Georgetown: Five Things To Watch For

  • Heading into the Georgetown game, here are a few things to watch:

    1. First Big Off The Bench: Always looking for changes in the landscape. Tarik Black hasn’t been what we’d hoped, but Self has not verbally indicated that any change in his potential use is in the offing. Black’s minutes, though, do indicate such a change. This game may be a good indicator. Traylor has been serviceable, and has shown improvement. Landen Lucas has played productive minutes, and played more than both Traylor and Black last game. Self mentioned that Lucas matched up good with UNMs big bodies … Georgetown has a big body, in Josh Smith. Self’s use of bodies in the post may be shifting.

    2. Brannen Greene: With Andrew White apparently out and very limited in practice, will Brannen Greene get rotation level minutes once again? Greene really has an opportunity to cement his spot as the 5th perimeter guy tomorrow, and then against Toledo on Dec. 30. Having a true three point sniper getting rotation level minutes is huge, going forward. If Self plays him 6 minutes, and maybe Frankamp 3 or 4, all progress may be lost in this regard. Big deal here, in my opinion.

    3. Frank Mason: Mason was limited to 8 minutes of PT in the game against UNM. Big drop from the 30+ minutes he had been playing. Mason had been the one offensive player that seemed to take charge. Looking to see what kind of minutes Mason gets, and then, how he handles those minutes.

    4. Zone Defense: If Georgetown comes out in a zone, or a zone press, how do we handle it? Against a pure zone, are we crisper? Do we rotate the ball; do attempt immediate entry passes (did you see Duke attack UCLA this way with the lob?); do we attack seams; do we screen against the zone, and can we drill the three? Against a press, do we have effective plans of attack that were lacking vs. Villanova and to some extent vs. Florida? Do we attack? Our early season issues vs. the zone (hopefully) will lead to more intense practice time against the zone, and our ability then to be more effective later in the season vs. zone, than maybe we otherwise would have been.

    5. Do We Win: Simple, yes. But this is what matters. Can we effectively take care of business in AFH vs. a quality opponent. We don’t know with this team yet. Is our home floor our property, or is this team lacking in that mentality? Not getting too greedy here, but one of those games where we jump out, lead by double digits the entire way, would be a very nice thing to see.

    Would be greatly interested in everyone’s view on important items heading into this game … I can’t stand the seven day break. It’s about time for another game.

  • Coach HEM -

    Seems you nailed some big items to watch for tomorrow.

    I want to know if we attack the seams. We started to show a few signs in the positive during the UNM game. We definitely kept the ball from sticking… and if we practice so much on keeping the ball moving quickly, why not practice moving the ball quickly in the seams? Jesse’s article this week highlighted how we beat UNM’s zone by passing into the seams.

    I think Greene will be a big help in offering up a legitimate trey threat.

    We better win. We better come out and hustle. Tharpe better come prepared to lead. Ellis better bring toughness to the post. Embiid better bring foul control. Wiggins… better just keep doing what he’s been doing.

  • @HighEliteMajor I think you nailed some good Georgetown specific points. Here’s a couple others.

    1. Turnovers - When KU has been sloppy with the ball, they have lost. When they take care of it, they have so much pure offensive talent that wins are pretty likely. They have struggled to take care of the basketball against the zone at times. If Georgetown plays zone, can KU take care of it and not surrender easy transition baskets off turnovers.

    2. Transition - KU has so much speed and athleticism, they should dominate in the open floor, and, for the most part, they do. However, sometimes they don’t get into transition. Can KU get out in transition? It is especially important for tomorrow’s game that the KU big men get out in transition. Smith is very solid in the low post. Making him change ends may wear him down a bit. He only plays about 20 minutes a game, so if he can’t keep up with the pace, he may not put up his usual numbers.

    3. Markel Starks - second on the team in scoring (15.7) first in assists (4.8). This will probably be a tough assignment for Naadir and Frank, as he has some decent size at 6-2. Containing him will be a huge key. You can’t move Selden over to guard him because he will be guarding Smith-Rivera (the leading scorer). How KU does on Markel Starks will probably determine how this game winds up.

    4. Toughness - Georgetown always plays a tough brand of basketball. I expect tomorrow will be no different. KU needs to match their toughness and intensity, or it will be a long afternoon.

  • @HighEliteMajor .

    I believe the type of defense Georgetown uses will determine how much Mason plays. If they use a zone, Tharpe will get the node since he is the better passer, if they use man to man, then Mason will play more, since he can penetrate and with the new rules, get a basket, a foul or both.

  • HEM - great points as usual. All valid concerns and interests going into this game. My #1 thing I am watching for is if Wiggins has the ability to start and finish a game with a hot hand. 10 games into the season we are still yet to see what I know everyone expected from Wiggins. Please don’t give me the “he is young” answer. Did you see Jabari Parker last night? I’m 100% sold that Wiggins is going to be incredible and will be the reason we can get to the Final 4. I love this kid and his potential…I am just ready to see his potential realized.

  • I would love to see Lucas and Embiid in the game at the same time.

  • @drgnslayr - Did you see the set play Jesse highlighted? Where we screened against the back of the zone? Screening against the zone, and zone press, is something I would really like to see more of. On set plays it’s “set.” In our zone offense and against the zone press, don’t really see it (thought vs. the press it’s kind of hitting that strategic point to get a break-away, like against the interceptor on the a back end of the the diamond on the 1-2-1-1 press).

    @justanotherfan - I saw where Jesse noted that Georgetown is very good against the transition. So your point on turnovers may be heightened if we can’t get out and run.

    @JayHawkFanToo - I hope not, regarding Mason. I tend to think that Mason will get his shot against the zone and will demonstrate that he’s a very good choice. I just think his alleged struggles against the zone were more lack of practice prep. Heck, Tharpe looked back against the zone until the UNM game, right? And he still threw some lazy passes that just didn’t get picked. My suspicion is that he’ll do well. Interesting comments from Self when asked if he expected that Tharpe would remain the starter - “I would hope that that’s the case, but I don’t know. If somebody plays better then they’ll start,” Self said. “But I certainly think Naadir has got a great opportunity and a huge role to fill, if, in fact, he does what we think he’s capable of doing, and that’s leading us because we definitely need him to be the quarterback for us.” One part motivation, one part reality.

    @joeloveshawks - I have never liked the youth excuse when there is talented youth. I do, however, think that coach Self has been a coach where youth does not thrive, so to speak. I think that’s changing a little bit (although it may just be because it’s the hand that he’s dealt). One thing I am being more convinced of is that Self is the right coach for Wiggins. I didn’t really have a strong opinion on that coming into the season. But as I watch, I’m sensing a good match there. On your Parker example, do you think Parker would be doing that at KU if he’d come here?

    @KansasComet - Perhaps on the back end of that 3-2 zone?

  • HEM, that would be great, with lots of transition buckets.

  • Games like this are the reason Coach Self recruits East Coast Talent!

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