Kansas and its freshmen are hot topics (as usual) in world of college hoops
It's time once again to catch the vibe of the national media's perception of Kansas basketball, by hopping around the Internet and the Twitterverse to see what's out there on the No. 6 Jayhawks — now 16-4 overall and a perfect 7-0 in the Big 12.
We'll start with Eamonn Brennann's latest Wooden Watch list. Brennan blogs and writes about college hoops for ESPN.com, and he has two Jayhawks in his most recent rankings of the nation's best players.
KU freshman center/lion-killer/how-did-he-do-that? specialist Joel Embiid comes in at No. 6, and freshman guard/forward/swingman/dunk-monster Andrew Wiggins cracks the top 10, too
Brennan had this to say about Embiid:
On Wednesday night, I looked up from my laptop early in Kansas’s 92-81 home win over Iowa State just in time to see Embiid take the ball on the left block, engage with the post defender, pivot toward the baseline into his right shoulder and sink a tidy little 6-foot turnaround jumper. It’s possible Embiid has made that exact shot before, but I haven’t seen it. It may have been the first time he attempted it. Here’s the point: This happens all the time.
He offered this about Wiggins:
Here’s the thing about Wiggins: He has been pretty good for most of the season. He hasn't been LeBron James 2.0. He hasn't been perfectly consistent from game to game. But a baseline, his all-around, all-court performance has been immensely solid. Now -- with 56 points in his past two games, 29 of which came Wednesday against Iowa State -- we're starting to see some of the brilliance that had NBA scouts so excited.
Both great points. Kansas seems to be playing a more and more comfortable brand of basketball as a team, and the jumping off point for that development starts with the team's most talented players. As Wiggins and Embiid grow, so does the ceiling for what this team can accomplish — if there even is a ceiling.
BleacherReport.com's Jason King talked with three NBA scouts about the draftability (I don't care if that's not a real word) of a ton of underclassmen in his latest installment of King's Court.
This is some of what one scout had to say about freshman KU guard Wayne Selden:
There’s no question that he needs to come back for his sophomore year. Right now, when you think of Kansas, you think of Wiggins and Embiid. Selden hasn’t done anything to stand out. What’s his niche offensively? He hasn’t shown that he’s a great shooter.
The scout goes into a little more on Selden in King's report, but here are the numbers on Selden's shooting, following KU's Wednesday night home win over Iowa State: Selden has hit 46.4 percent of his shots this season and 36.8 percent from three-point range (25 of 68). In Big 12 play, the freshman guard has connected on 13 of his 36 threes.
In the very latest CBSsports.com Top 25 (and one), which is updated daily, KU is ranked No. 7.
Three teams that have defeated the Jayhawks this season occupy half of the six spots in front of Kansas: No. 6 Villanova, No. 4 Florida and No. 3 San Diego State.
It's been been a little more than a quarter century since Larry Brown coached Kansas to the 1988 national championship, but he will always be associated with the program because of that feat.
Brown, now at SMU, is the oldest coach in Division I. In a piece by Scooby Axson for SI.com, Brown discusses the relative success the Mustangs (16-5 overall, 5-3 American Athletic Conference) have achieved this season.
Here is a snippet from the story:
Tradition? There isn't much to speak of. Fan support? Nowhere to be found. After all, this is a program that has no NCAA tournament appearances in the past 21 years and only 10 NCAA berths in 97 seasons of playing basketball.
"You can walk on campus at Kansas, North Carolina, or UCLA, kids will tackle you," said Brown. "There was so much interest and enthusiasm. [Here] I really couldn't believe it. I kept saying to myself, 'What did we do?'"
ESPN's Jeff Goodman had a lot to say about Kansas on Wednesday night.
Goodman also got into the debate about where Wiggins will be selected in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Back to the subject of the 2013-14 college hoops season, ESPN's John Gasaway shared some telling numbers on how red-hot KU has been, offensively, in conference play:
You can almost hear Dick Vitale screaming at his TV, while sitting at home on his couch:
The Jayhawks, not surprisingly, have the whole college hoops world taking notice. Kentucky beat writer Kyle Tucker tweeted this out:
However, not every media tweet about KU was based in reality: