Here are a few summaries of what’s going on with Kansas Athletics this week, February 13:
1. A Sunflower Showdown sweep for the Jayhawks
First thing’s first: Hello, Jayhawk Nation! I’m so grateful to any of you who read this, and I hope you enjoy. Now, let’s get to business.
Kansas held on for a 74-71 win against K-Sate last Monday. K-State played really well as much as it pains me to admit, but KU came through when their backs were up against the wall. Carlton Bragg came back from his suspension and played in 13 minutes of action, accumulating six points, three rebounds, and two assists (one of which was very pretty). Not bad for not playing for a couple weeks. I can’t say anything about Frank Mason that I haven’t already said before. He’s a beast. He scored 20 plus points…again. He is way ahead of the pack in the race for national player of the year. Josh Jackson had four fouls but also 18 points in another stellar night for him. I can’t say enough about the Jackson’s newly found ability to hit threes. It’s made him nearly impossible to guard. The Jayhawks still have things to work on, but this team is more than good enough to go to the Final Four.
2. KU raids Texas Tech of a win
Wow. Josh Jackson had 31 points and 11 rebounds. He hit the game winning free throw, too. Have fun in the NBA next year, man. This win (much like the K-State win) showed how resilient the Jayhawks are. Texas Tech had all of the momentum and their building was rocking but KU pulled it out in the end. Frank Mason had the flu on Saturday and it showed in the game. He still scored 12 points, but fouled out in just 26 minutes. The defense has to get better for this team if they’re going to be truly great. Defensive lapses kill this team at a rate that is far too high (I’m looking at you, Mr. Mykhailiuk). If Kansas can find their defensive groove, I’m not sure anyone will be able to beat them. Landen Lucas had 13 points and 5 boards. He’s been really good since Azubuike went down with a wrist injury. ESPN has said it, the Inside the Paint hosts have said it, I have said it: Landen Lucas is the key to the Jayhawks’ success. That being said, it would be great if Carlton Bragg could get going. It’s been an incredibly underwhelming year for him. The ‘Hawks are one win closer to a 13th straight Big 12 championship, but wins against West Virginia (tonight at 8:00) and Baylor (Saturday at noon) would all but seal it.
3. NCAA Bracket Preview: Where I agree, where I don’t.
Agree: All of the #1s. It’s really hard to argue with any of the top seeds (Baylor, Kansas, Villanova, and Gonzaga.). All of them are very deserving and only have eight losses combined. I think it’s going to be very difficult to unseat these four.
Disagree: UCLA is a 4 and Florida State is a 2? UCLA is 22-3. Their losses are at Oregon, at USC, and Arizona at home. They just beat Oregon in their second meeting a few days ago. HOW ARE THEY A FOUR?! They should be at least a three, if not a two. Then you have Florida State. A good team, no doubt, but a two seed? I’m not so sure about that. Four of their five losses are to unranked teams.
Agree: Oregon as two seed. At the beginning of the season, Oregon was tabbed as one of the best teams in the county, and, despite a rough start to their year, have played like it ever since Dillon Brooks returned from injury. I’d take them over anyone in Pac-12 (even though they lost to UCLA recently).
Disagree: Where’s Wisconsin? I know the number one knock on the Badgers is lack of a quality win, and that they’ve been beaten by double digits in all three of their losses. But Wisconsin is 21-4, and are unbeaten at home. Personally, I think they should be a four, even after Sunday’s loss to Northwestern.
It’s fun to have an early look at the bracket but it’s going to be an even more fun in four weeks for Selection Sunday.
4. Something literally no one reading this will care about
I’ve been looking for a way to sneak my home town Division II school (the Northern Michigan Wildcats) in here for a while and I finally have a good reason. The goalie for their Division I hockey team, Atte Tolvanen, recorded his fifth consecutive shutout, tying an NCAA record. I know this is a KU website for football and basketball but I just wanted to recognize this great accomplishment. Go Cats! Go ‘Hawks!
Landen Fields is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog. You can check out his archive here.