Elijah Johnson

No. 3 Kansas wins at No. 11 Kansas State, their 16th straight victory

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With Missouri out of the picture and (struggling to beat South Carolina) in the SEC, Kansas is looking for a new rival in the Big 12.

Enter Kansas State, who has had as much success as any other program in the conference over the past five or six years. Tonight’s matchup, which featured two of the top 11 teams in the country, was billed as the Sunflower Showdown by most parties heading into the game.

Only, it’s tough to have a game be considered a rivalry when one team is clearly little brother. Kansas has now won 45 of their last 48 games against the Wildcats, including 23 of their last 25 in Bramlage Coliseum, after a 59-55 win on Tuesday night.

Travis Releford led the way for the Jayhawks with 12 points, while Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey both chipped in with 11. Both McLemore and Withey battled foul trouble.

No. 3 Kansas has now won 16 straight games since losing to Michigan State in the Champions Classic in the second game of the season. They are not necessarily doing it in the prettiest manner — the Jayhawks needed a last-second, banked-in three from McLemore to force overtime at home against Iowa State and then had to dig themselves out of an 11 point second half hole at Texas on Saturday — but they just keep winning.

And that’s not to say that there aren’t concerns with this group. Elijah Johnson is talented, but he’s playing out of position at the point guard spot. The problem? He’s still a better option that Naadir Tharpe, who’s not yet ready to take over the point guard spot full-time. Kansas is also looking to find a secondary scorer alongside McLemore. Releford does the majority of his work spotting up on the perimeter and getting out and scoring in transition. Jeff Withey’s improved offensively, but it’s still a bit of an adventure when he gets the ball on the block. Even McLemore, as talented as he is, has a tendency to let the game come to him.

The result?

Too many possessions that end up with the ball in Johnson’s hands as he looks to create, which, again, is not exactly his forte.

But Kansas just keeps winning.

And I have a theory why.

There may not be a team in the country that is better at executing the sets that their head coach calls than Kansas. While there are some issues with the talent level and there is a lack of creators offensively on the roster, the bottom-line is that, when Kansas does what Bill Self asks them to, they can get shots within the flow of their offense.

With a defense that is as good as ever, the Jayhawks don’t necessarily need to have a roster full of lottery picks. They don’t need to score 100 point on a nightly basis to win.

They do enough to get by.

So far, it’s working.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Georgetown center Bradley Hayes out indefinitely with broken hand

Georgetown center Bradley Hayes (42) is greeted by John Thompson Jr., right, father of Georgetown head coach John Thompson III, after an NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, in Washington. Georgetown won 79-72. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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Georgetown announced on Saturday that senior center Bradley Hayes will be out indefinitely after breaking his left hand in practice on Thursday.

“It is a blow to our team, but I’m very disappointed for Bradley because of the heard work he has put in over the last four years to put himself in a position to have a good senior year,” Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said in a release. “He had successful surgery today and we expect him to fully recover but we’re not sure when he’ll return.”

The 7-foot-0 native of Jacksonville was putting together a very solid senior season before the injury. Hayes averaged 21.4 minutes per contest in which he put up 8.5 points and grabbed 6.6 rebounds per game. After playing sparringly during his first three seasons at Georgetown, Hayes has become a key interior piece for the Hoyas this season.

Without Hayes in the lineup, freshman Jessie Govan will get more minutes and have a chance to be the go-to post player in the Georgetown rotation.

BUBBLE BANTER: A loaded Saturday slate could determine a few bids

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin gestures from the bench during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Columbia, S.C.  (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
(AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
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This post will be updated throughout the day. Here is the full schedule of bubble games.

No. 22 Kentucky at South Carolina (KenPom: 43, RPI: 21), 12:00 p.m.
Georgetown (KenPom: 60, RPI: 78) at No. 20 Providence, 12:00 p.m.
Northern Iowa at No. 25 Wichita State (KenPom: 11, RPI: 43), 12:00 p.m.
No. 15 Texas A&M at LSU (KenPom: 59, RPI: 74), 1:00 p.m.
Kansas State (KenPom: 49, RPI: 52) at Oklahoma State, 1:00 p.m.
No. 18 Purdue at Michigan (KenPom: 48, RPI: 60), 2:00 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Clemson (KenPom: 58, RPI: 88), 2:00 p.m.
Washington (KenPom: 77, RPI: 61) at Colorado (KenPom: 61, RPI: 30), 2:00 p.m.
No. 5 Xavier at Butler (KenPom: 35, RPI: 58), 2:30 p.m.
East Carolina at Cincinnati (KenPom: 30, RPI: 63), 4:00 p.m.
George Washington (KenPom: 88, RPI: 44) at St. Bonaventure, 4:00 p.m.
No. 11 Oregon at Stanford (KenPom: 122, RPI: 82), 4:00 p.m.
Alabama (KenPom: 84, RPI: 38) at Florida (KenPom: 28, RPI: 24), 5:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt (KenPom: 34, RPI: 59) at Auburn, 6:00 p.m.
Saint Louis at VCU (KenPom: 41, RPI: 53), 6:00 p.m.
Wisconsin (KenPom: 47, RPI: 54) at No. 2 Maryland, 6:30 p.m.
Oregon State (KenPom: 73, RPI: 31) at Cal (KenPom: 33, RPI: 29), 6:30 p.m.
Tulsa (KenPom: 50, RPI: 48) at UConn (KenPom: 22, RPI: 46), 8:00 p.m.
Texas Tech (KenPom: 57, RPI: 41) at No. 21 Baylor, 8:00 p.m.
Wright State at Valparaiso (KenPom: 22, RPI: 49), 8:00 p.m.
Creighton (KenPom: 42, RPI: 84) at Marquette (KenPom: 104, RPI: 95), 8:00 p.m.
La Salle at Saint Joseph’s (KenPom: 37, RPI: 28), 8:00 p.m.
Gonzaga (KenPom: 31, RPI: 64) at No. 16 SMU, 10:00 p.m.
LMU at Saint Mary’s (KenPom: 39, RPI: 72), 11:00 p.m.