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Monday, January 4, 2016

Big, big, big Big Monday: KU, OU gird for ‘ridiculous’ matchup

Oklahoma top scorer Buddy Hield, left, and Kansas University leader Wayne Selden Jr., right, will meet in Monday's likely No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown between KU and Oklahoma in Allen Fieldhouse.

Oklahoma top scorer Buddy Hield, left, and Kansas University leader Wayne Selden Jr., right, will meet in Monday's likely No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown between KU and Oklahoma in Allen Fieldhouse.

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Loud on Saturday for Kansas University’s Big 12 opener against No. 23-ranked Baylor, Allen Fieldhouse should be really rocking during tonight’s battle between the likely Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the land.

“It’ll be ridiculous, and it should be,” KU coach Bill Self said of an 8 p.m. tipoff between the Jayhawks (12-1, 1-0) and Oklahoma Sooners (12-0, 1-0), who along with SMU and South Carolina are one of three unbeaten teams in the country.

KU, which was No. 2 in last week’s Associated Press poll, will certainly climb to No. 1 this morning. Oklahoma, which was No. 3, should move to No. 2, all in response to No. 1 Michigan State’s loss to Iowa.

“I think it’ll be jumping. I think it’ll be great for our league,” Self said of what is expected to be the first meeting between AP’s Nos. 1 and 2 teams since No. 2 Michigan State topped No. 1 Kentucky, 78-74, on Nov. 12, 2013, in Chicago. It’ll mark just the second time Allen has hosted a No. 1 vs. 2, with the other on Feb. 13, 1990, when No. 2 Missouri upended No. 1 KU, 77-71.

“Certainly they (Sooners) deserve to be where they are, and we’ve played pretty well with the exception of just a few minutes against a great team (a 79-73 loss to Michigan State). It should be a fun night,” Self said.

Update: 12:33 p.m. Monday

Kansas takes over No. 1 spot in AP poll

The Sooners actually figure to be No. 1 in one of the country’s polls today. Last week, OU was No. 2, KU No. 3 and MSU No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The last time — likely the only time — a No. 1 in the AP poll met the No. 1 team in the coaches poll was Feb. 25, 2007, when No. 2 Ohio State (coaches) beat No. 1 Wisconsin (AP), 49-48, in Columbus, Ohio.

KU’s all-but-certain return to No. 1 in the AP poll busts a bit of a drought. The Jayhawks last were ranked No. 1 on Feb. 14, 2011. KU held the top spot for just one week, falling to Kansas State, 84-68, on Feb. 14.

“I’d rather be there at the end than now, but I think it could be nice,” Self said of being No. 1. “I think it’s fun to be part of the group or the conversation. We’ve still got to sign some kids. It makes for a good recruiting mailout, things like that.”

The players are definitely fired up. No Jayhawk has yet been No. 1 here before.

“Like coach said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in the history of college basketball. It’s the first time for me, coach Self and the program, first time we’ll have a 1 vs. 1 on this floor,” junior guard Frank Mason III said. “This will be a huge game for the program. I think everybody is excited.”

KU, which has defeated OU in 13 of the past 15 meetings, ranks third in the country in scoring (88.3 ppg), while the Sooners check in at No. 6 (87.0). KU is second in the country in three-point field-goal percentage (46.0), while OU is third (45.3). The Sooners are ninth in field-goal-percentage defense (37.0), while KU is 45th (39.1).

“We’re excited. They’re another good team. They’re another great team, actually,” said KU junior Wayne Selden Jr., who scored 24 points in Saturday’s 102-74 league-opening rout of Baylor. “We’re excited to get out there and compete against them. It’s not coming soon enough.”

OU is led by senior guard Buddy Hield, who leads the Big 12 and is fourth nationally in scoring at 24.7 ppg. He has four 30-point scoring efforts this season and is third on the team in rebounding at 5.3 per game.

“I never thought he would average 25, or we would have tried a lot harder to recruit him,” Self said of Hield, a 6-foot-4 senior from Freeport, Bahamas, who attended Sunrise Christian Academy outside of Wichita. “We recruited him, but you go back and look at it, we’ve had some pretty good players here, too.

“You say, ‘Well, Buddy’s good. Can he impact us like he impacted OU?’ The answer would probably be yes, but we probably thought at the time we’d love to get him, but OU probably pressed him more and did a better job recruiting him, and they ended up getting him.

“I don’t think Lon (Kruger, OU coach) would have told you he’d average 25 a game. I don’t think anybody would, but he’s terrific, and he’s a better kid than player,” Self added. “I love everything about him. He has so much energy and personality and is always smiling, but the guy can flat-out score.”

Junior guard Jordan Woodard averages 13.9 ppg, senior guard Isaiah Cousins 13.3 ppg (plus 4.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds) and senior forward Ryan Spangler 11.1 ppg and 10.2 rpg.

“They score so easily,” Self said. “Lon is the best at giving guys freedom offensively. They play with a free mind. They can stretch it from every spot. Their first-shot defense is exceptional. They’ve got a real experienced team.”

The key to handing OU its first loss?

“Don’t let Buddy Hield get off early, because that’s what they like to do,” junior Brannen Greene said. “Keep them out of the paint. Keep them out of their comfort zone. We’ve got to deny the ball everywhere, make it as tough on Buddy as we can. We know he’s going to score points. We have to make it as tough as possible on them, stick to our game plan, too.”

As far as playing two ranked teams in the span of three days ... “We’ve done it before, in Big 12 tournament time,” Greene said. “Coach Self is a genius at getting us prepared for games like this.”

Exciting game ahead: Kruger was asked Sunday about the teams entering the game ranked 1 and 2.

“That makes it exciting,” Kruger said in today’s Norman Transcript. “Guys know how tough it is. They know how good Kansas is. They know the environment. They’ve been there a few times. They know we’ll have to play well.”

Quite a game: Last year, OU erased a 19-point halftime deficit, ultimately falling to KU in Allen, 85-78. OU has dropped 14 straight in KU’s building (over 22 seasons), last winning, 80-77, in 1993.

“I just remember giving the game away that we had,” OU’s Hield told the Transcript. “Up by seven with three minutes left. We didn’t do a good job executing. We had a couple calls go against us. You always have calls go against you, but especially playing in Allen Fieldhouse. We have to do a better job executing and controlling the lead in the last three minutes. That’s something we’re capable of doing tomorrow.”

Hield added to the Transcript: “I enjoy it (playing in Allen). But I just don’t enjoy leaving it afterwards because I never got a win. Hopefully, I can change that around this year and sneak out a win. I think we can do it.

To the Oklahoman, Hield said: “It’s going to be fun. It’s a matchup that everybody is going to be watching. We’re going to handle our business. Kansas is a good ballclub. We’ve got to be locked in and focused. The crowd is going to be after us. We have to be ready.”

Langford’s grub: Former KU guard Keith Langford today will open his new Wingstop restaurant (2233 Louisiana Street).

Comments

Joe Ross 6 years, 8 months ago

The team with the "want to" will be the victor.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 8 months ago

Agreed and with both teams at a high desire it will come down to who can handle the pressure and who can't.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 8 months ago

Hield blaming the refs gives us a little insight? Love playing in Allen but don't like the feeling after leaving. Sounds like it has got in his head a little bit? Maybe he will try to do too much to the detriment of he team. He forced a couple of threes against ISU.

Maybe OU will be #1 in both polls and it isn't unprecedented. Doesn't matter, #2 has picked off #1 in 5 out of the last 6.

Three guard line ups with a 4 who can hit threes. Hield, Cousins and Woodard avg 50 pts, Selden, Frank and DeVonte avg 40 points. Selden needs to be like last game to make this even. Or any combo of up for us and down for the Sooners.

Perry will be aggressive at least to start the second half. He needs to out do Spangler and probably will.

They hit the boards with better success than we do by about 5 but I am beginning to lose faith in the stat. Hunter and hopefully Chieck can stuff and alter their drives. Overall our 5's can run better and better be doing that on breaks going either way.

The difference may be something obvious like FT's made (or missed) or a big lift from someone like Brannen or Vick.

This will be a fun day and I hope Hield likes it until he leaves. Lol.

Hey Rodney, Self mentioned recruiting just for you.

Benz Junque 6 years, 8 months ago

Every team and fan base that plays Kansas thinks KU gets home cooking. Ignore the fact that Baylor shot 31 free throws last Saturday or that Ellis only played 10 minutes in the first due to foul trouble or that...

Steve Grimm 6 years, 8 months ago

I got tired last year of the common Big12 team "whine" that KU gets all the calls. So I did some research: In the Big 12 era:

  • Best Home Court Advantage: 1st: Iowa State (2.07 call/per/game advantage; 2nd: Oklahoma (1.97 cpg advantage); 3rd: TCU (1.39 cpg advantage)

  • Most Favored Overall: 1st: TCU (1.81 cpg adv); 2nd: Oklahoma (1.61 cpg adv); 3rd: Iowa State (1.57 cpg adv)

In both of those categories, KU ranks 4th. (Home court: 1.15 calls per game advantage; Overall: 0.83 cpg advantage)

If I include the stats from the Big 8, KU is 7th overall....

So: Feel free to use this whenever you hear the KU referee-in-the-pocket "whine".

The stats, in this case, are the truth of the matter.

Steve Grimm 6 years, 8 months ago

Go for it! At the end of the day, the differences were actually quite less than I anticipated. I would say overall it (referee preferences) is a non-factor in the larger scheme of things.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 8 months ago

That is some serious research. Hats off!

Rodney Crain 6 years, 8 months ago

Kent, recruiting lol. Did you hear how quickly he changed the subject?

Lets keep it positive heading into the big game. :)

I am sure we will get somebody, anybody, my point the last few years is why are we so late, when just about everyone else, has 1 or 2 or more players signed?

Jay Scott 6 years, 8 months ago

Roddy....If you were a player, would you be signing early with a team that could very possibly have Mason, Graham, Svi, Green, Vick, Diallo, Lucas, Coleby and Bragg back? And Lightfoot coming in. No, you wouldn't. OK, maybe you would, but an intelligent player wouldn't.

Joe Ross 6 years, 8 months ago

Dont answer him Rodney. If the carrier stops to kick at every barking dog the paper never gets delivered.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 8 months ago

Several years ago the USPS made the letter carriers responsible if they were bitten. The countered and said okay if there is a bad dog in the neighborhood then no one gets mail. Everyone would call in and say I didn't get my mail. Then the neighborhood acted in concert against the bad citizen. No sure if that applies or not. It's not the contention but the personal comments part that is wrong.

Jay Scott 6 years, 8 months ago

Joe. If you feel like the ideas expressed aren't valid, put on your big boy pants and make a grown up counterpoint. Being a Chicken $hlt is even lower than being a Chicken Little.

Or maybe you subscribe to the Chicken Little "Paper" that Rod delivers?

Rodney Crain 6 years, 8 months ago

Good idea Joe, to tell the truth he rarely makes a point and makes himself look like a fool all on his own. It's pretty funny actually.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 8 months ago

It's a touchy subject. Lol. I think we have a good shot at the top 2017 center dude.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 8 months ago

Definitely a fun game tonight, but as far as I know, no trophies will be given out at center court after KU's win. Winning a league game at home totally outranks being #1 in January. Oh, and by the way, I hope Hield hates every second of his stay in Lawrence!!!!

Rodney Crain 6 years, 8 months ago

Agree 100% Tony. I hope we play well. We need to be aggressive right out the blocks, defend and box out for rebounds.

Jim Stauffer 6 years, 8 months ago

I really think the key to beating OU is shutting down Woodward and Cousins. Hield will get his.

Benz Junque 6 years, 8 months ago

How about if we harass all their perimeter players and try to shut down all of them?

Dustin Peterson 6 years, 8 months ago

He who protects everything, protects nothing. --Sun Tzu

Rodney Crain 6 years, 8 months ago

Dustin that quote is from Frederick the Great not Sun Tzu. And he uses the word defends not protects. To be picky about it :)

Rodney Crain 6 years, 8 months ago

you know it, her partys were off the charts lol

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 8 months ago

To get really picky about it, Adolf Galland is given credit for the quote "He who wants to protect everything, protects nothing,"....

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 8 months ago

My prediction for tonight's Big Monday basketball game is a Number1 ranked team will knock off Number 2 ranked team....or a 2 knocks off a 1 .... or a 1 knocks off a 1. In all cases, I'm predicting the same Kansas Jayhawk team to knock off OU.

Mike Riches 6 years, 8 months ago

If we play for 40 minutes, we'll be fine. I do believe what Hield said, if they have a lead late, they're not going to give it up like last year. But if our guys play a complete game, taking no possessions off, OU won't have a lead late...

Rodney Pain 6 years, 8 months ago

Time to earn that number one ranking. The real question is, who's guarding Hield? We can't let him get all the way to the rim the way he did against ISU when his shot wasn't dropping. We'll also have to do a better job getting back in transition than we did against Baylor on Saturday.

Dustin Peterson 6 years, 8 months ago

My hope would be DG. He looks to steal the ball, which slows Buddy down and doesn't give him the ability to have a free look for driving lanes while bringing the ball up.

Mick Allen 6 years, 8 months ago

If Hield is to get his points, make him be a "volume" shooter, like 7 for 22. Graham will need some help on him. I agree with you Rodney we can't let him get inside to score if he is not hitting his perimeter shot. Would help Graham in this regard in having a 5 in the game who can alter, change or block some shots in the lane,e.g.Hunter or Chieck, preferably Hunter, as Diallo still is out of position on defense too often. We can't let Hield do what Valentine did in the MSU loss, where he posted his smaller defender 5 to 8 feet from the cup in the lane and simply shot over the defender. We also need to close on their 3 point shooters and get a hand in their face.We also need to be strong on the defensive glass, as Spangler and Lattin are good offensive rebounders. To push the ball effectively we must get the ball off the board and deny the pss and try to jump the passing lanes, which will be tough as Hield, Woodard and Cousins generally do a good job o taking care of the ball. I assume Perry will guard Spangler whose 3 point shooting has improved significantly this year. We can not afford to guard him with Hunter, as Spangler's ability to draw him away from the basket will remove Hunter as a rim protector.Lucas is not quick enough to cover him and he will get Chieck in quick foul trouble. Jamari might be the best alternative to guard him if Perry gets in foul trouble orphan Perry needs a rest. Hunter and Landon can guard

Freddie Garza 6 years, 8 months ago

Hindsight is 20/20. And my hindsight is telling me that, while I'm perfectly happy with our current group of guards, it would have been pretty awesome to get Buddy Hield.

Benz Junque 6 years, 8 months ago

There is an All American almost every year that KU tried to land but went elsewhere. It's what happens when you recruit virtually all the decent high school players.

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 8 months ago

Definitely will need help from the bench, Hunter, Chieck, and Lucas will all need to step up on the defense. Have to contest every shot, I'll take a few extra blocking fouls if we make them miss. Just can't give them easy looks under the glass or anywhere w/in 3' of the basket. Get some blocks and transition baskets and we'll be most of the way to a W.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 8 months ago

They do something that i really like to see in an opponent. Bunnies missed.

Darwin Dandy 6 years, 8 months ago

I believe KU's depth will beat OU up in the end because they only go 7 players deep and if Perry get Spangler into foul trouble early or We can get one of the their guards in foul trouble and we make someone beside Buddy Hield beat us, we should be fine this game.

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 8 months ago

Indeed. As with all teams, we should run them ragged with our depth.

Mick Allen 6 years, 8 months ago

If Hield is to get his points make him a "volume " shooter, say 7 out of 23. Graham will need help on him. I agree Rodney, we can't let him get inside if he is not hitting his perimeter shot. It would help Devonte in this regard in having a 5 in the game who can alter or block shots deep in the lane e.g. Hunter or Diallo,preferably Hunter as Diallo is still too often out of position on defense. We can"t let Hield do what Valentine did to us in the MSU loss, where he posted his smaller defender 5 to 8 feet from the cup in the lane and simply shot over him. We also need to close aggressively on their 3 point shooters, who are everyone but Lattin, and get a hand in their face.We need to be strong on the defensive glass, as Spangler and Lattin are good offensive rebounders. To push the ball we must get the ball off the board and overplay and deny the ball in our man to man and get into the passing lanes as Frank and Devonte have shown they can,although this will be tough as Woodard, Cousins and Hield take care of the ball.. I assume Perry will guard Spangler whose 3 point shooting has improved dramatically. We can not afford to guard him with Hunter, as Spangler's ability to draw him from the lane will remove Hunter as a rim protector.Lucas is not quick enough to cover him and he will get Chieck into quick foul trouble.Jamari is probably the best alternative to guard him if Perry gets in foul trouble or when he needs a break. Of course Jamari does not give us much of an offensive presence. Hunter, Landon or Chieck can guard Lattin who has little shooting range. Frank will guard Woodard and Wayne will draw Cousins in two great match ups. In a close game until the end, Hawks cover the 61/2 point spread.

Mick Allen 6 years, 8 months ago

Pardon me, didn't intend to bore you with the same post twice. The first was posted before being completed and proofed.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 8 months ago

Certainly wasn't anything boring going on. Nice catch on how Valentine punked us. He hasn't had near that success since. I remember him running across the lane from left to right and flipping in a few from 5'.

Casey Olson 6 years, 8 months ago

Pretty excited for this game and glad it's in Lawrence. I haven't watched Oklahoma this year but I am sure there is no fluke to their start. It will be interesting to see how Perry gets going. He doesn't have to have a big game for us to win but I think we win by 10 if he scores 18. If not, it's up in the air and we would need someone to go nuts from deep. Can't wait!

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 8 months ago

Expert analysis, Mick. No doubt, Hield will do everything possible to get his points, but making him work for it has usually been successful with others in the past. Clearly, we didn't do that with Valentine in the MSU game, and we paid the price. That shouldn't happen at home though.

Jay Scott 6 years, 8 months ago

Kansas is a 7.5 favorite and the over/under is 159. I'm giving the points and taking the under. Kansas 81 - OU 70

Kent Richardson 6 years, 8 months ago

Dropping the winner by five points and the loser by 10. KU 82 - 75 is probably a very good indicator with two "good" teams. The other way around is 81-75 OU. Not hard to believe this could be possible either.

This was possible for the Baylor game until we went off against them early it worked out to to 75-65 KU at the start.

Sam Burns 6 years, 8 months ago

Who thinks our fans will storm the court?....I'm sure they won't, but I think every other school in the big 12 would.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 8 months ago

I don't think so unless we come back from 50 down and Self's watch explodes and knocks out Dickie V.

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