NCAA March Madness 75-Year Celebration: Best Players, Teams, Moments From the Big 12

Posted by KoryCarpenter on December 12th, 2012

The NCAA may be butchering another investigation, but they did something right on Tuesday. They are celebrating 75 years of March Madness with a list of all-time greats: the best players, teams, and moments in NCAA Tournament history. They aren’t ranked (wouldn’t that be a fun argument?) but there are plenty of arguments to be had by fans, and plenty of memories — good and bad — brought back to life in the lists. This note isn’t Big 12 related but I thought the same thing as our own editors said when I read the list for the first time:

“Shelvin Mack, really?”

Um, no.

Um, no.

With that out of the way, here’s how the Big 12 was represented:

Players

  • C Bob Kurland, Oklahoma A&M 1943-46 (now Oklahoma State): Kurland played in the 1945 and 1946 NCAA Tournaments, winning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award in 1946. He was a three-time All-American (1944-46) and led Oklahoma A&M to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1945 and 1946, also winning two gold medals as a player.
  • F Clyde Lovellette, Kansas 1949-52: Lovellette tells a story about his recruitment in high school. Kansas coach Phog Allen told the Indiana native that if he came to Kansas, the Jayhawks would win the 1952 national title and a gold medal in the Olympics. In 1952, Kansas beat St. John’s for the NCAA title then won a gold medal a few months later. Lovellette was an All-American and led the Big 7 in scoring each of his three seasons.
  • C Wilt Chamberlain, Kansas 1956-58: He averaged 29.9 PPG in two seasons in Lawrence and is considered one of the greatest players of all time, making this one of the easier choices for the committee. Chamberlain was named the 1957 tournament’s Most Outstanding Player even though Kansas lost a three-overtime championship game to North Carolina, 54-53.
  • F Danny Manning, Kansas 1984-88: Manning’s injury-ridden NBA career sometimes overshadows how great he was in college. He was the 1987-88 Player of the Year as well as the 1988 tournament MOP. He left Kansas as the Big 8′s all-time leading scorer with 2,951 points.

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Morning Five: 06.22.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 22nd, 2012

  1. Last night marked the end of another season of basketball as the NBA crowned its newest champion, the Miami Heat, and we now head into a four-month dry spell without competitive hoops (the Summer Olympics next month will provide a brief respite). While the evening definitely belonged to LeBron James’ coronation as one of the all-time greats, a pair of his role player teammates joined the short list of players to have won both a national title in college as well as a world title in the NBA. With the Heat’s victory, Kansas’ Mario Chalmers (2008) and Duke’s Shane Battier (2001) have now pulled off the twin feat, increasing the the total number of NBA champs with at least one NCAA champion in its regular rotation to an astonishing 71 percent. Battier in particular has long been considered a more valuable player than his numbers might suggest, but it’s no great secret to suggest that winning players tend to find their ways onto winning teams. Congratulations to Battier, Chalmers, James and the rest of the Miami Heat for their 2012 world championship.
  2. While on the subject of the NBA, it appears that ESPN analyst Jalen Roseis set to become the Gameday replacement for Hubert Davis next season. We’ve said this before, but the metamorphosis of Rose from Fab Five hothead to a solid ESPN analyst is nothing short of phenomenal. Unlike Davis and most of the Gameday crew, Rose isn’t afraid to mix it up a bit — Digger Phelps taking ridiculous positions for the sake of comedy notwithstanding — and could serve to enliven a group that has a tendency to act non-confrontational. From the same article, TBL suggests that former Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg will become a college basketball analyst on the WWL next season as well, with an eye toward replacing Phelps when he finally decides to retire.
  3. We expect to have another post on this topic up later today, but Matt Norlander at CBSSports.com writes that the APR rule which will keep 10 programs out of the postseason in 2012-13 could have a significant deleterious effect on the future of the game if schools don’t take it seriously. The key point is that as many as 60 schools could have been kept out of next year’s postseason if the APR floor of 930 was already in effect (as it will be in 2015). Some of those schools include names like Oklahoma State, Providence, Oregon, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU, and while none of those carry the cachet of Connecticut, the reality of it suggests that a one- or two-year drop in significant academic performance could in fact knock big-time programs such as UCLA or Michigan State out of the NCAA Tournament in some future year. The NCAA has already shown through its refusal of UConn’s appeal that it has no interest in providing exceptions, so this is something everyone involved with college basketball at the ground level will have to carefully monitor.
  4. Louisville announced on Thursday that former rising star forward Rakeem Buckleswill transfer to play for Rick Pitino’s son, Richard, at FIU for his final season. The hard-luck player has suffered a conga line of injuries after a promising freshman year in 2009-10 that ended with him going for 20/9 in an NCAA Tournament loss to California. His sophomore and junior seasons were both cut short by ACL injuries, and he is expected to miss the entire 2012-13 season recovering from his latest ligament tear. Louisville appears to be loaded at his position going into the next two seasons, so we’re sure that Buckles viewed this transfer as an opportunity to head closer to home and find some playing time in a comfortable situation to finish his career.
  5. In clearly one of the great disappointments of this offseason, West Virginia’s hirsute Deniz Kiliclihas decided to shave off his trademark mountain man beard. Citing the summer heat in Morgantown as the primary reason for his shearing, we hope that he allows for plenty of time to bring it back next fall. Right around October 15 is fine with us. Only 112 days now…

A Beardless Kilicli: The Horror, The Horror…

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NBA Finals Features Plenty of College Stars

Posted by EJacoby on June 12th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat begins tonight in a dream matchup of star-studded teams that is sure to draw huge viewer ratings. The major media narrative of the series centers around the two superstars — LeBron James and Kevin Durant – and all basketball fans should enjoy watching them battle at the highest level. But digging deeper, diehard college hoops supporters are in for a real treat as each team features veteran players that were once stars at the collegiate level for Final Four-bound squads. Thought the Fab Five was a distant memory? Juwan Howard, former Michigan star from 1992-94 and current Miami reserve forward, thinks otherwise. Before the current John Calipari era, Kentucky’s last run of glory came in the late 90s, during which Nazr Mohammed was on the star-studded 1996 championship team before playing a much bigger role on the 1998 championship team. Fans surely remember Mario Chalmers‘ performance during the 2008 National Title game as well, featuring arguably the biggest shot in recent NCAA history. Chalmers is Miami’s starting point guard who will have to knock down some more big shots in order for the Heat to win. There are plenty of other players in this championship series that will bring college fanatics down memory lane.

Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich were stars for Kansas before being drafted by Oklahoma City (C. Landsberger, The Oklahoman)

The rosters of the Heat and Thunder combine to feature 12 (!) different players that once played in a Final Four during their college careers. Oklahoma City’s Final Four attendees include Cole Aldrich, Nick Collison (twice), Daequan Cook, Royal Ivey, Russell Westbrook (twice), and Mohammed (three times). Miami, meanwhile, features Shane Battier (twice), Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Howard (twice), and Chalmers. These 12 players combined for five National Titles. Miller and Haslem were teammates at Florida for the 2000 Gators team that lost in the Championship Game to Michigan State. And this list doesn’t even include Durant, who won the National Player of the Year award in his only season at Texas (2007). Battier was also a NPOY winner at Duke during his accomplished college career. March Madness fans probably remember Derek Fisher, Eric Maynor, and Norris Cole, too, each of whom led small schools to the NCAA Tournament through leading point guard roles. Now they are all valuable reserves for potential NBA champions, though Maynor has missed this season with an ACL tear in his knee.

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NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.22.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

Midwest Region

West Region

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Big 12 Mount Rushmore

Posted by dnspewak on February 22nd, 2012

When Missouri and Texas A&M bolt for the SEC in July, the departure will mark the Big 12′s first shift since its inception in 1996. For the most part, the past 15 seasons have belonged to Kansas, which has captured the only National Championship during this time period and has also won or shared 11 regular-season championships. The Jayhawks’ dominance extends all the way through the old Big Eight’s history, too. Naturally, we’ve selected two Jayhawks as the most influential figures. Perhaps it’s unfair to place so much KU emphasis on our four Mount Rushmore selections, and yes, it’s probably unfair to ignore the rest of the league as a result. However, we made our selections with an eye toward postseason success and long-term legacy. Frankly, no other Big 12 program can even come close to Kansas in either of those departments, so its players and coaches simply must be included.

Here’s our Big 12 Mount Rushmore:

Wayman Tisdale: The late Tisdale was more than just a basketball player. He was a musician, a man who publicly fought cancer for two years, and most importantly, a man remembered for being one of the most genuine people in sports. The forward had a productive NBA career, but he thoroughly dominated the Big Eight for three seasons at Oklahoma. As a freshman, sophomore and junior, Tisdale took home Big Eight Player of the Year honors, and he was unique in that he made such an immediate impact early in his career. Unlike most freshmen at that time, Tisdale didn’t need time to acclimate himself to the college game. He was a one-and-done kind of player who stayed and dominated the nation for three seasons. Frightening.

Danny Manning: These days, Manning roams the Kansas sidelines as a towering, hard-to-miss assistant coach. Two decades ago, though, Manning’s Jayhawks soared through the 1988 NCAA Tournament as a six-seed, shocking the nation by knocking off #1 Oklahoma in the title game in Kansas City. To this day, even fans who never watched Larry Brown’s team play still refer to that squad as “Danny and the Miracles.” Manning may have scored the most points in Big Eight history, but we’ll remember him for the way he lit up the scoreboard in those six games in March.

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Big 12 and Blooming Onions, Part One

Posted by cwilliams on December 2nd, 2011

Society loves comparisons. A strange statement, yes, but one that is undoubtedly true. Whenever we see a dominating center, we say, “oh wow, that guy’s dominance in the paint reminds me of Cole Aldrich.” And it’s not just in sports. It’s in everyday life, too. “Oh, Steve from IT? That guy gives me the creeps, he reminds me of Norman Bates.” We are lost without comparisons. We need them, especially when something new comes along. Today, I thought it would be fun to compare each of the Big 12 basketball programs to something. I needed these comparisons to be something easily recognized, but not related to basketball. So, what did I come up with? Chain restaurants, of course.

Frank Martin Expresses His Displeasure With K-State's Association With Chipotle.

  • Baylor -> Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A is considered to be the Christian fast food restaurant. The owners make their faith well-known, and this chicken eatery is closed on Sundays. Baylor is both the only private and only Christian school in the Big 12, and it has a curriculum that includes faith-based studies. Chick-Fil-A has great chicken sandwiches, and OK waffle fries. That’s it. There’s no variety, it’s a one-trick pony. Baylor basketball has recently been the same. Yes, they’ve had their one Elite Eight run and some great players, but it lacks the impressive spread that many Big 12 basketball schools possess. Its arena attendance is weak, the student section is even weaker, and their women’s team is still on ESPN more than their men’s. Also, people don’t know Chick-Fil-A exists in some parts of the country. The same can be said about Baylor hoops.
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Night Line: Tu Holloway States Early Case For Nation’s Best Point Guard

Posted by EJacoby on November 29th, 2011

Evan Jacoby is an RTC columnist. You can find him @evanJacoby on Twitter. Night Line will run on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s slate of games.

As is the case every year, guard play dominates college basketball. A lead guard’s responsibilities – facilitating offense, team leadership, and defensive execution – are essential to a team’s success. In Monday night’s exciting matchup between Xavier and Vanderbilt, the point guards essentially decided the outcome. In crunch time of a tight game, Vandy’s Brad Tinsley made poor decisions for his team; while Xavier’s Tu Holloway dominated on both ends of the court to lead his team to an overtime road win. He’s already had his name in the conversation since preseason, but tonight Holloway made an early statement for why he — not Kendall Marshall, not Jordan Taylor, not anyone else — is the nation’s best point guard. The senior displayed in Nashville why he’s he capable of leading Xavier to a special season.

Xavier's Tu Holloway Shot His Team Past Vanderbilt on Monday Night (Credit: Mark Humphrey, AP)

Holloway is one of the true do-it-all players in the country, and he makes it look easy with his poised demeanor. He plays the game at his own, controlled speed and knows when to kick it up an extra gear for big moments. Tonight was a clinic in that respect, as Holloway sealed the game with back-to-back three-pointers in overtime, where he poured in 10 of his game-high 24 points. He also totaled five rebounds, four assists, and just one turnover in 42 minutes while hitting nine of his ten free throws. His 6-20 shooting line wasn’t the most efficient offensive output you’ll see from him, thanks in part to a solid defensive effort by Vandy, but his command of the floor and complete contributions ultimately led his team to a road win in Nashville.

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20 Questions: What is the Best November Tournament This Season?

Posted by dnspewak on October 24th, 2011

Danny Spewak is the RTC correspondent for the Sun Belt Conference and a Big 12 microsite writer.

Question: What is the Best November Tournament This Season?

The pick: Maui Invitational

Participants (with preseason rank): Island: Duke (#6), Memphis (#9), Kansas (#13), Michigan (#18), UCLA (#20), Tennessee, Georgetown, Chaminade; Regional: Belmont, Middle Tennessee, UNC Greensboro, Towson

The theme at the Maui Invitational this fall is history. Sure, it’s impressive that the field includes five teams ranked in the preseason Top 20 in the Coaches’ Poll, but the bracket will also provide us with all kinds of wonderful nostalgia. On one side of the bracket, Duke and Michigan might play a rematch of the 1992 National Championship in the semifinals; or, Memphis and Tennessee could battle for in-state supremacy once again (except the game is, you know, in Hawaii). The possibilities are endless — and that’s the case on the other side too. The winner of Georgetown/Kansas will likely face UCLA, and those three programs have 15 combined NCAA titles. And hey, if Memphis and Kansas keep winning, they could meet in a rematch of the 2008 title game. Mario Chalmers won’t be allowed in the building this time.

John Wooden is Just One Legend This Historic Tournament Will Remind Us Of

At this point, you may be physically shaking at some of these matchups. We don’t blame you. That’s how enticing these games are: they’ve got historical value, star power, legendary coaches and terrific fan bases. And you think that’s all the 2011 Maui Invitational has to offer? Take a look at the regional rounds, which also includes Belmont, widely considered one of the top non-BCS programs this season with the majority of an NCAA Tournament team returning. The Bruins dominated the Atlantic Sun in 2010-11, and it’ll face Duke in the regional round of this tournament at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The result of the game won’t determine who flies to Hawaii — Duke will automatically advance — but the Bruins are likely to put a scare into the Blue Devils (2008 NCAA tourney, anybody?).

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A Closer Look at the Texas/Kansas Rivalry

Posted by dnspewak on October 13th, 2011

There’s just something about Kansas that spurs all kinds of rivalries. Although it has dominated the Border War with Missouri lately and has traditionally beaten up on Kansas State (until Michael Beasley came along), the Jayhawks have found a new bitter rival to tangle with: the Texas Longhorns.  KU’s geographic rivalries will never be replaced, of course. But for now, the most bitter, cold-blooded rivalry in the league is between Bill Self and Rick Barnes‘ programs.

Rick Barnes Always Finds Himself in a Battle With Kansas

And there’s a simple reason for that. It’s all about the competition on the court. Kansas has won seven Big 12 regular season titles in a row, but the Jayhawks have shared two of those crowns with Texas. To illustrate the rivalry a little further, consider the following statistic: since Barnes arrived at Texas in 1998, the two teams have finished 1-2 in the Big 12 seven times. For you math whizzes, that’s more than 50 percent of the time. It began with Barnes vs. Roy Williams, and the fun has continued under Self. Even though this rivalry dates back to the beginning stages of the Big 12, it has seemed to particularly gain steam during the past five years or so. The two teams have produced some of the more dramatic contests in league history. Take a look:

Feb. 26, 2006

  • Texas 80, Kansas 55: Texas embarrasses Kansas in Austin to move into first-place in late February, eventually setting the foundation for a shared regular season title.

March 3, 2007

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Legion of Doom: Figuring the All-Villain Teams For Selected Schools

Posted by rtmsf on September 26th, 2011

The ongoing NBA lockout is resulting in some unintended but interesting effects related to college basketball.  This offseason has already produced a handful of ‘alumni games,’ featuring former players of recent vintage, including some at two of the most storied programs in the sport, Kansas and Kentucky, in addition to last week’s Jimmer All-Stars at BYUSaturday night’s Legends of the Phog in Lawrence was a jam-packed extravaganza of KU hoops that ended in a 111-111 tie as Mario Chalmers nailed a trey at the buzzer (who else?).

You’ll recall that a team called the Kentucky Pros scrimmaged John Calipari‘s Dominican Republic team twice back in mid-August, losing twice in games at Rupp Arena and Yum! Center in exhibitions that sometimes resembled pick-up than organized basketball.  Still, both games were well attended (23k at Rupp, 15k at Yum) and with current professionals like Rajon Rondo, Jodie Meeks, Patrick Patterson and others sitting around these days rather than preparing for NBA training camps, WKYT-TV has reported that there are plans to send these and other former UK players on a barnstorming tour around the state against various “villains” from their collegiate days.

Who Represents the Legion of Doom For Your School?

We actually love this idea, if for no other reason than the potential crowd reactions to some of the villains, reported as “Kemba Walker, Rudy Gay, Tyler Hansbrough, Nolan Smith, Eric Gordon, Terrence Williams, Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried and Shelvin Mack.”  For Kentucky fans from Pikeville to Murray, there’s some serious villain juice here.  Hansbrough was a Tubby Smith recruiting flash point; Gordon and Williams played for hated Indiana and Louisville teams; Noah was the most despised SEC player of the last decade.

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RTC Live: Kansas vs. Texas (Big 12 Championship)

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 12th, 2011

Game #214. After going to town on a burnt end sandwich, we lick our fingers for the Big 12 Tournament Final in Kansas City.

Kansas and Texas have given us some of the most memorable games in Big 12 history. In 2003, KU beat the Longhorns behind 24 points and 23 rebounds from Nick Collison. In the 2006 Big 12 final, a young Kansas team starting three freshmen and two sophomores shut down LaMarcus Aldridge to capture tournament gold. The next year, Kevin Durant lit up Allen Fieldhouse for 25 first half points and followed it up a week later with a 37-point, six-block effort in the last game of the conference tournament. Kansas and Texas met up again in the 2008 final, with national championship hero (or villain, depending on your tastes) Mario Chalmers torching the nets for 30 points on 8-12 shooting from beyond the arc.  This year should be no different. Kansas lost to UT on January 22 after the Jayhawks were up all night grieving with Thomas Robinson over his mother’s death, and were zapped by the second half. Texas took advantage and rolled to victory, and from the minute the clock ran out that day, KU has longed for a second shot at the Longhorns. Both teams have taken care of business this week in Kansas City, and after yesterday’s semifinals played to seed, we very well could have another classic brewing tonight, so pull up a chair and join us as the Big 12 crowns a tournament champ!

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The Knight/Self Matter: Your Move, General

Posted by jstevrtc on February 18th, 2010

Sherron Collins‘ line after logging 16 minutes in the first half of Kansas’ eventual win at Texas A&M on Monday night:  three points, 0-3 shooting from the floor, 3-4 from the free throw line, three turnovers, no assists.

Not exactly his best half, of course.  Is it worth a benching?

Bob Knight thought so on Monday.  Providing color commentary for ESPN’s broadcast, Knight proclaimed that he would have benched Collins to start the second half, presumably to send a message.  What would that message be, exactly?  We’re guessing something along the lines of, “Hey, Sherron.  Play better.  And if you don’t, someone else  (like Brady Morningstar) will, so you’re expendable.”

Knight benching tactic: shrewd or outdated?

Keep in mind…this is Sherron Collins.  Leading returning scorer for KU over the last two seasons.  Pre-season All-American.  This is the guy who came off the bench for 11 points, six assists, and three steals in the 2008 title game as s sophomore.  That Mario Chalmers three-pointer to tie it with 2.1 seconds left in that championship game?  Collins had the assist.  Just three weeks ago, this was the kid who cringed through back spasms that had his muscles knotting up as if they were in vise grips during the Kansas State game…and still, in overtime, in one of the most raucous road environments of recent memory, when it came time to drive to the basket and take contact with less than ten seconds left, said to his coach and his team (as he has in many similar situations), “I want the ball.”

So…expendable?  We know Knight was just talking about not starting Collins; he wasn’t proposing sitting him for the game.  That would have been ludicrous.  But aren’t you taking a chance with that tactic?  If you’re going to use it, you’d better be sure that your star player will hear the message you’re trying to send, as opposed to another one that would do more damage.

Knight has taken a few hits in the media about his pro-benching comment.  And now, Bill Self has responded.

On the weekly Kansas coaches’ Hawk Talk radio show, Self was asked about Knight’s statement.  His response:  “Well, I think Coach Knight is very very wise, obviously with winning games and having a great mind…to be honest, we’re not just trying to win the game.  We’re trying to win over time.  I don’t believe in showing guys that you don’t have faith in them when things are not going well, when they’ve delivered over and over for you.  I’d never do that.”

Bill Self stuck up for his point guard and sent a message to his players -- current and future.

On a few levels, that’s great stuff from Bill Self.  From my view, that really seems to represent how he feels and isn’t just lip service.  And if you’re a recruit, isn’t that what you love to hear?  I’d feel much better knowing that the coach I could end up playing for isn’t going to sit me down or possibly give up on me when I make a mistake, or even when I’ve had a bad half.  It would be good to know that, if I’ve come through for my team on several occasions, a single bad half isn’t going to trump all of that in my coach’s eyes.  The current Jayhawks have now also witnessed another example of how he’ll stick up for them, even in this case where it’s the winningest D1 college coach of all-time offering his opinions about them.   While simultaneously complimenting Knight — though Self probably didn’t mean to put this spin on it — Self’s response makes Knight look like a stodgy, outdated disciplinarian who advocates a mind-game approach to dealing with players.  I don’t mean to put words in Coach Self’s mouth, there.  But can you think of any big-time college basketball player these days who would respond well to such a tactic without losing a little faith in his coach?  Knight’s move may have worked on his players back in his earlier days at Indiana, but this is a different time.

What will be interesting, now, is whether or not someone from ESPN asks Knight on the air about Self’s response.  I doubt that will happen, so the matter is probably concluded.  You have to admit, though — it’d be great to hear, and you know The General would love to offer his opinion.  Maybe somebody on the ESPN GameDay crew will step up for us this weekend if Knight makes the trip to Seattle.

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