At Wednesday’s NCAA news conferences in Omaha, Nebraska, KU junior guard Mario Chalmers insisted that Kansas is flying under the radar. Well Mario I guess it depends on who you talk to. A sizable number of people have the Jayhawks going deep into the NCAA tournament, and then there are others who think that the ghosts of years past will rear their ugly heads and send KU home earlier than expected.
But it is not KU’s job to prognosticate, right now the only
thing Bill Self’s Jayhawks are worried about is Portland
State, and this is no time to take a 16 seed lightly. The Jayhawks will
take nothing for granted Thursday at 11:35am when they take on the Big
Sky Conference’s regular season and tournament champion. KU
has spent the last couple of days resting and getting to know their
“After watching tape, I told these guys, how are these guys a
16 seed? Because they do a lot of the same things we do,”
Self added. “They play fast. They share the ball, all of them
can pass. All of them can stretch the defense from the
“We know they are a very good team,” Chalmers told
the media Wednesday. “They have a lot of shooters on the
team. They have a good point guard in (Jeremiah) Dominguez and good
scorers from the one through three spot. We have to focus in and be
ready to play with them.”
Shooting is a constant when you watch the 23-9 Vikings play as a
majority of the scoring comes from the guard position on this team. The
5-6 junior Dominguez, who averages over 14 points a game, shoots it
often and accurately from behind the arc (43.9 percent) and will be a
focal point for KU. Dominguez won the league’s Player of the
Year and the Newcomer of the Year, and is a deft ball-handler and
pinpoint passer that can shred a press.
Make no mistake about it – this team can light it up.
Dominguez is not the only long range threat on this roster. Portland
State’s percentage from behind the arc is over 39 percent and
head coach Ken Bone has six guys on his roster who have attempted 60 or
more threes on the season.
Conversely the Vikings best rebounder and fiercest interior player just
happens to be 6-4 Deonte Huff (6.1 rpg) who also averages a shade under
14 points per game. Huff took home the Big Sky Tournament’s
Most Outstanding Player award.
“Just watching Huff and Dominquez play, those guys are great
with the ball,” commented senior Darnell Jackson.
“And all their post players who shoot the ball from outside
the three-point line, they can stretch the defense or get it inside. So
there are a lot of things we have to be ready for.”
Bone will also throw some pressure defense at teams and his squad
forces over 15 turnovers a game.
“If you watch them play on defense it’s like they
pressure you so hard where you can’t get into your
offense,” said Jackson. “But are main focus is to
try to compete with them and keep the intensity at the same level that
they’re playing at.”
To compete with Kansas, the Vikings will need a huge game from their
favorite little guy (Dominguez), at least a double-double from Huff,
and likely a large contribution on the glass and inside from 6-11
senior Scott Morrison. On paper it appears Portland State just
doesn’t have the bodies to bang with KU and compete on the
“The rebounding is nothing like we see in the Big Sky. Let's
just put it that way,” Bone admitted.
If you’re looking for a common thread in eight of nine losses
incurred by the Vikings this season - PSU has failed to shoot 50
percent. It’s a stat that bodes well for KU who has held 33
of its last 34 opponents under the 50 percent mark.
From KU’s perspective it will be interesting to see if there
is a Big 12 hangover. It’s not easy playing the last game
late on Sunday and taking the court first on Thursday. We will soon
find out how much a grueling three days in Kansas City took out of KU.
On the other side of the coin, if the Jayhawks have their legs under
them, momentum could be on their side after winning their last seven
“We’ve had momentum coming into the tournament
before and haven’t played great. We’ve had momentum
when we have played great. But certainly I think out team needed to go
through some adversity,” said Self referring to when KU lost
two of three games in February.
“It’s been a three-week momentum swing for us. And
I do think that we’re playing our best ball and
it’s been gradually over that time so I would hope that helps
prepare us for this weekend.”
“As long as we stay focused and no distractions and
don’t walk around here all cocky, because the next thing you
know you lose and we’re going to be disappointed.”
Time to Tip
Phog.net Top Stories
Big 12 Football Roundup: Week 3 Top StoriesAll you need to know about Big 12 teams leading into Week Three of the college football season.
Big 12 Recruiting Notebook (9/15/16)News, notes and recruiting scoop out of the Big 12...
Scout's Inside Recruiting ScoopSep. 14 -- What's the latest on the top recruits in the country? Scout's basketball recruiting team -- Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Josh Gershon -- break down the latest, including…
Bruin Report Online09/14/2016
Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 2A look at the Big 12 Power Rankings after two weeks of play