Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”

Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 2/28/11

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

If you want to get live updates from each week's press conference, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@kusports).

Full audio has been posted.

Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar have been great. Morningstar lived down the street in Lawrence, and Self didn't make a home visit. He only saw him play one time in high school. KU knew it was going to take Morningstar before he went to prep school, but Morningstar still decided to keep his commitment to the prep school first. He's pretty much been a three-year starter for KU.

Reed was highly recruited. KU hesitated, and Self finally decided to offer him because he was a great kid and would be great for the program. He's been both.

Eddie Sutton is deserving of making the College Hall of Fame (He was announced to be in the next class Monday). Self is happy for him. In Self's mind, it helps validate what has been a Hall of Fame career.

With Mario Little, Self will remember how he came in as a heralded player, and he had to fight through injuries. He's a team guy. He's a Self kind of guy. He's going to graduate, as he has three hours left. You can almost lump Reed and Morningstar together. Reed didn't get Self's personality when he first got here, but he does now. Morningstar is as much a personality as anyone on the team. Self will miss him.

Reed is a perfectionist. He's too hard on himself. He probably gets that from being a coach's kid.

• Senior Night is a celebration of three guys' career. One game doesn't capture what their careers have been. There will be a time that Senior Night does not go as scripted. Self hopes that doesn't happen soon. But if it does, you have to adjust. You have to adjust in life no matter what. KU looks at it as Senior Night giving the Jayhawks an extra boost.

• Reed is a remarkable young man. He'd tell you that KU has high-character guys everywhere in KU's locker room. In Self's opinion, during midseason, Reed was the face of the program. He's been the rock.

The way KU plays is pretty balanced. Reed and Morningstar understand that balance. They don't care how many shots they get. Self joked that Little is different, as he likes to shoot it. Everybody has a role. Self learned from Sutton that every player is a role player.

• Little's role is to give KU a boost off the bench and score if need be. Self joked that he tries his hardest to oblige. Little also brings toughness.

• If guys are open, they need to shoot it. Morningstar and Reed might turn down more looks than they should.

Obviously, KU and Texas have two huge games left each. It's nice to be in a situation where KU can control its own destiny. This might be the toughest week KU has had all year.

Self doesn't know if KU fans appreciate conference titles as much as other schools' fans. When Self was at Illinois, and the Illini won the league title, 3,000 people were waiting at the airport. People here take league titles a little more for granted. They look more to the NCAA Tournament. Self would be disappointed if KU wasn't in this position in the conference, because this is a good team. It's a big deal. It's not as big as the NCAA Tournament, but it's a bigger deal than a lot of people think it is.

Texas A&M is well-coached. Mark Turgeon is doing a great job. The Aggies don't beat themselves.

Tyshawn Taylor's status hasn't been decided. KU has played pretty well without Tyshawn. Self said we'll have to wait and see on his status.

Self doesn't think the details of Taylor's suspension should be made public. If Self has a problem with his son or daughter, he's not going to the neighbors with it. Coaches don't want to embarrass their guys. That's not something they want to do. Self has heard some of the rumors, and he hasn't heard one that was well-thought-out. Self wants to please his players much more than he does the fans. He wants the players to know that some things will stay in the locker room.

Morningstar is as good as anybody at taking care of the ball. Taylor has been good. Johnson has been great the last two games as well. He won't start on Senior Day as the seniors will start, but Johnson will be the first guard off the bench. If the NCAA Tournament started tomorrow, Johnson would be KU's starting point guard.

The twins have done a good job. They've both been vocal. They've both been leaders, and they've both been playing at high levels.

Self hasn't talked to Sherron Collins since he was released from Charlotte.

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Recap: If Bill Self believes in plus-minus, then one Jayhawk deserves more minutes

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 coach Bill Self made an interesting statement last week when talking about which players earn the most minutes.

He said that most bench players believe they have to make a great play to get additional minutes, though often that's not the best way.

Kansas head coach Bill Self protests a call during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas head coach Bill Self protests a call during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. by Nick Krug

"When they're in the game, the (score) differential either goes up or down," Self said. "That's what determines if they stay in or not."

In essence, it sounds like Self is using a basic form of the statistic known as "plus/minus" to help determine which players stay in the game.

"Plus/minus" is simply the point differential for a team when a certain player is in the game.

It has its limitations and also outspoken critics, which include Ken Pomeroy himself.

Still, if this is something that Self uses for his evaluation, I think it's something that's at least worth exploring.

The reason I bring it up today is because KU's 82-70 victory over Oklahoma had some crazy plus-minus splits.

Obviously, KU's biggest storyline right now is its point guard play, as Elijah Johnson has started the last two games, with previous starter Tyshawn Taylor likely to return from suspension in the next week.

So should Johnson remain as the starter?

If Self is looking at all at the plus-minus numbers — especially from the OU game — he might be tempted to give Johnson another start.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson laughs with his teammates after Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel was called for a technical foul during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson laughs with his teammates after Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel was called for a technical foul during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. by Nick Krug

From the advanced box score, here are the plus-minus numbers from the KU guards in Saturday's Oklahoma game.

Elijah Johnson +23 (16 minutes)
Brady Morningstar +12 (36 minutes)
Tyrel Reed +12 (32 minutes)
Josh Selby -10 (27 minutes)

Again, I want to warn again against making any grand conclusions about these numbers. Pomeroy is even quoted in the blog above saying single-game plus-minus numbers are "useless."

Still, if Self is looking for whether the differential is going up or down when Johnson is in the game, his answer was pretty clear Saturday: KU's differential was going way, way up.

Morris brothers Markieff (back), and Marcus (right) help their teammate Elijah Johnson up off the floor after a hard foul during the second half against Oklahoma on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Morris brothers Markieff (back), and Marcus (right) help their teammate Elijah Johnson up off the floor after a hard foul during the second half against Oklahoma on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. by Nick Krug

If we break it down further, KU's offense was most remarkable during Johnson's 16 minutes, scoring 46 points (2.9 points per minute). For comparison, in Selby's 27 minutes, KU only scored 40 points (1.5 points per minute).

Again, this isn't to say Johnson is KU's best offensive player or Selby is terrible or anything like that.

I think it could indicate, though, that KU's offense was probably running pretty well with Johnson in against OU, but with both Taylor and Johnson out, KU's offense wasn't as effective without a true point guard in the game.

In case you were wondering, Johnson's plus-minus was good against OSU as well (+20 in 30 minutes). Again, KU's offense appeared to be effective with him in, as KU scored 72 points in his 30 minutes (2.4 points per minute).

The bottom line? If Self does indeed take score differential into account when making decisions on playing time, Johnson has made a strong case to remain as KU's starting point guard.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Though their final lines were almost identical, Marcus Morris edges out his brother, Markieff, for M.O.J. honors.

Oklahoma forward C.J. Washington defends Kansas forward Marcus Morris during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Oklahoma forward C.J. Washington defends Kansas forward Marcus Morris during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. by Nick Krug

Marcus continued his string of remarkable efficiency, posting 1.61 points per possession used while ending 23.8 percent of KU's possessions. On 85.6 percent of the possessions he ended, KU scored at least one point.

For comparison purposes, Markieff posted 1.47 points per possession used while ending 26.7 percent of KU's possessions. KU scored at least one point on 79.6 percent of the possessions Markieff ended.

Marcus also was steady on the boards, grabbing 21 percent of the available offensive rebounds and 21.6 percent of the available defensive rebounds.

His final line also was helped by free throws, as he attempted the same number of free throws as field goals (10) and also made 8 of his 10 attempts from the stripe.

After Texas guard Jordan Hamilton's rough game against Colorado (7-for-24 shooting), Marcus could be sneaking into position to make a run for Big 12 player of the year.

Room for Improvement

It's time to be a bit concerned about KU's inability to force turnovers defensively.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar defends a pass from Oklahoma guard Calvin Newell Jr. during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar defends a pass from Oklahoma guard Calvin Newell Jr. during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. by Nick Krug

Oklahoma turned it over on just 9.8 percent of its possessions against KU on Saturday — the lowest turnover percentage for the Sooners in any game this year. It also was the Jayhawks' second-lowest defensive turnover percentage of the season.

KU's defensive turnover numbers have dropped significantly in the last few games. The Jayhawks' defensive turnover percentage this year is 20.9 percent, and KU's opponents have finished under that percentage in seven of the last eight games.

According to KenPom, KU has a 18.3 percent defensive turnover percentage in Big 12 play, which ranks ninth in the conference.

Part of Self's excitement for this season was the belief that his fast and athletic team could put more defensive pressure on opponents. Lately, the Jayhawks haven't been doing much to force opponents into mistakes, though, and that's been just part of the problem for a KU defense that isn't as strong as it was earlier in the season.

Tough-Luck Line

Thomas Robinson picks up the "Tough-Luck Line" after a high-turnover game.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson regains his footing as he lands on the back of Oklahoma guard Carl Blair Jr. during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson regains his footing as he lands on the back of Oklahoma guard Carl Blair Jr. during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. by Nick Krug

Robinson was the only Jayhawk that scored who posted less than one point per possession used (0.49) while consuming a team-high 39.3 percent of his team's possessions while he was in.

When Robinson struggles, it's usually because of turnovers, and Saturday was no exception. The 6-foot-9 forward had a team-high four turnovers in just 10 minutes, including one stretch where he had three giveaways in a stretch of four possessions.

Though Robinson had a tough day overall, he should be commended for his rebounding. He came away with 34.7 percent of the available offensive rebounds and 42.8 percent of the available defensive rebounds, providing value on the glass even when he was careless on the offensive end.

Bottom Line

Saturday's game, like a few others in the past month, was one where KU's offense played at such a high level that is made up for a poor defensive effort.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris dunks on the Oklahoma defense during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris dunks on the Oklahoma defense during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks, who posted 1.50 points per possession in the first half, ended the game with 1.34 PPP — their second-best offensive effort in their last 11 games (and their last 11 games have been filled with good offensive efforts).

KU was especially good on the offensive glass, as when the Jayhawks missed a shot, they actually grabbed a higher percentage of the rebounds (52.2 percent) than the Sooners. OU's 47.8 percent defensive rebounding percentage was its lowest number of the year.

Playing in a low-possession game, though (61 possessions), KU's defense was subpar. OU put up 1.15 PPP — the Sooners' best offensive game in Big 12 play. In fact, in each of the Sooners' previous five games, they'd failed to score 1 PPP; their best game in that stretch was 0.98 PPP effort at home against Nebraska.

OU put up the impressive offensive showing without getting many second-chance opportunities. The Sooners grabbed just 17.9 percent of the available offensive rebounds (six in all), but still was able to get good production by limiting turnovers, making shots and getting to the free-throw line.

After holding its previous two opponents to 0.88 PPP at home, KU's wasn't as good on the road against Oklahoma.

The Jayhawks played more than half the game without a true point guard in, though, so we'll see if Johnson and perhaps Taylor give a boost to the defense when KU plays Texas A&M on Wednesday.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 2/24/11

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

If you want to get live updates from each week's press conference, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@kusports).

Full audio has been posted.

• Elijah Johnson will start Saturday. He's going to be starting with Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar.

KU wouldn't be dodging bullets as well as it has with injuries if Reed and Morningstar had missed time. Morningstar's stats in conference play are a joke, with his 52-to-7 assist-to-turnover ratio. He's also leading the Big 12 in three-point shooting percentage. Reed and Morningstar allow other players to be great without ego getting involved. It doesn't matter if Reed or Morningstar take three or 15 shots — that doesn't even register with them.

This year has surpassed, record-wise, what Self thought it could be this year. Self didn't anticipate losing all the players it lost and still being 26-2. The disappointing thing to Self is that his team lost a tough game at home to Texas. You usually don't run the table on the road.

• Thomas Robinson is doing great with his knee. Mentally, Robinson is close to 100 percent. Knee-wise, he's probably 90 percent. He should gradually play more and more each game.

With Tyshawn Taylor not playing, Johnson knew he was going to play a lot on Monday. It helps a lot if you don't have to look over your shoulder. He's more of a bench-watcher than Self would like, as he wants to please, but he often looks to see if he's coming out. He did a fabulous job on guarding Oklahoma State's Keiton Page. He had two screw-ups in 30 minutes; that's great. He made shots because he wasn't worried about hitting shots. Too many players worry about needing to score. He was worried about the right things on Monday.

Regardless of what happens, KU has proven it can take some hits personnel-wise and move forward. Only four guys for KU have had great seasons: the twins, Reed and Morningstar. Very rarely is there a case where everybody plays their best all the time. Other players have played great when they've needed to. KU can absorb some things when things aren't going well.

• So much of playing well late is being healthy. Self hopes that KU is peaking at the right time, though he doesn't think there's a magic formula. KU can still take another step to get all its players playing how Self knows they can play.

• Self doesn't think that Taylor will play this weekend. Self doesn't talk about Taylor's suspension with him. Taylor cares. He knows he screwed up.

Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel has done a great job of helping the Sooners improve. They're a different team than they were even just a month or a month and a half ago.

OU was Self's least-favorite team growing up. His feelings were much like how KU fans feel about Kansas State or Missouri.

Self said OU didn't recruit him. The coach joked that OU already had a slow point guard.

• Self likes OU's Cade Davis. He can get on a roll and make shots. Andrew Fitzgerald is Robinson's high-school teammate. Self thinks OU is good defensively.

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Recap: In dominant effort, don’t overlook KU’s defensive rebounding

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.

Here's how you know that Kansas is playing some pretty good basketball.

After sitting down at the press conference table Monday night, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford couldn't stop gushing about KU's offense.

And OSU forward Marshall Moses couldn't stop talking about KU's defense.

Both had good points following KU's 92-65 victory over OSU.

The Jayhawks' offense, once again, was its normal efficient self.

KU scored 1.24 points per possession, topping the 1.23 PPP mark for the eighth time in its last nine games.

“They’re just as good an offensive team that I’ve seen in a very, very long time,” Ford said.

The crazy thing? The 1.24 PPP was only the Jayhawks' fourth-best in their last seven games. So not only did Ford not see KU's best offense on Monday, he didn't even see an above-average performance for the Jayhawks in their last seven games.

Marcus (22) and Markieff Morris (21) celebrate a blocked dunk by Marcus against Oklahoma State during the first half on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Marcus (22) and Markieff Morris (21) celebrate a blocked dunk by Marcus against Oklahoma State during the first half on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Meanwhile, KU's defense posted its second straight impressive performance, almost exactly matching its defensive numbers from Saturday.

Against Colorado, KU allowed 0.875 PPP; Against OSU on Monday, KU allowed 0.878 PPP.

Though the CU effort was better (the Buffaloes are a better offensive team than the Cowboys), Monday's performance was still a sign of progress for KU's much-maligned defense. The Jayhawks' last two defensive games, points-per-possession-wise, have been their best over the past 13 contests.

Also, OSU's floor percentage (the percentage of possessions it scored at least one point) was just 38.7 percent, the team's lowest mark since the 2008-09 season (when it lost to KU, 78-67).

Marcus Morris (left) and Travis Releford tangle with Oklahoma State's Marshall Moses during the first half Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Marcus Morris (left) and Travis Releford tangle with Oklahoma State's Marshall Moses during the first half Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Kevin Anderson

"If you make a mistake offensively, they make you pay for it," Moses said.

Even without Tyshawn Taylor and a fully healthy Josh Selby, Travis Releford or Thomas Robinson, the Jayhawks put together a dominant performance on both ends.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Elijah Johnson had a great game, but Marcus Morris still is the M.O.J.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris floats a bucket past the Oklahoma State defense during the first half on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris floats a bucket past the Oklahoma State defense during the first half on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The junior forward posted 1.41 points per possession used while ending 24.4 percent of KU's possessions, which put together are All-American-type numbers.

In the possessions Marcus ended, the Jayhawks scored at least one point 64.9 percent of the time. Marcus made 9 of 13 shots and 3 of 5 three-pointers while also grabbing 19.5 percent of the available defensive rebounds.

With his combination of his efficiency plus high usage, Marcus has proven over the course of the season to be the best offensive player on a great offensive team.

Room for Improvement

KU's biggest fault on Monday night was fouling too much.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris (21) slaps the ball away from Oklahoma State's Marshall Moses  during the second half Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris (21) slaps the ball away from Oklahoma State's Marshall Moses during the second half Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Kevin Anderson

Oklahoma State's free-throw rate (FTs attempted times 100/FGs attempted) on Monday was 63.3, which was well above KU's already-high opponent free-throw rate average (39.8). It was also KU's third-highest free-throw rate allowed this year.

The Jayhawks actually were a bit fortunate on free throws, as OSU made just 20 of 31 (64.5 percent) after coming in with a 72.4-percent team free-throw percentage. OSU guard Keiton Page actually missed two in a row as well, even though he came in leading the conference with a 91.1-percent free-throw percentage.

Former North Carolina coach Dean Smith used to preach that any trip to the free-throw line was a success for his team offensively. Not only was it likely his team would score at least one point per possession, it also was putting the opposing team further into foul trouble.

Thinking about it that way makes sense and also should be a reason for concern for KU with its frequent fouling. Part of the reason why Ohio State is so difficult to beat is because the Buckeyes don't give opposing teams many opportunities for easy points (20.6 defensive free-throw rate, No. 1 nationally).

KU could definitely tighten up in that area.

Tough-Luck Line

It was an efficient night for KU offensively, as every player who made a shot posted at least one point per possession used.

Every player, that is, except guard Josh Selby, who gets the Tough-Luck Line.

Kansas guard Josh Selby is wrapped up as he goes for two during the second half Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Josh Selby is wrapped up as he goes for two during the second half Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Kevin Anderson

Selby posted 0.90 points per possession used while ending a high number of KU's possessions (24.3 percent). When he ended a KU possession, the Jayhawks scored at least one point just 36.5 percent of the time.

Though the freshman is getting closer to 100 percent, his offensive efficiency still has yet to catch up to the team's high offensive efficiency.

Selby, who didn't turn it over in 11 first-half minutes, had three giveaways in his nine second-half minutes, and those turnovers dragged down the rest of his numbers.

Selby had the most turnovers on the Jayhawks in his 20 combined minutes, and until he starts securing the ball better, he'll remain a riskier offensive option than some other players in KU's rotation.

Bottom Line

Though KU's offense was once again spectacular, KU fans should probably be most encouraged by the Jayhawks' defensive progress in the last two games.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed defends a pass from Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown during the first half Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed defends a pass from Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown during the first half Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

One area where KU was particularly dominant on Monday night was the defensive glass. OSU came away with just 9.1 percent of the available offensive rebounds — its second-lowest total in a game in the last 15 years and lowest since the 2003-04 season.

KU's 90.9 percent defensive rebounding percentage, meanwhile, was its third-highest total in the last 15 years and highest since the 2006-07 season.

Though the Jayhawks still foul a bit too much defensively, they have made significant improvements over the last week, playing their best defense of the month in the last two games.

We'll see if that kind of defensive effort shows up on the road as well when KU plays at Oklahoma on Saturday.

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Recap: No bashing KU’s defense after Saturday’s performance

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.

The criticism of the Kansas basketball team's defense continued on Saturday, as KU coach Bill Self said former player Mario Chalmers told the team, "Yeah, you guys are fun to watch, but you don’t guard anybody."

Former Kansas guard and current Miami Heat player Mario Chalmers is greeted by longtime broadcaster Max Falkenstien before tipoff on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Former Kansas guard and current Miami Heat player Mario Chalmers is greeted by longtime broadcaster Max Falkenstien before tipoff on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

For a while now, this team has been labeled as a great offensive team and a poor defensive one. Sometimes, we hear it so much that it is stuck in our head and alters what we see.

So the first gut reaction would be to say KU's 89-63 victory over Colorado on Saturday was only about the Jayhawks' offense having a great game.

That assumption would be wrong.

Fact is, in a high-possession game (72), the KU defense had one of its best games of the season on Saturday.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed works to disrupt the dribble of Colorado guard Levi Knutson during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed works to disrupt the dribble of Colorado guard Levi Knutson during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks held the Buffs (averaging 1.13 points per possession) to 0.88 points per possession — the lowest PPP total for Colorado all season (CU's previous low this year was 0.92 PPP against Oklahoma).

Not only that, the 0.88 PPP was the least by a KU opponent in Big 12 play.

CU scored at least one point on just 44.4 percent of its possessions — also its worst percentage of the season.

The bashing of KU's defense won't go away any time soon, but the Jayhawks took a step toward changing their reputation with a dominant defensive effort against the Buffs on Saturday.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Markieff Morris runs away with this honor after a career day.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris knocks the ball away from Colorado forward Austin Dufault for a steal during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris knocks the ball away from Colorado forward Austin Dufault for a steal during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The junior forward posted 1.30 points per possession used while ending a team-high 28.7 percent of his team's possessions while he was on the floor. KU scored at least one point on 77 percent of the possessions that Markieff ended.

He also had his second-best offensive rebounding day of the year, pulling down 31.5 percent of the available offensive rebounds while also grabbing 27.5 percent of the available defensive rebounds.

His basic stat line — a career-high 26 points on 8-for-10 shooting to go with a career-high-tying 15 rebounds — also shows just how into the game that Markieff was from the start on Saturday.

Room for Improvement

This is another one of those games where we have to get pretty nitpicky to come up with something to complain about.

Kansas teammates Tyshawn Taylor (10) and Mario Little wait to applaud Brady Morningstar's effort against Colorado during a timeout in first half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas teammates Tyshawn Taylor (10) and Mario Little wait to applaud Brady Morningstar's effort against Colorado during a timeout in first half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

For this game, we'll go with turnovers, as the Jayhawks had problems with giveaways for the second straight game.

KU turned it over on 20.8 percent of its possessions, which was above its season average (19 percent). That comes after a game against Kansas State where KU turned it over on 26.1 percent of its possessions.

A pair of Jayhawk guards had the most problems, as Tyshawn Taylor had four turnovers in 23 minutes, while Elijah Johnson had two in nine minutes.

KU's guards defended much better on Saturday, but from the turnover numbers above, you can see that the Jayhawks' point-guard play is still a work in progress.

Tough-Luck Line

Tough call on this one, as most of the Jayhawks in the rotation contributed something positive offensively.

With a lack of good options, we'll put Mario Little in this space, simply because he ended with a mostly empty line.

In 10 minutes, the senior forward had no shots, one rebound and one assist, but three personal fouls (though I think one of them was a call that should have gone to Markieff).

Little obviously is out there to boost KU's offense, but Self will have a harder time giving him extended minutes if he continues to move the opposition closer to the free-throw bonus.

Kansas State forward Curtis Kelly pulls a rebound away from Kansas forward Mario Little during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State forward Curtis Kelly pulls a rebound away from Kansas forward Mario Little during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

The forward had four fouls in KU's game against Missouri (16 minutes) and four fouls against Kansas State (27 minutes), meaning three of his last four games he's racked up at least three fouls.

Obviously, he's playing a bit out of position in the post, but keeping his fouls down is one way he could help himself (and his team) defensively.

Bottom Line

Though KU's defense was most impressive Saturday, its offense also returned to its pre-Kansas State level.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris delivers a dunk before the Colorado defense during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris delivers a dunk before the Colorado defense during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks posted 1.24 PPP — the seventh time in the last eight games that KU has exceeded the 1.23 PPP mark.

KU's offense benefited from a good shooting day (eFG% of 61%) and also a strong day on the glass (42.9 percent offensive rebounding percentage, third-highest in Big 12 play).

The Jayhawks have kept their offense fairly consistent throughout the Big 12 season. On Monday against Oklahoma State, we'll see if KU's defense can build on Saturday's effort and continue to improve before the most important games in March.

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Thanks for a Thriller!

Kansas Women beat Missouri 75 to 70 in overtime. What a great game! Best they've looked all season. Carolyn Davis scored a career high 34 points. It was a fantastic, enthusiastic and loud crowd.

Congratulations!

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Consistency can be brutal…

If the Kansas Women's basketball doesn't win this evening by a large margin then let's not waste any more time. Continued humiliation is not acceptable. Other coaches have been fired after losing to our team, Colorado (twice) and Missouri. That should tell you that we are circled on the calendar as a "must and should" win game on their schedules. Today is Coach Henrickson's "must and should" win game as will be every game the rest of the season.

Consistency is good if it involves winning. The ups and downs of a good coach have more to do with players (Frank Martin gets rid of malcontents then they start winning). Consistency has more to do with coaching (consistently good, bad or mediocre). Bad and mediocre are not acceptable.

I enjoy going to every game. What I want now is to have a real hope of winning any game I watch regardless of the opponent. What I want now is to make the NCAA tournament every year.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 2/17/11

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

If you want to get live updates from each week's press conference, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@kusports).

Full audio has been posted. • The new elbow rule supposedly hasn't changed. The officials are just enforcing it. Now, it becomes an intentional foul instead of a personal foul. The biggest negative Self sees is it takes so much time to check out. It slows the game down.

Winning covers a lot of ills. Some things came to light the other day. Self learned his team doesn't handle prosperity very well. Focus wasn't what it should be in the Kansas State game. KU doesn't have much margin for error when playing a good team. It wasn't that KU didn't care or try. Once things went bad, KU didn't have very good leadership. KU didn't have good guard play and didn't play smart.

If KU was told it would be 24-2 before the season, the Jayhawks would have been ecstatic. These kinds of teams frustrate Self because they spoil him, because they've been so good.

The twins are getting a reputation. Self doesn't think it's unfair. They've got to do some serious things, because the things that have transpired during games have hurt their team. Are they going to be willing to change so those things don't happen again?

Why would a player like Marcus Morris embrace the No. 1 ranking? Self says it was an ego thing. KU doesn't believe in doing that. That was a small example of KU not being focused. Why would a player make a statement like that? That wasn't an issue of why KU lost. It was just one thing that happened that showed KU might not have been as focused as it needed to be.

Marcus is not the team captain. Self picks the captains. This team has no captain. Is Marcus a leader? Absolutely. But you shouldn't have to tell people what you are.

Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar are taking huge leadership roles. To Self, Marcus and Markieff are the biggest leaders on the team, because they can get the most people to follow them.

A lot of times in this sport, a negative can become a positive over time. The Oklahoma State loss in 2008 was when the team got together. Losing to Kansas State is not disgraceful. The Wildcats played up to the level of their preseason ranking on Monday.

• KU's biggest issue is focus. The team struggles with maintaining things. If it was bad Monday, what will it be like with the distractions of the NCAA Tournament?

Colorado can score. Alec Burks and Cory Higgins are two of the best three scorers in the Big 12. KU's perimeter defenders have to play better.

Josh Selby practiced Wednesday. He's about 80 percent, but that's not going to stop him from playing. He'll be fine.

Thomas Robinson gets his sutures out Friday. Self anticipates he'll be practicing pretty soon. Self texted one of Robinson's family members today. Thomas is a guy that Self really liked, and after seeing everything he's handled everything, he's a guy that he likes even more. He's become a great young man.

KU needs Selby to be aggressive and make plays. When Tyshawn Taylor was out, KU didn't have any playmakers on the perimeter. KU needs Josh to be the player that the team knows he can be. He needs the confidence to do that.

• This year hasn't gone the way Selby scripted in his mind, but his attitude has been pretty good.

Self joked that in his college days, he liked to play Kansas because he and Tad Boyle were both slow and could guard each other.

Monday was a rough night for Taylor. That's probably as rough a night as he's had in his basketball career. The thing that was disappointing to Self is that he couldn't turn it. Self thinks he'll bounce back fine. Taylor didn't appear to be into it like the team needed.

Self saw Burks play in the state finals, and by then he was already signed with Colorado.

Self thinks Texas is the best team in the country since January.

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Do One Thing Well, WIN!

After my first blog, not because of it, the coach seemed more involved emotionally on the sidelines against Iowa State in Allen Field House. She was more encouraging of the players, worked the referees a tiny bit more, etc. The players were more aggressive and confident.

That lasted for one game and then they went to Texas A&M. I was able to accurately predict the double digit point spread of Kansas Women's team versus Texas A&M (#5).

What happens to a team with confidence when they go on the road? The men are probably asking the same question right now. Why do we come out scared and flat?

I watched the Baylor women (ranked #1) play Texas A&M (ranked #5). The game was close until the end and the only person who looked scared at times was Baylor's coach. She wills her teams to win when they struggle.

We were told the days of frequent double digit losses and long losing streaks were behind us a couple of years ago.

I am still waiting.

This is a young, truly talented, and likeable team. I will enjoy watching them for years to come. We need to give them the best possible environment to develop their skills WHILE WINNING.

My opinion is that the coach makes it much too complicated for this team to do any one thing well.

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On this morning’s downtime and our plans moving forward

Sunday night we lost access to a couple of our secondary domains, after we started to move off hardware owned by Knology and onto hardware owned by Mediaphormedia, our software development company. This was related to The World Company's sale of Sunflower Broadband late last year. The domains, which included HometownLawrence.com and our site admin, were inaccessible because of IP address conflicts. Last night while addressing those problems we had two issues that combined to screw up our news sites pretty badly. The first was with the NFS mounts our web nodes use to have access to our media and templates. The second was the loss of our memcached server. Trouble shooting the NFS problems initially hid the loss of our caching server. Without memcache, our sites were not able to keep up with the morning traffic and everything became unusably slow.

We are working on contingency plans to keep problems like this from hampering our ability to deliver your news the way they did this morning. Internally we are codifying and improving our emergency action plans. Our goal is to greatly improve our reaction times when faced with these kinds of problems.

Secondarily, we are making sure we're better communicating to you our problems and where we stand. By the end of the week we'll have designated places — externally hosted — for each of our sites so if we're ever down for an extended period of time you'll know where you can go to stay up to date. We're also making sure that we have off-site locations to post and report news so that we're not interrupting our coverage even if our primary sites are down.

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Recap: Jayhawks bad all around, but does the loss hurt KU that much?

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.

Pretty much this whole blog will talk about how poorly Kansas played in its 84-68 loss to Kansas State on Monday night.

Before we get to all that, though, let's put the defeat in perspective.

Or, another way of looking at it: What did the Jayhawks lose by getting beat on Monday?

http://www2.kusports.com/photos/galle... Here's the list I can come up with:

1. A shot at the Big 12 regular-season championship. At two games back with just six to go, KU's streak of six consecutive conference championships most likely will come to an end this season.

Reality is, though, that Texas might run the table anyway. The Longhorns' toughest games left are at Nebraska and at Baylor, two games I'd expect them to win.

Even if KU had gone 15-1, that doesn't beat 16-0. The Jayhawks might have lost a chance at the conference title on Monday, but they might not have as well.

2. A chance to be No. 1 again in the regular season

Kansas guard Josh Selby extends to defend a pass by Kansas State guard Shane Southwell during the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Josh Selby extends to defend a pass by Kansas State guard Shane Southwell during the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

KU will most likely drop to No. 4 or 5 after the loss, but what difference does the No. 1 ranking make? KU still is one of only six teams in the nation with two losses or fewer and has a great shot at still securing a No. 1 seed.

3. A rivalry game

Yep, that tends to sting fans a bit more, but the KSU victory only split the season series.

The Kansas State Wildcats celebrate on the scorer's table after defeating Kansas on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

The Kansas State Wildcats celebrate on the scorer's table after defeating Kansas on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

If the two teams play again in Kansas City, I'd think the Jayhawks would be around a 10-point favorite.

I know that, especially on our site, the sky seems to be falling after every KU loss. But really, the Jayhawks' loss doesn't appear to have harmed them a whole lot when you look at the big-picture goals.

Another way to look at it: After losing by 16 to Kansas State, KU dropped from second in the KenPom ratings all the way to ... third.

A season's-worth of good play shouldn't be forgotten because of one lousy effort.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

If the scouting report was to attack the Kansas State defense and force fouls (the Wildcats foul a lot), then maybe Tyrel Reed was the only one who read it.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed goes up to the bucket against Kansas State forward Jordan Henriquez-Roberts during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed goes up to the bucket against Kansas State forward Jordan Henriquez-Roberts during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Reed not only was the best Jayhawk offensively, he also was the smartest one as well.

The senior guard attacked KSU's overplaying defense, getting to the free-throw line a career-high nine times.

That aggressiveness led to a great night statistically, as Reed posted 1.43 points per possession used while ending 18.7 percent of KU's possessions — well above his personal average (15.1 percent).

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed elevates to the bucket through Kansas State defenders Jacob Pullen (0) and Jamar Samuels (32) during the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed elevates to the bucket through Kansas State defenders Jacob Pullen (0) and Jamar Samuels (32) during the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Reed was KU's best passer, assisting on 28.4 percent of KU's field goals while he was in. He also came away with steals on 5.6 percent of KU's defensive possessions.

There weren't many positives for KU on Monday night, but Reed's composed play during adversity certainly had to be one of them.

Room for Improvement

Frankly, almost everything needs improvement for KU after that loss.

Here are three areas in particular:

• Turnovers. KU turned it over on 26.1 percent of its possessions — its third-highest mark of the season.

Perhaps more frightening for KU is that of its 18 turnovers, only six were listed as steals for KSU. That would indicate that 12 of the Jayhawks' giveaways were unforced.

• Defensive fouls. After posting just seven fouls against Iowa State on Saturday, KU reverted back to its old ways by not only hacking a ton, but hacking the wrong people.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor bites on Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen's head fake before a three-point attempt during the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor bites on Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen's head fake before a three-point attempt during the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Kansas State's free-throw rate (free throws attempted times 100/field goals attempted) was 58.0 — the second-highest against KU this year.

What made it worse is that, as has been the case most this year, the Jayhawks fouled mostly guards. Of KSU's 29 free throws, 25 were attempted by guards. KU was probably lucky that the Wildcats only shot 83 percent from the line.

In Big 12 play, KU's opponents have made a league-best 80.3 percent of their free throws. That trend will continue if KU continues to put opposing teams' guards on the free-throw line.

Defensive rebounding. KU grabbed just 54.5 percent of the available defensive rebounds, which was its worst mark of the year.

Kansas State forward Rodney McGruder pulls a rebound from Kansas players Mario Little (23) and Markieff Morris during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State forward Rodney McGruder pulls a rebound from Kansas players Mario Little (23) and Markieff Morris during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Sure, the Jayhawks missed rebounding specialist Thomas Robinson, but they also didn't get production from Markieff Morris, who came into the game leading the Big 12 in rebounds.

In 20 minutes, Markieff had no rebounds. That's pretty remarkable.

KU's leading rebounder was surprisingly Mario Little (five), and no other player had more than three.

That kind of effort on the boards indicates that KSU was the more aggressive and physical team on Monday night.

Tough-Luck Line

One game after battling for the M.O.J. honor, Markieff Morris and Tyshawn Taylor are the ones in the running for the Tough-Luck Line.

In the end, Taylor is the pick here.

A frustrated Tyshawn Taylor reacts after fouling Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

A frustrated Tyshawn Taylor reacts after fouling Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

The junior guard posted just 0.65 points per possession while turning into a vacuum for possessions — using up a whopping 28.9 percent of them while he was on the court. KU scored at least one point on just 32.4 percent of the possessions he ended.

Obviously, his biggest issue offensively was turnovers, as he posted six in his first 18 minutes out there. To compare, he'd only had six combined turnovers in his previous four games.

Unfortunately for Taylor, as bad as he was offensively, that was probably his better end of the floor.

Taylor's main defensive assignment — Kansas State's Jacob Pullen  —had a career day with 38 points, and his advanced numbers were in superstar range. Pullen posted 1.51 points per possession used (a huge number) while still ending 36 percent of KSU's possessions (an even crazier number).

At many other positions, KU has capable backups for when the starters aren't playing well.

KU's thinnest position is point guard, so the Jayhawks need Taylor to put this game behind him.

Kansas State guard Will Spradling puts up a three-pointer over Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State guard Will Spradling puts up a three-pointer over Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor during the second half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Like him or not — frustrated with his performance or not — he's a guy that has to remain in the lineup and has to play well for the Jayhawks to be their best. There just aren't many other options available.

Bottom Line

Needless to say, KU's string of six straight games offensively with at least 1.2 points per possession is over.

The Jayhawks notched just 0.99 PPP against Kansas State — their fourth-worst mark of the year.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris looks to the bucket under Kansas State defenders Rodney McGruder (22) and Jamar Samuels (32) during the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris looks to the bucket under Kansas State defenders Rodney McGruder (22) and Jamar Samuels (32) during the first half on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

The bad news for KU is that its defense was worse. KSU put up 1.22 PPP — KU's worst defensive performance since the Dec. 23, 2008 game at Arizona (1.29 PPP).

It's not easy to single out a single area where KU lost the game. KSU shot much better, rebounded much better and played much better than the Jayhawks on Monday.

Taking all that into account, it's still just one loss for KU and likely won't have too much of a long-term impact, especially considering Texas has a good chance of going 16-0 in the conference this year.

Even after the loss, I would expect KU over the rest of the season to get healthier, grab a No. 1 seed and still be one of the favorites to win the national championship.

One loss isn't a reason to give up on one of KU coach Bill Self's best teams at KU.

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Recap: Here’s why Iowa State’s 14 three-pointers didn’t keep things close

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 coach Bill Self might want to market this.

Kansas head coach Bill Self laughs after catching an errant pass from his guard Elijah Johnson during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self laughs after catching an errant pass from his guard Elijah Johnson during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks' 89-66 victory over Iowa State could be the basis for a do-it-yourself book for NCAA basketball teams: "How to face a team that's shooting the lights out from three ... and still win by 23."

Really, this isn't a formula you see that often. Iowa State went 14-for-32 from three-point range — a number that usually gets a team beat or at least puts a good scare into it.

Instead, the Jayhawks used this three-step method to dominate ISU, even on its hot shooting night.

1. No foul play

The Jayhawks haven't been great at avoiding fouls this year, but they were outstanding in this area Saturday.

Marcus Morris (22), defends Melvin Ejim (3) during the second half against Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Marcus Morris (22), defends Melvin Ejim (3) during the second half against Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Mike Yoder

KU ended with just seven fouls, the fewest it's had in a game since at least the 1988-89 season. Iowa State didn't make it to the free-throw bonus in either half.

Though part of this was due to the way ISU was trying to attack KU (or not attack KU, depending on how you look at it), the Jayhawks still did a great job of avoiding cheap whistles. In the teams' first game in Ames, Iowa, ISU managed to get 10 free throws.

On Saturday, the Cyclones had two free throws. Two.

ISU's free-throw rate (free throws/field goal attempted) was 3.0 — the third-lowest FT rate in any Div. I game this season.

Considering that the Jayhawks' Big 12 opponents have shot free throws at a 79.9-percent clip, it's no surprise that by eliminating those tries, KU was able to greatly help out its overall defense.

2. Nothing inside

Lots of threes don't help as much if a team can't hit anything from inside the arc.

That was the case for the Cyclones on Saturday. ISU actually shot a much better percentage from three-point range (43.8 percent) than two-point range (11 of 35, 31.4 percent). The Cyclones made just 4 of 18 two-point tries in the first half (22.2 percent).

Kansas forward Markieff Morris (21) blocks a shot attempt by Iowa State's Jordan Railey (0) during the second half of KU's 89-66 win over Iowa State Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris (21) blocks a shot attempt by Iowa State's Jordan Railey (0) during the second half of KU's 89-66 win over Iowa State Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Mike Yoder

The Jayhawks' length obviously bothered the Cyclones, who had 10.4 percent of their twos blocked while grabbing just 28.6 percent of the available offensive rebounds.

Combine a poor two-point shooting night with a lack of free throws, and you end up with some crazy point splits.

At the end of the game:

• 3 percent of ISU's offense came from free throws (ISU season average is 15.7 percent)
• 33.3 percent of ISU's offense came from two-pointers (ISU season average is 53.9 percent)
• 63.6 percent of ISU's offense came from three-pointers (ISU season average is 30.3 percent)

3. Just score, baby

We talked in the last Recap blog about this perhaps being KU's best five-game offensive stretch in the last 15 years.

Saturday's performance didn't drop from that level a bit.

Kansas forward Mario Little goes up for a shot against the Iowa State defense during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Mario Little goes up for a shot against the Iowa State defense during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks notched 1.31 points per possession, which actually is second-best in this impressive six-game stretch.

The biggest help for KU on Saturday was its low turnover count. The Jayhawks gave the ball away on just 13.2 percent of its possessions — good for the third-best mark of their 25-game season.

KU also took extra possessions on the glass, pulling down 40.6 percent of the available offensive rebounds (about five percent above its season average).

Not a bad three-step formula for beating a team that can't miss from the outside. The Jayhawks might want to keep it around for March, just in case.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Though it's close between Markieff Morris and Tyshawn Taylor, I'm giving the edge to Markieff.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris dumps a pass over Iowa State guard Melvin Ejim during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris dumps a pass over Iowa State guard Melvin Ejim during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The junior forward posted 1.54 points per possession used while ending 19.6 percent of KU's possessions (slightly below his personal average). When he ended a possession, KU scored at least one point 71.5 percent of the time (second on the team behind Jeff Withey).

Perhaps most impressive about Markieff's game is that he contributed in nearly every statistical category. He pulled down a team-high 23.1 percent of the available offensive rebounds and also 21.1 percent of the available defensive rebounds.

He also assisted on 36.8 percent of KU's made field goals while he was in (highest on the team) while posting just one turnover. Add in that he blocked 8.4 percent of Iowa State's two-point attempts while he was in the game, and you have about as complete of a statistical line as you'll ever see from a college center.

Here's more: In Markieff's last five games, he has made 31 of his 42 field-goal attempts (73.8 percent) and 5 of his 9 three-point tries (55.6 percent).

That's about as efficient as you can get.

Room for Improvement

Pretty obvious here: KU did not defend the perimeter well against a strong outside shooting team in Iowa State.

As mentioned above, the Cyclones made 14 of 32 three-pointers (43.8 percent) and 8 of 16 treys in the second half. In fact, ISU's 14 made threes tied for the second-most in a game for a Cyclones team in the last 15 seasons.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson and Iowa State guard Darion Anderson go for a loose ball during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson and Iowa State guard Darion Anderson go for a loose ball during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Though KU started out as one of the best teams in the nation guarding threes, the stats show that the Jayhawks' three-point defense has been slipping as of late.

KU still is ranked 11th nationally in three-point defense according to KenPom (29.6 percent), but since Big 12 play began, the Jayhawks have allowed opponents to shoot 37.2 percent from beyond the arc. That number ranks seventh in the Big 12.

Outside of three-point defense, there's not too much to nitpick about KU's performance. The Jayhawks' free-throw rate (free throws/field-goal attempts) was a little low at 28.1 (compared to season average of 39.1), so KU's players might have settled for a few jump shots, though they made a lot of them.

Other than that, the Jayhawks performed at average or better in nearly every statistical category. And that's without Thomas Robinson or Josh Selby — two of KU's top seven players — available to play.

Tough-Luck Line

Looking at the numbers, this really can only go to one player: Travis Releford.

Kansas guard Travis Releford goes up for a three-pointer before being fouled by Iowa State guard Bubu Palo during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford goes up for a three-pointer before being fouled by Iowa State guard Bubu Palo during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The sophomore was the only KU non-walkon to post less than one point per possession used (0.81). He didn't end a high number of possessions (13.5 percent), as he missed two three-point attempts and went 2-for-3 from the free-throw line with an assist and a turnover in 13 minutes.

I feel like I'm picking on Releford a bit, but KU's offense was so balanced that it didn't leave many other options.

When KU's ninth man in the rotation is listed here after an 0-for-2 shooting effort, it's probably a sign that the Jayhawks had a pretty good offensive day.

Bottom Line

KU's offense continues to be on a historic pace. The Jayhawks posted at least 1.2 points per possession for the sixth straight conference game — a feat that no KU team has accomplished in the last 15 years.

Kansas University students and fans align the stairs to slap hands with Tyrel Reed as he leaves the court following the Jayhawks' 89-66 win over Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas University students and fans align the stairs to slap hands with Tyrel Reed as he leaves the court following the Jayhawks' 89-66 win over Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks scored at least one point on 63 percent of their possessions, and they also maximized their possessions by taking care of the ball and grabbing offensive rebounds.

Defensively, KU held ISU to 0.97 PPP by completely shutting down two phases: free throws and two-pointers.

Though we won't know whom the voters choose as the new No. 1 until Monday, I think this much in the Big 12 is clear: The league's best defense (by a long shot) resides in Austin, Texas, while the league's best offense (also by a long shot) plays its home games in Lawrence.

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Evaluating each KU player’s defense in Big 12 play

If you haven't checked it out yet, David Hess is doing some great Kansas defensive analysis on his blog, Audacity of Hoops.

Hess has started a "Project Defensive Score Sheet" where he breaks down every defensive possession of KU games to give us a better understanding of the Jayhawks' individual defensive performances.

(More on "Project Defensive Score Sheet.") I have used his data to compile each Jayhawk's individual defensive stats during Big 12 play.

The Jayhawks huddle around Kansas head coach Bill Self during a timeout late in the game against Missouri on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks huddle around Kansas head coach Bill Self during a timeout late in the game against Missouri on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

Below is every KU player's Big 12 defensive stats, followed by a short summary of what we can take from the numbers.

Before we get started, here's a look at the advanced statistics we will be looking at:

Defensive rating — A measure of how many points an individual defender allows per 100 possessions. The lower the number, the better the defender. Used in conjunction with defensive possession percentage.

Defensive possession percentage — This lets us know what percentage of a team's defensive possessions that are credited or blamed on a defender.

Stop percentage — In my Recap blog, I often talk about floor percentage — the percentage of an individual's ended possessions when the team scores at least one point. Stop percentage is the opposite of that: What percentage of a defender's individual possessions does the opponent score zero points?

Let's take a look at KU's numbers. For reference, KU's team average for stop percentage is 0.53. KU's team average for defensive rating is 101.7.

(Here are the game-by-game individual defensive numbers in an Excel file, for anyone who wants a more in-depth look. Please note that some of Hess' numbers will alter slightly from mine due to rounding differences.)

Tyrel Reed

Reed's defensive numbers are almost exactly what you'd expect: Right about average. Reed's individual defensive rating (101.5) is barely better than the team average in Big 12 play (101.7). His stop percentage (0.53) is exactly on the team average.

The average defensive possession percentage for KU players is 17.2 percent (taking into account that on some plays, a player is unguarded, so no player is responsible for the possession), so Reed's 15.2 possession percentage indicates he isn't as involved in defensive possessions as some other Jayhawks.

Tyshawn Taylor

Taylor's defensive numbers reflect KU coach Bill Self's comments from Thursday: That Taylor has been better offensively than defensively as of late.

The guard's defensive rating of 102.7 is a point above the team average. That isn't horrible, but it also isn't good enough for a guy considered the Jayhawks' best on-ball defender. It is important to note, though, that Taylor often gets KU's toughest defensive assignment, which will negatively impact his defensive rating.

Taylor's stop percentage of 0.50 also is below the team average and also fifth-worst on the team. There's definitely room for improvement from the junior.

Elijah Johnson

These numbers seem to indicate one reason that Johnson's minutes have been limited lately.

Johnson is KU's worst defensive guard according to these stats, posting a defensive rating of 104 (well above the team average of 101.7). His defensive possession percentage is the highest of any guard as well (18.8 percent), meaning he's also affecting an above-average number of possessions, which isn't what you want from a player with a poor defensive rating.

It only makes sense that guards' stop percentages should be better than big men's stop percentages, as guards are oftentimes defending three-pointers — which are lower-percentage shots.

That fact hasn't helped Johnson much, as his stop percentage (0.47) still registers as third-worst on the team.

Brady Morningstar

Morningstar's defensive numbers were the most fascinating to me.

As you can see, the senior's defensive rating isn't good. He's second-worst among all guards in defensive rating (102.9). His stop percentage also isn't good (0.48), as it's well below the team average (0.53).

But here's the interesting part: Morningstar's defensive possession percentage is extremely low at 12.7 percent. In fact, it's the lowest on the team by a wide margin.

So what does this tell us?

For me, the low defensive possession percentage indicates that Morningstar is doing a great job of denying his man shots. This makes sense, as Morningstar has proven to be excellent at chasing his man through a series of screens.

The problem is, when Morningstar's man is able to get a shot, that person has been scoring a high percentage of the time. The low stop percentage indicates Morningstar's man has been getting high-percentage shots as well, meaning the senior is probably getting beaten off the dribble.

In summary, these numbers show Morningstar to still be a great off-the-ball defender — probably KU's best. But they also indicate that Morningstar isn't playing to "defensive stopper" level, as he's struggled to keep his man from scoring during those possessions when he allows a shot.

Josh Selby

If I asked you before this blog who KU's best perimeter defender was, I bet you wouldn't have answered Josh Selby.

Still, these numbers indicate — if nothing else — that we have been undervaluing Selby's defense during Big 12 play.

Selby has posted a defensive rating of 97.6, which is better than KU's team defensive rating of 98.8 during the six games he's played.

It's important to note, as with Taylor, that matchups can play a part in these numbers. Selby normally isn't getting the toughest defensive assignment, which will make his numbers look better.

Still, his 0.58 stop percentage ranks second on the team — an impressive number no matter who he's going up against defensively.

Mario Little

Can we all agree that Mario Little plays because of his reputation on offense?

If so, it makes his ugly defensive numbers a little easier to accept.

The 6-foot-6 Little — playing primarily an undersized four — is struggling to keep his man from scoring.

Little's defensive rating of 106.2 is worst on the team, rating 4.5 points above KU's average. His stop percentage of 43 percent also is tied for the team-worst — and 10 percent below KU's team mark.

KU hasn't been able to hide him, either. Opponents have been attacking Little, as he's been responsible for 21.9 percent of KU's defensive possessions while he's been in.

If Little isn't giving KU a boost offensively, it's unlikely that Self will leave him in too long, as the senior just hasn't been reliable enough defensively.

Travis Releford

It's a limited sample size, but Releford has graded out relatively well despite not being 100 percent with an ankle injury. His defensive rating (103.2) is lower than the team rating in his three games played (104.4), and his stop percentage of 0.56 also is above what would be expected.

Releford's reputation as a good defender is most likely deserved. I'll be interested to see if his numbers continue to improve as he regains his explosiveness.

Marcus Morris

Like Tyrel Reed, Marcus falls almost exactly where I'd expect him to be with these numbers: as a good but not great defender.

Marcus' defensive rating of 100.8 is just better the team average, as is his stop percentage of 0.55. His defensive possession percentage also is exactly on the team average (17.2 percent).

Not much to see here. Marcus is an above-average defender, but obviously he doesn't bring nearly as much value defensively as he does offensively.

Thomas Robinson

Though Robinson is fine defensively, these numbers don't show him to be the impact defender that many fans believe him to be.

Robinson's defensive rating (98.9) is slightly better than the team average in the games he's played (99.2), and his stop percentage is hovering right around the team average as well (0.54). He is involved in a lot of possessions (22.7 percent), which doesn't necessarily hurt or help the Jayhawks.

Much like Marcus, Robinson's numbers indicate he's a good — but not great — defender at this point in his career.

Markieff Morris

Look no further for KU's best defensive player. It's Markieff, and it's by a large margin.

Markieff's defensive rating is not only the second-lowest on the team (97.8), it's also nearly four points below the team average (101.7).

Not only that, he's kept his defensive rating low despite being involved in a large number of KU's possessions (22.4 percent).

Markieff's stop percentage also is tops on the team (61 percent), partly because he's a great defensive rebounder (which is factored into the percentage).

Like Selby, Markieff probably doesn't get nearly the defensive credit that he deserves.

Jeff Withey

Withey's numbers don't look good (105.7 defensive rating), but they're also skewed a bit by one horrible game.

Against Texas Tech, Withey's defensive rating was 135.4 during his five minutes. With only 22 total minutes in Big 12 play, an effort like that is going to have a huge impact.

Yes, his stop percentage is low (43 percent) and his possession percentage is high (26 percent), but 22 minutes in mostly garbage time isn't enough for me to make any sweeping judgments about the 7-footer.

Unguarded Opponent

Sometimes, no KU player is responsible for a defensive play. In those situations, defensive stats are kept for KU opponents when they are unguarded. David also uses this category for a few instances that he didn't think should be given to individual players, like technical foul free throws, unforced turnovers and the “we have to foul whoever has the ball” end-of-game free throws.

These numbers aren't what you'd expect. The Jayhawks' defensive rating (100.8) and stop percentage (0.56) in this category are better than the team averages.

I would take two things from this:

1. KU isn't giving up many uncontested shots close to the basket. Though a team never wants to give up wide-open shots, KU appears to be allowing mostly jumpshots away from the rim. If the Jayhawks had allowed more uncontested shots inside, we'd expect the stop percentage to be much lower than 56 percent.

2. KU's defense might be getting a bit lucky. I wouldn't expect the "unguarded opponent" defensive numbers to stay better than the team average for the entire season. Teams are simply missing open shots against KU, though perhaps a tiny bit of that can be attributed to the Jayhawks making opponents feel uncomfortable even when they are open.

In the last four games, no KU opponent has scored on more than 40 percent of its unguarded possessions.

In other words, KU's riding a lucky streak defensively — something that can't be relied upon in every Big 12 game.

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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 2/10/11

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

If you want to get live updates from each week's press conference, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@kusports).

Full audio has been posted. • Josh Selby is going to practice Thursday. The coaches will see if they have to limit him. He did a light workout Wednesday, and he was doing pretty well then.

Since the Texas game, Self thought Selby had been more aggressive and had been driving the ball to force help.

With Selby and Tyrel Reed's injuries, you pretty much just have to wait for them to get better.

Iowa State has been unlucky. The Cyclones have lost some tough close games. ISU is really close to being .500 in the league or better. Coach Fred Hoiberg has given those guys freedom offensively. They're improved in that area.

Brady Morningstar has played great. The twins are playing well. KU has four guys that it can throw it to in the post (including Mario Little) that make good things happen when they get the ball.

Self doesn't have a problem with Taylor's shots. When he attacks, he forces help. He forces the big men to come up, which gives KU an advantage on the boards.

Self says Taylor has been OK lately. He thinks Taylor has been better offensively than defensively as of late.

Elijah Johnson is the one guy that Self feels like can give the team more off the bench from an aggressive standpoint.

Taylor's biggest problem defensively has been focus.

Self talked to his team during a meeting Wednesday about trying to put together four or five stops in a row in games, which will be needed at some point. KU needs to play defense like it's not making shots. As a defensive team, KU has to assume it's going to shut other teams out and not assume that its offense will bail it out. Great defense will beat great offense most of the time.

Mario Little had an extra boost defensively against Missouri when his shot was falling. Statistically, KU is doing fine defensively, but Self knows the Jayhawks could be much better. Making shots tends to get guys comfortable.

The four fast-break points against MU are a bit misleading. KU didn't make all its points in half-court, as some come off free throws. But both teams were making open shots on Monday.

Self has addressed technical fouls consistently all year. Markieff's foul on Monday was the right call, because it was above the shoulders, but it wasn't a malicious hit. The Morris twins know that because of past actions, officials are watching them. They also have something else going against them: They are labeled together by officials. Self doesn't believe KU will have any more issues with that the rest of the season.

The Morris twins would have more hockey assists than assists, as oftentimes their passes lead to assists by others. They are starting to understand how to play well by being aggressive and patient at the same time.

Self told Brady Morningstar during his slump that he needed to stay aggressive. Morningstar might be floating a little bit less on his shot, but a lot of it is just confidence.

Self understands what other coaches like Kansas State coach Frank Martin is going through. But he joked that he has his own problems on his team. He doesn't spend time up at night feeling bad for Martin and his team's problems.

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Defending Allen Field House

Congratulations to the Kansas Women's Basketball team on a thrilling 1 point overtime win versus Iowa State. The Iowa State women's team is a perennial winner and NCAA tournament team. This win could provide the confidence KU's young team needs.

The only sad part of the story is the lack of student participation. The fans that follow this KU team are passionate, loyal and loud. The fans worked the “refs” when the fouls were 5 to 1 (not in KU's favor). The student pep band did their best to disrupt the Iowa State free throw shooters.

I have been critical of the coaching but I still believe this is one of the most talented and fun to watch teams we have ever had. Carolyn Davis may have her jersey in the rafters one day. She was double and triple teamed by one of the best defensive teams in the country all night but still managed to score 31 points. Those 31 points included the game winning shot. Carolyn wants to be a coach some day and I hope it is on the Kansas sideline.

It is time for ALL Jayhawks to defend Allen Field House and make it difficult for EVERY opponent entering "The Phog".

Rock Chalk!

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Recap: Is this the best five-game stretch of any KU offense in the last 15 years?

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.

Pop quiz time again. We'll see how good your eyes are.

If you had to describe the pace of KU's 103-86 victory over Missouri, would you say it was:

A. Very fast. Well above KU's average pace this year.
B. Right at KU's average pace this year.
C. Very slow. Well below KU's average pace this year. http://www2.kusports.com/photos/galle...

Congrats to all those of you who picked B.

Though both teams came in with run-and-gun reputations, Monday night's game actually on featured 71 possessions — just above KU's 70.8 possessions per game it was averaging this season. KU actually had more possessions in both the Texas game earlier this year (where it scored 63 points).

The average number of possessions in Monday's game, of course, makes KU's 103-point effort even more impressive.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson delivers a tomahawk jam between Missouri defenders Steve Moore, left, and Justin Safford during the second half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson delivers a tomahawk jam between Missouri defenders Steve Moore, left, and Justin Safford during the second half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks scored a lot of points without needing a lot of possessions. In other words, KU was efficient with the possessions it had.

Just how efficient? It turns out historically so.

I almost fell over when I saw the final numbers: KU scored 1.45 points per possession on Monday night — its highest total of the entire year against any team.

I went back to Missouri's statistics, looking at each of its defensive efforts from the last 15 years. Turns out, this was the most points scored per possession against the Tigers in any game of the last 15 years. Only one opponent during that time had even topped 1.40 PPP, and that was KU back in the 2001-02 season (1.42).

The highest any team other than KU has scored against Missouri in the past 15 years was Texas A&M in 2004-05 (1.38 PPP).

Missouri coach Mike Anderson, left, and players huddle up in the second half against Kansas on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Missouri coach Mike Anderson, left, and players huddle up in the second half against Kansas on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

Here's the breakdown of KU's two halves on Monday:

First half
KU — 1.24 PPP
(37 possessions)

Second half
KU — 1.67 PPP
(34 possessions)

How good is 1.67 PPP? No Div. I team has scored 1.67 PPP in a game this year — not even against an opponent from a lower division.

Yet, KU posted 1.67 PPP for a half against a top-25 opponent with the 42nd-ranked defense according to KenPom.

Friend-of-the-blog Bill Connelly took it a step further at his MU-based site, Rock M Nation, breaking down that KU actually scored 39 points in its first 19 possessions of the second half for 2.05 points per possession that stretch.

Kansas guard Travis Releford gets the crowd to its feet after scoring a basket against Missouri on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford gets the crowd to its feet after scoring a basket against Missouri on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

Just when I think KU's offense can't get better, it does.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Mario Little tops the Morris twins to take his first M.O.J. honor of the season.

Kansas guard Mario Little bemoans a foul called against him during the first half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Mario Little bemoans a foul called against him during the first half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Little not only was terrific offensively — posting 1.58 points per possession used — he also took on a major scoring load, putting up 36.8 percent of KU's shots during his time out there while ending 21.8 percent of KU's possessions.

The Jayhawks scored at least one point on 76.4 percent of the possessions that Little ended.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Little also was a big help on the boards as well. He pulled down 25.8 percent of the available offensive rebounds and 16.6 percent of the available defensive rebounds.

Little also went 3-for-3 from three-point range and now has made five three-pointers in a row.

Room for Improvement

Statistically, KU had its worst defensive performance of the season. And still beat Missouri by 17.

Kansas defenders Tyrel Reed and Marcus Morris defend a shot by Missouri guard Matt Pressey during the second half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas defenders Tyrel Reed and Marcus Morris defend a shot by Missouri guard Matt Pressey during the second half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks allowed 1.21 points per possession to the Tigers, which topped their previous defensive worst of 1.20 PPP allowed this year at Colorado.

Those two teams seem to share a similar offensive strength: Quick guards that have the ability to penetrate and get to the rim or get fouled.

This appears to be the kind of team that KU fans might want to avoid in the bracket come March, as KU's guards haven't done a good job of cutting off dribble penetration in numerous games this year.

Kansas players Brady Morningstar (12) and Marcus Morris (22) defend Missouri's Phil Pressey on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas players Brady Morningstar (12) and Marcus Morris (22) defend Missouri's Phil Pressey on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

As crazy as it sounds, this actually is illustrated in the free-throw percentages from this year.

Connelly made this great point in his preview on Monday, and rather than steal it and act like I'm smart, I'll quote him:

"Kansas' biggest defensive weakness seems to be that, like other recent Mizzou opponents, they foul guards a lot. They rank 230th in Def. FT%, which means they tend to send good shooters to the line. ...

"On offense, Kansas has the exact opposite problem — they don't send guards to the line very much. They rank 230th in Off. FT% because their most frequent foul shooters — Marcus Morris (66.4%), Markieff Morris (66.7%), Thomas Robinson (52.8%) — aren't very good."

What I take from that is this: If you're hoping for a huge improvement from KU's free-throw shooting this year, it's probably not going to happen because of the way the team is set up. KU's big men are the scorers, so they get fouled a lot.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris delivers two points in the second half against Missouri on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris delivers two points in the second half against Missouri on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

The twins/Robinson will need to shoot above-average from the line to make KU above-average from the line — an expectation that might not be reasonable.

Meanwhile, KU's defensive free-throw shooting could improve quite a bit with improved defense (and fewer fouls) from KU's guards. Thirteen of MU's 22 free throws last night were taken by guards, and not surprisingly, the Tigers shot a great percentage from the line (81.8 percent).

Tough-Luck Line

Tyshawn Taylor goes here after a tough shooting night, but honestly, his offensive numbers weren't as bad as I expected.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor drives through the lane against the Missouri defense in the first half on Monday February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor drives through the lane against the Missouri defense in the first half on Monday February 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

Taylor still posted 1.20 points per possession while ending 19.3 percent of KU's possessions — a number I would have assumed to be much higher with 14 shot attempts.

His eFG% was only 32.1 percent — lowest on the team — but Taylor did provide plenty of positives for KU against Missouri.

For one, he only turned it over two times in 35 minutes against the Tigers' pressure defense. Taylor, often criticized for his lack of focus, was a great primary ball-handler for KU on Monday.

Kansas guard Tyshwan Taylor drives against Missouri's Phil Pressey on Monday, Feb. 7th, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshwan Taylor drives against Missouri's Phil Pressey on Monday, Feb. 7th, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Richard Gwin

Taylor also had to play extended minutes because of a struggling Elijah Johnson, as Taylor's 35 minutes were his second-most all season.

Though Taylor's shot filter could have used a bit of tweaking against MU, he still provided enough in the other areas to make this a bit of a tough-luck, "Tough-Luck Line."

Bottom Line

KU's offense, right now, might be better than any Jayhawks offense we've seen in the last 15 years during conference play.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar connects on a three-pointer from the corner over Missouri forward Steve Moore during the first half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar connects on a three-pointer from the corner over Missouri forward Steve Moore during the first half on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

I went back and looked, and only two KU teams have put together five straight league games in that time frame with at least 1.20 points per possession: the 2001-02 Jayhawks and this year's Jayhawks.

Even that doesn't tell the whole story. That 2001-02 team — with Drew Gooden, Nick Collison and company — had three games during the five-game stretch when it posted less than 1.23 PPP (1.42, 1.22, 1.29, 1.21, 1.21).

This year's team has scored at least 1.23 PPP in each of its last five games (1.26, 1.23, 1.26, 1.25, 1.45).

In other words, enjoy this offense. It's going through one of the best five-game stretches in Big 12 history.

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Recap: Without Josh Selby, KU’s offense still spectacular

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 sounds crazy, I know. But is there even a possibility that KU was a better offensive team on Saturday with Josh Selby not playing?

First off, this is absolutely not intended to be a knock on Selby. He's shown unselfishness since joining the Jayhawks and a willingness to learn, especially defensively. He could have come in and demanded minutes/shots, etc., but from all appearances, he's been every bit the team player that KU coach Bill Self has wanted out of him.

Kansas guard Josh Selby, right, congratulates Brady Morningstar in the second half Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Kansas guard Josh Selby, right, congratulates Brady Morningstar in the second half Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. by Mike Yoder

Before his foot injury, Selby also played one of his best games as a Jayhawk against Texas Tech, which included a few times when he dove into the stands to try to steal passes.

Still, Selby's offensive production so far hasn't been what was expected. In fact, it might even be limiting the Jayhawks a bit.

Kansas guard Josh Selby runs over Colorado guard Cory Higgins on a drive in the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 at the Coors Events Center in Boulder. Selby was called for a charge on the play.

Kansas guard Josh Selby runs over Colorado guard Cory Higgins on a drive in the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 at the Coors Events Center in Boulder. Selby was called for a charge on the play. by Nick Krug

The whispers are out there. It started with SI.com's Luke Winn, who didn't put KU into his Magic Eight college basketball teams this year partly because "they've regressed a bit since adding freshman Josh Selby to the mix, and haven't been nearly as dominant as Texas has in the Big 12."

The creator of this blog, former Journal-World staffer Asher Fusco, chipped in Saturday with this on his Twitter account (@AsherFusco): "Quick pass/fail hoops IQ test: Based on performance, not pro potential, who would you take: Josh Selby or Brady Morningstar?"

Here are the advanced statistics for both right now, courtesy of Statsheet.com:

Honestly, it's hard to compare the two, because they have such different duties.

Morningstar is a role player, and he knows it. His job is to pass, defend and make open shots, and lately he's done that well, as shown by his 1.20 points per possession used (and the fact he's only ended 12.7 percent of KU's possessions this year).

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar shoots a three-pointer against Nebraska on Saturday,  Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. Morningstar led all scorers with 19 points and six assists.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar shoots a three-pointer against Nebraska on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. Morningstar led all scorers with 19 points and six assists. by Mike Yoder

Selby, meanwhile, has been a scorer and shot-taker his whole life, so it's not unexpected to see him with a high percentage of ended possessions (24.2 percent). That's going to make it tougher on him to keep his offensive rating high, as he's taking more shots and tougher shots and carrying a bigger offensive load.

His low points per possession used number, though (100.8, worst of the KU regulars), appears to show that his three-pointers made and high assist totals aren't compensating for his high number of turnovers and poor two-point percentage (40.3 percent, which is actually lower than his three-point percentage).

This isn't to say that Selby won't improve. I think we saw a bit of that early against Texas Tech when, in transition, Selby pulled up for a short shot in the lane instead of putting his head down and driving to the rim into a pair of defenders. He missed the shot, but it appeared to be a better decision than he'd been previously making on fast breaks.

This whole discussion is brought up again because of KU's offensive dominance against Nebraska in its 86-66 victory on Saturday.

Thomas Robinson, (0) dunks against the Cornhuskers Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Thomas Robinson, (0) dunks against the Cornhuskers Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. by Mike Yoder

The Jayhawks — without Selby — had arguably their best offensive performance of the year. KU's 1.25 points per possession came against a top-10 adjusted defensive efficiency team in Nebraska — a team that had held KU to 0.98 PPP in the teams' previous game.

Before the game, when thinking about my terrible upset pick (crow doesn't taste very good), I wondered whether Selby's absence helped or hurt NU's chances against KU. (Remember, in the last NU game, Selby was benched for the final 17 minutes after posting four turnovers in his 13 minutes.)

I'm not sure the answer is as easy as it seems.

Am I saying that KU would be better without Selby? Absolutely not. The Jayhawks need the depth in their backcourt, and the freshman also is a gifted scorer who has made improvements defensively.

But with Tyrel Reed and Morningstar playing so well lately, and Marcus and Markieff Morris and Thomas Robinson scoring so well, KU probably doesn't need Selby to try to be a hero offensively. A role player like Morningstar might be a better fit at times for KU's offense.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar drives the baseline around Nebraska's Lance Jeter during the second half Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar drives the baseline around Nebraska's Lance Jeter during the second half Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. by Mike Yoder

A few more made twos and a few fewer turnovers from Selby, and we're probably not having this conversation.

Bottom line: Selby can still play better. If he does, the Jayhawks will play better.

Until then, it will be interesting to see how Self handles Selby after the injury. The coach stuck with Morningstar through an early-season slump, and it's paying dividends now.

I wouldn't expect Self to give up on his prized freshman any time soon.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Maybe the easiest call of the year. Congratulations Brady Morningstar.

Kansas players Markieff Morris (21) and Brady Morningstar (12) celebrate a three-pointer by Morris during the second half Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. Morningstar led all KU scorers with 19 points, followed by Markieff with 17.

Kansas players Markieff Morris (21) and Brady Morningstar (12) celebrate a three-pointer by Morris during the second half Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. Morningstar led all KU scorers with 19 points, followed by Markieff with 17. by Mike Yoder

This is efficiency, folks: Morningstar posted 2.70 points per possession used while ending 10.9 percent of KU's possessions (a low number, but who produces 2.7 points per possession?). KU scored at least one point on 82.2 percent of the possessions he used.

Morningstar went 5-for-7 from three-point range while assisting on 33.1 percent of KU's made field goals while he was in. He also had no turnovers.

The senior guard is now 11-for-18 from three-point range (61.1 percent) in his last four games.

Room for Improvement

KU's offensive production was even more amazing considering just how poor its offensive rebounding was.

Kansas guard Mario Little collides with Nebraska's Ray Gallegos Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Kansas guard Mario Little collides with Nebraska's Ray Gallegos Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. by Mike Yoder

The Jayhawks came away with just 14.8 percent of the available offensive rebounds — their lowest offensive rebounding percentage in the last 15 years.

It actually gets uglier when you break it down. KU had just four offensive rebounds, and two of them were team rebounds, meaning Nebraska lost the ball out of bounds to give it back to KU.

So, in a game with a healthy number of possessions (69), KU's players only managed to put their hands on two offensive boards: one by Marcus Morris and one by Tyshawn Taylor.

This isn't going to be a big deal when KU posts an eFG% of 70.0, but the Jayhawks have shown a tendency to completely ignore the offensive glass in a few games this year. The UMKC game earlier this season (OR% of 18.5 percent) was KU's previous low in offensive rebounding percentage for a game in the last 15 years.

This hasn't bitten KU yet, but it's something to keep an eye on.

Tough-Luck Line

Tyshawn Taylor was one of the only Jayhawk regulars who wasn't "on" offensively against the Huskers.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris, left, shakes hands with Tyshawn Taylor, right, and points to teammate Brady Morningstar after Morris was fouled during the second half Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris, left, shakes hands with Tyshawn Taylor, right, and points to teammate Brady Morningstar after Morris was fouled during the second half Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. by Mike Yoder

Taylor posted just 0.94 points per possession used, while ending the highest percentage of possessions on the team (23.6 percent). When one of your least efficient players during a game uses the highest number of possessions, that's normally not going to be a good combination. KU scored at least one point on just 28.6 percent of Taylor's ended possessions.

For me, Taylor almost gets judged like basketball officials do: If you don't notice him, he has probably played a good game.

Unfortunately for Taylor, it was hard to not notice him offensively on Saturday. He made just 2 of 8 shots with three turnovers to go with five assists.

Like Selby, Taylor might benefit the offense by deferring a bit more and letting KU's efficient big men do more of the heavy lifting. Taylor's points per possession used this season (103.6) is second-lowest of players in the KU rotation, just ahead of Selby.

Bottom Line

Afterwards, Bill Self said his team's offense was great, and NU coach Doc Sadler said KU's first half "was about as good an offensive performance that I’ve coached against."

The advanced statistics support the coaches.

Marcus Morris salutes the crowd after the Jayhawks defeated the Cornhuskers on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011.

Marcus Morris salutes the crowd after the Jayhawks defeated the Cornhuskers on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. by Mike Yoder

KU's eFG% of 70.0 was its best mark of the season and the seventh-best shooting night for the Jayhawks under Self. KU also posted an impressive free-throw rate (free throw attempts/field goal attempts) of 73.3, the highest since the Cornell game last season.

Without Selby and without offensive rebounding a lick, KU posted 1.25 points per possession against a Nebraska defense that hadn't given up more than 1.09 PPP all year.

After going through a bit of an offensive slump, the Jayhawks have now posted at least 1.23 PPP in each of their last four games.

With that recent surge, KU has to be considered one of the three hottest teams in the country right now, along with Ohio State and Texas.

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OMG! What did you do with my LJWorld.com?

Well, we've done it again. We've taken your LJWorld.com and shaken things up a bit.

While we've been busying redoing KUsports.com, re-redoing lawrence.com, building and rebuilding WellCommons, venerable LJWorld.com has continued with almost no major changes in several years.

Today, however, that changes. We've unveiling a host of subtle changes that we think will make it easier for you to find the variety of content on a variety of topics that our journalists are creating. Here, in detail, are the biggest changes we've made. If you have feedback, questions, or concerns, feel free to post them below and Whitney, Ben Spaulding, our designer, or myself will try to get you answers.

So, the biggest change is "The Latest" — a constantly changing feed of the latest content from our staff. On the previous homepage, it was only a list of the latest stories and blogs on LJWorld.com. Now, it's a list of the latest multimedia content from any site in our network — and it can be a video, a photo gallery or even a special feature. Here's a before and after:

The new latest (left) vs. the old latest (right). We've included more media types in the feed, plus included links to content on the other sites in our family of sites.

The new latest (left) vs. the old latest (right). We've included more media types in the feed, plus included links to content on the other sites in our family of sites. by Jonathan Kealing

Next up, you'll notice in that same picture that we've added a third tab: a most discussed feed from lawrence.com and WellCommons. There's a lot of good content and good discussions on those sites and we want to put them in front of our largest audience, on LJWorld.com. We don't have KUsports.com discussions anywhere on the homepage yet, but we have some other plans for that, down the road.

In addition, you'll notice that we've rearranged and change our featured content boxes. Instead of being stacked down column two, they're now split between column two and column three, with sports and state government occupying prime positions. Next are our WellCommons and lawrence.com features, which replace the large WellCommons box and Arts and Entertainment feature we had on the old site. These link you directly to those two sites. Here's a before and after look at that.

The old version of features are at top, the new version is below. You can also see that we've moved our videos module down a bit, in acknowledgement that our videos will now also cycle through the latest.

The old version of features are at top, the new version is below. You can also see that we've moved our videos module down a bit, in acknowledgement that our videos will now also cycle through the latest. by Jonathan Kealing

The last significant move is the editorials, which have moved from under The Latest above the user blogs and letters to the editor. We think this reflects that all of this content is, fundamentally, opinion-based. In fact, in a previous iteration of the homepage, those two modules were located together. Here's a look at where you can find that content now.

The previous location of editorials, below, has been replaced by a new location near user blogs and letters to the editor, at top. It also helped make our columns more even!

The previous location of editorials, below, has been replaced by a new location near user blogs and letters to the editor, at top. It also helped make our columns more even! by Jonathan Kealing

That brings us to what didn't change. Most discussed is exactly where it has always been and its function is the exact same. The navigational bar is the same as well, though we do expect some changes there in the not-too-distant future. The top ads, visual tours and green edition remain where they've always been, as do our lists of special features, events and the ever-popular on the street question.

If I've missed something or you have a question or concern, leave it in the comments. I'll be checking in all night and again tomorrow to help out and take your feedback.

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Recap: Low-turnover KU a dangerous team offensively

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 didn't make my story Wednesday, but I thought Texas Tech guard John Roberson gave the Kansas men's basketball team a pretty high compliment following the Jayhawks' 88-66 victory on Tuesday.

"They weren’t going to take any bad shots. They’re a well-coached team," Roberson said. "It’s pretty hard guarding them for 35 seconds, and then going back on the offensive end and not getting the bucket, then you have to guard them again."

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor passes around the Texas Tech defense on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor passes around the Texas Tech defense on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. by Richard Gwin

Most fans want to talk about how much a team runs. Will the team play faster this year? Does it have the athleticism to win an up-and-back game? I even think most of KU coach Bill Self's excitement for this year's team was that he did have a squad full of players that can all move well.

It's interesting, because things seem a little backwards right now.

Yes, the Jayhawks are still running. They rank 37th in adjusted tempo, and if that number stands, it will be the fastest team Self has ever had at KU.

The weird thing, though, is that recently, this team is playing against its speediness: The Jayhawks are having trouble converting shots in transition, yet have been extremely efficient in a half-court game.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris throws down a dunk on Texas Techs D'walyn Roberts on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris throws down a dunk on Texas Techs D'walyn Roberts on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. by Richard Gwin

KU was perhaps better than it has been all season in a half-court set on Tuesday.

The Jayhawks turned it over just six times in a 70-possession game, which put their turnover percentage at a minuscule 8.6 percent.

Not only was that the second-lowest turnover percentage in a game for KU during Self's tenure — it also tied for the second-lowest turnover percentage for a KU team in the last 15 seasons.

KU's low turnover percentage didn't occur because of quick shots, either. The Jayhawks were patient offensively, worked the ball around and were able to get easy shots, as 48 of KU's 88 points came from in the paint.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris skies for two points over Texas Tech's Jaye Crockett on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris skies for two points over Texas Tech's Jaye Crockett on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. by Richard Gwin

KU coach Bill Self talked afterward about the difficulty of trying to defend post players when the ball is reversed to all sides of the floor.

The Jayhawks showed the patience to do that Tuesday night, along with the ability to take care of the basketball.

If that formula is replicated, opposing teams are going to have a hard time stopping KU's offense, especially with as much talent as the Jayhawks have in their frontcourt.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Marcus Morris had the best start, but Thomas Robinson wins the M.O.J. with the most complete performance.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson put in a bucket against Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson put in a bucket against Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. by Richard Gwin

Robinson posted 1.45 points per possessions used while ending an above-average number of possessions (24.4 percent). He scored at least one point on 82 percent of the possessions he used.

That was only the start of his contributions, though. Against a poor rebounding team in Tech, Robinson grabbed 15.4 percent of the available offensive rebounds and 30 percent of the available defensive rebounds, many times simply on effort alone.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson fights for a rebound with Texas Tech's Javarez Willis on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson fights for a rebound with Texas Tech's Javarez Willis on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. by Richard Gwin

I wasn't expecting to see Robinson's points per possession used that high, but there was one main difference between this game and others: He didn't hurt his efficiency at the free-throw line.

The sophomore forward was a perfect 5-for-5 from the stripe; it was only the third time this year he made all his free-throw attempts (and he's had 17 games where he's attempted at least one free throw).

Robinson also had no turnovers, and now has just one giveaway in his last 49 minutes played. If he continues that trend, there's no reason he can't be a player that averages 20 minutes per game for KU from here on out.

Room for Improvement

Again, this is nitpicky, but KU didn't offensive rebound as well as might have been expected against Texas Tech.

Kansas guard Mario Little fights for the ball with Texas Tech's David Tairu on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas guard Mario Little fights for the ball with Texas Tech's David Tairu on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. by Richard Gwin

KU pulled down 35.1 percent of the offensive rebounds, which was below the Jayhawks' season average (35.9 percent).

That number might not be so bad against a normal Big 12 opponent, but Texas Tech came in as the worst defensive rebounding team in the conference. The Red Raiders' opponents had come away with 36.5 percent of the available offensive rebounds this year, and KU (a good offensive rebounding team) couldn't get to that number.

Looking back at the stats, the problem seems to be in an unlikely place.

KU's bigs grabbed a combined 11 offensive rebounds (Markieff Morris 4, Robinson 3, Mario Little 2, Marcus Morris 1, Jeff Withey 1). KU also had two team offensive rebounds, which are ones that went out of bounds off Texas Tech.

That left KU's guards — Tyshawn Taylor, Tyrel Reed, Josh Selby, Royce Woolridge, Brady Morningstar, Elijah Johnson, Niko Roberts and Jordan Juenemann — to combine for zero offensive rebounds. None.

Obviously, guards aren't expected to get a lot of the loose offensive caroms, but it's rare to have a game were no KU guard even grabbed one — especially against a bad offensive rebounding team.

This won't matter much in a 22-point blowout, but it might indicate that KU's guards could do a bit more to try to gain their team some extra possessions.

Tough-Luck Line

For the third straight game, it's Tyrel Reed, though it's hard to know how much of this we can place directly on him.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed dribbles against Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed dribbles against Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. by Richard Gwin

After the game, Self said Reed had a sore foot that has been bothering him, and perhaps that is the reason for his recent cold shooting.

Reed posted 0.77 points per possession while ending 14.2 percent of KU's possessions in his 16 minutes. The senior made just 1 of 4 threes, and over his last three games, he's gone 4-for-15 from three-point range (26.7 percent).

Luckily for KU, Brady Morningstar has played some of his best basketball in the last three games to take some of the scoring pressure off of Reed.

Bottom Line

After a shaky start to the Big 12 season offensively, KU has responded with three strong offensive performances in a row.

Kansas freshman Josh Selby goes up for two points against Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas freshman Josh Selby goes up for two points against Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. by Richard Gwin

Against Texas Tech, KU put up 1.26 points per possession — its third-highest of the Big 12 season and its third straight game with at least 1.23 PPP.

Though the Jayhawks have oftentimes struggled this year with turnovers, they thrived Tuesday by taking care of the ball and also staying patient in half-court sets to make for easier feeds inside.

We'll see if the Jayhawks stick to the same gameplan Saturday against Nebraska — a team that will present much more of a defensive challenge inside.

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Great Expectations Now!

Wait until the next recruiting class, wait for the next great point guard, wait, wait, wait... I am so tired of waiting.

I am referring to the Kansas Women's Basketball team. It is time to expect great results. I once heard a player say in an interview that the women's basketball team expected to finish about 6th in the Big 12. This was a couple of years ago but that expectation hasn't changed. Every player on that team should say and believe that their goal is to finish first in the conference every season.

Our point guards struggle mightily. I thought that it might be the point guard coach but she left after last season. I am still seeing the same disappointing play this year even with 2 new assistant coaches. The guards are stifled during the game. The season always begins with hope as we watch the team run with reckless abandon scoring 85 points in a game even while turning the ball over too often. As the season progresses the coaching works its magic..hmm, hmm.. causing the scoring to decline and the wins to disappear. Point guard after point guard look to the sideline constantly. This creates a very disjointed, predictable, and boring offense. During a couple of the games the the ball was stolen while the point guards were waiting for the play call from the bench. The head coach always looks the same standing on the sideline with arms folded and a facial expression that says the game smells bad. Yes, sometimes my face probably has the same expression.

I must ask if the coach listens to her assistants. Do they actually agree with this process?

I like Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson and wish her only the very best but, as a long time season ticket holder, I EXPECT better results after 7 years, a large salary and incredible support.

The players work hard and do well in the classroom. The team graduated 7 people last spring which is excellent.

It is time for Great Expectations for the KU Women's Basketball team on the court and the results to go with them.

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