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Monday, February 23, 2015

Native son: Perry Ellis lone Sunflower Statesman

Kansas forward Perry Ellis tries to come away with a loose ball from Kansas State players D.J. Johnson, left, and Wesley Iwundu during the second half on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis tries to come away with a loose ball from Kansas State players D.J. Johnson, left, and Wesley Iwundu during the second half on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 at Bramlage Coliseum.

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It may be hard to believe, but just one scholarship player from the state of Kansas will represent Kansas University and Kansas State in the 281st edition of the Sunflower Showdown tonight.

“I didn’t know that,” said KU junior forward Perry Ellis of Wichita, informed he was the only Kansan with a full ride gearing for today’s 8 p.m. rivalry game in Bramlage Coliseum. “It means a lot to me being from Kansas. It puts a lot into the game.

“It’s just exciting,” added Ellis, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Jayhawks’ 68-57 victory over KSU on Jan. 31 in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansans recruited to the two programs as walk-ons who will dress for the game are Evan Manning and Tyler Self of KU and Mason Schoen and Brian Rohleder of K-State. Manning, it should be noted, is on scholarship this semester since the Jayhawks did not fill their allotment of 13 scholarships for the 2014-15 season. K-State’s Nino Williams attended Leavenworth High but lists St. Louis as his hometown.

“It (Sunflower Showdown) definitely means a lot to everybody around here ... the players, the coaches, the fans. We definitely want to go out there and win,” said Jamari Traylor, a junior from Chicago who collected six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in the first meeting in Allen.

Traylor sat out last year’s trip to Manhattan — an 85-82 K-State victory in overtime — while serving a one-game suspension for what coach Bill Self deemed “irresponsible behavior.”

“They got us on their home court last year. For me, it was a pretty tough game. I had to sit out that game. It was tough on me. This year I want to do good off the court so I can stay on the court,” he added.

Though the Jayhawks have won 14 of the last 16 meetings and 49 of the past 53 against KSU, they did lose a year ago in Bramlage.

A sea of fans stormed the court after the Wildcats snapped a six-game losing streak to the Jayhawks and won their first home game against KU since 2011. KU is 23-3 all-time in Bramlage.

“It came down to the wire, and we definitely don’t want that to happen again,” Ellis said. “They get fired up there. They have a great student fan base. It’s tough. It gets loud there, also.”

KU freshman Devonté Graham, who scored 20 points in Saturday’s 81-72 victory over TCU in Allen Fieldhouse, said he has been warned about what to expect tonight.

“Wayne (Selden, Jr.) was telling me about last year — how crazy it was,” Graham said. “I’m preparing myself mentally.”

Kansas State (13-15, 6-9), which was battered by Baylor, 69-42, on Saturday in Waco, Texas, has lost seven of its last eight games. KU is 22-5 overall and, at 11-3, leads Iowa State by a game in the Big 12 race.

“You can’t overlook any game in the Big 12,” Graham said. “Everyone is coming to beat us, especially us, winning the league 10 years in a row. They don’t bow down to us. We’ve got to be the aggressor.

“This game is definitely a big game for us as far as staying at the top of the league. We’ve got to come out with a good mindset. We’ve got to come out aggressive,” Graham added.

Self puts no stock in records.

“I don’t think it matters what we’ve done. I don’t think it matters what they’ve done,” Self said. “I think it’ll be a great crowd. I think it’ll be juiced. It’ll be emotional. We’ll get a great effort from them, and they’ll get a great effort from us.

“I don’t see anything that would lead me to believe — since maybe they have not shot the ball well — that they’ll shoot it poorly against us. They’ll have a tendency to raise their level, just like most teams do.”

KU raced to a 20-5 lead in the game in Lawrence and held a 33-17 advantage at halftime. The Wildcats hit 17.1 percent of their first-half shots, the fourth-worst-shooting percentage in a half in KSU history.

Yet KU wound up winning by just 11 points.

Marcus Foster and Thomas Gipson scored 19 points apiece for KSU, while Ellis had 16, Selden 14, Brannen Greene 11 and Frank Mason III 10 for KU.

“I would say their halfcourt defense is terrific, and they rebound the ball well. That’s the biggest thing,” Self said, indicating his team has more to play for tonight than in-state bragging rights.

“I think with the stakes ... hey, Iowa State had probably the best week anybody has had all year long in our league, going to Stillwater and winning and going to Texas and winning,” Self said.

“We are playing K-State and will be pumped for K-State. The last two weeks of the season ... we are thinking about the league race, too. There’s plenty of motivation. We’re playing our state rival and a team that gave us a handful the first time we played them.”

Ellis, who is 5-1 all-time versus KSU, hopes the Jayhawks can prevail tonight and remove the sour taste from a year ago.

“We definitely expect their best. The veterans, we’re going to try to share that with everybody. It’s a tough place to play and we really have to come to play. It’s going to be a big game for us,” Ellis said.

Weber lauds Ellis: KSU coach Bruce Weber on KU’s Ellis: “He is always there for them. He could be MVP of the league.”

Weber after Saturday’s 27-point loss at Baylor: “It (locker room) was quiet. Obviously, there is not much else you can say. We got our butts smacked. We will see what they are about. We have one day, 24 hours to get our mind right. We have played pretty energized at home. Obviously a huge game, hopefully we will rise to the occasion and match Kansas on Monday. You just have to get your head right.”

This, that: KSU is 11-4 at home this season. ... KSU has won seven of its last nine (and 12 of 17) home games vs. ranked opponents. ... KU leads the all-time series, 188-92. ... Self is 24-4 vs. KSU, including a 23-4 mark while at KU; Weber is 1-6 vs. KU, 1-5 while at K-State. ... Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, KU is 54-18 all-time on Big Monday (31-1 at home, 23-17 on the road), including 35-10 under Self.

Lucas featured: The Oregonian wrote a feature story on KU red-shirt sophomore Landen Lucas this weekend. The article concluded wondering whether Lucas would stay at KU or finish his career elsewhere in search of more playing time.

“He’s happy there (KU),” Lucas’ dad, Richard, told the paper. “I think he’s going to stick it out unless something dramatic happens.”

He attended three different schools his final three years of high school, including Findlay Prep, where he didn’t receive all the minutes he desired.

“I think I needed to go through that because it definitely helps with situations like I’m in at a school like Kansas,” Lucas told the Oregonian. “It’s always nice to know that I’ve been through it before.”

To read the Oregonian story on Lucas go to http://ljw.bz/1GjEjyX

Robinson rumors: Real GM reports that former KU forward Thomas Robinson, who was waived by Denver last week, has had discussions with San Antonio, New Jersey, Phoenix, Miami and Charlotte.

Comments

Jonathan Andrews 6 years, 6 months ago

New Jersey Nets are now the Brooklyn Nets.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 6 months ago

You would think that since Paul Pierce played for Brooklyn, they would get it right.

Clarence Haynes 6 years, 6 months ago

TRob deserves much better than what he has experienced thus far in the NBA.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 6 months ago

I think the NBA expected much better from a lottery pick.

Shannon Gustafson 6 years, 6 months ago

He's actually been pretty good, the problem is he's been stuck behind some of the best players in the league at his position for most of his career so he gets very few minutes.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Repost

Here is where we are in the conference race. Four games each remain on the schedule for Kansas and Iowa State, while Kansas holds a 1-game advantage.

Both play KSU at home, with that game coming for Kansas tonight. Advantage: tie.

Both teams also play Oklahoma, but Iowa St. gets that game at home whereas Kansas must play it in Norman. Advantage: Iowa State.

Outside of the OU game, each team has one remaining ranked opponent on their schedule. For Kansas, it's West Virginia, while Iowa State draws Baylor. Kansas and ISU both play their games on their home floor. Last week, WV (who was ranked #23 at the time)beat two ranked conference opponents in Kansas and OSU. Baylor (ranked #20) in the same time beat lowly Texas Tech and Kansas State. By the time the rankings come out this week, the two teams could be standing side by side. It appears like there is no advantage to this game for either team at first glance, but you must remember how difficult it is to play in AFH and consider the bad taste left in Kansas' mouth after losing on the failed shot attempt by Perry Ellis. Advantage: Kansas.

The last game comes down to a decision about whether you would want to face Texas at home or play TCU away. I think most people would choose TCU in that situation. On that basis alone, I give the advantage to the team playing TCU, which is Iowa State. Advantage Iowa State.

Conclusion: based on the remaining schedule, ISU's chances of gaining ground on Kansas are favored, but with a 1-game advantage Kansas can do no worse than a tie for the conference title if all goes according to what might reasonably be assumed. As for other teams in contention, OU is third in the conference but has only 3 games remaining on their schedule to make up the 1.5 game deficit they have to Kansas. Since two of those remaining 3 games are played against Kansas and Iowa State, they are effectively out of it. West Virginia sits at 4th place in the conference, but they are 2 games behind with 4 games remaining. In addition their schedule is unkind as they face a veritable gauntlet of conference season-ending games: Texas, Baylor, Kansas, OSU. West Virginia is out. Baylor has 4 games to make up a 3 game deficit, and that fact alone is enough to disqualify them from serious contention; their hopes are made much worse by the fact that Iowa State and West V appear on their schedule. Baylor is out. It is a 2-horse race between Iowa State and Kansas, but again it appears that the only remaining question is whether Kansas will share the Big 12 crown or win it outright.

Allison Steen 6 years, 6 months ago

Nice breakdown. Agree on all accounts. If we take care of business where we are supposed to, we should do no worse than tie for the title. I would love to win it outright with such a tough conference this year though. I think that would be pretty cool.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Agree. And I repeat what I said before, that the coach of the year should come from the team(s) who win the Big 12 conference. I do not see Kansas having anyone on 1st team, however (Hield, Nash, Forte, Niang, Staten). But I do think Perry Ellis will make the 2nd team, while Mason should make Honorable Mention. Kelly Oubre gets beat out for Freshman of the Year by Myles Turner. Newcomer of the Year will be Bryce Dejean-Jones, Player of the Year Buddy Hield, Defensive Player of the Year to either Rico Gathers or Myles Turner.

Benz Junque 6 years, 6 months ago

Frank Mason and Perry Ellis both deserve to be 1st Team All Big 12 over Niang and possibly Staten since the award is for Big 12 play only.

In Big 12 play:

Ellis: 14.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 53.3 efg%, 50.3 fg%, 50% 3pt fg% Niang: 13.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 51.2 efg%, 44.7 fg% 45.7 3pt fg%

Niang is shooting 0.2% better from the free throw line so I guess he does have that...

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

I think that's an oversimplification of value. For example, I haven't looked at the numbers for Kentucky, but it is conceivable to construct a situation where the best players in an entire conference all play for one team, but their numbers are down because they share minutes. It may be entirely true that the best players don't receive recognition they deserve according to a purely statistical-based analysis. Other examples of this sort of thing abound. Perhaps this is why computers don't determine conference honors...

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

correction: "...both play KSU at home" should read "both play KSU away".

Benz Junque 6 years, 6 months ago

I would 100% disagree with rather playing @TCU versus Texas at home. TCU has been playing well at home and is the very style that gives ISU the most fits; slow tempo with great rebounders.

Meanwhile, the only road games that Texas has won this year are @TCU, @TT and @K-State, the three worst teams in the Big 12 and they got TCU more than a month ago.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Very good points. Can't argue with your reasoning. People see different things which are true for the most part and clearly Texas has under-performed. I suppose for me I look at UT's potential to play at a high level, and I judge that to be greater than TCU's. But because this is a matter of opinion and your reasoning is solid, I can't say either opinion is wrong or right.

Benz Junque 6 years, 6 months ago

And I can't argue that part of my logic is that I really would like someone to hang a loss on ISU to take the pressure off. KU makes me nervous this year.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree with Joe on this one.

Texas is 2-0 against TCU with an average margin of victory of 20.5 points.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 6 months ago

But UT isn't playing TCU. They're playing us, which is a different matchup.

Joe's response is spot on. There isn't a whole lot separating us and ISU this year - in the remaining schedule or records.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 6 months ago

Good analysis, and responses.

It is noteworthy that ISU is also the only team that has successfully defended their home court this year. They're really going to kick themselves at the end of the year if they just tie or lose the title, b/c I believe all that separates the teams at this point is their loss to TTech.

From that standpoint, nothing is guaranteed, because most any of those games are losable (Is that a word?). It is definitely nice to be us with the 1 game advantage.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 6 months ago

KU and ISU both play in Manhattan, not home games.

Micky Baker 6 years, 6 months ago

I agree with almost everything here, except for one. I don't think ISU has an advantage playing TCU on the road over us playing Texas at home. We handled Texas better than ISU did in Austin when Texas was playing better ball than they are now.

I can foresee a tie, but I don't think ISU has an advantage playing on the road, given they lost to Tech on the road and TCU is better than Tech is. If TCU was playing the way they have the past 3 games earlier in the conference season, they would probably have 3 or 4 more wins and TCU is hungry to get to 20 wins which is reach for them with a couple of wins at home and a couple in the Big 12 tourney. 20 wins would be a good accomplishment for them and catapult them to bigger things in the seasons to come.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

My projected Big 12 Tourney Bracket. I don't think ISU beats us twice this year. We will end their 9 game winning streak.

2015 Big 12 Tourney Predictions

2015 Big 12 Tourney Predictions by plasticJHawk

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

This would place us firmly into a 2 seed with a 28-6 record. If it happens, then our chances of a 30 win season hinge on us reaching the sweet 16.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

I like it Jonathan! I assume that with tied records atop the conference, you see Kansas dropping the game vs. OU in Norman but other than that KU and ISU both winning out. In the case of a tie, how do they determine seeding (1 vs 2) for the conference tournament?

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

Yes, I have Kansas losing to OU.

I believe that Kansas receives the #1 seed because of Overall record (we'd have a 1 games edge overall)

Tom Jones 6 years, 6 months ago

It goes by the records of the tied teams versus whoever's in second, then third, etc.

So if KU and ISU end up tied, they'd go by their record versus whoever's in second, then third, etc if the records are the same.

If, say, OU and WVU are tied for second, they take KU's combined record against those two teams (they run our tiebreakers before proceeding to breaking ties between teams tied for 2nd, 3rd, etc.) versus ISU's record against the tied teams.

So the tiebreaker part's still totally up in the air at this point, as each team has a game versus OU, but ISU technically has a tie breaker "leg up", as they have already swept WVU and we have a loss against them. To counteract that, though, they've lost to OU and we haven't, but they get them at home and we get them on the road.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

So going by my hypothetical scenario. Both KU and ISU have one loss against OU so we go to next tiebreaker.

WVU and Baylor are tied for 4th and both Kansas and ISU will be 3-1 against Baylor and WVU with Kansas losing one to WVU and ISU losing one to BU.

OSU is sitting alone in 6th and ISU is 2-0 against them and we are 1-1. So ISU wins the tie-breaker.

Then Kansas and ISU just switch places in my bracket, but I still think that it runs down the same way.

Though the odds of us losing to UT or OU are higher than those of us losing to KSU or WVU. However, if ISU has to face WVU, I think that's a tough matchup for them. Of course I don't know that WVU can play such frenetic basketball in back to back games.

I think that Kansas' depth will be a big advantage in the post-season.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

If Tom is correct and I'm hearing him right, then in the case that OU ends up 3rd as in your scenario, then Kansas' and Iowa State's record vs. OU at the end of the conference regular season would determine who is seeded first between Kansas and Iowa State. Both Kansas and ISU have lost to Oklahoma, but the remaining games that both teams have against the Sooners would determine the seeding.

If KU and ISU both lose to OU, or both win, then their conference record and their records against Oklahoma would be tied and ONLY in that situation would the tiebreaker go to the next team. If one team beat OU, and the other lost to them, the winner vs. OU would be the one seed.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

Thanks Tom for the info on the tie-breaker procedure. I looked it up and it is exactly as you say.

http://www.big12sports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=1520897

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

I have said over and over again how informative the comments sections are beneath the articles. You guys rock!

Micky Baker 6 years, 6 months ago

So if Kansas beats OU in Norman, KU would get the number one seed if there happens to be a tie. West Virginia, they're remaining schedule is brutal so I don't see them finishing 3rd, but who knows. Iowa State can lose any of the remaining four games. They could possibly lose two of those games, but if Iowa State lose just one, it will be very difficult for them to get a tie for the league title. We would have just completely flameout in one of the games vs Kansas State, West Virginia, or Texas. At the beginning of the conference season, this looked a lot more formidable than it does now.

Jay Scott 6 years, 6 months ago

Landen Lucas is one of my favorite current Jayhawks. Classy kid. I believe he'll be a solid contributor on championship caliber teams in the coming seasons. If he leaves, it's because Self recruits more Joel Embiid caliber players. That happens at Kansas.

Yonatan Negash 6 years, 6 months ago

Something to consider, before assuming KU loses the final away game at OU.

Last eight (8) meetings: 7 wins 1 loss (KU).

I actually like our chances to win outright.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 6 months ago

If that game has no bearing on the final outcome in the standings for KU, KU will likely lose because KU has historically lost those kind of games under Self.

Yonatan Negash 6 years, 6 months ago

Unless ISU loses again, the OU game will be a must win for us to win outright.

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