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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jayhawks won’t celebrate Big 12 title just yet

Kansas head coach Bill Self raises up two palms in light of the the Jayhawks' tenth-straight conference title following their 83-75 win over Oklahoma on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self raises up two palms in light of the the Jayhawks' tenth-straight conference title following their 83-75 win over Oklahoma on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University’s men’s basketball players won’t break out the T-shirts and hats until the day they wrap up the undisputed 2013-14 Big 12 regular-season championship.

The official celebration is on hold until five-loss league teams Iowa State and Texas, who trail KU by three games with four to play, are mathematically eliminated from the race.

The delay in the hoisting of the trophy, however, hasn’t stopped folks outside the locker room and basketball offices from recognizing the fact KU (22-6, 13-2) can do no worse than tie for a 10th-straight conference crown.

“We received a lotta, lotta texts today from former players,” KU coach Bill Self reported Tuesday on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show. “It’s amazing to me how prideful these guys are in what’s going on. It’s pretty cool.”

KU wrapped up at least a share of the crown by downing Oklahoma, 83-75, on Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse. Aside from Self and some players waving 10 fingers at the fans while exiting the court and the players dancing with KU assistant Jerrance Howard in the locker room, there has been little mention of the feat.

“It was a late game. I would say at my age, I probably celebrated by maybe staying up to 12:15 or 12 or something like that,” 11th-year KU coach Self said Tuesday. “By the time you get out of the office and go home, it was 11:30 or 11:45. Cindy (wife) and I visited a bit, and I think it was time to hit the hay.”

Self wants to make it clear he’s thrilled that a team with three freshmen starters, one sophomore and a junior could win consecutive league title No. 10. KU’s streak ties UConn and UNLV, who in the past won 10 in a row, and trails just Gonzaga (11) and UCLA (13) on the all-time list. The Associated Press notes that since KU began its streak of 10 in a row, no other school from a power conference has won more than six league titles.

“I’m really proud of them (players). They know I am, but I probably don’t say it enough publicly,” Self said. “That is a pretty special group of kids. To be 9-4 after nonconference and be 13-2 right now (is impressive). I don’t think we should be satisfied or giddy or anything like that. I do think sometimes in our profession — I’m more guilty of it maybe than most — you don’t take time to enjoy some things that are good feats. Not just winning 10 in a row, but being in a situation where these young kids, in a year the league is the most competitive it’s been maybe since we’ve been here, top to bottom ... To have a three-game lead with three to play is a pretty great feat for a bunch of kids just trying to figure it out.”

The Jayhawks, who could wrap up the undisputed title tonight if Iowa State and Texas both lose home games, will meet Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater.

“We’re probably mentally tired as much as anything else,” Self said Tuesday. “We took today off. The season is long, that’s why I’m giving the guys tomorrow off, too. We’ll watch tape and get busy Thursday and Friday. I’ve done it in the past. I don’t know if it’ll benefit us. The guys need to get their bodies recharged a bit.”

Self on Tuesday again praised junior point guard Naadir Tharpe, who scored 19 points against Oklahoma. He had 12 of KU’s final 18 points.

“I thought he put some young kids on his back late,” Self said.

He also applauded Wayne Selden, who had 13 points the first half and finished with 15.

“Wayne was great to end the first half. I got mad at him second half,” Self said. “(Isaiah) Cousins, who is a good player and good athlete ... we were pressing. All fans want me to press more, I know that. We were actually picking up fullcourt, Wayne gets on the wrong side of Cousins twice, he (Cousins) makes a couple great plays. That caused us to give up six straight points. I sat him (Selden) down and said, ‘What is your deal?’ He said, ‘Coach, he’s a lot faster than I thought he was.’ I said, ‘If you listen to scouting report, you’d know that going in,’” Self added with a laugh, then noted, “Wayne has been great.”

Tourney talk: Self was asked if he’d like KU to be a No. 2 seed and play a No. 1 seed in Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament. “I would like to beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater. I don’t care about that stuff now,” he said ... “The whole thing about it is (in tourney) you worry about the next one. It very rarely plays out the way you want it to. People get beat. There are upsets. You can’t hope for stuff like that. You’ve got to roll with it, but whatever happens would be fine with me.”

Recruiting: The official recruiting visit of JaQuan Lyle ends today. Lyle is a 6-5 senior shooting guard from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, who is considering KU, Oklahoma State, Memphis and Oregon. He is ranked No. 22 nationally by Rivals.com. He has said he will make a decision over his school’s spring break, March 15-23. ... Charles Matthews, a 6-4 junior guard from Chicago St. Rita, will announce his college choice today (8:30 a.m. on the Chicago Sun-Times’ high school sports website)

Rivals.com believes he will choose Kentucky over KU, Illinois, Marquette and Michigan State. He’s ranked No. 11 in the Class of 2015.

Curie High update: The Chicago Public League is looking into possible ineligible players at Curie High School, which beat Whitney Young in four overtimes for the City League title on Friday. Noted Sun-Times writer Michael O’Brien on Twitter: “Good source telling me (KU signee) Cliff Alexander’s eligibility has been cleared. So Curie may be punished, but Alexander likely won’t be the reason.”

Streaks: Yahoo Sports tried to put KU’s streak of 10 straight conference titles in perspective. Most consecutive division titles in NBA history is 10 by Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Current NBA division title streak is three by Miami, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Most consecutive division titles in NFL history is seven by Los Angeles Rams. Current NFL division title streak is five by New England Patriots. Most consecutive division title streak in MLB history is 14 by Atlanta Braves. Current streak in baseball is three by Detroit Tigers. Most consecutive division titles in NHL history is nine by Colorado Avalanche. Current streak is five by Vancouver Canucks.

Comments

Benz Junque 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I hope Kansas is able to hoist the Big 12 trophy on Smart's home floor after a win at Oklahoma State on Saturday. This would be sweet revenge for the backflip. What an incredible run.

I hope that these players look back at the fact the NO team has beat them when they have come out and played aggressively the whole game.

Suzi Marshall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh would that be sweet...so sweet. You can't help but wonder what might be going through Smart's head. He'll always have that victory in AFH but what a different story his life would have had he chosen Kansas.

Bryce Landon 7 months, 3 weeks ago

We've already gotten revenge - one, by beating them in their house last season; two, by beating them at home this season; three, by winning the conference that we were supposed to share with them while they're in 8th place.

Suzi Marshall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Only when Smart graduates will the revenge motif expire.

Jonathan Allison 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So if he goes 2 and done and never earns a degree, then we can continue to exact our revenge indefinitely?

Anthony Shorb 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Gary,they're up by three games with three games remaining.You put four games remaing in the second paragraph.

Aaron Paisley 7 months, 3 weeks ago

KU currently has a 3.5 game over Texas and Iowa St. Both of those teams still have 4 games left so KU could in theory clinch tonight. Texas hosts Baylor and Iowa St. hosts West Virginia tonight so if they both lose tonight, KU is outright champs.

Tony Bandle 7 months, 3 weeks ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

1] Next to Columbia, MO. or Manhattan, KS, I can't think of a place Bill would love to clinch an outright Conference Title more than Stillwater.

2] What would be hilarious would be, after we beat OSU, the entire team lines up along the half court line and.....wait for it.........DOES A BACK FLIP!!!!

3] Pound the ball inside, pressure Smart, guard the hell out of Forte and we'll be fine.

4] It looks like my homestate Missouri Tigers may not make the NCAA playoffs and I am so sad..............NOT!!!!! :).

5] After watching all the true title contenders several times, if Kansas plays to their full potential [and that's a huge if] there is NOBODY, AND I MEAN NOBODY, not Florida, not Arizona, not Syracuse, not Wichita State, not Duke, not San Diego State, not either of the Michigan teams....nobody, that they can't beat.

6] It looks like Wayne and Perry will be back next season and if Jo Jo stays, with Cliff and Kelly coming in plus Jamari, Hunter, Conner, Brannen Naadir and Frank we will be another preseaon favorite.

7] The University of Kansas does not rebuild, we do not even reload, we simply unsling the next gun and keep right on firing!!!!!!

Suzi Marshall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

1&2) "Revenge is a dish best served cold."

5) I'm loving the idea of playing CO in the second round,, SDSU in Round of 16, WSU in Elite 8, Nova in the Semis and UF in the Finals! That would be an ever so sweet championship path.

6 & 7) Soon there might be cries for "Title Redistribution" so other teams can have a piece of the pie. Perhaps Kansas might even be taxed. "Blue Chip Player Tax", to prevent so many blue chip players from coming to Kansas. It's just not fair to the other teams in the league.

Erich Hartmann 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Suzi, I absolutely love the biting sarcasm of your 6 & 7. Perfect satire for the times!!

Suzi Marshall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

We are in this era of "fairness" with many of the youth leagues giving trophies to all teams/players.

I was so happy to read a quote by Self when he stated "This is not an equal employment opportunity." or something to that effect. Coach Self is a throwback to Phog Allen, a ferocious competitor who brings in the best and plays the best of the best. Our rotation guys remind me of Seal Team 6...the best of the best.

I’m hoping he can get these guys to play D consistently like they did against UT. If this team played D consistently the Tournament to match the O output, it would be akin to a royal coronation.

Garrett Coleman 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"7] The University of Kansas does not rebuild, we do not even reload, we simply unsling the next gun and keep right on firing!!!!!!"

quite possibly the greatest thing i've read all week Oakville

Ian Emerson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Next year chances are we will be better then this year. I love being a KU fan and hopefully no one ever takes this incredible run of success for granted.

Jack Wilson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Hmm .. Curie has eligibility issues. If Alexander gets swept up in that, and Embiid turns pro, Lucas could be starting next season. Long shot, I know.

But four months ago, that possibility would have been terrifying. Now, it just is not.

Lucas' development is quite comforting.

Suzi Marshall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Cliff has been cleared by "sources close to the investigation." It might all be a shame since the "tip" came from an anomalous source and was not specific. I’m not really sure why the IHSA has taken such an aggressive course since the Curie principal is of strong character. www.chicagotribune.com/sports/highsch...

Turner will be making a trip to Kansas March 5th for the last home game.

Joe Baker 7 months, 3 weeks ago

If Embiid turns pro, Turner inks. I guarantee it.

Jonathan Allison 7 months, 3 weeks ago

No offense, and I hope you're right, but a guarantee is laughable in talking recruiting...

Either you have good insider information from the Turner camp, or you have inside information that Embiid is staying at KU, or you're full of it... You don't have to say which. We'll all love you if you're right, and never give it a fleeting though if you happen to be wrong.

Joe Baker 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Here's to hoping. It appears that he's been following Embiid fairly closely. I find it interesting that he's opening his recruiting up a bit since Embiid's media statement of a possible return.

I have a bold statement for you. We are KU and hoping is a great thing. I could see a transfer (AW3?) and Turner inking with Alexander and Oubre. Turner wants to learn from the best. Bill Self is the perfect coach and Embiid would be a great teacher. Turner would be a good understudy for Embiid. Also, Turner needs Hudy. Now, he will go where he likes in the end. But, he's had his eye on KU and Bill Self for some time. I'm not saying he won't go to any other program, but KU is his likely choice.

Suzi Marshall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I hope so but you never know about recruiting. My very honest unbiased opinion would think Kansas is an ideal match for him if Embiid turns pro. However, I also thought Smart coming to Kansas was an ideal fit.

Regardless, I'm firmly in the camp that if Embiid decides to stay, he is our man. Self has to be committed to those on the team, especially if they are performing.

Ron Prichard 7 months, 3 weeks ago

HEM & Truehawk, I commented somewhat on this issue the other day. I think the only reason Turner is waiting to sign is to see if Embiid stays. If so, he's headed elsewhere. If Embiid goes, then Turner is headed to KU. I'm not going to guarantee it, but I don't see any other real reason for him to wait to sign. You can look at his other finalists and know with a pretty good certainty who they will have back next year and who they have signed. The only "major" variable this late in the process is Embiid. Plus, for him to come out and comment on Self telling him that if Embiid stays he would be smart to go elsewhere I think points to the fact that he really would like to come to KU and wants to wait to see what happens. I could be wrong, but...

As for Alexander and the issues with Curie, I also read somewhere else that he has been cleared. Curie might have problems, but I think Alexander, and consequently KU next year, is fine. With Alexander, Ellis, Traylor, Mickelson, Lucas, and hopefully either Embiid or Turner, we will be set with bigs yet again. Man, could you imagine if Embiid stays? Who do you start next to him? I'm thinking Ellis with Alexander off the bench with Traylor. But I could also see Self going big with Embiid and Alexander down low and Ellis on the wing. Holy moly that would be scary for other teams.

I'm loving this year, but next year could be just as special.

Bryce Landon 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Bill Self has won or shared the conference title 10 times in his 11 years at Kansas. Compared to his predecessors here at KU:

In 15 years, Roy Williams won or shared the league title 9 times (5 in the Big 8, 4 in the Big 12). In 5 years, Larry Brown won the league title just once. In 19 years, Ted Owens won the league title 6 times. In 8 years, Dick Harp won the league title just twice (once in the Big 7, once in the Big 8). In 39 years, Phog Allen won the league title 24 times (8 in the MVIAA, 12 in the Big 6, 4 in the Big 7). In 10 years, William Hamilton won the league title 5 times. And of course, KU wasn't part of a conference in James Naismith's days.

The longest streak of consecutive league titles under a previous coach was 6 in the 1920s under Allen in the MVIAA.

Bottom line is, Self has more conference titles than any previous Kansas coach except for Allen. His dominance of the Big 12 is at Phog-esque levels.

We can criticize certain aspects of Self's coaching style, and some of that criticism is well deserved, but we have to admit: Aside from Allen, Self is the best coach Kansas has ever had.

And if by some chance we ever build a new arena to replace Allen Fieldhouse, it should be named "The Self Center". (See what I did there?) :)

Brian Mellor 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's just hope that the Self Center is built long enough from now and our current trends that it wouldn't gain the inevitable nickname "The Selfie".

D:

Margaret Schadler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Sure hope the team Their eye on OSU instead of the NCAA tourney and next year. I'm loving every minute of this group's growth. No longer will a broadcaster refer to this team as boys playing men as they did when we played Florida

Tony Bandle 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Having watched some tapes of the Illinois High School Tourney, Cliff Alexander is like having Tarik Black on steroids in a really bad mood!! This kid is fearless and plays like a Mongol invader, taking no prisoners and destroying everything in sight!!

Whomever is back next season on the frontline better be careful or they will end up as collateral damage!!

Next season will be a real challenge to repeat.....so many teams have key positions manned by underclassmen...heck, Texas doesn't even have one senior on their entire roster this year!!!

Suzi Marshall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Having lived in Chicago a bunch of years and closely followed the CPS, I also keep a close watch on the State Tournament. Curie plays its first game on the March 3. They shouldn't have much of a problem till the Marist SemiFinal when they probably play St. Rita. Simion and Witney Young play in the other semi. Seems like a cruel thing to crown a "City Champion" then have that team do it all over again in the regionals.
www.ihsa.org/SportsActivities/BoysBas...

Armen Kurdian 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I would love to play WSU in the very last game of the tournament. I'd buy the T-shirt either way (Wichita is my hometown and I did take a class there).

But first, let's go down to Stillwater and smash that place to pieces. THIS ALSO IS COLLATERAL DAMAGE!!!

Aaron Paisley 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Anybody watch the Kansas St.-Texas Tech game last night where Tech got screwed out of a chance to tie or win the game. When KSU stole the ball on their last possession and threw the ball upcourt and the guy who caught the ball ran about 7 steps and the refs didn't call it. If the refs had called it, Tech would've had the ball down two with about 3 seconds left with a chance to tie or win it.

Erich Hartmann 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Imagine this weird thought: we lose at Oklahoma State, but other teams lose also, so we end up winning the championship anyway, and while OkieState is celebrating their desperate W, we start cutting down the nets and BigXII commish brings out the trophy for US! It'd be like 'ok, osu, we missed some shots today, but you missed the whole enchilada this season!'

Suzi Marshall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

LOL....Kinda like when Clark took Rome only to have Eisenhower upstage him with Overlord at the same time. Can't win even when you win.

Aaron Paisley 7 months, 3 weeks ago

KU can clinch outright tonight if West Virginia knocks off Iowa St. and Baylor knocks off Texas.

Laura Hobbs 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I love Coach Self, but would someone from the journalism school or English department please explain to him that "prideful" is NOT a synonym for "full of pride?" Thank you.

Erich Hartmann 7 months, 3 weeks ago

That could just be an Okie-ism. I'm OK with his little bit-o-country in what he says. Roy Williams left us to go home...thank god Bill Self, the Midwesterner that he is, has chosen to stay awhile at the school he first asst.coached at, and in the town where he first met Cindy. I cannot thank Coach Self enough for all he has done for KU's program, and the way he leads with no-nonsense clarity of vision. And he keeps bringing nice, likable young men athletes to play at KU, who he then turns into relentless ballers. Awesome!

Laura Hobbs 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree with everything you say about his accomplishments, but Coach did not have the benefit of the education I received at KU. That is why I am suggesting we save him and ourselves the embarrassment and gently correct him. This is not just a little bit-o-country. I don't think it's a compliment to our team to say they are "prideful," and if he knew what that word really meant, he would not use it. (OK, yes, I'm an old fogie; J'79)

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