Saturday, March 14, 2009
Missouri Takes Out Baylor for Big 12 Title
Missouri won their first Big 12 tournament title in 16 years and heads to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003. The Tigers shot 47%, including making 8 of 17 3-pointers to run away from the red-hot Baylor Bears, who will not receive an invitation to the NCAAs, as their conference record during the regular season was a sub-par 5-11. DeMarre Carroll scored 20 points to go with 9 boards for the Mizzou.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Madness: Kansas, Oklahoma Out of Big 12 Tourney
James Anderson calmly sank two free throws with 2.3 seconds left in the game as the Cowboys shocked the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 tournament. Anderson finished with 11 points, joining four other Cowboys in double figures in one of the team's best outings of the season. Byron Eaton scored 16 and Keiton Page had 15. The Sooners' Blake Griffith led all scorers with 17 points.
With the Sooners out of the way, the Cowboys have a path to the Big 12 tournament title and the automatic NCAA bid, especially since Baylor stunned Kansas later in the day.
Baylor 71, Kansas 64
Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn hit 6 of 11 three-pointers and was 9-16 overall for a game-high 24 points as the Bears made their shots and free throws down the stretch to upset the Big 12 regular season champions. Kansas led only one in the first half, at 1-0, as the Bears opened a lead of a many as 17 points. In the second half, Kansas actually took back the lead midway through, at 58-52, but could not hold off determined Baylor.
Baylor led 65-64 with just under 2 minutes to play, but held the Jayhawks scoreless the rest of the way while scoring the final six points of the game.
In the other quarterfinals, Texas held off Kansas State, 71-68; Missouri plays Texas Tech in the final game of the night.
Big 12: Red Raiders Roll Past Aggies
Tech's Mike Singletary scored 43 points, a Big 12 tournament record, hitting 14-20 from the field, including 3-4 3-pointers and 12-14 free throws. Singletary was a one-man show, scoring 29 straight points for the Red Raiders during their comeback.
A&M took a 19-point lead into the half, 48-29, and led by 21 briefly in the second half, but the Red Raiders scored 59 second half points to surge to the win. It was the biggest comeback in Bg 12 tournament history.
At 23-9, the Aggies still have a legitimate shot at making it to the NCAA tournament. The Red Raiders, with a 14-18 record, can only hope to make the grade by winning the Big 12 tournament and gaining an automatic bid.
While the Texas Tech triumph was the big upset of the day, the rest of the Big 12 tourney games were in line with expectations. Baylor downed Nebraska, 65-49; the Texas Longhorns bullied Colorado, 67-56; and Oklahoma State cruised past Iowa St., 81-67.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Kansas Finishes their Business; Wraps up Big 12 Title
Sherron Collins scored 21 points for Kansas, adding 7 assists and 2 steals. Cole Aldrich recorded his 18th double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Jayhawks trailed the Longhorns by 7 at the half, but outscored them 46-29 in the second session.
Kansas, ranked #9 nationally, finished 14-2 in the Big 12, followed by #4 Oklahoma at 13-3 and #15 Missouri, 12-4. On Saturday, the Sooners downed Oklahoma State, 82-78, while Missouri coughed it up against Texas A&M, losing 96-86.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Nothing's Easy in Big 12, but Kansas Has Winning Look
Missouri got off early against Oklahoma, had a 15-point lead midway through the second half and cruised to an upset win over the 3rd ranked Sooners, 73-64.
With the Missouri-Oklahoma score flashing on the scoreboard, Kansas knew they could capture the Big 12 title outright with a win at Texas Tech or at home against Texas on Saturday.
Kansas shot just 32% in the first half (8-25) as the Red Raiders forged a 39-28 lead at intermission, but the Jawhawks used an 11-2 run to start the second, drawing to within two of Tech. But the Red Raiders went on a run of their own, quickly rebuilding their 11-point edge.
The game devolved as time wore on and Tech continued to pour in threes. Kansas cut the lead to five at one point, but the players knew the game had lost much of its meaning. Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins suffered through horrible shooting nights, going a combined 4-22 and scoring a season low 19 points between them.
Kansas hosts Texas at 4:00 pm ET on Saturday.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Irish Eyes Aren't Smiling; Longhorns Rebound
Scottie Reynolds scored 23 points and hit 6 of 7 3-pointers, leading the 12th-ranked Wildcats past stumbling Notre Dame. Reynolds had one of his best games of the season, adding a pair of steals, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Running mate Dante Cunningham provided 18 points and 8 rebounds.
The win left Villanova at 24-6 overall, and 12-5, good for 5th in the Big East. For Notre Dame, the loss may have sealed their post-season fate. The Irish are 7-10 and 16-13 overall, records not likely to land an NCAA bid.
Texas 73, Baylor 57
Following a 59-68 road loss at Oklahoma St. on Saturday, Texas solidified its post-season intentions with a home win, improving to 20-9 (9-6 Big 12), while dropping Baylor into NIT territory at 7-10 and 17-12 overall.
The Bears, after a 3-1 start in conference play, have dropped 9 of their last 11.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Pound Salt: Kansas Crushes Missouri
Kansas left no doubt that they are ready for the post-season, whipping border rival Missouri into complete submission.
An overflow crowd descended on Allen Fieldhouse as the Kansas Jawhawks hosted the Missouri Tigers in the biggest Big 12 game of the year. Before fans could even get settled in their seats, however, the Jawhawks had streaked to a 21-5 lead, controlling the boards and getting out on the run. Just 7 minutes into the game, six different Kansas players were on the board.
The Jayhawks extended their lead to 26 points at the half, 45-19, when Tyshawn Taylor swished a three with 5 seconds left, getting significant contributions from freshmen twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, a pair of 6'8" forwards from APEX Academy in New Jersey, and sophomore Tyrel Reed, who canned a pair of timely three-pointers in the first half rout. The twins contributed a combined 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Not only was Kansas scoring at a solid pace, their defense was magnificent, holding the tigers to 21% shooting in the first half and 37% for the game.
Sherron Collins led the scoring with 25 points. Cole Aldrich was his usual bruising self inside, scoring 19 points and corralling 13 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the season.
The Jayhawks (24-5, 13-1) need only win March 4 at Texas Tech and, at home, March 7 against Texas, to capture the Big 12 title.
Coach Bill Self has this team pointed to go deep in the post-season. Collins and Aldrich provide experienced floor leadership and there is no shortage of talent on the Kansas bench.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Jayhawks Jump Sooners, Take Big 12 Lead
By knocking off the Sooners, Kansas took over sole possession of first place in the Big 12 standings. Oklahoma was playing without its star and potential player of the year, Blake Griffith, who was sidelined due to a concussion suffered against Texas on Sunday.
Freshman Tyshawn Taylor scored a career-high 26 points and Sherron Collins equaled him with 26 of his own to lead the Jayhawks. Cole Aldrich had no match in the low post, scoring 15 points and hauling in 20 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season.
#15 Kansas improved to 12-1 in the conference and 23-5 overall. The Sooners have lost two straight for the first time this season and trial Kansas by one game at 11-2, followed by #11 Missouri at 10-2.
Kansas hosts Missouri on Sunday, March 1, while the Sooners expect Griffith to return for their game at Texas Tech on Saturday, Feb. 28.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Missou Tops KU in Big 12 Thriller, 62-60
The Tigers limited the effectiveness of the Jayhawks' leading scorers - Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins - holding the duo to just 17 points. Collins was especially put off his game by the constant trapping, hitting just 4 of 13 shots, including 0-4 from three-point range. The effects of Missouri's steady defense seemed to also accompany him to the free throw line, where he hit just one of four attempts.
This was a game of statistical anomalies. The Tigers were outrebounded by Kansas, 48-28, hit just 2 of 14 3's, but countered their poor offensive play (36% from the field) with ball-hawking that resulted in 26 KU turnovers.
Missouri's DeMarre Carroll led all scorers with 22 points. Leo Lyons chipped in with 13. They were the only Tigers in double figures.
The win puts #17 Missouri in good shape for a run at the Big 12 title. Their unique defensive style - modeled after former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson's "40 minutes of hell" - generally makes life on the Mizzou court a harrowing experience for their opponents.
The win was their 4th straight and improved their conference record to 8-2. The loss was the first in the conference for Kansas, now 8-1, trailing 9-0 Oklahoma. The biggest test for the upstart Tigers, who haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 2003, comes in March, when they play at Kansas on March 1 and then host Oklahoma on March 4 before closing out the season at Texas A&M on March 7.
Missouri improved to 21-4 overall, while the Jayhawks slid to 19-5. Both teams seem capable of making some late-winter noise.
Elsewhere, Sam Young scored 22 points to lead #4 Pitt over Big East rival West Virginia, 70-59. The Panthers improved to 9-2 in conference play and 22-2 overall while the Mountaineers fell to 5-6 in the Big East and 16-8 overall, putting them securely on the NCAA bid bubble.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Aldrich was almost completely unopposed on the defensive boards, as the Jayhawks outrebounded the the Cowboys, 46-33 for the game. With Aldrich dominating the middle, coach Bill Self's reigning national champions demonstrated a balanced scoring attack, with Aldrich, Sherron Collins and Tyshawn Taylor each putting in 12, while guard Mario Little came off the bench to lead the attack with 13 points.
As the schedule wends its way toward conference tournaments and March Madness, the 19-4 Jayhawks seem to be coming together at an opportune time. One of just three teams in the Big 12 ranked in the Top 25, Kansas has the chance to gether momentum before facing #2 Oklahoma on Feb. 23. Kansas closes out their regular season by hosting #17 Texas, who lost Saturday to Nebraska, 58-55.
Virtually assured of an at-large bid at the very least, the 2007-08 champions should settle into the NCAA tournament with a confortable seeding anywhere from a 3 to a 5, almost assuring succession through the first two rounds.
Keep an eye on the Jayhawks. If teams don't offer match ups to Aldrich, they'll be disadvantaged every minute he's on the floor and the Jayhawk backcourt is as experienced and skilled as they come. Kansas looks like an Elite Eight team come tourney time.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Longhorns KO KU, 72-69
Both teams had ups and downs during the contest, but especially D.J. Augustin, whose only bucket of the game (on 1-13 shooting) turned out to be the most important.
The lead had changed hands several times during the first half and most of the second half. With 7:28 remaining, the score was knotted at 57-all. When the teams got back on the court, Texas took the advantage. A.J. Abrams made a jumper, Justin Mason hit one of two free throws and then Augustin made a layup at 5:58 to give Texas the lead for good at 62-57.
Kansas hit just 4-of-17 shots from beyond the arc, and though they outshot the Longhorns 44 to 41%, they didn't get to the foul line often enough - they were 11 of 14, to Texas' 20 of 28.
Chalmers had a final chance at the buzzer, but his long jumper bounded off the rim.
Both squads placed four players in double figures, though Kansas' Darrell Arthur topped all scorers with 22 points. Damian James had a double-double for Texas with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and teammate Connor Atchley had a perfect shooting night, hitting 6 of 6 from the floor and making all four of his charity tosses for a team-high 16 points.
Kansas dropped to 23-2 and 8-2 in the conference; Texas improved to 20-4 and 7-2. Both teams trail 7-1 K-State, with #16 Texas A&M following at 6-3. Kansas State, while leading the conference, is the lowest ranked team of the bunch, at #18.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Border War: Kansas Holds at Home
The Longhorns can improve to 4-0 tonight if they can win on the road against #11 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are still smarting from their 87-57 loss at Kansas on January 10. Their Saturday game at Nebraska was postponed due to the ice storm that ravaged much of the Midwest. Texas has won five straight (13-3 overall) on the strength of play from freshman Kevin Durant, who is averaging 23.7 points and 11 rebounds per game - both team highs. Point guard D.J. Augustin is averaging 6.7 assists per contest, and has a 2-1 assist-turnover ratio. This game should be a true indicator of the real power in the Big 12.
In the Big East, the Pitt Panthers should handle the UConn Huskies and improve to 4-0 in conference play. Coach Calhoun's kids are all underclassmen and will get a baptism of fire this season in one of the toughest conferences in the nation.
The Panthers are on cruise control, especially after the much-anticipated matchup of power centers Aaron Gray and Georgetown's Roy Hibbert failed to materialize. Both centers had 11 points, Hibbert grabbed 2 boards and Gray hauled down only 4. Pitt forward Mike Cook - who finished with 18 points - helped the Panthers build a big, early lead and coast to a 74-69 win. Pitt has won 6 straight after a pair of road losses to Wisconsin and Oklahoma State in which the Panthers allowed 89 and 95 points respectively. Other than those games, the most points scored against Pitt this season is 69, by Georgetown in their most recent win. Pitt is 16-2 and ranked #6 in this week's AP Poll.
In other Top 25 action tonight, #13 Air Force is at Utah, #17 Memphis hosts UAB and #25 Kentucky is at South Carolina.