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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jayhawks move focus to next slice of Big 12 schedule

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks with guard Brannen Greene during a break in action against TCU on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks with guard Brannen Greene during a break in action against TCU on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Off to a 6-0 start in Big 12 Conference play for the third straight season and sixth time in the 11-year Bill Self era, Kansas University’s basketball team now moves on to the next portion of the 18-game schedule.

“Our next three games are what we are focusing on,” Self said of Wednesday’s 8 p.m. home game against Iowa State, followed by Saturday’s 3 p.m. contest at Texas and Tuesday’s 6 p.m. battle at Baylor.

“We try to take ‘em one at a time. We (also) break them up into short segments. We’re breaking our next one into a three-game situation because we play three teams — Baylor has been in the top 10, Texas will be ranked (25th) this week and Iowa State has been in the top 10, and two of the games are away from home. That’s a tough stretch,” Self added.

Wednesday’s game matches No. 6 KU (15-4, 6-0) vs. No. 16 Iowa State (15-3, 3-3). KU beat the Cyclones, 77-70, on Jan. 13 in Ames, Iowa.

Black practices: KU senior reserve power forward Tarik Black continues to recover from an ankle sprain he suffered against Baylor on Jan. 20.

“He is doing OK. He practiced today, which was probably 50 percent,” Self said Monday on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show. “He did try to go up and down (with contact). It’s the first time he’s done anything since that (BU) game. We didn’t think it would be as slow as it has been for him coming back. It was a pretty bad sprain.

“Sometimes I take for granted he will be back immediately because he’s such a tough kid. He was probably going to play some in the TCU game (Saturday’s 91-69 victory in Fort Worth, Texas), but he got it bumped, got it hit, at shootaround. You could tell right there that set him back. There was no reason to play him in the game. I do hope he’s able to go Wednesday. He’s important. We need to have an agile five-man that can switch ball screens when we have to.”

Embiid’s knee OK: KU freshman forward Joel Embiid, who appeared to bump knees with a TCU player Saturday, actually suffered a “slight (knee) sprain,” Self said Monday.

“He did sprain his knee, but certainly not enough that would keep him from practicing today,” Self said of Embiid, who practiced. “He should be fine. I watched it on tape. I didn’t know it looked bad. It did look bad if you watched it. Basically we were fortunate we got out of that with it only being a slight sprain.”

More on Lucas: KU freshman center Landen Lucas scored a career-high seven points and tied a career high with five boards against TCU.

“We’re excited to get Tarik back. At the same time I have total confidence Landen can step in and do the job. He did it very well,” Self said. “The thing I like is he got down on the floor. The first play there’s a loose ball ... he dives for it, gets a jump ball. That may not seem like much. Those plays are contagious. Personally, I thought that was about the best play of the game.”

Wiggins honored: KU freshman Andrew Wiggins on Monday was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for the second time this season. Wiggins averaged 22.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 55.0 percent in wins over Baylor and TCU. He hit 19-of-22 (.864) free throws and leads all Big 12 freshmen in scoring at 15.8 points per game. Six Jayhawks have earned Big 12 player or newcomer accolades this season. Black, Embiid, Wayne Selden and Wiggins have earned newcomer honors. KU had three newcomer of the week picks in 2005-06 (Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright).

Comments

Yonatan Negash 7 months, 4 weeks ago

If KU goes 3 - 0 the next three games, it'll be very hard not to win the big 12 title.

I've always said, by the time we play OSU at their play, that game shouldn't even matter because OSU will have 4 or 5 losses by than.

As long as we keep winning the games we're suppose to win, KU should coast to the another big 12 title.

With that said, I expect KU to see a much improved KU team against ISU on Wednesday. We were fortunate last time we played ISU, they went something like 3 for 24 from the 3 point line. I suspect ISU will shoot better but I expect KU to play much better and win big.

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Jonathan Allison 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Bill Self should give the game ball (or some other form of recognition) after each game to the player that he feels made the hustle play of the day for his team.

Against TCU it goes to the Load for diving onto the floor for the tie-up Against Baylor it belongs to Wayne Selden diving into the stands after the loose ball Against OSU Fearless Frank "the bulldog" Mason for recovering after the missed FT to strip the ball from LB Nash on the last second shot attempt.

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Kent Richardson 7 months, 4 weeks ago

We has seen this team go from hesitant and under confident on the offensive end before conference to more confident and able to run the offense pretty decent most times down the floor. On defense we were a mess at that time and just now show we are grasping the team defense and how to help. We have progressed from a team that played one good half and would begin to compete during the last 8 to 10 minutes to where we played hard the whole game against TCU. We have survived by not getting too rattled and riding our insane talent while we attempt to understand what the coaching staff is stressing in practice. Make no doubt, we still have to improve, and quite a bit, to survive a deep run into the NCAA's. As great as JoJo, Wiggins, Tharpe, Perrry and Selden have been our depth has been the difference all year. Thank you bench.

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John Strayer 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Say what?? KU did not play a "complete" game against TCU...the beat TCU in the second half by one point...TCU was a team decimated by foul problems and lack of quality players due to ineligible scholarship players...and all KU did was keep them at arms length for the 2nd half. In fact KU's defense allowed TCU to score more points in the 2nd half than in the 1st...so there still was a let down. Should have been an opportunity to get 5 mins of playing for the end of the bench.

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Armen Kurdian 7 months, 4 weeks ago

A big part of that was Embiid's foul trouble. Losing that size in the middle definitely hurts. So now opposing teams may see that as our weakness, get Embiid in foul trouble and go at him. He's going to have to know he's got a target on his chest. So we're certainly not invincible...OSU stayed in the game with us thanx to lights out shooting by Heslip too. If we continue to won the inside like we did against TCU in the first half, we'll be extremely hard to beat by anyone anywhere, but have to remember that presence can't be taken for granted.

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Derek Bowman 7 months, 4 weeks ago

OSU has Forte. Baylor has Heslip. I understand your mix-up because they're both essentially the same dude. They run around about 4 screens each possession and only do one thing - shoot 3's. :)

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Ron Prichard 7 months, 4 weeks ago

KU had some interesting lineups in during the second half. I think Self was more interested in working on combinations of players, set plays, etc, than running up the score. Did you notice we played some zone a few possessions? We pressed a little? The second half of that game was used to work on things for the future, not to run up the score and get the scrubs in the game sooner.

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Kent Richardson 7 months, 4 weeks ago

"We played hard the whole game." For sure we gave up too many points and TCU played just as hard as we did and didn't miss any bunnies. Their guard(s) got to the the rim at will during a long stretch in the second half. no doubt.

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Brian Mellor 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Our bench played for a very large portion of the second half, because they could.

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Jack Wilson 7 months, 4 weeks ago

On Lucas, Self said: "The thing I like is he got down on the floor. The first play there’s a loose ball ... he dives for it, gets a jump ball. That may not seem like much. Those plays are contagious. Personally, I thought that was about the best play of the game.”

We'll truly know that Self has gotten through to Wiggins when we see Wiggins dive on the floor for a loose ball. I think that day is coming ...

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Kent Richardson 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I think it is also. We all mature at our own rate. Law of the West prevails. At least this is what my oldest brother to me, usually when he was about to lower the boom.

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Suzi Marshall 7 months, 4 weeks ago

We can effectively lock up the Big 12 title if we sweep these next 3 games to put us at 9-0.

Going into the last half, we would be 3-4 game up with 5 of of the last 9 at home. Five of d dthe remaing games are against the bottom of the conference TCU (1), TTU (2) and WVA (2). We would be a heavy favorite for 3 of the away games, The major away challenges would be at OSU and KSU..

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Jonathan Allison 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I'm more concerned about home against UT and home against OU, than away against KSU.

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Suzi Marshall 7 months, 4 weeks ago

If we win these next 3 games. I don't have any concerns ... anyone, anywhere, anytime.

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Tony Bandle 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Remember, regarding everybody who is at least 2 games behind us......everybody has to play everyone else and someone is "gonna" lose.

ISU is @ KU, @ OSU & @ KSU....TX is @ KSU, @ KU, @ ISU & @ OU.....OSU is @ TX, @ ISU & @ BU.....KSU is @ OU, @ OSU & @ BU....OK is @ ISU, @ OSU & @ BU.

Those two KU road victories at ISU and OU loom large in the Big 12 Standings at this moment. If we beat Iowa State and Texas and go 8-0 in conference, I think the race is over as long as we win the games we are supposed to win!! [ Sweep TT, WV and TCU for 5 more W's and go 2-3 over the rest of the schedule.

PS My,"in a stupor prediction'" of 18-0 is still alive!!

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Tony Bandle 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Titles for the Nick Krug photo above:

1] Pull my finger.

2] Bang, your dead.

3] Which color are you...uh, White, Black,..oh I know..Greene!

4] Coach, your toup never looked better.

5] Do you want curly fries or steak fries with your post-game burger?

6] Brannen..do you think Bruce Weber is as big a dork as I do?

7] When we play Okie State in March, I want you to stick to Forte like Fruit of the Loom.

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Jason Keller 7 months, 4 weeks ago

8] You're fired. (In a Donald Trump voice)

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John Randall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Tony – 6) nothing close to the dork he was a few years ago … he's at least as good a coach as Frank Martin, and is making greater progress correcting his sideline peccadilloes.

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Erich Hartmann 7 months, 3 weeks ago

8) Thats Bill Self (former OSU Cowboy), pulling out his "pistol" gesture and telling his young gunslinger to "shoot that [expletive] if you get a good look", OR "keep shooting that [expletive]". (just channelling game-face Bill Self)

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