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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Bill Self: Cowboys ‘a lot better’ than KU, worthy of tourney invite

Kansas head coach Bill Self reacts as his players come off the court during a timeout in the first half, Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Gallagher-Iba Arena, in Stillwater, Okla.

Kansas head coach Bill Self reacts as his players come off the court during a timeout in the first half, Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Gallagher-Iba Arena, in Stillwater, Okla.

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STILLWATER, OKLA. — About a half an hour after his team's 82-64 loss to Oklahoma State mercifully came to an end, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self was asked a simple question fairly early in his postgame meeting with the media.

In all likelihood, Self preferred fielding this question as a bit of a break from all of the inquiries about what went wrong with his team and what comes next.

The question: Do you think Oklahoma State is worthy of a spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament?

“How can I say this,” Self began. “We win the league by two games and they are a lot better than us. They're a lot better than us. The two times we played them, it hasn't even been close, in my opinion. So to ask if they're a tournament team, my answer would be an emphatic yes.”

Whether the Cowboys (18-13 overall, 8-10 Big 12) get in or not remains to be seen. And next week's Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., definitely could play a role in determining whether they're still on the bubble or in the tournament.

OSU, which finished in a four-way tie for sixth, drew the No. 8 seed via the conference's tiebreaker format and will play No. 9 seed Oklahoma at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Sprint Center. The winner will play top-seeded Kansas at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“I don't know how it all shapes out in the metrics that people obviously study and look at,” Self said. “But in the two games that we played them, they deserve to be in (the NCAA Tournament) more than we do.”

As for whether he would rather face the Oklahoma State squad that swept him or the Trae Young-led Sooners, Self did not show his hand.

“I'm not going to say who I hope wins because as soon as you start wishing for things like that, it never plays out the way you had envisioned,” Self said. “But we're going to play either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, and both teams are capable of beating us because they've won three out of four against us. It'll be a coin-flip game either way.”

If it is in fact a third matchup with the Cowboys that comes Kansas' way, Self had some advice for the oddsmakers in Las Vegas who had KU as a 12-point favorite in the first meeting and a 3.5-point favorite on Saturday.

“They would be the favorite in that game,” he said.

In Wednesday's 7-10 game, Texas will take on Iowa State and the winner will face second-seeded Texas Tech on Thursday.

The two other Thursday games pit No. 3 seed West Virginia against No. 6 Baylor at 8 p.m. and No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 5 TCU at 11:30 a.m.

The winner of KSU-TCU will face the winner of KU's game in Friday's semifinals.

OSU sweep

Saturday's victory marked the first time in 35 years that Oklahoma State picked up a season sweep of the Jayhawks in men's basketball.

“That was 1983,” recalled Self, who was a member of that OSU squad. “And I didn't have much to do with either win.”

As for whether the nostalgia of returning to his alma mater still gets to him, Self said he was long past that.

“When I used to come back here there was extra meaning and those sorts of things,” he said. “But coming back now, I don't feel that like I used to. I've been coming back enough and (had) my butt handed to me enough here that I don't feel it like I did when I first started coming back.”

Minutes leader?

KU senior Devonte' Graham's 39 minutes in Saturday's loss brought his season total to 1,160.

That leaves Graham just 177 minutes shy of breaking Danny Manning's school record for most minutes played in a single season, with 1,336.

It's already clear that Graham has to be on the floor as long as possible for this team to play well. So assuming he plays his average of 37.4 minutes per game the rest of the way, Graham would need to play five more games to break Manning's record.

Either way, it seems likely that Graham's minutes-played total will go up for the third consecutive season. He played 1,238 minutes as a sophomore and 1,269 as a junior.

Wooden finalist

Earlier this week, Graham was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, which will trim that list down to four finalists this month.

On Saturday, Graham's name cracked the 15-man list of contenders for the John R. Wooden Award.

Graham also remains in the running for Big 12 player of the year honors. Conference award-winners will be revealed starting at 11 a.m. Sunday via the Big 12's Twitter account, @Big12Conference.

This and that ...

KU's final Big 12 record of 13-5, which Self predicted before the season began would win the conference “free and clear,” gave the Jayhawks 13 or more Big 12 victories in a single season for the 13th consecutive season ... KU dropped five Big 12 games for just the fourth time in the 22-year history of the league ... OSU's season sweep marked the first time a Self team at KU was swept in a home-and-home regular season series, making Kansas 102-1 in such series since the 2003-04 season. OSU is the first conference foe to sweep Kansas since Iowa State did it in 2000-01 ... KU's lead in the all-time series with OSU now stands at 113-59, including a 36-35 mark in games played in Stillwater.

By the Numbers: Oklahoma State 82, Kansas 64

By the Numbers: Oklahoma State 82, Kansas 64

Comments

Brianna Zaleski 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Even though I don’t believe that Coach Self was trying to lose this game, you better believe he was not coaching a very complex game plan. My guess is that he kept it very vanilla in an effort not to “show any cards” heading in to the NCAA. It’ll be the same way next week, so everyone need not freak out if they don’t win the league tournament. However, I suspect we will come out focus and motivated to win this tournament, based on how horribly they played on Sat. Which would be nice, because I haven’t seen a KU team come out ready to WIN the Big12 tournament in a long while.

Bryce Landon 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Even before yesterday, I didn't think we'd win the Big 12 Tournament, simply because we don't have the depth to sustain three games in a row. Yesterday's piss-poor effort, of course, did nothing to make me believe we'll win the Big 12 Tournament.

Of course, I thought the conference title streak would end this year too, so I could be wrong. It is so hard to predict what this motley crew of Jayhawks will do.

Bryce Landon 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Also, I disagree when you say KU hasn't come out ready to win the Big 12 Tournament in a long while. They won it in 2016, and came out quite ready to win. I was there in Sprint Center for the quarterfinal against K-State, and we definitely looked ready.

Tom Jones 8 months, 1 week ago

Yeesh, they won it in 2016. Tough crowd.

It's pointless, anyway, especially for KU. It means something to bubble teams or teams that need to increase their seeding, which is almost never KU.

Brad Watson 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow!!..If Oklahoma loses Wednesday....they may not get in.....How far they have fallen.

Steve Zimmerman 8 months, 1 week ago

Young is too selfish. But he's done enough to elevate his draft stock. Krueger might get another high ranked recruit, but at a cost - a high cost to the team and the univ and the fans, if any.

Robert Brock 8 months, 2 weeks ago

The Jayhawks stunk about as bad as any team has stunk before. Don’t expect anything good in the NCAA Tournament.

Matt Gauntt 8 months, 2 weeks ago

So right. Maybe you should just toss all of your KU shirts, jerseys, etc. We are done, over, finish. Might as well take a wrecking ball to Allen Field House. Shut down the program. Heck, just close down the University. No more hope at all.

Sheeeeeeeshhh.....Sometimes people over-react.

Steve Zimmerman 8 months, 1 week ago

Agreed, Matt. Sometimes people don't get what the coach has in mind. Believe what Brianna suspected. HCBS is a great coach, he wants to bring other B12 teams into the big dance. The more, the better for the B12 league. This loss doesn't hurt KU. The only outcome is positive, OSU will get a shot in the tourney. A win-win in the end.

Brad Watson 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I BELIEVE IN THIS TEAM....THEY ARE WINNERS AND WILL SHOW UP! They need to hang a banner in the locker room that says..."DON"T LET ANYONE OUT WORK YOU"....

Tony Bandle 8 months, 2 weeks ago

In a way there may be a positive to come out of this wasted afternoon. Coach Self can refocus the team for the stretch run and keep showing them the tape of this game as motivation.

I thought they would win this game, take the first game of the tourney, lose the second, not effect their #1 Seeding and get an extra day of rest. It appears now that will,have to win the Big 12 Tournament to remain a #1.

Of course, what has a #1 seed ever done for us lately!! Logically, I think that this team is built in such a way that, a long run in the NCAA, though not impossible as long as the threes fall for six games, will be very, very difficult.

Bryce Landon 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I hate Oklahoma State. I hate them as much as I hate Iowa State and Oklahoma. Their players are pains in the ass, and their fans, who used to be classy in the Eddie Sutton days, are big pricks like the fans at Kansas State, Missouri, and Iowa State.

Pius Waldman 8 months, 1 week ago

Bryce: I hate to rain on your parade but I just can't quit laughing at this message. Are you sure you have every team you hate listed?

Brian Skelly 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Im to lazy to do the research,  so if someone on these boards of superior intelligence and sticktoitiveness wants to tell me I am wrong,  feel free.

But doesn't KU often stink it up in the last game of the season,  especially if it's on the road?   We've almost always clinched the conference,  and 100000% effort by players and stuff isnt mandatory, despite fandom think it it is.    Me thinks this is a common problem.

Regardless,  KU's biggest problem is we have 2 really good Seniors.   Both have to play well usually for us to win.    Our raw but high upside BIG simply has to stay in the game.   No assurances there.    Newman needs to look like a D-I player.    Feeling better about this one,  but he disappears way to much for someone who had hype out the yin-yang before he showed up Lawrence.   Lots of things have to go right for us to have success,  well more than many past KU teams.

All that said... we're still battling for a #1 seed.    Isnt that insane?    I think there's probably a dozen teams that should be considered Final Four material.    We're in there,  but it's just as easy to see us getting bumped in the first weekend.

Bryce Landon 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Any talk of being a #1 seed should end after yesterday. Teams that lose three times at home and get swept by 13-loss teams don't deserve #1 seeds.

Harlan Hobbs 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Guess I have to root for OU on Wednesday against OSU. The way we have stunk it up against OSU, I don't know that a third time will be the charm.

Oh well, 14 conference championships in a row is certainly a nice consolation prize, along with the MVP award for Devonte and co-Coach of the Year for Bill Self.

The NCAA tournament should be very interesting. Lots of teams in the running to win it all, and I wouldn't be surprised if any of the teams in the top 20-25 make it to the Final Four.

Somebody will catch "lightning in a bottle" and win it, but individual matchups will make every team vulnerable.

Brad Watson 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I promise you...if we play OSU again...we will blow them out.!

Bryce Landon 8 months, 1 week ago

That must be some pretty strong hippie lettuce you're smoking. Can I have some?

Edward Daub 8 months, 1 week ago

After Looking at the Box Score, A Key Stat was Minutes Played.

Vick played 38 Minutes of Average Basketball!

Cunliffe played 3 Minutes of Average Basketball!

Oh well, I am rooting for the Cowboys to beat the Sooners! We really need a third shot at them!

Contract Fact - Bob Huggins gets paid $25M each time he beats KU.

Fake News - Bill Self gets paid $25M each time he loses to OSU?

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 1 week ago

M = 1000

I believe that it's Roman Numerals

MM = 1,000,000

I understand the confusion because I often see people use the K to represent 1000 and M to represent million, which I guess is metric....

Edward Daub 8 months, 1 week ago

Yes, I meant $25,000 , compliments of a Rich OSU Alum!

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