ESPN Power Rankings- KU #2

    1. Kansas Jayhawks Record: 9-1 Last week’s ranking: 2

    Kansas played its first game without Carlton Bragg Jr., who was suspended indefinitely after being arrested in connection with a domestic battery incident. The Jayhawks beat Nebraska easily but will need Bragg back at some point to go deep in the NCAA tourney.

    Am I the only one that disagree’s with this statement " need Bragg to go deep in the NCAA tourney"?

    Bragg is not a starter, how can he be the difference between what KU will do in March. It would be nice to have Carlton back with his head on straight and play to the level we all hoped he would this year but that seems like a stretch right now. It would certainly be a bigger blow losing one of our guards then Bragg.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Bragg is the most skilled KU big man, so he could make a difference in theory. However, I agree that he isn’t critical to this team because the perimeter talent is so great I don’t know that they actually need any standout performances from big men to go deep in the tournament.

    Remember, we still haven’t seen a Josh Jackson nuclear performance - something like 22 points, 16 boards, 8 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks. Jackson has that type of showing in his game. We also haven’t seen Devonte go off yet, and Landen suddenly looks much healthier.

    Bragg is helpful to a deep run, but by no means critical.

  • Who is #1? Villanova? What are the other top 10?

  • @bskeet

    ESPN more or less has their rankings close to the AP’s. Nova #1, KU # 3 in the AP. These are also Jeff Goodman’s opinions which don’t exactly excite the masses.

    Nova #1

    KU #2

    Baylor #3

    UCLA #4

    Duke #5

    Gonzaga #6

    UNC #7

    Indiana #8

    Kentucky #9

    Creighton #10

  • @BeddieKU23 Hungry Bears from Waco must be drooling in anticipation. O Boy, this league race looks to be on the annual upswing!

  • Yeah, not feeling Carlton as a critical piece at this point based on how he’s played so far. Seems like his head is not in the game, I guess not surprising considering recent developments.

  • I’m hoping this is the wakeup call he needed. He needs to focus on basketball if he wants a career out of it.

  • @BeddieKU23 Yep. No way thats accurate. Bragg is secondary to that. Doke will get more minutes, develop faster as a result. Lando will get more minutes, get his confidence and health back on point.
    When Bragg comes back, we will need him, but not to make a deep tourney run.

  • @BeddieKU23 said:

    Bragg is not a starter, how can he be the difference between what KU will do in March?

    Well, not to project too much, but let’s not forget that Sherron’s steal, 3 ptr, and final assist in the last 2 minutes made all the difference to our tourney outcome in '08. Of course, that was in April! And non-starter Cole may have taken us to the final.

    Sometimes a highly reliable 6th man is the key to a team’s success. Sherron played more minutes in many games that year than many starters over the years.

  • @mayjay

    Good point… That 08 team had some big plays from non-starters.

    If we were to project this years 08 6th man would that be Svi? And if we projecting the deep pocket depth ace in the post would it be Bragg or Coleby/Lightfoot?

    Bragg’s ceiling was supposed to be starter- which he lost and became role player. He may earn that spot back dependent of his off-the-court situation being cleared up.

  • @BeddieKU23 said:

    If we were to project this years 08 6th man would that be Svi?

    Almost certainly, if he remains on the bench. He might take Vick’s place at some point.

  • @bskeet

    True Svi is playing well

  • @BeddieKU23 Ever the optimist, I hope Bragg’s incident is resoved quickly and that he uses it as motivation to work like hell!

  • @BeddieKU23

    “Am I the only one that disagree’s with this statement " need Bragg to go deep in the NCAA tourney”?"

    I disagree, too. Let’s not forget how early it is in the basketball year. We have almost the entire season to work around having Carlton. And to be honest, it looks like we are a better team running the 4-guard lineup.

    I am yet to see us play better with two post players on the floor this year.

    I do want Carlton back in the rotation asap! But it would hurt us more later in the year (to lose him) and if Carlton received big PT minutes. Then we would have to make bigger adjustments and work it out right at the time of March Madness. A difference scenario…

  • @BeddieKU23

    We are going to have to keep improving at a rapid pace this year if we hope to compete with a few of these other teams in March… notable DUKE!

  • @drgnslayr said:

    We are going to have to keep improving at a rapid pace this year if we hope to compete with a few of these other teams in March… notable DUKE!

    Good thing we are familiar with Duke already.

    I agree we will need to keep improving a good bit. Our 4 guard lineup is a well oiled machine-we know the capability. The key is getting Lucas back to last years level, Doke continues to grow into his role.

    And as @justanotherfan mentioned we are still not seeing all of what Josh Jackson is capable of yet (scary thought). If his competitiveness is everything we’ve seen so far March will be his time to shine!

  • IMG_20161212_131354.jpg

  • @Ralph


    Looks like the crowd was impressed, too!

  • @BeddieKU23

    “Good thing we are familiar with Duke already.”

    I find that to be a bad thing because if we meet Duke in March they will be a completely different team… even without the additions of their 3 AAs.

    Just look at Kennard. He isn’t supposed to be their big star but look at how he has been playing lately.

    Luke Kennard Is Playing Like A Star, And Duke Is Suddenly Terrifying

    The title to this story is right on.

    Our only hope in March against a healthy Duke team is for us to uplift our defense completely. And I mean a monster improvement!

    The way to shut down Duke is to shut down their offense. This Duke team will never lead the country with defense. It is their offense that makes them deadly and they get a favorable whistle from the refs, putting their opponents in plenty of foul trouble.

    If we defend them properly, we pull them out of their easy offense and make them scrap for every point, while not fouling them or giving refs the ability to call total BS calls.

    Then we get some easy run out points because of our defense.

    This is the way to beat Duke in March.

  • @BeddieKU23

    The answer is probably yes and no. If Bragg continues to play like he has so far, his presence would be missed but would not be key to what KU does in March. However, if he continues to improve and and reliably get doubly digits in scoring and a half dozen rebounds while staying out of foul trouble, he could be an important part of the team and one it can use for a deep run in the Tournament.

  • @drgnslayr

    KU might be a similar team this year to Duke with the way we play the 4 guard offense. We can score with the best of them but might not evolve into a great defensive team. You see it in Self’s comments that he’s still waiting for this team to take the next step defensively. The advantage for KU is we are known for defense and if there is a coach that can get kids to buy in its Bill.

    Duke has 2 of its AA’s back already . I honestly think Kennard is their best player so far this year, hard for anyone to disagree with because he’s doing a lot of the things Allen was doing last year.

    KU had the Duke game won handily before it got tight. Foul trouble etc Duke didn’t get KU’s best effort either especially when we blew that comfortable 8-9 point lead in all of a minute. When Jackson was on the floor (which wasn’t much that day) there was no question who the better team was. I like our chances in a rematch on the big stage with a guy such as Jackson on our team. Maybe its homerism-maybe its just belief in our kids. Would love to see round 2 if it meant winning a championship over Coach K. What better way for Self to cement his future Hall of Fame status. What better way for Josh Jackson to end the stigma of freshman phenoms at KU…

  • @REHawk The only way we have a problem with Baylor is if Scott Drew is ejected early. As long as he’s on the bench, we’re good to go.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Great read!

    I feel like we have the more athletic team, but Duke is always good at basketball IQ.

    Enter Josh Jackson! He is starting to show just how high his basketball IQ is and when you put that with his skill set and athleticism, he definitely should be our difference-maker come March.

    He still has another gear… we haven’t seen the best of Josh yet.

    Then look at the potential for us to solve our post situation and we have plenty of room for improvement between now and March.

    Other factors will count, too… like Svi. He is starting to figure out how to be effective on offense, and he has improved his defense considerably this year.

  • @drgnslayr

    The big difference is that we now have the luxury of having several “go to” players. Mason, Graham, Jackson and on a good day Svi and Vick are all capable to deliver in crunch time. The '08 teams is probably the last team with that many go to players.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    True… and what is really nice is any of these players may step into a game and have a monster game!

  • Like you all said, Duke has the talent to be the best by March. Will they? I don’t know. I’m not going to crown them before they earn anything. If they win at UNC and Louisville, win the ACC and the ACC tournament, then I’ll say they’re the favorite. They will never be as good as they could be without a true PG, and Grayson is not really a distributor. He does do a good job for not being one.

    Slayer, I don’t know if we have to improve at a “rapid rate”. There is only so good a team can get. How much better is UNC going to be? Or UCLA? They have been shooting lights out and practically everything they throw up (15-23 from three the other night IIRC). Is it possible to sustain over 50% the entire year? Remember - Indiana shot I believe 15-29 from three against us and yet we were in a position to win despite Devonte playing with cramps the whole game, Landen not playing well and Josh not yet established, and Indiana is at the top with UNC, UCLA, Kentucky, and NOVA. I am not convinced that other teams are going to get so much better the rest of the year just hard to see that with any other team other than Duke.

    The key as others have said is defense. The perfect example is NOVA last year. They did not improve necessarily throughout the year, but played to their personal potential in the tournament (yes I’m aware of their regular season games). Largest average margin of victory in a long time. It was their defense that lead to production on the other end. What I get tired of seeing from our guys is giving up an easy basket because someone was overplaying the wing or just plain lost their man. Those are the kinds of mistakes that can’t happen and hint at a lack of focus.

  • @HawkChamp I have to disagree with you a bit on the overplays. Yes, the easy basket is unacceptable but is not necessarily the fault of the guard overplaying. With our guards and especially with the four guard line up, our goal has to be to challenge every pass and keep the ball as far away from the rim as possible. The more run throughs we get for easy buckets the other way the better. So we absolutely should be out in every passing lane.

    The problem is with our help defense. Our guys are not helping the player who is out there overplaying. Or if they do, no one then helps the helper. It has to be a well oiled machine that runs mostly on instinct for the system to really work. But that’s how Mario ended up with over 3 steals a game. He could afford to try and anticipate every pass because, Rush, RussRob, Jackson and the others would be there to help if he miss timed it, and the rotations were seamless as the opponent moved the ball looking for the opening. Self often praised that defense as a team that helped the helper of the helper. That’s where we need to improve. TEAM defense!

  • @benshawks08 I realize that, but until team defense is at that level, I think the guards shouldn’t defend like they have been if we’re going to keep giving up layups.

  • @HawkChamp I disagree. It would be interesting to see if there were stats for how many points we are gaining or losing on those specific plays. It feels like we are on the plus side but that just might be because I remember dunks by our players more than easy lay-ups for theirs. But even if the points are even or slightly on the negative side, I think the pressure it puts on opposing guards, and the tempo it helps create for our team outweigh the few mistakes that have happened on occasion. I like the aggressive attitude our guards have adopted that, no pass is safe. Jackson could probably tone it down a bit though.

  • @benshawks08 Hard for some to follow but PDG stuff Ben… Far as I’m concerned the nasty breakaway flush is as big, if not bigger dagger as the pull up transition 3… & not off the back board either …JMO

  • I hate Duke, that’s all I’ve got to say.

  • @wissox and that’s what I like about you!! Lol

  • @wissox I second that emotion.

  • It’d be nice to have Withey back there cleaning things up for the guards. Not so nice for the other team, but I’d like it! A little Withey stank face (attitude) would go a long way for our current bigs.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Bragg is one of our two upside bigs (Lucas, Coleby and Lightfoot are jags right now) so I can see where him improving would really help the team. He has also had fairly decent numbers just not what we were hoping for. He isn’t needed but he sure would help.

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