Here we go...
KU BB fans are eager to get into the heart of the 2017-18 season and the start of Big 12 action signals the Jan-Feb grind for a 14th straight Big 12 title, surpassing the UCLA run back when they had players like Jabbar and Walton, and for multiple years. (imagine if KU had had Embiid for the touney in 13-14…and then for another two years after that!).
The Jayhawks circa 2017-18 are the team who have a chance to make history, and establish the record, a truly remarkable feat. Of course we want to make a deep run in March, but this is an unbelievable (never before and never again) achievement. For more information, read this:
March Madness is around the corner, recruting for next year is a good subject but let’s focus on conference play. Rock Chalk!
Big 12 is unique in that there is a home-away with every single opponenet and there are some goood teams this year (check the rankings at season launch). Lots of excellent competition. We have a secret coaching weapon…we know our opponents and can adjust to find ways to win.
We have a couple of new pieces in Sam and Silvio but we really need Billy to win it again and make a serious run to the Final Four.
The guard play this year is outstanding, but we are a jump shooting team who cannot be hot every night. So Coach wants us to be able to grind to victory when the shots are not falling.
We are not a grind it our team (he calls it ‘soft’), but it has more to do with size and physical play than being weak and a lack of effort. We can get tougher mentally. Devonte, Lagerald and Svi are game tough but the other players are not yet.
Dok is doing great but he is only 18 and is still a work in progress. Consistency and staying on the floor are key success factors for his personal and this year’s team success.
Mitch is a great teammate and hustle guy but he cannot compete at the elite level necessary to win against the best teams. Silvio will help and he has a motor but his contribution this year will be limited. (Great to get him here this year but he cannot carry the team and will have a hard time learning the speed of the game and how to play this season).
With Billy, we have an elite team. Without him, we have a good team. Seeing Lagerald at the high post (especially against the zone) or Marcus in the middle makes me realize just how thin we are this year, even running the hybrid hi-lo which the coaching staff has implemented very well. Billy changes the team dynamic big time on offense. Will he play this year? Can he avoid being a defensive liability? Can he bang and rebound? If yes, we will be really, really good and among the best teams in the nation.
If not, we will still be a top 15 team and could win the conference (or tie) and maybe make a run but who knows?
Now that we have a little more depth in the back court, I would like to see us pressure more, pick them up full court, take more chances, create more havic on defense. Rotate the guys in and out for short rests. The only indispensable player is Devonte (maybe Dok) so let’s use them all Coach and force the action!
Truth be told, I am concerned with our on-the-ball defense and ability to keep elite opposing guards in front of us. With weak rim protection, we are playing it safe, on our heels, hence the WU and ASU open three pointers, but against the other teams as well (they just missed more shots).
Out team defense could be elite but we have no stopper on the perimeter. Of our five starters, only Devonte and LaGerald are above average at guarding the ball. Dok and Svi and Malek are all getting better but are sub-standard for KU players. We really need elite team D to match our elite team O.
Rock Chalk! Let’s kick some Texas butt and get out of the starting blocks with a W! Here we go…