Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”

Cliff’s Notes: Turner Gill press conference, 9/7/10

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Turner Gill's comments at his weekly 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.

KU coach Turner Gill started his press conference by talking about positives: defense (only giving up six points is always a good effort), kickoff returns and kickoffs from freshman Ron Doherty.

Only positive from offense: KU knows where it stands now.

KU's defense will have to be disciplined against Georgia Tech's option. KU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush played Georgia Tech, so that will help with familiarity. KU cornerbacks coach Vic Shealy also worked at Air Force, so he has extensive knowledge of an offense similar to Georgia Tech's.

Gill says the keys to the game: 1. Score a touchdown and score often; 2. Limit big plays; 3. Be plus-two on turnover margin.

Tyrone Sellers is out for 3-4 weeks with a leg injury. Deshaun Sands is questionable with an injury.

Gill says the strength of his offense is the receivers and tight ends.

Gill rated his quarterbacks in the North Dakota State game as "OK, below average." OK, he says, is not good enough.

True freshman James Sims will play this week. Toben Opurum will not move back to running back.

Gill didn't think there was any lack of effort against NDSU. The loss was all about execution.

KU's defensive front has to be physical and technique-sound against an offense like Georgia Tech's. The safeties also have to make a lot of tackles.

Gill thinks James Sims is physical and has good feet. He also has good hands and can catch the ball.

Quarterbacks are still being evaluated. A decision on who will play will be made soon.

• Gill says he isn't necessarily for playing two quarterbacks. He wants to do what is going to make the team most successful.

• Gill says "it's possible" KU might have to be more of a passing team than running team this year so that the team plays to its strengths.

• Gill believes the guys were ready to play. The execution just wasn't there on a consistent basis.


KUSports game app now available in iTunes store

We here at are happy to announce that our KUSports Game Day app is now available in the iTunes store.

The app, which is free, supports iOS 4 on iPhone 3, 3G, 3GS and iPhone 4, as well as on iPod Touches and iPads running iOS 4. Compatibility with OS 3.0 is coming soon.

The KUsports Game Day App provides pre-game, in-game and post-game coverage, all at your fingertips. The app will bring you photos, stories, videos and audio and all of the KU coverage you've come to expect from

Then, when the game starts, you'll get live updates and also instant analysis from Tom Keegan, Matt Tait and myself. With the KUsports Game Day App, you’ll also see game photos from our photographers, including Nick Krug, and after the game you can check in for postgame videos, analysis, blogs and stories.

For those with standard cell phones, we still have the option of signing up for text and email alerts.

We're hoping the new addition of the KUSports app will enhance the experience for our KUSports fans, wherever they might be.


Cliff’s Notes: Turner Gill press conference, 8/31/10

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas football coach Turner Gill's comments at his weekly 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.

North Dakota State has beaten 3 FBS schools. That gets your attention.

NDSU has a balanced attack, but it can run downhill against you.

The first game is more special because Gill's oldest daughter attends KU. Everything else is like the other gameday preparations Gill has been through. Gill's mom and dad are coming to the game, and Gill doesn't think they've come to see him at one of his games since 1983.

Gill doesn't have any gameday superstitions. The night before the game, he reflects on the game, playing situations through his head. It doesn't always end up the way he plans, but he still tries to visualize what's going to happen.

No running back rotation is set. There's a game plan, though. Angus Quigley and Deshaun Sands will get the most carries.

No final decision has been made on true freshmen running backs Brandon Bourbon and James Sims regarding possible redshirts. That might not be decided until the end of the preseason.

Quigley is a tremendous leader. The fact that he was voted captain said a lot to Gill. Quigley's been through a lot. He can help guys persevere. He speaks a lot about what the KU football team is about.

For sure, true freshman defensive lineman Keba Agostinho will play, and either James Sims or Brandon Bourbon will play. Safety Keeston Terry might also play. Three to four true freshmen will probably play.

The one thing that makes Gill the most upset is when guys don't give effort. If they don't give effort, you don't have a chance.

Gill is just like everybody else: He most wants to see how his quarterback responds on game day.

Gill will be more involved in the offense than the defense on game day. Offensive coordinator Chuck Long will call plays. On defense, Gill might suggest blitzing more or less. On special teams, he might call for a trick play or fake. There are times when Gill shows more emotion on the sidelines during the games, which might not be like his normal demeanor.


KU fans: Meet your new basketball anthem

The Newell Post usually doesn't dabble in music, but this will be an exception.

A song by Krizz Kaliko will probably be one most KU fans will want to know about. Krizz Kaliko, a rapper from Kansas City, Mo., has produced a new song called "Game On" which is a tribute to the Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team.

I have to admit that the song has a catchy beat and also a professional sound to it. You can listen to it below (don't worry, it's safe for work without any curse words).

Krizz Kaliko, who also has collaborated with K.C. rapper Tech N9ne in the past, made the song available for free download online, in case you're interested in putting the song on your iPod or iTunes.

We'll probably hear much more of this tune when the season gets here, as I can't imagine that Rock Chalk Video wouldn't want to use it for some pump-up videos at Allen Fieldhouse.


Here’s a chance to win a Pachamama’s gift card — just for checking our work

I love to give stuff away.

Books, shirts, coffee mugs and concert tickets. You name it, if we get it, I want to give it to you, our loyal users.

Today, I'm announcing a new giveaway. I'm calling it the Restaurant Database Check Up. The prize is one of two $20 gift cards to Pachamama's Restaurant.

All you have to do is check our work (clever headline, no?). Over the past three weeks, we've been working hard to prune our restaurant database. We've taken out some closed restaurants and added some new ones we were missing.

Now it's time for you to tell us what we're still missing. Full details for the contest are available over on the entry page, but the most important detail is you have from today through next Friday at 5 p.m. to get any error reports in.

Since we launched this contest via social media last night, we've received nearly 10 entries. But I'm sure there are a couple more out there. So, if you want a chance at one of two $20 Pachamama's gift cards, check your favorite restaurants in our restaurant database and let us know what still is missing.

Happy hunting!


Jayhawk Flashback: Kenny Gregory earns bragging rights in KU’s 1999 home win over Ohio State

After reading Gary Bedore's update on former KU player Kenny Gregory this week, I figured Gregory would be a good topic for the latest Jayhawk Flashback. When talking with Gary, former KU center Eric Chenowith said one of the best games he remembered from Gregory was his 17-point performance against Ohio State in KU's 80-67 victory during his junior year (Dec. 16, 1999).

The highlights of the game are below.

Some thoughts:

This game was more significant for Gregory because it was against his hometown university (Gregory is from Columbus, Ohio) and because his parents also were in the stands (you can see them in the video).

The contest also was against former high-school teammate George Reese and high school rival Michael Redd.

Gregory also had taken some flak back home, as OSU had made the Final Four the previous year even after Gregory had decided not to go there. He even played pickup ball with some of the Buckeye players that summer.

Ohio State's George Reese (40) found his path to the hoop blocked
by Kansas' Kenny Gregory, right, and Eric Chenowith last year. KU
defeated the Buckeyes, 80-67, last Dec. 16 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Ohio State's George Reese (40) found his path to the hoop blocked by Kansas' Kenny Gregory, right, and Eric Chenowith last year. KU defeated the Buckeyes, 80-67, last Dec. 16 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Journal-World File Photo

"We spent all offseason arguing who is going to win and who will lose. The most important thing is about bragging rights," Gregory said before the game. "Hopefully I can go home for Christmas with something to talk about. I don't think I can go home with a loss."

Gregory made 8 of his 11 shots against the Buckeyes in his 17-point effort.

Ohio State's two best players didn't have their best games against KU.

Point guard Scoonie Penn finished with 19 points, but he made just 5 of 23 shots.

His teammate, Michael Redd (before becoming a $100-million man) scored 20 points on 7-for-17 shooting. He was 3-for-9 from three-point range.

The Buckeyes' bench, meanwhile, combined for just two points and two rebounds.

"It was one of the best defensive jobs done on us," OSU coach Jim O'Brien said. "They just take you right out of what you want to do. Their pressure was very hard to play against."

It's almost weird to see both Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison on this team. Because those two were defined so much by what they accomplished in 2002 and (especially) 2003, it's almost hard to remember that they still played with guys like Gregory, Chenowith and Nick Bradford.

Kansas seniors Kirk Hinrich, left, and Nick Collison salute the crowd during a flower-showering ceremony before Saturday's game against Oklahoma State.

Kansas seniors Kirk Hinrich, left, and Nick Collison salute the crowd during a flower-showering ceremony before Saturday's game against Oklahoma State. by Jesse Newell

Speaking of Hinrich, he played despite taking an elbow to the right eye from teammate Ashante Johnson at practice the day before.

"I took a pretty good shot. I drove past Drew (Gooden) and pump faked. Ashante cracked my head," Hinrich said. "I was really dizzy (Wednesday), but I never felt I was seriously hurt. The doctor said it was either a first- or second-degree concussion."

KU coach Roy Williams made sure to reiterate after the game that Hinrich had been completely cleared to play by doctors.

The Jayhawks' weren't shy about firing up long three-pointers, huh?

Luke Axtell looks amazing in this video, which includes his 25-foot trey in the first half, and Jeff Boschee later adds a heat-check three of his own.

You have to think Williams wasn't happy with either of the shots when they were first hitched up.

Anyone else notice all the Santa hats in the background? I know it's December, but is the 16th really that close to Christmas?

After watching this several times, I'm convinced OSU's Ken Johnson (2:14 mark)

and former KU receiver Dezmon Briscoe

are long-lost brothers.

How does official Steve Welmer manage to sneak into almost all the Jayhawk Flashbacks?

Kansas State head coach Jim Wooldridge argues with game official Steve Welmer after being called for a technical foul in the first half.

Kansas State head coach Jim Wooldridge argues with game official Steve Welmer after being called for a technical foul in the first half. by Nick Krug

Great pass by Bradford at the 2:45 mark, though honestly, it looks like he didn't know what he was going to do with the ball until the very last instant.

KU had 12 steals in the game, with Axtell and Bradford swiping three apiece.

In case you were wondering, Gregory and the Jayhawks also defeated the Buckeyes in the return trip to Columbus the next season.

KU led by 15 with 12 minutes left before holding on to a 69-68 victory on Dec. 23, 2000.

As time expires on his homecoming in Columbus, Ohio, KU's Kenny
Gregory (20) tosses the ball in the air as teammate Kirk Hinrich
celebrates. The Jayhawks managed a 69-68 victory over Ohio State on

As time expires on his homecoming in Columbus, Ohio, KU's Kenny Gregory (20) tosses the ball in the air as teammate Kirk Hinrich celebrates. The Jayhawks managed a 69-68 victory over Ohio State on Saturday. by Earl Richardson/Journal-World Photo


Football 101: KU offensive lineman Brad Thorson discusses his craft

Let's face it: A lot of us don't know as much about the game of football as we should.

We've always heard that receivers should catch the ball with their hands and not their bodies. And we know running backs should run with the ball in their outside arms. And throwing the ball away is often a smart decision by quarterbacks.

But how much do we really know about the techniques used by offensive linemen?

To help enlighten us, I tracked down Kansas University right tackle Brad Thorson for a few extra minutes during Big 12 media days last week in Irving, Texas.

KU offensive lineman Brad Thorson talks during a radio interview at Big 12 media days in Irving, Texas.

KU offensive lineman Brad Thorson talks during a radio interview at Big 12 media days in Irving, Texas. by Jesse Newell

In the two videos below, Brad goes through both run blocking and pass blocking, giving us some in-depth analysis about what he sees as an offensive lineman, what skills are most important and where he positions his feet, hands and arms in different situations.

Hopefully, by the end, you'll know a little more about the offensive line position when watching KU in 2010.

Run Blocking*

* — Notice that Brad talks quite a bit about inside and outside zones. Here's an explanation of zone runs for those wanting to know more.

Pass blocking


Easy steps to control your notification settings

With the new blog technology we introduced last week, you now have the ability to get notifications whenever anyone comments on your blog entries.

This can be both helpful and insanely annoying, so I'm sure you want to know how to control this setting.

It's easy, with the advent of the Inbox. In addition to controlling your notification settings, you can also control whether private messages from other users go to your e-mail, or just stay in your Inbox. You can also receive notices when a user "follows" you. At the moment, we don't have following enabled on, but intend to in the future.

Following allows a user to easily find the comments or blog posts another user has made, without searching the site for them.

So, to control your notifications, first go up to the dropdown menu next to your username:

The dropdown menu contains links to all the important controls for your account, including the new Inbox features.

The dropdown menu contains links to all the important controls for your account, including the new Inbox features. by Jonathan Kealing

Then, click on Inbox & settings. That takes you to a page that looks like this:

The Inbox lets you choose how you want to receive each of the different notifications the site sends. It also gives you one place to look at old messages or notifications you've received.

The Inbox lets you choose how you want to receive each of the different notifications the site sends. It also gives you one place to look at old messages or notifications you've received. by Jonathan Kealing

Check the appropriate check boxes and you're all set. As usual, let me know if you have questions.


COMPLETED: Some site maintenance coming about 12:45

1 p.m. update: We've now completed this maintenance.

We'll be doing some maintenance on all of our sites at 12:45 this afternoon, meaning our sites may go down for as much as 10 minutes at that time.

Since midnight, we've been getting sporadic site overload errors that last a minute or less. To correct that problem, we're switching to a back-up server. That can't be done seamlessly however, leading to the downtime.

We try to avoid maintenance in the middle of the day, but because of when this problem cropped up, it's unavoidable.

We regret this problem and appreciate your patience.

Our sites include:,,,,,,,,,,,, and


In case you missed it: KU and college football talk for those at work

OK, so you saw the latest Spodcasters episode with Bill Connelly of Football Outsiders on, but you never took the time to listen to it.

Now, you’re at work, and you can’t listen for fear that your boss might fire you if you put in headphones.

No problem. Below, I’ve summarized some of the most interesting things I took from the chat with Connelly earlier this week.

For those that don’t know, Connelly studies the advanced statistics in college football and writes for the college portion of the 2010 Football Outsiders Almanac, which was released last week.

Here are some of the topics we discussed.

Two of the best predictive factors for a college football team’s future success is past success (especially in the last three to five years) and recent recruiting rankings.

In the Football Outsiders Almanac, KU has a predicted mean win total of 7.4. The numbers project a 7-5 record for the Jayhawks and a 5-3 record in conference, which would put them at second place in the Big 12 North.

Because the FO Almanac is based all on statistics, the projections don’t take into account coaching changes (like KU’s). Connelly believes a lot of times when a coaching change occurs, expectations lower in the first year. For the Almanac, KU’s program (recent history) rank was 39th, and its recruiting rank was 41st. Because those are two of the best predictive factors of future success, KU ranks relatively high (49th) in the preseason ranking.

• KU’s schedule ranking in the FO Almanac was 38th last year. This year, it’s 89th. Obviously, that makes for many more winnable games this season.

• Schedule often plays a bigger factor than we give it credit for. Connelly brought up the example of Tennessee. Though the Volunteers are ranked 20th in the FO Almanac, they play seven top-25 teams this year. Because of that, UT is only projected to go 7-5 (like KU) even though its projected ranking is much higher.

Another positive KU has going for it is recent offensive success. Though KU had a “down” year offensively last season, the Jayhawks still ranked 42nd in the FO Almanac’s offensive rating.

Though Todd Reesing, Kerry Meier, Dezmon Briscoe and Jake Sharp are all gone from last year’s team, the Almanac only takes into account lost starters. KU did lose big names, but the Jayhawks still return seven offensive starters and seven defensive starters.

A team like Texas may fall back a bit offensively because of extreme success on passing downs*. Last year, the Longhorns ranked 12th in the Almanac’s offensive rating, but second in passing downs. Passing downs success is usually not something that is sustainable from year to year.

* — Passing downs are second-and-8 or more, third-and-5 or more, fourth-and-5 or more.

“Kansas, on the other hand, despite Meier and Briscoe, they weren’t too successful on passing downs,” Connelly said. “Their overall offensive success seemed a little maintainable, but obviously, that’s going to depend upon Johnathan Wilson, Toben Opurum and all the new skill position players to at least maintain a little bit of that.”

KU needs most improvement in rush defense. The Jayhawks ranked 112th in the Almanac’s rush defense rating, which was easily last in the Big 12.

“That’s a case where returning most of your defensive line, which Kansas does this year ... really might not be a good thing,” Connelly said. “They really need help on the defensive line and in the front seven overall.”

In comparison, KU’s pass defense ranked 53rd in the Almanac.

“(The Jayhawks) gave up a ton of yards on first down. They gave up a ton of yards on the ground. ... It just really handicapped Kansas overall,” Connelly said. “ ... When you struggle against the run so much, you have to overcompensate, and it makes you vulnerable in passing situations as well.”

Two other factors that are usually not easily repeatable year to year by teams are fumbles and interceptions. The percentage of fumbles recovered in a year is, for the most part, is out of a team’s control, but it can have a huge impact on the final record of a team.

The FO Almanac rankings are not kind to Kansas State, which is predicted to go 4-8 overall and 1-7 in conference. Part of that is KSU’s program hasn’t been successful in recent years (program rank of 72nd) and also hasn’t recruited at an extremely high level either (recruiting rank of 54th).

KSU’s underlying numbers last year weren’t great either, as the Almanac’s numbers ranked the Wildcats’ defense 93rd and their pass defense 104th, while KSU’s offense was ranked 95th.

“There’s no way they should have won six games last year,” Connelly said. “The numbers aren’t sympathetic to a coach being able to pull a magic act.”

How did KSU do it? The Wildcats had a great turnover margin (+7) and also played two FCS opponents.

“They seemed to outperform what the statistics would have suggested,” Connelly said. “Part of that could be (KSU coach) Bill Snyder. Really good coaches, you can overachieve you projections because you know how to win close games.”

Another team that is being projected to fall back this year is Iowa State, which the Almanac projects at 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the Big 12.

The Cyclones haven’t had much recent success (81st in the Almanac’s program rank); they also forced more fumbles last year than any team in the nation.

“It’s just really hard to duplicate that as your main mode for success,” Connelly said.

Connelly’s research has shown that lost talent on the offensive line doesn’t have as much of an effect on a team as many people would think. That’s part of the reason that Texas Tech (No. 16) and Oklahoma State (No. 32) have such high rankings in the Almanac despite having inexperience up front.

Texas Tech’s high ranking has a lot to do with its recent success (Almanac’s program ranking of 16th) and a top-40 ranking in recruiting.

Though many people do not believe recruiting rankings mean much, Connelly’s research shows that they actually are somewhat reliable when predicting a team’s future. OSU coach Mike Gundy has recruited extremely well in the last five years (24th in Almanac’s recruiting ranking), and the Cowboys’ defense was actually its strength last year, whether people realized it or not (19th in Almanac’s defensive ranking).

“If they can make something out of the offensive line, they have talent everywhere else,” Connelly said.

Connelly’s research has shown that college players make the most improvement between their freshman and sophomore seasons and also their sophomore and junior seasons.


Transfer could bring spark to KU basketball

I've got good news for Kansas fans. I know of a college basketball transfer* who wants to play at KU.

He played major Division I basketball last year and is looking for more minutes this upcoming season.

He's also a big man. And after KU losing Cole Aldrich to the NBA, the Jayhawks could use a talented big guy in the middle.

This player only received limited minutes last year at his school, but in the time he was in, he put up some impressive numbers.

Here are some of his statistics compared to Aldrich last year.

As you can see, many of Player X's statistics were eerily similar to Aldrich's last year.

Ready for more good news? He'll be eligible next year for the Jayhawks. That's because he's already on the team.

That's right, "Player X" is Jeff Withey.

* — Sorry, I had to be tricky or you weren't going to be surprised.

Now I know I'm basing these numbers off an unfair sample size that is way too small to come to definite conclusions (45 minutes for Withey last year). And, yes, Withey did make it into the game for mop-up duty quite a few times.

Withey still performed best during the games he received extended minutes. In 12 minutes against Iowa State, he scored eight points (4-for-6 shooting) to go with five rebounds, a block and turnover. In nine minutes against Nebraska, he posted four points (1-for-3 shooting) to go with six rebounds, two blocks, one steal and no turnovers.

Also, because he was only eligible at semester, 13 of the 15 games he played in were during the Big 12 season or later.

One of KU's major needs next year will be a defensive presence in the middle. The Jayhawks were the top team in the nation in two-point field-goal percentage last season, and Aldrich was the main reason for that by blocking and altering shots as a defensive presence inside.

Judging from his block and rebounding numbers above, Withey has the potential to be that kind of defensive player for KU next season.

Should KU expect the same statistical production out of Withey with more minutes next season? Probably not.

Still, the seven-footer deserves a chance to see if he can keep his Aldrichian pace with extended playing time in 2010-11.


Announcing a change at

Two years.

I've been wrangling comments and commenters and breaking news and other things online for two full years now. I finally feel like I've developed a rhythm.

That's twice as long as I've held any specific job — so that means, of course, it's time for a change.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be training Whitney Mathews to be our company's new online editor. Meanwhile, I'll be stepping into a new role as the company's assistant director of media strategy.

What does that mean? Well, for me, it means I'm stepping away from the day-to-day operations of, in favor of a more strategic and longterm focus. I'll monitor our growth and work with Whitney to continue to make a better place for news and community. You'll probably still see me posting in the comments from time-to-time, but not as often as before.

More broadly, I'll spend most of my time working to nurture our niche sites, including WellCommons, plus work on other projects that we're not quite ready to talk about. I'll also coordinate with the folks in our advertising department to make sure our websites are not only useful to all of you, but also to local businesses.

I'm excited for the new challenge and increased responsibility, but I'm being honest when I say I'll miss the relationships I've built with many of you. But I don't feel too bad because I'm really not going anywhere, just juggling what I do.

If you have any questions for me, or for Whitney, get in touch. We're always looking for your feedback.


Which conference has more prestige: new Big 12 or new Pac-10?

When all the conference realignment shakes out, who will have the better conference: the Big 12 or the Pac-10?

There are a million different ways to try to determine the answer, but ESPN has come up with an interesting way of looking at things: trying to determine which conference has more "prestige" schools.

On the site, ESPN is asking fans to rank the 21 teams in the Big 12 and Pac-10 "in order of the prestige you think they bring to the college sports scene."

I have to admit that the results are pretty intriguing.

Keep in mind that fans are voting on prestige and not the actual wins and losses of each athletic team. Prestige, to me, relates more to the fans' perception of a university's athletic department.

Here are the results as of 2 p.m. Thursday:

  1. Texas
  2. USC
  3. Oklahoma
  4. UCLA
  5. Oregon
  6. California
  7. Texas A&M
  8. Stanford
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Kansas
  11. Washington
  12. Arizona
  13. Texas Tech
  14. Missouri
  15. Arizona State
  16. Oregon State
  17. Kansas State
  18. Colorado
  19. Baylor
  20. Iowa State
  21. Washington State

A few thoughts right away:

To me, this explains why a lot of national media attention was focusing specifically on whether Kansas was going to get left out of the realignment picture. According to this public opinion ranking on ESPN, KU is in the top half of the 21 schools listed.

Even though KU struggled in most sports in 2009-10, the perception of it being a strong athletic department hasn't seemed to change much in the public's eye.

Unfortunately for KU fans, "prestige" doesn't mean as much to potential conferences as "TV markets available" in this age of college athletics.

Though many KU fans were worried (and for good reason) about the conference realignment possibilities, KU actually might have been in the best shape of the "Forgotten Five" — KU, Missouri, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State.

Looking at these public opinion rankings, KU is higher than the other four, though Missouri (14th) isn't too far behind.

Kansas State (17th), Baylor (19th) and Iowa State (20th) would have had more reason to worry that if the Big 12 dissolved, they might have been headed for a lesser conference.

The Pac-10 is getting one school from the Big 12 (Colorado), but its public-opinion ranking isn't exactly stellar (18th). The Buffs did seem to jump pretty quickly when the offer was given to join the Pac-10.

So, as of now, which new conference has the most prestige?

For help with that answer, I gave a point value to every school based on their prestige ranking. Texas received 21 points, USC 20 points and so on, all the way down to Washington State with 1 point.

Here's how the conferences ranked:

Big 12 (without Colorado) — 10 teams, 107 points (10.7 prestige points per team)
Pac-10 (with Colorado) — 11 teams, 124 points (11.3 points per team)

If you look at things that way, the Pac-10 edges out the Big 12 in terms of average prestige ranking.

In case you were wondering, if the Pac-10 had become the Pac-16 (adding Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech as was first rumored), its prestige ranking would have jumped from 11.3 points per team to 12.6 points per team.

It's hard to blame Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott for trying to enhance his conference by extending an invitation to some of the most highly thought-of teams in the Big 12.


Cliff’s Notes version: Lew Perkins press conference, 6/16/2010

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins' comments at his press conference today.

Full audio has been posted.

Perkins says KU is unbelievably happy that all 10 schools were able to stay together in the Big 12. There's lots of value in that.

In Perkins' opinion, it is one of the greatest things to happen in intercollegiate athletics in a long time. Ten is a great number for the Big 12. Some things are still unanswered, and the league is trying to work through those as quickly as possible. Basically, it's like starting a new conference with all the details that still need to be worked out. This will not be finished for a long time.

One of the questions he gets asked most is about the conference name. Perkins doesn't know the answer, and he believes everyone in the league will have to talk about whether a name change is needed.

Though he thinks many of the reporters will want to know about the numbers, Perkins doesn't have completely accurate numbers right now. Things could change over time. He doesn't think any Big 12 schools would have accurate numbers right now.

No one in the Big 12 is interested in expansion right now. The schools like having 10 teams. Perkins believes that perhaps this could start a trend for schools to go smaller. KU coach Bill Self said it well yesterday when he talked about the new Big 12 being like the old Big Eight.

KU worked hard behind the scenes to keep this thing together. There are always going to be disagreements. That's never going to go away. But Perkins came away thinking this was the best thing for the Big 12, for the 10 teams still involved and for intercollegiate athletics.

Perkins believes the basketball league will be stronger.

Perkins said he kept KU's coaches in the loop throughout the process as much as he could.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe deserves to be thanked. He has been blamed for a lot of things, but he and his staff might have saved intercollegiate athletics as we see it today. Perkins doesn't think the change would have been best for the student athletes involved.

KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was a rock star, and she and Perkins were in constant contact through the whole process.

• If Perkins ever had to "go to war," he'd want to do so with Kansas State's president Kirk Schulz and KSU athletic director John Currie. Everything between KU and KSU was done step in step.

As the five "leftover" Big 12 schools looked at things — Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor and Missouri — they came up with a business plan to try to keep the Big 12 together. Perkins compared it to a starting five of players and an institution trying to keep a good basketball coach. The schools knew what the other schools were being offered by other conferences.

The five leftover schools then tried to figure out what they had to do to keep those other schools on board. Perkins said that the five leftover schools agreed to help subsidize the other three schools — Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M — if they didn't make a certain number of dollars. The "leftovers" were going to make more money with 10 teams in the Big 12 than if they were left on their own. At the end of the day, the leftover schools might have to pay a little bit, and they might not have to pay anything. Those leftover schools will guarantee, though, that those other schools would make at least what they would have made elsewhere.

The five leftover schools hope they won't have to give additional funds to the other three schools. That's not guaranteed, though. Time will tell. The agreement just allows the leftover schools to guarantee that the Big 12 schools that were thinking about leaving, even with a worst-case scenario, will make at least as much money as they would have made in other conferences.

The Big 12 schools signed an agreement to stay in the conference 10 years. If other things happen, it could be longer. Perkins says he has no reason to fear that any other Big 12 team will bolt on the league. All indications are that the teams are in the Big 12 for the long haul.

Perkins says his only concern was the Big 12 during the process. His only concern now is the Big 12. He won't address the other hypotheticals and things that might have taken place in previous weeks. Everything else is meaningless now.

Perkins says not to focus on liquidating damages. It's a non-factor in this whole situation.

Perkins says it doesn't matter if this situation could have been averted. It doesn't matter now. There are a lot of coulda, woulda, shouldas. Things happen. Everybody wants to point a finger at somebody. Perkins says he's not going to worry about yesterday. He feels good that the 10 teams are in this for the long haul.

Perkins' guess is that it's going to take a year to put everything in the Big 12 back together, because the conference is starting at zero.

Scheduling is very important, but no one has gotten that far yet.

A previous version of this entry incorrectly quoted Perkins' description of KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. He actually called her a rock star, as is reflected above.


Want to win in the Big 12? Turner Gill’s time might have to be next year

For the last two seasons, the Kansas football team combined to go just 13-12, but it also did something that many might have overlooked.

It bore the brunt of a brutal conference schedule.

During the two-year swing, the Jayhawks' three opponents in the Big 12 South were Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech — the "big three" football powers in the South.

The reward for KU was going to be the 2010 and 2011 seasons. KU's slate was poised to get much easier, as Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State were going to be substituted for UT, OU and TTU in the schedule.

With the recently rescued Big 12, though, KU will only be paid 50 cents on the dollar for going through murderer's row the last two years.

Though KU will have its normal 2010 schedule, the 2011 schedule will be greatly altered because of the new 10-team format. The Jayhawks will now play every Big 12 opponent in football every season.

So how does 2011 change? Just take a look at what KU's final nine games would have been, and what they will be now. The changed games are in bold:

2011 original schedule

Non-conference opponent
vs. Baylor
@ Kansas State
@ Texas A&M
vs. Iowa State
@ Colorado*
vs. Nebraska
@ Oklahoma State
vs. Missouri

2011 new schedule

vs. Baylor
@ Kansas State
@ Texas A&M
vs. Iowa State
@ Oklahoma State
vs. Missouri
Texas Tech

* — I'm assuming Colorado leaves the Big 12 after the 2010 season, which is now being speculated in some news sources.

** — The sites/dates of the Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma games have not been determined.

As you can see, the "new" Big 12 makes things way, way more difficult for KU in 2011.

Essentially, KU is "trading" a non-conference game, a winnable game at Colorado and a game at Nebraska for three games against Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma.


I've been one to say that expectations should be tempered for KU coach Turner Gill's first year at KU. Not only is there an adjustment period to a new staff, but KU also has to replace a ton of lost starters at the skill positions, especially on offense. I was thinking any bowl game would be a success.

Now, though, it's all about opportunity. And as crazy as it sounds, KU's best opportunity to make a serious run in the Big 12 might be next season.

Though everything might not be set up perfectly for Gill next season, KU gets to avoid Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma one last time.

Take another look at KU's 2010 schedule.

2010 schedule

vs. North Dakota State
vs. Georgia Tech
@ Southern Miss
vs. New Mexico State
@ Baylor
vs. Kansas State
vs. Texas A&M
@ Iowa State
vs. Colorado
@ Nebraska
vs. Oklahoma State
vs. Missouri

I'm thinking an "average" team would finish with as many wins against the 2010 schedule as a "good" team would finish against the 2011 schedule.

It's extremely likely, then, that KU could be better in 2011, but have a much worse record than 2010.

Ready or not, KU's time to make a serious run in the Big 12 might be now.

The Jayhawks won't be able to hide from the powers of the Big 12 South much longer.


Cliff’s Notes version: Bill Self and Turner Gill press conference, 6/15/2010

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self and KU football coach Turner Gill's comments at their press conference today.

Full audio has been posted.

KU men's basketball coach Bill Self

KU is better off than it's ever been. That's not a knock to the schools leaving. For basketball, this is the old Big Eight. This is the old ACC. Everybody plays everybody else twice. This will enhance recruiting and revenue. Teams will get into rivalries playing twice per year.

Self gets to sell to every kid in Texas that he is going home four times per year.

Texas has been a state that Self has dabbled in, but he says KU will have more of a presence down there now. Those kids will be more excited to play at KU, as they'll know they'll get to play near home more often.

Self likes that KU's schedule is tougher, because KU will be more hardened. If the Big 12 was the No. 1 in RPI last year, then the conference RPI strength went even higher with the new conference.

In basketball, you lose something with the shift to 10 teams, but look what you pick up. You play all the South teams twice per year. A lot of credit needs to go to the Big 12 commissioner. He has elevated himself in a positive way. The athletic directors that didn't panic also deserve credit. There's something to be said that there was an anchor and foundation that kept everyone together.

Self doesn't think the Big 12 is now the "Texas+9" conference. The decision-making power is not at the coach's level. All the coaches were hopeful that the Big 12 would stay intact. Self doesn't think people should be bitter over things that happened over what they can control. An offer was presented, and the schools chose to remain loyal to the Big 12. The end result speaks volumes. You can't blame schools for listening to offers.

The appearance was that the Big 12 was imploding, but the commissioner never changed his stance. Good leadership prevailed in the whole thing. If there are problems in the future, fans in the area should know that there is good leadership in the Big 12.

KU went through a period of time where they were duds. For a period of time, it was like, "What's going to happen next?" Self feels like that time is behind KU. He doesn't see those things being a problem in the future. This is a big momentum boost for KU.

Self believes the league can be even more competitive and, for KU, it will be much easier to have serious rivalries from teams outside the Big Eight area.

Self is most satisfied with win where you come back in the second half to win. This conference scenario is like that kind of win. It didn't look good for a long time, but the Big 12 pulled it off.

Self has always been told if you like your A.D., president and the people you work with, why would you want to leave? Self feels like that's what happened with the Big 12. At the end, there was no reason for those teams to move elsewhere.

KU basketball fans didn't circle Nebraska or Colorado on the calendar. That's not a knock on them. But KU could pick up more intense rivalries, for example, with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. From KU's standpoint, playing some of the South schools twice will enhance the rivalry.

KU football coach Turner Gill

Gill said the new conference couldn't have been drawn up any better for KU.

Losing Nebraska hurts national exposure, but other things with the change will help KU in the long term.

Gill has respect for all the teams that did what they had to do. Everyone has to look out for themselves.

The Big 12 is stronger today. By bringing up the negatives, some of the necessary issues were brought up.

Gill was excited and pleased when he heard the news that the Big 12 was staying together. He was pleased with the job the commissioner did. Gill learned the news while working camps and recruiting.

Even with all the turmoil, Gill had high-school kids commit to KU and had kids that wanted to be in Lawrence. There were a lot of good things going on during that time.

The Nebraska game this year won't be a big deal for Gill. KU will try its best to win that game and then move on.

Gill hasn't thought about the possibility of playing NU after it leaves the conference.


Could Allen Fieldhouse host an NCAA Tournament play-in game?

I came across something interesting when reading the latest blog post from ESPN's Andy Katz.

As we know, the NCAA Tournament will transition from 65 to 68 teams next year, meaning there will be four opening-round games instead of one.

Here is the paragraph from Katz' article that especially caught my eye.

The consensus seems to be that the opening-round games would remain in Dayton, Ohio. But [St. Joseph's coach Phil] Martelli said Saint Joe's athletic director Don DiJulia suggested that they move them to historical buildings like the Palestra in Philadelphia or Phog Allen in Lawrence, Kan., to give the games even more meaning.

I had never heard anything about this, but I think the idea is intriguing. I'm guessing this option would most likely be put in place if the four opening-round games pitted 16 seeds vs. 17 seeds (usually the conference tournament champions of the smaller, one-bid leagues). For those teams, playing an NCAA Tournament game at Allen Fieldhouse would probably be a much better reward than playing in a mostly empty Dayton arena.

Keep in mind that this would take some cooperation on KU's part as well. In the last few years, the KU women's basketball team has hosted quite a few WNIT games in the Fieldhouse, so hosting a men's NCAA Tournament play-in game might mean KU could lose the opportunity to host one of its own teams' games in Lawrence.

I would be interested to hear how KU fans would feel about this. Would they be in favor of hosting an NCAA play-in game? Would they attend an opening-round game between two smaller schools that had played their way into the NCAA Tournament? Would the game sell out? Would people care about it? Would some show up just to give the smaller teams the "true" Allen Fieldhouse experience?

Though this change of venues is only one athletic director's idea at this point, I'd say the possibilities with it are interesting to say the least.


Jayhawk Flashback: “Shorts on backwards!”

We're going back 11 years for this week's "Jayhawk Flashback."

Kansas' 67-66 overtime victory over Oklahoma State on Feb. 22, 1999, was made memorable for another reason: Oklahoma State's Doug Gottlieb came out with his shorts on backwards.

Highlights of the game are below:

Some thoughts:

In case you were wondering, Gottlieb later said he did not put his shorts on backwards on purpose.

Gottlieb, a current ESPN analyst, has dealt with being the "Shorts on Backwards" guy pretty well. He even references the incident in this article while complimenting KU fans, saying the Jayhawks have "maybe the most adoring, knowledgeable fans in college hoops."

For the record, I was able to talk to Gottlieb when he was in Lawrence a few months ago, and he's a great guy. From talking to Gottlieb for a few minutes, you can tell he truly cares about his craft and watches a ton of college basketball games to gain the insight that he has.

I'm so glad to see the game-opening highlight from Jelani Janisse, as I've been waiting a long time to share this Slamball highlight video of him.

In the league, he was known as "The Sheriff."

Man, whatever happened to Slamball? I'm not too proud to say that I was a fan back in the day, mostly because of the vicious dunks those guys threw down.

Any lipreaders reading the blog? What is it, exactly, that KU coach Roy Williams screams at the 2:27 mark?

There were some great quotes after the game about the fan running onto the court.

Williams: "I almost lost it. I was going to tackle his butt. If it hadn't been for Nick (Bradford) I'd have tried to tackle him."

Freshman guard Jeff Boschee: "Coach had that look in his eye. I thought he might strangle that guy. I don't know what that guy was thinking or what he was on."

Williams: "You don't do that at Kansas. If you want to go to a carnival, go to a carnival."

That's some impressive long-range shooting by OSU down the stretch to come back in this game.

Williams put it this way afterwards: "I'll tell you what I told Eddie (Sutton, OSU coach) and my players in the locker room: I thought at one point, 'Gosh are we lucky.' Then I thought, 'Gosh are they lucky.' Then 'Gosh are we lucky. Gosh are they lucky.' We were the last lucky ones tonight."

For all the crap he received at times during his career, Eric Chenowith sure looked good in this highlight tape. Against OSU, he tied a career high with 25 points.

Nice play by Robertson to get the foul at the end. From the replay, it looks like he initiated the contact, but it still looked pretty convincing.

Afterwards, Robertson admitted it was a relief to hit the first of his three free throws.

"I would have been really scared to miss the first two," he said, "and have to depend on the last one to make one."

By the way, I love the mullet that then-OSU assistant Sean Sutton is rocking in this video.

Would this be the best Senior Night ending for a senior in Allen Fieldhouse history? Tough to argue with hitting the game-winning free throw in overtime.

There were some funny comments after the game in the Senior speeches from Pugh and Robertson in the video below.

Worth a look.

T.J.'s mother, Jan Pugh had this to say after the game: "I feel we dropped off a very nice boy and now we have an excellent young man. A grown man."

Williams on Robertson: "The best thing that comes to mind ... what a great kid. He is a youngster I will truly miss."

The game also was KU coach Roy Williams' 300th career victory.


Jayhawk Flashback: Texas, 3/3/07

Though Kansas and Texas have played some great games in the past decade, I think this is probably the most memorable KU win of the bunch.

March 3, 2007. Also known as "The Kevin Durant game."

The highlights of KU's 90-86 victory are below:

Some thoughts:

Ever watch a game that you feel like one team has dominated, yet the other team is winning? I couldn't help but feel like that watching this one.

Durant was so good in the first half — and Texas was making so many shots — that KU was actually lucky to have been only down by 12 at the half. In fact, as I remember it, KU had to play pretty well in the first half to keep it that close.

Even when KU made its comeback and took the lead in the second half, it still didn't feel like KU was winning (The Jayhawks actually took a 59-58 lead with 16 minutes left in the game). That makes this one of the most impressive KU comebacks I can remember, as KU had to play pretty well to stay close, then had to play extremely well to come back, take the lead, and then hold that lead.

Could anyone — college or pro — have kept Durant from getting 25 points in the first half of that game? Those stepback shots are just sick, especially the three over Julian Wright at the 20-second mark.

I think some people forget how ridiculously talented that Texas team was without even including Kevin Durant.

Add on D.J. Augustin (shown above) and A.J. Abrams, and that's three extremely gifted college players all playing on the same team.

We also shouldn't forget Damion James and Dexter Pittman were both freshmen being mixed into that rotation as well.

I feel like the highlights of this game encapsulate the entire college career of Julian Wright perfectly.

He has a horrible turnover early, dribbling the ball off his foot while trying to do too much offensively. The bad play leads to two easy points and a thunder jam by Durant on the other end.

But then, a few seconds later, we see the good Julian, the one that makes the play you've never seen before. Dribbling to his right, he zips a pass over and around a defender with one arm to give Sasha Kaun a layup. It's a pass I'm not sure any other Jayhawk in the past decade could have made, and it's the kind of play that surely made every NBA scout in attendance start to dream about what could be with Julian Wright.

It's just interesting to me that we see both ends of the Julian Wright conundrum wrapped neatly in one game's highlights.

A lot of folks remember this game as the one where Texas dominated until Durant got hurt.

As you can see from the video, that's not how it actually played out.

Durant rolls his ankle at the 11:20 mark of the second half. Obviously, that did have an impact on the game.

But KU had already made its comeback. At the time, the Jayhawks were leading, 69-65.

So, for the record, KU completed its comeback from 16 points down with the Longhorns still at full strength.

How hot was Texas in the first half? The Longhorns made 11 of their 14 three-point shots before halftime (78.6 percent).

"I don't know if I ever coached a game where a team shot it better than they did the first half," KU coach Bill Self said after the game. "I don't think we've ever had anyone play that good offensively against us. They were unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable."

KU, though, made 11 of its 18 threes in the game (61.1 percent).

Here's Durant's first-half line: 25 points, 10-for-14 shooting, 5-for-5 from three.

Has there ever been a better individual half in Allen Fieldhouse?

Here was what KU sophomore Brandon Rush said about Durant's first-half performance.

"It was frustrating," Rush said. "When's he gonna miss? Is he ever gonna miss? Is he Michael Jordan?"

Also worth noting: When Durant returned from the locker room in the second half after injuring his ankle, he received a standing ovation by the Fieldhouse crowd.

Both of KU's starting guards set career-highs for three-pointers made in a game. Mario Chalmers went 5-for-5, while Russell Robinson was 3-for-4.

The two teams each had four players in double figures.

For KU, it was Chalmers (21), Wright (17), Robinson (17) and Rush (15).

UT was led by Durant (32), Augustin (19), Abrams (18) and James (12).

It's always interesting to see which recruits were visiting during these particular games.

On this day, it was future Oklahoma guard Willie Warren and future Missouri forward Steve Moore.

The game was significant for more than just the comeback.

Not only did it clinch the regular-season conference title outright for KU (the Jayhawks' 50th league title), it also was the program's 1,900th win.


Kansas, Bill Self could be big winners if NBA locks out in 2011

If you're a Kansas basketball fan, you now have an NBA rooting interest for next season.

You should be cheering for an NBA lockout.

Many reports out there have it as a strong possibility that the NBA will lock out its players in the 2011-12 season.

Around this area, I get the impression that not many folks pay attention to the NBA. They don't have to. No NBA team is located in Kansas City, and the NBA game usually doesn't affect the Jayhawks.

This upcoming year is different, though.

If there is a lockout, most college players with eligibility remaining would opt to stay in college.

Take a quick look at the Jayhawks' 2010-11 roster, and you can see why an NBA lockout might be the equivalent of KU coach Bill Self hitting the lottery for the 2011-12 season.

Josh Selby

Josh Selby's mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, has indicated that her son might stay more than one season at KU.

Still, facts are facts when it comes to's No. 1-ranked players.

Here's a list of the No. 1-ranked players according to Rivals since 2003.

2003 — LeBron James
2004 — Dwight Howard
2005 — Gerald Green
2006 — Greg Oden
2007 — Michael Beasley
2008 — B.J. Mullens
2009 — John Wall
2010 — Josh Selby

Three of the players above (James, Howard, Green) went straight to the pros. The next four (Oden, Beasley, Mullens, Wall) spent one year in college.

Since 2003, no No. 1-ranked player has stayed in college more than one season. And, with a lockout, KU would be nearly guaranteed that Selby would stay at least two years.

Marcus Morris

Though Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich took most of the headlines last season, Marcus Morris ended up being KU's most efficient offensive player.

What impressed me about Marcus last year, though, were his decreased turnovers.

Consider this: During his freshman year, Marcus had 57 turnovers in 646 minutes (3.5 turnovers per 40 minutes). Last year, Marcus had only 48 turnovers in 889 minutes (2.2 turnovers per 40 minutes).

He's too big to be guarded by a three, but too fast to be guarded by a four. He can also shoot inside and outside and can defend guards on switches when needed.

Marcus should have a chance to compete for Big 12 player of the year in 2010-11, but even if he gets the honor, an NBA lockout could keep him in Lawrence for his senior season. If he stays that long, he'd be the best forward KU's had stay four years since Wayne Simien.

Tyshawn Taylor

Though many fans seem to have soured a bit on Taylor, mostly because of some off-the-court issues, the fact remains that he is perceived as one of the Jayhawks' top future NBA prospects.

Taylor is projected as the 11th overall pick in this 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the 12th overall pick in this one.

Though consistency has always been the knock on Taylor, I wouldn't be surprised if the junior-to-be was one of KU's most improved players in 2010-11.

Even if Taylor combines with Selby to become "among the best 1-2 combos in the nation" as one national writer is predicting, Jayhawk fans would have the luxury of knowing that, with an NBA lockout, both would probably still be around for an encore in 2011-12.


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