Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Tom Keegan: Expect dogfight tonight at Allen

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins talks to Devin Williams During Saturday’s game with Baylor.

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins talks to Devin Williams During Saturday’s game with Baylor.


The Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll says West Virginia is the 10th-best team in the nation and third-best in the Big 12, behind No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 6 Kansas.

The Big 12 standings say otherwise. The Mountaineers sit alone atop the conference with an 8-2 record, one game ahead of the Jayhawks and Sooners in the loss column.

The first-place standing won’t make West Virginia complacent. That word is not in the vocabulary of hard-driving, rough-around-the-edges coach Bob Huggins, one of the best in the business.

“Obviously, they know what the standings are,” Huggins said on Monday’s Big 12 conference call. “My message, I guess, is the dog with the bone always is in danger. So we’ve got to continue to play as hard and hopefully as well as we can play.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Landen Lucas: WVU pressure can 'get into your head'

Kansas junior forward Landen Lucas discusses some of West Virginia’s strengths the day before the Jayhawks’ rematch with the Mountaineers. Lucas says WVU sends a lot of guards to the glass, which makes it more difficult for opponents to rebound. Lucas also thinks West Virginia’s pressure defense can “get into ...

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The analogy was well-timed. Nobody should be surprised if they look into the stands tonight and see Michael Vick, because this promises to be a dogfight of a basketball game with intensity running hot all night.

Evening the score dominates the thoughts of KU, which lost a 74-63 stinker four weeks ago in Morgantown.

“This is as big a week as we’ve had all year to date, without question,” Kansas coach Bill Self said of a week that ends Saturday with a game in Norman, Okla. “But I told ’em it’s not a big week because of the league race. It’s a big week because we get a chance to play a team that’s already beaten us and basically out-toughed us in a game. So I think that’s the motivation. It’s not always big-picture motivation, even though that’s important. A lot of it’s just immediate motivation of being able to compete against someone that’s already handed it to us.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Svi Mykhailiuk: Jayhawks have to handle WVU pressure in rematch

With games coming up against No. 10 West Virginia and No. 3 Oklahoma this week, Kansas sophomore guard Svi Mykhailiuk says the Jayhawks are about to play two of their most important Big 12 games. KU struggled in a road loss at WVU in January, and Mykhailiuk says the Jayhawks ...

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West Virginia had no trouble stealing the bone, as well as the basketball, from Kansas. The Jayhawks turned it over 22 times against the Mountaineers, who rank No. 1 in the nation in that statistical category. The Mountaineers also rank No. 1 nationally in offensive rebounding. One other stat puts West Virginia at the very bottom, or top, whichever way you prefer to look at it. Mountaineers’ foes attempt 57 percent as many free throws as field goals, a testament to how aggressively Huggins’ players defend. Iowa State, a passive defensive team, ranks first, or 350 spots ahead of WVU, with a rate of 21.4 percent, as tracked by

Kansas didn’t look ready a month ago for West Virginia’s unconventional brand of basketball, which entails crashing the offensive boards and then, if failing to get the rebound, immediately pressuring the defensive rebounder.

“A lot of times when you can’t simulate pressure or athletic ability in practice sometimes things actually do look better and you get a false sense of what’s good,” Self said.

Now that Kansas has experienced it firsthand, that alone should take away the shock value and enable the Jayhawks to perform much better this time.

“We didn’t attack it very well, and the times that we did, we didn’t score,” Self said. “The three-on-twos or the four-on-twos or the four-on-threes or the two-on-ones, we didn’t take advantage of them. That’s something you have to do against West Virginia because you have to make them pay for extending, and if you don’t make them pay, they just get hungrier and hungrier.”

Nothing motivates junkyard dogs quite like hunger.

— Tom Keegan appears on The Drive, Sunday nights on WIBW-TV.


Joe Joseph 6 years, 3 months ago

The outcome of this game will either establish West Virginia as the clear favorite to win the conference or reestablish Kansas as the major front runner.

Texas is good, but that game last night, coupled with OU's lackluster road performances, should prove to people that OU isn't much better than the rest of the top of the league.

Kansas is still very much in the hunt... with a win tonight.

Mike Riches 6 years, 3 months ago

Texas is no longer one game out of first after last night, although they should have won that game. I'm surprised Oklahoma is struggling they way they are.

We've got to attack their press tonight. We can't just be content getting the ball across half court, which is exactly what happened in Morgantown. Aggressiveness will pay off tonight, and I think with our home crowd, we win this game (without overtime like last year.)

Btw the Michael Vick comment is probably in poor taste...

Kent Richardson 6 years, 3 months ago

Is it any more than just missing shots with OU?

Don Burgundy 6 years, 3 months ago

Keegan, I don't know what would prompt you to bring up Vick and his transgressions, but that incident happened 10 years ago. IMO that was a, in Bill Self's words, "dick move".

Joe Baker 6 years, 3 months ago

I get it. But used in poor taste. You are making a silly point, and especially after the Newton incident.

Come on Keegs, you can do better than this. You are a professional and if this is your attempt at asserting your wit at the expense of using another football player's mistake, you failed miserably. If this is professional sports journalism, it's terrible. We don't need this right now. I agree bad move.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Geez...c'mon give it a rest. The Vick reference was a clever reference to the nature of tonights game to a well know spectator to actual events.

Bruce Brenner 6 years, 3 months ago

What is "clever reference" about a person funding dog fights?

John Randall 6 years, 3 months ago

The reference is clever in applying the "dog fight" sobriquet for tonight's AFH confrontation to the actual dog-fighting occurrences of ten years ago.

Like most of the lib-left, you exhibit the "It never happened if we don't talk about it." syndrome. You may construe this comment as complimentary –– it wasn't so intended.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 3 months ago

I agree, Suzi. Boo Hoo, poor Michael Vick, his past still haunts him. All he did was operate and fund fight to the death dog fighting. Just more of the PC crowd. I suppose they consider it in poor taste to invoke the names Charles Manson or Adolph Hitler, also.

Actions have consequences. People not forgetting and reminding you of particularly heinous or vile acts you have committed is part of the deal. You sometimes get to live with them the rest of your life.

Joe Magnuson 6 years, 3 months ago

Did you just compare Michael Vick to a psychopathic mass-murder and the worst person in the history of the world? I was as disgusted as people could get about Vick's conviction, but he served his time and justice was completed. He is remorseful and that stigma will never leave him (nor should it). But to compare him to those two...that's probably excessive.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 3 months ago

No, Joe, I did not compare Michael Vick to Manson and Hitler. Just taking the argument to the extreme that there are those who apparently consider referencing anyone's criminal history to be "in poor taste."

RJ King 6 years, 3 months ago

Keegan could’ve let sleeping dogs lie. But it’s a small bone of contention. We screwed the pooch last time out. Our boys should be licking their chops tonight. Let’s keep these mongrel ankle-biters at bay, and turn them into dog meat.

Perry Ellis must be the alpha dog and not drag his tail. Carlton must play like a purebred, and spot him some minutes.

We need Frank, to listen to his master’s voice - and be a bulldog, not a hot dog. Graham must make his bite worse than his bark, while on the hot scent of Paige, Carter, or Miles. I hope Wayne is no longer sick as a dog, and can jump through hoops.

Lucas must fetch boards, and rub their noses in every missed bucket. Jamari Traylor to be a rabid junkyard dog. For fans with a bone to pick, we unleash pick-of-the-litter greyhound Cheick Diallo, and hope Self throws a bone to Hunter. We need more big dogs.

Puppy dog Svi’s gotta make threes like it’s raining cats and dogs. Let Greene out of the dog house, with no hang-dog expression, as long as he hounds his man. The only Vick we need to discuss is Legerald. Time to take off the short leash and teach the other guards to sit (for a bit)?

Don’t let conference race be the tail that wags the dog. Despite teams nipping at the heels, Self is not barking up the wrong tree here. If we don’t work like a dog, this race WILL have gone to the dogs, and our pedigree will mean nothing.

Glad I have a dog in the fight. Hot diggity dog = rock chalk!

Bville Hawk 6 years, 3 months ago

Nice work, RJ. Keegan is probably jealous that he didn't take the dog references further!

Kent Richardson 6 years, 3 months ago

The post includes all the Kibbles and Bits imaginable. Bow WOW!

Joe Baker 6 years, 3 months ago

a testament to how aggressively Huggins’ players defend

Is it called "defend"? I think Huggins prefers to call it mugging. He himself even said after the last game the officials call the game in such a way his "aggressive" style of play basically pays dividends. He will take advantage of the fact the officials will not call every foul on every play. The refs need to keep it clean and whistle fouls when the WVU players commit them. No, they won't get them every time, but according to Muggins, they can foul or get physical which puts the officials into a difficult decision to call fouls. It's almost as if Huggins is daring them or challenging them to call fouls. Officials also know that if they call fouls when they should, it will look odd to fans.

KU has a great opportunity to take what is theirs and at least claim the title. They will then go to OU, which is going to be another dog fight. I hope this team understands what Self means by "tough." They haven't found it consistently and need to become hungry and the hunter, not the hunted.


Kent Richardson 6 years, 3 months ago

We are especially vulnerable because we are not fleet of foot. If the refs allow them to make the body bump and the incessant slapping and poking Frank will not get a shot off.

Both teams at TCU had trouble with fumbling and mis-dribbling. Don't know if it was the ball or the bright frog hair floor.

Perry has trouble holding onto the ball sometimes and Landon does too. Svi and DeVonte dribble it off their feet and Svi gets his pocket picked. In the full court Wayne doesn't push it fast at all. I hope he feels better and runs and attacks like crazy.

It may be like Joe says regarding the referees and depending on that may be a big difference.

WVU is not a great shooting team so making them shoot threes would help and we have to avoid the lulls on offense because we aren't good enough defensively lately to be a come from behind team.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

TCU's floor is hopefully better to play on then it is to view. I liked using the horned frog's skin pattern on the court but wish they could have toned it down.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 3 months ago

When Vick decided that it's okay to torture and kill dogs for excitement I feel empathy for the dogs not Vick. A dead dog is not a sleeping dog.

However we are talking about college players, not criminals. Keegan's job is to make money for the paper and if he writes something provocative he will take the heat for that.

Don Burgundy 6 years, 3 months ago

What Vick did was wrong, but there are people who have killed other human beings that haven't been as ripped apart by media and others like he has. It's been 10 years, move on.

Jerry Walker 6 years, 3 months ago

"Come on Keegs, you can do better than this." -- Joe Baker

Unfortunately for KU basketball fans...he's incapable of doing better.

John Randall 6 years, 3 months ago

Not true, Jerry. Like most editorial comments, the ones from Keegan stray into many levels of competence ... a fair number are pretty well done.

Some replies just reveal a vicious desire to cast nasty aspersions at anyone more well-know than themselves.

Jerry Walker 6 years, 3 months ago

Nope...uh's a cognizant appraisal of grammar school writing skills.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

"Unfortunately for KU basketball fans...he's incapable of doing better"

You're certainly welcome to your opinion Jerry but it's a long way from a statement of fact.

Robert Brock 6 years, 3 months ago

Simple: Rebound. Take care of the ball. Don't be a victim in your own house.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

If Keegan wanted to tie Michael Vick, Brannen Greene and "Dick move" all together the better reference would have been Vick's Ron Mexico adventure. That truly was a dick move.

Jared Reeves 6 years, 3 months ago

Kansas barely won at Allen last year. Hopefully the crowd can inspire the players to play better than the team did at Morgantown. RCJH!

Clarence Haynes 6 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully the players can play mistake free ball and kick the Mountaineers in the rear end!

John Randall 6 years, 3 months ago

Mistake-free is a naive description of any game involving WVU

The kicking rearends fits much more aptly.

Clarence Haynes 6 years, 3 months ago

No nativity here! Perhaps I wasn't clear enough for you to read between the lines John! I was inferring that KU should minimize the number of mistakes including the points not having 9 turnovers as they did the last time.

Kit Duncan 6 years, 3 months ago

The first five minutes of the game will be crucial. If KU goes strong into the WVU defense and gets some early favorable foul calls, it may relieve some of the pressure. If KU plays passive and WVU gets some turnovers, they're just going to step up their mugging.

My feeling, if the same officiating crew is there tonight as the last couple games at home, KU will prevail. Those officials have been pretty fair in their calls and won't let Huggins get in their head.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

Must win for KU, of course, but even if we win, we still have to go to OU, Baylor, Texas, and K-State. I'm as big a KU fan as anyone, but don't like our odds. Hope they prove me wrong.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

Lots of tough games left for all the contenders. The best team will end up on top, or the top team will be the best team........

Just like each of the last 11 seasons.

Mike Riches 6 years, 3 months ago

Still a long ways to go but I agree this is as close to a must win (to get #12) as we're going to see in early February. For WVU to go up two games, and we don't play them again, plus the games left on our schedule that you mentioned...we would be in bad shape. I think we can do it tonight! Should be a great game!

David Kemp 6 years, 3 months ago

Key is to play fast. Don't let the game come to you. Last game we let them set up the press instead of taking it to them. Watching wv play they have had most success against us over other top tier teams. This is our time, must happen today. Keep the dream alive

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

Andrew White III will make a final AFH appearance next year as KU and Nebraska ave agreed to play a home-and-home series beginning next season.

AW3 stats:


Andrew White 24 28.9 17.2 6.2 0.7 1.0 0.4 1.7 .505 .795 .420

Kent Richardson 6 years, 3 months ago

Looks like the move paid off for him. Nice. With his size and skills he may be earning a big payday instead of playing KU next

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

I'd be surprised if he left after this season. His years at Kansas were underwhelming even if not completely his fault. Always liked the guy and glad to see him show just how good he really was.

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