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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Jayhawks get back on track, beat TCU

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) reaches for an attempted steal from TCU guard Chauncey Collins (1) during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) reaches for an attempted steal from TCU guard Chauncey Collins (1) during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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The Kansas University men's basketball team bounced back from Tuesday's road loss at West Virginia with a solid 70-63 handling of TCU Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

But more than the final score or any individual stats, this one will be remembered for Bill Self's willingness to let freshman Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo play extended and meaningful minutes.

And both freshmen took full advantage of the opportunity that came, in large part, because of early foul trouble to Perry Ellis and Hunter Mickelson.

Landen Lucas and Jamari Traylor got their chances, too, but this was by far the best look at the two freshmen that we've seen in a while and they responded with solid games.

Bragg, who actually started the second half in place of Mickelson, finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds (3 offensive) in 14 minutes, and Diallo turned in his best all-around game since his first as a Jayhawk, blocking 5 shots and snagging 10 rebounds. He also added 9 points.

KU (15-2 overall, 4-1 Big 12) led TCU (9-8, 1-4) by nine at halftime and the Frogs trimmed the KU lead to as few as six points early in the second half, but each time TCU made a run, KU answered and kept its comfortable edge.

The Jayhawks built a 12-point lead on a couple of occasions midway through the second half and saw the lead climb as high as 19 at one point, and that proved to be enough to stave off the TCU threat on a day when the visitors actually played pretty well inside a tough environment.

Five Jayhawks finished in double digits and even though KU did not set the scoreboard on fire, that balance was enough to knock off the Horned Frogs.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: KU responded to TCU taking a 19-15 first-half lead with a 22-9 run that closed the half and helped KU regain control.

• Offensive highlight: Four minutes into this one, Mickelson helped answer the question many KU fans are asking: Why does Hunter Mickelson continue to start? After a missed layup in the paint, Mickelson ripped down the offensive board and then flipped a quick, no-look pass to a diving Selden, who grabbed it and scored the easy bucket to put Kansas up early. Mickelson, however, did not parlay the fast start into more minutes, as he picked up two quick fouls and sat the rest of the first half and played just 5 minutes all game.

• Defensive highlight: Playing extended first-half minutes because of foul trouble to Ellis, freshman forward Diallo flashed a little defense with a monster block of Chris Washburn with under 5 minutes to play in the first half. The best part about the block was it came out of man-to-man D and was the result of Diallo staying with his man off the dribble and rejecting a shot as they got to the lane. It wasn't like one of those big-time blocks that look nice but come off of help D and the other guy had no chance. Diallo blocked another one in similar fashion later in the half, showing his explosive nature and athleticism to get it done. These were impressive. And clean. And encouraging for KU's defense.

• Key stat: KU's bench was a big difference maker in this one, outscoring the Frogs' bench, 29-16.

• Up next: After a quick stop at home, the Jayhawks head back out on the road on Tuesday, when they'll play at Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. in Stillwater.

— See what people were saying about KU vs. TCU during KUsports.com’s live coverage


More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU




By the Numbers: Kansas 70, TCU 63

By the Numbers: Kansas 70, TCU 63

Comments

Joe Joseph 3 years, 10 months ago

What's the deal with Self continuing to start Hunter Mickelson if he's never going to sub him back into the game after the first 5 minutes? Hunter picked up a bad foul on defense, but was also disruptive by getting a steal and contributing to another. Traylor and Lucas pose absolutely zero threat to score the ball and are only marginally better on defense, if at all. What Bill Self dislikes about Hunter Mickelson I'll never understand. Not saying he deserves to play 30 minutes a game, but he deserves more than 5. It's almost like he's trying to placate him and the fans by starting him.

I'm also baffled by this lineup Self likes to play with Traylor and Lucas on the floor at the same time. How does he expect to score?

Hopefully this game will serve as spring board for Diallo and Bragg. I have my reservations that it will, however, as I have a feeling their playing time (Diallo's especially) was more of an indictment against the other bigs than it was an endorsement for the freshmen.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

I think most fans agree with you but Self is a highly successful coach who's looking for the right mix. Self loves Traylor and Lucas, so they will always get his PT.

It should be clear to most fans, this team will go far only if Bragg/Diallo get up to par by February.

David Kemp 3 years, 10 months ago

Agree,Lucas and Taylor don't have the talent or skill to get us was round of 32. We need Bragg and Diallo to develop chemistry with the starters or we will surely be out early in the tournament

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

If you don't think Jamari Traylor has the skill to be part of a National Champ you should seriously stop commenting in public. Lucas is the biggest KU body. He'll get minutes against teams with true centers at a minimum.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

Granted it's TCU, but it's amazing what happens when you commit to something and give an "opportunity" to some kids and let them find their way. In all honesty, this should have happened 7 or 8 games ago before the conference slate started.

All you have to do is look at the +/- ratio in this game to understand how minutes should be spread out. I agree with you about Mickelson, Joe, but disagree about the frosh. They are gonna make mistakes but the only way KU has a shot at a national title is getting them comfortable with extended minutes alongside Perry.

Benz Junque 3 years, 10 months ago

I assumed everyone would get geeked up about Diallo and Bragg doing well against a crummy team. Doesn't mean they are equipped to do it in every game.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree Chris, the 2 freshman will not get it done against West Virginia or Oklahoma without having them pair with Perry or maybe even Mickelson. Diallo and Mickelson both pick up too many unnecessary fouls.

And, Benz maybe stating the obvious but it's dead on.

Ashwin Rao 3 years, 10 months ago

You can always second guess the coach. My philosophy is to just enjoy the kids' development, and hope that we keep winning!

Pius Waldman 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm not naming players but this game shows how one of the bigs that played many minutes in the past should ride the pine and the two freshman should get to play more. No need to mention names as most fans know who it is.

Rodney Pain 3 years, 10 months ago

Really there are a couple names that could be named, but whatever it takes, yes, let's get the talent going.

Rodney Pain 3 years, 10 months ago

I wouldn't quite call this back on track. I know the final score didn't reflect how good we were throughout most of the 2nd half, but we didn't look anywhere near the team that took OU's best shot and still topped them. Since Tech, we've been lethargic and that was still the case today. I don't think it's going to spell any loses in the near future given who we play and where, but getting back on track to me will mean coming out swinging, knocking our opponent to the mat, and not letting them get up. TCU at home is as easy as it gets the rest of the way and we were nothing like that. Some of that was just bad luck, but Frank is clearly hurting, and having to play him 36 minutes today is no kind of help. Perry and Wayne are going to have the take the pressure off Frank, and Self is going to have to relent and let him get some r&r or we're going to have a worn out PG going into the post season.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

I wouldn't call it back on track either. Hopefully, it's full steam ahead and the previous 16 games prior to the TCU game are forgotten.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

At this point, I will take ugly "W's" as long as the right guys are getting the right amount of bulk minutes in order to find that rhythm, flow, and cohesiveness guys need. IMO, this team is a new and different team from this point forward. Maybe we call the TCU game "BD" day.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

I think Coach Self knew this was the perfect game (home against possibly the weakest team) to give his freshman some big minutes). I think Diallo is showing much more restraint and given his shot blocking and rebounding, I'd like to see him start in place of Mickelson. Bragg looked good too.

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 10 months ago

Bill said the conference (co, tri) champ could have 5 losses. I could see 5 losses in this team.

Mike Riches 3 years, 10 months ago

The Big 12 may have the top 3 teams when national rankings are released Monday. OU will be #1, WVU deserves to be #2 after beatings us handily and coming to within 2 at OU today. With Maryland and Michigan State losing, Kansas may fall to only third. I'm trying to think if that's ever happened before?

Of course rankings mean very little, and other teams could jump in there as well, but just the possibility is a testament to how good our conference is this year.

Brian Conrad 3 years, 10 months ago

it is time we as fans stop talking about 12 or 13 in a row... the BIG picture play Diallo , Bragg and Svi MORE we know what we have in Traylor and LUcas .. they are great we all like them ... BUT to be the best we can be come tourney time the 3 mentioned above need more court time even if it costs us a game or 2 .. would you rather win 20 big 12s in a row OR get past the second round ??? we have to get Diallo and Bragg ready NOW for tourney time .. today proved that. give them minutes... look both TCU games , both KSU games both Tech games and both Okie St games Texas here .. these guys need major minutes .. if we can not beat these teams with Bragg and Diallo we will never get to sweet 16 or Final Four anyway.. who cares if we are a 1 seed and these guys have never played a close game... turn Diallo lose against Kentucky .. he beat them in McDonalds game , Jordan game .. heck every high school game .. he is better and we need him to have major minutes come tourney time ..

Benz Junque 3 years, 10 months ago

I'd rather win the Big 12 AND the national title. All but ONE of our Final Four appearances were in seasons where we also won the regular season conference title. You're either a good team or you're not. This dumb notion that some fans have that focusing on winning the Big 12 has cost us in the tourney is dumb.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

That stat is meaningless.. We've won 11 conference championships and made the Final Four twice under Coach Self. We've had FOUR first and second round exits after winning conference championships.

After winning the conference championship we've been twice as likely to fall short of the Sweet 16 then we have been of making the Final Four.

Linda Peschka 3 years, 10 months ago

A win is a win. BUT, today's game merely, again, showed the weakness of players in such that KU is not a final 4 team. They are not even an Elite 8 team because of the manner in which they are playing. A.) Too many turnovers B.) players who really can not play effective defense C) poor shooting by players who waste an offensive opportunity D.) three of the 4 big men play soft(and I do not mean the Frosh)E.) Self 's inept mix of players on the floor at times(lack of offensive capabilities, little or no defense, poor shooters including Ski, and a lack of a team leader. Mason needs to sit a game for rest. He is playing so poorly with his poor shooting performance, unacceptable numerous turnovers and lack of leadership. Greene needs more bench time. He is slow, NO Defense, poor passing, and his demeanor is one of non-aggressive. Graham dribbles to much with no positive results and he walks the ball up the court so slowly when we are behind. Wayne is just(for the past few weeks) playing sloppy, and he knows better than that. Ellis makes some great shots after great foot work, but how many more 2-5 foot shots is he going to miss instead of simply stuffing them All in all, a major improvement by all is a necessity if they plan to advance past the second round of the NCAA tournament. They need to quit making excuses and play smarter.

Brian Conrad 3 years, 10 months ago

KU top in nation 3 point % ,top 5 scoring, assists , steals, field goal %, team defense KU ranks very high in Nation in all.. you are off base , Big 12 has better chance than any conference to get one or 2 teams in Final Four.. every team in nation has some games not top notch .. you must not have watched same game .. KU dominated . the score may have been 7 at end big deal , this was not even close. Texas yes Texas is middle of pack Big 12 they beat UNC .. Oakland and Hawaii almost beat MSU .. Kentucky has lost 4 .. and they play in the lowly SEC .. Mason has HUGE HEART .. toughness .. Diallo had 5 Blocks ! 5 ! 9 rebounds in less than one half of play . when this team comes together at the end watch out.. who cares if we come in second in Big 12 will be 4 teams in Big 12 with chance to go deep in tourney .. we Will have 3 in sweet 16 ! maybe 2 in Final Four ..

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

Brian..look at the BIG 12 record in the NCAA. Since 1946, the only current team to win the NCAA title other than Kansas was OSU in 1946. WVU (1959) is the only other team to make it to the title game. OU and Texas are the only teams to make it to the Final 4 other than KU since the BIG 12 originated.

Facts are...the BIG 12's NCAA performances have been underwhelming at best.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 10 months ago

Respectfully, this is one of the most nonsensical comments I have ever read.

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

A new Chicken Little. How do these people think Kansas ever wins a games with such an inept and lazy cast?

Linda Peschka 3 years, 10 months ago

KU beat TCU by 7 points. TCU is one of the weakest(if not the weakest teams in the Big 12) and we did not play any of the usual walk-ons. That is a victory regardless, but a poor one at that. As a team, they are all going to need to improve. KU will not win the Big 12, but will come in #3 with WVU #2 and OU winning the Big 12. The heart is lacking for the team.

Benz Junque 3 years, 10 months ago

Linda, I think you might be overshooting it a bit.

RJ King 3 years, 10 months ago

Linda - Go to Vegas then, and put your money where your mouth is. And you might want to have that wagging-finger-syndrome checked out before it causes permanent visual impairment.

Brian Conrad 3 years, 10 months ago

EASY Linda First KU tied for first in the toughest conference by far ! second KU leads nation in 3 point % .. KU top 4 in nation in scoring , top 20 in country assists by far deepest bench in all of the nation ..

Tony Bandle 3 years, 10 months ago

Pick your poison; play your your veterans to insure your best shot at that 12th conference title or play your frosh, suffer an extra loss or two and finish second or third but have a team far more ready for a National Championship shot.

Linda, no offense, but I would bet there are about 200 schools that would trade places with KU straight up in a nano second for the very reasons so eloquently listed by Mr. Conrad.

My vote goes for playing the most talented big men the most. Just a hint, first letter, first name...P,C,C with a little H.

Benz Junque 3 years, 10 months ago

Can you GUARANTEE that giving Bragg and Diallo more means they are more prepared for the tourney? What if they do that, finish 3rd in the conference and still lose in the Round of 32? There is NO guarantee when it comes to the tourney.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

Benz, you said, "I'd rather win the Big 12 AND the national title. All but ONE of our Final Four appearances were in seasons where we also won the regular season conference title. You're either a good team or you're not. This dumb notion that some fans have that focusing on winning the Big 12 has cost us in the tourney is dumb."

I think everyone would love to win the Big 12 (Or conference title) and the National Title. More times than not if you're winning your conference title, the percentages certainly favor in the notion that if you won the National Title you certainly won your league. I don't think anyone would disagree with you and the facts of the history of the NCAA tournament wold prove that correct in most cases. The percentages would favor that theory.

With that said, since you brought up Final 4's within that statement, I wanted to expand on that statement further. I agree with you that you're either good or you're not, but there are examples where not winning conference doesn't necessarily mean you're not making the Final 4. Here are examples since 1985 (Start of Modern Day NCAA tournament and 64 teams)

Duke: 12 Final 4's and 4 of them were reached without winning the conference (88,89,90, 2015). Interesting about 2015 is that Duke didn't win the ACC conference or the Acc Tournament. Duke won 4 national titles in 91, 92, 2004, 2010 and won regular season conference championship.

UNC: 9 Final 4's and 4 of them were reached without winning the conference (91,97,98, 2000). UNC has won 3 National Titles in 93, 2005, 2009 and won regular season conference championship.

Kentucky: 8 Final 4's and 4 of them were reached without winning the conference (93, 97, 2011, 2014). I will be honest, this surprised me a little because I've always viewed the SEC as a Top heavy mediocre conference in Basketball. We all know Calipari has made the Final 4 4 out of the last 5 years, but has only won the conference twice during that span. I was shocked by this.

And, I don't think 1997 needs to be mentioned to Kansas fans about that year. I found that one interesting as well. Kentucky has won 3 National Titles in 96, 98, 2012 and won regular season conference championship.

Kansas: 8 Final 4's and 1 of them were reached without winning the conference (1988). Kansas has 2 titles and 1 of them (1988) was won without winning conference and the other in 2008 was won winning the conference.

Michigan State: 7 Final 4's and 2 of them were reached without winning conference (2005, 2015). Izzo won his only championship while winning the conference in 2000.

Connecticut: 5 Final 4's and 4 of them were reached without winning conference (2004, 2009, 2011, 2014). UConn has won 4 National Titles and 3 of them were won without winning conference (2004, 2011, 2014).

cont'd

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

These 6 schools have dominated the college basketball scene since 1985 and even more recently since the new millennium. I think it's safe to say that if you're winning the National Title the percentages would correlate you to winning conference. Yes, there are still exceptions as shown above with Kansas and UConn, but overall that line of thinking is correct.

However, with all that said, I think there is a misconception that you have to win conference in order to make a deep run to the Final 4. These 6 schools have been to 49 combined Final 4's and 19 times they didn't win the conference. That comes out to 39 percent (38.77). Higher percentage than most probably would have thought. I know it's a lot higher than I originally thought.

I've never been stuck on the idea that winning conference is the all be all or something that has to happen. Sure, it's great, but something I'm not focused on. I care more about how the team is playing heading into postseason and how they can position themselves for a deep run. Of course, if you're playing well and have any shot at a deep NCAA tournament run you're gonna be finishing at the top of your league or you're getting hot in your conference postseason tournament by winning and getting the automatic bid.

If you take a look at the ACC, it's always been a deep league and UNC and Duke have always had one another to not only keep each school honest, but to keep the entire league honest. Maryland was up there for a while. Virginia has been there the last couple of years even though they have't made the Final 4, but they won the ACC regular season.

I think that's where the perception of the Big 12 and this streak comes into play. Who has held Kansas accountable? Is it a weak league or isn't it? I think this year is a prime example that the Big 12 is deep and has the teams to hold one another accountable. But, the league has been deep in the past and flamed out in the NCAA tournament. Does Kansas need to win the Big 12? Do they need to win to have that moniker of 12 straight?

For me, this year, I'm not focused on the Big 12 title. You're either good or you're not and I'm more concerned about finishing at the top of the league and playing well heading into post season play. Especially this Kansas team with the mixture of experienced and inexperienced guys. They dynamics of college basketball IMO have changed and it's about getting the right guys at the right time firing on all cylinders.

cont'd

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

I think there is 2 schools of thought 1) winning conference-Wouldn't winning 12 straight conference titles lead to more Final 4's regardless of how you're playing heading into postseason? 2) not winning conference but finishing at the top of the league and playing well heading into postseason.

Kansas hasn't experienced the latter of those 2 in 11 years, but would it really matter this year considering how deep the league is with OU, KU, WVU, ISU, Baylor, and Texas? The league has never had this many high ranked teams or competion since Big 12's inception. Good or bad?

Finally, I do agree with Benz that you're either good or you're not. However, this idea that you have to win the league in order make Final 4's isn't 100 percent concrete. It's essentially a 60/40 proposition if you're 1 of the 6 programs above. Kansas is firing at an 18 percent clip during the streak (2 out of 11). Final 4's are what matter when you're a program like Kansas and if you're positioning yourself for a Final 4 run then you're giving yourself an opportunity at a National Title. Get to a Final 4 and or win a National Tile and then people can look up whether or not you won the conference or not.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

Quick summary, Under Self, we've gone to the Final 4 TWICE after winning the BIG 12 and we've fallen short of the Sweet 16 FOUR times after winning the BIG 12.... So we are twice as likely to be bounced in the 1st or 2nd round after winning the BIG 12 than going to the Final 4 based solely on the numbers..

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

Fro those who wisely skipped the Chrissy manifesto at 330AM , here's the highlight-

"I do agree that you're either good or you're not. However, this idea that you have to win the league in order make Final 4's isn't 100 percent concrete. It's essentially a 60/40 proposition"

Wow. when you wake up and whatever drugs you were on have left your system, tell us about how the rest...

Brett McCabe 3 years, 10 months ago

Easiest conference game of the season. Glad that Cheick and Carlton had good games. An average opponent in a tough environment on Tuesday, here's hoping that the C&C Music Factory can bring it when we need it.

Also....would like to see the script uni's become our default home uni's. I like the distinctiveness of the script and the big Jayhawk. Way better than those nondescript things we usually wear.

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