Tag:Kansas Jayhawks
Posted on: February 9, 2011 1:36 pm

Kansas finding new ways to make headlines

Posted by Eric Angevine

There are only so many ways that you can write "Kansas is very, very good at basketball" That's a cross we writers have to bear (cue the violins).

There are always plenty of side stories, of course. In previous seasons, many of KU's extra-courticular activities brought negative attention, like fights between the football and basketball teams, Tyshawn Taylor's social media meltdowns, and the athletic department ticket scandal. This season, there has been the heartbreaking story of multiple deaths in Thomas Robinson's family, which has dominated the thoughts and concerns of outside observers.

This week, however, things are downright jocular. First, we got this Wall Street Journal article about how KU employs Abe Simpson and Hans Moleman* to make sure players go to class.

Hard on the heels of that heartwarming story about grown men requiring the help of elderly truant officers to get through college comes this video shared by the Lawrence Journal-World. It's a Glee world, and we just live in it, apparently.

I'm trying to imagine what Phog Allen would say if he saw this happen in the Field House that bears his name. Best case scenario is probably a gruff chuckle and some kind of remark about horseplay, foolishness or monkeyshines.

Seriously, though. All in good fun, and the current generation of fans seems to love it. The mob wore red shirts advocating the university's Buddy System, which is explained further in the original article:

Frank DeSalvo, associate vice provost for student success, helps oversee the Jayhawk Buddy System. He said the idea came from the campaign’s student advisory board.

The buddy system encourages students to pair up when going out in the hopes that their peers will keep them safe and discourage them from participating in bad behaviors, like excessive drinking.

Fair enough, though that sounds like the exact opposite of how the buddy system functioned during my college days.

*not their real names, nor are any class-checkers yellow or short on digits to my knowledge.

Posted on: February 7, 2011 11:31 pm

A lot of Little goes a long way for Kansas

Mario Little had a career night as KU routed arch-rival Missouri in Allen FieldhousePosted by Eric Angevine

Josh Selby out with a foot injury?

No problem.

Both Morris twins on the bench at the same time?

Easily countered.

The Jayhawks won't want to test that theory often, but it worked against Missouri tonight. Mario Little, a junior college transfer who battled injuries that forced him to redshirt last season, and sat out a suspension this year, finally got his chance to make an impact for Kansas in a key game.

In fact Little had a career night in KU's 103-86 rout of Mizzou, scoring 17 points in as many minutes on 7-9 shooting from the floor. He wasn't the only senior reserve who made the most of extra time, either. Brady Morningstar, who started in place of the injured Selby, had seven assists and no turnovers against the Missouri press.

Despite the lopsided score, freshman Phil Pressey put on a star turn for the visiting team, draining four of five three-pointers, often from beyond NBA range, en route to 17 points on the evening. Veteran Kim English came off the bench for the second straight game, yielding the starting backcourt spots to Pressey and his older brother Matt.

The younger Pressey was one of three Tigers to foul out of the game. Big men Laurence Bowers (19 points) and Ricardo Ratliffe (12 points) were frustrated by the KU post players and each hit the five-foul limit well before the game ended. The inside battle definitely belonged to the Jayhawks, with Marcus Morris leading all scorers with 22 points and Markieff notching 17 to go with 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The two teams will meet again in Columbia, Missouri on March 5, which is the last day of the regular season for both. Successfully facing pressure was a good test for the 23-1 Jayhawks, who have only lost to the Texas Longhorns this season. Missouri, at 18-6, has fallen to sixth place in the Big 12 despite retaining a top-25 ranking, and has a long stretch of winnable games between now and the rematch. However, they must win all three home games and at least one roadie to finish the season above .500 in the Big 12.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 2:10 pm

Video: Kansas-Missouri is a border war

Posted by Eric Angevine

As we prepare for the first 2011 meeting of North Carolina and Duke, most rivalry attention is focused in Durham, North Carolina. As a guy who grew up in Lawrence, KS, I can tell you that the Tobacco Road meeting will be a sidebar in the midwest, where rivalries with great names like Bedlam (Oklahoma-Oklahoma State) and Red River Shootout (Texas-Oklahoma) are being played alongside tonight's marquee matchup: The Border Showdown.

Now, I'll be honest. I grew up in the Big 8, and back then we called this a Border War. There was really no other way to put it when you had Stormin' Norman Stewart in Columbia. His hatred of the entire state of Kansas was so severe that he refused to let his team spend the night on road trips - he'd get them on the bus and have them back over the state line before midnight every time. Kansas went through a few head coaches during Norm's amazing 3+ decade run with the Tigers, but each of them learned in swift order which was the big game on the schedule. In the early part of Roy Williams' career, KU and Mizzou quite often played for the nation's No. 1 ranking. Even when very little was officially on the line, the two teams would attack one another with unbridled ferocity at least twice per year.

As John Rothstein alludes in the video above, Kansas may be playing without Josh Selby, depending on where he is in his recovery from a stress reaction in his foot that held him out of Saturday's trip to Nebraska. Mizzou's backcourt, led by the Pressey brothers and Kim English, will apply plenty of defensive pressure to anyone handling the ball for Kansas, so there's no telling whether an athletic freshman (Selby), a speedy but erratic junior (Tyshawn Taylor) or a sure-handed senior (Brady Morningstar) is the person who will have the most effect against the press. Sans Selby, some mixture of Taylor and Morningstar on ballhandling duties will likely hold sway, with sophomore Elijah Johnson coming off the bench again. Senior Tyrel Reed typically has his best games against the Tigers, and his outside shooting will be key to the matchup.

The Tigers don't have anyone inside who can match what the Morris brothers do, but Mizzou's defensive style can often disrupt a play long before the ball gets to the block. This game will be decided by guard play, even if that means trotting out the backcourt that can thread the entry pass best in a pressure situation.

Missouri plays at Kansas at 9:00 p.m. ET tonight, on ESPN
Posted on: February 5, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 4:22 pm

KU should be fine without injured Selby

Josh Selby has a stress injury in his foot

Posted by Eric Angevine

KUSports.com, the website affiliated with the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper, sent out some injury news via Twitter (@KUSports) this afternoon:

Selby will not play today b/c of stress reaction in right foot. X-rays & MRI show no fracture. Morningstar will start. #kubball
Morningstar is a low-scoring senior guard who nonetheless has a great deal of experience running the Kansas offense. While Morningstar -- a Lawrence native -- is nowhere near the offensive threat that freshman phenom Selby is, he is known as a stalwart defender who can make an impact with hustle and three-point shooting. Against Nebraska, with the Morris brothers leading the charge, that should be more than enough.

Sophomore backup Elijah Johnson should see plenty of floor time as well, providing a more athletic presence in relief.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 4:46 pm

Ten championship-caliber offenses

Posted by Eric Angevine

In Friday's Layup Line, Matt Norlander mentioned that he was looking forward to reading the book Scorecasting, by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim. Well, it just so happens that I have an advance copy of the book in my possession. It's an intriguing look at some of the hidden factors that influence our favorite sports. As such, it's not all about basketball, but there are several chapters that look at hoops.

One section that intrigues me is titled "Offense wins championships, too." It's tempting to call this chapter a debunking of the hoary old phrase "Defense wins championships", but it's not really a takedown, but a course correction of sorts. Take the following quote from the book, for instance:

In the NBA, defense is no more a prerequisite for success than offense is. Of the 64 NBA championships from 1947 to 2010, the league's best defensive teams during the regular season have won nine titles and the best offensive teams have won seven. That's pretty even. In the playoffs, the better defensive teams win 54.4 percent of the time and the better offensive teams win 54.8 percent of the time-almost dead even. Among 50,000 or so regular season games, the better defensive teams win no more often than the better offensive teams.
The chapter goes on to suggest that coaches stress defense in order to kick in a player's instinct for "loss aversion", which is the human tendency to hate losing even more than he loves gaining. Even so, a great offense is at least as valuable as a great defense, the authors argue.

Obviously, the NBA's 82-game format and best-of-seven series lend a different weight to the numbers, but the concept likely holds fairly true over the course of the six-game winning streak required to win an NCAA championship, though it takes just one stellar performance by an opponent to end the run of a superior team.

Pitt's No. 1 offense could portend a long postseason runIn the interests of exploring the theory, however, I'll show you the ten most efficient offenses in the nation, per kenpom.com.

1. Pitt
2. Ohio State
3. Wisconsin
4. Brigham Young
5. Washington
6. Boston College
7. Georgetown
8. Duke
9. Marquette
10. Kansas
(Kentucky is currently No. 12, and San Diego State is No. 20 in offensive efficiency)

Now, right away, there are some problems with that picture. Boston College has a defense that is No. 246 in the nation in efficiency. Marquette, while not quite as bad, has a highly suspect defense as well. You might not need elite defense to win a championship, but you at least have to be decent, right? So, for curiosity's sake, I decided to look at the top ten defenses and see which teams overlapped. I bolded the double-threats.

1. Texas
2. Maryland
3. Florida State
4. Kansas
5. Ohio State
6. Alabama
7. North Carolina
8. Nebraska
9. Duke
10. Kentucky

Given that Kentucky is so close to the top ten in offensive efficiency as well, we get a very chalky Final Four out of this listing. The single-elimination aspect of the tournament tends to weed out some of these elite teams, but there's little doubt that the top ten offenses list looks more like a list of championship contenders than the straight D list does right now. So, for now, I'd have to say I'm buying the idea that offense wins championships, too.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: January 26, 2011 9:32 am
Edited on: January 26, 2011 11:10 am

Big 12 family gathers around Robinson

LR and FOE mean plenty to the Morris twins

Posted by Eric Angevine

I've been impressed with the way Thomas Robinson has handled himself during his personal season in hell. As Gary Parrish noted today, he's standing tall for his nine-year-old sister, even when his own pain must be crippling right now. And, as lonely as he might feel at this moment, it's now more obvious than ever before that he is not truly alone in this.

I've written before about the Morris twins (above) and their motto of F.O.E. - "Family Over Everything". Jayhawk fans who traveled to Boulder to support their team made sure to include F.O.E. on signs they brought to the Coors Events Center, alongside magic-markered expressions of sincere love and support for T-Rob. A scholarship fund for Robinson's sister Jayla has been established for those who want to do something to add hope to the distant future. For now, the wound is raw, but the kindness of strangers who ache for this small family will be a comfort down the road.

Marcus Morris, who was with Robinson when he got the awful news, had his friend -- he also calls him "cousin" and "brother" -- in mind throughout the game, as he tapped the round, black patch sewed on his jersey before each free throw. The patch, bearing the initials "LR" for Lisa Robinson, was added to the Jayhawk uniforms before the road trip.

It's not just Robinson's teammates who support him, either. The capacity crowd at Coors -- said to be the third-largest crowd in the history of the building -- observed a moment of silence in tribute to the life and too-early death of Robinson's mother. It was a sincere moment of empathy for a member of the opposing team that has been the biggest thorn in CU's side throughout the time that the two have shared a conference.

Every member of the KU team will travel to Washington, D.C. to be with Robinson as he and his sister endure their mother's funeral tomorrow, with one exception. In a chilling coincidence, one member of the KU staff will be attending another memorial service that touches the Big 12.

The only member of the basketball staff who will not attend the services will be video coordinator Kyle Keller. He will take part in observances in Stillwater, Okla., marking the 10th anniversary of the plane crash that claimed the lives of 10 members of the Oklahoma State basketball program. Keller was on the Oklahoma State staff at the time and would have been on the plane that crashed if then-coach Eddie Sutton hadn't asked him to take another flight.

-Associated Press report

Following the funeral, the KU family will gather again for Saturday's home game against Kansas State, then kick off February with a two-game road swing through Lubbock, Texas and a final visit to Lincoln, Nebraska. I wouldn't be surprised to see heartfelt support for Robinson in both of those venues, either.

When tragedy strikes -- as it did for Robinson this week and for the Oklahoma State men's team a decade ago -- Family Over Everything becomes the motto of the entire conference.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: January 22, 2011 6:25 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 8:47 pm

Plenty of pain to go around as KU win streak ends

Thomas Robinson lost his mother FridayPosted by Eric Angevine

Last week, we marveled at how physically tough Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell is, when he returned to the court just over two weeks after being shot in a robbery attempt. This week, we were stunned by the news that KU's Thomas Robinson lost his mother just hours before a home game against No. 10 Texas.

He played. He stayed in town and played. That's incredible mental toughness, especially when you add in the fact that two of Robinson's grandparents also passed away recently.

Robinson and his teammates may have been a little emotionally raw. Robinson committed four early fouls and had to sit out the entire second half. The Jayhawks struggled without his energetic presence in the second half, playing flat and blowing a 35-23 halftime lead as J'Covan Brown and Jordan Hamilton outhustled and outshot the Jayhawks to claim the Texas program's first-ever victory in Allen Field House, winning 74-63. KU's national-best 69 game home win streak came to an end, adding yet another dimension to the growing rivalry. Duke University currently holds the longest streak as a result, standing at 30 straight in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

In addition, the Kansas loss left Ohio State and San Diego State -- both 20-0 -- as the only unbeaten teams in men's DI basketball.

It was a chippy, ugly game. Rough play got out of hand, and technical fouls were assessed on Brown, Brady Morningstar, Josh Selby and Jordan Hamilton.

One intriguing development was Bill Self's decision to leave Selby in at point guard even after he had been involved in an altercation and some silly fouls. The freshman's shooting and passing were way off, and he was clearly rattled. It's entirely possible that Self placed more value on teaching his likely one-and-done lead guard a lesson that he hopes will pay dividends down the road in March than he did on a January win.

Regardless, Texas showed the type of physical toughness that could propel the team deep into the NCAA tournament this season. Hamilton led the Longhorns with 17 points and nine rebounds, and Texas' own freshman point, Cory Joseph, also had nine boards to go with his 11 points. No Jayhawk had more than six boards. UT's team defense kept KU's shooters off-balance and closed down the inside game in a historic win for the visitors.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: January 21, 2011 1:02 pm

Texas vs. Kansas has a history of great moments

kevin durant and mario chalmers

Posted by Eric Angevine

Prior to the formation of the Big 12, the Texas/Kansas rivalry was nonexistent. Thanks, primarily, to Rick Barnes building the Longhorns into a perennial powerhouse, the annual game has become a matchup that both teams and most fans circle on the calendar when schedules are announced each season. The intensity of the rivalry is honed a bit by the fact that Kansas plays in the league's North Division and Texas plays in the South, so there's no reciprocal game; the host school pours a season's worth of passion into beating an arch-rival, knowing that only a Big 12 tourney game could ever provide a second chance for the loser.

With that in mind, I've picked out ten amazing performances that have made this rivalry special over the past decade.

10. Collins Goes Out Strong (2010): In his final career game vs. Texas, Sherron Collins had to come up big down the stretch, as the #14 Longhorns staged a home rally against the #1 Jayhawks. KU's winningest all-time player scored 15 points to go with five assists and four steals to seal the deal.

9. UT Sweeps (2004): Bill Self was the new guy on the block at Kansas, and he got an early taste of defeat at the hands of the Longhorns. Byron Mouton scored 23 at home to lead a convincing 82-67 win, then poured in 18 more in the Big 12 tournament semis to pace #11 Texas over the nation's #14 team.

8. Simien Dominates (2005): The rare KU superstar who actually hailed from the state of Kansas, Simien led the scoring in a game that turned out to be Rick Barnes' worst loss since he came to Texas in 1998. The final result was a 90-65 blowout as Simien showed his determination to protect his (Allen Field) house.

7. Damion James Comes Alive (2008): After sitting out much of the first half due to foul trouble, Texas star Damian James came out with ferocious intent in the second half of a 72-69 home win. James finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. All but two of the points came in the second stanza, and all of the boards were second-half production.

6. Morningstar's Double-Clutch (2010): Not much needs saying. This one's purely visual.

5. Aldridge Goes Off (2006): No, not Cole Aldrich. LaMarcus Aldridge. This is the kind of performance, like Byron Mouton's in '04, that really fuels a rivalry like this one. Whether the nation at large takes note or not, the respective fan bases remember when these types of games happen. This 80-65 drubbing of the Jayhawks happened at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center in Austin, and big man Aldridge was unconscious, scoring 18 points on 9 of 10 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking four shots in one of his best college games.

4. Mario Pops for 30 (2008): In hindsight, it was a preview of what Mario Chalmers would do for the Jayhawks as they captured the national championship. At the time, however, it was just one more of the several battles for the championship of each other that UT and KU have joined. Chalmers went a wicked 8 of 12 from behind the arc in the Big 12 tourney's final game. It was his career high at KU, and helped the Jayhawks earn a #1 seed in their tournament run of destiny. Texas' D.J. Augustin had 20 points and 9 assists in a losing effort.

3. T.J. Ford Fills the Stat Sheet (2003): 25 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists. That's how close T.J. Ford came to notching a triple-double in Allen Fieldhouse in January of 2003. It was a typically amazing performance for the point guard who led the Longhorns to the Final Four that year. Had he been able to get the Horns past Syracuse, there's little doubt that the ensuing battle with Kansas for a national title would have been epic.

2. Collison Cowboys Up (2003): Yep, same game. That's how tough the 2003 matchup was for both teams. It was a real battle royale, as KU's Nick Collison basically had to become a one-man wrecking machine inside to gut out the home win. His 24 points and 23 rebounds inspired a standing ovation from none other than Dickie V, who called it "one of the most special efforts I've ever seen."

1. Kevin Durant (2007): There was only one season in Austin, and just two games against Kansas, but KD was an absolute joy to watch, for friend and foe alike, in that season. #15 Texas went to Allen Fieldhouse on March 3, and KU barely rallied to overcome Durant's 32 points, six three-pointers, nine rebounds and two blocks to pull out the win. Just eight days later, in the Big 12 championship game, the Hawks needed OT to pull out the victory, as Durant fired up 37 points, grabbed 10 boards and again blocked two shots. Just a smidge of help from anyone not named A.J. Abrams, and 2007 could have been an even more legendary year for the Longhorns.

#11 Texas will journey to Allen Fieldhouse to take on #2 Kansas on Saturday. The game will be televised at 4:00 p.m. on CBS | Video Preview

Photo: US Presswire
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com