Here are a few summaries of what’s going on with Kansas Athletics this week, January 9:
1. The Jayhawks down K-State in a controversial classic
Yes, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk of Cherkasy, Ukraine traveled with the basketball. BUUUUT – he also hit the shot. If I were a K-State fan, I would by very mad. I’m not though, so I’m not mad.
Now to some stats: Josh Jackson had 22 points (including 16 in the first half), nine rebounds, and six assists. It was a great bounce-back game for him after posting just four points against TCU. Now that Landen Lucas is back, KU has no equal in the Big 12 (though Baylor is beginning to scare me a little). Lucas finished this game with 18 points and 12 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double. I can’t tell you how excited I am that he is playing like we expected him to. Despite traveling from Lawrence to downtown Kansas City, Svi had a very solid game, scoring 11 points (all in the second half) and hitting two threes.
This might be the furthest I’ve gotten into an article without mentioning Frank Mason. In short, he was stellar yet again with 15 points and four three-point baskets. Devonte’ Graham finished with 13 points and six dimes to round out yet another outstanding performance by the guards. Even though Kansas won this game, they will have to fix their defensive struggles if they are going to win their 13th straight Big 12 title.
2. KU able to pull away from Red Raiders late
Texas Tech was able to keep it close and hang around for quite a while Saturday night, but eventually hot shooting and smart plays won it for the ‘Hawks. Frank Mason had yet another massive performance, dropping 26 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. No one can stop this man. He makes free-throws (11-for-12 in this game), he hits threes (52% on the season), and he makes plays. Devonte’ Graham had one of his better games of this year. He had 20 points and went 4-8 from behind the arc. I feel like he’s been a little overlooked due to Mason and Jackson’s success, but he’s been a stud so far this year. Josh Jackson had his third double-double of the season, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Once again, the back court won the game. Landen Lucas and Carlton Bragg were…fine…I guess. Combined, they had 11 points and 12 rebounds. That’s not ideal, but it’s still better than they were earlier this season. The defense for Kansas was considerably better than it has been the past two games, allowing 20 points less than it did against K-State. Next up for the Jayhawks is a 6-8 Oklahoma team. I have a feeling that that game won’t be quite as good as it was last year.
3. Sam Cunliffe and a way-too-early look at next season’s roster
This past week, Arizona State transfer (the college version of a free agent) Sam Cunliffe announced that he will be playing at Kansas next season. At ASU, Cunliffe averaged 9.5 points, 4.8 assists, and shot 40% from three. KU should have at least equal depth as this season if not more. The rest of the incoming Jayhawks (that we know of at this point) are five-star guard Malik Newman, five-star forward Billy Preston, and four-star point guard Marcus Garrett. If Svi and Graham stay for their senior seasons, I think next year’s starting five would be Graham, Newman, Svi, possibly Vick (depending on what other recruits KU is able land), and Udoka Azubuike or Carlton Bragg. If Bill Self can snag another top-rated recruit, like Trae Young or Trevon Duval, Kansas would be absolutely loaded.
(See also: the Rock Chalk Blog KU basketball scholarship chart, updated this morning)
4. Shout out to the Chiefs!
If you didn’t know, most (if not all) of us here at RCB are fans of the Kansas City Chiefs. It just so happens that the Chiefs are in the playoffs this season, and they will play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Good Luck guys! Make it a butt-whooping to remember!
(Note from the editor: Go Chiefs! *begins doing tomahawk chop*)
Landen Fields is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog. You can check out his archive here.