Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”

Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 1/9/12

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.

Full press conference audio has been posted.

Travis Releford has practiced well. When Self worries about Travis, it's when he's not aggressive. He's scoring more and not worried about scoring. Statistically, he's a good three-point shooter. He's not going to be a high-volume three-point shooter, but he's a guy you have to guard. Self likes it when the shot leaves his hand. He's a shot-maker.

• Some players have to shoot well to play well. Tyshawn Taylor is not one of those players. Self thought Taylor did a lot of nice things against OU. He tried to do a little too much late, but he was aggressive, and he's defending better.

• Self likes what KU has done in the last two games because it's scored off its defense. The Jayhawks have been more active with their hands defensively. There's a skill to that. Self is not saying to reach, but getting more deflections and touches defensively. That was the difference in the OU game.

Sometimes guys play to please the coach and not to screw up. Releford has gotten to the point where he's comfortable enough that he knows what he's doing and has figured out that being aggressive is what the coaches want from him as well.

• Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie has had the itch to get back coaching the last couple years. Self thinks the time off probably was good for him, especially so he could spend some time with his family, as his mother had some health issues. He's going to be able to recruit guys down there.

Texas Tech had its chances against Baylor. It could have won the Oklahoma State game as well. It was a one-possession game late. The Red Raiders are getting better.

KU's coaches show their players film of opposing teams when they're running their stuff the best and playing well. Self thinks most coaches do that.

Self talked to Gillispie about getting back in the Big 12 last year and getting back to his home state and an area where he could recruit. Kentucky is a different deal. Gillispie will do a good job of taking good players and making them do great things.

TTU's Jordan Tolbert puts pressure on the defense. He's a prototypical undersized four-man that drive it. He's good. He's been the most dominant production freshman in the league.

Self thinks there are a lot of times when stereotypes are made about kids that are young who make mistakes that they wish they can have back. Athletics, in many instances, allow those kids to make a good life for themselves and be productive. Jamari Traylor is an example, not from a legal standpoint, but he's been able to use basketball to get an education. Sherron Collins is the same way. Self says it might be a bad analogy, but it's kind of like the movie, "Trading Places," where Eddie Murphy and Dan Akyroyd switch places. So much of decisions that are made are environment-based. Self rarely passes judgment until you give kids opportunities. If they screw those up, that's one thing. But everybody deserves a second chance.

• It doesn't do Self much good to watch last year's film of Texas Tech. This year has different players and different schemes.

Self believes Jeff Withey has been great the last two second halves. He thinks the biggest reason is that he's played with more fire and energy. When he plays with fire and energy, he plays athletically. KU needs him from the tip.

Travis is a great kid. There are a lot of things that depth does. It allows you to keep guys on the bench. It allows you to play through fouls. It also allows you to red-shirt guys. Three of KU's top six players spent an extra year here because of KU's past depth. The biggest reason why players get better is because they want to get better. If you have a mind-set of, "I want to do something with this," you're probably going to do it. Travis has bought it, both feet in, and he's benefiting from that. Releford is a defender, loose ball, energy guy that scores out of making simple plays. He's done a really good job of that. Travis knows who he is, and he plays to his strengths. Self says Releford needs to average double-figure scoring from here on out.

Red-shirting allows you to substitute age 18 for 23. That's the biggest thing that red-shirting does.

Self is picking Alabama in tonight's BCS Championship game. He would like LSU to win, because Les Miles has Oklahoma State ties, but he thinks psychologically, it's tough to beat a team twice in one year. Alabama missed some field goals in the first matchup. He doesn't see the Crimson Tide beating itself again in this game.

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Recap: The Jayhawks’ best two-point shooters this year are …

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

Following Kansas' strong two-point shooting in Saturday's 72-61 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday, I thought we'd start this blog by looking at KU's most accurate shooters from inside the arc this season.

As you might have already read in Tom Keegan's column, KU made 25 of 39 two-pointers against OU (64 percent) in a game it only shot four of 19 from three (21 percent).

So who do you think the Jayhawks' best two-point shooters have been this season? Come up with a couple guesses before looking at the full list, which is below this picture.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets fired up on the sideline during the first half against Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets fired up on the sideline during the first half against Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center. by Nick Krug

1. Travis Releford — 64.5 percent (40 of 62)
2. Elijah Johnson — 63.6 percent (28 of 44)
3. Kevin Young — 63.0 percent (17 of 27)
4. Jeff Withey — 57.1 percent (40 of 70)
5. Conner Teahan — 55.6 percent (10 of 18)
6. Thomas Robinson — 54.1 percent (100 of 185)
7. Justin Wesley — 52.2 percent (12 of 23)
8. Tyshawn Taylor — 44.0 percent (51 of 116)
9. Naadir Tharpe — 40.0 percent (4 of 10)
(NCAA average is 47.6 percent; source: KenPom.com)

I was surprised a bit that Releford tops this list, but he does get a lot of easy shots in transition and also is choosy with his field goal attempts.

Johnson is second for some of the same reasons: He gets quite a few lob dunk attempts and also doesn't force up a lot of guarded two-pointers.

Kansas starters Travis Releford, left, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson get a break to chat on the bench late in the game against Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Kansas starters Travis Releford, left, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson get a break to chat on the bench late in the game against Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center. by Nick Krug

The two-point percentage that stands out the most is Taylor's — especially considering he's shot better from two-point range in the past.

Tyshawn Taylor two-point percentages
2008-09 — 56.1 percent (96 of 171)
2009-10 — 47.6 percent (70 of 147)
2010-11 — 50.5 percent (97 of 192)
2011-12 — 44.0 percent (51 of 116)

Taylor obviously has taken a bigger role in this year's offense, as he's taking 23.5 percent of his team's shots while he's in, compared to 17.2 percent last year.

The numbers above also don't take into account that he's been great at getting to the free throw line, as his free throw rate (58.6) ranks 132nd nationally.

Still, Taylor had made 51.6 percent of his career twos coming into this season. With that percentage this year, he'd have nine more made twos, which would be 1.2 more points per game.

I've thought about it, but I can't come up with an explanation for why Taylor's two-point percentage would be down that much this season. Any ideas?

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Travis Releford's individual effort against OU should rank as KU's second best this year, trailing only Thomas Robinson's 30/20 game against North Dakota.

Kansas guard Travis Releford comes away with a steal from Oklahoma guard Cameron Clark during the first half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Kansas guard Travis Releford comes away with a steal from Oklahoma guard Cameron Clark during the first half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center. by Nick Krug

Releford posted 1.87 points per possession used while ending a healthy 22 percent of KU's possessions while he was in.

The junior also was super-efficient, making 9 of 13 field goals and 3 of 5 threes to give him an effective field goal percentage of 80.7 percent — highest on the team among players with more than one shot.

During Releford's 34 minutes on the floor, KU outscored OU by 17 (65-48). No other Jayhawk was better than plus-12 against the Sooners.

In his last three games, Releford has averaged 19.3 points while making 20 of 34 field goals (59 percent) and six of 13 threes (46 percent).

Room for Improvement

The Jayhawks put the Sooners on the free throw line too often.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson comes over the top of Oklahoma guard Sam Grooms during the second half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center. At left is KU forward Justin Wesley.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson comes over the top of Oklahoma guard Sam Grooms during the second half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center. At left is KU forward Justin Wesley. by Nick Krug

Oklahoma's free throw rate of 56.0 was its highest this year and its 28 free throws attempted were its third-most this season.

Though KU was foul prone early in the season, it actually had done a nice job lately of limiting opposing free throw attempts. In fact, in the Jayhawks' four games before Oklahoma, they had allowed 13, 10, eight and 16 free throws.

KU's defense made up for the deficiency by forcing OU's highest turnover percentage this year (26.6 percent) while also holding the Sooners to their second-worst shooting game (41.0 eFG%).

Tough-Luck Line

Conner Teahan had a rough game offensively in his 18 minutes.

Kansas guard Conner Teahan elevates for a bucket between several Oklahoma defenders during the first half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Kansas guard Conner Teahan elevates for a bucket between several Oklahoma defenders during the first half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center. by Nick Krug

The senior posted just 0.28 points per possession used while ending 20.8 percent of the possessions he was in.

Not only did Teahan make just one of five shots, he also was uncharacteristically careless with the ball. He posted three turnovers, which tied a career high. His only other game with three turnovers was against USC earlier this year.

Even including his 0-for-3 performance from three against OU, Teahan has still made 10 of 24 long-range shots in his last five games (42 percent).

If KU is in need of a three-pointer, he's still the Jayhawks' best option.

Bottom Line

KU's offense rebounded from a sluggish first half by getting lots of easy shots in the second half.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson ducks under Oklahoma forward Romero Osby for a bucket during the second half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson ducks under Oklahoma forward Romero Osby for a bucket during the second half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center. by Nick Krug

Two-thirds of the Jayhawks' second-half points (26 of 39) came from inside the paint. That offensive execution helped KU to 1.13 points per possession overall, which is above its season average of 1.09 PPP.

Meanwhile, KU forced steals on 21.9 percent of its defensive possessions — the second-best mark this season behind the Towson game.

The Jayhawks have become a swarming defensive team since failing to force a turnover in the second half of Dec. 19's 80-74 loss to Davidson.

Kansas forward Justin Wesley chases down a loose ball with Oklahoma guard Steven Pledger during the first half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Kansas forward Justin Wesley chases down a loose ball with Oklahoma guard Steven Pledger during the first half Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center. by Nick Krug

In KU's first 10 games (including Davidson), it forced turnovers on 21.6 percent of its possessions. Since then, KU has created giveaways on 88 of its 331 defensive possessions (26.6 percent).

The Jayhawks will have the chance to keep that trend going against Texas Tech on Wednesday, as the Red Raiders have the highest turnover percentage in the Big 12 (25 percent).

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Recap: It’s been a long time since KSU’s defensive rebounding was this bad

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

It's going to be hard to overstate just how important Kansas' rebounding dominance was in Wednesday night's 67-49 victory over Kansas State.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson wags his tongue with delight behind Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson during a Jayhawk run in the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson wags his tongue with delight behind Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson during a Jayhawk run in the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Surely you know by now that the Jayhawks outrebounded the Wildcats, 50-26, but the performance on the glass was even better when you compare it to recent history.

KU grabbed 57.6 percent of its misses on Wednesday night, which was the most ever by a Bill Self-coached KU team against a Big 12 opponent.

Looking at it from the other direction, it was Kansas State's worst defensive rebounding effort in nearly 10 years. The last time the Wildcats grabbed less than 42.4 percent of the available defensive rebounds was March 8, 2002 against Oklahoma.

Oklahoma's Jabahri Brown, left, and Daryan Selvy, center, battle
for a loose ball with Kansas State's Larry Reid. Oklahoma
outrebounded K-State 54-30 on Friday in the Big 12 quarterfinals
and rallied for a 63-52 victory at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

Oklahoma's Jabahri Brown, left, and Daryan Selvy, center, battle for a loose ball with Kansas State's Larry Reid. Oklahoma outrebounded K-State 54-30 on Friday in the Big 12 quarterfinals and rallied for a 63-52 victory at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. by AP Photo

(Just to give you some context, also on March 8, 2002, Jeff Boschee had 21 points, while Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich added 18 points apiece as KU defeated Colorado, 102-73, in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament. ... And I was in high school.)

Ku's Jeff Boschee (13) triggers over Stephane Pelle.

Ku's Jeff Boschee (13) triggers over Stephane Pelle.

KU also limited KSU's offensive rebounding, which is one of the Wildcats' greatest strengths. K-State grabbed just 27.9 percent of the available offensive rebounds, which was its worst mark of the season and second-worst percentage in the last two years.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Travis Releford was about as good as we've seen him at KU on both ends of the floor.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin greets KU's Travis Releford at the end of the Jayhawks 67-49 win against Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin greets KU's Travis Releford at the end of the Jayhawks 67-49 win against Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012. by Mike Yoder

The junior posted 1.31 points per possession used while ending a season-high 22.9 percent of the possessions he was in (meaning he was more involved in the offense this game than any other).

Releford also helped hold KSU's Rodney McGruder — who had made 16 of his last 18 shots and six of his last seven threes coming in — to 5-for-14 shooting (1-for-5 from three).

Releford also seamlessly moved into the post late after Thomas Robinson picked up his fourth foul. Playing as a 4, Releford muscled up to Jamar Samuels after chasing down McGruder most of the night.

The most interesting statistic for Releford lately has been his offensive rebounding.

Kansas guard Travis Releford and Kansas State's Jamar Samuels battle for a loose ball Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford and Kansas State's Jamar Samuels battle for a loose ball Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Mike Yoder

In KU's first 12 games this year, the Kansas City, Mo., native grabbed a combined 10 offensive rebounds.

In his last two games, Releford has combined for 11 offensive rebounds.

Whatever the reason for the surge, Self has to hope it continues. On Wednesday, Releford grabbed 24.2 percent of the available offensive rebounds (first on the team) and 15.5 percent of the available defensive rebounds (fourth on the team).

He's also quietly become the Jayhawks' third-leading rebounder, as his 4.3 per game put him only behind Robinson (12.3) and Jeff Withey (6.0).

Room for Improvement

KU's outstanding rebounding made up for a horrible night with turnovers in a low-possession game (64 possessions).

Tyshawn Taylor, (10) left, loses the handle on a ball against Kansas State in the first half Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Tyshawn Taylor, (10) left, loses the handle on a ball against Kansas State in the first half Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Mike Yoder

The Jayhawks gave it away on 31.2 percent of their possessions, which was their highest mark this year and 10th-highest mark in the Self era.

Tough-Luck Line

This goes to Tyshawn Taylor, whose stat line will look worse than his actual production.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor looks to make a move against Kansas State guard Martavious Irving during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor looks to make a move against Kansas State guard Martavious Irving during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The senior posted 0.75 points per possession used while ending a team-high 32.1 percent of KU's possessions.

Taylor's turnovers dragged down his numbers, as his eight giveaways were the second-most for him this season.

Still, it's hard to criticize too much, as Taylor's driving ability led to some offensive rebounds and also opened things up for KU.

This shouldn't be overlooked. KSU coach Frank Martin said after the game the main reason he switched to a zone defense was that the Wildcats didn't have anyone who could stay in front of Taylor.

That change ended up biting KSU, as the Jayhawks hit a couple of huge three-pointers (including one by Conner Teahan) against the zone that broke the game open.

Bottom Line

Kansas State's two biggest strengths offensively were getting to the free throw line and offensive rebounding, and KU neutralized both.

Kansas guard Conner Teahan and the Jayhawk bench go wild following a Jayhawk bucket during a run against Kansas State in the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Conner Teahan and the Jayhawk bench go wild following a Jayhawk bucket during a run against Kansas State in the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Along with the rebounding numbers above, KU also held K-State to a free throw rate (free throws divided by field goals) of 28.1, which was the lowest mark by the Wildcats this season.

With few offensive rebounds, limited free throws and a poor shooting performance (36 eFG%, second worst team mark this season), the Wildcats scuffled to 0.76 points per possession — their worst mark of the season and second-worst total in the Frank Martin era.

Mark this as another game won more by KU's defense than its offense.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 1/3/12

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.

Full press conference audio has been posted.

Self thinks Kansas State is probably more balanced without Jacob Pullen, but Self also saw Pullen put up 38 points against KU, and KSU was pretty good that night. KSU is more balanced this year, though. Self is glad that Pullen graduated for KU's sake, though.

There are certain stats that consider effort. Self wishes they kept a stat of what percentage of the time that you get 50-50 balls. That's what determines who wins and loses games. That's more important than screening and feeding the post and things like that. Self says Frank Martin's teams are always good at getting those loose balls and stealing extra possessions. Kansas State gets 42 percent of its misses back, which is an alarming rate. Sometimes KSU's best offense is a missed shot, which is a compliment to the Wildcats.

Some things that go into good rebounding is forcing rotations defensively. A lot of it is effort. A lot of it is guards getting into the lane and forcing help. A lot of times people think floaters are bad shots, because they might have a 20-percent chance of going in, but you also could have a 60-percent chance of getting the rebound. For KSU, it's also just a mind-set of how hard to go after the ball. KU and KSU actually mirror each other, though KU has been better at defensive rebounding than offensive rebounding (whereas KSU has been better at offensive rebounding than defensive rebounding).

Self isn't mad at Jeff Withey or the other guys. He's just a little perturbed at how KU rebounded. If Self lets things slide in non-conference games, the chances are, when you have to be a great rebounding team and be physical, you aren't going to be able to turn it on and turn it off. Withey is going to be important in this KSU game, but the other bench guys are as well. Those guys have responded well in practice. They're excited to play.

Thomas Robinson statistically has played as well as Self as hoped. Self still doesn't think he's impacted possessions on both ends as much as he could. To Self, the other day was a good sign because, the more patient he was, the better shots he got. He was a good screener the other day, which opened up shots for him as well. Self still thinks there's a step he can take to become an even better player.

The game is going to be physical, and Robinson should enjoy that. The whole team should enjoy that. Robinson has gotten frustrated at times when he doesn't get touches, but a lot of players get frustrated across the nation when that happens.

• The culture for KSU is you play as hard as you can every possession in all ways. That's not just on the offensive glass. They deny passes defensively; they're in stances defensively as well. There are a lot of things they do that are part of the culture they're trying to accomplish.

• The times KU has struggled against KSU, it's when the Wildcats' defenders push KU's offensive players out of what they want to do offensively. When teams pressure like that, it may open up driving angles as well. Guards have to be good in this game.

• Tyshawn Taylor has played really well since the Davidson game. He's done a good job of taking care of the basketball. Though the game wasn't in doubt, the North Dakota game was Taylor and Robinson's game. KU was so aggressive against KSU last year in the Fieldhouse. But KSU also took six charges. The Jayhawks need to be under control but very aggressive on Wednesday against KSU.

This game is good for the state when both teams are ranked. It's good for Wichita State to be good. It's good for Missouri to be good. It's good for the league to be good, as long as it's not at your expense. Self likes the fact that there's an interest in the games that are going on around here.

Tyshawn Taylor is a pretty scrutinized guy, and he brings a lot of that on himself, partly just by being a guard on teams here that are really good. He makes a lot of plays you can't coach, but then he makes plays where you wonder if he's ever been coached. But that's him. Self is glad to have him. Self thinks Taylor has been getting better. KU can't afford to have him play to not screw up. He has to be aggressive. He's going to turn it over some. Self thinks there are some times when fans can watch a player too much and perhaps be more critical because of that. But Self has really enjoyed coaching Taylor. He's a kid that cares an awful lot.

If Taylor is being aggressive, Self thinks his mistakes are very limited. When he's not aggressive and not making a play, he becomes careless. That's not uncommon. Guys usually focus harder on a contested three than they do on a wide-open layup. Taylor can make hard plays look easy and easy plays look hard. Taylor has done a nice job tightening his game up in the last few games.

If players are listening to what fans are saying, then they're pretty soft. That's par for the course. When you play at a place like this, people are going to talk. But when you play well, people are going to talk. Self will live with Taylor's mistakes as long as he focuses in on what the coach thinks is important. And Self thinks it's important for KU to get a shot every possession.

Self thinks 14-4 would have a great shot to win the league. KU has won it a few times at 13-3. A 14-4 record might not win it outright, but you'd have a great chance to at least share the league title.

• Self doesn't know if KSU guard Will Spradling is the glue to the team, but he seems to be a steady influence all the time. When things seem to get out of whack for them, he reels them back in. He's a really good player. Self is impressed by him.

Self follows "Hawks in the NBA" in the Lawrence Journal-World. Josh Selby is getting a lot of minutes. Markieff Morris is kicking tail and is in there at gamepoint for the Suns as well. Marcus getting moved down to the D-league isn't necessarily a bad thing, because he can go get minutes and get better. The Rockets have several hybrid-type forwards. Self thinks the guys, for the most part, are doing pretty well. Brady Morningstar is putting up points in the NBA D-League that he didn't put up at KU. It's an adjustment period for everyone moving up a league.

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(Stats free) Recap: Why Jeff Withey ended up in the Bill Self doghouse

We're going to break away from the normal "Recap" format just for this game, as I was interested in what landed Kansas center Jeff Withey in the doghouse during the Jayhawks' 84-58 victory over North Dakota.

Though Withey started, he played a season-low eight minutes.

"Jeff has really had a pretty good year so far," Self said after the game, "but that was ridiculous tonight."

Let's take a look. I pieced together all of the significant plays that Withey had during the North Dakota game to try to figure out why Self was ticked off.

Withey's bad day starts in the first highlight (click for cued-up highlight) on a missed free throw from Travis Releford.

A potential offensive rebound his Withey in the hands, but bounces away as he can't secure it.

Withey actually makes a nice play in the next highlight, jumping to knock away a pass for a steal.

The next highlight is another nice play from Withey, helping on defense to stop a driver before blocking his shot (though I don't think this block made it into the box score).

What follows, though, is two more plays that typically drive Self crazy.

Following a missed three from Conner Teahan, Withey has weakside position only to let a shorter (and much smaller) UND player go right over the top of him for the rebound.

To hurt his case even more, Withey ends up falling down, and the ball ends up going out of bounds off his butt.

After failing to put in a tip on the weakside on another Teahan missed three, Withey once again lets a UND player out-tough him for a rebound.

Following a North Dakota missed shot, Withey has perfect rebounding position, only to let the man on his back go over him to swat the ball back to a Bison player. If you watch the video, notice Self goes to his bench to sub out Withey immediately after that.

Notice also in the screenshot on the right how far Withey's mid-section is in front of his feet. This appears to show that Withey was unable to stand his ground and was pushed forward by the UND player behind him.

This leads to my favorite video, which is taken just after Withey is benched.

I'm an amateur lip-reader, but I was able to make out what Self says in the cued-up video below. Give it a click.

"You missed three rebounds!" By the way, later video shows that Withey is the closest player to Self on the bench.

And, from the images above, you now know exactly which three rebounds Self was talking about.

Withey gets one more chance in the highlights to be tough on the glass, but he doesn't take advantage.

He appears to be in decent position for an offensive rebound on this shot by Naadir Tharpe, but Withey can't control the ball and loses it out of bounds.

The final straws for Withey are a three-second call (which looks like a questionable call, as Withey appears to step out of the lane 1 1/2 seconds before getting whistled) ...

and an ill-advised pass right into a defender for a turnover.

Withey checked out of the game after that and didn't return. His final line: Two points, 1-for-1 shooting, two rebounds, two turnovers and one steal in eight minutes.

I think I went into Saturday with the wrong thoughts about Self's mind-set for the final non-conference game. I thought this would be the perfect game for him to use his bench players and not have the final result be in jeopardy.

Instead, Self went the other way. He used this game to send a message, as it was the last game he could bench a starting player and not be in jeopardy of losing the game.

"The thing that concerns me is how soft we are," Self said after the game, and this quote I think relates to Withey pretty directly. "Everybody sees it. You have balls hitting guys in the hands, and they don’t come away with it, and we are getting ready to play big-boy ball starting Wednesday (against Kansas State). I am really concerned with our big guys because other than Thomas (Robinson). I don’t think we have a big guy that can get a rebound in traffic against men. That would be my biggest concern right now."

This blog isn't meant to rip Withey. The highlights above actually show good defensive plays from him here and here and a good offensive play here that we didn't even mention above. And he did that in just eight minutes.

Withey perhaps also hasn't gotten as much credit for KU's success this year as he deserves. For example, basketballreference.com measures a stat called "win shares," which estimates of the number of wins contributed by a player due to his offense and defense.

Thomas Robinson is first for KU with 3.1 WS. Withey is second with 2.4 WS.

KU needs Withey, and Self surely knows that KU's best chance to win will put Withey on the court for extended minutes.

Then again, Self also values toughness in players, and Withey didn't appear to show too much of it above.

It will be interesting to watch Withey's minutes going forward. Even if KU is softer when he's in, the team is also better when he's in.

Withey still is an efficient shooter, an outstanding defender and one of the nation's best shot-blockers.

Will any of that matter to Self, though, if Withey doesn't play tough enough?

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Top 10 KUsports.com videos from 2011

The following are the top 10 KUsports.com videos of 2011, based on views.

10. Tyrel Reed senior speech (5,822 pageviews)

9. Josh Selby consoles Markieff Morris in locker room (6,069 pageviews)

8. Brady Morningstar senior speech (6,069 pageviews)

7. Mario Little senior speech (6,227 pageviews)

6. The Morris twins are in agreement on which NBA team they'd like to play for (6,406 pageviews)

5. Marcus Morris tells Richmond players to 'be ready,' says he tries to get in their head (6,555 pageviews)

4. Markieff Morris rates Tyrel Reed's first dunk (6,631 pageviews)

3. Legends of the Phog postgame presser (6,797 pageviews)

2. Dream On video (7,443 pageviews)

1. Marcus Morris: 'I let everybody down' (8,240 pageviews)

See the top 10 KUSports.com videos from 2010

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Top 10 KUsports.com stories from 2011

It’s time to take a look back at the year that was in Kansas University athletics.

The following are the top 10 most-clicked on stories for KUsports.com in 2011:

10. KU men's basketball earns No. 1 seed (29,293 pageviews)

Following a 32-2 regular season, the Kansas men's basketball team earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament's Southwest region. Most of the talk on Selection Sunday was about Boston U., a potential "Killer B" following recent KU losses to mid-majors Bucknell and Bradley in the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks took a 72-53 victory over Boston but were later tripped up by VCU in the Elite Eight.

9. Recruit DeAndre Daniels delays decision (30,118 pageviews)

In a recruitment that never seemed to end, Rivals.com's 10th-ranked player in the class of 2011 announced that he was pushing back his much-awaited announcement for another day. The 6-foot-8 Daniels — who had a final list of Kansas, Texas, Duke and Oregon at the time — eventually ended up committing to UConn more than two weeks later.

8. Thomas Robinson cited for misdemeanor (30,962 pageviews)

Lawrence police cited Kansas University basketball player Thomas Robinson to appear in municipal court on a misdemeanor battery charge in connection with an altercation outside The Cave, a nightclub inside The Oread hotel and condominiums in Lawrence.

7. Josh Selby declares for NBA Draft (33,763 pageviews)

Josh Selby ended up being coach Bill Self's second one-and-done player at Kansas — just not the way everyone expected. After being hampered by a foot injury most of his freshman year, Selby left KU shortly after the NCAA Tournament and headed to Las Vegas to train and also weigh his NBA options. After a week and a half there, he alerted Self over the phone that he was turning pro. Selby was drafted 49th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2011 NBA Draft.

6. Ben McLemore commits (34,585 pageviews)

Rivals.com's 17th-ranked player made his college plans official following the NeXt All-America Classic in Hoffman Estates, Ill., picking Kansas over Missouri. The St. Louis prep had to convince his mother, Sonya, before deciding upon KU. “I will always be a Mizzou fan,” Sonya said. “But this is something he wanted. I’m proud of him and happy for him.”

5. Perry Ellis commits to KU (39,628 pageviews)

http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/newell_post/2011/sep/21/live-from-wichita-perry-ellis-announceme/

Touted as perhaps the best Kansas high school recruit since Wayne Simien, Wichita Heights' Perry Ellis called together a Sept. 21 press conference in his high school gymnasium to announce his decision to attend Kansas University next year. The 6-foot-8 forward — ranked No. 22 by Rivals.com in the class of 2012 — chose KU over Kansas State, Wichita State and Kentucky. "I knew for so long. I've been there so many times. I felt so comfortable there," Ellis said. "It made me realize that was the school for me. All the schools were so great, but I was so comfortable there."

4. Turner Gill fired (41,200 pageviews)

After just two seasons at Kansas University, football coach Turner Gill was fired by athletic director Sheahon Zenger during a 4 p.m. meeting on Nov. 27. Gill went 5-19 during his two seasons in Lawrence; ten of his 19 losses were by 30 points or more. The former Nebraska quarterback later was hired as Liberty's football coach on Dec. 15.

3. Tyshawn Taylor suspended (46,622 pageviews)

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor — who already had a history of off-the-court incidents — was suspended indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules on Feb. 21. KUsports.com users posted 326 comments on the breaking news story. Taylor ended up missing two games before returning to KU's lineup on March 2 against Texas A&M.

2. Pac-12 not expanding; Big 12 lives (81,459 pageviews)

http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/tale-tait/2011/sep/20/realignment-today-836-am-ut-decision-to-/

After months of speculation, the Pac-12's announcement that it would not expand past 12 teams was official word that the Big 12 — in some form — would be saved as a conference. Matt Tait's realignment blogs were some of the most-clicked-on items to ever appear on KUSports.com. Fifteen of his blogs had at least 25,000 pageviews, while five of those surpassed 40,000 pageviews and three had more than 50,000 pageviews.

1. Charlie Weis hired as KU football coach (88,780 pageviews)

http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/tale-tait/2011/dec/8/coaching-search-2011-day-11-137-am-what-/

Following an air-tight search by athletic director Sheahon Zenger, KU announced on Dec. 8 that Florida offensive coordinator (and former New England Patriots offensive coordinator) Charlie Weis would be its next football coach. Much like Big 12 realignment, the coaching search brought back a huge following of people each day to KUSports.com. Tait's coaching search blog had 10 separate entries that had more than 25,000 pageviews, with three days' numbers topping 40,000 pageviews.

The rest of the top 20:

11. Recruit Landen Lucas picks KU (28,213 pageviews); 12. Recruit Andrew White picks KU (28,148 pageviews); 13. Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson to return to KU (28,014 pageviews); 14. Royce Woolridge to transfer from KU (27,602 pageviews); 15. Ben McLemore, Jamari Traylor ruled ineligible for 2011-12 season (26,468 pageviews); 16. DeAndre Daniels, Jamari Traylor, Trevor Lacey to pick schools Wednesday (25,583 pageviews); 17. Morris twins to enter NBA Draft (24,290 pageviews); 18. Recruit Jamari Traylor picks KU (24,276 pageviews); 19. Recruit Braeden Anderson commits to KU (23,863 pageviews); 20. Quarterback Jake Heaps announces transfer to KU (23,705 pageviews).

See the top 10 KUsports.com stories from 2010

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Recap: Has this year’s team found its identity?

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

Holding a team to 34 points perhaps isn't as rare this season as it has been in years past.

For example, Wisconsin's basketball team has held an opponent under 34 four times in 14 games.

Still, KU's 89-34 victory over Howard is a little more impressive when we take another factor into consideration: possessions.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson hovers over Howard guard Prince Okoroh during the first half Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson hovers over Howard guard Prince Okoroh during the first half Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Because Thursday night's game had a relatively high number of possessions (68), limiting a team to just 34 points becomes much more difficult.

The Jayhawks ended up holding the Bison to just 0.5 points per possession. Amazingly, that's the third-lowest PPP total from any Div. I team in a game this season. Only Arkansas State (against Louisville) and Northern Illinois (against Purdue) had lower PPP totals.

Lots of credit for this number should go to KU's bench players, who kept up the intensity when receiving extended minutes in the second half.

Normally, a strong PPP number can be ruined when backups and bench players check into the game late, but that didn't happen Thursday. Howard scored just 14 points in the game's final 13 1/2 minutes ... and that included nearly 10 minutes of having all KU reserves on the floor.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

In limited minutes, Tyshawn Taylor posted one of his best statistical games of the season.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor pulls up for a three pointer from the corner over Howard forward Mike Phillips during the second half on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor pulls up for a three pointer from the corner over Howard forward Mike Phillips during the second half on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The senior guard posted 1.60 points per possession used (a season high) while still ending 21.3 percent of KU's possessions.

Taylor contributed 35.3 percent of his team's available assists and continued his hot shooting from the outside. He made 3 of 4 three-pointers and currently sits at 53.1 percent from three-point range this season (17 of 32).

He also had just one turnover, which puts him at just three turnovers in his last 55 minutes played.

Honorable mention here goes to Jeff Withey, whose defensive performance shouldn't go overlooked.

Kansas center Jeff Withey stuffs a shot by Howard forward Mike Phillips during the first half Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey stuffs a shot by Howard forward Mike Phillips during the first half Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The 7-footer blocked one-third of Howard's two-point attempts while he was in the game. That's even more amazing when you stop to think about it.

The junior also had to have had some effect on the Bison's psyche offensively. During Withey's 20 minutes on the floor, Howard scored a total of seven points. Seven.

While Withey was in, KU outscored Howard, 47-7. Pretty crazy plus-minus numbers for the big guy.

Room for Improvement

KU's two biggest blowouts have been two of its worst defensive rebounding games.

Kansas forward Kevin Young fights for a rebound with Howard guard Prince Okoroh during the first half on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Kevin Young fights for a rebound with Howard guard Prince Okoroh during the first half on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Howard grabbed 35.6 percent of the available offensive rebounds Thursday, which was the third-highest number for a KU opponent this year behind Towson (42.9 percent) and Ohio State (35.9 percent).

Yes, some of that has to do with KU's bench players being in late. Still, Howard had an offensive rebound percentage of 31.8 percent in the first half, which is a bit higher than would be expected.

Other than that, it's hard to gripe about much regarding KU's performance.

Tough-Luck Line

Hard to pick one when KU played so well, but with a lack of options, we'll go with Naadir Tharpe here.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe shoots during warmups prior to tipoff against Towson on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe shoots during warmups prior to tipoff against Towson on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The freshman guard posted 1.02 points per possession used (the lowest among KU's scholarship players) while ending 17.3 percent of the possessions he was in.

Tharpe did do a good job of distributing, notching 38.3 percent of the available assists while he was in the game.

Obviously, the biggest issue was his turnovers. He posted three in 17 minutes, including an awful one during a two-on-one break in the first half that drew a "What are you doing?" from KU coach Bill Self.

Because Tharpe doesn't shoot a lot, KU can't afford to have him turning the ball over at such a high rate — especially when he's still a bit of a liability defensively.

Bottom Line

Even against a poor opponent, KU put together an impressive defensive effort in a high-possession game.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor, right, and Thomas Robinson pressure Howard guard Simuel Frazier during the first half on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor, right, and Thomas Robinson pressure Howard guard Simuel Frazier during the first half on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Not only did he Jayhawks hold the Bison to 0.50 points per possession, they also limited them to an effective field-goal percentage of 25.0 percent. That tied for the seventh-lowest mark by a Div. I team this season.

KU's defense also forced turnovers on 35.3 percent of Howard's possessions, which was the highest number in the last two seasons.

With the strong defensive effort, KU has moved up to third in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency ratings, behind only Wisconsin and Ohio State.

If the Jayhawks didn't know it before, they should know it now: This should be a team that "hangs its hat" — as Self would say — on locking down other teams defensively.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 12/28/11

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.

Full press conference audio has been posted.

Regarding the red mark over Self's left eye: The coach had pre-cancer spots, and the doctor said that they needed to get rid of them. He tried to get time it so he could get them removed during a down period. Wednesday was his last day of medicine. He's been taking it for three weeks. He'll be back to normal in a couple days, the doctors said.

Self practice squad is decent — pretty good. Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor have given KU some energy and athleticism since being allowed to join the practice squad at semester. Self wishes KU could play them now, because they'd help this year's team. Practices have been better with them. It's much more competitive out there.

Out of Ben and Jamari, one has a 3.3 grade-point average and another has a 3.2. Both did great in that aspect. Self was proud of them. The NCAA put pretty strict stipulations on them, and they both blew those away.

Self likes his guys' attitude. He thinks the team is pretty good when it plays with energy and passion. KU played like duds against Davidson. Self thinks energy is correctable.

Self thinks all his guys in some respect are tough. But KU wasn't tough against Davidson. A lot of teams don't appear mentally tough until they need to be in a game. KU just didn't close against Davidson. The team didn't get stops when it needed stops or execute on offense when it really needed to. People think that Thomas Robinson is tough, but there are times when he isn't. Same for Tyshawn Taylor. Same for Elijah Johnson and a lot of the guys. Toughness is when you miss four shots in a row and you want the fifth one. Statistically, KU has actually done well in toughness stats.

Self likes his guys, but he can't coach them and let things he feels go unsaid. Self has to say it. On Monday, the team had a meeting after practice. The thing that Self told them on Monday is that he's had a chance to self-evaluate, and KU isn't that far off. But if KU doesn't bring it on any night, it gets average quickly. But if KU brings it, it can play with anybody. He told players they can't afford to not have possessions without energy and emotion. Self wants KU to play with more energy and passion.

KU's bench isn't where Self would like it to be. Not yet, at least. KU's schedule is part of the reason for that. The Jayhawks haven't had a lot of time to get the minutes to get some bench guys confidence. Self still knows that isn't a total excuse. Guys have a chance to impress the coaches every day in practice.

The success that Baylor and Missouri has had has been eye-opening to Self. The team that has been the most pleasant surprise in the league has been Kansas State, with Missouri second.

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Recap: KU’s numbers this year strikingly similar to another recent season

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

While surfing KenPom.com (doesn't everyone do that in their free time?), I went back and tried to look to see if this year's team, statistically, was starting to shape up like any other in Kansas coach Bill Self's tenure.

And I was shocked by just how much this team — so far — has resembled Self's 2008-09 KU squad.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins puts up a jumper over North Dakota State guard Mike Nelson during the first half Friday, March 20, 2009 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins puts up a jumper over North Dakota State guard Mike Nelson during the first half Friday, March 20, 2009 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. by Nick Krug

It starts with the most fundamental stats for Pomeroy: his adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies (AOE and ADE).

Here's how KU ranked nationally in each of the statistics in 2008-09:

2008-09 AOE: 113.8 (26th)
2008-09 ADE: 88.0 (7th)

And here's where KU is ranked in both of those categories as of Dec. 23 for this season:

2011-12 AOE: 111.2 (26th)
2011-12 ADE: 86.4 (6th)

Kind of spooky, huh?

Those aren't the only stats that look remarkably similar for the two teams. Notice how close many of the offensive stats are this year compared to the 2008-09 team (national ranks are in parentheses):

So here's a question: If this team performs to the same level offensively as the 2008-09 team did, would KU fans be happy or disappointed?

Something to think about as we look further into KU's 63-47 victory over USC on Thursday.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Elijah Johnson edges out Jeff Withey for M.O.J. against USC.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson moves the ball up the court between USC players Maurice Jones (10) and Alexis Moore (3) after a steal during the first half Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson moves the ball up the court between USC players Maurice Jones (10) and Alexis Moore (3) after a steal during the first half Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif. by Nick Krug

The junior guard posted 1.08 points per possession used while ending a healthy 19.8 percent of KU's possessions while he was in. He also posted the second-highest effective field-goal percentage on the team (63.6 percent).

Johnson's defense is what sealed his selection here, though. The Las Vegas native collected steals on 7.9 percent of his defensive possessions, which is the third-best mark for a KU guard this season (not counting walk-ons).

Before Thursday's game, Johnson had recorded just one steal in his previous four games.

The 6-foot-4 Johnson showed great anticipation against USC to come away with steals, which also led to some easy points in transition.

Room for Improvement

KU's offense struggled against USC's tough defense, especially on the interior.

Kansas guard Travis Releford is fouled on the shot as he splits USC defenders Byron Wesley, left, and Aaron Fuller during the first half on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Galen Center.

Kansas guard Travis Releford is fouled on the shot as he splits USC defenders Byron Wesley, left, and Aaron Fuller during the first half on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Galen Center. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks posted just 0.97 points per possession, their third-lowest total this season.

Part of the problem was turnovers. KU gave it away on 24.6 percent of its possessions, which is even above the team's season average of 21.9 percent.

KU also struggled with two-pointers and free throws. The Jayhawks made just 42.8 percent of their twos, which was nearly 10 percentage points below their season average (52.1 percent).

KU also had its worst free throw shooting night of the year (12-for-21, 57.1 percent). After ranking in the top 50 nationally in free throw percentage through eight games, the Jayhawks have made just 30 of 52 free throws (57.7 percent) in their last two games to drop out of the top 100.

Tough-Luck Line

It was a rough night for Thomas Robinson.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson fights inside for a shot against USC defenders Byron Wesley (25) and James Blasczyk (31) during the second half on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Galen Center.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson fights inside for a shot against USC defenders Byron Wesley (25) and James Blasczyk (31) during the second half on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Galen Center. by Nick Krug

The 6-foot-10 forward posted just 0.63 points per possession used while leading the team by consuming 26.6 percent of the possessions he was in.

Though Robinson did some nice things defensively — including on the defensive glass (36.3 percent defensive rebounding percentage) and with steals (4.1 percent steal percentage) — he still was one of the biggest reasons KU's offense struggled against USC.

The junior's five turnovers matched a season high, as he gave it away on 38.4 percent of the possessions he used. His 41.6 eFG% was third-worst on the team, and when he ended a KU possession, the Jayhawks scored at least one point just 31 percent of the time.

With poor offensive games against Davidson and USC, Robinson's offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) has dropped from 111.5 down to 104.7, according to StatSheet.com.

USC coach Kevin O'Neill said afterwards that the team's goal against Robinson defensively was to "make him play in a crowd."

On those nights — and there are sure to be more of them — Robinson will need to do a better job of avoiding turnovers and creating open shots for his teammates.

Bottom Line

KU won because of an impressive defensive performance, holding USC to 0.72 points per possession — the lowest total for a KU opponent this season. During the 31-possession first half, KU held USC to 0.42 PPP.

The Jayhawks' defense was especially strong on the perimeter. USC's three starting guards combined to make just 5 of 22 shots (22.7 percent) with 10 assists and 10 turnovers.

The Kansas defense hovers around USC guard Maurice Jones on a shot during the second half on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Galen Center.

The Kansas defense hovers around USC guard Maurice Jones on a shot during the second half on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Galen Center.

So far, KU's profile is stacking up much like Self's team in 2008-09.

The ninth-year coach has his squad playing at an elite defensive level with the offense lagging a bit behind with fewer weapons than in years past.

That 2008-09 team finished 27-8 with a Big 12 regular-season championship and a Sweet 16 appearance.

Through 11 games, that squad was 8-3, with a loss to a perennial power, a loss in the championship game of a early-season tournament and a loss to a mid-major underdog at Sprint Center.

Nope, that doesn't sound familiar at all.

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A UFO in Cowley County?

Was that really a UFO being driven down U.S. 77 in Cowley County?

That’s what residents thought when they saw a 32-foot thing on the back of a flatbed truck Monday.

“It was this funny sphere that went through on this big trailer, and my first thought was that looks like a UFO,” resident Kammi Root told NBC affiliate KSN.

The strange sight was captured on video, and has set the Internet abuzz with claims that Kansas might have a new type of undocumented alien.

Local officials were told it was an aircraft, but “they asked us not to say a whole lot about it,” said Sheriff Don Read. "They" being the transportation company.

It appears, however, that the craft is not some celestial voyager, but a drone – the X-47B built by Northrop Grumman – being shipped from California to a naval air station in Maryland.

So why was it being driven through Cowley County, which is southeast of Wichita?

"It's difficult to fly an unmanned drone through commercial airspace," a Northrop Grumman spokesman told the website Life’s Little Mysteries.

“Piloted aircraft are one thing, but long trips for large aircraft without a human pilot on board are frowned upon for both aviation security reasons and practical concerns,” wrote LLM’s Benjamin Radford.

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Recap: KU’s second-half defense made comeback nearly impossible against Davidson

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

For one half in Monday's 80-74 loss to Davidson, Kansas was on pace for its best defensive turnover percentage game since the opener against Towson.

The Wildcats turned it over 12 times before halftime, with the Jayhawks picking up nine steals — which was already the third-most in any game for KU this season.

Kansas guard Travis Releford scrambles for a loose ball in the first half against Davidson on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Travis Releford scrambles for a loose ball in the first half against Davidson on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Kevin Anderson

The biggest reason for Davidson's win was a total reversal of this statistic in the second half.

The Wildcats, somehow, managed to play the entire second half without turning it over once — any extremely rare feat.

Here's the breakdown by half:

First half — 39 possessions, 12 turnovers, 30.8 percent turnover percentage.
Second half — 35 possessions, 0 turnovers, 0 percent turnover percentage.

KU did seem like it was in chase mode defensively after halftime against Davidson's motion offense, but it's still hard to believe the Jayhawks were unable to force one turnover in 35 possessions.

How does no turning the ball over once affect a team's offense? Here's a look at Davidson's by half numbers:

First half — 33 points, 39 possessions= 0.85 points per possession
Second half — 47 points, 35 possessions= 1.34* points per possession

* — To put 1.34 PPP in perspective, the NCAA leader last year in PPP was Ohio State at 1.20 PPP.

Interestingly, Davidson didn't shoot it particularly well from the floor in the second half. The Wildcats made 12 of 31 field goals (39 percent) and 5 of 17 threes (29 percent).

The thing is, you don't have to shoot it particularly well if you don't turn the ball over once (though it helps to be a great free throw shooting team and make 18 of 21 free throws).

KU's offense had virtually no chance at catching up in the second half because of Davidson's offensive efficiency.

After being disruptive defensively in the first half, the Jayhawks did nothing to bother the Wildcats' offense after halftime.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

A poor outside shooting night from KU might have hidden the fact that Elijah Johnson had a nice night offensively.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson dunks on Davidson in the first half Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson dunks on Davidson in the first half Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Kevin Anderson

The junior guard posted 1.31 points per possession used while ending 17.4 percent of KU's possessions while he was in.

Johnson made 3 of 10 three-pointers, but also knocked in all three of his two-pointers with six assists and just one turnover in 34 minutes. His effective field goal percentage of 57.6 percent was his third-best mark of the season and also KU's third-best Monday night.

On a tough night offensively for KU, Johnson was the only KU starter who was able to remain efficient with a decent usage percentage and a high number of minutes.

Room for Improvement

As mentioned above, it wasn't KU's turnovers on offense, but instead, the lack of turnovers the Jayhawks created defensively.

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks with the team during a timeout in the second half Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks with the team during a timeout in the second half Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Kevin Anderson

Davidson ended up turning it over on just 16.2 percent of its possessions, which was the second-lowest mark against KU this season.

KU also had its worst shooting game from the free throw line. The Jayhawks made just 18 of 31 shots there for 58 percent; their worst free throw shooting game before Monday was a 64-percent outing against Georgetown.

Tough-Luck Line

Kudos to Tyshawn Taylor for playing 33 minutes just eight days after knee surgery, but if we're just looking at stats, he gets this game's "Tough-Luck Line."

Kansas center Jeff Withey helps up teammate Tyshawn Taylor after Taylor was fouled in second half against Davidson on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas center Jeff Withey helps up teammate Tyshawn Taylor after Taylor was fouled in second half against Davidson on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Kevin Anderson

The senior guard posted just 0.88 points per possession used while ending a whopping 31.1 percent of KU's possessions while he was in.

Though Taylor notched 42.1 percent of KU's available assists while he was in, he also spent 26.3 percent of his used possessions on turnovers. He also made just 4 of 11 shots and was 1-for-5 from the three-point line.

Taylor has been in quite the offensive funk as of late, as can be seen in the graph at the link below.

After notching better than 1.26 points per possession used in his first three games against Towson, Kentucky and Georgetown, Taylor has been under 0.93 points per possession used in four of his last six games*.

* — KU's team PPP this year is 1.08 to give you a baseline.

Bottom Line

KU had little chance to come back in the second half because of an inability to force turnovers.

Still, part of the reason the Jayhawks were in the hole to begin with was because of a horrible shooting night.

Thomas Robinson pulls up for a jumper against Davidson in the second half Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Thomas Robinson pulls up for a jumper against Davidson in the second half Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Kevin Anderson

KU's effective field goal percentage of 45.2 percent was its third-lowest this year. I bet you can guess the other two games that were lower: Kentucky (37.3 percent, loss) and Duke (44.9 percent, loss).

It's going to be very difficult to win any game shooting like that. Last year, KU went 2-2 in games where it shot worse than a 45.2 eFG%. One of the wins (at Michigan) was in overtime, while the other (vs. Oklahoma State in Sprint Center) was by a single point.

KU finished at 1.0 PPP, its worst mark since the Duke loss.

Meanwhile, Davidson's 1.08 PPP were the most against the Jayhawks this season.

Credit that number to Davidson's incredible turnover turnaround in the second half.

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Video and quotes from Turner Gill’s introduction at Liberty University

Former Kansas coach Turner Gill was introduced as the Liberty Flames' eighth head coach on Thursday, and video of the press conference is below, starting with Gill's speech at the 5:15 mark. Gill was welcomed with a standing ovation.

I've pulled out a few interesting quotes from him, along with the synced-up video clips below in case you want to watch Gill speak yourself.

"It will be our mission to this program to build championships through Christ by preparing young men academically, athletically and spiritually. It is a great time to be a Liberty Flame*, and it is time to leap forward to have an unparalleled future."

* — Just as an aside, Gill's first words at his introductory press conference at KU were, "It's a great day to be a Jayhawk." Just thought that was interesting.

"There will be some people from the staff there at the University of Kansas. So I want to take my time just a little bit more to get that all right, because that's going to be very, very important."

"I want guys to be able to be physical. I want them to be mentally tough, and we'll put them through that process where they'll have a great situation when they get in the ballgame, that it's going to be actually less stressful on them in a game than it is in practice."

At the 10:52 mark, Gill goes back to phrases that KU fans should be accustomed to, saying Liberty will run a "multiple" offense while also striving to run the ball at least 55 percent of the time. He also says Liberty will primarily run a 4-3 defense — a change from KU's base 3-4 last season.

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Recap: Good shots the key to Jayhawks’ win over Ohio State

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

Kansas turned it over on more than a fourth of its possessions but still had a great day offensively against No. 2 Ohio State in a 78-67 victory on Saturday.

Kansas forward Justin Wesley celebrates a dunk against Ohio State during the first half Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Justin Wesley celebrates a dunk against Ohio State during the first half Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks scored 1.11 points per possession — the highest PPP against Ohio State's defense in the Buckeyes' last 15 games.

So how did KU do it?

The simple answer is that the Jayhawks shot the ball well, though like most things, the answer is more complex if you want it to be.

Kansas guards Tyshawn Taylor (10) and Travis Releford (24) high five as the Jayhawks wrap up the game against Ohio State with seconds remaining in regulation.

Kansas guards Tyshawn Taylor (10) and Travis Releford (24) high five as the Jayhawks wrap up the game against Ohio State with seconds remaining in regulation. by Nick Krug

KU had its best shooting game of the season, posting an effective field goal percentage of 67.7 percent — the fifth-best mark in its last two seasons.

The last time a team shot better than 67.7 eFG% against Ohio State was three seasons ago: Dec. 31, 2008, to be exact.

While the Jayhawks did pick a good game to make a lot of shots, they also deserve credit for getting great shots against the Buckeyes.

That becomes most apparent when you look at the shot charts from the game.

Though it might be unspoken, the goal for most teams should be either to get close twos or open threes.

From the shot charts above, it looks like KU only took five two-pointers from outside the lane — a low number considering KU had 48 field-goal attempts in all.

Yes, KU had a good shooting percentage, but the Jayhawks also helped themselves quite a bit by getting the ball in places where they had a great chance to be efficient offensively.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Offensively, Kevin Young was the Jayhawks' best and most consistent player.

The junior posted 1.44 points per possession used while ending 16.6 percent of KU's possessions while he was in.

Young also showed the ability to hit from the outside, making 2 of 3 three-pointers to go with his 6-for-8 shooting overall.

His effective field-goal percentage of 87.5 percent was second on the team (among players with more than one shot), while he also grabbed 7.5 percent of the available offensive rebounds and 12.8 percent of the available defensive rebounds while he was in.

Kansas forward Kevin Young flashes a smile after taking a charge against an Ohio State player during the first half Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Kevin Young flashes a smile after taking a charge against an Ohio State player during the first half Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KU coach Bill Self also was pleased after the game with Young's effort defensively against 6-foot-7 Deshaun Thomas.

“Kevin probably had as much to do with us winning the game as anything,” Self said. “He scored points for us, but he did a great job on Thomas the second half. Great job.”

Once Young checked in for the final time with 16:01 left, Thomas made just 1 of 4 shots the rest of the way.

Young's extended playing time did appear to come at a cost. The Jayhawks' second-half defensive rebounding seemed to suffer with Jeff Withey not playing as much (eight second-half minutes), as the Buckeyes had nine second-half offensive rebounds after grabbing five in the first half.

Kansas center Jeff Withey knocks away a pass intended for Ohio State guard Aaron Craft during the first half Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey knocks away a pass intended for Ohio State guard Aaron Craft during the first half Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks also saw a dramatic change in their two-point defense in the second half.

Ohio State 2-point shooting
First half — 4-for-16 (25 percent)
Second half — 15-for-29 (51.7 percent)

There's no way to pin any of this on one player, and Young certainly should be not be faulted for defense that was lauded by Self.

It's important to point out, though, that taking Withey out of the game has the potential to affect KU in other areas that might be not immediately apparent.

Room for Improvement

Defensive rebounding and turnovers were about the only areas that could be nitpicked after the Jayhawks' 11-point victory.

Travis Releford (24) lands on the floor during a loose ball scramble during the first-half of the Jayhawks game against #2 nationally ranked Ohio State University at Allen Field House, Dec. 10, 2011. ..

Travis Releford (24) lands on the floor during a loose ball scramble during the first-half of the Jayhawks game against #2 nationally ranked Ohio State University at Allen Field House, Dec. 10, 2011. .. by Mike Yoder

Ohio State came away with 35.9 percent of the available offensive rebounds against KU — the second-most by a KU opponent this season.

Also, KU turned it over 25.7 percent of the time against OSU, and while that is high, it's still not as high as the Buckeyes' opponents are averaging this season (27.5 percent).

Tyshawn Taylor, Robinson and Conner Teahan all led KU in turnover rate, with each player giving it away on 33 percent of their used possessions.

Tough-Luck Line

Teahan takes the "Tough-Luck Line" after a poor shooting game.

The Jayhawks huddle around head coach Bill Self late in the game against  Long Beach State on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks huddle around head coach Bill Self late in the game against Long Beach State on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The senior posted a team-low 0.78 points per possession while ending 19 percent of the possessions he was in there.

The sharpshooter made just 1 of 5 three-pointers while struggling with a tough defensive assignment.

Though Teahan's defense has improved this year, he wasn't quick enough to stay with future pro William Buford, who routinely went by him on the dribble. In fact, twice after Buford scored against Teahan, Self immediately went to his bench to sub Travis Releford back in.

The game also ended a hot-shooting streak for Teahan at Allen Fieldhouse. Coming into the game, the Leawood native had made 11 of 20 three-pointers taken in the building this season (55 percent).

Bottom Line

Shooting percentages were the biggest difference in KU's 11-point victory over OSU.

KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsen react to a basket by Thomas Robinson who also drew a foul on the play, during the second-half of the Jayhawks 78-67 win over #2 nationally ranked Ohio State University at Allen Fieldhouse, Dec. 10, 2011. ..

KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsen react to a basket by Thomas Robinson who also drew a foul on the play, during the second-half of the Jayhawks 78-67 win over #2 nationally ranked Ohio State University at Allen Fieldhouse, Dec. 10, 2011. .. by Mike Yoder

Not only did the Jayhawks have their best shooting day of the year, they also held OSU to 42.7 eFG% shooting (second-worst this season). The Buckeyes' 0.96 points per possessions also were a season low.

Though KU's high turnover number isn't a good sign, those miscues can be more easily forgiven when the Jayhawks run their offense as effectively and efficiently as they did on Saturday.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 12/8/11

Before we get to the Cliff's Notes, here is a quick Cliff's Notes version on the status of Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger (back spasms) for Saturday's game against Kansas from Ohio State coach Thad Matta.

It will probably be Saturday when a decision will come on whether Sullinger will play. OSU is taking it day by day and trying to get a gauge for how Sullinger feels. Sullinger's doing a little more every day with back spasms. Saturday is not the most important thing in Matta's mind for Sullinger. OSU definitely wants him out there. Matta thinks he's the best player in college basketball, but he wants to make sure the team does what's right by him as well.

Now, here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.

Full press conference audio has been posted.

Self is looking forward to seeing KU playing Ohio State more than individual matchups. On paper, you could say Sullinger-Robinson and Craft-Taylor would be great matchups. With Sullinger and Robinson, you have two of the premier players in America going at each other.

KU won't prepare any differently with Sullinger's injury status. Self hopes Sullinger does play. He hopes both teams are healthy and everybody plays. If Self was a betting man, he'd say Thad's not a very good poker player. Self is guessing Sullinger will play on Saturday.

Self has seen Sullinger play for a long time. He was one of the most sought-after players in recruiting. It seems to Self, Sullinger is a better person than he is player. If you look at stats, Sullinger is only taking about 10 shots per game. He's very unselfish. He's very impressive to Self. Sullinger also has changed his body. He can play inside and outside now.

Unless something unforeseen happens, Tyshawn Taylor will start on Saturday.

KU needs to try to clean up turnovers regardless of opponent. Self is as impressed with Ohio State's defense as he is anything else. Craft is a good defender. A lot of KU's turnovers aren't opponent-related; they are KU-related. Kentucky and Long Beach State's best offense was KU's turnovers.

It won't be one guy guarding Sullinger. KU has to help from the right spots. Self doesn't know how KU will match up with OSU yet defensively, as far as individual matchups go.

KU is pretty consistent with its sloppy passing, in practice and in games. Self thinks a majority of KU's sloppiness comes at the end of games. When KU has gotten tired, it has gotten careless.

The reason KU was up 19 against Long Beach State was because it made shots. The reason LBSU came back was because it made shots as well. The first half, KU had 12 assists and six turnovers. The second half, it was four assists and 16 turnovers. Self doesn't think that has to do with killer instinct — that has to do with poor play.

OSU's guards have 90 assists and 34 turnovers this year. KU is not close to that. Self looks at that stat all the time. If you're going to have a goal offensively, it would be for KU to have one or more shots every possession. KU's carelessness is not allowing the team to do that.

KU has a chance to make a statement for this year's team against Ohio State. KU has a chance to do something that would be really good for its confidence. Self thought KU had the national stage in Maui and had the national stage in Madison Square Garden. But this will be the biggest stage KU has had a chance to be a part of this year.

OSU guard William Buford is a big-time challenge. Self recruited him a little bit. He went to his high school and watch him play. If Self isn't mistaken, Buford could end as OSU's leading all-time scorer.

Self thinks Conner Teahan's defense is getting better. He moved his feet better against LBSU.

Self didn't think Elijah Johnson played very well against LBSU. Self told him on the bench, "We need you in the game. With your fourth foul, how could you do that?" The fouls overshadowed some of the good things he did. Johnson was the point guard when KU took its big lead. But when KU needed him to be the quarterback at the end, he wasn't available.

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Recap: Looking at which KU players are having the toughest time with turnovers

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

Once again, Kansas' inability to keep from turning the ball over was one of the biggest stories following the Jayhawks' 88-80 victory over Long Beach State on Tuesday.

And while Tyshawn Taylor takes criticism for many of KU's turnover problems, a look at the numbers shows that other KU players are having their own issues with carelessness.

Turnover rate is a better number to use than raw turnovers because it gives us more context. This number divides a player's turnovers by the possessions he ends.

Thus, a player like Taylor — who is a major part of KU's offense — can be more fairly compared to a guy like Travis Releford — who doesn't end as many possessions and, thus, shouldn't turn it over as often.

So far, here are KU's leaders in turnover rate for this season, according to Statsheet.com.

Turnover Rate
1. Travis Releford (28.5 percent)
2. Naadir Tharpe (27.7 percent)
3. Tyshawn Taylor (26.2 percent)
4. Elijah Johnson (24.6 percent)
5. Jeff Withey (23.3 percent)

For those wondering why Tharpe didn't get in on Tuesday, this might be part of the answer. So far, he hasn't been a reliable ball-handler, and add to it that he's not a great defender yet and has made just 3 of 16 shots this year (18.8 percent), and you can see why he might not be in Self's trust circle as of yet.

Just for comparison's sake, here were KU's leaders in turnover rate last year:

2010-11 Turnover Rate
1. Tyshawn Taylor (26.8 percent)
2. Elijah Johnson (25.6 percent)
3. Royce Woolridge (25.0 percent)
4. Josh Selby (24.5 percent)
5. Jeff Withey (21.4 percent)

In case you were wondering, Releford was fourth-lowest on the team in turnover rate last year at 16.8 percent.

Kansas guard Travis Releford elevates to the bucket between Long Beach State defenders James Ennis (11) Casper Ware (22) and teammate Elijah Johnson during the first half Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford elevates to the bucket between Long Beach State defenders James Ennis (11) Casper Ware (22) and teammate Elijah Johnson during the first half Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Brady Morningstar was fifth-lowest on last year's team with an 18.7 percent turnover rate, while Tyrel Reed was lowest with a 12.5 percent turnover rate.

Two things stand out to me from the numbers above:

  1. Releford could stand to be much be more careful with the basketball, as his turnover rate has jumped significantly from last year to this year.

  2. Self has very few options at the guard position if he wants to put in someone who is sure-handed and will be sure to take care of the basketball. Last year, he had Morningstar and Reed. This year, Teahan (13.9 percent) is the only KU guard not in the top four on the team in turnover rate, and that might be one reason for the senior's increased minutes (35) against Long Beach State.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Though Self said afterwards that the best player in the game was Jeff Withey, this blog declares the M.O.J. is Thomas Robinson.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson heads in to the bucket against the Long Beach State defense during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson heads in to the bucket against the Long Beach State defense during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The junior posted 1.34 points per possession used while taking on a huge offensive load, ending a team-high 27.6 percent of the possessions he was in. That high of a PPP number combined with that high of a usage percentage is an All-America-type performance.

Robinson posted an impressive effective field-goal percentage (71.4 percent, second on the team among those who took more than two shots) and also a strong free-throw rate of 71.4.

Though he didn't have one of his best rebounding nights, he wasn't totally absent on the glass, either. He pulled down 28.5 percent of the available defensive rebounds and 11.7 percent of the available offensive rebounds.

He also contributed 18.2 percent of the available assists while on the floor while turning it over on just 16.6 percent of the possessions he used.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson celebrates for the television cameras after a put-back dunk against Long Beach State during the second half Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson celebrates for the television cameras after a put-back dunk against Long Beach State during the second half Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Robinson is now 16-for-23 (69.6 percent) in his last two games and is starting to separate himself statistically as KU's best option offensively.

Room for Improvement

KU was awful statistically in three areas: turnovers, creating steals and sending Long Beach State to the free throw line.

The Jayhawks huddle around head coach Bill Self late in the game against  Long Beach State on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks huddle around head coach Bill Self late in the game against Long Beach State on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The turnover problem is nothing new. KU turned it over on 27.8 percent of its possessions against LBSU, which was the second-highest number this season behind the UCLA game.

In their last five games, the Jayhawks have turned it over on 25.7 percent of their possessions. To put that in perspective, the NCAA average is 21.3 percent. Also, Self has never had a KU team turn it over on more than 22.2 percent of its possessions.

KU also had a remarkably low number of steals (three) considering the game had a high number of possessions (79). The Jayhawks came away with steals on just 3.8 percent of their defensive possessions, which is the seventh-lowest for a KU team during Self's nine seasons.

This low steal percentage also indicates just how well KU played offensively in the first half, as the Jayhawks finished with a solid PPP number (1.11) despite getting almost no production from transition points off steals (KU had only four fast break points).

KU also put LBSU at the line way too often, as the 49ers' free-throw rate of 69.8 was the highest by a KU opponent since the 2007-08 season.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor defends against a shot by Long Beach State guard Casper Ware during the first half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. In back is center Jeff Withey.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor defends against a shot by Long Beach State guard Casper Ware during the first half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. In back is center Jeff Withey. by Nick Krug

The 49ers' 37 free throws were the most shot against KU in a non-overtime game since Kansas State shot 41 on Feb. 7, 2007.

Though KU needs to do a better job of not fouling shooters, that number also was inflated because of the Jayhawks' turnovers. There were quite a few occasions where KU players were forced to foul after a turnover to prevent an easy basket in transition.

Tough-Luck Line

Travis Releford takes this spot after an inefficient game offensively.

Kansas guards Travis Releford (24) and Conner Teahan (2) defend against a pass from Long Beach State forward James Ennis during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guards Travis Releford (24) and Conner Teahan (2) defend against a pass from Long Beach State forward James Ennis during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The junior posted a team-low 0.81 points per possession used while ending a high number of possessions (20.9 percent) for a role player.

He also didn't bring much in terms of other statistics, grabbing no offensive rebounds and just four percent of the available defensive rebounds.

Releford's offensive numbers also are suffering because of an inability to make open threes. The junior was 0-for-3 from long range Tuesday, which pushed his season total to 5-for-18 (27.8 percent).

Coming into this season, Releford was a career 37.8 percent three-point shooter, so I think we can expect his shooting numbers to improve from this point forward.

Bottom Line

Though KU had few steals and allowed LBSU too many trips to the free-throw line, it held on for a victory defensively by blocking shots and dominating the defensive glass.

Kansas center Jeff Withey rejects a shot by Long Beach State forward T.J. Robinson during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey rejects a shot by Long Beach State forward T.J. Robinson during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks blocked 22.6 percent of the 49ers' two-point attempts, which was the second-highest percentage in KU's last 15 seasons. Jeff Withey, meanwhile, blocked an astounding 34.1 percent of LBSU's two-pointers while he was in the game.

KU also grabbed 85.3 percent of the available defensive rebounds — the fourth-best mark in the last two seasons.

The result was holding the 49ers' high-powered offense to 1.01 points per possession, which was below their season average of 1.07 PPP.

Offensively, KU posted 1.11 PPP despite turning it over at an alarming rate.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson pumps his fist after a bucket by teammate Elijah Johnson against Long Beach State during the first half Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson pumps his fist after a bucket by teammate Elijah Johnson against Long Beach State during the first half Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks had their second-best shooting night of the year (59.3 eFG%), helped mostly by strong performances by Robinson and Teahan.

KU's biggest issue continues to be turnovers, though, and that's not a good sign going into Saturday's game, as Ohio State is fourth in the nation in defensive turnover percentage (29.2 percent).

In other words, KU's guards need to get better. In a hurry.

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Recap: KU’s interior defense impressive once again

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

Following his team's 70-42 loss to Kansas on Saturday night, South Florida coach Stan Heath tried to explain why it was so hard for the Bulls to put up points.

"We typically can score a lot better around the basket," Heath said. "Both (Thomas) Robinson and (Jeff) Withey just made it hard to score around the basket for us."

KU is starting to develop the reputation of being a tough team to score against inside, and the numbers back this up.

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends against a shot by South Florida forward Ron Anderson Jr. during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends against a shot by South Florida forward Ron Anderson Jr. during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

So far this year, KU's opponents have shot just 38.9 percent from two-point range, which is 15th nationally.

The numbers look even better if you just look at the Jayhawks' last four games.

Two-point field goals against KU
UCLA: 8-for-30 (26.7 percent)
Duke: 11-for-31 (35.5 percent)
FAU: 17-for-48 (35.4 percent)
USF: 11-for-29 (37.9 percent)

Last four games: 47-for-138 (34.1 percent)

That 34.1 percent two-point defense looks even better when you consider that the NCAA average for two-pointers is 47.4 percent.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Tyshawn Taylor earns this distinction by picking up his game in the second half.

Overall, Taylor posted 1.30 points per possession used — his highest mark of the year — while ending a team-high 26.5 percent of his team's possessions while he was in (a very high number).

Taylor also led the team in effective field goal percentage (100 percent) and assist percentage (handing out assists on 45.5 percent of the available made field goals while he was in).

He still had too many turnovers (turning it over on 35.7 percent of the possessions he ended), but while he was in, he helped KU by either making shots or finding the open guy.

Room for Improvement

KU's numbers weren't horrible offensively (1.09 PPP), but they could have been better with fewer turnovers and better three-point shooting.

Kansas guard Travis Releford puts on a three from the wing against South Florida during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford puts on a three from the wing against South Florida during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks turned it over on 21.9 percent of their possessions, which isn't good, but it still was the best they have done in the stat in the last four games.

Meanwhile, KU had problems taking advantage of USF's sagging defense because it couldn't hit outside shots.

The Jayhawks finished 7 of 25 from three (28 percent), but they made just 1 of 11 (9.1 percent) in the first half, which was part of the reason KU only led by three at the break.

Tyshawn Taylor made 4 of 6 threes, but the rest of the team combined to go 3-for-19 (15.7 percent).

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor signals to the bench after hitting a three-pointer against South Florida during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor signals to the bench after hitting a three-pointer against South Florida during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KU's best three-point shooters, Elijah Johnson and Conner Teahan, both had rough shooting nights. Though Johnson seemed to mostly take open shots, he finished 1-for-8 from deep, while Teahan was just 1-for-6.

It's still early, but KU's team three-point shooting of 33.6 percent is below the NCAA average for three-point shooting (33.7 percent).

Obviously, KU's offense will improve quite a bit if that number ticks up even a little.

Tough-Luck Line

Typically, Justin Wesley performs his "do no harm" role pretty well for KU.

Kansas forward Justin Wesley pulls a rebound from Florida Atlantic forward Jordan McCoy during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Justin Wesley pulls a rebound from Florida Atlantic forward Jordan McCoy during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

That didn't happen on Saturday night, when the big man turned it over four times during his 20 minutes on the floor.

The giveaways resulted in an ugly final line. Wesley posted just 0.34 points per possession used while ending 18.7 percent of the possessions he was in.

Eventually, you would have to think that Kevin Young will start to inherit some more of the bench minutes for KU.

Though Young has limited time, his offensive numbers are impressive. His offensive rating of 133.7 leads the team, and he's done that while ending 23.4 percent of the possessions he's been in (a high number).

His rebounding numbers are strong as well. Young has grabbed 36.3 percent of the available defensive rebounds and 26.0 percent of the available offensive rebounds.

Kansas forward Kevin Young comes away with a rebound against Florida Atlantic during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Kevin Young comes away with a rebound against Florida Atlantic during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Young's inconsistent play and poor defending has kept him from getting more minutes, but if Self is looking to give his offense a boost, Young is probably the best guy for KU to sub in.

Bottom Line

For the second straight game, KU came away with a strong defensive effort.

Kansas center Jeff Withey extends to defend against a shot from South Florida forward Augustus Gilchrist during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey extends to defend against a shot from South Florida forward Augustus Gilchrist during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks held the Bulls to just 0.66 points per possession — KU's fifth-best defensive effort of the last two seasons. It also tied for the second-worst PPP mark by a South Florida team in a game in the last 15 seasons.

In addition to holding South Florida to a poor shooting percentage (37.0 eFG%), KU also forced turnovers on 29.7 percent of the Bulls' possessions — the second-highest mark for KU's defense this year.

The Jayhawks also showed a continued ability to limit the inside shooting of an opponent. Robinson appeared to be a big part of this, as he blocked two shots, while USF scored just 25 points during his 30 minutes on the court.

Ugly games or not, KU's defense deserves credit for outstanding performances the last two contests.

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Recap: Hey, that looks more like a Bill Self defense …

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

One of Kansas coach Bill Self's best accomplishments since he arrived at KU is his ability to get his team to play the type of defense that forces the other team to miss shots.

It doesn't matter what personnel he has in a given year. You can always count on Self's Jayhawks to hold the other team to a low effective field-goal percentage.

The numbers, from KenPom.com, are below.

Opponents' effective FG% against KU

2003-04 — 44.3 percent (7th nationally)
2004-05 — 44.3 percent (9th)
2005-06 — 42.9 percent (2nd)
2006-07 — 43.5 percent (3rd)
2007-08 — 44.3 percent (9th)
2008-09 — 44.0 percent (8th)
2009-10 — 43.2 percent (4th)
2010-11 — 44.5 percent (14th)
2011-12 — 45.0 percent (80th)

Amazingly, Self's teams at KU have never been worse than 14th nationally in the statistic and have ranked in the top 10 in seven of his eight years.

Not only that, opponents have never shot better than a 44.5 eFG% in a season against KU under Self.

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks to the Jayhawks after a slow start against Florida Atlantic during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks to the Jayhawks after a slow start against Florida Atlantic during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

It's early, and KU has played a difficult schedule, but so far this year's KU defense isn't close to its predecessors.

The good news for KU is that it took a big step forward in the statistic against FAU in a 77-54 victory on Wednesday.

The Jayhawks held FAU to 35.4 eFG% shooting, which was its best effort in that statistic this season.

One major reason for that was blocked shots. KU blocked 20 percent of FAU's two-pointers on Wednesday, which was the fourth-highest mark in the last 15 years of KU basketball and the highest block percentage since the 2006-07 season.

Kansas guard Travis Releford rejects a shot by Florida Atlantic guard Omari Grier during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford rejects a shot by Florida Atlantic guard Omari Grier during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Though both teams played sloppily, the biggest positive KU should come away with is that, defensively, it hounded shooters and started to perform statistically like a normal Bill Self team does.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Not much to choose from here after an ugly offensive performance, but the offensive stats, at least, show Conner Teahan to be the most deserving.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson gives a slap to teammate Conner Teahan after a three-pointer against Florida Atlantic during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson gives a slap to teammate Conner Teahan after a three-pointer against Florida Atlantic during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The senior guard posted 1.30 points per possession used while taking on a large offensive role (for him) by ending 19.3 percent of the team's possessions during his 17 minutes.

Teahan contributed a strong eFG% (64.2 percent) while also helping out in other ways. He pulled down 14.4 percent of the available defensive rebounds (a season high) and 6.5 percent of the available offensive rebounds. He also gave out assists on 13.8 percent of KU's field goals while he was out there and came away with steals on 3.2 percent of his defensive possessions (second on the team).

Teahan's 3-for-5 three-point shooting on Wednesday has continued an interesting home/road split. In two home games, Teahan in 6-for-9 from three (66.7 percent). In four games away from the Fieldhouse, he's 3-for-11 from three (27.3 percent).

The Leawood native helped KU offensively when it needed it most in the first half, hitting three three-pointers in a three-minute stretch to help turn an 11-9 deficit into a 22-16 lead.

Room for Improvement

Turnovers continue to be a problem for KU offensively.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson is called for a charge as he collides with Florida Atlantic guard Pablo Bertone during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson is called for a charge as he collides with Florida Atlantic guard Pablo Bertone during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks turned it over on 23.3 percent of their possessions against FAU, and that's actually the lowest turnover percentage KU has had in its last three games. The Jayhawks turned it over at a 28.6-percent clip against UCLA and in 26.6 percent of its possessions against Duke.

It's rare for a KU team to have this much trouble with turnovers for three consecutive games. In fact, I looked it up, and the last time a Self team had three games of at least a 23.3 percent turnover percentage was midway through his first season at KU in 2003-04.

Self also used some stats after the game to vent his frustration about his guard play. After the Towson game, KU's starting point guard (Tyshawn Taylor) has 16 assists and 21 turnovers, KU's starting shooting guard (Elijah Johnson) has 14 assists and 15 turnovers and KU's starting three-guard (Travis Releford) has seven assists and 10 turnovers.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor hangs for a shot before being fouled by Florida Atlantic forward Andre Mattison during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor hangs for a shot before being fouled by Florida Atlantic forward Andre Mattison during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KU also struggled with takeways on Wednesday, creating turnovers on just 13.7 percent of its defensive possessions — its fifth-lowest mark of the last two seasons.

Tough-Luck Line

Elijah Johnson played the worst game of his KU career.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson splits Florida Atlantic defenders Dennis Mavin (10) and Andre Mattison (4) for a loose ball during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson splits Florida Atlantic defenders Dennis Mavin (10) and Andre Mattison (4) for a loose ball during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The junior guard posted just 0.20 points per possession used while ending a healthy 20.2 percent of KU's possessions while he was in. KU scored at least one point on just 9 percent of the possessions he ended, while 70 percent of his ended possessions resulted in turnovers.

His basic stat line didn't look any better, as he was 0-for-4 from the floor with seven turnovers in 27 minutes. There have been only 10 instances in the last 15 seasons where a KU player has had more turnovers than Johnson had on Wednesday.

Afterwards, Self said the most frustrating part was that Johnson wasn't able to change his night once it started out poorly. Other than grabbing four rebounds, Johnson was able to contribute little despite his extended minutes.

Bottom Line

In a high-possession game (73 possessions), KU was able to get back to its Bill Self roots defensively by making it tough on the other team to make shots.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor fights through a screen as he defends Florida Atlantic guard Greg Gantt during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor fights through a screen as he defends Florida Atlantic guard Greg Gantt during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks held the Owls to just 0.74 points per possession, which was KU's fifth-best defensive effort in the last two years and best since holding UMKC to 0.63 PPP on Jan. 5, 2011.

KU wasn't great offensively (1.06 PPP), mostly because of turnovers, which has become one of the biggest weaknesses of this year's team.

Though Self wasn't happy with many of his players' performances on Wednesday, he was especially upset with his guards, whom he called out at his press conference for their careless play.

It's been eight seasons since the Jayhawks had a three-game turnover stretch like this, so we'll see Saturday if KU's guards make a concerted effort to clean things up against South Florida.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 11/28/11

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.

Full press conference audio has been posted.

Self would like to get a certain number of minutes from his bench. He would be happy with 50 minutes total from his bench. That would mean a couple guys would get 15 minutes each and couple guys getting 10 each.

In Maui, Self battled with leaving in veterans that were tired or putting in newcomers that might miss an assignment because they don't have the repetitions yet. KU will get there. Self thinks KU is playing its starters too much. KU has to be able to get Naadir Tharpe and Kevin Young to give them more minutes off the bench.

Self feels comfortable with the ball in Tyshawn Taylor's hands, but Self thought he got fatigued against Duke. If KU had subbed for Taylor, he might not have had 11 turnovers, but Tharpe turned the ball over some, too. KU played three games in three days with some humidity. That tournament was taxing. Duke's players were tired as well.

KU is at a point in this season where guys should be able to play 30-33 minutes the right way. Things are different at the end of the season as far as conditioning goes.

Kevin Young can do some good things. His strength is a factor with him. He's kind of a 3 1/2 as far as his position goes. He's an in-between a little bit. Those are the hardest teams to guard, with guys like that. Young is still thinking too much. He needs to be more aggressive.

Justin Wesley could foul less by keeping his hands off opponents. Self thinks he tries to be aggressive. Self believes bench guys don't get the same respect as starters as well. He said when he was a GA at KU, Manning and Dreiling seemed to never get as many fouls as Piper, who came off the bench.

Self thinks that there are not a lot of people that are going to beat Kentucky or Duke. Maybe only 325 or 330 teams (out of 345) out there would be 3-2 with KU's schedule. Georgetown is a heckuva win. UCLA was a good win, though KU didn't play that well. No team in America has played the type of schedule KU has in its last four games. KU has been more competitive than maybe Self thought his team would be at this point. In KU's two losses, its ball-handling kept it from winning.

It doesn't get any easier for KU with its schedule over the next two weeks. When you play a hard schedule, you have to win some of the games. KU has some big wins. Self doesn't mind getting exposed in November.

• Self doesn't remember a time when KU has gone 19 days in a row without a home game.

Self really wanted to win that championship in Maui. Self thinks Coach K did too, because his bench played less than Self's. When it really got down to it, KU tried to win that game. Now, KU has to try to develop more of a bench.

Elijah Johnson isn't yet the designated "go-to guy" for KU when it needs a basket late in the shot clock. KU has to find a way to get the ball to Thomas Robinson. Tyshawn Taylor has played well so far, but he had a bad second half against Duke.

Self would rank the KU football job as a good job. It's not as good of a job as basketball because of tradition, but both programs are selling most of the same thing. It will attract a lot of good people. Self thinks yesterday was a sad day, because everybody likes Gill and respects his staff. Sometimes you have to make decisions that are hard and controversial. Self is confident that KU will get the right guy.

• A good football program benefits all the other KU sports. There's no revenue stream the university can create than is better than putting people in the seats at Memorial Stadium. It is a business, and you've got to generate income. In basketball, KU is almost maxed out to what it can make financially. Self says KU needs football to be good. The sport also creates a certain type of enthusiasm on campus that is important.

Self thinks Jeff Withey has done great. He has to keep getting better. He's been motivated to be good. The first half against UCLA, he was the best big man in the game. Against Duke, he held his own. Duke's bigs played great in that game. KU's bigs matched them.

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Recap: Duke’s defense deserves credit following win over KU

Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

Lost in the shuffle of Duke's 68-61 victory over Kansas on Wednesday night is the fact that the Blue Devils made a pretty significant improvement defensively in the second half.

Kansas guard Travis Releford and Duke forward Ryan Kelly fight for a loose ball during the second half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas guard Travis Releford and Duke forward Ryan Kelly fight for a loose ball during the second half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

KU scored on its first three possessions of the second half to take a 41-34 lead with 18:37 remaining.

Here are the point-per-possession totals for both teams before and after that point.

KU before 18:37 in second half — 1.14 points per possession (41 points, 36 possessions)
KU after 18:37 in second half — 0.71 points per possession (20 points, 28 possessions)

Duke before 18:37 in second half — 0.97 points per possession (34 points, 35 possessions)
Duke after 18:37 in second half — 1.17 points per possession (34 points, 29 possessions)

As you can see, KU's offense tailed off nearly a half-point per possession in the game's final 18 minutes.

To put 0.71 PPP in perspective, only once has a Bill Self-coached KU team had a production that low throughout a whole game: against Arizona during a 61-49 loss in 2005.

It's going to be hard to keep any lead with production like that.

Obviously, KU's turnovers contributed to the low output, but let's also give credit where it's due.

A lot of times, the Jayhawks were forced to try to go through Tyshawn Taylor offensively because the Blue Devils were guarding KU's ball screens so well.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor looks for a shot as he is defended by Duke forward Miles Plumlee during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor looks for a shot as he is defended by Duke forward Miles Plumlee during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

Taylor might have ended many of KU's late possessions with a turnover, but the reason he was being forced to create was because Duke amped up its defense and didn't allow openings for KU's normally efficient offense.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Thomas Robinson had another stellar game on the defensive glass, but Jeff Withey earns the honor for M.O.J.

Withey posted a team-high 1.49 points per possessions used while ending 18.1 percent of the possessions he was in.

Kansas center Jeff Withey is fouled on the way up between Duke defenders Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas center Jeff Withey is fouled on the way up between Duke defenders Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

The big man also was active in nearly every single statistical category.

He led KU in free throw rate (85.7), steal percentage (coming away with steals on 2 percent of Duke's possessions while he was in), block percentage (blocking 8.3 percent of the Blue Devils' two-point attempts while he was in) and offensive rebound percentage (grabbing 13.8 percent of the available misses while he was in).

Not only that, he tied with Elijah Johnson for the team lead in effective field goal percentage (57.1 percent) and had a great night on the defensive boards (coming away with 25 percent of the available defensive rebounds).

Withey continues to show improvement and also a lot more aggressiveness than we'd seen from him earlier in the year.

Kansas defenders Jeff Withey (5) and Travis Releford (24) pressure Duke guard Seth Curry during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas defenders Jeff Withey (5) and Travis Releford (24) pressure Duke guard Seth Curry during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

Self complimented him after the game as well, saying he was "outstanding" and that he had gotten some "big-boy" rebounds in Maui.

The biggest obstacle with Withey continues to be fouls. He has 20 of them in 108 minutes — or roughly 7.4 fouls per 40 minutes of game time.

That number needs to come down dramatically, as he's quickly becoming one of KU's most irreplaceable players in the lineup.

Room for Improvement

Two areas stand out: Turnovers and three-point defense.

Yes, those are the exact same words I wrote in this spot in Wednesday's Recap blog following the UCLA game.

The Jayhawks turned the ball over on 26.6 percent of their possessions against Duke — their fifth-highest mark in the last two seasons.

The Kansas bench and players watch the final moments against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

The Kansas bench and players watch the final moments against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

Perhaps the strangest part about that stat is that while KU had 17 turnovers, Duke only had four steals. That means at least some of KU's turnovers were unforced, with a lot of those coming on plays when the ball went out of bounds.

The Jayhawks also struggled for the second straight game defending threes, as Duke made 11 of 25 outside shots (44 percent).

In five games this season, three teams have already made 44 percent or more of their threes against KU — a feat that only happen six times against KU in 38 games last year.

Tough-Luck Line

This goes to Tyshawn Taylor, though you're not going to hear me ragging on him for his play.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor is fouled fighting for a loose ball with Duke guard Austin Rivers during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor is fouled fighting for a loose ball with Duke guard Austin Rivers during the first half Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

The senior posted a team-low 0.75 points per possessions used while ending 37.8 percent of KU's possessions while he was in.

That 37.8 percent number is around the highest for a player that I've ever seen in one game. In other words, Taylor — who played 38 minutes — was being asked to do almost everything for the Jayhawks against Duke.

Here's another way of looking at it: Taylor ended 23 KU possessions, which was the fourth-highest for a player in a game during the Bill Self era. Previously, he'd never had more than 16 possessions ended in a game.

Taylor's turnovers kept him from an effective night. But he also was being asked to do so much (including chasing down Duke shooters) that I don't see how he can be faulted for his effort.

Self took some of the blame afterwards for Taylor's turnovers, saying he needed to rest the guard more. The play-by-play seems to back that up.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor gives words of advice to teammate Travis Releford after a first-half turnover against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2011.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor gives words of advice to teammate Travis Releford after a first-half turnover against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2011. by Nick Krug

Looking back at the box score, Taylor sat out exactly 91 seconds at the 4:48 mark of the first half before coming back in.

Seven of Taylor's 11 turnovers came in the final 11:52 of the game.

KU was playing with a fatigued Taylor during the most important stretch of Wednesday's game. Look for Self to get him some sort of rest in the second half of each game from here on out.

Bottom Line

After building a seven-point lead, KU couldn't maintain its previous scoring level against a stingy Duke defense.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson puts a shot over Duke forward Ryan Kelly during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson puts a shot over Duke forward Ryan Kelly during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks not only turned it over at a high rate, they also didn't shoot it well. KU's effective field goal percentage of 44.9 percent was its sixth-lowest mark of the last two seasons, while KU's two three-pointers tied for the lowest in the last two seasons.

Playing its third game in three days with a thin bench, KU — and also Taylor — appeared to be affected by fatigue late in Wednesday's game, and the numbers seem to reflect that drop off.

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