Didn't anticipate large margin

Originally Published: January 24, 2005
By Andy Katz | ESPN Insider

Previous Words: Last week

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Kansas coach Bill Self knew a loss was coming.

At least he thought it would happen sometime soon.

He just didn't think it would be by such a wide margin (83-62).

But he's glad it was at Villanova in a non-conference game and not against a Big 12 foe.

"I'd much rather it happen there than in the league," Self said Sunday night. "We needed it. When you're not playing well, you can sneak out some victories.

"Victories don't camouflage that we weren't rebounding well and didn't have the necessary energy that we should," Self said of close win over Nebraska. "Sooner or later it's going to catch up to you."

The Jayhawks played last Saturday's game without freshman center C.J. Giles (bruised foot). Self said he wasn't sure Giles could play Tuesday at Baylor. He doesn't want to rush him back, especially with the heart of the Big 12 season, beginning with Saturday's game against Texas, looming.

Also, Self said freshman Alex Galindo has been bothered by a strained groin, an injury he had in the preseason. Galindo, a key member off the bench earlier this month, played only four minutes in the loss to Villanova.

"He hasn't been the same for the past seven or eight days," Self said of Galindo.

That forced the Jayhawks to play Sasha Kaun more than Galindo. The more plodding Kaun was effective offensively with 11 points in 18 minutes, but Self said that meant Wayne Simien had to defend the more athletic Curtis Sumpter, who made 5 of 6 3s on the Jayhawks.

To add to the misery of Saturday, the Jayhawks couldn't get out of Philadelphia because of the blizzard. They tried again Sunday and spent four hours on the plane before their charter could depart.

Butch questionable for Illinois game
Wisconsin redshirt freshman center Brian Butch didn't practice Sunday due to a strained Achilles. Badgers coach Bo Ryan said he wasn't sure if Butch could go against the undefeated Illini on Tuesday night.

Cramping issue for Dowdell
Virginia Tech's Zabian Dowdell was carried off Georgia Tech's home court by his Virginia Tech teammates, but according to Hokies coach Seth Greenberg, it was because of cramping.

"He's got this cramping problem that keeps coming up," Greenberg said.

The Hokies have won three straight in the ACC with home wins over Clemson and N.C. State and the stunner at Georgia Tech to go to 3-2 in the league, 10-6 overall. Virginia Tech was expected to finish last in its first ACC season. The Hokies still could drop, but they already have exceeded expectations with their competitive and winning play.

"We play hard," said Greenberg, whose Hokies nearly pulled off an earlier upset last month against Mississippi State in New Orleans.

"What this does, hopefully, is have a huge effect on recruiting," Greenberg said. "Everyone wants to know if you're in the ACC, but they want to know if you can win in this league. We didn't have anything tangible to show them. Now we do. We've won three in a row, but in this league, you could easily lose the next five."

Virginia Tech hosts Virginia on Wednesday and then plays at Duke on Sunday night.

No additional penalty for Lowry
Villanova won't tack on any additional penalty for freshman guard Kyle Lowry. He was ejected for punching in the Wildcats' win over Kansas last Saturday.

Under NCAA rules, he must sit the next game, which is Wednesday against Notre Dame. If he is ejected for punching and/or fighting one more time, he's gone for the year.

Hush on Thompson
Northwestern is keeping quiet on why Duke transfer Michael Thompson was suspended for the Penn State game. He didn't make the trip and the school is calling it a violation of team rules.

Thompson was averaging 11 points in 10 games since transferring from Duke. They desperately need his presence inside to stay competitive in the Big Ten. His status is on a game-to-game situation.

Aldridge condition to be reviewed
Texas will likely get another round of tests on freshman center LaMarcus Aldridge. He's out with an injured hip, and the school isn't ruling out the possibility of surgery. Doctors are trying to get to the root of his hip pain. Until then, he's out indefinitely.

Bucknell coach takes leave of absence
It's been a strange year for Bucknell coach Pat Flannery. The Bison shocked Pittsburgh and Saint Joseph's on the road to end long homecourt win streaks. But in the past two weeks, Flannery has left two games at halftime because of an undisclosed illness. Sunday, he announced he would take a leave of absence to deal with the problem and didn't coach the Bison in their win over Lehigh. The Bison are 14-4 after their 11th straight win Sunday.

Wooden Award ballot Here's my midseason top 30 Wooden Award ballot. Please reserve all complaining until the end:

(in alphabetical order)

  • Andrew Bogut, Utah
  • Josh Boone, Connecticut
  • Dee Brown, Illinois
  • Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont
  • Travis Diener, Marquette
  • Ike Diogu, Arizona State
  • Raymond Felton, North Carolina
  • Channing Frye, Arizona
  • Francisco Garcia, Louisville
  • Joey Graham, Oklahoma State
  • Justin Gray, Wake Forest
  • Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech
  • Sean May, North Carolina
  • Rashad McCants, North Carolina
  • Adam Morrison, Gonzaga
  • Gerry McNamara, Syracuse
  • Chris Paul, Wake Forest
  • J.J. Redick, Duke
  • Lawrence Roberts, Mississippi State
  • Nate Robinson, Washington
  • Wayne Simien, Kansas
  • Craig Smith, Boston College
  • Salim Stoudamire, Arizona
  • T.J. Thompson, George Washington
  • Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga
  • Hakim Warrick, Syracuse
  • Deron Williams, Illinois
  • Shelden Williams, Duke
  • Kennedy Winston, Alabama
  • Bracey Wright, Indiana

    ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz brings the Daily Word five days a week to ESPN Insider.

    Andy Katz | email

    ESPN Senior Writer
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