Kansas defeats Western Kentucky, 64-57

  • 8:50 p.m., March 22, 2013
  • Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Whew! Kansas survives big, red scare

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson tries to pump up the crowd after a defensive stop by the Jayhawks against Western Kentucky during the second half on Friday, March 22, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson tries to pump up the crowd after a defensive stop by the Jayhawks against Western Kentucky during the second half on Friday, March 22, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford talk after win over WKU

Kansas coach Bill Self and guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford talk after the Jayhawks' 64-57 win over WKU on March 23, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

WKU coach Ray Harper

WKU coach Ray Harper talks after his team's 64-57 loss to Kansas on March 22, 2013.

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Box score


— Kansas University did not become the first No. 1-seeded team in NCAA Tournament history to lose to a 16 on Friday night in Sprint Center.

The Jayhawks, however, did trail by a point at halftime before managing to do just enough to edge Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt Conference, 64-57, in a second-round clash that scared the heck out of 18,488 fans — almost all wearing Crimson and Blue, except for one section of loud, red-clad Hilltoppers.

“We came out uptight, nervous,” said KU center Jeff Withey, who scored 17 points with seven blocks and six rebounds. “They surprised us with how good they were. We definitely took them lightly. I talked earlier that we can’t let that happen, but we did.

“At least we got it out of the way, and we’ll be ready Sunday,” added Withey, referring to a 4:15 p.m. third-round game against North Carolina to be shown on CBS.

The Jayhawks, who never led by more than six points until 5:10 remained and even saw a somewhat comfy, game-high lead of 11 points with 3:08 left dip to just five at 1:43, committed 17 turnovers, many against the Hilltoppers’ press.

The Jayhawks also went 0-for-6 from three. It marked the first time in 201 games KU had gone without a made three. Last game without a three was a 100-90 victory over Baylor in 2008.

“I knew we’d pull it out,” Withey said. “We’ve been in this situation too many times.

“Coach got on us a little (after the game),” Withey added of Bill Self’s message. “At the same time, we won. He said we can’t come out like that Sunday or we’ll get beat by 20.”

Self said that though the Jayhawks were loose in the locker room all week, the mood changed a bit Friday. KU’s effort brought to mind No. 1 seed Gonzaga’s narrow 64-58 win over No. 16 seed Southern on Thursday. All of the top seeds in this tourney advanced, increasing the all-time record of No. 1s over 16s to 116-0.

Though this one was definitely scary for the 1.

“I don’t know if we’ve been much looser all season than this week,” Self said after his team ran its record to 30-5 overall. Self improved his personal record at KU to 299-58 entering the Carolina game, which has a chance to be his win No. 300 as a Jayhawk.

“But I did sense a little bit different feel in the locker room. We were a little tight. We got tighter as we went. The second half we did guard better,” he added.

KU held WKU to 3-of-20 three-point shooting. The Hilltoppers (20-16) hit 31.8 percent of their shots.

Still, KU, which became the first team to win a tourney game without a three since Arizona in 2001, made oh-so-many mistakes in this one.

Ben McLemore had four turnovers to go with his 11 points. Kevin Young had four turnovers to go with his eight boards and five points. Withey and Elijah Johnson each had three turnovers, Johnson five points off 1-for-6 shooting.

“I wasn’t nervous,” said McLemore, who did hit seven of eight free throws on a night KU hit 24 of 30. “I just tried to get my head in the game, and I tried to be focused. I didn’t want to mess up.”

KU hit 7.7 percent of its shots outside the paint, as in just one field goal outside the paint.

“We didn’t play our best by any stretch,” Self said. “But give Western credit. I thought they were the most aggressive team (WKU outrebounded KU, 41-35). I thought they controlled the game for the most part until the second half when we got the ball inside some. We’re happy to advance but not pleased how we played. We’ll have to play a lot better on Sunday.”

KU went 0-for-5 from three and was outrebounded, 18-13, by a smaller Western Kentucky team as the Jayhawks trailed, 31-30, at halftime.

The Hilltoppers made just one of six threes but did convert 13 of 27 shots the initial half for 48.1 percent to KU’s 12 of 25 for 48 percent.

Withey scored eight points off 4-of-5 shooting, while Perry Ellis had seven points and Travis Releford six the first half.

Western Kentucky was led by forwards Aleksejs Rostov and George Fant, who scored nine and eight points respectively.


Steve Brown 1 year ago

Sidney Wicks, Lucious Allen, Lew Alcindor, j. Wilkes, before the 3 pt line before the shot clock it was a different era. A mid major coach about to get big pay day.....some school,about to lose a coach, is it Butler, VCU, Davidson, SMU !).


monkeehawkSL8 1 year ago

Jaybate, the Bruins are in need of a new coach. Are you going to put your resume in? I'm sure they've heard of you, let the board know if you need some references. First there was the "Wizard of Westwood", you could be the "Liberace of the powder blue bears".


Konkis Dongington III 1 year ago

Well, it's official, Ben Howland got canned at UCLA. So who's with me on getting the Wear twins?


Steve Brown 1 year ago

Down goes Zaga, down goes Zaga.


RockChalkGuy 1 year ago

Just Beat North Carolina


oldalum 1 year ago

That wild defensive style of WKU's seemed familiar, and after I read an article about their coach I realized why. He used to be the coach at SIU. Isn't that the team we played in 2007 (I think) in California? Their slap and bump style of defense left us exhausted and probably bruised from head to toe. We won, but were so exhausted we weren't fully recovered and didn't play well against UCLA (still in California) in the next game, and lost.


objectiveKUfan 1 year ago

Did anyone else catch WKY coach see Bills/Tharpes called play in the first half (pointing to elbow)and immediately calling to his players to defend the set play and than we absolutely botched said set play? Scouting us is just too easy. We have no legit PG to change the offense up. I've lost all hope for EJ to effectively run the offense. Tharpe is still the key, but we'll have to wait for his senior yr. for a legit chance at the trophy.


Kye Clark 1 year ago

HEM with another spot on post. It always particularly baffles me, the "who cares we won" crowd, as HEM put it. Fans like that often act as if one game has nothing to do with another.

There are also fans like Jaybate, who for some reason use poor performances as encouragement and hope for future games. I saw him say he was glad we stunk it up last night (paraphrased), because if we had blown them out by 30 he would have been disappointed we wasted a good performance on a #16 seed. Huh? You mean to tell me, had we won by 30 he would have been on the message boards bemoaning a dominant performance? I find that hard to believe. It's a rationalization, plain and simple.

Similar to this, there's also the "we got our bad game out of the way" attitude. This assumes that one bad game can't snow-ball into another, that there is no carry-over in the way the team plays game-to-game. That confidence isn't fluid. From what I saw last game, I'm extremely concerned for the team tomorrow night.

And win, lose, blow-out, grind-it-out. Jaybate and others will have some way to explain it away. Some way, that is, that fits into their "Self has a plan" way of thinking. I just can't see how last night's performance was part of the plan. Self himself said he wasn't pleased with the way they played. The worshipers will shrug it off as some kind of Self-zen psychology, and that he was really sending a coded message to his team or UNC through the media, and that he really was pleased because that's what he wanted all along.

Whatever helps get you through the madness I guess.


TexiCaliHawk 1 year ago

Good post FarSide as we essentially agree that (for a 30-5 team) KU can look absolutely gorgeous as well as incredibly hideous (sometimes even in the same game!). Nerves aside, I think the common denominator for KU -- as it has been historically -- is that our Defense sparks our Offense (transition game to get easy, emotionally uplifting dunks; improved focus that results in better movement, screening, inside/out passing and trey shooting or seal-off 'bunnies' down low).

So, the whole notion of whether HCBS has the team 'amped' or not is irrelevant as a coach can only do so much -- each individual player and, of course, the team collectively -- must realize that EVERY game is THE game and EVERY opponent (especially during a 'one-and-done' elimination tourney) is desperate, dangerous and to be respected. EFFORT cannot be 'coached' -- it is simply a matter of good 'ol fashioned 'Want-To'.

This then provides the 'catalyst' to COMMIT to playing a suffocating style of Defense that imposes your will over the other team -- a few steals, a block and some defensive rebounds will lead to CONFIDENCE on the Offensive side of the court. DEFENSE starts the OFFENSE and Confidence leads to 'Swagger' and a fun, loose style of play that by the time you look up we're on a 12-0 run, which results in 'W's' . . . lot's of 'em!

THAT is what we as long-time Jayhawk followers/fans affectionately refer to as 'KANSAS Basketball' and how we all know THIS team is capable of playing (e.g., OSU in Columbus, KSU in Lawrence, etc., etc., etc.). The stage is set for us to do so yet again as we impose OUR WILL on 'ol Roy and the Tarheels on Sunday -- just play 'KANSAS Basketball' and the rest will take care of itself . . . NEXT!


Glen Darge 1 year ago

If the Hawks cannot hit from the outside and maintain what they did to defeat WKU, then they need to stay home and not embarrass us fans by getting on the court and playing the way the did-- And THEY even WON the game??? They did not deserve to win the way they played. Coach self did his job! It was the tem that let him and the rest of us down.


eric poncharello 1 year ago

Western Kentucky played a good game and for the most part took Kansas out of there game which KU should be concerned about other teams they play will use these same tactics. Elijah isn't a smart player for letting himself get caught up in the physical play Western Kentucky used on him. Elijah is the team QB and needs to be a top performer now and get his team involved with better decision play or will get beat by UNC. I'll make a statement now if KU beats UNC Sunday will be in the championship again, But, I feel will get beat by UNC because Roy has a perimeter team that can beat our perimeter players. I'am not saying there more talented over our guy's, I just feel they will be Sunday. Whew!


okiedave 1 year ago

It looks like we have on our plate NC - Mich - Fl. - Miami/Syac. - Louisville. If we can reach the championship it may turn out to be the toughest bracket for a national championship in NCAA tournament history. One game at a time.


FarSideHawk 1 year ago

The reason I'm not worried this year is because every contending team (and there are about 15 of those) is in the same boat. They have looked great at times and they have looked clueless at times.

The Jayhawks have played some beautiful basketball during the season, with ugly games mixed in.

I'm not worried because we have the team that can beat anybody in the country if it comes to play. We are not fundamentally at a disadvantage against anybody.
We have experience and poise to win close games against the top teams, be it UNC, Mich, Florida, IU, or Louisville!

We have the horses to win against all of those, if we play our defense.

Believe in the Prophet!

Believe in the Jayhawks!


yates33333 1 year ago

I think Western Kentucky played a smart game and played pretty effectively except for missing open shots. KU played horrible in spurts, but I am not sure overall KU played as poorly as everyone seems to believe. I think some credit for the close game goes to the WKU coach, his game plan, and his players. Like the announcer said, our wings and point guard had rough games. Let's hope that ended Friday night and on Sunday we play like we did against Ohio State or Iowa State, the last game. What has been obvious thus far is that the Big 10 really is the premier BB conference this year. The Big 12 has been a disappointment except for Iowa State and after tomorrow KU.


TexiCaliHawk 1 year ago

First of all, it's always great to get a 'W' so congrats to the Hawks for NOT being the 'first to lose as a 1 Seed to a 16 Seed -- I know, I know . . . 'Survive and Advance'. That said, we simply cannot play so 'scared' any more as that seems to be the recipe for disaster for this squad (e.g., long tentative passes, holding the ball instead of moving it, standing around instead of moving without the ball, looking to pass instead of aggressively driving into the paint, short-arming 'bunnies' instead of dunking the ball with authority, etc., etc.). We also need MUCH more 'Senior Leadership' than our 4 Seniors (3 of them '5th Years!') have demonstrated as there were more 'brain fart' plays out of them than you would expect from a Freshman. E.J. has reverted back into his 'funk' and Releford seems to have likewise reverted back into his 'shell' -- we need BOTH of those guys to step and LEAD like we all know they are capable -- especially when things aren't going well. Ben was 'invisible' (at best) and actually a 'barrier' (at worst) to our progress -- he looked absolutely lost out there for the majority of the game and tried to force the issue on several occasions when he got the ball -- only to result in a missed (difficult) shot, or errant pass, etc. Thank God for Jeff Withey who DID show up to play as well as our ability to hit Free Throws down the stretch, or we would be going home early from the Tourney (just like K-State!). Monkee -- your (repeated) mantra of "Take care of the ball and we can win it all" is indeed an accurate assessment (especially when we play a quick, athletic, pressing, trapping team like UNC or VCU), but unfortunately, it is only one of our keys to advancing -- this team responds best when it has a chip on its shoulder; playing with a tremendous amount of energy and PASSION (a 'Free Mind') in squeezing the utmost out of their God-given abilities. When we just 'show up' and play as passive as we did last night, we are still a good team, but just not GREAT team. Sorry to sound so negative, but I'm guessing HCBS is thinking/saying the same things to his team -- we have the Talent and Coaching (as well as a decided 'Home Court' advantage in playing at the Sprint Center in front of a vast majority of fans on a floor where we just last week won the Big 12 Conf. Tourney by playing our BEST basketball of the season). Now we have to mentally put that 'stinker' behind us and gear up for WAR against 'ol Roy and his Tar Heels who WILL show up and play like they have nothing to lose . . . Will we? I certainly hope so as I love these Seniors and just want them to go out like they deserve to . . . as CHAMPIONS! As we've seen from all the upsets thus far, nobody is going to 'give' us anything . . . we have to TAKE it! I'm thinking that our lackluster performance last night will get our attention and indeed give us the push we need to take care of business on Sunday . . . ROCK CHALK!


LngTimeFan 1 year ago

Ben continues to look lost much of the time, IMO, and I really don't think he has any business going pro yet. He gets beaten alot, thows the ball away, and now that the level of competition has improved he looks average. I know the family situation will dictate what he does most likely and I wish him the best if he does go, but another year of seasoning sure would improve his chances of a longer term pro career. The better college players hold him down, the pros will eat him up. Just my opinion.


jayhawkinATL 1 year ago

CBS is reaching for stories. How they can make a big deal about Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson is beyond me. He shot a lame-a$$ 28.5 percent from the field (6-21) and only 25 percent from three (3-12) yesterday.


theblondie 1 year ago

After attending last night's game, I have some comments about "loose" and "tight"... I've had lots of contact with elite athletes in another sport that has nothing to do with basketball, but the messages from the sports psychologist are the same.

  1. Big expectations often cause big pressures and fear of failure. That's why, in any individual sport, it's always easier to win a title than defend a title. This is particularly a problem for KU, who, for some reason, the media can't mention without "Bucknell and Bradley" spewing out of their mouth like vomit. All the talk about this year's upset potential and being the first #1 to lose to a #16 is what may have changed a team that was loose all week into a tight team that just didn't want to "mess up." Last night KU looked like a team playing not to lose rather than playing to win.

  2. Visualizing positive outcomes works lots better than concentrating on possible failures. Just think to yourself, "Oh no, don't let me turn this over, " and that will be the first thing you do. When you're facing big expectations, that happens more often.

  3. Now that we've gotten past that first victory, it should be time to get back a little of that swagger and general sense of confidence and fun that brings out the best in this team. Can't wait so see those great Young and McLemore smiles!


vsb 1 year ago

My oh my...a W is a W. That's what I always thought...until the Zags played against a #16, a team whom, btw, DIDN'T go cold in the second your game. The other major difference was the the crowd turned on Gonzaga and clearly cheered for the underdog, once they smelled blood. Your crowd may have gone a tad silent, but your players never had to deal with turncoats. And what was said about Gonzaga? They are 'Frauds' b/c they were voted (NOT self appointed) a #1 seed. So, will the media cry now be that Kansas is also a 'Fraud?' No way. There's a total double standard going on here. The media STILL cannot even correctly pronounce the name of the school, GONZAGA (say it with me...Gone-ZAY-Guh...emphasis on the ZAY). Sad.


sawman3333 1 year ago

I wonder how many folks will go back and read these comments when we're in another Final Four this year? We'll wax the floor with Roy tomorrow and then bring on Michigan!


iamakufan 1 year ago

McLemore said "I didn’t want to mess up."

That's the problem. Thinking too much. Playing to not lose. Just quit thinking about it and go play. Go have fun.


BCRavenJHawkfan 1 year ago

Just two questions.

  1. What exactly did Townsend scout on this club?

  2. Suggestions on a replacement television? Mine is history after last night :0


jayhawkinATL 1 year ago

Watching Michigan handle VCU's pressure is VERY impressive...only 2 TOs at 8+ minutes in.


Robbk1066 1 year ago

This team is average and even worse when they cant hit a shot, only 1 away from paint last night. What is truly amazing is they think they are some top notch talented team. They don't rebound against a smaller team, get out hustled by less talented team, and take a team that is good lightly. Sorry but if they get to the sweet 16 they will lose that 4th round game, VCU or MICH. If they play with urgency, toughness, and focus they can get to the final 4 and then who knows. But turnovers, inconsistent scoring, and a lack of talent will be their downfall. We just cant put it all together. I am glad we weren't first 1 seed to lose to 16 seed but we are living on borrowed time guys. Self/staff is to blame for lack of quality recruits on team, but also for overcoming how average we are, he is only a small part of this train wreck of a game. Lets hope for the best, that EJ wont throw the game away, that BMAC wakes up and the Ghost appears as player instead of poser he looks like some games. Its a miracle we are a #1 seed, should be a 2, or 3. We are transparent champion, only won because no else was any good. Only ISU won from B12 with meaning in NCAA tourney in 13, this conf. at a 10-15 year low and as champ we show why.


Redlandsjhawk 1 year ago

We have awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.

The StupidMichael of Carolina is scared!


kennethst 1 year ago

Crisis! Apparently......3 year old girls are just like most women.......concede something just a little......and they take a mile! The situation? Yesterday......I conceded Baby Jayhawk is "most likely" a girl. Well......this morning......she thinks it's just hilarious to put doll clothes on her regular stuffed Jayhawk!!! She has been running in here every 5 minutes with a new dress on .....the regular Jayhawk!!! And laughing it up. Of course my exagerated looks of displeasure only egg her on.

This cannot stand. ......but then's my own fault.


jayhawkinATL 1 year ago

I'm sooooo over VCU and Shaka...Go Big Blue!!!


741hawk 1 year ago

I get it, but I just don't think it matters that much.


amandamarie00 1 year ago

I wasn't aware that Kansas University played last night. I'm pretty sure Western Kentucky played the University of Kansas. Why on Earth does the Journal-World insist on using the wrong name? They're the only media outlet I've ever seen that calls KU Kansas University.


Konkis Dongington III 1 year ago

On a recruiting note, with UCLA bounced rather violently by Minnesota, does anyone think that there's going to be a coaching change in Westwood? If so, the Wear twins might be ripe for the picking. As 4th year juniors, they can transfer and play right away. When Josh Smith became available, my first thought was pass because of his inability to deal with his weight issues (I don't care what they list him as, with his size and that body type, he's over 350lbs). The Wear twins aren't great, but they'd provide a nice bridge for the the development of Embiid and Traylor. Other than that, I'm not seeing too many players that could step in right away and be dependable.

Norvell Pelle was a blue chip kid that had some issues. He was supposed to have enrolled at Iona, but I haven't been able to confirm that. I'm sure any of you that have read my recruiting posts in the past will recognize the name Luke Cothron. I don't know if he's been able to sort anything out with the NCAA. At this point, I guess we'll just have to see what the carousel does. UCLA is the only prime job that's vulnerable. I don't think it matters to Texas how bad Rick Barnes is. Anywhere else, he'd have been let go years ago, but who cares? It's not like he coaches football! Anyway, if anything develops, I will, as always, keep you guys posted.


J.T. Even 1 year ago

I disagree that Self sent them out flat but he might not have amped them to the extreme. Self said they were loose all week and then they felt tight in the locker room. This is my theory: It's gotta be tough to sit in a hotel all day, watch other teams get upset, and then play the last game of the day after 9 pm. As if it wasn't late enough, tip-off got pushed back almost 30 minutes. Plus, WKU is better than their record; they lost a number of games due to injury. All the pressure is on the 1-seed. Geez, how many times did we hear that no 1-seed has lost to a 16-seed? WKU had nothing to lose and played like it.

Self has said for every three games you're going to play one amazing, one ok, and one like crap. Well, we got the crap game out of the way. We're not going to shoot 0 for anything from three the rest of tourney. I doubt we'll be out-rebounded again. KU got its jitters out of the way and will play fine (and still be able to win) the rest of the tourney.


tis4tim 1 year ago

The Hawks win, but I lose my patience, my temper, my hair and a few more years off my life. Is this really an equitable relationship?


Joe Ross 1 year ago

Sprint Center was amped last night! Looking for the Jayhawks to come out better against the Tar Heels. Awaiting gay-bait's derision of Matt Tait's prediction that KU and UNC wouldn't meet. Good to be in the company of so many raucous Jayhawks last night. There were lots of high fives, but scary moments too. Liked Elijah Johnson's post-game comments about having a different attitude prior to the game on Sunday.


Jack Wilson 1 year ago

What were we missing last night? What have we been struggling with all season? What single-handedly caused our doom vs. TCU? What makes us vulnerable to any team .. from TCU to Louisville? What doomed our efforts vs. UNI? And VCU?

Shooting. Scoring.

We scored one basket last night outside of the paint. Digest that fact for a moment. One. We were also the first NCAA team since 2001 to win a tourney game without making a three point shot.

I have harped on this from literally day one. We have a stud shooter on the bench whose development was neglected. A guy who scored 6 points in 50 seconds vs. Oklahoma St. A guy who has shown flashes, but for the rust of regular pine time -- Andrew White.

Last night was the kind of game that we needed an Andrew White. A guy to come off the bench, shoot some threes, maybe make 2-4 in a stretch; loosen things up; change the pace. Better yet, maybe he pulls a P.J. Hairston and hits 4 or 5. We needed shooting off the bench.

The point is that this is a significant flaw that has been brought on and determined specifically by coach Self. For whatever reason, he can't coach McLemore into the flow; he can't coach Releford to drive the basketball or become part of the offense after 5 years in the program. That's one thing. But he has specifically determined that we don't need the shooting. That playing Andrew White during the season to be ready for last night was simply not important.

I have mentioned that vs. a UNI or VCU, or in another similar type situation, we'd need another offensive option or options .. that we have failed to cultivate during the season. We got lucky last night. We needed it last night. It was plain to see. WKU nearly joined the other overachievers.

As for shooting, we have Releford who many times won't shoot; McLemore who disappears; EJ who is not reliable; and Tharpe who is streaky. All that was on display last night. Where do we get outside shooting?

We won that game last night because WKU literally missed multiple open looks. And we nearly lost it because, starting in November, Self refused to get offensive options ready during the season, and refused to use them regularly. He refused to use them because he just couldn't stomach the growing pains.

The "who cares we won" crowd was loud and vocal before the three game losing streak where our major flaws were exposed. That crowd is getting louder again, strangely bolstered by what they saw last night.

Regardless, this team needs a shooter off the bench. And we don't have that weapon ready for action.


Konkis Dongington III 1 year ago

I think it's worth pointing out that it wasn't just EJ's boneheadedness that worked against us yesterday. Everyone was awful on the press break. But a lot of it was actually on Withey and Ellis for not boxing out. They beat us 13 - 2 on the offensive glass, 35 - 33 on rebounding overall. With the size advantage we had down low, no excuses for that. You cut the offensive rebounding numbers in half, and this game turns from a squeaker to a blow out, 17 TOs and all.

Overall, the game reminded me of OSU at AFH. Everyone came out flat. No one boxed out on rebounds. Offense was stagnant. Ben wasn't moving without the ball in his hands. Guys missed open shots. Everyone was trying to make hero plays instead of just calming down and letting the game come to them. Nobody was passing well against the press, nor in the half court. We got out hustled, but this time had the talent disparity to survive.

As for the press break, the pit crews in NASCAR have a saying 'go slow to go fast'. They mean that if you don't try and hurry, but take care in what you do, you'll be more successful than if you rush. If you advance the ball deliberately and have guys cut back to help against the trap, breaking the press is easy. If you put W at center court just past the line, you'd have a great pressure relief. Let Ben streak for the easy dunk as he can beat most guys on the floor. Everyone else needs to just work slowly and deliberately to advance the ball. Worst case scenario, they get to set up in the half court with the shot clock under 20. Best case scenario, we get a few quick buckets. Either way, it beats turning the ball over trying to rush up the court for freebies.

There are two teams in the dance that can expose our ball handling weakness: Louisville, who we can only possibly face in the championship game; or VCU, who may be a Sweet 16 opponent if we take care of UNC. There isn't anyone else that I don't think we can beat as long as we play our game. Those two, however, will take special effort. Go slow to go fast. Then cut down the nets.


mejayhawk 1 year ago

Anybody remember two # 2 seeds losing in the first round last year: Duke and Mizzery?

I thought Steve Kerr did a good job last night when discussing the pressures of being a # 1 seed. Because it is going to happen--sooner rather than later--and if you keep getting a # 1 seed every year (like KU and Dike), the chances are high that it will happen to you.


caveman53 1 year ago

What I found most troubling about last night's game was the inability of anyone to make an outside shot. Only one player made a field goal outside the paint and that was Jeff! Other than that, it was a brick layer's convention. Not a single three???? Keep that up and it will be a short tournament run indeed.


kennethst 1 year ago

My 3 year old tried to stay up late to watch the whole game with Daddy. It was a valiant effort.....but she fell asleep in the 2nd half with Baby Jayhawk wrapped in her arms. I told her this morning that KU won.......and she threw Baby Jay up.....and said "Baby fly!!"

I think that means "good" in 3 year old language.


Steve Corder 1 year ago

What is it about mid majors/ low seeded teams that give KU fits in the tournament? UNC, if history repeats, should be a much better played game. But if KU gets VCU then will it be stupid turnovers and poor shooting once more?

Who is it that needs to wear boxers?


theend 1 year ago

A good win against a tough team.....that's all it was....and that's alll that matters. Many of you(not all) really need to calm down and trust them.

Yesterday's game has nothing to do with how they will play from here. Remember how badly KU played vs Baylor?.........and then completely dominated all 3 games in the Big 12 tournement.

Most of the theories and complaints that some of you are spewing are complete nonsense.....and I would guess most that make them know next to nothing about what is really going on. So just relax and enjoy the ride. The team is in good hands.


kurules 1 year ago

Good win but we have no consistent shooters on this team. If we happen to be "on" in the right games we can go far but it's going to catch up to us at some point without a consistent threat from beyond the arc. Luckily, Western KY did not have a big that could counter Withey but if we run up against a long athletic team that Withey typically struggles against, we better shoot the ball better.


AirCapJay 1 year ago

Ben needs to be more aggressive now. Unless he can hit a 3, he does not make a move to the basket unless someone sets him up. He only looks for the stylized slam dunk plays or shoots 3's.

Travis needs to be more aggressive too. He is very good at driving in and making layups when we need them but for some reason he goes passive. EJ can do that too, but for some reason they go passive.


ny05ks08 1 year ago

I believe in EJ, on a SG position, not a PG one.


Adam James 1 year ago

You don't get style points for a win in the tournament. A win is a win. The only thing I don't get is that when you've been playing basketball your entire life, how in the world do you go out and play such a terrible game. I don't care if you are a freshman or a senior, when you have talent and you go play a game your talent will show. The only guy who showed was Withey. We will play much better vs. Carolina, but the bottom line is that if you are a competitor and have talent it doesn't matter who or where you play. It frustrates me to see guys that can't take care of the ball and make the easy plays. This is not on self, but the guys out on the floor. RCJH


KansasComet 1 year ago

Defense and rebounding is the key. Uptight? Yes. Nervous? Yes. So, who wouldn't be a little nervous? It is easy to sit back and criticize and say who can't do what. What is not easy is playing the game of basketball in a win or go home format. The advantage often goes to the lower seeded team, because it is easier to let it fly when you have a nothing to lose mentality.

If your team is in the NCAA Tournament, then they can play basketball at a high level. There are very few Harlem Globetrotters vs Washington Generals match ups. All of these teams expect to win, and they believe they can win. We have a point guard that I believe in, and I am all in with him. No matter what happens the rest of the tournament. With that being said, it is time for us to get back to a "kick your heart out" mentality. We are Kansas, and we are supposed to let teams know that we are Kansas. That means tough defense, crashing the board, and getting transition buckets. That will boost confidence and lead to 3 point buckets. Nobody said it would be easy. We can do it, survive and advance.


jayhawkinATL 1 year ago

OK, I can understand taking a team lightly, but shouldn't that ONLY last a few minutes at most??? Not 3/4 of a freakin' game!!!


AirCapJay 1 year ago

As coach Harper said - He could not believe Withey was out guarding.

I have to agree. Why does coach Self have Withey away from the basket guarding? Withey should camp out under the basket and be ready to swat anything coming in. Instead Withey is running all around out at the 3 point line and a quicker forward/guard can get past him or draw a foul.

Where is the triangle and 2 we saw so much of last year? I think Self should dust that off and bring it out once or twice a game.


William Blake 1 year ago

Glad we have Jeff... because without him yesterday we would have lost by 10-15 pts.


Ethan Berger 1 year ago

Got to give WKU credit. They were quick and play good defense. Honestly felt like we should have played Perry more. Our advantage was in the post. KY is not a scorer and that is okay, but we need a low post scorer because our guards were not doing nothing. Also, the half time guys got it right. When they pressed, we would swing it back out and let the defense reset. Their were multiple times we had B mac wide open in the corner, Rel wide up our side the stripe. And Jeff one on one down low. But we swing back to the top and ruin any chance. We played timid once they hit us in the first half. We also got lucky that they missed so many wide open threes. A win is a win, but we cannot play that sloppy and that scared against UNC. They won't miss their open threes. Jeff, you did great. FEED WITHEY!


Beate Williams 1 year ago

Jaybate I think that is an excellent analysis and I know everyone is talking about UNC pressing and trapping our point guards; I dare say the UNC players cannot execute the press and trap in the same fashion as the WKU players, the were phenomenal, quick and in the right place at the right time. In fact, I have not seen many teams execute in such an efficient fashion all year and it all goes back to the coach, Harper knows what he is doing. I think Bill did what he needed to do and I also think he learned a few things last night. RCJH, let's make it three in a row to get that 300 win for CS.


ny05ks08 1 year ago

KU needs to get that "butler" mindset, take the ugly game as our game style, no space for ego, just being tough and muscle on


tathagata 1 year ago

Off the subject a bit, but thank god that K State had the opportunity for a net cutting party and pep rally before the real serious season began.


jayhawkinATL 1 year ago

Hilltopper knows the 'hawks all too well!!! "They have the talent for it (to win the title), but you just never know whether they’re gonna come to play or not.”


PhearThePhog 1 year ago

BMac has got to get rid of that mindset of "I just don't want to mess up." Relax. Play the game and be aggressive. Create and take advantage of opportunities that come to you. He appears to be holding back hoping that someone else will do it.


ny05ks08 1 year ago

let's stop dreaming and just play hearts out like every game is the last game, every coach says the next game is the most important, I believe they mean it, if not, the result won't be good, for everyone.


jaybate 1 year ago

Part 3

Self wants to beat Roy into the next century on Sunday. But all he needs to do is get a win and so that's what the professional will do.

The guiding principle against a small team is that you must remember you are playing the clock the entire game, not just the last 10 minutes. The small team has to separate early to win, for it grows smaller the longer the game goes on.

Self has the clear strategic advantage in this game.

But the scout still has to identify correctly the tactical matchup weaknesses of specific UNC players. The biggest tactical weaknesses are at 5 and 2. But to exploit those weaknesses, KU has to prepare its point guards for a lot of trapping. Roy doesn't seem to trap much anymore, but I believe he will not be able to resist the temptation to trap against our point guards.

Self may use a variety of guys bringing the ball up the floor to pre-empt the trapping.

Self conserved his players and almost lost to Harper in order to make sure he had the best chance to beat Roy into the next century.

KU is going to be very ready for UNC.

If I were UNC and Roy, I would be very afraid.

I would want to jump out fast and to 10 points the first 5 minutes.

Or I would want to have a box of kleenex ready for Roy.

They are facing one furiously competitive and ticked off Okie.


jaybate 1 year ago

Part 2

So Roy has to choose between:

a) going balls to the walls the first half and building a lead and milking it the second half; and

b) alternating fast and slow the first half and trying to go in with a 5 point lead, then go for it all with a balls to the walls charge as long as he can the second half, and then begin milking the clock.

I suspect the choice Roy will make is the former. And I would guess that he will do the one thing that KU has not faced this season. He is going to try to force Withey to run the floor chasing the secondary break. This is likely the best way to tire Withey and so make him foul prone in the half court defensive sets. I think Roy has the athletes inside and out to get up for a half with the taller Withey. If UNC can get enough boards the first half to run Jeff on the secondary breaks, then Jeff could get very tired the second half, and that would open up the middle for UNC.

Beating KU is super simple. Get Jeff Withey off the floor. KU has a decent answer for losing anyone else but Jeff.

Roy has good enough short athletes to try to do this. He will try.

But here is the thing. Regardless of what choice he makes, unless his guys shoot the lights out from trey the first half, and tire Jeff with chasing secondary breaks, KU's Boa Constrictor defense will slowly squeeze the oxygen out of the short game in both halves and KU will unleash Ben and at the same time go dunking the second half and UNC will be powder blue road kill, and Roy knows it.

I look for Self to come out in a dark suit with white shirt and a bold tie and mean serious business.

Roy meddled with Self's players the first two seasons Self was at KU.

Roy tried to strip Tyrel Reed out from under Self.

Roy recruited Harrison Barnes out from under Self.

Roy apparently kept recruiting and exploiting Self's problems with all the scandals at KU.

Self knows Roy is the kind of guy that will say anything publicly to ingratiate himself for the shizz that he intentionally did, while at the same time passive aggressively doing nothing at all in private to do anything helpful for KU.

Roy is a Tar Hole, pure and simple.

Self is a Jayhawk.

Roy did all this adult-child-of-an-alcoholic stuff after having recruited only half the country while at KU for 15 years. Roy didn't cut KU the same slack he cut UNC. Roy has never given Self the professional curtesy that Self deserved, or that Self has given Roy.

Self finally ran out of cheeks. Now Self rightly refuses to talk about Roy as anything but the "ex-KU coach," which is all Roy is.

Self openly took the recruiting battle into Tar Hole country. Brannen Greene was very likely a Roy target.


jaybate 1 year ago

"Its the Sending them Out Flat, Stupid"

Part 1

Every two game tournament it is the same. Pick the worst team of the two you have to play. Take the risk of going out flat and beating the worse team of the two. Save your peak performance for the better team. Know you will labor when flat.

Cue the refrain: Self sent them out flat, as I predicted and they labored as I predicted. I said it might turn into a route despite being sent out flat, because of our talent and size, but Ray Harper proved why he has won 4 rings--2 NAIA and 2 D2, which may be a tougher accomplishment statistically than winning 4 D1 rings, because of the huge number of teams at those levels of play. I had never really watched Ray Harper closely. I had only heard of him. He is a contemporary equivalent of Jack Hartman. He is a great one. He showed Bill Self (and unfortunately Roy) a few things last night that Self hadn't seen before. That move to XTReme motion on the perimeter two or three plays at the beginning of the second half when KU tried to turn on a little defensive pressure complete fooled Self and our players. Then when we tried to force it up Harper suddenly had them press. It was beautiful timing to disrupt exactly what Self intended to do.

This is no knock on Self. Self played this game exactly right. Sent them out flat. Refused to show any new wrinkles, thus saving those for Roy. Spent the first half game playing his three subs as much as possible to conserve for Sunday. Even had the nerve to play subs the second half despite the close game. Never veered from his determination to conserve for Sunday. Harper understood exactly what Self had to do. Harper schemed exactly right to try to exploit what Self had to do. KU's player found it difficult to play a conservation game against good pressure defense and started taking outside shots in frustration for one stretch each half.

But in the end Self got exactly what he wanted. A high 50-low 60 point win with 30 minutes of the game played in low energy, half court sets.

Would Self have liked to open a 10-15 point lead with 10 to go? Yes. But Harper wasn't going to let that happen, so long as Self was playing a conservation game.

Now, Self's team has a fairly full tank for yet another 4 guard offense, which KU has seen so many of it knows how to play them in its sleep.

Roy has a very difficult decision to make.

He cannot control the boards for any length of time.

He cannot wait to the end to win, because KU will still be tall at the end and his guys will be jumping less high and shooting lower percentages at the end.


Justin Daniel 1 year ago

Elijah has only played about 30 good minutes of basketball this year and that was in one game. Ben needs another year, but with a down class will be the first overall pick in the draft. Our only chance against UNC is to feed the post and guard the perimeter with our life. They are a better version of ISU. Hopefully, we will play like we did against ISU last week, if we don't it could be a rough afternoon.


jjinks 1 year ago

I predict an a$$ whopping at Roy's expense. That's all that needs to be said.


jhawkchuck 1 year ago

Phogfan commented about the poor officiating earlier. It was different for this game but not slanted one way or another. After watching two day of the tourney it seemed the officials were really letting them play. It took a major mugging to get a call. TheKU game seemed just the opposite, it seemed they were calling alot of ticky tack contact especially in the backcourt? Did anyone else see this? Or was it just me?


Joe Baker 1 year ago

Win, learn, and move on to the next game. Put this stinker behind.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk GO KU beat the heels


ny05ks08 1 year ago

EJ lacks good sense of space and timing in passing the ball, that is essential to a PG. Oh well, Tharpe is just a sophomore now ...


Steve Gantz 1 year ago

Loose is only one letter away from lose.


Tony Bandle 1 year ago

We did win..didn't we???

Go ask Georgetown how they feel right now. Please understand that Kansas must transition and run to be dominant in a game. When we're off you can see the formula.

1] Travis can't create his shot.

2] BenMac won't take his shot.

3] Kevin doesn't have a shot.

4] Elijah will miss his shot.

5] Jeff is swarmed on his shot.

The guys need to create it, take it, find it, make it and just bang it in!!!

Things will be better will be a run and gun scoring battle and BenMac will score 20+!!!!!


ny05ks08 1 year ago

KU shaky tourney starts with EJ's turnover, seniors should step up, consistently, be humble, and focus; BMac and Ellis should go aggressive, can't rely on seniors, or even afraid of them


Bob Thompson 1 year ago

I was going to post something about our guard play, but can't seem to come up with something positive to say.


Mike Mainzer 1 year ago

We have zero ball handlers on the team. Full court press or traps and we turn the ball over. Roy's teams don't play D or press well so we should be fine Sunday with an up tempo game that will highlight our athleticism and get Mac into a rhythm. Go Michigan!!! Go Minnesota!!


FearlessJayhawk 1 year ago

This is the last time this year we will be able to lay an egg and get away with it. I can't believe how lucky this team has been. From now on its your A game or go home. KU simply cannot play against the mid-majors. If we're lucky enough to beat Roy's boys, I hope we play Michigan because if we play VCU, it's over.


Kevin Jenkins 1 year ago

So where was the guys with the keys to the car last night? Wow really I thought the point guard was absent. I watched the game and thought nobody has the heart to win. But I was wrong, you pulled it out. I hope this is your worse game. Defense and free throws won the game. Perry played again great. Whitney, Mac, Naadir and Releford on defense played well the second half. I always believe the point guard should lead the team, but I think Kevin's motivation heart and leadership helped win this game.


machinegun 1 year ago

Elijah got tired of getting pushed around so he pushed back. Front runners look at the score and act like we lost. We won. Our guys fought hard. North Carolina is soft.


KGphoto 1 year ago

The boys didn’t respect WKU last night. You could say they played stiff, but it’s only by comparison to WKU’s intensity. I think KU instead got punched in the gut because they were too loose. Bill said it himself.

“I don’t know if we’ve been much looser all season than this week...”

Being loose when you are an underdog is one thing. Being so loose when you are a heavy favorite feels like complacency. KU rolled through the Big 12 tourney, in this arena, and probably felt pretty good about finding a way to win last night without much effort.

I’m glad they got slapped. They needed it.

Thankfully KU is playing a name brand school on Sunday. It shouldn’t be so hard to muster up a little respect for the opponent.


JakeBarnes 1 year ago

Wont it be nice next year when KU has a point guard. I guess Coach Self has recruited one.


Michael Luby 1 year ago

Terrible game. Good Defense. We wont win against UNC or VCU if they play like that again.


nostradavid 1 year ago

After all the upsets already, that was a tough game to relax & enjoy.

It was good to see Kevin follow his bad shot in for the dunk. That should be the standard follow through, instead of standing still to admire the shot. I was surprised that Ben and Kevin only had 4 turnovers each - it seemed like more. It was funny to see Ben going to sit on the bench at the end of the TO after his last one. He seemed surprised that Bill was leaving him in. We need his free-throw shooting at the end of a game, and more.

Perry has had the best points per minute stat for awhile now. He needs to be on the floor more.

Kick butt Sunday! Rock Chalk Jayhawks!

Wake me up Sunday...

Wake me up Sunday... by nostradavid


texashawk10 1 year ago

That was about as ugly a 1-16 game as I have ever seen. There is no sugar coating it, KU played like crap tonight (except for Withey and Ellis in the first half) and got very lucky WKU wasn't making shots otherwise this would've been the most embarrassing night in KU basketball history. I hope that was just opening round jitters, but it also absolutely confirmed the way to beat KU is to pressure EJ and Naadir into making bad passes (not hard to do as they've proven time and again this year) or making McLemore handle the ball (how can someone with his shooting touch be so stone handed the rest of the time is beyond my level of comprehension).

Fortunately, Roy has never been too big on defense and Michigan has been subpar as well, so barring either team being hotter than Hades from 3 (entirely possible) or KU being ice cold from beyond 5' (also entirely possible), KU should beat both of them. That said, VCU is another story and it has absolutely nothing to do with 2 years ago as I've said repeatedly. KU can shut down VCU in their halfcourt offense all night and still lose. VCU's biggest strength this year is their defense's ability to create turnovers and get easy transition baskets and you combine that with EJ and Naadir's habits of making questionable decisions with the ball a lot more frequently than one would prefer equals a recipe where VCU can upset KU even if KU plays lights out defense.

I absolutely agree with those who say EJ will be the reason KU wins the title this year because that is a true statement. KU cannot win a national championship this year without EJ playing well for the next 5 games. It's also true that if KU does not win 5 more games, EJ is likely to be a very prominent figure in that as well. It does not take away from EJ being a very good player, but no one can honestly that EJ isn't one of the streakiest players in recent KU history either. KU's performance this year has largely reflected his play, and when EJ is playing well (not necessaily scoring a bunch of points), KU is nearly unbeatable. When EJ isn't playing well however, KU is capable of losing to almost anybody as we all found out against TCU and were reminded of tonight.

All that said above, time to put WKU behind us and move on to UNC and trying to keep Roy on 700 and get Bill 300 at KU. It's incredible to think that with one more win, Bill Self will have averaged 30 wins a season in his 10 years at KU.


Adam McEwen 1 year ago

The boys were a little nervous tonight, saw some real nice play at times, but we were a little too wound up. Lighten up fellas, we're here to kick some ass, with a smile :-) Have fun, play ball, and we're gonna be alright, we got this!


KULA 1 year ago

Same ol' same--why should we expect anything different. Almost made history tonight Bill. I know, you only had a week to prepare for a 16 seed...

Better figure out some plays to get your leading scorer and #1 pick more than 5 shots. You can't always inbound the ball under your own basket. Gonna be a short tournament and a long afternoon against Carolina if you don't generate some offense.


phogphan2000 1 year ago

I'm so disgusted by the officiating in this game I can't even describe it. When BMac was called for a travel it was at the instant he even caught the ball. Withey's last foul was probably that block when he was in position for a good 3 seconds. Sure there was 1 call where EJ got an and 1 that I thought was a no call, but overall it was like 20 bad calls to 1 on WKU's side. Their players kept taking shots at EJ and never were called for a foul. I am on the record here as being someone that has cheered on WKU in the past, but never again. I'm sorry Coach Townsend, your team disgraced all its history tonight with dirty play and NCAA love, I wish nothing but horrible things for their current coach and anyone associated with this team as well as the officiating crew tonight. Go f yourselves WKU, zero respect in the future from this KU fan, just like I have zero respect for UK after they all cheered Muhammed for stomping on Ryan Robertson when he was on the floor. May that entire state burn (except all the service men and women at Ft. Knox). You have no respect for the real game of basketball and no right to consider yourselves a part of the sport. That is all I have to say about that.


JD Roth 1 year ago

Congratulations KU on being the first D-1 team in history to win 30 or more games four consecutive seasons. I would appreciate it if you would bring your A game Sunday. Play relaxed Kansas basketball.


April13 1 year ago

Why did Perry sit so much? He was our best player in the first half and then sat so long that he cooled off and tightened up in the second half. I don't understand it, especially with Kevin playing a bonehead game.


Max Ledom 1 year ago

Doesn't matter how it's done. Survive and advance. That's March.

Rock Chalk


KJD 1 year ago

Withey's the man and he will continue to be. He's been so consistent all year. McLemore, Ellis and even Tharpe get their first taste of what the NCAA tournament is. Bill Self wins a coaching duel. In the first half I saw WKU run hockey lines of energy at our rotation of 8 while both coaches sparred with line ups, combinations. KU's play did get that front line of the Hilltoppers in foul trouble. Survive and advance in all rounds of play, no matter the round, no matter the seed.

I don't agree with all that is Charles Barkley though I liked his post game take: “I was impressed tonight with how Kansas battled. People expect, because you are a higher seed, to blow these lower seeds out. These lower seeds, as Georgetown found out tonight, can play also. So, great win by Kansas.”


RockChalkRedlock 1 year ago

This is the game I kind of expected in the first round. But being a Jayhawk for years im not suprised we came out with the W. I could see it in Withey's face during the 2nd half, he was fired up and played tough. That toughness is going to be the most important factor in this tournament. We'll need all pistons fireing in this next one, Bmac needs to get plugged into the game and get more shots off. I hope we can move the ball better sunday, but o boy im excited for KU vs. UNC, lets go hawks its March! Get tough! Rock Chalk!


Lash 1 year ago

We are KANSAS! We will find a way to beat you. It may not be pretty but a W is a W. Congrats also to ISU and WSU!


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