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Originally published January 2, 2010 at 12:00a.m., updated January 2, 2010 at 08:46a.m.

KU coach Self: Temple toughest test yet

Temple’s Lavoy Allen (24) scores a bucket over Northern Illinois defender Lee Fisher (30) on Wednesday in DeKalb, Ill. No. 1 Kansas will take on Temple, which is first in the country in scoring defense, at 4:30 p.m. today.

Temple’s Lavoy Allen (24) scores a bucket over Northern Illinois defender Lee Fisher (30) on Wednesday in DeKalb, Ill. No. 1 Kansas will take on Temple, which is first in the country in scoring defense, at 4:30 p.m. today.

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GameDay Cram Session: Temple

KUSports.com online editor Jesse Newell and Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan take a look at what to expect from the Kansas basketball team's matchup against Temple.

— The Kansas-Temple game was viewed as a homecoming for the Morris twins, nothing more, nothing less, when the Jayhawks’ 2009-10 basketball schedule was released last June 3.

Half a year later, today’s 4:30 p.m. clash at Liacouras Center is, “by far triple the hardest game we’ve played so far,” KU coach Bill Self says.

Expected to be in rebuilding mode following the graduation of first-team all-Atlantic 10 guard Dionte Christmas, the Owls instead take an impressive 11-2 record and No. 18 national ranking into a marquee matchup against No. 1 Kansas (12-0).

It’s being billed as the biggest game in the history of the Owls’ 10,224-seat campus facility, which opened in 1997.

And why not?

It’s the first time a top-ranked team has ventured through the building’s doors to challenge the Owls.

“I know they will guard. They are No. 1 in the country in scoring defense,” Self said of a team that has allowed 54.2 points a game and has held opponents to 24 percent three-point shooting.

“I don’t anticipate getting our average,” added Self, whose Jayhawks average 87.8 points a game, second-best mark in the country, while allowing 58.6.

“I’m not saying we can’t get our average. I don’t think there will be enough possessions around. They do a good job of taking care of the ball and not turning it over (10.5 per game) and giving them a chance to score every possession.

“Last year when we played them, we hung 70 on them in our building,” Self added sarcastically. “You don’t go on the road and think you’ll hang 90 on somebody when they are only giving up 53. It’s good for our team, because that’s an NCAA Tournament type game.”

The Jayhawks nudged Temple, 71-59, last Dec. 20 in Allen Fieldhouse, behind the 19-point outing of guard Sherron Collins.

“It was a great game last year. They played us really hard at home. We can only imagine what they’ll play like at their place,” said junior center Cole Aldrich, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Tyshawn Taylor and Brady Morningstar scored 11 apiece, while Temple’s Christmas (21) was one of the Owls’ two double-digit scorers.

Junior forward Lavoy Allen contributed 10 points and seven boards.

“He’s a good player. I heard he’s doing really well this year,” KU soph Marcus Morris said of Allen, a 6-foot-9, 225-pounder from Morrisville, Pa., who averages 10.6 points and an identical 10.6 boards.

“He’s a jump hook guy who can also shoot it in from three with his feet set. I can’t compare him to anybody in the NBA right now. He has an older game. He’s a fundamentally sound guy.”

Ryan Brooks, a 6-4 senior who scored seven points versus KU, leads the Owls with a 15.8 scoring mark. Juan Fernandez, a 6-4 sophomore who did not play against the Jayhawks, averages 14.3 points and 3.5 assists.

Fernandez scored 26 points and Brooks 19 in Wednesday’s tuneup — a 70-60 victory at Northern Illinois.

“We stressed all through the week to stay focused,” Brooks said. “With three games this week (including Monday’s 63-39 victory over Bowling Green) each one was treated as the most important game of the year. Now we’re very excited for the opportunity we have and the position we’ve put ourselves in.”

Temple enters today’s game after completing its first unbeaten December since 1987. The Owls, who have won seven straight, are off to their best start since 1993-94.

“I like playing tough games. I love the competition,” said KU sophomore Taylor, who like the Morris twins and Washington, D.C. native Thomas Robinson, will have several family members and friends on hand today.

“Road games are tough. You are playing against five people on the court, plus the crowd,” Taylor added of Temple fans who fired up the Jayhawks by chanting, ‘We want Kansas’ after a recent victory over No. 3-ranked Villanova.

“You’ve got to be mentally tough and focused in. You can’t forget assignments. One possession on the road can lose a game.”

KU coach Self may have fired up his own players by referring to them as “soft” after Tuesday’s 81-51 victory over Belmont.

“It puts a little energy in us, definitely motivates us to get better as a team,” Aldrich said. “Coach knows the game more than all of us combined. Whatever he says we are all going to follow. We watched a lot of film this week. There’s a lot we can get better at ... rebounding, defending, trying to get better every day in practice.”

“I mean, that’s what he thinks,” Taylor said. “I don’t disagree with him at all. Watching the tape, you can see things you don’t see during the game. I didn’t feel that way during the game, but now I can see what he’s saying. If he feels we’re soft, we’ve just got to play tougher.”

From the sounds of it ... it’ll take toughness to win today’s game, one that Self said could be “muddied.”

“We have to play hard the whole game,” said Marcus Morris. “Kansas stands for a lot. Every game we have a target on our chest with something to prove. We will go out the same way we do every game, feeling we have something to prove.”

“It’s a huge road test for us,” Aldrich said. “It’s going to be a fun game. We’re playing a really good team that’s on a good streak now.”

• A previous version of this story was updated.

Comments

TaCityHawkFan 4 years, 8 months ago

"Temple’s Christmas (21) was the Owls’ only double-digit scorer.

Junior forward Lavoy Allen contributed 10 points and seven boards."

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ParisHawk 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm looking to Brady for defense and solid passing.

If Xavier can't score, he can at least rebound.

Cole can't be double-teamed on defense!

A few points in transition would help too; BowlingBall will want to roll some strikes!

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UmbertoConforti 4 years, 8 months ago

"TaCityHawkFan (anonymous) says... 'Temple’s Christmas (21) was the Owls’ only double-digit scorer.

Junior forward Lavoy Allen contributed 10 points and seven boards.'"

Hard to figure he could make a mistake so soon.

Go Hawks, Beat Temple.

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leonard 4 years, 8 months ago

Looks like they have pretty good size on the perimeter with Brooks 6-4, Fernandez 6-4, Moore 6-4, Guzman 6-3, Jefferson 6-6. Up front a little thin with a pair of 6-9 juniors, Allen and Williams, with 6-11 soph Eric off the bench.

It might depend on which Temple team shows up. In their big win over Villanova...Brooks was 7-12 from the floor...Fernandez made 7-9 3pts...Allen scored 10 with 17 rebounds...shooting 54% as a team.

In their last loss...55-48 at home against St.Johns...Brooks was 3-14 from the floor...Fernandez made 1-4 3pts...Allen scored 4 with 9 rebounds...shooting 28% as a team.

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Matt1958 4 years, 8 months ago

This is the biggest test of the Pre-Big 12 season. I admit, I don't have a good feeling. I hear Bruce Pearl is looking for walk ons.

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KU 4 years, 8 months ago

We need to keep our turnovers to a minimum in a low possession game--no more than 9 or 10. They are not really the kind of team that's going to go for a lot of steals, so we need to avoid unforced turnovers. X is going to really have to take care of the ball. Tyshawn needs to keep his composure the way he has over the last 5 games or so. If those two are shaky with the ball, you can expect to see Brady go 30+ minutes.

Temple has 3 or 4 guards who are pretty long--around 6'4". Because of their perimeter length and sound defensive positioning, they defend the 3 point line VERY well. I don't look for Sherron or X to be able to really go off beyond the line. We need to be patient on the offensive end and feed the post a lot. Temple doesn't have a ton of quality post depth, so if we can get Lavoy Allen in foul trouble it will make things easier.

I'm not as worried about us on the defensive end except for defensive rebounding. We are a relatively weak defensive rebounding team. Part of valuing every possession in a low possession game is wiping the defensive boards, so we need to make this a huge emphasis.

The other defensive key is knowing where Fernandez is on the perimeter at all times. He's a very good 3 point shooter. In a game that's "first one to 60 wins", 3 or 4 treys would go a long way towards Fernandez having a huge influence on the outcome.

This is one of those games where KU could play very efficiently offensively and still only get to 70 points.

KU-68 Temple-63

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kushaw 4 years, 8 months ago

"Cole can't be double-teamed on defense!"

That seems to be all Cole has received this year is "Double-Teams"? For Cole, he just needs to accept that he is going to get that attention and take his time passing out of it. Could be another great afternoon for one of the twins, hopefully both, if Aldrich can pass out of the double-team.

Maybe this is the game that the Twins both have double-double's and the Twins can then thank Aldrich for taking two defenders. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

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leonard 4 years, 8 months ago

Agreed KU.

While I've only seen clips of Temple...on paper we should be able to take care of business on the inside. Allen is a stud...averaging a double/double...but his running mates Williams/Eric only avg. about 15 minutes/5 pts/3 rebounds.

The danger zone is our ability to control Fernandez and Brooks. We have been able to hide our achilles heel of perimeter defense pretty well so far this season...but today our perimeter defenders better dig down or it could be a long day.

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PAHAWK1 4 years, 8 months ago

Last time, I travelled to Philadelphia to watch KU play Nova in 12-14" snow, KU team did not show up. There were a lot of KU fans at the Wachovia center. I sincerely hope that they come to play very hard today. There will be a lot of KU fans from the east coast to watch this game at Temple. KU alumini are meeting for a pre-game party at the Ladder 15 (1528 Sansom St, Philadelphia, 19102) from 1:30 to 4:30 EST.

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KU 4 years, 8 months ago

leonard.....Thanks for pointing out our achilles' heal of perimeter defense. Between that and poor defensive rebounding, we have plenty to work on. The good news is that we have good enough athletes to improve in those areas. The real issue behind poor defense and rebounding is competitiveness and playing with fire every possession. Clearly, the reason we haven't seen that urgency this year is we've been playing down to our competition. Hopefully Self gets the team jacked up for this one. Should be a great game.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

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minnhawk84 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh yea of little faith.....Kansas by 12 against a decent team, but in the end, Temple isn't as good as you have hyped them into being. Roll Hawks roll.

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leonard 4 years, 8 months ago

-- With the size and experience Temple has, and how they beat Memphis -- bhann

WTF? It must have been a doozy of a new year's eve party.

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KU 4 years, 8 months ago

Norm Roberts has done a great job turning St. John's around. The former KU assistant beat Temple early in the year, so I have confidence we can win. I'm sure Norm gave Coach Self a first-hand scouting report on Temple. Keep up the good work, Coach Norm. Make us proud.

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WilburNether 4 years, 8 months ago

Someone said they'll look to Brady for defense.

Ummm...Christmas rang up 21 on him last year at our place.

Good luck with that.

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SCHNBALL 4 years, 8 months ago

2 aspects today for us, point guard play, I think Sherron has given way to let the younger guys learn up to this point, looking forward to see how we handle the pressure. The second will be empty posessions, how many turnovers will we have and will they speed us up! Lastly, I still hope the young guys get some clock, we need them to mature, even if it is costly at this point.

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melrank 4 years, 8 months ago

Chicken - are you posting as Wilbur now? :)

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FairgroveJayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Best line from the all american:

“Coach knows the game more than all of us combined. Whatever he says we are all going to follow. We watched a lot of film this week. There’s a lot we can get better at ... rebounding, defending, trying to get better every day in practice.”

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Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 8 months ago

Temple low point so far won over Penn St. 45-42 Next low point - lost to Georgetown 45-46

Highest scoring games 2 @ 76 ponts ea.

We will establish a pace in the first half that will be too much of a departure from their comfortable average points scored in the 60s. I see this as a low post game where Cole and the twins will account for at least 50 % of our scoring which I think will be in the 80s.

Their chant at the end of the game: We Want Kansas - not to come back here!

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melrank 4 years, 8 months ago

memhawk - one of the best lines ever - funny.

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kennethst 4 years, 8 months ago

Kansas 74 Temple 65

My prediction.

Question: Why does ESPN always schedule games 2 hours apart??? Yet almost every college B-Ball game lasts closer to 2 1/2 hours??? I see yet again that Kansas is playing after another game so I'm sure I will miss the first 5-10 minutes. It's so annoying.

I assume they have to do this b/c of scheduling and tv commercials, etc.....but I wish I could see the game from beginning to end. I know they can (and often do) delay the 2nd game's start.....but never enough.

Anybody have an answer?

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NH_JHawk 4 years, 8 months ago

melrank -

chickensandwich, uh, I mean Wilbur, may want to refresh his "selective memory" that Lebowski was talking about a few days ago with respect to Brady's D on the opponent's best player. Eventually, we'll get the other half of our fan base to appreciate Brady for what he is rather than what he isn't? I hope so.

http://www2.kusports.com/news/2009/dec/29/live-lawrence-newell-post-live/#c1095675

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kuproud96 4 years, 8 months ago

Ken, i agree i can't stand missing the opening tip. It always seems like the game before the Kansas game goes into OT, or the like the last game on ESPN the Cal game the game before was a blowout and the teams kept calling timeouts and ESPN didn't change over to the start of the KU game. But at least it's not as bad as the CBS tournament coverage that bounces around from game to game.

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jaybate 4 years, 8 months ago

jaybate news service (jns):

Dateline: Border States

Slug: Bulletin--Rumors of Coaching Changes Fly--Pastner to UTenn, Pearl to UK, Calipari to Louisville, Pitino to Memphis...New Border State Conference to be announced?...

In a tawdry, but increasingly familiar game of musical coaching chairs following recruiting improprieties, jns stringers in several border state cities report a flurry of rumors of coaching changes coming on the heels of a group of UTenn players reputedly being arrested on felony drug and gun charges recently.

Sources of unknown reliability close to UK and UTenn report UK and UTenn could be entering a bidding war for Bruce Pearl. His ability to attract long, athletic players capable of arrest on felony drug and gun charges particularly appeals to UK, which reputedly wants to take the next step toward an illegitimate national championship, after taking the first step last year by hiring Coach Calipari, reputedly to land explosive, ball screen creators with help from SAT test-taking surrogates. There is no word yet on whether UK will agree to rename the University of Kentucky, as Bruce Pearl University, but sources close to the negotiations indicate that doing so is part of the incentive package being offered to Pearl.

Current UK Coach John Calipari is, of course, impacted by these negotiations. Calipari has reputedly simultaneously entered negotiations to jump from UK to Louisville to double his salary to $10M/year and depart UK before possible recruiting improprieties at UK regarding SAT test surrogates (that he reputedly will not be held responsible for) reduce future scholarships at UK.

Calipari's reputed attempt to jump to Louisville is potentially feasible, only because Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino is now reputedly in secret discussions with Memphis to assume head coaching duties there to escape the on-going stigma of marital infidelities made public some time ago in Louisville, regarding Pitino. Sources close to Memphis officials suggest that they feel Pitino's mid life crisis and related infidelity could play extremely well with Memphis' middle aged boosters after less than a year of the so very young Josh Pastner.

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jaybate 4 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps not surprisingly, and to come full circle on this daisy chain of coaching change, Memphis head coach Josh Pastner is reputedly (again according to jns stringers) in secret negotiations with UTenn to replace Bruce Pearl, who reputedly started the entire process when some of his long, athletic players were reputed to have been arrested on felony drug and gun charges. Sources in Knoxville, TN, suggest UTenn officials hope that Pastner's youth could energize UTenn's booster base and give UTenn a recruiting connection with Pastner's father, a reputed broker of long, athletic basketball talent in Houston, TX. Sources near UTenn indicate possible consensus that there is enough long, athletic talent capable of arrest on felony drug and gun charges to take UTenn to the next level.

        • *

On a related note, jns stringers also report that UTenn, UK, Louisville and Memphis are in secret negotiations with each other and with NCAA officials regarding starting a new border state conference to be called "The Big Rogue Conference." The NCAA is reputedly weighing the costs and benefits to college basketball of designating a specific conference where rogue programs are permitted to break any rules they wish.

Developing...

(Note: The preceding post--both parts and the whole--are fictional and are a satire of the current situation unfolding at UTenn regarding four of its players that reputedly have been suspended for reputed arrest for felony drug and gun charges. The jns News Service is fictional. The jns stringers are fictional. The rumors and are fictional. Perhaps even the alias of jaybate is fictional, though the jury is out on that one. Anyone misconstruing any of the above as true has been notified to the contrary. Malice is intentionally absent. The post--both parts and whole--is written for entertainment purposes only. And did I mention its all one big stretcher?) :-)

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optichawk 4 years, 8 months ago

For those who love stats like I do, here's a good "Head-to-Head" for today's game against the Owls. I would love it if J-W could do this before each game (hoops and gridiron). Enjoy:

http://philly.stats.com/cbk/head2head.asp?gamecode=201001020577&home=577&vis=287

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jaybate 4 years, 8 months ago

jaybate news service (jns):

Dateline: Border States

Slug: Bulletin Update--Pearl to stay at UTenn--no musical chairs afterall...

jns stringers in Knoxville, Tennessee, indicate that all previously noted rumors of a daisy chain of coaching changes have stopped dead.

Fake sources close to fake UTenn basketball indicate that the Volunteers have won the fake bidding war for fake Head Coach Bruce Pearl and that he will continue to wear his Volunteer Orange three button, Italian suit for the foreseeable fake future. Fake Volunteer officials speaking only on fake deep background indicate fake officials now believe that with their fake vote of confidence for fake Pearl, the fake coach can, with a sufficient number of fake long, athletic recruits capable of fake arrest on felony drug and gun charges, will take the UTenn program to the next fake level.

No longer fakely developing...

(Note: The preceding post--both parts and the whole--is fictional and is part of a multi-post satire of the current situation unfolding at UTenn regarding four of its players that reputedly have been suspended for reputed arrest for felony drug and gun charges. The jns News Service is fictional. The jns stringers are fictional. The rumors are fictional. Perhaps even the alias of jaybate is fictional, though the jury is out on that one. Anyone misconstruing any of the above as true has been notified to the contrary. Malice is intentionally absent. The post is written for entertainment purposes only.)

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Steve Gantz 4 years, 8 months ago

KU always seems to be the late game on big Monday with a big east foul fest before it meaning we join in progress the game at about 12 minutes, long enough for many games to be already over with our dominant team.

As for today, KU can play some defense too so it's an ugly slugfest with KU on top 65-52. Then after some Kentucky redneck moron comes on here and says "how can they be #1 after playing a game like that?"

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melrank 4 years, 8 months ago

NH - I'm never answering one of your rhetorical questions again :) LOL

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AsadZ 4 years, 8 months ago

kennerthst, Yes. It is really annoyning since most KU week day games start at 9PM EST after the 7EST game. Usually ESPN allows to watch the 2nd game on ESPN360.com

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AsadZ 4 years, 8 months ago

PHAWK1: Thanks for the info on the pre-game. Do you expect most people to drive to the game from tha party. I am wondering as to what is the best way to go to the game after the party

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VancouverJHawkr 4 years, 8 months ago

PItt is crushing Syracuse in the second half - they're hot from 3-land, and 'Cuse is missing badly - looks like there'll be one fewer undefeated team soon.

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leonard 4 years, 8 months ago

Don't worry...I'll put you on the ignore list...at least till you're of drinking age.

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kennethst 4 years, 8 months ago

drgnslayer-

That would be a great idea......go to the local game when it starts. Seems so simple I don't know why that would be an issue.

The games before KU always seem to be really close with each team fouling and/or calling time outs.

Sure.....the world has way more problems than this.....but still......annoying!!

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kennethst 4 years, 8 months ago

Jaybate-Help!

Any answers to my KU-ESPN dilemma?....ie-missing the early part of the game when there is a game before?

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Ben Kane 4 years, 8 months ago

the only way to beat the espn treatment (not getting to see the beginning of our games) is to listen live. try lazer.com

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Ben Kane 4 years, 8 months ago

I care not at all about the other undefeated teams. Except maybe texas, whom I hope stays that way until early feb. if we don't play them who cares. We only need to be worried about the next team on the schedule.

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jaybate 4 years, 8 months ago

Game Forecast:

Kansas 85 Temple 55

Raison d'être: Self, knowing he no longer has to rev KU up to peak for UTenn (4 starters suspended indefinitiely), will rev KU to redline for Temple instead and KU will smash them.

And having built Temple up as a great challenge, it will put some serious swagger in KU to blow them out.

Swagger has to be infused soon to be ready for the conference season, which will toughen KU plenty for the Madness.

Likely as not, Self will bring the revs down to half of redline for what remains of the University of Tennessee gun and drug club.

Self, the master of taking what is given, will capitalize on this turn of events in Knoxville. He will get KU up against Temple, play casual against UTenn, and be ready to enter the conference with a rev up.

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NH_JHawk 4 years, 8 months ago

melrank -

Gotta keep the full court pressure on until you give into the dark side! :-) LOL!

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melrank 4 years, 8 months ago

Anyone tuning into the Contucky game?

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Dan Harris 4 years, 8 months ago

Tough defensive game with the Hawks prevailing in a close one 63-55

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mandomax 4 years, 8 months ago

Kansas 72 Temple 59

Dominant play by the twins and T-Rob. Time for this team to prove itself on a national stage. Lots of potential recruits on the East coast will be tuned in to, and hopefully roped in by this game

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BCRavenJHawkfan 4 years, 8 months ago

jaybate,

Given your attraction to word-smithing I am a bit confused on your use of word in one of your above posts. You repeatedly used the word reputedly; "Memphis head coach Josh Pastner is reputedly (again according to jns stringers) in secret negotiations with UTenn to replace Bruce Pearl, who reputedly started the entire process when some of his long, athletic players were reputed to have been arrested on felony drug and gun charges."

While technically acceptable I guess, I wonder if you really mean reportedly. Reputedly - adv; according to reputation. Reportedly - adv; according to report.

That's my satire for entertainment purposes.

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Larry Smith 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm kinda confused when people talk about the weak perimeter defense. KU gives up only 27% from the three point line, 37% from 2 pt range, and 34% overall (3rd in the nation). Thats not too bad in my book.

Someone also mentioned that KU is weak rebounding defensively. Did you know that KU averages 28 defensive rebounds per game?(5th nationally) Could we be better percentage wise, probably. But I wouldn't call it weak.

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KGphoto 4 years, 8 months ago

I want to see the old Sherron. Driving to the hoop, making things happen.

Wouldn't mind seeing some more Withey too. Mr. Zero isn't efficient enough with his charities to play down the stretch in a big game.

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Ron Franklin 4 years, 8 months ago

anybody have a link to the game.....please and thanks.

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