Originally published February 22, 2014 at 12:33a.m., updated February 22, 2014 at 09:51a.m.

Kansas looks to save face in rematch with Texas

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor is followed by teammate Tarik Black as the Jayhawks leave the floor after their 81-69 loss to Texas on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 at Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor is followed by teammate Tarik Black as the Jayhawks leave the floor after their 81-69 loss to Texas on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 at Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.


Today, Kansas University’s basketball team can take a huge step toward claiming a 10th-straight Big 12 Conference championship.

The first-place Jayhawks, who possess an 11-2 record in league play, take on second-place Texas, which at 9-4 is a full two games back with five remaining.

“To me, it’s not even about the league race Saturday,” KU coach Bill Self said in previewing the 6:30 p.m. KU-UT battle in Allen Fieldhouse.

“It’s about playing Texas and playing a team that’s already handled us once. One of the residual effects is that it’s big for the league race, but it’s also just an opportunity for us to try to play better against a team that smacked us around pretty good.”

KU’s motivation today may simply be trying to atone for an 81-69 defeat to the Longhorns on Feb. 1 in Austin. The Longhorns, who like KU enter today’s game with a 20-6 record, led by 15 points at halftime and 20 in the second half.

In other words, it never really was close.

“Our big guys should look forward to the challenge of going against their front line. They kicked our butt on the glass,” Self said. “We never put any game pressure on them. They controlled that game pretty well.”

The Longhorns, who were led by Demarcus Holland and Cameron Ridley who grabbed 11 and 10 rebounds respectively, outrebounded KU, 44-37.

“Holland wore us out, stole a lot of extra possessions for them,” Self said of the 6-2 sophomore guard from Garland, Texas. “Cameron is a big guy (6-9 sophomore from Houston) and those sorts of things, but we’ve played other big guys in the past. We’ve played other big teams, too.”

The Jayhawks, who are fifth in the league in rebounds per game at 38.1 (Texas is first at 42.0) have been out-boarded just four times all year, losing three times (Texas, Villanova, San Diego State) while beating Baylor in Allen despite being outrebounded by two.

“We get an opportunity to get the Longhorns back after they thumped us at their place,” Self stated. “We’ll be geeked up to play. They will be too.”

Freshman center Joel Embiid, who needs one block today to pass Eric Chenowith and become KU’s all-time freshman shot-block leader (record is 62), led the Jayhawks with 10 rebounds in that first meeting in Austin.

“I mean it’s just us. At the beginning of the game, we just weren’t ready to play and we lost,” Embiid said. “It will definitely change on Saturday. We will be ready.”

Point guard Isaiah Taylor and Jonathan Holmes led the Longhorns with 23 and 22 respectively. Wayne Selden had 21 and Perry Ellis 11 points for KU, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped at UT.

Slowing Taylor, 6-1 freshman from Hayward, Calif., could be pivotal tonight.

“He’s one of the quickest guys in the league if not the country,” KU freshman guard Conner Frankamp said.

If KU does win today, it could wrap up at least a share of its 10th consecutive league title Monday vs. Oklahoma (8 p.m., Allen). The NCAA Div. I record is held by UCLA, which won 13 straight league titles. Gonzaga had a streak of 11 league crowns snapped in 2012.

“It’s a game that would definitely give us some serious breathing room,” Self said of today’s contest.

The apartments: KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger at Friday’s athletic advisory committee meeting was asked about the status of plans to build a $17.5 million apartment building for KU basketball players and other students. On Tuesday, the university dropped its legislative request for bonding authority to build the apartments. The House Education Budget Committee last week rejected the bonding proposal.

“We’ve regrouped and will pursue other strategies (to raise the funds),” Zenger said. “That project is alive and well.”

It is believed the apartment complex will be built by money raised from KU donors.

New job thrills Floodman: Banks Floodman, the new associate AD/executive director revenue development in KU’s Williams Fund, spoke to the committee.

“I’m from Wichita originally and received undergraduate and graduate degrees (at KU),” Floodman said. “I’m a Jayhawk at heart and passionate about this place. This is a dream job for me. I’m very excited.”

Floodman, a former KU football player, said the Williams Fund’s first goal is to raise funds to pay for scholarships and travel for the Jayhawk student-athletes in all sports.

Tyshawn to Puerto Rico: Former KU guard Tyshawn Taylor, who is playing for Maine in the NBA Development League, will play for Atléticos de San Germán in Puerto Rico in April, once the D-League season is over, reports. Taylor is averaging 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds for Maine.

Cliff vs. Jahlil: KU signee Cliff Alexander’s Curie High team defeated Duke signee Jahlil Okafor’s Whitney Young squad, 69-66, in four overtimes in the Chicago Public League final on Friday at Chicago State. Alexander, ranked No. 4 nationally, scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. The No. 1-rated Okafor, who had foul problems, scored 16 points.


Jesse Johnson 8 years, 9 months ago

"Point guard Isaiah Taylor and Jonathan Holmes led the Longhorns with 23 and 22 respectively. Wayne Selden had 21 and Perry Ellis 11 points for KU, which had a seven-game losing streak snapped at UT."

Should read seven-game winning streak.

Robert Brock 8 years, 9 months ago

Will this game be much different than the one in Austin?

Eliott Reeder 8 years, 9 months ago

I believe it will. We'll come out hot, they'll battle back and make it a game going into the half, and we'll cruise to an easy win in the second...

Dirk Medema 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm definitely not going as far as Eliot, but a quick look at the conference results tells you there historically is a HUGE difference between games at home and games on the road. It is all the teams in the middle of the conf. They win at home and lose on the road. We are about the only team in conference that has multiple W's on the road (TCU doesn't count, and until recently TT & WVU were gimme's as well). It is also the reason UT is where they are. They finish with 4 of 5 on the road, or something like that.

Today should be a solid win, especially with Coach playing the toughness card. We have built enough of a lead that we could win the conf w/o this W, but Coach sees it as being pushed around and knows that might win championships in March, but he's ultimately building towards one in April. Are you tough enough? This game should be a very focused yes.

Kent Richardson 8 years, 9 months ago

If we go to the rim and get blocked 11 times, no. If Texas comes off screens and gets to the rack, no. If Perry, Wayne and Drew hit 12 footers, yes, If we block out, yes. If all this happens a wild card will decide it.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 9 months ago

Good to see that Cliff is doing his thing in Chi-town. Maybe he'll be Champagne dancing next week. It was interesting to watch their Monte Verde game (replay on ESPN) last week. This one is taped as well.

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 9 months ago

Here's one of the better pics from the Tribune.,0,1712125.photogallery

Curie's Cliff Alexander dunks against Young in the first half of the Public League final Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.

Kent Richardson 8 years, 9 months ago

Let's see if we can take it personal and make them like it? We were up for Okie State but they didn't like it and almost whupped us. Same for Iowa State. We cannot accept the we are young excuse anymore for inconsistency. May be the best game of the year. We are always getting everyone's best effort. I am of the opinion we haven't shown our best effort yet.

1) Where are the Oddities Listings for today?

2) Are we great or are we not?

3) Is this a team that can peak?

4) Have we seen more than little spells of dominance?

5) We have been very critical of this squad. Is that warranted?

6) We have been apologists. Is that?

7) Is this a team that has it figured out?

8) What is more likely - Andy and JoJo do their thing and either Pear, Wayne or Naa help enough and we go deep? Or

9) Andy and JoJo do their thing and we shoot 3 for 16 from 3 pt. land and can't beat a round of 32 team?

It's akin to the opening tip and he ball goes up and stays up in the air. Don't you think?

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 9 months ago

2) No, because there are no great teams anymore because of the OAD rule.

3) Every team peaks, it's just a matter of when and how high that peak is that varies from team to team.

4) Depends on your definition, one person's yes is another person's no.

5) Given the expectations we fans have of the KU program, we as a whole are overly critical every year regardless of expectations.

6) Most of these kids are experiencing a lot of firsts as basketball players. Can anyone honestly say they've handled every new situation they experience as well as they could have?

7) We'll find out over the next 6 weeks.

8) Depending on KU'S seed, a round of 32 match up could be against a top 25 team. A 6 or 7 seed is still a top 30 team nationally and if a loss like that happened in the regular season on a neutral court, it wouldn't be a huge surprise.

Kent Richardson 8 years, 9 months ago

Music to my eyes moments so far.

Andrew playing D and going to the rack.

JoJo coming out of no where to block or jam it.

Wayne doing his body control hang, pump and score at the rim move.

Tarik sticking his chest out and his leadership.

Naa burying a three.

Conner handling the ball and shooting in rhythm.

Jamari's drives from the free throw line.

Perry's super quick spin and put in.

Brannen's "What the ....? Yesssss!!

Frank's I'll kick your 6'10" a** attitude.

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