylor lock their arms around him during the second half on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford comes away with the ball as both Baylor center Isaiah Austin and teammate Jamari Traylor lock their arms around him during the second half on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Team: Baylor
Record: 17-13
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 53
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted

3 Strengths

Three-point defense: It's been tough to shoot — much less make — threes against Baylor this year. Just 29.7 percent of the field goals taken against the Bears in Big 12 play have been threes (second-best mark in conference), and teams have made just 29.7 percent of those long-range tries.

Interior defense: Behind Kansas, Baylor is the second-best shot-blocking team in the Big 12, rejecting 11.4 percent of opponents' two-point attempts during conference play. Big 12 foes have made just 45.2 percent of their twos against BU (third in conference), which is significantly lower than the NCAA two-point average (47.5 percent).

Offensive rebounding: Baylor ranks 25th in KenPom's effective height measure, which takes into account the tallest two players on the floor at one time. That size allows the Bears to get quite a few offensive rebounds, as BU ranks fourth in conference play in offensive rebounding percentage, bringing down 34.2 percent of its misses.

3 Weaknesses

Forcing turnovers: Baylor plays passive defensively, only creating turnovers on 17.9 percent of its Big 12 defensive possessions (eighth). The Bears also don't come away with many steals, ranking ninth in the conference in that statistic.

Getting to the free throw line: Baylor has a high number of players that rely primarily on jump shots while shying away from contact. This list includes starters Isaiah Austin, A.J. Walton and Brady Heslip along with top reserve Gary Franklin. Because of this characteristic, the Bears do not draw many free throw attempts, ranking ninth in conference play in offensive free throw rate.

Getting shots blocked: Baylor has a high percentage of its two-point shots blocked, ranking seventh in conference play in offensive block percentage. This was illustrated in BU's first matchup against KU, when the Bears had 13 of their 42 two-point attempts rejected. Interestingly, only three of those blocks came from KU center Jeff Withey.

3 Players to Watch

Five-foot-10 point guard Pierre Jackson (No. 55) is one of the best offensive players in the Big 12. He's Baylor's go-to guy on that end, as he takes 28 percent of his team's shots when he's in (186th nationally) while also ranking 23rd nationally in assist rate. Jackson's shooting percentages are impressive considering the high volume of shots he takes, as he's comfortably above the NCAA average in two-point percentage (100 of 206, 48.5 percent) and three-point percentage (73 of 207, 35.3 percent). Jackson's quickness also helps him get to the free throw line, as he draws 5.7 fouls per 40 minutes (107th nationally) and is a 77-percent free throw shooter. Jackson doesn't provide much on the defensive end, but that can be forgiven considering he gives elite offensive production.

Six-foot-9 forward Cory Jefferson (No. 34) is having a great year that is being overlooked because of Baylor's win-loss record, as the junior does a little bit of everything. He's an efficient player offensively, and though he doesn't shoot often (19.5 percent shot percentage), he has made 58 percent of his twos (135 of 232) and 77 percent of his shots at the rim while almost never turning it over (15th nationally in turnover rate). Jefferson also does a good job of getting to the foul line, posting the nation's 239th-best free throw rate while making 70 percent of his free throws. He's also strong in the paint, ranking 103rd in block percentage while also posting top-160 marks in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.

Seven-foot-1 center Isaiah Austin (No. 21) is a below-average player offensively for Baylor because of his shot selection. The thin freshman is almost exclusively a jump-shooter, and somehow, he has shot more threes this year (84) than free throws (71). Austin isn't a bad two-point jump-shooter (he's made 39 percent of them; NCAA average is 35 percent), but he's just fallen in love with those low-percentage shots, as only 35 percent of his field-goal attempts this year have come at the rim (to compare, 56 percent of Jefferson's shots have come at the rim). With his size, Austin does provide some help in the lane, as his numbers in block percentage (213th), defensive rebounding percentage (174th) and offensive rebounding percentage (250th) are all good but still behind Jefferson's marks.

Prediction

This probably won't surprise you, but Baylor is a much better team than its 17-13 record indicates.

Scott Drew takes a lot of heat for being a poor game management coach, but even bad ones usually have better records in close games than the Bears have this season.

At home, the Bears lost to Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas State by a combined 11 points. Three other Bears' losses this year have come by four points or less.

I think this one will be close as well, but it's hard to go against recent history, as the Bears have never beaten the Jayhawks at home under Drew and haven't beaten KU in Waco since Feb. 12, 2001.

I'll say KU comes back from a first-half deficit to improve to 9-1 all-time at Ferrell Center.

Kansas 66, Baylor 64

Hawk to Rock

KU guard Elijah Johnson has had three of his best games in the last two weeks, and I think the senior will have another big game against BU. Offensively, Johnson is a key for the Jayhawks, as his penetration could lead to open shots for himself and also teammates if he is aggressive. Defensively he'll be important as well, as his improving knees will be tested against Jackson, who is one of the quickest guards in the nation. I'll say Johnson finishes with double-figure scoring and limits his turnovers against a Bears team that doesn't create many steals.

Predictions tally
25-5 record, 337 points off (11.2 points off/game)

Hawk to Rock
SE Missouri: Perry Ellis (2nd in KUsports.com ratings)
Michigan State: Jeff Withey (4th)
Chattanooga: Andrew White III (10th)
Washington State: Ben McLemore (4th)
Saint Louis: Perry Ellis (7th)
San Jose State: Travis Releford (2nd)
Oregon State: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Colorado: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Belmont: Kevin Young (6th)
Richmond: Jeff Withey (1st)
Ohio State: Ben McLemore (1st)
American: Jeff Withey (5th)
Temple: Kevin Young (2nd)
Iowa State: Travis Releford (4th)
Texas Tech: Ben McLemore (4th)
Baylor: Jeff Withey (4th)
Texas: Elijah Johnson (8th)
Kansas State: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (3rd)
West Virginia: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (1st)
TCU: Kevin Young (3rd)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (5th)
Kansas State: Naadir Tharpe (3rd)
Texas: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (7th)
TCU: Travis Releford (4th)
Iowa State: Jeff Withey (4th)
West Virginia: Perry Ellis (10th)
Texas Tech: Jeff Withey (1st)
Average: 4.2nd in KUsports.com ratings

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 3/7/13

Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Self's comments at his press conference today.

Full audio has been posted.

Self wants his guys to play with a free mind against Baylor. He doesn't want his players to burn any energy worrying about what Kansas State does earlier in its game at Oklahoma State. It's hard to not get emotionally invested in that. If Self had the choice, he'd probably rather play the earlier game. But he doesn't think it makes much difference. Self hasn't talked with his staff about whether they'll allow the guys to watch the KSU-Oklahoma State game earlier in the day.

KU guard Elijah Johnson was the best athlete around when he first got to KU. He had some good moments early in his career. Self has always liked Elijah. He's a very analytical guy. He has been a treat to coach. Self likes to be around him. He's pumping energy into the team. Last year, Tyshawn Taylor took the pressure off everybody else by taking criticism. Good players do that. Johnson had to be that player for KU this year. Johnson did a good job of accepting that and letting it roll off his back. Once he did, it's hardened him and made him better.

If KU wins Saturday, this will be as cool as any league title Self has won. A lot of people thought before the season it was KU and everybody else in the league race, and that didn't turn out to be the case because the Big 12 has good teams. After KU's rough stretch this year, winning the league would be a great accomplishment. KU still has work to do, but Self is looking forward to Saturday.

Self says it's tough to play well for four straight months. Usually, teams have to go through crap during the season.

Baylor still has a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. KU knows it will get a great effort from BU on Saturday.

Self says no one likes sharing titles. He thinks sharing would be great if you're behind a game in the standings going into the final game. Whether the league title is shared or outright, Self knows you get a ring. If you don't share the title, you don't get a ring.

What Andrea Hudy does with the guys is more than just helping them gain weight. She also helps with their confidence and flexibility. She's done a great job with Withey, but she's done an exceptional job with all of KU's guys.

Self believes four guys should be in the discussion for Big 12 player of the year race: Kansas State's Rodney McGruder, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Ben McLemore and Withey. Self doesn't want to say who he thinks deserves it, especially with the season not over. From Self's biased perspective, though, he thinks it's one of his two players. Guys can split the vote in these things, though, and that might come into play.

Self said he would vote for KSU coach Bruce Weber for Big 12 coach of the year. The Wildcats have been as consistent as anyone in the league. Oklahoma State's Travis Ford and Oklahoma's Lon Kruger also have had good years. One thing KSU does really well is find ways to win coin-flip games.

Self says Baylor ranks toward the very top of the league in terms of talent. Self picked BU to win the league in the preseason. Pierre Jackson is as talented as any guard in the country. Isaiah Austin is a lottery pick. There are a lot of teams in the country that don't have that.

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Former Shocker, Jayhawk Greg Dreiling shows more wisdom than politicians

He played basketball at both Wichita State and Kansas two decades ago, so I thought it would be interesting to see what Greg Dreiling, former NBA center and current scout for the Dallas Mavericks, thinks about Kansas state legislators introducing last month a bill that would require KU and WSU to play basketball against each other.

Dreiling, 50, responded to my query via LinkedIn with common sense and a touch of sarcasm. He gave the issue all the respect it deserves, which is to say none.

“Please tell me that the legislature has more important things to worry about than whether two teams play a few basketball games,” Dreiling said. “If the schools cannot decide how to get together for a game of hoops, then I am sure there is nothing that the state government can do to move along the most pressing issue of this generation.”

Amen.

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KU’s senior bigs take top spots

Kansas center Jeff Withey signals "three" after hitting one against Texas Tech during the first half, Monday, March 4, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey signals "three" after hitting one against Texas Tech during the first half, Monday, March 4, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1. Jeff Withey: Withey's first — and probably only — career three-pointer was the highlight of an efficient night. The center posted a team-high 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting, adding nine rebounds and four blocks in just 25 minutes. He also had no turnovers and has scored in double figures for 14 straight games.

2. Kevin Young: The senior played his most athletic contest in his final home game. Young was dunking alley-oops with one hand, both hands and over his head in a 14-point effort that included 5-for-6 shooting accuracy. The box score credited him with three dunks and a pair of layups. Young also had six rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 24 minutes.

3. Elijah Johnson: Every lob he throws seems to be exactly where it needs to be. Johnson posted double figures in assists for the second straight game, notching 12 assists, which included nine in the first half. The senior also had seven points on 3-for-8 shooting to go with a steal and two turnovers in 30 minutes.

4. Travis Releford: Scored 13 points on just three field-goal attempts, making two of three shots and eight of 10 free throws. The senior also added five rebounds, two assists, a steal and no turnovers.

5. Ben McLemore: His outside shots weren't falling (0-for-5), but McLemore still managed to put in 13 points with help from 5-for-9 two-point shooting. Like Releford, he had five rebounds, two assists, one steal and no turnovers.

6. Perry Ellis: Ellis showed an ability to get to the free throw line with aggressive moves. He finished with six points (6-for-7 free throw shooting) with seven rebounds and two turnovers in 13 minutes.

7. Naadir Tharpe: Quiet night for Tharpe, who was held scoreless for just the third time this season. In 14 minutes, Tharpe had a rebound, an assist and two turnovers, which included an alley-oop pass to Jamari Traylor that landed somewhere near the stands.

8. Andrew White III: Missed a shot and had two rebounds in seven minutes.

9. Rio Adams: Made one of two free throws and had a rebound and three fouls in six minutes.

10. Justin Wesley: Had no points, a rebound and a foul in four minutes.

11. Jamari Traylor: Rough night for the freshman, who had five of KU's 15 turnovers despite playing just 13 minutes. Traylor had two points on 1-for-2 shooting with a rebound, steal, block and three fouls.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (243 points)
2. Ben McLemore (228 points)
3. Travis Releford (220 points)
4. Kevin Young (182 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (169 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (152 points)
7. Perry Ellis (126 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (95 points)
9. Andrew White III (50 points)
10. Rio Adams (33 points)
11. Justin Wesley (20 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (152 points)
2. Ben McLemore (139 points)
3. Travis Releford (135 points)
4. Kevin Young (123 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (93 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (91 points)
7. Perry Ellis (74 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (54 points)
9. Andrew White III (27 points)
10. Rio Adams (18 points)
11. Justin Wesley (13 points)

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KU senior speech videos

Update: Here are the Kansas senior speeches that I was able to record. I didn't get Travis Releford's at the end (iPhone ran out of free space), but it should be cued up to his speech in the bottom video below.

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Will this be ‘meat necklace’ part two?

Kansas forward Kevin Young is fouled by Texas Tech forward Jordan Tolbert after grabbing a steal during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. At right is Texas Tech forward Dejan Kravic.

Kansas forward Kevin Young is fouled by Texas Tech forward Jordan Tolbert after grabbing a steal during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. At right is Texas Tech forward Dejan Kravic. by Nick Krug

Team: Texas Tech
Record: 10-17
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 249
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted

3 Strengths

Defensive pressure: Texas Tech ranks fourth in Big 12 play in defensive steal percentage, swiping the ball away on 10.7 percent of its defensive possessions. The Red Raiders' season numbers are even better in the stat, as they rank 38th nationally (12 percent).

• Deep bench: TTU coach Chris Walker uses his reserves extensively, as 39.6 percent of his team's minutes come from the bench (27th nationally). The Red Raiders go 10 deep on their bench, so Walker's team might not be as affected by foul trouble as some other squads that come into Allen Fieldhouse.

Slow tempo: After playing the non-conference season at a fast pace, Tech has slowed it down in Big 12 play to try to keep games closer. The Red Raiders are eighth in conference play in adjusted tempo, and a slow-it-down game is their best chance at hanging in the game with the Jayhawks.

3 Weaknesses

• Offensive rebounding: Texas Tech is at the bottom of the Big 12 in offensive rebounding percentage in conference play, grabbing its own misses just 28.5 percent of the time. For reference, KU pulls down offensive rebounds on 35.8 percent of its misses (second in conference).

Carelessness: No Big 12 team has had a higher percentage of possessions stolen than Texas Tech, as opponents come away with steals on 11.6 percent of the Red Raiders' possessions. That could be trouble in Allen Fieldhouse, where steals often lead to quick transition points for the Jayhawks.

Defense: Texas Tech has allowed the most points per possession in Big 12 play, allowing 1.12 points per trip to its foes. The Red Raiders struggle in quite a few areas, ranking ninth in the league in effective field-goal percentage defense, defensive rebounding percentage and defensive free throw rate. Forcing turnovers is about the only thing that Tech's defense does at an about-average level.

3 Players to Watch

Six-foot-7 junior Jaye Crockett (No. 30) is Texas Tech's best offensive player. Though he's a below-average three-point shooter (32 percent), Crockett has been one of the league's most efficient players inside the arc, making 57 percent of his shots there while shooting a high number of twos (103 of 181). Crockett thrives on close shots, making 77 percent of his attempts at the rim (NCAA average is 61 percent). Crockett also is the Red Raiders' best defensive rebounder, ranking 101st nationally in defensive rebounding percentage.

• Six-foot-11 junior Dejan Kravic (No. 11) is the second-best offensive option for the Red Raiders. The center takes 25.4 percent of the shots when he's in (406th nationally), and like Crockett, he's well-above average from two-point range (103 of 198, 52 percent). Kravic relies more on two-point jumpshots to score than Crockett, and he's talented in that area, making 41 percent of those shots (35 percent is NCAA average). Kravic also is a consistent rebounder, ranking in the top 260 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage while also blocking a high percentage of shots (104th nationally in block percentage).

• Six-foot-1 guard Josh Gray (No. 5) takes on the biggest offensive load for Texas Tech even though his production doesn't warrant that kind of role. He takes 26.6 percent of the Red Raiders shots when he's in (285th nationally), but he's been below-average from two-point range (84 of 189, 44 percent) and dreadful from three-point range (15 of 77, 20 percent). Gray also turns it over too often, as his 87 turnovers are 37 more than any other Red Raider. Despite his offensive deficiencies, Gray is TTU's best perimeter defender, ranking 24th nationally in steal percentage.

Prediction

In 2008, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight's team lost to KU, 109-51 on the Jayhawks' senior night, with Knight giving the famous quote, "I feel like someone put a meat necklace around my neck and just threw me into a lions' den."

Though Monday night's game shouldn't be that bad, this still is a talent mismatch that will be played on KU's home floor.

Like the West Virginia game, KU's offense will have to worry most about keeping its turnovers down. If the Jayhawks do that, they shouldn't have any problem scoring ... or turning this game into a rout quickly.

Kansas 88, Texas Tech 56

Hawk to Rock

Texas Tech is a poor rebounding team that fouls too often and has a lot of shots blocked. In other words, Jeff Withey should put up plenty of numbers on his senior night. Give me a double-double for him in a game where he probably won't play 30 minutes.

Predictions tally
24-5 record, 332 points off (11.4 points off/game)

Hawk to Rock
SE Missouri: Perry Ellis (2nd in KUsports.com ratings)
Michigan State: Jeff Withey (4th)
Chattanooga: Andrew White III (10th)
Washington State: Ben McLemore (4th)
Saint Louis: Perry Ellis (7th)
San Jose State: Travis Releford (2nd)
Oregon State: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Colorado: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Belmont: Kevin Young (6th)
Richmond: Jeff Withey (1st)
Ohio State: Ben McLemore (1st)
American: Jeff Withey (5th)
Temple: Kevin Young (2nd)
Iowa State: Travis Releford (4th)
Texas Tech: Ben McLemore (4th)
Baylor: Jeff Withey (4th)
Texas: Elijah Johnson (8th)
Kansas State: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (3rd)
West Virginia: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (1st)
TCU: Kevin Young (3rd)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (5th)
Kansas State: Naadir Tharpe (3rd)
Texas: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (7th)
TCU: Travis Releford (4th)
Iowa State: Jeff Withey (4th)
West Virginia: Perry Ellis (10th)
Average: 4.3rd in KUsports.com ratings

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Cliff’s Notes: Charlie Weis press conference, 3/4/13

Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Weis' comments at his press conference today.

Audio has been posted along with the updated depth chart.

Weis encouraged KU linebacker Huldon Tharp — who will forego his final season of eligibility — to come back to school this year, telling him he could sit out spring practices and re-evaluate his football status then. Tharp said physically doesn't think he's capable of playing any more. He wants to get healthy, graduate in the summer, then go out into the work force.

Weis says there are a couple transfers that aren't here yet. The latest they will be here is late June. There are no questions whether those guys are coming, though.

KU tight end Trent Smiley had a shoulder worked on in December. He'll be non-contact in spring. Offensive lineman Riley Spencer and linebacker Prinz Kande are coming off knee injuries. Spencer will be able to go in the first spring practice. It might take Kande a couple days, but he should be ready soon.

Linebacker Schyler Miles had a knee procedure in the offseason. He wasn't at full speed last year. His knee was tweaked. He got it fixed instead of going through rehab. It will take him until early April until he's completely healthy. He will probably be held out of the spring game.

KU will not have an assigned special teams coach any more. It will be under Scott Vestal's jurisdiction, but every coach will have a special teams assignment this year other than quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus. Weis was disappointed with special teams last year, and he's going to hold every coach accountable for that unit this year.

Right now, KU's base offense going into the spring is to have two running backs on the field. After analyzing his team, Weis felt one of his best players shouldn't be standing on the sideline. Tony Pierson's versatility helps with that as well. Colin Spencer has versatility, too. Weis spent time studying West Virginia's Tavon Austin, and he thinks Pierson could have the same type of role for KU this year.

Defensively, KU has a "BUCK" position, which is a guy that can flip from the left to the right side. The other defensive lineman don't switch but instead play end or tackle based on where the "BUCK" position plays. Weis studied KU's personnel, and he didn't feel like his team had enough pass-rushing ability or flexibility with its pass-rushing positions.

Weis is going to try to oversee the team more instead of just overseeing the offense. To do that, Weis is going to give more responsibilities to his staff.

Last year in the spring, Weis was trying to figure out what KU had on its roster. In some cases, it was putting square pegs into round holes. Now, you start adapting what you do to who you have. For example, KU has a lot of defensive linemen compared to a couple years ago, when it didn't have many. Now, KU can come up with systems that fit the personnel while also having personnel that fits its system.

Linebacker Courtney Arnick was the best player on the defensive show-team. Nose tackle Tyler Holmes and Arnick were the best two players on the defensive show-team. Arnick was "a pain in the butt on every single play" with show team, Weis said. This is Arnick's opportunity to take the job and run with it, as he's listed on the first team at strongside linebacker.

Weis thinks the battle between Pat Lewandowski and Riley Spencer at right tackle will be a good competition. Lewandowski is listed at the top of the depth chart for now.

Putting juco guys at first team instead of returners says two things: 1. There are high expectations for the juco guys, and 2. The returning guys need to be ready to get into gear and perform.

Greg Allen has safety size, which is why he switched from corner to safety. He's going to be pushing for playing time. KU's staff is high on him.

Quarterbacks Jake Heaps and Michael Cummings are going to get all the reps in the spring. Weis thinks Heaps is ready to go.

Weis said he talked to a lot of his younger players on the sideline during KU's final-game loss to West Virginia last year. He pulled some younger players to the side to ask them, "Do you want to be a part of this crap next year?" to try to motivate them to work hard so they could avoid blowout losses in the future. Those players knew Weis was going recruiting right after that, and they knew they were going to have to go to work right after that as well.

Weis says all of his receivers are incomplete at this point. All of them are good at something, but they're also not good at something else.

When KU got Aslam Sterling in August, he was near 400 pounds. He's now at 312. There are so many guys like that whose bodies are different. KU's staff is encouraged, but you don't win championships just in the weight room. You have to take that to the field and show progress.

The main reason Weis started spring ball early is because he felt you get behind in recruiting if spring ball extends to late April. You have a six-week period to recruit, and if you have your spring game in late April, that period is limited to four weeks.

• Darius Willis will still play some role as a pass-rusher, but his body fits more to the middle-linebacker positions, which is where he's moved on the depth chart.

One kid at walk-on tryouts made 14 of 15 field goals, including three of three from 50-plus yards. He's not on the roster yet. Weis says KU won't go through what it went through last year in the kicking game. There will be plenty of competition for those spots. Weis says he was happy with "none of the above" with his kicking game last year.

Weis has been very pleased with tight end Jimmay Mundine. He's been pleased with nearly every facet. He changed his body. He's in great shape. He has leadership in him. Weis has high hopes for Mundine.

Running back James Sims is in a lot better shape than he was at this time last year. He hangs around some of the hardest workers on the team. Taylor Cox is like that, and Brandon Bourbon is like that, too. You have to work hard to keep up with those guys.

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Ben McLemore easy pick for No. 1

Kansas guard Ben McLemore puts up a three in the corner against West Virginia during the second half on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore puts up a three in the corner against West Virginia during the second half on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1. Ben McLemore: The freshman scored 36 points on just 15 field-goal attempts, making 12 of 15 shots and seven of nine free throws. With the outburst, McLemore broke KU's freshman scoring record set 28 years earlier (to the day) by Danny Manning. McLemore looked like an NBA player shooting jumpers, and in a few short months, he will be. McLemore added seven rebounds, four assists and a steal to go with two turnovers in 30 minutes.

2. Jeff Withey: The senior was robbed of a triple-double by a ticky-tack foul, but he still had a suffocating defensive performance. Withey had 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting while making three of his four two-point jumpshots. He also had 10 rebounds and nine blocks in his 32 minutes.

3. Elijah Johnson: Fresh off a 39-point game against Iowa State on Monday, Johnson looks like a completely different player confidence-wise. He also looks bouncier, as evidenced by his alley-oop and-one off a high feed from Naadir Tharpe in the second half. Johnson posted his second double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 assists to go with four turnovers. He also had a game-changing hustle block in the first half and never hesitated to shoot three-pointers, making three of his four long-range tries.

4. Naadir Tharpe: Johnson isn't the only KU guard that's played well recently. Tharpe quietly had a great game for KU, posting eight points with six assists and no turnovers in 19 minutes. His points didn't come off a lot of shot attempts either, as he was 3-for-5 from the floor and 2-for-2 from three-point range. It was only the second time in Big 12 play this year that Tharpe has shot better than 50 percent from the floor.

5. Kevin Young: Young provided KU with his normal hustle plays, diving three times in a row to force a jump-ball in the first half while also finishing three different lobs with slams. The senior, who scored his 1,000th career point, posted six points on 3-for-4 shooting with two rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals to go with a turnover in 28 minutes.

6. Travis Releford: If Releford had to pick a game to go cold from the three-point line, this would have been a good one to pick. The senior had a rare inefficient night, contributing six points on 2-for-8 shooting that included 0-for-3 accuracy from three-point range. He also had no rebounds for the first time this season.

7. Andrew White III: Had two points on 1-for-3 shooting with three rebounds, which is good production considering he played only two minutes.

8. Rio Adams: Made one of two field goals and finished with two points, though he did miss a pair of free throws in three minutes.

9. Justin Wesley: Two rebounds and a missed free throw in four minutes.

10. Perry Ellis: After an encouraging effort against Iowa State, Ellis didn't play well against a physical team in West Virginia. The freshman had two points, missed both of his field-goal attempts and added two rebounds to go with a turnover in just seven minutes.

11. Jamari Traylor: Missed three field goal attempts — including two rushed shots right under the rim — and also committed four fouls in four minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (233 points)
2. Ben McLemore (222 points)
3. Travis Releford (213 points)
4. Kevin Young (173 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (161 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (148 points)
7. Perry Ellis (121 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (95 points)
9. Andrew White III (47 points)
10. Rio Adams (31 points)
11. Justin Wesley (19 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (142 points)
2. Ben McLemore (133 points)
3. Travis Releford (127 points)
4. Kevin Young (114 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (87 points)
6. Elijah Johnson (85 points)
7. Perry Ellis (69 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (54 points)
9. Andrew White III (24 points)
10. Rio Adams (16 points)
11. Justin Wesley (12 points)

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