Beating Kentucky Tuesday: Ten Keys To Victory

  • If you didn’t get to watch Kentucky beat Grand Canyon, you should try to find the game. Guys, Kentucky is beatable. Preseason hype means nothing. The better prepared team will win Tuesday. There is not a significant talent difference between KU and UK. We’re both “young.” But we’re both talented.

    Here’s my humble suggestion on how to beat Kentucky:

    1. Mental: Play the disrespect card. It might be tempting to play the David vs. Goliath card, but they ain’t Goliath, and we certainly aren’t David. Much better to suggest national disrespect. This is easy. UK is the most hyped team in recent memory. We’re pretty much under the radar.

    2. Push the Pace: This game is important mentally moving forward. We should play to our identity. This season, with our personnel, that is faster. Defense is the biggest part of that. Be active in our pressure and our trapping. Play the same type of defense. Don’t back off, don’t limit risk. Self said after the game Friday that he’d rather play UK in the 60s or 70s, vs. 80s or 90s. That’s fine. But we should not try to limit possessions in the game, or work the shot clock. Self talks about his teams having an identity. Don’t change our identity because it’s UK. We not Texas Tech hosting Kansas, we’re Kansas. Play our game. Self will have the urge to be less risky against better talent. Again, play our game.

    3. Rotation: The rotation you saw in the second half against UCSB should be the model. And really, if some guys don’t play a single minute, that’s fine. Go with your best players. Right now, that’s Mason, Graham, Selden, Svi, Ellis, Cliff, and Traylor. Minor minutes for Greene and Lucas, or as needed. If situationally, though, Greene seems the better match, go with it. That would apply to Mickelson. Regardless, go with the best guys.

    4. Ellis: If Ellis is struggling getting his shot up, sit him. Not to be harsh, but if Ellis isn’t scoring, we have at least three better options, maybe four. Traylor could end up being a better option paired with Alexander. We need Ellis to score. If he can’t, go plan B.

    5. Selden: Go to Selden and tell him that this is his stage. Set him up with scoring opportunities. Look, if Selden isn’t active, this will be a season more similar to last season, than to most of our other seasons. I think Selden dropping 18 and being our main scorer is an absolute must in winning this game. Scheme to get Selden active. But if Selden disappears, Self has to look somewhere else in the second half. We can’t afford a disappearing act. We can run with Mason, Graham, and Svi on the perimeter if we need to. But I think we all know that Selden being “the man” is an important element to this season.

    6. Different Wrinkle on Defense: Find something to add on defense. The most obvious is the trap on the block or short corner. Didn’t see that in the first three games. It may be strategic necessity given the height advantage UK holds. I’ve cited the SDSU example from last season. Really, that model is a great model for KU vs. UK this season. Finally, zone. Yes, zone. Just as a surprise. Perhaps four or five possessions. Maybe coming out of a timeout when UK might have a play called, just to throw them off rhythm. It can allow you to win a few possessions.

    7. Three Point Shooting: Somehow, we have to win in this phase of the game. As @JayHawkFanToo cited yesterday, UK shot horribly vs. Grand Canyon. Perhaps we encourage UK to shoot, concede some looks from three. Maybe it’s a gamble worth taking. Long rebounds are a byproduct, and can negate size advantages. Then, our gamble is that we have to take more threes. I haven’t seen any evidence of the quick hook yet from Self. If threes don’t go in, sure, that’s not helpful. But this seems to be a critical element. From a rotation standpoint, we need to see if Svi can get it going. If he doesn’t, try Greene. Then go back to Svi. But to win, it just can’t be one guy. Enter Perry Ellis. Perhaps he can stretch and get outside and drain a few. We need to make 7 or 8 threes, maybe 8 of 16.

    8. Mason/Graham: They have to drive the basketball. Must drive it. But they have to dish off the drive and create easy baskets. For my money, this is a key to any game. But against UK’s bigger guards, slashing will be a priority. And against UK’s size inside, we need to find a way to score easily. We need to avoid the TT specials … and some of what we’ve seen from Mason. Have a plan, and the plan isn’t necessarily to score as the first option. Selden and Svi getting to the rack, and looking to create should come in large doses would be a nice add. Both can do it. I seriously doubt that “feed the post” will win the day Tuesday.

    9. Play Our Small Guards: This could be the best opportunity to use a perimeter guy at the 4 spot. But I don’t think Self will do that. However, going with Graham and Mason together, for a large chunk of the game, may be our best bet. Start both with Selden. We gawk at the size of UK’s guards, many think the best answer is the match. I think it’s the opposite … go small at the guard spots. Like Louisville in 2013, and UConn last season. Small guards create difficulties for bigger teams.

    10. MUAs: Find them, exploit them. If Selden can post up his defender, go to it. Isolate any MUA, take advantage of it until it is gone. This could happen only a handful of times all game.

    Let’s not forget that we are extremely talented. This is not a mismatch. UK is a bunch of hype right now. Calipari being hamstrung, having to play all of his players, can create great opportunity. I think UK is at a great disadvantage with a bunch of guys expecting to play. I trust that Self will have us in the right mindset to play this game, on this stage.

    I’m very interested to hear everyone else’s thoughts on beating Kentucky. What are the keys? Where am I missing the boat?

  • Thank you for saying what I have thought this whole time. If Self game plans this right, they can certainly win.

  • @HighEliteMajor Here’s another thing. Kentucky is getting tested by Buffalo right now. They only get one day to prep for KU before tuesday. Not to mention rest. KU could very well have the advantage in endurance and leg strength in this game tuesday.

  • Your comments bring out a point that I keep forgetting. While Kentucky has, maybe the most talented 10 guys that I can remember…they can only play 5 at a time. Our best 5 vs. their best 5…Ok we can stack up to them. They have the depth advantage vs. any other team…but 7 guys can win any game. Plus, as you say, they have the playing time issue staring them in the face…good point. Specifically, we are going to have to shoot well from the outside…they have too much length inside…I think Perry may have a hard time scoring.

  • We can beat UK, but Self has to stay with athleticism when the time requires.

    That could mean more Traylor in place of Perry. Could also mean that we see Mason more than Graham. Mickelson may not see action at all.

    I don’t put much stock in UK’s game today. If you’re a kid at Kentucky, did you sign up to play Buffalo on a Sunday afternoon, or is your natural tendency to being looking at that game with Kansas on Tuesday. I bet most of those guys were looking ahead, no matter what the coaching staff was telling them. This game has been getting hype since this Spring.

    In order to win this game we have to make UK execute their offense in the halfcourt. I don’t know that we want to go up and down with them because they can send wave after wave at us. We may be better off with this game in the 70’s than the 90’s because UK will be able to get up and down with anybody.

    We also have to double team smartly. Double off guys like Lee and Poythress when they are on the perimeter. We can’t double big to big because the size mismatches will kill us in rotation, so we probably are better served to double down than double across. However, those doubles have to be aggressive doubles - not every possession, but showing hard when we go, and playing straight up otherwise. We have to make their bigs have to make complex decisions on every possession.

  • Lots of great points above. Really fantastic stuff from HEM to get this thread started.

    To me it is wonderful to read all of the things that need to happen to win / lose, etc. But it is simple. UK was down to Buffalo at half. Buffalo. Not Louisville, not North Carolina, not Duke. Not a good SEC team at their place. Buffalo. This team is beatable based on that alone. Think about the NCAA Tournament. Unbeatable teams lose every year and that is part of the fun.

    I can’t wait for Tuesday. I was in attendance last year for our victory over Duke and it was one of the top 5 nights of my life (don’t tell my wife).

  • @joeloveshawks shhhhhh! So are you going to game?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 No, not this year. I live about 10 minutes from where we played Duke last year so that was an easy ticket. A couple friends I went with last year will be at the UK game so as far as I am concerned that is good luck.

    I am really feeling a UK meltdown. How many years in a row can we talk about these idiots going undefeated?

  • @joeloveshawks waaaay to long!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I believe changing looks on defense is the key to get them off their game. They are also young and have not quite grasped the intricacies of the college game. so we are actually playing them at a good time, since they are bound to get better as the season moves forward.

    The twins shot a combined 1-8 from the 3 today. I say let them shoot and hope they don’t get hot like they did at the NCAA last season. Of course, a key will be blocking out and getting in position to get the rebounds. Longer rebounds will abate some of the advantage tall players that play next to the basket have and can result in fast break opportunities that KU can capitalize.

  • @JayHawkFanToo did kensucky play man? Any pressing, either team?

  • A new wrinkle that bears watching. Kentucky plays in a league that is ‘owned’ by ESPN, at least their network is. ESPN wants Kentucky to do well. ESPN might tell officials they need Kentucky to do well. We’ll face this again in a few weeks when we play Florida.

  • @wissoxfan83 I feel certain, one team will improve by the end of season! Barring injuries. Jmo

  • Just got done skimming a recording of the UK game from today. Amazing how their first half today looked a lot like our first half Friday. Tyler Ulis made some big shots when Uk couldn’t get anything going. We talk about UK’s size … Ulis is really small. Mason seems much bigger. I don’t fear that team. Take KU and the points.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Looks like UK is having even more “growing pains” than KU. Based on the performance of both teams, I am curious on what the Vegas line will be for this game: a few days ago I would have said 10-12 but now I am thinking that it will be single digits, maybe 6-9? What do you think.

  • @HighEliteMajor Thanks for the analysis HEM. I think if KU is going to win they need to win the rebound battle, shoot at least 7/16 from three, and play aggressive pressure defense. If they excel in these three areas, I guarantee it will not be a blowout like what everyone on the “other site” thinks. Heck, they just might win!

  • Kentucky can be beat. We certainly have the talent, depth and coaching to win this game. The Wildcats still have a lot to figure out on their team, especially with trying to implement this platoon system. If Cal sticks to his guns and stays with the platoon this early in season, I think that is an advantage for the Jayhawks since it limits the time that the Harrison twins will be playing.

    Last year the Wildcats went into the NCAA tournament 24-10, earned an 8 seed, and clawed through the tournament on a series of close wins. Kentucky survived a last second 3 shot that would have beat them as time ran out against Wichita State. Then Aaron Harrison hits big time 3 pointers against Louisville (39 seconds left to take a 2 point lead), Michigan (an NBA distance bomb to break a tie with 2.3 seconds left), and Wisconsin (another NBA distance three to take a one point lead with 5.7 seconds left). The young ‘Cats certainly were charmed on their run. The first four sentences of the AP story covering the Sweet 16 game against Louisville sums it up nicely: “Nobody will accuse these Kentucky kids of being the fastest learners. Not this season. And certainly not during most of Friday night’s game against Louisville. But once again, late in the game with everything on the line, they figured things out just in time.”

    The Wildcats have two large holes to fill from that 2013-2014 team. Kentucky loses starters SF James Young and PF Julius Randle. During the NCAA tournament Young averaged 33 minutes, 13 points, and 5 rebounds. In the final two games Young played an average of 36 minutes while leading Kentucky in scoring both games. Randle’s total tournament average was 32 minutes, 14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. Randle was the leading scorer in the Elite 8 game against Michigan and was the second leading scorer behind Young in both the Final Four and the Final.

    Kentucky returns the backcourt duo of the Harrison twins. Aaron averaged 36.5 minutes and 13 points while Andrew averaged 35 minutes and 11 points while playing point. Is coach Cal really going to stick with the platoon system against the Jayhawks? It seems incredibly silly to limit their time and presence on the court since they are two most experienced returners from that National Runner-Up team.

    Willie Cauley-Stein hurt his ankle during the Sweet 16 game and that ended his season. The frontcourt depth that Kentucky returns is impressive, though they can only play two of these guys at a time, and none of them have proved to be as consistent as Randle was for them. Playing against length hurt Kansas against Stanford so this is where Kentucky has an advantage that should concern the Jayhawks. Kansas did do an impressive job of team rebounding against an experienced UC Santa Barbara on Friday.

    1. Strong Guard Play - Everyone needs to take care of the ball, especially Mason and Graham. Kentucky’s a good defensive team, and they are at their best when they are out and running in transition.

    2. Make Kentucky Play in the Half court - Kentucky isn’t a great shooting team, and they aren’t a veteran team. Make Kentucky run their half court sets and make shots. Make them earn it at the line. No easy transition baskets. Ulis is the only perimeter shooter for Kentucky that concerns me a lot. Towns and Lyles can shoot too, but if they are taking 3’s it means they aren’t getting offensive rebounds or posting, which is fine with me.

    3. Box Out - Kentucky is long and athletic and Kansas won’t get a lot of rebounds by trying to outjump Kentucky players. Stick your butt into someone.

    4. Perimeter shooting - Kansas needs to make outside shots. Because of Kentucky’s frontcourt size, even if Kansas executes offensively, it’s going to be hard to score in the post. Going to have to make some shots.

    5. Don’t take bad shots - Bad shots lead to fast breaks. No easy baskets.

    That’s it. Go Jayhawks

  • @HighEliteMajor I like #8 HEM. We’ve hashed & hashed it for years-the others have to fill the lanes on guard penetration. This goes together like shoes & socks. Maybe just a quick step to get the def guy out of position. Or a feint the opposite way…Perfect example is Svi’s dish to Cliff v UCSB for the flush. Their timing is everything. Have not validated the stats, but last year’s assist ratio to bigs seemed way down to me. Guess it’s because from the camera view we can see so much more than the guys on the floor. Makes it easy for us to sound more qualified as analysts, but even at that, we’re not blind. Is about court vision for the players & fundamental ball for the coaches. Rep, rep, rep, & more reps. Like our old DI used to scream, “Damnit’ we’re gonna keep doing this until I get tired !!” HOOYAH !

  • This is obvious but one thing that could really help us tomorrow is getting off to a good start. Let UK know that they are in for a hell of a game early.

    Speaking of starting…who is the 5th starter? If I am Self I start Graham. He had the best game of anyone on the team in his college debut. Seems like the real deal and better suited to start than Greene or Svi at this point.

  • I could see that platoon system really melting down Kentucky this year.

    Think of everything that can go wrong with it…

    I don’t think it is realistic to have “team A” and “team B.” That is what you would truly call a platoon system.

    I think Cal will find some kind of hybrid instead, like substituting groupings of guys, like 3 guys at a time that he thinks have developed good chemistry together, and then still doing individual substitutions.

    What happens when a guy gets in foul trouble?

    What happens when a guy is late for practice and breaks team rules?

    What happens when a guy gets hurt?

    What happens when one team does a lot better than the other team? Still limit both to a half of basketball?

    It just seems like his platoon system creates a sort of expectation level for the players, and later on, when the system is changed to give certain players more time, certain players less time, it is asking for trouble.

    I wonder if Cal made this platoon system a commitment to his players? Maybe even to some while being recruited?

    How did he land some of these guys who knew they were going to have to fight for minutes? Kentucky didn’t exactly own the NBA draft last summer… all those guys back… makes it seem like some underachieving.

    The very thought of a platoon system illustrates oversimplifying the game.

  • Anyone know how physical Kentucky is this year? I saw the posterization dunk from the Buffalo player, but can they bang with muscle down low? Sure they have height, but do they have heart and can play physical ball without getting all up set ala Demarcus Cousins?

  • @drgnslayr

    Calipari already abandoned the platoon system during the Buffalo game and indicated that he will use the players that match up best against the competition. I t was just gimmick that did not last long.

  • We really just need to do one thing well to beat Kentucky; screen off the boards.

    This Kentucky team is not a great shooting team. They rely on second-chance points off of rebounds.

    So if we play decent defense and we screen them off the boards, this Kentucky team is headed back to Lexington with a loss.

  • @JRyman I want to see Lucas move and seal Willie Cauley-Stein into the lane when we have the ball to create massive space for a catch and finish. I want to see that twice. I want to see that over and over again if Cal sticks with the platoon system and refuses to match up like every other basketball coach in the land.

  • Great thoughts by HEM. Think HCBS said a lot of those same things. Does it make any difference that they only have the 1 real game to scout us on? Do you think that since both Cliff and Kelly have played with many of the UK players on the 2nd platoon that they aren’t intimidated as much as say any of the other freshmen? HCBS said that he will play our game and that a game this early in the season isn’t the time to change what you are doing. Maybe Feb. or March he would but not now.

    ##Rock Chalk.

  • @drgnslayr Defense and rebounding are the biggest keys for a win tonight. Unfortunately, most other posters are so focused on UK’s height instead of finding ways to beat them. All off season we discussed how UConn utilized the x axis brilliantly. The game plan UConn had is the same one that KU needs to use tonight.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Cal said they stuck with it, and Towns didn’t play because foul trouble. I just skimmed the game. But I’ll believe you. Tonight will be an interesting test.

    The point on blocking out by @KirkIsMyHinrich and @drgnslayr is excellent. A fundamental key when playing a big team. One small coaching point, watch how they block out based on the length of the shot. If it’s a three, or a deep two, and one of UK’s post guys is within 5 feet, see if our guys reverse and try to box them under the basket. With big guys that can reach over more easily, or with guys who really try to push in for position, it’s a pretty effective technique. Refs, though, will make some bad foul calls if they see a guy getting boxed toward the goal, even if it is butt to butt.

    The most interesting thing to me is the rotation tonight, as @KansasComet brought up last week. I could see a scenario where Self goes really tight, or a scenario where he goes the other way and everyone plays. The way things go, you never know, we could have foul trouble and Mickelson could be the star.

    Will he feel the need to give Oubre time even if he hasn’t technically earned it, which only 4 minutes vs. UCSB would indicate? I’m very curious on the minutes division between Greene and Svi. And I wonder if Self will feel the need to play bigger when the Harrisons are in at guard, or if he’ll stick with his smaller guard preference. I’d really try to stick with the smaller game plan as @DinarHawk mentioned.

    I guess the thing I’m most interested in is if Ellis can score vs. the bigger players.

  • @HighEliteMajor Cal being “hamstrung,” having to play all his McDees guys. Oooooo, NICE! I have read some of the Wildcat articles and blogs. Cal seems to be facing complexities, trying to squeeze his returning juniors and sophomores into his customary “We are such a new young team” scenario. The guy faces pressure in extreme proportions tonight.

  • Hell yes. I love being able to watch a great game in November. I think rebounding will determine this game. Guys are going to be juiced, and chucking bricks.

    Also determining this game will be the slime dripping from Cal. People could get hurt.

  • @DinarHawk

    That’s it!

    But in here, even with all the good basketball minds the focus is strictly on height. And why should it be different in here, it is the same in the NBA?

    Everyone thinks the Harrison twins are so good. Imagine if they were 6’1"? You think they would even be skilled enough to play D1 ball? Doubtful.

    I’m not saying this Kentucky team isn’t skilled. They are. But a big part of their skill level relates to their skill matched with their height. Take their height away and this is not a great team. They probably had more diverse weapons last year with Randle and Young. Both of those guys were alpha dogs and offered unique scoring options. I can’t count how many times Young saved their butts.

    Obviously, we can’t take their height away from them, but we can neutralize a huge part of it by positioning for rebounds. We have several stocky, physical players that should be capable of sealing off around the rim. If they do that well, Kentucky’s biggest weapon (offensive rebounding) will be neutralized. Then they have to do what every other team has to do; run successful offense. Then their height is not such a huge factor and they have to be able to shoot well and do other things well.

    If Self can get these guys pumped up, not focused on height disadvantages, block out well on the boards, play respectable defense, Self should get his game in the 60s or 70s. Self loves the grind games and this seems like a team capable of winning most grind games.

    I’m curious what Self will do with his perimeter defense. It seems like we need to play two styles of perimeter defense. Style #1 would involve high perimeter pressure. Run traps, push the ball to the sidelines, trap more. But if we do this and it backfires, we leave our post guys in a battle with their titans in the post. Or if it works, we create steals, we force Kentucky into speeding up their offense, and we just don’t allow them to run any kind of real offense. Style #2 would be to set our perimeter defenders back and see if we can double-team when they feed the ball in the post. Force them to prove their ability to hit the outside shot. We may run some of both of these. Obviously, I’m hopeful in Style #1… a better, more aggressive version of x-axis basketball!

    On offense, we need lots of head/body/ball fakes. All these UK guys want to do is block shots. It’s like using a screen play in football on a defense with an aggressive line. Get their guys in the air and draw fouls. If you do it well enough you not only put them in foul trouble, you start earning some “respect space” and it becomes much easier to get our shots off (and over the defense). We need lots of off-ball screens, too. Make this a physical game. Kentucky is tall, but also proportionately leaner then us. Use our muscle!

    Yes, we have to execute a game plan. If we do, I feel comfortable in predicting victory!

    This win could really help build us some poise and esteem moving forward, especially if Kentucky starts playing better and loses few games after this.

    Even if Kentucky goes through the season without injuries and they learn to play together fairly well… they will still carry some disadvantages into March and they will still be a team capable of losing. Last year was not really the best UCONN team and they stuck it to them.

  • Cal, like any coach with an extraordinary winning record and a ring, and a disciple of Lawrence Brown will adapt to any situation exactly as needed.

    If Cal needs his five most experienced players to beat KU that is exactly what you will see and he will worry about keeping his other 5 Mickey D’s contented until exactly 40 minutes after tip off.

    But will he need his five best players for 40 minutes to beat what Self calls his youngest team in terms of basketball IQ ever? The odds are he won’t.

    But here is the thing we all need to remember about Cal and his 10 Mickey Ds. It IS a great problem to have.

    The part of Cal that I love is that he is an outside the box guy and always has been.

    The part I detest is that once outside a box one still has an obligation to not be oblivious to wrong doing in a way that invariably favors you.

    One of the things all persons have to learn about being successful at anything is that one has to embrace the new and its uncertainty two ways. First, one has to devise a system that minimizes as much of the risk as possible going in. Most focus all their time on this. But second, one has to develop almost an artists antennae and creativity for anticipating the unforeseeable and train oneself to be accomplished at responding to it effectively in ways that you cannot articulate before hand. This is very unnerving to most persons and few ever master it.

    Larry Brown’s greatness lies in being both highly knowledgeable of how to prepare for an opponent before the game, but then how to adapt not just to the foreseen options one can anticipate an opponent taking, but to what one did not foresee.

    I have known and worked for two persons that were masters of the unexpected. They saw me handwringing endlessly about preparations, and about analyzing and anticipating the possible counter strategies and both said to me to worry like hell and sweat the details on that for them, while they focused on being ready for what we could not anticipate. After a time, when I had learned by nuts and bolts, and some more sophisticated things, they took me by the hand into the arena and reassured me on the way in that things are going to happen we cannot foresee and we are going to find marvelous solutions to problems neither of us could have dreamed possible before hand. It was intoxicating at first. I thought they were crazy. I thought they were just hypnotizing themselves not to think about themselves and their fears. I wanted to flee the room. I wanted to get more ideas, more solutions, more techniques, more innovations, helmets, body armor, titanium nut cups, more allies, a helmet that covered my entire body, histories that revealed secrets that explained everything, and so on.

    But they said, "Nope, all that preparation that could be done has been done, Now is the time we go into the moment, into the action, and it is in this moment, this action where all sorts of wondrous opportunities are going to be revealed to us if only we will remain courageous enough and calm enough and sufficiently possessed of our faculties in the heat of the battle, that we see the obvious path open up before our very eyes and take it. Each one said it is amazingly easy to gain victory in the moment. The hard work is the preparation. In the moment, when one sees the clear path emerge, it is there for the plucking, like a fog lifting and revealing a pass between two mountains. What needs to be done becomes so clear at certain moments, if only we will see it, that victory feels almost inevitable. And it is. Both men said there are a number of these moments in a battle, or a game, or a competition. All we have to do is let go of our fears, do our jobs, and see and act upon them as we go. Winning takes care of itself.

    To reach and operate in that state of inner calm and balance, while competing at a high level is the path to victory, especially for the team that seems outmanned and outgunned. Larry Brown’s '88 team was outmanned and outgunned except at one position. His team took off unexpectedly without him. The fury of the moment was overhelming, and yet Coach Brown, the master of seeing paths in the moment, saw and did not hesitate to take the path that he did not create. Because we know Brown is a genius, we can infer there were probably many more moments like this in the game. A victory is a string of these moments of unexpected path openings being recognized and taken.

    There will be paths and opportunities that will open against UK.

    One never HAS to be the team with the most men and the most guns to win, if one sees the most opening and paths and if one takes them before they pass.

    No coach, no system, no level of talent can stop all the moments, close all the pathways in a game with as much emergent complexity as there is in 40 minutes of basketball.

    Where there is a will there is a way.

    One need only become accomplished in the art of recognizing and seizing a stream of foreseeable moments that will be unforseeable in their specifics, but completely clear in the moment.

    Larry Brown became very good at taking such paths.

    John Wooden became the best.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    This is an excerpt of the ESPN recap:

    “First-half foul trouble for Karl-Anthony Towns, who eventually fouled out, and Andrew Harrison (two) also forced Calipari to move from a two-unit system to a matchup-based mix of players from both groups. Kentucky shot 34 percent and committed 10 first-half turnovers.”

    I read somewhere else (UK ??? site that I can’t find…I will try to find it) where he indicated that he might have to use this approach more and the platoon less.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Larry Brown and SMU got killed last night by Mark Few and Gonzaga, 72-56. Just sayin’…no need to reply.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    look, I still love you, and I am going to keep working with you. Call it constructive engagement. I never give up on a Jayhawk.

    Brown is 74. He is in his second season (or is it third) at moribund SMU. His one star recruit–Mudiay-- left before the season started for pay overseas and Larry said the kid had to do it. Brown ain’t complaining about getting stiffed last season by the NCAA. Brown, who is a great, great basketball coach, is continually giving back to the game, when he could just get behind a mike and take. If you are African American, and even if you aren’t, you should care very much about Larry Brown. He hired the first African American Assistant coach at KU, if I recall correctly. He learneda a ton of his basketball in the ABA from John McLendon, the first Africa American coach (at least that I know that had an unofficial relationship with KU) that wrongly didn’t get to coach at KU. Brown did something to right that wrong. He is a man of deeds. Not a saint. He helps kids eat. He ain’t complaining that UNC has never hired him, though they should have at least twice, and they should hire him now if Roy were forced out. He gave basketball its two most dynamic and influential coaches right now: Bill Self and John Calipari. He won an NCAA ring and an NBA ring. Anyone that closely watches him coach for even a single season can learn more about coaching and basketball from Brown than from any other guy i have EVER watched for a career. He is a basketball teaching savant. Open yourself to him.

    And Brown ONLY lost to Mark Few 72-56–to Mark Few who inherited a completely successful mid major program a decade or so back, a program someone else had already built up, and who has kept it very well oiled and ranked year in and year out, even if he can’t win a ring like Brown has.

    Good for Coach Brown! Any lesser coach would have gotten beat by 35 points in that situation.

    …just sayin’.

  • @drgnslayr height is any important basketball skill. Let’s take Willie Cauley-Stein. He’s a good player, but what makes him special is the fact that he’s 6-11 but can run and move like a guy that is 6-7 or 6-8. That mobility for his size makes him special. If he were 6-8 instead, he would be like a lot of other 6-8 athletic guys. His height makes him a potentially elite collegiate player.

    Your point about the Harrison twins is misplaced. I’ve played with D1 level guards - they can all flat out play. If the Harrison’s were 6-1, they would probably still be D1 players. Would they be at UK? Probably not, because at 6-1 they would not be potentially elite college players, but they would be good players. Their size allows them to overwhelm smaller guards, which makes them top notch players. For a comparison, look at Alec Burks. When he was in high school, he was 6-1 as a junior. He was being recruited to play D1 - at places like UMKC, Drake, etc. Then he grew to 6-6. Colorado called. After 2 years at CU, he was an NBA player.

    Or a more extreme example - Anthony Davis. Went from 6-3 recruit at Cleveland State to a 6-11 #1 player in the nation.

    Height is the uncoachable skill. You either have it or not. Take a guy like Jeff Withey. He was a top 100 recruit because he was 7-0 tall. Make him 6-7 and he’s probably a D2 guy because he just wouldn’t have been big enough to play at the D1 level as a SF or undersized PF. Or go the other way and take a 6-7 guy like Kevin Young and make him 6-11 - suddenly he’s a potential NBA player even if you don’t change his skills at all.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    What does any thing you wrote have to do with my post?

    I guess you missed the memo that indicated that SMU, even without Mudiay is still a top 25 ranked programs this year, 22 actually, and with him they would have been top 10…but why let the facts get in the way of yet another long post.

    I like Coach Brown a lot and I believe he is one of the better coaches ever and nothing I said indicates otherwise; however Coach Brown got out coached last night, it happens…it happens to the best including Wooden, Knight, Self and just about every other top coach that ever graced the sidelines.

    I understand that you have this pathological need to rebut anything I write…let it go, Jaybate, let it go…there is really nothing sinister about my posts. Peace out.

  • @justanotherfan

    I guess some would have an issue calling height a skill, since the word implies that it is something you develop through hard work, while “height” is God and parent-genes given. Maybe we can call it a desirable attribute/feature/characteristic/trait/quality, rather than a skill? Just a suggestion…

  • I love you @JayHawkFanToo

    First, oh my, you do have a pathological need to talk about pathology pathologically, don’t you?

    Next it would be mastering the obvious to remark on the connection of my post to yours. 🙂

    Next, I respond to you to try to help you, because you appear to need help regarding the things you post to me, or when you back fill.

    I want to help you become a more knowledgeable Jayhawk fan.

    I love you and I am here to help you with this stuff as time permits.

    To wit…

    Height undeveloped is like weight.

    Weight can be developed with muscle.

    Height can be developed with muscle.

    And certainly both height and weight can be used skillfully or not.

    Most tall players do not know instinctively how to make the best use of their height without coaching.

    But I do agree that height and weight are often viewed first as something else than skill.

    So I understand why you apparently misunderstood what @justanotherfan was saying.

    And as always, I love you and am enjoying trying to help you get better this season. Peace in.

  • @justanotherfan

    I agree with your post. Yes, the Harrison twins still might be in D1 at 6’1"… just not at Kentucky!

    I definitely don’t discount the value of height. Wish we had our current skill level and all our guys grew another 3" last night!

  • @Jbate: Peace in…

    @JayHawkFan: Peace out!

    @Jbate: No IN…IN…YES INNNN

    @JayHawkFan: no peace out!

    @Jbate: In IN IN…I love you!!!

    @JayHawkFan: YES! OKAY OKAY

    @Jbate: Peace IN IN

    @JayHawkFan: ohhhhhhhhh OUT!

    @Jbate: YES…YES…YES!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

  • @KUbaja


  • @HighEliteMajor The #1 Key to victory on this list should have been infect UK’s whole team with Ebola! The only way we had a chance is if they were a no show!!!

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