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Kansas defeats Kansas State, 83-62

  • 8 p.m., Feb. 11, 2013
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

3 is enough: McLemore helps KU snap out of funk with win over KSU

Kansas guard Ben McLemore signals three after hitting a shot over Kansas State during the second half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore signals three after hitting a shot over Kansas State during the second half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Kansas State

KU coach Bill Self talks after his team's 83-62 victory over Kansas State on Feb. 11, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe

Kansas players Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 83-62 victory over Kansas State on Feb. 11, 2013.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KSU coach Bruce Weber, Rodney McGruder, Will Spradling

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber, Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling talk after KSU's 83-62 loss to Kansas on Feb. 11, 2013.

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Box score

KU-KSU

Kansas University’s students stuck around to serenade birthday-boy Ben McLemore as he conducted an ESPN interview after exploding for 30 points in the Jayhawks’ 83-62 slump-busting victory over rival Kansas State on Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

“Happy Birthday to Ben, Happy Birthday to you,” the students sang as the 20-year-old freshman guard headed through the northwest tunnel to the winner’s locker room with a big smile on his face.

Not only was he thrilled to score 30 off 9-of-13 shooting (6-of-10 from three) and 6-of-6 free throwing, but elated the squad snapped its three-game losing streak and avoided losing four in a row for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

“I mean it was great coming back home to Allen Fieldhouse,” McLemore said after he became the first freshman in KU history to score 30 or more points in two conference games. He had a career-high 33 versus Iowa State.

“It was great having fun with my teammates. My teammates got me in a zone especially Naadir (Tharpe, eight assists, one turnover, seven points) finding me on the wing. Last week was a bad week for us. This was great,” added McLemore, who credited assistant coach Kurtis Townsend for “telling me to start on the defensive end. It’s all I focused on ... defense.”

McLemore — he had 17 points the first half in helping KU race to a 47-29 lead against a team the Jayhawks needed to beat to forge a tie in the league standings — was energized playing before a batch of family members and friends.

“He had 30 people here,” said his AAU coach, Darius Cobb, grinning when told McLemore scored one point for each of the guests. “He wanted to play well for a lot of reasons, one being his mom (Sonya) and dad (Ben) were here.”

Ben McLemore Sr. indicated he was “very proud” of his son after KU improved to 20-4 overall and 8-3 in the Big 12; KSU dropped to 19-5, 8-3.

“We had a little birthday party last night with cake and ice cream. It was a lot of fun. He had a great birthday,” Ben Sr. said of an outing at Wayne and Larry’s, followed by bowling at Royal Crest Lanes.

“Not too good,” KU’s McLemore said of his bowling scores.

“He wasn’t very good,” agreed Ben’s brother, Kevin. “He was saving it for tonight. I thought he was going to get 40. But he was great getting 30 and getting the win.”

Also, Jeff Withey had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in surpassing Greg Ostertag as the school’s all-time leader in rejections (263, one off the Big 12 record of 264 set by Texas’ Chris Mihm).

“Jeff was great tonight and has been great all year long,” KU coach Bill Self said. “He and Ben were on a different level tonight.

“Ben is a big-time guy,” Self added. “These are just kids and they are facing different pressures than what they have ever faced in their life (in losing three in a row). I think that Ben, the last week or two weeks, hasn’t had the same smile, that same youthful exuberance that you would expect him to have. Tonight he just played. He is such a talented kid that when he just goes out and plays and has that bounce, he is hard to guard.”

Kevin Young contributed 13 points and nine rebounds, while Travis Releford had 10 points as KU got back on track.

“Our guys really manned up,” Self said. “They showed up. They fought tonight.”

KU will next meet Texas at 8 p.m. Saturday, in Allen.

Comments

boomrsoonr26 1 year, 6 months ago

Can the students get together before College Gameday gets there and make a Harlem Shake video please?

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 6 months ago

If there is one thing to take away from the game, it is that it is amazing what happens when you hit your shots. The floor opened up, defenders weren't cramming the paint. They were hoping we would miss. I wasn't upset with EJ, but Tharpe made a push for starting point. However, I felt EJ played well. He rotated the ball very well. If those shots start dropping for him, it makes our team that much better. But Tharpe and his ability to make every pass is key. I think he has a bright future and wouldn't mind him having the keys this year. However, one bad game can change that. I loved seeing B Mac being active. He wasn't as shy has the past view weeks. He was putting the ball on the floor, shooting and making it. If he plays aggressively every game, we will be very hard to beat. T Rel is still to soft but his defense was back today. Thought he still passed up open shots, but had very good ball movement. Also Happy to see how intense Jeff was, when his head is in the game like it was today, he is almost unstoppable.

All in all, if you are not relieved after this game, you are crazy. This team finally played KU ball and people always notice when you beat a top 10 team by 20.

2

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

EJ & Tharpe are the 2013 version of RussRob and Sherron.

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Steve Gantz 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm not sure either RussRob ever had a game like EJ had with 1-6 shooting, 4 turnovers, three assists, which followed up about a month of games with similar numbers.

2

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

And Tharpe hasn't yet taken over a game like Sherron did several times during his freshman and sophomore years.

So this is certainly a mild comparison at best. But there's definitely some credit to it as far as saying that Self could probably start the sophomore over the Senior in either case (Self said it himself that he could have started Sherron over RussRob because he felt that Sherron was outplaying the senior). That said, Robinson didn't exactly struggle during his senior year, he wasn't ineffective on the floor, and he had played the point his entire career at KU. Self really had several excellent point guard options that year, and his comments about starting Sherron were just to point out that Sherron was impacting the game as a spark plug off the bench, maybe moreso than Robinson who was the starter. That said, Robinson also had to stay in because of his ability to lock down the opposing team's primary ball-handler.

Self chose not relegate Robinson to the bench his senior year because of the potential impact on team chemistry, but this year it's starting to look like Tharpe may be better for team chemistry than EJ.

1

YuCoJayHawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Proud to see the support given by Allen Fieldhouse fans tonight. Coming off a 3 game losing streak, we still expected to see incredible support and they delivered. fun game to watch!!! RC!!

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Craig Carr 1 year, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 6 months ago

Here's to 30 and counting! I watched the game 3 times already. Kicking KSuck by 20s has been the most fun to watch so far. Tharpe gives BMac open looks. Great team play, this is KU bball! No more boring slow offense. Hopefully BMac will keep the strikes. Happy birthday Ben!

1

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

The officiating seemed - interesting. They really let the teams get after each other. I'm guessing there will be some sore bodies tomorrow.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

It was crazy. They would allow rugby scrums under the basket and perimeter defenders to slam bodies into the ballcarrier one moment, then they would blow the whistle for a tiny little ticky-tack foul out near half court.

Honestly, I'm glad that the game was called that way. Because I think part of KU's antidote to the current woes involved playing through some contact and bumping and responding in kind rather than shying away.

1

jaybate 1 year, 6 months ago

dagger and march,

You are both on to something very true and ugly.

The refs are losing integrity so fast they can't even sustain the illusion of a game properly called.

How can they?

Early on they are supposed to call the game to set the tone for the game.

Then they have to swallow the whistles to make sure the game fits in the broadcast window.

Then down the stretch they are supposed to keep the game in the window by calling fouls to stretch it, or by not calling fouls to shrink, while at the same time trying not to let the game get out of hand, but also not decide who wins.

It is an impossible task that has been given the referees by the NCAA and Media-Gaming complex.

And they are now beginning to lose their grip.

This kind of inconsistent foul calling is seen increasingly frequently.

Its too much for the referees and this is yet another reason for the game to be called correctly.

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RJ King 1 year, 6 months ago

JBate - Most of the time we see eye to eye. But your conspiracy theory regarding the Media-Gaming complex is way off.

I am waist-deep in the TV sports industry - self, spouse, and son. Exec producers, producers, directors absolutely do not dictate whether a game fits within the window of time purchased for the show. If it is short, we make up with post game interviews or commentary from the talent. If it looks to go over, there is a mad scramble to purchase extra space so as not to cut off the broadcast. I have never heard of an instance where the media tries to dictate to the refs the amount of whistles. The only control we exert is to hold play at the end of an unexpected lengthy commercial break.

I can't speak for the NCAA, but I can't think of a reason they would want the whistles to be inconsistent during the course of a game.

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Craig Carr 1 year, 6 months ago

guess you can't say hayseeds, as Walt Whitman said "pound sound purple"

1

Jack Jones 1 year, 6 months ago

Great way to bounce back > The team looked like the team of earlier in the year. Incredible defensive effort, especially to begin the game when it was key in establishing the pace we maintained thru the first half. Great, great crowd support once again. The schedule makers couldn't have arranged it any better > Kansas State @ The Phog. As I told my son at a point during the second half > My personal 'line' for the game was KU by 25 > Automatic 10 points when we play Kansas State anytime, anywhere + 8 points because we have the better players + 7 points for our crowd at the Phog. Darn, K.St. beat my spread.

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Jack Jones 1 year, 6 months ago

What a class act > having Danny Manning and family ' in the house' for the most important game of the season.

4

RJ King 1 year, 6 months ago

Does anyone know if Danny is allowed to go in the team locker room, or visit with the team before or after the game? Are there any restrictions on current coaches communicating / fraternizing with other teams?

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nostradavid 1 year, 6 months ago

I was born in a cross-fire hurricane And I howled at my ma in the driving rain, But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas! But it's all right. Im jumpin jack flash, Its a gas! gas! gas!

Gonna learn to dance if it takes me all night and day!

Gonna learn to dance if it takes me all night and day! by nostradavid

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s6u6r6f 1 year, 6 months ago

Interesting. I'm the seventh son of a seventh son, and the night I was born, Lord, I swear the moon turned a fire red. Oh, and nice win. I feel much better now. Thank you gentlemen for that. Rock chalk.

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mojayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Naa drives ME crazy sometimes, but he DOES drive the ball. This team desperately needs Naa to be the one to break down defenses, kick out to B Mac, EJ, and Travis, and even score when open. He is the key to EJ returning to a starring role as a 2. He is the key to the rest of the season. Naa needs to learn to protect the ball consistently, and maybe not dribble as much, but his quickness is unmatched on the court. Great job, Naa. We need you.

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Slick50 1 year, 6 months ago

How is EJ supposed to return to a 'starring role" as a 2 when BMac is the 2? EJ has played himself out of a position on this team. He's purely a role player, and hopefully in very limited minutes.

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mojayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

OK, I must give my bride credit. She woke up with a revelation. The past 3 games, our REAL players were abducted by aliens, and "look alike clones" were left to play in their place. They were clones in stature and uniform only, but KU Basketball DNA was missing. It was a bad and cruel experiment by the alien visitors, but we are grateful they returned our real players to us.
Now, a message to the aliens. Leave us alone the rest of the season. It's Go Time!

2

VailHawk 1 year, 6 months ago

I knew it had to be something, now we know!

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Cameron Cederlind 1 year, 6 months ago

This is it, the MonStars showed up and stole all the players talents. McLemore had to travel to Looney Tunes land and defeat them with a final halfcourt dunk. It's all making perfect sense now.

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NoteToSelf 1 year, 6 months ago

HCBS won't change the starting lineup from here on out. That totally changed the team flow the last time he tried it (TCU). As the saying goes "it's more important who finishes the game than who starts". We will see more Naa running the point than EJ especially at the end of the halves. Elijah has been awful at the end of the shot lock lately. I thought this would be one of Bill's deeper teams, but it is clear that he has no confidence with Rio, AWIII or Perry in crunch time. Great to see the Hawks playing with some passion. We will need it against OSU, ISU and Baylor on the road. Happy Birthday Ben!

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Hey AtlJaybird - I wonder what that sign outside of Tubby's says today ?

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

"At least we're still ranked ahead of Kansas for 6 more days"

1

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

actually I can't take credit for that. My K-State friend posted that on facebook.

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hawkdiek 1 year, 6 months ago

"We led the Big 12 for 2 days WOOHOO!"

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JayhawkRock78 1 year, 6 months ago

So great to see our boys play to potential again. I could see AFH was rockin! Way to get back on track RCJH.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

I guess I'll be the first to say I think that Self should have put Rio, White, Perry, Wesley, and JTray in at the under 4 timeout, and let them finish the game.

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dylans 1 year, 6 months ago

And let the score get closer? Not for Bill's good friend Bruce. No no no. That man is going to get all he can handle for as long as both Bill and Bruce are in place.

1

Jack Jones 1 year, 6 months ago

Not sure attaching "Self hates Weber" is an appropriate comment to post >can't imagine Coach using that term ever, even in a private conversation > too much class.

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HAWKTOPIA 1 year, 6 months ago

I must admit i was a bit dishevled. But seeing the Fieldhouse Rockin snapped my right out of it !!!! Great Job JAyhawk Nation !!! Sometimes the fans are the 6th man, today they were the first, i felt the players needed you too. RCJHKU

Kevin is a player i watch closely, and he is building his presence on the court. 13 points and 9 rebounds is a great game.

NAA had a breakthough game. every team needs a player on the court who will break a man down, so someone needs to help. picks are great, but it still one player on one player. when you draw a second player, all bets are off. he found his lane and took it with no worries. when he watches the tapes he will see his game, out loud.

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jbal32 1 year, 6 months ago

Searching for offline, I wonder where he is? I thought KSU was this state's premiere bball team? They were ranked higher last night, weren't they? I wonder if we will see that idiot post on here at all after that beat down. I sure hope KU takes this momentum and wipes the floor with the rest of the big 12. I also hope they put last night's film up side by side with TCU's film so they can see the difference in how they were playing. Rock Chalk!!

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yates33333 1 year, 6 months ago

What a relief!!! I hope the slump is really over. We will see at Iowa State. Iowa State is up and down, but almost always up at home for KU.

The scary part is the performance of the bench. Tharp had 7 points and 8 assists and played as much as Johnson. The rest of the bench had 1 point and 1 assist. The bench, including Tharp, who played better than the starter, had 3 offensive and 4 defensive rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 turnovers. The only thing encouraging is that KU's bench had better stats than K-State's subs. With the exception of Tharp the KU bench didn't play all that much and for obvious reasons.

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KGphoto 1 year, 6 months ago

Loved watching the cameras shake on big plays. That place looked about as amped as they did for Misery last year. Awesome performance by the fans!

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

PLEASE READ THIS. Just a quick comment that we have gotten so used to winning that we may have forgotten a bit the pure joy and priviledge it is to be a Jayhawk. Watching the game last night, I realized that in another six weeks or so, we wil never see any of these fine young men in Jayhawk uniforms again. In my almost half century as a Jayhwak, I can't recall ever losing an entire starting line-up. We have all been through a lot together with this guys and it's going to be sad to see them go. The Prophet, Trav, BenMac, The Condor, KY......it's amazing how a sport can become part of your life. I am sure these guys will go on to success in whatever they chose to do, but unlike the media, I feel there are no "former Jayhawks"!! There are Jayhawks playing for the Heat, the Celtics and the Thunder, but just like the rest of us, we will never relinguish that beloved title. I will bleed Crimson and Blue till the day that I die...and I know the rest of you will to. Thanks for taking a moment to read this...now let's go kick some Texas Butt!!!!!

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Kye Clark 1 year, 6 months ago

After '08 we lost the entire starting line-up. Sherron was the "6th starter", but did in fact come off the bench.

This is slightly different, because we did have Sherron coming back. We also had very high hopes for Aldrich based mostly on his McDonald's all-American status coming out of high school and the UNC Final 4 game. Next year, Tharpe is no Sherron (not a knock on Naadir, but a compliment to how good Sherron really was), and Perry Ellis has yet to show give us the same hope we had for Aldrich. Following the championship, we brought in Tyshawn, Releford, and the Morris Twins. Next year, we will be bringing in Selden, Embiid, Frankamp, & Greene.

And maybe Randle. I'll echo the last sentiment shared and say let's go put on a show for Julius by stomping Texas! Rock Chalk!

1

Jeremy Paul 1 year, 6 months ago

Well said! That's what makes us different than anybody else. Rock Chalk.

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Gil Ek 1 year, 6 months ago

Best crowd last night of the 8 games I've seen this year. This team needs that to start off. The most important 6th man that we have needed in awhile. Bring it again Saturday against UT. Hit DB of 119 last night. Most I have seen since Ohio St. Game last year. The crowd last night was "Awesome Baby!"

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Jeremy Paul 1 year, 6 months ago

When my 8-year old son learns something new, he gets very excited about it and talks about it often and makes analogies and comparisons to proudly display his new knowledge. I remember doing it as a kid, and I think we all did it at some points in our lives. This was all I could of last night when Musburger kept referring to the point guard as the "quarterback." It was like he suddenly realized that the point guard is the person who runs the offense, similar to what a quarterback does. And being very proud of his new knowledge, he acted like an 8-year old--talking about it often and making coparisons and analogies. And I swear if he said "quarterback" again, I was going to stab my ears with a screwdriver.

Anyway, good game boys! Great to see you back, hope you enjoyed the two week vacation. Rock Chalk!

1

KGphoto 1 year, 6 months ago

LOL "stab my ears with a screwdriver"

0

RockChalkDoc 1 year, 6 months ago

Did he ask to go outside and throw the old football around with Pops?

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Steve Gantz 1 year, 6 months ago

No time to read all the comments right now, so if someone said the same sorry. While this felt like a get well game, and it was in so many ways, EJ still didn't get any better. This has gotten very serious for this team. Tharpe drives me crazy, makes some great plays and then some really boneheaded plays, but it may be time for him to take the starting job.

1

Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

No. Nobody said the same because it seems a bit messed up to come off a win like that and still be whining about Johnson's struggles.

He actually played pretty well last night, even though it didn't show up very well in the stat sheet.

0

Steve Gantz 1 year, 6 months ago

Sorry for whining, just an observation. To be fair, I didn't even comment, er whine, after all three losses :)

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

"To be fair, I didn't even comment, er whine, after all three losses"

In that case, I owe you an apology. I must admit that I've become a bit defensive about EJ over the past week and a half. I know he's struggling, but I have a hard time being too hard on him because of how much he's given KU and how much he clearly wants to help the team. So I get a little reactionary.

Carry on and kudos to you for remaining stoic in the face of a pretty nasty week of KU basketball. :-)

1

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

100% nailed it konkey. I feel exactly the same way.

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AsadZ 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree. I had said the same couple of games ago.

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 6 months ago

kD .. good post If it was purely objective, that move has to be made. But we know it's not. Perhaps an "evolution" is more realistic?

If Self doesn't start Tharpe, he should ensure that every minute Tharpe is out there, he's at the point. Last night, EJ was at the point for a stretch even when Tharpe was out there. If Self plays Tharpe 26 minutes like last night, but every minute he's out there he's the PG, then that will marginalize EJ at the point. He'll in essence be the back up point guard .. playing only 14 minutes at the point.

That give Self a little wiggle room as opposed to not starting him.

The tough part comes when you go to overtime, or when the game is on the line. I think right now, you have to choose Tharpe. Self has to make that call when the game is on the line.

0

Bob Thompson 1 year, 6 months ago

I wish we were so bad that we could rush the floor when we win... lol

0

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

while I think it's embarrassing to KU when opposing teams rush the floor, and while I am very proud that KU fans don't rush the floor.

I thought that it was pretty embarrassing for OU the way their fans "stormed" the court Saturday against KU. It was obvious that they didn't know whether to rush the court or not, and so like 5 people rushed the court and started jumping around, and then a few more started to rush the court, and then the rest of them decided to join. Worst court storming ever.

What's worse, is that if you saw any clips of their game last night against TCU, the Harry and Lloyd Center was completely vacant. The fans didn't even show up for a Monday game against a lesser Big 12 opponent. No fan support, even for a team that just came off a court-storming victory over a top 5 opponent and has a shot at the big 12 title.

3

AsadZ 1 year, 6 months ago

Well said plastic. I felt the same way. I could not believe that half the seats were empty

0

TxJyHwk 1 year, 6 months ago

The TCU arena has been half empty except for the game they played against KU. And that was only full because of all the KU fans there.

0

jdonne44 1 year, 6 months ago

Tharpe looks like the starting PG, the way he is playing. EJ looks like the back up. He once again shot horribly, missing a wide open 3 and a relatively easy lay up. He turned it over TWICE in the open court with poor ball handling. His passes don't go anywhere except around the perimeter. Tharpe is getting to the lane and dishing. I was always a EJ fan, from the time he arrived at KU, but I have to say it is time for Tharpe to start. He has earned it. EJ needs to be demoted and EARN the spot back. Game after game, he has been given the opportunity to get his mojo back. It still hasn't happened and it keeps hurting the team. When they are playing side by side, EJ is actually much better, though still not contributing offensively. It seems like the team chemistry is better with Tharpe running the point.

0

Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 6 months ago

Hey I love beating the crap out of those people more than anyone, but unfortunately, it won't mean anything if they win the conference.

This win, and the fashion in which it took place, was desperately needed. Take care of business on Saturday, and we have a little steam heading into next Wednesday night.

For better or worse, the road to becoming Conference Champions goes through Stillwater this year. That goes for us, Okie Lite, and our little brothers to the west.

But amazing step forward last night. That looked like the team from December. The two factors that will help keep this up? Find our defensive selves again, and allow Tharpe to run the point early and often..

Our defensive prowess lead to transition points (which we hadn't seen in a long time), and Tharpe is the only one with the ability to add a spark to our half-court offense.

Stay the course. Keep the faith. Rock Chalk.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

I appreciate what you're saying--OSU's path to the title is a bit easier if you look at the schedule.

However, I object to the notion that the road to the conference championship goes through Stillwater. The road still goes through Lawrence, by virtue of the fact that the trophy is in Lawrence and the fact that as much of a schedule advantage OSU may have, you can't underrate that value of having been through the full race year after year, like Kansas has.

I think we will beat OSU in Stillwater, which will give us the inside track.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 6 months ago

And I hope you're right.

But I think if KU can pull off what I would consider an upset at Oklahoma State, I like our chances.

If not...I think it goes to OSU. It always goes through Lawrence, and it always will. But our little 3-game skid through a major wrench in the situation, and I believe we put OSU in the driver's seat.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

Could be. If OSU wins in Stillwater, I think I agree that they are the drivers.

0

MinorThreat 1 year, 6 months ago

Now let's double the amount of shots he's taking...

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5280jhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

We could hear the crowd all the way in Denver. We gather at Choppers a long established KU bar and several of us commented how loud AFH sounded. Holly Rowe had to shout in order to be heard. That crowd was the best 6th man the kids could've had in their corner. It was gret to see them look like they were enjoying the game again. Love the Beast mode from Withey. Bring the same energy and enthusiasm for the ESPN gang and the Texas game.

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KGphoto 1 year, 6 months ago

As big of a win as that was last night, many of the big plays looked similar to the "almost" big plays we've had in the previous 3 games. Some of Tharpe's passes were amazing but risky. The ball bounced well for us last night though, and the hoop was large. Not to take anything away from what they did, but it's a fine line between success and failure in this talented league. There is a force that pushes and pulls these kids over it, and back again, with relative ease. It's desire.

Amidst all the detailed analysis from fans and experts of what has been troubling this team I think it really does come down to just that. It's the most simple and fitting explanation, and it's impossible to adequately describe. You can't touch it, coach it or practice it, yet it consumes you.

With KU's lofty ranking they lost it, pure and simple. You can't tell me these kids don't look at the rankings. I believe if the rankings had come out on Friday night instead of Monday, we would've beaten Oklahoma on desire alone.

But it was probably a good thing they didn't come out on Friday and that we lost that OU game. Because the rankings came out on Monday before the game and we had flipped spots with the grapes. We ended up right back where we started and were in the unfathomable position of looking up at the kittens in the polls! What does that do? It fills your tank with high octane desire!

It turns those "almost" big plays into big plays, and pushes you over the line into the light. Clanks become swishes. Whiffs become blocks. Tipped balls become steals. Bad passes become brilliant assists, etc., etc...

So now how do you maintain it? Surely you can't get up like that for this Texas squad without a little help, right? You need a boost. Where do you find it?

I think we must have some vision. We have to be able to keep our eye on the prize. That's tough for a young man, but I think we are close enough now, at least to the conference title, that we might just be able to. We might be able to see that title well enough to use it as fuel. Hopefully we can stop looking at rankings for just a few more weeks, and fix their eyes on that title. Outside of the big games vs. ISU, OSU and Baylor, a vision of greater things might be the only way to keep that desire.

1

Redlandsjhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

I was very very happy with what I DIDN'T see last night.

I didn't see KU let their opponent cut the lead in half in the last five minutes of the first half.

I didn't see KU come out soft in the second half resting on their big lead.

I didn't see KU take their foot off k-state's throat the entire game!

I didn't see any worried looks on anyone in a KU uniform.

Btw, what do you think Webers advise to his guard last night was? "Be an "angel" and go choke away another big game to the Jayhawks."

2

Redlandsjhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

One more thing I realized... Happy drinking is more fun than sad drinking!

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Vince Brown 1 year, 6 months ago

A couple of years ago there was some Hoosier on Twitter raving about Indiana bball. Finally, I'd had enough. " I'm a Jayhawk. I've got two words for you.........James Naismith" I got no response.

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jaybate 1 year, 6 months ago

PHOF

Indiana has never known who its daddy was.

Indiana plays high school basketball.

Indiana let John Wooden go.

Indiana has never been a place I think of first, when I think of college basketball.

Indiana, like a lot of states, has had a few good stretches of college basketball.

But don't ever listen to an Indiana fan without reminding them that Indiana University always has been, is now, and always will be a school that will only have brief stretches of good ball, but nothing more.

And Indiana's high school basketball is more a matter of religious hysteria than good ball. Most states play just as good of high school basketball.

Quite a few states play better high school ball.

And to bring this all back home to D1, if Indiana survives long enough to meet KU in this year's Madness, KU will beat them down like doughnut holes smashed with a sledge hammer.

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jaybate 1 year, 6 months ago

Its not how far you fall, but how high you bounce back up.

--approximation of George S. Patton quote

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jaybate 1 year, 6 months ago

KU is officially armed and dangerous.

It got its funk out of the way.

Teams that do this at this time of year often peak in Madness.

We may lose more games, but the team no understands how it gets on an edge.

This will serve it well the rest of the season.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

I had the privilege of being in the crowd last night and got a huge reminder of just why I love Jayhawk Nation so much. Our fans knew that the team was reeling, they knew that even though losing last night would not mean the end of the season, it would have been a huge risk to the team's already fragile psyche moving forward. The entire crowd took it upon themselves to will KU to a win. It was clearly the biggest regular season game since the KU/MU game in Lawrence last year, and if MU hadn't been leaving the conference at the end of the season, this one may have surpassed that one.

Every made three was like detonating an M-80. Every steal was a roar of delight. As noted already, the pregame decibel level almost got to 120 (it was actually 119.7 or something) and there were multiple times during the game when my ears were hurting from the sheer saturation of noise. Walking back to my car after the game, I felt like I had just been at a rock concert, the way my ears were ringing. Easily one of the more enjoyable games I've attended as a KU fan, and I've been to quite a few over the years. Onto my game observations:

1) Officiating was really strange. They allowed both teams to play incredibly physical basketball, letting tons of contact go early in the game on both ends. A part of me was worried, because we all know in the last few games (mostly the TCU game), a lack of fire and willingness to punch back was one of the problems. In hindsight, it's good that's how the game was called, because it gave us the chance to take some punches and respond in kind. The craziest part of the officiating was how they allowed the scrum to go on under the basket, but would then call someone for some incidental contact, ticky-tack foul way out near half-court. It's really a shame that getting quality officiating is so difficult at this level of basketball.

(to be continued...)

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

(...continued)

2) Elijah played better today He clearly didn't shoot any better, but I thought he showed some good decision-making and passing, played quality defense (sometimes on McGruder), and there were a couple times after KSU started the trapping press that EJ was clearly more comfortable breaking the press than was Naadir. Some of you may think that the time has come for Naadir to replace EJ in the starting lineup, but I don't think that's necessary. Here's my thinking: EJ is a talented guard who will ultimately be vital for us to make a quality tourney run, so he's not going to just go away. You can manage an increased role for Naadir without actually changing up the starting lineup, so making that change is more about the message than accomplishing anything functional, and I don't think we need to send a message. EJ knows he's struggling and it's clear he wants to help this team so bad--I think the best course of action is walking that line between essentially punishing EJ for his struggles and letting things continue on unchecked. Start EJ at the point, but bring Naadir in as the 6th man off the bench and play him 20+ minutes, with most of those being him at the point. Then you continue to give EJ his minutes (around 30 per game), but have him play about 15-20 of those minutes at the SG position, with Naadir running the point. Slide McLemore over to the three, or slide McLemore over to the 3 and Releford over to the 4 for a "small ball" lineup. If Perry isn't going to have things click this year, then capitalize on the guy who does seem to be putting things together: Naadir.

3) Speaking of Naadir... wow. He played his best game as a Jayhawk by far. Yeah, he struggled with his shot again, but he played the way our PG needs to play, just on the edge of out-of-control in a way that wreaks havoc on the opposing team's defense. His acrobatic reverse layup was the second-most impressive play of the night for anyone. I think you all know which play was the most impressive... Now, let's not get too over-the-top excited. Naadir will still ebb and flow a bit in terms of his play, but last night seemed to be a big step in the right direction and has me fairly confident in our PG position for next year.

(to be continued...)

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

(...continued)

4) Return of the Stankface. Clearly I'm talking about Withey. I don't think he's played badly over the past three games, but he hasn't played with the fire and anger that makes him dominant instead of serviceable. Last night he was all over the place--affecting shots, being aggressive on offense, and my favorite play of the night, his posterization of Enriquez. We need that Withey the rest of the year while our guards get things fixed. If he and McLemore play like that every night, we have quite a skilled inside-outside combo. The trick is that Jeff and Ben are both nice guys in real life, so I think it's easy for them to forget to be a little mean on the court. Withey also rebounded very well--several times he came down with big-time rebounds in heavy traffic while you can see him getting the crap fouled out of him. The best example of this was in the second half--he had deep position inside the paint on offense and went up to pull a rebound down with one arm--not because he thought it would look cool to pull down a one-armed rebound, but because a KSU player was clearly just holding onto his other arm. A foul was called, but he STILL fought for and got to that ball because he wanted it more than any other player on the court. Last note on Jeff: he made a reference in the postgame to the second team really "beating them up" in practice--sounds like Self has decided to let his second team treat the first team like all of our opponents will from this point on--foul, foul, foul and do your best to capitalize on the fact that the refs can't call EVERY foul, especially if you foul on every moment of every possession. All I can say is, it's about time. We all know that the rough play is only going to get more and more intense from this point on.

5) And of course, Happy Birthday Mr. Mac. Not sure if anyone told you how this works, but we're supposed to get presents for YOU, not the other way around. Give Jayhawk Nation a ring on your next bday and we'll get you a round or thousand of drinks. :-) I also have to say that I think my favorite three-pointer from McLemore last night was his last one. I know that a 21 point victory isn't really that different from an 18 point victory, but there was something extra sweet about the final game margin matching the highest margin for the game. It really was a wire-to-wire performance from the 'Hawks. The only problem now is that I think they've sufficiently rekindled some of the early-season Final Four expectations amongst the fanbase. If the team that played last night and up in Columbus shows up for the NCAA tournament, KU can beat anyone.

(to be concluded...)

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

(...conclusion)

I'll close by saying that last night was probably the best ball movement we've seen from KU this season. They still throw the occasional lazy, arcing pass, but in general the passes were more crisp and--more importantly--decisive and rapid. There was no pound-pound-pound-pound-pound-pound pause, wing pass, wing pass-back, pound-pound-pound-pound-pound-pound that has become something of a staple for this year's team. I don't mind most of the risky passes, because a good passing team is going to find that sweet spot between risky, reckless passes that put the defense on its heels and careful, measured passes that can be predictable. If they move the ball like they did last night, the offense will look a lot better, even if we don't make shots quite as well. I also like the fact that we got some runouts last night, which had been all but absent the last few games. The key now will be making sure this team keeps that dispaired, hopeless feeling from the losing streak in the back of their minds as a way to motivate themselves to stay aggressive and hit back when an opponent hits them in the mouth. I made a point to chide KU fans for acting like the sky was falling after the last three games, and I hope this win has shown people that no matter how uncommon a three-game losing streak is, KU has earned it's reputation on performing over the long-haul of the season, rather than a short stretch of games. We still should be considered the favorite in the Big 12 title race, regardless of OSU's remaining schedule. ROCK CHALK!

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AsadZ 1 year, 6 months ago

very good summary, glad that you were able to enjoy in person.

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JayhawkRock78 1 year, 6 months ago

Mp88, You must have been sitting close to the action as the physical game you described under point 1 and officiating is exactly what I saw sitting 10 rows up at the UT game. It doesn't come across on TV or high up in the stands. A scrum is a good way to put it. Watching the bigs in the paint is like what goes on with the interior linemen in a football game. The refs let it slide and then call a tricky-tack foul, sometimes no where near the ball and it just plain doesn't make sense,

I also think that intentional foul was close but appropriate. You go for the ball low or jump to block it. Even though he reached close to the ball, it was clear he meant to hit him hard enough to knock him down, extremely dangerous at that speed whether the player has jumped yet or not, he will go flying out of control

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JayhawkRock78 1 year, 6 months ago

Being hit hard enough to send one out of control at that speed is just plain dangerous.

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Al Martin 1 year, 6 months ago

Great post(s).

Allow me the pickiest of nits, because that's just the kind of guy I am :-) : 21 was not our highest least of the game. We had a very brief 25 point lead, then immediately K-State went on a seven point run.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

DRAT! I actually had a thought to double-check it before I posted, then just assumed I was right.

:-P

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Jim Roth 1 year, 6 months ago

How fitting that Withey will break Mihm's Big 12 block record against Texas on Saturday (most likely). I hope they stop the game and make an announcement.

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Dimer23 1 year, 6 months ago

Not sure if has started yet or not. But to Mr. McLemore...... ONE MORE YEAR! ONE MORE YEAR!

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

Four step strategy for the rest of the season.

1] Nadiir runs the point.

2] Jeff stays home and guards the paint.

3] Everybody plays their asses off on defense.

4] BenMac shoots everytime he touches the ball.

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Kye Clark 1 year, 6 months ago

You people crack me up. All of this SG/PG talk about EJ. All these special scenarios you're concocting to try and rationalize ways to keep him on the floor. How many consecutive games does he have to shoot under 30% will it take to realize - 1. He's not a better PG than Tharpe 2. He's not a better SG than BMac, and 3. He's better than Travis, regardless of position. If you took all sentimentality out of the equation, how many minutes would you reasonably give a player that has been performing at his level?

MarchPhog demonstrates the ridiculousness above. He's talking about an increased role for Tharpe and play him 20+ minutes/game, and playing EJ around 30 minutes/game. Again I ask, what have we seen this year to justify EJ playing more minutes than Tharpe? (and sorry MarchPhog, not to pick on you. You're certainly not the only one thinking along these lines. I thoroughly enjoy your posts. Just disagreeing).

Any argument made for EJ to have more minutes is based on 2 things: sentimentality. We want EJ to do good. I certainly do. He's so much of what we want our Jayhawks to be. He's stayed 4 years, waited his turn, and he wore Jayhawk gear to a high school all-star game in Kentucky. The other reason is the 9 game hot streak he had in last year's Big 12 & NCAA tournaments. No doubt, we don't get to the championship game without him. But he hasn't shown that this year. Not in his shooting, and not in his confidence to take the big shot. He passed on the big shot against Michigan St. Again against OSU. Possibly against ISU as well (my memory is foggy since Ben made the shot. Could be EJ passed up on it there as well).

Let EJ come off the bench. Those arguing that benching him will destroy his confidence, what do you think having this string of poor performances is doing for his confidenc?. Unburden him a bit, let him relax. It is for the good of the team, and quite possibly for the good of EJ as well.

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Jack Jones 1 year, 6 months ago

You could be correct > but, I don't think so. Tharp had a great first half performance > but it did not carry over in the second 20 minutes. Same problem he, and others have experienced this season.Better than Travis > no, not when considering complete season. 20-3 with this starting line-up. Another great Bill Self coaching effort going with the starting line up/in- game substitution rotation, although would have preferred to have seen us continue to play at the same fast pace level for a bit longer before going into "using the clock' mode. I do wish our bench was much, much more effective > may hurt us as the games become more physical, and more critical from here on out. GREAT BOUNCE-BACK EFFORT BY ALL >INCLUDING THE BEST SIXTH MAN CROWD ALWAYS.

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Kye Clark 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes, meant to say that no, EJ is not better than Travis, regardless of position, so we can't justify playing small and having EJ take minutes from Travis in any scenario.

And it's not just Tharpe's first half performance. On the ENTIRE season, Tharpe is outperforming EJ. By any quantifiable definition. Shooting percentage, assist/turnover ratio.

Again with tossing out the record jackdavid. This after last week when you said "show me one person who is using our record to justify that everything is fine", when the post right above mine and the post right below mine did exactly that. As I pointed out at the time

We can't get caught in the situation like we were all January, where we were winning so those who tried to point out issues with the team were shouted down. Winning covers a multitude of sins, our 3 game losing streak exposed those sins. We can't afford to ignore what we saw last night.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't think giving a senior point guard who's given everything to Kansas and who is a key reason we reached the title game last year some time and consideration to work through a slump is "ridiculousness".

For the record, you're welcome to disagree and pick on my post, but I think you're glossing over part of what makes college basketball different, better than pro. The sentimentality is part of the reason to keep Elijah as a key member, but there's a reason you will never see an environment like last night in any NBA game--the sentimentality has been completely eliminated in favor of a colder, rationalist approach to divvying up minutes. Sentimentality is a good thing, as long as it's not completely unfounded, and given the points you made about Elijah's past, clearly faith in him is not absolutely crazy.

But more to the point, even though part of the reason for wanting to keep Elijah as the starter is sentimental, the other part is that to get anywhere near where we ended up last season, we need a good Elijah. We've seen he can be that guy, and it seems a bit reactionary to suddenly call for Elijah's starting job and minutes to be reduced because Naadir finally had a performance that was demonstrably better than Elijah's. It's not like Naadir has been lighting it up over the past several games of Elijah's slump--he's been just as mediocre for the most part. So we're talking about a major shakeup that could affect Elijah's mentality AND team chemistry for a young guard who has shown one solid game compared to a guard who has quite a bit of history to draw upon. There were moments last night that demonstrated Elijah's value over Naadir--bigger/longer and able to guard bigger players, more comfortable with breaking a full-court trapping press to name two.

(to be continued)

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

(continued)

I guess what I don't understand is how managing minutes and starting/bench roles in a way that allows you to make the most of your best players is considered a "special scenario" or some kind of wacky "concoction". That's the game of basketball in a nutshell--incremental adjustments designed to maintain good and eliminate bad. I think you can effectively reduce the team's dependence upon Elijah at the PG position without a major, stake-in-the-ground shakeup. You don't NEED to bench him in order to give Naadir an increased role in the offense, and I think the best solution would be one where Elijah has less pressure (by getting some time at SG) but doesn't have the bright flashing sign saying "BENCHED!" to go along with it.

McLemore is a better 2 than Johnson, but we aren't going to be playing our starters 40 minutes a game, which leaves plenty of room to get Elijah, Naadir, Ben and Travis plenty of minutes on the perimeter, as well as allowing for some creative lineup options. Think about it, there are 120 minutes in a game at the PG, SG and SF positions to divide up between essentially 4 players, and even more if you consider that some of Travis' minutes can come at the PF spot to relieve Kevin (since Ellis isn't really doing anything). Try looking at it without the strict position assignments--who would you rather have getting more minutes: Elijah or Perry?

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Hank Cross 1 year, 6 months ago

I was one of the people that crabbed about playing Brady and Tyrel too much and Travis and EJ too little. So really wanted those two guys to perform when they got their chance. Now I have to be intellectually honest and say that EJ should sit in favor of Tharpe. EJ is having a way worse season than Brady ever did. Brady was barely a positive. EJ is a negative trending downward. Like HEM said above, however, Self will probably keep on starting EJ - I hope though that Tharpe comes in asap in the game to play the point and close out the game.

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Kye Clark 1 year, 6 months ago

marchphog - I guess we're just disagreeing over the level of EJ's play. You say "I don't understand is how managing minutes and starting/bench roles in a way that allows you to make the most of your best players is considered a "special scenario" or some kind of wacky "concoction". That's the game of basketball in a nutshell--incremental adjustments designed to maintain good and eliminate bad." I agree 100%. My position is that the scenario that is best for the team is Naadir playing more minutes and starting, and EJ playing less minutes and coming off the bench. So to me anything designed to not do that is a special scenario.

And I've been a proponent of this for over a month. It isn't a "reactionary" position "because Naadir finally had a performance that was demonstrably better than Elijah's." Naadir has been better for much of the season (definitely all of the conference season). Again (as I responded to someone else) by any quantifiable measure. I'd take Naadir's "mediocre" over EJ's horrendous season. That is demonstrably better.

It's not reactionary when EJ has balked at taking the big shot ALL YEAR. When we lose at TCU. When we've been playing poorly as a team for a long time.

As for affecting EJ's mentality, I'll defer to my original post in saying I think the move would be good for him. Being consistently the worst player on the court can't be doing wonders for said mentality.

You bring up minutes and ask who would I rather have out there, EJ or Perry? Well...for me that's a coin toss. Both are trying hard, both are shooting woefully, and both are turning the ball over too often. What I would rather see is AW3 getting some court time, either at the 3 or the 4. I think those minutes should be coming at the expense of EJ (which can be done by taking minutes Self has been playing him at the 2).

I'll just ask again, what have we seen THIS YEAR (not last year) that justifies EJ garnering more minutes than Tharpe? EJ can still get minutes, I just think he is the one who should be seeing 20 and Tharpe 30.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

If this is just about the minutes distribution, I can get on board with the two of them playing minutes more evenly, or hell, Naadir getting more minutes. That's something that can be managed incrementally from game to game or even situation to situation. So when Self adjusts the distribution, it isn't some sort of major statement, it's based on whatever the situation warrants.

My big issue, I guess, is with the idea of using starting spots based on a real-time reaction to how well given players are playing. At least not as a game-to-game reaction. Your starting spots should be based on more than how someone is playing in the moment, which is why I think Johnson's play from last year at least has to be a factor.

What if Tharpe gets the starting nod and doesn't really continue the play we saw out of him in the first half of the KSU game? What if EJ starts to hit a few shots and, in fewer minutes, improves his A/TO ratio? Do we then switch back to Tharpe?

This may not be reactionary for you, but the tone and attitude about Tharpe is definitely different today (overall) within the Jayhawk community than it was before yesterday's game. Before today, the calls for Tharpe to start were about not being any worse than EJ and EJ playing terribly so he deserved to sit. Now today, it's all about the offense looking so much better with Tharpe running it instead of EJ.

But again, if it's just a matter of getting more minutes for Tharpe and less for EJ, I don't really have a problem with that. Heck, it could be good for EJ from a health standpoint as well, if his knees are a problem as some have speculated.

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sbucks 1 year, 6 months ago

Look at it this way, as far as the NCAA goes, we beat a top ten team last nite, thus improving our seeding in the tourny, I think we win out, the B12 championship still goes through KU.

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jhawkr 1 year, 6 months ago

Winning out with this squad and having a successful March run is still iffy at best. They finally played a complete game for the first time of note in 2013. They are going to have to keep improving for me to get back on the freight train for this season. We go as far as McLemore carries the Jayhawks ! Of course making more layups/simple put-backs, better free throw shooting and most of all better rebounding will go a long ways to cover up the offensive short-comings of this years squad. Never, I say never did I see Tharpe developing as much as he has this year versus what I saw out of him last year ........

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soapisurfriend 1 year, 6 months ago

Looks like Sir Selden and Jo Embiid will be facing off in the Jordan brand game. Interestingly, neither Greene nor Frankamp received an invite. I imagine both will receive worthy consideration for the McDonald's AA game.

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Dustin Engelken 1 year, 6 months ago

I was really glad to see we had a few guys make the game since it's practically in my backyard. Looking forward to getting a preview of these guys in person. Hope some of my fellow East Coast Jayhawks can join me!

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MOLadyKUFan 1 year, 6 months ago

Just a quick post. Way to go Jayhawks. I enjoyed every minute of that game!

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Jason Wilson 1 year, 6 months ago

Not sure if its been noted but there was a nice article about BMac in the Wichita Eagle today (and maybe other papers)

http://www.kansas.com/2013/02/12/2673428/kansas-ben-mclemore-spreads-his.html

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AsadZ 1 year, 6 months ago

Nice highlights from yesterday's game including locker room celebration/dancing

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TexasRockChalk 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't buy for one minute Danny was there just for his kid. He sensed that his FAMILY was in trouble, so he did what any Jayhawk would do: he came home to rally the troops and spur them on to victory. He heard all the smack talk and denigrating of the proud Jayhawk Nation and he said, "Nuh uh. No more!" That's what family does.

I don't care who you are, if you didn't get goose bumps every time the TV panned to Danny standing and cheering us on to victory, you ain't a true Jayhawk!

We are KANSAS!

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