Bill Self

Kansas’ facilities just got a bit more deluxe

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It is not like Kansas is lacking in recruiting advantages. The team just won their tenth consecutive Big 12 regular season title, and Allen Fieldhouse is regularly cited as one of the best fan experiences in Division I — countless recruits visiting The Phog have been swayed to become a Jayhawk based on the overall vibe and decibel levels during home games. Now Bill Self and his staff will have another recruiting perk to lord over the rest of the Big 12 and other DI teams: announced during the first half of the Oklahoma win, Kansas will begin building apartments for the men’s and women’s basketball teams (as well as non-student athletes).

The ‘Fieldhouse Apartments’ project will cost an estimated $17 million, and the first phase, which will include 33 apartments and a commons area, will begin shortly. Because the university was denied additional bonds for the Kansas legislature to finance the construction, KU has begun to raise the funds for phase one — roughly $7 million — from private donations.

Oklahoma State upgraded their lockers rooms a few years ago, a move that included copious flatscreen televisions and plush chairs, and while some may see Kansas’ move as simply another step in facilities’ arms race, this sort of investment is necessary. How many articles have been written about DePaul and their lack of a proper on-campus arena? When Steve Lavin arrived at St. John’s, one of his first moves was to petition the use of the New York Knicks’ locker rooms when the Red Storm played at Madison Square Garden. These touches matter — to recruits, to current players, to alumni (who can point to these renovations as proof their alma mater “is the best”) — and the KU apartments, which will be located near the Phog, will likely be a reference point when another blue-chip recruit visits Lawrence.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: