• This was a lot tougher game than many fans were prepared for. Two months ago, we would have viewed this game as a sure thing, but Bob Huggins has shown us, once again, why he is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame someday. WVU has several talented offensive weapons, one sticking out above the rest, Juwan Staten. Staten showed all day how easy it was for him to cut through the Jayhawk backcourt like it was warm butter. It has been realized for quite some time now that KU’s backcourt defense needs improving, especially at the PG position.

    Staten gave Naadir Tharpe fits all day, and it didn’t take too long for Coach Self to make the strategic move to pull Tharpe off of Staten, if for no other reason than to save Tharpe from foul trouble.

    I’ve been on Tharpe all season for not being able to stop the drive, however in this case, there may not be a single defender in college basketball capable of stopping Staten. He is that good! In the case of Staten, the best option is to use team defense to slow him down, or at least, limit the driving lanes for him to use. There were times in the second half where we accomplished that quite well.

    This game turned out to be a really good test for us, and an excellent preparation game for us as March approaches. For the most part, we played good, solid team defense. There were several players who deserve credit for helping us secure this victory, including several key hustle plays that stand out.

    Wayne Selden, once again, proved he doesn’t mind going after loose balls. Even the commentators mentioned his efforts and how he is earning the reputation for hustling after loose balls.

    Andrew Wiggins is continuing his efforts to become known for his defensive skills as much as his offensive skills. At one point in the game, a WV player had the ball and was down on his knees… Wiggins was the only Kansas player who realized the opportunity to go after him and the ball. He created a key steal that helped us maintain our edge.

    Perry Ellis is also starting to sniff out loose balls more as the season progresses. He was able to snag 2 big steals in this game.

    The Traylor/Black combo is really starting to pay big dividends for this team. The combo seems to realize that they need to make every playing moment count. Black is really asserting himself well on offense. He definitely doesn’t shy away from the basket when he receives the ball in the paint. And every time we see Traylor, he appears to have just watched an old tape of Kevin Young and is all jazzed up to play! His energy has played a key role with this team, especially helping the overall team synergy, which sometimes can flatten and is too laid back.

    So many key plays and key players in this game. But my pick for the winner of the FLOOR BURN AWARD is Joel Embiid! Joel has been stuck in a tiny rut the last few games. One issue is fouls, another issue is not finishing near the rim, and last, perhaps the biggest issue is his inexperience. Joel’s game really exploded this year, but now everyone in the country has made him a target, and no team plays us now who doesn’t develop a plan to stop Embiid’s game. The most obvious, and probably easiest method to attack him is to get him in foul trouble. Every player coming into the paint with the ball is using countless head, shoulder and ball fakes. Anything to get Joel off his feet so they can draw the foul.

    For the most part of yesterday’s game, Joel appeared to be on his way to playing a limited role in this victory, until the last minutes, when Joel returned to the game (with his 4 fouls) and he decided he was going to finish this game on a high note. And boy did he!

    Joel’s return became pronounced immediately during a missed Jayhawk free throw. With the game’s outcome still not established, Joel fought for the rebound and secured the ball and was fouled. He made his two free throws, creating what could be considered a 3-point play. That was the turning point in this game. It helped charge the team, and put us at a safer margin for victory.

    At this time of year, coaches look for closers. Which player or players know how to close out a game? The best answer would be if an entire team is on the same beat and good closers… but it starts with one player who bumps up his play in the final moments. Joel was that player yesterday! After he made his two free throws he continued to dominate the game, without fouling out. He snagged more rebounds, blocked more shots, and scored key points. He did exactly what any quality coach would want to see… he hustled and gave it his all until the buzzer sounded to end the game!

    If we can start developing that kind of a team attitude to closing games we will become a tough out in March! That is a common characteristic with teams who do well in March!

    Now… upwards and onwards to the Purple Kitties on Monday!

    Rock Chalk!

    Conference Season Tally:

    Wayne Selden 4

    Joel Embiid 3

    Perry Ellis 2

    Andrew Wiggins 2

    Naadir Tharpe 2

    Tarik Black 2

    Frank Mason 1

  • I gotta go with Black this game. Played so well he may have to be moved into starting rotation. Second straight game he became the team’s center of gravity. Our only big not just making plays but with a big man’s sense of territoriality. Joel got his double double the last 5 minutes when WVU quit guarding him to press back court. Joel was the reason we needed Black to step up! Realize this is about floor burns, not just great play, but Black stood in against a lot of tonnage and a lot of length in the paint, when Joel and Perry couldn’t. If Black’s wheel holds up, we are looking at a 20-25 minute man. 15-20 spelling Joel and 5-10 spelling Perry. He and Joel could totally over power certain teams by themselves. But the ankle?

  • @drgnslayr I like this is a win win place to post. Lots of positives for this topic. I’m going w/Tarik and Jamari. They stepped up big time! Love their confidence. Hoping they keep it up.

  • Guys… I started this to recognize good hustling play.

    It’s a real positive when others come on the FLOOR BURN threads and give their own praises… doesn’t have to agree with mine. It’s all about giving some fan appreciation for these guys.

    So a big ROCK CHALK for @Crimsonorblue22 and @jaybate !

  • @drgnslayr hoping after tomorrow we have 8 players on here! Rock Chalk!

  • @drgnslayr: exactly!

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