Self elated with his 'fast' Jayhawks

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For the time being, Kansas is experimenting with small ball.

Markieff Morris (hernia surgery) and Jeff Withey (broken foot), the Jayhawks’ two tallest players, are nursing injuries and won’t be back until early November. But it’s not a bad thing. Kansas looks “more skilled than in the past” and is fast enough to compensate for any height issues.

“It’s a different team than I’ve had to coach the last couple years. I really think we’re fast,” coach Bill Self told the Lawrence Journal-World. “We throw it all over the place, but are fast, something fun to coach.”

If Kansas is fast and aggressive on defense, that’s Self’s dream. He wants an aggressive, nasty defense that makes life miserable for foes. Think last season, but with more turnovers. He’s not entirely sure how good that defense is yet, but it’s not even November yet. Give it a few months. 

He’s talking about defense. And that should be a warning to opposing teams.

If Kansas is fast and aggressive on defense, that’s Self’s dream. He wants an aggressive, nasty defense that makes life miserable for foes. He’s not entirely sure how good that defense is yet, but it’s not even November yet. Give it a few months.

“I think we try hard. I think we’re fast. I think we’re fairly competitive. I don’t know if the competitive juices are to the point I’d like them to be,” he said. “I think we’re pretty deep. I don’t know who our best players are. That could be a good thing. It adds to our practices daily. This is a less margin for error team, but a team that has a chance to be good.”

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

No. 23 USC falls at Arizona State

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley applauds the efforts of his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
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No. 23 USC missed a golden opportunity to make up a game in the Pac-12 standings on Friday night.

No. 11 Oregon lost to Colorado on Thursday night, dropping back into a tie for first place in the league with the Trojans, a game ahead of No. 17 Arizona. But USC fell at Arizona State, 74-67, keeping them a game off of the pace that the Ducks have set.

The loss is even more painful when you consider that, on Sunday, the Trojans will be making the trip to Tucson to take on Arizona. The Wildcats are not what we have become accustomed to seeing under Sean Miller, but they are still a top 25 team and the McKale Center is still one of the toughest places in the country to get a win.

Thanks to Friday’s loss, instead of entering McKale with an outside chance of taking over sole possession of first place in the league, USC will have top hope they don’t fall two games off the pace.

As far as the game itself was concerned, USC committed 17 turnovers, shot 2-for-11 from three and gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Arizona State. That’s how you lose a game where you shoot better than 51 percent from the floor. USC was just never able to consistently get out into transition, and that caused them to struggle¬†executing in the half court.

Nikola Jovanovic led the way with 25 points and 15 boards for USC.

Tra Holder’s 20 points made the difference for Arizona State, who kept themselves within striking distance of an at-large bid with the win.

Davis helps No. 19 Dayton beat Rhode Island 68-66

Dayton's Scoochie Smith (11) drives past Rhode Island's Jarvis Garrett (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Kingston, R.I., on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Joe Giblin)
(AP Photo/Joe Giblin)
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KINGSTON, R.I. (AP) Darrell Davis made a go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 21.1 seconds left and No. 19 Dayton beat Rhode Island 68-66 on Friday night.

Rhode Island’s Four McGlynn missed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left. Dayton got the rebound, and Steve McElvene made one of two free throws for the Flyers with 0.3 seconds to go.

Dyshawn Pierre led Dayton (21-3, 11-1 Atlantic 10) with 17 points and also had nine rebounds. Scoochie Smith added 16 points, and Davis finished with eight.

The Flyers won their ninth straight game and ended a six-game losing streak in Kingston.

McGlynn had 19 points for Rhode Island (14-11, 6-6). Hassan Martin added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

There were 17 lead changes, three in the final 55 seconds.

Pierre made two free throws with 55 seconds left to give the Flyers a one-point lead. Martin countered for the Rams with a three-point play 40 seconds left.

TIP-INS

Dayton: Dayton’s 21-3 start is its best since also opening 21-3 in 2008-09. … The Flyers shot 52.0 percent, going 26 of 50.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island’s six Atlantic 10 losses have been by a combined 30 points. … Martin made his 15th career double-double.

UP NEXT:

Dayton: at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday night.

Rhode Island: at VCU on Tuesday night.