Kansas State Wildcats

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No. 9 Kansas eases by K-State, 83-67, in Big 12 semifinal

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Malik Newman poured in 22 points, Silvio De Sousa filled in admirably for ailing big man Udoka Azubuike and ninth-ranked Kansas beat short-handed Kansas State 83-67 on Friday night to reach the Big 12 Tournament title game.

Devonte Graham added 15 points and Svi Mykhailiuk had 12 for the top-seeded Jayhawks (26-7), who will play No. 14 Texas Tech or No. 18 West Virginia for the championship on Saturday night.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats (23-10) learned Friday morning they’d be without All-Big 12 forward Dean Wade, who hurt his foot in their quarterfinal win over TCU. Then they lost starting guard Barry Brown early against the Jayhawks when he was accidentally poked in the eye.

They still put up a fight, thanks primarily to Makol Mawien, the unheralded forward who scored a career-high 29 points. Xavier Sneed added 12 but once again struggled with his shot.

It was the Jayhawks’ eighth straight win over Kansas State, and they remained perfect in 10 games against their cross-state rival in the Big 12 Tournament.

This one was supposed to be a challenge, though, with Azubuike out with a knee injury. But the plot was thrown for a twist when Wade showed up to the arena wearing sweats, and again when Brown was poked in the eye by Graham while driving to the basket less than 90 seconds into the game.

The high-scoring guard flopped to the floor in pain, clutching at his face, and remained down while a trainer and coach Bruce Weber visited him. He immediately went to the locker room and returned to the bench later in the half but wound up sitting out with slight bleeding in his left eye.

Kansas took advantage of his absence by ripping off a 19-4 run midway through the first half that gave the Jayhawks control. They eventually pushed the advantage to 43-30 by the break.

Mawien and the Wildcats made the Jayhawks work for it in the second half. The junior college transfer dominated in the paint, especially when Kansas big man Mitch Lightfoot picked up his fourth foul with 11:38 to go, and Kansas State clawed to within 53-51 with 10 minutes left.

It was Newman that restored order. The transfer from Mississippi State followed up his career-best 30-point effort in a quarterfinal win over Oklahoma State with another virtuoso performance.

He drained a 3-pointer to make it 60-53 with 8½ minutes left, then hit his fifth of the game a few minutes later. And by the time Lagerald Vick curled in back-to-back baskets, the lead had swelled to 71-59 and the Jayhawks were on their way toward the title game.


Weber held out hope Wade could return for the title game if Kansas State won, and he is optimistic about his availability for next week’s NCAA Tournament. “Going forward into next week,” Weber said, “we have every indication he will be able to play.”


Kansas State almost certainly locked up its NCAA Tournament bid with its win over TCU, but the fight the Wildcats showed against Kansas — down their two best players — may have helped their cause.

Kansas has played well using a four-guard lineup while Azubuike deals with a sprained ligament in his left knee. That should give the Jayhawks confidence if he misses any NCAA Tournament games.


Kansas State returns to Manhattan to await its NCAA Tournament fate.

Kansas turns its attention toward winning its 15th conference tournament title.

Big 12 Tournament Preview and Postseason Awards

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While the final standings of the Big 12 may have been predictable, the conference’s tournament is going to be anything but. When a league is projected to get up to 80 percent of its members into the NCAA tournament, “anything is possible” isn’t a cliche or tired slogan, it’s honestly a reality.

Kansas won its 14th-straight Big 12 regular season title, setting the standard for dominance in this recent era, but the Jayhawks did it this season without an overwhelming talent or athletic advantage that has so often been the mark of Bill Self’s teams. In fact, there was a fleeting moment when it looked like the Jayhawks’ streak may come to an end. It was a moment, albeit a silly one.

The story of the Big 12 tournament is that there are legitimately nine teams that conceivably could be the last one standing at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, and the 10th-place team, Iowa State, has been beset by injuries but the Cyclones have won three of the last four Big 12 tournaments, boast a fanbase that invades Kansas City and have three wins over ranked teams themselves.

So the question becomes not only who will win the Big 12 tournament, but how many teams will the league get into the Big Dance? If it’s eight, that will set a record for highest percentage of a conference’s teams earning bids ever. Things may have to break just right – and if they break perfectly maybe we’re talking about nine – that might be the most likely scenario, not just a long-shot one.

It’s the Big 12. Who knows what’s going to happen?



Despite having perhaps his weakest and most ill-fitting roster, Bill Self got the Jayhawks on top of the heap once again, even giving them enough leeway that dropping a second game to Oklahoma State in the regular-season finale didn’t hurt them. Kansas may not look like one of heavy national title contenders – despite being in line for a one-seed – in the eyes of most, but there’s pretty convincing argument that this is the most impressive of the Jayhawks’ 14 titles, especially when you consider the strength of the rest of the league

Still, the Jayhawks are vulnerable on a number of fronts. The defense can be beat, they’re 3-point dependent and Self has struggled to motivate some of his players at different times this season, complaining about effort and focus.

They’re the favorite, but not an overwhelming one.


If Keenan Evans doesn’t get hurt, we very well could be talking about Texas Tech as the team that finally ended Kansas’ reign. After looking like a potential Big 12 player of the year, a toe injury sapped Evans’ ability to the point where a player who was routinely putting up 30 a night suddenly couldn’t even crack double-digits. It’s not surprising the Red Raiders lost four-straight – and a potential conference crown – with Evans on the mend.

Evans, after missing a game against West Virginia, returned over the weekend and got 23 against TCU, signalling he may be ready to go this week and keep Kansas from winning another Big 12 title this season.

The other frontrunner here has to be Bob Huggins and West Virginia. The Mountaineers had a late-January lull, but have otherwise been solid. They don’t make a ton of shots, but here’s betting their style of play can wear down opponents in a game-a-day format.


It’s easily Oklahoma. Sure, Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State could all use a dub, but the Sooners would be toying with an epic and embarrassing collapse if they lose in the first round and somehow find themselves outside the Field of 68. This is a team that spent much of the season’s first two months looking like a Final Four contender while Trae Young carved up the country.

Now the Sooners are hanging on for dear life having lost seven of their last nine and Young looking completely human. They could lose to Oklahoma State on Wednesday and still sneak in, but they’ve got the most to lose should they falter.


The Sooners’ spot is tenuous while Kansas State and Baylor both have to be thinking that one win in Kansas City ought to get them in the field. Oklahoma State probably will need a couple wins to counteract a non-conference schedule that features a win over Florida State and not a whole lot else. The good news for the Cowboys is it looks like they just might have the Jayhawks’ number should the two teams meet in Thursday’s quarterfinal.


When Jaylen Fisher went down to injury, it was a major blow to TCU, but the Horned Frogs come to KC playing good ball. They fell to Texas Tech in the finale in Lubbock, but had won four-straight before that. Their offense is absolutely elite with plenty of shooters around Vlad Brodziansky, who can step out and stroke it himself. TCU’s defense may be suspect, but the way they can spread you out and fill it up makes them a sneaky pick to be hoisting a trophy Saturday night.


I know you’re probably tired of hearing and reading about him, but no player has more at stake at the Sprint Center than Trae Young. It wasn’t so long ago that you couldn’t mention his name without quickly comparing him to Steph Curry, and it was just a few weeks back when his lead in the national player of the year race looked insurmountable.

Young’s legacy as a college player will be decided in the next couple weeks. Well, it could be if the Sooners’ season doesn’t end Wednesday night. Whatever struggles Young has had the last few weeks – and he was right when he said he gets guarded like no other player in the country – he can quiet all his critics with one monster month of March.


– Teams are going to key on Devonte Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk and surround Udoka Azubuike, so Kansas is going to need to get contributions from Malik Newman. If Newman can provide some pop offensively, Kansas will be in good shape.

– How healthy is Mo Bamba? The Texas freshman is dealing with a toe injury that coach Shaka Smart said makes him questionable heading into play this week. The Longhorns may not need Bamba to get past Iowa State in their opener, but if they have designs on making a serious run this week, they’re going to need their man in the middle. When he’s on his game and playing at his best, he has the ability to completely change the dynamic of a game.

– Try making sense of Baylor. The Bears opened Big 12 play with 2-7 mark before reeling off five-straight to get back in to the NCAA tournament conversation. Now, though, Scott Drew’s team has lost three of its last four. The team that won five straight can win this thing. The team that started and finished the Big 12 slate could easily go out Thursday.


PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Devonte Graham, Kansas

COACH OF THE YEAR: Bill Self, Kansas


  • Devonte Graham, Kansas
  • Trae Young, Oklahoma
  • Keenan Evans, Texas Tech
  • Jevon Carter, West Virginia
  • Mohamed Bamba, Texas


  • Dean Wade, Kansas State
  • Sagaba Konate, West Virginia
  • Svi Mykhailiuk, Kansas
  • Manu Lecomte, Baylor
  • Barry Brown, Kansas State

Kansas State extends Bruce Weber

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As the calendar flipped to March earlier this year, it looked as though Bruce Weber’s time at Kansas State was limited. The Wildcats lost by 30 to an Oklahoma team that would finish ninth in the Big 12 to fall to 6-10 in the Big 12.

A late surge and an NCAA tournament win later, Weber and Kansas State agreed to a two-year contract extension that was announced Tuesday.

“I have had the opportunity to observe our men’s basketball program and visit with Bruce on multiple occasions since I became athletics director,” first-year AD Gene Taylor said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the type of person we have leading our program – Coach Weber is well-regarded throughout college basketball as an outstanding coach and a man who conducts his program with integrity and class.”

When Kansas State decided to stick with Weber after his team won its last two regular season games, beat Baylor in the Big 12 tournament and then Wake Forest in the First Four of the NCAA tournament, it left Weber with just two years remaining on the contract. An extension was pretty much a must to keep negative recruiting against him to a minimum.

Still, the deal doesn’t look to give Weber much in the way of additional security at Kansas State beyond the contract he just extended. His salary for the two years that remained on his deal remain unchanged and his annual raises – $100,000 – also stays static in the additional two years. The difference is that once this new extension kicks in after the 2019 season, Weber’s buyout drops from $2.5 million to $500,000, according to the Kansas City Star.

In essence, the deal doesn’t immediately cost Kansas State any additional money and doesn’t make it prohibitively expensive to move on from Weber if they decide to go in another direction after 2019. The deal would appear to keep Weber in place in Manhattan through 2019 as a new AD will likely be hesitant to fire a coach he extended just months earlier and for a much heftier price. Kansas State returns quite a bit from last year’s team, though replacing Wesley Iwundu and DJ Johnson will be no easy task.

But even after the push to an NCAA tournament bid last year, Kansas State fans are somewhat leery of the program’s future. Weber’s best team was in 2012-13, when the team he inherited from Frank Martin was the league co-champ. Results flatlined some (K-State was a nine-seed in the 2014 tournament) the following three seasons until this year when Kansas State fought its way to a spot in Dayton.

Kansas State dismisses Isaiah Maurice from program

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Kansas State forward Isaiah Maurice has been dismissed from the program by head coach Bruce Weber, the university announced on Thursday evening.

“There are standards of conduct that are required to be a member of our program, and there are consequences when those standards are not met,” Webber said in a statement issued by the school. “Isaiah did not meet his responsibilities, and unfortunately this is the result.”

Maurice, the 6-foot-10 big man, was going to be a redshirt sophomore this year. He missed the 2015-16 season after not being cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center.

He only averaged 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game this season but during the Wildcats’ push for an NCAA Tournament berth, he increased his production. During a five-game span, one that stretched into the Big 12 Tournament, Maurice averaged 7.2 points per game.

With Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson both exhausting their eligibility at the end of the season, Maurice was projected to play a larger role on the frontline alongside rising junior Dean Wade.

March Madness 2017: Big 12 Tournament Preview, Bracket and Conference Postseason Awards

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Big 12 Player of the Year: Frank Mason III, Kansas

Mason’s play this season makes him the no-brainer conference player of the year and perhaps the frontrunner for the national award. He’s averaging 20.5 points, 5.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 48.8 percent from the field and a sizzling 49.3 percent from 3-point range for the potential No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

Big 12 Coach of the Year: Bill Self, Kansas

There was a temptation to reward Brad Underwood for Oklahoma State’s turnaround, but it’s impossible not to recognize Self leading his program not only to a 13th-straight conference title, but doing it by four games in the country’s toughest league. Kansas may have the top talent in the league year in and year out, but Self’s presence on the sideline guarantees it comes together year in and year out. This season was no exception.

First-Team All-Big 12:

  • Frank Mason III, Kansas (POY)
  • Monte Morris, Iowa State: The nation’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio is as consistent an elite presence on the floor as there is in the country.
  • Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State: The most dynamic and important piece of the country’s best offense, Evans averaged 18.7 points per game.
  • Josh Jackson, Kansas: Mason is Kansas’ MVP, but Jackson is the Jayhawks’ most difficult matchup and is a likely top-five NBA draft pick.
  • Johnathan Motley, Baylor: The big man doubled his rebounding output this season to average a double-double of 17.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Second Team All-Big 12:

  • Jevon Carter, West Virginia
  • Jeffrey Carroll, Oklahoma State
  • Devonte Graham, Kansas
  • Deonte Burton, Iowa State
  • Jo Lual-Acuil, Baylor

RELATED: Player of the Year | Coach of the Year | NBC Sports All-Americans

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The thought was coming into the year that the Big 12 would be down this season, but for the fourth-straight year it ranked as the country’s best conference by KenPom. Another thing that didn’t change was Kansas winning the league, making it 13 in a row for the Jayhawks. The league isn’t going to send a huge number to the NCAA tournament this season, but make no mistake, the conference’s round-robin schedule was a grind, making it all the more impressive Kansas cleared the league by four games.

The Bracket

When: March 8-11

Where: Sprint Center; Kansas City, Mo.

Final: Saturday, March 11, 6 p.m.

Favorite: Kansas

The Jayhawks are clearly the class of the Big 12, winning the conference by its largest margin since 2010. Kansas isn’t invulnerable at the Sprint Center, as the rest of the league has more than enough firepower to threaten them, but there’s no argument that makes anyone else the favorite.

And if they lose?: West Virginia

The Mountaineers should have swept Kansas this year. They rocked them in Morgantown, but blew a late lead in spectacular fashion in Lawrence later in the season. Their Press Virginia style seems to seriously bother the Jayhawks, and it could make for a raucous title game.

MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 24: Head coach Bob Huggins of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts to a call in the second half during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at WVU Coliseum on January 24, 2017 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Bob Huggins (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Other Contenders:

  • Baylor: The Bears went 2-4 against the top-four of the conference, but their length and the talent of Johnathan Motley makes them an intriguing matchup
  • Iowa State: The Cyclones have won six of their last seven and three members of their core — Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas — who have won two Big 12 tournament titles in their career. They’ve also have claimed wins against each of the other top teams in the league this year.

Sleeper: Oklahoma State

The Cowboys opened the Big 12 slate with six-straight losses, but then won nine of 10 before ending the season with losses to Iowa State and Kansas. Their defense is porous, but their top-ranked KenPom offense, led by point guard Jawun Evans, makes them a legitimate threat to reel off three wins in three days.

The Bubble Dwellers: One

  • Kansas State: Most projections have the Wildcats just on the bad side of the field of 68 line, which means they’ll probably have to score a win against Baylor in the quarterfinals to move the needle. Depending on what happens around the rest of the country, that one more win could be enough to earn a berth.

Defining moment of the season: Kansas erasing a 14-point deficit in the final three minutes at home against West Virginia. This is Peak Phog Allen.

CBT Prediction: Kansas

VIDEO: Svi Mykhailiuk beats Kansas State on a “walk off”

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Walk, chalk, Jayhawk?

Third-ranked Kansas got the aid of a favorable whistle – or rather a silent whistle – as Svi Mykhailiuk went coast-to-coast to break a tie game at the buzzer when his layup, which came after three steps without a dribble, gave the Jayhawks a 90-88 win over Kansas State on Tuesday night.

Kansas was expected to waltz to a 13th-straight Big 12 title this season, but Mykhailiuk’s footwork in the final seconds was something else entirely. It was an obvious travel as he took three steps to get from outside the 3-point line to into the paint. Three steps, no doubt. Not allowed.

Certainly, missed calls are going to happen throughout a game, and the final seconds aren’t immune from that fact. Officials blow calls at the end of games all the time. Rarely, though, do they miss something as black and white as Mykhailiuk’s walk.

Allowing players to decide the game by allowing an extra degree of physicality is a mostly accepted part of the game, like it or not. Players get away with that all the time at the end of close games. Rarely do they get away with an extra step as egregious as Myykhailiuk’s. There was no judgement call there. There wasn’t really anything to parse, rather than just counting to three. The whistle needs to sound.

That finish draws an even brighter spotlight because for years rival Big 12 programs have grumbled about the Jayhawks getting an overly-friendly whistle at Allen Fieldhouse. Given that Kansas has won 12 Big 12 titles under Self while losing just five conference games there over that span, it’s definitely not surprising to hear those complaints and find people looking for comfort in conspiracy theories.

The reality is Kansas wins a lot at Allen Fieldhouse because Kansas is almost always the best team on the floor and the best team on the floor almost always wins at home, especially when that venue hosts over 16,000 fans and is generally considered one of the most hostile environments in the country. They get calls at home like everybody gets calls at home. If they get a few more than most, I’m more than willing to attribute that to the fact they’re often the faster, more athletic and aggressive team, which lends itself to getting the whistle to bend your way.

But endings like Tuesday’s aren’t going to quiet any complaints for the rest of the league. Gasoline meet fire, really.

What the ending also does is overshadow the fact that Kansas State put together a fantastic effort against Kansas, at least on offense. They shot 50.8 percent from the floor and had five players score in double figures. The 1.22 points per possession they scored were the most surrendered by the Jayhawks since the 2014-15 season, per Brian Goodman of Rush The Court. That’s incredibly encouraging for a K-State team that hasn’t been particularly potent offensively and certainly didn’t have a win on its resume coming into the game that would suggest they could knock off Kansas in Lawrence.

The conversation, though, will be about those final seconds, that extra step and Kansas once again winning at home.