Sunday, March 24, 2013

Notebook: Jayhawks call team meeting; Self closing in on 300th KU win

Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Andrea Hudy, assistant athletic director for sport performance watch the Colorado State and Louisville game as McLemore is stretched in the locker room before the team's practice, Saturday, March 23, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Andrea Hudy, assistant athletic director for sport performance watch the Colorado State and Louisville game as McLemore is stretched in the locker room before the team's practice, Saturday, March 23, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.


— Less than impressed with a seven-point victory over No. 16-seed Western Kentucky, Kansas University’s seniors conducted a players-only team meeting in the locker room Friday night.

“We talked about not letting nerves get the best of us and talked about how this is our last go-round,” senior center Jeff Withey said. “Ben (McLemore, freshman) is probably going to go to the NBA, and we’re all seniors (other four starters). If some things went wrong, we could have been done. Our season would have been done, and we’d never played again at Kansas. We’ve got to be more intense and focused and not let nerves get the best of us.”

Senior Elijah Johnson said the Jayhawks’ frame of mind will be fine for today’s 4:15 p.m., third-round game against North Carolina in Sprint Center.

“Be aggressive, have fun, not be uptight,” Johnson said. “Getting off to a good start. That starts in the morning when we wake up, having fun. You’ve just got to relax. It can be tough if you make it tough. Last night we made it tough.”

KU coach Bill Self acknowledged his squad “tried hard. We were just tight. That game is behind us. I don’t think that game will have anything to do with how we play (against North Carolina) at all.”

299 and counting

Self’s next coaching victory will be his 300th at KU. Earlier this year, he won his 500th game. He is 506-163 in 20 seasons overall, 299-58 at KU.

“I highly doubt he is aware of that,” said KU freshman guard Tyler Self, the coach’s son. “I don’t think he looks at it as a personal milestone as much as a team thing and what it took to get there and all the players who have come through and all the players he’s had the privilege to coach.

“I think he’s just trying to win another game in the NCAA Tournament, and not looking at it trying to get his 300th win.”


Western Kentucky forced 17 turnovers against KU on Friday, making some wonder if UNC will press the Jayhawks.

“Well, I think we had opportunities to dunk a couple balls if we could just play catch as opposed to being at second base and throwing it into the stands,” Self said. “It was almost like that. So we didn’t do a great job against the pressure.

“Carolina will try to pressure us. I don’t know if Carolina will try to press us, but I think they’ll try to pressure us. We got to get better getting open one pass away. We have to get better at passing and handling. Once you are better at that, you have to be better at attacking pressure and scoring behind the pressure. That’s something we didn’t do a good job of at all yesterday.”

KU prepared for WKU’s press.

“We practiced against seven or eight guys (at a time) last week and didn’t do a good job,” he said. “I think it’s something we can attack better and will attack better.”

Like the Cyclones?

North Carolina has been compared to Iowa State in terms of running four guards around a big man.

“Well, they don’t run the same stuff,” Self said. “I think personnel there are some similarities, except Carolina’s got a guy you can throw it to at 10 feet or throw it to him at three feet (James Michael McAdoo), and you can come away with two points or a foul, where Iowa State liked to spread it all over, all five spots.

“Certainly we haven’t played against a so-called 4-man that can stretch it and shoot it with the range that (P.J.) Hairston does, not at all. Iowa State did have some 4-men that could make threes, but this is ridiculous how he makes threes and how many he can make, what a streak he can get on. That’s a little bit different. But I do think the fact that we have played somebody that can stretch it from at least four spots at all times hopefully will be a benefit playing in the game tomorrow.”


North Carolina has five McDonald’s All-Americans in its starting lineup.

“I mean, that’s great,” said KU’s Travis Releford, “but I don’t know. We’ve got one (Perry Ellis). I don’t know if that means anything. After McDonald’s, you’ve still got to prove yourself in college all over again.”

More from Friday

In defeating Western Kentucky, KU won the school’s 2,100th game and became the first school in NCAA history to have won at least 30 games for the fourth straight season. Memphis won 30 for four straight seasons from 2006-09 but later vacated the 2008 season.

Series talk

UNC leads the all-time series against KU, 6-4. KU has won the last two meetings in the NCAA Tournament — 80-67 in last year’s Elite Eight in St. Louis and 84-66 in the 2008 Final Four semifinals in San Antonio. First meeting between the schools was UNC’s 54-53 triple-overtime win in the 1957 NCAA title game in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. KU beat UNC, 79-73, in the Final Four semifinals in 1991 in Indianapolis. In 1993, UNC beat KU, 78-68, in the Final Four semis in New Orleans. Only one game in the series has been played on a home court. UNC defeated KU, 78-70, on Dec. 17, 1960, in Allen Fieldhouse.

Tharpe says

KU guard Naadir Tharpe on the match-up: “Probably the most important thing is for our bigs now because North Carolina, they can shoot the ball really well. They play a little four-guard set. Our bigs are going to have to get out to the shooters as well. That’s something that’s going to be different than what Western Kentucky did.”


Steve Zimmerman 9 years, 6 months ago

Coach Roy got his 700 jersey, I wonder what KU's got for coach Self. Hope it's something different & cooler. Early congrats to coach Self!

Joe Ross 9 years, 6 months ago

Much has been and will be made of two tradition-rich programs meeting today, but a program's reputation is earned the hard way: one game at a time. It sounds like the players are aware of what's at stake and the appropriate mindset with which to approach the game. The Roy Williams vs. Kansas hype and the 300-game milestone are complete non-issues. The fact is, it really doesn't matter who we play in terms of focus. Kansas needs to key in on certain objectives: control the boards, play perimeter defense, set good screens, pound the ball to the post where we have the advantage, and reduce turnovers. Oh yeah, and Ben McLemore needs to get much more involved.

I love Roy Williams, but not today. He is just another coach of a different team that Kansas needs to chop the head off of. It's not personal, it's just business.

Rock Chalk and let's get this done.

Joe Ross 9 years, 6 months ago

Bulletin board material: Wichita State, a #9 seed, defeated a #1. Carolina is an 8 seed...

Phil Leister 9 years, 6 months ago

Bulletin board material is when the other team talks trash. I don't think KU cares what WSU did.

Joe Ross 9 years, 6 months ago

Bulletin board material is anything pregame that motivates a team to play their best. This includes, but is not limited to, trash-talking by the other team.

Michael Luby 9 years, 6 months ago

IMHO Carolina is seeded a bit low this time. They are better than an average 8 seed. Alternately, Gonzaga wasn't ready for the Shockers and we will be ready for UNC. Kansas represent!

dynamitehawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Carolina starts five McD's AA's and is an 8 seed in an off year. Wow.

April13 9 years, 6 months ago

A players meeting? Those always work.

kennethst 9 years, 6 months ago

Good to have a meeting.......But hope they are not too worried about Friday's game. They won.....that's all that matters.....and they need to focus on that.

Kye Clark 9 years, 6 months ago

Still beating that same drum huh? The "we won so who cares" beat?

Apparently some of us fans weren't the only ones who thought their performance on Friday was bothersome. That they have cause for concern that despite winning that poor performance could snowball into another, just like it did during their conference season funk.

So you have Self saying in the post-game that he wasn't pleased, players only meetings...but what do they know? I'm sure it was all according to plan.

Kit Duncan 9 years, 6 months ago

So, sitting around for 36 hours or more while every other team in the tournament played didn't weigh heavily on the team. Anticipation only lasts so long, and I'm betting it ran out about the time the guys entered the locker room.

That won't happen today.

Steve Corder 9 years, 6 months ago

Limit the stupid turnovers and we win and go deep in the tourney.

Luca Rossi 9 years, 6 months ago

Score more points than our opponent we will win every game.

chaggs 9 years, 6 months ago

I think the possibility of being the first 1 to lose to a 16 was looming over them Friday night. They'll be more lose and I look forward to them returning to form today and continuing.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 6 months ago

Playing UNC will be playing to win not playing to lose like they did vs WKU. Completely different ball game.

kckuguy 9 years, 6 months ago

Johnson says " be aggressive and have fun" . That is true, but let us not forget to concentrate and take care of that ball. Stupid turnovers are just that, stupid. And they don't go away by laughing them off. Take care of the ball like your life depended on it. I would like to see Johnson get a little pissed off when he turns the ball over and get pissed of at himself. I know you need to play loose, that does not mean playing carelessly.

jingalls 9 years, 6 months ago

They certainly needed to have a team meeting. Watching all the games and seeing the players leave it all out there is the message here. Battle, like Marquette and Butler. Play to win like FGCU. Handle the pressure like Michigan. These Jayhawks have lessons to learn before it's too late.

utahjayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

About time to cheer on Iowa State. Go 'Clones!

eric poncharello 9 years, 6 months ago

“Be aggressive, have fun, not be uptight,” Johnson said.“Getting off to a good start. That starts in the morning when we wake up, having fun. You’ve just got to relax. It can be tough if you make it tough. Last night we made it tough.” Elijah is a good talker, he needs to walk the walk and MAN UP or SHUT UP!!!

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