Tharpe's Lesson: Own the Pace, Own the Game

  • In the middle of the first half of this game it appeared Kansas was going to give TTech their typical beat down. The Jayhawks were up by 10 and making it look way, way, way too easy!

    Then something changed. Then the war over who owned the pace shifted over to TTech’s advantage! They didn’t really change their game as much as just kept trying to slow the pace of the game down… to a snail’s pace. This entire game they probably didn’t shoot the ball with more than 10 second on the shot clock more than a handful of times. We knew they would attempt this before we arrived in Lubbock. It has been their strategy all year, and it has helped them lead the B12 in holding down opponents to 68.5 ppg. Their strategy definitely worked against the high-powered Kansas offense, holding us to 64 points.

    But for a while there, in the first half, Kansas was winning the pace battle and they were getting out on primary and secondary breaks. Even though this team could easily become the best open court team in America, it seems to refuse to push the pace, even turning away from a faster pace when it is working and stretching a lead.

    For those of you who have the game on DVR, go back and watch our first possession of the game. We had an open court opportunity and we pulled it out instead to run our half court offense, only to turn the ball over. When I saw that first play, I immediately had a feeling we were in for a long night in Lubbock.

    In the early part of this season, we were exposed by teams like Villanova, who proved they could use high ball pressure and disrupt our offense. For the most part, we resolved that issue. And then teams started attacking our bigs, trying to win the foul war. We haven’t resolved this issue but we’ve reduced it as a problem. Now… as we move forward to March, teams are realizing that the way to beat Kansas is to control the pace, and to bring it to a dead still. This is, by far, the main problem we must solve moving forward.

    When our opponents take the air out of the ball they, essentially, take the air out of our team. We have one of the best offenses in the country… definitely in the open court, but also good in the half court. Until… until our guys slow down. When the pace of the game drops our guys slow down and they stop fighting for effective offense. When they do that players like Tharpe get anxious. When players like Tharpe get anxious, we turn the ball over. And… we settle for bad shots. At one point in the second half, Tharpe turned the ball over on consecutive plays.

    When we push the tempo, we create scoring opportunities in the open court… both on primary breaks and on secondary breaks. We score points in clusters… and we can quickly explode a lead. In doing so, we put pressure on our opponents to speed up their game. When we get them to speed up their game they miss more shots and they turn the ball over more. Another benefit… when we push pace it makes it hard for our opposition to tweak their half court defense to give us fits. Once the game slowed down, TTech was able to run shifting defenses that made it even tougher for us to attack. Many times they would shift from a zone to M2M in the middle of our possession.

    When we control pace on a team like TTech, who is by far less talented, we run them out of the gym, regardless if it is in Lawrence or Lubbock. We should have cruised to an easy win in Lubbock last night. All we had to do was maintain control of the pace.

    The person in charge of controlling the pace and controlling the game is Naadir Tharpe. He should have seen (and felt) the shift happening in that game and then he should have put up a fight to push the tempo. He should have been vocal with his teammates, to keep up the pace and high energy. Good point guards fight to keep momentum going in their direction.

    Tharpe isn’t the only guilty person in letting the pace battle slip away. Controlling pace is a team effort. But Tharpe is the leader of this team and controlling pace is one of his responsibilities. So now he must be held accountable. It would be nice if his teammates would make it easier on him by noticing and reacting to shifts in the game without having to be pushed so hard to pick it up. Tharpe is also responsible for making sure these guys react, and when a player or players don’t, he should call them out on it! Perry Ellis didn’t seem to respond to much of anything last night. He wasn’t into the game and it might have helped if Tharpe had gone up and tapped him on the head to “wake up!”

    I hope the guys go back to Lawrence and visit the video room. This is an excellent game to learn from. This game clearly showed how owning the pace meant owning the game!

    We were extremely fortunate to leave Lubbock with a win. If we don’t take the lesson that was clearly exposed in this game then the net outcome from Lubbock is a loss! If we don’t learn the lesson we would have been better off if Wiggins had missed the bunny in the closing seconds!

  • Super analysis of pace. I want to lay out some old conventional wisdom on this subject and let you use your greater experience and first hand knowledge of the game at higher levels to explain why it would be good for Tharpe to control pace and quicken it. I suspect you are right, but I am frankly not knowledgeable enough lay out why.

    Conventional wisdom from a long time ago: I learned in high school ball that there were two ways to deal with slow down: your way–speed it up, and Self’s occasional way–get in the molasses with them.

    Your way increases the number of trips, and, hence, increases the number of chances for our superior offense to out score them. I was taught your way works best, if you have a better defense than the opponent, but not when not. For example, John Wooden always preferred lots of trips, because he relied on superbly conditioned defenses to get more stops and superbly conditioned offenses get more open looks as the game entered the stretch.

    Self’s occasional way–slowing down along with them–reduces the number of trips and so retains our offensive advantage per possession, yet also reduces the number of times our poor defense has to guard.

    This old conventional wisdom suggests Self will opt to slow it down, until Joel becomes the dominant rim protector that he was pre-injury, if he ever does.

    Put another way, if our PG were skillful and talented enough to push the pace without rising TOs and our defense were sound, we would see the pace stepped up dramatically.

    As is, Self will probably play slowdown anytime they want to, so as to minimize the times this team has to guard.

    Faster pace can be used intermittently to keep the opponent from getting comfortable.

    Faster pace can also be seen as offensive disruption, when one cannot disrupt on defense.

    Again, great take on pace that has got me thinking, even if I am outlining the logic of why Self may not go along.

    Now the table is set. I am eager to learn here. Thx in advance.

  • Nice break down of the tempo. However, KU can control the tempo only on offense. When Tech had the ball all KU could do is play tough defense and by and large they did that, but Tech had a little or maybe a lot of luck. There were several possessions where KU defended well only to have Tech take extremely low percentage, desperation shots that actually went in; in any other game most of those shots don’t go in and that is about a 6-10 point swing.

  • Tempo and it’s effect on total number of trips appears to be altered on offense and defense. Defense that makes an opponent take longer to shoot slows tempo decreases Total number of trips.

    For example, using a back-pedaling 2-2-1 zone press starting 3/4 court tends to make it take longer for an opponent to get the ball up the court, so this has the accordion effect of making it take longer to start offense and so force the opponent’s possession deeper into the shot clock, which makes for a longer possession, which makes for slower tempo, and fewer possessions.

    Alternatively, you can play a trapping press of many kinds that enables/forces passes down floor that speeds a slowdown opponent up.

    Defense in half court can also be varied to speed up or slow down the time it takes an opponent to shoot.

    Late in games, a team may foul ASAP to shorten an opponent’s possession time, thus sharply increasing tempo by stopping the clock entirely during an opponent’s possession; this greatly increases the number of trips in time remaining.

    At the XTReme, teams have even tried guarding lay ups and not guarding jump shot (and vice versa) to get opponents to shoot faster, and so increase tempo and total trips.

  • We can easily push tempo on offense… and we can pressure d up top to try to force our opponents to up their tempo on their offensive possessions. Full and 3/4 court presses also help push tempo.

    If you caught WSU last night, they like to push tempo. Players like Baker and vanVleet would get a defensive rebound and would just take off on the dribble all the way to the hole. And they would finish at the hole, almost always getting fouled… often making the basket, too, and get the and-1.

    I’ve been under the assumption all year that we have guys just a tad bit more athletic than those guys (I’m not knocking either guy, they play great hoops).

    But the idea that we can only break off a TO is just plain flat out wrong! A fast break opportunity is there even if there is one or two defenders waiting in the paint. Those guys are typically your allies because they are going to foul you to make sure you score!

    We can’t absolutely make teams speed up on their offense… but it is a rare team that doesn’t buckle eventually to the pressures of pace. Especially when they are falling behind on the scoreboard… and when our defense has intensity it is natural for the other team to start picking it up. If we had a faster tempo, and a higher defensive tempo, we would create more TOs with our defense. Just one more factor helping push another team to pick up the pace. Suddenly, we have resolved our crazy low TO stat! It’s been our defensive pace that has kept that low, not our ability! We’ve got lightning fast defenders with arms long enough to reach France from Lawrence. And with the quicker defensive pace comes better overall defense.

    The thing is… when you get our super-athletic McDs All-American players moving at a good pace, they tend to dominate! No more slow motion basketball where we are all screaming that they lack motivation, competitiveness, esteem, ability… All that can go in the crap can once these guys start moving the ball.

    The one problem with Self’s offense… with his theory of ball movement, and not letting the ball stick. It definitely works, no question. But it also enables players to stand in one position and let the ball do the work. It ends up acting as an enabler for a “laid back” team (like ours).

    How many times on here have we all complained that these guys just play too laid back?

    This is the only way to really utilize our depth. We can run so many guys on rotation and keep the game fresh. We’ll exhaust our opponents and we will kill their ability to nail all those 3s. It’s very difficult to shoot a high % from trey when you are exhausted. We have a horrible defense against the 3, something that will surely beat us in March if we don’t resolve it now.

    I’d like to test my theory on this because I don’t want to believe, deep down, that these guys lack competitiveness or motivation. I just don’t want to believe it. They do have a team personality of being laid back. Speeding up the game for them will solve that issue. I have no doubt about it.

    All our guys would love to open up the pace and start having a game that flows. These guys would really smile and be happy. Enough of the stiff, grinding pace. It’s really enough now.

    This would be our #1 recruiting tool, too!

  • @drgnslayr Great post drgnslayr! The way that underdog teams(like Northern Iowa) upset better teams is to slow the pace down. They want a half court game where there isnt much ball movement. That’s what happened when we played San Diego State. There wasnt much ball movement and they didn’t run.

    It is a very simple concept really. There HAS to be ball movement. Once they start moving the ball and getting out in transition, Bill Self will be getting his third career final four.

  • We were talking about speeding up tempo and my point was that when you are playing defense you can not speed up the opponent offense unless you make concessions; either let them take open shots or allow them to penetrate, and even then, they can elect to pass and extend the possession time much like Tech did, as they consistently held the ball for alt least 25 seconds in just about every possession…and then made unlikely shot at the end of the 35 seconds.

    Of course you can always foul them and send them to the line, but other that at the very end of games, this is really not a good approach.

  • @drgnslayr so why do you think Bill doesn’t speed up the tempo?

  • If you get a chance, watch an SMU game. That’s fun. Coach Brown’s team “pushes the pace.” They are running and always in motion in their half court offense. It is how I have expected KU to play this year (with talent and a deep bench). Coach Brown is doing it with lesser talent and no bench!

  • @741hawk That is a great question. Why doesn’t Self have them push the pace? Could it be that he is going to try to surprise everyone in March?

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    My guess is, first… he tries to teach fundamentals, and fundamentals are best taught in the half court. He may have had the right approach up until now. So the guys can play good ball in a slow game… “a grinder game” as Self likes to call them.

    And it isn’t like we haven’t enjoyed some good results at a slower pace. Our offense has been ranked pretty high. It is mostly our defense that lacks the punch of previous teams. And in some situations, logic says to slow it down to be more effective on defense. But not with this team. They start falling asleep…

    I’m not saying we need to become a run and gun team. We just need to up the tempo and tweak until we hit the sweet spot. Whatever that tempo is.

    It will work because our guys seem to start falling asleep in these slow games. I’m pretty sure there is plenty of motivation for these guys to play a faster game. I’m pretty sure they haven’t enjoyed all the criticism leveled on them in areas of motivation, competitiveness… etc. Maybe they even have a bit of a chip on their shoulders… (i hope).

    We need to play at a pace where we are pulling away on the scoreboard, and our guys have plenty of spark in their steps! …and look like they are having a good time out there!

    1. We may have thoroughbreds but we’ve no 3 yr olds. When you wish to push tempo, Na is not the runner I like.

    2. And Wigs’ ball handling skills need more time to develop. No doubt he will flourish in a year or so in the L. His aggressiveness is getting where we’ve expected it to be, but I wonder if he is still apprehensive about the finish at the rack.

    3. And for all his great potential Frank is still a yearling & sometimes appears barely green broke. He still appears as a timid foal when doubled and still way too young for the saddle.

    4)Wayne is flat out pi$$ & vinegar at the rim, & is a finisher with a capitol F. I even think he prides himself on floor burns. But realistically he is not even a small f as the facilitator. Still lowers his head too much when he’s on the drive & can be a turnover machine at times.

    5)While I’d like to say these MDA’s ponies can flow like the Monarch Pass rapids in Spring, the 3 & 4 yr olds that many teams have are 21-22 yr old young men with tons of experience on our young heard. Even when we wish to play hi lo grind it out Self ball, our young bigs don’t execute vs the double with the advantageous height & skillsets they possess. I’m continually scratching my head trying to figure out which Mr (Jeykell or Hyde) Ellis will appear from the Phog. I equate/relate him to the 6 foot invisible rabbit from Jimmy Stewart’s “Harvey” at times. Everyone talks to him but he just can’t be seen or heard.

    My expectations will never lower regardless of their age & maturity levels, but with Joel not even close to the explosive guy he was before the knee injury & UT throw down, I’m more realistic than before, but optimistic none the less. IMHO an essential Fed Ex delivery to Mr Ridley tomorrow is an absolute requirement beginning with the opening tip. My strategy would be that Mr Bill has a crystal clear priority in mind at AFH, so here’s to anticipating we see Tarik, Jamari & Landon in their delivery unis.

  • @DinarHawk I’d be surprised if he tries to surprise (?) anyone in March. I personally feel like we’re not running much because our quality of ball handlers is not that great.

  • @globaljaybird

    Good points! I’m not sure we have to finish every open court possession with a score. But we need the up-tempo to keep our guys’ chests pumping with plenty of oxygen. They need the run to keep their minds at full speed…

    If they push it more they will surely finish some of those open court possessions at the rim… and it is easier to handle the ball in the open court with open space, then to drive the ball in the half court, through close defenders who are reaching for the ball.

    I just think their potential weakness is to lose the grinder games. I’m thinking most of our losses were like that… low scoring affairs… Villanova, Florida, SDSU.

  • @nuleafjhawk I personally don’t think that they have pushed the ball enough to know whether or not their ball handling is good enough. To me, Tharpe is up and down about turning the ball over, but he isnt that bad. The thing that bugs me about him is that he doesnt move the ball and push tempo. How many times have they actually done that? The answer is very few. It would be nice to see them really make an attempt to push the ball.

  • If I’m not mistaken, probably 99% of our TOs have occurred in the half court, not the open court!

  • @drgnslayr Exactly right about them losing grind it out games. If they would have been in a running game with Villanova or San Diego State, those games wouldnt have been close. However, it is good for them to learn how to win those half court games. I agree with you that Self is teaching them how to win the half court games because those are the types of games that they dont yet fully realize how to win.

  • @DinarHawk

    And Self knows… he can’t count on freshmen to execute in March. If he put all his eggs in an open court game and then the freshmen freak out when facing a 35-second Princeton offense… we die! (if we cave in to not pushing tempo)

    Taking that same argument… that freshmen can’t be counted on to execute… they can’t be counted on to execute a half court game all the time either. It is the half court game that requires the largest amount of execution. I’m betting these kids, for the most part, would execute a faster tempo game better than a slow tempo game in March. We’ll find out soon enough! You can bet your last dollar that teams will come out and drop the pace just like TT did… not take a shot until 2 or 3 seconds are left on the shot clock, and not a lot of movement in their possession. Tubby is not a dummy. He knew that slowing us down for 35 seconds makes it hard for us to speed back up on our offensive possession. He was exactly CORRECT!

    What people have to realize is… Tubby hoped his boys would score with 2 or 3 seconds left on the shot clock, but it wasn’t a big deal if they didn’t. His main objective was to deflate the game and take KU out of it’s high-velocity game! He was successful with his strategy… he was just unlucky in the final seconds. The fact that they lost by 1 says enough. We should have smoked them by 20+! No one knows that more than Tubby!

    Well… we’ve had 26 games of half court basketball… I think it is time we can open it up a bit!

  • @drgnslayr-I also think we’re sorely missing that dominant outlet pass we had with Cole & Jeff & the twins. These things take time. That’s clearly one aspect of Wigs game that has yet to evolve as he has been a mini monster on the glass. If we didn’t have to depend on his rebounding skills so much, he’d be in better position for transition. Hate to beat a dead horse, but again, which Perry do we need?

  • @globaljaybird

    We are missing that dominant outlet pass NOW! We have one of the best outlet passers the game has ever had in Embiid… we just weren’t using him for that!

  • @drgnslayr So true! In my opinion, Embiid is a better passer than both Cole and Jeff. He just hasn’t had many opportunities to throw those passes because the rest of the team isn’t making an attempt to run.

  • @DinarHawk I 100% agree that I wish they would push the pace - I’m just not sure if they are able to. We were discussing this very thing at work this morning ( on break of course…) about how if there was one thing we missed about Ol Roy it was the fast pace that he allowed/made his guys to play.

  • @drgnslayr really like the up tempo to keep the chest pumping! When we pressed at ksu to go overtime, amazing things happened, also the press we put on TCU the 2nd half. I’m a firm believer that starting out w/a press gets those same chests pumping! Wiggins in open court against one is easier than him in half court against 3-4. Think the same w/selden. At what point do we keep saying we can’t because they’re freshmen?

  • @nuleafjhawk Correct. And drgnslayr and I are wondering if Self is not encouraging it because he wants them to learn how to execute in the half court. As everyone can see, they are not exactly dominant in a slow, half court game. Learning that would be huge going into the tournament, as there is always at least one game in March that is a slow, grind it out game. That is the game that this team has to be ready for.

  • @DinarHawk we’re ready now, let’s have the other team adjust to our tempo-ramped! Besides, the longer we take to run the slow-paced O the more chances to turn it over?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I am not sure that they are ready just yet. Theyre extremely close, but not there yet. I would have more confidence in them if they could have won at K State, but HORRIBLE pick and roll defense kept them from winning. They could have won the San Diego State game, but got outrebounded by 13. 13!!!. What this team tends to do in a slow game is to not move the ball. They catch it, look around, maybe take a couple dribbles, then pass it out front again. Then the guy that catches it does the same thing. That is not nearly fast enough. Drgnslayr has it right about starting out in a press to get them in the correct mindset.

    I hope that they will soon start to do what we all hoped they would do since last summer, which is run, run, run. They have the depth and the talent to do it. We already know what Wiggins can do in limited open court possessions. Imagine him getting 10 or 15 of those every game! Like I said earlier, once this team starts playing in the open court, there is almost nothing stopping them from getting to Dallas. However, they must first master the art of half court offense to be fully ready for the tournament.

  • This is where I have my hopes for this team… and it would be a master move to bring it on now!

    It’s the team that is hottest at the end that wins it all. Usually a team will pull some kind of major tweak that transforms their play about now… with time (and games) left enough to polish the tweak and pick up all that momentum.

    We can be the team with all momentum in March! I’ve felt we are a team that has been shackled for too long. The guys are restless… they are hungry for success… they want to prove themselves… and they are one big tweak away from running the table!

    What team in this country can stop Wiggins or Selden in the open court? What team in this country can stop Embiid’s bullet outlet pass? What team in this country can score on this Jayhawk team that is fired up (hearts pounding)?

    Tharpe can make it happen. He has the ear of his troops… he can push it himself and he can push the guys to move it. He has built enough leadership with this team to get it done!

    I’d like to see them move it against Texas. Use Ridley’s size against him by making him a paperweight stuck on one side of the floor!

    Yeehaw! Time to rope a Longhorn!!!

    Rock Chalk!

  • @globaljaybird Love the horse analogies!

  • @drgnslayr Right on! The hottest team in March is the one that wins it! Look at Michigan last year. They did not end the conference season well at all and lost in the Big Ten tournament yet still made it to the championship game.

    You are right about this team being shackled and burdened. They are itching to be let loose. They are so much better than they have shown.

  • BTW, I would much rather be in a slump now and work out the kinks than having problems in March. Remember, there is no award or trophy for playing well in January and February. The only hardware I care about is rewarded in March.

    I mean, winning the conference is nice, but I would rather have lost the conference last year and got to the final four last year. I know that some will disagree with me on that, but what most people remember is whether or not a team advances far in the tournament.

  • @drgnslayr

    We are missing that dominant outlet pass NOW! We have one of the best outlet passers the game has ever had in Embiid… we just weren’t using him for that!

    Likely we have different definitions of what an outlet pass is. To me, an outlet pass is one that is thrown after a defensive rebound to an open player in the front court and the pass is normally at least half the length of the court. Some people consider any pass that starts a fast break an outlet pass but that is not, IMHO, a true “outlet” pass.

    Embiid is a good, maybe even great passer; he is very good at protecting the ball after the rebound and then making the pass to the point guard, which reduces the chance of making outlet passes. He is also good at getting position on one side of the basket and then firing pass to the wide open opposite side, although this has resulted at time in turnovers when the ball is intercepted.

    I can’t say I have seen Embiid throw many of what I call true outlet passers, so I cannot yet judge how good he is now or will be in the future. Players that are good passers are not necessarily good outlet passers and vice versa. Kevin Love is probably the best active outlet passer in the game, but the best of all times is probable Wes Unseld, although Jabbar and Walton were both outstanding outlet passers as well, at least among the player I saw play.

    Here is a link to a video of Kevin Love’s outlet passes…

    Link to Kevin Love outlet passes…

    Those are outlet passes to me and I have not seen Embiid throw many of those.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    We are defining “outlet passes” as the same. Maybe you missed our early games. Embiid was rifling passes at least half the distance of the court, sometimes further.

    If you put “Embiid outlet” in a Google search I bet you can find a lot about him. I did and just searching down a few links I found these… the first comparing him to Kevin Love, who, BTW, is one of the best at outlet passing!

    Jason King got this one right:

    “He’s already developed into a tremendous distributor—especially on outlet passes—and runs the court like a guard.”

    I guarantee you that NBA GMs are psyched at his potential on the outlet!

    Here is a link from his game with Towson. The second half of the video shows his outlet passes. These are not the best example of what he has done or what he could do. In other games he rifled the ball out and hit his target spot on! But this is what I found doing a quick search…

  • @drgnslayr-Thx for the link. Many of the early season games I was unable to view due to TWC & SZ cahoots. Comcast is buying TWC so maybe things will change.

    For those who want to see the premier outlet passers archives try Wilt, Russell, Willis Reed-these are the true masters of the art.

  • @drgnslayr - Late to the party here, but great thread.

    On pace, I would say that the best way to change the pace of game is through defense. Meaning, the pace of the game changes by speeding them up, not necessarily by us playing faster.

    And that is where Self’s philosophy permits us to be sucked into a low possession game. He plays conservative on defensively, rarely pressing or taking chances. We don’t inspire turnovers. We don’t inspire opponents to rush. We permit them to be methodical, guarding against a breakdown.

    That works most times – but with this team, that is defensively challenged, we see that we give up many, many late baskets.

    This team could benefit by playing a bit more aggressively in its defensive scheme. But we know Self won’t do that.

    In a game like TT, that is how we could have increased possessions, in my humble opinion of course.

    **Sorry if I missed anyone’s similar thoughts above.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I hear what you are saying… but the benefit from speeding up is more about US needing to speed up! We need to speed up our offensive possessions so we’ll come back and play sped up on defense! It is all a strategy to keep our guys energized. Against TT, except for the one brief period in the first half, we slowed down, and we slowed down to their pace… which totally neutralized our athletic advantage.

    I’m saying the byproduct of us playing faster will, in most cases, start speeding up our opponent. And as long as we are maintaining our high energy level, who cares what they do. They’ll have to figure out how they can maximize their points on what possessions they have. It is rare, however, when you start building a big point spread on your opponent and they don’t try to change their game in order to prevent a complete blow out.

    Also, we have the talent and athleticism to become an outstanding defensive team… even now! We need a bit more coaching, and a heck of a lot more energy on defense. Our low energy on defense is the reason why we are the worst (or one of the worst) defensive teams in the B12 when it comes to steals! With our athleticism and arm length, we should be creating plenty of steals, but we don’t put real pressure on the ball.

    This is all about putting some fire under our guys’ buttocks.

    Read Self’s comments about the TT game… and how he didn’t substitute because none of his guys were even winded… That should tell you that Tubby’s strategy, to neutralize our athletic advantage, worked brilliantly!

  • @HighEliteMajor said it before, when we pressed like we did against Kstate to get OT, and also 2nd half against TCU, good things happen. We sped up and fed off of it. Great outlet passes up the court to see Wiggins, Selden, etc, in the open court would please the heck out of me! Really like to see us in the passing lanes esp. On the first pass.

  • This is one of the best threads all season. Great writing, great points…

    And now I’m jonesing after the ‘basketball heroin’ served by viewing Kevin Love’s outlet passes.

    I’ll add a few things that I think we have been missing lately (mostly covered by others already):

    1. Passing that breaks the defense down. The kind of passing I’m talking about takes chemistry-- the team must play as a unit. Yes we pass, but lately, we don’t often make the kind of passes that create assists. We had 4 assists against Tech. Four! the whole team, the whole game. Outlet passes would be nice too. The video proves that – once upon a time – Embiid looked up the floor to see a teammate streaking to the basket.

    We’ve had some great passing teams in the past and I guess I’m spoiled.

    1. Which brings me to fast breaks. Which just don’t seem to be in this team’s vocabulary.

    2. A love of opportunistic moments. This is sometimes known as a “killer instinct”. This team doesn’t seem to look for it. They make great plays and they beat the pants off a few teams like TCU. But to see the definition of opportunistic, see 2011-12 Jayhawks. Also see Butler under Brad Stevens and the legions of mid-majors who make up for the lesser talent by 1) not making mistakes, 2) playing hard and scrappy, and 3) seeking out the moment of weakness of the opponent and exploiting it.

    I would like some more of #3 to go with all the talent!

    When those two things come together, we’ll be hanging another banner in AFH.

  • @bskeet think #1 has gotten better. I’m going w/#2, playing hard and scrappy!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Agreed… And I’m good with more floor burns 😉

    By the way-- for those with ESPN3, you can watch the replay of the game to see the first possession of the game that @drgnslayr mentioned. That’s an example of what I was talking about on #3. And there are several other times in the game when we wait for the opponent to set and don’t attempt to capitalize when we seem to have an advantage.

  • @bskeet really feel like we can leave Ridley in the dust this next game, need to capitalize on that!

  • @drgnslayr

    I did a Google search and the great majority of references are in post in a couple of forums posted by fans (much like us) and you have to take those with a grain of salt. The first link you posted is exactly that, the second is a semi-generic comment by Jason King with no other information to back it up. The third link shows 3 outlet passes, all in the same game and two of them are very good but the third just about goes out of bounds.

    Since the Towson game, he has not had many outlet passes that I can recall; in fact (and I could be wrong) I don’t recall any outlet passes during conference play. With a grand total of less than dozen outlet passes in his entire career, I think is premature to anoint hims as " one of the best outlet passers the game has ever had," don’t you think? Considering that players such as Love routinely have several per game.

    I am not saying that he will not become a good or even a great outlet passer, but with KU’s current lack of emphasis on the fast break offense, and his current production record (outlet pass wise), all we can say is that he has great potential, wouldn’t you agree?

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    )@drgnslayr I think Tharpe has made some great strides since the beginning of the year. His lapses cause me to pause just when I think he’s turning a corner to consistency, he commits bball freshman 101 mistakes. He’s a junior pg and not too sure where his head is at times, but he has to turn that corner really sharp and take total control. His passive play or his yielding attitude is really effecting this team. Tharpe is either really on or really off. It’s called inconsistency. We need him to be Doron Lamb-like this year. Heck, Lamb was a soph when he led uk to a NC. I know Tharpe is no Lamb, but they have very similar personalities on the court. I hate that comparison, but it’s the only one that came to mind, especially in terms of NC comparisons. I know Tharpe can play unconscious too. I’ve seen him play outside of AFH. For example, before he came to KU, he played at the Kemba Walker bball camp and some other venues only to school many of the other players and fans.

  • @truehawk93

    “Tharpe is either really on or really off. It’s called inconsistency.”

    You nailed it with just a few words… something I have a hard time doing! Tharpe needs some pre-game zen. Many of the greatest players of all times would do it before stepping on to the court.


    There were games after Towson where Embiid really whipped out hard “Kevin Love-like” outlet passes. We discussed it in here, about his ability to outlet the ball.

    The fact that he hasn’t done it in conference is a mystery for this entire team. It takes two to tango, and he can’t whip a pass out to someone who isn’t out there to get it.

    It will be a pity if we don’t see it return while he is at KU, because that is a big time weapon gone wasted if he doesn’t use it.

    You will see it in the league… promise. He’s every bit as capable of a pinpoint rifle half court (or more) pass, just like Kevin Love.

    I found links on our site:

    Self: “We went on a 47-11 run to end the half. We were down 5-2 and then got cranked up pretty good. The guys played with good energy. We were much better defensively, much more active blocking shots. It seems like we had hands everywhere. We didn’t get a lot of steals, but it seemed like we caused some havoc. I thought we really got out and ran better than we have, and Joel (Embiid) made some unbelievable outlet passes to get us going. A lot of guys played well. It was pretty consistently good for the most part, but the second half got pretty sloppy.” That was after Towson.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I just posted some keys and one was to run Ridley in the ground. Need to pull him and force a switch, then let Ellis or Wiggins take him 1x1 to the hoop. He’ll get into foul trouble for playing D with his hands…attack, attack, and attack that big sack of potatoes. If we let him stand in the lane, he’s going to clog, push, hack, and pretty much manhandle as he did in the first game. We need to push him up and down the court. He’ll need oxygen before it’s all over. It will render him useless. Embiid needs to pull him out of the lane. He can’t post and go toe-toe with him. It didn’t work last game. Embiid’s first step will leave Ridley frozen. Embiid needs about 6’…bring him up to the free-throw line. Rickey boy will pack the lane and dare KU to beat them from outside. Our perimeter hasn’t been too threatening as of late. Hopefully we’ll spread the floor.

    I can’t find my new post, but I also said KU will need to box, box, and box out on every single shot. We can’t give UT second chances. We need to get selfish on the boards. We’ve got to convert on TOs too.

    My last key would be for the 6th man, the Phog, Jayhawk Nation to ROCK THE HOUSE. Rope those horns and move them out. It’s time to brand a great big KU on Bevo. I want to see that lost, dazed, confused look on Rickey’s face after it’s said and done. It’s that look of “WTH just happened.”

  • @truehawk93 couple of pts, would love to set pace right off the bat, might even play Tarik pretty quick, if they’re in zone. The way Ridley threw Embiid down last time still makes my blood boil! I think Tarik was just coming back from ankle sprain, not 100%. If we can get the ball out and run, Embiid would have a field day! Did they zone us last time? Last, we got to slow their pt down!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Tarik played only 6 minutes had 2 points, no rebounds and no fouls, which is amazing considering that he normally gets one at the scorer’s table when he checks in…:)

  • @JayHawkFanToo I just want him on Ridley for awhile!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Yes, have Black, Lucas and even Wesley all over him and either “rough” him up a little or draw fouls. If you get 2 or 3 quick fouls on him, he is essentially out of the game.

  • The best move on Ridley is to attack his weakness… his weight. His weight limits his floor speed and endurance. If 5 Jayhawks run the floor on a defensive rebound we’ll force Barnes to bench Ridley… especially if we attack the rim immediately on our end, before Ridley can set in the post. Or he may take himself out of the game by fouling out! Embiid is great running the floor, and tomorrow he needs to run the floor and they need to pound the ball into him before Ridley can get set.

    Hey… I just found this tidbit from one of Jesse’s articles about the TT game. It supports our thread on how pace hurt us in Lubbock:

    "Stat of the Day

    Texas Tech completely dictated the pace of play. According to, KU had just 53 possessions, which was its lowest total in a game during Self’s 375 games with the Jayhawks. The 53 possessions also were the least by any Big 12 team in any game this season. To give some context, KU hadn’t had a game below 63 possessions all season until Tuesday."

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