The healing salve to the Jayhawks’ road aches, pains and sometimes damaged psyches, Allen Fieldhouse will need to inoculate its inhabitants yet again on Monday.
Five times this season, the schedule has sent the Kansas men’s basketball team back to its home court following a road loss. And five times it has been just what the Dr. James Naismith would have ordered.
Turned into roadkill by Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday night, the Jayhawks look more wounded now than they have at any point in this season full of mediocre to poor showings on opponents’ home floors.
KU didn’t lead on the scoreboard at any juncture against the Red Raiders. By halftime, the Jayhawks trailed by 25, marking the program’s largest intermission deficit in 18 years. Once the final buzzer sounded on a 91-62 Tech rout, the 29-point beatdown doubled as the largest margin of defeat suffered by KU in Big 12 play since 2000.
It left the Jayhawks (20-7 overall, 9-5 Big 12) in third place in the conference standings, down 2 games to first-place Kansas State (21-6, 11-3), with only four games to go in the regular season.
Of course, the perennial league champs have a shot at cutting the Wildcats’ lead in half on Big Monday (8 p.m. tipoff, ESPN). And clearly, their pattern of following road losses with home wins should put the Jayhawks in a better head space than most teams would be coming off such a potentially catastrophic loss.
The framework for KU recoveries began in December. Kansas lost at Arizona State by 4, and returned to Lawrence to beat Eastern Michigan by 24.
More strenuous turnarounds would follow. After a 17-point loss at Iowa State, KU defeated TCU by 9 in the Feldhouse.
After hitting the pothole that was a 1-point defeat at last-place West Virginia, the Jayhawks recouped with a 4-point home victory over Iowa State.
Following double-digit losses in back-to-back road games — by 18 at Kentucky and 10 at Texas — KU got right with some home cooking in the form of a 16-point win against Texas Tech.
And when the Jayhawks were right back on the road three days later, leaving Manhattan with a 7-point defeat at the hands of rival K-State, they went right back to their winning in Lawrence ways, beating Oklahoma State by 12.
Now 15-0 in Allen Fieldhouse overall this season and 7-0 against Big 12 competition, KU gets a rematch with the Wildcats, who have used a 6-1 road mark in Big 12 games to achieve their spot atop the standings.
K-State couldn’t win at Texas Tech in its first league road game of the season, but Bruce Weber’s bunch has rattled off six straight wins in opposing Big 12 venues since: by 1 at Iowa State, by 13 at Oklahoma, by 18 at Oklahoma State, by 7 at Baylor, by 7 at Texas and by 14 at West Virginia.
There’s a 12-point loss at Texas A&M and a 14-point home loss to Iowa State mixed in there, too, during that stretch, so the Wildcats are far from infallible. But they should be as inspired as ever, knowing a win over KU would all but put an end to the Jayhawks’ 14-year reign as Big 12 champions.
Will that be enough to ruin KU’s always handy home court elixir, though? The Jayhawks have known nothing but success inside Allen Fieldhouse this season, and with the stakes higher than ever, the crazed fans that back them should be ready to provide the juice necessary for a 48-hour recuperation.
KU needs to win out and get some help from teams playing against Texas Tech (22-5, 10-4) and K-State to keep the program’s Big 12 title streak alive. An injection of new life from a home win over K-State is the most crucial step in that playing out.
Kansas maintained its spot atop the Big 12 standings Monday night by catching rival Kansas State off guard with some zone defense in a 70-56 road victory.
The Jayhawks (18-4 overall, 7-2 Big 12) could have fallen into a tie for first place with the Wildcats (16-6, 5-4) had K-State successfully defended its home floor.
Instead, KU hit the midway point of the conference schedule in a familiar position — with the rest of the Big 12 looking up at the perennial champion.
Here are five statistics from the Jayhawks’ latest Sunflower Showdown victory that stood out.
Defending the ’Cats
K-State had a chance to beat Kansas in Allen Fieldlhouse earlier this month because the Wildcats shot 49 percent from the field and went 13-for-26 in the second half.
The Jayhawks didn’t allow their rivals to get so comfortable in the rematch. K-State converted just 21 of 65 shots in the home loss, as KU came away with its second-best field goal percentage defense of the season, 32.3 percent. It was also the second-worst shooting performance for K-State.
Although junior Dean Wade still put up 20 points, KU did enough to get Wade, a 56.6-percent shooter on the season, to miss 10 of his 18 shots.
Barry Brown’s tear through the Big 12 hit a major bump, too, as KU became the first conference opponent to limit him to single digits, with 9. Brown, the second-leading scorer in league play (21.2 points per game), shot 4-for-16 and only got to the foul line for one free-throw attempt.
K-State’s 56 points were the second-fewest by a KU opponent this season.
The streak is over
Not the Jayhawks’ run of Big 12 titles, of course. That streak looks like it could reach 14 in the weeks to come. Actually, KU put an end to an unattractive slump Monday in Manhattan.
In each of the 10 games before it, Kansas players gathered fewer rebounds than their foes. The skid ended at K-State with the Jayhawks securing 41 boards to their rivals’ 31. The importance of that tally wasn’t lost on seniors Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte’ Graham when they spotted it on the post-game box score.
KU’s offense — in good ways and bad — actually helped make the winning rebound margin possible. The Jayhawks’ 14-for-20 shooting in the first half meant there weren’t many misses available for the Wildcats. Same goes for KU’s 12 turnovers — no shot attempt, no chance at a rebound. As a result, Kansas out-boarded K-State, 22-12, in the first half, when the home team only had 8 defensive rebounds.
The Jayhawks drew even on the glass in the second half, allowing them to maintain the big margin.
Malik Newman’s career-high 10 rebounds led the team, while Mykhailiuk grabbed seven and Mitch Lightfoot added five off the bench in 20 minutes.
The +10 differential in KU’s favor put an end to the longest rebound-margin losing streak in the Bill Self era.
The 2017-18 KU roster doesn’t feature the type of double-double frontcourt players that highlighted teams of years past.
However, KU’s backcourt proved it can put up big numbers in multiple categories, as well. Both Graham (16 points, 11 assists) and Newman (13 points, 10 rebounds) achieved double-doubles at K-State.
It was the first such achievement of Newman’s career and the third for Graham (every one coming this season).
All of their Kansas teammates combined have posted nine double-doubles over the course of their college careers. Udoka Azubuike leads the way with five. The big man’s most recent one came at Texas in the Big 12 opener (13 points, 13 rebounds).
Graham and Newman became the first KU teammates to record double-doubles in the same game since Landen Lucas and Kelly Oubre Jr. (2015).
De Sousa still playing catchup
Self, since freshman forward Silvio De Sousa arrived on campus in late December, has pointed to early February as the first time the Jayhawks will really know what kind of team they have. Self said that because he knew De Sousa’s assimilation from the high school game to the Big 12 would not be easy. It would inevitably take time for the freshman big man to adjust to everything.
Kansas will play its first February game on Saturday against Oklahoma State (11 a.m. tip-off, CBS). And De Sousa still has a long way to go before making a real impact.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward logged only 2 minutes Monday at Kansas State, contributing nothing statistically — unless you count his 1 foul and 1 turnover.
Twenty seconds after checking into the game in the first half, De Sousa didn’t get out to the perimeter in time to defend a successful Wade 3-pointer.
Next, in a less-than-20-second span, De Sousa turned the ball over and fouled Wade as the K-State veteran scored on the first-semester Jayhawk.
De Sousa might have the size and tools to give Kansas more in a few weeks, but he isn’t there yet.
Disparity in shot attempts
It’s a good thing the Jayhawks came through with one of their better defensive efforts, because K-State attempted 19 more shots than the visitors.
Kansas was not just better defensively than the Wildcats on the night, it had a far more effective offense, too. While both teams made 21 field goals, KU did it on 46 attempts and K-State put up 65.
Various factors led to the discrepancy: KU’s 16 turnovers to K-State’s 7; K-State’s 11 offensive rebounds to KU’s 7; the Jayhawks shot 26 free throws, while the Wildcats only attempted 11.
But the bottom line was Kansas made the most of its possessions, scoring on 31 of its 67 (46.3%). K-State came away with points on 25 of its 66 possessions (37.9%). And the Jayhawks did it while posting season-lows in both field goals made (21) and attempted (46).
More news and notes from Kansas vs. Kansas State
- Surprise zone keys Jayhawks’ win at Kansas State
- Tom Keegan: Malik Newman finds his role, confidence through rebounding
- Notebook: Udoka Azubuike heckled during warmups; KU wins again on Kansas Day
- The Keegan Ratings: Svi surpasses 20 points for third consecutive game to top ratings vs. Kansas State
- Matt Tait's Postgame Report Card
- Road-tested Jayhawks beat K-State in Manhattan
During most of Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown inside Allen Fieldhouse, the Kansas defense found little success in trying to defend 6-foot-10 junior Dean Wade. The forward thrived when the Jayhawks tried to defend him one-on-one, and Wade shot 8-for-14 from the floor on his way to a team-high 22 points.
After KU dodged its third fieldhouse defeat of the season with a 73-72 victory over its rivals, head coach Bill Self described Wade’s offensive showing as “fabulous,” but also made sure to praise his sophomore center, Udoka Azubuike, for a couple “great” defensive sequences late in the game when asked to stop Wade.
The No. 12 Jayhawks (14-3 overall, 4-1 Big 12) don’t often have their 7-foot sophomore defend opposing bigs who spend much of their time operating on the perimeter. In the final minutes of a tight game, Self let his the big man and his teammates know K-State (12-5, 2-3) would look to use Wade on ball screens and then have him pop open for jumpers of face-up opportunities.
Azubuike already had blocked five Wildcats shots on the afternoon when his 280-pound frame entered the defensive spotlight for the game’s final seconds, along with sophomore guard Malik Newman, on the perimeter, far from the paint, where he is most comfortable and effective.
With the game clock ticking down, Wade came up from the left block to set a ball screen for Barry Brown Jr. The first time Wade tried to get involved, he came away from a screen on Newman to move over to the top of the key, and Azubuike stayed with him.
“When I saw that he set the screen he went to the other side and I knew (Brown) was going to pass the ball to him, so I tried to deny the pass to him as fast as I can,” Azubuike said of a pass that never came.
Instead, Wade came right back to Brown for another pick. Azubuike made one quick defensive slide to his left to make sure Newman had time to recover. The center extended his long right arm upward when he saw Brown gather for a potential game-winning 3-pointer, and by the time Brown got his shot off Newman had arrived to contest it even better.
“I just tried to get a high hand,” Newman said after the dramatic ending, “and big fella did a great job of getting a high hand.”
According to Newman, Azubuike has improved as a perimeter defender in those situations.
“He’s doing great. I think every day he’s getting better and better. For him to be that big and that mobile I think that just says a lot about how much he’s been working in the weight room and things like that,” Newman said, adding the big man’s back is doing “much better,” allowing Azubuike to play with more activity than he had in previous weeks. “He’s had great energy since I saw him this morning, so I knew he was coming ready to play.”
Self didn’t consider putting Azubuike on Wade in a potential pick-and-pop situation as ideal, so the Jayhawks may have been fortunate Brown opted for the contested 3 instead of a pass to Wade on the action.
Still, Azubuike reacted appropriately under pressure out of his element. Asked whether he trusts the second-year center to defend such actions, Self’s reply showed the coach thinks Azubuike often doesn’t meet his potential when defending on the perimeter.
“When Dok’s turned up he’s a great athlete. A great athlete. He can slide his feet and guard just about anybody when he’s turned up. And he was turned up,” Self offered. “I’m not saying that’s the ideal situation, but he was turned up.”
The effort was there with the game on the line. Now Self will want to see Azubuike move swiftly and smartly every time the young big is outside of the paint, helping defend the perimeter.
Since the last time Kansas University's men's basketball team faced in-state rival Kansas State — an easy home victory for the Jayhawks — Bruce Weber's Wildcats have gone 4-3.
Though K-State (16-7 overall, 6-4 Big 12) dropped all three of its road games in that stretch — at Texas, Iowa State and West Virginia — things went much better at Bramlage Coliseum, site of tonight's Sunflower Showdown with No. 7 Kansas (18-5, 9-1). The Wildcats beat Oklahoma, WVU Texas Tech and Texas at home.
Tied for 4th place in the Big 12 standings with ISU, K-State just dismantled the league's second-place team, Texas, 74-57, at "The Octagon of Doom" on Saturday.
Check out the highlights from ESPN:
Currently on a 12-game home winning streak, the Wildcats have thrived on their home floor with three wins over top 25 teams this season. Going back even farther, they've defeated eight of their last 11 ranked opponents at Bramlage.
In Big 12 play, Weber's Wildcats lead the conference in scoring defense (67.0). They're second in field goal percentage (45.9%, behind KU's 51.7%), field goal percentage defense (40.1%, behind KU's 40%) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.26, behind ISU's 1.6). K-State is third in three-point field goal percentage defense (33.3%) and assists (15.1)
For a group that is solid defensively, the Wildcats don't create many turnovers, though. They're 5.0 steals a game average is dead last in the Big 12.
K-State has scored 70 or more points in 10 of the last 14 games, including six times in Big 12 play. But, obviously, that didn't happen on Jan. 11 in Lawrence, when KU handled the Wildcats, 86-60.
There also is the matter of K-State's perpetual struggles with the Jayhawks. KU has won six in a row in the series, 13 of the last 14 and 48 of the last 51. Kansas is 187-91 all-time against K-State.
The Wildcats' last victory over Kansas came on Valentine's Day in 2011, 84-68, in Manhattan.
Let's get reacquainted with K-State's top players, whom KU will have to once again shut down to prevent a rare Sunflower Showdown win fro the 'Cats.
Marcus Foster, No. 2
6-2, 200, fr. guard
— Jan. 11 vs. KU: 7 points, 3-12 FGs, 0-3 3s, 1-4 FTs, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 turnovers, 3 fouls in 23 minutes.
Crazily enough, only one Wildcat scored double digits against Texas this past weekend. Well, maybe it's not so crazy, considering Foster had 34 by himself.
The dangerously explosive young guard only missed 3 of his 16 shots and nailed 5 of 8 three-pointers on his career afternoon.
For some perspective, he became the fifth K-State freshmen ever to score 30 or more points and the first since Michael Beasley.
Foster's effort marked the first 30-point game for a Wildcat since Jacob Pullen went for 38 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
The freshman struggled in his first visit to Allen Fieldhouse, going 3-for-12. Perhaps the road environment overwhelmed him a bit. Surely KU's defense had a lot to do with his seven-point performance, too. But expect Foster eager to produce up to his standards — 14.7 points — or better in the rematch.
His 50 three-pointers and 134 attempts from deep lead the team
Thomas Gipson, No. 42
6-7, 265, jr. forward
— Jan. 11 vs. KU: 10 points, 5-7 FGs, 4 rebounds, 2 turnovers.
The most productive member of the frontcourt, the junior leads K-State in field goal percentage (58%) and rebounding (6.5 boards a game).
Gipson scores 11.7 points a game and has led the Wildcats in scoring seven times this season.
He scored 10 points against Kansas in Lawrence, earning the distinction of being the only starter to reach double digits.
Defensively, Gipson only averages 0.5 blocks a game but he leads K-State with 12 charges drawn.
Shane Southwell, No. 1
6-7, 215, sr. gaurd
— Jan. 11 vs. KU: 9 points, 4-8 FGs, 0-1 3s, 1-1 FTs, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover.
The third scoring option for K-State, the senior guard finds other ways to make an impact, too. Southwell averages 3.1 assists a game and 1.1 blocks.
Throw in 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 10.7 points and you've got a nice complimentary piece for a defensive-minded team.
Southwell will take three-pointers (96 attempts this season), but he has only made 28.1% from behind the arc.
Will Spradling, No. 55
6-2, 185, sr. guard
— Jan. 11 vs. KU: 6 points, 2-6 FGs, 0-4 3s, 2-2 FTs, 2 rebounds.
He's been playing regular minutes for K-State since he was a freshman (95 career starts), so you know the drill. The guy is primarily a three-point shooter — 73% of the 136 shots Spradling has taken this season have come behind the three-point line.
Of the 99 threes the senior shooter has hoisted, 36 have dropped through the net (36.4%).
Spradling averages 7.8 points a game. He passes out 2.6 assists and has only turned the ball over 15 times in 665 minutes this season.
In his last five games, he's averaging 11.0 points an outing.
Wesley Iwundu, No. 25
6-7, 195, fr. forward
— Jan. 11 vs. KU: 4 points, 1-2 FGs, 2-2 FTs, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 block.
An accurate shooter at 49.1% in his freshman season, Iwundu averages 7.0 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Because he spends more time battling in the paint than any other Wildcat, the 6-7 forward leads the team with 81 free throw attempts. But he only shoots 65.4% at the foul line.
Against Texas, Iwundu scored eight points and had season-highs with eight assists and three steals.
Jevon Thomas, No. 5
6-0, 180, fr. guard
— Jan. 11 vs. KU: 9 points, 2-7 FGs, 1-1 3s, 4-6 FTs, 3 rebounds, 1 assists, 2 turnovers in 28 minutes.
The freshman guard has shown real potential but he didn't become eligible until the 12th game of the season, so he has had his ups and downs while adjusting to life in the Big 12.
Thomas plays more minutes (21.3) than any other member of K-State's bench. However, those numbers are on a downward trend, with Weber playing him just 11 minutes against West Virginia and three against Texas.
He is closer to a true point guard than anyone else on the roster, and dishes 3.3 assists a game to go with 3.5 points.
Nino Williams, No. 11
6-5, 220, jr. forward
— Jan. 11 vs. KU: 12 points, 4-5 FGs, 4-4 FTs, 3 rebounds, 1 turnover in 17 minutes.
The backup forward has carved a niche for himself on the second unit, averaging 6.9 points in his last 14 games (5.6 on the season).
With most of his shots coming inside, Williams shoots 51.7% from the floor. His 76% free-throw shooting leads the team — he's even better than Spradling (71.7%).
Williams has scored double digits four times in 10 Big 12 games, and led the Wildcats' struggling offense at KU, with 12 points.
Almost half of his 3.0 rebounds a game come on the offensive end of the floor.
In the past few weeks, Bruce Weber’s Kansas State Wildcats (12-3 overall, 2-0 Big 12) emerged as one of college basketball’s surprise teams of the season.
The guys in purple that reside an easy drive west on I-70 from Lawrence didn’t start off 2013-14 in great form, dropping a game to Charlotte and getting blown out by Georgetown in November at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. But the Wildcats have won 10 straight since then, with victories over Gonzaga (currently ranked No. 22) and Oklahoma State (which fell from No. 6 to No. 11 following its 74-71 loss at Manhattan last weekend).
The Wildcats’ most recent victim was TCU, which fell, 65-47, at home to K-State. Below is a dramatic interpretation of what transpired, courtesy of the K-State Sports YouTube channel:
Far more awe-inspiring, though, is how K-State shocked most Big 12 observers by beating Oklahoma State on Jan. 7. The ‘Cats are winning with their defense. Their 58 points allowed per game leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 9, nationally. What’s more, K-State boasts a 25.1-percent three-point field goal percentage defense (No. 5 in the nation) and has held 13 of its last 14 opponents below their scoring average.
This group of Wildcats is stingy, particularly on the perimeter, where each guard stays glued to his man and rarely lets a shot get off uncontested. Though Oklahoma State put up 71 points at Manhattan, the Cowboys went 21-for-52 from the floor (40.8 percent), thanks in large part to a woeful night from deep: 3-for-14 (21.4 percent).
Meet the players who want nothing more in the world today than to come to Allen Fieldhouse and knock off No. 18 Kansas (10-4, 1-0) — the Jayhawks have won 47 of the last 50 meetings in the Sunflower Showdown.
Marcus Foster, No. 2
6-2, 200, fr. guard
Just to give you an idea of how well the freshman has played since arriving Manhattan, some observers in the Little Apple are comparing him to Mitch Richmond.
Yes, that Mitch Richmond.
Foster is averaging 14.1 points and 3.9 rebounds, and has hit 33 of 90 three-pointers (36.7 percent) to date. The dynamic young guard reached double-digit scoring in 10 straight games, including a team-best 17 against Okie State.
And, just in case you missed it, Foster posterized David Stockton of Gonzaga. Prepare to be amazed. The highlights themselves show off Foster’s explosive skill set, but the production level on this clip is off the charts, too.
Thomas Gipson, No. 42
6-7, 265, jr. forward
Gipson led K-State with 19 points against TCU, and the team’s most reliable big is averaging 13.3 points on 61.6-percent shooting during his team’s 10-game win streak.
The third-year player missed the first two games of the season with an injury, but has regained his form of late, with a double-double (10 points, 11 boards) against Oklahoma State, and has made 60 of his 101 field-goal tries this year (59.4 percent).
Shane Southwell, No. 1
6-7, 215, sr. gaurd
The K-State senior is one of the players Weber can rely upon to do a little bit of everything. Southwell has led the team in assists six times this season and been the top scorer on three occasions, while averaging 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists on the year, and has 16 steals to his name.
Despite his experience and versatility, Southwell doesn’t always take smart shots, and it shows in his percentages: he is 59-for-148 from the floor (39.9 percent) and 17-for-59 from downtown (28.8 percent).
Wesley Iwundu, No. 25
6-7, 195, fr. forward
In his college debut this season, the swingman from Houston posted a double-double, with 14 points and 10 boards off the bench against Northern Colorado.
Iwundu, now a starter, averages 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds on the year, and has got to the foul line more than any of his teammates, making just 44 of 64 free-throw attempts (68.8 percent).
Will Spradling, No. 55
6-2, 185, sr. guard
Now in his final season in a K-State uniform, Spradling has started 87 times in his career. While he only averages 6.9 points and 2.5 assists this year, Weber clearly trusts him — the heady guard averages 28.9 minutes a game. Spradling ranks in the top 10 all-time at K-State with 154 career three-pointers and 273 assists.
Still, he hasn’t got going this season, making just 30 of 90 shots (33.3 percent) and 21 of 65 from deep (32.3 percent). Even his free-throw percentage (63.9) isn’t great.
Jevon Thomas, No. 5
6-0, 180, fr. guard
Thomas officially joined the team on Dec. 21, after sitting out the fall semester. In his four games, he has 17 assists and just four turnovers.
His eight points and five assists helped K-State knock off Oklahoma State last weekend, and Thomas proved to be just the play-maker the Wildcats had lacked. He can thread the needle on passes inside to get Gipson and other frontcourt players easy baskets.
Nino Williams, No. 11
6-5, 220, jr. forward
A sub averaging just 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds might not seem like much of a threat, but Williams has averaged 6.8 points in his last six games and made 14 of his 25 shots in that stretch.
Strong, though undersized for a forward who mixes it up inside, his biggest night came in K-State’s marquee win over Oklahoma State. Williams hit three of his four free throws in the final 13 seconds to help seal the win and finished with a season-high 15 points.
No matter what happens today against Kansas, or for the rest of their lives for that matter, the Wildcats can always say they did this:
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self and sophomore forward Perry Ellis addressed the media Friday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, less than 24 hours before the Jayhawks' Big 12 home opener, Saturday at 1 p.m. versus Kansas State.
KU (10-4 overall,1-0 BIg 12) is ranked No. 18, and K-State (12-3, 2-0) is No. 25 entering the Sunflower Showdown.
Here are the highlights from the Q & A.
Being from Kansas, with two Kansas schools playing, he gets a little fired up, but he tries to take every game the same.
K-State had a good program, good people when he was recruited by them, when Frank Martin was there. But he gladly picked KU.
Ellis played much better at Oklahoma, compared to game vs. San Diego State. It translated from how he practiced.
Wednesday night was great for Wayne Selden. Players have been encouraging him to attack like that and he had a great game.
KU had a couple plays where Jayhawks got on the floor at Oklahoma. "That's Kansas basketball right there." Coaches showed that again yesterday, and it got the players fired up to play that way.
- He had a lot of fun on Wednesday, and he wants to continue to play like that.
K-State is guarding and their freshmen are playing more minutes and gaining confidence.
Jayhawks will talk about the rivalry today. Those from outside this region don't know a lot about the in-state rivalry. They'll talk a lot about it today.
Marcus Foster is hungry/thirsty for K-State. He will be an all-league player eventually. The K-State freshman has impressed so far.
Some have compared Foster to Mitch Richmond. Richmond "one of the baddest boys" in the country when he played at K-State. Richmod was an Olympian. But Self can see why the comparisons are made. People are comparing Joel Embiid to Hakeem Olajuwaon.
Flattering to know that the Sunflower State has three programs in the top 25, with K-State and Wichita State joining KU in the rankings. There is no negative to that. Self likes to see that.
Big 12 schedule has a "monster start" for Kansas. "We need to be our best right now." Kansas has been favored several years, but league title has been up for grabs before. But this is a rare season where a lot of teams have a legit chance.
K-State defense at a very high level this season. Right now K-State coaches have them playing about as well as any team in the country on "D."
There is no question the new proposed apartment complex will help recruiting. KU currently "way behind" in terms of current housing, compared to KU's biggest competitors. Location is the best part about current housing. Bells and whistles are very important. Renovations to Allen Fieldhouse and those sort of upgrades are not different from the intent of the housing. New housing also would give athletes better protection from agents, runners, professional autograph seekers, and circumstances that could be used against the program.
Self proud of Joel Embiid just for playing at OU, with goggles. It was comical that he sometimes forgot to keep the protective eyewear down. But coaches have been nothing but pleased with his development. San Diego State gave Embiid space near the free-throw line, and Self wants Embiid to take those open looks when he gets them.
Jayhawks felt really good about themselves after winning at OU. Great for their confidence. Good for coach's confidence, too, he joked. KU obviously didn't play well in loss to San Diego State. That's a pretty big body blow. He hopes players never get comfortable with losing, and they proved they weren't comfortable with the way they played at OU.
Players were very active at OU, and that's contagious. There were seven players diving on the floor on one play. Might have been a result of getting their "butts beat" against San Diego State. Could have been the start of a "new season," Big 12 play.
Naadir Tharpe closed the game the way a point guard is supposed to close at Oklahoma.
Conner Frankamp played well at OU, it wasn't just the two shots he made.
Kansas has missed on some kids in state, made some recruiting mistakes. Local kids, in games like versus K-State, it's nice to have some players that understand the rivalry. KU has had some great local players, such as Tyrel Reed, Travis Releford. "I wish we could get a kid out of here every year."
Complete audio from Bill Self's Friday press conference is available here.