Jayhawks Receive Numerous Awards

With the regular season complete and a 12th straight title won by No. 1 Kansas, the Jayhawks were littered with awards.

Senior forward Perry Ellis was named to the Big 12 1st team, while Wayne Selden, Jr., and Frank Mason III were named to the 2nd team.

Junior center Landen Lucas and sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham made honorable mention, and Graham joined Mason on the all Big 12 defensive team.

The Big 12 conference awarded coach of the year to Texas Tech’s Tubby Smith, but the Associated Press, among others, selected Bill Self as Big 12 coach of the year.

Tuesday, USA Today chose Self as national coach of the year, while Perry Ellis has been listed by multiple outlets as a 2nd team All American. The fan-favorite averaged 16.5 points this season and hit a team-high 52% of his shots.

It isn’t shocking to see the Jayhawks receive so many accolades following a championship which was won in a year where the Big 12 featured as many as 6 ranked teams (currently has 6) throughout the season.

Heading into the Big 12 tournament, the Big 12 has three teams ranked among the top 10 in Kansas (1), Oklahoma (6), and West Virginia (9).

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Kansas Dominates Texas

With a chance to win the Big 12 title outright, No. 1 Kansas crushed No. 23 Texas, 86-56, on the road in Austin, Tex., Monday night. Perry Ellis scored 20 points to lead the Jayhawks.

When the Texas Longhorns hired Shaka Smart to take over head coaching duties for the departing Rick Barnes, the world of social media was filled with tweets and posts about Kansas’ reign over the conference coming to an end.

A month ago, sitting at 5-3 with three-straight road losses, it sort of looked as though those premonitions were coming true.

Per usual, Bill Self and his team corrected some mistakes and subsequently went on a now 10-game winning streak and are the sole champions of the Big 12 for the 12th straight season.

Senior forward Perry Ellis led the Jayhawks with 20 points as his team jumped out to a 15-0 lead, hitting 6-of-8 shots while Texas missed its first 13 shots of the game. From then on, it was essentially over.

The Longhorns faced a brutally tough Kansas defense which clogged the lane and wouldn’t allow UT’s guards to get any clean looks or driving lanes.

Offensively, the Jayhawks shot 32-of-60 from the floor, good enough for 64-percent from the floor. On top of that, KU was 11-of-16 from three—just under 70-percent. It was a complete destruction of another top 25 team KU has faced in its 10-game winning streak.

Frank Mason III once again looked as though his legs and spring are back, controlling tempo and running the Kansas offense as smoothly as ever.

Many thought Kansas was due for a letdown after beating Texas Tech on Saturday to claim at least a share of the conference title, and with a home game remaining, a loss to Texas wouldn’t have been all that consequential.

For Texas, a team which used a 22-0 run in the second half to come back and dominate then-ranked No. 3 Oklahoma over the weekend, a senior night and highly anticipated chance at taking down No. 1 in the country was quickly spoiled rotten.

Javan Felix led the Longhorns with 13 points, but outside of that, no other player scored more than 9 points. Leading guard Isaiah Taylor ended the game 1-of-10 from the field with 5 points.

The highlight of the night—among many—for Kansas was Jamari Traylor’s ally-oop dunk in which he not only nearly hit his head on the rim, but skinned his elbow on the backboard after having to hold on to the basket for the and-1.

Overall is was complete dominance from a team which looks to be the favorite for the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Next up for the Jayhawks is a home finale against Iowa State for senior night, as well as the final call for long-time broadcasting great, Bob Davis. Seats are available for the home finale at Allen Fieldhouse at Tickets For Less. With zero hidden service fees, know what you’re paying up front, unlike our competitors which tack on extra fees. Don’t miss out on your chance to see the Jayhawks take the court in Lawrence for the last time this season. Rock Chalk!

KU Wins 12th Straight Big 12 Title

With only three games remaining in the regular season, No. 2 Kansas hosted Texas Tech in Allen Fieldhouse with the chance to secure at least a share of its incredible, 12th straight conference championship.

With two games remaining at home, and the last being against Iowa State, it would have been in KU’s best interest to make sure they locked up at least a share against an inferior–although vastly improved–Texas Tech.

The game was sluggish from the start and neither team seemed capable of lighting up the scoreboard, but the Jayhawks came out with one of its best defensive performances of the season, particularly its first-shot defense. The Red Raiders had multiple shot-clock violations in the first half and were trying to get into their offensive sets closer to half court than they were closer to the rim.

Offensively, the Jayhawks had their own struggles. Senior forward Perry Ellis and junior guard Wayne Selden, Jr., were almost non-existent for Bill Self.

With the two leaders struggling, Self went to his bench early and often. Sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk lit the scoreboard on fire, scoring 17 points for the game and hitting all 5 of his three-pointers including a remarkable last-second shot to end the first half.

Point guard Frank Mason III was also highly engaged and feeling it on the offensive end. His 16 points and constant attack-mode kept the Red Raiders at bay.

As Self stated after the game, however, the Jayhawks have been playing so well in winning 9 games in a row, that they have reached what he called a, “semi-phase,” of thinking they can turn on the switch whenever they want. That mentality was evident after leading Tech by 20 midway through the second half, then allowing them to get within 8 down the stretch. The game was never in doubt, but the simple fact that Kansas went into cruise control with time left on the clock is something Self and his staff will have to combat, especially now that they have locked up another league title with two games to go.

Assuming the Jayhawks go at least 1-1 in its last two games, play well in the Big 12 tournament, they are all but locked into a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. With two difficult opponents to go to finish out the regular season, staying focused on winning the title outright is the key for KU.

Self made it clear after Saturday’s win that his team has plenty of more work to do before the season is truly over, and since he has been at Kansas, he has continuously stressed that sharing the conference crown isn’t something his team should be satisfied with.

KU has one home game left this season with Iowa State coming to town for senior night. It’s likely the athletic department will have something planned to recognize long-time broadcaster, Bob Davis, as he is hanging up the headset after this season and retiring after an incredible run as the voice of the Jayhawks. With Iowa State coming in as a top 25 team and one capable of beating KU, it’ll be an intense finale to the regular season in Allen Fieldhouse. Tickets For Less has a variety of seats available for next Saturday’s game. With zero hidden service fees, what you see is what you get on all ticket purchases. Don’t miss your last chance to see the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse this season!

KU Downs West Virginia

The Kansas Jayhawks stuck to the game plan, avoided the turnover bug that hit them in Morgantown, and got its revenge on West Virginia Tuesday night.

Perry Ellis led the way with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and Landen Lucas had the game of his career with 9 points and 16 rebounds.

Against a team which prides itself on rebounding, Lucas’ effort on the glass on both ends of the floor may have been the reason why the Jayhawks were able to control the game throughout the 40 minutes and keep the Mountaineers at bay.

In its loss to WVU on the road, Kansas struggled to inbound the ball against press defense and was never able to get into any type of offensive flow.

Bill Self’s message and game plan of how to break the press and initiate offense was executed almost to perfection and it clearly frustrated the Mountaineers from the outset.

Frank Mason III had his best game in several weeks, scoring 14 points while grabbing 5 rebounds. His ability to get the ball moving against a strong defense and keep his teammates in the right place was key in taking down WVU.

Self once again played with his big man rotation in the first half before settling in with Ellis, Lucas, and Jamari Traylor.

Freshman Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg continue to see limited minutes, mainly because of inconsistent play in situations where Kansas can’t afford wasted possessions and lack-luster defense. With the conference as tough as it has been in years, Self is forced to focus on the players with the most experience, and not necessarily with the most talent or highest ceilings.

At this point in the season, every game is as important as the next. Following West Virginia, the Jayhawks will have to travel to Oklahoma to take on the No. 3-ranked Sooners. With the Big 12 title on the line, KU has found itself firmly in the hunt, tied for first place with OU. With the Jayhawks, Sooners, and Mountaineers all facing equally difficult tests to finish out the conference slate, it may take until the final weekend of play to determine the champion and whether or not Kansas will bring home a 12th straight crown.

Kansas Tames Wildcats

It wasn’t the start No. 6/7 Kansas wanted against in-state rival Kansas State on Wednesday, but the end result was good enough for a win and another step in the right direction in an effort to salvage a Big 12 title for the Jayhawks.

Unfortunately for Bill Self, the chinks in the armor continue to show themselves.

After falling behind 16-7 in the first half, Bill Self inserted sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk into the game–a talented player that can’t find the floor–to spark his team and produce quality minutes, which he quickly did, bringing the Jayhawks right back into the game against KSU.

It had been three games in a row since Mykhailiuk actually played any significant minutes for Kansas after starting the year as one of the first two players off the bench for Self. Wednesday, however, proved to be a shining moment for a player expected to eventually become a first-round draft pick.

Defensively, Svi was in the right place and executed the game plan as instructed by Self–something Kansas has struggled with. Offensively, Svi showed his ability to move the ball around the perimeter, drove to the basket, and knocked down an outside shot. Without question, his performance was one of the main reasons for KU’s eventual dominating win over the Wildcats.

The negative coming out of Wednesday game is the simple fact that Kansas is still struggling as a team.

At times, the Jayhawks had a hard time running offense, unable to get the ball into the low post and settling for outside shots, and guard Frank Mason III continued to have trouble with his control after driving into traffic with no real purpose, resulting in turnovers, and inconsistent shooting. The one thing you can say for Mason, though, is his effort level never sways and he is determined to work himself out of his current slump.

In the second half, Kansas’ talent level took over and K-State didn’t have the horses to keep up. Had it been another team, such as an Oklahoma or West Virginia, the Jayhawks may have lost another conference game.

The main storyline came at the end of the game when the frequently embattled Brannen Greene decided to throw down a dunk with 2 seconds left in the game and both teams already well into their end-of-game hand shake line.

Self, immediately aware of his players’ dunk and even more aware of KSU players taking offense to the unsportsmanlike play, let the media know about his anger over Greene’s lack of class in the postgame radio interview, apologizing to Kansas State, using an expletive, and calling his players’ decision a classless act. Self also spoke of he and his staff having dealt with Greene and his poor decision making prior to Wednesday, promising it would never happen again, and if it did, Greene would never again see the floor at the end of a game.

Greene has a resume of on and off-court troubles which have led to him frequently finding himself in the doghouse with Self. It’s a troubling situation for not only a player which possesses plenty of talent, but for a team which seems to be missing something in terms of its makeup and personality. Whether it’s a chemistry issue or simply a slump they are having a hard time getting out of, the Kansas Jayhawks have some soul-searching to do if they have any intention of making a run at not only a Big 12 title, but a Final Four appearance.

KU will have an opportunity to progress forward and stay in the conference race when they travel to Fort Worth, Texas to take on TCU.

The Jayhawks have lost 3-straight road games and TCU isn’t quite the pushover they once were. Saturday’s game has all of a sudden become a must-win, which means the pressure is squarely on the shoulders of Kansas.

The next home game for the Jayhawks will be Tuesday, February 9 for a 6 pm tip against No. 14 West Virginia. The Mountaineers muscled the Jayhawks around in Morgantown in a win earlier this year and will look to use their press to do the same in Lawrence. Tickets are available now for the next home game, as well as all remaining home games this season. Tickets For Less has many seating options, as well as parking passes available for each and every home game. With zero hidden service fees, what you see is what you get with every purchase. Don’t miss your chance to see the Jayhawks take the court in Allen Fieldhouse. Get your tickets today and Rock Chalk!

KU Falls to ISU

Many Kansas fans predicted the struggling Jayhawks would likely fall to the Iowa State Cyclones, Monday night, which is why the first half was a pleasant surprise as Bill Self’s squad controlled the play in the opening minutes.

The second half was an entirely different story, however.

Right on cue, the Cyclones came out with a different level of intensity that Kansas appeared unable to match.

Led by point guard Monte Morris, ISU quickly overcame their deficit and took the lead at the under 16 timeout and seemingly never looked back.

Kansas fell back into the same sloppy mistakes and loss of poise which has plagued them in recent losses to both West Virginia and Oklahoma State.

The first half against Texas was similar, but playing at home and having the second half to correct it, KU was able to overcome and take down the Longhorns. This time, they were trying too hard to hold on to a marginal lead and the Cyclones jumped all over them.

The demise of the Jayhawks on Monday night starts with point guard Frank Mason III, who turned the ball over at an alarming rate and was the worst offender in terms of forcing the issue and not staying patient or poised during ISU’s run.

During the broadcast, it was discussed that Bill Self has told Mason he is a scorer, so go score and let Devonte’ Graham be the point guard. Mason didn’t heed those words in the second half against Iowa State, and it attributed to KU’s poor play.

Mason wasn’t the only offender, though. Wayne Selden, Jr., forced several ill-advised three point shots, and all in all, senior Perry Ellis appeared to be the only player on the floor making any positive impact on the game.

The real issue Kansas must figure out starts at the top with Bill Self. The 13-year Kansas coach has a resume which speaks for itself, and his seat will likely never be hot, or even lukewarm for that matter, but his inability to find stability in his rotation is becoming alarming and possibly bordering on not making sense.

At one point, Self had Landen Lucas, Jamari Traylor, and Brannen Greene on the floor at the same time. None of the three are ball handlers of any kind, and all struggle on the defensive end of the floor.

Lucas and Traylor were both called for illegal screens, and Greene’s play, although relatively good on Monday, is mostly limited to knocking down open three’s. Lucas and Traylor offer little to nothing on the offensive end, which means that particular rotations gave the Jayhawks 2-3 players among 5 that are able to put the ball in the basket.

Meanwhile, Carlton Bragg, Jr., and Cheick Diallo saw the floor is sparing minutes and not given much of an opportunity to make any type of impact. This is all coming off a game in which both players played well against TCU two weeks ago, and Diallo was given a starting role against Oklahoma State. Following that, over the past two games against both Texas and ISU, neither Bragg nor Diallo have played much.

Also distressing is the fact that regular rotation players like Hunter Mickelson and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk haven’t played at all.

At some point, one has to be concerned with the atmosphere inside the locker room with this Kansas team.

In sports, when a team is struggling, the only way to fix things in many cases is simply to go win. The Jayhawks have the opportunity to get that done on Saturday when they host the Kentucky Wildcats.

Kansas and Kentucky are the two winningest programs in all of college basketball and have had some memorable match-ups in recent years. With the big game on Saturday taking place in Allen Fieldhouse, don’t miss out on your chance to jump on remaining tickets to one of the biggest and most anticipated games at The Phog. Tickets For Less has tickets available for the big game, and with zero hidden service fees, what you see is what you get on all purchases. Don’t miss out on college basketball royalty facing off. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Kansas Hosts Montana

No. 2 Kansas (8-1) is back in Allen Fieldhouse, Saturday, December 19, for a 1:00 p.m., tip against Montana (4-5).

The Grizzlies come to Lawrence, Kan., to face one of the hottest teams in the country, having reeled off six wins in a row after dropping a heartbreaker to Michigan State in the Champions Classic.

Since that time, KU has dominated its opponents, ranking among the top 3 in scoring as well as top 3 in shooting percentage both from the floor and from behind the arc.

Wayne Selden, Jr., is playing at an All-American level, and the Jayhawks–after a hardline stance against the NCAA’s lack of cooperation–had star freshman Cheick Diallo cleared for full participation.

Kansas not how more depth than any other team in the country and can attack opposing defenses with fresh bodies and from positions on the floor.

With an 0-5 record on the road so far this season, Montana is facing an uphill battle when they take on the Jayhawks.

If there is one thing to take away from tape of KU this season, it would be playing the zone defense to slow down a potent Jayhawk offense. Lately, teams such as Harvard and Oregon State have had at least relative success using the zone to slow Kansas down.

For the most part, Bill Self’s team has done most of its damage from behind the three-point line or in transition. In half-court sets, KU has actually struggled to get into its offense, mainly because its slew of big men have been in somewhat of a funk lately–no player more than Perry Ellis, who has been called out multiple times by coach Self for not being competitive enough, and recently, saying his star senior is, “playing like he’s 18.”

Ellis has fallen into ruts throughout his career at Kansas. At times, he forgets how good he is on the offensive end and seems to forget how to use his skill set to take over a game.

While he may finish with 10-15 points, the frustration is that he could easy finish with 20-25. At this point, it’s more of a personality issue rather than actual ability. The skill is there, but the lack of demeanor from Ellis to switch into another gear and dominate a game just isn’t in his makeup as a player.

Still, he’s an all american-level talent and a player which will be significant in whether or not Kansas is able to reach and exceed its goals for the season.

Even though Montana isn’t the stiffest competition Kansas will have played this season, the Grizzlies are another chance for the Jayhawks to take the floor and get better as a team, particularly during a time where games are spread out over Christmas break. With so much time between games, practice becomes somewhat monotonous.

Having an entire week off this week between games, the Jayhawks will be ready to take the floor inside Allen Fieldhouse and put on a show for a capacity crowd.

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KU cruises past Holy Cross

After a so-so performance in a win over Harvard last weekend, No. 2 Kansas took the court Wednesday night against Holy Cross in Allen Fieldhouse.

Led by Wayne Selden, Jr., and his 15 points, the Jayhawks easily handled Holy Cross, 92-59.

Six players scored in double figures for KU, including sharp-shooter Brannen Greene–back from a 5-game suspension–who poured in 14 points for the Jayhawks.

Greene has had his troubles while in Lawrence, having been suspended multiple times for behavioral issues causing concern that his time as a Jayhawk would end much sooner than expected, but the junior swingman and head coach Bill Self appear to have a unique relationship in that from the outside it looks like Self isn’t Greene’s biggest fan, but after each altercation, Self is always the single biggest influence on him improving his attitude and off-court decision making.

Perry Ellis (12), Frank Mason III (13), Devonte’ Graham (10), and Cheick Diallo (12) were the other Jayhawks to record double-digit point totals on the night.

Self, before Wednesday’s game, said he needed to do a better job of using his bench and finding out exactly what he has with this team. With the perimeter essentially set, the rotation of big men has become the biggest question mark.

With the availability and emergence of Diallo, the rotation of big men has become somewhat jumbled with Perry Ellis as the only for sure starter. Jamari Traylor had been the starter at the other post spot until Self opted to try out Hunter Mickelson against Holy Cross.

In 15 minutes, Mickelson took just one shot and finished with 0 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Self has always maintained it’s about who finishes and not which players start, but for the sake of getting into a rhythm to start games, figuring out that fifth starter does carry some importance moving forward.

Most feel as though Cheick Diallo should be that player, but until Self fully trusts his freshman to play both ends of the floor and stay out of foul trouble, he will use him from the bench.

Up next for the Jayhawks is a trip to the downtown Sprint Center in nearby Kansas City, Missouri.

The annually scheduled game in KC is a chance for the Jayhawks to play in front of a crowd at the high-tech arena which houses the Big 12 postseason tournament and gives fans otherwise not able to get to Lawrence, a chance to see their team take the court. Looking for tickets to see No. 2 Kansas take the floor in KC? Visit Tickets For Less and choose from a variety of seats located throughout the beautiful Sprint Center. With zero hidden service fees, the great prices you see is what you’ll get on all purchases. With Power & Light right across the street, it’s sure to be a great night for basketball. Go Jayhawks!