I feel like the real season begins Saturday with Cuse

  • After we have pretty much destroyed anyone in from us for most of this year, even counting the games in Italy, I’m a little cautious as we proceed. We had a bad half vs FHSU and didn’t put UK away when we should’ve but they never lead bye more than a bucket and we were icey cold shooting. Saturday’s game could mirror that one with Syracuse playing their text book zone and having size that we lack. They currently sit 6-0 just like us and have not played as well against mostly the same teams from the HoopHall Classic. Then we face a young but decently talented Washington team that is 4-2. After that is the Arizona State game which will be a battle. They have quietly moved up to #20 in the land with wins over KSU and they hammered a top 20 Xavier team that whipped up on Baylor tonight. Nebraska doesn’t look good and fits in with the rest of the B10 now but you know that place will be rocking at the chance to upset us. I think we can win all of these games. I just hope after these beat downs that our heads are where they need to be this. Obviously it’s tough not to be excited with all of our players not available yet. Let’s just go one at time gentlemen, let’s go!

  • I haven’t watched Syracuse yet, but this is not a top of the line talent team that Boeheim has this year. Yeah they have some height, but Bill Self teams typically shred zone defenses. I don’t expect this to be a twenty point blowout of course, but we would have to play very poorly in order to lose. Arizona State will be the toughest of this slate along with Stanford, imo.

  • @kjayhawks

    Saturday will be a test. How we get points against the zone on a neutral court having to play at a slower tempo will test these guys.

    Syracuse isn’t good, they have one standout player (Battle) and a point guard who scores but isn’t very efficient from the floor (Howard). This isn’t your typical Cuse team by any stretch. The talent level is the lowest its been in a long time there.

    Washington is terrible. We won’t have trouble with them.

    Arizona St is surprising. Guard heavy squad just like us but they don’t have Doke. Holder & Evans are two gritty Seniors. They play right into our strengths though and with the game in Allen I think we’ll pull away from them.

    Nebraska is about on par with Washington.

    It will be nice to play P5 teams and see if these guys continue to scorch the net against them mixing in neutral court and road games along the way.

  • I have watched Syracuse a little. I was impressed by their length and athletic ability. Their zone is so tough because Boeheim has used it for so many years and they have long athletic guys. I think it will be a tough game.

  • Agree. Syracuse will not be easy for sure. - -Lots of length, they play I think 6’6 - & 6’5 out front in their zone have a 7’2 guy, and like has been mentioned really athletic. - -# 2 team in the Nation I think they said in Offensive rebounding.

    Doke got to be really careful in this game the way they crash the boards, this is a game where we are going to need all5 guys to attack the boards for rebounds - -this will be a game where Garrett can help because of the way he rebounds the ball I think -we are going to need everybody. - Doke has to stay out of foul trouble for sure. ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • Funny, the two games against SEC opponents look to be KU’s hardest.

  • If KU moves the ball and shoots its average, it will blow the Syracuse zone to smithereens and Boeheim will go back home crying like a little girl younger person of unmentioned gender, race, ancestry, religion, political affiliation or legal status (corrected for the PC police).

  • Vick and Garrett should look nice in the high post against that zone.

  • I’m very concerned. I can already see us taking our foot off the gas pedal. We won two consecutive games by 43 and now against Toledo we barely scrape by with a 38 point margin of victory. 😞

  • @JayHawkFanToo the only way we lose is if we beat ourselves.

  • @HawkChamp

    I agree. From what I have seen to date, KU’s A+ game is the best in college basketball. The question is how often will KU bring that or close to that game? It certainly did not against UK.

  • The difference between this KU team and past KU teams is this KU team has a killer instinct that we haven’t seen since the title team.

    These are games that in the past few years, KU may be builds up a 25-30 point lead and it regresses to a 15-20 point win and the end of bench guys don’t come in until a couple of minutes are left. This year, we’re seeing Young and Teahan come in with 5-6 minutes left and and the lead drops to about 40.

    This team is different in its mindset about putting teams away. Syracuse is a team that struggles to score, 80 is their high for the season so far. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see KU win by 20-25 points on Saturday.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 Oh man I think that’s a stretch. - -Pretty confident about the win myself but 20-25 - -ehhhhh maybe not so much. - -I’m thinking maybe more on the lines 14 possibly, I’m more concerned with our very so thin front line getting in foul trouble this game.

    Can you imagine like what Coach had to do in the one other game when he had to play young in the 5 because Mitch & Doke both got in foul trouble. - - Again Syracuse is # 2 in the Nation in offensive rebounding they just beat the boards to death - -Quick athletes - -Doke has really got to play smart. - We have to use young early in this - - we in trouble - real trouble. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BAY

  • BShark said:

    Vick and Garrett should look nice in the high post against that zone.


  • The 'Cuse zone could be interesting. Typically good shooting can unravel a zone, and this is one of the best shooting KU teams in memory.

    That said, a long zone can sort of lull you into taking more difficult shots than you should because you are tricked into thinking you have space because you don’t have a man locked in on you at all times. The hope would be that a guy like Vick or Newman would help to slice up the defense by driving the seams, getting kickouts to Svi and Devonte to begin the onslaught again.

  • I can’t think of any other games than the last two times we played Syracuse we lost. Got to break that streak. I can stomach losing to Duke because they’re a relatively scandal free program. Losing to Cuse and Kentucky is the worst. I think it’s even worse losing to Cuse than yUK. Kentucky is a blueblood. The fareaking east coast media treats cuse like they’re a blueblood. They made a penn st style scandal disappear. Syracuse is in a lovely part of the country. Finger Lakes, Great Lakes, snowbelt, great autumns, spectacular summers. The orangeboys don’t deserve to be in such a nice place. They need to be in Camden or East St. Louis, or Compton, no offense to the fine people living there. Cuse needs to add an R to their name because that’s what I want to do when I watch them play.

    I absolutely loathed watching the NCAA engineer their run to the final four 3 or 4 years ago. They played Marquette in the Elite 8 and the zebras whistled the orange for 5 fouls in the first 35 minutes of that game. You can look it up! Talk about giving a team a free pass.

    They mugged our team in 96 in the elite 8. They got to shoot 28 FT’s while we shot 13, lost by 3. Thanks refs. An elite KU team loaded with future pros officiated out of the tourney. Of course it doesn’t help that we made 4 of 25 3’s in that debacle, but still.

    I just loathe them. What kind of name is the orangemen? It’s not orange country, too dang cold, it’s orchards and vineyard country where they make wine, which is appropriate because Coach B has that whiney little face.

    I was glad when Keith Smart made that shot in 87 because then B would be the 2nd greatest coach to ever live behind K, so he’s saddled with 1 championship. What kind of crap is that? He’s coached for like 50 years and has the pick of NYC talent and has won the thing once, and only because we didn’t know how to shoot a FT?

    Cuse is a Curse really and I put a curse on them oranges. We are going to win by about 25 and whiney face will cry for his momma.

  • JayHawkFanToo said:


    I agree. From what I have seen to date, KU’s A+ game is the best in college basketball. The question is how often will KU bring that or close to that game? It certainly did not against UK.

    Exactly, and the reason their A game wasn’t like that against Kentucky? - - It’s because the quality of the competition. - -I sure hope people are not under the mis conception that the games we play this year all gonna be like the Toledo - - Oakland games and such. KU can bring their A game from now on and it is going to be a different story - strictly of the opponent we play.

    The 38-43 point blow outs are gone for the year- -we steppin up now - -Now the real season begins, Coach Self mentioned as much himself - -the players realize it’s now go time, no more Oakland’s or Toledo - Or Texas Southern’s - - We can bring our A game and they can still be a very tight game

    I think saying our A game is the best in college Basketball might be a little deceiving, again you have to look at who we did that to. - -The one even somewhat quality opponent we have played ( and I say somewhat because of their youth ) - But the one team Kentucky of quality, you didn’t see that a game blowing them out by 38-43 points.

    I know we didn’t bring our quote in quote A game that night - but maybe just maybe Kentucky had a little bit to do with that. I’m not saying we aren’t that good. - - We are plenty good, it is just I hope people aren’t getting lulled asleep by the results of these games.

    Huge difference between playing Oakland and Kentucky / Syracuse - -and Texas A&M - -even the West Virginia’s of the world. - -Let’s not read to much into these results and make them out to be more then what they are yet. - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • I like the blowouts. I feel like Malik needs the confidence that blowouts will instill. KU will be tested later, but I like the blowouts for team chemistry building also. D

  • We should beat Omaha by about 50 mixed in with the better games coming up

  • @jayballer54 eh, Kentucky is good but if that game is how we can expect to play against good competition, then we aren’t getting to the final four, let alone a championship, this year. That game was no where close to how good this team is. Bad decisions all over the court, fatigue and tons of missed OPEN shots were the reasons why we looked so bad. I will not complain about missing guarded shots, but Svi and Devonte missed a bunch of open looks. Devonte was playing hero ball and looking to make a big shot or play every time down the floor instead of distributing and running the team and Malik was not good for most of the game due to bad decisions in transition and driving the ball. We are much better than that game. We’d better hope we are anyway.

  • I have also enjoyed the easier games to start the season. Under the circumstances where everyone in our Top 7 was taking on a new role this has been beneficial in a lot of ways. We beat Kentucky on a neutral court playing by far the worst game we’ve played yet. It’s usually a good sign if your team can have one of its “bad” games and still prevail.

    We’ve improved since then, a good deal I think.

    Toledo, South Dakota St, Texas Southern all have good offenses that will do well in their leagues and they were all completely shell shocked by our offense. We put a ton of fear into those teams to make everything and when shots didn’t fall we exposed each and every one of them.

    Syracuse is going to have to pray that they can slow the tempo down to a crawl and shoot out of their mind from the field. If they don’t, they don’t stand a chance. We can talk up Cuse’s zone but how do they score? Battle is good, Howard is inconsistent. Brisett will be good in time. They have a couple tall guys, Chukwu was a guy we went after as a transfer but he’s nothing special, just tall. They don’t match up well with us, we are too quick and have too many offensive weapons for them.

  • @HawkChamp

    I think the proof of this team bouncing back from a “bad game” win against Kentucky has been the games since. We’ve embarrassed teams, not just beat them.

    Doke is getting the ball more.

    The team is sharing the ball at an impressive rate(20 assists per game), Devonte is continuing to improve on his decision making as a PG.

    We’re an active defensive team (which wasn’t an issue against Kentucky).

    Lightfoot has received some valuable minutes

    Garrett has shown he’s a lockdown defender and high level rebounder/passer.

    Newman is starting to assert himself on both ends.

    Svi & Vick are scorching the nets.

    Lots of improvement since the 2nd game. We’ll see how the next 5 go

  • I do like that we’ve played full games, and not let up.

    However, I see Doke out trapping (like Aldrich did), which spells stupid fouls. I see him out setting screens (where he’s moving all over the place), which again spells stupid fouls. I also see that against a long athletic team that isn’t the mid-major folks we’ve seen, we aren’t going to be quite as open, or quite as free flowing – see our only game like that (UK).

    That’s the real story. We had enough “killer instinct” last season having Mason and JJ. It’s true we’ve shown it better this season, though. Agree there. But the issue for this team will be post depth, and what we do when we are really challenged defensively?

    That’s what the next three months is about. Have to be optimistic.

  • @kjayhawks

    It does start with Cuse.

    UK was just scrimmaging their sushi.

    This is a test, if Cuse has its usual complement long guys recruited specially to play 2-3 zone and occassionaly betray the dark underbelly of D1.

    Lightfoot is the guy to watch. If his PT and productivity stay up, he is for real.

    Going to be a great experience for the team learning patience and passing to the high post at the FT line. We win if they can do those two things. We lose if they can’t. Simple as that. Always is against Cuse.

  • @jayballer54

    A good deal of the shots missed against UK were uncontested, open shots that KU usually makes. Remember that KU shot only 29% from the 3 against For Hays and I don’t believe I would call them a top team. Some times teams are in the zone and sometimes they have the “yips,” it happens.

  • No matter the results, the next stretch of games will certainly do what Coach Self loves to see done with his teams. Toughening. I don’t think any will be crazy blowouts and I’d look for Self to use the tougher opponents to strengthen team defense as well as the half court offensive sets. There will be alot of harping on toughness with rebounding, ball movement will be big, and as always defense without fouling. I think Self is excited for this next stretch. It’s exactly what he wants to get this team ready to compete for a 14th straight lil10 title

  • @HighEliteMajor I think the trapping is trying to get Doke comfortable moving inside and outside on D so as to have a big defend the 3 by opposing 4s and 5s. There seems to be an explosion of 6’10 to 7’ players shooting 3s the past couple of years. If he just plays the lane, he won’t foul as much but can’t defend his guys as well if yhey are versatile.

  • BeddieKU23 said:


    Saturday will be a test. How we get points against the zone on a neutral court having to play at a slower tempo will test these guys.

    You said the key… tempo!

    Welcome to the 4-guard offense! We don’t have to play a slower tempo game this time. If we get Cuse playing our quick pace, we should stomp them. Don’t give them time to set their zone.

    I suspect this will be a game of waves. We will probably build a big lead, only to have it reduced because we start slowing down and play to Cuze’s pace.

  • @mayjay I flat don’t like using Doke to trap at all (against quality teams), out on the floor, given that we have zero post depth. I don’t think the trapping has anything to do with guarding his man on the floor. It’s a pressure point to create a turnover or to simply disrupt a system team. And Toledo had a system offense. Self referred to that before the game, Toledo scoring based on their system. Traps disrupt teams that score based on the flow of their system. I don’t doubt that Doke might have to guard someone to the line, but I don’t see the connection. You could be right though. It’s obviously been part of Self’s defensive bag of tricks for many seasons. Again, with our lack of depth – no depth – exposing Doke like that is really not wise (against a team that can actually beat us).

  • Devonte is getting more and more comfortable with the PG position. The UK game was so early, he didn’t look comfortable and, yes-- ‘hero ball’ aptly describes it. But each game, we’ve seen improvements in his decision-making. In the Toledo game, he put things together for the majority of the game. This is what we should expect of him —not necessarily the 30+ points, but the ball-distribution and ball-control.

    This game against 'Cuse will tell us a lot about Devonte and the team… Will Devonte continue to improve? Will he regress or will he pick up where he left off against Toledo and continue to dish brilliantly, shoot when he needs to and be the floor general?

  • drgnslayr said:

    BeddieKU23 said:


    Saturday will be a test. How we get points against the zone on a neutral court having to play at a slower tempo will test these guys.

    You said the key… tempo!

    Welcome to the 4-guard offense! We don’t have to play a slower tempo game this time. If we get Cuse playing our quick pace, we should stomp them. Don’t give them time to set their zone.

    I suspect this will be a game of waves. We will probably build a big lead, only to have it reduced because we start slowing down and play to Cuze’s pace.

    If our 4 guard offense listens to their coach then they will be in attack mode and will try and keep the tempo around the same as its been. Putting Vick or Garrett in that high post in limited looks this year has looked deadly. Vick is more of a threat to score from that area right now but you have to love the BBIQ that Marcus brings to the floor. Guys just have to be smart, drive and kick and make shots

  • @BeddieKU23

    Spot on! I think Vick will be a key, maybe the key. Post up on the FT line and shot, drive or pass.

    No, wait a minute… Doke will be the key! Syracuse will be focused on stopping our treys.

    No, wait a minute… Svi and Malik will be the key! They will drive the ball since Cuse guards will be out top trying to stop the trey.

    No, wait a minute… Devonte will be the key! He runs the team and will keep the pace moving. He has warmed up from trey and he showed us (in the last game) how he can easily drive and either feed or hit the shot.

    Did I miss anyone? 😉

    Fun to read Cuse’s side of the story… they are just worried about us hitting the trey. Guess they don’t understand that Self’s funnest moments in life involve crushing zone defenses! Ha!


  • @drgnslayr

    Really good post. The way we have shot the ball at home they should be very scared of us. The one thing to worry is our last neutral court game we missed everything under the sun.

    You can force Syracuse into high scoring games especially if you have weapons which we do. I think we will methodically score early until the game settles and then we will see our guys picking apart this defense.

    I have not seen the talent level so bare at Cuse in many many years, at least 10-15 in my opinion. They took a bounce around transfer, a Euro who wasn’t heavily recruited, saw their starting PF transfer to Seton Hall and returned only 2 players who played significant minutes off last years squad. Does that sound like a typical Syracuse team?

    We are 25-30 points better then this team. We’ll see if we play like it

  • @BeddieKU23

    Syracuse is a tall team. Of their 8 players in the rotation only one is under 6’-5" and the rest are taller including 7’-2" Chukwu that is averaging 3 BPG. Curious to see how KU handles that much length.

  • @JayHawkFanToo they’ve faced tall teams before, like Baylorseveral times, Purdue and Kentucky among others.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Definitely a long team however they are not any good. This is a 10+ loss team in the ACC conference type team.

    Kentucky’s length bothered us and they had 7-8 NBA guys. Cuse has 1 NBA prospect on its team, Battle and he’s a 2nd round type currently.

    I’m also interested to see how we handle a longer team 2nd time around, we are more prepared since Kentucky and have game film to prepare against Cuse against common opponents.

    We know Self always prides himself on breaking down a zone defense and with a team full of shooters we sure look prepared to continue making teams look bad

  • @HawkChamp

    Those teams had tall players but Syracuse is mostly tall players and it will be playing zone, something that Syracuse always does well.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Nice response. Yeah… Boeheim’s calling card is his zone defense, which is premised on him carefully recruiting the exact proper players for each spot in his zone.

    Once you remove Boeheim’s finely-tuned recruited players from his scheme… they become extremely mediocre.

    And the real reason why he has had some level of success with his zone relates more to the level of novelty with his zone, because he recruits players as pieces to his specialized zone.

  • @BeddieKU23

    “I’m also interested to see how we handle a longer team 2nd time around, we are more prepared since Kentucky and have game film to prepare against Cuse against common opponents.”

    Kentucky posed a unique situation to us. Height and talent.

    They were able to use these areas of advantage to pinch in on the seams of our offense; passing and driving lanes.

    I can’t recall now, but didn’t Calipari stick strictly to a M2M defense against us? With his size and athleticism, even though the players are green, it isn’t tough for them to be formidable on defense.

    Self is definitely one of the best “zone-breaker” coaches in college basketball! Part of that relates to his long history of running a successful hi/lo. He knows how to get the ball in the post, from low post to high post around the FT line… and then back out on the perimeter to hit shots. Self also knows how vital it is to drive the ball. And now, in the last couple years, Self has added some amazing twists by turning his offense into a “two-man offense” when the ball makes it to the post area, having two players attack one defender at the rim.

    I absolute LOVE Self sticking Vick at the FT line to become the hub in his attack of zone defenses. And if we ever get back Billy, he will also be a great hub player.

  • @drgnslayr

    Lots of good stuff as always.

    This years Cuse team is feeling the full force of its sanctions from years ago. Big name school lacking big time talent. They look good when they don’t leave the Northwest region of NY.

    Their rebounding and blocks have been inflated by playing in the Carrier Dome where its extremely difficult for opposing teams to simulate what it feels like to be playing in such a massive arena. Its similar to how teams struggle in the NCAA tourney when they put the Final 4 etc in a big dome for seating purposes.

    Maryland played them to a 2pt game where they simply got suckered into turning the ball over and playing little defense. Maryland shot good enough to win but they were so careless with the ball. They also let Cuse get 4 guys into double figures which Cuse is going to have to pray happens in any game they play against P5 competition because they can’t shoot period.

    Great points about how Self’s Hi/Low is tailor made for breaking zone defenses.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Maryland shot 11-23 for 47.8% from 3 while Syracuse was 3-18 for a putrid 16.7%; Huerter from Maryland was on fire hitting 7-9 from 3, several really long distance shots. As a team Syracuse is shooting 29.1% from the 3 and the better shooters are Battle at 36.7% and Howard at 30.8$ and everybody else is under 25%. If not for a couple of turnover at the very end Maryland could have won the game.

    If KU can neutralize Battle and Howard, there is not much left. I can see Garret getting extended minutes in this game. Syracuse has scored 77, 71, 80, 74, 72 and 72 points in 6 games. In comparison, KU has scored, 92, 65, 98, 114, 102 and 96.

    The do have 3 opponents in common that each played at home.

    Syracuse results:


    KU results:


    No question that it will come down to pace. A slower paced, lower scoring game favors Syracuse and a faster paced, higher scoring game favors KU. How well KU handles the zone will dictate pace. during the Maryland game, Syracuse switched to man to man when Maryland started hitting from outside. All things considered KU should win comfortably.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I’m comfortable saying unless KU plays significantly worse then it did against Kentucky we will win as you said comfortably.

    Nice breakdown of the games against common opponents.

  • @BeddieKU23

    We don’t need to play the hi/lo to effectively beat the Cuze zone… but just having that experience of knowing how to punch the ball in and out is HUGE!

    Just knowing we have someone like Doke in the low post and we know how to feed him also opens up the high post for Vick!

    I’m betting this ends up being a very entertaining game! All we have to do is hit a decent % from trey. If we do that then Boeheim has to decide who he wants to leave open… low post Doke? high post Vick? perimeter shooting guards?

    Then… what if we start driving through the seams?

    This seems to be our best offensive team ever for Self to use against Boeheim!

    This game will probably boil down to coaching. Hopefully, we will start this game and punch Cuze right in the face! Then… Boeheim will have to counter by shifting his defensive focus somewhere else. Then… Self will have to counter Boeheim’s move… then… back and forth countering between coaches! I’d love to experience a game like that!

  • Syracuse guard Geno Thorpe has left the program. This is only about the 5th one he has left…

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