Kansas State v Kansas

Even with the upper hand, Kansas State can’t beat Kansas

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Kansas State, this is when it had to happen.

The Wildcats are in the Top 10, they’re heading to play a team that has lost their last three games, one of which was TCU, and had zero confidence in themselves. In the biggest rivalry game of the season for both teams.

You are going into a place that is, in fairness, nearly impossible to win in. I’ll give you that. But if there ever was a time to beat Kansas, a team that K-State has lost to seven of the last eight times, Monday night was it. Instead, it was an 83-62 throttling that restored all confidence necessary for the rest of the season in Lawrence.

The primer was perfect. Four straight wins over marginal-to-good talent in Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma and the confidence that you took the Jayhawks to the brink at home, losing by four on Jan. 22.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough. Not the winning streak, not the confidence that comes with a no. 10 ranking, not the mentality that the Jayhawks are in a vulnerable state that is completely foreign to everyone on that roster.

And maybe that’s the reason. Maybe the Wildcats didn’t know what to do having the upper hand. It hasn’t been that way lately.

But they also had no answer for the Birthday Boy, Ben McLemore, who poured in 30 points, including six threes. They didn’t know what to do with Jeff Withey and his double-double talents and his five blocks.

Don’t mind the stat line for Kansas State. Rodney McGruder had 20, but a majority of that came after the issue was put to bed. He was 3-for-11 with eight points at the 11-minute mark in the second half, trailing by 20-plus. They got no bench support, either, with four points coming from the reserves.

After the 10-minute mark in the first half, it wasn’t really a game. A 47-29 halftime deficit showed that.

Bruce Weber is a great coach. He’ll win plenty of games in Manhattan, Kan. But I’m not sure that he’ll get a better shot to beat Kansas, let alone beat them in Allen Fieldhouse.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.