Frank Mason helps Kansas stand atop Big 12 in second-hand way

Kansas State guard Barry Brown (5) drives on Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas State guard Barry Brown (5) drives on Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) by Orlin Wagner (Associated Press)

Kansas State landed the biggest surprise of the week so far in the Big 12, blasting Oklahoma, 87-69, in Manhattan by holding Trae Young to 20 points Tuesday night.

That result, coupled with Texas Tech losing to Texas, left Kansas alone atop of the Big 12 with a 5-1 record.

K-State coach Bruce Weber threw a little second-hand credit for the job the Wildcats did on Young to former Kansas guard Frank Mason.

Junior Barry Brown was the primary defender against Young and had plenty of help from teammates adhering to what seems to be the book on how to play Young: be physical.

“I think we wanted him to try to make him make big plays and stay in on him,” Weber said of defending Young. “And Barry’s a good defender. I’m not sure people realize how good he is. He was one of the leading steal guys in the Big 12 and in the country last year. He’s guarded all the team’s best players. He’s taken it upon himself.”

Mason, national player of the year last season, was among Brown’s assignments.

“You go against Frank Mason for two years, you’re going to get cooked, but you’re going to learn from it,” Weber said.

Young’s 20-point output was his lowest since scoring 15 points against Omaha in his college debut.

“Barry locked into him and he’s a little bigger, a little more physical,” Weber said.

Young made 2 of 10 3-pointers in the loss to Kansas State.

If Brown had done better in the final possession of the 73-72 loss to Kansas, when his low-percentage, 25-footer kissed off the front of the rim at the buzzer, five teams would share the Big 12 lead with 4-2 records.


Tony Bandle

After watching KU battle West Virginia, it appears that the Hawks are capable of beating everyone on the road, but also capable of losing to almost everyone as well just as the rest of the league has proved so far.

The road games fall into three tiers: Most difficult WV, OU TT. Challenging but winnable TX, TCU, BU. If the team plays well KU should win at KSU, ISU OSU. Having already won in WV, TX and TCU is a huge advantage for the Hawks.

However, there are pitfalls ahead. OU and TT are going to be brutal. KSU, by the way the game went in Lawrence and how they dismantled OU plus the rivalry factor sends a big purple warning flag up the pole. OSU has always been Bill's Kryptonite, And ISU in Hilton Coliseum should not be taken for granted. As long as Scott Drew is coach of Baylor we will beat them anywhere, any time.

This analysis is based on the assumption that the Hawks hold service at home for the rest of the season.......this being no easy task as TT and KSU have demonstrated.

1 year, 6 months ago


Robert Brock

I have always scoffed at so-called conference parity; this year I am buying in.

1 year, 6 months ago


Kit Duncan

Bill Self really does a great job of parsing his comments, even when it seems he's being flippant. Remember when he "offhandedly" remarked that 13-5 will win the Big XII outright? It's still too early to predict the outcome but, if KU wins out at home (not a given - never has been), and wins 3 of the 6 away games they have left to play, guess what? They will be 14-4. That would be an incredible achievement, considering the youth and inexperience of this year's team!

If history repeats itself, the rest of the league's teams that are 4-2 will not likely go 10-2 or even 9-3, the rest of the way. The reason(s)? Coaching, conditioning, and confidence. Witness Bruce Weber's inability to get his team to run the play he called in the huddle at the end of the KU-KSU game. Look at the last play of the first half of that same game, when Bill Self had Devonte` bring the ball upcourt, with everyone expecting him to make the last shot. He stops, flips the ball to Svi, who ducks the defender's hurried attempt at a block, and swishes a 3 from beyond NBA 3-point range. Coaching and confidence.

Conditioning... by Andrea Hudy sets the Jayhawks apart from every other team in the Big XII. By the end of the season, when every starter of every team is dinged up and often running on fumes, you see what conditioning can do for them. KU players seem to have just a little more left in the tank than opponents when it comes down to who is going to make the plays to win the game. If they finish 14-4 or 13-5, KU will win the Big XII "outright"! RCJH

1 year, 6 months ago


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