Taylor tweets himself into controversy
A flare-up on Twitter put G Tyshawn Taylor into another social media tizzy the day before Kansas won at Oklahoma. Irritated by criticism leveled by some on Twitter, Taylor responded with tweets he kept clean yet pointed. He defended himself, saying, "everybody's entitled to their own opinion, and so am I," though he did remove the tweets, which essentially scolded followers who criticized Taylor for the turnovers he commits.
Kansas coach Bill Self said he advised Taylor to be mature and ignore the criticism. Two seasons ago, a similar flap involving Taylor happened on Facebook and prompted Self to make his guard remove that account.
--With the Big 12 now involved in a complete round-robin among its 10 members, Kansas coach Bill Self has emphasized the need to protect the home floor, then get whatever is possible on the road. Week 1 played out just fine for the seven-time defending league champs. Kansas destroyed Kansas State 67-49 at home in the conference opener, then went to Oklahoma and won 72-61 on Jan. 7.
"Wins like this are definitely what we need to achieve to win the conference," F Thomas Robinson said of the victory at Oklahoma.
--The victory against Kansas State marked the fourth time this season Kansas held an opponent to fewer than 50 points. The Jayhawks ranked third in the Big 12, allowing opponents 59.1 points on average through Jan. 8.
BY THE NUMBERS: 21 -- Consecutive victories for Kansas in conference openers, dating to the Big Eight.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Road wins are precious, and there's not going to be a lot of (Big 12) teams get a lot of them." -- Kansas coach Bill Self.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
at Texas Tech, Jan. 11
KEY MATCHUPS: This is the first opportunity for Billy Gillispie to square off against his former boss, and now friend, Bill Self since Gillispie was hired at Texas Tech. Gillispie was an assistant under Self at Tulsa and Illinois. He fields a young Tech squad led by F Jordan Tolbert, a freshman who had his first double-double in the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State, then did not start in a loss to Baylor.
vs. Iowa State, Jan. 14
KEY MATCHUPS: The Cyclones got off to a 2-0 start by beating Texas at home and then securing a 24-point victory at Texas A&M. F Royce White recorded the first triple-double in a Big 12 conference game since 2006 in the victory over the Aggies. Other Big Ten transfers, G Chris Allen (Michigan State) and Chris Babb (Penn State) have invigorated the Cyclones under second-year coach Fred Hoiberg.
FUTURES MARKET: Defense set the tone for Kansas to pull away from Oklahoma after the Jayhawks trailed by one at halftime, and defense is going to have to remain a staple moving forward. The Jayhawks have the capability to be tough underneath with F Thomas Robinson the league's top rebounder through Jan. 8 and C Jeff Withey tops in blocks. Guards must match that intensity out front, where G Travis Releford rates as the top stopper and is big enough at 6-foot-5 to guard wings and small forwards. Kansas is allowing fewer than 60 points a game, and when the defense is on, it generates fast-break opportunities that can result in big momentum swings.
--Junior G Travis Releford posted the first double-double of his career with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Kansas State. The scoring total was a career best, which he obliterated with a 28-point performance in the next game at Oklahoma. Releford had 58 points in the last three games through Jan. 8 and shot 50 percent or better in seven of his last eight games. He overcame a shoulder stinger at Oklahoma, which forced him out briefly in the second half.
--Junior F Thomas Robinson led the Big 12 with 10 double-doubles through Jan. 8 after collecting 15 points and 14 rebounds against Kansas State. He narrowly missed another double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds at Oklahoma.
--Senior G Jordan Juenemann played only one minute at Oklahoma, but the walk-on was assessed a flagrant foul for inadvertently catch the Sooners' James Fraschilla with an elbow to the face.