Mason/Graham? Thanks To Nic Moore

  • Some Baylor Post Game:

    1. 8-1 Lead: The first few minutes of the KU/Baylor game really did happen – kind of like the tree falling in the forest and making a sound. I tried logging on to CBS’s site, and was treated to a continuous role of commercials for CBS programs I won’t ever watch. But the game log proves that it happened. I just wish CBS and other networks would put together a quick video summary of the scoring. How hard is that? Or at least verbally recap what had happened. And how hard would it be to add a little look-in feed in the corner of the screen during the game that is finishing, for the markets affected by the run over games? Ugh.

    2. Svi vs. Greene: A battle few of us saw Greene winning, but win it he has. Unsure of the status of Greene’s thumb, but Greene looked great today. Terrific, really. He showed the ability to slide defensively, guarding Baylor’s quick guard effectively a few times. He also drove the ball with some confidence. Created a hoop. With Greene, we just need some improvement in those other phases to compliment his marksmanship from long range. It appeared to me (as noted in my post from Thursday, that Green had won the 4th rotation spot. The 5th guy gets scraps. Let’s hope Greene stays on Self’s page.

    3. Mickelson: What a terrific game. Going against an all-conference level player (Gathers) and a quick post player, Mick gave Kansas exactly what it needed. Competent defense in the middle, a guy that can block and change shots, and a guy that hustles and compliments our skilled perimeter. Nice line. The best choice to start next to Ellis to be sure. Mick is like adding a new post player. He was a non-factor last season. I sure hope Self keeps him in the starting spot. Couldn’t be happier for the kid getting his well deserved chance.

    4. Post Rotation: Self went away from the path he led us down – that everyone wouldn’t play. @jaybate-1.0 called this correctly. For those suggesting Self would go off merit, I hope you saw who the first big off the bench was – Carlton Bragg. If Bragg didn’t know what he was doing, or if he was lagging in practice, or if he was too skinny, why would Self put him in FIRST? The fact is, Bragg is ready now. He just needs the fine-tuning of experience. In the second half, Self went primarily with Ellis and Mick. Lucas spelled Mick, and JT finished the game from the 5:00 minute mark until “scrub” time. I (of course) would have preferred Bragg at the 5:00 minute mark. JT had done nothing to that point, but did have nice poke away and great block (who we all saw coming – little guard should have dished). When JT plays 10 minutes or less that’s a sample size that fits well for him. And we all want Diallo to play, I think. But when he’s gunning up 17 footers, it’s not a persuasive element of his case. His stretch in the first half gave us the ups and downs. Made jumper. A nice high/low pass to Lucas. Great block leading to fast break hoop. One board. A couple missed shots that weren’t the best bets, and a foul. But I hope those that are against playing Diallo now see how he can impact the game, and really his limited first half stretch framed the discussion. Peaks and valleys. But elements that Lucas, for example, can never bring. Diallo represents the path to this team’s ceiling THIS SEASON. Fortune favors the bold – or so I’ve heard.

    5. Mason/Graham: This season has led to one unmistakable conclusion – All I can say is “thank you Nic Moore.” SMU’s Moore reminded Self of the path, and reinforced his prior stated view that playmaking is invaluable. If Moore had flopped with Mason in the WUGs, we might not have what we have now. This is a dynamic backcourt. Remember when Self referenced playing small before last season, when we also had CF? Then he said that the playing small thing was not in the cards after CF left – implying that his statements were related to personnel? Well I’m glad he stuck with it now. I loved the idea of moving Selden to the three. A view I have held since late last season, mainly framed during the “Selden is not a point guard” discussions that were held here. Selden is the “big wing” that Self said he was. When Selden was excluded from the press break, that’s code for “big wing.” And Wiggins and Oubre handcuffed Self to an extent. What if Self would have started Tharpe and Mason, or Tharpe and CF in 2013-14, and brought Selden off the bench? What if Self benched Selden last season (as he should have – letting him come off the bench) and inserted Graham? I don’t know. But I do know now that this team’s engine is the Mason/Graham duo. This is special. It is my favorite composite perimeter group I can recall at Kansas.

    6. Playing To Our Strength: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you, as Exhibit A, the Kansas/Baylor contest of January 2, 2016. I ask that you return a verdict finding 1) that KU’s strength is its outside shooting, 2) that KU should continue to play to its strength all season with focused resolve even if there are bumps in the road, and 3) that term “Fool’s Gold” be forever banned from further discussion. This is an easy case. The verdict was actually returned about this time last season. Apparently there was an appeal. Those take time. But the court’s order is now in effect and Self is willingly abiding by the court’s order, it appears.

    7. Ball Movement and Pace: While we know we can shoot, this team is an animal when it comes to ball movement and pace. I will be very interested as to what occurs when an aggressive defensive team disregards the back cuts and overplays. The team that comes to mind is the 2007 Southern Illinois Salukis (we played them in the NCAAs that season). One of the best defensive teams I’ve seen, and they played in your jock. Not near it, in it. I guess the game I’ll be interested in is at Texas Tech. Tubby Smith is a master at controlling pace, and TT seems to have a decent squad. K-State might try to slow us down, but they are low on personnel.

    8. Set Plays/Self: I counted four clear set plays that led to baskets (and I was casually looking for it). We had a sweet inbounds play for a basket, as usual. Seriously, we can’t take for granted the opportunities that Self creates for the team when he focuses on that. What I mean is that in some years, I think he purposefully makes the team run its offense without the help of set plays throughout the game. This season – and I haven’t kept track – it just seems like there are more set plays being called. I don’t know what anyone else thinks there. One other item: We were exquisitely prepared for our conference opener. That credit goes to one man, the coach. Can anyone have hoped for a more prepare team today? It was an impressive notice to the rest of the conference. As usual, this whole deal runs through AFH.

    9. Gathers vs. Mamadou: I would pay to see that one on one battle. Gathers is a skilled brute. Mamadou a freak of nature. I’d bet on Gathers, of course. Actually, think about Gathers playing the 4 and Mamadou at the 5 for Kansas. We might never shoot another three. Mamadou, for what its worth, was wildly underutilized by UC-Irvine. How many times did their guards penetrate and literally all they had to do was flip the ball in the air? How many set plays or screens were done for Mamadou? It is not hard to script say six plays. Pass to Mamadou on the block and have him immediately bounce the ball to draw the double and script a cutter or rotation play through the double. How bout back screen? Or box to box screen? Or Mamadou flashing, then spinning around to the basket for the lob? Saw nothing from UC Irvine. I watched the game again on TWC sports channel (yes, I’m glad I have it now). By the way, Mamadou is his first name, right? Sounds good to me. I ask this in all seriousness, is he a member of the Zulu tribe? I rode the Zulu at World’s of Fun a few times, but that’s the extent of my experience there. That is what’s called a tangent.

    10. Oklahoma on Monday: So let me get this straight. A bunch of settlers raced in wagons to Oklahoma to be there “Sooner” than everyone else, to stake their claim for land in a barren, dust bowl landscape, devoid of any real natural beauty, in the middle of Tornado Alley (or Tornado Hell), that now is subject to the most earthquakes per square mile in the world? And they have just one major sports team? Whatever. Kansas might be a bit comparable, I guess, but we do have AFH. That’s a trump card. This will at least give Buddy Hield a chance to meet the Big 12 player of year again in person (Wayne Selden).

    I had waited a bit to see if someone else got a post game thread running – at my wife’s suggestion. She wanted to go to dinner. But seeing nothing was started, our dinner date was delayed. She’s used to it … not happy, but used to it. She understands that it’s hoops season and the world revolves around KU hoops. Greatest time of the year. I think it’s her choice of restaurants tonight, though.

  • @HighEliteMajor - Aye, aye - for #6 !! 👍

  • @HighEliteMajor - #7 might be interrupted by WVU, OU - I believe.

  • What did you do with HEM?

  • @HighEliteMajor - my tummy still hurts reading #9 :LOL:

  • On #8 I think experience is the real key to this. Less time spent teaching kids how to play and more focus on wrinkles as jaybate calls them. I bet we see more come Monday!

  • For some unknown reason the TV gods smiled on me and my local CBS station changed feeds so I caught the start of the game. To sum it up. - Mick won the jump and I stared in stunned joy as Self removed the leash and let the Jayhawks run and gun. The ball movement was perfection, and it looked like Baylor was in slow motion as they tried to keep up. The only negative was Mick getting 2 fouls in a hurry trying to control Gathers. At the under 16 time out it was 13-3 and I told my father-in-law I would not accept anything less than 26-6 at the 12 minute mark. Sadly I was off by 1!

    Ok, so I’m not a good play by play guy. TBH I was so into the over all action I wish I could have recorded it to watch again and grasp the details.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “How many set plays or screens were done for Mamadou? It is not hard to script say six plays.”

    Agree, poor use of Marmaduke, but…

    As @drgnslayr says: that’s not how they play in the NBA and the UCI coach is infected with NBA ball.

  • The real question is with all the great games on tap today why in the heck did CBS show Tenn-Aub? Several top ten show downs that CBS doesn’t think are worth a national free TV audience? I’ll never understand it.

    I came away thinking that with Cheick playing so little, as well as Bragg, yet us playing so well with out them that we aren’t going to be seeing more of Cheick and Bragg.

    Mason and Graham were just amazing today as you noted, and you, @HighEliteMajor barely mentioned that Selden was our best player today, at least for a half!

    On the live thread we were talking about rebounding and how well we rebounded against a team ranked 11th nationally in rebounding margin.

    Even though Baylor came in leading the nation in assists, they were held way below their average. Again, an important part of the game related to our defense.

    Can’t wait for Monday night.

  • @wissoxfan83 I agree, but like you said we really do not need Cheick and Carlton, although it would be nice to see improvement. If Mick and Perry play like they did today, plus Lucas against less mobile bigs, we will be fine. Everyone feel free to watch Uconn in 14 and Duke in 10 and how both teams won titles without someone like Jahil Okafor and Karl Anthony Towns.

  • @DinarHawk

    It’s true those teams lacked an OAD CENTER, but…

    But neither of those teams in those years had a double double machine like C5.

    And frankly, C5 would have eaten Okafor alive. Heck, Okafor disappeared just facing Frank.

    Our C5 is a new force to be reckoned with. You can see every post man we face is thinking way too much about scouting reports trying to remember what each of our 5 guys can and cannot do!!!

  • @DinarHawk I agree that C5 is better than Plumlee/Zoubeck/Thomas combo. With the success C5 has had against all sorts of trees and rebounding machines, I’d say we are in good shape.

  • C5 Comp:

    Mick - 2/3 & 3/4 for 7 points 6 RB, 1 Asst, 1 Steal, 3 Blks. 1 TO, 4 PF

    Bragg-2/4 & 1/2 for 6 points, 3 RB, 0 Asst, 0 Steal, 0 blks, 0 TO, 1 PF

    Diallo-2/4 & 0/0 for 4 points, 2 RB, 0 asst. 0 Steal, 1 Blk, 0 TO, 1 PF

    Lucas-1/1 & 0/0 for 2 points, 2 RB, 0 asst, 1 steal, 0 blk. 2 TO, 2 PF

    JTray-0/0 & 0/0 for 0 points, 0 RB, 2 asst. 0 steal, 1 blk, 0 TO. 4 PF

    There, folks, should be your big man rotation for now with exceptions for specific matchups or until #2/#3 options begin to grow towards their ceilings.

  • @HighEliteMajor Great analysis. This is 2008 again. After the game, Seth Greenberg said KU had the best guards in the country, and he was right. Like we discussed before, I don’t think we’ve hit our ceiling quite yet.

  • @KUSTEVE This is reminiscent of 2008. Not to sound overconfident, but this team moves the ball and defends as well as anybody. They need to be ready to go on Monday and have a quick start.

  • @DinarHawk The game on Monday will be epic. I’ll be the first to claim…WE’LL DROP 100 ON THEM !!! RCJHGKU

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Agree hugely with debt owed Nic Moore. I consider him a spirit member of this team.

    The reason the team has stepped up a level today was Devonte starting to really understand HOW to give the team what Nic gave it. It has taken Devonte awhile, but I thought that the Baylor game was the first time he really got it. Wouldn’t be surprised to learn he and Nic had a little exchange recently. Devonte was bringing more than execution today. He was being whatever Frank needed! It was a beautiful thing to watch!!!

    In team bicycling it is called being the domestique. It takes great versatility, generosity, and Joie d’vivre. It is crucial to winning cycling. It elevates teams way beyond their top riders.


    Devonte played a great, great, GREAT game today.

  • @KUSTEVE I’ll quote you on that! Lol

  • @HighEliteMajor

    1.) I am in Nebraska and CBS told me to go to the website to watch Kansas v Baylor, the site did not play anything. After commercial they came to the start of the Kansas game and said to go to the website to watch the end of the Auburn and Tennesee game…Never had that happen before.

    1. Greene is so long. He is legitimately 6’7 6’8 and has length…I love Svi but Greene jumps out at you like he is in 3D on the tv. Svi looks like he is thinking too much out there still. Greene just does his thing.

    2. The box score of Iowa State and Oklahoma showed 7 played for Iowa State and 8 played for Oklahoma… We could play 10 and have no dropoff, we could play everyone but walk ons and not have drastic dropoffs.

    3. Mason and Graham have really freed up Selden to do his thing in the wing, and the light came on as well. He is playing ridiculous right now.

    4. We were breaking ankles without dribbling, Baylor players looked like they were watching a tennis match the way we moved it at times.

    I am excited. We have a crazy good offense and we will play Self Defense by March. We really got a good shot this year.

  • @wissoxfan83 Unlike college football that are mostly done 2-3 weeks in advance, broadcast rights for the vast majority of college basketball games are done before the season even starts. I think Tenn-Auburn was appealing because of Bruce Pearl coaching against his former school.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Nic Moore being a spirit member of this team is a great way to describe how I feel about him too. Thanks for articulating how I feel, ha.

    SMU is on a postseason ban and Nic Moore is still playing his heart out over there. I hope they go undefeated.

  • @Second-Prize - last I saw, SMU was in top 25 - they’re still rockin’ i hope.

  • @wissoxfan83

    CBS showed the game from the beginning in the KC area. Stations and cable systems use feeds according to where they are located, Chances are that if you are in the East Coast or the South East Region they would likely show a SEC instead 0f a Big 12 game.

  • @JayHawkFanToo What was frustrating was they kept saying on the broadcast at the end of the UT-Aub game was we could watch it on line, but nothing happened when you’d click on line, except a video screen saying ‘we’ll be right back’. CBS hasn’t figured out how to put a different game on their website than the one they’re airing because the exact same thing has happened in the past to me.

  • At the beginning of the game Bayor shot a free throw to take the early 1-0 lead. Graham came down and hit a three. Baylor misses. I think Graham missed three cleaned up by a rebound dunk by Ellis! Then another Graham 3. 8-1

    Then Selden joined in the three parade; you saw the rest of the rout.


  • @JayHawkFanToo Hmm … not on Comcast. I was then stuck in the same fix that @wissoxfan83 was discussing. A CBS website that did not show the game. But the TWC sports channel did replay the entire game, so the I got to see what I missed.

    @wissoxfan83 Great points – rebounding and defense. We will bump into some tough match ups defensively, where we’ll have a tough time stopping certain players. But that’s where we’ll need our offense to carry us. Making shots can be a good thing.

    @DinarHawk Right. I really like those comparisons. I looked at it from a ranking standpoint a few days ago. UConn in '14 had the #10 ranked PF (DeAndre Daniels – not a bulky guy at all), then #118 Phillip Nolan and unranked Amida Brimah (7 footer who was a “new to the game” recruit). In 2011, UConn had Alex Oriakhi in the middle, a #21 player, Tyler Olander (unranked), and Roscoe Smith (#37). Louisville in 2013 had Gorgui Dieng (#44), Chane Behanan (#21), and Montrezl Harrell (#82), and Steven Van Treese (unranked). Other than that, going back quite a ways, the NCAA champs had highly ranked post players. If we do not rely on Bragg and Diallo, we’d most comparable to UConn in 2014 (which you pointed out). Duke in 2010 did not have that big stud in the middle, also a you mentioned. But if you look at rankings, they had Brian Zoubek #24, Kyle Singlar #5, Lance Thomas #42, and Miles Plumlee #101. Again, though, as you mentioned, no monster in the middle. I think our squad is more like UConn 2014 right now with our perimeter play.

    @Bwag - Yesterday is the type of game that I would expect from our post players. Think about the per minute stuff. Then project Diallo over 18 minutes. 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks. Or Bragg over 20 – 12 points, 6 rebounds. I know that isn’t how it works all the time, but I do think that is entirely plausible. Paired with Mick and Ellis, that’s a real composite we could sink our teeth into.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    It is my favorite composite perimeter group I can recall at Kansas

    Favorite guard group for me was/is Chalmers, Robinson, Rush, Collins. .



    . .




    Second favorite group (and it’s not even close) for me was Jacque Vaughn, Jerrod Haase and company.

    This years group could jump up to second with a NC, but until they recreate the havoc Mario and RussRob created defensively (not to mention Rush’s man disappearing) and the way the ball moved on offense in 2008…I haven’t seen anything like it in the Bill Self era until this year. You see it in flashes, but not consistantly…yet.

  • @dylans Hard to challenge the title winners, I agree. And Rush’s defense was a huge asset. I like this group because of 1) Mason’s penetration and ball handing (best ball handler I can recall), 2) Graham’s shooting ability, 3) Selden being a better shooter than Brandon Rush, better off the dribble, and more assertive, 4) Greene being a better shooter than anyone on the 2008 team, and 5) the added depth that Svi provides, that the 2008 team didn’t have. I also think that this team is still moving towards its consistent peak. Yesterday was a amazing, and its consistent peak, of course, is below that a bit. But getting Greene established as the 4th perimeter player, and the fact that teams won’t be able to effectively scheme against him (because we now have more credible threats elsewhere) – I like this group.

    But again, that NC group in 2008 is on the peak until someone knocks them off.

  • @HighEliteMajor Nice!

    I absolutely agree on," But I do know now that this team’s engine is the Mason/Graham duo. This is special. It is my favorite composite perimeter group I can recall at Kansas."
    Chalmers, RussRob and Collins are tied for first Imo.

    WVU at their place should be a big test for KU in terms of ball movement and pace. I saw WVU play Kstate yesterday and was not surprized to see WVU grind out a win against a surprisingly good Kstate team. I have to admit I thought Kstate would be a doormat.

    Texas tech is legit from what I saw yesterday too. They were good. They gave the havoc defense right back to Texas and Shaka. Not really of course, but they trapped and pressured TX into a load of errors.

    The thing is, KU’s guards will eat up any pressure thrown at them. They have all progressed to the point that they relish that. They say to the other team, you want to pressure us? Ok great, now watch us make you look silly as we break it down.

    OU is going to be a very tough game tomorrow. Both teams strengths and weaknesses match up almost identically. KUs starting 5 is nearly identical to OU’s starting 5. KU has the advantage though being at home and being a much much deeper team.

  • I think the fact that Bragg was first off the bench (not the first time) up front tells us that Self is trying to work him to be more of a factor…I think that will happen.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Considering that TWC and Comcast are the only systems in the KC Area that carry “all” the KU games, it would seem like lack of loyalty and gigantic middle finger to Zenger… 😃

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Love the tie into Nic Moore. If SMU had been penalized earlier this guy just may have been a Jayhawk this year…Not that we need him but the way he clicked with our players this summer and the type of player he is has definitely had a profound effect on this team.

    Moore is a leader and our 3 headed backcourt is blossoming into leaders. I really believe Frank learned from Nic, I think Wayne has been helped by seeing what kind of player Nic is and knowing he had to step up.

    Excellent post otherwise. This team has everything and I’m hoping we saved some of the mojo for Monday. The unselfishness of this team really separates itself from others in the past.

    Wayne Selden has become everything we’ve ranted over for 2 years. Amazing how much better he is this year. We can ride his back to championships, he’s that good this year.

    Other than not playing Bragg & Diallo more I think Self has really done his best coaching job so far. We were up enough all game where those 2 should have seen more than garbage time. They played very well in the 1st half.

    We wanted a better offense, we got it. He’s listened and tweaked everything he was supposed to. Self is really proving just how smart a coach he can be. He knows this year is really important as far as his image goes in the coaching ranks. He’s heard the grumblings about March, this team is made to perform in March.

    I think we all need to eat some crow with Greene. I really couldn’t have imagined him missing the whole off-season and being better. He’s trying on defense, he’s shooting within the offense and has been much more aggressive going towards the hoop. And he’s bought into the team more than anything. The suspension really has helped him as a person, he gets it now and I’m liking what I see from him.

    I Saw a tweet that KU’s top 3 players projected for the NBA Draft - Svi, Cheick, Carlton all played less than 10 minutes yesterday and KU wins by 28. No other team in the country can claim to have that problem.

  • “I think we all need to eat some crow with Greene.”

    @BeddieKU23 Uh, yes … at present … eating … crow … now. I hope I never stop.

  • nic.jpg

  • Great post and all good points. You’re spot on about the Nic Moore experiment

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