Monday, February 27, 2006

Kansas won’t concede

Jayhawks hold out hope for share of Big 12 hoops title


Texas' men's basketball team certainly looked like the best in the Big 12 Conference in routing Kansas University by 25 points Saturday night in Austin, Texas.

The 80-55 drubbing - as impressive as it was - counted as just one game in the league standings, though, meaning the Longhorns still have some work to do before they can clip the nets as league champs.

"There's always hope. You never know what might happen. It's why you play the games," KU sophomore guard Russell Robinson said. "We've just got to refocus and do what we're capable of doing and see what happens."

First-place Texas (24-4), which pounded second-place KU (20-7) three days after barely surviving Kansas State, 65-64, in Manhattan, enters the final week of the season with a 12-2 league record. The Jayhawks stand 11-3.

Texas on Wednesday travels to Texas A&M;, where the Longhorns lost last season, while the Jayhawks play host to Colorado (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse).

Texas A&M;, which has won five straight games (Colorado, Oklahoma State and Nebraska at home; Baylor and Missouri on road), is not only the hottest team in the league, but at 18-7 overall and 8-6 in the league still has some work to do to impress NCAA Tournament Selection Committee members.

If UT does subdue the Aggies, it still must face the third-place team in the league - Oklahoma - Sunday in Austin. The Sooners defeated Texas, 82-72, on Jan. 28 at OU after sweeping the season series against Texas a year ago.

KU, meanwhile, closes its regular-season slate Saturday against Kansas State in Manhattan. The Wildcats already have defeated the Jayhawks once this season.

"We can still win it," KU freshman Brandon Rush said. "If they lose to Oklahoma or Texas A&M; and we win, we can win it. We'll think that way."

Texas would win any tiebreaker with the Jayhawks as far as seeding in the Big 12 tournament. Yet if KU can make up a game this week, both teams officially would be recognized as co-league champs.

"I don't think so," sophomore C.J. Giles said, asked if KU would concede the crown to Texas. "We've got a couple of more games. They could lose one. We could win two. There's a couple of more games to determine all that."

"We've got two games remaining," freshman Julian Wright observed. "We will learn from this (loss) and be extra intense."

KU coach Bill Self refuses to throw in the towel.

Home stretch

What's left for Texas' and Kansas University's men's basketball teams? UT (24-4 overall, 12-2 Big 12) will travel Wednesday to Texas A&M; (18-7, 8-6), then play host Sunday to Oklahoma (19-6, 10-4). Kansas (20-7, 11-3) will entertain Colorado (18-7, 8-6) on Wednesday, then travel Saturday to Kansas State (14-11, 5-9).

"I'm sure Colorado (18-7, 8-6) is telling their guys, 'We need this game,''' Self said Sunday on his weekly coach's TV show. "And it's a game we have to have. We're still in it. Even though we're one game back, and even though the advantage is definitely with Texas, they still have to go to A&M; and have got a good Oklahoma team coming in. It's a huge week for us. We need to get the train back on track, so to speak."

Self indicated KU's players and coaches "are smarting a little bit today, no doubt about that. We didn't get done what we thought we could get done. Still, it's not the end of the road. It's the great thing about basketball. I talked to Mack Brown (Texas football coach) after the game, and I congratulated him (on winning national title). He said, 'Bill, isn't it great? Your sport you get to play again. Our sport we can't get it back.'

"We've got a lot to look forward to. We have to press on."

He explained the wackiness of the college game on his Sunday show.

"That same team that clocked us last night loses by 21 at Oklahoma State. We won by 15 at Oklahoma State," Self said. "I felt we got Texas' best shot, and we were not quite ready to deal with it."

¢ Collison is papa: Former KU basketball player Nick Collison's girlfriend, former KU trackster Robbie Harriford, gave birth Saturday to the couple's first child, Emma Sloan, who weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces. Collison has missed the Seattle SuperSonics' past two games while spending time with his girlfriend and child.

¢ Billy ball: Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordon on ex-Jayhawk Billy Thomas, who signed a 10-day contract with the NBA team Friday.

"He can play guard and forward, he's strong, he defends, he has good hands, he sees the floor and makes the extra pass, so we're very comfortable with him," Jordan told the Washington Post.

¢Game time 7 p.m.: Game time for the KU-CU game Wednesday is 7 p.m. It was initially listed as 8 p.m. in the press guide and on preseason schedules.


craigers 13 years, 10 months ago

Some strange things happen with college ball so KU still has a shot. Rock chalk jayhawk and put the hurt on Colorado and K-State.

btyork 13 years, 10 months ago

Happy to hear good things are finally happening for Billy Thomas. I met Billy at a local gym about five years ago here in Lawrence. We were both doing 'box squats' in the racks and he was having a little trouble with the form. I didn't know who he was and we started talking about training the hips, posterior chain, etc;. I asked him if he went to school at KU and he said he used to. I then asked him if he knew Coach Roll (he said he did) so I suggested that he contact Coach and have him work with him on his form. He was very nice and when I asked him his name, I was really embarassed. Even though I'm not a big basketball fan, I remembered watching him play. The point here being that he was such a nice, modest young man and didn't give me the "don't you know who I am" routine. Class guy and I'm happy for him.

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