Travis Releford tops ratings; KU's point guards struggle
1. Travis Releford: KU's best player in the NCAA Tournament fittingly was the Jayhawks' best player against Michigan. The senior was excellent in transition, locked down on Trey Burke when given that assignment and was aggressive attacking the rim. In his final game, the senior posted 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting with five rebounds, six assists and one steal to go with one turnover in 42 minutes. He finished with 965 career points.
2. Jeff Withey: Had to defend two players most of the game, as KU's guards consistently were stuck on ball screens, leaving Withey to play the role of Superman. He did his best while also scoring at will early against Michigan's Mitch McGary. Withey finished with 12 points on 6-for-11 shooting with eight rebounds and five blocks to go with one turnover in 39 minutes. His 49 NCAA Tournament career blocked shots were one behind Tim Duncan's NCAA record of 50.
3. Ben McLemore: The freshman made up for a cold start with hot shooting late, finishing with a team-high 20 points on 8-for-15 shooting, which included 4-for-8 accuracy from three. Had a defensive rebound hit him in the hands with 32 seconds that would have iced the game with KU leading by five, though. He dropped it, Michigan put in a layup, and the miracle comeback continued.
4. Kevin Young: Young scored 12 points on 6-for-6 shooting, but he didn't seem to give KU the energy plays he normally does. Young also failed to get out to Trey Burke on the game-tying three with four seconds left in regulation. After the double-screen, that was his man. Young added seven rebounds and an assist to go with a turnover in 29 minutes.
5. Perry Ellis: Shook off a slow start, as two early traveling calls didn't keep him from being aggressive later. The freshman attacked Michigan's undersized four men, scoring eight points on 4-for-7 shooting with five rebounds and three assists in 15 minutes.
6. Jamari Traylor: Made his only shot and had an assist and two blocks in five minutes.
7. Naadir Tharpe: Though Tharpe played well enough in the first half after Elijah Johnson picked up three fouls, his final shooting line wasn't pretty. The sophomore made just one of eight field goals, including two (tough) three-pointers that would have won the game at separate buzzers for KU. Tharpe finished with two points, seven assists and one steal to go with two turnovers in 32 minutes and too often left Withey on an island when he got stuck to McGary screens.
8. Elijah Johnson: When Johnson was struggling mid-season, KU coach Bill Self stuck with him in the starting lineup. At that point, the coach had to know he was hitching his postseason hopes on the belief that the senior could snap out of his funk in the NCAA Tournament. It never happened. Johnson had three critical turnovers in the final 3:27 of regulation that allowed Michigan the chance to come back from a 10-point deficit. In overtime, he hitched up ill-advised shots and had another turnover that led to a runout for UM. Then on the game's final possession, he passed up on what looked to be an open layup in favor of a kickout to Tharpe. It was no secret that KU's glaring weakness was guard play this season, and it finally caught up to KU on Friday. Johnson had 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting with no assists and five turnovers in 24 minutes. He also picked up a flagrant foul in the first half after a low hit on Michigan's McGary.
Final KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (303 points)
2. Ben McLemore (276 points)
3. Travis Releford (272 points)
4. Kevin Young (230 points)
5. Elijah Johnson (204 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (190 points)
7. Perry Ellis (180 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (122 points)
9. Andrew White III (55 points)
10. Rio Adams (39 points)
11. Justin Wesley (24 points)
Final Big 12/Postseason Standings
1. Jeff Withey (212 points)
2. Ben McLemore (188 points)
3. Travis Releford (187 points)
4. Kevin Young (171 points)
5. Naadir Tharpe (129 points)
T6. Elijah Johnson (128 points)
T6. Perry Ellis (128 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (81 points)
9. Andrew White III (32 points)
10. Rio Adams (24 points)
11. Justin Wesley (17 points)
Final NCAA Tournament Standings
1. Travis Releford (29 points)
2. Jeff Withey (28 points)
3. Kevin Young (20 points)
T4. Perry Ellis (19 points)
T4. Ben McLemore (19 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (17 points)
7. Elijah Johnson (12 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (9 points)
9. Andrew White III: (3 points)
10. Rio Adams (1 point)