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Saturday, March 19, 2022

NCAA Tournament Notebook: Win over Creighton moves Kansas into tie with Kentucky for all-time wins

A sea of hands reach out to slap hands with Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) and the Jayhawks as they leave the court following their win over Creighton on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 79-72 win over the Bluejays.

A sea of hands reach out to slap hands with Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) and the Jayhawks as they leave the court following their win over Creighton on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 79-72 win over the Bluejays.

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Fort Worth, Texas — Saturday’s 79-72 win by top-seeded Kansas over No. 9 seed Creighton at Dickies Arena in the second round of the NCAA Tournament moved the Jayhawks into a tie with Kentucky for the most wins in NCAA men’s basketball history.

Both teams currently sit on 2,353 all-time wins, but, thanks to Saint Peter’s upset win over the Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, only the Jayhawks (30-6) can add to their win total the rest of this season.

Kentucky still has far fewer losses — and fewer seasons played — that the Jayhawks, currently sitting at 2,353-720 all-time compared to 2,353-877 for Kansas.

While owning the top spot is something that has meant a lot to fans of both programs who are constantly in search of some kind of edge in the bragging rights battle, Kansas coach Bill Self said this week that he’s more focused on winning one game than the thousands that have come before it.

“I don't even know if it registers on what it would mean to the program,” Self said Friday. “What it would mean is we won another game. And playing in the Sweet 16 is far more important than tying that (wins record). I hope we pass it by a couple, you know, by the end of the year. But not because of (moving into first place), just (because that would mean) we’re still going to be playing.”

North Carolina, which is also still alive in this year’s NCAA Tournament, — as a No. 8 seed that upset top-seeded Baylor in the early game in Fort Worth on Saturday — is third on the list with 2,320 all-time victories.

Small ball success

With starting big man Ryan Kalkbrenner out for Saturday’s game because of a knee injury he suffered in Creighton’s first-round win, Greg McDermott knew his team would have to beat Kansas by playing small.

And while that strategy worked for large chunks of Saturday’s Kansas victory, McDermott said Self’s decision to match him with a smaller lineup might have been the deciding factor.

“He tried to avoid it as long as he could,” McDermott said of Self. “And I had a feeling that it was coming at some point. We were able to take advantage with our small lineup, you know, pulling McCormack away from the basket, (but) I thought their small lineup made a game changing run in the middle (of the game).”

Patience pays off

Watching the game before theirs go to overtime for the second time in three days was not ideal for the Jayhawks.

But senior guards Ochai Agbaji and Remy Martin said the team utilized the extra pregame prep time, in both instances, to make sure it was as focused as possible.

“Usually you go into games and everything is on schedule,” Agbaji said. “Everything's on time, you warm up and then you go and take the court and then you have a situation where the game is going into overtime. So you just have to stay focused, keep your body ready, keep your mind ready, just (fine-tune) your approach to the games.”

Martin said the longer-than-expected wait time was not all that disruptive.

“It’s been simple, man,” he said after Saturday’s win. “It's tough when you want to go out there and it gets pushed back, but the mindset still stays the same, keep getting ready, make sure your body is warm. We’re here to hoop. So once we get on the court, everything's forgotten.”

“Thanks guys”

For the second time this weekend, Martin delivered a solid game on the floor on Saturday and then listened to his teammates and head coach gush about his play and importance to the team.

Jalen Wilson called Martin the player of the game on Saturday, and Agbaji said all of Martin’s trials and tribulations throughout his one wild season at Kansas “got him prepared for this moment.”

“For him to shine (and) for him to go on out there and just be Remy, it was really nice to see and I'm just so proud of him,” Agbaji said.

Smiling, Martin quietly said, “Thanks guys,” repeating the appreciation he showed a press conference earlier in the week.

In KU’s two victories in Fort Worth this week, Martin scored a total of 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting while adding eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and just one turnover in 25 minutes per game.

‘We want Kansas’

According to Internet reports from Buffalo, New York, where fourth-seeded Providence rolled over No. 12 seed Richmond to move into a Sweet 16 matchup with Kansas next Friday, fans of the Friars were heard chanting “We want Kansas!” near the end of their team’s 79-51 win.

KU and Providence have never met in men’s basketball.

The Friars enter Friday’s matchup at 27-5 overall. They won the Big East Conference’s regular season title with a 14-3 record and defeated No. 13 seed South Dakota State (66-57) and Richmond to reach their first Sweet 16 in 25 years.

This and that…

Saturday’s win was KU’s 30th of the season, marking the 16th time in school history that KU has cracked the 30-win mark. Ten of those have come in Self’s 19 seasons with the program… KU now leads the all-time series with Creighton, 11-6, including victories in six consecutive games with the Bluejays… KU is now 111-48 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, including a mark of 41-13 as a No. 1 seed and a 7-2 record in games played against the No. 9 seed… Kansas shot a season-best 95% from the free throw line on Saturday, knocking down 19 of 20 charity shots… The Jayhawks outscored Creighton’s bench 25-0 on Saturday, as the Bluejays played just six players until subbing in three reserves for the game’s final eight seconds… Dajuan Harris made one of two 3-point attempts on Saturday, making the Jayhawks 9-1 in games when Harris hits a 3-pointer… KU led by one at halftime (39-38), moving the Jayhawks to 25-3 this season when leading at the break.

Comments

Joe Ross 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Just because he's the head coach and just because that coach's name happens to be Bill Self doesn't mean he's infallible.

The fact that the all-time wins record is touted on Kentucky websites, for example, means it's important to people. Why should that be the case when it does nothing magical for you going forward? Because it speaks to the consistency of greatness of a program.

And THAT, my friends, is the secret sauce that makes it important to a fan base.

Barry Weiss 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Most wins, that's pretty cool. Nice to hear how the starters appreciate the job Remy has done. We would not be in the tournament if Remy had not been with us these past two games. As Coach said, our best ball is still ahead of us.

Dirk Medema 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Joe - Are you commenting on Coach Self’s comment that the all-time Ws didn’t register? Coach knows that someone else will be concerned about it but he’s coaching now in the tournament trying to win a NC. Nothing is important except the next game for Coach and he needs to set the example in leading the team.

The thing he didn’t get right was hoping to be up 2 or 3 games. The correct answer is 4.

Suzi Marshall 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Totally agree. The most wins certainly does has Self's interest! I'm sure he downplayed the achievement to keep the team focused on the job before them. If we break the record, my bet is we'll hear Self say how pleased he is about it....especially on the recruiting trail where UK has used that tidbit against the 'Hawks' for years.

Rodney Crain 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Got some real Mensa level stuff going on here.

  • Greatness
  • Self is busy, he cares about most wins, he does I swear he does.
  • UK uses it on the recruiting trail

Greatness, we have the most losses to go with the most wins. That is Great too? Don't forget to mention that it took us 150+ more games to equal UK.

Self did not jump and down cause of the "record", wait wait, huff, umm he's busy, yeah thats right he is busy. let me tell you what Self thinks about most wins. Comical.

Recruits - most wins is way way down the list (not sure it is even on the list) of reasons why they choose a school.

Matt Gauntt 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes.....we have more losses and we have more games played. Some of those include the Feb 3, 1899 loss to the Kansas City YMCA where we lost 5-16. It also includes the March 7, 1907 loss by 20-22 to William Jewel. No exactly significant losses since the KU team was effectively an intermural team under Naismith. Kentucky's wins also include decades under Adolph Rupp where Kentucky was essentially a semi-pro team. As Pamela mentions below, the key is that during the Self era, we closed the gap and are on the verge of surpassing it. It's a point to make with recruits to show how effective the program is and showcase our history, which is awesome.

Rodney Crain 4 months, 3 weeks ago

If you want to take those losses off, you have to take the wins off too Matt.

The math just does not add up.

Self has been solid, still you do not get to count, and play 150+ games and say you are equal or better than UK.

Just can't

Brett McCabe 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Most wins is absolutely an attention-grabbing title, if we get it. Just like most points, most yards, most home runs, etc. And again, all sports achievements have counterpoints.

If you think it’s minor when it comes to recruiting, here’s a little history on how Bill Snyder resuscitated the worst football program in America. By lightening his schedule and getting “wins”. Recruits didn’t care who they came against, they just knew that KSU was winning, and that was what those kids wanted to do. Let other people parse out the quality.

I’ll let UK talk about winning percentages. If we get the title, I’d prefer to talk about most wins. It’s an epic, but not permanent, achievement.

Rodney Crain 4 months, 3 weeks ago

umm we have stunk at Football since the Orange bowl, we were at the bottom.

Mallory Briggans 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Brett I dont think alltime wins mean much to a recruit . Current recruits were 2 ,3 or 4 years old when Kansas won in 2008. Duke and Kentucky still are on more lists than Kansas because its recent history that they identify with most wins doesnt factor in .Kids think Kentucky and Duke give a better chance to get to the NBA ............thats what recruits see not most wins

Gary Wirsig 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Great point Mallory! But even though most wins is down the list in attraction to recruits, I'd rather have it on the resume than not.

Plus the entertainment value of the discussion of this issue on this web site has been high lately!

Rodney Crain 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Greg it will not help us get any recruits with a star or more next to their name.

Pamela Shanks 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed! Catching UK is not simply about catching and surpassing them. It is about how Self and his staff closed that gap during his time at KU. It demonstrates the ability to coach up individuals and teams and that winning is the standard at KU. That said, a 2022 NC wouldn't hurt either!

Rodney Crain 4 months, 3 weeks ago

You dreaming Pamela.

Winning is the standard at just about any college, seriously who is in college athletics to lose? Anyone? My lord.

Coach Cal has a lot of 1 year and done players. I think they can both make a player better, especially when they play 4 years.

Since you are a new poster to this topic, do think it matters if we played 150+ more games than UK to catch them? Or another way, If UK got to play as many games as we have, while we played none, would we still be tied with them?

Robert Brock 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Kentucky piled up a lot of wins as a “whites-only” school not long ago. Try using that approach on the recruiting trail.

Jonathan Allison 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I imagine that trying to tie Kentucky's historical success to it's racist past would play a lot better among liberal elites than it would among elite basketball recruits.

Kansas has more than enough to hang its hat on without stooping so low as to play the race card.

or maybe I misinterpreted your comment, and if so I apologize in advance.

Rodney Crain 4 months, 3 weeks ago

They did, but it does not appear to hurt them in recruiting.

Jonathan Allison 4 months, 3 weeks ago

the debate of whether or not the all-time wins record is means anything or not is pointless.

It is not and never was intended to be any kind of apples to apples comparison between programs.

The point that it does make is that Kansas has a long and storied history of winning basketball games dating all the way back to our first coach who also invented the sport of basketball.

It's very easy to look into the early years of both KU and UK and basically any other program and find reasons why certain games or certain seasons don't align with the decades long rules and traditions that now "govern" college basketball.

So does it really matter who has more wins between KU and UK... No but both school have every right to be proud of their historical basketball success.

the argument is as ridiculous as to saw that Kansas has no right to use the original rules of basketball for recruiting purposes because they were written use at Springfield, MA YMCA and not at KU. No, the point is that Kansas has a ridiculous amount of basketball history dating all the way back to Naismith. Basketball at Kansas was hardly even a sport, but more of a way for track and field guys to exercise indoors when it was cold out. They didn't even have teams to play against unless they found some guys from some other institution who were willing to listen to the rules and give it a try. Those guys would be shocked to death to know that we are debating whether or not their games against Topeka and KC YMCA should count. They weren't in it for basketball greatness, but the point is that Basketball greatness was born in gyms like those.

Rodney Crain 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Brave, logical, and accurate.

Those 3 things mean nothing to the Throng saying it does mean something. The breath of the accolades that this mythical "record" really means grows everyday we get one small step closer to grasping it. It might have been easier to just let the faithful be happy in their delusion but where is the fun in that? Sure it is tiresome that over and over we have the same debate, but look at the posts above. The breath and width of why it is important has reached a fever pitch.

As wonderful pose Young Joe availed on us to begin the comments, you have Jonathan bookended with reason and guile. O alas if only they knew how close to fānāticus they actually sound. That is nothing more than a wish, just like the most wins record, breath, only breath to disappear in the ether of the sky above.

pretend you can hear a choir singing.

  • Jon your post was great

Dirk Medema 4 months, 3 weeks ago

“ we have the most losses to go with the most wins” is statistically and grammatically wrong.

We might have more losses than some other schools, but we do not have the most losses. English can be tricky.

To say that a recruit does or doesn’t come to KU for anything in particular is the absurdity of extremes. There isn’t one thing, but many things make up what is appealing. History is part of it, but only part of it.

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