March 12: News Headlines Digest

  • Also see our Daily Threads, March 12, and the News Digest for Yesterday, March 11, as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday, March 11 #Seeding Kansas: Now what?# Embiid

    ##Committee to be in contact with KU##

    The NCAA tournament selection committee will be in contact with Kansas throughout the week regarding the injury status of freshman center Joel Embiid, committee chair Ron Wellman said on ESPNU’s Katz Korner on Tuesday.

    “I can assure you it will be a detailed discussion as to when he is going to be available, and we will be monitoring and communicating with Kansas throughout the week as to what his availability will be going forward,” Wellman said.

    ###Tournament preview: Big 12###

    The sun rose. And Kansas won its 10th consecutive Big 12 title.

    There’s more, though.

    The 2013-14 campaign for the Big 12 orchestrated a shift in the conference hierarchy. The Big Ten has been the king of regular-season college basketball for years. But the Big 12 can make that claim this season. The league will enter its tournament with seven teams positioned to earn at-large NCAA bids. That’s 70 percent of the conference.

    ###Joel Embiid’s absence isn’t crushing blow to KU basketball, according to Las Vegas###

    Jay Kornegay, vice president of the LVH Casino SuperBook in Vegas, says playing without Embiid will only affect KU’s point spread by about one point on a game-to-game basis.

    “I can understand in your part of the country that you would think a player of his caliber would be worth more than that,” Kornegay said, “but in the Vegas world based off of history, we know that he’s just part of the puzzle and not the entire puzzle.”

    ###KU coach Self outlines timeline of Joel Embiid’s back injury###

    Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self took the time Tuesday night in a telephone conversation to clarify any confusion as to when freshman center Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture of the lower back and how he and his family were informed.

    Self shared a “medically documented” time line of events. All quotes in this story are Self’s, unless otherwise attributed:

    ###** Prep coach: Embiid had back pain last year, too**###

    Kansas University freshman center Joel Embiid has experienced back discomfort off and on during the early stages of his still-young basketball career.

    “He had that a little bit last year. He tried to fight through it, mostly after the season,” Embiid’s high school coach, Justin Harden of The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., said in a phone conversation Tuesday.

    ###Nations hottest teams###

    5 Kansas Jayhawks

    The interesting aspect of KU’s very good track record over the past 10 games is that Joel Embiid sat out three of the contests. The Jayhawks are naturally more dangerous with a player of Embiid’s potential, but also bear in mind they’re not helpless without him – if they have to play without him.

    ###Video: Wiggins potential###

    ###### Also see our Daily Threads, March 12, and the News Digest for Yesterday, March 11, as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday, March 11

  • Curious if KU has said that Joel will be available after the 1st round for seeding estimates when in fact they already have him scratched for the year. Likely that with him, we’re a 1, 2, or 3 & without a 5, 6, or 7. This is not the way we envisioned him to return for another year, but that is a real possibility now that scouts may not see him play again vs top competition. Then again, what’s a few million to a shark like Mark Cuban or a Jerry Buss?

  • @globaljaybird Do you really think we are a 5, 6, or 7 without him? That seems really low to me. I think a 1 or a 2 with him and, over the long haul maybe a 3 without. I don’t think the committee moves us beyond a 3 even if they think he doesn’t come back. I think we will end up a 2.

  • Interesting that in 2004 Emeka Okafor went through something very similar around the same time in the season and returned with a bang and his team won it all. Everyone’s different of course as are injuries, but a return to health and strength is not out of the question.

    @globaljaybird It would be unprecedented I think, to penalize a team in the seedings that much for an injury.

  • @wissoxfan83-Hope you’re right. My feelings are actually a 2 with & 4 without. We still have a helluva team & coach without Joel. Several of our bench guys who get very limited minutes should be starting at many other D 1 schools.

  • @globaljaybird Even without Jo Jo I think we have to lose to OSU / Tech tomorrow and have other teams make huge runs in their own conference tournaments to drop all the way to a #4 seed. That would be a huge slide. I assume if we lose on Thursday we are a #3 and if we win a game or 2 in KC we will be a #2. The #1 seed seems 100% out of the question. Let’s just start playing well. Personally I would rather see us beat OSU than Tech. OSU is a very good team and it would be a nice confidence builder for our young guys moving into March.

    Also, this lowering seeds for injuries is unbelievable. How is that even part of the discussion? If Jabari Parker gets hurt in the ACC tourney what seed should Duke be if this is how we do things? An 8? He is their whole team.

  • It is impossible to make heads or tails on JoJo’s condition or healing potential. Labeling something as a “stress fracture” is about a vague as you can be. Most athletes who have played with any kind of impact, at some point, have a stress fracture. Often, stress fractures actually help athletes build stronger bones. Some stress fractures can easily lead to a larger fracture, while others pose very little risk.

    Since it is in JoJo’s back, it seems likely that we can’t be too cautious. It appears that he may have already had his stress fracture and it wasn’t caught on his first set of scans a couple of weeks ago. No conspiracy here… that happens frequently.

    Here is another area where Self really earns his paycheck. He is stuck in a tight situation. He needs to get his team ready without JoJo. He also needs to position the NCAA to his advantage. And he will need to play a big poker hand with our potential foes to come. He will want to make sure these teams see JoJo as a 50/50 to play so they have to scout and practice for two separate scenarios… with or without JoJo on the court.

    Unless the NCAA hammers down hard on Self, I’m pretty certain we will hear from Self that we are taking JoJo’s progress minute-by-minute on if he will play in a coming game. Self will want to do that even if he knows JoJo is out for the season.

    Poker at its best!

    "On back injuries, in general: A doctor at KU Hospital was featured in a YouTube video on Tuesday, discussing lower back stress fractures in general. The video was no longer on the hospital’s public YouTube feed as of early Wednesday morning. "

    That was a smart thing to do. I’m sure the video would allow the viewers the ability to spin it into any kind of conclusion, because the possibilities of what can happen next are endless… especially when it concerns athletes who want to go right back out there and bang their bodies on hard surfaces.

  • @drgnslayr-I agree Bill will always be close lipped on injuries when he can, but this is too high profile for the media to just let go. Also I think it’s BS that the committee lowers a seeding at all for an injury. Just exactly how scrutinous are they with the other 60+ teams? IMO it’s pure hogwash.

  • @globaljaybird

    Totally agree! So what they are saying is they are willing to totally discount the body of work a team fought hard for all year because of an injury.

    Then… on top of that… how are they suddenly experts in accessing the level of play a team can do without one player? Look what Louisville did last year without Ware!

    I’m so sick of that fascist regime!

  • @globaljaybird

    If KU wins the Big 12 tournaments without Embiid, it will get #1 seed. If WSU gets a #1 weed by winning the regular and tournaments titels on the super weak MVC. there i no way KU does not get one after playing the toughest schedule in the country in the top ranked conference and sweeping both conference titles, how could it not?

    Wellman, a member of the selection committee said:

    “I am probably one personally that sides on the award side,” Wellman said. “Is it good or is it appropriate to punish a team and the other 11 players on that team because someone is injured? I don’t think you completely eliminate the facts that you have in front of you regarding an injury, but I tend to side personally, and I’m not speaking for the committee on this, but personally I would probably side on the award side of it.”

    Which bodes well for KU. I understand he is only one of ten members, but there are probably other likely minded members as as well.

    Now, we have been crowing all season on how deep KU is, particularly the front line. Tarik is “consistently inconsistent” as I often say; however, he has the talent to capably replace Embiid without a dramatic drop in overall performance; we have seem hm do this before. Traylor is an athletic, physical, high energy player that can be the spark plug this team needs. Lucas has done his homework and perfected his technique but at times he has the “dear in the headlines” look and seems lost; I am sure this is largely due to lack of actual game time experience. He needs to realize that it is crunch time and, much like Tarik, he is no longer a role player, but one the team needs to count on. If these three players can put together complete games where they play to the potential they have shown, KU has a real chance.

    Maybe this is an opportunity for the entire team to rally around Embiid and win one for him…


    Looks like a potential t-shirt.

    In any case, even if KU loses its first game of the conference tournament, I just cannot imaging falling any lower than 3. IMHO, and barring any big developments, the more likely scenario is a #2 seed.

  • @drgnslayr Yeah, its pretty silly to think that.

    In my opinion, if they win tomorrow, presumably against Okie Lite, then they will most likely get a 2 seed. If they lose, probably a 3 or 4.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Exactly right!

    Most are acting like this team doesn’t have any talent or ability to make a deep run without Embiid.

    The whole team needs to not be so complacent and play with more intensity.

    Some argue that there is no rim protector. That is true, but how do other teams that do not have a rim protector make it to the final four? They do it because they play very good on ball defense and they help other defenders.

  • @DinarHawk

    The NCAA RPI, used by the NCAA for seeding, still has KU dropping to #3 behind Arizona and Florida and ahead of Villanova who is #4.

    RPI Rankings…

    The difference between KU and Villanova is large enough that even if KU loses the next game, it might no be enough to drop below Villanova. Which would make KU probably a #2 seed or worst case a #3 seed. There is no way KU drops lower than #3.

    KU’s edge is that it played in a super strong conference and had a tough non-conference schedule. The conference is currently projected to send 7 teams to the dance, which would be the highest percentage of any conference since the current format was introduced. ESPN has now all 7 teams as “locks” and none in the bubble:

    Bubble watch…

    There is also talk that if West Virginia makes it to the tournament finals (if they win, they are in as the automatic qualifier), they might go dancing as well and the conference would end up sending fully 80% of its teams to the NCAA Tournament. Unprecedented and frigging unbelievable!!!.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I agree. I was just being conservative. 🙂

  • There is some precedent for a team’s seed being impacted by injuries. Remember when Huggins had Cincy headed towards the overall #1 seed, but then Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the Big East tourney, and suddenly they were a 2-seed? On an interesting footnote, that team was knocked out in the second round by a scorching hot Tulsa squad. Most of us around here are pretty familiar with the guy coaching Tulsa that year 🙂

    Also, Okafor was mentioned above, and his team was dropped a seed as well when it was revealed he was injured. Obviously he came back and he and Ben Gordon got to cut down the nets.

    I don’t see any way we can be lower than a 3-seed, but I suppose you never know. Either way, I think the talent to win is still there; it’s just going to come down to matchups and execution.

    I hope we can avoid quick, penetrating guards in our region, as they seem to be our biggest killer of late. Blowing past Naadir, and then easily scoring on Perry is becoming way too common, and it’s the obvious way to beat KU right now. The two of them need to really dedicate themselves to the defensive end to keep our title chances alive. They are Self’s two most experienced players, and key offensive weapons, so it really puts the team in a tough position when the coach has to decide whether we can afford to have them give up easy points, or if benching them is the better option. Commit to defense, and the rest will come.

  • @Virgil_Caine

    “I hope we can avoid quick, penetrating guards in our region, as they seem to be our biggest killer of late. Blowing past Naadir, and then easily scoring on Perry is becoming way too common, and it’s the obvious way to beat KU right now. The two of them need to really dedicate themselves to the defensive end to keep our title chances alive. They are Self’s two most experienced players, and key offensive weapons, so it really puts the team in a tough position when the coach has to decide whether we can afford to have them give up easy points, or if benching them is the better option. Commit to defense, and the rest will come.”

    Sorry… but that bears repeating!

  • @DinarHawk

    No problem DinarHawk. Opinions are just that, opinions, and such they are not right or wrong. We all have them and hopefully sharing them makes us see other valid points of view. This is what forums are all about.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    You should preserve your last comment on the quotes thread. We all need to read it again, from time to time!

  • @Virgil_Caine Its all about a commitment to play defense. When they have committed, they play good defense. When they don’t, it doesn’t look good at all.

  • @drgnslayr

    Done. You and I have at times different opinions but I believe we both respect each others views.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    A big reason why I stay on this site and post is because of the interactions with posters like yourself! I’m not looking only for a fan base. My goal is to expand my own knowledge of Jayhawk basketball while developing quality relationships with other members of the Jayhawk Nation. It all starts with mutual respect. And from there it goes towards opening our minds to different ideas and expanding our personal growth in the general and as Jayhawks.

    When you disagree with me you push me to think about my own position further, and then I can either defend my existing position (usually requiring me to develop it further) or change my mind and go with your view (and develop a new path of thought). It’s all good… but it starts with our mutual respect and then on to challenging each other.

    I’m really thrilled with kubuckets! It takes a step beyond where we were at kusports. I’m not slamming that website as it remains a great source for Jayhawk news. But this site survives only on our input!

    Three cheers to everyone for making this whole thing rock!

  • Interesting potential new building project across from the football field (Memorial Stadium). I hope the finished product looks more how I envisioned it and less like the parking garages with gardens on top in the renderings.

    Dramatic changes on tap for Indiana St.

  • @drgnslayr


  • @JayHawkFanToo


    Let’s turn the tournament venues into an extension of Allen Field House! That’s what fans can do for their team, home court advantage!

  • @Wishawk Especially since the first two rounds will be in St. Louis which is not very far for KU fans to travel.

    What would make me feel better going into the tournament is if they played their butts off against OSU and beat 'em.

  • @drgnslayr Here we go fellow Jayhawk fans, its crunch time. Let’s do this!

  • @drgnslayr Ok, just read the part about a KU doc commenting on back injuries. The general public will always think what they are going to think. It is up to the medical professionals to decide what JOJO will and should do regarding his health. Being a medical professional but not in an ortho specialization, I realize Joel will have to heal fully in order to secure his future. If he wants to have a long career in our favorite sport, he needs to heal fully like Okafor and countless others. In my honest medical opinion, big atheletes are more susceptible to back and knee injuries simply because of the weight and stress that is put upon those points. Major bone surgery is kind of like working on a car. You’d be surprised at how much force/torque is involved with that type of thing. BUT, Joel will not be subject to that drastic of an outcome. He will heal when he heals. Dammit that I missed that video. I will go check on KUMC’s website and see if I can find the link. All that being said, I think my original point was that anyone without medical training shouldn’t read too much into this. I trust that Coach Self will do what is right for Joel’s health in the immediate and distant future. Joel will be ok. The pressing matter is, how will our team do without our star big guy in the line up? Can they dig down deep and find the resolve and find the toughness of the team we had in '12. The one that was tough enough to get to the Final 4.
    Part of me thinks we need to lose our game today by a slim margin. Let us go into the ncaa’s an underdog, a team that no one expects to make it.

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