Saturday, December 22, 2012

Notebook: OSU coach showers KU with praise


— Ohio State University men’s basketball coach Thad Matta lavished praise on Kansas University’s program during a media session Friday in snowy Columbus.

“Our guys have great respect for Kansas,” said Matta, whose No. 7-ranked Buckeyes (9-1) take on the No. 9 Jayhawks (9-1) at 3 p.m. Central time today in Value City Arena. “Not only this team, but teams they’ve had the last 100 years.”

Of KU center Jeff Withey, Matta said: “There’s not as many great shot blockers as there used to be, and he’s probably the best in college basketball. I don’t think there’s anything you can do. You’ve got awareness of where he is and that sort of thing. He’ll probably block a couple. You’ve got to keep playing, just keep playing.”

Of freshman guard Ben McLemore, Matta noted: “He is a complete player. He appears to be very athletic. He has kind of got everything he needs in terms of being a high-level college basketball player.”

And of KU coach Bill Self, Matta said: “He is a guy who just wins. I have the utmost respect for him and the job he’s done over the course of time. He is in an elite crowd in terms of coaches. His assistants have gone on to be head coaches.”

OSU junior point guard Aaron Craft on today’s match-up: “One of the main things is who is going to be the tougher basketball team. We have to find a way to match or be better than their intensity and toughness. That’s what Kansas basketball is about. It’s what we have to focus in on and try to do.”

Travel: The Jayhawks flew charter to Columbus and arrived at 6 p.m. Friday after experiencing no problems with snow.

Young vs. Ohio State: Entering his senior season at Kansas University, Kevin Young was best known for his 14-point, four-rebound outing against Ohio State on Dec. 10, 2011, in Allen Fieldhouse.

The 6-foot-8, 190-pounder from Perris, Calif., hit six of eight shots and also played tight defense on Buckeye forward Deshaun Thomas, who scored 19 points off 7-of-14 shooting.

“I remember him hitting two threes. It’s what I remember most,” KU senior center Jeff Withey said of Young’s play in the Jayhawks’ 78-67 victory over an Ohio State team playing without the injured Jared Sullinger. Sullinger, who is now in the NBA, did play in KU’s 64-62 Final Four semifinal victory over the Buckeyes.

“Kevin can do that almost every night. We saw him do that a couple games ago. He had 16 (points),” Withey added.

Young scored 16 points off 8-of-9 shooting in a 90-54 rout of Colorado on Dec. 8 in Allen Fieldhouse.

“Kevin will be huge for us because he’ll be guarding their best player (Thomas; Travis Releford likely will guard him as well),” Withey said, referring to a key match-up in today’s game. “We need him to put pressure on the other guy and get him in foul trouble, go hard and be annoying on defense. He can do that. We all feel real comfortable with him in the lineup and I think our starting five is a lot better with him in there.”

Of Young’s performance a year ago versus Ohio State in Lawrence, Self said: “He made shots. He stuck a couple threes and was active. He’s a good fit for us.”

Nice arena: Self, who coached at Illinois for three years, on 19,049-seat Value City Arena: “The atmosphere is great. It’s a professional arena. It’ll have 20,000 people in there. It’ll be juiced just like our building is. They’ve got students right behind the bench.”

The series: KU leads the all-time series 7-3, including two KU wins last season. The Jayhawks have won five straight in the series, which dates to 1965. The Jayhawks won the first two meetings: 81-68 on Dec. 23, 1965, in Columbus and 94-70 on Dec. 5, 1966, in Lawrence. The two teams played twice in 1983 to start a three-game OSU-victory run against Kansas. The Buckeyes won 64-61 on Jan. 2, 1983, in Kansas City, Mo., and 79-74 on Dec. 22, 1983, in Columbus. In 1986, OSU edged KU 79-78 in overtime in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. The two schools’ next meeting was 1997 in the Rainbow Classic, a 69-56 KU win. Before the KU win in 2000, the Jayhawks defeated the Buckeyes 80-67 on Dec. 16, 1999, in Lawrence. ... Self is 5-3 all-time versus Ohio State. ... KU is 43-24 (64.2 percent) against ranked competition in the Self era. In the last six seasons, the Jayhawks are 33-14 (70.2 percent) versus ranked foes.


Rock_Chalk_NYC 8 years, 10 months ago

Can't wait! Leaving NYC in a couple hours to make the drive!

Rock Chalk!

Joe Satterwhite 8 years, 10 months ago

Hate when teams try to butter us all up by saying how great we are. I would rather hear how they wanna stomp our guts in....especially after us giving them their first and last loss. I understand the whole respect side of things, but I wouldn't them saying that they wanna knock our teeth out. Or maybe they're just saying all that behind closed doors.

Maximus140 8 years, 9 months ago

Standard cliches. No ammo for opposing team's bulletin board to give them extra motivation. See Richardson for MU vs the SEC.

Brianna Zaleski 8 years, 9 months ago

I agree. I especially think Matta is full of it. Like last year when he wished CSelf a Merry Xmas for holding out Sullinger (a fact that every article written, even today, points out). Like we couldn't have beat u in AFH with Sully. I guess our tourney win proved that to be true. Anyway, I feel Matta is disingenuous and is heaping this "praise" in hopes he'll lull us into a false sense of overconfidence. Not likely with our seniors, but our frosh better bring it and be prepared for a battle. Because it will be.... What's the line? A loss today wouldn't bother me as long as we are tough as nails and compete.

kufaninmo 8 years, 10 months ago

“Kevin will be huge for us because he’ll be guarding their best player...(Thomas)"

honestly, there's no one else i'd rather have guarding their best player.

Jedhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

I've got a feeling Releford will be covering him for big minutes though he hasn't played 4 much this year.

Jedhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

I've got a feeling Releford will be covering him for big minutes though he hasn't played 4 much this year. Whoops skipped that part

ajhk 8 years, 9 months ago

Thaddy bear learned his lesson from last year. I recall him telling self, "Merry Christmas" after we beat them last year the first time. Of course he was referring to the fact that Sullinger didn't play and we should consider it a gift.

At the press conference after it was all about "the best player in the country" not playing (Sullinger). He could not stop going on about how different the game would have been. We'll he had his chance with Sully and we still licked'em.

Now he respects everything about KU! What a slug.

I think the "revenge" factor should still be on our side for being so disrespected. Get'm boys!!

Jack Wilson 8 years, 9 months ago

Minor point, but Matta told Self "Merry Christmas" before the game, not after the game .. but you're on a roll.

ajhk 8 years, 9 months ago

You're right. Thad insulted our team about 1.5 hours earlier than I had recalled.
I've always been punctually challenged. Now it's even bleeding into my pep posts!

monkeehawkSL8 8 years, 9 months ago

This will be the first game in shark infested waters, or land shark infested urban prairie. You know what mean. My memory is clouded with an array of ....... damage. Was it the '07-'08 team that thrived on hostile environments?

Here's to the current Jayhawks away game mind set. "Hey, these people don't like us". "I noticed that too". "Let's kick their ......". 125 decibels of flapping Hawk wings and slashing claws. Waiving wheat, RCJH RCJH KaaaaaaaUooooooooo!

Gary Wirsig 8 years, 9 months ago

Or to quote an Air Force Academy Falcon chant - Slash 'em with a beak, rip 'em with a claw, bring on the meat wagon, rah, rah, rah!

REHawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Time to re-establish Jayhawks as Grinch version 2.0. Rock Chalk!

REHawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Hey, Jeff, Mr. Matta declared that you are "probably" the best shot blocker in college basketball; and that you will "probably" block "a couple" of shots today. Your fans consider those words a huge thump on the chest. Go get 'em!

FearlessJayhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

If both teams play their A game, KU wins by ten.

Boouk 8 years, 9 months ago

Look at how horrible our football team's been the last 4 years though.

monkeehawkSL8 8 years, 9 months ago

Boouk, I'm not sure I understand your motivation here. Ah, OK, I looked and now I am reminded of how grateful I am that it's BASKETBALL season.

When I was getting on a plane @ the age of 11, alone. My dad felt compelled to inform me that "son, many a pilot has been found passed out cold in the cock pit after the plane has landed". Can't say I enjoyed the flight.

Come on buckaroo, you can do it. Its basketball season. I know that when I get off my med schedule I start that Ricochet Rabbit thinking, do you like grits?

Seriously, enjoy the game today. The basketball game, against Oh.St., the Jayhawks are playing. Your friend from the "dayroom" monk.

sarcastichawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Kind of tired of reading the Sullinger qualifications. I get it but still.....

Commenting has been disabled for this item.