Thursday, March 14, 2013

After loss, Red Raiders give slight edge to KU in matchup against Iowa State

Kansas guard Ben McLemore looks to maintain possession against Texas Tech players Daylen Robinson, left, and Toddrick Gotcher during the second half of the second round of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore looks to maintain possession against Texas Tech players Daylen Robinson, left, and Toddrick Gotcher during the second half of the second round of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Texas Tech

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 91-63 win over Texas Tech on March 14, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore

Kansas players Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 91-63 victory over Texas Tech on March 14, 2013.

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Box score


— Shortly after doing their part to help the Kansas University men's basketball team disprove the cliché that beating a team three times in the same season is tough to do, members of the Texas Tech Red Raiders sounded off about Friday's semifinal match-up between KU and Iowa State.

The answers from those players who were asked included everything from picking KU to picking Iowa State and “I'd rather not say,” but the vast majority of Tech's players seem to believe that the Jayhawks (27-5) will pick up their second three-game season sweep of a conference foe at 6:30 Friday night.

“I'm gonna have to go with Kansas just because of that inside presence with Jeff Withey,” said sophomore forward Jordan Tolbert, who tallied 13 points and six rebounds during Tech's 91-63 loss to KU on Thursday at Sprint Center. “Offensively, Iowa State could beat 'em, but I think it'll come down to defense and offensive rebounds, and I think Kansas will take those.”

The Red Raiders split with Iowa State this season, winning, 56-51, at home and falling, 86-66, on the road. Not only are they familiar with KU's next opponent from having played it, but many of them also saw both of KU's overtime victories against the Cyclones this season. And they're looking forward to Round 3.

“I respect both teams,” said junior Dejan Kravic, who finished Thursday's loss with 20 points and three rebounds. “They're both amazing teams, but Kansas just has an edge inside and also with their guards. I mean, they might have the No. 1 draft pick (Ben McLemore) playing with Elijah Johnson and then (Travis) Releford is one of the most underrated players in our league. I gotta give it to Kansas, but I think it's gonna be another down-to-the-wire win.”

Sophomore Clark Lammert also picked the Jayhawks and his reason echoed that of his teammates.

“I'd take Kansas,” he said. “They're just very disciplined and they're well coached. If you can get Withey in foul trouble and get him on the bench, it opens up that lane. Otherwise, Iowa State's gonna have to rely on its three-point shots. It definitely makes for an exciting match-up, that's for sure.”

Tech, which played two good halves against KU in six tries this season, did its best to make Thursday's match-up exciting. After taking an initial punch and falling behind by double digits early, the Red Raiders cut KU's lead to 27-25 late in the first half. KU responded with a 7-0 run to close the half and then hung 57 points in the final 20 minutes.

“When they get rolling, it's really hard to stop them,” Kravic said. “They're a top five team in the nation for a reason.”

Added TTU coach Chris Walker: “They're experienced. They have guys that played in the national championship game. That's what Kansas is. That's what we aspire to be.”

Of those players surveyed after Thursday's game, only junior guard Jamal Williams picked Iowa State in today's match-up. The reason?

“Iowa State plays with a lot of confidence and they play comfortable,” he said. “They're hungry. They feel like they took a real tough loss, and I feel like they've got something to prove this time around. So I'm going with the underdog.”


jaycon11 6 years, 3 months ago

this will probably be the 'hawks conference championship game. if they get past it, i don't expect the next round to be as much of a challenge, or as exciting a game. it's tough to beat a good team--at least a team that gets ramped up to play you, and executes each time--3 games in a year; so a loss wouldn't be the end of the world.
to avoid that, ej will need to play well, mclemore will need to find ways to score near his season average, and withey will need to be involved on offense early and often. if these happen, we should win. if not...shrug. an extra day's rest for the real tournament isn't a bad thing, either.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 3 months ago

KU could end up beating TTU, ISU, and KSU 3 times each in order to win the Big XII championship.

mikehawk 6 years, 3 months ago

What? No comments! Well, here are mine. Any time a team starts to bury the 3 ball, you better stay close and to some extent hit some yourself. Don't let them get comfortable from downtown! Elijah and Ben can't rescue us each time we play these guys. These guys are really good at pulling Jeff away from basket and opening up other opportunities. Such a good preparation game because this is what we are likely to see in Rounds 1, 2, and/or 3, if we can get that far. If we lose tomorrow, we will end up a #2 seed for sure. We win tomorrow, we will likely be a #1 seed regardless of Saturday. Honestly, I continue to maintain we play better as a #2 or #3 seed. I think higher seeded teams in our bracket hate to play us and low seeded teams love to play us, especially when we are a #1. Does that make any sense to anyone but me?

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 3 months ago

KU might need a BIg12 tourney championship just to get the 2 seed in the South. I feel like KU might get a 1 seed if they win the conference tourney, but I'd actually hate to be the 1 seed in the West with Zaga as a 2 just 'cause people would never shut up about it if KU jumped them like that. 1 seed in the south would be fantastic if only 1 of UofL, GTown, Duke can secure a 1 seed. The notion that Duke has a 1 locked up is an absolute joke. Doubt anyone has ever failed to win either conference crown and received a higher seed than anyone else in their conference.

As far as your take on guarding the 3 there's no doubt, KU's guards will have to stay tight if they start to hit. That would make Jeff's defense inside crucial as it would open up opportunities to drive the ball. I wouldn't mind seeing some version of a 1-3-1 or 3-2 zone out there part of the time against ISU, or even some pressing to encourage them to shoot 3's on the fly rather than with their defenders in front of them.

AirCapJay 6 years, 3 months ago

I agree with the zone and pressing. We should make it tough on ISU to bring the ball down the court. KSU does a good job of a one man press that disrupts the offense of the other team enough to generate turn overs. We need to do that.

Guard the three better and let Withey handle the lane.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 3 months ago

Is it too much to ask for ISU not be hot from 3 for once against KU? Will EJ get 40 this time?

JayHawkFanToo 6 years, 3 months ago

Oklahoma dominated the majority of the game and was leading by 12 with 7 minutes to go. It was still a 2 point game with less than a minute left. If not for OU going ice cold the last 7 minutes of the game. it would have won comfortably. ISU did not shoot well from 3; looks like it is quite different shooting at the tight AFH and Hilton arenas than at the bigger, more open Sprint Center; KU did not seem to have a problem though...let's hope it stays that way for both ISU and KU.

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 3 months ago

I was surprised ISU outrebounded OU 41-31, must have grabbed a lot of their misses from 3pt range, but even with that it's a surprise.

Michael Luby 6 years, 3 months ago

I said it before, I'll say it again. Our guards, Trav,EJ and Naadir better light that fire now! Coach Self better use his one up on this game.
Also, give Sherron a huge afro wig and put him in!

joshuamc914 6 years, 3 months ago

Everytime I see Sherron not playing basketball I always think what could've been? If he never got hurt at the end of the season and had to have surgery and he entered after the NCAA Chanpionship he would've been a first rounder and be still in the league I'm sure of it. He came back the next year and helped win a Big XII titles and all that but I wish he didn't need surgery and could've went to the draft. He got so heavy the last two years at KU and lost that quickness he once has during his freshman and sophomore years when he could dunk too. I always feel bad because I always believe he could've stuck in the NBA.

Kristen Downing 6 years, 3 months ago

Unfortunately I gree with the last Iowa State player. Their fans are much more vocal than ours. Where are the kids? KU really needs some fired up fans to help them. These ISU fans hate KU and I think the refs. are going to feel some pressure from the last game. Let alone Self admitted to manipulating the refs. Hope I am wrong.

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