Amping vs. Playing Flat

  • I gave considerable thought to jaybate’s pre-game thesis that Bill Self would most probably avoid trying to amp his squad for the two consecutive home games, Sat./Mon. After watching the Sat. second half debacle, I figure that jb was right in his projection that Self would save the amp for Baylor. Evidently, the team was shown the flic of Smart’s backflip, which, along with season-long media focus, was enough for the team to open the game on a natural high. The unexpected but welcome first half surge allowed the coaching staff to back away from halftime promptings, resulting in the flat play we immediately witnessed when the team retook the court…or, better yet, failed to “retake” the court. Self’s utilization of players after halftime, esp. the first ten minutes before the game almost got completely out of hand, is almost as curious as Andrew Wiggins’ evaporation. The only explanation I can arrive at involving second half subbing might relate to deference to TEACHING MOMENTS, Self’s calculation that the lead was substantial enough that he could keep Selden on the floor in spite of the breakddowns from OSU’s press. Whatever the thinking, we came away with a very significant breathtaking win. Luck? Or crafty mentorship?

  • Jaybate is usually right. I would expect Wiggins. Ellis and Selden to rip Baylor tomorrow night. Wiggins only had 3 fouls and sat for 9 minutes, Traylor and Mason played as many minutes as Ellis and Selden only played 12 minutes in the second half. Sit the superstars down and be proud of those that hung on. The team got much better because Bill Self is a Master at his craft. When we had a 19 point lead he was screaming at them. When they lost their memory of how to play basketball he was calmly talking to them with a smile on his face. Take the win and go forward. It make no difference if we are seeded # 1 or # 4. Forget about the NBA Draft and JUST PLAY BALL.

  • @REHawk, I have to confess that after watching the game, I am not too sure what happened. 🙂

    Self was trying to sub a lot, which was consistent with my amping forecast and OSU’s lesser depth.

    At the same time, the game just did get away from Self and his team, so that in the end, they were really having to deplete the energy budget regardless.

    One variable that I forgot to consider in my pre-game analysis was the kind of game Baylor would be involved in and the fact that Self would know by game time, whether Baylor had had to deeply deplete its energy budget, or not.

    Baylor was stressed to the final buzzer in its game with the Sooners, if I recall correctly; that means that Self knew that he could put the spurs to his team that first half and not have to worry about having less gas in his tank than Baylor come Monday night.

    With 20/20 hindsight, what seemed to happen from afar was that Self had approached the Baylor contest in a somewhat neutral posture, assuming that the issues from last season, and the fact that OSU was a major competitor for the title, would be enough on their own to get the team on sufficient edge, and then waited to see what happened to Baylor. Knowing that Baylor had been extended, he apparently decided to give his team a small goose against OSU and let the horses out of the barn the first half, not worrying a great deal about the energy budget versus Baylor, but rather focusing mostly on making sure his team would have more gas in the tank than OSU had come the last ten minutes of this first game of the two.

    When KU blew them out the first half, as Self probably understood they might, and knowing Baylor would be pretty depleted, Self sent them out flat for the second half and anticipated subbing a lot to maximize his incremental advantage in energy budget. In short, he bought a big lead and then started nursing it.

    But then Coach Ford threw him a huge spitball. OSU came out not in the kind of junk presses of the first half, but in a right and proper and disciplined Wooden-style 2-2-1 full court zone press. It did exactly what the 2-2-1 is always supposed to do. It is supposed to slow the opponent down and make him set up farther away from the basket to start his offense. It is also supposed to wear an opponent down emotionally more than physically. You have to concentrate the entire time a 2-2-1 is being played. You have to think. What happens to offensive teams is that they are not used to concentrating non stop during all of a possession–possession after possession, but rather running down, composing themselves setting up and getting ready to run their offense.

    In short, an offense used to thinking entirely about what it is going to run has, instead, to focus 5-9 seconds on how to get down the floor safely before setting up. The 2-2-1 creates this wearing effect, without minimal risk of breakaways associated with m2 m pressing, whether you have a tall post man playing anchor, or not. Hence, small teams should always use it, but “conventional wisdom” today misfocused on the idea that there is no net benefit to running it because it does not force high turnovers on ball, requires a problematic conversion to half court defense, and XTReme Muscling in half court can achieve more disruption and higher set ups, keeps most teams from doing it.

    But, and this is a big but, Travis Ford has realized that the new way the game is being called has stopped the use of XTReme Muscling to force offenses to set up farther out, and has essentially made M2M pressing too risk for getting fouled up, This means that not only is everyone getting more FTs, but they are getting better, closer looks than in the previous seasons of XTReme Muscle Ball. Ford just recalled his read of They Call Me Coach by Wooden and realized, with the game being called more like it used to be, that the 2-2-1 had a new lease on life.

    If you can’t muscle ball handlers in pressing and half court m2m, then the 2-2-1 is the best way to force offenses farther out in their initial set ups for their offenses, and each foot farther out you make a team set up its shooting percentage from out their drops something like one or two points on all their shots, if the offensive team is not very disciplined in working it inside to get closer shots.

    I can follow Ford’s strategic logic and its effect clearly to this point.

    KU has shaky outside shooting anyway. Selden and Wiggins have been 35% trey shooters most of the season and clearly neither has the kind of range to step out two feet farther and hit the broad side of a barn. Selden and Wiggins have been working on shooting very close to the trey stripe to try to inch their trey percentages upwards. Thus the 2-2-1 combined with half court defenses (zone, junk zone, and m2m run by OSU willing to stretch way out) was a perfect prescription for handling KU, because it pushed all shots farther from the basket. KU’s FG% fell precipitously the second half, even as its trey shooting percentage warmed up considerably. KU made the classic mistake of letting OSU’s little defenders push them farther out.

    Where my insight stops is why KU could not adapt to the stretched defense of OSU either to slashing into the gaps of the 2-2-1, or into the gaps in the stretched varieties of half court defenses that OSU threw at them.

    The rule is you pass and run into the seam to catch a pass, or dribble into the seam to dish. Why KU did not do this, I do not know.

    KU’s only effective response was to tell Jamari Traylor to slash to iron from the high post, but, while he got favorable calls on charging, he was still not picking the best opportunities to to make his mover, nor was he getting the ball in the hole to set up a 3 point play.

    Frankly, I hope Self finally embraces the 2-2-1. We have the depth to run it more aggressively than OSU. And we have much bigger anchor defenders. It is a great defense that inexorably leads to runs once the opponent reaches the limit of his concentration.

    Self apparently dislikes it, because it is not about creating mismatches in length and athleticism, which is Self’s offensive and defensive philosophy. It also slows and opponent down, and Self is often trying to use his defenses to speed teams up into transition back to offense so that his great L&A has more chances to outrun and out jump and wear down the opponents that way.

    But Wooden was a the same way once upon a time, before he adopted the 2-2-1.

    Wooden learned that breaking down of an opponent’s concentration over time is a tremendous net benefit and that in time, after slowing him down, it speeds him up to the point of being overwhelmed by length and athleticism moving into transition after mental errors resulting from broken concentration, rather than from superior arm length and athleticism (e.g., Mario Chalmers and RR).

    The 2-2-1 won a ring with 6-5 Freddie Slaughter at the anchor.

    The 2-2-1 won rings with 7-0 Jabbar at the anchor.

    The 2-2-1 won rings with the 6-11 Walton at the anchor.

    The 2-2-1 won rings with the 6-9 Patterson at the anchor.

    It can be adapted to work with every kind of anchor.

    And KU has an abandance of anchors this year.

    And the 2-2-1 always makes the other team expend more of its energy budget breaking it than you do playing it. Properly played, you are never chasing and reaching for steals. You are keeping your man in front of you and slowly steadily retreating to the defensible half court position. But sooner or later the opponent cracks and throws it to one of your guys and you are off to the races.

    Viva the 2-2-1.

    P.S.: After ridiculing Travis Ford for a long time, I now have to pay him respect. He saw deeply and clearly through the instabilities created by rule change and came up with the fitting answer to how to guard under the new rules changes. Way to go, Coach Ford, no more height jokes from me.

  • Self always says he doesnt like to press because it leads to easy baskets. Why does it never lead to easy baskets for us?

  • @jaybate 1.0 Well, one thing is for certain. Jayhawk players will be in a mindset almost to beg the coaching staff for instruction involving breaking such presses. Too much panic and embarrassment now exists for our guards to take a ho-hum mind to practice sessions. In my own teaching/coaching I have found that learners learn best when they are hungry or desperate for means to compete successfully. Kinda like young drivers who oftentimes listen to instruction only after first ticketed driving infraction or fender bender. Self hanged his ball handlers on the line, allowing them to flap in the wind. He probably has maneuvered them into very close undivided attention, so that they can take quick steps to adjust. In doing so he came within seconds of hanging that dwindling lead into a loss, the outcome flapping on that same windswept line!

  • @REHawk But we won. Let’s hope the troops are still eager to listen.

  • I will be completely surprised if we don’t kick Baylor’s backside all the way back to Baylor tomorrow!

    Baylor is playing typical Drewball right now… disorganized and just waiting for a team with some energy and desire to mash to give them a beat down!

  • @drgnslayr Let’s go sick’em!

  • I just wanna see them play a complete game tomorrow night. Not just a half. (beer)

  • REHawk Avatar 2.jpg

    This seems a righteous replacement for ya, REHawk.

    Best regards, jaybate

  • Some of the best Smart - acting photo shops.

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    From Jessie’s twitter

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  • @wrwlumpy I agree, but that’s bc Vegas actually reflects what “should” happen percentage wise. The polls say that 14 teams are better than us. And ANOTHER THING! Anyone remember 2007 when we won B12 tourney and finished #1 in the polls? We received the FOURTH #1 seed and had to play UCLA in California who was the first #2 seed. How did that happen?

  • @jaybate 1.0

    Look like a phallic symbol with a crimson and blue rubber…

  • @JayHawkFanToo Heck, at this stage of life, I can go for PHALLIC!

  • @jaybate 1.0 jb, I bought a new computer and lost my former avatar. Someone, please tell me how to download or get this avatar offering to the buckets site. Consider that you are advising a computer imbecile. jb, thanks lots for the artwork.

  • @REHawk Should be able to 'right click" on the image and save it to your deskop. If you have a mac, hold down ‘control’ and then click and save image to desktop. Once you have it saved go into your user profile for ku buckets and it will give you the option to upload an image for your avatar. You’ll navigate to the desktop where you have previously saved it. Hope that helps.

  • @JayHawkFanToo , this may say more about you than the avatar! Now tell us what you see in the rhorschact (sp?) ink blots tests? 🙂

  • @jaybate 1.0

    Jaybate in drag?

  • @JayHawkFanToo Again, this may be telling us more about you than the ink blots. Do you have a couch where we can continue the analysis remotely? 🙂

  • @jaybate 1.0

    Now you are starting to sound creepy…

  • @jaybate - love your avatar. Does blood leaketh from thee chalice? Or should I say ‘grail’?

    And your avatar for REHawk… is it what I think it is?


  • @drgnslayr From the Avengers, " Doth Mother know you weareth her drapes"?

  • @REHawk I hope you’re right that they spend time learning to break the press. I would think we’d have a huge advantage with the speed we have on our team in breaking that press.

  • @drgnslayr–howling with laughter at the hose and nozzle you apparently inserted. Love it.

    What you really ought to do next is take a big Nike, or Adidas, petro-basketball shoe and insert it into the side of the shoe the same way. Now that would be an icon for the ages!!!

    P.S.: Please email REHawk which ever version he likes best. Your version with the gas pump is a little more edgy, as they say in Hollyweird.

  • @JayHawkFanToo, creepy? oh, my, pre-game tension. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. 🙂

  • @drgnslayr forgot to answer your query about the hemoglobin factor. Yes, HEM found me a marvelous jpeg of a bloodied up grail, and so I thought I better make a blood reference in my attempt at a post modern, baroque basketball iGrail.

    And again a hilarious “re-purposing” of the original REHawk avatar suggestion. 🙂

  • @KUSTEVE Best I can tell so far, Heslip seems the only Failor Bear we ought to have a speed edge on. But I hope we are faster than all of them.

  • @jaybate 1.0 Or is that FEYLOR Bares?

  • @REHawk Ha! One upped by the coach!

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