After getting embarrassed by No. 1 Kentucky, where does No. 5 Kansas go from here?

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INDIANAPOLIS — To get an idea of just how bad things were for No. 5 Kansas on Tuesday night, you don’t have to look at the box score.

Ignore the fact that the Jayhawks shot 19.6% from the floor, and the 3-for-23 that they shot in the second half. Look past the 72-40 beat down that was put on them at the hands of No. 1 Kentucky. Ignore the fact that the two point guards on the Kansas roster combined to shoot 1-for-12 with zero assists or that the Jayhawks had as many shots blocked — 11 — as they did field goals made.

All you need to do is look at Bill Self’s opening statement at his postgame press conference, as he took a swig from the water bottle left at the podium for him by the Champions Classic staff.

“I was hoping that was vodka,” Self said.

It was one of those nights.

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The video of the start of Bill Self’s press conference has since gone viral, and while it’s fun to laugh at and make jokes about — everyone knows bourbon is a much better way to shake off a horrid loss on national television than vodka — it’s important to note that Bill Self’s frustration with this team is rooted in the fact that they have a long, long way to go if they’re going to win their 11th straight Big 12 title.

Where do we start?

How about on the offensive end of the floor, where the numbers don’t necessarily tell you the whole story. The problem wasn’t that Kansas couldn’t hit a shot to save their life, it’s that they weren’t even getting clean looks at the rim. Outside of one gorgeous set play that got Svi Mykhailiuk a wide-open three midway through the first half, I cannot remember one instance where Kansas got a good shot in the flow of their offense.

The problem with that is that Kansas just isn’t good enough right now to be able to win games when their offense gets bogged down. Kelly Oubre has yet to find his footing at the college level,Wayne Selden’s confidence seems to be in the gutter and Cliff Alexander is still at a point where he’s all effort and athleticism with minimal skill.

For all the hype and promise that Alexander had coming into the season, what was glossed over repeatedly was the fact that Alexander’s success at the high school level was largely the result of being able to overpower defenders that weren’t as big or as strong or as powerful as him. Kentucky’s front line is. The Texas front line is. The best of the best at this level can match Alexander’s physical gifts, and they can do so while standing an inch or two taller.

Alexander is still learning how to be a scorer, not just a dunker.

RELATED: The only team keeping Kentucky from 40-0 is … Kentucky?

The issues currently plaguing Oubre and Selden are a bit different. Oubre had some moments on the offensive end of Tuesday, starting after he played just four minutes in the opener, but he also picked up two fouls in the first 2:33 of the game and spent the majority of his time on the floor looking lost on the defensive end. Selden is a bull-in-a-china shop, a physical off-guard that can overpower defenders, but as of now, he seems to heavily favor going to his right hand and still isn’t playing with that next-level explosiveness that made him so highly-regarded.

And then there is the issue of leadership on this roster. No one stepped up to stop the bleeding. You could see it in their body language, with the exception of that little spurt at the end of the first half — after Self had already used three timeouts to try and wake his guys up — the Jayhawks folded instead of pushing back. They looked defeated 15 minutes into their first game on national television. At one point during the first half, after Kentucky had gobbled up a handful of offensive rebounds, you could hear Self scream at Alexander, “Fight!!”

Self can only do so much. Someone on Kansas has to step up and be the guy that lets his teammates know their performance was unacceptable, I just don’t know who that will be. Toughness — not just physically but mentally — is not something that is easily taught.

Regardless of why they’re struggling, the fact remains that, for all those future first rounders on the Kansas roster, not a single player on Kansas reached double figures.

“When you hang 40 points, someone’s going to have to get hot to get to 10,” Self said before offering up a quote that was as revealing as anything he has said during this young season. He was asked why this Kansas team has looked so lost on the offensive end, and, after taking a few seconds to pick out his words, said, “It’s been a struggle figuring out what we can do where our guys can retain it.”

In other words, he can’t put in too complex of an offense if his guys can’t remember the plays.

That’s a bigger issue than anything else Kansas has going on right now, and it confirms some of the things that people around the Jayhawk program were saying off the record during the preseason. There’s potential, but there will also be a fairly steep learning curve.

So yes, Kansas has a long way to go if they are going to reach their potential this year, but it’s also important to note that this was a horrid matchup for a Jayhawk team that’s still figuring itself out.

Kentucky has the size to exploit the biggest weakness in the Jayhawk attack: their front line. Jamari Traylor is tough, but just 6-foot-7. Perry Ellis is a 6-foot-8 finesse player that looked soft on Tuesday. Alexander was mostly held in check by foul trouble and Kentucky’s size. Landen Lucas and Hunter Mickelson have the size and strength to matchup with the likes of Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl Towns, but the fact of the matter is that they just aren’t good enough to play in a game at that level.

“They were terrific,” Self said. “They stay turned up for 40 minutes, and we didn’t do a thing.”

That doesn’t change the fact that Kansas has all that talent on their roster. There’s a reason they were ranked in the preseason top five, and one abysmal performance doesn’t change that fact.

Sometimes getting punched in the mouth is the wake-up call that a team needs.

“It’s too early in the season to get discouraged,” Self said.

N.C. State forward Jericole Hellems released from hospital

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina State says sophomore forward Jericole Hellems has been released from a hospital and is in “good spirits” after an injury in Saturday’s win at Wake Forest.

The team announced the news Sunday on Twitter. Hellems had fallen on a rebound attempt and banged the back of his head on the court with 28 seconds left. He was alert but had to be carried from the court on a stretcher. Then he was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons to rule out a possible lower back injury as well as to be evaluated for a possible concussion.

The team says Hellems will meet with NC State doctors in the coming days, while coach Kevin Keatts will address his status later in the week.

NC State travels to UNC Greensboro next Sunday.

AP Poll: Louisville remains No. 1, Ohio State jumps to No. 3

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Louisville and Kansas finally provided some consistency to what has been a volatile Top 25 poll this season, while perennial bluebloods Michigan State and North Carolina continued to tumble after another wave of defeats.

The Cardinals solidified thier place at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 released Monday by routing then-No. 4 Michigan in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and breezing past Pittsburgh over the past week. The Jayhawks stayed at No. 2 after returning from their Maui Invitaitonal title to thump former Big 12 member Colorado.

“I think it’s two games in a row, where we got stops,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “We didn’t allow second shots. We ran the clock on offense. We got great looks. We got layups, and that’s a killer.”

Ohio State jumped from sixth to third following its 74-49 rout of then-No. 7 North Carolina and a Big Ten blowout of Penn State. Maryland dropped one spot to fourth despite continuing to pile up wins, while Michigan slid one spot to round out the top five after Juwan Howard’s bunch ran into the Louisville buzzsaw for their first loss of the season.

The Spartans continued their fall from preseason No. 1 after losing to Duke, this time dropping from 11th to No. 16. The Tar Heels tumbled 10 spots to No. 17 after getting crushed by Ohio State and losing to No. 9 Virginia.

San Diego State joined the rankings at No. 25.

1. Louisville (55)

2. Kansas (4)

3. Ohio St. (5)

4. Maryland

5. Michigan

6. Gonzaga

7. Duke

8. Kentucky

9. Virginia

10. Oregon

11. Baylor

12. Auburn

13. Memphis

14. Dayton

15. Arizona

16. Michigan St.

17. North Carolina

18. Butler

19. Tennessee

20. Villanova

21. Florida St.

22. Seton Hall

23. Xavier

24. Colorado

25. San Diego St.

Others receiving votes: Utah St. 160, Washington 144, Purdue 130, Indiana 13, Marquette 11, Liberty 9, Saint Mary’s (Cal) 8, Texas 6, Florida 5, Penn St. 5, Georgetown 4, West Virginia 3, Richmond 3, LSU 2, Duquesne 1, DePaul 1, VCU 1.

Monday’s Overreactions: Naji Marshall owns Cincinnati, Ohio State is No. 1, Joel Ayayi

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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Naji Marshall, Xavier

Marshall has lived up to the hype through the first month of the season, but the biggest and best game that he has played in 2019 happened on Saturday. Squaring off with archrival Cincinnati, Marshall went off for 31 points, eight boards, five steals and three assists, hitting four threes and totally outplaying his Bearcat counterpart, Jarron Cumberland.

As a team, Xavier has been a little bit up and down this season. Their issues shooting the ball have been prevalent all season long, and as good as the likes of Tyrique Jones, Quentin Goodin and Paul Scruggs – hell, and Marshall himself – can be, there has been some inconsistency to date.

There was not any on Saturday.

Marshall took over and led Xavier to their biggest win of the season.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Ohio State Buckeyes

Can we even consider anyone else?

On Wednesday, the Buckeyes went into Chapel Hill and ran North Carolina out of their own gym, leaving with a 74-49 win. On Saturday, Chris Holtmann’s club hosted Penn State, and that did not go well for the Nittany Lions, who lost by 32 points while giving up 106.

This team is starting to look scary, and there’s a valid argument to make that they should be sitting at No. 1 in the AP poll this morning.

Speaking of which …



If we ranked teams solely based on resume at this point in the season, I don’t think there is any way to leave the Buckeyes out of the top spot.

They are undefeated. They have beaten Villanova by 25 at home. They have beaten North Carolina by 25 on the road. They have beaten Penn State by 32 at home. Those are three of the top 24 teams in the country, according to KenPom. No one else can match that. Hell, the Buckeyes are currently sitting at No. 1 in KenPom’s rankings.

To put those wins into context, consider this, via Jordan Sperber of Hoop Vision: There have been six instances this season of a top 50 KenPom team losing by 20 or more points. Ohio State is responsible for three of them.

To be honest, I’m not ready to actually call Ohio State the best team in college basketball – I explain why in the podcast below at the 11:20 mark – but they are certainly playing like it.


Look, I know how ridiculous this is going to sound.

Coming off of a performance where Anthony Cowan shot 6-for-14 from the floor in a game where Maryland needed something bordering on a miracle to erase a 15 point second half deficit at home against unranked Illinois, I’m finally convinced?

Well, kinda?

Here’s my logic: I am not sold on Mark Turgeon being the best coach in college basketball, and I am hardly alone in that sentiment. But he does have a roster with some talent, and it is always a good sign when a team’s talent takes over and wins a game where, frankly, they played like crap. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday. In the past, Cowan would not have taken over. In the past, he would not have put the team on his back, scored 20 points in the final 23 minutes and finished with seven boards, six assists and the game-tying and winning points in the final 20 seconds.

All-Americans bail their team out in games they are not supposed to win. Final Four teams win games where they don’t show up until they are getting thoroughly embarrassed. The Terps did both of those things.

Now, would I like to see them finally figure out how to win without sleepwalking through the first half of games?


But it’s hardly a bad sign to be sitting at 10-0 as you’re still figuring things out.


After taking down Florida in Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon, Butler has a surprisingly impressive crop of wins this season. They beat Minnesota at home. They beat Missouri in Kansas City. They beat Stanford on a neutral. They won at Ole Miss. And now they have that win over the Gators, who we just can’t quite seem to quit.

Either way, the Bulldogs play at Baylor on Tuesday night and then take on Purdue in the Crossroads Classic next Saturday.

We’ll know more about them then, but for now, this is a team that we have to talk about.

That said …


Florida State beat Florida in Gainesville?

The Seminoles must be awesome!

UConn beat Florida in Storrs?

The Huskies are back, baby!

Butler knocks off the Gators in Hinkle?

The Bulldogs are the most underrated team in the country?

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Listen, I’m not saying that Ayayi is the best player on this Gonzaga roster.

I think that he’s probably their third-best player, and even that might be generous.

What he is, however, is a guy that fills a role that the Zags didn’t have anyone to fill. The issue with this Gonzaga team heading into the season was in their backcourt. We wondered if they had enough point guard play, perimeter shooting and playmaking to be able to compete with the best teams in the country. It’s one thing to have a great frontline with guards that can get them the rock where they need it. It’s another thing to have a great frontline and no one that an initiate offense or keep defenses honest.

Ayayi has done those things to date this season. He’s averaging 10.1 points, 6.6 boards and 3.8 assists, which is second on the team to Ryan Woolridge, who is quietly having a solid start to the season as well. He provides length, athleticism, floor-spacing, a second ball-handler and creator. He takes the pressure off of Woolridge to carry the lead guard load.

He is more or less everything that Gonzaga fans were hoping Admon Gilder would turn into.

We’ll see if this lasts, but his performance against Washington on Saturday was really promising. Ayayi didn’t play or shoot particularly well, but he stepped up with 20 seconds left and buried the biggest shot of the game, a three to give the Zags a 82-76 lead and bury U-Dub.

Mamukelashvili breaks wrist as No. 16 Seton Hall loses to Iowa State

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AMES, Iowa — No. 16 Seton Hall lost much more than a game in Ames, as starter Sandro Mamukelashvili broke his right wrist in the first half of a loss at Iowa State.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 17 points, George Conditt had a season-high 17 off the bench and the Cyclones knocked off Seton Hall 76-66 on Sunday for its second straight victory.

Rasir Bolton scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half to help the Cyclones avenge an 84-76 loss on Nov. 29 to the Pirates (6-3) in the Bahamas. The rematch was part of the Big East/Big 12 Alliance series.

Mamukelashvili, a 6-foot-11 forward and a facilitator who averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds a game entering play, went down hard with 15:14 to go in the first half and didn’t return.

Coach Kevin Willard said after the game that it was too soon to know how long Mamukelashvili might be out.

“I don’t know for sure. It’s definitely broken. But we … have to go get an MRI tomorrow and let our doctors and radiologists read it,” Willard said. “There’s definitely a break in there, it’s just that we don’t know where it is.”

Conditt’s free throws pushed Iowa State’s lead to 59-53 with 2:56 left. Haliburton then drew an offensive foul and freed himself for a wide-open 3 at the top of the key. Haliburton drilled it, making it a nine-point game at the 2:23 mark.

Seton Hall fouled Prentiss Nixon from beyond the arc with 1:27 left. Nixon hit all three from the line to push Iowa State back up by nine, and Conditt’s transition dunk sealed the win.

Iowa State won despite shooting just 4 of 19 on 3s.

“Every good team needs a signature win and this was the first one for us,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “It felt really good beat a ranked team, but also a team that beat us before.”

Myles Powell scored 19 points with eight rebounds for Seton Hall. But Powell was 7 of 20 shooting, had five turnovers and fouled out with 54.4 seconds to go on an offensive foul. The Pirates’ previous defeats came against Michigan State and Oregon by just five combined points.

Seton Hall committed 20 turnovers and was outrebounded 43-40 despite having a major size advantage. The Pirates also gave Iowa State 33 tries from the line, and Cyclones made 26 of them.

“We turned the ball over too much and we fouled,” Willard said. “You can’t go on the road against a good team and turn the basketball over and foul.”


Seton Hall: On losing Mamukelashvili, Willard said that “it changes things a lot. But the good thing is, we have some guys that need to get comfortable in that role and step up in that role…we’re going to need everyone to step up.”

Iowa State: The Cyclones have been strangely awful at times this season shooting jump shots — even though they supposedly have enough shooters. It’s a problem that Iowa State will need to get sorted out before it threatens to sink their season. On the plus side, the Cyclones were active with their hands in forcing Seton Hall’s bigs to turn it over, and Haliburton delivered yet another signature performance.


Losing on the road to a Big 12 team that had the opportunity to play them 10 days ago shouldn’t cost the Pirates too much. Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum can be a brutal place for opponents — especially one that didn’t necessarily know what it was walking into.


“It’s a hell of a win for us.” —- Prohm said.


Seton Hall: At Rutgers on Saturday.

Iowa State: Hosts Iowa on Thursday night.

Monday Overreactions Podcast: Ohio State’s the best, Travis Steele’s the GOAT, is Anthony Cowan good?

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Rob Dauster and Bobby Reagan are back to walk through everything that happened in college basketball this weekend. Is Ohio State the best team in college basketball? Is it actually Maryland? Just how good is Anthony Cowan? Just how bad is Florida? And did Travis Steele do the greatest thing in the history of coaching on Saturday night? He might have.