Jan 18 Post Game Roundup: KU vs OSU

  • Wayne Selden Jr. ###FINAL: Kansas 80, Oklahoma State 78###

    It began as a classic match-up between the No. 9 and No. 15 teams in the nation and the two preseason favorites to challenge for the Big 12 championship. And it played out more like an MMA match, with technical fouls, pushing and shoving and …

    ####Dodd: No. 15 Kansas dominates inside, beats No. 9 Oklahoma State 80-78####

    LAWRENCE — Saturday morning, at close to 10 a.m., Kansas freshman Wayne Selden jumped onto his Twitter account and left a rather cryptic message:

    “Personal,” Selden wrote.

    ####Newell: Reason to celebrate: KU hangs on for 80-78 win over No. 9 Oklahoma State####

    LAWRENCE — Naadir Tharpe held his hand up to cup his left ear, waited a second for the roar, then raised up his arm to his right ear.

    It was moments after his No. 15 Kansas team had survived in an 80-78 victory over No. 9 Oklahoma State, and the junior point guard wanted to fully embrace the moment.

    ####ESPN: Joel Embiid shines as No. 15 Kansas slips by No. 9 Oklahoma State####

    LAWRENCE, Kan. – Naadir Tharpe scored 21 points for Kansas, and Frank Mason stripped Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash as the final buzzer sounded to preserve the 15th-ranked Jayhawks’ 80-78 victory over the ninth-ranked Cowboys on Saturday.

    After stumbling through the early part of the season, Kansas is finally starting to look like a title contender. The Jayhawks showed it by beating Oklahoma State, Dana O’Neil writes. Story

    Joel Embiid added 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks for the Jayhawks (13-4, 4-0 Big 12), who blew most of a 47-30 halftime lead before holding on at the finish.

    ####Gary Bedore, KUsports.com Family guy: Tharpe excels with mother, brothers watching KU’s home victory####

    ####Gary Bedore, KUsports.com Notebook: Embiid’s succes no surprise to Self####

    ####Tom Keegan, KUsports.com Column: Bench pushes Kansas to victory over Oklahoma State####

    ####Matt Tait, KUsports.com Cowboys lose emotional game at Kansas####

  • My take on the game:

    Firstly, I thought that the first half was the best that this KU team has played all season. They played with great energy, they disrupted OSU’s offense, got out in transition, and limited their turnovers. The problem was that they came out absolutely flat in the second half. No energy and no aggressiveness. Fortunately, they were able to survive despite OSU getting hot.

    As I have been saying for quite awhile, when Tarik Black is playing well and not fouling, it greatly increases our odds to go to the Final Four. Black did not have trouble with fouls today, and gave us great minutes off the bench. As usual, the combination of him and Traylor were tremendous.

    Despite him getting into an occasional slump throughout his career, I have never understood why everyone is so hard on Tharpe. You have to give him a chance. He has looked like an all conference player the past four games. Yes, he can have an issue with turnovers. But I think that the good he provides is much more than the negatives.

    Now onto Wiggins. I really don’t know what is going on with him. It is possible that all the hype is really getting to him and therefore affecting his play. However, I do not think that that is the case. For some reason, he just does not attack nearly as much as he should do. He keeps trying to hit jumpers and seems to ignore his biggest strength which is dribble penetration. I am still waiting for him to have a game where he is really looking to attack and isn’t so passive.

    Overall, this was a great game even though much of the second half was difficult to watch. If they can play like what they did in the first half on a consistent basis, there is no team that they can not beat. I hope that Gottlieb doesn’t do anymore of our games. He was really annoying me during his halftime analysis.

    BTW I loved that dunk that Embiid had over Smart and the huge block that he got on him. Absolutely priceless.

  • We Won!!!

  • You know, prior to this game, I used to like Marcus Smart despite the backflip last year. After this game, though, it’s a complete 180. I can see why he came back to school - taking full advantage of the OSU drama department’s resources. There were a lot of Oscar season jokes about his behavior, but it wasn’t even good acting. It was disgusting. Dirty and undignified. A guy who’s supposed to be one of the toughest players in the country doesn’t fall down at being breathed on. Worse, that T he got on Selden was completely bogus. I’ve watched and rewatched it over and over again and you can see the blue of the student section barrier between both elbows and Smart’s face as Selden cleared out. Honestly, as bad as he was today, I wish Selden had just straight up busted his nose for all the bad acting. A little here or there doesn’t bother me. Sometimes you gotta sell a call or the refs won’t see it, but what we saw today was nauseating and ridiculous.

  • @DinarHawk You should have heard Gottlieb on twitter. He was crying the whole damn game.

  • As I posted in another thread…

    Sometimes I hate it when I call it right. I though that Forte might be the x-factor and darn it if the smurf-on-steroids part-deux (Keiton Paige was the original one) didn’t almost single-handedly steal the game.

    Gotlieb is a douche and the bag it came in. When Seth Davis indicated that KU is a legitimate final four team, Dougie started to whine and bring up the SDSU game. Davis gave him a look that basically said…you are moron, and told him…see you in March. Dougie tried to backpedal and looked even more pathetic.

    Doug Gotlieb has officially " Jumped the shark." The older posters will know what I am talking about.

  • @bskeet nice work.

    @other people with thread rights - I’m not going to have access to computer until much later either so if anyone can grab the stories it’d be a great help.

  • Quite the puzzling game today.

    1. Wiggins: Did he even want to play today? I have to hand it to Self for sticking him on the bench.

    2. Press: Wow. This was the catalyst for OSU’s run. We still can’t handle that 3/4 court 2-2-1 press. We were ill prepared. We have one press break strategy. Sit back passively, pass over the top. And you can see the result. When the passes are defended, we dribble right to the trap spots. This is very disappointing. Yes, we did make them pay a couple of times. But this is a huge problem that needs solving by coach Self. Selden was absolutely horrible trying to implement Self’s strategy. But it is the strategy that is seriously flawed.

    3. Ellis: Again, kudos to Self (I guess). He saw something, apparently, where he felt that Traylor was the better option than Ellis. I have not watched the game again, will do that in the morning. But I have no idea what that might be. Traylor had a mere 3 boards in 19 minutes. It just never seems like he gets rebounds. But it is clear the kid has worked hard on the offensive end. I will be excited to see his progress next season.

    4. Tharpe: Excellent offensive game. So impressive that I can easily forgive the so-so defense, 6 turnovers and passive approach on breaks (this is a real weakness we haven’t discussed much). Tharpe was so terrific shooting the ball that the rest didn’t matter today.

    5. Black: Played terrific in the first half. Then didn’t see him. I have no idea why. Seemed like he was a match-up problem a bit. But again, he disappeared on the bench.

    6. Frankamp: Ah, the quick hook. One minute, missed three, didn’t handle the shot clock – and done for the day. Welcome to life as coach Self’s whipping boy. All of the equity you build up is gone in nanosecond.

    7. Greene: Played very well, and again, banished to the bench. Greene must be so incompetent on the court that Self felt that watching Selden throw the ball away was the better option (though I did think Selden did well on defense). Just a little frustration here … Greene competes, demonstrates in his brief time on the court why he deserves minutes, and it’s as if it didn’t happen. But we won, right? So who cares? Well, what happens in a tourney game when Wiggins takes the night off like today, or is in foul trouble? And we need a wing to compete? Yes, that’s me banging my head against the wall.

    8. White: Very deep in the doghouse apparently. Something.

    9. Mason: Thought he was very good on D, was aggressive, but seemed to be looking for his own shot a bit. Would really like to see him drive with the intent of dishing.

    10. Embiid: Holy. Crap. Don’t have to worry about this guy not having a chip on his shoulder, or playing passively. The greatest KU center since Wilt is his destiny. Please, coach Self. I beg you. Hedging a ball screen in the first 3 minutes is not worth getting a foul slapped on Embiid. Protect your ticket to a national championship.

    Incredible first half which was essentially neutralized by the 2-2-1 press in the second half. Would you press KU? I would.

  • I’d like to see Self start Greene over Wiggins to see if that will wake our resident Canadian. His passivity is a mystery to me. Why on Earth won’t he drive to the hoop?

  • I am proud of Andrew Wiggins. So glad he did not force shots and play hero. He always seems to play within himself. This team is stacked. Top two players have an off game, and we still get it done.

  • @HighEliteMajor Great points.

    1. Coach Self: Please find an excuse to have Embiid come back for a second go round. And he may become a legend like Wilt.

  • Good win - I’ll take it. But I’ll also take home many of the same points brought up by @highelitemajor. I’m with you HEM on the troubling inability to handle pressure. Until that’s fixed, no lead is safe. And that’s a scary habit to bring along into the NCAA Tourney.

    Also agree with the puzzling and ongoing lack of play for the player we will from here on out call Connor Greene III. He’s really sort of chameleon. He was White at first. Then he became a balding blonde *Side note: what is it with that Wichita water? Fluoride? Chemicals from airplane manufacturing? Whatever it is, I’m looking at you too Perry. *Anyway… Most recently the Chameleon has turned Greene. And sure enough that’s who showed up today. And he did pretty well.

    So… why not give Greene any floor time in the 2nd half? He was effective in the now typical 3-5 minute 1st half audition Self gives to our Chameleon. Surely he would have been an improvement over Selden for any of that 5-10 minute period where Wayne committed turnover after sloppy turnover and almost single-handedly let OSU back into the game. I like Wayne but it wasn’t his day (Selden with 5 2nd half TO’s) - I was screaming at the TV for a change. IMO, Self waited entirely too long to pull Selden. Once he put Mason in with Tharpe, the hemorrhaging slowed. (Mason with 1 total TO.)

    Like I said. Good win. I’ll take it. But still some areas of concern to tighten up if we want to be a legit NC contender.

  • Glad we pulled this game out and moved to 4-0 in Conference Play. We couldn’t have played any better the 1st half and any worse the 2nd.

    I was truly upset at how this game was refereed from the beginning. How Traylor gets a Technical foul with a forearm from Brown is beyond me. At that point the ref’s lost the game and it only continued on. Selden made a bonehead play standing over Smart but drew a technical on Clark. Embiid’s Technical was a result of his past 2 in games and will be magnified by future ref’s in upcoming games. We didn’t seem to gain any calls without being punished as well. Every time they went to the monitor it went against KU. And I know the NCAA will be all over the ref’s for the double foul on the block/charge on Traylor. Pathetic ending to that play and one that should have never been taken to the monitor.

    There was a lot of positives. Tharpe has morphed into our leader and a guy who can bail us out in late clock situations. His shooting has been critical to their success. Traylor and Black have really grown into their backup roles and provide a bruising energy when they are not fouling. This was one of their good games. When they foul and have turnovers they are not the asset they can be when they both play well together. Traylor’s free throw shooting has been probably his biggest improvement in year 2. I haven’t seen many talk about how much better his form has been. Embiid has probably taken just about anyone with a pair of eyes by surprise at just how dominate he can be when he stays in the game. He is becoming more of the Withey eraser at the rim every passing game. Monday night against a big front-court will give him a big challenge. Only troubling thing has been his Technical fouls and the ref’s will gang up on him if he continues to make silly plays. Otherwise like the million commentators and stories about him say, his potential is limitless.

    Not really going to get in real in depth about the negatives because KU won the game and it was an emotional atmosphere against a top team. Our 3 point defense year in and year out is down right unbelievably bad. How we let Forte and Brown make 10 second half 3 pointers without seemingly blinking is just bad. I mean the scouting report says these both can hit anything over half court. Brown has scorched us his entire career. Forte won the game for them last year in Allen, how do we not have a game-plan to stop them from free willing it. We had a game plan against Smart on ball screens which really worked the first half but after he missed a dozen shots shouldn’t they have worried about them. We certainly missed Releford on a night like this. Wiggins was ineffective in his minutes tonight and has been the closest thing to a lockdown defender as we have. But he wasn’t himself tonight and we had nobody to guard the 2 man second half team.

  • @konkeyDong Nah, that’s not bad acting, that’s Oscar worthy. Selden absolutely did not touch him, that was a BS foul.
    P.S. My name is Doug Gottlieb, my hiney hurts because my team got beat and and KU wont make it to the Final Four but my team will I used to kind of like him but now he can eat a big dirty hotdog.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Yep, I’ll agree with the Shark jumping Dougie. Though, Id like to see him fall in the water and get eaten after his jump.

  • If I told you before the game that Wiggins, Selden, and Ellis were not going to contribute significantly, you would have said KU had no chance.

    Don’t lie. You know you would have. I would have. Travis Ford would have. Ken Pomeroy would have. His stats would have. Nostra-flipping-damus would have.

    I know they blew the lead. I know they couldn’t handle the press. I know Wiggins is a mystery on the order of the sphinx.

    But this was perhaps the biggest negative statement game in KU history. A negative statement game is one where you beat a good team despite your stars playing poorly.

    This KU team is so good it doesn’t even need 3 of its 4 stars playing worth a damn to win.

    Stars? We don’t need no stinking stars!

    The next Lebron? Fuggedabouthim!

    Mr. NBA Body? The linebacker at 2 guard? Our recent 20 ppg guy? Geddouttahere!

    The Designer? Our leading scorer? Only pussies need a leading scorer.

    All we need are a stretch from Cameroon and a PG nobudddy name of Naadir, a guy what lived in a car, some Towson reject, and a guy so foul prone he usually don’t playz, see?


    KU DONT NEED NO STINKING STARS tuh beats Mr. Backflip I Stuck Around Uh Year Tuh Gettmeuhring and his band uh clowns picked tuh win the B12.

    No way should KU have broken out to big lead. No way should they have eeked out a W. Not with Wiggins, Selden and Perry phoning one in!

    Only a very, very, VERY good team with a great, masking artist for a coach could win that game.

    And they are and he is.


  • @jaybate 1.0 You know, I was looking at KU’s kenpom stats and I noticed something. For all of KU’s turnover problems the past couple of years, on average they aren’t any more prone to TO’s than any of the past teams as per Kenpom. Each TO stat per 100 possessions of each team since 04 ranges from 18-20. So if KU can actually trend down on TO’s and fouls given for the rest of the season, they will absolutely be a Final Four caliber team. They got the Offensive power that hasn’t been seen since 08. They got long and athletic bigs and guards that are starting to learn how to play Self ball, together. Here’s to hoping they continue the improving trend all the way through March Madness!

  • Another close game televised by CBS. Good for ratings I guess. There are rarely any blowouts. Teams get big leads, but most of the time there is a ref-aided comeback. I give a ton of credit to OSU for shooting 3 pointers in the second half, however Smart working the refs is what kept the game manageable for OSU. The constant flailing of the arms and flopping was an embarrassment to Big 12 Basketball. Four of Wayne Selden’s five turnovers in the 2nd half were ridiculous. Those passes were terrible. He is a much better passer than that. I thought the OSU press was not that tough, I thought we kind of panicked. Other teams watch tape, we must be ready for presses/traps here on out.

    Tharpe was every bit the leader I had hoped he would be. Big time shots. My man “Fearless Frank” Mason needs to be fearless on the free throw line as well. He did knock down a clutch 3 and was excellent on defense at the end of the game. Too much talent wasted on the bench. Would have loved to see White III, Frankamp, and Greene get loose, especially, once we built up the lead. Could happen on Monday Night. KSU could be the 2nd best team in the Big 12. Team showed that it is a lot more than Wiggins and Ellis.

  • Loving, I mean absolutely loving this ride we are on this season. Ups and downs, all arounds and it is coming together. Just wondering if someone on the bench was telling Self that Black had 4 fouls in the second half when he only had one? Why else would you not play a guy that OSU couldn’t handle down low. Especially when Perry was chucking up bunnies and missing? Embiid won this game for us. Not only did he block 8 shots but how many did he alter?? Wow! Love that Naa was fearless with the game in the balance. I know Wayne was doing a good job on Smart defensively but when he gave up the ball on consecutive possessions I figured he would get the hook ala Frankamp or Greene. If we lost the game I would be pointing in his direction. Seems to me that Frankamp seems stronger in zone/pressure situations. And having Mason on Smart is quite the mismatch. Unless he drives the lane with Embiid there! One helluva of a team and game!

  • @Lulufulu85 Ding, ding, ding- we have a winner!!! That’s it. Our OFFENSE is better. Better than last year. Better than two years ago, at least statistically. Now, if we can learn how to make the other team pay for pressing us …then it’s Katie, bar the door. I think our defense will round into shape, and with Embeast in the paint, we will have a legitimate shot at a Final Four. This team learns from its mistakes, so the 2nd half collapse will keep us humble, and hungry. The next press we see, we will do a much better job with.

  • I like to think I know a lot about basketball, but one question… Do technical fouls matter in a “season” sense, like the NBA? Is there any possibility of losing playing time in the future for too many techs?

    If so (or just to do the right thing) the big 12 should reduce Seldens tech to a personal in the stat sheet.

    I also hope the “scoring” of the ref crew drops and we are not stuck with them in a big game later.

  • @jaybate, I think Self was saving strength and motivating Wiggins, Perry etc for Baylor game Monday as per your theory.

  • A lot of criticism of Smart here for what I’d say is smart play. Don’t blame Smart for fooling refs, blame the refs for Smart fooling them.

    As for Gottlieb folks, give it up. Who cares what he thinks about our team? Why do you get so worked up about it?

    @CaptnMo, I don’t know a lot about basketball, but to my knowledge the T’s don’t accrue like they do in the League.

    @Highelitemajor, I like your analysis of the players yesterday, well done.

    @Jaybate, I just thought of a new saying, “there’s no I in team”!! Oh, but there is a ME!

  • I wish the conference would review flops after the game like the NBA does; Smart would certainly get at least one.

    The double foul call was ridiculous. Instead of giving both players fouls it should have been no foul and the ball goes to the team with the arrow possesion.

    Just about every time you beat the 3/4 court press it should result in an easy basket by the free player waiting by the basket. Instead the ball was being passed to the top of the key and kicked out to reset the play. Anyone remembers the NCAA game against Anderson’s UAB and the 40 minutes of hell fame that had just beaten Kentucky with a full court press the entire game and threatened to do the same to KU? Every time KU guards beat the press the result was an easy basket and a thumping of UAB. Coach Self should show that game to the team, although that KU team was coached by Coach Roy Williams.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I would really like to see an explanation of that double foul. Never seen anything like that. One play, lots of contact, but you have to assign blame to one player, or none. If the refs can’t agree, it should be a no-call.

    Our bench is deeper, so a double foul instead of none benefits us. Still, it was odd.

  • @KUSTEVE “Embeast” is great! Or should it be “Embiist”, I’m not sure. Anyway, great find.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    1. Yeah, for all the hype (Keegans, Seth Davis in the pre-game) about how he gets up for the biggest games, it was sure a poor performance. Agree on the kudos to Self for sitting him.

    2. Not sure it was so much the press as much as it was OSU getting hot from 3, but yeah, some of the turnovers were maddening.

    3. The prevailing thinking seems to be that he shrinks in the more physical games. And while OSU was thin up front, it was a physical contest. And I can forgive Jamari’s lack of rebounding yesterday. I’ve been singing his praises for awhile now (on kusports.com). Where he was once described as being a marginal player on a team the caliber of the Jayhawks, he’s now an asset off the bench.

    4. His defense is hard to mask, but he’s got the hot hand right now.

    5. With Embiid dominating the second half, it was as if Self just choose Traylor over Black. No big qualms there, as Jamari played well and there are only so many post minutes to be had. Black & Traylor together is fun to watch.

    6. No complaints about the quick hook yesterday. HIs passing it off with a second left on the shot clock was ridiculous.

    7. I share your frustration, but if we’re going to excuse all of Tharpe’s shortcomings due to an excellent offensive performance, maybe the same should go for Selden due to an excellent defensive showing? My problem was that with Wiggins riding the pine, Self plugged Mason in instead of Greene. No offense to Mason, and there are definitely times I like having both Mason & Tharpe on the court at the same time, it just seems like there were second half minutes to be had by Greene.

    8. Puzzling. Doghouse? Undisclosed injury? Impending transfer following the season?

    9. As it was described on a recent telecast, he doesn’t seem to be a “pure point guard”, but more of a “third down back”. I think the experiment of him starting earlier in the year proved he wasn’t quite ready to lead the team. He’s definitely valuable in his role, and hopefully can improve on his game to include driving with the intent to dish as his career progresses.

    10. I was screaming at the TV when he got that foul hedging. That aside, wow. So special. Perhaps his destiny can also be leading us to the promised land?

  • @ParisHawk I saw it on a tweet, and really liked it. I can’t wait for March to see how far he progresses.

  • @HighEliteMajor Timefor anotherclassic HEM/kD disagreement 🙂 On point 2, yes, we didn’t do great against the press, however, lack of preparation wasn’t the problem this time. Lack of preparation means no plan and/or no practice. Since neither of us get to actually sit in on KU practices, neither of us is truly able to say beyond conjecture exactly what gets practiced, but I think it’s safe to assume that at some point over the winter break, press breaking was worked on to some extent. And just watching the first few possessions of the second half, it becomes immediately clear that guys knew what they were supposed to be doing, but failed to execute. You say the plan was to passively pass over the press. I’m a little surprised to hear that from you, honestly. The first time this team struggled with a press on the year, you delivered an excellent treatise on how to break the press, which included passing over it. There was nothing passive about the tactic. Yes, guys dribbled toward the trap areas, but that’s what you do if you’re going to pass over a press. You can’t pass the ball away until you draw the trap defenders towards you, and you’re not going to draw trap defenders towards you without moving towards the trap areas. Simply launching the ball down the court is going to lead to live-ball turnovers and run-outs. I suppose you can criticize the strategy, but it was one that, if you didn’t advocate it yourself, you at least admitted its viability.

    Now, we don’t get a good look at the first pressing possession, at least from CBS. Joel’s block on Nash leads to a shot clock violation. The camera actually catches Smart signalling his team for the press, but the possession itself gets lost between camera cuts. There’s a steal in the back court and a layup from Nash. I’ll chalk that one up to caught off guard. The following possession, the guys move to their press-break positions. Tharpe advances the ball, then passes to Selden. Selden moves towards the trap, the trappers start to move, then Selden reacts to pass back to Tharpe. Unfortunately, he’s a little antsy and takes a stutter-step before he makes the pass and gets called for the travel. In the next possession, Selden gets the ball in the same position, finds Embiid on the sideline on the look ahead, makes the pass and it leads to a beautiful alley-oop to Ellis. And on the next, Selden recognizes the same situation, but this time passes while Embiid isn’t looking. The pass whizzes by and, despite his fantastic length and speed, Embiid is unable to make the save back to his teammates.

    I could go on from here, but I think the point has been made. There was a clear plan. When the plan was executed, it did what it was supposed to do and led to easy buckets. When it wasn’t, it led to turnovers. Luckily, most of them were dead-ball, but either way, it quickly got OSU back in the game. Now, I suppose you could make the case that poor execution of a plan is lack of preparation, but in my opinion, it’s just lack of experience. Practice as much as you want, but there is no substitute for the real thing. Selden didn’t respond well, but he knew how he was supposed to respond. Mason and Tharpe both had instances of where they dribbled too far into the traps or their outlets moved too late or too far and wound up in trouble, but regardless, they seemed to know what they were supposed to do. Again, if you want to make the argument that passing over the press isn’t the right way for this team to approach the issue, fine. But they had a plan and were clearly instructed in how to execute it. Self can teach them what to do, but he can’t very well jump in and run the point himself.

  • @jaybate 1.0 Was Self “holding his horses”? Was that why he didn’t play Black 2nd half? Is he trying to hold this team back so they don’t peak too early?

  • Well, I’m not totally bad luck I guess! What a great game to experience live. It leaves me wondering: why are my anxiety valleys and peaks so much less when I watch the game in person, versus watching it on television and enduring the commercial breaks? There is some sort of psychological phenomena at play there , I believe.

    On to random thoughts…

    I really enjoyed seeing the interaction between Coach Self & Brannen Greene on the sidelines. I’m starting to get the feeling that Self has really high hopes for Greene and is grooming him to explode. If you look at the 4:50 ish mark in the first half after Greene misses the open three and then gets burnt on d so badly, you can see why Greene can’t quite stay on the floor right now.

    As far as calling for Selden to have less playing time, he was the only guy who could really guard Smart. Mason did okay, and bothered him with his feistiness, but the lob inside to Marcus over the smaller Mason illustrated perfectly why Marcus demands a top defender.

    For such a poor statistical performance, Wiggins had an exceptional attitude after the game. I believe that is promising and shows that he really is more of a team player and prefers playing within the structure of the game. The problem I see with him is that he is now too predictable from an offensive standpoint. All of the moves that worked for him vs inferior talent (High School) is being scouted against and defended very well at this level, and he has not adjusted. I really look for him to be stronger with the ball while splitting defenders in the paint. Marcus Smart wore off on him in the sense that Wiggins seemed to be going for the Oscar nomination on a few plays instead of actually going to the rack like he cant be denied. 2 rebounds and no free throws, so he doesn’t pass my “effort” test, but I also get the feeling maybe he was a decoy yesterday.

    Selden is now part of the press break, to have that taller guard cross half court. I was calling for a taller guard to pass over the top after drawing the trap, because Mason & Naa are 5’9 maybe 5’10 and really struggle there. We were three Selden turnovers from three more ally-oops. This is definitely correctable.

    Self made the mistake of handing The Keys to Wiggins early in the season, but has totally redeemed himself by giving them back to Naadir and now we are headed down the right path. Definitely on the upward side of the peak.

  • @konkeyDong I’ll hit right on the press issue. Really appreciate the discussion. I did not say that we did not have a press break strategy. I said we just had one. Sitting back, which we did, and passively passing over the top, is a flawed strategy. You must be aggressive and crisp. But it can’t be your only press break.

    There are two main points to my criticism. 1) That we have we have just one press break strategy, and 2) that we approach a press passively.

    Very importantly, the press did change the game and allowed them to get the lead cut to 5 by the 13:29 mark. The press changed the pace of the game, it changed the momentum, it allowed OSU to get fired up, and it changed who was in control.

    -The press changed the pace of the game from KU being into control, to OSU.

    -OSU got a steal and a quick bucket off the press at 18:20, lead 48-32.

    -OSU got a steal and three pointer off the press at 18:07, lead cut to 48-35.

    -OSU got a steal, but didn’t score at 16:48.

    -There was the tech on Embiid, lead cut to 52-44.

    -Wiggins turns it over, just following the press break, rushing a drive that wasn’t there, Forte for three, lead cut to 54-47.

    -Then after Forte’s made three, the ball bounces around, Traylor walks away from it, we get the ball in. Selden then throws it away, the same cross court pass the Tharpe; Forte pumps his fist; Brown hits a three, lead cut to 55-50.

    I’m sorry, here, but it was the press that changed everything. Lead cut to five. New ballgame.

    On the first point, there is simply no denying that we employed just one strategy to break the 2-2-1 half court trap. Self had his two guards, Tharpe and Selden, get the ball to near half court, then pass either back to the other guard, cross court, or to a big guy at the wing/corner. During OSU’s run to cut it to five, we did get one lob dunk out of that strategy.

    My criticism is the the following:

    1. Self had our 3 camp near the top of the key. He did not have him flash. So he was useless. We never threw one pass to the 3 in the middle. And the three never created even a diversion to permit a different pass. You can use the 3 to flash, draw a hard recover by the defender, which then opens a passing opportunity. We did not do that at all. Getting a flasher the ball allows the flasher then to turn and attack, or pass to the 1 or 2 guard streaking down the sideline (whichever side has the defender that recovered on the second level. That’s attacking.

    2. Self did not employ any screens against the zone press. For example, the 3 coming up and back screening say Marcus Smart in the front of the zone so a guard can dribble to defeat it. Screening against any zone is a huge part of the strategy. That’s attacking.

    3. Our guards never once took the ball hard on the dribble, and hit a seam. My opinion is that if you do not have enough confidence in your point guard’s ball handling to do that, he should not be on the court. Both Tharpe and Mason are capable of that. It needs to be part of the strategy. That’s attacking.

    4. We employed exactly the same floor spacing and positioning. 2 guard facing the front side of the 2-2-1. It is acceptable to attack and even front with and odd front, going with 1 or 3. A flasher can come from 1 of those 3. And each time, we left our post guys back, waiting. Changing floor positioning is aggressive. It needs to be part of the strategy. That’s attacking.

    5. Further, we did not try a skip pass. This is risky. it’s one that was wide open vs. Villanova. A pass from near court, just before the half court line to the opposing wing. That area was open as the 3 in the middle drew the defender. It is not to be tried every time. It is risky. It depends on the athleticism of the back defender, too. It is part of a strategy. That’s attacking.

    6. Finally, one of my pet peevs. We allow OSU to set up on a made basket. The guy closest to the ball does not throw it in. On the last turnover by Selden noted above, Traylor just watched the ball bouncing away while OSU set up. To be aggressive against a zone, you have the guy closest to the ball throw it in immediately, many times you can get the ball to a guard a bit on the run. Against a 2-2-1, the middle is vulnerable. That’s attacking.

    But with regularity, we sent lob passes between our two guards just before half court. Our passes were not crisp. And we did not attack open areas with our passing.

    Most importantly, though, we had just one passive strategy to attempt to defeat the press. It’s easy to prepare for. I would expect a D-1 team to have a myriad of press break strategies. Simply called by name. To mix things up, to make an opposing team pay for the temerity of even thinking of pressing us.

    You say that it is lack of experience. Do you think these guys maybe saw a 2-2-1 3/4 court press before? They were given one strategy to break it. Just one.

    And you mention lack of execution. Remember Atlantis? We weren’t prepared. Then Self admitted they weren’t prepared for the post trapping vs. SDSU. Then Self admitted yesterday that they weren’t prepared to foul with the lead because they hadn’t practiced it. Lack of preparation is an issue.

    The strategy employed Saturday was insufficient (I nearly said incompetent, but didn’t). Ok, I’ll say this – it was borderline incompetent.

  • Long time lurker, love reading everyone’s posts.

    Not sure if I’m doing this correctly, but wanted to share something

    link text

  • @eleehehe It worked! Keep sharing.

  • @icthawkfan316 Good to see your gap toothed avatar back! Keep posting, I like what you write.

  • @KUSTEVE, its not a question of peaking too early at this point. It is more a matter of trying to figure out how to win both games this weekend.

    Self was probably pretty confident heading out the second half that he could win the game and wanted to give his starters some limited minutes. He knew by game time in the first half that Baylor had been extended to the buzzer, so he knew he could either play some of his guys that would be needed against Baylor’s height less.

    But then OSU’s 2-2-1 press the second half surprised and put Self on the defensive. They had pretty clearly not prepared for it. Facing that defense unprepared is very tough and TOs are sure to follow, no matter who you play. Your only option is to play the guys that you think will bake fewer pop tarts, not no pop tarts.

    When Self gets surprised he tends toward his most experienced guys. Thus, Selden may have been playing bad, but he was likely to make fewer mistakes under the pressure of the 2-2-1 than Frank, or Greene, while the team was adjusting to playing against it. I frankly think Self has some doubts about Wiggins and Ellis’ abilities to read and adjust to new things. He sure as heck did not want Greene, or Frankamp, in against a 2-2-1 press. He didn’t even want Mason in it until Mason had had a chance to watch it awhile and specific situation arose where Mason could contribute something specifically needed. Mason was brought in to attack Brown with three fouls and foul him out. He could have kept Selden in but Selden needed a blow and he did not want to waste Selden’s fouls further trying to foul Brown out. When Brown fouled out, Selden hadn’t played very well, and was exhausted, so Mason got to stay in against the shorter subs. Tharpe had to stay in, because it took Tharpe and Mason to break the 2-2-1, even part of the time.

    Why was Traylor in instead of Ellis? The problem was that KU kept getting pushed farther and farther out. Self wanted someone that could push in.

  • Awesome. I by no means take any credit for these photos. If you haven’t seen yet, there is a thread on phog.net dedicated to Marcus Smart photoshops.

    link to thread

    Great analysis here, so glad I found the old kusports crew.

  • @jaybate 1.0 That has to be it. He’s thinking Baylor as well. Makes sense. I will be so happy when we learn to beat the press. Our team could have some spectacular run outs with the crew we have. That was the one thing Roy used to do so well - beating the press. I still remember when Pitino decided he would press us all day, and we scored 150 against Kentucky.

  • @HighEliteMajor I think that konkeyDong is right about it being a lack of execution rather than preparation. In the post game press conference, Self clearly states that they knew that OSU was going to press. They simply did not execute.

  • Great discussion. As DinarHawk points out, we knew they would press, but we didnt execute as well as we could have.

    One point to consider, especially if we think that every opponent should press us since we are bad at it, as shown in various games (especially at FL), is that “pressing defense” may not be in our opponents arsenals. To do it right, must practice it, or else opponent will break it quickly and expose you. I think for most non-pressing teams (like KU also is), using a press defense is a “junk” or gimmick defense.

  • Monday Night Baylor will be hungry for a victory. They will not eat with us. Don’t you think Wiggs goes for 24-10-8. Ellis gets back to basics, rebounds!

    On the times in the game that Black and Traylor are in , I just sit and smile at how strong is our bench. For one am becoming more and more of a Selden fan, give him the green light, he will be our Shady for this year Final Four, secret but not secret if that makes sense.

  • @eleehehe PHOF photo. I LOVED it. Even my wife KSU gal laughed out load.

  • @Blown Good to know you are not bad luck!

  • @DinarHawk: Self expected pressing but it’s clear Ford set him up with the junk presses in the first half, then totally fooled him with the 2-2-1 second half. The first half junk presses were some of the most cockeyed I ever saw. And meant to give Self and staff the wrong press to talk about at Hal time; then WHAM! Open in a well drilled 2-2-1 and sustain till KU cracked from trying to run a press break technique for the wrong press. Ford was brilliant. No way was Self copping to getting tricked. He just smoothed it over it saying with out specificity that they knew they would press. Each zone requires guys to start in different spots and break to different seams to break it. You are trying to get to the seams, then break guys to the next open space based on where the zone will deform next. 1-2-1-1 is a game of drAwing point and wing to the ball and passing behind the wing and quickly pivoting to breakers down the sideline before the second one can block the passing Lane. It unfolds down the sideline. KU HAD PREPPED FOR THAT AND DID OK THE FIRST HALF. The 2-2-1 surprised them and they never once got the ball into hole between the 2-2, so they never deformed the zone so and got to hit breaks at the point of deformation on the back two so the anchor never had to commit away from the iron so no easy baskets were had. Passing over the top of a 2-2-1 is roulette. Bounce passes are the coin of the realm. Self got snookered.

  • @HighEliteMajor Ok. Did we employ one strategy against the press? Sure. But you’re trying to set up a false dilemma here. You don’t need more than one strategy to break a press any more than you need separate toasters for white and wheat bread, you just need to be able to execute the strategy. That isn’t to say there’s no room for variation, but that’s tactics, not strategy. I don’t disagree with your break down of the course of events as it’s described. It’s the same stuff I was going over. But what you’re identifying as passivity is actually naivete. You identify where OSU was successful with the press, but neglect to mention specifically why.

    The steals happened when guys made mistakes. Failure to execute isn’t the same thing as failure to plan, nor the same thing as failure of strategy. When Tharpe picks up the ball before he’s drawn trap defenders, then gets picked, it’s not because the strategy failed. He picked up the ball too soon. That’s not part of the strategy. The other guys either didn’t see this or didn’t react in time and there’s a TO. Selden throwing the sideline pass to Embiid when he isn’t looking is more on Embiid than Selden and again, not part of the strategy. Selden was impatient. Embiid was in the right general area, but didn’t have his head up. Wigs not recognizing and attacking into defenders with numbers after breaking the press is a classic freshman mistake and not part of the strategy. Again, patience, recognition. Those are things he’s struggled with throughout the year, and he was especially bad about in this game.

    Experience makes the difference here. These issues go away as players get more reps. You also mention the PGs not attacking with the drive, but that’s not true. There were a couple of times where Mason or Tharpe made a great drive over the half court line only to find out that their outlet(s) didn’t advance with them and they wound up in a bad situation until a cutter could recognize and save the play. That’s execution. And it’s clear that lob passing back and forth in the back court wasn’t the ONLY thing being done. In fact, Selden doesn’t often throw lobs. He line drives. The rainbow passes tend to originate with Tharpe and Mason and are largely a product of practicality more so than anything else. At 5’10" or 5’11" each, they’re the shortest guys on the court. If they’re going to pass over a trap set by 6’2" and 6’3"+ guards, that’s how they have to throw. And lob passing itself isn’t inherently passive either. Forcing the defense to shift is aggressive. Driving the ball towards the trap, springing it, then passing out, even lob passing, is part of a strategy. It’s attacking.

    Mixing up the general strategy (passing over the press), however, is irrelevant. When KU executed, they were successful as evidenced by the times they were able to get easy buckets, and even the times they simply set up and ran the half court offense. It isn’t merely luck. It’s what’s supposed to happen. So no, I can’t swallow any notion that this is generally poor strategy on Self’s part unless you can come up with something more convincing. Now, that’s not to say I’m not open to some of your criticism. Particularly, I strongly agree with #6. The easiest way to break a press is to get the ball moving before the D can get set up and KU was entirely too lax with getting the ball inbound when they should have known the press was coming. On #5, I’m not sure this team has the length to skip pass, but it’s doable. #4 is irrelevant if you simply execute with the 2 guard front. Draw a trap and there’s always someone open. That’s about as fundamental as it gets. #3 I flat out dispute as true, and I likewise would put a Benjamin down that if you call into Hawktalk this week and ask if Tharpe and Mason have the green light to drive against the press, Self would give you a resounding yes and tell you that’s something that they work on.

    As for the first two (don’t know why I went reverse order, but here we are), these would be nice wrinkles to add. In fact, I’d even add to #1 that it could be advantageous to put Embiid in the 3 position of the press break especially when Wigs is in, but I have a different argument for you altogether for these. I’ve talked a lot about lack of experience, but really that phrase means two things. KU is the 5th youngest team in the country so it’s fair to say, they don’t have a lot of experience playing at the college level. Even Tharpe, the most veteran guy on the team, averaged sub 20 minutes per game in the year prior. So yeah, guys are getting thrown into a lot of situations that are unfamiliar. But you’re incredulous, and rightly so, that these kids wouldn’t be familiar with attacking a 2-2-1 press. Given that most of them (save Embiid and Traylor) have been playing competitive ball for more than half their lives, I’d be a fool to disagree with that assessment. Still, as a team, they’ve only been playing together a couple of months and they still make mistakes that show exactly that. The very first TO Selden had in the 2nd half wasn’t because of the press. It was the very first possession, in fact, where Perry was posted with great position, Selden had the passing angle, recognized, and fired the ball to Perry. It’s difficult to tell from the camera angle if Selden threw the ball out of reach or if Ellis didn’t go after it quickly enough, but what should have been as easy a finish at the rim as you can get became a horrible mistake. Now I doubt you’d try to argue to me that posting and feeding with a lead pass from the wing is bad or passive strategy, but this is essentially what you’re telling me about Self’s press break and again, I’m forced to disagree without a more compelling argument.

    I’ve digressed quite a bit here, so back to my broader point. These guys haven’t played together a ton and likewise, Self hasn’t had a ton of time to cram everything in. Admittedly, our press break strategy is the simplest and most straightforward implementation of a press break you can get, but I still disagree that it’s in any way passive. It would be nice to add these wrinkles (points 1 and 2), but, as we’ve seen, the guys still haven’t mastered the basic implementation of the strategy (draw the trap, reverse the ball, look for easy outlets, repeat), so I’m not sure how practical it is to try and add screening and cutting on to the existing plan unless and until they look comfortable in the first place. The lack of execution that I’ve been stressing doesn’t exist because these kids haven’t seen this stuff before. It doesn’t exist because they don’t know what they’re supposed to do. It exists because they haven’t run this stuff together so much that it’s become second nature. Now, you can argue that that’s what practice is for, but there’s two problems there: practice is no substitute for game time, and there’s an opportunity cost for focusing on one area over another. Would you rather work shoring up our 3pt shooting (we’re averaging 40% now in Big 12 play) or work on the press break? What about defensive rotations that were so loose through the nonconf schedule? You’ve seen the same improvement I have there, haven’t you? So while I don’t disagree that he press break is lagging, I think that’s a matter of necessity more than anything else. There simply isn’t enough time in the year to cover all of the warts on a team. That’s why freshmen (as in multiple) led title teams have been the exception (2012), not the rule (pretty much the rest of NCAA history). So will we likely see more of the press as conf play continues? Sure, but that’s to our benefit, not our detriment. Even if we pick up a loss or two because of it, getting the reps will make the team better at execution, and those passive mistakes that are making your head ache now will be fewer and further between. Trust.

  • @DinarHawk Don’t let that point convince you. Self said that prior to the SDSU game that they knew SDSU would trap the post. And he then admitted on Hawk Talk that they should have prepared better for that.

    @konkeyDong We’ll just have to agree to disagree here. You seem to think mixing up strategy is “irrelevant.” I cannot disagree more. Defenses adjust to what they see. Variations keep them a step slow.

    You seem to think that that the guys not executing has little to do with proper preparation. I’m curious as to how you explain the points Self has admitted to regarding not preparing? And don’t you think it’s reasonable that our guys, with their relative inexperience at the D-1 level, were under- prepared?

    And I don’t “trust.” I watched us lose to Michigan when our guys were not instructed to foul. I hear coach Self yesterday say that we haven’t worked on fouling in such a situation.

    I’ve coached a lot of basketball, and this isn’t rocket science. Press break needs to be aggressive, and varied. Quite frankly, the bigger guys are, the easier it is to break because they can pass the ball further. We did the same thing, and did it poorly. As a result, our 17 point lead turned to 5. In the tourney, that spells disaster – see Michigan.

    Thanks for the excellent discussion.

  • @Wishawk you’re a good man, wish.

  • why are my anxiety valleys and peaks so much less when I watch the game in person, versus watching it on television and enduring the commercial breaks?

    @Blown Because you were in the Cathedral. 😉

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