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Michigan State defeats Kansas, 67-64

  • 6 p.m., Nov. 13, 2012
  • Atlanta, Ga.,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

KU drops down-to-the-wire thriller with Michigan State

Kansas players Elijah Johnson, left, Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis make their way off the court after losing to Michigan State on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Kansas players Elijah Johnson, left, Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis make their way off the court after losing to Michigan State on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after MSU loss

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters after his team's 67-64 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 13, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson

Kansas seniors Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson talk to reporters following KU's 67-64 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 13, 2012.

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Box score

KU-MSU

— With his team needing a three-pointer to tie, fifth-year senior Travis Releford let a trey attempt fly with two seconds left in Kansas University’s Champions Classic contest against Michigan State on Tuesday night in the Georgia Dome.

“Leaving my hand, it felt great. It just didn’t go in,” the 6-foot-6 Kansas City native said after the Jayhawks’ 67-64 loss.

His last-gasp miss followed a driving lay-up by Keith Appling that increased a one-point MSU lead to three with 14 seconds remaining.

“I also kind of rushed it at the time, but it was a good look,” added Releford, who shot after accepting a pass from senior point guard Elijah Johnson. “Ben (McLemore) wasn’t open. That was the guy we were trying to get the ball to at the end.”

There was enough time remaining that coach Bill Self gave the Jayhawks an option of trying for a two-pointer or a three.

“I said, ‘Take a quick two.’ If Elijah could have turned the corner and got a quick two, we going to do that, too. It just didn’t work out that way,” Self said after his squad fell to 1-1. Michigan State improved to 1-1.

“The thing is, if you wait too long, they are going to foul more than likely. We ran our little chop play that’s worked a couple times in the past (including 2008 national title game).

“Elijah could have shot the three at the top of the key. He was open because (Derrick) Nix switched on him. He elected not to (shoot). We told Ben to go under the fade screen set at an angle (and) act like you are going to run off the fade and bump back. He didn’t really bump back. He was wide-open. He went down to the corner.”

So ....

“We did a down screen for Travis,” Self explained. “We ended up getting a good look. You can’t ask for a better look under those situations. We just missed it. I thought the execution on the last play was actually pretty good.”

Johnson, who scored a team-leading 16 points off 6-of-15 shooting (2-for-5 from three) with two assists against four turnovers in 36 minutes, gave himself a failing grade for his direction of the final play.

“It was really, ‘Take the first available shot,’” Johnson said. “I’m putting it all on me. I think I could have made a better decision with that. Coach put the ball in my hands to make a play. I feel I didn’t do a great job at it. It was a good shot (by Releford), a good look.”

Self was OK with the last possession, but not the Jayhawks’ execution the final five minutes.

KU, which had a game-high lead of seven points with 12 minutes left, led 59-54 with five minutes to play. Michigan State outscored KU, 13-5, the rest of the game.

“We didn’t run offense down the stretch. Our spacing stunk the last seven, eight minutes,” Self said. “I thought we executed our offense better than we have all year long for about 30 minutes. I thought we got the ball where we wanted to get it. We missed a lot of bunnies, too. Jamari (Traylor, six points, four rebounds, 25 minutes) missed an uncontested lay-up midway through the second half. He’s never been in (those) situations. He’s going to have to learn to plug himself into the game, and we have to do a better job. There were a lot of things that weren’t very good. I think it’ll be a good teaching tool for us.”

KU trailed just 65-64 at :48.9 following a McLemore drive, bucket and foul shot. However, junior guard Appling skated through the lane for a huge lay-up at :14. Appling scored 19 points off 6-of-9 shooting and freshman guard Gary Harris 18 off 7-of-12 shooting. Appling also hit a huge three at 1:30, boosting a 62-61 lead to 65-61.

“I was late getting back. I’m usually good at blocking stuff like that,” KU big man Jeff Withey said of Appling’s lay-up. “He did a little pump-fake-type deal.”

Releford had hit two free throws and scored off a drive, and Withey hit a hook shot in a 6-0 run that gave KU its 59-54 lead at 4:59. That’s when Harris scored consecutive buckets sandwiched around a Perry Ellis inside miss and turnover.

“I think our young guys did all right,” Releford said. “For the first time to be able to step up and have to be a key role in the game ... it’s kind of tough for them. We went back in the locker room and told them our freshman year most of us didn’t even have a chance to play in a game like this. That’s good for us, and it’s going to be good for us on down the season.”

The Jayhawks will meet Chattanooga at 7 p.m. Thursday in Allen Fieldhouse.

Comments

adhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Let me get the obligatory stuff out of the way first. Wow, what a great game. If you love college basketball you love this game. MSU feeling down after a tough loss against UConn in Germany fought hard to win against the higher rated Jayhawks. Underdog prevails. We all knew it would be tough game for the Hawks, But now, the truth. MSU looked like a far more talented team and KU is way overrated. KU is soft in the middle and has inferior guard play, both offensively and defensively. And for one game (one game only), Self was out coached by Izzo. No excuses – freshman played OK (except Ellis) and the seniors played their best game all year. But, without tough aggressive play in the middle, piss poor guard play and no true leadership (coronary alert: man I miss Tyshawn), it will be a tough year. But I’m a true Jayhawk through and through. I expect then to turn it around. I project a 20 win season, 3rd place finish in the Big 12 and a nice 8th seed in the NCAA tourney. Help me in my quest to help the Hawks over achieve.

SaltLakeHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I think you're way off. You do realize that in order for KU to finish 3rd in the Big 12, there have to be 2 better teams in the Big 12, right? Please explain, which 2 teams in the Big 12 finish ahead of KU, and why?

I hate to lose, but this game just gives me further confidence:

9 straight. 2 seed, at worst.

okiedave 2 years, 1 month ago

Respectfully, disagree with your assessment. KU has more talent than MSU and would win 7 out of 10 games. Unfortunately, tonight was not one of the wins. KU has lots of room for improvement and I see that happening. I project they win the Big XII going away. I see huge improvement by the Hawks by the time the Big XII games start. KU is going to be a contender in the NCAA's.

yates33333 2 years, 1 month ago

I think since KU has more talent they should get to play.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 1 month ago

Also despectfully disagree. Tom Izzo has regularly beaten Coach Self. Not saying that Coach Izzo is a better coach overall but when it comes to head to head competition, Izzo gets the nod.

Chad Sandwell 2 years, 1 month ago

Dude, put the drink down and sleep it off. Talk about over-reacting....Good God, it's a long season and it's one game. I think we looked far better tonight than we did last year against Kentucky in this game.....We are still a very good team, tonight we just went through some growing pains. Relax!

Alex Thiessen 2 years, 1 month ago

I suppose this comment could be seen as good motivation for the team, but it seems like this guy missed the beginning of last season.

KULA 2 years, 1 month ago

Still think the road to the Big 12 title goes through Lawrence. And I expect 23-24 wins and a 3 or 4 seed in the tourney, at least. Traylor looks like he's ready for more minutes, with TWO SportsCenter-worthy plays. Ellis looks like he needs more minutes to get comfortable. But I will agree, Bill got out-coached by Izzo.

Joe Baker 2 years, 1 month ago

It is one game. However, it's the third or fourth game Izzo has out coached Self. Check Releford on that "playing their hearts out." Releford has never been the same since he was injured. Withey is a freaking 7' Senior for cripes sake. He plays like he's in biddy bball. Withey has got to get mean inside. I think JayTray gets it from the Mean Streets of Chicago. Teams aren't going to play soft against KU. KU is a target every game. BUT, you have to play smart, not stupid and don't get into foul trouble. MSU is so inconsistent and you never know how they will play. We just played two games with two very good D2 teams and msu came off of a disappointing loss to a fair D1 UConn team. It's easy to criticize and it's one game, but to lose like this to the same coach, is sickening. KU wasn't ready at all. They underestimated this msu team. But your other points are fairly accurate. I hate to admit, but they are accurate. Self even mentioned in his post-game press you can't play soft against msu. Izzo brings the fight every game. It's early and there's a lot of bball to play. It's all good. This too shall pass like all the other losses to Izzo.

Biggest take away, I'm sick of losing to Izzo.

dylans 2 years, 1 month ago

No one underestimated MSU, this team is young. The seniors aren't leading yet and the freshmen don't know what to do. In two weeks this team will be much better than MSU in 2 months this should be a good team and by the end of the season this will be a premier team in America.

qringer 2 years, 1 month ago

That is my assessment exactly. This team has 10 times the potential of last years team. This is a deep team - give them time.

rockchalker5 2 years, 1 month ago

Are you a troll or are you just over-reacting? You think MSU is far more talented then KU? Wow. I thought MSU looked completely lost on offense (to our credit) for most of the 2nd half. We were ahead for most of that game...just choked in the last 5 minutes. Do we need to improve? Hell yes. But its November, give it some time.

3rd in the Big 12? What a joke.

NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

You guys that are railing on his analysis are rediculous. This was actually a pretty decent assessment of this year's team.....so far. I do think down the stretch this team could shape up to be pretty tough. Traylor and BMac excite me in particular..both are crazy athletic. Ellis's footwork is as good as I've seen from any freshman to play at Kansas, but he's got to get used to taking contact on his shots. There's a big difference between H.S. and college in that department. But adhawk was right in just about everything he said. Not sure we got out coached though. That 5:00 stretch at the end killed us and I don't think coaching had anything to do with it. They executed and we did not.

Benz Junque 2 years, 1 month ago

Adhawk, did we watch the same game or are you just THAT pessimistic? Ku was a little soft in the interior, releford had a pretty terrible game making a bunch of bad mistakes and we had some young guys make some young guy mistakes. NOT A BIG DEAL IN NOVEMBER.

Izzo didn't outcoach Self simply because his guys hit shots at the end and we didn't. That's silly. KU routinely got better shots during the game, they just didn't hit enough of them. MSU had tougher shots to make or made points off of rebounds. That's not coaching, that's execution and toughness.

Kansas will be fine. Frankly, they were better on defense last night than they were at this point last year. They just need EJ to be a true leader, Releford to step up his game, Ellis and Withey to put on their big boy pants and for B Mac to make himself part of the offense. PLENTY of time and practices to get this rolling the right way.

I honestly think this was the BEST outcome for this game. I think the KU seniors look a little lackadaisical out there. This might be a nice harsh slap in the face to show them that just because it's "their time" doesn't mean that their time will automatically have as much success as their predecessors. they have to put in the WORK and play with effort, heart and smarts or they will get beat.

RJ King 2 years, 1 month ago

That's what I saw too. Especially the part about the lackadaisical seniors. I think Young's hand is still bothering him. (Mine took 6 weeks to heal - can't imagine he's 100% after 3 weeks.)

There was a notable Tyshawn void last night. This time last year, TT's problems stemmed from trying too hard, forcing things, playing too fast. But his intensity and leadership were evident. EJ,, Trav, and especially Withey need to step it up.

Boouk 2 years, 1 month ago

KU's the best team in the Big 12 by far. You're overreacting to one loss early in the season to a good team with 2 guards that played the best games of their lives.

TheBoHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Out coached... really? I have to disagree, man. It seems to me MSU's players won indvidual battles and made a lot of "prayer" close range shots. The biggest play of the game for MSU was Applings indvidual effort, using Withey as a screen for Johnson and cashing a 3. I don't recall any set plays out of time outs working out for MSU, in fact they seemed to score mostly of of broken plays and offensive rebounds (9...way to many). I am the first to admit when I feel like a team is better than KU... last year, the only team was Kentucky (both times)... This was a game in which the quicker, more explosive, better coached team lost. It happens.. The loose balls and a decent look at the end of the game didn't go our way... the only criticism I can give to coach Self is that Tharpe played wwwwaaaaaayyy to many minutes. Of all the scholarship Jayhawks, I really think he is the only one who just doesn't have "it".

Michael Sillman 2 years, 1 month ago

Jayhawks played a good game but Mike DeCourcy hit the nail on the head with his critique in Sporting News. We need more shooting from McElmore and less from Johnson. A good close loss this early is good. The kids will pay even more attention to Self.

jayhawkinATL 2 years, 1 month ago

I didn't know what to expect after the SEMO game, but now I feel pretty confident that the 'hawks will be fine. This MSU game is going benefit us in the long run.

NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Nah, I would agree with Ralster. I don't think Self got outcoached. It was about execution. We had some good looks and couldn't convert down the stretch. They did. Last year's squad became really good at this by season's end..this team will get that toughness as the year goes on. BMac needs to come out of his shell because he has the ability to be that go-to guy at the end and actually Johnson does too. Johnson was clutch in the tourney last year. This is a game to build from.

Redlandsjhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

You nailed it ralster. Michigan State stole one last night, plain and simple.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 1 month ago

If you go by their head to head records, Izzo has beaten Self 4 to 1. Also.. Michigan State went on a 8-0 run late in the game and Kansas basically didn't handle the pressure.

I would also say that Michigan State freshmen outplayed ours.

KANSTUCKY 2 years, 1 month ago

"Tom Izzo is 5-4 in his career against Bill Self, going 1-0 while Self was at Tulsa, 2-3 when he was at Illinois and 2-1 at Kansas. In 2001, Izzo and Self led their squads to 13-3 conference records, sharing the Big Ten regular-season championship" Pre-game article from MSUspartans.com 11-12-2012.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 1 month ago

Thank you Kansucky..I went back and looked at their Big 10 games and you are correct.

Gregor Southard 2 years, 1 month ago

I thought they did well, lack of experience considered. They'll be fine. Actually, they'll be great. I would, however, like to start a petition here for people to refuse to call layups "bunnies." Possibly the dumbest "cutesy" phrase in a world filled with dumb phrases like "Man crush," "buck fifty," "bigs (shall we call guards "littles?)" etc. Anybody with me?

Alex Thiessen 2 years, 1 month ago

Bill Self started it. Shoot him an email.

KULA 2 years, 1 month ago

What kind of a defense are you running when your 7 footer is trying to guard their best guard above the 3pt line? Guess what happened? As Raftery would say, "The Blow-by!"

ljmhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

it's called Johnson getting caught on the screen so naturally withey has to stay on the man with the ball...I guess withey could have just run back under the basket and left him wide open.

rockchalker5 2 years, 1 month ago

Its called hedging a ball screen. Bill Self has taught his big men to do that since the first day he arrived at KU.

KULA 2 years, 1 month ago

I know what it's called (exasperated rhetorical question) but after the other team has figured out how to deal with it and getting burned a few times (out-coached) I'd think you'd wanna change it up. It cost us the game.

Sam Constance 2 years, 1 month ago

If the ball screen success was a matter of coaching, then there should be a coaching solution to correct the problem. And that solution has to involve more than just "changing it up", because that's not a solution.

What I saw on those ball screens was poor execution by the KU defense. That's not really a coaching issue, unless you want to go at it from the angle that getting the players prepared to execute is a coaching issue. And that would be a fair point, but not one that really has any relevance in a discussion of head-to-head, in-game coaching matchups.

Doug Cramer 2 years, 1 month ago

This team is going to be really good come mid January...really good.

Predict we win the Big 12...and make a run for the final four.

fansincewilt 2 years, 1 month ago

Better than expected at this point with the freshmen carrying key roles.

Jason Keller 2 years, 1 month ago

Once we understand that this team can only be built around Ben Mclemore, we will be a much better team. The 3 seniors are all solid but Ben needs to have the ball at the end of games. He is the only stone cold killer that we have.

Jamari Traylor has a chance to really do something here at KU. He has the T-Rob intensity but is slightly smaller and has a little better handle.

Perry... wow, talk about a skilled player. Like Ben, he needs to stop defering to the seniors.

I thought our defense looked outstanding last night. Travis and Ben might make us the best defensive team in the nation when it is all said and done.

Michigan State shot the ball lights out all night long against good defense.

Closing thoughts - Make your gosh darn freethrows!!! They're called FREEthrows.

rockchalker5 2 years, 1 month ago

Stone cold killer? I'm getting a little tired of everyone putting B-Mac on a pedestal already. Let him prove something on the court first. Not sure about everyone else but he didn't really show me anything last night.

Sam Constance 2 years, 1 month ago

Are you watching the same games as the rest of us?

McLemore is a huge work in progress on defense, but he is clearly the most naturally aggressive offensive player on this team. He looks, to me, like someone cut out of the mold of Tyshawn Taylor, at least in terms of the whole "give me the ball, I'm going to make some sh*t happen" mentality.

And in terms of "not showing you anything", he probably had the best all-around line of any KU player last night:

5-7 shooting (1-2 from three and 3-3 on FTs) 3 rebounds (2 offensive--tied for most on team) 3 assists (tied for most on team) 1 steal 1 block 14 points (second most on team)

What exactly are you looking for?

NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I like your post and agree with you about BMac. I think it's all about confidence and once he finds it, this guy is going to be phenomenal. You can tell he's got it in him and I would wager they are going to lean on him more and more as the season goes along.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 1 month ago

I would have liked seeing AW3 getting some PT. He might be the best 3 point shooter we have.

duanep5ku 2 years, 1 month ago

Why I maybe don't like the final score. I thought for the most part the team played okay. The team played under control for most of the game. The poster that said Izzo out coached Self,question for you, what game were you watching? because KU controlled most of the game. Bill did not miss the lay up or fail to shoot the open shot,late in the game. The play was run to perfection at the end of the game,only problem was the player did not make the shot. It was a tough game but one this team should build on and hopefully improve on. Player break down's I don't like to single out on a message board, because you win and lose as a team. But here is a simple outlook from my eye. We all know that Releford is a good player at times, but in truth he is not an elite player but good enough. Perry is only a freshman,so lets just give him a pass here, but he is not yet ready to be a banger and that is a problem. Bill Self also pointed that out, soft player that is not ready for an Izzo style game yet. The positives of this game far out way the negatives, in my opinion. Traylor looks okay,probably going to be a plus for the team,so that is good. I think many of us, not me though was worried about some stupid rankings. I also think that Tharpe played okay,for the most part in the game,getting better. So that is a positive. I wold also like to remind everyone, that the players were going against some very elite level guards, MSU has and did a pretty good job over all. I think it was an okay game one the team can learn from and build on. KU is going to be good and should have a good year,hopefully.

bradynsdad 2 years, 1 month ago

Every scouting report from here on it for our opposing team will be to put Withey in a high pick and roll. That was all they did the entire second half of the game. Jeff would hedge then turn his back and run to the paint. They had probably 20 points off Jeff in that high ball screen. I also could not figure out how we kept letting them drive the lane and dish it to one of their teammates standing underneath the basket, our weak side help was awful. On that note I am encouraged by our play last night. We have a long journey but we should be good by conference play. Champions Classic=0-2.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 1 month ago

Thank you! Withey cleared the path and the MSU guards followed him in. Watch for Self to correct that.

NoteToSelf 2 years, 1 month ago

The difference in the game was the MSU guards played better in the last 5 minutes than Elijah and Travis. Too many turnovers and missed shots. Applying and Harris made great plays to win. Jay Bilas (who is a great analyst even though he is a Dukie) said KU is a lot better now than they were 10 days ago and they will be a lot better 10 days from now. We have a deeper bench this year and will win the Big 12 again because the league is down in talent. Good teaching film for HCBS because it was a tough loss, not a BAD loss.

Benz Junque 2 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. Releford was pretty terrible last night, making key mistakes at terrible times. I am pretty disappointed at his lack of progress this year. He really doesn't seem to be better at anything than he was at the end of last year. If anything, the extra minutes just seem to make it harder for him to keep up his high-level one on one defensive efforts he was known for last year. He was gettin gbeat by the end of the game. Very disappointing.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 1 month ago

Agree and Ellis disappearing didn't help either.

Steve Yeakel 2 years, 1 month ago

Our guards need to step it up and use their feet to stop opposing guards from driving the lane. Either that, or give them matador capes and teach them to say Ole' with a flourish of the cape when they turn the other guards loose for lay ups and 3s. This was a problem last year as well, something Bill needs to emphasize. Our big guys did okay, the guards defense against their two main guards really hurt us. You can't let the guy you are guarding by you with the ball, or leave him open for the 3 by not recovering on the ball screen. We are going to see lots if teams using this against us unless we are able to fix it.

KansasComet 2 years, 1 month ago

Think back to this time last year. We play Kentucky and we look kind of lost towards the end of the game. Same thing this year. We will figure it out. This is an amazingly talented team. I am extemely excited about this season. Jamari Traylor is a freshman, and he held his own in his first big time game. I am proud of him. Releford had his moments, but did not close the deal in crunch time. I expected Elijah Johnson to come right back with a 3 once Appling stepped up and made his for his team. EJ, not quite as explosive as in years past. I thought Wesley looked good, but Kevin Young is not ready, maybe in two weeks. Withey seems a step slow at times, but he always shows up in flurries, that's just who he is. Perry Ellis, got the jitters at the end of the game, and that's okay, he will be fine. It appears, we need a 3 point assassin, I was hoping it would be AW3. McLemore is a star and needs the ball more. Sad that we lost the game, but very pleased with the talent we have on this team. Looking forward to Thursday. Go Jayhawks!

NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I agree and would like to add to the comments you made about our bench guys. I was a little disappointed to not see Adams make an appearance. I really think he can contribute more than Tharpe even if it's just playing defense. Tharpe is sooooo slow...and small...and lacks length. He provides some offense, but not enough to justify the PT. Oh well, maybe I'm wrong.

brojoe 2 years, 1 month ago

At this point last year I was freaking out thinking we were gonna have a bad season, it didn't turn out too bad. I thought we were clearly the better team out there last night, just inexperienced. I felt like we were right there on the cusp of making MSU look way inferior but inexperience and nerves got the best of us.

Joe Baker 2 years, 1 month ago

We got JoJo to commit. We got our future 7' that will get Self-ish and Hudy-ized. I love it.

It will be a good year. Let this game go like the other 2-3 games we lost to Izzo. It's a good loss that will keep on giving throughout the year. They need this pain from a D1 program so they don't forget the feeling. It's going to get even more intense, because Baylor will be similar to msu.

Jack Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

Remember the topic we discussed back in the summer? Concerns about post scoring. Where were we going to get our post scoring? A lot of that concern was based on how coach Self likes to play the game. He loves feeding the post. We discussed generally how we needed to get 30-32 ppg from the post players. I don't recall anyone disagreeing with the need. But rather, the disagreement was whether we were going to get that 30-32 ppg.

Last season, our post scoring was appx. 32 points per game.

2010-11 it was over 40 per game.

In the 2007/08, 08/09, and 09/10 seasons it was appx. 34 per game

What was it last night? 21 points. Just 21 points.

I see where Jesse rated Traylor the top KU player last night. I have no real problem with that other than McLemore played solid D, scored 14. And I think EJ was better too.

Traylor played 25 minutes in the post, scored a measly 6 points and only managed 4 rebounds. He had some "wow" plays .. the block, the dunk. Terrific stuff. But over 25 minutes, no stats.

Traylor playing 25 minutes won't cut it. Not next to Withey. Traylor's not a scorer. He'll get some points here and there. I've been impressed with his activity, athleticism, and effort. I don't want to minimize his contribution. But 25 minutes is way too many. Let's trim that 15.

Self played Traylor it appears because of the physicality of the game. He mentioned after the game that Ellis plays more of a finesse game. But Ellis can score. He's the only post scorer we have. Withey is not a post scorer. He'll get his points, but he's not a scorer (I think most know what I mean there).

Ellis needed 27-30 minutes last night. He got a quick hook -- the classic quick hook from Self. Do we win the game if he plays an extra 13 minutes, and Traylor sits say 5 of his 25 minutes, and Wesley gives up 8 minutes to Ellis? Who knows. Just speculation. But when you go back and critique a game, like the coaches do, you look for things you might have done differently. That's a big one we can look at.

On the initial post game thread, someone posted that Self got outcoached (he took the obligatory rash of crap for that). But I would simply say that we were in a position to win despite not scoring in the post. We didn't get it done down the stretch. But a coaching move that maybe could have made it better .. might have been more Ellis. When I went back and looked, Ellis' defense looked acceptable. He didn't get out of position as much as Traylor (it appeared to me). Obviously not as physical.

(cont)

Sam Constance 2 years, 1 month ago

On a team with TRob, Arthur, one of the Morris twins, etc, Traylor is a perfect compliment (although I agree he needs to be pulling more than 4 rebounds down in 25 minutes, keep in mind MSU is probably one of the more formidable front lines we will face all year with Payne and Nix). He's physical, high-energy and seems to hustle nonstop.

But on a team where Withey is the post mainstay, the two of them share too many weaknesses to be as formidable a combo as we could have with say... Ellis and Traylor/Withey. Obviously, Traylor seems to bring more energy and fire than Withey does and Withey is a little better offensively, but essentially they are both defense-first players for whom any offense you get is bonus.

Does more Ellis win us this game? Meh... I'm pretty skeptical. But you do get the benefit of the in-game learning curve (much faster than the bench learning curve) helping get Ellis up to speed quicker.

One thing worth pointing out: I have a feeling that in hindsight knowing that he was going to lose anyway, Self would have played Ellis more. But we all know that Self is hyper-competitive and sometimes makes decisions based on getting the immediate win rather than playing the long-game and accepting a loss here or there. In this case, he probably was lured into that competitiveness by having us control a good chunk of the game before finally succumbing.

If the game had been more in MSU's favor from the opening tip, I think he would have had a more patient hook for Ellis.

Disclaimerer 2 years, 1 month ago

Disclaimer: marchphog88 is a member of the Flat Earth Society that eschews all manner of traditional markers of success (recruiting rankings, post-season play, etc.) in order to align sports with his fairytale notions of who "should" and "shouldn't" be considered successful.

Jack Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

(cont)

I get the physicality of the game. But this team will struggle to score. We need scorers on the court.

To that end, if we are not going to be able to score in the post, we'll have to score other ways. Another option .. shooting the ball from the outside. Who might be your best shooter? Andrew White. And we need McLemore to shoot more.

As I mentioned last night .. just my opinion .. this team needs to be led by Ellis and McLemore on the offensive end (and eventually White joining them if Self lets him on the court .. see Europe). They are the most skilled offensive players on the team (joining EJ). EJ, though, can't come close to shooting 50%. He scores by volume of shots. And he's the point guard.

It seems to me that lack of post scoring was a big factor in the loss last night. There is only one solution in the post .. Perry Ellis.

86Jayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Great points

Ellis and Traylor will continue to improve. Ellis will earn his minutes soon enough when he realizes he needs to turn his motor up for every game and when he starts scoring it draw the defense to him and open up others, inside and out.

I think I would still like to have another 4 come in next year and contest Perry for playing time. With two "projects" in Lucas and Embiid, and an indefinite injury to Peters, I would like to see Roberson or Lawrence sign for next year and provide some scoring and rotation minutes. Definitely don't see Embiid wanting to play behind Dakari again.

HawkKlaw 2 years, 1 month ago

I agree that more from Perry Ellis is what KU needed to win last night, but I don't blame Bill Self for playing Traylor over him. Last night Traylor was producing. Ellis wasn't. Like you said, we need more than 6 pts and 4 boards from that position, but Traylor also contributed in other ways, like his three blocks and two steals (not to mention the momentum gain that came with the thunderous dunk). Ellis, on the other hand, had no blocks, no steals, along with just 4 pts and 3 boards. Had he played more (say 25 minutes), he would have likely ended up with what, 8 pts and 6 boards (probably no steals and no blocks)? That's not going to cut it from the PF position either.

Traylor played to his potential last night. Ellis didn't. I expect Ellis to realize why he got the hook last night. And it wasn't all that quick of a hook. Seventeen minutes is enough for a veteran coach like Bill Self to realize that it's not Ellis' night and find an alternative. That's what he did.

If it goes that way all season, we will all be greatly disappointed in Ellis. But I don't see that happening. Ellis is smart and extremely talented. He'll get it. And when he does, he'll produce more and get more minutes. He just has to prove himself to coach.

I agree though, we need more production from the post-players, especially in the scoring department.

texashawk10 2 years, 1 month ago

Ellis may have benefited KU more on offense, but he was doing nothing on defense and that's the trade off with Ellis playing more minutes is that his defense would've give up quite a few more points as well and we all know that Self values defense above all else and that's also why White and Rio aren't playing because their defense isn't up to par to play yet. Ellis will get better as he adjusts to the speed and physicality of the college game, but it's not something that will happen overnight.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 1 month ago

Spot on..We need a scorer who can stretch the D but he was only a spectator. Where else will we get points from on a consistent basis?

BMac probably, Ellis maybe but EJ, Withey and Travis have been inconsistent their entire careers.

Craig Pannell 2 years, 1 month ago

Appling and Harris scored at will. Our guards could not keep up or get through screens. Relaford made bad decisions and failed to keep up with Harris in key situations. Withey did not show up at all. Must think he is in NBA already. Just stood around all game. Never bent his knees, never played defense except to try to make a block. Freshmen played great with the exception of Ellis. He kind of choked on the pressure at the end. Think they still win the Big 12 but need to rely more on Freshmen. Welsey had a good game. Withey needs to be benched until he pulls his head out. Relaford can't seem to handle pressure of being go-to guy. Maybe should just be defense and fast break guy. EJ needs to lead.

Robert Brock 2 years, 1 month ago

I don't want McLemore spending a lot of time waiting for the ball and just stroking outside shots. I don't want him to play the part of J.R. Giddens.

Beate Williams 2 years, 1 month ago

I think this game demonstrated something that Self said last week, the team does not communicate...that was obvious on a number of plays but the one that really stands out is the Appling 3 pointer in the last minute, both players left Appling at the top of the key rather than communicating to Withey for the switch. Had Withey stayed at the top Appling would not have been able to get that shot off. I thought that was a constant problem. Would agree with most, Perry will be good but it was obvious he was out of his element last night, i.e., he has not had to deal with that type of physical game until last night; he will learn and he will be a much better player in a few games. They handled him like a rookie and he had a hard time responding in the fashion he will in a few games. I thought our defense was very good the first half, even though we did not communicate as much as a coach would like, but we had quick feet, a lot of energy and moved very good. We even moved very good on offense, getting the ball around the court with precision and crispness, not so much the second half except in spurts. Would agree with HEM regarding the rating of Traylor over Mc and EJ. I was very pleasantly surprised with the defense from Mc, this kid is going to be an exceptional player and I'm pretty confident he will become more of the go to scorer that need. I was impressed with how he was always around the ball, even if he didn't get it he was there, even around the basket for rebounds. HEM believes if Ellis was given more minutes we might have pulled it out, that is speculation and we can prove it might not have happened but I think Self saw how he was getting moved around, under the basket and felt that Traylor's energy (vs Ellis cool, calm collected approach) was more of what was needed at the time. It is hard to disagree with that and the experience was good for Traylor who in my opinion gets a little hyper at times and looses control but he will learn. I'm very encouraged by last night, I think the sky is the limit for this group; don't like to lose but this is one of those times when I think the lost will teach them a bunch.

TexasHawk44 2 years, 1 month ago

Some of you are just bottom feeders on this board. Anyone who watched that game and thought MSU is more talented is just plain dumb. Izzo is a great coach and they are terrific program. But when all is said and done this KU team has more pure talent than MSU they just need time to grow. And they will.

It was a good game by two strong programs that are just warming up. Both of these teams will make big noise in March as they normally do. KU is going to be really good by Big 12 play.

For some of you the glass is always empty. Simply ridiculous.

vd 2 years, 1 month ago

We looked 100 times improved from the SEMO game. This will take time, but man, we are talented. Bill will figure out his rotation and get the right mix in the game at the right time. He hid Perry last night, but then brought him in at the 5 min. mark. He came in cold and played like it. Was Bill testing him? Was Bill trying to find out who else would step up? With Young added to the mix, Bill is trying to figure out his rotation, and how the chemistry will work. Let the genius work.

RockChalk26 2 years, 1 month ago

Here goes my "Wednesday Quarterbacking" rant.

1) We need to limit the amount of times we run the weave at the top of the key. I feel like everyone in the nation knows we are looking for the fade pass to the corner.

2) I agree with BeachHawk, BMac's defense was a pleasant surprise

3) Perry will be special. Hard to believe that he is only a freshman

4) Andrew White must absolutely suck on defense because I can't figure out why he isn't out on the floor. I need me some more Andrew White. The kid can flat out shoot the rock.

5) Even though we came up a little short, this game was a great learning experience for our young team.

Ok that is all. Carry on.

6) Almost forgot. Can we please work on help side defense coming off the screen? A few times Mich St had wide open attempts due to Jayhawks screening Jayhawks.

Jack Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

On the weave .. it doesn't work that well when they switch high. A direct and immediate counter to the switching is a nice option. Two that I've seen -- 1) screen the post to the wing for the backdoor. If that is switched, pass to the post screener, prior wing cutter screens for backside post or 2) Fake a handoff on the weave, with a drop off to the wing that didn't get the handoff, or a backside screen for lob or post up.

yates33333 2 years, 1 month ago

KU will be a good team, but until someone develops with the leadership and closeout skills as near as possible to a Ty Taylor, Sheron Collins, Russell Robinson, or Chalmers it will not be a great team. McLemore seems to be our best bet. Johnson hasn't in three years and Releford will always be "a good defensive player." Hopefully Withey will score a bit more, but that seems more hope than reality when he faces big men who bang.

Joe Baker 2 years, 1 month ago

BINGO! I was a little down on Tharpe, but I really think Tharpe could be that leader as a Soph. He is learning too. He is the only one that seems remotely capable. EJ has passed now too many times. EJ seemed to be taking ownership in his own way, but it's not enough. Maybe Young will step up very soon. Many seem to look to Young and EJ. Self himself said Young is an energy guy and talker.

justinryman 2 years, 1 month ago

It's not like we can win all the games. I mean what fun would that be?

OK yes there is a lot to work on and improve. We can sit here all day and discuss them, but hey we started slow last year as well. You don't play these games this early to win the title now. You play these games so you learn how to win these games for the Title in March/April.

Yes these games count on the W-L colums, but the bigger picture it shows is that this team is not a team yet, and last year vsKY and in Maui they weren't a team yet either. It takes time for everyone to gell at game speed, and in diffrent game situations.

I'm OK with this game, no such thing a a good loss, but they will learn from this especially watching film, the coaching staff has a lot of teachable moments.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

Pay for it now and pick it up later.

Ethan Berger 2 years, 1 month ago

Everyone one else hit pretty much everything, so I'll just repeat. Give B Mac the ball and let him score. If defense are scared of two guys driving on them, that will open up for Withey and Ellis. If Releford drives more, then watch out. We played I nice game yesterday. Just not aggressive enough. Or when we were aggressive, they weren't smart with the ball. That will come as the season goes on. Mich State needed a second guy to have a huge game, and Harris did that. All we needed was one guy, and we didn't get that. It's okay, we can be a very good team.

HawkKlaw 2 years, 1 month ago

Good to see very few "sky is falling" posts. That was a great game despite being a loss for KU.

Jamari Traylor was a nice surprise (6 pts, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 stl). He's looking more and more confident each game. Also BMac, Releford and Elijah all had pretty solid games.

Ellis will get better as the season goes on, but we sorely needed more production out of him last night. We also needed more offense from Withey. He gets pushed around way too much.

In general, we need more tenacity and urgency out of everyone, especially our seniors. Our guys are too "nice" right now. Self calls them "soft." We just need to be meaner. Hungrier. More fiery.

One of the keys to this loss was that we lost the turnover battle and we didn't have nearly enough assists to make up for it. Izzo was prepared for was our ability to swing the ball back and forth on offense. They did a good job of keeping that part of our offense in check and ultimately, I believe that's why we lost the game. Some say Self was "out-coached." I don't think even Izzo would agree with that. Both teams played really well for it being the second game of the year and KU just came up short last night. Hopefully we'll get 'em back in March.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

Some random thoughts from someone who lost the recorded broadcast thanks to ATT U-Verse!! [Maybe they did me a favor]

1] We had played this game after three or four other games later into this season, we win easily. Jumping from SEMO to MSU is a quantum leap in rival talent and coaching.

2] Come on, folks...this was only the second game of their college careers for a third of the rotation.

3] Perry Ellis did a fantastic impersonation of Claude Raines [The Invisible Man]...17 minutes, four points, minimum court presence. That won't happen very many times again.

4] BMac is everything I have been telling you guys for the last two years plus.

5] Semi's put back dunk was just a preview of good things to come.

6] No matter how bad you feel, and even though it was by Duke, Kentucky and Calipari lost. At least that's a small consolation prize.

Michael Luby 2 years, 1 month ago

I just finished watching the game on dvr. First thoughts, Great game, fun to watch. It was ugly for both sides, we had defensive lapses and offensive struggles and too many turns but so did they. A few calls go our way and it would have been an OT game. A few more made free throws and its an OT game, same can be said about the turnovers. KU played a very good and close game for 35 min. Its a great experience for our young guys, the whole team will get better from this game.

mahone2 2 years, 1 month ago

What bothered me was that we never adjusted when Appling started running EJ into a screen with Withey coming up to the top to cut him off. Four or 5 times in a row he just blew by Withey and in for a layup. When any of our guys slid over to help (which only happened once or twice) he dumped it off to the sliders man for a bunny. That was the game. I was screaming to either have EJ fight thru the screen or leave Withey back and make Appling shoot from outside. He may have made the outside shot but it's better than 5 or 6 layups. Frustrating there was no adjustment on our part.

Woody Cragg 2 years, 1 month ago

My assesssment on the final Appling blow-by vs Withey & Young was that Withey did not stay in front because he thought he had plenty of help, & Young didn't slide because he didn't want to foul. Either way, we had the open look for the three at the end to tie & didn't knock it down. Not happy we lost, but will be a geat learning game for these guys under, IMO, the best game coach in D-1. Not a thing negative except that I agree with HEM, we have to get point production from the PF position, or SF either. Maybe HCBS will have a change of heart about the shirt for Lucas now. I'd much rather see him play even if he is a freshman. Let him develope that toughness from court time where confidence comes from also. I doubt if Peters will even practice for some time to come, & I just don't think we're deep enough in the blocks. Sadly I think there will be games where Jeff will just whiff in the points category & Major is right on the under achievement in the point production stat. To win the conf & make a deep run in Mrach, we really need a scorer down low. Maybe Ellis will be the guy. We'll see, what are your thoughts?

Joe Joseph 2 years, 1 month ago

This game came down to two plays, one on the offensive end and one on the defensive end.

Traylor's missed wide-open layup came at a time when momentum was starting to swing in favor of MSU. Traylor played like a stud the majority of the time he was in, but this play really hurt KU's momentum and gave a bunch of it to Sparty.

Around the same time in the game as the Traylor missed layup, the defense allowed a one-second-left lob-pass after playing outstanding defense for 34 seconds. Again, momentum/emotion draining for KU.

I'm not laying the blame on Traylor--at all. But if close games come down to a series of 2 or 3 plays, I think these were it.

jgkojak 2 years, 1 month ago

Traylor, Ellis and McLemore played like Freshmen at times. Play this game in March (and you know we will, since they love a rematch) and we win.

KPOP 2 years, 1 month ago

that was not a pretty bball game. KU is very soft in the middle with Withey and will have to learn to score inside using Withey as a distraction. However, with as athletic as this team seems to be and with as many athletes as they have I think the offense has to change the game. KU's game plan should be we are going to score 90 points this game, if you want to beat us you need to score 91. we need to wear the opponent down and force them to make mistakes and I think we have the depth to do it this year.

REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

This contest was a huge teaching/learning experience for the entire squad, esp. those players who got in the game. Also for Bill Self. EJ has to reflect upon his statline and take a very close look at film. I imagine that Coach will lose more than a bit of sleep, reviewing his lineup and wondering what moves he might have made, and when. I don't feel any sense of doom after this loss. However, if we are to win another league title and move to the Elite 8 or better with this squad, adjustments appear to be in quick order. Playing time for newcomers is historically difficult for Bill Self to provide; but I look to see him move in that direction in the next few weeks. A couple of thoroughbreds rode the pine last night, probably rightly so for a contest of this nature. I will be surprised if the two of them remain there w/o getting extensive opportunity to play through freshman mistakes prior to league play. A matter of upside vs. blah performance.

DoubleDD 2 years, 1 month ago

I love all the comments about the game from this board good stuff. Now my 2 cents. As I watched this game unfold, the feeling was KU was going to pull away and put the Spartans away. KU just looked like they had more talent, they really did through my own eyes. However as KU fans we've all learned the good tough basketball can beat a more talented team. Spartans make a run KU has no answer, and thats where I see a problem with this team.

There can be no debate that KU has some serious talent, and that HCBS is one of the best coaches in America. The one thing that can be debated however, is does this team have a leader, that go to guy. McLemore and Ellis are being bantered around as the one to fill that need, along with Johnson. Either way untill a player steps forward and claims this team as his own KU will lose some more tight games. Somebody has to step forward and demand the ball when it gets to crunch time. I kind of hope its Withey

Just my 2 cents.

AsadZ 2 years, 1 month ago

I am OK with defensive lapses

I am OK withOffensive struggles

I am OK with this loss

There is only thing that is bothering me from last night's game - not seeing AW3 and Rio on the floor. Even if they were put in for a few mins, playing against a solid MSU team, in Georgia Dome, at a big time stage would have provided a huge boost of confidence for these kids.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

This just in...with Jo Jo's verbal yesterday, Kansas has moved up to #2 in the rivals.com 2013 team recruiting rankings, only behind Kensucky. The term "monster class" was used!!

Return with BMac, Perry, Semi, Zach, Nadiir, AW3, Landon and Rio with Conner, Brannen, Wayne, Jo Jo and Frank, I'd say the future will continue to burn a bright Crimson and Blue!!!!!

texashawk10 2 years, 1 month ago

Someone above mentioned this, but this team has one flaw that may not be correctable and will cause issues all season long and has the potential to send KU to an early exit in March and that is this team has no vocal leader. Bill Self has already said this team is too quiet and that KY is the best at this, but he's not going to be playing more than 15-20 minutes most games. This will be a big problem going forward and someone, preferably EJ or Releford, needs to step into that role and this team will become immediately and significantly better. Where the lack of communicating really hurts KU is on the defensive end when they are getting screened and when KU needs to switch players because KU gave way too many easy baskets and cheap fouls because their rotation was too slow and I think better communication would help with that a lot. The talent is there to make another Final Four run, but with the number of young players on this team, we will see some games where KU looks awful and probably drop a game or two this year that they have no business losing. That said, this is a team that is more than capable of winning 30+ games, win their 9th straight Big 12, and make a deep March run.

AsadZ 2 years, 1 month ago

I was thinking about the same point. We are so used to having emotional players like, Collins, Twins, Taylor, T-Rob that now seeing this group of players who do not talk much and do not show emotions on the floor seems strange.

RJ King 2 years, 1 month ago

After the game I was surprised that I felt the loss of Tyshawn - his eye contact with teammates, his constant jabbering, pointing, and directing - more than the loss on the scoreboard.

Jack Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

Yes, but did you miss pulling your hair out, kicking the dog, and saying a curse word that you don't usually say?

texashawk10 2 years, 1 month ago

There are definitely aspects of Tyshawn's game that I don't miss, but his (and T-Rob's) leadership is what got KU to the Final Four last year and why KU was able to win so many close games a season ago. One of my biggest concerns is that without a vocal leader stepping up, this team will have quite a few setbacks in close games this year that will come as a direct result from blown defensive assignments because the players on the floor weren't talking to each other.

REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Man O Man, until his final semester of play I had uprooted what was left of my topknot over Tyshawn Taylor! Now that I just caught myself referring to our Tues. night performance as "blah," I suppose that I truly miss Tyshawn...in lots of ways. Talk about a constant adrenalin rush for fans, coaches, opponents, all concerned! J. R. Giddens was a dim candle in the wake of Tyshawn's fireworks.

HawkKlaw 2 years, 1 month ago

Before the season started, the sentiment was that this is Elijah's team. But he wasn't exactly being a floor general last night. Since there is no vocal leader on this team, someone needs to step up and lead by example. I personally think that person will be Ben McLemore. He's emerging as the best player on the team and the rest of the squad will start looking to him when they get in tough situations. I still think this is Elijah's team right now, but it's looking more and more like BMac may take over that role before the season's out.

texashawk10 2 years, 1 month ago

I agree that teams need players to lead by example, but you also absolutely have to have that vocal leader on the floor directing traffic, especially on defense and that's something that KU doesn't have. Being a vocal leader is something that doesn't appear to be natural for any of the players on KU's roster which is something that will be an issue all year long and will cause a lot of defensive lapses when KU is playing against better teams. Bill Self obviously knows this is a big issue on this team since he has talked about to the media already this year so now the question is can he find the answer to make this team communicate better because if he doesn't, this team will get upset early in the NCAA tournament.

JayhawkRock78 2 years, 1 month ago

Oakville I'm with you. Saw good and bad, but we are young and it is early.

I was not happy Withey and Young came out so far they couldn't recover on key plays late in the game.

Watching Duke take down Kentucky helped me get over the loss.

Carolyn Hunzicker 2 years, 1 month ago

Relefords late game turnovers hurt....NO GUARD PLAY..No go to guy on the floor... AND any team that has an agressive guard or guards usually cause KU constant trouble WE NEED A BIG MEAN "big man" IN THE MIDDLE...

But, we'll be fine........................Enjoy the ride

Jack Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

+1 ... and we had another potential go to guy .. on the bench. Their times will come very soon.

live4h2o 2 years, 1 month ago

These boys are going to be money come conference time. Look out in the tourney! With so many new faces, it is not suprising that there werea few rough patches, but I think this will be a better team than last year. And, they will be a lot of fun to watch!

Kristen Downing 2 years, 1 month ago

I did not see this mentioned and maybe it is just plain leadershship, but at this point I felt like MSU played with more heart. Maybe that is their coach, the kids or a little of both. They were like boxers that would just not stay down. We were up several times and they would fight their way back. I think they played like they thought they could not lose. I think we will continue to see this lack of heart, will, whatever throughout the year. The skill is there.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

Interesting point...TRob and TT exhibited the greatest will to win last year...it will have to develop somewhere else this season, and I'm not sure it's going to be a senior. Peters would have probably been the difference last night!!

AsadZ 2 years, 1 month ago

This must come from EJ. He must lead this group. He has to show emothion on the floor. He has to light the fire.

Sam Constance 2 years, 1 month ago

Not gonna happen. That's just not who he is.

ku_foaf 2 years, 1 month ago

I think they lost their composure a bit in the last few minutes. A young team with not that much playing experience. Overall, a very promising look to this team.

squawkhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

"Wait 'til basketball season!" ughhh?

DoubleDD 2 years, 1 month ago

A loss is always tough whether its this early in the season or not. Not to mention against a tough matchup like MSU. Yet I just can't help but feel that KU lost this game more than MSU won this game. Losing to a tough team that just outplayed ya is one thing, but to lose by giving the game away just leaves a sick feeling in my stomach. I have no doubt that HCBS will have this team firing on all cylinders in the near future. As KU fans though we might want to temper our emotions a little. I got feeling this team may take a few more knots to the head before the lights go on.

Sam Constance 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm late to the party (as usual), but I'm too impressed with my own opinion not to have a say :-)

I've said it from the start of the season and will continue to shout it--Elijah is a very good player, maybe even NBA-caliber, but he is NOT the right personality type to be the vocal leader that Tyshawn was for us last year, and the twins were for us the year before. It's just not in his nature.

And I don't mean that in a bad way--a guy like EJ is an important piece of a great team, because he has the versatility and athletic ability to be what you need him to be--he can shoot it from deep, he can take his man off the dribble, he can defend pretty well, and he's clearly got heart. But he's not the guy who's going to put a team on his shoulders and say "let's go for a ride boys--I'm winning this game for us!".

Now, it's debatable whether we absolutely NEED a guy like that on the team to be successful. I tend to feel that yes, we do need that type of player who not only can handle the pressure of being the go to creator on offense, but the type who thrives under that pressure.

But if this team is going to have a guy like that, the best bet is McLemore. I think we can all see that "carry the team" mentality in his DNA. When I look at McLemore, his drive and reaction to pressure is the last thing I worry about. Rather, I worry about things like his pretty bad defense (I really don't understand the people who are saying that Ben looked pretty good on defense last night--he's consistently out of position and over-commits to his defenders fakes and moves), and the fact that he's a freshman and will, in spite of his great mentality, make mistakes like his 3 TOs last night (the far and away worst part of his line).

Ellis might have some of that DNA too, but it's harder to tell with him because he does seem more "freshman-y" than McLemore does. Probably because he's actually a freshman instead of a redshirt. But I tend to agree that the difference between this team turning out a season like 2008-09 (very respectable) and a final four appearance is going to hinge on McLemore's and Ellis' development as players.

ssteve1 2 years, 1 month ago

Withey. Probably the nicest guy around. I guess this is why I'm not a coach. He had all summer to gains some weight, some muscle, some something. But, he's the same lame tall skinny Whithey. Everytime he brings the ball below is waist (if he can hang on to it that long), something bad happens. Twice as many balls bounce off him than even Sasha Kahn ever imagined. It's becoming funny just to watch him clomp around. Can't we find a chair that will fit him?? Withey. Probably the nicest guy around.

REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

My end-of-Wednesday focus remains on Rio and AW3...their getting lots of game experience in the next 6 weeks. From this point forth, until league play, I would insert each of them on the court for 12-14 minutes of every first half, come hell or high water. If they deserve a quick hook, then the coaching staff speaks to them about need for correction and quickly sticks them back in the game. EJ's head is not quite into this point guard project yet, and Tharpe is becoming a very serviceable backup, but with limited upside. Those 2 freshmen on the bench possess huge upsides, in my humble opinion. I would give them an all-out test until the end of December. If we go into halftime with scoring deficits, then the seniors get the test to see what they are made of in second halves of play.

jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

I agree coach. Ratso Izzo made clear that we just have to have at least one more back up on the perimeter. 4 are not enough, when another team can bring 6-7. I would like to develop both AW3 and Rio, but developing at least one is imperative and if developing one requires to much time to develop the other, then the other must sit.

msukc 2 years, 1 month ago

A Sparty here. It is nice for State to get some good news with this win because our football has been dismal and our hoops hasn't been too good recently either. Sorry it had to be KU but in the end the game won't be that meaningful this season. And we are notorious for slow starts even in our final four or championship years. Nice to get a solid win early.

I agree with many of the posters that KU seemed to control the game and that is pretty obvious. But, it wasn't a clear dominating performance by KU. It was always within reach. Maybe KU doesn't have the killer instinct yet or Sparty had something to with it. Basically, the score was always close and someone had to finish it out.

The common theme I take exception to in this blog and please don't flame me on this. Sparty does have talent. I know there is a national perception that Izzo develops or coaches lesser talented players and that other teams are more talented. But I think that is not completely accurate. Take a look at recruiting rankings and your will Sparty in the top 10 most years. Compare KU class rankings with MSU.

I am not saying KU isn't talented because they are. I am just saying Spartans have some players on their team as well. I would be surprised not to see MSU's Dawson, Harris and Payne (cuz he's so long) in the NBA. Maybe KU has a lot more NBA caliber guys. I just think Sparty having talent actually helps KU's optimism for the season rather than being in the dumps for being beaten by a lesser talented team.

I am not sure if either team will contenders come end of the season. But it does seem the usual suspects are there tourney time. And the selection committee loves to set up rematches. I could see this one occurring again.

Good luck and thank God its BBall season!

JakeBarnes 2 years, 1 month ago

I don't think anyone doubts that MSU has a good basketball team, a good coach, and a first-rate program. Likewise, they won the game last night because they played better. They got a super game out of Harris. Hopefully we will play again at the end of the season and see who progressed the most. KU should since it has more freshmen or red-shirt freshmen. You don't need to be defensive about MSU basketball. As far as football how would you like to be a KU fan???? But we are turning the corner, I think..........

msukc 2 years, 1 month ago

Didnt mean to come across too defensive. Not even saying we are top rate. Just that we typically recruit top 10-15ish every year and have supposedly highly touted recruits as well. Not sure we ever are in top 3 of classes but usually grab a couple highly touted recruits.

I admit that I'd like my team to be considered a top 5 program in the country. but nationally I think we are kinda considered second tier after duke,kentucky, nc, your jayhawks, syracuse, ucla, uconn, louisville, florida, . But I suppose we are safely a top 15 program nationally and that aint too bad. I guess we need some consistency to break into the top 10 or 5. Maybe some better tourney runs can change that and better starts against the non conf opponents izzo likes to schedule.

But hey its another season now. What I admire about kansas fans (and duke, nc, kentucky) is the optimism. You guys believe your team should succeed. I think Sparty fans think we can but sit and wait for our hearts to be ripped out. So we are more hesitant in our expectations. I think if izzo can get another title, that may change. As for your football, hopefully you turn a corner. We thought we did then Urban Meyer showed up and UoM got their act together. Hopefully we can grab a bowl game somehow....

RJ King 2 years, 1 month ago

oh, I don't know . . . "sit and wait for our hearts to be ripped out?" you've pretty much defined KU basketball. But having your heart ripped out is what makes the championship seasons and a couple of unexpected Final Fours so sweet.

BTY, Welcome classy visitor fan.

REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

+1 to the welcome. We are so accustomed to sorry MO and KY fans trying to cut up rough on this site, over the years. Refreshing to read your stable and sane posts today. Good luck in Big 10 play. Hope to engage in battle with you again, maybe in the Final Four. You are dead-on re the committee prone toward rematches.

msukc 2 years, 1 month ago

Not sure about the classiness but ill take it! Hope the B1G lives up to hype. We are setting up for a let down. I am surprised big ten is getting all the attention. Not really sure why this year.
With some luck my sparty will still make the big dance during our down year. With even more luck we nab that Jabari kid for next year. Good luck to Kansas.

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