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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Healthy A&M ready for KU

Kansas defenders Conner Teahan, center, and Elijah Johnson defend against a pass from Texas A&M guard Zach Kinsley during the second half on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas defenders Conner Teahan, center, and Elijah Johnson defend against a pass from Texas A&M guard Zach Kinsley during the second half on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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— Texas A&M assistant basketball coach Kyle Keller, who worked on Kansas University’s staff the past three seasons, has taken great pride in watching the Jayhawks from afar during the 2011-12 campaign.

“Gosh, as well as coach (Bill Self) has them playing, obviously it’s been fun to watch those guys get better. I root for them every game except when we have to play them,” said Keller, former KU video coordinator, now in his first season as an assistant coach on Billy Kennedy’s A&M staff.

“It’s been exciting to watch,” Keller added of the progress of the Jayhawks, who take a 22-5 record (12-2 in the Big 12) into today’s 8 p.m. clash against the (13-13, 4-10) Aggies.

Keller, who had the title of video coordinator at KU, is not surprised the Jayhawks are in the hunt for an eighth consecutive Big 12 regular-season title.

“I think not only Coach (Self), but I think everybody on the staff — Kurtis (Townsend), Joe (Dooley), Danny (Manning), Hudy (trainer Andrea) — everybody that’s involved has done a great job,” Keller said of the squad perhaps exceeding expectations.

“I think Coach needed something like this. He is great when he’s got a chip or he’s got something to prove. He’s been dynamite. He’s unbelievable.”

The Aggies, who were actually picked as co-champs with KU in the preseason Big 12 coaches poll, have faced a lot of adversity in 2011-12.

In the preseason Kennedy was diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson’s disease. Junior forward Khris Middleton, who did not play against KU in the Aggies’ 64-54 loss to the Jayhawks on Jan. 23 in Allen Fieldhouse but will play tonight, had early-season knee surgery. Sophomore forward Kourtney Roberson suffered a broken ankle. Freshman guard Jamal Branch transferred to St. John’s. What’s more, senior guard Dash Harris injured his arch in the KU game and just now is returning to action. Harris was listed as questionable on Tuesday afternoon.

“I love working for coach Kennedy. You couldn’t ask for a better man. He’s a great coach,” Keller said of Kennedy, who came to A&M after five seasons as head coach at Murray State.

“Being reunited with (assistant) Glynn Cyprien, we worked at Oklahoma State when we had a lot of success. The administration has been great. It’s been great here — 81 degrees in mid-January. My family ... we love it. The people have been so receptive and kind to us. The season hasn’t gone the way we’d like it to go, but we’re excited about the opportunities we have (coming up),” Keller added.

A&M has signed a strong recruiting class headed by top 100 prospects J’Mychal Reese and Alex Caruso.

Nobody’s giving up on the remainder of this season. A&M is 11-5 at home (3-4 in the league), including Saturday’s 71-62 loss to Missouri.

“I’m going to tell our guys today it’s an exciting time. You’ve got to enjoy playing two great teams back to back,” Kennedy said on Monday. “We competed well at Kansas. They’ve been great on the road. It’s why they’ve been conference champs for several years. We’ll have to play really well to give us a chance, but we’ve been playing well at home.

“I have great respect for Kansas, the tradition of their program and what Bill has done there. Obviously I hired a guy from their program in Kyle Keller. This is a great opportunity for us to have a special moment, to get a win. Of course we’ll have to play great basketball and them not so well. I thought Missouri played well against us. We have to get some breaks at some point.”

Big game looms: Self realizes it’s possible the Jayhawks could be looking past tonight’s game in anticipation of Saturday’s home rematch against Missouri.

“I guess human nature you could do that,” said Self, who quickly warns that such a mindset could cost the Jayhawks an eighth-straight Big 12 title. “If you work your tail off all year long to put yourself in a good position, how can you look past anybody when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially a team that was preseason pick to win the league, that’s playing well at home?

“Middleton (Khris, 6-7 junior, North Charleston, S.C.) is back (from injury) and we don’t know if Dash is going to play or not. He’s one of the best defensive guards in our league. A&M can give anybody problems, including us. We’re going to have to play one of the better games we’ve played all year. Absolutely to date it’s the biggest game we’ve played. A lot of people will talk about the second game of our week. To me, that’s not even worth mentioning because for us to have the aspirations we do to win the league, we need to take care of business in College Station.”

First meeting: Guard Elston Turner scored 24 points (7-18 shooting, 4-8 threes) with six rebounds, four assists in 39 minutes versus KU in the first game. Forward David Loubeau chipped in 15 points with seven boards. Thomas Robinson scored 18 points with 10 boards and five turnovers and four blocks. Jeff Withey had 10 points with eight blocks and Tyshawn Taylor 17 points for KU.

“We had all kinds of problems with them the first time, and Middleton didn’t play and Dash got hurt right before halftime,” Self said. “They are healthier than they have been all year.”

Noted KU senior guard Taylor: “They are a good defensive team (holding KU to 42.6 percent shooting first meeting; 4-20 from three). They always give us trouble when we play them. They muddy it up and sag in the paint. They don’t let you get open shots. We have to work the ball and get it rotated a couple times before we attack.”

Comments

Davoud Maha 2 years, 1 month ago

One win Over Mizzu and it is all over

Not only we get revenge, we will win Big 12, We get the last Win over Mizzou, We get the #1 seed, and Mizzou, if lucky will get #2. They may even get to #3 seed.

We need a BLOW OUT baby!! Get revenge of a life time.

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JayDocMD 2 years, 1 month ago

Recruiting update:

Heard that Semi Ojeleye, 4 star SF (class of 2013) from Ottawa, KS is coming for the Mizzery game. Rumor was that he wasn't interested in KU because his family was a "K-State family." I'm not buying that - i.e. Brandon Rush and BMac's families = Mizzery families

Not sure about Chris Walker (13) coming. He was scheduled to come - then backed out b/o HS tourney. But his HS team lost yesterday, so maybe the visit is on again? Not sure. Also Tony Parker (2012) was rumored to come but it didn't sound like a sure thing.

Unsigned recruits also coming: Shabazz (12), JaKarr Sampson (12), Committed recruits coming: Connor Frankamp (13), Brannen Greene (13), Perry Ellis (12)

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Jeremy Caudle 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the links!

My hawk to rock is gonna have to be Travis tonight. I think he is due for another big game. Plus, I can't take the easy way out and pick either T Rob or TT!

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RockChalk26 2 years, 1 month ago

Who is your pick to click in tonight's game?

I'm going with EJ

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Jeremy Caudle 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure this is off subject but I'm gonna be at my girls place tonight and she doesn't have cable so I need a link online to watch. We don't have espn 3 in our area either. I know it's been posted a million times but another link would be great. I remember there were a few folks here that stream the games. Thanks and Go Jayhawks!!

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Jack Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

Saw the discussion above on cutting down the nets Saturday .. assuming we win tonight and Saturday, I would cut those nets down without giving it a second thought. A tie, at worst, would be a real tie .. splitting with MU. Would get some TV time possibly. No better time. Maybe we could hang one of the nets on the side view mirror of the MU team bus.

If . if we take care of business.

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Jackster 2 years, 1 month ago

I hope Withey has a double double tonight and frees up space for T-Rob to do his thing. I like our chances to win out but the OSU game concerns me the most. It is just a tough place to win.

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Phoghorn 2 years, 1 month ago

Phoghorn has issued a Trap Game Watch effective from 8 pm to 10 pm this evening for College Station, Texas. This watch could be extended should multiple overtimes develop. Please be careful, Jayhawks!

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phogphan2000 2 years, 1 month ago

theend, I hear you, but at the same time KU dominated MU on their home court if not for the refs. Is MU a good team sure, very good, maybe pushing it. They've managed to squeeze out some tight wins, been whooped by KSU twice, have no business in the title hunt with KU this year. Is it CBB and anything can happen, sure, KU is favored by 9.5 tonight, could they lose, sure. Could they lose at OSU, sure. Anything always could happen, but bottom line is KU is much better than Missery and the likelihood is KU will slaughter them in AFH. It is the only game that really matters at this point, KU can drop any other single game and still win the conf title outright. A loss to MU puts them probably in 2nd place in the conference. Considering this team already beat MU and got jobbed, I don't think any of us understand the intensity they are going to bring on Saturday. I don't think I've ever wanted a game as bad as these Jayhawks are going to want that one.

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JayHok 2 years, 1 month ago

Anybody else notice it took a Bill Self recruited player to finally take down Jeremy Lin?

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theend 2 years, 1 month ago

I see a lot of talk on here about the upcoming MU game. Some of you are just all "giddy" and think that game is going to be a blowout and will be a skip through Candyland.

Well....you need to wake up. Forget the rivalry and realize that it is going to be an extremely tough game against a very good team. KU had better bring their best.....because that's what it's going to take to beat MU.

Throw out all your cries for "revenge" and "MU sucks".......this is going to be a tough game to win. I hope we do.......but you had better not take a win over MU for granted. I can assure you that MU is planning on coming to KU and winning.

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Sam Constance 2 years, 1 month ago

Rather than read disjointed articles about upcoming games, I would love to see KUSports.com have someone take on the travesty that is occuring in the NPOY race...

In the last 3-4 weeks, Robinson's status as NPOY "favorite" has take a severe hit, as the talking heads at ESPN have latched onto Anthony Davis, having been suckered in by his shot-blocking ability in an award that is intended to go to the player who has the best OVERALL season.

For starters, you have Jason King releasing his weekly Wooden Award ballot, and having Anthony Davis at the top:

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/49572/wooden-watch-kings-poy-ballot

But more concerning to me is an article that is also being updated weekly (again by Jason King) that shows a "straw poll" for the NPOY award. Rather than it being the uninformed opinion of a single writer, it's a collection of how likely voters would cast their vote if the ballots were due today. In the first couple articles, Robinson had a COMMANDING lead over the next closest player, who wasn't even Anthony Davis at the time. In the most recent update (last week), Robinson still has a fairly decent lead, but Davis has come on very strong, flying all the way up to 2nd place, and stealing a good number of Robinson's 1st-place votes in the process.

I think it's time that KU fans do two things:

1) Start coming to terms with the fact that Anthony Davis very well might steal the NPOY award right out from under its rightful recipient on account of the fact that he plays for media darling Kentucky.

2) Do our best to wage an all-out WAR in the media and on message boards supporting Robinson for the award that is rightfully his. Robinson is the first focus of EVERY opponent we play and still is putting up better numbers than Davis, who is the fifth option on his own team (Usage Percentage). Davis' stat line is almost identical (14 ppg, 9 rpg, 5 bpg, 1 spg) to the stat line of Jarvis Varnado in 2010, and as you may recall, Varnado was nowhere near the NPOY discussion that year. This is a case of the media falling in love with a player based on a very limited slice of the overall pie--in this case, Davis' blocking ability.

It would be nice if KU would send out info sheets to sportswriters and other media types providing information like the NPOY ratings that Ken Pomeroy tracks. In those ratings, Robinson is a clear first place with a score of .548. Second place is Draymond Green at .517.

Where is Anthony Davis, you ask?

FIFTH place, with a score of .450.

But at this point, the Davis For POY snowball is already on the top of the mountain, and rapidly gaining mass as it careens down the slopes, accumulating more ignorant snow. I guess you could say that the NPOY race is being "snowed over" by ignorance. Pure, white ignorance.

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Micah Mandy Haase 2 years, 1 month ago

Here is a funny GIF I found... I am ready for the discussion board for tonights game!!!!

http://h8.abload.de/img/faintingtigers3s1we.gif

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rockchalker5 2 years, 1 month ago

Senior night for Collison, Hinrich and company vs Texas was a memorable one. Believe Collison had a 20-20 game, and I remember Dick Vitale giving him a standing O courtside. Gives me the chills thinking about it.

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William Blake 2 years, 1 month ago

Last game we had with TAM was before Mr. W had his Morrison moment of "break on through to the other side."

Break some stuff tonight, Mr. W, starting with some of your own personal best stats!

Rock Chalk!

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

1] "Keller said of this squad perhaps exceeding expectations." This may be the understatement of the year...unless you count "North Korea provides some vacationing challenges!!"

2] Please keep TAM Coach Kennedy in your prayers...he's facing a foe much more formidable than Kansas.

3] Note to HCBS. Check the MU tape and watch how the KSU guards forced the action...no walking the ball up. And our guys are twice as fast!!

4] I like the fact we're all worried about this game. Kansas usually dominates league "trap games." [I don't count @ ISU or MU..we knew those would be wars]

5] Coach Self should be considered for COY honors right now!! No coach in America has lost so much and still done so much working with relatively so little.

6] Remember, they didn't get Jeff Withey, superstar, last time. "The Wall" will be positioned tonight. [Hey, I like that...Jeff "The Wall" Withey!!]

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Sally Presson 2 years, 1 month ago

Attack is the code word for the next games!!! We have to stay focused guys for tonight then move on to MU. One game at a time. Bring your very best "A" game to College Station then send MU packing with a loss in Allen Fieldhouse. Both of these games are so big, but we can do it, I know we can!!!

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MizzouBest 2 years, 1 month ago

Well Kansas,.....looks like you will win another Big 12. Anything could happen still.....but odds are aginst us now that's for sure.

I still have hope we could win the Big 12 Tourney.....we will see.

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bradynsdad 2 years, 1 month ago

No mention of it but Coach Larry Brown is on the trip with our hawks.

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Ron Prichard 2 years, 1 month ago

I know we pulled away late, but the score in the picture above is what worries me. Down 40-38 with 13:29 to go in the second half. In AFH! If we don't come ready to play tonight, we can very easily come away with a L.

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REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I've a feeling, too. Uh-oh. Actually, I feel more positive about the Mizzou game Saturday than I do our chances of winning both the away games in this rough 6 day span. Logic would seem to proclaim that we have come way too far already, considering the limited bench and good fortune not to lose a starter to injury or foul trouble in a hardfought league contest. Our 5 cylinder machine usually seems to play with one cylinder sputtering out of sync. Considering Withey's emergence, perhaps we can throw a wrench into teams who have studied previous matchups with us this season, and think they can re-tune their defenses to stop our attack. The thing which Bill Self has going for him with this squad, he fields tremendously athletic starters, any one or five of whom might step up mightily on given occasions. If we survive this 6 day stretch without a loss, how can Bill Self not leap to the top for consideration for national COY? And, as jaybate asserts, our entire starting lineup not be considered for first string league accolades in March.

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Ron Franklin 2 years, 1 month ago

I got a feeling........

ooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh

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Jack Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

I rarely try to critique the articles here .. most are very good. This is about the headline as it relates to the article. The headline says "Healthy A&M ready for KU." The main bulk of the article relates to some prior video coordinator. Another small portion states that Middleton is back but Self is quoted as not know if Dash Harris will be back. Another reference to A&M being "healthier" than they have been all year, but that again tells us nothing about how much Middleton is expected to play (start?), or if Harris will play.

Really, that's what many of us are interested in. Yet the article doesn't expand on how much either might play, or provide any real info.

I get that the author may not write the headline. But how in the world is there any basis for that declaration in the headline? Doesn't come close to fitting the written story.

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GeoHawk15 2 years, 1 month ago

Not that Coach Self needs outside help, but I hope he gives Frank Martin a call for some insider tips against Misery. At the very least, study tape of those games. KSU has certainly figured out the 4 guard lineup!

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Marc Frey 2 years, 1 month ago

Focus on A and M. We can not win the conference tonight so just win and move on. Play our game and we will win by 15.

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Ben Kane 2 years, 1 month ago

TRob needs a monster game tonight to bolster the hype going in to saturday and re-ignite the momentum he has lost on the national scale for POY.

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Mike Hart 2 years, 1 month ago

You guys better quit focusing on Mizzou and worry about beating a finally healthy A&M team... AT College Station.

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SDSurferFan 2 years, 1 month ago

Lol. This may be a first. Going to a ex-video coordinator for a 'Talk about how great Ku is' article.

I'm like the next guy. Love reading about the team. I just think these articles show a severe lack of originality. I am guessing there is proably 1/week. Then again, I guess there is so much they can write each day about a college bball team.

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gdkadjayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

A little off topic, but is it just me or does it look like the ball in the photo has a dent on the "W" of the word Wilson?

Anyway, kudos to KSU, who certainly did their part to send MU to the SEC in proper fashion in both football and basketball.

Looking for the Hawks to maintain their focus on the stretch run!

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Jeffery Barrett 2 years, 1 month ago

No articles or even mention of the defeat of the mizlosers by the cats?!?! Strange......

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bradynsdad 2 years, 1 month ago

Read some very interesting articles last night about "world wide Wes". He was posted up behind the Kentucky bench last night and that's what got me curious. Everyone seems to know that he is the money distributor and the man that filters the kids from AAU to college to agents. The parts I found most interesting were how coach k didn't want anything to do with him until the Olympics when he needed Wes' help getting players, after that coach k and him are now friends and coach k's recruiting has picked up. There are also some coaches who have declared they want nothing to do with this guy and ironically their recruiting is suffering except one. Self has publicly declared he doesn't condone Wes' actions and what he does. From what I gather the only thing that keeps Self ok with this guy is that self is friends with Calipari and cal shockingly enough doesn't want to hurt selfs career. All that being said I think we do have one of the class acts in all of sports who has spoiled us with wins. I am just glad self is doing it the right way. Again this is all just stuff I read and nothing to do with A&M.

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PurePierce 2 years, 1 month ago

Hey mizzery, don't worry, you won't have to play KSU when you get to the suc.

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Cmill1221 2 years, 1 month ago

Take care of business today and cut the nets down Saturday. Sweet vengeance!!

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gardenjay 2 years, 1 month ago

I predict the Missouri game will break the 114 db record. My ears hurt just thinking about it.

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