Thoughts from the Game

  • 4-0 start, as expected with a 1 game lead going into the weekend after Baylor’s no-show at Hack Virginia. Not a bad spot to be in this early. Now to the game.

    Insert________tag line to describe the first half. . We would be hard pressed to find as poor a half this season. Lack of energy, lack of pride on defense, lack of rebounding, missing easy shots, turnovers. Removing that half from memory and moving on…

    2nd half was excellent. Urgency, aggressiveness, making shots, rebounding, the attempt to defend was there.

    We saw heart in the 2nd half all started by our Senior POY Frank Mason. Self pulled the right strings and got his response immediately. Josh Jackson set up 2 momentum swinging plays.

    Once KU got the lead it was clear the air had left Oklahoma. That was a signature performance from Frank Mason last night. Amazing really, the guys fed off his emotion and shot making. @drgnslayr pointed out that he wants an emotional leader on the court, I think we saw how this team fed off Frank having one of those “Sherron Collins” type nights in Lloyd Noble. That’s what we want from our senior leader.

    Some other positives:

    Landon Lucas with his 3rd double/double in Big-12 play. He is simply giving us enough to make it by with the guards. Stayed out of foul trouble, got the rebounds he was supposed to and just played hard.

    Devonte Graham didn’t have a scoring barrage this time but I thought his energy was excellent early in the game and in the 2nd half. Had some really sweet passes and made shots when he needed to. Happy with his last 2 games, I think he clearly got the message of how he was playing.

    Just OK

    Josh Jackson had his 2nd “off game” on the road. I want to see better from him in future road games because this team will not survive them in more hostile environments. Outside shot wasn’t there, but he quietly got his points in the 2nd half after yet another foul happy 1st half. I don’t know if I’ve seen a player as good as him make such stupid fouls. When he gets early fouls it seems to set the mood for his night. I did like his aggressiveness to the basket 2nd half and for once his FT shooting was better than average. There is still more this kid can give this team…


    Svi & Vick’s defense. Both glaring weaknesses last night. Svi is an easy target to drive because he offers little resistance. Vick is possibly the worst help defender I’ve seen, he has some major strides to gain on defense. Every-time he leaves his man, that guy ends up making a 3. Saw it numerous times last night. Some tweaks need to be made with both of them.

    Carlton/Dwight/Mitch. A forgettable game for Bragg, I think he was yanked after that shot he took from just inside the 3 point line that was not a shot Self wanted that early in the clock. We saw quickly why we have a 7 man rotation (and for most of the night 6). Mitch/Dwight come into the game and get called for offensive fouls. Nothing will get you on the bench quicker then doing that. They didn’t audition well for being used in a pinch.

    On to Saturday against Oklahoma St, I believe the last Big-12 team to beat us at home? Is that right?

  • @BeddieKU23 I think we need to switch Svi to the 4 spot and JJ to the 3. I’m surprised we haven’t. Svi even rebounded pretty well last night.

  • @Kcmatt7 2nd half! Svi scares me against West Virginia w/his passing!

  • @Kcmatt7 I don’t know if it matters much

  • @BeddieKU23

    Wow… I loved Frank’s aggressiveness in this game. Reminded me of Sherron.

    We need alpha-dog behavior, but spread well throughout the team. I did think all our guys put out a better effort the second half. Don’t know how much of that was driven by Frank, how much of that was driven by Self, chewing some major butt at half. I bet it was LOUD in their locker room.

    I still think we need more direct floor leadership.

  • @drgnslayr I am so disappointed in bragg’s play! I wasn’t expecting as much as he was hyped, but more than what he’s showing. Bragg and Vick need to dial it up!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Well I would like to have JJ out on the perimeter pressuring guards to force easy turnovers. He has the talent and length to take a guard completely out of the game. Can’t say the same when he is at the 4.

  • Bragg is just the odd man out. When other players are given roles in the front, someone has to step to the back. It is a different mindset being one of the main players compared to being a role player. Knowing the ball is going to touch your hands most possessions has a major impact on highly touted players. Knowing the offense does not run through you at all has a major impact on highly touted players as well. He will improve once he figures his role out. He will get there sooner than later in my opinion.

  • @Kcmatt7 just seems we’re switching so much, but yes, he’s a much better defender!

  • @KansasComet we need him!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Understand completely what that statement means & agree 100% - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Carlton sure had some bad moments again. He just isn’t in sync with himself or the team. He is bound to improve. Sometimes he tries to do too much, when in reality, he is accomplishing little. He just needs to focus on the basics right now… defense… rebounding… and take offense when it is given.

    Vick is getting some seasoning… he’s a player… give him time.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 We are switching way too much! Drives me crazy. Not a normal Bill Self defense.

  • @Kcmatt7

    The sad thing is this team knows how to fight through screens. We’ve seen moments where they ran through screens like they weren’t even there (and without fouling).

    It is about being aggressive… mindset.

  • I agree, biggest concerns are the same as they have been all year to me rebounding and defense. The second half may have been the best half we have had all year. JJ has start hitting open jump shots, we all knew teams would start to sag off of him to prevent the drive and dare him to shoot. Frank was great in the second, if any PG is better at this point idk who. I still feel like we are counting on 3s too much and will need post scoring at some point. One game at a time lets go boys!

  • @Kcmatt7 I don’t like it either, we taught get off and get thru

  • @drgnslayr That’s where I’m at a loss.

    My only thought is that Bill is having them switch because they are playing a lot of minutes. And taking hard screens through the whole season can take a toll as well. Switching keeps them healthier and fresher through the game and really the entire season. It just seems so unlike Bill…

  • @Kcmatt7 didn’t we all know lt👟 Was going to get a foul, we were just waiting!

  • @drgnslayr

    You have to wonder if Carlton will be around long enough to get in sync. In this day in age he is the type that is having the type of season that finds its exit after the year. I’m in no way speculating what that could mean but where is the Carlton we had last year? Every call that goes against him you are seeing a frustrated player. I’ll chalk this one up to just one of those games but how many of those does he get? We need him to be solid, if not consistent rebounding and a few post points a game. I would love to know what’s going on with him and better yet why has the staff been unable to relate to him in a way to get the most out of his talents. Somewhere the answer lies…

  • @Kcmatt7

    Maybe he is worried about depth.

  • I’m sorry to say this - - -wait no I’m not, But I am afraid Morgantown is going to be a nightmare when we play there on the 24th. Especially if it happens like has been mentioned tonight from the poster of this thread. we got SPANKED on the boards in the 1st half, and there was really no reason for that. Coach Self said it in his post game, players said it. I can see even as talented as Josh is - -when it comes time to play West Virginia, I’m afraid he is going to get sped up in that environment, and have many turnovers, costly. I would of never thought 30 turnovers by Baylor? To me honestly West Virginia is not playing the best are for sure right there with us this season. They are a very scary team.

    Have to ask, when is the last time our team has played an entire 40 minutes of good ball? Seems like Coach has to light their butts up at half to get the response they should have for the game. - I don’t remember when we have played an entire 40 minutes of quality ball. Last night the last 20 minutes was really good, but who here didn’t see that coming? - -I can bet you the paint was blistered in the locker room at half.

    Now I know that are going to be some of you that think OH I’m just a negative Nellie - - -No not at all I’m proud of how the guys responded, I’m proud of how we have done this season - -But I am also realistic enough to realize that come into the WV game I’m worried about Josh - - not because he is not a good player - -WE ALL know he IS GOOD, REALLY GOOD, just afraid he is going to get really sped up and cause him to turn it over, I’m worried about my boy Lucas, - -he has really come around - -but we all know he is always wanting to bring the ball down a lot - -gonna get stripped - - worried about SVI and his passing decisions - - NOT worried about Frank & Devonte BUT they just can’t do it by their selves. We can not afford to fall behind 9-10 points to WV big Difference between playing Oklahoma on their home court and being down 9 - -then being down 9 to WV on their home floor, and we all know how we struggle at WV anyways - -The 24th would be a sweet night to see that complete 40 minutes of quality ball I’ve been talking about - -looking for - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • I’d like to add that if anyone wants to fill out a missing report for Carlton now would be the time. 10 minutes 1 rebound, 3 blocks and 2 fouls.

  • @drgnslayr

    I saw Frank visibly chirping at his players especially in the 2nd half. I believe there was a play in the 2nd half where OU drove to the hoop, it was lazy defense and he was talking to those players after the play, he was pissed. The emotion he showed after going on an incredible individual scoring spree was the type of thing I thought the team did respond favorably too. I think we get more out of Frank then we got from Perry as far as that type of leadership.

    It’s clear that Frank has become amazing at putting the ball in the basket. His 3 point shot looks automatic right now (12-15) last 3. If he’s hitting shots it seems to bring out the most emotion that we can expect from his type of personality…

    Good stuff!

  • @BeddieKU23

    Carlton is in a big process right now. And it all isn’t about basketball. He is growing up. Like the off-court incident. He is having “turbo-experiences” these days and having to absorb, interpret and decide his path. He has a lot on his plate.

    I don’t think people often realize how unique players are on a team. We just see them as ball players. But they all have had unique backgrounds and experiences… and lack of experience.

    I still have high hopes for Carlton. But I don’t know what to expect out of him for the rest of the year. My hope is he starts to really bloom within the next two months. If not then… guess it will be next year.

    He is a mile and a doughnut away from the NBA. Not even close.

  • @BeddieKU23 He has to get drafted, right? I just can’t fathom there being 60 better players in this draft class. Nobody can guard him. Looks like a right handed Isaiah Thomas to me. And now that he has added automatic range from 3 when he is wide-open, I’d have to think teams could do much much worse at their backup PG spot than Frank.

  • @drgnslayr

    Your right he’s far from NBA ready. All that off-season talk has become folklore. In this day and age you have to wonder if he’ll look at other options. His role was taken, his spot was given to a guard playing forward. Big ego hit. Is Bragg smart enough to endure the tough times to keep developing? I hope he is still here

  • @Kcmatt7

    No question he’ll get drafted playing like this. 2nd round seems where he will go if he continued this pace. His 3 point shot being 55% at the moment gives him a ticket to some team. Super athletic, can rebound, pass, he’s using the floater and mid-range more. Forget size with this guy, he’s a ball player who can score. I’m glad he is playing like this to get his name on the radar again, he’s got a family to support. Couldn’t be happier for him

  • @jayballer54

    Morgantown will be umm what’s the word, frustrating to say the least. If we handle the press like Baylor did well we can keep that bus warmed up when they get off. West Virginia is night and day better at home as we saw last night with the ammo to knock off the #1 team. Baylor didn’t even show up after halftime, typical Drew fashion.

    The advantage for KU is we have 3 guards who can break a press down. I don’t trust Svi or Vick with the ball Svi’s passing has been especially lazy as of late. We’ll see in a few weeks.

  • Carltons extremely young for his age, immature. If anyone’s watched post game interviews, he struggles. All part of the process as the now famous Embiid would say.

  • @jayballer54 I don’t think we will get spanked at WVU…could lose though, for sure. It is frustrating watching one of their games, because you just keep thinking that they have to pay for those double teams more than they do. If we handle it right, we should get some layups and a lot of open 3s. Never seems to work that way though. I would hope that this is the team that could handle their press fairly well.

  • @Hawk8086 4 guards SHOULD beat them!

  • Landen played a nice game, both halfs. His totals at the half were on the way to the double double. As frustrating as the first half was, a lot of us were confident we’d get it going again. A few weren’t. Some people can’t handle a little adversity!

    It was kind of interesting to see the officiating change. We couldn’t buy a first half call. Shot 2 FT’s. Never got into the bonus. OU was in double bonus by the end of the half. The whistles switched obviously in the 2nd. Remember at the end of the 1st half? Bill nearly got T-d up. He was thisclose. A few of the calls were a little sketchy in my mind but it’s nice to benefit from them.

    Speaking of benefiting from calls, Frank mauled a guy, took him down and didn’t get called with a foul. Cracked me up because it was bad. But to our benefit.

    But the game wasn’t about referees, it was about not executing well one half and then executing the heck out of the game in the 2nd half.

  • @wissox

    I laughed at that Frank play as well, he definitely tackled him and they gave us the ball.

    There was a lot of clear misses on both ends.

    Lucas got a block in the 2nd half and was charged with a foul. Fran and company talked about the 65 rule variations with verticality and going straight up which Lucas did all of the above and still was called for the foul. Sometimes rules just get made up as they go, sometimes they get followed optionally depending on the crew. We had higgins last night so it was bound to be a laugher!

  • @BeddieKU23

    The first half of the first half was pretty good, KU was ahead by 9 with 9 minutes left. Now, the second half of the first half…not so good; KU scored 6 points in the last 9 minutes.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 We definitely need him. I think he is a great ball player that is struggling with not being the main peice. I am pulling for him.

  • @wissox

    I think part of momentum relates to the refs and they are more likely to give you positive calls when you have the momentum. And when you are on the receiving end of a team on momentum, you are more likely to have calls go against you.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Lots of good stuff here.

    You handled the positives well, so I want to focus on the other stuff.

    Jackson and Fouls

    This is a concern because it really takes him out of his game when he gets early fouls. He still plays hard, but he lacks that edge when he’s worried about fouls. I think that means he’s thinking too much and not just playing ball. That’s a mental adjustment more than a physical one. He has to get used to dealing with some foul trouble. He was much better in the second half when he wasn’t worried about fouls and started getting to the basket (and making free throws!!!).

    Svi/Vick perimeter D

    For Svi, he’s getting his hips locked up too much, which is making it hard to move laterally. I’d have to re-watch a bunch of possessions from last night to check his footwork, but it may be that he is not pointing his toes outward to let him slide laterally when he gets low, so he’s stepping instead of sliding, which exposes him against quicker guys. Sliding is quick. Stepping is not.

    Try this as an example. Stand with your toes pointed directly in front of you and try to move laterally. You have to lift your entire foot and take a step to the side.

    Now, do the same thing, except point your toes outward. Now you can just lift your toe and slide to the side. It’s much quicker. I will try to watch Svi’s closeouts to see if he’s closing with his toes straight or pointed out. I suspect it’s straight, but want to be sure.

    For Vick, he’s going too far on his help. The threes he’s giving up are from over helping. Last night on a PnR (pick and roll), Lucas’ man rolled hard to the rim. Vick’s responsibility is to show in the lane to make sure the pass isn’t thrown to the roll man for the dunk. However, instead of showing, Vick went all the way across the lane as if he were guarding the roll man, rather than just showing until Lucas recovered. That pulled him an extra step away from the corner, where his man was more than content to stand and wait for the ball and the inevitable wide open three.

    Vick just needs to adjust and show rather than guard the roll. That will allow him to recover to his man, where he has the speed and quickness to close out low and tight.

    Coleby and Lightfoot

    Dwight is trying to set too good of a screen, which is why he gets the offensive fouls. He has to realize that he doesn’t have to go out of his way to create contact (where he’s getting called for fouls now). He can just stand there and let the guards do their thing. They are all so skilled that they don’t need him to blow anybody up on a screen. They just need him to get in the way a little bit.

    For Lightfoot, his footwork seems to get a little out of sorts sometimes. I think that will come with experience, which I hope he can still get this season, because we can’t survive playing just seven guys every night from now until April.

    Carlton Bragg

    Bragg just needs to commit himself to doing two things the rest of the season. Grabbing every rebound he can when he’s on the floor, and dunking the ball when he’s around the rim. He needs to raise his level of aggression when he’s on the floor because teams are trying to muscle him.

  • @BeddieKU23

    “His role was taken, his spot was given to a guard playing forward. Big ego hit. Is Bragg smart enough to endure the tough times to keep developing? I hope he is still here”

    He better get used to that kind of friction because the NBA is all about creating the best chances to win.

    He knows he isn’t on track. I don’t think he is blaming anyone but himself. We just need to stay positive with him and direct him in the right direction. I have faith it will work out for him and us.

    Our style of play has changed considerably since last year. He not only was trying to grow his game to help us more, then he has to deal with the changes, too. And he is growing up at the same time. A lot on his plate, but he is a solid person and basically positive (though his frustrations are showing now).

    I don’t see him transferring and I don’t see him throwing his life away by leaving early and not getting drafted.

  • @wissox One of the reasons that we got more calls in the second half than in the first was that we went to the basket much more in the second half. It is hard to be fouls called on the other team when we spent a lot of time passing around the outside and running the weave. I have nothing against passing and the weave but it does not foul up the other team.

  • @drgnslayr

    I don’t see Bragg going anywhere either. We can never feel 100% confident with anyone with how today’s culture is and the rate of transfers. That’s why I mentioned the way his season is currently going he fits the description of someone who might not be here next year. I hope Bragg continues to trust the process and continues to grind away at helping this team win games this year. I think most of this fan-base expected great things from him and its hard to see him not fulfilling those lofty expectations at the moment.

    Bragg just needs 1 breakout game to change things up. I feel like he’s the one guy that needs a breakout game to change his season. We know he can do it.

  • @justanotherfan

    Lots of informative and detail there.

    Jackson’s fouls are the biggest worry imo to this team’s success. Our entire team went stagnant with him on the bench saddled with 2 fouls in the OU game. We’ve seen this time and time again that Jackson can single-handily change the complexion of momentum (positive or negative).

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