"Kansas is playing as well as anyone in the country right now."

  • @KUSTEVE don’t think we are playing very well right now. Monday would be a great time to start playing better…

  • It’s always fun to win, but seductive when we know that our wins are masking some problems with our team. I couldn’t help but think that when we go to Manhattan, Stillwater and others that if they did this to us in our building, what will happen in theirs? I do think OSU played out of their minds. Missed FT’s, particularly down the stretch turned a 12-15 point win into a 6 0r 7 point win.

  • I never thought I would put “5-0” and “mediocre” in the same sentence… but I just did.

    So will we be the next Baylor? The next team to be ranked #1 and lose immediately?

    Hard to say what will happen in Ames. Maybe we just need to be tested harder?

  • @drgnslayr man I don’t know. I am still waiting for that game where they start to show their talent and experience longer than just five or six minutes a game.

  • @wissox Your excellent post made me think about “masking some problems”…Isn’t that what Self seemingly always has to do? And now he’s doing it with this whole 4+1 scheme, which is totally because he has to mask the fall-thru-the-floor deficiencies of Carlton Bragg, who supposedly was a McDAA & was even seen in that McDonalds All American game, once upon a time. He is nothing but 6’10 glue. And he does less than 6’8 Darnell Jackson did, and less than 6’11 Sasha Kaun (who Self called the best on-ball defending big on that 08 roster).

    What this entire 4+1 is “masking” is Bragg’s LACK OF SKILLS. His lack of dribble-drive, lack of a 3ball, lack of rebounding instincts, lack of rim protection, lack of back-to-basket moves… have made poor Self abandon his cornerstone offense, and take a page out of Jay Wright’s and Fred Hoiberg’s playbook. Credit to him he can be versatile like that.

    Somebody tell me what exactly are the criteria to get named a McDAA? Maybe the nice smile is because Bragg knows he’s fooling all of us. Maybe like fellow Cleveland guy Lebron, who has ditched the headband for a growed-up look, its time for Bragg ditch the headband to develop some skills, since we’ll need him next season, since Landon Lucas will be gone. Does anybody here think Bragg could avg 12ppg/12rpg in BigXII play, like LL is?

    Make no mistake, Carlton Bragg is the reason we are playing 4+1. But, with JJ at the 4, he is a matchup nightmare for most other team’s 4man, so at least the table is turned. And we play faster. JJ is putting Bragg to shame. Literally took his starting position. If Carlton Bragg ever wondered what his hero LeBron might have been like as an 18yr old, then maybe he needs to watch how JJackson plays for some clues…

  • @ralster

    Basically, EVERYTHING is currently going wrong with Carlton. And for those reasons, his skill set is right out the window.

    He came into this season with big expectations put on him. He wasn’t counted on for anything last year.

    He came into a very different team. The tempo has changed and he remains out of sync. Where is his shot now?

    He has had his share of bad luck… shots falling off the rim.

    His confidence has been shattered.

    He is thinking instead of playing… making him even slower.

    The game is moving way too fast for him right now.

    When you see a guy that you are 100% sure has decent hands and he can’t catch, grab or hold the ball, you know he has a problem (or two, or three…). Buttery hands are a focus issue, and when the game is moving too fast it is because you are not able to focus properly.

    He may be a long ways off from bouncing out of this. Hard to say if it will be this year. But if he stays determined, gets advice from the right people, keep his patience, and work hard, he will end up being a pretty good player. I have faith in him to turn the ship.

    Forcing him to become a real post player is probably a mistake. It is what we need… but it isn’t where his tool set is or will probably ever be. Back to the basket scorer? Can’t see it. Big time rebounding basher? Doubtful.

    Our offense doesn’t really fit with his skills. We don’t really need a big man at mid-range off a pick and pop. He doesn’t fit well with what we got. I think that is a pity because I see him as the best pick and pop guy we’ve had in a long time. He has the size, quickness and a soft touch.

    When was the last time we saw him shoot the ball outside of off a rebound or low post move?

    This isn’t all his fault.

  • @ralster no JJ was always a starter - he just moved to the four because he is more fit for that role.

    I think Braggs problem is he is playing out of position. He is a guard in a big man’s body. He lacks that extra meaness and toughness that it takes to compete in the post. Really, he does not understand how to be tough and fight for position and rebounds.

    I was in a similar position to him in my playing days - you could call it soft. It took me a while before I understood how to play tough and how to get in that frame of mind. I knew what to do to get in that frame of mind.

    This is all new to Carlton. He didn’t need to play D1 level tough in high school and there is a bit of a learning curve for him. Even if he was playing the four, he would still have problems.

    I think you are incorrect by saying he can’t dribble or shoot. He made numerous threes and outside jumpers last year and I thought he could take over for Ellis. During late night when he hit a couple threes and some jumpers, Self said that that is what he wants to do. Again, he isnt in the mindset of a post player and it will take him a while to get used to it. With no Dok, he can’t be the stretch four. He has no chance to get comfortable driving in a game situation.

    I don’t know when he will figure this out. Bill obviously thinks that is the way to go instead of a combo of Coleby at the five and Bragg at the four. Maybe one of these days it will start to click and he will do less thinking and more playing.

  • I believe that Gonzaga will be the new #1 come Monday, this should give KU a reason to destroy ISU just to make a point…at least this is how I hope it works out. I would hate for KU to be #1 and not win at Hilton.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I hope they get leaped over also.

  • I think Self wanted his studs on the floor, got 5, figured what 4 to start w/ll. Waste of talent not to use them. Plus they are tall so he can get away w/it. I would not be shocked to see him use 5.

  • @HawkChamp Good points. We all saw Carlton’s smooth face up jumper, but that cant be all he is? Again, where is the McDAA talent? Is he any better than soph Morris Twins, or soph TRob? (nope). And where’s that 3 ball this year? He is falling thru the floor in trying to replace Perry Ellis, and here I thought he could be better than Ellis, boy was I wrong. He cant even be a “low-skill” or “non-finesse” Izzo-style big. Although Draymond Green is a wonderchild in the NBA, so that cliche has been busted by Draymond…

    Never seen him go anywhere with dribble drive, doesnt even try. Even Jamari Traylor would copy Thomas Robinson, and dribble drive from the top of the key for a layup (or that vicious dunk at Bramlage). I guess Bragg just doesnt have the handles to do any of that?

    I’m real curious why we’d call him a “guard” trapped in a big body, since he doesnt play like a guard…and we have lots and lots of guards, from 5’11 --> 6’8, but Bragg cant play like any of them. And nor does he take a 3ball–all our guards can nail 3s. He’s so far off from Perry’s game, that its pathetic. Guards can dribble. Bragg cannot, or wont.

    LAST few years some of us lamented that we missed Thomas Robinson at the 4 position (who replaced Marcus, who in turn replaced Shady Arthur)…and we are still sorely missing Thomas Robinson, and now I’m actually missing Ellis (who couldnt finish reliably over “length”).

    It was perhaps inevitable that Self demotes Bragg to bench guy, since he cannot rebound, has no post moves, cant dribble-drive, cannot defend, cannot read screens and backcuts, etc. In short, what good is he out there, other than give LL a rest? Its like Bragg = Matt Kleinmann.

    Was Kevin Young more effective as a 4 man than Bragg?

  • Everyone is doing it again.

    They are torturing themselves trying to come up with complicated psychological, behavioral, developmental, and team strategy kinds of explanations.

    The probable driver, as usual, for persistent, anomalous under performance is unreported injury or medical condition.

    I don’t see why everyone exhausts every other conceivable possibility before inferring injury or medical condition.

    When they used dietary supplements to try to turn Withey into a 20 pound heavier banger than he was, his body appeared to rebell from the treatments. He turned yellow intermittently. And no one to this day has ever explained it. They even appeared to use stress fractures as a way of not talking about his bizarre coloration changes. Finally Pollard stepped in and said let him play skinny and block shots. Withey blossomed.

    Bragg has added 40 pounds, which is a scat pot lot of weight.

    Too bad Jeff’s out surviving and not around.

    Bragg doesn’t symptomize any thing obvious to the camera…

    …except he can’t play as well as he did, when he was 40 lbs lighter.

    But I haven’t thought to study him closely, because I just assumed he was a 4star taking the normal time to blossom as a junior.

    But those that think he should be playing better now and so are inventorying an extensive list of long shot explainers…

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    Bet injury or medical.

    Next would be life threatening trauma in his family back home.

    For myself, I think he’s just a slow developer because he had a long way to come.

  • I hope we’re ranked number 1, and we continue to win ugly … game after game. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? The turbo charged badball reborn!

  • @KUSTEVE Well a win is a win is a win I reckon right? - -Ugly, gorgeous, plain Jane, what ever – -still is a win.- - Good teams find ways to win EVEN WHEN they aren’t playing good ball. - We take the win and move on, - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • The OState box score exhibits a growing concern: Only the starters scored; the only 2 bench players to even play took just 4 shots in a combined 29 minutes. Vick, 20 min. 0/3, 5 rbs. and Bragg, 9 min. 0/1, 2 rbs.

    Just as concerning, Lucas took only 2 shots in 30 minutes of play. So, can a team of 4 guards and Lucas to rebound win championship number 13 and go deep into the tourney?

  • @stoptheflop I say yes. KU can win another Big 12 Championship and make a Final 4 run with the current game plan and lack of depth. Duke won’t all recently with no bench and essentially one big man. We all know that Nova won it last year with a similar look. The key will be getting hot and staying hot. Nova was on fire last year in the tourney and was able to cut down the nets. It is possible for a team to shoot its way to a title and this KU team has more shooters than any other contender.

  • I wish KU had 4 guys that could score in years past. Defensive struggles with no points on the board instead of blowout wins. I like the 85+points they can score on a bad night. I just wish the D could hold opponents to under 45% shooting, because with this o that’s all they need. I can’t remember a team scoring so easily under Self (both ends of the court).

    It’s fun, it’s different, it’s nerve racking on D!

  • @ralster

    I am rarely right on these things, but I do recall last summer saying I didn’t understand why Bragg was getting all of the props over the summer. I don’t know why national media thought he’d blow up into an AA over one off season. His freshman year he wasn’t relied on like we thought we would need to this year, so he fit in as a nice little role player. He made some shots from midrange, but I always thought he had kind of an ugly flat shot.

    Here’s a way to tell what a kid is doing. Type his name into youtube. Very little there about his Kansas days, lots of HS highlights. Very little KU highlights. Maybe those who knew him well from HS secretly thought the same things, that he really isn’t that skilled, just tall. That’s what I’m beginning to think.

  • @joeloveshawks said:

    @stoptheflop I say yes. KU can win another Big 12 Championship and make a Final 4 run with the current game plan and lack of depth. Duke won’t all recently with no bench and essentially one big man. We all know that Nova won it last year with a similar look. The key will be getting hot and staying hot. Nova was on fire last year in the tourney and was able to cut down the nets. It is possible for a team to shoot its way to a title and this KU team has more shooters than any other contender.

    Not saying we can’t, but just to be clear, both Villanova and Duke played more guys, had more bench minutes, and got better production than we did last night. If you will recall, Villanova played 3 subs against, each with at least 12 minutes, and Bridges came up big against us. In the Duke - Wisconsin title game, Duke played 8 - one of the subs was Allen, who also came up big in that game. And, Duke had more up front than we do - Okafor and Jefferson. The two recent UConn titleists might be better example of guard oriented teams that won without much help from their bigs - but those were also both very good defensive teams.

  • When league play starts, My 2 rules in 22 years of following KU B-ball:

    1. forget about national rankings. Period. They are essentially meaningless.

    2. any league win, no matter how ugly, is a win. This is the nature of high level college basketball. Don’t assign too much emphasis on what your expectations and perceptions are of how “good” you are in relation to your league rivals.

    AT any rate, yes it is going to be an interesting next few months. I wish our D was a lot better, and that’s personally my biggest concern. Let’s hope we can continue to shoot our way out of trouble (gulp!)

  • @Bosthawk you find the game?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yes - thanks for asking - espn finally posted it 4 hours later

  • @Bosthawk I can’t decide if we are just so worried about fouls. Doesn’t explain the weak side over helping or not helping. Our rotation is not rotating or just to slow! Drives me nuts to see weak side not 👀Ing the 🏀. It is tough w/so many good shooting guards, especially w/record days against us.

  • It’s hard to say who’s playing great, everyone has had bad games vs bad teams. Good teams play down to their opponents sometimes idk that I believe that we are doing that every game tho. As I said yesterday we haven’t played a top half team in the B12 yet and have struggled with games at home that should have been blowouts. Seeing how Baylor handled KSU in the octogon of dumb was very surprising. WVU looked terrible for most of the game @texas missing their best player. Just hope to see us guard at some point we all know we will run into a team in the NCAAs that slows down the pace and makes us guard for the whole shot clock. If that game was today I’d say we lose it 8 of 10 times.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I am all for letting Bragg ‘play skinny,’ perhaps developing some shot blocking timing. I am also with you on the possible cause of mediocrity is medical or maybe physical. With the added weight, he is playing strapping on a 40-lb sandbag. The extra bulk may affect both his agility and coordination.

  • @DCHawker very good point about UCONN. That most recent team that won it for them was very similar. And you are right about Duke’s post players but Grayson had hardly played like that all year. It would be like Bragg putting up 20 all of the sudden in the national title game.

    Something I failed to mention is that I think this KU team will be a very good defensive team come March. Bill has a history of getting his guys to play some of their best defense late in the year and into March.


  • @jaybate-1.0

    When they used dietary supplements to try to turn Withey into a 20 pound heavier banger than he was, his body appeared to rebell from the treatments. He turned yellow intermittently. And no one to this day has ever explained it. They even appeared to use stress fractures as a way of not talking about his bizarre coloration changes. Finally Pollard stepped in and said let him play skinny and block shots. Withey blossomed.

    Bragg has added 40 pounds, which is a scat pot lot of weight.

    Where do you get this information? KU has a certified nutritionist/dietician on staff that work with Hudy in developing healthy diets for all players. I have never heard of any coloration changes in Withey. BTW, Withey came to KU at 215 pounds and left at 235.

    Also, Bragg gained 30 pounds not 40 and that was before the start of the season. With the heavier activity his weight gain is now probably closer to 20 than 30 and definitely not 40 pounds. I have posted before that mentally, Bragg still has not caught up with his new weight (and height) and still plays like he is 20 pound lighter and a couple of inches shorter.

  • @kjayhawks said:

    Good teams play down to their opponents sometimes

    Yep, I’ve noticed that about us fairly regularly over the years too. And yep, Bragg has disappointed so far. And yep, we haven’t played much of our bench lately. And yep, yet another KU team that kinda sucks at the charity stripe.

    But as this topic title states: “Kansas is playing as well as anyone in the country right now.” All teams have things they need to work on. All teams get injuries. All teams get surprised by teams they should beat easily. There are just too many variables involved. And while nerve wracking for us fans… that’s what makes college ball so fun to watch.

    I guess the “ideal” is for our team beat the crap out of every other team day in and day out, maybe winning (or heaven forbid, losing) by a whisker to other blue bloods in epic battles now and then. But if you look at wins, rather than how we win, KU is basically an ideal team. And it’s pretty awesome.

    You know what’s really promising about this year’s team? And it’s funny that I was just thinking about it when I read an article on the other site today that pointed it out as well… we have three, scrappy “dogs” on this team. Mason, Jackson and Graham have all shown that, when pushed to a certain point, when things are looking down, say to themselves, “I refuse to let us lose”. And they have the talent to back it up.

    And that my friends is a thing of beauty. When a person of great heart and determination says, “Lose tonight? Not on my watch”.

    The first time I saw it was George Brett carrying the Royals to a World Series in '85. Then just a few years later I saw it again with Danny Manning and Miracles. On paper, other teams those years may have been more “deserving” to win. (Just like some years, on talent alone, KU has deserved many more Final Four appearance than we have under Bill Self.)

    But the game ain’t played on paper,

    It only took one “uber dog” in '85 and '88 to carry their team to a championship. And while we may not have an ace uber dog, have three junkyard dogs… and having three 3 kings in the hole sure seems like a nice advantage to me as we wade deeper into conference play.

  • @StLJhawk that was awesome!

  • Carlton Bragg was 6-8, 220 last season. This year, he’s 6-10, 240. He’s gone from a Morris twin body type to LL’s body type. He’s having to learn how to play as a post player instead of a stretch 4. He’s also having to do this in a primarily 4-1 line up. In practice, I’m guessing it’s almost exclusively 4-1. Bragg to Lucas high-low with Bragg in the high post would work great, but I don’t think Self can do much of that in practice because KU doesn’t have the bodies in practice to do so. KU literally has 4 healthy big on the roster and by healthy I mean healthy enough to practice and play in games when needed because Coleby is nowhere near 100% from his ACL injury which is why he isn’t playing more when he could be a solid role guy for this team if healthy.

    It does appear that Bragg’s new size has diminished his athleticism which has kept him from doing some of the good things he did last year on offense. Bragg is learning how to play in his new frame and is struggling to make the adjustment to a physical presence because he was always much more of a finesse guy before.

  • Whats sickening is to see post play of upper echelon MVC teams (saw the WSU defeat by IllinoisSt), and both had bigs with paint area finesse moves, and back to basket game. Also see bigs of UNI and Gonzaga, since yes Im actually comparing our post play to midmajors…(lol)

    The fact that we’d get a McDAA with no such moves and no instinct simply defies logic to my brain. Right now I’d take Darius Willis of WSU (a juco xsfer!), Shaq Morris of WSU (6’7 bruiser with 12-15 ft range), Rauno Nurger 6’11 with a dropstep spin with shot off glass, did it 3 times straight against UNI. But we throw it into Bragg in the paint…crickets…nothing!

    That all being said in true vomit fashion --> the reason we have a chance to win with 4+1 is because the kid playing the 4 position (JJackson) is simply pure dynomite! He’s actually the one who has replaced all of what Ellis did, and then some more attitude on top of that. We’d never ever call Ellis any sort of “dog” other than cooldog maybe. JJackson is a firebreathing thoroughbred.

    Enjoy the last couple of months we get to see JJackson play for us, sad to say…

  • @ralster Its not really the post moves that are baffling with Bragg (he has scored on a few this season), it’s the lack of attitude. View it this way - don’t you think he would be more productive if he had a Marcus Morris type mentality? Not the trash talking but the toughness and tenacity required to play in the post.

    It is clear that Bill has told him he is going to play the 5 and he is going to figure it out whether he wants to or not. Right now, he is a fish out of water. I’m hoping we start to see a Landen type end of the year with Bragg if he starts to settle in to his new role. It’s possible.

  • @HawkChamp Agree 100%. Attitude of the type Mason and JJackson and BigXIILucas display. Go get it done somehow. Dont let us lose!

    The type of attitude that allowed Frank, Devonte, and JJackson to take over at the end of games. Would love to see Bragg somehow find that inside himself.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Not sure why the injury and medical speculation appears to be first ignored, then both marginalized and treated so sensitively in discourse here. That said…

    While I thank you for the clarification (if correct), 30 or 40 pounds appears likely to be insignificant to the discussion of Bragg’s performance in terms of performance. Now, if Bragg had gained something less than 10 pounds without a managed diet I probably would not have mentioned weight gain even as a merely hypothetical issue, as I also did at 40. But since team publicity through media made an issue of his substantial weight gain in the off season it would seem justified to consider it for hypothesis as a possible driver of his difficulties.


    My recollection of Withey’s apparrent shift at times to yellowed skin is a recollection of watching Withey’s skin coloration appear to vary several years ago during one of his seasons when he played little and was reputedly on a weight gain regimen. I was observing on an apparently normally functioning large home tv screen connected to a reputable cable tv service provider not recalled to be known for supplying content that made some players skin tones appear to stay constant over the course of a season and others to appear to develop a yellowish cast. It’s appeared to me a recalled observation worth noting. Data inclusiveness seems a virtue .

    FWIW, independent observations sometimes vary from, or even contradict the official, or professionally managed data set observations and assessments.

    It doesn’t necessarily mean the professionals are wrong, but it sometimes suggests a benefit revisit the apparent differences.

    And as we have learned many times in considering scientific evidence, professional scientists sometimes revise there explanations when additional observations arise suggesting a need to revisit previously analyzed data. And I am here excluding the possibility of malfeasance; which is not an issue I wish to consider.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    A substantial change in weight, particularly for bigs is not unusual when they make the jump from HS to College.

    In HS they eat at home, a diet that can be seriously deficient or extremely rich depending on the home environment and the trainers they have in HS are the coaches who also double as English or Math teachers. Once they hit a big time program the have access to the best coaches and strength trainers and have diets specifically designed for them by dieticians/nutritionist that specialize in athletes. Remember Alexander? He was big, flabby guy and by the end of the season he had traded that baby fat for lean muscle; same thing with Doke. Bragg on the other hand was deemed by the best trainer in the business fit to carry more weight and this is exactly what they did. I am convinced that Bragg is now at t a good weigh which I estimate to be 20-25 pound heavier and he also has grown a couple of inches. What I don’t believe has happened is the corresponding mental growth to match the gain in bulk and strength. Bragg is still avoiding contact like he did when he was lighter and shorter; however, at his new size he has the height and bulk to mix it up inside and yet he does not, Eventually he will realize that he can go hard inside and he will be a different player, the one that we are all waiting for…hopefully this happens sooner rather than later.

  • @JayHawkFanToo excellent and spot on summation.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I am not telling an engineer something he does not already know.

    This is for others.

    The human body is a complex system.

    At the age of 18 the brain is reputedly a full five years from having all of its neural nets grown in.

    Between 18 and 23 it is reputedly routine for males not only to alter their weight, but also their musculature. During this period growth spurts occur, but are never certain.

    Between 18 and 23, hormonal changes reputedly set in motion in the earlier teen years are often reputedly still playing out in the human developmental process.

    Between 18-23 a large amount of psycho-social development is reputedly occurring.

    Between 18-23 many environmental insults and many effects of medical insults are are reputedly accruing and playing themselves out in terms of human development.

    Thus, what he we have is the complex system of a human body going through a complex developmental phase.

    Even under a best case scenario, the best medical, training, and dietary experts are intervening in a constellation of complex systems in which complexity will with high confidence trigger a significant number of unforeseen consequences, when even the most carefully calculated interventions are made.

    But D1 sport imposes on one of these players (note: a player that is in effect a constellation of complex systems in dynamicl states) a tremendous amount of stress that in turn likely compounds in a significant number of cases whatever unforeseen consequences occur.

    The significance here is that adverse, or at least unanticipated, reactions to dietary interventions, especially when coupled with dietary supplements and various kinds of medications, would appear almost an inevitability occasionally.

    So: I think it is prudent of fans not to jump on underperforming players and infer they are not some how giving there all, or that they have some how cracked under pressure, or have less ability than expected, or have chosen immaturely in how to be a teammate, when medical and injury issues are significant possibilities.

    And there is some evidence in the past to suggest that only some kinds of medical and injury problems are completely and accurately reported, while others are unreported, or underreported.

  • @kjayhawks

    Some good points.

    We are the white whale, we get everyone’s best shot. Baylor going into KSU and winning is such a different emotional game then KU going into KSU and winning. KSU fans only semi-care about the other 8 home games on their slate. KU comes to town and its the holy grail. That in a nutshell is the issue, KU can have up to 18 emotionally charged games a year in conference play. Everyone wants to knock off Goliath, everyone wants to be apart of the process that knocks KU off the top.

    We saw TCU confident with a better coach try their hardest to knock off KU at home- and they still lost.

    We saw K-St play their best game of the season in Allen Fieldhouse and maybe their best effort in Allen in 1o years. They still lost whether we got the friendly call or not.

    OU down in the ropes also tried their hardest but ran out of gas. Oklahoma St trying to avoid a similar fate in the Big-12 play came with their best effort of the season and still lost.

    Tonight we get our toughest challenge to date, likely #1 on the road in a hostile environment against fans that want nothing more then to beat KU and rub it in our faces. Another emotionally charged opponent. Does KU match that intensity and find a way to win yet again? This is a game you hope KU get’s “up” for.

  • @KUSTEVE said:

    The turbo charged badball reborn!

    That must be the sound of @HighEliteMajor putting his eyes out, even as he attempts to do what he believes is right by our great republic (what ever that may be) by submerging again to duke it out on politics in our great virtual cloud of political discourse beyond. 😃

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