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Luke Bakula: The nephew also rises for KU baseball

Luke Bakula

Luke Bakula

His desire to become a student at the University of Kansas outweighed his thirst for continuing his baseball career, so Luke Bakula gave up the game and enrolled at KU.

“My dad went here,” Bakula said. “My brother went here. I’ve always been a Jayhawk guy.”

Not recruited by any school beyond the junior-college level, Bakula thought he was ready to give up the game. He quickly learned otherwise.

A shoulder injury wiped out most of his high school career, except his senior year.

“It was tough leaving the game,” Bakula said. “I missed it. I transferred to a junior college and I figured if I played well enough I’d be able to come back and play for KU. Luckily I did. It’s been awesome.”

Especially this past weekend.

In Thursday night’s game against Oklahoma, Bakula hit a two-run home run during a four-run rally in the ninth inning to tie a game James Cosentino won with a walk-off home run in the 10th. A senior reserve first baseman, Bakula went 3 for 5 in the first two games of the series and takes a .327 batting average into the postseason.

Bakula’s big hit Thursday night triggered a celebration in the Jayhawks’ dugout and in the stands. He received a big ovation, but he has a way to go to become the family’s most famous Bakula.

His uncle, Scott Bakula, made his name as an actor nearly 30 years ago in the TV series “Quantum Leap” from 1989-93. He now as a starring role in NCIS: New Orleans.

His nephew isn’t Scott Bakula’s only connection to baseball. In his first Broadway role, in 1976, he played Joe DiMaggio opposite Alyson Reed in “Marilyn: An American Fable.”

“He’s actually a Jayhawk himself,” Luke Bakula said of his uncle, a native of St. Louis. “He went here for about a year and a half, then went out to Hollywood to tries luck there and became really successful.”

Luke hasn’t taken any drama classes at KU, but if his uncle came calling, he’d answer.

“My brothers and I always joke about trying to get on a TV show with him, maybe some throw-back episodes where we can play him as a child or something,” he said. “He’s really good at what he does.”

Bakula and his teammates play Texas at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the opener of the double-elimination Big 12 tournament at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

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Top Class of 2020 Kansas basketball target playing in Lawrence Saturday night

Dante N'Faly, a 6-foot-11, 225-pound center, from the Class of 2020, already has been offered scholarships by Kansas and Kentucky. (Photo by Darryl Woods/810 Varsity)

Dante N'Faly, a 6-foot-11, 225-pound center, from the Class of 2020, already has been offered scholarships by Kansas and Kentucky. (Photo by Darryl Woods/810 Varsity) by Darryl Woods/810 Varsity

Local basketball fans won’t have to go far for a first look at a possible Kansas star of the future.

N’Faly Dante, a 6-foot-11, 225-pound center from Mali ranked No. 4 by Rivals in the Class of 2020, is scheduled to play at 7:55 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Sports Pavilion at Rock Chalk Park.

Dante, who already has received scholarship offers from Kansas, Kentucky and countless others, plays for MoKan EYBL, which takes on the Colorado Hawks in the showcase game of the KC Classic. It will be the only game MoKan plays during the event.

"He can really move up and down the court and he's a great rim protector," said Matt Scott of The Shiver. "He's got a nice little jump shot, too. He can hit all the way out to 3. Once he learns more of a back-to-basket game he's going to be really special."

The AAU tournament, which features games on eight different courts, begins this evening and extends through Sunday afternoon.

Malik Hall, a 6-7, 210-pound forward, is Dante’s teammate at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita and with MoKan’s 17-and-under team. Hall, ranked No. 49 in the Class of 2019, also is being recruited by Kansas.

Prepare to be blown away by this video of Dante:

Reply 9 comments from Marius7782 Larrym Mallory Briggans Shannon Gustafson Titus Canby Carsonc30

Steady Kansas one of seven Big 12 schools in men’s golf finals

In becoming one of four Big 12 schools to win one of the six NCAA men's golf regionals and one of seven Big 12 schools to advance to the finals, Kansas was a model of steadiness and consistency.

KU's team score for the three days was -7, -6, -7. For comparison purposes, second-place Stanford scored -3, -5, -11. All five KU golfers finished in the top 23 in the 75-man regional. Stanford had just two in the top 23.

Eleven of the 13 teams in the Pacific Regional in Stockton, California, had at least one eagle during the tournament. Kansas and Southern California were the lone exceptions.

All 15 rounds played by KU's five golfers fell in the 67-to-74 range and 11 of the 15 were in the 69-to-72 range.

Name Class Hometown NCAA Regional score NCAA Regional tidbits
Andy Spencer Sophomore Leawood 69-69-70—208 3.77 average on par-4 holes
lowest in regional.
Daniel Sutton Senior Birmingham, England
67-73-71—211
Opening-day 67 team's best
score for tournament.
Charlie Hillier Junior Te Puke, New Zealand 72-73-69—214 KU's low scorer on final day.
Harry Hillier Freshman Te Puke, New Zealand 74-69-72—215 Averaged team-best 4.5
on par-5 holes.
Daniel Hudson Senior Lagrange, Illinois 73-71-71—215 Team-best 1-under
on par-3 holes.

The regional round of tournament amounted to a resounding endorsement for the Big 12.

Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State won a regional, and Baylor, Iowa State and Texas Tech also will be among the field of 30 at the NCAA men's golf championships at Oklahoma State's home course, Karsten Creek, May 25-30.

This is the first time the Big 12 has had seven schools advance to the finals. TCU, which finished eighth in the Pacific Regional won by Kansas, was the only Big 12 school in the NCAA tournament that did not advance.

Reply 2 comments from Dirk Medema Pius Waldman

Kansas wins regional, advances to NCAA national championships in men’s golf for first time since 2000

When Kansas last advanced beyond the NCAA regionals in men’s golf, President Bill Clinton had recently announced that GPS access would no longer be restricted to just the U.S. military, and the Xbox did not yet exist.

It had been that long, 2000, to be exact. The drought has ended.

The Jayhawks played their way into the NCAA national championships by winning the Pacific Retional in most impressive fashion Wednesday at Spanos Regional Course in Stockton, California.

The top five schools among 13 competing at the regional qualified and Kansas left no doubt from start to finish in the final round that it would be included.

The Jayhawks finished one stroke ahead of Stanford, two ahead of Iowa State and five in front of Alabama. Oregon was in safe position to secure the final spot.

Each school had five golfers competing, but just the four best rounds each day counted toward the team score.

KU’s strong depth proved to the be the difference. All five golfers finished the regional with under-par scores.

KU’s individual finishes and places at the time its last player finished his round: Andy Spencer (-8, T5), Daniel Sutton (-5, T10), Charlie Hillier (-2, T24).Harry Hillier and Daniel Hudson both finished the tournament at 1-under.

The national championships take place May 25-30 at Karsten Creek, Oklahoma State’s home course.

Oregon’s Norman Xiong shot a 62 Wednesday and was low medalist at 15-under for the three rounds, edging Stanford’s Brandon Wu (-14).

I filed updates throughout the day, tracking the scores on golfstat.com:

3 p.m.: Andy Spencer, who birdied No. 17 to get back to 2-under on the day and 8-under for the tournament, is KU’s lone remaining player on the course. Daniel Sutton finished at 5-under, Charlie Hillier at 2-under, Harry Hillier and Daniel Hudson at 1-under.

2:45 p.m.: Freshman Harry Hillier (-20) finished his third and final round at -1, which also was his score for the tournament and Kansas expanded its lead over second-place Iowa State to three strokes.

2:30 p.m.: Junior Charlie Hillier, the first KU player to complete his round, carded a bogey on No. 18, but still shot a 3-under 69 for the Jayhawks, tied for first with Iowa State at 19-under.

2:15 p.m.: In a remarkable show of depth and consistency, all five Kansas players are under par in today's round. Andy Spencer, Daniel Sutton and Daniel Hudson each have birdied their most recent holes and Charlie and Harry Hillier have gone birdie, par in their most recent two holes. Kansas (-22) is in first place, four strokes ahead of second-place Iowa State.

2 p.m.: How is that Iowa State and Kansas are doing so well in a sport that warm-weather schools tend to dominate?

Kansas coach Jamie Bermel and Cyclones coach Andrew Tank have taken similar paths in building their rosters. Both coaches try to land the best players in their states and then head overseas to recruit tough-minded players.

KU’s five players competing in the regional come from Kansas (Andy Spencer), Illinois (Daniel Hudson), England (Daniel Sutton) and New Zealand (Charlie and Harry Hillier).

Iowa State has two players from Iowa competing, two from New Zealand and one from Australia.

With their five players having anywhere from two to three holes remaining, Kansas stands in first at 21-under, three strokes ahead of Iowa State and Alabama, who are tied for second.

Oregon’s Norman Xiong and Stanford’s Brandon Wu are tied for the individual lead at 12-under and KU’s Andy Spencer is tied for fifth at 8-under.

1:45 p.m.: Junior Charlie Hillier of New Zealand is having a terrific final round in the Pacific Regional at Spanos Regional Course in Stockton, California. Through 16 holes, Hillier had made five birdies and one bogey. His brother Harry is a bomber off the tee, but Charlie’s strength is his exceptional short game. Kansas (-21) has opened a three-stroke lead on second-place Iowa State and is 16 strokes ahead of sixth-place LSU.

1:30 p.m.: On a day when the pressure was greatest, all five Jayhawks have delivered steady rounds and not one is over par. Charlie Hillier is -3 for the day, Daniel Sutton -2, Andy Spencer -1 and Daniel Hudson and Harry Hillier are even par and Kansas remains atop the leaderboard at 19-under, one stroke in front of Iowa State.

1:15 p.m.: KU's impressive performance in the clutch continues and the Jayhawks are back on top at 20-under, two strokes ahead of Iowa State. Senior Daniel Hudson of Birmingham, England, birdied the first three holes of the back nine to move into a tie for eighth at 6-under, two strokes behind sophomore Andy Spencer of Leawood, who is tied for third.

1 p.m.: The Big 12 certainly is flexing its golf muscles in regionals across the country.

Iowa State (-20) leads Kansas by a stroke in the Pacific Regional.

Oklahoma State has an eight-stroke lead at the Columbus Regional and Texas Tech is fifth there.

Texas has a 27-stroke lead in the Raleigh Regional and Baylor is in third at the College Station Regional.

The NCAA Championships will be held from May 25-30 at Karsten Creek, home course of Oklahoma State.

12:45 p.m. The Jayhawks' aren't taking any chances and are delivering clutch performances up and down the lineup. They are tied with Iowa State for first at 19-under, 16 strokes ahead of sixth-place LSU.

Andy Spencer is tied for third at 8-under and all five golfers are tied for 24th or better in a field of 75 golfers.

12:30 p.m.: Kansas sophomore Andy Spencer, the team’s steadiest performer throughout the regional, finished his front nine with consecutive birdies to move into a tie for third place with Iowa State’s Sam Vincent at 8-under. Spencer shot 69-69 the first two rounds.

Kansas, in second place at 18-under, one stroke behind Iowa State, has a 15-stroke lead on sixth-place Colorado.

The regional includes four schools ranked int the top 20 nationally, but it looks as if just two, No. 7 Alabama and No. 18 Stanford, will qualify. No. 6 LSU is in eighth, five strokes out of fifth at even par, and No. 19 Southern California is a stroke behind LSU.

12:15 p.m.: New Zealand has been very, very good to Big 12 schools at the Pacific Regional.

Sam Vincent and Denzel Ieremia of New Zealand are Iowa State's two top scorers. Vincent is in third, Ieremia in fifth on the individual leaderboard, helping the Cyclones to the top of the team standings at 19-under, one stroke ahead of second-place Kansas. Brothers Charlie (tied for 20th) and Harry Hillier (tied for 24th) of New Zealand are competing well for KU.

Midway through the round, Kansas has a 12-stroke cushion on fifth-place Oregon.

Noon: Tied for first with Iowa State at 18-under, KU is 12 strokes ahead of fifth-place Oregon. KU has shown remarkable balance and depth. All five players are under par for the tournament. Andy Spencer is tied for fifth at 6-under. Daniel Sutton (-4) is tied for 11th. Charlie Hillier (-2) is tied for 19th and Harry Hillier and Daniel Hudson are tied for 22nd at 1-under.

11:45 a.m.: Junior Charlie Hillier has finished his front nine in 3-under with six pars and three birdies and Kansas is tied with Iowa State at 19-under, 12 strokes in front of fifth-place TCU. Things are looking good.

11:30 a.m.: Harry Hillier, Daniel Sutton and Daniel Hudson all have carded a bogey since the last update and KU has fallen into second place at 16-under and the Jayhawks' lead over fifth-place TCU has dropped from 11 to eight strokes.

11:15 a.m.: The Hillier brothers from New Zealand came to play today. Charlie a junior is 2-under through seven holes. Harry, a freshman, is 2-under through six holes. Kansas sits atop the leaderboard at 19-under, two strokes ahead of second-place Iowa State, and 11 strokes ahead of fifth-place TCU.

11 a.m.: Kansas is off to a blistering start in the third and final round of the Pacific Regional of the NCAA men's golf tournament.

With their five players (only four best count toward team score) having played through anywhere from two to six holes, the Jayhawks are 5-under on the day and in a first-place tie with Iowa State at 18-under.

Reply 11 comments from Marius7782 Buck Bukaty Titus Canby Dirk Medema David Kelley-Wood The_muser Tom Keegan Dave Coen Pius Waldman

Kansas gunning for first appearance in NCAA golf championships since 2000

The Kansas men’s golf team made it to an NCAA regional nine times in Ross Randall’s final 10 seasons of a 27-year career as head coach, a stretch that included eight consecutive appearances (1998-2005). Upon Randall’s retirement after the 2007 season, KU experienced an eight-year drought and is in the midst of a revival under sixth-year coach Jamie Bermel.

The Jayhawks are playing in an NCAA Regional for the third consecutive year, this time the Pacific Regional in Stockton.

If KU can finish in the top five, it will advance to the NCAA Finals for the first time since 2000. Off to a good start, the Jayhawks were in second at the beginning of the second of three days of competition.

Kansas is seeking its sixth appearance in the NCAA Championships.

A look at some details of the first five:

Year Place in NCAA
Championships
Top Individual
at regional
Top individual
at championships
1989 22 John Ogden/ John Sinovic
Sean Thayer MC/148
1993 15 Matt Gogel Matt Gogel (T-34)
1996 15 Dan Rooney Slade Adams (T-21)
1999 22 Chris Thompson Ryan Vermeer (T-23)
2000 21 Conrad Roberts Ryan Vermeer (T-30)

Live scoring is available at golfstat.com. It offers a hole-by-hole scorecard for each player. A quick check of it this morning revealed that Daniel Sutton had carded an early bogey, Andy Spencer an early birdie, drawing them into a tie for fourth place in the individual standings. Shortly after that, KU had pulled within a stroke of first-place Iowa State in the team standings, thanks to consecutive birdies from Harry Hillier.

Warning: Tracking golfers via live scoring can be very addictive.

2:08 p.m. update: Kansas is in first place in the team standings, one stroke ahead of Alabama, the nation's No. 7-ranked team.

2:12 p.m. update: Kansas has fallen two strokes behind Alabama.

2:19 p.m. update: The Jayhawks have drawn within one stroke of Alabama.

2:32 p.m. update: KU and the Crimson Tide are tied for first at 14-under.

2:48 p.m. update: Kansas has fallen into second-place tie with Iowa State at 13-under, one stroke behind Alabama.

2:56 p.m. update: Kansas has dropped into third place, one stroke behind co-leaders at 14-under Alabama and Iowa State.

3:09 p.m. update: The top four scores from the five golfers competing for each team count, so after two days, that's eight rounds per team, a lot of room for separation, yet somehow the team scores are almost always so close. That always blows me away.

Alabama and Iowa State are atop the team leaderboard with 562 strokes (14-under) and Kansas is third with 563 (13-under). The rest of the schools still have golfers on the course. At the moment, Stanford stands four at 8-under, TCU fifth at 7-under.

Reply 8 comments from Jerry Ryan Dirk Medema Tom Keegan The_muser

Lance Legendre’s quick feet and strong arm make him potential Kansas legend

Kansas has scored just one non-binding football commitment from the Class of 2019, but it's an exciting one, which in turn makes it one that will be difficult to secure through the December signing day.

Four-star quarterback Lance Legendre's Feb. 26 verbal commitment to Kansas triggered much skepticism in the way the early commitments of receiver Devonta Jason and cornerback Corione Harris did from the Class of 2018.

Jason ultimately signed with Mississippi State, but Harris honored his verbal commitment to Kansas, enrolled at the semester and impressed the coaching staff with his attitude during 15 spring practices.

Jason and Harris both attended Landry-Walker High in New Orleans and were recruited by former Warren Easton High (New Orleans) head coach Tony Hull, KU's running backs coach. If Legendre signs with Kansas in December, he'll become the second quarterback from Warren Easton to do so in recent years. Tyriek Starks, a three-star prospect in high school from the Class of 2016, spent two years in the program before transferring to Southwest Mississippi Community College.

Legendre is a four-star prospect per Rivals and already has received scholarship offers from Alabama and Tennessee.

As impressive as his crazy arm strength is in the dropped pass shown in the video below, it's not my favorite moment capture in the video. When pressured before throwing the bomb, Legendre changed directions so sharply that the pursuing defender fell to the ground, not something you see every day in a football game.

The fact that Hull landed Harris and highly regarded running back Pooka Williams, also out of Louisiana, gives more credence to the possibility that Legendre will honor his commitment to Kansas. The more Louisiana players Hull adds to the roster, the more likely other recruits from The Boot will become comfortable heading to the Big 12 school that last had a winning season in 2008.

Rivals ranks Legendre as the eight-best dual-threat quarterback prospect in the Class of 2019 and the 15th-best recruit in Louisiana.

Reply 30 comments from Joseph Bullock Spk15 Bryson  Stricker Jmfitz85 Marius7782 David Robinett Ronfranklin Steve Corder

KU will face highly motivated K-State baseball team in Manhattan this weekend

Kansas baseball coach Ritch Price watches the Jayhawks from the dugout during a home game against No. 5 Texas Tech, Saturday, April 8, 2018, at Hoglund Ballpark.

Kansas baseball coach Ritch Price watches the Jayhawks from the dugout during a home game against No. 5 Texas Tech, Saturday, April 8, 2018, at Hoglund Ballpark. by Mike Yoder

Kansas State baseball coach Brad Hill’s contract is up at season’s end. He knew it wasn’t going to be renewed, so he decided to announce his resignation Tuesday with a couple of weeks remaining in the season.

The timing could not have been worse for K-State’s chief rival, Kansas, because the Jayhawks visit Manhattan for a three-game series, today through Saturday.

“I told our guys there is going to be some emotion in their dugout and they’re going to play their rear ends off,” Kansas coach Ritch Price said.

Hill, an assistant at KU in the school’s lone College World Series appearance in 1993, has been Kansas State’s head coach since 2004, one year after Price took over the Kansas program.

“We have a really good relationship,” Price said. “We have two of the hardest jobs in America. I have incredible respect for how hard he’s worked and the success he’s had. I know the obstacles he’s had to overcome, competing with warm-weather schools with unbelievable facilities and great recruiting bases and he’s done an outstanding job.”

The Wildcats have fallen on hard times since winning the Big 12 regular-season title in 2013.

They are in danger of finishing last in the Big 12 for the third time in five seasons since then. K-State’s four NCAA tournament appearances came in a five-year span from 2009 through 2013.

Hill has a .376 winning percentage in Big 12 play. Price is .400 in conference games at KU. Price has taken the Jayhawks to the NCAA tournament three times: 2006, 2009, 2014.

KU heads into the weekend series 5-12 in Big 12 play, K-State 3-18.

Staying out of last place in the nine-team Big 12 is a big deal because only eight teams qualify for the conference tournament.

Reply 1 comment from Marius7782

Recent Final Four history shows more than 3-point bombers taste success

Villanova forward Omari Spellman (14) fakes out Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during the second half, Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Villanova forward Omari Spellman (14) fakes out Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during the second half, Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. by Nick Krug

This new-age philosophy that if you don't shoot a ton of 3-pointers you're doomed to fail rubs me so wrong that I decided to look at the past 16 Final Four teams in four different categories listed on Kenpom.com, the first two dealing with the volume of 3-pointers taken, another with 3-point accuracy and a fourth with the size of teams.

Size turned out to be the most common thread for Final Four squads, only slightly ahead of 3-point accuracy, and the two least important factors are 3-point frequency.

So the idea that teams that don't chuck 3-pointers don't cut it anymore is hogwash. A look at Final Four teams from the past four NCAA tournaments:

Final Four Team Pct. of points
on 3-pointers
(National rank)
3-pt. FG/FGA
(National rank)
3-pt FG pct.
(National rank)
Avg. inches
per player
(National rank)
2015 Duke* 27.5 (205) 33.4 (198) 38.7 (26) 77.5 (57)
2015 Wisconsin 29.8 (139) 37.4 (89) 36.5 (79) 79.2 (2)
2015 Michigan State 31.8 (88) 35 (153) 38.5 (29) 76.2 (240)
2015 Kentucky 21.0 (326) 27.1 (325) 34.9 (143) 79.3 (1)
2016 Villanova* 33.4 (71) 42.7 (31) 36.2 (105) 77.3 (93)
2016 North Carolina 20.3 (342) 26.7 (338) 32.7 (259) 77.8 (59)
2016 Oklahoma 38.9 (14) 40.7 (59) 42.2 (2) 77 (122)
2016 Syracuse 36.5 (27) 42.1 (41) 36 (114) 78.6 (11)
2017 North Carolina* 25.3 (294)
30.3 (306) 35.5 (148) 77.9 (35)
2017 Gonzaga 26.6 (270) 32.8 (258) 38.2 (42) 78.5 (8)
2017 Oregon 32.8 (111) 38.9 (112) 38 (47) 77.4 (91)
2017 South Carolina 27.3 (254) 33.5 (247) 33.4 (245) 77.1 (127)
2018 Villanova* 40.2 (15) 47.5 (12) 40.1 (11) 77.3 (96)
2018 Michigan 35.6 (81) 43.2 (59) 35.2 (156) 77.8 (50)
2018 Kansas 37 (50) 41.2 (84) 40.1 (10) 77.7 (55)
2018 Loyola-Chicago 30.4 (189) 35.4 (229)
39.8 (17) 76.5 (229)
Source: Kenpom.com
*National champion
Color key: Top third Middle third Bottom third
Reply 3 comments from Surrealku Carsonc30 Dale Rogers

Quan Hampton potential spark for Kansas offense

Kansas wide receiver Quan Hampton (6) jumps in the air to catch a pass between defender during the Jayhawks game against Central Michigan Saturday, Sept. 9 at Memorial Stadium. When Hampton landed CMU defenders stripped him of the ball and were awarded an interception call.

Kansas wide receiver Quan Hampton (6) jumps in the air to catch a pass between defender during the Jayhawks game against Central Michigan Saturday, Sept. 9 at Memorial Stadium. When Hampton landed CMU defenders stripped him of the ball and were awarded an interception call. by Mike Yoder

He didn’t post loud statistics during his freshman season and suffered an injury that took him off the field for half the season, so it’s easy to overlook Quan Hampton when listing potential playmakers for a Kansas football offense that has been stuck in neutral for several years.

Yet, something about the way he moved when healthy indicated he had potential to develop into an exciting playmaker. Hampton showed speed, quickness and agility on his way to 21 catches for 145 yards (just a 6.9-yard average) as a true freshman last season.

In the second game of his college career, Hampton had six receptions for 67 yards, one rush for 13 yards and 22-yard kick return in a 45-27 loss to Central Michigan.

His favorite play came that week.

“It came on a corner route,” Hampton said. “I showed people I could jump.”

Listed at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, Hampton acknowledged he’s closer to 5-7, but the former high school basketball player added that his height doesn’t prevent him from dunking. He is the one throwing it down with back to the basket during warmups here:

“I was a junior in high school the last time I had my vertical measured,” Hampton said. “It was 40 inches.”

Hampton started in the slot the first six games of last season and will compete again for one of the starting inside receiver positions. He also is in the mix as a return man for punts and kickoffs.

“I got injured halfway through the season, so I wasn’t able to keep on playing but I feel like the experience that I got when I did play I learned a lot from and it will carry over to this season,” Hampton said.

An extra year in the weight room will enable him to get more of the 50-50 balls that he was able to gain possession of a year ago.

Reply 9 comments from Bryson  Stricker Spk15 Mlbenn35 Jmfitz85 Ronfranklin

Over/under for victories in regular season opens at three for Kansas football

Kansas head coach David Beaty talks with his players following an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty talks with his players following an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

You see men crawling all over Las Vegas who are different versions of the same person. Greasy hair. Bulging bags under their eyes. Brown double-knit pants decorated by weeks-old donut stains.

They have one thing in common. They couldn’t convince themselves that when odds look too good to be true, turn around and run away from the smoke and cacophony of bells and into the sunlight.

It simply does not pay to gamble. The house always wins and in turn you might lose your house. So often, the odds that look to good to be true have the sharpest fangs.

That brings us to BetDSI setting its over/under win totals for Big 12 schools:

School Over/Under
(regular season)
2017 record
(regular season)
Oklahoma 10.5 11-1
TCU 8 10-2
Kansas State 7 7-5
West Virginia
7 7-5
Texas 7 6-6
Iowa State 6 7-5
Texas Tech 5.5 6-6
Baylor 5 1-11
Kansas 3 1-11

So in order to lose a wager that looks to good to be true, betting on Kansas to have fewer than three victories, the Jayhawks would have to win four or more games. Three would be a push.

Kansas opens with Nicholls State, which has made steady progress under fourth-year head coach Tim Rebowe, who inherited an 0-12 program. The Colonels have gone 3-8, 5-6 and 8-4 under Rebowe and have most of the players returning from last year's squad. They're no pushovers, but are ranked no better than 25th in the Stats FCS preseason poll. Kansas should win that game.

The Jayhawks then travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich., where they will try to snap a 46-game road losing streak against Central Michigan. The Chippewas handled Kansas in Lawrence pretty easily last season, 45-27. Shane Morris, who started his career at Michigan, threw for 467 yards and five touchdowns without throwing an interception. He graduated and Kansas has upgraded its secondary, so it's not unreasonable to think the road slide could end and the Jayhawks could bring a 2-0 record back home for a Week 3 clash with Rutgers, picked for last in the East division of the 14-team Big 10.

Kansas ranked 120th in the nation with 18.7 points per game last season. Rutgers averaged 18 points a game and ranked 121st. They have very little experience back at quarterback. Strange as it sounds, the Jayhawks have a realistic shot at opening the season 3-0. A 2-1 or 1-2 start is more likely, but 3-0 is not an absurd thought. But even if they do start 3-0, the search for a fourth victory is contained to the Big 12.

Baylor returns most of its key players from a team that smoked KU, 38-9, in Lawrence. This year's game is in Waco. The rest of the road games are against West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma. Not feeling an upset at any of those places, not even with two weeks to prepare for the trip to Lubbock.

Kansas was outscored 88-0 in consecutive road games vs. Iowa State and TCU last season. TCU visits David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Week 8, the Cyclones in Week 9. A change in venue isn't enough to compensate for 88 points. Quarterback Kenny Hill no longer is with the Horned Frogs, but he had nothing to do with Kansas managing just 21 total yards in Fort Worth last season.

Then it's off to Manhattan to play Bill Snyder's experienced Kansas State Wildcats. Kansas has hung tough against K-State the past two seasons, losing in Manhattan, 34-19, in 2016 and losing at home last season, 30-20. K-State will be sky high for this one.

A trip to Norman is next, so the search continues in the season-finale at home vs. Texas. The Longhorns won't look past KU. The memory of an overtime loss to the Jayhawks in 2016 is too fresh.

I purposely skipped over one game because I consider it KU's best shot at a Big 12 victory. Oklahoma State visits Lawrence on Sept. 29, the second game of the Big 12 schedule.

Mason Rudolph, who threw for 494 yards in KU's season finale, and receiver James Washington, are with the Pittsburgh Steelers now.

If the Cowboys were confident they had Rudolph's replacement in house they would not have welcomed Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown, who will join the program in the summer. Oklahoma State will be bigger and faster than Kansas, but if the quarterback spot isn't settled by the last week of September, it's conceivable the Jayhawks could score a monster upset. Conceivable is a long, long way from probable. There's a chance, but it's a small one.

So many things would have to go right for Kansas to win four games, what would be the most since 2009, that it seems as if the under is just too good to be true.

Reply 23 comments from Bryan Mohr Pius Waldman The_muser Rae Bricil Brett McCabe Armen Kurdian John Brazelton Ronfranklin Ben Berglund Doug Roberts and 7 others

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