A One, an a Two, an a Three...
No, I’m not going into details about Svi’s game-winning travel that covered so much distance had he been running east he could have been sitting at his mother’s dinner table for a bowl of borsch.
I want to discuss what happened last night. Why did we eek out a victory at home against a team with ZERO McDs AAs (more like Burger King AAs).
The first thing that pops into my head; how did these animal husbands score 88 points in our building?
What I see as our biggest current issue is tempo. You may want to call it “pace” or “speed.”
Bill Self is the conductor of our twelve-piece orchestra. We should mount a pedestal in the bench area and give him a conductor’s baton.
This IS the area where we need help… first, finding the right tempo to win today. But what is most-important is DEVELOPING the tempo that will win for us in the future!
Adjusting game tempo is no easy feat. Not only is it hard to speed up players and the game, but to have them EXECUTE well at a changing speed is beyond difficult. And how does a coach know what tempo will work best for his team?
We have had examples of good “tempo-master” coaches in the Big 12. El Mayor from ISU understood tempo very well and did his best to tune his team’s tempo. Huggybear has a bit of a different method for obtaining his fast pace; pushing intensity and his pressing style of play.
So WHY is tempo an issue for Kansas?
If you want to really experience how we got to where we are as of last night, go back through your DVRs and watch some of our earlier games. Granted, some of those opponents were not as challenging as our Big 12 opponents, but you will see it for yourself. Since starting Big 12 play, we have SLOWED down our tempo. By slowing down the tempo we have weaponized our big men. They are now empowered. Especially Landen, mostly because of his 5 years of experience knowing “Self ball.”
Did you really think Landen just started “getting it?” Landen (and Carlton) were struggling with our tempo. Our guys ran a sped up offense. Perhaps a side effect of the fast tempo offense was our fast tempo defense.
Bill now has a couple of Big 12 games to study and compare with some earlier games. What tempo will give us the best results? Is there a range, a frequency band, that we can play almost our best basketball? Or are we going to be a finicky team that must always keep a specific pace in order to win?
Our offense looks like it can handle some pretty big shifts in tempo. We scored 90 points last night at a slower tempo. We played a tempo tailor-made for KSU… and… for Landen Lucas.
The major problem we faced last night was the lack of intensity on the defensive end. This seems to be very tempo-related. We can’t really run a slow, deliberate offense (comparative to how fast we were playing) then a few seconds later turn up the intensity on defense. Humans don’t work that way.
The focus now needs to be clearly on our defense. We all know our post defense is struggling to defend. The TV analysts put up past stats of our opponent’s big men and their numbers were huge. We may be able to tweak Landen and Carlton… but I wouldn’t expect miracles to change on their post defense. Where we can help them IMMENSELY is to turn up the intensity of our perimeter players on defense. Last night, there was ZERO friction from our perimeter defense to stop their interior passes.
So the problem is… how do we speed up our perimeter players on defense while keeping them slowed down on offense?
We only had 2 steals in this game. And from a team that has already proven it can steal the ball with the best of them.
A faster tempo probably fixes this. It isn’t just about getting our guys to play faster. It is also about getting our opponents to play faster. Push them into a quicker pace than they are used to playing at and they will turn the ball over. Turnovers lead to run outs. Run outs help support and intensify a quicker tempo.
Funny… but we finally got the “grind game” Bill always used to enjoy being in. But this time it lacked defense on both sides.
Prepare yourself for some unpredictable results. The past two games were not a fluke. Half our team isn’t down with the flu bug. Until Bill figures out how to get these guys stabilized on a proper tempo, we are in for some strange results.
All I can say is that Bill is aware of the tempo issue. I’m certain of that. Bill has ALWAYS been aware of tempo and tempo-related issues. But in past years he has not always been able to properly tweak the tempo.
This year we have 3 alpha-dog, tough guards out there at all times. We should be able to control game tempo… at least, we should be able to control OUR tempo to some degree.
The conundrum is; do we speed up the game and help our guards or do we slow down the game and help our bigs?
We’ve had some games in both directions now. I feel like we are lucky that our first game wasn’t at Baylor and our second game wasn’t in the Sherronagon!
@drgnslayr So Ya think Svi can polka the whole length of the court? I for one am beginning to think along the lines of @justanotherfan & the 5 guard, fire cracker offense. Who in tarnation, or the whole friggin nation for that matter, could match up with that other than an entire team of thoroughbreds? If we play vs UK like we did last night, they’ll run 🏃 us outta the gym before half. I think you’re onto something here slayr & controlling who against & how we can set our own tempo, we may be in better control of our own destiny than I for one, ever imagined. Damn good 😊 thread slayr, at the top of your game once again. RCJH!
@drgnslayr SWISH! Even Mr Welk would be proud !
Seems like their points scored the last two games are right around their average. Are you saying their possessions are down?
@Blown that would be something to check if someone knows where to find it. I think part of it is we havent really been able to score in transition but we have done a good job of scoring in a half court game. That is correlated to Self’s idea of “take what the defense gives us”. If the opponent wants to slow it down, we have to be able to execute.
One logical explanation is that despite other posters (who may or may not have watch them play) calling them a bottom of the conference team, they are indeed a very good team. I have watched several of their games and I have posted here before that they were in “middle of the conference” shape at the beginning of the season, when most teams are just learning to play together. KU under estimated KSU and got bit in the arse.
This was so much more fun than the usual ass whooping that we give them. The purple pu$zies have cried so much about “The Walk” that they are bound to be dehydrated for their next few games. In fact, this was so devastating to the farm-animal kingdom of Manhattan that they may not win another game this season.
Fun fact - for those of you that weren’t aware - this was also the first college basketball game EVER where there was a missed call. It was just that one call too. Not another bad or missed call in the entire game.
Love, love, love, love, love it.
Like this nuleaf?
What I am referring to is the energy level on both sides of the ball. Now we have guys kind of standing around watching the game. A few games ago, guys were running their tails off… running through screens, setting screens, finding gaps… the movement was fast.
Now the movement is slower… it helps players like Landen and eventually, Carlton. But at what cost? Our offense is so capable that we can do anything and still have decent success on offense. We can slack off on offense, and then let someone like Frank or Josh drive the ball and score. The stat sheet doesn’t show you what is happening. But those guys keep the stat sheet looking healthy when in fact, it isn’t as healthy as it should be.
We had lots of bad possessions against KSU. More than we should have. Their defense was extremely average.
@JayHawkFanToo said: KU under estimated KSU and got bit in the arse.
How much of it is really that KU underestimated or KU fans did. K-st played hungry and played their butt off. I think fans and most media that follow the series know that the game in Manhattan is closer then Lawrence. I’m surprised the game was close as I predicted a beat down but it should be no surprise that our rival played maybe above its normal level and KU didn’t play it’s best and still won in the end.
That is an excellent point. I would like to think the coaching staff prepares the team for the competition at hand and if they did their job and scouted KSU they would have seen it is a pretty good team. Unlike a lot of members in this forum, I have actually watched several of KSU games and posted early in the season that KSU was indeed a good team playing cohesively early in the season, something few teams do. Even after the game, if you read all the posts, many still put down KSU calling them bottom feeders and an inferior team. In my opinion, KSU is a pretty good team and definitely a top half in the conference; this by no means makes me a KSU fan but a realist and the last game would indicate I was correct in my assessment.
@JayHawkFanToo coach Self said they were good.
I agree. Only a homer with little basketball knowledge would say they are not.
@drgnslayr Nice post dude. I hadnt really thought of it being a tempo issue. I just figured Lando healed up. Bragg still looks a bit lost out there if you ask me. Our D against KSU was atrocious! I think anything that can be done to improve that should be done. Speed up the tempo. If it works, do it.
Last year all those guys played stellar defense! They havent forgotten how, or lost the will to lock the other team down. Its still there. The only new guy getting meaningful minutes is Josh. Defense should absolutely be a strength of KU’s right now.