The final road game of the regular season doesn’t figure to be easy for the nation’s new No. 1 team, Kansas. The Jayhawks (25-4 overall, 13-3 Big 12) will try to claim the Big 12 championship outright with a victory at No. 23 Texas (19-10, 10-6) on Big Monday.
We’re hours away from March and one of the narratives around this Kansas basketball team remains the lack of a clear-cut, go-to guy on offense. Game is on the line. Ten seconds left. Who do you want to make sure takes the shot? It’s a question that is up for plenty of debate with the Jayhawks, who have shown a balanced offense can take you far. All the way to the No. 1 ranking, actually.
In the debate to name KU’s go-to guy in crunch time, Perry Ellis might be the best bet, even if he’s not the most demonstrative personality who demands the ball.
Ellis averages 17.3 points in Big 12 play, is hitting 51% of his shots and has knocked down 16 of 36 3-pointers (44.4%). If Ellis goes to the foul line, he’s an 81.7% shooter in league games.
Here are some thoughts from the past few weeks from opposing coaches, on what they think about Perry Ellis.
Bob Huggins: “He's a great player. I don't know if his number will get retired... He deserves to be up there. He works hard."
Bruce Weber: To me, if they win the league, Ellis should be player of the year. I know Buddy [Hield] is maybe National Player of the Year, but I think Perry should be Player of the Year. If you win the league and if you take your team to the championship, you should be the MVP, that is what it is about.”
Shaka Smart: ”I think he's terrific. I said it before the game, I don't know why he doesn't get more attention nationally. I know in the Big 12 he's been a guy that's been highly thought of for a long time, but he deserves to be talked about just like some of these other guys. (He) May be an All-American or National Player of the Year candidate because he is hard to deal with.”
One of the stranger developments this season has been Wayne Selden’s lack of offensive productivity on the road as an athletic veteran guard.
His FG makes/attempts and point totals in Big 12 road venues:
- at TT 4/13, 9
- at WVU 3/7, 11
- at OSU 3/8, 7
- at ISU 4/10, 11
- at TCU 1/5, 3 (sick that day)
- at OU 2/9, 6
- at KSU 5/10, 12
- at BU 3/7, 6
Any way he scores more than 11 points tonight at Texas?
A quick look at KU’s individual 3-point numbers in Big 12 play, as we start the last week of the regular season:
Graham 31/71, 43.7%
Selden 27/85, 31.8%
Mason 20/56, 35.7%
Greene 16/33, 48.5%
Ellis 16/36, 44.4%
Mykhailiuk 16/37, 43.2%
Bragg 2/3, 66.7%
Vick 4/7, 57.1%
For KU to be its most dangerous in March, it’ll need Brannen Greene confident and firing from deep. He seems to have lost a bit of that swagger the past 3 games, in which he has only played a combined 20 minutes.
Greene went 0/1 from 3 at K-State, 1/1 from 3 vs. Baylor and 0/1 from 3 at Tech.
With the No. 1 ranking, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAAs all but sealed up and coming off a net-cutting victory at home, I'm interested to see if KU's veterans can come up with a road win against a very good Texas team on the road.