Why We Should Smile....
I just took a big drink from a glass of water half full.
Jayhawk critics are all busy pointing to our tough conference schedule ahead. Good for them. They had to take the conversation to a different topic after OU took down WVU at Morgantown. Even many of the computers suddenly have it in for us. Maybe they can now process sour milk?
I’m just sitting here. Looking off into distant space. Suddenly a warm fuzzy entered my consciousness.
All we have to do to win #13 is remain poised. Don’t listen to the critics. Don’t listen to anyone spouting bad energy, hyper drama, or just plain bull snit.
This is NOT one of those posts proclaiming, “WE ARE KANSAS!” I’ve never followed that line of thinking and see it as just asking for it. It is a pompous gesture worthy of diddly squat.
Even though we have a tough schedule ahead, WHY does it feel like we are skiing downhill?
Let’s start with the new guy on the block; Josh Jackson. By now even the biggest haters and cynics of OAD basketball have come around to Josh. He is the real deal and though he still makes some freshman mistakes he clearly can be labeled as an “old soul” of the game.
When we lose a game it usually relates to most of our guys having an off-night. Josh had an off-night on Monday. He only shot 3-of-11 from the field and only had 6 points and fouled out down the stretch. Boo hoo! Now take the time to read the rest of his stats… he lead the team in rebounds with 8, he had 5 assists and 2 blocks. And what doesn’t show in the stat sheet is his hustle after loose balls, often down on the hardwoods.
When a guy puts up those numbers on the road, in a hostile environment, he can continue to have more bad nights the rest of the year! I wonder what he will do when he breaks out of this horrible slump!? ha
I know ISU doesn’t have a real post. That still didn’t guarantee we would see production out of our post. Carlton and Landen only posted 43 minutes together, but they were responsible for 24 pts, 12 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. The stats don’t tell the story here. Many times, those points came at the end of the shot clock and they bailed us out.
Frank was a little hobbled. Nothing serious. Just a banged knee. He still racked up 16 pts. But it is good to see that he didn’t have to completely carry his team on his back. Others provided assistance. It was a GROUP LIFT!
On any given night, any one of our first 7 players can rule the stat sheet. Every opponent scouts us. But how do they prepare to defeat 7 players equally? It is one thing to list a players’ tendencies… and it is another thing to mimic their play in practice to actually work on stopping them. And it isn’t just about our individual player’s skills… it is about team ball. Running 7 players creates many different possibilities. We can go big with both Landen and Carlton together, we can go with just one big, or we can go without a single big! We actually did that at ISU for a brief time.
No coach in our league is more screwed up with our possibilities than Huggybear Huggins. His highly-flammable full court pressure is all about scouting ahead. Knowing how much space is the right space around every Jayhawk. And knowing we will always have at least 2 paperweights (bigs) on the court at the same time. Those days are over! Our 4-guard lineup cuts the tether string from the WVU pressure. We’ve gone from our typical 3-on-5 lineup to 4-on-5 and the possibility of going 5-0n-5 with an ALL GUARD lineup!
Yes, you heard me. I’m all smiles because I do believe we could see a 5-guard lineup in Morgantown at some point. Look back at the ISU game. Josh and Svi actually out-rebounded Landen and Carlton.
What matters most is that Huggybear doesn’t know what we will bring. He doesn’t know if we will still be a victim to a sped up tempo or actually thrive on it. For once, our cards have not been exposed. We should all smile about the possibilities that our very own “Riverboat Gambler” is in a game (finally) where his hand isn’t exposed, even partially!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Drew and Company focus on 3 goals… none of which is to become Big 12 conference champs!
“The goal was always to go to Final Fours, win national championships, be ranked No. 1,” Drew says. “But you don’t always achieve what you set out to do.”
Dang, 31/32rds full!!!
I do think this is going to be a good test of your advocacy of 4 and 5 guards. If anyone has a good enough defensive brain to defend us it’s Huggins.
I have always believed the best way to beat a press is 4 guards and Wilt Chamberlain.
Or some lesser center that can still make them pay when the press is broken. Too often KU has broken presses just fine only to have no big strong enough to go and finish.
Is Landen feeling like that man?
We need it.
If we don’t make’em pay, then they’ve got 40 minutes to brass knuckle us.
Beating his press with a 5-guard and x-axis mentality is a wet dream!
5 players that are in continuous motion is impossible to press and beat. Just stay away from the most-obvious cardinal sins.
I’d like to see us do it and run WVU right out of their own gym.
I do, for once, have to hand it to Calipari. He knows how to smack down the WVU press. And his team this year will savagely rape the Mountaineers if they hook up in March.
Have you been watching UK in the open court this year? They take the ball out from under their basket and 2 passes later (and 2.2 seconds off the clock) they are laying the ball in the basket.
I bet they are praying they draw WVU in their bracket this year.
@drgnslayr I listened to JNews podcast yesterday and we lead the nation in some geeky stat that basically is scoring efficiency in the first 10 seconds of a possession. And it’s not a stat that says we’re run n gun, just a stat that shows how when we push it, we are the best there is.
And then I think back to our last game of 2015-16 season and how Villanova totally disrupted our first 10-15 seconds of the possession. If I was a coach facing us, I’d watch video of that game until I’d memorized every play.
I would not count on that. UK is scoring in bunches but they are doing against sub-par competition. UK has played 3 decent opponents and lost at home to UCLA, needed a 47 point performance from Monk to hold for dear life against a thin UNC team in Vegas and lost away to Louisville. The SEC is one of the weaker conferences and UK has a very good chance of going undefeated. The only tough conference games are at home against South Carolina and home and away against Florida; the rest should be relatively easy. KU has a much more difficult schedule in the Big 12 but hopefully it will prepare it better for the Tournament since it has to play every other conference team home and away. I don’t believe UK will have seen anything like WVU in the SEC.
Call me Fox.
I want to believe.
But I’ve got to see it first.
And no I have missed UK so far.
Will have to get on the stick.
You are right on.
I just believe an outcome from WVU vs UK would look quite a bit like the last time… 78 - 39.
I just don’t think the WVU gimmick works on UK. They always have too much individual talent and size to fall victim to their press.
That was two years ago. Completely different personnel for both teams and WVU’s defense is superior to the one 2 years ago. WVU has 10 players averting double digit mpg and 4 more averaging between 6 and 9 minutes…they have lots of experienced bodies to throw at you. UK has 9 players playing double digit mpg, but only 4 are playing more than 25 minutes; it has used a lot of bench in their blowouts but in its 3 main games it has used primarily a 7 player rotation.
Fox and Monk would eat their zone alive. Fox is arguably the quickest player in america
Very different. I think UK has more speed with this team.
@drgnslayr yeah, i like our chances. its still gonna be a tough game.
You like our chances at Kentucky?
I do, too. But I have come to the conclusion that really anything could happen in this game… anything from us getting blown out to us blowing Kentucky out. Most likely, it will come down to one team winning by under 10 points.
I think UK will look at this game as important for their seeding purposes. They are already being blasted for winning in a down conference and rightfully so, the SEC is just not keeping up. Pairing a KU win with their UNC win will validate a lot of what they are missing from their resume.
The thing I’m worried about in the Kentucky game is their team speed in the 1st half. They shoot a lot of shots early in the clock (top 15 team in tempo according to KenPom).
The definite key for us to win this game is to control the tempo on both sides of the ball.
First, we have to bring respectable transition defense. If we don’t do that, we stand the chance of being blown out. The other aspect of controlling transition defense is to not turn the ball over. I like the fact that we will face WVU in Morgantown BEFORE heading to Lexington. That will be our real test for taking care of the ball.
If we halt UKs transition offense, both primary and secondary transition offense, we stand an excellent chance of winning. If our offense isn’t on track, we still have a great chance of winning a grind game.
Second, we need to focus on tweaking our offensive tempo in order to be successful on offense. This relates a lot to what I have been saying all year with having a PG focusing on all aspects of running the team. We definitely have a Top 5 offense when focused on primary and secondary transition offense. This is a great way to get Kentucky in foul trouble.
I hope I don’t see Frank walking the ball up the court after a UK basket. We need to push tempo up to the speed we can effectively run our offense. Our tempo decides if we make our offense look easy because we have the defense chasing our guys around but can’t keep up. When we run too slow, sometimes we look a bit like some of our old teams where we had perimeter players standing there tossing the ball back and forth hoping a seam opens up and then taking a desperate shot with a few seconds remaining on the shot clock.
We have gotten away with this slow offense for too long because we have talented players that can bail us out with a few ticks left on the shot clock. That has allowed us to become relaxed and not think we have problems on offense.
If we become “Masters of Temp” between now and March I will personally guarantee another National Championship. That is how strong I feel about the talent/experience we have and how good we can become if we execute the right strategy moving forward.
If we control and run the right tempo in Lexington… we will SMASH Kentucky! Everything we run will look effortless. Kentucky, with all their youth, will become desperate and they will NOT have a way to stop us. The game would become ugly and all the sportscasters would act completely shocked… saying they underestimated Kansas.
Or… it goes the other way, and we don’t control tempo on either side of the ball and we get blown out or lose a fairly close game even though Kentucky made it look easy and we struggled to keep up with them.
Great post by the way.
I completely agree about controlling the tempo on both sides of the ball.
Landen Lucas will be huge in this game. It is key that he stays out of foul trouble.
Much like last years game where KU switched to a junk triangle and 2, this game would be perfect for it.
Graham covering Monk, Mason on Fox.
This is basically the same team at every other position as we beat last year.
Briscoe still can’t hit the broad side of a barn. I would sag whoever is guarding him way off into the lane for help defense. I’ve watched numerous UK opponents guard Briscoe like he can shoot and those teams always pay for it.
We can beat Kentucky as long as we bring poise, utilize the scouting report and make shots!
@BeddieKU23 Fox is lighting quick OMG can that kid fly – -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY
@drgnslayr I don’t feel so good about our chances. - -think the combination of Depth, Hght, the revenge factor thinking they got homered, them being at home, us being ranked higher giving them more fire, and like has been mentioned FOX & MONK super quick monk is a freak athlete. Just hoping for the best. I like you could see us getting beat solid I between 15-17 points. - -I can’t however see us blowing them out. Just can’t see that happening. - The bottom line I think is we probably end up losing that game anywhere from 9-14 points. - - I don’t like saying that, just a feeling we shall see, - -that’s why they play the game - - -and thing about it is - -it’s ONE GAME, it’s a non-con game really in the big scheme of things means little to nothing - -other then kicking their sick ass all over the place lol - - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY
I will never concede a game, specially before it is played.
Remember…KU never loses, sometimes it just runs out of time. 😎