“The last three games (with OSU) have been really close, last-possession-type games, and certainly the opportunity to win a game away from home in front of a national audience on Game Day I think is plenty of motivation in itself,” Self added of a game to be played with ESPN’s “Game Day” crew in town.
Self goes back home to Oklahoma on Saturday when he visits his alma mater, Oklahoma State. It's his 700th game as a head coach, and only seven men in history have had more career victories at No. 700 than Self's 529: Adolph Rupp, Jerry Tarkanian, Roy Williams, John Kresse, John Wooden, Dean Smith and John Calipari.
Numerous issues have kept KU from adding to its win total of late. But Henrickson said giving up offensive rebounds, foul trouble for Gardner (who leads the team with averages of 16.7 points and 8.5 rebounds) and a failure to make game-winning plays on either end of the floor late in games have hurt the Jayhawks most.
"This is a statement game for us, especially because we know Kansas is coming here trying to win the Big 12 outright on our home floor," Marcus Smart said. "This is a big game for us for our resume to get into the NCAA Tournament. It's going to be a scrappy game, and it's going to come down to the wire."
What a way to kick off the month of March. The Cowboys (18-10 overall, 6-9 Big 12) have not lived up to their potential this season — they struggled even before Marcus Smart got suspended for his altercation with a Texas Tech fan — and this ESPN College Game Day matchup doesn't have the ramifications most thought it would before the season began. Still, you won't find a much more dangerous bubble team in the nation right now than OSU. Time is running out for the Cowboys to prove they belong in the NCAA Tournament (despite losing seven straight games from Jan. 27 to Feb. 17), and nothing would solidify their spot in The Big Dance more than beating No. 5 Kansas (22-6, 13-2).
“When we lost Cobbins, we had no adjustment, we had to prepare so quickly,” Ford said. “That was tough. That's when we got disjointed and everyone was thinking about them. We've come together pretty good. We had no choice. Everyone has a little more of a smile on their face when they're playing. The guys aren't concerned with the individual game. They're only worried about the team.”
Wiggins leads Kansas with a 16.3 points-per-game scoring average, the best among Big 12 freshmen and ninth overall in the conference. The Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, guard has made 35 three-pointers this season and is the team leader with 29 steals. Wiggins' 5.8 rebound average is third on the team and 18th in the conference. Wiggins also ranks among the Big 12 leaders in field goal percentage (11th at 44.8 percent) and free throw percentage (ninth at 75.9 percent). He is a two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and was the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week on Jan. 28.
Seven players, who were not named, were deemed academically ineligible following a Chicago Public Schools investigation, the Chicago Sun Times reported. Chicago Public Schools said the players would have been eligible if the proper forms were filed with the CPS office. CPS says Curie is eligible to compete in the state tournament because the Illinois High School Association and CPS have different eligibility requirements.