Advertisement

Smithology

Hard-working KU freshman Silvio De Sousa now armed with confidence

Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle (21) falls on top of Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) in the post during the first half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle (21) falls on top of Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) in the post during the first half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Though his team-first attitude never took a hit during weeks of far more watching from the bench than actually playing for Kansas, freshman Silvio De Sousa still needed his own on-court moment to take the next step in his progression.

Monday’s romp over Oklahoma at Allen Fieldhouse provided De Sousa the opportunity to finally advance past the starting gate of his college basketball career.

In past, far-more-brief cameos, the 19-year-old who didn’t join the program until late December had the misfortune of his first on-the-floor action being a foul, turnover, bad defensive rotation or some other type of mistake. But against OU, not even a second had ticked off the first-half clock when De Sousa’s confidence received a boost.

All it took was a simple box-out of Jamuni McNeace on a missed Kameron McGusty free throw. De Sousa had a defensive rebound and a favorable start to his night.

At that instant, De Sousa later revealed, he thought to himself, “Oh, I’m going to play a lot tonight.”

His 13 minutes probably felt like 40 for the gung-ho young big man after playing three or fewer in his previous seven appearances, and not getting off the bench at all in two others.

After contributing career-highs of 10 points and 6 rebounds, as well as his first assist as a Jayhawk — he tracked down a loose ball and passed to Malik Newman for a deep 3-pointer — De Sousa has to be feeling much different now about his status and potential.

“I’m sure he is,” KU coach Bill Self said Thursday, adding De Sousa had some “bounce” during the team’s mid-week practice that followed his breakout game. “Our whole team did. But I think that had to do a world of good for him from a confidence standpoint.”

At 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds, De Sousa isn’t just a large body. The freshman from Luanda, Angola, works hard. Size and effort can go a long way for even the rawest young players. Now De Sousa, his teammates and the Kansas coaches have seen how he can positively impact the team.

De Sousa hustled his way to his first basket versus Oklahoma. When Newman swiped the ball from a driving Trae Young and took off in the other direction, De Sousa could’ve sat back and watched Newman and Svi Mykhailiuk execute a two-on-one fast break.

Good thing he didn’t. Newman held on to the ball too long and lost his handle when McGusty lunged for a possible steal. Newman hurried a layup upon recovering and when it missed, De Sousa, who had sprinted the floor with Newman and Mykhailiuk, easily tipped it in.

In the second half, De Sousa came through with two offensive rebounds on one possession, which concluded with him drawing a foul and finishing the sequence with two points, showing what his coach called “pretty touch” at the foul line.

“He had some good things happen the other day, but he still played very well,” Self said of De Sousa, who converted on all three of his shot attempts and went 4 of 4 at the free-throw line, too. “He did some really nice things. And he just really hasn’t had the chance or the ball hasn’t bounced his way or whatever in the time that he’s been here so far. So that had to do wonders for his confidence, and hopefully moving forward that’ll be a more confident move by our staff to go to him in certain situations, especially when the game’s on the line.”

When you play as diligently as De Sousa did, favorable results are bound to result eventually. The still-learning big man wasn’t available for Kansas (22-6 overall, 11-4 Big 12) when Texas Tech beat the Jayhawks, 85-73, on Jan. 2.

In Saturday’s rematch with the Red Raiders (22-6, 10-5), in Lubbock, Texas, Self should finally feel more comfortable going to his freshman big off the bench, now that he has witnessed De Sousa thrive, instead of fizzle, when his name is called.

What better time to find yourself with an addition to your rotation than the final weeks of the regular season, with at least a share of a conference title just one win at Texas Tech away?

Reply 6 comments from Carsonc30 Allan Olson Dirk Medema Mike Greer Zabudda Dannyboy4hawks

5 stats that popped for Kansas in a blowout win over Oklahoma

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) soars in for a bucket during the second half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) soars in for a bucket during the second half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The No. 8-ranked Kansas Jayhawks put triple digits on the scoreboard against Oklahoma, treating the Sooners like a non-conference visitor to Allen Fieldhouse in a Big Monday drubbing.

The 104-74 victory marked KU’s first 100-point game in Big 12 play since the triple-overtime classic against the Sooners in 2016, and the team’s fourth time reaching the century mark this season — the others came versus Texas Southern, Oakland and Omaha.

From a surprisingly impactful Silvio De Sousa, to a classic 23-point, seven-assist night for Devonte’ Graham, Kansas made everything look easy while taking a half-game lead in the league standings over Texas Tech.

Here are five statistics that made the Jayhawks’ rout of Oklahoma possible.

Devastating second half

Remember when OU cut KU’s lead to seven points early in the second half? Yeah, neither do I. But it happened.

The Jayhawks (22-6 overall, 11-4 Big 12) so thoroughly dominated during the stretch run the game felt like a blowout from start to finish.

KU made 62.5% of its second-half shots by exposing OU’s subpar defense over and over again. If the Sooners gave a shooter too much space outside, the Jayhawks knocked in 3-pointers (7 of 12). If a driving angle or entry pass to the paint presented itself, Kansas gladly took a layup. KU scored 10 points off lay-ins and 12 points via dunks during the course of the second half.

Kansas scored 26 points in the paint over the course of the final 20 minutes, making it easy to put up 55 points — only the second time the team has put up 50 or more in a half during league play.

Rebound margin

This is not a typo: Kansas finished with 13 more rebounds than Oklahoma.

In years past, such a margin in KU’s favor would barely inspire a reaction. But this year’s Jayhawks do not pound the glass the way most Bill Self teams have.

Kansas was out-rebounded in 15 of its previous 16 games before Udoka Azubuike (8 boards) and Svi Mykhailiuk (7 rebounds) helped the home team gather 38, to OU’s 25.

Sharing rebounding responsibilities seemed to be a good sign, too. Lagerald Vick chipped in 6 (his most since Jan. 13), Graham added five and freshman big De Sousa came through with a career-best 6, as well.

If Azubuike isn’t going to routinely snag 10 or more boards (he’s averaging 7.1 on the season, 6.4 in Big 12 games), every KU player who steps on the court is going to have to help out.

Subs provide a spark

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) turns to the bucket past Oklahoma forward Khadeem Lattin (3) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) turns to the bucket past Oklahoma forward Khadeem Lattin (3) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KU’s lack of depth has proven to be one of the team’s weaknesses this season. As a result, the Jayhawks more often than not have lacked production off the bench.

The Jayhawks came up short in head-to-head bench points in 11 of their first 14 conference games. That problem went away, at least for one night, against Oklahoma, as the Kansas substitutes outperformed OU’s backups 18-8.

De Sousa, with his perfect 3-for-3 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 success at the free-throw line for 10 points, outscored the Oklahoma bench by himself.

Neither Marcus Garrett (2 points), nor Mitch Lightfoot (4 points) had a particularly impactful night on offense, but if KU can now get significant help from one of those two or De Sousa every game that would qualify as a great late-season development.

Nothing easy for Young

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) strips a pass going to Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) strips a pass going to Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Oklahoma freshman sensation Trae Young put together a remarkable 26-point, 9-assist show in the Sooners’ January win over Kansas, but had no such luck in the rematch.

KU harassed Young and made him work for every inch at Allen Fieldhouse. OU’s star point guard made just 3 of 13 shots, scored a career-low 11 points and turned the ball over 5 times in 35 minutes in the blowout.

Even when Young got by a perimeter defender the help defense stepped up to make sure he didn’t get into a flow with a layup.

Four of Young’s misses came when a Kansas big blocked his attempt. Lightfoot denied Young once and Azubuike swatted the star freshman three different times.

As a result, Young made just 2 of 6 layups in the loss.

No more slump for Svi

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) turns to the bucket past Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) turns to the bucket past Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Just 7 of 26 (26.9%) in his previous four games, a stretch during which he averaged just 5.5 points — almost a full 10 points below his 15.4 average for the season — Mykhailiuk got back on track against OU’s lackluster defense.

The senior from Ukraine scored 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting and drained 4 of 7 3-pointers, his most from long range since making 5 of 9 at Kansas State on Jan. 29.

The slump was an anomaly for Mykhailiuk, whom Self has praised for his consistent effort and attitude all season long. With just three games left in the regular season, the Jayhawks couldn’t have picked a better time to get their senior shooter (88 for 196 on 3-pointers this year) back on track.








More news and notes from Kansas vs. Oklahoma


By the Numbers: Kansas 104, Oklahoma 74.

By the Numbers: Kansas 104, Oklahoma 74.

Reply 7 comments from Carsonc30 Zabudda Dirk Medema Lcjayhawk Marius7782 Sasquatch2310

Big 12 Power Rankings: KU-Tech showdown between league’s 2 best teams looms

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) defends against a three from West Virginia forward Lamont West (15) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) defends against a three from West Virginia forward Lamont West (15) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

While the perception of the vast majority of teams fluctuates throughout the college basketball season, we have reached a point where it is safe to identify Texas Tech and Kansas as the two best teams the Big 12 has to offer.

Whether you have thought that for weeks or just recently reached that conclusion this sets up as one of the conference’s most anticipated weeks.

The Jayhawks first have to deal with Trae Young and Oklahoma on ESPN’s Big Monday, and the Red Raiders need to win at Oklahoma State on Wednesday, but Saturday’s KU-Tech rematch in Lubbock, Texas, between the two current first-place teams could turn out to be the deciding factor in the 2018 conference title race.

What’s more, the winner of Round 2 between Kansas and Texas Tech will emerge as the league’s best candidate for a deep NCAA Tournament run — especially if Red Raiders star Keenan Evans has recovered from the toe injury he suffered in a two-point road setback at Baylor.

Hopefully we will get to see both teams at full strength for their February showdown and beyond.


Big 12 standings (4 games remaining)

Texas Tech, 10-4

Kansas, 10-4

West Virginia, 8-6

Kansas State, 8-6

Baylor, 7-7

Texas, 6-8

Oklahoma, 6-8

TCU, 6-8

Oklahoma State, 5-9

Iowa State, 4-10


Here’s a look at this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings. Each team’s best victories and its losses — good, bad and in between — are considered in this process, using KenPom.com’s ratings to classify the league’s most and least impressive squads to date. Results from all league games also are listed.

Big 12 Power Rankings — Feb. 19, 2018

No. 1 - Texas Tech (22-5)

Kenpom ranking: No. 8

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +5.7

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 18 Nevada (OT), No. 31 Baylor, at No. 11 Kansas, No. 47 Kansas State, No. 13 West Virginia, No. 75 Oklahoma State, No. 42 Texas (OT), at No. 21 TCU, No. 96 Iowa State, at No. 47 Kansas State, No. 38 Oklahoma

Losses: No. 40 Seton Hall, at No. 38 Oklahoma, at No. 42 Texas, at No. 96 Iowa State, at No. 31 Baylor

No. 2 - Kansas (21-6)

Kenpom ranking: No. 11

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +1.5

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 32 Kentucky, No. 45 Syracuse, at No. 42 Texas, at No. 21 TCU, No. 96 Iowa State, No. 47 Kansas State, at No. 13 West Virginia, No. 31 Baylor, No. 26 Texas A&M, at No. 47 Kansas State, No. 21 TCU, at No. 96 Iowa State, No. 13 West Virginia

Losses: No. 95 Washington, No. 35 Arizona State, No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 38 Oklahoma, No. 75 Oklahoma State, at No. 31 Baylor

No. 3 - West Virginia (19-8)

Kenpom ranking: No. 13

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +5.6

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 37 Missouri, No. 1 Virginia, at No. 75 Oklahoma State, at No. 47 Kansas State, No. 38 Oklahoma, No. 42 Texas, No. 47 Kansas State, at No. 38 Oklahoma, No. 21 TCU

Losses: No. 26 Texas A&M, at No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 11 Kansas, at No. 21 TCU, No. 32 Kentucky, at No. 96 Iowa State, No. 75 Oklahoma State, at No. 11 Kansas

No. 4 - Baylor (17-10)

Kenpom ranking: No. 31

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +1.2

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 27 Creighton, No. 42 Texas, No. 75 Oklahoma State, No. 96 Iowa State, at No. 75 Oklahoma State, No. 11 Kansas, at No. 42 Texas (2OT), No. 8 Texas Tech

Losses: at No. 12 Xavier, No. 14 Wichita State, at No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 21 TCU (OT), at No. 13 West Virginia, at No. 96 Iowa State, at No. 11 Kansas, No. 47 Kansas State, at No. 33 Florida, at No. 38 Oklahoma

No. 5 - Kansas State (19-8)

Kenpom ranking: No. 47

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -1.5

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: at No. 96 Iowa State, No. 75 Oklahoma State, No. 38 Oklahoma, No. 21 TCU, at No. 42 Texas, at No. 75 Oklahoma State, No. 96 Iowa State

Losses: No. 35 Arizona State, No. 119 Tulsa, No. 13 West Virginia, at No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 11 Kansas, No. 11 Kansas, at No. 13 West Virginia, No. 8 Texas Tech

No. 6 - TCU (18-9)

Kenpom ranking: No. 21

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +2.4

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 18 Nevada, at No. 31 Baylor (OT), No. 96 Iowa State, No. 13 West Virginia, at No. 75 Oklahoma State, No. 42 Texas, No. 75 Oklahoma State

Losses: No. 38 Oklahoma, No. 11 Kansas, at No. 42 Texas (2OT), at No. 38 Oklahoma (OT), at No. 47 Kansas State, at No. 85 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 11 Kansas, at No. 13 West Virginia

No. 7 - Texas (16-11)

Kenpom ranking: No. 42

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -1.9

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 24 Butler, at No. 96 Iowa State (OT), No. 21 TCU (2OT), No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 96 Iowa State, No. 38 Oklahoma, at No. 38 Oklahoma

Losses: No. 3 Duke (OT), No. 9 Gonzaga (OT), No. 23 Michigan, No. 11 Kansas, at No. 31 Baylor, at No. 75 Oklahoma State, at No. 13 West Virginia, at No. 8 Texas Tech (OT), No. 47 Kansas State, at No. 21 TCU, No. 31 Baylor (2OT)

No. 8 - Oklahoma (16-10)

Kenpom ranking: No. 38

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -0.4

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 52 USC, at No. 14 Wichita State, at No. 21 TCU, No. 75 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 21 TCU (OT), No. 11 Kansas, No. 31 Baylor

Losses: No. 39 Arkansas, at No. 13 West Virginia, at No. 47 Kansas State, at No. 75 Oklahoma State (OT), at No. 43 Alabama, at No. 42 Texas, No. 13 West Virginia, at No. 96 Iowa State, at No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 42 Texas

No. 9 - Oklahoma State (15-12)

Kenpom ranking: No. 75

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -6.1

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 28 Florida State, No. 96 Iowa State (OT), No. 42 Texas, No. 38 Oklahoma (OT), at No. 11 Kansas, at No. 13 West Virginia

Losses: No. 26 Texas A&M, No. 14 Wichita State, No. 13 West Virginia, No. 38 Oklahoma, at No. 47 Kansas State, at No. 31 Baylor, at No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 39 Arkansas, No. 21 TCU, No. 31 Baylor, No. 47 Kansas State, at No. 21 TCU

No. 10 - Iowa State (13-13)

Kenpom ranking: No. 96

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -5.1

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 31 Baylor, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 13 West Virginia, No. 38 Oklahoma

Losses: at No. 37 Missouri, No. 223 Milwaukee, No. 47 Kansas State, No. 42 Texas (OT), at No. 75 Oklahoma State (OT), at No. 11 Kansas, at No. 21 TCU, at No. 42 Texas, No. 15 Tennessee, at No. 31 Baylor, at No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 11 Kansas, at No. 47 Kansas State


Previous rankings:

Reply 7 comments from Plasticjhawk Brett Arnberger Matthew Coleman Tim Orel Jayhawkmarshall

5 stats that popped for Kansas in a comeback victory over West Virginia

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) hangs for a shot over West Virginia forward Maciej Bender (25) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) hangs for a shot over West Virginia forward Maciej Bender (25) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

By the end of Saturday night, Kansas found itself once again tied with Texas Tech atop the Big 12 standings, thanks in part to a huge performance from its massive center, Udoka Azubuike.

The Jayhawks recovered from a 12-point, second-half deficit against West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse for a 77-69 victory, while Texas Tech lost at Baylor, making the two league title contenders both 10-4 in Big 12 games.

Here are five statistics that proved to be critical components of KU’s wild home win.

Points in the paint

KU coach Bill Self said after the comeback win he and his assistants hammered home to their players the need to “drive it, drive it, drive it” against WVU’s extended defensive pressure.

By taking on the role of the aggressors, the Jayhawks were able to survive the Mountaineers’ torrent of 3-point shooting (14 of 26).

Kansas outscored WVU 30-16 in the paint. While Azubuike gets most of the credit, what with his four dunks and three layups, his teammates supplemented the center’s ultra-high-percentage shots.

Both Marcus Garrett and Lagerald Vick contributed 4 paint-points apiece in the first half. Svi Mykahiliuk made a layup in the first and took a steal for a slam in the second. Both Vick and Malik Newman came through with much-needed lay-ins during KU’s second-half revival.

The Jayhawks’ 14-point advantage inside marked the first time in Big 12 play they enjoyed a double-digit margin in the category.

Valuing possessions

Bob Huggins-coached teams are known for their pesky defenders. And West Virginia might have the best on-ball stopper in the Big 12 in Jevon Carter.

But the Jayhawks didn’t let the Mountaineers’ style speed them up into a lesser, turnover-prone version of themselves. Kansas finished with just 8 turnovers, its second-lowest total of the season, against WVU.

The Mountaineers only came away with 4 steals over the course of 40 minutes.

In total, KU had 64 possessions, and scored (56.3% of the time) far more often than it gave the ball away (12.5%).

Few sloppy offensive trips meant only 8 points off turnovers for West Virginia. In the meantime, the Jayhawks cashed in on 13 WVU giveaways to score 15 points.

Carter’s shooting woes

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) defends against a shot from West Virginia guard Jevon Carter (2) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) defends against a shot from West Virginia guard Jevon Carter (2) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KU deserves some credit for properly defending Carter down the stretch, but the WVU senior point guard shoulders some blame, too, for how the final minutes of the second half played out.

Carter only connected on 3 of 10 shots in the final half, and he often forced the issue or settled down the stretch.

In the final 10 minutes, after WVU took its largest lead of the game, Carter missed six of his eight attempts, including two errant layups. One of his makes, a 3-pointer, didn’t come until KU had all but sealed the win, with six seconds remaining.

Blocks = points

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) gets up to block a shot from West Virginia forward Esa Ahmad (23) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) gets up to block a shot from West Virginia forward Esa Ahmad (23) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Azubuike didn’t just make his presence felt on offense, he tormented WVU playing defense, as well, particularly in crunch time. Even better for the Jayhawks, two of the center’s late-game swats led directly to scores.

Carter had a layup smacked away by Azubuike with 2:19 left and within seconds Mykhailiuk secured the ball and found Devonte’ Graham, who pitched it ahead to Newman for a game-tying 3-pointer.

With West Virginia down four and less than 20 seconds left on the clock, Azubuike was at it again, blocking a Daxter Miles Jr. attempt. Graham came away with the basketball and heaved a pass ahead for a Newman layup that pushed KU’s lead to 72-66 before Huggins got T’d up twice and ejected.

Hit ’em when they count

Even before the Jayhawks got to pad their free-throw numbers in the final seconds thanks to Huggins’ technicals, they made their trips to the foul line count late in the game.

The free throws in the final minutes were challenging because Kansas had to have them. The home team got to celebrate Saturday night because its players made 12 of 14 free throws in the last 5:00 — including 7-of-8 shooting while either trailing or ahead by 2 when stepping to the line.

Azubuike made a pair with 4:58 left to cut WVU’s lead to four.

Vick went 1 of 2 with 4:14 on the clock, making it a five-point game.

Mykhailiuk nailed a pair with 1:40 remaining to put Kansas up for the first time since the opening minute of the second half.

Graham knocked in two more with 0:24 to go, extending the lead to four.








More news and notes from Kansas vs. West Virginia


By the Numbers: Kansas 77, West Virginia 69.

By the Numbers: Kansas 77, West Virginia 69.

Reply

Jayhawks must follow Cole Aldrich’s example and defend their home court

Kansas center Cole Aldrich waves to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd after he was announced the NCAA Basketball Academic All-American of the Year Monday, Feb. 22, 2010.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich waves to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd after he was announced the NCAA Basketball Academic All-American of the Year Monday, Feb. 22, 2010. by Nick Krug

If Kansas doesn’t find a way to beat West Virginia on Saturday inside Allen Fieldhouse, Cole Aldrich might not know how to react.

Once an ultimate defender of James Naismith Court, Aldrich will be back in Lawrence for the game, and to watch his jersey join those of various other former KU greats in the rafters.

While reflecting on his time with the Jayhawks during a media conference call Thursday, Aldrich spoke of the pride he feels every time he steps foot on KU’s home floor.

“You kind of sit back and you think about all the times and all the games you went through in the fieldhouse. One of the most special things about walking in that building is I never lost at home in three years,” Aldrich shared.

Indeed, the 6-foot-11 center from Bloomington, Minn., was part of KU’s longest home-court winning streak in program history — 69 games — a stretch that began in February of 2007, before his arrival, and concluded in January of 2011, after he left for the NBA.

The Jayhawks went 19-0 inside Allen Fieldhouse during Aldrich’s freshman season, when he was a role player for a national championship team. But KU was just as difficult to beat when the big man took on a starring role as a sophomore (18-0) and a junior (18-0).

Following Aldrich’s final season at Kansas, the program lost just one game (four years) or went unbeaten in the fieldhouse (three years) each of the ensuing seven campaigns.

Then came this season.

With three games remaining on the home schedule, the 2017-18 Jayhawks already have dropped three games in Allen Fieldhouse, the most in Bill Self’s 15 seasons as head coach.

“You kind of look at this year with them losing three at home,” Aldrich said of KU’s 11-3 mark entering Saturday’s matchup with West Virginia (5:15 p.m., ESPN). “Most teams around the country would be happy with losing just three games at home. This year for us it’s kind of a rarity.”

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) gets caught in a stranglehold by Texas Tech center Norense Odiase (32) while tied up for a loose ball during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) gets caught in a stranglehold by Texas Tech center Norense Odiase (32) while tied up for a loose ball during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

No one, of course, is more keenly aware of that than KU’s current team leader. Kansas senior point guard Devonte’ Graham went close to three seasons before experiencing his first fieldhouse loss, against Iowa State, in February of his junior year.

At times former players such as Aldrich or Sherron Collins, who now lives in town and will watch his jersey go up in the fieldhouse on Monday, come around and offer advice. Graham said those discussions don’t typically involve past greats emphasizing the importance of protecting KU’s home court.

“But we’ve definitely talked about it as a team, how we’ve been losing games at home and it’s just not normal,” Graham said of his discussions within the Kansas locker room. “It’s not normal for the team or the fans that experience it. And we’ve done it way too much this year.”

Self said Thursday he hadn’t at that point laid out any specific plans for former players, including other members of the 2008 national title team, who will be in town this weekend to address his current Jayhawks. But you have to think some “this is our house” type of pep talks are on the way, and just in time. The Jayhawks (20-6 overall, 9-4 Big 12) must defeat WVU, Oklahoma and Texas inside the fieldhouse to put themselves in position to extend the program’s Big 12 title streak to a record 14 seasons.

Finding some gratification in closing out the home schedule in style would be a great step for this KU team, already 6-2 in road games and 3-0 on neutral floors (note: the Sprint Center loss to Washington technically counts as a home game, too).

“You know, you usually don’t lose that many at home — maybe one,” Aldrich said of Allen Fieldhouse. “And every once in a while you’ll have a few years when you don’t lose at all. So going 55-0 at home was really kind of a testament to how good our fans were.”

And how well the Jayhawks defended and rebounded when Aldrich manned the paint.

Reply 4 comments from Benton Smith Titus Canby Phil Leister Jerry Walker

5 stats that popped for Kansas in a must-have road win at ISU

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) defends against a shot from Iowa State guard Donovan Jackson (4) during the first half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) defends against a shot from Iowa State guard Donovan Jackson (4) during the first half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

AMES, IOWA — No. 13 Kansas accomplished Tuesday night what West Virginia, Oklahoma and even Texas Tech could not this season, beating Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum.

Udoka Azubuike was too massive for the Cyclones to handle in the paint and Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick proved they could play with energy in their return to the starting lineup.

Coming off a loss at Baylor and trailing the Red Raiders (22-4 overall, 10-3) in the Big 12 standings, the Jayhawks (20-6, 9-4) had to find a way to win. Here are five statistics that helped KU get out of Ames with a victory.

Graham the floor general

Senior point guard Devonte’ Graham had one of his more difficult shooting nights at ISU, going 3 of 16 overall and making just 1 of 7 from 3-point range.

But, just as he did in the eight previous games, Graham played all 40 minutes. And even though the team leader from Raleigh, N.C., almost never goes a possession without handling the ball Graham didn’t commit a single turnover against Iowa State.

Responsible for 5 of KU’s 14 assists in the crucial road win, Graham is far too valuable for coach Bill Self to be interested in giving him a rest. Thanks to some offensive support from Azubuike, Newman and Vick, Graham was able to run the show, defend (his primary assignment, Donovan Jackson, made only 1 of 9 attempts) and not worry about his own shots misfiring.

Points off turnovers

Iowa State didn’t exactly get undignified in terms of taking care of the basketball, committing 12 turnovers in the loss, and Kansas didn’t really make a living off intercepting passes or swiping away dribbles, with 5 steals.

But, boy, did the Jayhawks hit the Cyclones back when the home team turned it over.

KU scored 21 points off ISU’s 12 miscues, and the Cyclones only mustered 4 points off turnovers with the Jayhawks giving it away just seven times.

None of those outcomes seemed likely when Kansas had 4 turnovers in the first seven-plus minutes. But the Jayhawks cleaned things up in a timely fashion.

Layups and dunks

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) comes in to finish a lob jam during the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) comes in to finish a lob jam during the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

Self and the Jayhawks knew ISU’s defense was suspect, so they made a point to attack it and get the ball inside, especially in the second half.

KU shot 61.5% from the field after intermission, when it scored 24 points in the paint on the strength of 6 layups and 3 dunks (all from Azubuike).

KU reached 40 points in the paint for just the second time since the start of Big 12 play and edged ISU, 42-40, in the category.

With 51% of their point production coming in the paint, the Jayhawks kept their offense rolling by seeking out high-percentage shots.

Limiting Wigginton’s impact

Sensational Cyclones freshman Lindell Wigginton torched KU for 27 points in his Allen Fieldhouse debut a little over a month ago. But the 6-foot-2 guard from Canada couldn’t replicate that production in the rematch.

Wigginton, guarded much of the night by Newman, only managed to make 3 of 12 shots and, like Graham, went 1 of 7 on 3-pointers, scoring 12 points in 35 minutes.

He didn’t often resemble the player that made 10 of 20 at KU.

Is non-conference Vick back?

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) swoops in for a bucket against Iowa State forward Cameron Lard (2) during the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) swoops in for a bucket against Iowa State forward Cameron Lard (2) during the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

Reinserted into the starting lineup because Self reached a point where he just wanted to have his five best players on the floor as much as possible, Vick put up 16 points and shot above 50% from the floor for just the third time in the past 13 games.

Getting three quality looks at 3-pointers to fall in the opening six minutes of the second half definitely helped Vick’s cause. He hadn’t made more than two in a game from beyond the arc since the Big 12 opener at Texas, when he hit a career-best five.

Since that 21-point night in Austin, Texas, Vick’s offense mostly went missing. With eight single-digit scoring totals in KU’s previous 11 league games, the Jayhawks often seemed incomplete.

The 16-point night might be a step in the right direction for Vick, who averaged 17.1 before conference play began.







By the Numbers: Kansas 83, Iowa State 77

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, Iowa State 77

Reply 2 comments from Carsonc30 Harlan Hobbs

With 6 games to go Bill Self sees Texas Tech as ‘obvious favorite’ to win Big 12

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) and Texas Tech center Norense Odiase (32) dive for a ball during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) and Texas Tech center Norense Odiase (32) dive for a ball during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

While the Big 12 is brimming with quality college basketball teams, each capable of beating any league opponent on the right day, Kansas coach Bill Self knows only one conference squad is capable of feeling legitimately satisfied at this point of the season.

The vast majority of the Big 12 heads into this week’s slate of games disgruntled over at least one recent result. But not Texas Tech, the one sitting alone atop of the standings.

“There are some teams on an uptick, but I don’t think anybody’s ecstatic on where their team is at this point in time, with the exception of obviously the Red Raiders,” Self said.

Victorious in five straight league games, Texas Tech (21-4 overall, 9-3 Big 12) has Self’s Jayhawks (19-6, 8-4), the 13-time defending conference champs, in an unfamiliar spot — trailing.

Big 12 regular-season crowns, of course, have become the standard in Self’s tenure. But the 15th-year KU coach wondered Monday whether his players, either consciously or subconsciously, think too much about the race and extending the program’s streak of titles to 14.

“We probably just need to get better,” Self said. “And, you know, the streak is always thrown at us. Although we don’t talk about the streak I know that’s kind of the elephant in the room, so to speak, at least from what I’ve been told. And we just need to get away from that and concentrate on just playing a game at a time.”

Baylor Bears guard Manu Lecomte (20) drives baseline against Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) and Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Baylor Bears guard Manu Lecomte (20) drives baseline against Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) and Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

Tech owns a one-game lead in the quest for the title in part because No. 13 KU has dropped three of its past six games, but also due to the Red Raiders’ Jan. 2 statement victory at Allen Fieldhouse.

It has been clear to Self since then that Keenan Allen-led Tech has a tough, athletic roster that is well coached by Chris Beard. So he isn’t in any way shocked the Red Raiders are in first place with six games to go.

“They’re the obvious favorite to win our league,” Self declared, “which they should be — they’ve got a game lead. But they’re also the one team in our league, if you really look at our league, everybody else is puttering around.”

It wasn’t long ago that KU responded from a loss to Tech with a five-game winning streak. Self said his Jayhawks, like Oklahoma (16-8, 6-6), West Virginia (18-7, 7-5) and other teams have played well at times, but have gone through stretches where they “have not been very good,” as well.

“Tech is the one team — you take away maybe their one game at Iowa State (70-52 loss, on Jan. 20) … Of their 12 league games they’ve probably been really good in about 11 of them,” Self said. “So they’ve been by far the most consistent.”

Kansas won’t get its rematch with the Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas, until Feb. 24. In order for the Jayhawks to enter that anticipated matchup in position for the outcome to play a factor in the 2018 title race, they will first have to get through Tuesday night’s game at Iowa State (6 p.m., ESPN2), and then back-to-back home games versus West Virginia and Oklahoma.

“We've still got the vast majority of things in front of us,” Self said. “Probably have as tough a schedule left as anybody in the league, so if we're going to do this, we've got to do it the hard way. But it'll mean more when it gets done if we're able to do it.” 

What’s left for Big 12’s top 3 teams

Texas Tech:

  • Tuesday vs. Oklahoma

  • Saturday at Baylor

  • Feb. 21 at Oklahoma State

  • Feb. 24 vs. Kansas

  • Feb. 26 at West Virginia

  • Match 3 vs. TCU

Kansas:

  • Tuesday at Iowa State

  • Saturday vs. West Virginia

  • Feb. 19 vs. Oklahoma

  • Feb. 24 at Texas Tech

  • Feb. 26 vs. Texas

  • March 3 at Oklahoma State

West Virginia:

  • Monday vs. TCU

  • Saturday at Kansas

  • Feb. 20 at Baylor

  • Feb. 24 vs. Iowa State

  • Feb. 26 vs. Texas Tech

  • March 3 at Texas


Big 12 standings (6 games remaining)

Texas Tech, 9-3

Kansas, 8-4

West Virginia, 7-5

Kansas State, 6-6

Oklahoma, 6-6

TCU, 5-7

Baylor, 5-7

Oklahoma State, 5-7

Texas, 5-7

Iowa State, 4-8


Reply 3 comments from Rockn_chalkn_ku Dannyboy4hawks Marius7782

Big 12 Power Rankings: This league is too good to have a ‘worst’ team

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) maneuvers for a shot against TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky (10) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) maneuvers for a shot against TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky (10) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The selection committee is not going to invite all 10 Big 12 teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Still, the more we see from these teams in conference play the more it appears every roster in the league would be capable of winning at least a “First Four” or first-round matchup in The Big Dance. There truly aren’t any weaklings or feeble opponents in the Big 12.

While Iowa State is in 10th place in the standings, it’s hard to label the Cyclones as the conference’s worst team. ISU already has defeated Texas Tech, West Virginia and Oklahoma in Hilton Coliseum. And perennial league champion Kansas could be next (Tuesday at 6 p.m., ESPN2).

Is Texas the worst team? The Longhorns own wins over the first-place Red Raiders and OU.

It can’t be Oklahoma State. The Cowboys over the course of the past two weeks won on the road in Lawrence and Morgantown, W.Va.

At this point it’s easier to pick a best team than a worst one in this loaded conference.

KU coach Bill Self stated this past week — before the Jayhawks lost by 16 at Baylor, a team that seemed in the mix for the “worst” label as recently as seven days ago — the Big 12 is surpassing the lofty expectations he had for it going into conference play.

“Whenever the leaders in the league have as many losses as what this league has, sometimes it gives the appearance of mediocrity. But that’s not true at all. It’s just that everybody here can play,” Self said.

“I’ve never seen a league this deep,” the 15th-year KU coach added. “We may have 10 teams that are as good as any league’s best 10 teams have — and they may have 14 or 15 teams in their league.”

No favored team is safe, regardless of venue, this year in the Big 12. It’s kind of a shame we won’t get to see all 10 programs take a crack at the madness of March.


Big 12 standings (6 games remaining)

Texas Tech, 9-3

Kansas, 8-4

West Virginia, 7-5

Kansas State, 6-6

Oklahoma, 6-6

TCU, 5-7

Baylor, 5-7

Oklahoma State, 5-7

Texas, 5-7

Iowa State, 4-8


Here’s a look at this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings. Each team’s best victories and its losses — good, bad and in between — are considered in this process, using KenPom.com’s ratings to classify the league’s most and least impressive squads to date. Results from all league games also are listed.

Big 12 Power Rankings — Feb. 12, 2018

No. 1 - Texas Tech (21-4)

Kenpom ranking: No. 8

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +6.0

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 19 Nevada (OT), No. 34 Baylor, at No. 14 Kansas, No. 56 Kansas State, No. 16 West Virginia, No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 44 Texas (OT), at No. 22 TCU, No. 91 Iowa State, at No. 56 Kansas State

Losses: No. 35 Seton Hall, at No. 31 Oklahoma, at No. 44 Texas, at No. 91 Iowa State

No. 2 - Kansas (19-6)

Kenpom ranking: No. 14

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +0.6

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 33 Kentucky, No. 46 Syracuse, at No. 44 Texas, at No. 22 TCU, No. 91 Iowa State, No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 16 West Virginia, No. 34 Baylor, No. 21 Texas A&M, at No. 56 Kansas State, No. 22 TCU

Losses: No. 98 Washington, No. 32 Arizona State, No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 66 Oklahoma State, at No. 34 Baylor

No. 3 - West Virginia (18-7)

Kenpom ranking: No. 16

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +5.9

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 38 Missouri, No. 1 Virginia, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, at No. 56 Kansas State, No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 44 Texas, No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 31 Oklahoma,

Losses: No. 21 Texas A&M, at No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 14 Kansas, at No. 22 TCU, No. 33 Kentucky, at No. 91 Iowa State, No. 66 Oklahoma State

No. 4 - Oklahoma (16-8)

Kenpom ranking: No. 31

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -0.4

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 47 USC, at No. 18 Wichita State, at No. 22 TCU, No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 22 TCU (OT), No. 14 Kansas, No. 34 Baylor

Losses: No. 45 Arkansas, at No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 66 Oklahoma State (OT), at No. 43 Alabama, at No. 44 Texas, No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 91 Iowa State

No. 5 - TCU (17-8)

Kenpom ranking: No. 22

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +2.4

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 19 Nevada, at No. 34 Baylor (OT), No. 91 Iowa State, No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 44 Texas

Losses: No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 14 Kansas, at No. 44 Texas (2OT), at No. 31 Oklahoma (OT), at No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 87 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 14 Kansas

No. 6 - Oklahoma State (15-10)

Kenpom ranking: No. 66

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -4.6

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 25 Florida State, No. 91 Iowa State (OT), No. 44 Texas, No. 31 Oklahoma (OT), at No. 14 Kansas, at No. 16 West Virginia

Losses: No. 21 Texas A&M, No. 18 Wichita State, No. 16 West Virginia, No. 31 Oklahoma, at No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 34 Baylor, at No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 45 Arkansas, No. 22 TCU, No. 34 Baylor

No. 7 - Kansas State (17-8)

Kenpom ranking: No. 56

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -3.6

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: at No. 91 Iowa State, No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 22 TCU, at No. 44 Texas

Losses: No. 32 Arizona State, No. 119 Tulsa, No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 14 Kansas, No. 14 Kansas, at No. 16 West Virginia, No. 8 Texas Tech

No. 8 - Baylor (15-10)

Kenpom ranking: No. 34

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +1.2

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 23 Creighton, No. 44 Texas, No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 91 Iowa State, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Kansas

Losses: at No. 13 Xavier, No. 18 Wichita State, at No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 22 TCU (OT), at No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 91 Iowa State, at No. 14 Kansas, No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 38 Florida, at No. 31 Oklahoma

No. 9 - Texas (15-10)

Kenpom ranking: No. 44

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -3.1

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 20 Butler, at No. 91 Iowa State (OT), No. 22 TCU (2OT), No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 91 Iowa State, No. 31 Oklahoma

Losses: No. 5 Duke (OT), No. 7 Gonzaga (OT), No. 27 Michigan, No. 14 Kansas, at No. 34 Baylor, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, at No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 8 Texas Tech (OT), No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 22 TCU

No. 10 - Iowa State (13-11)

Kenpom ranking: No. 91

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -4.4

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 34 Baylor, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 16 West Virginia, No. 31 Oklahoma

Losses: at No. 38 Missouri, No. 211 Milwaukee, No. 56 Kansas State, No. 44 Texas (OT), at No. 66 Oklahoma State (OT), at No. 14 Kansas, at No. 22 TCU, at No. 44 Texas, No. 12 Tennessee, at No. 34 Baylor, at No. 8 Texas Tech


Previous rankings:

Reply 3 comments from Dirk Medema Len Shaffer

5 stats that popped for Kansas in a problematic loss at Baylor

Baylor Bears forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (0) flexes next to Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) after a bucket during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Baylor Bears forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (0) flexes next to Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) after a bucket during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

Almost nothing went right for Kansas on Saturday, in an 80-64 loss at Baylor.

From a pre-game black eye for senior Svi Mykhailiuk to failing to match the Bears’ energy, Bill Self’s team had far more problems than solutions during its trip to Waco, Texas.

And a 40-percent shooting performance for the offense was just one cause for concern for the Jayhawks.

Here are five stats that stood out from a defeat that Kansas will have to find a way to put behind it quickly.

No stops to be found

As poorly as Kansas played offensively in the first half (20 points), the defensive end proved even more costly for the Jayhawks during the final 20 minutes.

The Bears converted on 17 of 26 field goal attempts (65.4%) in the second half to drop another 50 points on a faltering Kansas defense.

Both Manu Lecomte and Nuni Omot hit KU with 4-for-5 shooting in the closing half.

The Bears made 14 of their final 20 attempts from the floor. Although they turned the ball over 8 times in the second half, at no point did Kansas manage to make Baylor miss consecutive shots.

BU’s 57%-shooting in the victory was the best marksmanship by a KU opponent this season.

No easy points

While the free-throw line hasn’t always been kind to Kansas (69.3 percent in Big 12 play), getting there with regularity had at least become a strength for the Jayhawks, who struggled to do so during much of the non-conference schedule.

KU, which came in averaging 21.4 free-throw attempts in league games, took a step backward against Baylor, with only 9 shots taken at the foul line.

The Bears’ zone defense often flummoxed the Jayhawks, and they didn’t attack enough to consistently draw fouls.

Though Kansas made 8 of 9 free throws, it marked the team’s fewest attempts in a league game (previously 13 against Iowa State).

Speaking of easy points, KU didn’t get any in transition. The general lack of quick-change opportunities off steals (3) and blocks (3), certainly didn’t help.

Mr. 40 Minutes

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) tries to get around Baylor Bears guard Manu Lecomte (20) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) tries to get around Baylor Bears guard Manu Lecomte (20) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

For the eighth consecutive game, Kansas senior point guard Devonte’ Graham never subbed out.

Easily KU’s best and most important player, Graham put in 8 of 17 shot attempts (4-for-10 shooting on 3-pointers) to lead Kansas with 23 points.

The Jayhawks had such an off-kilter offense against BU, though, that even Graham could only come up with 4 assists, a season-low for the floor general. His 3 turnovers were only slightly above Graham’s season average of 2.8.

As awry as Kansas looked offensively with Graham playing the entire way, it’s kind of frightening to think about how poorly things would have gone had he come out of the game even for a minute or two in either half.

Dreaded double-digit deficit

Baylor Bears forward Mark Vital (11) puts up a shot after drawing contact from Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Baylor Bears forward Mark Vital (11) puts up a shot after drawing contact from Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

Once Baylor achieved a 10-point lead just before halftime you figured the Jayhawks might be in trouble. Unlike last year’s KU team, which routinely climbed out of holes, this group hasn’t been so fortunate.

The Bears built their lead as large as 16 points in the final minute, and became the seventh KU opponent this season to lead by double figures. As was the case for Kansas against Washington, Arizona State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks (19-6 overall, 8-4 Big 12) came up short.

This season, only West Virginia, which led by 16, has taken a double-digit lead against Kansas and lost.

The Jayhawks are now 1-6 when trailing by 10 or more points in a game.

Another fruitless De Sousa cameo

When both Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot had 4 personal fouls on their stat lines with more than 11 minutes left in the game, Self decided to give first-semester freshman big Silvio De Sousa another look.

Earlier in the week, in KU’s home win over TCU, the 6-foot-9 freshman never got off the bench. The foul trouble and situation —KU down six points on the road in the second half — almost forced Self to at least give De Sousa a chance.

Upon checking in, De Sousa started off positively enough, deflecting an inbound pass underneath the hoop. But that proved to be the apex of his brief appearance. On the ensuing defensive sequence, De Sousa was manning the paint but failed to step up and effectively contest a successful King McClure floater.

When KU headed to the other end of the floor on offense, Lagerald Vick hit De Sousa with an entry pass on the right block but the young big man used a blatant extended left forearm to try and fend off Jo Lual-Acuil as he went in for a layup, that was called off due to an offensive foul.

The stoppage allowed Self to re-insert Azubuike, and De Sousa checked out having played 28 seconds and contributed nothing statistically, other than a foul and a turnover.

In each of De Sousa’s previous six appearances he has played 2 or fewer minutes. The Jayhawks actually needed him on this occasion, but Self didn’t trust the freshman to do anything other than hurt his team’s chances.

In six of his eight games for KU, De Sousa has come away with 0’s in both points and rebounds.

Reply 20 comments from Surrealku Carsonc30 Dirk Medema Bradley Sitz Len Shaffer Lin Rahardja Pius Waldman Jerry Walker Shannon Gustafson Dale Rogers and 2 others

Meet the other guys from KU football’s 2018 recruiting class, the walk-ons

Kansas University football recruiting

Kansas University football recruiting

Not every addition to a college football program can be a prospect with stars next to his name on recruiting websites.

While proclaiming the merits of his program’s 2018 signing class this week, Kansas football coach David Beaty didn’t gloss over the presence of seven less heralded in-state and local prep players who will be joining the Jayhawks.

Just as he did for four-star Louisiana standouts Corione Harris and Anthony “Pooka” Williams and the rest of the scholarship players coming in, Beaty took time to give his thoughts on some new KU walk-ons.

“We're extremely proud of our homegrown talent we're about to add to our roster today,” the fourth-year KU coach said. “The kids right here from this great state and the Kansas City (Missouri) area. Some terrific players that have great production.”

Here is a look at the five Sunflower State players and two from Kansas City, Mo., whom Beaty included in his National Signing Day festivities.

Ath. - Nick Channel | 6-0, 205 | Kapaun Mt. Carmel High

A safety and running back as a prep standout in Wichita, Channel is listed as an athlete by KU because the coaches don’t yet know what position they’ll ask him to play. He was an all-state rusher as a senior, going for 1,305 yards in nine games.

“Nick can play both sides of the ball,” Beaty said. “You can snap it to him. He can run it. He can play safety and he'll knock you out. He's one of those hard-nosed, blue-collared Kansans. He just likes hitting people.”


TE - Dylan Freberg | 6-4, 210 | Blue Valley North High

A productive target for Class 6A champion Blue Valley North in 2017, Freberg made 76 receptions for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“This guy gets in the end zone a lot,” Beaty said. “He runs more like a wide receiver, but he's a big kid. Those big dudes are hard to cover in the middle of the field. You're starting to notice more and more people use that. We think Dylan fits that for us.”


QB - Billy Maples | 6-2, 220 | Park Hill High (Mo.)

An all-state Class 6 quarterback from Kansas City, Mo., Maples threw for 3,130 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior.

“This kid can do it now. He can spin it,” Beaty said. “He's a guy that it's hard to not notice that production. He had some real interest here late and he hung with us. So excited about Billy and adding him.”


Ath. - Cody McNerney | 6-1, 200 | Wichita Collegiate High

A safety and quarterback at the prep level, McNerney is another player KU’s staff will wait to assess in person before assigning him a position. McNerney accounted for a ton of chunk plays at Wichita Collegiate as a rusher.

In one of the more bizarre moments of the signing day press conference, Beaty, after predicting McNerney could be a “beast” for KU’s special teams, went even bolder with his next forecast.

“I would not doubt that this guy will wind up in the NFL, because it's just the type of guy he is. He's a guy that nobody's going to think about and then he's going to be the guy making all the money playing in the NFL,” Beaty said. “Because that league is full of guys like that, and he does everything right. He works hard.”


OL - Jack Murphy | 6-9, 291 | Rockhurst High (Mo.)

“This kid's a giant,” Beaty said. “He's 6-9, he's a big, big dude. He's going to be a large human, no doubt about that. Another one we tried to keep down low, and being able to get him to come and be a Jayhawk was a coup for us.”


TE - Jack Parks | 6-5, 230 | Olathe Northwest High

His father, Mark Parks, is a former KU football player.

“Another long, 6-5 guy that can run down the field and catch the ball well,” Beaty said. “This guy can go in line, which is something you have to have as well. He's a guy that could get really big if he's not careful.”


OL - Spencer Roe | 6-4, 270 | Free State High

Beaty and company went back to the Free State well again this year to add all-state lineman Roe, making him the fifth Jayhawk on the roster from the in-town high school.

“He's a versatile guy that can play both sides of the ball,” Beaty said. “He can play on the offensive line, he can play the defensive line. He had a lot of production there at Free State.”


Reply 4 comments from Bryson  Stricker Dirk Medema Pius Waldman Spk15

Prev

Upload photo Browse photos