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Saturday, February 28, 2015

KU, Texas provide ‘GameDay’ fodder

Kansas head coach Bill Self grins as he waves to the fans following the Jayhawks' 89-76 win over Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self grins as he waves to the fans following the Jayhawks' 89-76 win over Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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ESPN’s “GameDay” crew, which plans to air pre-game shows in both Wichita and Lawrence today, forecast snow be darned, definitely will have a lot to talk about prior to the 4 p.m. Kansas University-Texas contest in Allen Fieldhouse.

First, some possible chatter regarding the visitors from Austin, Texas:

— Coach Rick Barnes today is shooting for his 400th victory at UT. The 17th-year Longhorn mentor takes a 399-177 record into today’s contest.

— This year’s Longhorn squad, however, is 17-11 overall and 6-9 in the Big 12 and appears to be on the outside for an NCAA Tournament berth, with games remaining against KU, Baylor and Kansas State. That’s pretty crazy considering KU coach Bill Self picked Texas first in the preseason Big 12 coaches poll.

“Probably, yes,” Self said, asked if he was surprised by UT’s conference record. “I mean, there are so many close games in our league and games that can go either way, I don’t know that you can really be surprised or shocked by anything that happens in our league.

“Texas goes to West Virginia its last game and plays terrific. They got behind just like we did at West Virginia. Came back, had a chance in the last two minutes (of 71-64 loss). West Virginia is playing really well right now. They (Longhorns) are playing well. They’ll be hungry playing us for high stakes on Saturday.”

West Virginia fans, by the way, chanted “NIT, NIT” in the latter stages of that contest.

Some possible talking points regarding the (22-6, 11-4) Jayhawks:

— KU, which has a 4-3 record in February, today officially celebrates its 60th season in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks will be wearing adidas-designed “Heritage Classic” uniforms to honor the 1988 NCAA title team. There will be various fieldhouse video tributes during timeouts.

— KU, which last lost a league home game during the 2012-13 season (to Oklahoma State), needs only to defeat Texas today and West Virginia on Tuesday in Allen to assure at least a tie for an 11th straight Big 12 title.

“Players like putting on a new uniform, but it’s not that big a deal. But having ‘GameDay’ here and playing Texas, knowing what’s potentially at stake, I think everybody should be pretty excited,” Self said.

A final topic for GameDay’s Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Jay Williams and Stephen A. Smith might not only be their drive from Wichita to Lawrence in possible snowy conditions, but the KU-Texas rivalry.

The Jayhawks, who defeated UT, 75-62, on Jan. 24, in Austin, have won seven of the last eight meetings and 10 of 12. The teams have met in four of the last eight Big 12 championship title games, with KU winning all four.

In a pair of classic games, KU went 2-0 versus UT in the 2006-07 season, Kevin Durant’s sole season in Austin. Durant had 32 points (25 in first half) in KU’s 90-86 win in Lawrence and 37 points in KU’s 88-84 overtime win in the Big 12 tourney title game. KU trailed Texas by 16 points in Allen and 22 in Oklahoma City.

Durant has since told Self he appreciated KU’s fans cheering him as he returned from the locker room after suffering a sprained ankle in the game in Lawrence.

“I think he had 25 or 26 at our place in the first half. Danny (Manning, former KU assistant) who was a good player here ... I said, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘He’s the baddest man who ever played on this floor.’

“Danny was pretty good. Wilt (Chamberlain) wasn’t bad, either,” Self added with a smile. “Then we played them and they had us down 32-10 with eight minutes left in the first half. Durant had 22 of them. He had us down, 22-10 himself. Yes, he was amazing.

“Texas with Kevin, with LaMarcus (Aldridge), Tristan Thompson. There’s been some great great players. They have (Cameron) Ridley and (Myles) Turner and those guys. They can really play.”

Point guard Isaiah Taylor leads Texas in scoring at 13.4 ppg. Freshman standout Turner averages 11.2 points and 6.5 boards and leads the league in blocks at 2.6 per game.

KU, of course, recruited 6-11 Bedford, Texas, native Turner heavily.

“He’s playing closer to the basket maybe than what he was the first time we played them (Turner had eight points, eight boards vs. KU in Austin). He’s hard to guard in there because he gets his shot off so quick. It’s too quick, you can’t trap it,” Self said.

“They still have as imposing a team or front line as anybody in America with maybe the exception of Kentucky. I like their team. They need to play well down the stretch, obviously. That’s not me saying anything other than the obvious. They’re so capable of beating anybody. They have been a little inconsistent, as we have.”

Taylor, 6-1 sophomore from Hayward, California, had 23 points in the initial meeting.

“Everyone has to get back. It starts with me,” KU point guard Frank Mason III said. “Don’t let him get a head of steam. Don’t let him get on my heels in transition. For me, try to keep him out of the paint, get through ball screens. He has a very good floater game. He shoots through all kind of angles, different ways, falling down. He’s quick too. He’s a tough point guard once he gets that going,” Mason added.

This, that: Game time for the KU-Oklahoma game has been set for 3 p.m., a week from today, in Norman, Oklahoma. .... Texas’ team had no travel problems Friday and practiced in Allen on Friday night.

GameDay: Self commented on GameDay being at both WSU for its game against Northern Iowa and KU today. The GameDay show in Lawrence will run from 3 to 4 p.m.

“That will be as big a conference game as the (Missouri) Valley has seen, who knows, in maybe decades,” Self said. “You have two top teams playing with the winner taking all. That place will be jumping.

“You would think that our situation would be pretty festive, as well, with the things that we have in front of us that could potentially take place if we play well. It will be great for our state. The play in the Big 12 has brought a lot of positive recognition to our league nationally. This will be a chance to bring it to our state, which I think will be a big bonus not only for our program but Wichita State’s, as well.

Money talk: The Dallas Morning News lists salaries of all Big 12 coaches on its Website. On the men’s side, Bill Self leads the league coaches in guaranteed compensation per season at $3,856,000, followed by West Virginia’s Bob Huggins ($3,250,000), Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger ($2,750,000), Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford ($2,625,000), UT’s Barnes ($2,485,000), Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg ($2,200,000), K-State’s Bruce Weber ($1,850,000), and Texas Tech’s Tubby Smith ($1,700,000). Salaries for Baylor’s Scott Drew and TCU’s Trent Johnson were not available.

On the women’s side, OU’s Sherri Coale is first in guaranteed compensation per year at $1,100,000, followed by ISU’s Bill Fennelly ($625,000), WVU’s Mike Carey ($525,000), KSU’s Jeff Mittie ($515,000), KU’s Bonnie Henrickson ($505,000), UT’s Karen Aston ($500,000), TTU’s Candi Whitaker ($375,000), and OSU’s Jim Littell ($350,000). Salaries of BU’s Kim Mulkey and TCU’s Raegan Pebley were unavailable.

Probable Starters

TEXAS (17-11, 6-9)

F — Jonathan Holmes (6-8, Sr.)

C — Cameron Ridley (6-9, Jr.)

G — Kendal Yancy (6-3, Soph.)

G — Isaiah Taylor (6-1, Soph.)

G — Demarcus Holland (6-2, Jr.)

KANSAS (22-6, 11-4)

F — Perry Ellis (6-8, Jr.)

F — Cliff Alexander (6-8, Fr.)

G — Frank Mason III (5-11, Soph.)

G — Wayne Selden Jr. (6-5, Soph.)

G — Kelly Oubre Jr. (6-7, Fr.)

Comments

Len Shaffer 4 years, 6 months ago

"Durant has since told Self he appreciated KU’s fans cheering him as he returned from the locker room after suffering a sprained ankle in the game in Lawrence."

Somehow, I have a hard time picture fans at KSUck or Misuse ever doing something like that …

On another note, I posted something about this earlier, but as nice as it is to hear all this talk about how great the Big XII is, I'll believe it when I see some decent tournament results. The conference's tournament record has been pretty terrible over the years, and it would be nice to see the "best conference in the country" prove it when it matters the most.

Unfortunately, I think the conference has a lot of very good teams but no great teams, so they'll probably mostly flame out by the Sweet 16, as usual.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 6 months ago

The Big 12 isn't particularly good at getting its teams to the Final Four aside from Kansas. Since the formation of the conference in 1996-97, only three other Big 12 teams aside from Kansas have reached the Final Four: Oklahoma in 2002, Texas in 2003, and Oklahoma State in 2004.

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 6 months ago

In spite of what happened Monday I don’t think I can put ksu in the same category as mu. The majority of comments I read from wildcat fans expressed regret and embarrassment. Would never see those type of responses from mizzoo. I thought perhaps this “rivalry” might be heating up but I can’t see it matching the intensity we had with our formal rivals. And yes, this conference needs to improve in the tournament. Does not speak well when your conference champion cannot get past the second round.

Mike Riches 4 years, 6 months ago

This would be such a huge win today! It would give us the chance to play Tuesday to clinch #11 and another undefeated season at AFH. All in a revenge game against WVU. Our guys will need to be ready play today. Maybe the sting from Monday night can provide a little extra motivation today. I'm hoping for a big game from Selden and Mason. Our crowd will be amped! Let's go Jayhawks!

Tony Bandle 4 years, 6 months ago

Oddities fro Oakville:

1] I was at the Kevin Durant game and next to the first half played by Danny Manning against OU in the title game of '88, I have never seen a player have a better half of basketball.

2] I wonder what Rick Barnes career record would be if he could actually coach!!!

3] No way we lose today or Tuesday...not with The Phog swirling around our opponents.

4] Michael Lorraine's point is well taken, but one theory put forward, which may have some validity, is that all the Big 12 teams "leave it on the table' playing each other in the best conference in the country and come tourney time, everyone is drained.

5] My suggestion to Bill is play Perry in the middle with Kelly, Frank, Wayne and Mr. Greene on the perimeter, shoot the hell out of the three and crash the boards and play a zone on defense, take away the three and crash the boards as well. Cliff, Jamari and Landon are just not doing it to make Bill's offense really work and, with the zone, you've got some coverage for those quick opponent guards.

6] REALITY CHECK - guess how many teams would love to finish with 25+ victories, an 11th straight conference championship in America's toughest coinference, a Top Ten Ranking and a probable #2 seed....oh, maybe two or three hundred or so!!!

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