User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Jayhawks, Cowboys ready for showdown

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The question was so far from the typical postgame query that it seemed to catch Kansas coach Bill Self off guard: How important is it for teams to have fun?

Advertisement
Self had just watched his ninth-ranked Jayhawks have a blast in a blowout win over Texas, so maybe the question was apropos. But even so, he spent a few seconds pondering it before answering.

``It's huge. There's not a team in America that has fun every time they go play, at the same level, the same consistent level,'' he said. ``You go through ruts, and lose your personality and things like that. At least, every team we've had, that happens. We were duds there for three games. But I think we've got our personality back. When we play with energy, we're good.''

In other words, when the Jayhawks are having fun, they're good.

They seem to be back to having fun.

After losing three straight games for the first time in eight years, Kansas bounced back to beat Kansas State 83-62 last Monday night, and then pounded the Longhorns 73-47 on Saturday.

Now, they're just a half-game back of the Wildcats in the Big 12 race, and can pull back into a tie for first when they visit No. 14 Oklahoma State - also a half-game back - Wednesday night.

``We put ourselves in a tough position,'' Self said, ``knowing there's very little margin for error, but our guys usually respond pretty favorably when the stage is right.''

Self is the first to admit that the Jayhawks (21-4, 9-3 Big 12) were too tight in losses to Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma. But they managed to break out of their funk against the Wildcats, and then kept the good times rolling last week.

Or dancing, as it were.

Yes, the Jayhawks were in such a quirky-happy mood that they filmed their own version of the Harlem Shake, the viral dance craze sweeping the nation. It begins with Self drawing up plays on a dry erase board, wiping the slate clean, and then writing ``Harlem Shake'' in big letters.

It segues into star freshman Ben McLemore wearing a ridiculous chicken head and dancing in the middle of the locker room. Shot-blocking center Jeff Withey rocks an afro, Travis Releford and Naadir Tharpe are dressed preposterously - in fact, the whole team got in on the joke.

Senior guard Elijah Johnson said backup forward Justin Wesley organized the whole thing, and ``at first I wasn't big on doing it. I think everybody kind of felt the same way. But when Justin forced us to do it, it turned into us having so much energy.''

The video had been viewed on YouTube nearly 1.3 million times by Tuesday afternoon.

``Those guys told me on Thursday, they said, `Coach, we need your locker room at 2 o'clock,''' Self said. ``They wanted me to dance. And that wasn't going to happen.

``I didn't know what the Harlem Shake was,'' he said. ``They asked me to do what I did, which really, I'm sure, added a lot to the video. I do think it showed team unity. The other thing is that I think our fans like seeing that our guys are real. I think that's what it does for us.''

All the silliness aside, the Jayhawks are looser now than they have been in months, and all those positive vibes couldn't be coming at a much better time.

Kansas has won eight consecutive Big 12 titles, but that reign is on the rocks. It wasn't long ago that the Cowboys ended the Jayhawks' lengthy home winning streak, and a loss Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena would leave them a game behind Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

``Oklahoma State is a tough team,'' Releford said. ``They came here and got us. We know we have to be on our game, go down there and do what we're supposed to.''

Cowboys coach Travis Ford sounded surprised when he was asked about the Jayhawks' recent three-game skid, pointing out that they'd lost one game before it all season.

``They've still only lost three or four. They're still one of the best teams in the country,'' he said. ``I think Coach Self said it himself, losing a couple games can happen to anybody.''

Still, Self said the game may be the biggest between the two teams since his first year at Kansas, when Eddie Sutton was still leading the Cowboys. The Jayhawks finished tied for second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma State, which advanced all the way to the Final Four.

``I'd anticipate Gallagher-Iba rocking,'' Self said. ``We're going to have to bring a great focus and, beyond focusing and competing, we're going to have to execute as well.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Mejia: Thursday's Elite Eight
Sportsbook.ag: Thursday's Best Bet
Nelson: Big Ten Snapshot
Rowe to receive lifetime award
Arizona's Trier tested positive for PED
Mahmoud presence felt for Cardinals
Patsos improvises after heated game
Arizona, UCLA highlight Pac-12
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA BK Hot Streaks
6-0 Run, 16-4 Picks, 9-2 G-Plays
6-3 LN, 10-4 G-Plays, +2,985 TY
3-1 Y'day, 10-1 L11 Guarantees
8-1 L9 G-Plays, 22-13 L3 Days
15-7 L22 Totals, +2,611 TY
29-14 L43 G-Plays, +1,450 TY
9-3 L12 G-Plays, 11-5 This Month
12-6 L18, 29-15 L44 CBK Picks
5-1 L4 Days, 4-1 L5 Guarantees
8-3 L11 Picks, 3-0 L3 Totals
2-0 Y'day, 60% +1,181 TY
7-2 Record Yesterday
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2016 CBK SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2985
Bruce Marshall + 2611
Scott Rickenbach + 1461
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 987
Greg Smith + 555
Doc's Sports + 470
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Michael Black 61 %
Brian Edwards 60 %
Scott Rickenbach 58 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 1257
Kyle Hunter + 925
NeiltheGreek + 816
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2126
Antony Dinero + 886
Bruce Marshall + 761
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1860
Kyle Hunter + 1559
NeiltheGreek + 1165
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership