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Travis Releford stellar on both ends against North Carolina

Kansas guard Travis Releford (24) shoots in a second-half three that help propel the Jayhawks to a 70-58 win against North Carolina Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo..

Kansas guard Travis Releford (24) shoots in a second-half three that help propel the Jayhawks to a 70-58 win against North Carolina Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.. by Mike Yoder

1. Travis Releford: Releford held North Carolina's leading scorer in conference play, Reggie Bullock, to a season-low-tying five points on 1-for-7 shooting. The senior Releford was just as good offensively, leading KU with 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting. No shot was bigger than his second-half three, which gave KU its first trey of the NCAA Tournament and seemed to loosen up the Jayhawks' shooters (KU made five of eight threes in the second half). Releford added eight rebounds and three steals to go with two turnovers in 38 minutes.

2. Jeff Withey: The senior was dominant in two areas: rebounding and changing shots defensively. As expected, UNC's James Michael McAdoo's lack of shooting range allowed Withey to camp in the lane, and the center affected shot attempts all night, finishing with five blocks (though it seemed like he had at least a couple of uncredited swats as well). Withey added 16 points (6-for-11 shooting) with a season-high 16 rebounds in 36 minutes. The one negative in his game was turnovers, as he had five giveaways, which included a few errant outlet passes.

3. Naadir Tharpe: Switching in Tharpe for Ben McLemore in the second half (and leaving him out there) was a great coaching move by Bill Self and was a big reason KU pulled away. Though Tharpe had some silly plays (lane violation, flashy behind-the-back pass on a 3-on-1 break), his good plays definitely outweighed the bad ones, as he finished with 12 points on 3-for-6 shooting, which included 3-for-4 accuracy from three-point range. The sophomore added two assists to go with three turnovers in 27 minutes.

4. Kevin Young: Had some careless passes — two at the beginning of the second half immediately come to mind — but Young still played with bounce, grabbed rebounds and did a nice job of sticking with UNC's outside shooters. The senior just missed a double-double with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting with nine rebounds in 34 minutes. Though he had five turnovers, Young played a valuable role for KU, stepping up as the versatile player needed to help defend UNC's four-guard lineup.

5. Elijah Johnson: For a while in the first half, KU was performing better with Johnson on the bench. The senior played better in the second half, though, and had a low-turnover number (two) considering the swarming defense UNC plays. The senior still struggled from the floor, making one of six shots for five points with four assists and two turnovers in 28 minutes. Through two NCAA games, Johnson has made two of 11 field goals with six assists and five turnovers.

6. Perry Eliis: Didn't play much, contributing three points on 1-for-3 shooting with two rebounds in eight minutes.

7. Ben McLemore: Was benched for most of the second half because of ineffective play, which reminded me of the KU-Kansas State game in 2010 when Self benched Xavier Henry for most of the second half/overtime for the same reason. For the second straight game, McLemore looked completely out of it, with the best example coming at the start of the second half when the freshman fumbled away an easy lob pass for a turnover. McLemore was 0-for-9 from the floor and 0-for-6 from three-point range. His two points were a season low, while his 24 minutes tied his lowest mark this year.

8. Andrew White III: Won the tiebreaker for eighth place. Played one minute with no other stats.

9. Jamari Traylor: Lost the tiebreaker for eighth place. Played one minute with no other stats.

10. Rio Adams: Had two fouls and one turnover in a minute.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (294 points)
2. Ben McLemore (269 points)
3. Travis Releford (262 points)
4. Kevin Young (223 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (201 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (186 points)
7. Perry Ellis (174 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (117 points)
9. Andrew White III (55 points)
10. Rio Adams (39 points)
11. Justin Wesley (24 points)

Big 12/Postseason Standings
1. Jeff Withey (203 points)
2. Ben McLemore (180 points)
3. Travis Releford (177 points)
4. Kevin Young (164 points)
T5. Elijah Johnson (125 points)
T5. Naadir Tharpe (125 points)
7. Perry Ellis (122 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (76 points)
9. Andrew White III (32 points)
10. Rio Adams (24 points)
11. Justin Wesley (17 points)

NCAA Tournament Standings
T1. Jeff Withey (19 points)
T1. Travis Releford (19 points)
T3. Perry Ellis (13 points)
T3. Kevin Young (13 points)
T3. Naadir Tharpe (13 points)
6. Ben McLemore (11 points)
7. Elijah Johnson (9 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (4 points)
9. Andrew White III: (3 points)
10. Rio Adams (1 point)

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Comments

Choctaw 1 year, 4 months ago

that shot of a pained NC fan came near the end of the game when Jeff Withey came out and blocked a three point attempt which turned into a fast break. By that point NC the fans knew it was over. And it would be a long cold trip home. It was clear who had the best team at that point and it was painful to not be your team. Coach Williams did a great coaching job getting a far less talented team (primarily lack of size) as far as he did but in The Tournament you cant hide.

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kupride4u 1 year, 4 months ago

far less talented? Wasn't their starting line up all McDonald's AAs?

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Cole Hogan 1 year, 4 months ago

You have to prove yourself all over again after the McD game. Just because you DID play in that game, does not mean that you WILL be a stud at any of the next levels, and just because you did NOT play in that game does not mean you WON'T be a stud at any of the next levels. The Mcdonald's All-American game is purely a hype tool used by the top coaches in America to talk up their incoming classes. Plain and simple. Now, I understand that most of the time these kids in that game are some of the 'best' of any one class, but I still stand by my point, just because you play in an All-Star game does not mean that you are GOING to be an 'All-Star' at the next level.

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David Leathers 1 year, 4 months ago

As for Releford and Withey, I hope they both come ready to play next week. Michigan completely disected VCU in all aspects. Their up-tempo transition game is superb with Burke and Hardaway Jr. Playing fast next week will be a devastating way for our seniors to go out. They'll easily lose by 10+ that way.

I don't know that I would trust EJ or Naa' to guard burke, but you can't let McLemore guard Hardaway either. It'll be interesting to see what Self has in store for next week.

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hawk_of_ages 1 year, 4 months ago

It'll be interesting to see how they guard us, too.

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Scott Smetana 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm pretty sure EJ is now 16 for 51 shooting in the last 5 games with 21 turnovers. Plus I think don't think he's fast enough to guard Burke. Bring on Naa!!

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Oscar_Unit 1 year, 4 months ago

Can someone explain Tharpe's 5 second violation? They blew the whistle as he was lunging over the 3 point line to make space for a step-back. I guess I just don't understand the rule...it looked like he was making moves, trying to fake out the defense, and dribbling.

I expected Self to yell at the refs but he yelled at Tharpe...that call baffled me.

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Jim Roth 1 year, 4 months ago

Dribbling doesn't matter in the men's game. The defender just has to be within 6 feet of the guy with the ball, no matter what he's doing. For women it's 3 feet, and only counts when the ball is being held.

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Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 1 year, 4 months ago

Dribbling kind of matters. If you catch the ball and don't dribble they start the 5 count (as long as the defender is close enough, which they were clearly clearly not on Tharpe). Then if you begin to dribble and the defender is still on you they start over the 5 count.

You can see the referee counting. He gave Naadir about 5 1/2, probably because he was hesitant because it was such an atrocious call. I was shocked, Naadir was pissed and he should of been that was backwards call.

That being said - Beat Michigan!

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Al Martin 1 year, 4 months ago

I've come to a realization on this; we're thirty-six games in now, so this is just who this team is. I'm changing my expectations; I still expect/"hope for" us to win, but I also expect us to throw the ball around like we're drunk.

1

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

KU has two potential NBA players next year.

Jeff Withey and Travis Releford.

Everyone else needs to go back to school or get a job.

2

jhawkrulz 1 year, 4 months ago

I think if you look at the stats, you will see that Ben is rated the second best behind Jeff W and 5 year senior. This is his first year and is that great at a top notch basketball program. I'm pretty sure that Ben will opt for the "get a job" option and will probably make more than you and me combined in the next 2-3 years.

You know that people can develop in the NBA as well as in college.

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 4 months ago

When Jeff had the one handed-full extension slam from five feet away the entire sprint center should have rushed the court and the refs should have ended the game like they do on those and one videos.

He has done that 2-3 times this year, and every time I see it I’m in disbelief.

2

Joel Thomas 1 year, 4 months ago

Roy taking an early second half timeout was priceless.... Let's hope our worst games (halves) are behind us. Burke will present difficulty for whomever's guarding him. What would last year's team say? Cut the head off. (Prediction: someone on our team says that this week: Elijah 3-2; Releford 8-1; Garrett [Off].)

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Robert Brock 1 year, 4 months ago

Wonder what the pro scouts in attendance thought about Ben McLemore...

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jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

They thought he won a dozen games for KU this season and had a horrid night against UNC. They thought unless he stays tanked the rest of the way we'll take him as soon as we can.

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

jaybate, I have a lot of respect for you and i totally understand why Ben will go pro, but if i'm being as objective as i possibly can be - the dude needs another year of college. He has all but disappeared in almost every away game (Ben - channel your inner Ohio State). He's been "absent" in the Big !2 tournament ( yes, scored a few points, but he's not really contributing ) and he is GONE from the NCAA's.

Something's not right with his head. I hope he gets it figured out really soon so he can help KU win a title and not lose out on his draft potential.

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Will Babbit 1 year, 4 months ago

Here's the reality. He could probably not play a minute the rest of the tournament and go in the top 5. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks, he's gone. Debating it is a waste of your time.

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Wasn't debating it. See where I said " i totally understand why Ben will go pro " ? I just don't think he's ready. It's my own personal opinion. My opinion would be different if I were Ben and looking at a check with 7 zeros on it.

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 4 months ago

I dont like the fact that he is driving baseline and then goes soft, or an after half alley oop is perfectly for him and he trys to lay it in???

Solution- Coach Self "You are soft Ben, you wont make it in the NBA. Jeff show him what to do when he is being soft" Jeff "You start with those stairs, and you stop when you touch them all"

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jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

nuleaf,

First, I wish he would stay for the reasons you do, too.

Second, I wish he would stay because he probably isn't ready to run his own business enterprise yet.

But Brock asked what the pro scouts in attendance were thinking and I think I answered that correctly.

I also think regardless of whether he is ready or not, the probable explanation of what has happened to him recently is he hit finally his shooting slump for this season and is having a little trouble adjusting to how much the the guys ramp it up for the Madness. I think you will see his floor game catch up against Michigan and its luck of the draw on his shooting slump.

Ben has played so awesomely this season we all forgot that even Michael Jordan had major slumps.

Remember how Tyshawn suddenly went 0-22 from trey during the Madness last year?

Remember: Ben has been shooting 46% from trey up until the last few games. And he's put up a ton of treys. The only other KU guy that has shot 46% for a season in the Self era is Tyrell Reed his junior season and he wasn't having to carry the team doing it.

But because Tyrel did it for a season one year, I reckon Ben could bounce out of his slump by the Michigan game. But he could also simply be done being deadly for the season the same way Tyshawn was. Probably it will be somewhere in between.

My point here is this: Ben would be better off staying for a lot of reasons, but I don't think this slump is one of the reasons. Everyone slumps.

1

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

(that "thumbs up" is from me!)

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MinorThreat 1 year, 4 months ago

Jaybate, you have some valid statements and know how to word your statements with a hint if cleverness, but if you're so knowledgable and certain why are you on these message boards and not advising/coaching/recruiting for a top school?

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jhawkrulz 1 year, 4 months ago

They won't care what he did last night, if the next night he puts up 30...oh wait he has already done that.

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Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 1 year, 4 months ago

"As expected, UNC's James Michael McAdoo's lack of shooting range allowed Withey to camp in the lane"

  • Come on now - UNCs game plan was to take him out of the paint (with McAdoo's ugly jumper . . . weird strategy). However flawed the strategy was it was pretty evident until they bailed on it once we came out swinging in the second half.
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JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 4 months ago

McAdoo does not have the range to take Withey out of the paint.

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Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 1 year, 4 months ago

I like Rio's enthusiasm but he should try not to run somebody over with half a minute left. Keep trucking Rio! That dude could still play some meaningful minutes THIS YEAR (end of half foul trouble, injury, hope not because of others ineffectiveness).

Always vigilant, always ready, FOE!!!! GO HAWKS!

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jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

Each top coach KU plays against exposes a new weakness.

Roy showed that you can jump into our bigs on rebounding and cause them real problems. Jump into our bigs with bangers, instead of just the skinny Mickey D's UNC had, and it will be an even bigger problem. Self and staff will have to try to remedy this problem.

You can also slap them high and really gum up their passing.

This is one aspect of the game that is endlessly interesting.

Expose the flaw.

Fix the flaw.

Expose the flaw.

Fix the flaw.

Those that can keep fixing flaws become very tough to beat over the course of a season.

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MinorThreat 1 year, 4 months ago

See what I mean? You speak as though you'd be a great post game commentator; never wrong.

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Greg Lux 1 year, 4 months ago

Tharpe is better right now then EJ. He has a way of getting the offense going that EJ lacks right now. If we are going to continue to advance we will need Tharpe in the game.

Rock Chalk

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BainDread 1 year, 4 months ago

Anyone else remember that at this time two years ago, many people posting here were wondering whether Jeff Withey would ever make a significant contribution to the program? Bill Self's system works, and Jeff's development is perhaps the best example we've had the pleasure of witnessing.

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Ludwig Supraphonic 1 year, 4 months ago

Two years ago I was not overjoyed to see Jeff checking into a game. This year, I wondered whether EJ could play point. As a fan I'm impatient and want to win every game. I'm glad our coaching sees a bigger picture. I was very disappointed when we didn't land Randle. With the magic of cognitive dissonance; I now view that as the right choice. Self's program does not guarantee the speed at which anyone can learn and contribute on the floor. (As we all know, Ben is not really a one trial learner) I love our Seniors. Next years UK freshman class will be interesting to watch because it's not my team.

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 4 months ago

From Grantland article on 12 things from the NCAA's this past weekend:

"4. I'll never pick a team coached by any of the following coaches in an NCAA tournament toss-up game ever again: Frank Haith, Steve Alford, Bruce Weber, Frank Haith, Bo Ryan, John Thompson III, Frank Haith, Jamie Dixon, Frank Haith, Mark Few, Frank Haith, and Roy Williams if he's playing Kansas.

Oh, and Frank Haith. Don't forget about him."

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Micky Baker 1 year, 4 months ago

For one, VCU spent almost the entire game win a full court press off of made buckets. Kansas won't do that. In the half court, Kansas has the advantage in size, but it will be a tough game against Michigan. Our guys just need to be patient on offense except for when the opportunity presents itself for transition baskets and make good sharp passes and take advantage when the defense tries to overplay with sharp back door cuts and alert passing. When Kansas plays like that, they will win.

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Ron Prichard 1 year, 4 months ago

I just read some articles and comments from some Michigan papers (their equivalent to KUSports, I think). I thought it was funny how people that have absolutely no idea about an opponent (KU) feel like they can make authoritative comments and then those comments are taken as gospel. It made me wonder how often that happens on this site.

Many of the posters thought that KU wasn't "consistently" physical enough to play with Big 10 teams. They also thought OSU was a better team than KU.

  1. I'm not sure there is a more physical team left in the tournament than Kansas.
  2. KU turned OSU into the most one-dimensional team I have ever seen. OSU couldn't score inside and just gave up, resorting to jumper after jumper.

Man, I want to win this game. Rock Chalk!

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Creighton Coover 1 year, 4 months ago

I can't believe Kevin Young finished 4th in these ratings. I thought it was one of the worst games he played all year long. There were several loose balls and rebounds that he had his hands on but couldn't grab for some reason and his two turnovers at the beginning of the half were probably the two worst passes I've seen all year. No idea what he was thinking on those passes. I'm just glad it didn't cost us the game.

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