• Bravado… That is the only word I can think of to describe Bob “Huggy Bear” Huggins.

    Last night, Bob and his players brought their swagger into the “Sherronagon of Death.”

    How dare Bob come in and muscle around his old team?

    Bob will tell you… he was forced to play “maul ball” with his old employer. Somehow, you get the feeling that Bob is no longer welcome in Manhattan, Kansas.

    This is one of the strangest beginnings to a game. I believe WVU fouled 3 times within the first minute… and none of them soft fouls. It was obvious that Bob wanted his swagger to rule this game. He wanted KSU to focus more on how they were going to get muscled around and hacked instead of playing a game of basketball. His strategy worked. In the first 20 minutes, the purple kitties must have missed every bunny shot they attempted, and they attempted plenty.

    Bob has taken a very different approach to basketball than anyone else in our league. His desire is to play a different brand of basketball (if you want to call it that) and force his opponents into his kind of game. And it is very hard not to fall into his trap, just like it is not easy to avoid his full-court traps.

    Bob brings intensity to the game, and through his form of rough-housing intensity he wants to not only disrupt the typical play of his opponents, he wants to disrupt their identity in the process. He makes teams question their own strategies, he makes teams question their ability to play the basic elements of the game (passing and dribbling), and last (and perhaps most important) he makes individual opposing players question their manhood. That is quite an accomplishment to pull off in a game strategy, and Bob pulled it off masterfully last night. I had seen KSU before last night, and then I experienced what they became after Bob got a hold of them, and they were not the same team.

    I’m excited to see how we do against the heavy pressure and tactics of this Bob Huggin’s team. I know, in past years, we haven’t always fared well against full-court pressure and traps. I’m recalling back to Villanova in the Bahamas.

    There are different ways to be effective with full-court pressure and traps. One effective result is to force TOs. Another effective result is to get your opposition to speed up and lose their offensive identity. Sometimes both results can happen. That is what happened to KSU last night.

    One of the keys to beating the pressure is to avoid certain situations. First and foremost, the worst situation is to have the ball trapped either against a sideline or your own baseline or half court line (after passing half court). All of these situations help the effectiveness of the trap by reducing 360 degrees around a player to 180 degrees… half the area around a player is now blocked out. It’s like having 4 defensive players surround the ball.

    One of KSU’s major blunders was their hesitation when a player received the ball. As Coach Self states, “the ball was sticking.” The ball stuck with the purple kitties and every time it did it allowed the defense more time to set their traps.

    Should we attack out of the pressure? When we beat WVU out of their traps and we have a 2-on-1… do we attack the rim? Do we make them pay for running pressure? It seems like the answer is obvious… yes… but it doesn’t always work out to your advantage. Bob might be a rough-neck country boy, but he’s no dummy. The beginning of the game is all about establishing the hard foul. Once he has done that it becomes much harder to make the bunnies. We experienced that with KSU. He did that because knew later that KSU would have plenty of bunny attempts. He wanted KSU to have bunny attempts. That is part of the allure, and part of what helps speed up a team and control the pace of the game as well as preventing them from establishing a set offense. And since Bob has “planted a mental seed” that there will be a health risk to taking the bunnies, he even knocks down the percentage of successful bunnies to a low percentage.

    Poise is the key element to beating a Huggin’s team. He tests your poise. He is not going to let you keep your normal identity. We better be prepared to be a different team for 40 minutes, because it is going to happen if we like it or now. What we have to do is keep our cool, and pay attention to Self and what he wants. Execute his game plan. In the beginning, we may attack the rim after beating the pressure. If we aren’t successful at that we may later decide to just pull out and run offense and try to create our offensive identity in the half court.

    We have several advantages over KSU. First… we have a superior coach who realizes many of these aspects that Weber missed. That doesn’t mean we will be successful, but we will be successful if our guys follow the plan. We have more poise. Our poise has come from having the toughest schedule in the nation, and stepping up to different challenges along the ways. We have very good ball skills on the perimeter. The one guy I do worry about is Wayne, and this may be a game where he gets little PT. Devonte can really ice this game for us. Having two great ball handlers on the perimeter is the best way to challenge WVU. We also have improved our FT percentages enough to add in more points at the line. KSU would have won that game had they hit their FTs. We also have more depth. We have enough skilled depth to run rotations to keep our guys fresh. KSU was totally wasted half way through the second half. And last, we have a great half court defense. By limiting scoring from WVU we limit the opportunities they have to setup their full court pressure and traps.

    I can hardly wait to play Bob this year. I don’t see how Bob can win in AFH, but I do see us being totally tested in West Virginia. This is another great experience waiting to happen and we are bound to come away from it a better team, barring injuries.

    Bring it, Bob!

  • @drgnslayr I thought the refs were pretty inconsistent with their hand check calls last night and WVU still fouled like crazy. Total hackfest. For the game to be @KSU and to not get those types of hand checks is crazy. What we need to really work on leading up to the WVU game is end bounding the ball, breaking the press, not sticking, and fighting through double teams every where on the court. WVU doubled when they could at all times. Not just during the press. I fear our youthfulness will be flustered by this type of play. Maybe try running press break with 7 or 8 defenders??

  • @Kip_McSmithers was it niño Williams that had a bad knee?

  • @Kip_McSmithers Heard on 610 sports a few min ago that Weber whined a lot in the presser saying he didn’t like WVU “style” of play & actually “hated” it. Sounds like after the L he was ready for a whaaaburger & cries. Guess his team must not have been hacking. WVU FT def was just, LOL, outstanding. KSU missed more damn bunnies than Elmer Fudd in a snow storm. Plus they should be 5-4 after Sat & likely plum outta the dance with their weak non con. Now I’m wondering how long it will be before they call on Henson to try & lead em to the promised land? What do they call bruce Weber in the post season with his own recruits?..a visitor !!

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  • @drgnslayr

    I think KU will be able to attack the pressure much better than Kansas St did. We have better Athletes and especially if Cliff is in game we beat a press and attack and its basically a lob dunk every time. I say if the opportunity to attack presents itself we take it. There press was only effective because Kansas St was so good at throwing the ball away. I have to re-watch but some of the turnovers were just unthinkable and they still only lost by 6. Add in the fact that Kansas St missed 15 FT’s and I start thinking more and more that we can sneak away from the game in West Virginia with a win. But that will be dependent on if Devin Williams makes 15 jump shots again.

    Offensively for West Virginia they were stagnant when Staten wasn’t out there. I think he’s the quickest guard in America, he was simply getting wherever he wanted. We have to stop him from driving and kicking, or driving and drawing fouls. Mason & Graham will have their hands full with him.

  • I’ve seen Staten make opposing guards foul out. His stop-start moves gets him a foul every time. But this is all 7 games from now and we’re playing a team tonight that should have beat them before losing in overtime.

  • @BeddieKU23

    “I start thinking more and more that we can sneak away from the game in West Virginia with a win.”

    I’m trying to not get too optimistic of a road win at WVU. I don’t want to get my hopes too high. First… we play them away before AFH, so that means our first experience is there, and if they receive some home-cooking refs and have the crowd as violent as their play, it will take some insane poise to leave there with a victory. My expectations are directed mostly towards this being a great learning experience. But a win would be awesome and help solidify #11 while helping build our confidence for March.

    A lot can change between now and then… I’m mostly thinking of injuries. I hope we stay healthy, and WVU has to be praying that Staten can stay healthy because as you said, they pose a lot less potential when he’s not on the floor. He is currently struggling with a bad wrist.

    I’m curious if Nino’s injury is serious or not. The commentators mentioned a tendonitis issue. That can be very serious and plague a guy for the rest of the year. He could have suffered a partial tear along his leg bone. That’s what got me and I continued to play until I completely ripped my tendon away from the bone, sending my patella all the way up my upper quad, ending my playing days.


    I caught that… Weber playing the “victim” card. You never want your coach projecting weakness like that. I have some fundamental issues with Weber, and that is at the top of my list.

    Your team is going to reflect the attitude of their coach. WVU plays rough and aggressive because Bob is that way and he instills it in his players. So what does Weber project to his guys?

    I don’t like to yack down on the purple kitties because they usually help us out in conference. They have played some solid ball this year… good for them. I always keep hope that KSU will build back to a quality Jack Hartman built, but I have my doubts that Weber will be the guy to do it. Bring back Frank Martin. He is more dignified and maintains more of a fighting attitude, something the kitties need.

  • @drgnslayr

    Bring back Frank Martin. He is more dignified and maintains more of a fighting attitude, something the kitties need.

    Frank’s turned a sailor or two blue for sure !

  • @Crimsonorblue22 said:

    @Kip_McSmithers was it niño Williams that had a bad knee?

    Came down on it after his nearly botched open lay up. He was playing good up to that point.

    @drgnslayr said:

    A lot can change between now and then… I’m mostly thinking of injuries. I hope we stay healthy, and WVU has to be praying that Staten can stay healthy because as you said, they pose a lot less potential when he’s not on the floor. He is currently struggling with a bad wrist.

    Was his wrist bothering him prior to the drive to the basket that resulted in Gipson throwing him down like the paper wrapping from a just finished quarter pounder with cheese??

  • @drgnslayr

    I forgot about Nino, the way he was playing in their previous 2 games that only added more insult to injury on how they lost. He was a 2 point basket machine lately and I have to think not having that Senior leadership out there killed them against that press.

    Staten was banged up, good thing they don’t rely on him for jumpers and its his left hand I believe.

    I still think that West Virginia is likely one our road losses but if we play like we did in Texas nobody beats us. That was an NCAA tourney type game we played and the execution was on point.

  • @globaljaybird

    Other than the “W” I just cannot imagine any coach liking that game. It was the sloppiest, worst played game I have seen in a long time. Huggy played 12 players and ended up with 28 fouls and it should have been 40. As @Kip_McSmithers mentioned, the refs were pretty inconsistent and allowed a game that would have given Jay Bilas a heart attack.

  • @JayHawkFanToo said:

    a game that would have given Jay Bilas a heart attack.

    Oh can’t imagine Bilas watching that game. He may have picked up a T…

  • “a game that would have given Jay Bilas a heart attack.”

    I’m pretty sure Jay would have been so upset he would be demanding the charge circle be moved out to the top of the key.

    Dirty fouls, arguing obvious calls, swagger and players throwing verbal smack… this game resembled playground ball.

    I’m glad to throw all our guys into a game like this, especially Perry and our young freshmen. It’s an experience they need to have and get beyond and it should make them stronger.

    The officiating in this game should be reviewed and all these refs need to be put on notice. There were moments (in the beginning) that the game could have quickly got out of hand. If it had been played in West Virginia, it may have reached that point. There were plenty of rough fouls committed and also lots of dirty play. Weber did the right thing in getting T’d. His guys were being held on sides the officials couldn’t see (nor were they expecting).

    If KSU gets Nino back for the rematch, I see a possibility that KSU will win the game in WVU. They really handed this game away with their atrocious response to the press and poor FT shooting. It really hurt to have Nino out, too.

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