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5 stats that popped in KU’s Big 12 semifinal victory over rival K-State

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) pulls up for a jumper during the second half, Friday, March 9, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) pulls up for a jumper during the second half, Friday, March 9, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

Kansas City, Mo. — Perennial league champion Kansas improved to 13-6 all-time in the Big 12 tournament semifinals on Friday, with an 83-67 victory over rival Kansas State at Sprint Center.

The Jayhawks only shot 44% from the floor and allowed the Wildcats to hit 53.6% of their shots in the second half, but advanced to the conference championship game for the sixth time in nine seasons.

Here are five stats that stood out — four good for Kansas, one not — in the Jayhawks’ semifinal victory over K-State.

Offense recovers in crunch time

A better opening to the second half would’ve helped the Jayhawks avoid putting the game’s outcome in danger, but they did manage to close the game appropriately.

A key Marcus Garrett steal and layup made sure of that. The freshman’s timely bucket ignited the Jayhawks, who converted 8 of their final 13 shot attempts over the course of the final 10 minutes. Up to that point, Kansas had made just 3 of 12 from the floor in the final half.

Suddenly energized after a lethargic stretch, especially for postseason basketball, KU’s players finished off the win by following Garrett’s lay-in with more high-percentage looks:

  • 2 putbacks by Silvio De Sousa
  • 2 Malik Newman 3-pointers
  • A Lagerald Vick dunk
  • Another Vick bucket
  • A Mitch Lightfoot jam

Those baskets turned a 2-point Kansas lead into 12 before the Jayhawks spent most of the game’s final 2:00 at the foul line, going 8 for 10.

Controlling the glass

For the fourth time in the past six games, Kansas out-rebounded its opponent. Not bad for a team that did the opposite in 15 of 16 games before that.

The Jayhawks won the battle of the boards, 37-30. Even more impressive, though, they only let K-State gather 5 offensive rebounds on 32 missed field goals. The Wildcats only managed 2 second-chance points.

Big 12 opponents averaged 14.3 second-chance points a game against Kansas in the regular season and each of KU’s past eight foes scored at least 10 points in that category.

De Sousa’s 8 defensive boards led the team, and Newman secured 5 on that end. Both Devonte’ Graham and Garrett added 4 defensive rebounds.

Power of the 3-ball

For the 16th time this season, KU made 10 or more 3-pointers.

By knocking down 11 of 28 (39%) versus K-State, the Jayhawks improved to 14-2 when scoring at least 30 points from beyond the arc. K-State, meanwhile, made just 2 of 13 from 3-point range (15%) — the fewest makes and worst percentage by a KU opponent this season.

Both Newman (5 of 8) and Svi Mykhailiuk (4 of 8) routinely exploited the Wildcats for leaving them open.

Bench (and former sub) scoring

Between KU’s four regular members of the starting five, each contributed double-digit points in Friday’s win.

But Kansas nearly had three more players join Newman (22), Graham (15), Mykhailiuk (12) and Vick (10) in double figures.

A starter in just 4 games this season, Lightfoot added 8 points for the Jayhawks, who also picked up 8 points apiece from backups Garrett and De Sousa.

Newman carried the load offensively, but every other member of the rotation found opportunities to score, too, giving Kansas some balance in its distribution, making the attack less predictable.

No resistance in the paint

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) and Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) defend against a shot from Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half, Friday, March 9, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) and Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) defend against a shot from Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half, Friday, March 9, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

KU typically fares well inside or at least goes toe to toe with opponents in terms of making baskets around the hoop.

The Jayhawks averaged a +7.5 points in the paint margin during the regular season (+2.2 vs. Big 12 foes) and even outscored Oklahoma State by 10 inside without Udoka Azubuike in the Big 12 quarterfinals.

However, the Jayhawks lost the battle for the paint against K-State. The Wildcats scored 42 points inside, matching the most by any KU opponent this season.

Confident in taking their chances against Kansas bigs Lightfoot and De Sousa, the Wildcats finished with a 42-28 advantage in points in the paint, stimulated by Makol Mawien’s 29-point explosion, 16 of which came at the rim.

You know West Virginia will try to inflict even more damage against KU’s interior defense in Saturday night’s Big 12 title game.

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, K-State 67

By the Numbers: Kansas 83, K-State 67

Reply 1 comment from James Miller

KU guards can compensate for Udoka Azubuike’s absence by attacking glass

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) and Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) fight for a rebound with TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) and Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) fight for a rebound with TCU forward Kouat Noi (12) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Kansas City, Mo. — This season’s Kansas basketball team is no stranger to getting beat on the glass. So the top-seeded Jayhawks should feel right at home this week at Sprint Center, where they will try and navigate the Big 12 tournament without injured 7-foot center Udoka Azubuike.

Without question, KU’s offense will miss the high-percentage shots Azubuike, out with a medial collateral ligament sprain, provides with regularity. But the Jayhawks also will look like a lesser version of themselves on the boards, because the sophomore big is the best rebounder on a team that oftentimes struggles to finish stops by securing an opponent’s missed shot.

A massive presence in the paint, Azubuike started every game for Kansas (24-7) this season up to this point, and led the team in rebounding 18 times.

KU won the rebound margin in three of its final four regular-season games — +13 versus Oklahoma, +7 vs. Texas and +7 at Oklahoma State. But the Jayhawks lost that battle in 15 of the 16 games that preceded their more successful stretch.

Against Power 5 competition this season (25 games), KU out-rebounded its opponent five times — the other two came against Arizona State and Kansas State.

So what does the team that finished 9th in the Big 12 in rebound margin (-2.9 a game) look like without its best rebounder? To try and get a sense of what to expect at the conference tournament, let’s look at a few of Azubuike’s less impactful games this season on the glass.

Occasionally, Azubuike, who averaged 7.1 boards on the year and 6.6 a game in league action, finished with 4 or fewer rebounds. That occurred four times during Big 12 play:

  • at TCU: 1 rebound in 13 minutes (fouled out); TCU scored 14 second-chance points — KU won 88-84

  • at Kansas State: 3 rebounds in 18 minutes; K-State scored 9 second-chance points — KU won 70-56

  • at Baylor: 4 rebounds in 19 minutes; BU scored 14 second-chance points — KU lost 80-64

  • at Iowa State: 3 rebounds in 22 minutes; ISU scored 10 second-chance points — KU won 83-77

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) pulls a rebound from Oklahoma State forward Mitchell Solomon (41) during the second half, Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Gallagher-Iba Arena, in Stillwater, Okla.

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) pulls a rebound from Oklahoma State forward Mitchell Solomon (41) during the second half, Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Gallagher-Iba Arena, in Stillwater, Okla. by Nick Krug

At TCU, Mitch Lightfoot (7 rebounds) and Marcus Garrett (6 boards) helped carry the load. At K-State, Malik Newman came through with 10 rebounds and Svi Mykhailiuk grabbed 7 more. At ISU, Newman and Devonte’ Graham tied for the team lead (6 apiece).

The Jayhawks lost at Baylor when no one stepped up to fill the void. Mykhailiuk, Newman and Lagerald Vick each finished with 4 boards.

KU’s rebounding numbers — and chances of advancing in the Big 12 tournament — will look a lot worse unless Azubuike’s teammates use his absence as incentive to really attack the glass.

“We’ve been a poor rebounding team by good rebounding team standards all year long,” KU coach Bill Self said Wednesday at Sprint Center.

It doesn’t sound as if Self is expecting Lightfoot and De Sousa to suddenly start rebounding like Cole Aldrich and Thomas Robinson.

“So we’re just going to have to have our guards rebound more,” Self said. “You know, Malik’s done a good job. Svi and Lagerald have got to become better rebounders probably as much as anyone.”

The numbers indicate Kansas should be able to count on Newman to get inside and clear some defensive rebounds. The 6-3 guard, per sports-reference.com, is KU’s second-most consistent rebounder on that end, gathering an estimated 15.6% of available defensive rebounds (Azubuike leads the team with a 20.2% defensive rebound percentage.)

Newman can look for some help on that end from Garrett (15.6%). Lightfoot enters the postseason with a 12.4% mark, while De Sousa, with far fewer minutes to give a better sense of his ceiling, owns a 12.3% defensive rebound percentage.

It’s unrealistic to expect any Jayhawks to match Azubuike’s offensive impact. But, chipping in as a committee of rebounders at Sprint Center will be necessary for them to get by without their game-changing center.


— Udoka Azubuike 2017-18 season game log —

Game Log Table
Date Opponent   MP FG FGA FG% ORB DRB TRB BLK PF PTS
2017-11-10Tennessee StateW3067.8572462213
2017-11-14KentuckyW34551.0005382313
2017-11-17South Dakota StateW2389.8890222217
2017-11-21Texas SouthernW27912.7502791220
2017-11-24OaklandW201016.62564102221
2017-11-28ToledoW2469.6670550212
2017-12-02SyracuseW23331.000189146
2017-12-06WashingtonL2356.8332792310
2017-12-10Arizona StateL2267.8573692213
2017-12-16NebraskaW261317.76555101326
2017-12-18Nebraska-OmahaW2257.714210122111
2017-12-21StanfordW261215.8004372324
2017-12-29TexasW29611.54567130313
2018-01-02Texas TechL2846.6673471311
2018-01-06Texas ChristianW13661.0000110514
2018-01-09Iowa StateW2945.800156439
2018-01-13Kansas StateW3289.8894485118
2018-01-15West VirginiaW20551.0002791510
2018-01-20BaylorW3458.6254371214
2018-01-23OklahomaL2245.800336049
2018-01-27Texas A&MW2248.500336438
2018-01-29Kansas StateW18221.000123036
2018-02-03Oklahoma StateL21811.7273250420
2018-02-06Texas ChristianW25610.60038112316
2018-02-10BaylorL19441.000224148
2018-02-13Iowa StateW22910.9000333419
2018-02-17West VirginiaW3178.8753253321
2018-02-19OklahomaW1856.8332683310
2018-02-24Texas TechW2934.750167336
2018-02-26TexasW211011.9092685220
2018-03-03Oklahoma StateL2046.667257048
31 Games753192248.774771432205591426
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 3/7/2018.



Reply 6 comments from Zabudda Kurt Eskilson Titus Canby Allan Olson Surrealku Andrew Ralls

Jayhawks looking for a Malik Newman resurgence just in time for the postseason

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) gets a shot off as he is fouled by Kansas State forward Makol Mawien (14) during the second half, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan. At left is Kansas State guard Mike McGuirl (00).

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) gets a shot off as he is fouled by Kansas State forward Makol Mawien (14) during the second half, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan. At left is Kansas State guard Mike McGuirl (00). by Nick Krug

Less than two weeks ago Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, while discussing a recent uptick in Malik Newman’s play, stated how proud he was of the starting guard’s progress.

The sophomore transfer from Mississippi State was coming off one of his best offensive showings as a Jayhawk, going for 20 points and 5 assists in a rout of Oklahoma. It was Newman’s third time posting at least 20 points and ninth time in double figures over a stretch of 10 games.

Even more encouraging, the 6-foot-3 guard from Jackson, Miss., looked better handling the ball. Newman had shown he could be more than a spot-up 3-point shooter by driving to the paint to either draw contact, score or set up teammates. In a five-game span that concluded with the OU game on Feb. 19, Newman averaged 4.2 assists and 0.6 turnovers — far better than his current season averages of 2.1 assists and 1.5 turnovers.

While Self appreciates the headway Newman has made to become a more complete player than what he showed back in the non-conference portion of the schedule and Self is happy the shooting guard won the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year award, KU’s coach is hoping for a Newman resurgence with the postseason’s arrival.

In the Jayhawks’ final three games of the regular season, Newman, who is supposed to complement Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte’ Graham in the backcourt, didn’t always deliver on his potential, and his numbers began trending in the wrong direction.

At Texas Tech, Newman was solid, with 12 points and 5 defensive rebounds, but he made just 1 assist (in the first half) — his lowest ball distribution total in three weeks — and committed 1 turnover. Against Texas in KU’s home finale, Newman provided 9 points, 4 defensive boards and 1 assist, with 1 turnover. He bottomed out in the Jayhawks’ loss at Oklahoma State, with 7 points, 3 defensive rebounds, 0 assists and 3 cough-ups.

After averaging 4.2 free-throw attempts a game in the previous 12 contests, Newman didn’t get to the foul line once in his final two games of the regular season.

“I think he's shown flashes of being, of showing a lot of progress,” Self said of Newman, who averaged 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in Big 12 play, while shooting 43.4% from the field and making 33 of 88 3-pointers (37.5%). “And then I honestly think he's shown flashes of not. I would like more consistency.”


Game Log Table
Date Opponent   MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% DRB TRB AST TOV PTS
2017-11-10Tennessee StateW2458.62524.50000442412
2017-11-14KentuckyW33414.28626.333221.000892112
2017-11-17South Dakota StateW2647.57124.500331.000002013
2017-11-21Texas SouthernW2749.44446.66700343212
2017-11-24OaklandW3159.55613.333441.000663315
2017-11-28ToledoW28710.700111.000221.000332017
2017-12-02SyracuseW3418.12506.0000035532
2017-12-06WashingtonL2936.50024.5000044218
2017-12-10Arizona StateL33512.41738.37500552213
2017-12-16NebraskaW3106.00003.0000056220
2017-12-18Nebraska-OmahaW26610.60026.33300444214
2017-12-21StanfordW3237.42913.3330067207
2017-12-29TexasW29410.40014.25045.800450213
2018-01-02Texas TechL2148.50002.000111.00033029
2018-01-06Texas ChristianW1502.00001.00012.50000011
2018-01-09Iowa StateW341021.476513.38523.667882127
2018-01-13Kansas StateW3226.33313.333221.00034117
2018-01-15West VirginiaW2729.22214.25046.66746039
2018-01-20BaylorW35711.63634.750771.000672224
2018-01-23OklahomaL37712.58335.600331.000451120
2018-01-27Texas A&MW37613.46227.28613.333671115
2018-01-29Kansas StateW4037.42913.33367.85710103213
2018-02-03Oklahoma StateL3449.44435.60056.833550116
2018-02-06Texas ChristianW3319.11105.000221.00066504
2018-02-10BaylorL32516.313210.200221.000445014
2018-02-13Iowa StateW35610.60025.40034.750664217
2018-02-17West VirginiaW31310.30027.28634.750342111
2018-02-19OklahomaW37711.63646.667221.000335020
2018-02-24Texas TechW2936.50034.75034.750551112
2018-02-26TexasW2849.44414.2500044119
2018-03-03Oklahoma StateL2337.42913.3330033037
31 Games943128292.43855149.3696274.8381381526445373
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 3/6/2018.

Newman needs to revive the versatility that made him so valuable in late January and most of February now that it’s March. Newman has stated a number of times how important it is for he and other Jayhawks to help take some of the burden off Graham’s shoulders.

If Newman wants to make that happen on a regular basis in the weeks ahead, he can just recall some of Graham’s advice. The senior point guard said when Newman was at his best recently it was all about taking an assertive approach on offense and trying to reach the paint off the bounce.

“I keep telling him that,” Graham related. “Just look to score. Don’t worry about nothing else. Because once you start thinking you just get all messed up. So just look to score, be aggressive on the offensive end and it just takes care of itself.”

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) puts up a shot after a foul from Iowa State guard Donovan Jackson (4) during the first half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) puts up a shot after a foul from Iowa State guard Donovan Jackson (4) during the first half, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

Just more than half of Newman’s shot attempts this season have come from behind the arc. A 36.9% 3-point shooter on the year (37.5% in Big 12 action), spotting up isn’t always Newman’s best play. When he is more diverse with the ball in his hands, it tends to benefit both him and his teammates.

Plus, Self wants Newman contributing in less trackable manners. As you might expect, those areas where the coach would like to see more consistency directly tie to relieving Graham of some of his duties. KU’s 15th-year coach finds himself examining what Newman does on a game-by-game basis to help Graham.

“I’d love to see Malik be able to say, ‘I want to guard the other team's best perimeter player.’ I would love to see us be able to initiate offense with Malik, so Devonte' doesn't have to,” Self said. “And those don't have anything to do with stats, but those are things that would help our team a tremendous amount. He's shown he can do that, but I think he can be more consistent with that.”

Newman’s first crack at a late-season renaissance comes Thursday in Kansas City, Mo., when the top-seeded Jayhawks face either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.

Reply 7 comments from Plasticjhawk Benton Smith Drew425 Len Shaffer Surrealku Matthew Roesner Dillon Davis

With bubble teams aplenty, Big 12 tournament should deliver madness

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) takes off with the ball after picking off a pass to Oklahoma State guard Kendall Smith (1) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) takes off with the ball after picking off a pass to Oklahoma State guard Kendall Smith (1) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The words March and madness so easily roll off the tongue because postseason college basketball so often delivers the upsets and wild finishes fans crave.

Those searching for such chaos in the days ahead need look no further than this week’s Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

The conference’s depth means more intriguing matchups, for sure. But the atmosphere Wednesday through Saturday at Sprint Center figures to benefit even more from the fact so many of the league’s teams need a win (or wins) to cement their invitations to the Big Dance.

Entering the week, eight of the Big 12’s 10 teams project as NCAA Tournament worthy, according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, with a ninth painfully close to joining the fray.

What’s more, half of the Big 12 field is comprised of bubble teams, so the results will directly impact their postseason livelihoods.

Solidly in the field

  • Kansas (24-7): No. 1 seed, West

  • Texas Tech (23-8): No. 4 seed, South

  • West Virginia (22-9): No. 4 seed, East

  • TCU (22-10): No. 6 seed, East

Some work left to do

  • Oklahoma (18-12): No. 10 seed, Midwest

  • Kansas State (21-10): No 10 seed, South — 1 of ESPN’s Last 4 Byes

  • Baylor (18-13): No. 11 seed, South — 1 of ESPN’s Last 4 Byes

  • Texas (18-13): No. 11 seed, West — 1 of ESPN’s Last 4 In

  • Oklahoma State (18-13): 1 of ESPN’s Last 4 Out

Kansas coach Bill Self wouldn’t go as far Monday as to say the Big 12 tournament will be unpredictable, but he wasn’t about to rule it out, either.

“I will tell you this. I think it’s going to be predictable in this sense, that you will have teams playing harder this weekend than they’ve played all year long,” Self said, “and this is a very hard-playing league.”

While Self’s Jayhawks, Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU all will use the Big 12 stage to try and improve their seeding for the national tournament, players from Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State all enter with sufficient incentive to show the NCAA selection committee they deserve invites to the 68-team field.

2018 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket

2018 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket

Saturday in Stillwater, Okla., the Jayhawks experienced firsthand what a team playing for its postseason life looks like. The Cowboys had to complete a regular-season sweep of Kansas just to get into the NCAA Tournament conversation.

KU, the 14-time defending league champion, will face either OSU or Oklahoma on Friday, in the Big 12 quarterfinals.

“They’re going to play harder — whoever we play — than Oklahoma State did against us on Saturday,” Self predicted.

Such intensity should show up in every Big 12 tournament game this week, particularly when considering how evenly teams match up.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, who square off Wednesday in the first round, split their regular-season series. Same for Kansas State and TCU, who meet up Thursday.

KU split with OU and was swept by Oklahoma State. Texas Tech, which will take on either Texas or Iowa State in the quarterfinals, went 1-1 against both.

The outcomes are uncertain, but it’s safe to expect heated games and at least a little mayhem.

“There’s something about getting groups together and playing amongst your peers in one setting like that that drives the competitive spirit of everyone,” Self added. “I certainly think it’s going to be off-the-charts good.”

Reply 3 comments from Andy Godwin Len Shaffer Smuckjhawk

Josh Jackson should have more impactful postseason than Andrew Wiggins did

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) drives against Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle (11) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) drives against Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle (11) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse by Nick Krug

In 2014, one-and-done Kansas star Andrew Wiggins became the No. 1 pick in the draft after leading the Jayhawks in scoring. Yet, as this year’s KU team prepares to begin its postseason run, one gets the sense Kansas expects even more out of its latest NBA-bound freshman wing, Josh Jackson.

Three years ago, coach Bill Self needed Wiggins to score, draw fouls (he got to the free-throw line 227 times during his one year of college basketball), help the Jayhawks on the glass and use his athleticism and wingspan to defend all over the floor.

Self requires all of that and then some from the 6-foot-8 Jackson, who is a far more polished driver and passer for KU than Wiggins was before turning pro.

Wiggins definitely did a better job of staying out of trouble off the court during his brief stay in Lawrence. Jackson will serve a one-game suspension for KU’s Big 12 tournament opener on Thursday after backing into a parked car last month and failing to leave proper contact information. This display of poor judgment came in the same month Jackson was charged with criminally damaging a car in a separate incident.

Self has to be perturbed by Jackson’s actions, which led the coach to keep him out of the lineup for a postseason game. Fortunately for Self and the No. 1-ranked Jayhawks (28-3), Jackson has looked far more shrewd on the court and even has overcome a tendency earlier this season to draw a technical foul here or there.

Speaking with media members on Monday, prior to news of Jackson’s suspension, Self cited his star freshman’s mental approach to basketball as a reason the explosive wing from Detroit has been able to set himself apart from past one-and-done prospects who passed through KU.

“In crucial situations, he’s got a calmness about him,” Self said of the 20-year-old Jackson. “I think that his intangible makeup is as good as any that I’ve ever been around, especially at that age.”

Wiggins was definitely the better athlete — which is saying something when you’re being compared to Jackson — but Self might trust Jackson as a player more than any freshman he has ever coached.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins drives around Eastern Kentucky forward Eric Stutz during the first half on Friday, March 21, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins drives around Eastern Kentucky forward Eric Stutz during the first half on Friday, March 21, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. by Nick Krug

Jackson and Wiggins arrived at Kansas in very different situations. Jackson gets to play in a four-guard lineup with all-league veterans Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham. The most experienced guard Wiggins played alongside was Naadir Tharpe. Still, it’s difficult to envision Jackson’s college season — and career — ending with a 4-point outing in a loss, which turned out to be the case for Wiggins.

Jackson seems too competitive — and maybe it’s easier to be that way when you’re rolling with a national player of the year candidate like Mason — to not find multiple ways to impact the game every time he steps on the floor.

The freshman from Detroit has overcome the pressure of arriving at Kansas with the expectations of a rabid fan base hovering over him, too. Self said earlier this season playing under some duress might have led to some early struggles, such as 3-point shooting. A 37.7-percent 3-point shooter on the season, Jackson has knocked down 12 of 25 (48 percent) from deep since the end of January.

“But, you look at it, he’s been pretty consistently good in defense, rebounding, extra possessions, energy, making plays for others, passing,” Self said. “And you know he’s been a consistent scorer.”

Those skills and Jackson’s personality make him look like a far more dangerous player, capable of improving KU’s postseason chances, than Wiggins was three years before him.

The Canadian sensation came through with scoring outputs of 30, 22 and 19 points in the 2014 postseason prior to KU’s loss to Stanford in the first weekend. Jackson is so versatile he could put up big points like Wiggins or not and still give the Jayhawks a chance to win by doing the other things he’s shown all season.

Jackson might not end up being the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, but he seems to have the kind of mental makeup and array of skills to do more for Kansas this postseason than Wiggins could in 2014.

Below is a look at the regular-season statistical output from both Wiggins and Jackson, prior to the start of the Big 12 tournament.

Andrew Wiggins' stats
entering 2014 postseason
Josh Jackson's stats
entering 2017 postseason
Games
Starts
31
31
31
31
Minutes
(avg.)
998
(32.2)
952
(30.7)
FG-FGA 165-365 194-380
FG% .452 .511
3s-3s att. 39-113 29-77
3-pt% .345 .377
FT-FTA 153-200 90-161
FT% .765 .559
Off. Reb.
Def. Reb.
69
113
73
151
Total Reb. 182 224
Reb. Avg. 5.9 7.2
Fouls 83 94
DQ 3 4
Assists 50 95
Turnovers 67 86
Blocks 29 33
Steals 36 51
Points 522 507
PPG avg. 16.8 16.4
Reply 4 comments from Plasticjhawk Mike Tackett Jayhawkmarshall Bill McGovern

One more time: Iowa State takes on Kansas in Big 12 semifinals

Iowa State forwards Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim celebrate the Cyclones' win over Kansas State on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. They will face Kansas in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Tournament on Friday.

Iowa State forwards Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim celebrate the Cyclones' win over Kansas State on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. They will face Kansas in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Tournament on Friday. by Nick Krug

Iowa State didn't have to go to overtime to beat Kansas State in the first game of the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at Sprint Center, but that game was just as intense as the one that followed it — an OT thriller between Kansas and Oklahoma State.

Now that both the Cyclones (24-7) and Jayhawks (24-8) have lived up to the old March motto of "survive and advance," they will play each other for the third time this season Friday night at Sprint Center for a chance to advance to the Big 12 title game.

ISU and KU haven't played each other in six weeks. In the first meeting, on Jan. 13, Kansas won, 77-70, at Iowa State.

The rematch came 16 days later in Lawrence. Again, Kansas prevailed. This time, 92-81, at Allen Fieldhouse.

For the end of this trilogy, we've got a neutral site, in Kansas City, Mo. Sprint Center usually can't be called neutral the way Kansas fans pack it out, but Iowa State might be the one school this season that can come close to matching the crowd energy of the Jayhawks' fan base.

ISU always travels well for the conference tournament, even if the faithful know their Cyclones have little chance of winning the event. This year, ISU (ranked No. 16 entering the postseason) could be cutting down nets Saturday night. Even if the Cyclones have to go through No. 10 Kansas to do it.

As a bit of a refresher course on Fred Hoiberg's Cyclones, here is what they've been up to lately.

Melvin Ejim, No. 3

6-6, 220, sr. forward

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe defends as Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim drives during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe defends as Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim drives during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 15 points, 5/15 FGs, 2/5 3s, 3/3 FTs, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 3 steals, 5 fouls.

— Jan. 29 at KU: 18 points, 7/13 FGs, 1/2 3s, 3/4 FTs, 8 rebounds (3 offensive), 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls in 29 minutes.

The Big 12's player of the year had a slow start in the quarterfinals against K-State. Slow by his standards at least. And Ejim still scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds after picking up some hardware.

None by Cyclone Basketball

Said Hoiberg of Ejim's outing, after ISU advanced with a 91-85 win: "Melvin, to go out there, and he had five offensive rebounds in the first half, did a good job I thought. He missed a couple of easy ones there in the first.  He could have had a 30‑point game, but then made those really tough finishes around the basket, down the stretch.  He hit some big free throws for us and again really helped us do the job on the glass."

He averages 18.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and has hit 36 of 109 3's in Hoiberg's free-wheeling offense.

DeAndre Kane, No. 50

6-4, 200, sr. guard

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor gets a hand in the face of Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane as he puts up a three late in the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor gets a hand in the face of Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane as he puts up a three late in the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 21 points, 6/13 FGs, 1/3 3s, 8/16 FTs, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 4 steals.

— Jan. 29 at KU: 22 points, 8/14 FGs, 2/4 3s, 4/6 FTs, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 34 minutes.

Kane scored the first basket of the game against Kansas State, then didn't make much noise offensively for a long time.

The All-Big 12 first team point guard scored 11 points and had 2 assists before fouling out. Still, ISU handled the final minutes just fine without him.

Kane averages 16.9 points, 6.7 boards and 5.8 assists. He has shot a team-leading 214 free throws, but only converts them at 63.6% of the time.

Georges Niang, No. 31

6-7, 240, so. forward

Kansas center Joel Embiid battles for position with Iowa State defenders Georges Niang, left, and DeAndre Kane during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Joel Embiid battles for position with Iowa State defenders Georges Niang, left, and DeAndre Kane during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 11 points, 4/20 FGs, 0/9 FTs, 3/4 FTs, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers.

— Jan. 29 at KU: 24 points, 10/17 FGs, 3/7 3s, 1/2 FTs, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers, 1 block in 38 minutes.

When Kane left the floor against K-State, Niang became ISU's go-to play-maker.

After the Wildcats tied the game at 76 with less than four minutes left, Niang hit a jumper, found Naz Long for a 3, hit Ejim for a layup, scored in the paint, grabbed a defensive board and fed Long for an assist.

The versatile forward finished with 18 points, seven boards and four helpers.

"You look at what Georges did at the end," Hoiberg said, "those last couple of minutes he was in there, we gave the ball to him and he just went out there made unbelievable basketball plays."

Niang averages 16.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and also likes to fire from deep — connecting on 43 of 137 3-ponters this season (just 31.4%).

Dustin Hogue, No. 22

6-6, 215, jr. forward

Kansas players Joel Embiid, left, and Perry Ellis defend against a shot from Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas players Joel Embiid, left, and Perry Ellis defend against a shot from Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 13 points, 3/10 FGs, 0/1 3s, 7/8 FTs, 9 rebounds (6 offensive).

— Jan. 29 at KU: 7 points, 2/5 FGs, 2/3 3s, 1/2 FTs, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers in 31 minutes.

This guy might be the most impressive rebounder in the country. Hogue is only 6-foot-6 but always seems to come up with the ball once it bounces off the rim. Oh, you're bigger than him? Doesn't matter. He's gonna get it.

Hogue joined Ejim in the double-double department vs. K-State, going for 19 points and 10 rebounds.

"Dustin Hogue, I thought, did everything today," his coach said. "He's always been a guy that's done the dirty work for this team, all throughout the year. He doesn't get the credit he deserves today, not only on the defensive end and rebounding, which he always does, but made some huge plays for us on offense."

Hogue hit 6 of his 8 shots Thursday. On the season, he averages 10.6 points and 8.6 boards.

Monté Morris, No. 11

6-2, 170, fr. guard

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins drives to the bucket between Iowa State players Monte Morris, left, and DeAndre Kane during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins drives to the bucket between Iowa State players Monte Morris, left, and DeAndre Kane during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 7 points, 1/5 FGs, 1/4 3s, 0/1 FTs, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, 4 steals.

— Jan. 29 at KU: 4 points, 1/4 FGs, 0/2 3s, 2/2 FTs, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 0 turnovers in 35 minutes.

Morris consistently put teammates in position to make something happen against Kansas State, and he ended up dealing 10 assists, to go with five points and three steals.

"I thought he was great," Hoiberg told the media after the game. "He always does the right thing defensively, got some key deflections. We were having trouble getting stops unless we got a turnover and I thought he did a really good job of staying tight with (Will) Spradling. It's not an easy matchup. He moves so much and Monte, I thought, did a great job chasing him all over the floor. And 10 assists and one turnover, it's hard when you have an 8‑to‑1 assist‑to‑turnover ratio to increase that in a game. But to go out there and do that as a freshman in his first Big 12 tournament tells you all you need to know about that kid. He loves the big stage. He won back-to-back state championships in Michigan. He came out and played as poised a game as I think you can have as a freshman."

Morris averages 6.0 points this season, and has passed out 120 assists, compared to 21 turnovers, in 31 games.

ISU bench

Naz Long, No. 15

6-4, 205, so. guard

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins floats a shot over Iowa State guard Naz Long during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins floats a shot over Iowa State guard Naz Long during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 0 points, 0/2 FGs, 0/2 3s, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 16 minutes.

— Jan. 29 at KU: 0 points, 0/3 FGs, 0/2 3s, 1 turnover in 8 minutes.

Long has developed into ISU's best 3-point shooter, as he proved at the end of regulation against Oklahoma State last week, setting up an ISU overtime victory.

He drilled 2 of 3 from deep against K-State, and finished with 14 points.

On the year, Long has hit 53 3-pointers on 135 attempts (39.3%).

Matt Thomas, No. 21

6-3, 200, fr. guard

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 3 points, 1/5 FGs, 1/4 3s, 0/1 FTs, 2 rebounds, one assist, 3 blocks, 1 steal.

— Jan. 29 at KU: 6 points, 2/6 FGs, 2/6 3s, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 turnover and 2 blocks in 25 minutes.

A steady guard off the bench, Thomas averages 6.1 points, has made 43 of 127 3-ponters and has only turned the ball over 15 times all season.

He went scoreless against K-State in 10 minutes of action.

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