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Posts tagged with College Basketball

Getting to know the Longhorns

Texas men's basketball coach Rick Barnes, left, talks with Cameron Ridley in the first half of a NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Waco, Texas.

Texas men's basketball coach Rick Barnes, left, talks with Cameron Ridley in the first half of a NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Waco, Texas.

Maybe we should have known Rick Barnes would have his Texas Longhorns right back in the thick of the Big 12 hunt this year.

But after the Horns went 16-18 last season and lost in the first round of the CBI Tournament (yes, that is a thing; it's a rung below the postseason NIT) it seemed easy to think Texas would spend 2013-14 rebuilding.

Not exactly. With three straight wins over ranked opponents, Texas nabbed a ranking of its own, coming in at No. 25 in this week's poll. The Longhorns are 16-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big 12, which puts them in third place (a half-game behind Oklahoma) entering Saturday.

Suddenly, Texas is one of the surprise teams of the nation. But, really, we should have seen it coming. As KU coach Bill Self talked about Friday morning, last season was an anomaly for UT.

Prior to the Horns' cameo in the CBI, Barnes led Texas to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first 14 years with the program. In fact, UT reached the Sweet 16 five times in the past 12 years. Only 12 other programs in the nation have made it to that stage at least five times in that span: Duke (nine), Kansas (nine), Michigan State (seven), Connecticut (six), Kentucky (six), North Carolina (six), Syracuse (six), Wisconsin (six), Arizona (five), Pittsburgh (five), Louisville (five) and Xavier (five).

Anybody who has kept up with the Big 12 since its inception in 1998-99 knows what Texas is capable of under Barnes. Obviously, Kansas (winner of nine straight league titles) has the best record in that span at 208-43. Behind the Jayhawks, in second, is Texas (172-79), with 23 more wins than Oklahoma.

Texas has won five straight games — vs. Texas Tech, at West Virginia, vs. Iowa State, vs. Kansas State and at Baylor — entering Saturday's showdown at the Erwin Center with No. 6 KU (16-4, 7-0).

So, how are the Longhorns doing it?

In Big 12 games, they are hitting 45.6% of their shots (second to KU's 54.4%), they lead the league in field-goal percentage defense at 40.6%, they're second in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.3%, only slightly behind Texas Tech's 30.6%), they pull down a league-best 38.4 rebounds a game and they swat 5.6 shots a game (second in the Big 12 to KU's 5.9 blocks).

In its current win streak, Texas is holding opponents to 66.6 points a game on 39.2% shooting and 25.9% from three-point land.

Let's meet the players who make it happen on both ends of the floor.

Jonathan Holmes, No. 10

6-8, 240, jr. forward

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTxiFpuJqWw

Holmes owns the signature play of the Longhorns' season to date, with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the right corner that beat Kansas State, 67-64, on Jan. 21 in Austin. On the season, he has converted 19 of his 50 from downtown.

He and freshman guard Isaiah Taylor lead Texas with 15 double-figure scoring games so far this season. Holmes averages 12.9 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.

His board numbers are a little better in Big 12 games, in which he averages 8.3, third-best in the league.

Javan Felix, No. 3

5-11, 195, so. guard

Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Texas guard Javan Felix look for a possession call from a game official during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Texas guard Javan Felix look for a possession call from a game official during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. by Nick Krug

The leading returning scorer from the disappointing 2012-13 Longhorns (6.8 points), Felix has scored in double figures 14 times in his second year at Texas.

This season, Felix is averaging 12.2 points and 3.0 assists. But he began to step up his game when UT got to its conference schedule. Through seven Big 12 games, the sophomore leads Texas with 15.6 points per game, and has made 40 of 97 field goals. In non-conference games, he shot 32.4% from the floor and averaged 10.3 points.

Felix dished five assists, with no turnovers, in the Longhorns' win over Baylor.

Isaiah Taylor, No. 1

6-1, 170, fr. guard

Taylor had a career night, scoring 27 points at Baylor this past Saturday, as you can see in the video clip below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzPRD7qjXPM

The young floor leader, who made 10 of 18 shots, seven of eight free throws, and had three steals and three assists, said after the game that the team's bigs, Cameron Ridley and Holmes, opened things up for the Longhorns' guards.

During UT's five-game winning streak, Taylor has averaged 13.4 points and 2.8 rebounds a game. On the year, he has put up 11.7 points and 3.7 assists a game.

Cameron Ridley, No. 55

6-9, 285, so. center

The big man's 8.9 rebounds a game in Big 12 play are second only to Oklahoma's Ryan Spangler (11.1). Ridley averages 3.1 offensive rebounds and 2.4 blocks in league games.

He swatted away five shots against Iowa State, marking the fourth time in his career he blocked at least five in one game. In fact, Ridley blocked six twice this season, against BYU (in a loss in November) and UT-Arlington.

The Longhorns' overall leading rebounder this season (7.8 a game) — and shot blocker (48 this season) — also scores 11.2 points an outing.

Demarcus Holland, No. 2

6-2, 185, so. guard

Kansas guard Travis Releford pressures Texas guard Demarcus Holland during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford pressures Texas guard Demarcus Holland during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

At 8.6 points a game, Holland doesn't light up the scoreboard too frequently, but he's a glue guy that makes Texas successful.

Even with a 6-2, 185-pound frame, the sophomore guard averages 5.0 rebounds. Holland fills his role-player duties so well that Barnes plays him 31.4 minutes a game. Holland leads Texas with 24 steals, and is third in assists (52).

Texas bench

Connor Lammert, No. 21

6-9, 235, so. forward

Oklahoma State post Kamari Murphy (21) holds his head and Texas forward Connor Lammert (21) applauds after Murphy was called for a foul during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma State post Kamari Murphy (21) holds his head and Texas forward Connor Lammert (21) applauds after Murphy was called for a foul during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) by Sue Ogrocki

Sixth on the team in minutes (19.1 a game), the backup big is the Longhorns' fourth-best rebounder (4.8 a game). Lammert adds 5.5 points per game and shoots 50% from the floor.

Four times this season, Lammert has scored in double figures, the latest coming at Oklahoma State, where he contributed 11 on 5-for-8 shooting.

Prince Ibeh, No. 44

6-10, 250, so. center

Much like Ridley, Ibeh alters or blocks shots regularly. The backup center has turned away 39 of his opponents' shots and grabs 3.5 rebounds a game in just 13.6 minutes.

He's averaging 2.1 blocks in the Longhorns' last 14 games, has blocked at least three shots on four different occasions this year and adds 5.0 points.

Reply 3 comments from Carnahan Robert  Brock Dirk Medema

Getting reacquainted with Iowa State

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg watches late in the second half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg watches late in the second half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

There is a reason Iowa State men's basketball coach Fred Hoiberg looked annoyed by the end of the night on Jan. 13 at Hilton Coliseum.

One of the better offensive teams in not only the Big 12, but also the nation, the Cyclones — who lead the Big 12 in scoring, at 84.8 points a game — went uncharacteristically cold against Kansas in a 77-70 home loss.

This season, ISU has made 47.7 percent of its shots. Against KU, the Cyclones made 31.4 percent. They took 70 shots and made just 22.

Free throws? Iowa State shoots 70.3 percent for the year. That night? Not that far off, but still below average, at 64.7 percent.

But the stat that had to hurt the most was three-point field goal percentage. The Cyclones have hit 35 percent from deep this season — 157 makes on 449 tries. Against Kansas, though, they missed 21 from behind the arc. Four-for-25. Sixteen percent.

Iowa State missed so many shots that it typically makes that the Jayhawks won a Big 12 road game even though they turned the ball over 24 times.

As usual, turnovers weren't an issue for the Cyclones against Kansas (they committed eight and totaled 12 assists). ISU averages 18.2 assists a game (first in Big 12, second in the nation to Creighton's 18.6) and the Cyclones are elite in assist-to-turnover ratio, too. At 1.75 assists for every turnover, ISU leads the Big 12 and is second in NCAA Division I, behind Creighton's 1.85.

ISU's loss to Kansas marked the second setback in a three-game skid, but the Cyclones recovered this past Saturday by beating Kansas State, 81-75, in Ames, Iowa. Wouldn't you know it, they were on from downtown, going 9-for-18 from three-point range.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JZKf8LhPsc

Their four three-point baskets against Kansas and 16-percent shooting from long range in that loss are both season lows, and the Cyclones average 8.72 successful threes a game. So don't expect Iowa State's top players to be shy about hoisting from deep in tonight's rematch at Allen Fieldhouse, where No. 16 ISU (15-3 overall, 3-3 Big 12) will try to beat No. 6 Kansas (15-4, 6-0) in Lawrence for the first time since 2005.

Melvin Ejim, No. 3

6-6, 220, sr. forward

Kansas forward Tarik Black pulls a rebound from Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas forward Tarik Black pulls a rebound from Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 15 points, 5/15 FGs, 2/5 3s, 3/3 FTs, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 3 steals, 5 fouls.

Ejim leads the Big 12 in scoring (17.9 points), has posted double digits in 20 straight games and has scored 20 or more seven times this season. He does it by shooting a high percentage (51.5 percent) from the floor and scoring at the free-throw line, where he makes 77.3 percent.

The versatile forward also snags 7.3 rebounds a game, passes out 2.0 assists and has hit 22 three-pointers.

If he remains at the top of the Big 12 scoring list, he'll be the first Cyclone to lead the conference since Marcus Fizer, who did it back-to-back seasons in 1999 and 2000.

DeAndre Kane, No. 50

6-4, 200, sr. guard

Kansas guards Andrew Wiggins, left, and Naadir Tharpe look to tie up Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guards Andrew Wiggins, left, and Naadir Tharpe look to tie up Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 21 points, 6/13 FGs, 1/3 3s, 8/16 FTs, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 4 steals.

Named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, Kane does it all. The savvy guard averages 16.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists. In fact, he's the only player in the nation averaging at least 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

What's more, his scoring average has gone up, to 19 points a game, in conference play.

Kane doesn't take a ton of threes, but he has hit 16 of his 46 tries. Athletic and strong off the dribble, as well as in transition, he shoots 49.2 percent from the floor and forces opponents to foul him (he has made 86 of 135 free throws).

Kane will take his man's lunch, too. In his last six games, he is averaging 2.6 steals.

Georges Niang, No. 31

6-7, 240, so. forward

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 11 points, 4/20 FGs, 0/9 FTs, 3/4 FTs, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers.

The big man with range recovered well from an off night against Kansas. In ISU's two games since, Niang has gone 13-for-25 from the floor and 8-for-13 from three-point land. He has helped the Cyclones make 20 of 50 threes since their forgettable three-point shooting night against KU.

Niang, who has scored 18 points in two straight games, averages 15.4 points and 4.2 rebounds. Plus, the big guy can pass the ball with purpose. Averaging 3.7 assists, Niang is the only non-guard among the Big 12's top 10 assist leaders, where he currently ranks eighth.

Dustin Hogue, No. 22

6-6, 215, jr. forward

Kansas forward Perry Ellis defends against a shot from Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis defends against a shot from Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 13 points, 3/10 FGs, 0/1 3s, 7/8 FTs, 9 rebounds (6 offensive).

A high-energy, JUCO transfer who took no time fitting in at ISU, his 9.3 boards a game are second only to Oklahoma's Ryan Spangler (10.1) in the Big 12. Hogue grabs 2.4 of those a game on the offensive end of the floor.

He's a capable scorer, too, averaging 11.9 points. Hogue has scored in double figures 12 times and put up four double-doubles this season.

Naz Long, No. 15

6-4, 205, so. guard

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 0 points, 0/2 FGs, 0/2 3s, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 16 minutes.

The guy only averages 7.7 points a game, but he leads Iowa State with 34 three-pointers this season. His 42 percent accuracy from three-point range is fourth-best in the Big 12.

Eight times this season, he has made multiple three-pointers in a game. If he can give the Cyclones a little offensive spark this time around, they just might be able to keep up with KU.

ISU bench

Monté Morris, No. 11

6-2, 170, fr. guard

Kansas forward Perry Ellis battles for the ball with Iowa State guard Monte Morris during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. At left is ISU forward Georges Niang.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis battles for the ball with Iowa State guard Monte Morris during the first half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. At left is ISU forward Georges Niang. by Nick Krug

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 7 points, 1/5 FGs, 1/4 3s, 0/1 FTs, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, 4 steals.

The freshman's playing time has increased as Hoiberg's confidence in him grows.

Morris averages 6.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists. In Big 12 games, he is shooting 53.3 percent, but does just as much good for the ISU offense with his ball-handling. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 9.5-to-1 in conference games. In his last 328 minutes on the floor, he has committed only five turnovers, while dishing 42 assists.

His 1.7 steals a game are third in the Big 12.

Matt Thomas, No. 21

6-3, 200, fr. guard

— Stats Jan. 13, vs. KU: 3 points, 1/5 FGs, 1/4 3s, 0/1 FTs, 2 rebounds, one assist, 3 blocks, 1 steal.

Another key freshman off the bench for ISU, his claim to fame these days is making four of his six threes in a win over Kansas State on Saturday.

Like Morris, Thomas takes care of the ball. While his averages of 6.7 points and 2.6 rebounds provide a little production off the bench, what's really impressive is he has only turned the ball over one time since Iowa State won at BYU, back on Nov. 20. The lone mishap came on Saturday against K-State, breaking a streak of 13 straight turnover-free games.

Reply 5 comments from Benton Smith Matt Tait Buddhadude Erich Hartmann Dirk Medema

Video: KU’s Landen Lucas, Naadir Tharpe and Bill Self on Iowa State

Kansas forward Perry Ellis looks for a rebound between Iowa State defenders Melvin Ejim, left, and Dustin Hogue during the second half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis looks for a rebound between Iowa State defenders Melvin Ejim, left, and Dustin Hogue during the second half on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

A day before No. 6 Kansas welcomes No. 16 Iowa State to Allen Fieldhouse, a couple of the Jayhawks, as well as coach Bill Self, fielded questions from the media Tuesday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

First up from Kansas (15-4 overall, 6-0 Big 12) was redshirt freshman big man Landen Lucas. The 6-foot-10 forward is typically the fifth man in KU's deep front-court rotation, but he played a season (and career) high 13 minutes in KU's Saturday victory at TCU, due to senior center Tarik Black sitting out the game with an ankle injury.

Lucas scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds at TCU, and he spoke with the media Tuesday about the ending to last year's Iowa State game at the fieldhouse, rebounding and eventually becoming a starter at KU, among other topics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2NVMontnow

Naadir Tharpe, who actually didn't take a shot in KU's last game, followed Lucas. The junior guard talked about his 0-for-0, four-assist, no-turnover night at TCU, as well as realizing he had to take a stand with this young team and become the leader KU needed.

As you'll see at the end of the clip, Tharpe didn't have much time to talk, because he didn't want to be late for a session with strength coach Andrea Hudy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q9iCGHP9BM

Finally, Self went into great detail about the Cyclones (15-3, 3-3), their key players and what ISU coach Fred Hoiberg does to make it all work.

Self also hit on how the Jayhawks' bigs need to handle double-teams in the post, KU's 24 turnovers in a 77-70 win at Iowa State a couple weeks back and the Cyclones' ability to hit from three-point range.

The 11th-year Kansas coach said he's hopeful Black will be able to play against ISU, but the big man remained questionable as of Tuesday afternoon. The only good thing about that, Self added, is Kansas can plug in Lucas and not skip a beat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wuq8i-dAbwU

Reply 4 comments from Sam Burns Cap10d Benton Smith Phil Leister

Getting to know TCU

TCU head coach Trent Johnson reacts to his team's play during the second half of a game against West Virginia on  Jan. 23, 2013, in Morgantown, W.Va.

TCU head coach Trent Johnson reacts to his team's play during the second half of a game against West Virginia on Jan. 23, 2013, in Morgantown, W.Va.

Things aren't exactly easy in the Big 12 for the Horned Frogs of TCU. They only won two conference games in 2013 and currently sit at 0-6 in the Big 12 (9-9 overall) heading into tonight's home game against No. 8 Kansas (14-4, 5-0).

Of course, that doesn't mean a Bill Self team couldn't go down to Fort Worth, Texas, and lose at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. It happened last season, when TCU won, 62-55, on its home floor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SrWO94SGSw

Pulling off a second massive upset of Kansas seems unlikely. TCU is 10th (last) in the Big 12 in scoring offense (66.1 points), scoring margin (-2.6), field goal percentage (41.3), three-point field goal percentage (31.2), rebounding (32.7), rebound margin (-5.3) and offensive rebounds.

The Horned Frogs opened conference play this season with home losses to West Virginia (by 15 points), Kansas State (by 18) and Texas Tech (by 11), and road losses at Baylor (by 26), Oklahoma State (by 32) and Oklahoma (by eight).

TCU nearly rid itself of the zero in its conference win column on Wednesday, but ultimately lost, 77-69, to the Sooners.

As reported by Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TCU coach Trent Johnson felt good about his team's play at Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs tied the game with less than four minutes to play.

“That’s probably as well as we’ve played in league play,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “We’re a lot better team than what we’ve shown in the previous five league games. So hopefully this will give us some confidence the remainder of the year so we can play better basketball.”


Here are the five Horned Frogs the Jayhawks will have to worry about as they try to keep TCU winless in the Big 12.

Kyan Anderson, No. 5

5-11, 175, jr. guard

Ben McLemore (23) and Elijah Johnson (15) press TCUs Kyan Anderson (5) late in the Jayhawks 62-55 loss to Texas Christian University, Wednesday at TCU in Ft. Worth, TX.

Ben McLemore (23) and Elijah Johnson (15) press TCUs Kyan Anderson (5) late in the Jayhawks 62-55 loss to Texas Christian University, Wednesday at TCU in Ft. Worth, TX. by Mike Yoder

If anyone from TCU is capable of getting hot, it's Anderson. He averages 15.1 points and 4.6 assists, and has scored in double figures 13 times this season. He scored 23 earlier this week at OU.

Anderson's 104 free-throw attempts lead the team by far, and he hits 81.7 percent at the foul line. He also makes 36.8 percent of his threes (21-for-57) to lead TCU. Overall, Anderson shoots 47.4 percent from the floor.

His 1.5 steals a game are the third-best average in the Big 12, and he plays 33.5 minutes a game, second overall in the conference.

Amric Fields, No. 4

6-9, 220, jr. forward

TCU missed Fields most of last season, when he only played three games due to a knee injury, and he has only played in 11 games this season, due in part to a broken hand he suffered during non-conference play.

But when he is on the floor, he makes things happen for TCU. Fields averages 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. Despite the time he has missed, he is third on the team with 12 tree-pointers made (on 35 attempts, 34.3 percent).

Brandon Parrish, No. 11

6-6, 185, fr. guard

His 24 three-pointers lead the Horned Frogs, and he averages 10.2 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Though just a freshman, he has started every game, scored double digits 11 times and scored a career high 18 vs. West Virginia.

Parrish was the first player to commit to second-year coach Johnson, who is still in the early stages of a major project.

Karviar Shepherd, No. 1

6-10, 225, fr. center

The Star-Telegram's Stevenson recently wrote about how the freshman big man, to whom KU actually offered a scholarship, is starting to make a bigger impact on offense.

Shepherd averaged 14.0 points against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. He followed that up with 12 points (and 11 rebounds) at Oklahoma. Compare that to his first three Big 12 games, when he attempted a total of 14 shots.

“He’s got a better understanding now of good shot/bad shot,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “I think he’s making strides offensively.”


On the season, Shepherd averages 8.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.

Jarvis Ray, No. 22

6-6, 195, sr. forward

The only senior in Johnson's rotation, and a steady No. 5 option in the starting lineup, Ray averages 9.6 points and 4.0 rebounds.

He swipes 1.28 steals a game, sixth in the Big 12. Plus, Ray is third on TCU with 21 offensive rebounds.

Reply 2 comments from Steve Corder Jayhawkmarshall

Bill Self press conference notes: Jan. 23

Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self fielded questions from the media this afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

The No. 8-ranked Jayhawks (14-4 overall, 5-0 Big 12) travel to play at TCU (9-9, 0-6), in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday night.

KU is coming off four straight wins against nationally ranked opponents.

TCU lost Wednesday night at No. 25 Oklahoma, 77-69, but the game was tied with less than four minutes to go.

The Horned Frogs were winless in conference last year, too, when they beat Kansas, 62-55, at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

Here are the highlights from today's session.

Bill Self speaks with media before KU leaves for trip to TCU

  • Frank Mason has done really well. He's very competitive and gives KU a burst of energy and athleticism off the bench. Unique talent on the roster.

  • Sometimes, depending on matchups, it's hard to play "two little guards," in Mason and Naadir Tharpe, from a defensive standpoint. From an offensive standpoint, it works better.

  • KU will turn it over. The Jayhawks are just forcing too many plays that turn into give-aways. Moving forward, Jayhawks have to eliminate bad possessions. That will give them a much better chance.

  • Self has never been one to use things such as last year's loss at TCU as motivation. But he will talk about it before the Jayhawks play down there Saturday night. It won't be the determining factor.

  • Self has been a part of some strange games, but last year at TCU was one of the strangest. Everybody has bizarre games. It doesn't happen exclusively to KU. It seemed like everyone was focused and ready to go. So the play and result shocked the KU coaching staff.

  • There aren't tactics and ploys to get players ready for one event. There are so many games that doesn't necessarily work. Coaches can't tell players this game is huge every time they play.

  • The Jayhawks play well when there is energy in the building. Self anticipates the building will be full at TCU on Saturday. Those are the environments you have to play well in.

  • After loss to San Diego State loss, Self thought Kansas had a better chance of starting 0-5 in Big 12 than 5-0. Assistants disagreed, and he said, "Did you not see what I just saw?" It's not that he didn't think KU was a good team. At that moment he didn't think it was a good team.

  • Jayhawks are still a team that hasn't figured it out yet. If they had, they wouldn't be playing 10 guys. You don't need to play 10 guys. Some days Conner Frankamp provides the start, other times it's Brannen Greene. There are a lot of small things to figure out.

  • Self doesn't keep up with which Big 12 teams are playing against each other from week to week. He just worries about what Kansas is doing, and who his team is playing. When there are two weeks left in the season, he will be paying more attention. And sometimes Self will root for certain teams if outcomes would benefit KU.

  • TCU is "much improved" from last year. They've played better than their record and TCU could've won at Oklahoma Wednesday night. TCU is sound defensively and when they make shots they can be a dangerous team.

  • Karviar Shepherd, a freshman center for TCU, has a chance to be a really good player.

  • Tarik Black has played well off the bench. He brings energy, toughness. Black hasn't practiced yet because of his ankle injury, but should be good to go Saturday.

  • Between Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis, Self likes to go with whomever has the hot hand. That's a nice option to have in a big-man rotation.

  • With KU's frontcourt depth, it doesn't hurt as badly when one player picks up a couple of early fouls.

  • Self thinks the offense hasn't been good for Kansas, because the turnovers are too high. The Jayhawks might have some good numbers, but he'll be more excited when KU doesn't waste so many possessions.

  • Kansas is averaging about 79 points, and that's not too far off from what other teams have done here under Self. This team might be better in the half court than other teams, though.

  • In the first semester, Jayhawks took care of their business in the classroom. Self was pretty proud of how the players did, especially considering how much traveling KU did. There were some C's that could've been B's and B's that could've been A's but he was mostly pleased.

  • When Self looks at Andrew Wiggins, he thinks he could be stronger with the ball. And that would make him more productive. There's not many guys that you look at and say he scored 20 but it could've been 28. His numbers should be in the vicinity of 20 points and 10 rebounds every game. Wiggins can get free points by putting his head down and driving more, getting to the foul line.

  • You could make a case Joel Embiid's production has been better than anybody on the team, but Wiggins is playing better than a lot of people say he has performed.

Click here to listen to the entire press conference.

Jayhawks Brannen Greene and Tarik Black also met with the media. Click on a player's name to hear what he had to say.

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Bears need big night to achieve first win at fieldhouse

Before the season began — and, really, as recent as a couple of weeks ago — Baylor University's men's basketball team figured to be one of the Big 12 programs capable of challenging league favorites Oklahoma State and Kansas. Or, at the very least, the Bears could make things difficult for the league's elite.

Then conference play began for BU like a smack to the face. After starting the season 12-1, Baylor has dropped three of its last four games, which coincided with the beginning of Big 12 play.

A glance at the conference standings shows Kansas alone at the top, with a 4-0 record, while Baylor is next to last, in ninth (ahead of only 0-5 TCU) with a 1-3 mark.

Back in December, long before their recent slide, the Bears beat Kentucky on a neutral floor. However, they lost to the other ranked teams they faced this season: Syracuse (at the Maui Invitational), at Iowa State and their last game, at home against Oklahoma.

BU's back-to-back losses this past week at Texas Tech and vs. OU dropped the Bears 12 spots in the new AP poll, to No. 24.

In the last seven seasons, Baylor is 20-32 on the road in Big 12 play. So one would figure the last place the Bears would want to play next, given their slump and road woes, is Allen Fieldhouse.

Bad news, Bears. Coach Scott Drew brings his team to Lawrence tonight to face No. 8 KU (13-4, 4-0).

Although Baylor has won two of its last three meetings with Kansas, that success didn't come on the road. If the Bears want to achieve a program first and beat Kansas in Lawrence, where they're 0-11, they'll need productive nights from every one of their top eight players.

Cory Jefferson, No. 34

6-9, 220, jr. forward

Baylors Cory Jefferson (34) fires in a shot over Jeff Withey (5) in KU's 81-58 loss to the Baylor Bears Saturday in Waco.

Baylors Cory Jefferson (34) fires in a shot over Jeff Withey (5) in KU's 81-58 loss to the Baylor Bears Saturday in Waco. by Mike Yoder

A fifth-year senior, Jefferson has emerged as Baylor's most reliable scorer. He has reached double figures in 21 of his previous 24 games (dating back to last season) and has 17 double-doubles in his career, with six coming this season.

Baylor is 35-9 all-time when Jefferson reaches double digits in points, and he averages 13.1 a game this season on 53.1-percent shooting, to go with 8.4 rebounds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dCX6-_b8ts

Kenny Cherry, No. 1

5-11, 180, jr. guard

The lead guard contributes 11.9 points a game, but his play-making is even more valuable for Baylor. While Cherry has 16 three-pointers on 51 tries, he leads the team with 5.1 assists an outing.

For 12 straight games, Cherry's assists numbers have outweighed his turnover totals. In the past six games, his assist-to-turnover ratio sits at 28-to-6.

Isaiah Austin, No. 21

7-1, 225, so. center

Kansas guard Travis Releford pulls a rebound away from Baylor center Isaiah Austin during the second half on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford pulls a rebound away from Baylor center Isaiah Austin during the second half on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The largest man in a Baylor uniform does some of his work inside, but he likes to drift out for jumpers, too, and has even taken 10 threes this season, hitting three of them.

Austin wears a prosthetic right eye after his retina detached when he was in junior high, but the rest of his body and his wealth of ability more than make up for that loss. The 7-footer averages 10.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.

In just his second season with Baylor, Austin already ranks sixth in program history with 106 blocks (which ties him with Willie Sublett).

The big man has scored at least 10 points in 10 of his last 11 starts.

Gary Franklin, No. 4

6-2, 190, sr. guard

At 6.6 points a game, Franklin doesn't make a ton of baskets, but chances are when he does it will be from three-point range. A whopping 79 of his 100 career field goals as a member of the Bears have been three-pointers.

Franklin has proven himself as a consistent threat from behind the arc. Going back over his past 44 games, he has made 40 percent of his threes (54 of 135) and he is 27 for 68 this season.

Like most of us hope to achieve, Franklin is getting better with age. He has five double-digit scoring outings in his last 13 games after achieving that only twice in his previous 68 appearances for Baylor.

Royce O'Neale, No. 00

6-6, 220, jr. forward

A transfer from Denver, O'Neale has started the last 10 games for Baylor.

He's averaging 6.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists. While O'Neale makes 56.5 percent of his field goals, he's a bad free-throw shooter, at 53.2 percent.

O'Neale's ball-handling certainly can't be blamed for Baylor's recent slump, though. In BU's past six games, he has 17 assists against three turnovers.

Baylor bench

Brady Heslip, No. 5

6-2, 180, sr. guard

Kansas players Travis Releford (24) and Jeff Withey get in the face of Baylor guard Brady Heslip during the first half on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas players Travis Releford (24) and Jeff Withey get in the face of Baylor guard Brady Heslip during the first half on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

He puts the shooting in shooting guard. Heslip plays 21.9 minutes a game, but he comes off the bench firing, and his accuracy has a lot to do with Baylor's spot as the top three-point shooting team in the Big 12 (39.3 percent).

The Bears' best three-point marksman, Heslip averages 10.8 points a game this season, and has drained 46 of 99 from downtown (46.5 percent). In fact, he is Baylor's career three-point shooting percentage leader at 42.9.

Fifteen times this season, Heslip has hoisted at least three three-pointers, and in 14 of those games he hit at least two from deep.

In the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Helip cashed in nine from long range to lead Baylor to the Sweet 16.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmWN5PQpa4U

Taurean Prince, No. 35

6-7, 210, so. forward

In Baylor's lone Big 12 victory, over TCU, Prince scored a career high 23 points. He's averaging 8.5 points and 3.4 rebounds this season without starting a single game.

In his last six games, Prince totaled 82 points on just 50 shot attempts. The efficient forward tends to start hot, too. In his last five games he has made 17 of his 25 field goals before halftime.

Rico Gathers, No. 2

6-8, 270, so. forward

Kansas forward Perry Ellis wrestles for a rebound with Baylor players Rico Gathers, left, and Pierre Jackson during the second half on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis wrestles for a rebound with Baylor players Rico Gathers, left, and Pierre Jackson during the second half on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Baylor's second-best rebounder, Gathers averages 7.7 boards a game. Offensively, he contributes 7.7 points on 53.6-percent shooting (45-for-84).

During Baylor's last 10 games, he's averaging 10.3 points and 8.9 rebounds, and Gathers has posted double figures in six of his last eight games.

His 60 offensive rebounds lead Baylor, the top team on the offensive glass in the Big 12 (14.4 a game, 43.5 offensive rebounding percentage).

Reply 10 comments from Benton Smith Rodney Crain Chuckberry32 Raprichard John Myers Carnahan Joe Ross

Smart, Brown, Nash lead potent OSU offense

No one reading this blog has forgotten what happened the last time Oklahoma State played at Kansas.

The Cowboys prevailed, 85-80, and Marcus Smart performed a backflip after OSU won at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since 1989.

Saturday afternoon, No. 9 Oklahoma State (15-2 overall, 3-1 Big 12) will attempt to knock off No. 15 Kansas (12-4, 3-0) on its home floor again, rather than wait another 24 years.

Coach Travis Ford's Cowboys have won three straight games since falling, 74-71, at Kansas State, and the Jayhawks will be the fourth ranked team they've played this season. In the non-conference, OSU split two games with Memphis and beat Colorado.

Oklahoma State's strength of schedule (40th) isn't close to Kansas (1st), but the Cowboys lead the Big 12, as well as the nation, in scoring margin at plus-20.2 a game, and put up 84.8 points an outing, compared to 78.9 for KU.

Now it's time to meet the guys that make Oklahoma State explosive.

Marcus Smart, No. 33

6-4, 220, so. guard

One of four regional covers for Sports Illustrated's 2013-14 college basketball preview issue, the Big 12 version features Kansas University freshman Wayne Selden and Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart.

One of four regional covers for Sports Illustrated's 2013-14 college basketball preview issue, the Big 12 version features Kansas University freshman Wayne Selden and Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart.

A unanimous Associated Press pre-season All-American, Smart averages 17.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists, while shooting 46.3 percent from the field. And because he is stronger than most of the guards trying to check him, as well as some of the larger players who slide over to help, he gets to the foul line regularly. Smart has converted 87 of his 123 free throws — both team highs.

If you ever want a thorough scouting report video on an NBA prospect, look no farther than DraftExpress.com's YouTube channel.

There's a great one there on Smart (posted below). Ignore the stats, because the video was created in the off-season, but the highlights begin at the 1:50 mark and show off the beast of a point guard's wide array of skills, including a series of post-ups in which he shows better footwork than most big men in the country.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grjkPue0ZL0

Or — if you prefer a (relatively) more condensed Smart highlight reel — watch him torch Memphis for a career high 39 points earlier this season.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxXictCDDqA

Smart opened his barrage with a filthy spin move in transition, before offering up a step-back three, a post-up in the paint, a fast-break throw-down and a dunk via alley-oop, to name a few of his most impressive offensive plays.

Basically, Smart does everything the Cowboys need him to do, as you can read in a John Helsley piece for NewsOK.com, which came in the wake of Smart's 22-point, 13-rebound, five-assist night at West Virginia on Jan. 11:

The best way he can make the Cowboys better right now is by being the best player on the floor, which he's doing, with an added bonus of playing big, not just figuratively but literally. Against Texas, Smart posted a staggering stat line: 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, six steals and a blocked shot. And zero turnovers. At West Virginia, it was more of the same. Smart scored seven of OSU's final 15 points and either scored or assisted on his team's final four buckets.

Smart plays with the strength of a power forward, the mentality of a sniper and is built sturdier than a number of NBA point guards.

Markel Brown, No. 22

6-3, 190, sr. guard

Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown goes up for a shot with seconds remaining in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The shot missed and the rebound went to the Jayhawks.

Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown goes up for a shot with seconds remaining in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The shot missed and the rebound went to the Jayhawks. by Nick Krug

Brown brings nearly as much offensive punch as Smart, adding 16.6 points, while pulling down 5.2 boards a game and dishing out 2.9 assists.

The OSU veteran scores efficiently, too, hitting 50 percent of his shots (93 of 186) and 79.2 percent of his free throws.

He's the Cowboys' third-best option from long range, as well. Brown drilled a three that held up as the game-winner when Oklahoma State's trip to West Virginia came down to the wire.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lePwzcNSGTk

As if that weren't enough, the guy can sky. Known for putting on slam dunk shows, Brown compiled a list of his top 10 dunks for NewsOK.com.

His No. 1 favorite came a couple years ago against Missouri — remember those guys? — and Brown actually earned a technical on the play, his second of that game, which led to his ejection. Apparently it was too nasty to drop on the list, despite the repercussion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h4u7wGM630

NewsOK.com dubbed Brown: "mayor of LobStilly."

Here's what the living myth of a dunk artist had to say about his vertical ferociousness:

“When I do one of those dunks, immediately I get tweets saying, ‘Markel's going to be on SportsCenter.' Things like that. I like doing those type of dunks. It's exciting. It gets the crowd pumped up. It gets my teammates some hype."

Le'Bryan Nash, No. 2

6-7, 235, jr. wing

Kansas center Jeff Withey blocks a shot from Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey blocks a shot from Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Nash has the potential to play just as lethal a brand of basketball as Smart and Brown. But he still hasn't found that consistency that would make Oklahoma State even more trouble for its opponents.

Nash averages 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds this season and has made 52.3 percent of his shots, but check out his scoring totals from his previous five games: nine vs. Robert Morris, 20 at Kansas State, 2 vs. Texas, 18 at West Virginia and 13 vs. TCU.

Like Smart and Brown, Nash is at his best when he's attacking, and he gets to the foul line, where he is a 70.5-percent shooter, averaging 5.6 freebie attempts a game.

Brian Williams, No. 4

6-5, 210, jr. wing

Kansas guard Ben McLemore drives against Oklahoma State guard Brian Williams during the first overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore drives against Oklahoma State guard Brian Williams during the first overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

The most likely player to score outside of Oklahoma State's top four (the Cowboys' fourth-best offensive option comes off the bench, and we'll get to him in a moment). Williams averages 8.4 points and isn't great at any one thing, outside of scoring efficiently.

Williams has only hoisted 10 three-pointers, so much of his job duties come near or in the paint. He has made 52 of 93 shots and 36 of 47 free throws.

Plus, ball-handlers beware: Williams has swiped at least two steals seven times this season.

Kamari Murphy, No. 21

6-8, 220, so. post

Oklahoma State post Kamari Murphy blocks a Memphis shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.  (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Oklahoma State post Kamari Murphy blocks a Memphis shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt) by BRODY SCHMIDT

When he gets a touch in the paint, odds are the ball is going through the hoop. Murphy has made 60 percent of his field goals this season.

He has only started four games to date, but Murphy has made 39 of his 65 shot attempts, and averages 5.9 points and 5.9 rebounds (tied with Nash for the team lead).

The young big man gets a lot of those when the Cowboys have the ball, and Murphy leads OSU with 32 offensive boards this season.

If there is a situation late in the game in which Kansas needs to foul someone from OSU, Bill Self and his staff will target Murphy if he's on the floor. While a nice role player, his one problem area is the free-throw stripe, where he has missed more than he has made: 16-for-35 (45.7 percent).

His 23 blocked shots are a team best.

OSU bench

Phil Forte, No. 13

5-11, 185, so. guard

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe puts a floater over Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte to give the Jayhawks the advantage with seconds remaining in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe puts a floater over Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte to give the Jayhawks the advantage with seconds remaining in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

The deadeye shooter's 46 three-pointers and 47.9-percent accuracy from deep lead the Cowboys.

Forte hops off the bench and starts killing his opponents from deep, averaging 12.0 points and 2.7 made threes a game.

Plus, when he goes to the foul line, he's the best in the Big 12, at 90.2 percent.

Stevie Clark, No. 5

5-11, 175, fr. guard

A lot of times this season, Clark has been the guy leading off an OSU highlight on SportsCenter. He's the one placing the ball perfectly near the rim for Brown or Smart to flush.

Clark averages 3.3 assists a game, with a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

He only scores 6.0 points a game, has hit 16 of 36 from three-point land, and only attempted 13 shots inside the arc, making three of those (23 percent).

Reply 3 comments from Zabudda Robert  Brock Brian Conrad

KU facing talented bunch in No. 8 Iowa State

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg pleads with an official during the second half on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg pleads with an official during the second half on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

Fourth-year Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg doesn't have much to complain about these days.

His Cyclones have shot up through the rankings this season as they won 14 straight games, beating the likes of Michigan, BYU, Iowa, Boise State and Baylor along the way.

ISU, which many figured would enter tonight's Big Monday showdown with Kansas unbeaten, suffered its first setback of the season Saturday at Oklahoma, 87-82.

For a program with legitimate Big 12 title aspirations, a conference loss always stings, but potentially worse for No. 8 ISU (14-1 overall, 2-1 Big 12) heading into its home game against No. 15 Kansas (11-4, 2-0) is how the game at OU ended. The Cyclones' breakout star, senior guard DeAndre Kane, injured his left ankle with 22 seconds left.

Hoiberg said Monday morning Kane will be re-evaluated before tonight's game to see whether he will be able to play. However, it seems more likely that he will play.

For what it's worth, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, who will be part of the Big Monday broadcast, offered his prediction on the situation via Twitter:


(Update:1:30 p.m.) -- Still no official word, but Kane seems to like his odds of playing tonight, too.


Here's another indication that Kane will play against KU, courtesy of CBS's Doug Gottlieb:


The Cyclones, who have four players averaging double-digit scoring, are far more lethal with Kane. If he can't go against the Jayhawks or isn't at full strength, it could allow Kansas to build an early cushion in the Big 12 standings.

Of course, ISU is far from a one-man show. Here are the guys who hope to harness some "Hilton magic" and give KU its first conference loss of the season tonight.

Melvin Ejim, No. 3

6-6, 220, sr. forward

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe heads to the bucket between Iowa State players Melvin Ejim (3) and Anthony Booker (22) during the second half of the semifinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe heads to the bucket between Iowa State players Melvin Ejim (3) and Anthony Booker (22) during the second half of the semifinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. by Nick Krug

Even if Kane doesn't play, Ejim leads Iowa State in scoring and is third in the Big 12 with an 18.0 average. The small forward has a nice all-around offensive game and has posted double figures in 17 straight games, dating back to last season. He put up 20-plus in six of those games.

He's shooting 52.1 percent from the field this year and has made 19 of his 55 three-pointers.

The Big 12's active leader with 26 career double-doubles, Ejim averages 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, as well, despite being just 6-foot-6.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8CPTwFbWfw

DeAndre Kane, No. 50

6-4, 200, sr. guard

The 24-year-old, a transfer from Marshall, arrived at Ames, Iowa, and quickly became one of the nation's stars, as detailed in a feature by Eric Prisbell of USA Today.

The versatile veteran, in his first season at ISU, has posted back-to-back 20-plus point efforts, and averages 16.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists.

As Bryce Miler of The Des Moines Register puts it, Kane is a "matchup disaster" for opposing guards.

Kane, a 34.5-percent three-point shooter, had 23 points and nine rebounds Saturday at Oklahoma, but the Big 12's assists leader left after injuring his ankle with 22 seconds remaining.

One could try to make a case that another player in the Big 12 has had a better all-around season, but it would be a waste of breath. That's why the injury Kane suffered Saturday could be such a blow to the Cyclones if it lessens his ability or keeps him out of tonight's Big Monday clash.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1m8kqHXXfI

Georges Niang, No. 31

6-7, 240, so. forward

Kansas guard Travis Releford wrestles with Iowa State forward Georges Niang during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford wrestles with Iowa State forward Georges Niang during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Every player in Iowa State's starting lineup can knock down three-pointers and the big guy from Methuen, Mass., is no exception. Though Niang has started the season cold (30.2 percent) from deep, his 53 attempts are fourth among ISU players and Hoiberg trusts in the sophomore wherever he touches the ball.

Niang averages 15.3 points, 4.1 rebonds and 3.5 assists (quite a number for a big) and averaged 15.7 points in three meeting with Kansas last season.

He has proven to be confident in clutch situations, too, going 11-for-15 from the floor in last five minutes of games this season.

Dustin Hogue, No. 22

6-6, 215, jr. forward

Just this morning, Bill Self called him "a guy that's as good a rebounder from his spot as any kid in the country."

Another mid-sized ISU forward with huge game on the glass, Hogue leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 9.3 boards a game, while contributing 12.3 points as a 58-percent shooter.

Like every member of the Cyclones' seven-man rotation, Hogue will take three-pointers when he is open. The junior has hit 11 of 32 from three-point land so far.

Matt Thomas, No. 21

6-3, 200, fr. guard

His 65 three-point attempts are second on the team, but Thomas has made just 22 this season (33.8 percent).

He averages 6.8 points and 2.7 rebounds, but Hoiberg has him on the floor for his decision-making. Thomas has 13 assists and no turnovers since Iowa State's win at BYU on Nov. 20.

ISU bench

Naz Long, No. 15

6-4, 205, so. guard

Hoiberg said Long could have the ball in his hands a lot tonight if Kane is out. And Long's shot is the long shot, so if he is behind the three-point arc, expect to see him jack and drain some treys, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Long averages 8.4 points and is a 49.4-percent shooter. His 32 three-point makes and 70 attempts (45.7 percent) lead Iowa State.

Monté Morris, No. 11

6-2, 170, fr. guard

Morris hasn't started once this season, but if Kane doesn't play against Kansas Hoiberg said the freshman will take over a lot of the ball-handling responsibilities.

A guy who figures to be a major part of the ISU program for four years, Morris averages 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists. His most impressive stat, though: just three turnovers in his last 245 minutes of play.

Reply 4 comments from Tomhawk26 John Myers Asad Zoberi Perses

K-State streaking entering Sunflower Showdown

In the past few weeks, Bruce Weber’s Kansas State Wildcats (12-3 overall, 2-0 Big 12) emerged as one of college basketball’s surprise teams of the season.

The guys in purple that reside an easy drive west on I-70 from Lawrence didn’t start off 2013-14 in great form, dropping a game to Charlotte and getting blown out by Georgetown in November at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. But the Wildcats have won 10 straight since then, with victories over Gonzaga (currently ranked No. 22) and Oklahoma State (which fell from No. 6 to No. 11 following its 74-71 loss at Manhattan last weekend).

The Wildcats’ most recent victim was TCU, which fell, 65-47, at home to K-State. Below is a dramatic interpretation of what transpired, courtesy of the K-State Sports YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOvQcmXJ5Og

Far more awe-inspiring, though, is how K-State shocked most Big 12 observers by beating Oklahoma State on Jan. 7. The ‘Cats are winning with their defense. Their 58 points allowed per game leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 9, nationally. What’s more, K-State boasts a 25.1-percent three-point field goal percentage defense (No. 5 in the nation) and has held 13 of its last 14 opponents below their scoring average.

This group of Wildcats is stingy, particularly on the perimeter, where each guard stays glued to his man and rarely lets a shot get off uncontested. Though Oklahoma State put up 71 points at Manhattan, the Cowboys went 21-for-52 from the floor (40.8 percent), thanks in large part to a woeful night from deep: 3-for-14 (21.4 percent).

Meet the players who want nothing more in the world today than to come to Allen Fieldhouse and knock off No. 18 Kansas (10-4, 1-0) — the Jayhawks have won 47 of the last 50 meetings in the Sunflower Showdown.

Marcus Foster, No. 2

6-2, 200, fr. guard

Kansas State guard Marcus Foster (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas State guard Marcus Foster (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Just to give you an idea of how well the freshman has played since arriving Manhattan, some observers in the Little Apple are comparing him to Mitch Richmond.

Yes, that Mitch Richmond.

Mitch Richmond backs in against Milt Newton during the 1987-88 season.

Mitch Richmond backs in against Milt Newton during the 1987-88 season.

Foster is averaging 14.1 points and 3.9 rebounds, and has hit 33 of 90 three-pointers (36.7 percent) to date. The dynamic young guard reached double-digit scoring in 10 straight games, including a team-best 17 against Okie State.

And, just in case you missed it, Foster posterized David Stockton of Gonzaga. Prepare to be amazed. The highlights themselves show off Foster’s explosive skill set, but the production level on this clip is off the charts, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1l-Cq6AZfM

Thomas Gipson, No. 42

6-7, 265, jr. forward

Kansas center Jeff Withey competes for a rebound with Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson during the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas center Jeff Withey competes for a rebound with Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson during the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Gipson led K-State with 19 points against TCU, and the team’s most reliable big is averaging 13.3 points on 61.6-percent shooting during his team’s 10-game win streak.

The third-year player missed the first two games of the season with an injury, but has regained his form of late, with a double-double (10 points, 11 boards) against Oklahoma State, and has made 60 of his 101 field-goal tries this year (59.4 percent).

Shane Southwell, No. 1

6-7, 215, sr. gaurd

Kansas State guard Shane Southwell looks to throw a pass over the Kansas defense during the second half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

Kansas State guard Shane Southwell looks to throw a pass over the Kansas defense during the second half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. by Nick Krug

The K-State senior is one of the players Weber can rely upon to do a little bit of everything. Southwell has led the team in assists six times this season and been the top scorer on three occasions, while averaging 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists on the year, and has 16 steals to his name.

Despite his experience and versatility, Southwell doesn’t always take smart shots, and it shows in his percentages: he is 59-for-148 from the floor (39.9 percent) and 17-for-59 from downtown (28.8 percent).

Wesley Iwundu, No. 25

6-7, 195, fr. forward

Kansas State forward Wesley Iwundu (25) and Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart (33) at the end of an NCAA college basketball game at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. Kansas State defeated Oklahoma State 71-74. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas State forward Wesley Iwundu (25) and Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart (33) at the end of an NCAA college basketball game at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. Kansas State defeated Oklahoma State 71-74. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

In his college debut this season, the swingman from Houston posted a double-double, with 14 points and 10 boards off the bench against Northern Colorado.

Iwundu, now a starter, averages 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds on the year, and has got to the foul line more than any of his teammates, making just 44 of 64 free-throw attempts (68.8 percent).

Will Spradling, No. 55

6-2, 185, sr. guard

Kansas guard Travis Releford competes for a loose ball with Kansas State guard Will Spradling during the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Travis Releford competes for a loose ball with Kansas State guard Will Spradling during the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Now in his final season in a K-State uniform, Spradling has started 87 times in his career. While he only averages 6.9 points and 2.5 assists this year, Weber clearly trusts him — the heady guard averages 28.9 minutes a game. Spradling ranks in the top 10 all-time at K-State with 154 career three-pointers and 273 assists.

Still, he hasn’t got going this season, making just 30 of 90 shots (33.3 percent) and 21 of 65 from deep (32.3 percent). Even his free-throw percentage (63.9) isn’t great.

K-State bench

Jevon Thomas, No. 5

6-0, 180, fr. guard

Thomas officially joined the team on Dec. 21, after sitting out the fall semester. In his four games, he has 17 assists and just four turnovers.

His eight points and five assists helped K-State knock off Oklahoma State last weekend, and Thomas proved to be just the play-maker the Wildcats had lacked. He can thread the needle on passes inside to get Gipson and other frontcourt players easy baskets.

Nino Williams, No. 11

6-5, 220, jr. forward

A sub averaging just 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds might not seem like much of a threat, but Williams has averaged 6.8 points in his last six games and made 14 of his 25 shots in that stretch.

Strong, though undersized for a forward who mixes it up inside, his biggest night came in K-State’s marquee win over Oklahoma State. Williams hit three of his four free throws in the final 13 seconds to help seal the win and finished with a season-high 15 points.

Bonus clip

No matter what happens today against Kansas, or for the rest of their lives for that matter, the Wildcats can always say they did this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyNwcblPW0I

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Getting to know OU

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger speaks with Buddy Hield during a second-half break in an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Morgantown, W.Va. Oklahoma won 67-57.

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger speaks with Buddy Hield during a second-half break in an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Morgantown, W.Va. Oklahoma won 67-57.

You know all about Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden, Naadir Tharpe and the rest of Bill Self’s No. 18 Kansas Jayhawks (9-4).

So let us take a few moments to learn a little bit about the Oklahoma Sooners (12-2 overall, 1-0 Big 12), coached by Lon Kruger, before today’s 6 p.m. clash at Norman, Okla.

KU is the only Big 12 program with a winning record against OU (the Jayhawks have won 10 of the last 11 meetings and hold a 139-65 all-time record in the series), but the Sooners might have the fire power (87.3 points a game, first in Big 12, fourth nationally) to give Kansas (77.7 points, seventh in Big 12, 74th nationally) another difficult game away from Allen Fieldhouse. Keep in mind, the Sooners beat the Jayhawks, 72-66, last season on their home court at Lloyd Noble Center.

Oklahoma players Amath M'Baye hugs teammate Cameron Clark as the Sooners celebrate their 72-66 win over Kansas on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 at Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma players Amath M'Baye hugs teammate Cameron Clark as the Sooners celebrate their 72-66 win over Kansas on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 at Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

Here’s a glance at Oklahoma’s starting five. Why just those five? Well, OU is the only Big 12 team to utilize the same starting lineup in every game, the Sooners’ top five has produced 78 percent of the team’s points and all five average double figures in scoring, another attribute no other Big 12 team can boast.

Cameron Clark, No. 21

6-7, 211, sr. forward

Clark’s 17.7 points per game average ranks third in the Big 12. And if you have any doubt about the validity of those numbers due to them coming mostly in non-conference play, you should know Clark scored a career-high 32 points in an 87-76 loss to Michigan State (then ranked No. 1) on Nov. 23, in Brooklyn, N.Y.

After making just one three-pointer all season as a junior, Clark added range to his offensive prowess, and has connected on 18 of 38 from downtown this season.

If Kansas fouls him, Clark is one of the Big 12’s top free-throw shooters: 82.9 percent (fourth in the league).

He’s not too shabby in transition, either.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lImY3Xi_0m4

Buddy Hield, No. 24

6-4, 208, so. guard

The Sooners have made 109 three-pointers this season, and Hield leads the way, with 27 makes on 74 attempts.

He averages 16.3 points a game (seventh in the Big 12), and though he plays on the perimeter, has made 81 of his 181 shot attempts (44.8 percent).

In Oklahoma’s Big 12 opener Saturday at Texas, Hield contributed 22 points, four rebounds and three assists in an 88-85 Sooners victory.

Here’s a look at what he’s capable of, in this clip from last season, against Texas Tech:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdP-ckyju0Y

Jordan Woodard, No. 10

6-0, 185, fr. guard

We know the freshman can come through in the clutch. Woodard proved that even before he arrived in Norman. He finished his high school career at Edmond Memorial (Okla.) by stealing an in-bound pass, and eventually tipping in the game-winner in Oklahoma’s Class 6A state championship game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gFKSpKu5ug

KU’s guards and bigs better beware of his play-making ability (12.2 points, 4.8 assists, .357 three-point shooting) everywhere on the floor.

Though small in stature, he gets to the foul line more than any other Sooner, and has racked up 85 easy points on 111 free throws.

Ryan Spangler, No. 00

6-8, 232, so. forward

A transfer from Gonzaga, Spangler has won Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice already this season, and posted five double-doubles. Not only does he boast a 65.6 field-goal percentage, but he has shot 50 percent or better in all 14 OU games while averaging 11.0 points and 9.2 rebounds.

As highlighted in a December story by Ryan Gerbosi for The Oklahoma Daily, Spangler played high school hoops just outside of Norman, but never caught the eye of former OU coach Jeff Capel. When things didn’t work out at Gonzaga, Kruger happily welcomed the big man back to The Sooner State.

Isaiah Cousins, No. 11

6-4, 186, so. guard

Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins (11) guards Michigan State's Gary Harris (14) during the first half of the championship game in the Coaches vs. Cancer NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins (11) guards Michigan State's Gary Harris (14) during the first half of the championship game in the Coaches vs. Cancer NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) by Frank Franklin II

In his second season at OU, Cousins has made the kind of progress every coach hopes to see between a player’s freshman and sophomore seasons. In fact, as Ryan Aber wrote for The Oklahoman, Cousins points to the Sooners’ summer trip to Europe as the jumping-off point for this season’s success.

In Oklahoma’s last 11 games, Cousins produced his top eight scoring performances of his career. He only put up 85 points in 32 games as a freshman, but Cousins scored between 10 and 19 points in his eight nights of stepping up this season. The guard has averaged 10.9 points, and has made 15 of his 33 three-point tries (45.5 percent).

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