VOTE NOW: Growing Pains or Monumental Gains

  • The guys are back from Christmas and they have nothing to do except practice Jayhawk basketball.

    This is the real developmental period for college basketball players and teams.

    But we’ve got a long ways to go and this team has only run through a few practices since stuffing themselves with turkey.

    Around this time of year, it is hard to guess what to expect in games.

    So what’s your guess as to how we’ll play against Toledo: showing growing pains or monumental gains?

  • My guess… we show a bit of both. We still need a lot of practice to eliminate most of the rough spots, but this team is so talented that making modest gains in practice will translate into a substantial difference in this outcome.

    Toledo may be leaving Lawrence after the game saying, “Holy Toledo!”

  • @drgnslayr not sure about monumental, but thinking big gains!

  • Definitely think gains in offense. Limiting fouling should be another area where the team has realized it needs to improve.

    AWIII is my Hawk to Rock!

  • Caught this tiny blurp in the KUSports post on Toledo…

    "Toledo is tied for seventh nationally in scoring at 86.4 ppg. … "

    After catching that stat, I decided it was best to do a bit of scouting on Toledo to determine just how big a threat they may be to our 67 consecutive-win non-conf streak at home.

    If we come out with energy and determination, this game may be one of our more entertaining games we play all year. There are several variables in this game that could red flag this game as a train wreck for Toledo.

    1. The average attendance per game for Toledo through their first 12 games is 3102. They appear to typically not sell out for home games, even with so few seats. They may not be in awe of our Jayhawk team, but expect them to be in awe of AFH!

    2. They are hanging up 86.4 PPG, and they are doing it mostly through their offense and not so much off of defensive TOs. They must be pushing tempo to score so highly, and KU tends to play well against teams that push the ball, especially in AFH. Also, Toledo must not have faced any tough defense if they can average so many points.

    3. Toledo lacks a super big. Sometimes that has spelled trouble for our Jayhawks, but that was before Embiid figured out how to score. As long as we don’t lose the fouling battle, we should dominate the post, and looking back at our last two games, it appears that we finally figured out our need to run our offense through the post.

    4. Toledo may be hanging 86.4 PPG, but they are also giving up 73.2 PPG, and that’s against soft teams. The Rockets have given up a 45.8FG% through 12 games. Not too bad but not showing overwhelming defense, especially when looking at their SOS. Their strategy to just outscore opponents may totally backfire in AFH.

    On paper, Toledo looks to be one of those typical mid-majors we have trouble beating. What they lack in size they make up for in hustle. You can bet this Rocket team will go hard for loose balls, and will be a good test for us to know if we can match their tenacity going for 50/50 balls.

    This should be a perfect test for us at the right time of year… just before we enter B12 play. Are we prepared to take on some floor burns?

    The Rockets average an impressive 16.4 APG, but scoring that many points, it must not come through something like a Princeton offense, it must come from offense scoring quickly in the shot clock. Might that say less about the Rockets’ offense and more about the defenses they have played against? Do they have the patience to work through a shot clock to the final seconds and then execute?

    We may own the top spot on SOS this year, and it shows in the fact that we have dropped 3 games already… so we should have something to prove, even if this game doesn’t carry much importance. The chip should be on our shoulders to take every opponent serious, especially if they come in with a 12-0 record.

    If Embiid can stay out of foul trouble, I’ll be surprised if he isn’t the man carrying this team tonight (or at least, one of them).

    At some point soon, Wiggins is going to light’em up, big time. He’s about to figure out how to work his game within the Self hi/lo (as long as our bigs start looking to feed him from the post). Could this be the game Wiggins lights it up for 30?

    I’m ready to experience this team going out and mashing someone. It’s about time these guys made a statement. When a team like Toledo comes into AFH and isn’t in awe of our Jayhawks, they better be prepared to absorb our best shot on our home court.

    It’s time to knock the Rockets down, and when they are down, we need to unleash a relentless flurry of blows to let the rest of the world know what to expect from this 8-3 team from here on out.

    We need to remove hope and confidence from our opponents and leave them with fear. It’s hard to win when playing through fear.

  • @drgnslayr

    To add to your post, Toledo is ranked 70 by Sagarin, have not played any team in the top 50 and their SOS is ranked 264; they are ranked 75 by KenPom. KU on the other hand is ranked in the top 10 by both. To a large extend, the 12-0 record is the result of them being a decent team but also playing weak competition. KU will be a big step up compared to what they have faced so far.

  • @drgnslayr I’m expecting a breakout game. We have 11 games under our belt so the guys are getting to know what to expect from one another (like the no-look pass to Selden for the jam last game). Players are settling into their roles and the chemistry is good. And now they have had some real practice time, and time to rest and heal.

    Suddenly I feel sorry for Toledo. Rock chalk jayhawk!!

  • Verdict: Growing pains.

  • Also, moderate gains. Enjoyed the solid contributions of Tharpe, Ellis, Wiggins, Selden, and Black on offense.

  • This was very good game for KU. Toledo is a very solid and experienced team that came to play and not lay down and play dead. They had a good game plan and they were successful in disrupting the Jayhawks and creating turnovers. Ultimately KU’s talent prevailed despite the many flaws.

    The bad things - Like the game at Florida, way too many turnovers. Some were unforced due to lack of concentration, other were due to overconfidence where they were surprised by Toledo players playing hard the full court; this is the one situation that I imagine had Coach Self upset. Defense could have been better particularly when Toledo scored closed to the basket over KU’s height; however, some of the shots had a high degree of difficulty and still went in; they also shot lights out from the 3, at least until they got tired and started missing. KU played 6 players over 20 minutes and 3 others less than 10 minutes each, which means the rotation is slowly getting set but having so many quality players available must be comforting.

    The good - The offense seem to be coming along. Wiggins is becoming more assertive and at times he was dominant. Tharpe found his 3 point stroke and this is really good news; on the other hand Mason seems to have lost his and driving to the basket seems to be the best option for him. As long as KU faces zones Tharpe is going to be the man.

    All in all, good preparation for a tougher, #21 San Diego State next Sunday.

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