Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”

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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Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers resemble Frank Martin’s Wildcats

Kansas center Jeff Withey battles with West Virginia's Deniz Kilicli (13) in the Jayhawks' game against the Mountaineers on Monday night in Morgantown, W.Va.

Kansas center Jeff Withey battles with West Virginia's Deniz Kilicli (13) in the Jayhawks' game against the Mountaineers on Monday night in Morgantown, W.Va. by Mike Yoder

Team: West Virginia
Record: 13-15
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 115
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted

3 Strengths

Offensive rebounding: The three strengths I'm about to describe are going to sound a lot like Frank Martin's previous teams at Kansas State. Martin, obviously, was a disciple of WVU coach Bob Huggins, so this shouldn't be too surprising. The Mountaineers are the top Big 12 team in conference play in offensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 37 percent of their missed shots. Part of the reason for this is WVU's height in the post, as 6-foot-9 Deniz Kilicli, 6-10 Aaric Murray and 6-10 Kevin Noreen all rank in the top 350 nationally in offensive rebounding percentage.

Getting to the free throw line: West Virginia boasts the Big 12's best free throw rate in league play, averaging 23.2 free throws attempted per game despite playing at the conference's eighth-slowest pace. Kilicli and 6-2 guard Eron Harris are the team's two best players at getting whistles, as both rank in the top 250 nationally in fouls drawn per 40 minutes.

• Forcing turnovers: West Virginia has created turnovers on 22 percent of its defensive possessions in Big 12 play, which is the best mark in the conference. KU struggled with giveaways in its first game against WVU, turning it over 16 times in a slow, 61-possession game (26.2 percent).

3 Weaknesses

Shooting: West Virginia has struggled to shoot it from everywhere. In Big 12 play, the Mountaineers have made 44.5 percent of their twos (eighth) and 67.3 percent of their free throws (seventh). They've actually improved their three-point percentage to 33.9 percent (fifth), but even that isn't as good as it seems, as WVU's season three-point percentage is 30.5 percent (302nd nationally).

Carelessness: The Mountaineers have given it away on 21.7 percent of their Big 12 possessions, which ranks eighth in the conference. WVU's big men actually are the team's most turnover-prone players, as reserves Dominique Rutledge, Noreen and starter Kilicli have the team's three highest turnover rates.

Fouling too often: In conference play, West Virginia ranks eighth in defensive free throw rate, allowing 21.1 free throws per game. Huggins does have a deep bench to help counter this, as WVU ranks 18th nationally in bench minutes.

3 Players to Watch

Six-foot-2 guard Eron Harris (No. 10) is one of West Virginia's best scoring options thanks to a diverse offensive skillset. Not only is the freshman good at drawing contact, averaging 5.1 fouls drawn per game (237th nationally), but he's also the Mountaineers' best three-point shooter, making 37 of 100. What limits Harris the most is his playing time; he's played just 48.5 percent of the Mountaineers' minutes this season.

Six-foot-10 center Aaric Murray (No. 24) is a great talent that too often finds himself in Huggins' doghouse. Like Harris, he's played less than half of WVU's minutes this year, but when he's in, he's been productive. He's an elite rebounder, ranking 68th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage and 142nd in offensive rebounding percentage. He's also a good shot-blocker (78th in block percentage) and a great two-point jump-shooter, as he's made 42 percent of his two-point jumpshots (NCAA average is 35 percent).

Six-foot-9 forward Deniz Kilicli (No. 13, looks like a mountain man) has two skills: rebounding and getting to the free throw line, though he only makes 55 percent of his attempts when he gets there. Beyond that, his numbers aren't impressive. He has the highest turnover rate among WVU starters and also has made just 46.5 percent of his twos, which is a percentage point below the NCAA average. Though he has good height, Kilicli is not a shot-blocker, and he also fouls too often, averaging 4.9 whistles per 40 minutes.

Prediction

Like so many other games, KU's offensive turnovers should be a huge factor.

If the Jayhawks can limit turnovers, there's not much reason to think it will be challenged in this game.

If KU gives it away often, though, it risks letting a poor offensive team in WVU hang around by getting some easy points in transition.

KU has been a good defensive rebounding team this year, and WVU probably won't get a lot of free throws when playing at Allen Fieldhouse, so I think the Jayhawks should be able to counter those two Mountaineers' strengths Saturday.

That means if KU gets shots, it should be fine.

I'll predict an above-average but not game-threatening number of turnovers for KU against WVU.

Kansas 69, West Virginia 57

Hawk to Rock

West Virginia is a team that allows a high two-point percentage and fouls a lot, so I'll take a gamble and say that Perry Ellis has a nice offensive game off the bench for KU. The freshman scored eight points in 15 minutes against Iowa State on Monday, and he'll have to give great effort on the defensive glass Saturday to remain in the game against WVU. I'll say he provides another strong offensive game while continuing to peak at the right time.

Predictions tally
23-5 record, 318 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)
Average: 4.1st in KUsports.com ratings

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Mario Chalmers plays ‘Super Mario’ in Harlem Shake video; KU locker room vid after ISU win

A few links for your Friday ...

• Give credit to the NBA's Miami Heat for giving its own take on the "Harlem Shake" dance craze.

Kansas basketball fans will be most interested in the left side of the screen, where former KU guard Mario Chalmers is dressed up as — appropriately — Nintendo's Super Mario.

Chalmers also was recently featured in Lifestyle magazine, with a lede I thought was great:

Mario Chalmers has a table reserved at his favorite restaurant in South Florida. It’s a place where he walks in and gets treated, like, well, LeBron James.

Chipotle.

“I know the manager pretty well now that I’ve been going so much,” Chalmers says. “I just go in there, and they’ve got a table set up for me already.”

Our own Gary Bedore wrote about the mob scene that took place for Elijah Johnson in the locker room following his 39-point performance in KU's 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State.

The video of that is below from KU Athletics. Skip to the 2:05 mark if you don't want to see the rest of the highlights from the game.

Self said this about the scene: "I knew our guys liked Elijah, but I didn’t realize how much they respected him and liked him until after the game. I have never seen a group of guys more happy for one guy than they were for Elijah."

USA Today's Eric Prisbell had a nice feature story Thursday on KU guard Ben McLemore being able to overcome poverty on his way to college basketball stardom.

Bleacher Report's C.J. Moore took a look at what teams are doing defensively to cause McLemore to disappear offensively for long stretches.

The Boston Globe's Paul Lazdowski wrote an extended feature on KU basketball signee Wayne Selden. Some interesting nuggets in there, including the fact that a few times, Selden has played all five positions for his high school team in the same game.

Speaking of KU basketball signees, here's a just-released video on future KU guard Conner Frankamp.

It's March, which means baseball and softball seasons have already started.

With that in mind, I thought KU Athletics did a nice job with this "More than a number" feature on KU softball player Maggie Hull, who is talented enough to 1) lead the Big 12 in hitting; and 2) put up with us in the Journal-World sports department during an internship a few summers back.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 2/28/13

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

Full audio has been posted.

Self says he's interested in which teams might be No. 1 seeds at the end of the year. He doesn't check Joe Lunardi on ESPN every day, but he's still interested. This is probably too early to start looking too closely at those sorts of things, though.

KU agreed with adidas several months ago to sport a camo uniform as part of adidas's marketing campaign in the Big 12 tournament. How much KU wears it in the Big 12 tourney will depend on how KU plays in the uniforms. Self says KU's history and tradition should be what is promoted in its look, but this change will be a one-game exception done for adidas. Self hasn't seen the uniforms for a while, and he probably doesn't like them as much as the normal white uniforms. But for a game or two, it's not that big of a deal in the Big 12 tournament. Sometimes, you have to be a team player. adidas has helped KU quite a bit, so KU will do this to help the company. Those uniforms won't go past the Big 12 tournament.

Self thinks a season could be a success without winning a Big 12 league title. But he wouldn't feel that way about this year's team if it failed to win the Big 12 title because the team started 7-0 in league play. Self doesn't think you can have a special season unless you do well in the NCAA Tournament. KU had 35- and 33-win seasons that weren't special because those teams didn't win as many games in the tourney as maybe they should have. Last year's season was a special year, mostly because of the NCAA Tournament run. This has been a good year no matter how anybody wants to look at it. KU is competing for a conference championship and is ranked high nationally. If fans looked at it before the season, they would have taken —with three games left — the chance for KU to control its own destiny in the league race along with a chance at a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Self says that tiebreakers shouldn't determine conference champions. A split title is the correct way to do it. Self doesn't want to share a conference title, but if two teams have the same record, they should share it.

KU senior Travis Releford has been even better than Self thought he would be. He's been the glue to the team. He gives KU an element of toughness. He's as important as anybody.

Self is aware of the racist and threatening tweets that were sent by Iowa State students after the game to Elijah Johnson. Self thinks there's no place for that, but Self doesn't think Johnson and Self are going to dwell on it. Self and Johnson talked about it this morning. The Iowa State student body responded in a way to leave no doubt as to where it stood on the issue. That's good enough for Self. That was an unbelievable basketball game with the best performance by an individual since Self got here. The postgame stuff shouldn't take away from that. Unfortunately, there are idiots around in all different areas. That shouldn't take away from 13,000 people at the game that cheered their team on. Self has always enjoyed going to ISU, and these idiots won't change that. Self is excited that Johnson has his mojo back.

Self has not been contacted by the Big 12 to be told what the errors were at the end of the KU-ISU game. Self thinks we're on the verge of crossing the line that isn't good. KU benefited from a no-call. There have been many times teams have benefited from a no-call. There were other plays in the game, too. This no-call has been under the spotlight because it was at game-point. Self is concerned the league is opening a Pandora's box to have to comment on every controversial call. It's up to the Big 12. Self isn't saying the league is right, wrong or indifferent. He just thinks the league is opening itself up to a lot of different things. Self thinks the response seemed stern based on how it had been handled in the past. Other issues were handled privately, and this was handled publicly.

Self thinks it would be best if all referees were under one umbrella instead of being overseen by each conference. It's human nature, but referees get used to certain leagues and certain types of play. Self would like to see KU get officials from other conferences, because in the NCAA Tournament, you end up getting two or three guys a game that have not seen you all year. Sometimes, you can get too comfortable with a certain style of play through the regular season. Geography comes into play when assigning officials, but guys in North Carolina do call games in Lubbock, Texas, and guys in Spokane, Wash., sometimes call games in Lawrence.

Johnson got no easy points against ISU. He made plays. If he doesn't make every play down the stretch, then KU loses the game. He did it for five or six straight plays when the stakes were the absolute highest. Johnson playing like that for KU the rest of the way is imperative. ISU made 17 threes and goes 29 of 34 from the line, has seven turnovers and Ben McLemore scores 7 points. How do you win that game? Self said you have different guys step up. Self didn't realize how much the guys respected Johnson until after the game. He's never seen a group of guys more happy for someone than when he saw Johnson's teammates after the ISU game.

Teams have guarded Ben McLemore a certain way through league play. He's had his ups and downs. He's just a young kid that's still learning. Self thinks McLemore will be a better player moving forward after experiencing the struggles in the ISU game.

KU's young guys love the seniors. Self thinks it's cool to have guys that bust their butts for four or five years then just want to end at the end of their careers, even if that means deferring at times to a freshman like McLemore.

KU played great early in the first West Virginia then puttered around after that. WVU's pressure bothered KU.

WVU coach Bob Huggins is a great coach. He's a hall of fame coach. His kids play as hard as any kids in the country. He's as good as college basketball has as far as a complete package in coaching goes.

Self has heard from a lot of players after winning No. 500. Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar texted Self yesterday. It's unbelievable the run KU has had of late. Self is not that sentimental, but looking back, he thinks it's pretty cool how many people played a role in 500 wins. The players deserve all the credit. Self said he doesn't anticipate getting another 500 wins, because he'd have to coach for a long time to get that.

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Nick Krug describes his view of charging Iowa State fan; Can Bill Self get to 1,000 wins?

A few links for your snowy Tuesday ...

An Iowa State fan is restrained by police after charging at Kansas head coach Bill Self after the Jayhawks' 108-96 overtime win on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

An Iowa State fan is restrained by police after charging at Kansas head coach Bill Self after the Jayhawks' 108-96 overtime win on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

An Iowa State fan is restrained by police after charging at Kansas head coach Bill Self after the Jayhawks' 108-96 overtime win on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

An Iowa State fan is restrained by police after charging at Kansas head coach Bill Self after the Jayhawks' 108-96 overtime win on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

A few minutes after Kansas' 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State on Monday, I went up to photographer Nick Krug to ask him if he'd seen the angry ISU fan that had rushed at KU coach Bill Self after the game before getting pushed back by a police officer.

As I was finishing my sentence, Nick pulled up the photos above on his computer.

Yep, that answered my question.

Anyways, some national outlets have started to pick up on the story and photos, including Deadspin and USA Today.

Self told KUsports.com's Gary Bedore that the incident was not a big deal.

It was a great crowd. It was a great game. I have no problem with what went on after the game.

Here's what Nick saw while shooting the photos above:

I noticed the fan charging Self about the same time the police officer noticed him. The fan got close up to Self and was pointing his finger, appearing furious while accusing Self of being classless. My guess is it had to do with Elijah Johnson's dunk and being completely caught up in the moment. The police officer quickly got between Self and the fan, grabbed his shirt, and removed him. Self obviously noticed the fan, but he had the presence of mind not to react while letting the officer intervene.

• The following GIF is not how the incident went down, but it still is a funny fake re-enactment that was sent to me via Twitter by stevedoyel.


Though Self started later in coaching than many of the current wins leaders, he has a great chance of setting a new college basketball coaching wins mark if he decides to coach into his late 60s, according to this research a few weeks ago from Konza63 on RockChalk.com.

According to the study, if Self keeps up a pace similar to his recent win percentage and stays at KU, he could get to 1,000 wins sometime between his 65th and 67th birthday. For reference, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is 72, while Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is 66, and neither is at the 1,000-win mark. Coach K is closest with 951 career wins, and he started coaching at age 28.

ESPN's Myron Medcalf wrote more about Johnson's effort against ISU, saying the point guard handled criticism and through it all didn't whine, blame others or quit.

And finally, here are the video highlights of the game from ESPN.

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