Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has a chance to run his record in Big 12 regular-season payback games to 19-0, but in order to do so he'll have to score road victories against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
So far, 15 of the 17 payback victories have come in Allen Fieldhouse.
The years and scores involved in Self's 17-0 payback record:
Texas Tech puts its own 17-game winning streak on the line Saturday. The Red Raiders have won their last 17 games in United Supermarkets Arena, eight in Big 12 conference games, nine against nonconference opponents.
Tech coach Chris Beard is attempting to upgrade the nonconference schedule, but will have a tough time lining up big-name opponents because it will be a tough place to pick up a road victory.
A look at details of the Red Raiders' 17-game home winning streak:
|March 1, 2017
|Nov. 10, 2017
|Nov. 14, 2017
|Nov. 22, 2017
|Nov. 25, 2017
|Dec. 5, 2017
|Dec. 13, 2017
|Dec. 16, 2017
|Dec. 19, 2017
|Dec. 22, 2017
|Dec. 29, 2017
|Jan. 6, 2018
|Jan. 13, 2018
|Jan. 23, 2018
|Jan. 31, 2018
|Feb. 7, 2018
|Feb. 13, 2018
The Big 12's reputation as a deep league is unassailable. The anybody-can-beat-anybody cliche that is overused most years actually applies this season. Second-place Texas Tech lost at last-place Iowa State in a rout. First-place Kansas lost at home to Oklahoma State, which is in a three-way tie for seventh, or second-to-last.
An examination of the combined records of opponents in each team's losses and a look at each team's record against the four Big 12 teams with winning records revealed interesting traits about Texas Tech and Kansas State.
All four of Tech's losses have come to schools with losing records in conference play. Yet, the Raid Raiders are undefeated against the other three teams with winning records.
K-State has been the most predictable team in the Big 12, winning every game it plays against members who now have losing records and losing every game to schools with winning records.
It's also interesting that Oklahoma State has a 4-3 record against the four schools with winning records and 2-6 against the five other schools with losing records.
vs. winning teams
||TT, @OU, OSU, @BU
|Texas Tech (10-5)
||@OU, @UT, @ISU, @BU, @OSU
|Kansas State (9-6)
||vs. WVU, @TTU, @KU,
vs. KU, @WVU, vs. TT
|West Virginia (9-6)
||@TT, KU, @TCU,
@ISU, OSU, @KU
||OU, KU, @UT, @OU,
@KSU, TT, @KU, @WVU
||@TT, TCU, @WVU, @ISU,
@KU, KSU, @OU, WVU
||@WVU, @KSU, @OSU, @UT, WVU,
@ISU, @TT, UT, @KU
|Oklahoma St. (6-9)
||WVU, @OU, @KSU, @BU, @TT,
TCU, BU, KSU, @TCU
||KU, @BU, @OSU, @WVU, @TT,
KSU, @TCU, BU, @KSU
|Iowa St. (4-11)
||KSU, UT, @OSU, @KU, @TCU, @UT
@BU, @TT, KU, @KSU, TCU
When the final buzzer sounded Monday night on a 104-74 Kansas victory against Oklahoma, Bill Self had officially completed his 100th home-and-home, regular-season Big 12 series.
And he hasn't been swept yet.
Self has swept 69 of those series and split 31. That's 69 sweeps without being swept a single time.
Kansas has three regular-season games remaining and the non-sweep streak will be on the line in two of them. Texas Tech defeated Kansas, 85-73, Jan. 2 in Allen Fieldhouse. The rematch is set for 3 p.m. Saturday in Lubbock.
KU finishes its regular season Saturday, March 3rd, another 3 p.m. tipoff. In between, KU plays host to Texas, 8 p.m. Monday. The Jayhawks defeated the Longhorns in Austin, so if KU defeats Texas Tech, the non-sweep streak will reach 102, regardless of the outcome of the Texas game.
A look at how Self has fared in home-and-home regular-season series during his 15 years as Kansas basketball head coach:
Devonte' Graham continued his move up several Kansas basketball career statistical charts with his Monday night performance in a 104-74 rout of Oklahoma.
Graham moved into 17th in scoring with 23 points, stayed in 10th place in assists, creeping to one behind Sherron Collins with seven assists, and passed Billy Thomas into second place with five 3-pointers.
A look at the top 20 in points and top 10 in assists and 3-pointers:
|1 - Danny Manning
|2 - NIck Collison
|3 - Raef LaFrentz
|4 - Clyde Lovellette
|5 - Sherron Collins
|6 - Frank Mason III
|7 - Darnell Valentine
|8 - Keith Langford
|9 - Perry Ellis
|10 - Paul Pierce
|11 - Dave Robisch
|12 - Kirk Hinrich
|13 - Kevin Pritchard
|14 - Mark Randall
|15 - Wayne Simien
|16 - Tyshawn Taylor
|17 - Devonte' Graham
|18 - Jeff Boschee
|19 - Kenny Gregory
|20 - Calvin Thompson
|1 - Aaron Miles
|2 - Jacque Vaughn
|3 - Cedric Hunter
|4 - Kirk Hinrich
|5 - Darnell Valentine
|6 - Frank Mason III
|7 - Tyshawn Taylor
|8 - Adonis Jordan
|9 - Sherron Collins
|10 - Devonte' Graham
|1 - Jeff Boschee
|2 - Devonte' Graham
|3 - Billy Thomas
|4 - Kirk Hinrich
|5 - Sherron Collins
|6 - Svi Mykhailiuk
|7 - Brandon Rush
|8 - Terry Brown
|9 - Frank Mason III
|10 - Mario Chalmers
A point guard’s primary job is to see that his team puts up as good a shot as possible every time down the floor.
Texas Tech’s Keenan Evans and Devonte’ Graham of Kansas do a terrific job of that by scoring, setting up teammates and keeping the ball moving in a productive fashion.
Oklahoma’s Trae Young?
Fourteen games into the Big 12 season, Young has launched 155 3-pointers and made them at a mediocre .335 rate. He also has averaged 6.4 turnovers per game, a ridiculously high number even for someone leading the conference with 8.4 assists per game.
Young leads the Big 12 with a 30.1 scoring average in conference play. But does he deserve to be named player of the year in the Big 12?
In my mind, Young’s battling fellow freshman Mohamed Bamba of Texas for fifth, behind co-leaders Evans and Graham, plus Kansas State’s Dean Wade. Evans, Graham and Wade are tied for second in the conference in scoring with 18.7 points per game.
That’s not to say Young’s not the most talented player in the Big 12. He and Bamba lead that discussion, but as freshmen they aren’t as schooled in the art of consistently making winning plays as more experienced players.
How can it possibly be a good idea for a player who shoots .335 on 3-pointers to launch 11.1 a game? And 6.4 turnovers a game? Young deserves credit for getting to the line so often (148 times in Big 12 play) and cashing in on his opportunities (.858), but Evans and Graham have done a better job of ensuring their teams have productive possessions.
Evans and Graham play for teams with 10-4 records, Wade 8-6, Bamba and Young 6-8. The Sooners have lost five in a row.
A statistical look at the five players most deserving of first-team, all-conference honors to this point in the season:
|Mohamed Bamba (UT)
|Keenan Evans (TT)
|Devonte' Graham (KU)
|Dean Wade (KSU)
|Trae Young (OU)
Say two words and men who talk about college basketball on TV for a living take it from there: Allen Fieldhouse.
“It’s my favorite place to see a game and I’m not pandering because we’re here,” ESPN Game Day host Rece Davis said. “There’s such great history here. There’s a vibe and a feel in the building that is not evident in a lot of other places. It’s not the only great place, but I tell everybody who asks that question if I could see only one more college basketball game or only pay for one place to go this would be it.”
Davis mentioned a few other venues as special.
“I love Cameron. I love Mackey Arena at Purdue,” Davis said. “I think those are in that ethereal realm with the others, Assembly Hall in Bloomington also, but if you forced me to rank them, and you are since you asked the question, I’d put Allen Fieldhouse at the top.”
Bilas played his college basketball for Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“We love coming here. Allen Fieldhouse is a gem,” Bilas said. “I’ve said it before, it’s the St. Andrew’s of college basketball. There is nowhere better. There’s nowhere better.”
“When you’re here for a game and you walk into that building, it’s got a feel like none other, and even when you walk in and it’s empty, it just echoes history,” Bilas said. “Every road in this game comes back to Lawrence, Kansas. It’s a magnificent place. We’ll never say no to coming here.”
If you think Kansas, ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press college basketball poll, hasn’t earned the No. 2 seed it was assigned in the CBS mock selection show, you won’t get an argument from coach Bill Self.
“I don't know that we played to either one of them here in the last couple weeks,” Self said. “I mean, I would say right now, I should be probably happy with both of those. I think we have a chance to certainly solidify and maybe improve on at least our ranking. It would be hard to improve on a 2 seed. That's not going to happen. That's the best we could probably hope for. We have also opportunity to definitely slide based on who our opponents are coming up.”
Self went on to say Kansas has the potential to play far better than it has so far.
“I think if you looked at us back in December, late November at times, you thought the team had a ridiculously high ceiling,” Self said. “I do not feel we have played to that. When we were playing to that, it's primarily because our five starters were playing well, we were shooting the ball well. … You could see that the ceiling is still pretty high if we can get everybody on the same page and playing well. I mean, my thoughts have always been the same. We got a chance to be in every game. We got a chance to win every game. Why should we settle for anything less than that.”
In a 16-point loss at Baylor, Malik Newman, Lagerald Vick and Svi Mykhailiuk, shooting with one-and-a-half eyes open, combined to go 2 for 19 from 3-point range.
In a six-point victory at Iowa State, Kansas overcame Devonte’ Graham and Svi combining to shoot 3 for 13 on 3-point shots and 3 for 13 from inside the arc.
“The reality is, I think there's potential to play a lot better than we have in the last two or three weeks without question, if we can just get everybody playing well at the same time,” Self said. “It’s amazing to me that we’ve won some games,” Self said. “If you said we were going to go to Ames, those two would go 6 of 26, we would have no shot.”
A month-by-month look at the percentages of KU's four 3-point shooters:
When Big 12 coaches say any team can beat any other conference member anywhere, this year it's not just coaches spewing platitudes. It's the truth. The best evidence of that lies in the fact that all three of first-place Texas Tech's losses (Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa State) came against schools with losing conference records.
A look at some Big 12 numbers during Bill Self's time at Kansas demonstrate that the difference between schools at the top and bottom is smaller than ever.
|17-18||Texas Tech (10-3)
||Iowa State (4-9)
||6 (5 left)
||Texas Tech (3-15)
||Texas Tech (1-17)
||Iowa State (3-13)
|03-04||Oklahoma State (14-2)
||Texas A&M (0-16)
The shrinking gap between the school with the highest average scoring margin and the lowest has narrowed greatly the past two seasons.
||WVU +6.7||OSU -4.6||11.3|
|15-16||KU +8.5||TCU -13.4
|10-11||UT +13.1||ISU -8.6
The NCAA allows Football Bowl Subdivision schools to carry 85 players on full scholarships. When schools fall short, they award scholarships to walk-ons. The limit for any one class is 25.
Because of career-ending injuries, academic flameouts, transfers to other schools, etc., most schools have rosters with fewer than 80 players who originally came to the program on scholarship.
Kansas, for example, has 77 players on the roster who originally came to school on football scholarships, although that number includes two Class of 2018 recruits who verbally committed but did not sign letters of intent. Also the number is likely to be smaller by the time the 2018 season starts, and in fact likely already is smaller. KU, however, has not updated its roster. The 77 figure includes offensive tackle Charles Baldwin, who did not practice with the team for most of the season as a disciplinary measure. Is he still in the program? He's still listed on the roster. It also includes a couple of players with concussion histories who might or might not be able to continue their football careers.
Having 77 original scholarship players isn't a bad number, but the class balance is not ideal. At the moment, the 2018 roster projects as having 15 freshmen, 14 sophomores, 27 juniors and 21 seniors.
Freshmen (15): Kenny Bastida, Mac Copeland, Jay Dineen, Miles Emery (committed but didn’t sign), Joey Gilbertson, Corione Harris, Travis Jordan, Torry Locklin (committed but didn’t sign), Jacobi Lott, Ryan Malbrough, Kenyon Tabor, Robert Topps III, Pooka Williams, Nick Williams, Takulve Williams.
Sophomores (14): Shola Ayinde, Earl Bostick Jr., Davon Ferguson, Joey Gilbertson, Quan Hampton, Chris Hughes, Kyron Johnson, Liam Jones, Miles Kendrick, Ian Peterson, Dru Prox, Stephon Robinson, Kyle Thompson, Dominic Williams.
Juniors (27): Hakeem Adeniji, Isaiah Bean, Julian Chandler, Daylon Charlot, Malik Clark, Charles Cole, Hasan Defense, Foster Dixson, Cam Durley, Evan Fairs, Antione Frazier, Chase Harrell, Elmore Hempstead, Khalil Herbert, Elijah Jones, Azur Kamura, Mike Lee, Reuben Lewis, Kyle Mayberry, Clyde McCauley, Jeremiah McCullough, Najee Stevens-McKenzie, Shaquille Richmond, Carter Stanley, Bryce Torneden, Andru Tovi, Justin Williams.
Seniors (21): Charles Baldwin, Peyton Bender, Jeremiah Booker, Jacob Bragg, Joe Dineen, Josh Ehambe, Denzel Feaster, Isi Holani, J.J. Holmes, Kerr Johnson, Taylor Martin, Willie McCaleb, Tyrone Miller, Emmanuel Moore, Osaze Ogbebor, Tyler Patrick, Mavin Saunders, Keyshawn Simmons, Steven Sims, Shakial Taylor, Daniel Wise.
Identifying six or so players from the junior class to spend this coming season as redshirts would result in better balance, with a breakdown of 14, 21, 21, 21.
You never want to redshirt a player unless you think he can make his way onto the depth chart as a first-string or second-string player because there is no point of keeping a non-contributor on scholarship an extra year. It wouldn't be tough to find a half dozen juniors who have the potential to benefit the team by preserving a year of eligibility to develop their skills and physiques. Six defensive backs who have not yet used a redshirt season are in the class, so three could come from the secondary. Combining offensive and defensive linemen, nine candidates are available, from which three could be earmarked for redshirts.
It's a terrific year for freshmen in the Big 12 and two very talented ones await Kansas tonight in Hilton Coliseum.
Point guard Lindell Wigginton and post player Cameron Lard combined for 41 points in leading Iowa State to an 88-80 victory Saturday against Oklahoma. Wigginton, the best Canadian prospect in his class, totaled 26 points, five rebounds and five assists, compared to 22 points, five rebounds and 11 assists for Sooners sensation Trae Young. Lard, a 6-9, 225-pound native of Louisiana, was every bit as instrumental in the victory, dropping 19 points and 17 rebounds on OU.
Wigginton, a strong, confident, 6-2, 188-pound athlete armed with a soft shooting touch, and Lard had big hands in ISU hanging tough against Kansas in an 83-78 loss in Allen Fieldhouse. Wigginton made 4 of 8 3-pointers and scored 27 points and Lard produced 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Nothing about the way Wigginton plays reveals his youth. Lard plays like a typical freshman big man in one respect. He has trouble staying out of foul trouble and has fouled out of three games.
It's a game Kansas should win. The oddsmakers favor the Jayhawks by 6.5 points, but thanks to two very talented freshmen, it won't be an easy stop on schedule that doesn't have any of those. Wigginton and Lard won't be the last tough freshmen Kansas faces. Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas also have talented freshman duos.
A look at the Big 12's best freshmen, listed in order of their scoring averages in conference games:
|Trae Young (OU)
|Lindell Wigginton (ISU)
|Cameron Lard* (ISU)
|Mohamed Bamba (UT)
|Jarrett Culver (TT)
|Brady Manek (OU)
|Zhaire Smith (TT)
|Matt Coleman (UT)
|Cartier Diarra* (KSU)