Mason and Ellis Carry KU to +10 Over TTech in a Squirt and Grind, C5 Struggles 11/8

  • If a tie is like kissing your sister, winning by 10 over Texas Tech is like kissing your grand mother with her dentures out.

    Tubby Smith’s Ball Line Defense is a mystery to everyone including Bill Self.

    Its not a mystery what Ball Line Defense tries to do. The Ball Line Defense is supposed to clog up the approaches to the basket–both passing lanes and driving lanes–and allow motion at 90 degrees to the basket.

    The mystery is how it does it. I’ve read up on it and I still don’t understand how it clogs up. But it does. And it does it every time we play Texas Tech with a bald, glaring middle aged man named Tubby as its head coach.

    Bill Self always seems to start each game thinking he has finally figured out how to attack it. KU always gets a few quick baskets early. But then the TTech defenders begin to act like grains of sand and pebbles of gravel in a Texas dust storm slowly working into the gears and pulleys and bearings of a Gleaner and its mechanisms slowly grinding to a halt one subsystem at a time.

    Oh, its true that Self sends them out flat as the panhandle, and substitutes till the cows and the defense contractors come back to the barn to drink at the trough. But the bottom line is that it looks like Self could rev them up on Lone Star and Sedafed and script every play, and the Ball Line Defenders would still gum up the works.

    Tonight, Self decided that the antidote to the Red Raider Ball Line venom was squirt and grind. By this I mean, if The Tub is going to have all five of his guys clogging passing and driving lanes like plaque in a smoker’s artery, then that means everytime KU gets a rebound its supposed to hurry up court and maybe even cherry pick and easy bucket.

    To board rats uninitiated in the alchemical rights of the occult Ball Line, they leap to the erroneous conclusion that KU is way faster than TTech and so KU should run every possession. Even the KU players leap to this conclusion. Invariably Tubby encourages this like a sandbagger underbidding at bridge, then intermittently tells his boys to get out run a few possessions and speed up the team that thinks IT is Speedy Gonzalez. Then The Tub pulls in the reins as Speedy Gonzalez pulls his in and the game turns as muddy as a panhandle tank full of a thirsty cattle trying to get cool by wading.

    Bill Self invariably has to call time outs, and remind his guys they are only supposed to squirt when there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, not when there is a dust storm.

    Finally, Self appears to grow frustrated at the mystery of solving the Ball Line and just tells his two oldest, most reliable scorers to turn it into a half court slog and “make plays.”

    This Frank and Perry did for Bill.

    Thus KU and Bill left Lubbock with a W, and with no more insight into how to beat the Ball Line than how to find a Republican Presidential candidate with a human heart.

    But despite the usual kvetching about KU bogging down as usual in Buddy Hollyville, KU exits the land of two hours from everywhere, and four hours from anywhere one would want to go, unless one were half armadillo, with a road W, and this is the basketball equivalent of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow leaving a Texas bank with not only a bag of money, but a combination to the bank vault in the next town.

    This KU team now has broken the ice on the road. It has won away. It has stolen a W on a night it shot a warmly familiar 41% from trey on 22 3ptas, but shivered through 42 percent shooting of the “who we are” variety.

    Dat ol’ Ball Line Magic had’em in its spell/ Dat ol’ Ball Line Magic dat dey know so well…

    The Ball Line was so mysteriously congesting KU couldn’t even really play good BAD BALL.

    But enough about that goddamned annoying defense of Tubby’s.

    How did Self and KU actually finally dust bust these lane clogging Red Raiders?

    I mean beyond Self telling Frank and Perry to go “make some plays.”

    Simple. Self did what any coach would have done in the same position. He decisively out rebounded TTech with his, um, point guard. Yes, little Frank Mason, Jr., all 6 KU feet of him (5-10 in conventional English units of measure).

    The discussion must have gone something like this: yo, Frankie, its time again for you to go all Bill Bridges from the point. You know. Double digits on the reebs. Perry will match you, but its up to you to really take the TTech point guard, unmanly thing that he is, to the wood shed on glassvacs, okay?

    That was one controllable part.

    The other somewhat controllable part was playing some decent defense on TTech 3ptas. TTech only made 25%.

    The uncontrollable part–the luck–was that KU really manned up on the free throw defense.

    TTech made only 9-19 free throws, 47%.

    I don’t know about you, but I have always been able to make 6 of ten even with a woman breaking my heart, no more beer money, and acute jock itch.

    Tubby is going to have to recruit some shooters. This experiment in playing with basketball players that are unfamiliar with how to release a basketball with more than a random chance of it going in the orange hole is just not working. 47% free throwing is damned near Un-American.

    So: that’s the low down from Lubbock.

    Onward and upward.

    And let us now take a moment and prey together that KU does not shoot 29% from trey in Morgantown.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate-1.0 6 of 10 with a cute jock itch? Really? I could never do better than 5 of 10 with a cute jock itch. That’s really good. Great post…thanks!

  • @curmudgeonjhwk

    Thx. Go Hawks!

  • I think Ellis is playing at that level Self wants like he was that month prior to his knee injury last year. He is 100%, going for rebounds, which is a good metric for toughness on the court. Especially when he has to manufacture that toughness from within (as we all know about Perry). Rebounding isn’t a natural-beast property for Ellis like it was for Thomas Robinson and Cole.

  • Meanwhile, the superlatives continue about Frank Mason. How a 5’10 guard gets double-digit rebounds is simply astounding. When you know the coach dreams about “limiting 2nd chance opps”, along comes a guy like Mason to prove coach completely correct in all the little disruptions to the opponent’s gameplan that slowly add up.

    And a noticeable difference from last year, is this team has improved in its shot selection, with even BGreene passing up 3s to pass or drive it. Frank is deferring more. Wayne has better balance in his selection. Bragg is learning, and Diallo has more to learn.

    Summary: this does NOT seem to be the same set of guys that gave us 2 x 2nd round March exits. This team won the Gold against WUG men. This team won Maui. This team battled OU to a standstill. And found a way to win on an off-shooting night, as we have developed several axis-of-play. Finally, we have the balance of the 08 team, as well as the '12RunnerUp team’s starters. What may be an ace-in-the-hole, is that this KU team is a better shooting team than all prior Self teams, narrowly edging the 08Champs even, I believe (someone correct me if I’m wrong…).

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Game keys to me. They kept shooting the three, despite the poor 1st half. They nearly shot back to their season percentage. I think this might be a first in the Bill Self era!

    Superb defense.

    And I don’t think this was a kissing your granny with her dentures out win. I think it was a good win. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we never trailed, never of course had a huge lead either, but we knew TT was going to be tough, and we won with only one real pressure shot, Grahams 1+1 FT when we were up by six with a minute left. He made it, game over.


  • @ralster

    Agreed. Perry just keeps climbing the mountain and getting better.

    It’s a big responsibility to have to go win games when you and the rest of the team are struggling against a TTech.

    There are three reasons I want this team to win a ring:

    1.) add a banner in the FH to keep lifting KU higher;

    2.) see all the guys that were not dump truck rank recruits be able to look around after the Finals and the rest of their lives and say, “We are champions;” and

    3.) let Perry look around quietly and say, “We were pretty good,” and know he did it his way."

    Perry Ellis has a chance to be the real life version of John Ford’s and John Wayne’s “The Quiet Man.”

    A happy ending for a truly good guy.

  • @wissoxfan83

    Granny deserves a kiss as much as anyone.

    It is from her loins and from her will that what the family is achieving sprang.

    Ours just died and she was noble, dentures and all.

    Tough as nails when the chips were down. Kind as an angel, when some one needed a hand. And contrary as hell the rest of the time. Men felt small, when they let her down, and ten feet tall when they got her approval all the way to the end.

    What I wouldn’t give to be able to give her another kiss.

  • @jaybate-1.0 A reference to a Gleaner! No spring chicken you.

  • @sfbahawk

    I am now a late fall chicken for sure.

    But I love those old Gleaners the same way I love old American cars from the firsts four decades of the 20th Century. The Gleaner combines were so purely machine based. I have tried to talk my other half into letting me buy and rehab an Old Gleaner to put it out on the back lawn as a sculpture, but she has drawn the line there.

    They are etched in my memory vividly from the times my father and eye drove Kansas in summers and saw the custom combine crews working their ways north from Texas to Canada. The same way a boy on the east, or West coast look at the ocean and the ships sailing in and out, or a boy on the Great Lakes watches the iron ore freighters come and go, or the way a boy on the Mississippi watches the grain barges being towed around the bend; that is how I remember the custom combine crews passing through. It was the most romantic life of adventure I could imagine for a couple of summers back in my wonder years. What it was really like was a last vestige, or maybe an echo, of the old cattle drives from Texas to Abilene, or what have you. The Gleaner crews never got a proper tribute from movies, theater, or television. William Inge, or Tennessee Williams, or someone should have done them justice. There have been a movie or two made with them, but no writer ever really understood the majesty and adventure of crews of men and machine harvesting a sea of wheat in an ocean of grass across the heart of an entire continent. I know it was hot, dusty, back-breaking work and the men were often rogues and wanderers and drunks and bar brawlers, but those were the Americans I loved the most in those days of the late 1950s and early 1960s before drugs, post modernism, assassinations, COINTELPRO and the National Security state wrung the residual wildness from America. It was awesome to see 3 to 6 Gleaners carving their way across the vast fields. I still get emotional when I see old pictures of them. And I was really too young to have seen the true Gleaners crews from before 1955, when the Baldwin Brothers of Nickerson, KS sold out to Allis-Chalmers. But their legend lived on in my dad who had grown up with the Gleaners that started being built back in the mid 1920s. They were his idea of romanticism and adventure and he passed them and basketball and fishing and fresh beef to me as among the great treasures of being a Kansan. What I saw was the very, very, very tail end of those wild times when the crews and their trucks and Gleaners were really on their own out in the Great Plains. And the combines were still machines, more mechanical than electrical. No AC. No radios. The Allis-Chalmer’s machines that my Dad would get me rides on in the fields looked like this one from a picture in 1965.


    Doesn’t look like much now, but at 11 years old it seemed like some combination of a barn storming airplane and land going ship!!! Just looking at the picture makes me wish I could jump on it and go for another ride up in the grain bin.

    I swear. If I outlive my wife, I am buying one and rehabbing it with all the care of someone doing an Auburn boat tail and it is going out in the back yard of my place. They will wheel me up to it in my wheel chair and park me beside it and I will be content.

    For what its worth, the name Gleaner comes from the French for harvesting grain, and it has many connotations including efficient harvesting of low yield fields. I knew about this definition, and meaning of the company name, but until this moment I had never looked at the Wiki page for Gleaners and connected the fabulous 1857 painting “The Gleaners” by Jean Francois Millet shown below. Some day, someone will do right by the Baldwin Brothers and make a film about them and their fabulous machines, not a documentary; that would be too base. It has too be a great, great epic about men harvesting continents. Maybe Sergei Eisenstein did something about the wheat harvesting across Eurasia, but probably not with combines. It has to be with combines!

  • TheGleaners.jpg

  • iu.jpeg

    This is not how i remember them, but it was the only thing I could find on the spur of the moment of them cutting together. This one is probably somewhere up in Washington state, or something. But it gets the idea of the grandeur of it.

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