Advertisement

Posts tagged with Ncaa Tournament

Getting to know: Seton Hall basketball

Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington (0) spins around North Carolina State guard Torin Dorn (2) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. At left is North Carolina State forward Lennard Freeman (1).

Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington (0) spins around North Carolina State guard Torin Dorn (2) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. At left is North Carolina State forward Lennard Freeman (1). by Nick Krug

Led by a talented senior class, Seton Hall finished third in the Big East and earned its first NCAA Tournament victory in 14 years.

The reward of Thursday’s 11-point victory over North Carolina State is a second-round matchup against top-seeded Kansas (6:10 p.m., TBS) on Saturday at Intrust Bank Arena. The Pirates have won five of their last seven games following a four-game losing streak at the beginning of February.

Kansas players compared Seton Hall’s style of play to West Virginia. Delgado provided a strong post presence and he’s surrounded by physical guards.

“The way they go about doing their business is different,” Self said of the comparison between Seton Hall and WVU. “But I think from a physical standpoint they certainly kind of look that role.”

Playing Texas Tech, its only Big 12 opponent this season in non-conference play, the Pirates (22-11) earned a 10-point victory at Madison Square Garden in November.

Fun fact: With a victory against Seton Hall, Bill Self will pass Roy Williams for the most wins among KU coaches in the NCAA Tournament. Self owns a 34-13 record in the tournament while Williams went 34-14.

Series history: The series is tied, 1-1. Seton Hall won the first meeting in 1988 in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout. Kansas followed with a win in 2001 in the fifth-place game of the Maui Invitational.

BREAKING DOWN SETON HALL

TOP PLAYER

No. 20 — F Desi Rodriguez | 6-6, 220, sr.

Seton Hall forward Desi Rodriguez (20) catches a pass inside past North Carolina State guard Markell Johnson (11) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Seton Hall forward Desi Rodriguez (20) catches a pass inside past North Carolina State guard Markell Johnson (11) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. by Nick Krug

A second-team all-Big East selection, Rodriguez is averaging 17.9 points on 50.5 percent shooting from the field. He’s a 37.7 percent shooter from the 3-point arc, adding 4.9 rebounds per game. According to hoop-math.com, Rodriguez makes 67 percent of his shots that he takes at the rim.

Rodriguez missed three games at the end of the regular season with an ankle/foot, suffering a bone bruise. He’s scored at least 20 points in 12 games this season. Rodriguez ranks 14th in school history in scoring.

In the NCAA Tournament: Scored 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting with three rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes.

  • “I'm a fan of Kansas,” Rodriguez said. “But now I'm not no more, just for this game. But I watch their games a lot. Their games come on TV a lot. Just going through a variety of games, that's the best game on TV. They always give you a good game. Other than the other scouting report my coach is going to give me, I got a great scouting report myself.”

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 31 — C Angel Delgado | 6-10, 245, sr.

Seton Hall center Angel Delgado (31) comes in for a dunk during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Seton Hall center Angel Delgado (31) comes in for a dunk during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. by Nick Krug

A double-double machine and second-team all-Big East choice, Delgado has 21 double-doubles this season. The Big East’s all-time leader in rebounds, Delgado is averaging 13.3 points and 11.5 boards, shooting 50 percent from the field.

Delgado, from the Dominican Republic, takes 55.5 percent of his shots at the rim, according to hoop-math.com. He ranks second on the team with 22 blocks.

In the NCAA Tournament: Recorded 13 points (4 of 7 shooting), nine rebounds and four assists before fouling out in 25 minutes.

No. 13 — G Myles Powell | 6-2, 195, so.

Seton Hall guard Myles Powell puts up a shot against North Carolina State guard Torin Dorn (2) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Seton Hall guard Myles Powell puts up a shot against North Carolina State guard Torin Dorn (2) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. by Nick Krug

Capable of heating up at any time, Powell is averaging 15.5 points on 37.8 percent shooting from the 3-point arc. But he’s been in a funk, making 9 of his last 45 attempts from deep. Beyond his shooting, Powell is second on the team in assists (2.8 per game) and steals (1.0 per game).

In the NCAA Tournament: Making 10 of his 12 attempts at the free-throw line, he scored 19 points (1 of 7 shooting from 3) with nine rebounds.

No. 0 — G Khadeen Carrington | 6-4, 195, sr.

Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington (0) puts a shot over North Carolina State guard Allerik Freeman (12) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington (0) puts a shot over North Carolina State guard Allerik Freeman (12) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. by Nick Krug

Seton Hall’s top free throw shooter (83.6 percent), Carrington has scored 15.2 points per game while shooting 35.3 percent from the 3-point line. The dean’s list student leads the Pirates with 36 steals and dishes 4.5 assists per game. He’s scored more than 20 points in five of the team’s last six games.

In the NCAA Tournament: Scored a team-high 26 points vs. N.C. State, making 6 of his 14 shots (3 of 5 from deep) while earning 13 trips to the free-throw line in 32 minutes.

No. 14 — F Ismael Sanogo | 6-8, 215, sr.

Playing off of the bench, Sanogo has produced 5.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Focusing on defense, he leads the team with 29 blocks and ranks second with 33 steals. When he does look to score, he’s shooting 54.9 percent from the field (45.8 percent on 24 attempts from 3).

In the NCAA Tournament: Finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes, snagging two steals while shooting 4 of 6 from the floor.

ONE THING SETON HALL DOES WELL

It’s no surprise with such a talented rebounder like Delgado, but Seton Hall entered the NCAA Tournament ranking 29th in the nation in offensive rebounding rate. The Pirates snagged 34.1 percent of their misses, tops in the Big East.

ONE AREA SETON HALL STRUGGLES

The Pirates have trouble forcing turnovers, ranking 196th in the nation in turnover percentage defense. That allows opposing teams to settle into their offenses. In their eight losses against Big East opponents, the Pirates failed to force more than seven turnovers in three of them.

MEET THE COACH

Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard talks with media members during a press conference on Friday, March 16, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard talks with media members during a press conference on Friday, March 16, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. by Nick Krug

Kevin Willard is in his eighth season at Seton Hall, guiding the team to its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. He’s led the Pirates to four 20-win seasons. Prior to his time at Seton Hall, he was the head coach for three seasons at Iona.

Described as a player’s coach, Willard spent time as an assistant at Louisville and with the Boston Celtics. Willard’s father, Ralph, was a former head coach at Holy Cross, Pittsburgh and Western Kentucky.

VEGAS SAYS…

Kansas by 4. I don’t think it’s a particularly great defensive matchup for Kansas, especially if Udoka Azubuike is still limited from his knee injury. But the Pirates have struggled against high-scoring offenses this season and aren’t among the top teams in defending the 3-point line.

My prediction: Kansas 81, Seton Hall 72. Bobby’s record vs. the spread: 16-13.

Reply 1 comment from Dirk Medema

Seton Hall preparing for road game atmosphere against KU

Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington (0) puts a shot over North Carolina State guard Allerik Freeman (12) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington (0) puts a shot over North Carolina State guard Allerik Freeman (12) during the second half, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. by Nick Krug

Wichita — Playing tough road games is nothing new for Seton Hall. That’s life in the Big East, which included games at Butler, Creighton, Villanova, Xavier and Providence.

After traveling to play those NCAA Tournament teams, the Pirates plan to have the same road game, us-against-the-world approach when they play Kansas in the second round at 6:10 p.m. Saturday (TV: TBS) at Intrust Bank Arena.

“We’re in Kansas aren’t we? It’s a road game,” senior forward Ismael Sanogo said. “The NCAA did a good job of making it easier for them but we’re a tough team and we can handle it.”

The Pirates (22-11) advanced with a 94-83 victory over North Carolina State in the first round of the tournament Thursday. In true road games this season, they’ve posted a 5-6 record with victories over Louisville, Butler and Providence.

Kansas has certainly felt the home-state advantage in Wichita, drawing more than 13,000 people to an open practice on Wednesday. Intrust Bank Arena announced 14,390 people attended KU’s 76-60 win over Penn in the first round, a majority cheering for the Jayhawks.

“The fans really did a good job of getting them back in it,” Penn guard Darnell Foreman said. “You know what I mean? Their support was never wavering.”

KU coach Bill Self believes there’s some added pressure playing close to home, referencing last season’s Elite Eight loss to Oregon at Sprint Center in Kansas City — "I think the guys felt like that every fan was holding their breath every possession" he said.

The Jayhawks have a 5-0 all-time record in Wichita, winning their first NCAA Tournament game in the city since 1981 on Thursday.

“It's definitely more positive than not positive, without question,” Self said. “But I don't think it plays a huge role in certain segments of a game. But when you get rolling or you get on a little roll, it definitely gives you momentum, the fans do.”

In the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season, they picked up their first tournament win in 14 years. Minutes after playing N.C. State, most of the Seton Hall players said they were unfamiliar with Kansas and knew they would be logging several hours of watching film when they weren’t practicing.

But they are confident that they can avoid allowing the crowd to affect them in any negative way.

“It’s like you are going to another away game,” Seton Hall senior center Angel Delgado said. “We’ve been doing this for the whole year. It’s kind of easy for us to have the (road) mindset.”

Reply 2 comments from Tony Bandle Zabudda

Winning rebounding battle makes world of difference for Jayhawks

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) powers in a dunk against Purdue guard Carsen Edwards (3) and Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) during the second half, Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) powers in a dunk against Purdue guard Carsen Edwards (3) and Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) during the second half, Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

Kansas City, Mo. — In the first half of Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup at Sprint Center, everything was going to plan for Purdue except in one spot.

Kansas had an edge in rebounding, which led to an edge on the scoreboard.

It didn’t matter that the Boilermakers were shooting the ball well and forcing the Jayhawks into some tough shots. The Jayhawks kept scoring off of their own misses until they eventually stopped missing in a 98-66 victory to advance to the Elite Eight.

Purdue’s trio of big men, 6-foot-9 Caleb Swanigan, 6-8 Vincent Edwards and 7-2 Isaac Haas, combined for 37 points and 13 rebounds — a big drop from their output of 55 points and 25 rebounds against Iowa State in the second round.

The Jayhawks out-rebounded the much taller Purdue, 36-29. Freshman Josh Jackson had a game-high 12 boards (four offensive).

“Those guys, especially Caleb on the glass, it's hard to keep 'em off,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “If you look at Landen (Lucas’) stats he only got four rebounds, but the story is Caleb only got seven. And if you had told this before the game that would be the give and take I would have sold out for that because he does a really good job of making sure neither one of them got it for the most part.”

Swanigan’s seven rebounds were his second-lowest total this season — and only the seventh game he failed to record a double-double.

Kansas senior point guard Frank Mason III had seven rebounds (two offensive), matching Swanigan on the glass. Reserve forward Carlton Bragg Jr., snagged six boards (two offensive) in 10 minutes, while Lucas added four (two offensive) and Dwight Coleby had one defensive rebound.

“I would say if you look at the threes that were taken, 55 3's were taken in the game, so it ends up being longer rebounds and a lot of times it's being quick to the basketball and opportunistic,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.

Off of 12 offensive rebounds, the Jayhawks scored 16 second-chance points, their most since an overtime, home loss to Iowa State on Feb. 4.

KU has won the rebounding battle in seven of its last eight games, the only exception being a Big 12 Tournament loss to TCU without Josh Jackson available because of a one-game suspension.

“Our defense and rebounding and everything was good the second half,” Self said, “and, of course, we made a ton of shots and that always helped.

“Obviously, Dwight bought us a ton of minutes whenever Landen was in foul trouble. But I thought Carlton came in and did a good job, too. You add those guys together you get 23 key minutes out of that position when Landen can't be in the game. So I think they both kind of bailed us out.”

Entering Thursday, the Boilermakers (27-8) had a 6-4 record when they were out-rebounded by an opponent.

“We've been able to dominate the boards in our first two games and (Kansas) did a good job on the glass,” Painter said. “Seemed like every time they got an offensive rebound they made us pay and every time we turned it over they were so fast in transition of going the other way and converting. Hats off to them. They played a great game.”

Reply

Getting to know: Purdue

The Purdue Boilermakers come together at half court after a practice on Wednesday prior to Thursday's game at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The Purdue Boilermakers come together at half court after a practice on Wednesday prior to Thursday's game at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

Back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010, Purdue’s basketball team has its eyes set on improving on one of the best seasons in school history.

The Boilermakers, known for all of their size, will tip off against top-seeded Kansas around 8:40 p.m. Thursday (CBS) at Kansas City’s Sprint Center.

Purdue, which won an outright Big Ten title, ranks sixth nationally in 3-point shooting (40 percent) and eighth in defensive rebounding.

“We have confident players,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We have some guys that can really shoot the basketball.”

Interesting note: Last weekend in Milwaukee, Purdue scored 80 points in back-to-back tournament games for the first time since 1998.

Series history: Kansas leads 3-2. The last three meetings have been in the NCAA Tournament, including KU’s 63-60 win in the second round of the 2012 tourney.

Vegas says: Kansas by 5.

PURDUE STARTERS

No. 11 — G P.J. Thompson | 5-10, 185, jr.

Purdue's P.J. Thompson (11) drives against Iowa State's Donovan Jackson (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball tournament second-round game Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Milwaukee.

Purdue's P.J. Thompson (11) drives against Iowa State's Donovan Jackson (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball tournament second-round game Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Milwaukee.

  • Known for his defense and reliability with the ball, Thompson is averaging 7.2 points and 3.0 assists per game. He ranks second on the team with 33 steals.

  • Thompson is second in the nation with a 4.25 assist-to-turnover ratio. In the last two seasons combined, he’s committed 47 turnovers in 1,763 minutes.

  • The Indianapolis native is shooting 40 percent from behind the 3-point line and is connecting on 70.5 percent of his free throws. He was a 29-percent 3-point shooter during his freshman year.

  • His father, LaSalle, played basketball at Indiana State and Ball State before playing several years overseas.

  • QUOTE: "We want him to be aggressive," Painter said. "We want him to look for his shot, drive the basketball and still take care of it. That’s what you want from your point guard…. He’s a steady hand. He gets us where we need to go on offense, but he also needs to hit that 3."

No. 31 — G Dakota Mathias | 6-4, 200, jr.

Purdue's Dakota Mathias (31) celebrates with his teammates during the first half of an NCAA college basketball tournament second-round game against Iowa State Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Milwaukee.

Purdue's Dakota Mathias (31) celebrates with his teammates during the first half of an NCAA college basketball tournament second-round game against Iowa State Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Milwaukee.

  • Purdue’s top 3-point shooter, Mathias has drained 45.8 percent of shots from deep, averaging 9.9 points. According to hoop-math.com, he only attempts 10.5 percent of his shots around the rim.

  • Averaging 3.9 rebounds and 3.71 assists per game, Mathias has scored 12 or more points in four of the last seven games.

  • Mathias posed for a picture during Wednesday’s practice with Hall of Famer Reggie Miller. Mathias says Miller is one of the reasons that he wears the No. 31 jersey.

  • Pronunciation: muh-thigh-us. The Elida, Ohio native played through ankle injuries, mononucleosis and vertigo during his freshman season.

  • QUOTE: “Dakota’s been great,” Painter says. “Where he’s improved the most is defensively. As a coach, you can’t have enough people you trust. A lot of times, players don’t understand that. Can the coaches trust you? Can you follow your assignment? Just be accountable. He’s gotten better. There were some tough lessons.”

No. 14 — G Ryan Cline | 6-6, 195, soph.

Iowa State's Matt Thomas (21) drives against Purdue's Ryan Cline (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball tournament second-round game Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Milwaukee.

Iowa State's Matt Thomas (21) drives against Purdue's Ryan Cline (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball tournament second-round game Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Milwaukee.

  • Averaging 5.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, Cline is almost exclusively a 3-point shooter. He’s connected on 41 percent of his shots from behind the arc.

  • According to hoop-math.com, Cline has attempted a minuscule 3.1 percent of his shots at the rim. Of his 130 shot attempts this season, 106 are from behind the 3-point line.

  • He was suspended for the first three games of the season after being charged with possession of marijuana during the offseason.

  • His father, Michael, played basketball at Ohio State from 1976-79 and was a team captain for two seasons.

  • QUOTE: "My awareness and my positioning has always been pretty good, especially coming from Carmel and coach (Scott) Heady," Cline said. "Being able to move laterally and be able to contain my man has gone really well."

No. 12 — F Vincent Edwards | 6-8, 225, jr.

Purdue forward Vince Edwards (12) pulls up for a shot during a day of practices and press conferences prior to Thursday's game at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Purdue forward Vince Edwards (12) pulls up for a shot during a day of practices and press conferences prior to Thursday's game at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

  • Averaging 12.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game on 49 percent shooting, which includes a 42.5 percent clip from behind the 3-point line. He makes 82 percent of his free throws.

  • A strong passer out of the 4-man position, Edwards actually ranks second on the team with 110 assists this season (3.2 per game).

  • On a tear at the end of the season, Edwards has scored 21 points in both of the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. He’s shooting 19-of-30 from the floor and 2-of-6 from deep.

  • His dad, Bill, starred at Wright State before playing overseas. Both of his older brothers played college basketball. Bill Jr. played at Penn State and Darius was at Miami of Ohio.

  • QUOTE: “I’m just playing hard,” Edwards said. “I’m just going hard. I think that’s one thing that’s changed for me is I’ve just been focused on playing hard because if I’m playing hard, everything else takes care of itself. When I get my motor going, I’m able to get myself going, offensive rebounding really helps me out.

No. 50 — F Caleb Swanigan | 6-9, 250, soph.

Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) pulls up for a shot during a day of practices and press conferences prior to Thursday's game at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) pulls up for a shot during a day of practices and press conferences prior to Thursday's game at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

  • A national player of the year candidate, Swanigan is tied for third in single-season NCAA history with 28 double-doubles this season. He’s averaging 18.5 points and 12.6 rebounds.

  • Swanigan is shooting 52.7 percent from the field, including a 43.2 percent mark from behind the 3-point line. He’s third on the team with 103 assists and leads with 28 blocked shots. According to hoop-math.com, he’s converting on 79.2 percent of his shot around the rim.

  • He declared for the NBA Draft last season, but withdrew after less-than-positive reviews from scouts. He originally committed to Michigan State in high school, but said he switched to Purdue because he wanted to play power forward instead of center.

  • ESPN wrote a feature on Swanigan’s childhood, who stayed at homeless shelters before being adopted by sports agent Roosevelt Barnes, a former Purdue football standout. Nicknamed “Biggie” by his aunt after rapper Notorious B.I.G.’s hit song “Hypnotize.”

  • QUOTE: “When he steps on the court, he knows without a shadow of a doubt, ‘There is not one dude out here that works harder than me. I’ve earned the right to go put up 20 and 20,’” said Josh Bonhotal, Purdue’s strength and conditioning coach.

PURDUE BENCH

No. 44 — C Isaac Haas | 7-2, 290, jr.

Purdue center Isaac Haas (44) hooks in a shot during a day of practices and press conferences prior to Thursday's game at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Purdue center Isaac Haas (44) hooks in a shot during a day of practices and press conferences prior to Thursday's game at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

  • From Hokes Bluff, Ala. (pop. 4,286), Haas is averaging 12.6 points and 5.1 rebounds off of the bench. He’s shooting 58 percent from the floor.

  • During the NCAA Tournament, Haas is averaging 11 points and 4.5 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game.

  • Haas ranks sixth in minutes on Purdue’s roster but he’s second in free throws attempted, a credit to his ability to draw fouls. He’s a 71.3 percent shooter at the charity stripe.

  • His younger sister, Erin, has epilepsy, “My sole purpose, honestly, is to help Erin have the best life she possibly can,” he said in a feature from ESPN. He originally committed Wake Forest (before Danny Manning), switching at the end because of Painter’s reputation developing bigs. He wears size 22 shoes.

  • QUOTE: “I’ve done a better job growing into my body and understanding my body, the conditioning needs, the rebounding and physical aspects you have to go into detail with as a big guy,’’ he said. “It’s like coach always says, you don’t put regular gas in a Lamborghini. You have to use premium. It’s about the right time and work.”

No. 3 — Carsen Edwards | 6-0, 190, fr.

  • Averaging 10.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game on 39 percent shooting from the floor.

  • The Atascocita, Texas native combined for 21 points in 39 minutes during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. He has 354 points on the season, the seventh-most for a Purdue freshman in school history.

  • A pesky defender, Edwards leads the Boilermakers with 35 steals.

  • His brother, Jai, plays football at Blinn Junior College.

  • QUOTE: “I’m just trying to do my job, honestly,” Edwards said. “I’m just trying to improve on doing my job more and more every game and eliminating mistakes. I’m just going to continue to watch film and seeing what I need to continue to keep working on.”

No. 55 — G Spike Albrecht | 6-0, 180, r-sr.

  • A graduate transfer from Michigan, well known for his 17-point performance in the 2013 NCAA title game (and his post-game tweet to supermodel Kate Upton), Albrecht is averaging 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game off of the bench.

  • In the NCAA Tournament, he hasn’t attempted a shot in 20 minutes, dishing two assists. He shot 6-for-25 from the 3-point line (24 percent) throughout the season.

  • He only appeared in eight games for Michigan last season before missing the rest of the season to rehab from double hip surgeries. He suffered from a painful genetic condition, diagnosed as a hip impingement. He played his junior season at Michigan through a torn labrum.

  • First name is Michael. Nicknamed Spike after he wore his baseball spikes everywhere when he was 8 years old.

  • QUOTE: “Having this opportunity to come back and play again, I may not have had the best year for me individually, but I’ve been a part of a team that’s had a lot of success with a great group of guys,” Albrecht told USA Today. “It’s everything I was looking for in a fifth year.”


More news and notes previewing Kansas vs. Purdue


Reply

Landen Lucas on facing Purdue’s height: ‘We match up fine’

Michigan State guard Alvin Ellis III (3) loses the ball while defended by Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) during the first half on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Michigan State guard Alvin Ellis III (3) loses the ball while defended by Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) during the first half on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. by Nick Krug

There’s no secret when it comes to Purdue’s style of play. There’s plenty of height and the Boilermakers like to make the most of it.

Purdue, which will face No. 1 seed Kansas in the Sweet 16 on Thursday at Sprint Center (8:40 p.m., CBS), is led by Big Ten player of the year Caleb Swanigan, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound presence in the post. He’s surrounded by 6-8 forward Vincent Edwards and 7-2 center Isaac Haas.

Swanigan is more than your prototypical center. He fights for every inch in the paint and he’s capable of drilling shots from the outside, connecting on 43 percent of his 3-pointers this season. He’s even a 78.5 percent shooter at the free-throw line.

But facing talented post players is nothing new for the Jayhawks, and they are confident it won’t be as big of a mismatch as it looks when they stand next to each other.

“I think we match up fine,” Kansas senior center Landen Lucas said. “We have played big teams before in our league. We play big teams all year. So it is nothing new for us and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

The Jayhawks will try to combat Purdue’s height advantage with their versatility in the post featuring the 6-10 Lucas and 6-8 Josh Jackson, with 6-10 Carlton Bragg and 6-9 Dwight Coleby off of the bench.

Swanigan, Edwards and Haas all average more than 12 points and five rebounds per game, and the trio combined for 55 points, 25 rebounds and 11 assists in Saturday’s 80-76 win over Iowa State.

The Jayhawks watched most of that game waiting for their own matchup against Michigan State’s star freshmen forwards on the following day.

“I was really impressed because, when you think of it right now going into it, I mean, they've got some guys that we haven't seen down low yet,” KU coach Bill Self said. “We haven't gone against an inside presence scoring like Caleb and of course the big fellow off the bench. We recruited him, and he's a load.”

Along with a strong frontcourt, the Boilermakers (27-7) are smart with the ball. They rank second in the country in assists per game (18.3) only trailing UCLA.

In their win over Iowa State, they had an incredible 27 assists on 31 made baskets — “There's nobody that would execute in the half-court or share the ball any better than that,” Self said.

Junior point guard P.J. Thompson ranks second in the nation with a 4.25 assist-to-turnover ratio, only behind Monte Morris, who he matched up against Saturday.

“We’ve got to come up with a way to eliminate post touches and still get to their shooters because they can stretch it from all the spots to the perimeter,” Self said.

The Boilermakers didn’t know if they’d be playing Kansas or Michigan State after Friday’s win, but they knew there was a chance they would be entering a tough environment in Kansas City, Mo.

Playing at the Sprint Center should give the Jayhawks as close to a home-court advantage as possible in the NCAA Tournament, and the Boilermakers will do their best to use it to motivate themselves.


"We enjoy playing on the road," Purdue guard Dakota Mathias told the Lafayette Journal & Courier. "We like all the boos and the hatred coming towards us. We've won in a lot of hostile environments, a lot of big-time places, so this isn't going to be any different.”

Haas added: "You draw energy from that. That’s what makes basketball fun. I look forward to stepping on that court and hopefully making them silent.”

Reply 3 comments from Michael Dennis Craig Alexander Humpy Helsel

Friendly Fire: Josh Jackson and Miles Bridges enjoy matchup against each other

Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) puts up a three over Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) during the first half on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) puts up a three over Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) during the first half on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. by Nick Krug

Tulsa, Okla. — Matched up against each other for the majority of Sunday’s second-round game at BOK Center, Josh Jackson and Miles Bridges enjoyed the opportunity to play each other on college basketball’s biggest stage.

Kansas freshman Jackson had the upper hand over one of his good friends, scoring a game-high 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting in KU’s 90-70 win against Michigan State to advance to the Sweet 16. He added three rebounds and two blocks in 36 minutes.

Bridges led the Spartans with 22 points and eight rebounds on 7-of-15 shooting in 34 minutes. He briefly went to the locker room in the first half with a hip pointer.

The sight of Jackson and Bridges dominating in a game was nothing new to MSU coach Tom Izzo, who noted he saw it plenty while recruiting both of them.

“I give all the credit in the world to Josh. I thought he's improved his jump shot a lot,” Izzo said. “And he does play hard, but I look at the stats and I look at the game and I think about the injury and the time he missed, I'm really, really proud of Miles. And you know what, I'm proud of Josh.”


Jackson scored 14 points in the second half and put the finishing touches on KU’s victory with a right-handed slam down the lane in the final minutes for a 15-point lead.

Before facing Bridges and childhood friend Cassius Winston (seven points, eight assists), Jackson said Kansas coaches told him not to be too amped up when the game started.

“I came out and was still just a little too excited. I tried to force stuff a little bit,” Jackson said. “But as the game went on, I felt like the game started slowing down, it came to me a little bit more. And I just had to realize it was just another game, and it was about Kansas basketball versus Michigan State, and it wasn't about me versus Miles.”

In his first — and likely only — NCAA Tournament, Jackson is averaging 20 points and five rebounds on 17-of-28 shooting (61 percent).

Both Jackson and Bridges, potential lottery picks in the upcoming NBA draft, played with and against each other since the sixth grade in AAU games. Jackson grew up in Detroit, Bridges in Flint, Mich.

“I knew it was going to be a fun game before it even started,” Jackson said. “So it was just really fun to be able to go out there and play against those guys and really proud to see them here and having success.”

Bridges, the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year, opened the game with a 3-pointer over Jackson and backed up some of his trash-talking with strong play in the post.

“It's always good playing against Josh,” Bridges said. “It gets a little physical at times. We compete every time we play against each other. He's a great player. He's going to have huge success in the league, so it's always good playing against him.”

For fans, it was an opportunity to see an NBA preview, where both players could have big roles for the next decade.

But Sunday, the main focus for each player was just trying to find a way to win and keep his season alive.

“Two great players going at it,” Izzo said. “The stats were somewhat the same, but I think Josh has really played well. He's really come on."

Reply 3 comments from Koolkeithfreeze Surrealku Jim Stauffer

Jayhawks try to prepare for Michigan State’s talented big men

Michigan State forward Nick Ward (44) gets a bucket against Miami during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Michigan State forward Nick Ward (44) gets a bucket against Miami during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

Tulsa, Okla. — Earlier this season, the Kansas basketball team had trouble with its interior defense against talented big men.

There were the standout games from Reid Travis, Jarrett Allen, Vlad Brodizansky, and a couple of other opponents in the first half of the year.

Heading into the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Michigan State on Sunday (4:15 p.m., CBS), the Jayhawks will attempt to slow down freshmen forwards Miles Bridges and Nick Ward.

Bridges, 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, is a potential lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, averaging a team-best 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He’s scored at least 15 points in seven straight games.

“He's an unbelievable athlete, but he's got unbelievable feel,” Kansas coach Bill Self said of Bridges. “I mean just making the extra pass or just knowing when to cut. And they play through him a lot. They play through him probably about as much as they play through well, I guess Denzel (Valentine) last year, but they put the ball in his hands a lot to make decisions.”

Kansas freshman Josh Jackson will likely draw the primary defensive assignment against Bridges, a good friend of his, which would match senior center Landen Lucas versus the 6-8, 250-pound Ward (13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds per game).

Of course, KU’s team defense will rely on more than one-on-one match-ups in the post. Guards are expected to do their part to help through help defense and ball pressure.

“I think the toughest part is you can tell guys what to do, but when you play against good guys that are hard to handle, the execution isn't always what you tell (them),” Self said. “It's hard to simulate athletic ability.”

Adding a wrinkle to the difficulty of preparing for Bridges and Ward is the one-day turnaround in the second game of the tournament’s weekend.

It goes both ways for all teams, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stop two of the top freshmen in the Big Ten.

“They run so many plays and got so many sets that one day of preparation, you really can't get a good feel for all the stuff they run or try to memorize a lot of their plays,” KU junior guard Devonte’ Graham said. “But we just had practice and we just went over the scouting report kind of in depth and we'll go back to the hotel and do the same thing. So it's just trying to get a good feel for a lot of the sets that they run.”

Reply 1 comment from Andy Godwin

Getting to know: Michigan State

Michigan State guards Miles Bridges, second from left, Alvin Ellis III and Lourawls Nairn Jr. are escorted to interviews on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Michigan State guards Miles Bridges, second from left, Alvin Ellis III and Lourawls Nairn Jr. are escorted to interviews on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. by Nick Krug

It’s not the typical Michigan State team that Tom Izzo has coached into the NCAA Tournament, featuring one of the youngest teams in the country that’s suffered a few injuries.

But the main philosophies remain the same heading into Sunday's second-round matchup against No. 1 seed Kansas (4:15 p.m., CBS). The Spartans (20-14) have out-rebounded their last 11 opponents and, like always, there’s some talented big men and reliable guards.

“One thing about youth, you win a game and there is an excitement, there’s an enthusiasm,” Izzo said. “There’s a new feeling. And that’s helped me even — you know, when you win a decent amount of games in this tournament like we have over the years, it’s just, I won’t say it’s ho-hum, but it gets to be.

“There was nothing ho-hum about yesterday for me or for them, and that’ll, I hope, propel us into playing well (Sunday) against a good team.”


The Spartans, who own a 13-1 record in the second round of the tournament under Izzo, are without seniors Eron Harris, Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling after all of them sustained knee injuries.

Interesting note: Under Tom Izzo, Michigan State owns a 21-4 record in the second game of an NCAA Tournament weekend, including a 7-3 mark as the lower seeded team.

Series history: Michigan State leads 7-5. The Spartans have won three of the last four meetings, last coming in November 2015 at the Champions Classic.

Vegas says: Kansas by 8.

MICHIGAN STATE STARTERS

No. 11 — G Tum Tum Nairn Jr. | 5-10, 175, jr.

Michigan State guard Lourawls Nairn Jr. (11) pushes the ball up the court during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Michigan State guard Lourawls Nairn Jr. (11) pushes the ball up the court during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

  • One of the fastest guards in the Big Ten, Nairn was scoreless in 18 minutes against Miami. He dished five assists with two turnovers and shot 0-for-2 from the floor.

  • Throughout the season, Nairn is averaging 3.6 points and 3.7 assists per game. He ranked second in the Big Ten with a 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.

  • He’s played in seven NCAA Tournament games, including starting five during Michigan State’s run to the Final Four in 2015. He leads all MSU players with 63 career starts.

  • His first name is Lourawls. Nicknamed “Tum Tum” after a character in the 1992 movie “3 Ninjas.” He moved from the Bahamas when he was 13.

  • QUOTE: “He has the ability to control tempo, and we’d like the tempo to be high,” Izzo said. “Tum brings that.”

No. 3 — G Alvin Ellis III | 6-4, 210, sr.

  • Started the last seven games after senior Eron Harris suffered a season-ending injury. In 30 minutes against Miami, Ellis had seven points and seven rebounds on 3-of-9 shooting. He missed all five of his attempts from behind the 3-point arc.

  • Averaging 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game. He’s shooting 37 percent from the 3-point line and he ranks second on the team in steals (21).

  • The Chicago native was a co-recipient of Michigan State’s Most Improved Player Award. He’s scored more points this season (223) than his first three years combined.

  • Ellis originally committed to Minnesota, but was let out of his letter of intent when former Minnesota coach Tubby Smith was fired.

  • QUOTE: “He’s not gentle with anybody,” Ellis said Izzo. “He’s always gonna get on you, but it’s all teaching and you just got to take in the spirit it’s given and learn from it. We know he’s trying to better us, better the team and put us in a position where we can win games or be successful in our own lives.”

No. 1 — G Joshua Langford | 6-5, 210, fr.

Michigan State guard Joshua Langford (1) looks to throw  pass around Miami guard Bruce Brown (11) during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Michigan State guard Joshua Langford (1) looks to throw pass around Miami guard Bruce Brown (11) during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

  • The McDonald’s All-American scored 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting in the first round against Miami, including 2-of-4 from deep. He added two rebounds and an assist in 24 minutes. The Spartans are 7-0 when he scores in double figures.

  • One of the most efficient 3-pointer shooters in the Big Ten, Langford averaged 6.8 points and 2.3 rebounds throughout the season. He’s connected on 35 of 84 threes (41.7 percent).

  • He’s averaging 9.4 points in his last 10 games, which includes a career-high 17-point outing against Nebraska in February. He’s made at least one 3-pointer in seven straight games.

  • The Huntsville, Ala., native delivered sermon at his church on every third Sunday. He survived a bout with bacterial meningitis at 12 years old.

  • QUOTE: “It was everything I imagined it would be and then some,” said Langford of the NCAA Tournament. “Just a blessing to be able to be on this high-level stage and be a part of it.”

No. 22 — F Miles Bridges | 6-7, 230, fr.

Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) pushes the ball up the court during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) pushes the ball up the court during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

  • In his tournament debut, Bridges was dominant with 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot in a team-high 35 minutes. He shot 8-of-12 from the floor, and made 2 of 4 3-pointers.

  • The Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year is averaging 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, ranking seventh in the Big Ten in points and fifth in rebounding. His points per game average is the most by a MSU freshman since Magic Johnson.

  • The Flint, Mich., native leads the Spartans in made threes (54) as a 39 percent shooter from deep. He’s second on the team in blocks (43) and third in steals (18).

  • Draft Express has Bridges, a likely one-and-done prospect, going 12th in the upcoming NBA Draft. He features a team-best 42 inch vertical leap. Bridges missed seven games earlier this season with an ankle injury.

  • QUOTE: “Sometimes you need a jerk,” Izzo said. “That’s what I’m hoping Miles will turn into a little bit. That’s the area I’d like to see him grow and be a little more demanding of those things. Because once they get out on that court, we (the coaches) really are invisible.”

No. 44 — F Nick Ward | 6-8, 250, fr.

Michigan State forward Nick Ward (44) gets a bucket against Miami during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Michigan State forward Nick Ward (44) gets a bucket against Miami during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

  • A lefty who’s drawn some comparisons to Zach Randolph, Ward scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting against Miami in the first round of the tournament. He added seven rebounds and a blocked shot in 26 minutes.

  • Ward earned an all-Big Ten honorable mention after 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He’s snagged 95 offensive boards and leads the team with 53 blocks. He’s scored in double figures in 24 of the team’s last 28 games.

  • According to hoop-math.com, Ward has converted on 73 percent of his shots around the rim. The freshman with a 7-3 wingspan is shooting 59 percent from the floor, which ranked third in the Big Ten.

  • His dad, Jeff, played at Tiffin University in Ohio and was the program’s all-time leader in points (2,532), rebounds (1,212) and blocks (226).

  • QUOTE: “He was pretty lazy at the beginning of the season,” associate head coach Dwayne Stephens said. “He still has his moments where he still takes plays off, but the biggest thing is he’s running the floor well. He’s posting hard. He’s playing with a little more energy and he’s been pretty good on the ball screens. That was one of the things he really needed to improve at, and I think he’s done that.”

MICHIGAN STATE BENCH

No. 20 — G Matt McQuaid | 6-4, 200, soph.

Michigan State guard Matt McQuaid (20) drives to th bucket during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Michigan State guard Matt McQuaid (20) drives to th bucket during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

  • Off of the bench against Miami, McQuaid had seven points (2-of-4 shooting) with five rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in 25 minutes.

  • Known as one of the team’s top defenders and 3-point shooters, McQuaid is averaging 5.5 points and 1.9 rebounds on 34.5 percent shooting from deep. According to hoop-math.com, McQuaid takes a team-low 11.5 percent of his shots at the rim.

  • His sister, Andrea, played volleyball professionally in Europe. His dad, Rob, played basketball at Central Michigan and Midwestern State.

No. 5 — G Cassius Winston | 6-0, 185, fr.

  • Kansas coach Bill Self called him “one of the best passers in college basketball.” Against Miami, he had seven points and five assists without a turnover in 22 minutes. Miami coach Jim Larranaga compared him to Steve Nash.

  • Playing mostly off of the bench because of his defense, Winston was second in the Big Ten with 5.1 assists per game and his 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio was tied for fourth in the conference. His 174 assists in the season are second-most by a freshman, only trailing Magic Johnson.

  • A childhood friend of Kansas freshman Josh Jackson, Winston graduated magna cum laude from University of Detroit Jesuit and was accepted at Harvard.

No. 25 — F Kenny Goins | 6-6, 230, r-soph.

Michigan State forward Kenny Goins (25) gets up to defend against a shot by Miami center Ebuka Izundu (15) during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At right is Miami guard Ja'Quan Newton (0).

Michigan State forward Kenny Goins (25) gets up to defend against a shot by Miami center Ebuka Izundu (15) during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At right is Miami guard Ja'Quan Newton (0). by Nick Krug

  • A former walk-on, Goins scored six points with two rebounds and two turnovers in 12 minutes against Miami in the first round.

  • Goins ranks third on the team with 4.6 rebounds per game and 21 blocks this season. He’s averaging 3.3. points on 57.5 percent shooting (46 of 80).

  • From Troy, Mich., Goins grew up a Michigan State fan and tailgated at football game since he was 6 years old. He attended the 2014 Rose Bowl during his senior year of high school.

No. 0 — G/F Kyle Ahrens | 6-5, 215, soph.

  • Played five minutes against Miami in the first round and didn’t record any statistics.

  • Ahrens is averaging 2.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. He’s shooting 15 of 45 from the 3-point line (33 percent).

  • He’s only played double-digit minutes in two of the last 18 games.

Reply

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo: I think Kansas is a helluva team

Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) pushes the ball up the court during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) pushes the ball up the court during the second half on Friday, March 17, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

Tulsa, Okla. — A few minutes after Michigan State put the final touches on a 78-58 victory over Miami in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, MSU coach Tom Izzo was asked about his thoughts of Kansas.

Izzo saw bits and pieces of KU’s first-round win over UC Davis, waiting for his team to take the court afterward.

“I only saw a little bit of them tonight, thank God,” Izzo said. “I saw the good part when they were only up four with eight minutes left and then they burned UC Davis. But they got a good team, veteran team. They got all those seniors, juniors and Josh (Jackson) is a heck of a player.”

During the regular season, Michigan State posted a 7-9 record against teams in the NCAA Tournament, which included non-conference losses to Arizona, Kentucky, Baylor and Duke.

Facing three teams that were ranked No. 1 at some point during the season, the Spartans should be comfortable preparing to play top competition.

“I think Kansas is a helluva team, and I think (Frank) Mason is an exceptional guard,” Izzo said. “I thought Josh is playing at a very high level. But we've played a lot of big teams all year. Maybe we can use this again, and yet, they're kind of playing in their own backyard. It's going to be fun.”

MSU guard Tum Tum Nairn added: “They are a really, really great team. They are a well-coached team. It is going to be a tough game and we look forward to it.” 

The ninth-seeded Spartans (20-14) certainly have shown their youth and inexperience at times this season, plus they’ve dealt with season-ending injury to senior guard Eron Harris, a West Virginia transfer.

But most of those problems disappeared during their 20-point victory over Miami. Freshmen Nick Ward and Miles Bridges combined for 37 points and 16 rebounds.

“We get to work again,” Izzo said. “I told my guys all I want to do is work another night and get a chance to go against one of the top teams.”

Reply

UC Davis guard enjoys chance to face KU walk-on Clay Young, favorite childhood team

Tulsa, Okla. — When UC Davis sophomore guard Siler Schneider saw the NCAA bracket unveiled Sunday, one of his first calls was to Kansas walk-on Clay Young.

Schneider and Young were teammates at Lansing (Kan.) High, leading the Lions to the Class 5A state championship game.

The former teammates were excited about the opportunity to play against each other — and it became a reality when UC Davis secured a four-point victory over North Carolina Central in the First Four on Wednesday.

Young, who transferred to KU from Kansas City Kansas Community College, will likely look on with pride when he sees his former teammate Schneider on the court during Friday’s game at 5:50 p.m. (TNT) at BOK Center.

“Clay has been one of my best friends since first or second grade,” Schneider said. “We’ve played together for a long time. I just Face-Timed him right when we found out we were playing each other. It’s exciting.

“He had like a mini basketball hoop in the attic of his house and we’d always play up there. Just a lot of memories with Clay. We grew up together and we formed our love of basketball together.”

Schneider, named the Big West’s Sixth Man of the Year, ranks third on the team with 10.3 points per game.

The 6-foot-3, 183-pound guard shoots 40 percent from the floor, including .346 from the 3-point line. Schneider went by the first name Joe in high school, but switched to his birth name during college.

Prior to UC Davis, Schneider attended the Air Force Academy Prep School.

“When I first went out there, my roommate, his name was Joe Mooney,” Schneider said of his name change. “I just thought it’d be a good time to go back to my original name, Siler. It’s been good. It stuck and it’s a unique name.”

Starring at Lansing, Schneider led his school to an undefeated state championship in 2015. He averaged 17 points and five assists in his final season and received the DiRenna Award, which is given to the best player in the Kansas City metro area.

For Schneider, playing against the Jayhawks is a dream come true. His parents and older brother attended Kansas State, but Schneider grew up going to games at Allen Fieldhouse and cheering on the Jayhawks.

With extra family and friends in attendance in Tulsa, Schneider hopes to make the most of his NCAA Tournament experience.

“They are the best team in the country so it’s not going to be easy, by any means,” Schneider said. “We’ve just got to play our best game of basketball and defend and hopefully good things happen.... Just have fun and enjoy the moment. Just hope for the best.”

Reply