Do Recent Short Opponents Drive KU Improvement?

  • I vote yea.

    KU is a long perimeter team with a short interior.

    When KU played a long perimeter team with a long interior (UK) it got pulverized.

    When KU played UCSB, a team with a average perimeter and one long big (a draft choice), KU separated but could not kill.

    When KU played Rider, a muscular avg sized perimeter with one long, but un-athletic footer and nothing else, KU dominated.

    When KU played UTenn with average perimeter and interior, it performed well.

    When KU played MSU with a shorter, but equivalently athletic perimeter and less athletic, but like sized interior, KU hung on for a close victory.

    It appears that KU’s recent improvement since Kentucky hinges on playing teams that cannot threaten the hole in its middle with L&A big men.

    Hmmm, let’s look at Florida: 6 L&As 6-8 or over including 3 6-10 or over.

    Looks like test time.

    I know AFH is worth some points, and so is the timezone change from EST to CST, but we are stuck back on the same question: if Perry Ellis cannot score on L&As, and cannot rebound with them, who will supply his 14-17 points he scores against lesser bigs?

    Which three of our players will score 5 more ppg each to offset Perry’s shut down?

    Frank? Very tough for him inside against this kind of length.

    Wayne? They can go short and long and foul him with depth.

    Svi? He seems like he could get 7 more on a good shooting day.

    Lucas? Doubtful?

    Cliff? They can put one of two guys on him that either match his weight and size, or outweigh him 20 pounds and out stand him by 2 inches. Cliff will be fortunate to get his usual points.

    Oubre? Unless Self is willing to clear out the side for him, I don’t see Kelly adding the other seven.

    The KU Marine way is for every guy to get 2 more the hard way, find a weakness during the game and drag them down into a hole and fight ugly.

    I watched UA play Gardiner Webb recently. Gardner Webb could hang with UA as long as UA did not get in transition and secondary break with UAs 4 long bigs. Once those L&As got in transition and dunking off breaks, it turned into a 20 point game in a hurry.

    Advice to Self and KU.

    Its probably good for KU to run some.

    But under no circumstances let the Florida bigs get into secondary breaks. Deadly.

  • So our hope is to find the regional come tourney time that doesn’t have any big and long interior players.

    I saw Duke last night of course, and goodness, we don’t want to run up against them. Okafor is as advertised. Kaminsky couldn’t stop him inside and really couldn’t score on him inside either. He got most of his 17 from the arch or the stripe.

    Ultimately it matters little I’m afraid to say because Kentucky is going to cut down the nets in April. I guess this is one year that we better be content to win another Big12 and anything extra is going to be gravy.

    I was really optimistic Mickelson could be that guy to give us an inside presence, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  • @jaybate-1.0 AFH is good for 5 points at least.

  • Is someone attempting to rain on our parade? Maybe. But it’s a good point.

    Quite simply, Ellis’ inability (thus far) to score and function effectively against guys bigger dudes leads to the simple conclusion we have discussed --> play outside-in.

    Do it now. Make that the focus. Make that the identity. Develop rhythm and comfort.

    I believe it’s much easier to adjust and be more inside-out than the other way around. Much harder to start drilling threes when the inside game goes dormant.

    It’s not as black and white as all that, but it is an identity.

    20 threes a game, 8 made, minimum. To make 8+ you have to shoot the ball. Personally, I’d love to see 10 of 25 with this team.

    Let’s build the identity now.

  • @wissoxfan83

    Clear thinking. Sage take.

    I would add only that Mickelson should remain in the unresolved mystery category for the time being.

    The more time goes by the less hope there is for him.

    But there remains too much we don’t know about him.

    Is he injured? If so is he going to heal this season, or is going to be of use next season?

    Is he just sitting because other players offer better OAD and recruiting factory connections? If so, if some of the current unsigned recruits begin signing elsewhere, he could become viable. Brannen seems in much the same situation, but he has the critical trey shooting the team needs so much after CF and AWIII left, and Oubre’s trey did not materialize.

    Funny things often happen during “the week of getting better” straddling December/January. Players suddenly learn how to play much better. Sometimes it has to do with hard work, but sometimes it apparently has to do with shifting commitments to and from players.

    The other nonlinear change in player PT comes during conference tournament and Madness time. Around that time, much of the uncertainty of which recruits will be coming the next season appears to seems to reduce and the staff often throws some bubble players a bone, as happened to CF late last season, to incentivize their return, when it is finally deemed that recruiting will not replace them the following season.

    Mid January may be a reasonable time to write the pre March assessment book on the future of Hunter and Brannen.

    Oubre seems likely to get another very serious look against Florida and barring injury I would expect Hunter to ride the bench against Florida. Cliff has to play as many minutes as his fouls permit. And Lucas is from the Oregon/Washington recruiting market, so he apparently has to play over Hunter who is from the low recruiting market profile Arkansas. Hypothetically speaking, the pre-conference rule seems to be that the OADs and recruiting hot-bed players have to play in the nationally televised games for recruiting and shoeco promotion purposes.

    Basically, my hypothesis is that big TV market games against elite teams in pre-conference require the guys that can do the most for future recruiting to play, whether they are actually capable of playing at elite levels or not, by that time in their first season.

    The pre-conference season seems increasingly to be product branding and recruiting driven.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Yes. Its “who we are.” We might as well come out of the closet on being an outside-in team.

    A 6-6 post (Traylor) and a 6-6 4 are not an inside-out bunch.

    The only reason I can see for throwing it into the post first is as a means of shortening games, which may be exactly what Self intends.

    But no one should think that the throw into the post is about threatening to score inside, or about opening up a look outside, because if you don’t have guys inside that can “Score the ball” against L&As, the perimeter defenders are not going to sag to help. UK never helped once that I recall.

    You throw it inside to stall a few seconds.

    Then the ball goes outside where you become an outside-in team.

    Totally with you on the 3ptas.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I also think we are going to see Self pick up the tempo a bit, whenever Jam Tray is in.

    KU cannot score inside with Traylor and Ellis when the other team has L&As in the half court.

    Self also admitted in his presser that this team just is not quick enough to wreak havoc. It guards very well, he implied, but it cannot beat anyone with disruption.

    So: if you can’t score inside, and you have to start a perimeter that shoots the lights out from trey (maybe good, but not great trey balling), and you can’t dominate the boards for quick outlets, and you can’t steal possessions with havoc, what can you do to outscore teams with L&As (UK, UA, Duke, Florida, Texas)? I mean, even if you guard them great, you have to find some way to score more points, right?

    My thought distills to this.

    Play them even on the perimeter. Maybe even hope for a small edge on scoring there on a good trey night.

    Prevent all fast breaking and secondary breaking by the opponent; this is a really tall order, but achievable if you aren’t frigging away time and energy pursuing half court disruption, which when you are small, leads to as many easy baskets for them as extra possessions for you.

    Shift your rebounding as much as possible to perimeter rebounding, and ALWAYS release one of your two small bigs on a break.


    If you buy my approach, then Kelly needs more time at the 4 and Perry needs more time at the 5 popping treys that yield long rebounds to the guards. Release Kelly on the break, and release Perry on the secondary break and rebound with our long perimeter. When Cliff is at the 5, if he can run, then release him too.

    Score with our little bigs in transition.

    In half court sets, take nothing but treys.

  • Florida isn’t a very good team right now. They have a lot of guys trying to figure out roles, and Chris Walker has gotten off to a very slow start, and hasn’t played the minutes I thought he would coming back from suspension. I expected them to take a big step back losing so much experience and team chemistry and that has shown true so far.

    They have exactly 2 guys as big as our front court. Walker as I mentioned hasn’t been very effective so far, and Horford was a role player at Michigan being asked to do much more now. They have started 6-6 Kurtz, Finney-Smith, and Horford lately. If that holds true tomm. Advantage to KU. Ellis will be fine he’s shown much improved aggressiveness and its not likely Walker is going to be covering him in the game.

    The key to the game is limiting Frazier for 3 point bombing. His shooting Avg’s are lower so far because he’s been asked to carry the team. Selden should be able to shadow him and hopefully limit his scoring.

    It’s probably not going to be a very high scoring game if Florida plays zone or some sort of press to zone like they did last year against us. Allen Fieldhouse will give us a good advantage I don’t see how we don’t pull this one out by about 10.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Boy, this is really good news about Florida struggling. This is exactly the kind of long team our short team needs to play in order to learn how to beat length. Yeeeeeeeeee haawwwww!

  • @BeddieKU23 I’m just glad Wilbekin is gone.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Can we handle the ball better than last year? Can we play with poise and confidence? Can Frank, Perry, and Wayne not commit 9 combined turnovers like last year? I thought we played one of the most tentative games I’ve ever seen last year. My question about our bigs is this: Coach Self always brings up Cliff Alexander’s “foul problems”, but I can’t remember him fouling out of a single game yet. So, why aren’t we getting our moneys worth - why aren’t we playing him until he actually IS in foul trouble?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I’d like to see us shooting more 3s. It will happen, for sure, if Svi gets on track. If that happens, he’ll be popping them up all over the place. The kid isn’t bashful, and Self knows he’ll have hot streaks and will encourage him to shoot, perhaps even more than he encouraged Wigs to throw up bricks.


    Yes. AFH should be worth at least 5 points. And not playing O’Connell Center should also add in another 5 or so points. That’s a solid 10-point swing over last year, and not even considering we have a team that can handle pressure better and Florida is a dud right now.


    I caught some of the Badger game with Duke. I became a bit discouraged. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Yes… Okafor is as advertised. I’m with you on Kentucky having a fast lane to the big trophy… the only good part of that is Duke won’t get one with their prized recruits. On second hand, I’ll support Duke over Kentucky any day of the week.

    I don’t know… I think Wisconsin will improve a lot over the year. They have to mesh in the pieces and find their identity. I can see it happening, and if they do, I see them challenging for second place nationally.


    Thanks for the Florida update. I haven’t caught one of their games yet this year. Interesting that Walker still can’t dominate D1. I remember all the hype. I would think that Walker’s failing to come near expectations doesn’t bode well for Billy and future recruiting.

  • I’m not sure what has held back Chris Walker so far. I thought he would be better than he has shown. I didn’t see all the hype last year with him in his limited time. He is a great athlete for his size but the criticism with him was that the rest of his game wasn’t there yet.

    If a player like Kurtz is starting over him then it’s gotta be something Billy thinks he’s not doing well enough. It bodes well for us if Walker doesn’t play starter minutes and we get the undersized guys covering Cliff Perry and company. If we handle the ball well and dont turn it over we should control the game against them

  • @BeddieKU23

    From the limited minutes I saw of him last year he didn’t seem to be 100% mentally engaged with the game. He didn’t seem to have the focus and would often be more of a spectator than a player while being on the floor.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Speaking of playing the long interior guys, I’m sure much work has been done by the coaches following the UK massacre, especially Roberts with our Three Little Bigs. There will be much correction in our game plan when we play Texas, ie, guards driving to dish. As a high school big, I hated when guards drove it into my chest. No block and I ended up with the foul.


    Good question about The Big Red Dog. Maybe Self thinks fouling is a habituating thing. Start fouling and you get in a bad habit?

  • @wrwlumpy

    I have a hunch that Withey changed the way rim protection is done across the country.

    I watched UA and none of their footers were leaving the floor much at all on defense, just on offense.

    Before Withey, the game was for guys like Anthony Walker to leap and knock it into the second balcony. Lots of one and two step and jump to swat.

    After Withey, the standing swat has taken over.

    The standing swat takes away that driver’s edge. He drive into your chest and if you are a footer you just reach high and its not very annoying at all. You block, alter, or take a charge.


    Endurance/stamina perhaps? The college game is considerably more physical than HS and having a defensive player bearing on you wears you out.

  • @wrwlumpy

    “I hated when guards drove it into my chest. No block and I ended up with the foul.”

    Good point. Something Frank needs to keep in mind. The way to neutralize a big is to drive right into his chest. If he does anything beyond putting his arms straight up he will be called for the foul. Sometimes they can foul even for holding their arms straight up.

    Then the little driving guard creates his needed space with his body separating between the big and the ball.

  • @drgnslayr

    I don’t think you can do that anymore. Refs are looking for that and with the circle under the basket, if the defensive player is outside the circle he gets the charge, if he is inside the circle is a block every time. With instant replays and multi-angle cameras, the refs get feed back fairly quickly. Where PGs have an advantage is when being guarded outside and the defensive player cannot use a hand check like they did before, if they do it is called a foul every time.

    As far as blocking, Withey was special insofar as he could jump straight up and down without leaning and his timing was amazing, a result of his volley ball playing, no doubt. Look at the game a couple of years ago when Nerlens Noel had a record number of blocks and I posted pictures that showed that he was fouling while blocking in most of the plays and he was not called for that.

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