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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bring on Aggies: ‘Different’ men’s team at Sprint Center

Kansas University guard Tyshawn Taylor stands at halfcourt of the Sprint Center during a brief shootaround in preparation for the Big 12 tournament opener against Texas A&M in this 2012 file photo. The Big 12 signed an extension Friday to keep the league's men's basketball tournament in K.C. through 2016.

Kansas University guard Tyshawn Taylor stands at halfcourt of the Sprint Center during a brief shootaround in preparation for the Big 12 tournament opener against Texas A&M in this 2012 file photo. The Big 12 signed an extension Friday to keep the league's men's basketball tournament in K.C. through 2016.

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Kansas University’s basketball players on Wednesday returned to the scene of their depressing mid-December loss to mid-major Davidson.

The Jayhawks followed a rigorous practice in Allen Fieldhouse with a 35-minute shootaround in Sprint Center, site of today’s 2 p.m. Big 12 tournament quarterfinal between KU (26-5) and Texas A&M (14-17).

“To tell you the truth, I’d not thought about that,” KU junior forward Travis Releford said of the Big 12 tournament being held in the same arena as the 80-74 Davidson downer. “It’s a whole different ballgame, whole different team. We come in with a different mind-set.”

Davidson hit 11 of 33 three-pointers in handing KU its third loss of the nonconference season against seven victories.

Since that day, the Jayhawks have rattled off 19 wins in 21 games, won their eighth-straight conference regular-season title and positioned themselves for a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Overall, KU is 13-3 overall in Sprint Center, claiming postseason tourney titles in the downtown K.C. arena in 2008, ’10 and ’11.

“I think it’s another chance for us to get better, to gain momentum going into the NCAA Tournament,” Releford said. “The conference tournament is important to us. It shows us what we’re getting better at and what we need to work on.”

KU, which has won five of the last six conference tourney crowns, today meets an A&M team that slugged Oklahoma, 62-53, in Wednesday’s first-round game. KU beat the Aggies, 64-54, on Jan. 23 in Allen Fieldhouse and 66-58 on Feb. 22 in College Station, Texas.

Elijah Johnson scored 21 points in the road victory on a night Thomas Robinson had just 10 points and 13 boards. Khris Middleton countered with 23 for the Aggies. In the first game, Robinson scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Tyshawn Taylor contributed 17 points for KU. Elston Turner had 24 for the Aggies.

“A&M played well against us twice,” Self said. “A&M is finally healthy, and that adds to the equation. They play more like us, primarily all man defense. They run some different sets but certainly things our guys will remember because we played them a couple of weeks ago.”

Today’s winner meets the winner of today’s Kansas State-Baylor game at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The final is 5 p.m. Saturday.

“We won the league, and the league is more important than the postseason tournament. I don’t care what anybody says. We are going to try to validate our championship. We are going to try to win it,” Self said. “I mean, if you play, you might as well try to win. There is no reason to play unless you play to win.

“It will be hard to win three days in a row. We don’t have depth, and we’re going to have to ride guys hard and play guys a lot of minutes if we are fortunate enough to advance. But it will be good for us. If we are fortunate enough to advance, we play Baylor/K-State. That’s a heck of a first two days.”

Of course, it’s possible KU, which has won five of the past six conference tourneys, could play Missouri in the final. The two teams split during the regular season.

“We’re just looking forward to taking it game by game and winning it. That’s our main goal,” KU senior Conner Teahan said. “We want to be a one seed (in NCAAs). It’s not like that’s our sole purpose of anything, because we’re taking it one step at a time, but we know to get one step closer to that, we have to win this Big 12 tournament. Honestly, we want to play Missouri again. I would love to, but we’ll see how that works out.”

Self said the players are well rested after getting a day off Sunday and having two consecutive days off each of the previous two weeks.

He indicated Taylor has been sick this week and Releford has been “nicked-up.” Releford said his left foot injury (stress reaction in January) has not been giving him any problems. Both Taylor and Releford practiced Wednesday.

“We’re fine (health-wise),” Self said.

Of the possibility of playing three games in three days, Releford said: “It’s not too difficult because we played every team twice. Preparing isn’t as hard as it will be in the NCAA Tournament, because we’ve seen these teams twice before.”

“Playing three games in three days is rough. We definitely need to eat right and take care of our bodies,” KU junior Jeff Withey said. “Mentally, it is a lot also. We just have to be thinking that we are going in to win it, and it is going to be tough. But I think that we can do it.”

Comments

KSseahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

When TRob ONLY had 10 pts 13 boards. Ridiculous. Nice recognition at Sr. night by HCBS. Looking forward to a fun ride, men. Work hard and remember...it's always good to be a Jayhawk.

Rock Chalk.

Lonnie Ross Dillon 2 years, 7 months ago

If both KU and Mizzou make the finals as seeded, it's going to be interesting how the lack of depth (for both teams) will be a factor as each play their third game in three days. I hope Coach Self gets a blow out so he can rest the starters...

Bob Thompson 2 years, 7 months ago

I would give the edge to KU. It is easier to hit dunks than 3 pt shots when the legs go.

Marc Frey 2 years, 7 months ago

I think KU has the advantage as well. Our bench, or players 6-8 are much better than Mizzerys 6-8.

Ron Franklin 2 years, 7 months ago

I give the advantageto MU on that. And it's why I kind of what the Hawks to lose and get rested for the more important tournament. I don't want them losing that rubber match to MU. TRob and Withey are gassed and I think the quicker Mizzou guard play would really exploit that. IMHO, I thought the Tiggers looked way more juiced and energized than the Hawks in AFH.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 7 months ago

Good question Ross..

I agree w/bobku1967 IF we hit our FTs.

Hank Cross 2 years, 7 months ago

Time to give a&m their last beatdown in the B12.

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

If KU and MU make it to the championship game the Jayhawks should have a slight advantage. MU relies so much on the 3 point shot, and 3 point shooters can lose their touch if they're tired. That should help Withey clog the middle better because the perimeter shots would be less of a concern.

And on offense, KU just needs to keep pushing it into the paint, where their shooting percentages should be better.

Steve Quatrocky 2 years, 7 months ago

My first choice is to win it all, always is. But, to drop out against Baylor, a top 10 team, and be able to rest our guys instead of beat them to death with a third game in three days, might not cost us the 1 seed in the Big Dance. NC and Duke cant both win their tourney and I think Iowa State will knock off Mizzou which kills a potential MU KU rematch anyway.

I DO NOT want to see MIzzou win this thing on the way out and A&M ought to forfeit after ceremoniously taking down their Big 12 sign last week while they are still playing games as a representative of this conference up until July 1st.

jhox 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm normally not too concerned with the thought of being a 2 rather than a 1 seed, but this year being a 1 is particularly important because clearly the two best teams are Syracuse and Kentucky. I wouldn't want to be in either of those teams' brackets. The only way to assure that we aren't, is to be a one seed. Better go out and win this tournament gentlemen.

texashawk10 2 years, 7 months ago

Syracuse will flame out in the Sweet 16 like they do most of the time. Boehiem has made it past the Sweet 16 four times I believe in his career. Being a 2 seed in the east isn't the worst thing that could happen to KU.

JD Roth 2 years, 7 months ago

I have news for you, Baylor won't get past Kansas State.

Iandhi 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't think I will get past half time with those Baylor uniforms. They look like they were made by Ocean Pacific circa 1989.

notigers4me 2 years, 7 months ago

Why is this game not televised? Where can a brother go to watch this game?

Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

By the angle of the sun, her "east coast' is facing west!!

Matt Bowers 2 years, 7 months ago

Please get a link up so we can watch this game.

Rock Chalk

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 7 months ago

ESPN 2

Glad we are one of the early games..I think the night games are only on ESPN 3

joeh80 2 years, 7 months ago

Find a sports bar or someone with cable. ESPN 2 K-State-Baylor @ 1130 and KU @ 1:30

Stan Unruh 2 years, 7 months ago

ESPN 3 online will also carry the game.

dansmullet 2 years, 7 months ago

What cable company doesn't offer ESPN2?

Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

1] Interesting diff. of opinion between Travis and Jeff regarding fatigue.....Travis approached it from the mental angle while Jeff approached it from the physical angle. I guess we big guys just get tired easier.

2] If having or not having a post conference tourney was put to a vote, I think I know which side Bill would vote for!!

3] Is it me or is it just that our losses at the Sprint Center have been so awful, but I am shocked to see we are 13-3 overall and have won 3 Big 12 Tourney Championships there. I keep thinking it's a snake pit for us.

4] For Christ sakes, win the damn thing ...since the Championship Game is moved back to Saturday, we'll have six days till our first round NCAA game!!

5] Any chance we will see the 1952 uni's again in March???

2 years, 7 months ago

3) Since most of us KU fans are slightly spoiled by our success, I think the three regular season losses (UMass, Syracuse, and Davidson) stick in our minds more than the 13 wins we have enjoyed there.

2 years, 7 months ago

I thought you might like that :^)

Kye Clark 2 years, 7 months ago

It is interesting that EVERY game there's a handful of people clamoring for a link to the game. Look...most of the games all season have been available via espn3 (formerly espn360). Some have said that their internet service doesn't provide that. OK. Well every game someone has posted the first row sports link. Bookmark that bad boy and you're set. Or try googling it and see what you come up with. Really, every game?

2 years, 7 months ago

ict ~ do you have the link for Google? :^)

REHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Naadir Tharpe, be prepared! If we make it through this 3 day grind, you might find yourself on the court a bit more than usual. If you are not up on recent history, ask someone what freshman bench player Cole Aldrich did against 2008 national MVP Tyler Hansbrough in a terrific tournament game on a big stage. This is the time of year to sieze unbridled opportunity and post your stamp on future deliveries.

HawkKlaw 2 years, 7 months ago

+1

We may see him get a lot of minutes today at 2pm!

sleepy33 2 years, 7 months ago

I think I'm feeling feverish...probably have to leave work around 1:00, 1:30 maybe.

KansasComet 2 years, 7 months ago

One game at a time. Don't worry about the Championship Game until we are in the Championship Game.

bbeckum 2 years, 7 months ago

Prediction: KU by 12 TRob: 17pts, 12 reb Whithey: 12 pts, 8 reb, 6 blk Releford: 15 pts, 4 ast, 4 stl Taylor: 21 pts, 8 ast, 1 to Johnson: 13 pts, 6 ast, 3 stl Young: 8 pts, 5 reb Junaman: 6 pts, 15 blk

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 7 months ago

Anybody else see Fab Melo have a temper tantrum at his teammates after shooting an air ball?

hawksince51 2 years, 7 months ago

Their stupid unis aside Baylor looks damn good today. With all their talent this is the way they should have played all year. While we can defend a whole lot better than the cats, I hope Baylor does not bring this game if we meet them tomorrow.

vsmooth 2 years, 7 months ago

I would like to post a comment, and hope that everyone agrees with me that loves the Big 12! I don't understand why people think that Kentucky is a tough basketball team? Okay, let's take a look at the conference that they are playing in. How many teams that is in the SEC are ranked in the top 5 poll? The top 10 poll? Hell, are even in the top 25 poll? If memory serves me right, I think there is only one team from the SEC that is in the top 25 poll. And I believe that team is Florida, if I'm right. So, why is so many people woofing about how good of a team that Kentucky is, when the teams that are in their league ain't about nothing. They are all losers, and probably can't defeat a High school basketball team. Take a look at the Big 12, and the many teams that are ranked, or has been ranked in the top 25, top 10, and the top 5. Take a look at the strength of schedule that Kentucky has, which is very sad. They are not playing any strong teams. So, what is all the hoopla about sad ass Kentucky? That is why Missouri has chosen to run to the SEC, because maybe there, they have a shot at the regular season title, and post season conference title!

hawksince51 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree about the SEC but have to say that UK is a very good team. They were very inexperienced when they beat us by 10 in a game that even Self said was not as close as the score indicated. Now they are much more experienced (freshmen become sophomores by this time of year) and are playing very well. They deserve their ranking and being a one-seed. I will not predict that they will win it all but will not bet against them. All that said I dislike UK, their coach, their one and doners, and the whole program as much as the next guy. But I do have to give them their due.

hawksince51 2 years, 7 months ago

After the first 8 minutes, KU had a better run than Bobby who says KU is really deep an he really likes Johnson off the bench.

monkeehawkSL8 2 years, 7 months ago

DEAR UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS BASKETBALL TEAM, BOYS THAT IS. I,M GOING TO WRITE THIS SAME MESSAGE UNTIL YOU GUYS EITHER GET IT AND MAKE A DEEP RUN INTO THE TOURNEY OR GET YOUR FANNY'S HANDED TO YOU AGAIN EARLY. STOP SCREWING AROUND. YOU DO NOT SEEM CAPABLE OF PLAYING 40MINS OF SOUND OFFENSE AND DEFENSE. YOU INSIST ON CHILDISH PLAYGROUND CRAP UNTIL YOU DIG A HOLE OR LET SOMEONE BACK INTO A GAME THAT JUST MINUTES BEFORE YOU WHERE WINNING BY 20. RUN THE OFFENSE AND GET BACK ON DEFENSE. DO NOT WASTE ONE SINGLE MOMENT OF ANY GAME. I'M WATCHING THE A&M GAME AND I SEE A KID DRIBBLE BEHIND HIS BACK AND HOIST A JUMP SHOT THAT MADE CONTACT WITH GLASS STRAIGHT INTO AN A&M PLAYERS HANDS BACK DOWN THE COURT FOR A SCORE. I SEE A LAZY MISSED LAYUP AND WATCHED THE SHOOTER PUT HIS HANDS ON HIS KNEES WITH HIS HEAD DOWN WHILE A&M RUNS BACK DOWN THE COURT WITH THE BALL. I'M SLOW, REAL SLOW WHEN I TYPE. YOUR WINNING NOW. BUT YOU HAVE GOT TO TAKE THE WHOLE GAME A PLAY AT A TIME AND EVERY MOMENT AS IF YOUR LOOSING BY 9 WITH A LITTLE OVER 2 MINS TO PLAY. NOW! YOU HAVE ALL HAD ENOUGH PRAISE AND ATTABOYS TO LAST TILL MAY. PLEASE SHOW ME I'M AN IDIOT. I WOULD ALSO CHALLENGE YOU TO SAVE ALL THE BUSH LEAGUE, CLASSLESS HOLDING UP 3 FINGERS WITH THE EYE LOOKING THROUGH THE KNOT HOLE, DUNKING ON SOMEONE AND STARING THEM DOWN RIPPING OPEN YOUR SHIRT FLEXING YOUR MUSCLE BUNK AND JUST GET BACK ON DEFENSE.DID SOMEONE REALLY SAY TO VCU LAST YEAR BEFORE THE GAME " WELL YOU HAVE HAD A NICE RUN, BUT ITS OVER NOW", DID SOME MORON REALLY SAY THAT. PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FALL. PLAY WITH CLASS, WIN WITH CLASS. GET READY FOR THE NEXT GAME. GUYS, TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER AND WIN.

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