February 2: News Headlines Digest

  • Also see our Daily Threads, February 2, and the News Digest for Yesterday, February 1, as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday, February 1


    ##Newell: KU basketball overwhelmed by No. 25 Texas in 81-69 road loss##

    AUSTIN, Texas — It’s starting to become a pattern.

    Kansas’ potent offense has a Kryptonite, and it looks an awful lot like a team blessed with skilled shot-blockers and rim-protectors.

    Previously, KU was beaten up inside by Villanova in a loss, then San Diego State in a home defeat.

    ###Dodd: Texas trounces No 6. Kansas###

    AUSTIN — Nearly an hour after Kansas’ first conference loss, Bill Self chomped down on a piece of beef jerky and moved up a ramp inside the Erwin Center.

    The jerky was a gift from Texas coach Rick Barnes, some consolation prize after No. 25 Texas had finished a convincing and thorough 81-69 victory over Self’s sixth-ranked Jayhawks.

    ###Bedore: Unbeaten no more: Texas hands Kansas first Big 12 loss###

    Austin, Texas — Those who like drama during the course of the conference season have to be happy Texas’ basketball team crushed Kansas University, 81-69, on Saturday in Erwin Center.

    The (16-5, 7-1) Jayhawks — who had raced to a 7-0 start and were threatening to leave nine schools in their wake while storming toward a 10th consecutive crown — now hold just a one-game lead on the (17-4, 6-2) Longhorns and two-game margin on Oklahoma heading into Tuesday’s game at Baylor.

    ###Keegan: Demarcus Holland, Longhorns stymie Andrew Wiggins###

    Austin, Texas — The most misleading number on the box score of Saturday’s 81-69 Texas victory against Kansas University revealed the point total for Longhorns guard Demarcus Holland, a 6-foot-2 sophomore.

    He scored four points. More telling numbers as to his value: He had 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. The man he guarded, KU’s leading scorer, Andrew Wiggins, scored seven points on 2-for-12 shooting.

    ###Bedore: Jayhawks ‘didn’t compete’ in loss at Texas###

    Austin, Texas — Wayne Selden did his best to offer an explanation for Kansas University’s double-digit loss to Texas on Saturday afternoon in Erwin Center.

    “It’s a mindset. We came out real flat. We came out dull. We didn’t play Kansas basketball. We weren’t focused,” the freshman guard said after scoring a team-high 21 points off 8-of-16 shooting in an 81-69 loss that dropped KU to 7-1 in Big 12 play, compared to UT’s 6-2 mark.

    ###Keegan: Longhorns now in hunt for Big 12 title###

    Austin, Texas — A young, hungry, cohesive Texas basketball team stormed out of the enormous Big 12 shadow cast by Kansas and there went the Longhorns’ anonymity.

    By whipping the Jayhawks, 81-69, Saturday in the aging Erwin Center, the ’Horns tore the veil off of their secret: They’re a very good basketball team, a bona fide contender for the Big 12 title.

    ####Post-game Press Conference with Self####

    ####Post-game Press Conference with Rick Barnes####

    Also see our Daily Threads, February 2, and the News Digest for Yesterday, February 1, as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday, February 1

  • Power was out all night. Sorry for the delay on this post. The lack of electronic gadgets did me some good… Read half of The Holy Grail of Hoops: One Fan’s Quest to Buy the Original Rules of Basketball by flashlight. Made the Texas loss feel like a very small and distant thing.

  • I hope you had heat approx. Very, very sorry if you didn’t.

  • Random thoughts…

    1. Boys against Men. Got beat up and rattled. This was a game for the Bruise Brothers, the Finesse Brothers (Perry and Joel). But Perry and Joel better toughen up.

    2. Officiating: Embiid got body slammed, no call?!. Selden’s And-1 became a charge?!

    3. Was Self being stubborn or trying to make a point while losing a game? Less than two minutes remaining with a double digit lead, and we keep sending our smalls inside to run into the wall. Why not spread out the shooters and attempt threes?

  • @FarSideHawk All good points. TX exposed us. KU has a tough time long and athletic teams, recall games against FL, SDSU.

    Perry is not the same player when going against long/tough Bigs. Once his shots get blocked he gets frustrated and that impacts his overall game. Embiid was having difficulty keeping his balance, perhaps the knee was bothering him.

    Coach Self will have to figure out a way how to utilize his weapons effectively when faced with similar teams in the future

  • @FarSideHawk You raise a very interesting point.

    Here is my hunch about what Self must have been thinking. When you are so far down, and are not very good at getting stops and stripping, even if you get hot shooting quick treys down the stretch, the opponent is just going to get the ball back and hold it for 35 seconds and then take it inside and cram it down your throat, which he can likely do with Embiid out. The math is like this: in the best case you hit every trey you take within 8 seconds of inbounding it, the clock never stops, and the opponent takes it down slowly, holds it for 30 seconds, and gets an uncontested two, or a shooting foul and maybe 2 or 3 point play. You just cannot close the gap that way even best case. You are playing the clock at the end, no matter whether you are on offense, or defense–ahead or behind.

    So: what is left?

    When you are down a lot of points, and the opponent has been told to contest the trey stripe, and not foul anywhere but at the rim (and not there if at all possible), the only possible way to get back in it is to score as many points as possible while the clock is stopped. FTs are the only way to do that. The only way to get FTs at that time of a game is by driving to iron and trying to draw some egregious one fouls and maybe some three point plays, then go to the other end and hope for strips, stops or missed foul shots.

    Self was choosing between no chance and a very slim chance of a comeback.

    It was ugly to watch, because it did not work and looked like more of the same that we had been watching.

    Had KU closed the gap, I am confident at some point you would have seen the treys start flying.

    All in all though, I think he was making the smart choice, among two undesirable options left him by KU getting itself in that situation in the first place.

    Rock Chalk!

  • I think this is just one of those games where nothing went our way. The good shots didn’t fall. We drove against the wall all game long, but not enough movement of the ball to create match up advantage. But give Texas credit, their bigs had a field day. They out played us and it didn’t become easier with the way the officials called the game. I couldn’t believe how many times we drove toward the basket with heavy contact, but nothing was called. That of course was advantage to Texas.

    I’m not worried, but I feel terrible about this game. It must be the New Orleans Final Four shirt I wore that jinked the team. Sorry.

  • @Wishawk I took a shower and changed every article of clothing I was wearing at half-time as well as adding a hat. It didn’t mater as it never does, but what if…

  • I couldn’t believe how many times we drove toward the basket with heavy contact, but nothing was called.

    @Wishawk Agree. I’m a bit baffled by what the officials are doing this season. First any contact earns a whistle anywhere on the court…

    These days, they still call touch fouls on the perimeter by guards… but if you’re in the lane and going to the basket, it’s open season. They swallow the whistle… I’m not just talking about our game. Note the no-call contact on the dunk attempt at the end of the Duke - Syracuse game.

  • @FarSideHawk On point 3 , below is from Jesse Newell

    KU’s offensive gameplan still confused me, though. Much like the San Diego State loss, the Jayhawks continued to try to challenge big men on Saturday after it had been established in the first half that KU wasn’t having much success inside.

    I understand that the Jayhawks’ interior offense is a strength, and I also get that KU coach Bill Self would like to have his team do what it does best in as many games as possible.

    Saturday seemed like an obvious example, though, when KU should have adjusted to shoot more 3-pointers.

    It’s not exactly a secret: The Longhorns struggle to defend the 3-point line. According to KenPom, 36.6 percent of opponents’ field goals against UT have been from 3 (59th-highest mark nationally), as others have recognized the Longhorns’ strength inside and tried to not play into it.

  • @AsadZ I was guessing he was trying to get our bigs tougher and was willing to take a loss to do it? Actually can’t even believe I thought about that.

  • @AsadZ Exactly! That’s what I was wondering, hence the allusion to Self being stubborn with going inside. I kind of see where @Jaybate is coming from on the last couple of minutes from a tactical perspective. However, as a strategy, perhaps Self should have become more perimeter oriented on offense, earlier in the 2nd half, as well changing things up defensively (press/full-court pressure) to snap the team out of their lethargic approach. Perhaps even putting 5 subs in to bring in the energy to get the starters’ attention.

    But maybe Self wanted it to end that way, to get the team to start working on its kryptonite (as Newell calls it).

    I’m not too worried. They are still among the handful of top teams in the country, and will continue to get better. Still was frustrating to watch this game.

  • Lots of speculation if Self let em lose…I agree that an L will definitely get the attention of inexperienced players, who may have really believed the stats/hype. They have to learn that nothing matters once the ball is tipped-off. Gotta do it NOW for 40min. Focus.

  • @Blown The heat was out but it was actually beautiful weather the last 2 days here so no worries.

  • @approxinfinity don’t know where you are, but hope the power is back on. Going to get crappy in KS.

  • I talked to Fran Fraschilla after the game and he was surprised about our lack of energy. He said tho that Texas came to play. When I asked Bob Davis about the officiating he shook his head and said it was bad but that it was hard to get calls away from home. I talked to Coach Townsend, Roberts and Self as they were walking out. Self was eating the jerky and walking out with Jesse and a couple other media guys. Brannen and Wayne, Perry and Frank were the most gracious. Perry said he wished we could have gotten the win. Each player had a box lunch from Chicfila but Joel was the only one with 2. He was not signing anything for anyone. And Jamari looked at me and shook his head no. Naa did ask me if I was from KS and I told him I was from here. He thanked me for the support. He told me they were flying back last night and then coming back for Baylor Tues. Andrew had some people there he knew and was talking with them and after he offered to sign. He is tall.

    I think when Texas got up by 5 and right after Joel was thrown to the floor the crowd was so loud, they amped up Texas and KU got rattled. That was the only time this year the Erwin Center has been sold out. We just were never able to get going offensvely.

    We weren’t the only top 10 team to lose and as far as media coverage, AZ, Duke, Mich. State and Michigan are the ones being most talked about. Add in the super bowl so not as bad as it could be.

  • @RockChalkinTexas sorry you had to see that game!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I saw KU lay an even bigger egg back several years ago.

  • @ralster When Self was putting the heels of his palms on his forehead down the stretch, he did not appear to be letting them lose one.

    The team came out a step slower than UT and stayed that way the entire game. Perry had a spurt of hard play the first 5-6 minutes of the second half. Selden weirdly waited 6-8 minutes into the second half before starting to play really hard. The interesting thing was that when Perry and Selden played harder for the stretches that they did, they scored a lot of points in a hurry. Maybe there is a take away point for these guys from this. 🙂

    But why did Perry go hard for about 5-6 minutes the second half and then not carry through to the end? Same with Selden. Why did Selden wait a bunch of minutes into the second half before turning it on?

    And in the bigger picture, why did Wiggins, and Naadir, and Mason, for that matter, never turn it on? It was bizarre to watch the energy levels of everyone but Embiid and Traylor.

    The most logical and probable answer is that the guys have run out of gas; that none of them have ever had to carry the mail this consistently for this long of a stretch in their careers and they simply burned out.

    I have been commenting for awhile now that KU’s rush into the conference lead may be attributable to Self going with the soft and slow start in order to avoid burning the team out in the much longer season this season. By this I have meant that KU players have probably not been as burned out as the opponents, who’s coaches probably stuck to a more conventional routine.

    But the advantage of that soft and slow start has probably been only to defer the midseason freshman burnout, not avoid it.

    It seems reasonable that the combination of the fading advantage of the soft and slow start plus the fact that injuries have begun to seriously deplete the team converged during the Texas game and Texas hammered KU.

    The injuries plaguing the team are being sharply underestimated by many IMHO.

    Embiid appears about 75% of what he was before the injury.

    Black just played a handful of minutes.

    Those two are the first and second string centers right there and remember that this team got good, when it decided to play through its big men. What made KU so tough the last several games before Black and Embiid got his knee “fine,” was that Self started two good bigs, and followed with Black and Traylor, who were becoming very good together in relief.

    Now, one of the two starting bigs is hampered and Texas did not really have to double Joel as much as he has been in the past. In turn, that means Perry becomes the focus to shut down. But the team’s injury problem does not end with the bigs.

    Conner Frankamp is flat not playing.

    At first, losing Frankamp seemed a tolerable loss. But his loss is having a significant ripple effect I did not foresee and here is how. Self can’t stay small anymore, if he wants to. Before Frankamp’s injury, if Self wanted to stay small, he could buy Tharpe and Mason breathers the first half with Frankamp, so that Tharpe and Mason were fresh. He could also pull Tharpe, or Mason and go with Frankamp, when Tharpe, or Mason, were not clicking. Frankamp seemed inconsequential, but in fact his absence significantly hampers what Self can do. Self goes with Greene more now, but Greene doesn’t keep them small. And Self has seemed more comfortable putting Frankamp in pressure situations than he has Greene, even though it is apparent that Self has been working harder to develop Greene than Frankamp.

    AW3 is starting to get Frankamp’s minutes. He got 4 against Texas. That’s good, but AW3 keeps Self long.

    Another worrisome issue on the injury front is historically, whenever a KU starter suddenly becomes sharply less productive, within a few games we learn he has been injured for awhile.

    Tharpe had 3 points in 26 minutes.

    Perry had 11 points in 29 minutes, which is a bit off for him, but more concerning is he only had 2 reebs, no steals and no blocks.

    AWigs played 30 and had 7 points, 1 defensive rebound, and 0 blocks. As with Perry, the low scoring can be blamed on an off night. But 1 rebound and 0 blocks for one of the high jumping OADs, the Number One draft choice, in D1? That is a rather sharp reversal from recent performances–one not entirely related to vissisitudes of shooting.

    So: while KU and Wigs were do for a bad game, after 6-7 good ones, I cannot help but look at the sudden, sharp downturns by Tharpe, Perry and Wiggins and wonder if we may not learn in a few games that one, two, or three of them were “nicked up,” or someone in their families has gotten sick, or what have you.

    Self apparently had nothing negative to say about Wiggins game afterwards, which is kind of remarkable to me, when an opposing team player says UT’s bigs had Wiggins scared. But Wigs has been on a role, so maybe Self is giving him a pass.

    What Self did focus on were the bigs, two of which played injured. Self said their bigs played bigger than our bigs. Their speed offset our length. And our bigs were soft.

    Playing on a braced knee and coming out of a boot are apparently not excuses.

    In Embiid’s case, Self made a point the day before the game of saying it was going to be interesting to see how Joel responded to playing someone nearly as tall and much heavier and stronger than him; i.e., someone he could not just stand flat footed and block and alter on. Though I agree with everyone that Joel got the short end of the stick on foul calls, and that Joel fought hard, the bottom line was that he could not meet the challenge (and the muscle) they meted out.

    However, Joel should not get the blame for it entirely. Of course his knee limited him. But the big worry is that none of Joel’s teammates came to his assistance when he was getting the shizz beaten out of him. EVER!

    Perry seemed to run away from the brawling and that is very concerning. Perry seemed to want no part of protecting his fellow post man. Perry seemed not to want to dish anything out in pay back for what was done to Joel.

    The days of Thomas Robinson forearm smashing rebounders that gave the Morrii, or Jeff Withey trouble, smashing them hard across the face seem an ancient memory.

    Joel seems as naked and undefended by his teammates out on the floor as Jeff Withey did that first half season his junior year, before Jeff got his lip split open and kept coming and earned Thomas and Tyshawn’s admission into the inner circle. Joel is not yet in the inner circle of this team, because it increasingly appears that this team has no inner circle–no hardened TRob and TT.

    Guys will run around the floor and huff and puff at opponents for roughing up one of their own, but that is not how it is done in D1. In D1, you have to do the payback during the next few plays, and you have to do it in a way that you get away with it. Most of TRob’s forearm smashes were so beautifully delivered within the rebounding action that the refs never called them. Hurt a Morrii, or Jeff the next season, and something wicked this way came in very short order.

    Who is going to dish out pain among what HEM has rightfully called the Finesse Family? Who?

    It has to be a big man. Selden can hurt a guard or two, but the guards are not who need hurting in a game like Texas. In that game, someone had to pay for Embiid’s treatment and no one did, and so it continued.

    Embiid has done a pretty good job of dishing out the punishment on behalf of the other guys, but when Joels hour of need arises, when he is playing a wide load sign in tennis shoes with a bunch of head hunting prison bodies for friends, suddenly Joel has no one in his corner. NO ONE!

    Of course everyone knows where this is leading.

    Black’s in a boot, so it isn’t going to be him for awhile, anyway.

    And when joel is in, Perry usually is too, and Wiggins.

    Sure, Self can bring Jam Tray and Landen and tell them to dish some out, but when they are on the bench, who is going to turn into a blue meanie?

    Perry Ellis, or Andrew Wiggins?

    This is like choosing between Mr. Rogers in his neighborhood, and Big Bird from Sesame Street to dish out pain. Unless, someone at the CIA can turn an MK-ULTRA mind control device on either one, it doesn’t seem like either guy has forearm smash in him.

    But here is the thing: Perry and Andrew Wiggins were humiliated out on the floor against Texas. The Texas guys beat up their crippled brother and both guys did nothing. The guy guarding Wiggins said Wiggins was SCARED of Ridley and Prince. Perry came out after half time and ran really hard…around the perimeter.

    Just between you and me, the guys from Texas appeared to be laughing harder at Perry and Andrew than paid laughers on a laugh track.

    And here is the thing again: Texas was not a bunch of 23 year olds like SDSU. Texas was as young as our guys. It was striking to watch. I haven’t seen that kind of blatant humiliation and derision since my play ground days.

    Don’t get me wrong, Butcher Barnes has his Horns schooled not to really rub it in our players’ faces, because we were going to have to play again. But my god! Wiggins and Perry were running away from the Texas players so fast it was often hard for the Texas players to catch them and punk them.

    So: who was Self referring to when he was saying the bigs were soft? We know it couldn’t be Joel, because he was in a brace and getting gang banged. And we know it couldn’t be Wiggins and Perry because we know they really ARE SOFT!

    Self must have been referring to Landen and Jamari. Landen got 6 minutes and Jamari got 14. So: it looks like Self was sending out an SOS to Jamari. Jam Tray, start dishing it out and you get to be a 20 minute man from here on out.

    Landen? Landen did a little bump and shove when he first came in with Ridley, but after that Landen was pretty much a non entity-himself getting backed around like a U-Haul trailer by Texas bigs.

    I have never forgotten when Xavier was here. NBA body. OAD. Good gun. Ooozing talent. Looked like the strongest prison body on our team. Actually shaved, unlike Wiggins. But leaving aside entirely whether or not Xavier played his hardest, or not, does anyone ever recall a situation where you thought Xavier was going to dish out pain? Where he was going to lift a finger in a melee? Where he was going to forearm smash in the aerial ballet? I don’t. I just never saw him do anything remotely aggressive that way. Anytning aggressive on that team had to come from Cole, Marcus, or Sherron. Tyshawn was not yet out of Camp Finesse yet. He was still falling away on lay ups. Well, Brady would trip and run. But if any business had to be taken care of, it came down to Cole and Marcus on the inside. The X man? Didn’t see it.

    I mention Xavier merely to say hoping for Wiggins to mix it up is like wishing for a house cat to chase a buffalo.

    Ain’t gonna happen.

    The Designer seems to still be getting his mail in Camp Finesse, so, again, probably ain’t gonna happen.

    So: I see Jamari, or Landen, getting more minutes, based on who decides to add taking care of business to his resume, at least until Tarick gets a working wheel.

    Yes, as HEM says, this team is always going to be The Finesse Family.

    But even The Finesse Family as to keep one baseball bat in the house, don’t they?

    (Note: I am not advocating injury threatening violence, just the kind of pay back that has gone on in the game, since at least the1930s when my father played.)

  • Anyone else feeling bad for the Broncos?

  • @approxinfinity no! I am proud of our Jayhawks on the Denver team.

  • @jaybate 1.0 good read! The guys did step up for each other earlier, OSU and ISU games. Their faces, Perry and Andrews, on the pic of Embiid going down, shows a lot. Fear?

  • @approxinfinity I quit at half time. How bad is it now? Has Denver scored?

  • @RockChalkinTexas 43-8, secs left. Over

  • @RockChalkinTexas sorry you had to see that game!


    Ditto. Thankfully, games like Saturday are a rarity… Doesn’t make them any easier to take, however.

    That’s a good Texas team-- athletic, energized and together. We’ll be better prepared on Feb 22.

  • @bskeet I will be at that one! Rock Chalk!

  • @RockChalkinTexas Thanks for the report. It’s always great to read the more personal stories.

  • @approxinfinity Actually the game felt like the game we just played, Texas against Kansas. Everything went Sea Hawks’ way and they were the bullies. And they came firing in all cylinders, but I was surprised Denver fell apart like they did. But my team is not in it, so the game didn’t mean much.

  • @Wishawk I asked Coach Howard if Jayhawks basketball was all that he had thought it would be and he gave a resounding YES. I also said “I bet you are glad to be away from that Chicago weather” and he said “Exactly. And this isn’t bad either.” He was referring to our 78 degress on Sat. here in Austin. I was in shorts on Feb. 1st. Imagine. Then it was down in the 40’s all Sunday.

  • @RockChalkinTexas You made us so jealous! We had to drag the ground hog out to show that spring was supposed to be here. 😞

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