Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:56 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 5:01 pm
By Matt Norlander
No matter who you think should be college basketball's player of the year, if you're a fan of the game, I think it's undeniable: Draymond Green is so, so much fun to watch. When you stop and think about it, isn't he the best big man with the most diverse weaponry in his game to wear a Michigan State jersey since Magic Johnson?
Green is a point forward, essentially. He does things for this team, and has skills at the 1/2/3/4/5 that nobody -- nobody -- in college basketball has. That inherently makes him unique, and I suspect Tom Izzo is thankful for every second he has remaining with Green at his disposal. He's not only reliable, he's impossible to gameplan against because you can take away what he does best, or second-best, or third-best, and he'll still be able to help his team in five or six other ways. It's because of this that he's even in the conversation for Player of the Year.
But should he be? At first reaction, I thought so. Jeff Eisenberg put up a comparison post using traditional, tempo stats on The Dagger Wednesday. It was only between Thomas Robinson and Anthony Davis. "Where's Day-Day?" I asked upon seeing the piece. Chris Vannini, who has spent the past four years covering Michigan State, thought the same. And then I realized I was automatically judging Green's value to Michigan State vs. his ability as a player. Without him, is Michigan State an NCAA tournament team? I question that it is.
That's the ever-lasting argument: value to a team vs. actual ability/talent and achievement that's been displayed in a given year. Without Anthony Davis, Kentucky is still very good. It doesn't make him nearly as valuable to the Wildcats as Green is to Michigan State and Thomas Robinson is to Kansas.
In talking Player of the Year, we're talking the latter part of that debate above. I hope voters are aware of that. It's not a valuable award, it's a talent+achievement award. From that combination's standpoint, unfortunately, Green is not in the same class with the two men who are a virtual length-of-a-nose race for Player of the Year. I'm talking numbers here; from a visual perspective, again, it's a blast to watch Draymond. I think when he scores 29 and his team is still not even sniffing a win against Indiana, that's a double-edged result.
The following data was used compiling as-of-today statistics at Statsheet.com (Player Efficiency Ratings and KenPom.com. And fortunately, all statistics are measured through exactly 30 games for each player. Stats need to be judged against schedule strength too, in my opinion. As a backdrop, here's the KenPom.com overall SOS for each player:
Robinson: No. 3
Green: No. 4
Davis: No. 60
Davis' O Rating is absolutely absurd. And take note that I'm using one grid as a background for all data comparisons, so Davis' lofty PER and block numbers look small here, but in fact are nearly as stupid as his adjusted offensive rating.
Here's how it spreadsheets out. Notice how frequently Green is third in these dozens valuable categoriges. His only advantage is when it comes to passing, wher he is clearly as far ahead in that category as any other player is in any other. He makes teammates better, which speaks more to value than his overall achievement profile, but it's still plenty noteworthy.
Green's had a great, great year so far, but he's going up against an all-time shot-block/freak in Davis and a relentless, superior rebounder and scorer in Robinson. I think, at this point, POY is out of Green's reach, even if he's deserving to be in the conversation. From a numbers standpoint, he's a notch below. It's not his fault. If he put up these numbers last year, against Jimmer, it would actually be a really intriguing race.
No matter. Green's still incredible to watch, just as valuable to his team as Robinson, and more diversified in his game -- even though his ceiling are lower -- than Davis. Michigan State won't get to the Final Four without him, and while any coach would love/marry/kill to have Robinson or Davis on their roster, Green is woven into the fabric of his team's scheme as much as any player in the country.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:18 pm
By Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish
Shabazz Muhammad is the top-ranked recruit in the nation.
Muhammad's recruitment, however, has drawn the attention of the NCAA - which has spoken to his father, Ron Holmes, about the family's relationship with a pair of financial advisors.
His list of finalists reads as follows: UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, UNLV, Kansas and USC.
You can read the exclusive story here:
Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:40 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Just imagine if this Kansas team had Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor.
Both players were declared ineligible by the NCAA prior to the start of the season, but Jayhawks senior guard Tyshawn Taylor had strong praise for the duo.
"He's for sure a pro," Taylor said this afternoon on SiriusXM's Inside College Basketball regarding the 6-foot-5 McLemore. "He's got the most upside of any good on the team right now. He's young, is long and is the best athlete in terms of getting off the floor."
Kansas coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks staff all agree about McLemore, a St. Louis native, and his potential.
Traylor is a junkyard dog type who would help give the Jayhawks another productive and much-needed body up front.
"He's like a 6-foot-7 T-Rob," Taylor said while comparing him to KU star Thomas Robinson. "He's strong, real athletic and is a beast from Chicago. He plays hard every possession."
While both players aren't eligible this season -- and Bill Self is instead forced to use former walk-ons Conner Teahan and Justin Wesley off the bench -- this bodes well for next season once Taylor and Thomas Robinson (in all likelihood) depart.
The Jayhawks will have more quality depth and more overall pieces with returning starters Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, McLemore and Traylor and a freshman class that includes forward Perry Ellis, wing Andrew White and solid (likely four-year) bigs Landen Lucas and Zach Peters.
That doesn't sound all that intimidating, but neither did this year's team -- and last I checked the Jayhawks were 25-5, wrapped up the Big 12 regular-season title and are battling for a No. 1 overall seed.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 12:11 am
Here’s everything you need to know about Monday’s slate of college basketball games … in a different format than usual to accommodate the less-than-stellar slate.
Eight in a row: Heading into the season, not many people had Kansas winning the Big 12. In what may have been Bill Self’s best coaching job, though, the Jayhawks got better as the season went on and clinched the Big 12 regular-season title with a win at Oklahoma State on Monday night. It’s not a vintage Kansas team, it doesn’t have a lot of depth or a ton of offensive options – but Self has the Jayhawks in contention for a No. 1 seed. Unbelievable stuff.
Georgetown under the radar?: It’s tough for a top-12 team to fly under the radar this late in the season, but if anyone fits that description right now, it could be Georgetown. The Hoyas just throttled Notre Dame on Monday night, locking the Irish down defensively and making plays at both ends of the floor. Because Georgetown has had some hiccups this season – double-digit losses to Seton Hall and Pittsburgh – the Hoyas might not get the attention they deserve.
Notre Dame needs to find its shot: The Fighting Irish are not the 3-point heavy team they’ve been in the past, but still, they’re not playing well right now. They shot just 4-of-31 from deep against St. John’s over the weekend and they didn’t do much better on Monday, knocking down just 3-of-17 from behind the arc. Throw in the fact that Jack Cooley only had two points, and Notre Dame simply did not look dangerous.
Everything Baylor: I know it was only Texas Tech, but when Baylor plays like it did on Monday night, the Bears are still a pretty tough team to beat. Perry Jones and 15 points and 10 rebounds in only 27 minutes, while Anthony Jones, Quincy Acy and A.J. Walton also scored in double-figures in the 77-48 win. Turnovers were still a problem, but it was a reminder that Baylor – despite its weaknesses – still has a ton of talent.
17-0: Mississippi Valley State improved to 17-0 in the SWAC with its win over Jackson State on Monday night, led by Kevin Burwell’s 30 points. The Delta Devils can finish the regular-season unbeaten if they beat Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Thursday.
MEAC race heats up: Savannah State stayed atop the standings with its win over North Carolina A&T, but Norfolk State remained only one game up after beating Florida A&M on the road. Delaware State dropped a one-point game at home to Morgan State, putting the Hornets out of the hunt.
March Madness comes early: The month of March technically doesn’t start until Thursday, but conference tournaments kicked off tonight in the Big South. VMI and High Point both advanced, meaning Radford and Gardner-Webb are both headed home.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:42 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 3:48 pm
By Gary Parrish
Associated Press poll: Fletcher Mackel had Kansas ranked fourth last week.
That was a little high at the time, in my opinion.
I could live with it because after Kentucky and Syracuse the next few spots were up for debate, and KU at No. 4 wasn't unreasonable. So I left Fletcher alone and focused my attention on the 15 AP voters who inexplicably left Indiana off their ballots. But now I have to highlight Fletcher because he's confusing the hell out of me. Again, he had Kansas fourth last week. The Jayhawks then won at Texas A&M and beat Missouri to claim at least a share of the Big 12 title, and now Fletcher has Bill Self's team ranked ... seventh?
So this might be the first time in the history of AP voting that a man has dropped a team three spots after a 2-0 week that featured a win over a Top 10 opponent. Fletcher had Kansas ahead of everybody except Kentucky, Syracuse and Missouri last week. Now he's got Kansas behind Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina and Marquette -- meaning Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina and Marquette all jumped the Jayhawks after the Jayhawks' perfect and impressive week. Following tha logic, my guess is that KU will beat Oklahoma State and Texas this week, win the outright Big 12 title and then fall behind Georgetown, Wisconsin and UNLV on Fletcher's ballot next Monday, at which point Fletcher will also drop Thomas Robinson to Third Team All-American because all this playing well and winning isn't really that impressive.
Coaches poll: Mississippi State has lost five straight games and four of them have come to unranked opponents. So of course the Bulldogs are still getting five points in the coaches poll. That makes sense, right?
Listen, I know coaches are busy this time of the year.
I'm busy this time of the year.
But it's not difficult to click on CBSSports.com and realize the Bulldogs are now a 10-loss team with seven losses to unranked schools, and it doesn't take much time to click on CBSSports.com and see that Rick Stansbury's team has dropped five straight, including a 67-50 decision on Saturday to a nine-loss Alabama team. I'm talking seconds, not minutes. And yet there are still some men somewhere putting Mississippi State on a Top 25 ballot.
Even Mississippi State fans think that's dumb.
Renardo Sidney has punched teammates for things less stupid.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 9:08 pm
By Jeff Goodman
LAWRENCE, Kan. - If this was it, the Border War sure went out in style.
Kansas overcame a 19-point deficit and came back to beat Missouri, 87-86, in overtime, in one of the most thrilling regular-season contests college basketball has witnessed this season.
The hype and the atmosphere for this one was off the charts. Both teams entered the game ranked in the top five in the country and there's no love lost between the two programs. Mizzou is headed to the SEC next season and there has been no shortage of speculation that these two will end the series that has spanned since 1907 and through 267 matchups.
Game No. 267 ranks up there with the best of them.
Tyshawn Taylor, who has been maligned through much of his four-year career in Lawrence, sank a pair of free throws with 8.3 seconds left in overtime to give Kansas a 87-86 lead. Missouri was unable to get a shot off on its final possession.
This wasn't just any ordinary victory for Bill Self and the Jayhawks. It was a victory against a rival -- and also extended the streak of claiming at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title to eight consecutive years. It was also revenge as Kansas blew a eight-point lead in Columbia a few weeks ago.
With the Tigers losing at home against Kansas State this past week and Saturday against KU, the Jayhawks now sit two games in front of Missouri with two regular-season games left.
Kansas will just need a win at Oklahoma State or a home win against Texas in order to win the Big 12 outright.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:16 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 11:45 pm
By Matt Norlander
Here’s everything you need to know about Monday night’s miserably slim pickings worth games. Being the good/smart fiancé that I am, I chose Night Courty tonight so tomorrow I’m totally, absolutely, undeniably free. Veteran move. Borzello will be tracking Tuesday's games, so there you go.
Game of the Night: Anyone not in high school right now remembers when Kansas State had a bad basketball program. The Kansas-Kansas State rivalry had approximately no national appeal. Thank God for Bob Huggins and Frank Martin getting the program back to relevance, because the games have been pretty great for the past half-decade. The two went at it again in Manhattan, Kan., tonight, and for the 22nd time in the last 24 meetings there, Kansas emerged victorious, 59-53.
It's certainly a big brother over little brother ordeal with these two programs, but at least K-State puts up a good fight. I always want to see how K-State brings it, even if it's normally the same result. What concerns me with the Wildcats now is, I'm not sure this team has the makeup to make a tourney run. It falls tonight, and now it gets Baylor and Missouri on the road. It's a 6-9 Big 12 team by next Tuesday night most likely, and so then it'll have to win out, finish 9-9 and get at least a Big 12 tourney win to have hope. Tall task.
Win to brag talk about: You think Syracuse wants to brag? It was its first win over Louisville in eight tries. The first home loss to Syracuse since it joined the Big East in 2005. Boy was it ugly, though. Just brutal basketball. Lots of bad shots. Scoop Jardine was 0 for 8. Gorgui Dieng was 2 for 9. Chris Smith was 3 for 11. Dion Waiters was 3 for 10. Kyle Kuric was 1 for 8.
This game felt like it was played on a court with pot holes and in the rain and with half-pumped tether ball. No flow and neither team deserved to win, but someone had to. Winning ugly adds another character trait to Syracuse, though it’s one few teams every really want to embrace. Win’s a win, though, and this cements — barring a three-game losing streak at some point — Syracuse as a one seed in the East regional next month.
Player who deserves improper benefits: It’s Jeff Withey. Eighteen points, 11 boards, NINE BLOCKS. First guy with that kind of stat line in three years. This junior is transforming into prototypical Reliable and Forceful White Kansas Center. I didn't see it coming. He's genuinely awesome and fun and unpredictable to watch. His play makes me believe Kansas can make a Final Four run and not have it be a fluky thing. Love Withey. Gotta get Withey on the phone. Gotta get Withey to tell me how to live my life. Incredible turnaround. He's the most improved player in hoops this season.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Royce White is the player with pro potential for Iowa State. He’s a matchup problem for a lot of teams, but Baylor isn’t one of them. The Bears won at home tonight, remaining undefeated against teams who don’t have “MIZZOU” or “KANSAS” sewed onto their jersey. White had seven turnovers and hurt the team in some needed spots. He did manage 14 points of 7-of-12 shooting. It wasn’t awful, but we’re dealing with a light slate here.
A quick note on Baylor. I heard ESPN.com’s Andy Katz mention he thinks this team will do better once it’s out of the Big 12 and playing in the NCAA tournament. Maybe. But who says it can’t continue to pick on all the other teams? I’d be very intrigued to see what happens to a five-loss Baylor team that only fell to Kansas and Missouri. Where would they get seeded? The argument for the 3 is legitimate.
Another player who does not deserve improper benefits: K-State's Angel Rodriguez was a killer, also getting way too Bill Gates with the ball. Seven turnovers, 0-of-8 from the field, zero points.
Numbers don’t lie
Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:22 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 5:44 pm
Tyshawn Taylor playing unlike any guard Bill Self's coached at Kansas? That's what Self is saying.
Self joined Jeff Goodman and Bruce Pearl on today's ep of "SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball," and I've done you the kind favor of editing out most of Goodman's voice in the clip below. We'll get to that in a minute. Thomas Robinson is the key, the glue, the most important part of Kansas. Without him, KU's probably a bubble team, Jayhawks fans.
But Taylor, who once was so inconsistent -- and still can be with the turnover issues -- has come to live since the calendar turned to 2012. He's now the fifth-leading scorer in the Big 12, putting up 17 even per game, and he's not scored fewer than 15 in a game since Jan. 7, against Oklahoma. What's intriguing to me about Taylor is, he's definitely a player where you've got to watch him. Watch him a lot, because his stats don't tell his whole story; he's too much of a wild card to rely on what the paper says.
Self is a happy coach right now. Kansas can actually win this league again because Robinson's raised his play to a level few could anticipate, and Taylor's come on to play the way a senior should. Most of the time, at least.
"He makes plays you can't coach and makes plays that look like he's never been coach -- just in a span of seconds," Self said. "We have not had a guard since I've been at Kansas that's played as well as he 's played for as long as he's played."
Self talks Tyshawn