Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ugly as Sin City

KU offense 'pitiful' in Vegas victory


— If Kansas University's basketball team plays tonight against top-ranked Florida as it did Friday night against unheralded Ball State ... well, things could get rather ugly in Glitter City.

"It was pitiful offense. That was sluggish, just absolutely pitiful," KU coach Bill Self said after the Jayhawks' anemic 64-46 victory over the Cardinals at the Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena.

The Jayhawks (4-1) on Friday totaled just 10 assists against 17 turnovers and hit 40 percent of their shots - 27.3 percent in the first 20 minutes.

"We're not on the same page. We don't share the ball. The ball sticks in our hands. We don't get the ball to guys on time and target. We're nervous. No telling how many layups we had where guys didn't throw the ball worrying about turning it over, I guess," Self said disgustedly.

The Jayhawks certainly didn't look like a team that would strike fear in Florida in today's 10 p.m. contest. Mario Chalmers was the only bright spot in a first half in which his three three-pointers helped KU to a 28-19 halftime advantage.

"Right now, we are playing like we have got guys on an island, where one guy is on one island and another guy on another island, and the islands are too far apart to really utilize each other as opposed to being cohesive," Self said.

The Jayhawks had just three double-digit scorers

Chalmers had 13 points on the strength of 3-of-5 three-point shooting; Brandon Rush scored 11 on 3-of-10 shooting; and Russell Robinson hit seven of eight free throws and finished with 10 points.

Kansas was so rotten that Sherron Collins said a players-only meeting would be held back at the team hotel Friday night to discuss what needs to be done to play better not only against the Gators, but the rest of the season.

"Yes, I'm pretty sure; I don't know," Collins said, asked if a similar performance would result in a Gator blowout tonight. "It was a tough night as a team. We missed so many layups. We weren't focused at all. We have to come out more energetic."

Sophomore Julian Wright also agreed it will be a tough night for the Jayhawks if the ball doesn't get moved around quicker against Florida than it did against the Cardinals.

"On offense, we weren't getting to our spots to make stuff happen," said Wright, who had 12 rebounds and nine points. "We froze up in certain points of the game. We didn't make the extra pass that leads to assists."

Wright said there might have been a reason for the poor play offensively on a night the defense held Ball State to 34 percent shooting to KU's 40 percent mark.

"It's our first game away from home. Not making excuses, but we got the bad game out," Wright said. "A game where we were not executing."

Self said the game reminded him of last year's first game outside of Lawrence, a loss to Arizona at the Maui Invitational.

"Young team, first game away from home may have played into it some, too," Self said. "We looked like that team that went to Maui in that we didn't share. We should be quick on the perimeter. Ball State's quickness bothered us, especially early in the game."

The game was tied at 16 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the half, KU at that point a 5-of-25 shooting team. The nine-point halftime advantage, made possible by a Collins three with a couple of ticks left, was the biggest of the half.

KU led just 33-27 with 14 minutes left when Russell Robinson opened a key 17-4 run with a three. Rush also had a three in the stretch and Collins a driving layup for a hoop.

"Sherron was our most active player, had the most spark of any one in the game. He was good," Self said of the freshman who had seven points and an assist.

"Sasha and Darnell struggled," he added of two bench players on a night the bench scored just 12 points. Kaun had two points and three boards, Jackson three points and five boards.

"You tell me before the game we'd win by 18, I'll take it and go to the house," Self said. "We didn't play well enough to win by 18."

As far as tonight. :

"We are capable of playing great. We are also capable of playing very poorly," Self said. "Sure, we can play better. I think we will play better."


bauer 13 years, 2 months ago

I'm glad we got the bad play out of the way

actorman 13 years, 2 months ago

It's hard to imagine any preseason first-team All-American being less deserving than Rush. I just don't see it, in any way, shape or form. Rush one of the five best players in the country????? I don't think he's one of the five best in the Big XII! Maybe if you only counted 10 minutes in each game, he'd be an All-American, but unfortunately they play 40 minutes in a game and most of the time he's non-existent.

ksuscott 13 years, 2 months ago

U-G-L-Y...The one bright spot was the defense, although I don't know if that was us or just a poor shooting Ball State team combined with our height advantage...

It seems to me that this team missing a consistent scorer, someone you can count on to give you 15 to 20 per game, like Pierce or LaFrentz did. You could always count on those guys for some points. That's what an all-american should do. Which leads me to B. Rush. Where's he at?? If he's not hitting his shots, that's fine, but he needs to learn to drive it to the basket (without charging) and get to the charity line. He should be able to make some free throws to get his points. And where's his left? Supposedly he worked on it this summer, but so far I still haven't seen him use his left much. He picks up his dribble at the 3 pt stripe. B. Rush needs to step up and be a leader on this team, if we want to go anywhere this year.

We're still missing a consistent low post scoring threat. Maybe shady will get there by the end of the season.

Julian still needs to work on his mid range jumper...I don't know how he's supposed to move to the wing when he can't shoot.

The guards have played pretty well...I'd like to see Russell be more agressive at times. He was our best player in the touney game last year, but has kind of disappeared.

Shady has been the best player so far this year. He's agressive and can score. So far he's the closest thing we have as a consistent scorer...that's scary considering he's a freshman.

Coach self hasn't been that impressive as far as the X's and O's go. Remember coach Williams's plays after a time out? He would always draw up a play that could get us a layup or slam off a back pick. Why can't coach self do the same thing? We never seem to be able to get the "easy" basket anymore.

Just ranting and raving... GO HAWKS! I hope we play better tomorrow against Florida, or it will be another ugly one. :(

John Brown 13 years, 2 months ago

About Rush, as a freshman he looked good the 1st half of the season and then he seemed to be an observer. I don't know if he is fine tuning his game or what but he is only a soph. The rest of the team other than Kaun and Robinson are frosh. Last years team did horrible up front then turned it on in the last half of the season. This is another time where Self is right in that Defense can carry the team when they are not shooting well. Roy coached good X's and O's but his teams lacked consistant D. Roy's teams lost in the tournaments because some team played a slow, controlled style that stymied his X's and O's.

mitch 13 years, 2 months ago

Forget the excuses. Just show good teamwork and play smart. One thing that kept the team off balance was the seeming inability to finish the play. This led to a triple whammy - 1) Sloppy play is contagious, 2) Extra fouls in frustration, and 3) No development of positive flow in the game, as players had to sit down due to fouls at a time they needed to be building both momentum and chemistry on the floor. Sasha especially needs to learn the importance of making his first shot to avoid over the back and other needless fouls. They will improve. The game against Florida will provide them with an opportunity to see up close how a great team executes. If they learn early in the season, maybe they can become the teachers in March. Go 'Hawks!

goldlighting 13 years, 2 months ago

They need to just learn to have fun, its that darn simple! Each player needs to quit trying to make ESPN's highlight real, make the darn highlights as a team, you know the ole no "I" in team slogan. They start the game way to uptight and keep putting unneeded pressure on themselves. Oh how I hope this team does not just play up to the talent of the opposing team, they need to bring their A game no matter who they are playing, if you get a team down, step on their throat and have fun doing it. KU has way to much talent to struggle with mediocre teams and it is up to the coaches to find the chemistry that gels this team into a powerhouse that is fun to watch and cheer for. Last but not least, it sure was painful to watch them struggle against Ball State, seemed at times they had weights in their shoes or had been drugged. Go Hawks, we are still your loyal fans.

KanKu 13 years, 2 months ago

The game was ugly-because refs couldn't swallow their whistles, Julian Wright gave up easy shots for harder ones, Brandon Rush didn't play aggressive until 2nd half, and Russell Robinson is afraid to shoot. The 3 he made was only his 2nd made 3-pointer on the year.

The entire team will have to run their hearts out, and put major, major pressure on Florida's guards. Their only advantage on Florida is at the guard positions, and they have to exploit this or it'll be a long night.

hppychieffan 13 years, 2 months ago

One needs to consider that an 18 point win despite playing ugly, horrible, lack-of-team-work, etc., is also an indication how good this team could be if they just get their S*** together.

However, I also see a pattern over the past few years with BS as the head coach; and that pattern is the proverbial "trap" game. KU players not able to focus in what is important on the court right now. These young Hawklets are continually looking past the supposedly inferior team. I see this as poor preparation on the part of BS and his coaching staff.

Also it would help if Keegan stop blowing smoke about how great this team could be with his "if only" columns. In major college basketball it is all about results. The "what ifs", "possibles", and "could be" is only so much "BS"?

Teapot9 13 years, 2 months ago

typical KU team. overrated and no KU fan will admit that they wont do anything special in the tourney this "great tradition" of KU hoops hasnt won a title since 1988!! cmon people this school hasnt had a winner in almost 20 years. I LOVE the Jayhawks has much as anyone but lets call a spade a spade here. KU fans have more excuses than Cub fans

Saad Saifeddine 13 years, 2 months ago

I'm sick of the Bill Self style: good defense, but BAD offense, boring high low offense, average X's and O's. KU deserves better. We deserve the best, and Self is certainly not the best. He's only good, and good is not enough for a school like KU. And I agree with "turdferguson": I'm sick of Self's excuses!! If your players are not motivated enough after they just lost to oral roberts, then its your fault!! thats the job of the coach to make sure his players are ready to play every single game. Self is not good at that, but he's certainly good at saying that to the media everytime the team plays like crap.

Saad Saifeddine 13 years, 2 months ago

jbrownjib wrote: "Self is right in that Defense can carry the team when they are not shooting well. Roy coached good X's and O's but his teams lacked consistant D. Roy's teams lost in the tournaments because some team played a slow, controlled style that stymied his X's and O's."

2 words to answer that: Bucknel and Bradley! How did Self's defense help us in those first round losses. i know a lot of you may be mad at me for bringing that up, but it's unfortunately the truth. I have been the biggest KU fan forever, and that is exactly why I'm not happy now. True fans must not pretend that everything is great in jayhawk BBall country when it is not! I'm scared that Ku will lose the prestige that we had due to Self's style of basketball. Rock Chalk!

rockchalkAZ 13 years, 2 months ago

Think about this for a second: you're in Las Vegas playing a major college basketball tournament. You know that the #1 ranked team in the nation is there and that you're going to have a chance to beat them to show the country how you can really play. None of the KU players or coaches will admit this, but that thought was in the back of their minds the whole time. They got the Ball State game out of the way and they came away with a win; yes it was ugly, but a W is a W. Now they can put all of their focus and attention to the game that everyone knows they have all been thinking about for months. After this game, I expect focus will be much better because there won't be a game with this much hype looming anytime soon. So sit back and enjoy this high profile match-up. Win or lose, the team is gonna be rolling when they get back to lawrence.

DrN 13 years, 2 months ago

I agree with the X's and O's comment above. Clearly Self is on a very short list of premier recruiters, but his players look like they're playing street ball. The teams of years past were setting screens and moving like they knew what they were doing, not just running around trying to 'get open.' It also seemed our guards used to have better control of the game. They could push it in transition (which has been completely lost on these teams lately) or they could pull back and call out plays. I don't see this much anymore either.

There also is an inherit difference between self and his predecessor. I once heard a question posed to both: "If you weren't coaching what would you do"? Self said selling, Williams said teaching. Sounds appropriate. Both are needed for this job, but to excel a coach will have to execute on the areas of their weakness by either focusing on them or surrounding themselves with assistants that can help overcome their deficit.

Now, I love these kids and they all have talent (hopefully a select couple will play up to their billing or will sit and let one of the other much-heralded players get PT).

It seems they need some real leadership and some real coaching (direction). Its not panic time yet, but these seasons go fast... better get to it.

Gary McCullough 13 years, 2 months ago

Did anyone watch the Florida/W.Kentucky game that followed? The Gators are huge in the frontcourt and the all play BIG! Their backcourt isn't afraid of jackin' treys. But our defense can contain them. We're not going to clean the glass like we did with Ball State, but then again, Ball State was more concerned with stopping our fast break. It was non-existent last night. I think we'll have better luck getting the fast break going tonight because the Gators aren't going to give up on offensive rebounds. The question remains: can we run Noah off the court?

Rock Chalk, y'all

jamestoo 13 years, 2 months ago

we play scared. we are not loose,scared to make a mistake. you can't play that way. we also need a leader. self also has to make an adjustments thats been his problem since he's been here. good recruiter but can't do the x and o thing. his offense mind set is not for the players he brings here. if we don't score on a fast break,his style of offense slows things down. the high-low is out dated. bring back the syle of ball where everyone is moving,setting screens hitting the open man. we have super outside scorers'good low block people move the ball. this makes the defense move and not just stand in ther paint.

truefan 13 years, 1 month ago

Bill Self is a good coach as proven by his ability to take teams like Tulsa to the elite 8. He is having trouble coaching his diva players that are so talented that they have been handed everything their entire life. Once his players realize that they have to listen to the coach to win the games it should be no problem. I am not pleased with how this team is performing thus far either, but remember that he doesn't have any senior leaders on his team that he can count on to refuse to lose. This isn't his fault either since coach Roy screwed us by not recruiting his last two years. He left Self with no depth and no young talent to fall back on for the next year. This team reminds me of Florida last year. They struggled early and often and eventually learned how to play together and ended up winning the tourny. Don't fire the coach yet, let his team grow up a little.

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