Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”

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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Elijah Johnson takes over against Iowa State

Kansas head coach Bill Self gives a congratulatory pat to Elijah Johnson after the Jayhawks' 108-96 overtime win over Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gives a congratulatory pat to Elijah Johnson after the Jayhawks' 108-96 overtime win over Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

1. Elijah Johnson: So who saw that coming?* Johnson, who had made 38 percent of his twos and 27 percent of his threes during Big 12 play, single-handedly won the game for KU late, scoring a career-high 39 points on 13-for-22 shooting with 6-for-10 shooting from three-point range. The senior had KU's final eight points in regulation — two tough threes then two high-pressure free throws with 4.9 seconds left to tie it — then scored seven of the first 10 in overtime. In the final minutes, Johnson was getting to the rim off the dribble whenever he wanted to. He also added seven assists to go with three turnovers in 37 minutes.

2. Travis Releford: On a night when Ben McLemore was nearly invisible, Releford halted numerous ISU momentum swings by aggressively taking and making outside shots. The senior made six of 12 field goals and five of nine three-pointers to finish with 19 points — his highest total in a Big 12 game this season. Releford added four rebounds, three assists and two steals to go with three turnovers in 42 minutes.

3. Kevin Young: Young has struggled with his shot most of the season, but when KU needed him Monday, he was able to come through with mid-range jumpers to keep the defense honest. Young notched 13 points on 6-or-8 shooting, which included 4-for-6 shooting on two-point jumpshots. Young also had nine rebounds, an assist and turnover in 23 minutes before fouling out.

4. Jeff Withey: The good news for KU? No one on ISU could guard Withey. The bad news? Withey could guard no one on ISU. The 7-foot center was once again exposed by a team that forced him to play defense on the perimeter, as freshman Georges Niang (seven assists, no turnovers) was the focal point for the Cyclones' offense while going against KU's big man. Withey still had a stretch where he took over offensively, finishing with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting with 10 rebounds to go with two assists and four turnovers. KU already should start praying to the basketball gods that its round of 32 opponent is a team with a traditional 5-man.

5. Perry Ellis: One of his best games in Big 12 play, if not his best. The freshman provided scoring for KU when it was battling foul trouble, as he made two of five field goals and four of four free throws for eight points. Ellis also had six rebounds and no turnovers in his 15 minutes.

6. Naadir Tharpe: Hit a couple big threes, which isn't insignificant considering he was shooting 19 percent from three in his previous Big 12 games. Tharpe had nine points on 3-for-7 shooting, which included 2-for-5 accuracy from long range. He also had four assists to go with three turnovers in 26 minutes.

7. Ben McLemore: Is this the start of a disturbing trend? In KU's two biggest conference games, McLemore has been a no-show, as he scored seven points while attempting just six field goals in 38 minutes. He had four assists compared to just one turnover, but the Jayhawks need much more out of him if they hope to hit their ceiling in March.

8. Jamari Traylor: Had a rebound, block, steal and missed field goal in eight minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (224 points)
2. Ben McLemore (212 points)
3. Travis Releford (208 points)
4. Kevin Young (167 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (153 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (141 points)
7. Perry Ellis (120 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (95 points)
9. Andrew White III (43 points)
10. Rio Adams (28 points)
11. Justin Wesley (17 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (133 points)
2. Ben McLemore (123 points)
3. Travis Releford (122 points)
4. Kevin Young (108 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (80 points)
6. Elijah Johnson (78 points)
7. Perry Ellis (68 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (54 points)
9. Andrew White III (20 points)
10. Rio Adams (13 points)
11. Justin Wesley (10 points)


* — Actually my best friend Mike saw it coming. Here's his text to me earlier Monday: "I have a feeling tonight is going to be EJ's night ... I feel like he is going to bust out of it today ... you know me and my psychic random thoughts." I'll let him make the bets next time we're in Vegas.

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Will KU limit turnovers against a passive Iowa State D?

Kansas guard Travis Releford wrestles with Iowa State forward Georges Niang during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford wrestles with Iowa State forward Georges Niang during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Team: Iowa State
Record: 19-8
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 35
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted

3 Strengths

Three-point shooting: Iowa State jacks up a lot of threes (42.4 percent of shots are threes, 16th-highest split nationally), which makes its 37-percent accuracy from long range even more impressive (45th nationally). ISU gets 36.3 percent of its points from three-pointers, which is the 15th-highest split nationally. Thanks mostly to their outside shooting, the Cyclones have the Big 12's most efficient offense during conference play, notching 1.13 points per possession.

Ball security: Iowa State rarely turns it over, giving it away on just 17.5 percent of its possessions during Big 12 play (second in conference). This matches up with a KU defensive weakness, as the Jayhawks are sixth in the Big 12 in defensive turnover percentage. In the first game, KU pulled out a 97-89 victory in overtime despite forcing just 11 ISU turnovers in 45 minutes.

• Foul avoidance: Iowa State has the third-best defensive free throw rate in Big 12 play, with league foes averaging 19.7 free throw attempts against the quick-paced Cyclones. KU, meanwhile, has posted the second-best offensive free throw rate during conference play while averaging 24.2 free throws per game. Don't expect KU to get the favorable whistle it had in the first matchup at Allen Fieldhouse, as the Jayhawks shot a season-high 38 free throws in that game.

3 Weaknesses

Forcing turnovers: Iowa State plays passive defensively, creating turnovers on just 18.1 percent of its Big 12 possessions (ninth in conference). The Cyclones also are last in the league in forcing steals, creating them on just 8.2 percent of their possessions. Pay close attention to this stat Monday night, as KU has struggled with giveaways in conference play (seventh in Big 12 in offensive turnover percentage). One wouldn't expect a high turnover total from KU against ISU because of the way the Cyclones play defense, but sometimes, crazy things happen when teams get sped up in hostile road environments.

• Getting to the free throw line: Iowa State relies almost exclusively on jumpshots to score points. Because of that, the Cyclones don't draw many fouls, as they rank ninth in the Big 12 in offensive free throw rate. ISU has averaged just 18.7 free throws per game during conference play.

Transition defense: According to Hoop-Math.com, opponents are shooting 70 percent on their layups/tipins/dunks against Iowa State, which is the 15th-worst mark nationally. The Cyclones do a nice job of forcing teams into jumpshots in a half-court set (only 23 percent of opponents' shots come at the rim; NCAA average is 34 percent), but Iowa State still appears to be susceptible when its defense is not set.

Hoop-Math's numbers show that in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock, opponents have made 74 percent of their close shots after a defensive rebound, 71 percent of their close shots after an ISU make and 82 percent of their close shots after a steal. The opportunity might not come often, but KU should try to take advantage of any chance it has to score in transition.

3 Players to Watch

• Iowa State's best player does not start. Six-foot-2 guard Tyrus McGee (No. 25) has been one of the most efficient players in the nation thanks to superb shooting and a microscopic turnover percentage. The senior is especially dangerous from deep, as he's made 73 of 162 threes (45.1 percent) and 35 of 83 threes (42.2 percent) in Big 12 play. He also has just 23 turnovers this year while posting the nation's 33rd-best turnover rate. McGee leads the team in shot percentage (25.8 percent, 361st nationally), and the only thing keeping him from being the team's top scorer is limited minutes. McGee also is ISU's best perimeter defender, coming away with steals on 3.1 percent of the possessions he's out there (238th nationally).

Six-foot-7 forward Will Clyburn (No. 21) takes on the second-largest offensive load for ISU while producing decent offensive numbers. The senior is one of the only threats to get to the free throw line, as he draws 5.3 fouls per 40 minutes (182nd nationally). He's also a good shooter there, making 79 percent of his free throw tries. Offensively, he's best when he gets it all the way to the rim, as he's a 71-percent shooter on close shots and a 53-percent shooter on twos overall. His jumpshot isn't great, though; Clyburn has made just 28 percent of his two-point jumpshots (NCAA average is 35 percent) and 30 percent of his three-pointers (31 of 104) this year.

Five-foot-11 guard Korie Lucious (No. 13) is the weak link offensively for ISU. The Michigan State transfer can make threes (50 of 140, 35.7 percent) and also is ISU's best passer (84th nationally in assist rate), but that's not enough to overcome his other deficiencies. For one, the senior has an extremely high turnover rate, giving it away 89 times in 838 minutes. He's also struggled on shots inside, as he rarely gets all the way to the rim (only 12 percent of his field goals are close shots) and is a below-average two-point jumpshooter (32 percent). KU's defensive gameplan should be to pressure Lucious on the perimeter to force him into the paint. Once there, the Jayhawks should resist the urge to help, as he's more dangerous as a passer there than he is as a shooter.

Prediction

Iowa State is a bad matchup for KU because of its ability to shoot the ball from all five spots.

ISU coach Fred Hoiberg, who uses Pomeroy as a consultant, knows from the numbers that KU is susceptible to giving up threes to begin with, as 35.7 percent of the field goals against KU this year have been three-point attempts (268th-lowest split nationally).

It's simple math, really. If ISU doesn't turn it over and can make one out of three three-pointers (which is below its season average), it will score 1 point per possession, and that's without taking offensive rebounding into consideration.

Score a point per possession against KU's defense, and you have a great chance of winning, especially at home.

KU should be able to score against undersized ISU, but it will have to avoid unforced turnovers against a team that rarely forces giveaways. The Jayhawks will also have to make some two-point jumpshots against a sagging ISU defense, and that hasn't exactly been a strength for KU over its last few games.

Look for the Cyclones will use lots of ball screens to get open threes, and at home in front of a knowledgeable and animated crowd, I think those shots will go down.

Iowa State 72, Kansas 68

Hawk to Rock

This is a tough matchup for Jeff Withey defensively, but it's also a favorable one for him offensively. The senior should have plenty of opportunity to score in the post, and barring foul trouble, he should be able make it to double-figure rebounds against a below-average rebounding team Iowa State. Withey also will get the chance to show he's improved in ball-screen defense. He has been better as of late, as he saved the game in regulation against Oklahoma State when he gave a strong hedge against the Cowboys' Marcus Smart to stop his drive to the rim. I'll say Withey leads KU in scoring while posting his sixth double-double in conference play.

Predictions tally
23-4 record, 302 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)
Average: 4.1st in KUsports.com ratings

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Iowa State’s style a difficult challenge for Kansas defense

Ames, Iowa — Iowa State has more going for it in tonight’s Big 12 matchup against Kansas than Hilton Magic. The Cyclones’ style of play also is one that can give the Jayhawks trouble.

Every year Bill Self’s Kansas basketball teams rank at or near the top of the nation in field-goal percentage defense. They get there by clogging up the lane with long, athletic bodies. Kansas defenders always help off their man about as well as anyone in the country. It’s a blessing, but against a team like Iowa State it also can be a curse.

The Cyclones flood the floor with long-range shooters from every position. Even if a defender’s scouting report says not to leave his man, that’s easier said than done for players so well drilled on lending help defense.

“I think the way Iowa state plays, and you could go back to Belmont, Richmond, those teams were getting off 32, 36 threes against us and I think a lot of it stems from how we play,” 10th year KU coach Bill Self said. “Even when we pressure we don’t pressure out as much as a lot of people do, especially to shooters. We’ve got to do a lot better job of that. But the biggest thing to me is ball-screen defense. How are we going to guard their open ball screens and not put us in a situation where you have to close out from great distances?”

In KU’s 97-89 overtime victory against Iowa State, played in Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 9, the Cyclones attempted 38 three-pointers and made 14. Six different players hit at least one three, five players more than one.

Georges Niang, Iowa State’s 6-foot-7, 245-pound freshman center, will try to draw Kansas center Jeff Withey away from the hoop. Niang has hit multiple three-pointers in six games. In the first 1:50 of the thriller in Allen Fieldhouse, Niang gave the visitors an 8-3 lead by hitting two three-pointers and a two-point jumper.

Not that Iowa State is one-dimensional. The Cyclones made 4 of 24 from three against Baylor in Hilton and still won, 79-71. But Baylor isn't Kansas. If KU can keep the Cyclones from getting hot from beyond the arc, a ninth consecutive Big 12 title should come into clear focus for the Jayhawks.

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Big man takes top spot for KU against TCU

Kansas center Jeff Withey smiles with the rest of the starters during a break in action in the second half on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey smiles with the rest of the starters during a break in action in the second half on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1. Jeff Withey: After getting taken out of his game by TCU in Fort Worth (12 points, six field-goal attempts), Withey responded by taking over for stretches Saturday. The senior posted a team-high 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting, adding six rebounds and three blocks to go with two turnovers in 26 minutes. A huge defensive challenge awaits Withey, as his ball-screen defense will be tested Monday against Iowa State.

2. Ben McLemore: McLemore said afterwards that he liked his 360 and windmill dunks better, but his one-handed posterization of a TCU player at the end of the half should still earn a spot in SportsCenter's Top Ten. The freshman scored 14 points, making four of 10 field goals, two of six threes and four of four free throws. He also had three assists and two steals with no turnovers.

3. Kevin Young: After the game, KU coach Bill Self said Young was approaching Tyshawn Taylor territory, becoming a player who makes hard plays look easy and easy plays look hard. Young's energy was terrific in the first half, though, and he finished with six points on 3-for-4 shooting with eight rebounds in 22 minutes. Defensively, he added two blocks and two steals.

4. Travis Releford: Has KU ever had a better finisher in transition? It's hard to think of one the way Releford has played this season. The senior provided a typical "Releford" line: 12 points, 4-for-5 shooting, one assist and one steal to go with two turnovers in 30 minutes.

5. Perry Ellis: Scored on an array of post moves and provides KU with its best scoring threat off the bench. The freshman notched 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting with four rebounds and no turnovers in 15 productive minutes.

6. Elijah Johnson: Played well on a day when a lot of his teammates also played well. Johnson had seven points on 2-for-5 shooting with four assists, two steals and just one turnover in 29 minutes. The senior now has just four turnovers in his last three games.

7. Jamari Traylor: Showed a nice turn-around jumper in making his only field-goal attempt. The freshman still turns it over too much, but he does try hard. Traylor also came away with two steals in his 12 minutes.

8. Naadir Tharpe: Tharpe's shooting slump continued Saturday. He missed all four of his field goals and now has made just 31 percent of his twos (15 of 48) and 19 percent of his threes (nine of 48) in Big 12 play. Tharpe did make both of his free throws and added four assists to go with two turnovers in 17 minutes.

9. Rio Adams: Had a steal and a missed shot in his one minute.

10. Justin Wesley: Had two rebounds and a turnover in three minutes.

11. Andrew White III: Went 0-for-2 from the floor and 1-for-2 from the free throw line with a turnover in seven minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (217 points)
2. Ben McLemore (208 points)
3. Travis Releford (199 points)
4. Kevin Young (159 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (143 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (136 points)
7. Perry Ellis (114 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (92 points)
9. Andrew White III (43 points)
10. Rio Adams (28 points)
11. Justin Wesley (17 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (126 points)
2. Ben McLemore (119 points)
3. Travis Releford (113 points)
4. Kevin Young (100 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (75 points)
6. Elijah Johnson (68 points)
7. Perry Ellis (62 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (51 points)
9. Andrew White III (20 points)
10. Rio Adams (13 points)
11. Justin Wesley (10 points)

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TCU has regressed since win over KU

Ben McLemore (23) tries to turn the corner on defender Garlon Green (33) in the Jayhawks 62-55 loss to Texas Christian University, Wednesday at TCU in Ft. Worth, TX.

Ben McLemore (23) tries to turn the corner on defender Garlon Green (33) in the Jayhawks 62-55 loss to Texas Christian University, Wednesday at TCU in Ft. Worth, TX. by Mike Yoder

Team: TCU
Record: 10-16
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 284
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted

3 Strengths

Getting to the free throw line: TCU has the nation's 57th-best offensive free throw rate, averaging 19.8 free throws per game while playing one of the nation's slowest tempos. That's not always a huge positive for the Horned Frogs, though, as their 58.7 percent free throw percentage is the fourth-worst in the nation.

• Forcing turnovers: In Big 12 play, TCU is fourth in the conference in defensive turnover percentage, creating giveaways on 20.3 percent of opponents' possessions. For the season, the Horned Frogs ranked 120th nationally in the stat (21.2 percent).

Avoiding fouls: TCU is second-best in Big 12 play when it comes to defensive free throw rate, with conference foes averaging just 16.3 free throws per game. For the season, opponents are getting just 18.7 percent of their points against the Horned Frogs from the line (259th-highest split nationally).

3 Weaknesses

Shooting: TCU shoots a high number of two-point jumpshots according to Hoop-Math.com (47 percent of its shots, 16th-highest split nationally) and does it without much success (32 percent; NCAA average is 35 percent). This has crushed the Horned Frogs' two-point percentage, which sits at 42.8 percent (319th nationally). Though TCU is extremely selective with its three-point shots, it still shoots a horrible percentage from there as well, making just 28.7 percent of its long-range tries (330th nationally).

Turnovers: TCU ranks 284th nationally in offensive turnover percentage (22.3 percent), and that number has stayed steady throughout the season. In Big 12 play, the Horned Frogs are last in the conference in turnover percentage, edging out Texas Tech for the bottom spot.

First-shot defense: Big 12 opponents have shot high percentages from both two-point and three-point range against TCU, making 49.7 percent of their twos (eighth in conference) and 39.8 percent of their threes (ninth in conference). Hoop-Math.com shows that TCU also has allowed opponents to take a lot of easy shots, as 37 percent of the field goals against the Horned Frogs this year have come at the rim (NCAA average is 34 percent).

3 Players to Watch

Six-foot-7 small forward Garlon Green (No. 33) had the best game against KU in the first matchup, putting in 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting which included 2-for-4 three-point shooting. KU fans will be happy to know that it took him four games after that to get seven more made field goals, as he went 1-for-12 against West Virginia, 2-for-9 against Oklahoma, 3-for-11 against Iowa State, then 6-for-15 against Texas. Green is a volume shooter (27.1 percent shot percentage, 246th nationally) that shouldn't be based on his numbers, as he's made just 39.4 percent of his twos and 32.3 percent of his threes. Though Green doesn't get to the free throw line often, he is TCU's best shooter there (77 percent).

Six-foot-7 forward Connell Crossland (No. 2) isn't much of a scoring threat, but he is a great rebounder, as evidenced by his game-high 15 rebounds against KU in the first meeting. Crossland actually is a better offensive rebounder (181st nationally) than defensive rebounder (300th nationally), as he's averaged 3.2 offensive rebounds per game over his last six contests. Crossland gets a high percentage of his shots at the rim, which helps his two-point percentage (50.8 percent). He's terrible from the free throw line, though, making 33 of his 73 shots there (45.2 percent).

Five-foot-11 point guard Kyan Anderson (No. 5) is TCU's best perimeter player. Though he takes the second-most shots on the team (24.7 percent, 474th nationally), shooting isn't his best asset. The sophomore is a good passer, posting the nation's 166th-best assist rate, while also providing the Horned Frogs with their best perimeter defender, ranking 330th in steal percentage. Anderson is prone to turnovers, though, and his two-point percentage (43.8 percent) and three-point percentage (33 percent) aren't anything to brag about.

Prediction

After upsetting KU 62-55 on Feb. 6, TCU moved up 29 spots in KenPom's rankings from 278th to 247th.

Somehow, four games later, the Horned Frogs have played poorly enough to move to a ranking below where they were before the KU game (285th).

In other words ... the KU win didn't make TCU any better. In fact, the team has been playing worse.

Sometimes in a mismatch game at the Fieldhouse, KU will have some mercy on its opponent, taking it easy in the second half while having some sympathy for a team that is rebuilding.

Poor TCU. That won't happen Saturday, as the Jayhawks — and their fans — won't be letting up after the Jayhawks get a huge lead with revenge on their minds.

Kansas 77, TCU 45

Hawk to Rock

TCU is a team that turns it over often and allows a lot of layups. That sounds like a game where Travis Releford could thrive. I'll say Releford finishes as a top-two scorer for KU with at least two steals.

Predictions tally
22-4 record, 296 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)
Average: 4.1st in KUsports.com ratings

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Academic All-American Bud Stallworth lends library a helping hand

Last week he was golfing with Moses Malone and other basketball legends in Houston during NBA All-Star Week. He’s back in snow-covered Lawrence and will be mini-golfing indoors tonight to help the Lawrence Public Library Foundation raise money.

If you know anything at all about Bud Stallworth, you know that has been his life in a nutshell: Books, basketball and golf.

Next time you enter Allen Fieldhouse, look at the banner hanging on the north wall, the one that says “Academic All-Americans.” You’ll find his name on it.

If you attend tonight’s Caddy Stacks bash at the vacant library (707 Vermont Street), the friendly, approachable Stallworth will have stories to tell. Ask him to share the one about:

*Meeting and getting to know heavyweight champion and anti-war activist Muhammad Ali, the world’s most famous 20th-century athlete.

*Playing under coach Bill Russell, the greatest champion in the history of basketball, but a better player than coach, according to Stallworth.

*Being recruited to play basketball for his home state’s university by Alabama’s legendary football coach, Bear Bryant, but deciding to come to Kansas instead.

*Teaming with Spencer Haywood in Seattle and Pistol Pete Maravich in New Orleans. If you think Stallworth liked to shoot, ask him about Pistol.

*Playing in the NBA against Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and so many other greats.

*Scoring 50 points against Missouri on Feb. 26, 1972.

Those are the stories everyone likes to discuss, but Stallworth knows that his parents, both of whom were educators in his small hometown of Hartselle, Ala., were right when they told him books would do even more for him than basketball.

After his NBA career ended, Stallworth owned a couple of restaurants before he moved back to Lawrence and went to work for his alma mater. Stallworth held big jobs for the Med Center and on the Lawrence campus during his 22 years working for KU.

“When the classrooms began crumbling,” as Stallworth put it, he oversaw a budget of nearly $50 million for projects designed to improve the infrastructure.

His degree, he said, did do more for him even than his sweet jumper. Tonight, he’ll showcase his lefty putting stroke.

“I’ve been putting pretty good lately,” said Stallworth, one of the Masters at tonight’s event.

KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, former Royals pitcher and KU baseball coach Marty Pattin, Firekeeper head pro Randy Towner and Lawrence Country Club assistant pro Kristen Samp are among other Lawrence Masters participating in the event.

A ticket for the Mingle with the Masters pre-party, which begins at 6:30 is $50. Adult open golf begins at 7:30 and costs $35.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 2/22/13

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

Full audio has been posted.

The 115th-year reunion this weekend means something to all the guys that do come back. Before the weather concerns, about 200 former players were signed up to come back. The best part is those guys getting to meet up with their former teammates again.

During KU's three-game losing streak, the team didn't guard well. KU played really good defense against Oklahoma State on Wednesday, especially considering how bad the Jayhawks offense was. KU's defensive rebounding kept it in the game.

TCU is the only team that handled KU from start to finish. TCU was the only game KU didn't have a chance to win. Self has re-watched the tape. KU didn't play well, but TCU was part of the reason for that.

KU forward Jamari Traylor gave the team energy against OSU. He's been a boost in that area. KU is better in half-court sets with other players in at that spot, but Traylor can give KU help with athleticism and defense. His right hand is messed up with a sprained thumb, so KU is thankful he's playing. He's going to be a good player. Traylor's a shorter inside player. He's usually Jeff Withey's backup, which means he usually guards the 5 position.

Self hopes the game-winning shot guard Naadir Tharpe made at the end of the OSU game boosts his confidence. Ben McLemore's shot against Iowa State was a huge shot too, but Tharpe's shot was as big as any for KU this year. Tharpe had to make a play, dribble it then make a jump-hook in the lane. That's not a play that you have 5-foot-10 guys practice.

Self believed the biggest thing Tharpe had going for him out of high school was his intangibles. He's funny. Everyone likes him. He's a cool kid. He showed up to his recruiting visit in a tie, and Self joked that he's lucky to get kids to dress up in hoodies. Self didn't think Tharpe's personality showed through last year as much as he wanted to. It's starting to show through this year.

Self believes the Morris twins will play better now that they're together on the same NBA team.

• Self says when people think about the history and legacy of KU, they should think about two coaches (Phog Allen and James Naismith) and all the players. When Self thinks about the history of the Chicago Bears, he doesn't think about Mike Ditka. He thinks about George Halas. There have been coaches that have started the success at KU. Self doesn't see what he and his staff have done as a big part of the legacy, because other coaches laid the foundation.

Self thinks the way TCU played KU the first time was perfect. It cut off angles in the post and limited transition. TCU whipped KU. No other team has been able to control the game the entire time against the Jayhawks. The Horned Frogs definitely have KU's respect.

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‘Bill Self Shuffle’ the latest dance craze; Bill Simmons bashes Kings for trading T-Rob

A few links on a snowy Thursday in Lawrence ...

• It's being called the Bill Self Shuffle.

Kansas coach Bill Self, in urging his team to get back on defense at the end of the first overtime in Wednesday night's 68-67 double-overtime victory over Oklahoma State, produced a dance move MC Hammer would be proud of.

A GIF of Self's shuffle already has been synced up with MC Hammer's hit, "Can't Touch This," and KU's Douthart Scholarship Hall already has done its own take of the dance during today's snow day.

Here are the highlights from Wednesday night's game from ESPN.

Also, Deadspin has video of the final two possessions in double-overtime, which includes Naadir Tharpe's floater and Travis Releford's hustle play to run the clock out.

• Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Eisenberg discussed Tharpe's game-winning shot, saying ...

Of the 10 shots he attempted prior to Kansas' final possession, Tharpe missed all but one of them, drawing the ire of coach Bill Self and Jayhawks fans watching from home with his rushed perimeter jumpers early in the shot clock. Tharpe also made a key defensive blunder in the final minute of the first overtime, giving up a game-tying corner 3-pointer to Forte after he left the sharp shooter to help on a slashing Marcus Smart.

All was forgiven though when Tharpe redeemed himself ...

KU has moved up to No. 6 in Mark Titus' Power Rankings on Grantland.com.

In the blog post, Titus — one of the funniest sports writers out there — gives his analysis of KU's YouTube Harlem Shake video.

Titus then says this about KU:

I'm not sure about Kansas's chances of winning the national title, but I know this much: No team in college basketball is having more fun this season than the Jayhawks.

Speaking of Grantland, the site's founder Bill Simmons still is in shock at the NBA trade that sent former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson from Sacramento to Houston.

In his email exchange with Zach Lowe, Simmons says this:

You know I'm prone to hyperbole from time to time, but I truly believe this — that's the worst trade anyone's made in years. A lottery team giving up Robinson … I mean … it's unconscionable. No, he wasn't playing that well for the Kings, but can you think of a worse situation for him?

And finally, I couldn't believe when a friend wrote to tell me this classic "Vishal! I'm in the TV!" KU video clip just celebrated its ninth anniversary.

I think most KU fans should remember it, but if not, there's an explanation of what happened in the comments under the video.

One of my favorite parts is at the end, when color man Jon Sundvold just keeps talking after the free throw like nothing happened. I'd have to think he was wondering what the heck was going on as well.

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Travis Releford comes through with crucial plays late for KU

Kansas guard Travis Releford pulls up for a bucket past Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown during the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Travis Releford pulls up for a bucket past Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown during the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

1. Travis Releford: The senior made so many big plays it's almost hard to remember them all. Taking a charge to pick up Marcus Smart's fifth foul was huge. His defense on Markel Brown on the game's final possession was important, too. Then his hustle play to save the ball from going out of bounds to run out the final seconds secured the win. Releford also put on a layup clinic early, posting a team-high 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting with six rebounds, an assist, steal and three turnovers in 48 minutes.

2. Jeff Withey: Offensive rebounds weren't a factor for Oklahoma State in this game, and Withey was a big reason for that, as the senior notched 12 defensive rebounds while playing through foul trouble. Withey also was clutch at the free throw line, making 11 of 14 to finish with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks to go with just one turnover in 39 minutes.

3. Elijah Johnson: Some back-and-forth jawing with OSU's players seemed to fire Johnson up, and on a night when KU's offense was sluggish, the Jayhawks needed all of the points he provided. Johnson made Smart look silly on a couple of moves to the rim, finishing with 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting with a steal and two turnovers in 32 minutes. Johnson fouled out on a questionable call late in regulation after 32 minutes, and KU missed him after that.

4. Kevin Young: The senior made some poor decisions in half-court sets, but he still managed to get excellent rebounding production in limited minutes (11 rebounds, 27 minutes). The senior posted eight points on 4-for-9 shooting and had a crucial steal, but he also had four turnovers.

5. Naadir Tharpe: As the only ball-handler still eligible to play for KU, Tharpe made a floater with 18 seconds left in double-overtime that KU coach Bill Self called "the biggest play of his life." With the game-winner, Tharpe finished 2-for-11 from the floor with four points. He missed all six of his three-pointers and had three assists to go with four turnovers in 31 minutes.

6. Jamari Traylor: Gave KU some great defensive minutes while Withey was in foul trouble and was especially sound with his ball-screen defense. The freshman scored four points, made one of two field goals and both of his free throws and added four rebounds in 17 minutes.

7. Ben McLemore: When KU needed a play in the overtimes, McLemore was nowhere to be found. Self gave the dreaded, "He wasn't plugged in" quote after the game, but at some point, the freshman has to work harder to create for himself. After going 0-for-8 in the first half, McLemore finished with seven points on 3-for-12 shooting. He did add six rebounds and two steals to go with one turnover in a game-high 49 minutes.

8. Perry Ellis: Had two rebounds, a turnover, and two bad fouls in seven minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (207 points)
2. Ben McLemore (199 points)
3. Travis Releford (192 points)
4. Kevin Young (151 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (138 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (133 points)
7. Perry Ellis (108 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (88 points)
9. Andrew White III (43 points)
10. Rio Adams (26 points)
11. Justin Wesley (16 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (116 points)
2. Ben McLemore (110 points)
3. Travis Releford (106 points)
4. Kevin Young (92 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (72 points)
6. Elijah Johnson (63 points)
7. Perry Ellis (56 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (47 points)
9. Andrew White III (20 points)
10. Rio Adams (11 points)
11. Justin Wesley (9 points)

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Two factors key for KU against home favorite Oklahoma State

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson watches from the floor as Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart recovers a fumbled ball by Johnson with seconds remaining in the game on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. The turnover nullified the the Jayhawks' comeback effort. At right is Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson watches from the floor as Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart recovers a fumbled ball by Johnson with seconds remaining in the game on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. The turnover nullified the the Jayhawks' comeback effort. At right is Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown. by Nick Krug

Team: Oklahoma State
Record: 19-5
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 16
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted

3 Strengths

• Turnovers: Oklahoma State continues to thrive offensively and defensively because of turnovers, ranking first in Big 12 play in offensive turnover percentage and third in defensive turnover percentage. The Cowboys' plus-2.7 turnover margin per game also leads the conference. KU turned it over on 22 percent of its possessions in the last game against OSU, which was the highest mark for the Jayhawks in their last five games.

Drawing fouls: Oklahoma State is one of the best in the conference at getting to the line, posting the third-best free throw rate in Big 12 play. Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash are the two biggest reasons for this, as both rank in the top 200 nationally in free throw rate and fouls drawn per 40 minutes. In case you were wondering, KU is fifth in Big 12 play in defensive free throw rate, meaning it's about average when it comes to allowing opponent free throws.

Defensive rebounding: The Cowboys are No. 1 in conference play in defensive rebounding percentage, controlling 73.2 percent of opponents' misses. KU is actually the Big 12's second-best offensive rebounding team in conference play, so this will be a matchup of strengths on Wednesday night. One interesting subplot will once again be seeing how much OSU's 6-foot-11 center Philip Jurick plays. The senior is an elite rebounder — ranking in the top 15 nationally in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage — but OSU played well without him in there during the first matchup, as a smaller lineup put more pressure defensively on KU center Jeff Withey.

3 Weaknesses

Offensive rebounding: Judging by the first KU-OSU matchup, you'd probably think one the Cowboys' greatest strengths is offensive rebounding. In actuality, that's one of OSU's biggest weaknesses (eighth in offensive rebounding percentage during Big 12 play). When OSU grabbed 45 percent of its misses in the first matchup against KU, it was by far OSU's best offensive rebounding performance and one the Cowboys haven't come close to matching since. A big reason KU struggled on the defensive glass in the first game was an inability to block out Smart, who posted six offensive rebounds in the second half alone.

• Three-point shooting: Oklahoma State is only middle of the pack in the Big 12 when it comes to three-point shooting, making 34 percent of its threes in conference play (fifth in league). Though Markel Brown's hot shooting lit up the Jayhawks early in the first matchup, OSU only finished 8-for-24 from long range in that game (33 percent). The Cowboys have made 33 percent of their three-pointers for the season, and they don't rely heavily on them, getting 25 percent of their total points from threes (237th-highest split nationally).

• Fouling too often: Oklahoma State ranks sixth during conference play in defensive free throw rate. Big 12 opponents are averaging 19 free throws per game against the Cowboys, who — during league play — have played at a faster tempo than any other conference team.

3 Players to Watch

Six-foot-4 guard Marcus Smart (No. 33) scored 25 points in the first matchup and dominated the second half, posting 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting with seven rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Smart is best offensively when he gets to the free throw line, as he makes 78 percent of his free throws and draws 5.7 fouls per 40 minutes (117th nationally). Keep him off the line, though, and he's only a slightly above-average offensive threat. He does rank 153rd nationally in assist rate, but his two-point percentage (48 percent) and three-point percentage (32 percent) are below what you'd expect. A closer look shows Smart doesn't penetrate all the way to the rim often, as only 29 percent of his shot attempts are layups/dunks/tipins.

Smart also is an elite perimeter defender, ranking 10th nationally in steal percentage while also posting a top-500 mark in block percentage.

• Six-foot-3 guard Markel Brown (No. 22) was the hero of the first half for OSU in the first matchup, putting in 22 of his 28 points before halftime on 7-for-10 shooting and 5-for-7 shooting from three-point range. Brown takes the highest percentage of shots for OSU (25.5 percent, 398th nationally), and that's been a good thing for the Cowboys, as Brown has been the team's best outside shooter. The junior has made 41 of 105 threes (39 percent) while also making a high number of his two-point jumpers (41 percent; NCAA average is 35 percent).

C.J. Moore had a good breakdown of how OSU took advantage of KU's ball-screen defense in this blog post, but KU also might be helped in the second matchup by starting with Travis Releford defending Brown instead of Nash. Brown is more the type of player Releford is used to guarding: one that comes off screens to get open looks for jump shots. It is worth noting that Brown has upped his free throw production in Big 12 play, as his 67 free throws rank second on the team behind Smart's 79.

• Six-foot-7 forward Le'Bryan Nash (No. 2) is the weak offensive link in a productive OSU lineup. The former McDonald's All-American has the second-highest shot percentage on the team (23.7 percent), but his numbers don't justify that kind of usage. Nash has made just 46.9 percent of his twos (NCAA average is 47.4 percent) and only nine of 41 threes (22 percent). His best skill, like Smart, is getting to the free throw line, where he's a 77-percent shooter. Nash also has his share of turnovers and isn't a great passer or rebounder. Defensively, he doesn't provide much in the way of steals or blocks, either. If Nash is shooting a jump shot during an OSU possession, KU's defense should consider that a victory whether the attempt goes in or not.

Prediction

Oklahoma State has a couple of significant factors going for it.

For one, KU coach Bill Self is just 2-3 at Gallagher-Iba Arena as the Jayhawks' coach. Also, the betting lines opened with the Cowboys as a 1 1/2-point favorite.

I think there are still two reasons to be optimistic about KU's chances on Wednesday night, one stat-related and one not.

1. Though OSU does a good job of protecting the rim, KU should shoot layups better than it did in the first matchup. Though KU was able to get to the rim frequently in the first game, it made just 10 of 23 layups against the Cowboys (43 percent). For the season, KU has made 64 percent of its shots at the rim (which includes layups/tipins), while OSU has allowed 54 percent shooting at the rim. We'll see if the Jayhawks convert on more of those opportunities Wednesday night.

2. This is new territory for OSU. The Cowboys struggled in a game they shouldn't have at home against Oklahoma, then celebrated the overtime win by ... jumping on fans' shoulders after they rushed the court?

This is a huge game for both teams in the conference standings, and KU has a team with more experience in these types of high-pressure games.

I guess that's what makes me feel more comfortable taking KU in what should be a great game.

Kansas 72, Oklahoma State 70

Hawk to Rock

Taking Ben McLemore as the Hawk to Rock was the right choice in the first KU-OSU game, and I think it'll be a solid pick in this one as well. In a game stocked with future NBA players, McLemore should be able to showcase his athleticism and also his outside shooting. I'll say the freshman leads KU in scoring Wednesday night with 20-plus points.

Predictions tally
21-4 record, 295 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)
Average: 4th in KUsports.com ratings

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YouTube videos from Kansas’ 73-47 victory over Texas

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Thanks to complete stat line, Jeff Withey takes top honor

Kansas center Jeff Withey soars in for a dunk over the Texas defense during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey soars in for a dunk over the Texas defense during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1. Jeff Withey: Filled up the stat sheet with 15 points (5-for-11 shooting), 11 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. His four steals matched a season high for KU this year, as Travis Releford and Kevin Young both had accomplished the same feat once. Withey made five of seven free throws and had just one turnover in his 29 productive minutes.

2. Travis Releford: The senior got KU's offense rolling with a pair of three-pointers early and, as we've come to expect, produced an efficient line offensively. Releford tied the team-high with 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting, which included 4-for-5 accuracy from three-point range. The small forward added five rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in 31 minutes.

3. Ben McLemore: Had the highlight of the night, completing a 360 dunk with 4:11 left to cap KU's win. The freshman posted 13 points (4-for-9 shooting) with six rebounds and three assists to go with two turnovers.

4. Elijah Johnson: His best game in a long time. The senior guard appeared to have some of his confidence return, as he was much more fearless with drives and finished better at the rim because of it. Johnson was 4-for-4 on layups (he was only 51 percent on close shots coming in), and that helped him produce a 12-point effort on 5-for-10 shooting. The senior added four assists and a steal to go with just one turnover — his lowest turnover total since the American game on Dec. 29, 2012.

5. Naadir Tharpe: Played well, but his minutes were limited because of Johnson's production. The sophomore posted two points (1-for-3 shooting) with three assists, two steals and no turnovers in 15 minutes. Tharpe's passing has become much better in the past few games, as he's creating easy looks with dribble penetration and dropoff passes.

6. Kevin Young: A good energy game for Young was ruined by his inability to make close shots. The senior was just 2-for-7 on layups, but he still hustled his way to seven rebounds (four offensive) in 28 minutes. Young posted six points (3-for-8 shooting) with two assists, two steals and two turnovers.

7. Perry Ellis: Five points, two rebounds and 3-for-4 free throw shooting from Ellis, who appeared to struggle most when he was in at the same time as Jamari Traylor.

8. Jamari Traylor: The freshman displayed a nice spin move into a left-handed hook shot, but he made too many mistakes during his limited time (nine minutes). Traylor made his only shot but posted three turnovers.

9. Andrew White III: Missed a three-pointer (looked like maybe he was fouled?) and had a turnover in four minutes.

10. Justin Wesley: Had two fouls in four minutes.

11. Rio Adams: Checked in late in the first half, promptly turned it over in the back-court, was yanked and didn't play the rest of the game.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (198 points)
2. Ben McLemore (195 points)
3. Travis Releford (182 points)
4. Kevin Young (144 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (130 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (127 points)
7. Perry Ellis (105 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (83 points)
9. Andrew White III (43 points)
10. Rio Adams (26 points)
11. Justin Wesley (16 points)

Big 12 Standings
1. Jeff Withey (107 points)
2. Ben McLemore (106 points)
3. Travis Releford (96 points)
4. Kevin Young (85 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (66 points)
6. Elijah Johnson (55 points)
7. Perry Ellis (53 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (42 points)
9. Andrew White III (20 points)
10. Rio Adams (11 points)
11. Justin Wesley (9 points)

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