Making a run without JoJo

  • So by now the disappointing news has sunk in for most of us regarding Embiid’s back injury. While we may speculate as to if/when he will be back, it is in the best interest of the team to prepare as if he will not be back. After all, they’ve had a whole season’s worth of preparation playing with him, so if he is available at some point, re-inserting him in the line-up will not necessitate any adjustments. So make plans to play without him.

    When it was revealed that we would be without Embiid for the final 2 games of the regular season, it was suggested & debated that perhaps we start Lucas. @HighEliteMajor suggested that, hoping to perhaps “catch lightning in a bottle”. However, that didn’t happen, and in limited minutes Lucas underwhelmed while on the court.

    It has been largely suggested that the pivotal player in life without Embiid is Tarik Black. After his senior night performance, everybody was jumping on board that train. However, we were quickly reminded in the WVU game that the Black we had grown accustomed to seeing the majority of the year is one who cannot stay on the court due to foul trouble. Black certainly has the ability to do some nice things, but hoping he can put this team on his back, or even shoulder a normal share of the load for a deep run, is unreasonable and flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

    So…what to do? My suggestion - play small. Self has continued using more players in his rotation than normal all year long, and perhaps this is where it pays off. Tharpe, Mason, Frankamp, Selden, Greene, Wiggins…even AW3. Use four perimeter players on the court at the same time, along with Ellis or Traylor. On offense, use the extra perimeter player to spread the floor, which will hopefully create more space for Wiggins, Selden, & Mason to drive. And while we haven’t seen a great deal of driving & dishing from this team, with additional shooters on the court any collapsing defense on drives could result in kick-outs for open treys. On defense, you’re not going to be able to replace a rim protector like Embiid, so don’t try. Instead, try and create more turnovers. Press & trap more frequently. And I’ve been as big of a doubter and naysayer of us playing zone as anybody (not because I disagree with its merits, just the unlikelihood of it happening), but maybe try and find a zone we can develop an adequate comfort level with and use it 5-10 possessions/game.

    Sure, there are drawbacks, rebounding being the biggest. And Self probably won’t utilize something of this nature. But it’s an outside the box type of thought that I thought I’d throw out there for debate.

  • @icthawkfan316

    You make valid points. With Tarik is feast or famine. I was pretty down on him at the beginning of the season but I think he as the potential to have a game like a very similar player, Jef Graves, had in the 2003 finals against Syracuse where at time he single-handedly carried the team.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Just to be clear, I’m not down on Tarik. I think he is more than capable of turning in a good performance or two. I just don’t think we can hope to get those kind of performances out of him consistently.

    Loved the Graves performance against the 'cuse.

  • I’ll throw this up there just as a wild hair. Nothing of any real substance but you never know.

    What if Self starts both Black and Traylor and sits Ellis?

    I know we loose points, but we gain defense and hustle with Jamari, and emotion.

    Maybe having Ellis come off the bench would awaken the sleeping monster inside him?

    Put the black and blue bothers in the paint and see who wants to visit them?

    Again not saying this should happen, but ‘what if’’

  • @JRyman Why not?

    OR —

    We could try this starting lineup:

    Wesley, White, Self, Roberts and Manning.
    Bring in Garrett as the 6th man.

    Run these guys as long as we can, use up some fouls and bring in the humiliated, “chip on the shoulder” former starters to defeat the opponent…soundly…in the skirmish. GO my favorite sports team…

    BTW - I’m just having a little fun. Laughing with - not at!!

  • @nuleafjhawk BTW - I’m just having a little fun. Laughing with - not at!!

    That’s what I was thinking too when I posted.

    I think it was Georgia Tech maybe Marquette mid to late 80’s or someone else who knows can’t find it anywhere that the coach would put in the last 5 on the bench when he would get mad at his starters, they were called the scrambled eggs, or his substitutions were called that. Not sure the coach or the team, butI do remember that nickname and how it was done.

    But we have to be careful with Tyler isn’t he redshirting this year due to injury? I’d hate to burn his redshirt this late in the season. Just adding to the laugh

  • @JRyman

    Ellis had his big coming out party at the Big 12 Tournament last year; I believe he along with Withey made the all tournament team. Maybe March is his time to shine.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I hope so. He has had a few good games this year, but like a few others on this team, Tharpe, Wiggins, Seldon to name a few he has disappeared.

    The only bonus of this team is that when one of them shrunk like a flower in the cold, somebody else stepped up, be it Black or Mason or another starter.

  • @icthawkfan316

    I could see us going small. Then… maybe… we would finally do what I asked for long ago, and push tempo.

    We could defend with a 1-2-2 with Wiggins up on the ball and sinking into the paint, a Syracuse-style 3-2, and a junk triangle and two. Keep rotating those defenses, along with rotating our lineup, and keep a constant variation in our look, making it harder to attack and also harder to scout us in preparation for the game.

    Then, sometimes, send Wiggins off the defensive rebound for a fast break attack. He can easily take on our opponent’s PG or SG in the open court!

  • @drgnslayr This is the time of year when Self starts changing up his D, or at least he has in the past. The Triangle and 2, the 2-3 and even the trapping 1-3-1,

    The 1-3-1 with Wiggins up top, Seldon and Tharpe on the Wings Black in the middle and Ellis and/or Traylor running the baseline.

    Maybe even go with a little token press? Last year Young used to hang around after a made basket and cause some issues with the in bound now and then, I see Traylor doing that some this year. We have the bodies, the length of those bodies to press more.

    Defense create offense.

  • @JRyman Seth Greenberg said exactly that: start JTray and Black. I don’t mean both at the same time over Ellis, but maybe interchange the two. Black must get his fouls under control and move his feet or have backside help when he jumps on a defender.

  • @JRyman Pretty good ideas.

    Lets hope that Self mixes some things up to slow down whoever theyre playing

    Personally, its always best to have some tricks up your sleeve and save them until the tournament.

  • @truehawk93 That is actually a pretty good idea.

    I think that Perry could benefit from losing his starting spot.

    He still needs to keep floating around the perimeter like he did at the end of last year to get open jump shots. It would really benefit him against long and athletic players. That would really open up the lane for the big guys and Wiggins to drive.

  • @drgnslayr I’d like to see we try going small too. How about Eliis (6’8" ) at 5, Wiggins (6’8" ) at 4, Selden (6’6" ) at 2, Greene (6’5" ) at 2, and Mason (5’11" ) at 1. It’s not exactly a small team, but it will be super quick.

  • We all know one thing… we have an outstanding coach who knows tactics. It will be interesting from here on out (not like it wasn’t anyways) and we know we won’t go down without a fight.

    All I want to see is these guys play hungry. I don’t see how we can lose when we really get after it… like the Texas game.

  • @drgnslayr I have always thought that. Its just frustrating when they dont play hungry like they did against Texas.

    Maybe they will use current circumstances as motivation, especially since folks in the media are starting to doubt if they can make a deep run.

    They really should play for Joel. The farther they advance in the tournament, the better the chance becomes that he can return, just like Okafor. After reading Self’s comments today, I feel more confident that he could return in late March.

  • I absolutely love the idea of playing small. And of course, pressing and trapping more. Small ball, kind of. Self just seems too stubborn to try it. We’ve suggested for years that he press more, but he’s conservative that way. He doesn’t want to risk the easy bucket.

    But the idea here is excellent. We have to out score opponents. We have to create mismatches. This is how to do it.

    I go back to my Lucas thought – if Self determines, rationally, we ain’t winning it all going conventional, then we have to try something out of the box.

    Last season, vs. Belmont, White played the 4 spot and scored 15 or something like that. Self described him as a pick and pop 4.

    There may be some teams and matchups where this doesn’t make

    I like @Wishawk 's starting line up. Let’s run.

  • @drgnslayr " I don’t see how we can lose if we really get after it…"

    Good point. I personally wouldn’t care if we lose (well, you know) if we really get after it. As long as they play with some heart and intensity. Not just by one guy either. I took NO solace in the comeback from the WVU game - I was so incensed at being down by 27 or whatever it was that I still haven’t gotten over it.

    I don’t have a problem with getting beat. I have a big problem when we beat ourselves by standing around and throwing the ball away.

  • @nuleafjhawk

    I feel exactly the same. All I want to see is that we give it our best shot, and we don’t leave our best shot in the locker room. I have felt that way before in March (we didn’t come prepared to fight)… and that is what frustrates me after our March loss.

    That is my expectation every year. I don’t expect a national championship. I am hopeful of a national championship. But what I expect is we gave it our best shot. Then, I can go through my summer not wondering what would have happened if we came ready to play.

    There will always be some luck involved. I can’t expect us to get lucky. If we play the same team 10 times in a row, I don’t care who it is, we will win some and lose some. My hope is we get lucky and line up 6 winners in a row. I’m not saying skill and hustle aren’t determining factors. For that part of it, I have expectations. We certainly can reduce the “margin of error” as Self calls it.

    Maybe we have some loose karma out there in the galaxy that will bring us the luck we need. Seems that we still have some good karma left after our 2012 loss to Kentucky… with our team that endured so much that season with the loss of TRob’s mother. I still want the next big trophy to be dedicated to her.

  • This year KU and WSU are changing roles. WSU is now the high ranked, unbeaten team that everyone will be gunning for and will not sneak up on anybody. KU on the other hand will be viewed as team that has lost a top player and perhaps will be considered wounded and will overlooked.

    This could potentially give an edge to KU, as it might get overlook and underestimated while giving the players an incentive to play for “respect.” It would be particularly true if KU get a #3 seed or lower.

  • @drgnslayr It was actually the '11 season that TRob’s mom passed. The Morris Twins were still on that team.

    Regardless, wherever we pull the karma from, I’ll take it!

  • @JayHawkFanToo I would much rather be out of the spotlight and be motivated than to be in the position that KU was in '10 and '11 where they were expected to get to the final four.

  • @DinarHawk Really? How close were we to a national title in 2011? Literally, VCU, then Butler, then UConn. Remember the 18 out of 25 think … #1 seeds win it all.

    Now this season, the only possible #1 seed that is a truly top team is Florida.

  • @DinarHawk

    A lower seed relieves some pressure because it lowers expectations. The opponents will be marginally better but if KU wants to go all the way they should be able to beat whoever they play anyway. Actually more that seeding the important part is the match-ups. We can actually have a better match-up against a higher ranked team than we would against a lower rankled team with a couple of speed guards that can penetrate

  • Thoughts on tomorrows game who ever it might be.

    JoJo will be there. Not in spirit ala WV and not in a Uniform ala Texas. But he will be there and I think that will help the team out emotionally. This team has a bond, as young as it is Wiggins and Embid bonded last summer and a reason Andrew chose to come to KU.

    It doesn’t matter who we play TT or OKst, we have to play solid D at all 5 spots on the floor.

    We have to take care of hte ball and make FTs on offense. We have to make the right passes and take the right shots and scoring will be easy.

    KU can NOT just show up and expect to win, they have to show up and fight!

  • One thing is for certain, we cannot rely on our defense.

    I went and looked at some numbers. We are ranked for 2013-14 at 152nd in points allowed with 69.7 per game. Remember, that’s with Embiid for all but 3 games.

    Compare to the following:

    -2012/13: 61.9 ppg, ranked 51st.

    -2011/12: 61.6 ppg, ranked 35th.

    -2010/11: 64.7 ppg, ranked 69th.

    -2009/10: 64.2 ppg, ranked 62nd.

    -2008/09: 65.4 ppg, ranked 106th (another team with 5 new starters).

    -2007/08: 61.5 ppg, ranked 21st.

    There are more points scored this season, but relatively speaking, we are way, way off our normal defensive ranking on ppg.

    We cannot hang our hat on defense.We haven’t been able to the entire season.

    Focusing on offense, structuring our lineup for scoring, pressing some, are what is needed… Also, a staple of Roy ball, not worrying about the shot clock or turnovers as much. Get your shot, increase possessions. Sure, we need to play good defense. But I’m pretty confident that we won’t win if we do that.

    If we have Tharpe and Ellis in our lineup, how good can our defense really be? It will be exactly what it is now.

    Self’s normal formula is probably the best path in a normal season. But this is not a normal defensive team for coach Self.

    The Roy formula may be best for this team … in his 2005 title season, UNC ranked 203rd at 70.3 ppg. In his 2009 title season, UNC ranked 272 in ppg, 72. 0.

    That is the formula for this team. Increase possessions, shoot the ball, if you turn it over, just keep playing fast, you’ll get the ball back. Structure your lineup to score, first and foremost. This is the formula.

  • @HighEliteMajor blame some on the new rules!

  • -2008/09: 65.4 ppg, ranked 106th (another team with 5 new starters).

    @HighEliteMajor I think that 5 new starters is the key. Selfs best D’s are when he has older players that not only get his style of ball, but also get what they are working for.

    Cimsonorblue22 blame some on the new rules! I agree with you as well. Take Aaron Craft who was known as such a great defender for three years is average at best this year.

    I guess we just need to score more than the other team to stay alive.

  • Comparing years of experience for this year’s versus last year’s team.

    Last year:

    Withey - Fifth yr. red shirt Sr - 4 years of prior experience

    Releford - Fifth yr. red shirt Sr - 4 years of prior experience

    Youing - Fifth yr. red shirt Sr - 4 years of prior experience

    McLemore- Second yr. red shirt FR - 1 years of prior experience

    Johnson - Sr - 3 years of prior experience

    Total prior experience - 16 years *

    • Aa team with 5 seniors would have 15 years or previous experience

    This year:

    Tharpe - Jr… - 2 year of prior experience

    Ellis - Soph. - 1 year of prior experience

    Wiggins - Fr. - 0 year of prior experience

    Embiid- Fr. - 0 year of prior experience

    Selden - Fr. - 0 year of prior experience

    Total prior experience - 3 years

    We do have a very green team, particularly when compared to last year’s ubber-experienced team.

  • I’m sitting here contemplating the ideas I threw out to start this thread and one thing I would say is that if it is possible to get by the first weekend with a traditional Self team & strategy – hi low offense, 2 bigs 3 perimeter line-up – then we should try to stay the course until the sweet 16. The reason for this is to maintain the element of surprise as for as long as possible. If you tip your hand on the first or second game of the tournament, your next opponent now has multiple days to prepare. If we could get to the sweet 16 and unleash a completely different look there, were we to advance our elite 8 opponent would only have the one day in between to prepare. And if it works in that game, we’re in the Final 4 and everything is gravy.

  • @HighEliteMajor So you would rather have a 1 seed and be in the media spotlight and everyone gunning for you?

    A 1 seed has only helped KU once. It didnt help in 2013, 2011, 2010 or 2007.

    With Bill Self’s teams, it seems as though they play better with a lower seed and a chip on their shoulder.

  • Anybody else getting weirded out about seeing Helen Keller?

  • We should talk about Terry Fox, the Canadian cancer patient, former basketball player who died while on his run across Canada. He was forced to stop near Thunder Bay on the west end of Lake Superior after running on one leg over 3000 miles.

  • @HighEliteMajor-Hey I’m on board, I’ve been wanting Greene on the floor the whole year. This kid has savvy written all over him. So if Perry can’t D up with the big boys, go with JT or Black. I’ve been saying for several days we’re going to have to out score teams-there’s no reason we can’t talent wise. The shots have to fall but what the H, let’s do it. One thing for sure, vs OSU we have to get three perimeter guys masked & painted so quickness is preeminent. Plus at the 4 or 5 someone has to man up to Nash, prevent him from getting in a rhythm, & frustrate him, to which he generally will cooperate. If we can throw some knuckleball junk D at them with only 16 hrs between games, keep them guessing on how to attack & not allow them to run their normal half court pick & pop crap, then I think they’ll fold like an accordion. Small & quick may very well be the key to a W tomorrow, if they can just stay square footed in front of their assignment.

  • I dig the idea of going small, at least for stretches here and there. Trap like crazy, try to force turnovers, and run like hell in transition. We certainly have the athleticism to do this, and I don’t doubt that Wiggins and Selden can move up and guard the 4 and 3 respectively. It would be fun to jump into a small lineup after a timeout, and throw a wrench into whatever the opposing coach just discussed. I know many here don’t care for the NBA, but as an example, going small is what took Miami from a loaded team to a championship team, when they moved Bosh to the 5 during the 2012 finals.

  • @Virgil_Caine Im down with that.

    Perhaps we’ll see Self try something like that in the postseason to confuse the opposition, as he normally does not do that.

  • @DinarHawk Yeah, I agree, Self isn’t really an element-of-surprise kind of guy. Sometimes he’ll throw out a few possessions of triangle-and-two, or maybe press for a couple minutes, but usually by the time that happens we’re already getting lit up. Self’s answer to a situation like this is usually something like “alright, JoJo is out, so the rest of you need to be tougher.” We can’t argue with the success he’s had with that approach, but sometimes switching things up at the perfect moment can really get the other team backpedaling, which gives us a chance to either put a game away, or get back into it, depending on the situation. But, for today, let’s just keep Smart out of the paint and prove we’re still contenders!

  • @Virgil_Caine-No matter if it’s strategically switching small & to Audubon gears, or junk D, or forcing them do defend drivers like Wigs, Mason or Greene, should Nash or Murphy get 2 quick fouls, we gain serve immediately since they have no bench & an inferior coach. I believe as I always have, the real assassins are Brown & Forte & they remain the keys to the car. Smart will get his, but he’s also streaky as hell & can go South as easy as North. If we can make them a hurried jump shooting team & remove the dishes available to Smart & Brown, they should be toast & I think we win rather easily.

    BTW I dig the Shizz outta the Band & the handle. Even at my age when I hear their stuff it takes me all the way back to 69’ & the best years of life.

  • @HighEliteMajor-I swear HEM you’re a friggin stat machine !!

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