Chips Ahoy!

  • That was an odd game yesterday.

    I know it was a win and I’m grateful we got the win. And there were some key positives from that game.

    But there were also negatives that stuck out enough to make me wonder if we are really on that end-season drive for another national title.

    Was it just us or was it WVU playing much better than they did the first time? As far as getting the cakewalk victory it was definitely WVU bringing more game. They were nowhere near this level of play the first time. We are a more polished team than back in January… they brought a totally different game from the first time. Granted, they are scraping for an NCAA birth and they knew winning one in AFH would put them over the bubble.

    We still looked somewhat flat. It was a game of short spurts… as in, one or two possession spurts. Self mentioned how our defensive play fluctuated.

    What went wrong?

    1. Defensive intensity fluctuated. On one possession we steal the ball, the next we gave up an easy basket. Sometimes it even seemed like we fluctuated our intensity within a possession. We didn’t make them feel uncomfortable running their offense.

    2. Horrible rebounding, especially on defensive boards. It was clear to everyone what WVU was doing. Sending all 5 to crash the boards. How did we react? We either needed to all crash the boards with them or prepare for a fast break because all of WVU’s players are under the basket. We did neither. We definitely didn’t fight hard on the glass.

    3. Did not control the tempo. We played equal to WVU all day. We should expect more from our team than just playing equally to one of the bottom teams in our league, especially on our home court. I’m surprised we didn’t shift our defense to play hard D right at half-court, including traps. This is a sure way to make our opponent struggle on offense and it turns our guys up, playing with more energy in the game. I think our “half-court press” is finally giving us the answer for when we want to press. Self is never going to go to running a real full-court press because we aren’t putting the practice focus in that direction. I hope we put serious energy into mastering this for March. It could easily be the difference!


    What is glaring on the stat sheet? It is the low production from the bench. The +/- is alarming. We can say it relates to our guys not getting enough minutes in this game to get into a flow. But could we afford to keep them in? Their negative results in such a short time explain why their minutes were low.

    Why did they produce so little? I’m not going to point all of this at them. Maybe it shows us that we can’t count on our bench to fix the problems our starters aren’t able to fix. We didn’t play with great energy and our offense wasn’t so great, especially if you pull out some of those 3s. I am willing to bet if we are playing well then our bench play is also lifted. And when we play poorly, our bench will usually play poorly, too.

    So right when we were starting to feel this team come together, and a big part of it was seeing contribution from the bench, this game crashes our optimism! Is that warranted? We did get the win… barely. And how about that win? It was different than most where we pull away at the end. In this game, we looked like we were dead if the game had one or two more possessions left in it.

    I’ve got to give a big thumbs up to Juan and Kevin in this game. They stay focused on D and it is D that counts for more as we go into March. How could we lose a game where our PG scores 17 on 7-of-9, has 6 assists and 6 steals with only 1 turnover?!

  • I think combination of several factors:

    W VA played much better especially Stevenson and Mitchel

    This team has a tendency to play down to competition level, did not take W VA that seriously

    KU did not show consistent D intensity, played careless

    TX losing and scorecard announced played with the psyche IMO

  • I’m prescribed to the ole Jaybate lead management theory for this game and the next. Perhaps even the @Tcu game. I think CS sees this stretch as an opportunity to rest and heal. Of course it didn’t look like it went that way on the healing part (we may be more nicked now than before the tip).

    Anyways, I’m saying I don’t think CS was worried about getting them too amped up. Not wanting them to expend any more energy than it would take to win. I said this after TCU that I felt this game and vs TTU would look that way, and so far I’m sticking to that theory. I think it’s obvious we we’re pretty lackluster on the defensive end and that’s usually a tell tale of how the game will go.

    This is first time I can ever recall Bill saying things to the affect of being more concerned with being healthy and playing great ball later than worrying about a league race that 4-5 teams could win. Which is not to say he doesn’t want to win the league. I think he just doesn’t want them burned out and spent before the real games start.

    I’d expect a similar effort Tuesday with maybe a bit more amp. He’ll lead manage that game and try to pull away 8-10 in the closing 4 minutes imo.

    The @UT game I see as completely out of this. I think CS is gonna want to send the shorthorns out of this conference with a big fat L. So we may see a super amp in Austin.

    Or I could be completely full of it… Stay tuned

  • Yeah no doubt West Virginia came in prepared. I thought the 6 offensive fouls in the first half were absolute pace and tempo killers. Horrendous officiating. Them having Johnson back this time makes them tough when they make shots. He did turn the ball over a bunch. They are #1 in offensive rebounding in the conference and got the 50/50 balls.

    There was some lapses in focus. The missed free throws from key guys (Jalen especially), the turnover by Gradey late. I think that was the most disappointing thing from yesterday. Hopefully Harris is okay, he was having a top 5 game as a hawk. He was dynamic

  • I would also add Self abandoned the bench for the most part after the first half. Joe was the only guy to get a shot up I believe of the 4. They had something like 6 turnovers in the first half.

  • We just set a new national record by winning our 15th Quad 1 win in a single season. We’re 15-5 in Quad 1 games. We have played the toughest schedule in all of college basketball by far. 2nd place has 10 Quad 1 wins. We are winning what they are saying is the toughest conference in college basketball in the last 20 years.

    West Virginia is ranked 20th on Kenpom. West Virginia has played the 5th toughest schedule in college basketball. They aren’t a bottom feeder. They are in the toughest conference in college basketball in the last 20 years. The first time we played them, they didn’t have a point guard. This time they did.

    All I’m going to add is my sincere thanks to this coach and this team for a truly amazing job this year. To lose 6 of your top 8 scorers… to win 24 games playing the toughest schedule in America, to be in first place in the toughest conference in college basketball in the last 20 years and in position to win Bill’s 17th conference title in his 20 years, to be ranked in the Top 3 (after winning a national championship the year before) is truly an incredible accomplishment. My opinion is we’re playing with house money, so every victory is a blessing.

  • Are we wearing down? Or are we doing what we can to not wear down?

  • So many mistakes! Learn from the first one. They’re calling anything close a charge, stop and pull up or pass it! Moving screens, learn or sit. Move the ball to the third side before you shoot unless you’re gradey, or have a lay up, to much 3 on 1. Bad shots! Practice your throws, we suck! Quit standing and or watching after a shot goes up, put a body on them, not that hard. Didn’t we do that last game to a great boarding team? It takes effort! When they press, stay out of the corners and the sidelines, we learned that as lil kids, it’s like another player! Gradey the ball is like a million bucks don’t let them have it! Get tough!

  • @drgnslayr said in Chips Ahoy!:

    Are we wearing down? Or are we doing what we can to not wear down?

    In my heart we are waiting to flip the switch until we HAVE to. The UT loss had to be mentally relaxing and I wonder how much the players see all of this Self 39-0 in the last two games at Allen stuff and maybe assuming Allen will win the game for them. I don’t know.

    They found the switch against Baylor. I hope they find it again in the tournament. I honestly don’t really care if they flip it again until then.

  • We look like a tired hurt unit at this point. Some of the bench short comings Saturday can be attributed to Joe and Bobby being sick and Udeh being in foul trouble instantly. @cragarhawk i don’t consider giving the starters all 35 plus minutes good for load management. I could care less about Austin if we win Tuesday. I also think TCU be healthy has good change Wednesday to take down Texas. If that happens I’d play the bench a ton in Austin. Anyone else catch Huggins saying Johnson was the best PG in this conference? Lmaoooo

  • @kjayhawks 35 minutes of mostly uninspired ball is much different than 35 of intense ball. We’ve all seen the difference with this group and others in the past.

    @drgnslayr brought up the question. I absolutely think coach is doing whatever he can to get the team to NOT wear down at this point.

  • This all goes along with the question I ask elsewhere. Ho important /vital is it actually for us to win the Big 1 tourney ? - -this is a time especially if w ARE worn down , then this is the time to rest these guys some.- not keep them out emtirely -but give Bobby , Udeh , Zuby , Mj - -floor time Joe - rest our main stays and get our 2nd line PT - - could help in more ways then one.

    Help Juan Kevin KJ- some healing time and all of them some much needed run for the REAL important time of the year

  • @jayballer67 UCLA would like that 1 seed. Can’t flame out too early in the Big12 tournament.

    For history’s sake the Big12 tournament wears kids out so they can’t perform in March Madness actually is more of an urban myth.

    2022 - national champs/Big12 tournament champs.

    2018 - final four/Big12 tournament champs.

    2012 - final four/Big12 early loss

    2008 - national champs/Big12 tournament champs.

    2014 Lost in second round/lost early in big 12 tournament.

    2015 Lost in second round/lost big 12 championship game tournament.

    2019 Lost in second round/lost big 12 championship game tournament.

    2021 Lost in second round/lost early in big 12 tournament.

    2020 covid kicked everyone’s ass but those were national champs in waiting.

  • My biggest fear is having an injury at this point. It is easier to get hurt when you are already beat up and tired. Might be the case with Juan at the end of the WVU game. Maybe he would have been a little more focused on not getting caught in that exchange.

    I have mixed feelings about the Big 12 tourney. I think it could be important for us to win the first game to lock down our NCAA seeding spot especially since we will play a lower-ranked team. Beyond that… ?

    I’d say have the fellas go full-tilt to win it all. What does that do to our momentum going in to the NCAA tourney to go on cruise control in our game before the real tourney.

    I think our guys are hungry to win games, at all levels! They may still be having their moments of softness… but I think that is just a few tweaks and does not represent a flaw in the character of this team. Winning is important to these guys and they bear down as the game ends to close out well.

    I hope we prepare some secret sauce for the NCAA tourney… one of those ingredients would be that half-court press! We did something sort of like that when we came back against Memphis in '08 title game. BRush suddenly put at the top of the key to disrupt their flow and it worked! We may not have as good of post-defense as that team, but we definitely have a group of guys who are bought-in and capable defenders.

    I feel like in order for us to win it all this time we will have to make a huge statement and be defined for our defense. This is where we can go out every game and play hard D and not really worry so much about hitting shots to just keep up with an opponent. Opposing teams can prepare for our offense… they can’t really reenact how Juan and Kevin play D… and having some time ahead of the tourney, we can develop one helluva half-court press that will make it next to impossible to allow teams the ability to run their normal offense.

    Kevin is a huge weapon. That dude can make up so much ground quickly and can defend everything well!

  • @drgnslayr nice post. Yes I worry about injuries too. Sooooo bummed when Embiid went down right before the Dance. And Remy was our secret sauce last year… just electrifying late in the year.

    This year I wonder if it might be switching KJ and Udeh at the 5 - if the lights go on for Udeh like he’s flashed us earlier this year. They bring such different things to the table. If both are in top form, it seems like it would be hard for other teams to have to adjust to that difference. I know someone mentioned this already, I’d give you credit but I can’t remember who it was. My memory sucks as get older.

  • @StLJhawk

    I agree… having the ability to flip our 5 to a very different game should be a positive for us. It would be great if KJ accomplishes a few more big games before March. His confidence is in question because he hasn’t been producing as much lately. He had many opportunities to finish at the rim in the TT game and he kicked it out instead. I’d like to see him be more aggressive again.

    Because of KJ’s strength, he is a very unique weapon in the paint and we need to exploit that. I’m not sure there is another 5 in America like him. His strength and speed is so unique because he does have the ability to play through low post contact.

  • How many games has Kevin now solidly won for us this year?

  • Where’s Gradey?

  • His parents looked physically ill 🤮

  • @Crimsonorblue22 - Grady’s parents? Or ???

  • @Gorilla72 yes! When he made the throws

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