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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Guard play concern for KU

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson goes for a steal against West Virginia's Jabarie Hinds (4) in the Jayhawks' game against the Mountaineers on Monday night in Morgantown, W.Va.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson goes for a steal against West Virginia's Jabarie Hinds (4) in the Jayhawks' game against the Mountaineers on Monday night in Morgantown, W.Va.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over West Virginia

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 61-56 win over West Virginia on Jan. 28, 2013.

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Box score

KU-WVU

— Of all the plays in Elijah Johnson’s basketball career, the one he made at the end of the first half Monday night in WVU Coliseum just might rank at the very bottom.

It was the equivalent of a quarterback throwing a pass into the flat without any attempt to camouflage it and nothing but daylight in front of the defensive player armed with the advantage of knowing it was coming.

Kansas came out of a timeout with 23 seconds left, and Johnson took the ball past halfcourt, killed clock with his dribble and started to make his move with about eight seconds left. Then something made him think it was a good idea to throw a one-handed pass off the dribble to the right wing.

Jabarie Hinds had no trouble picking it off and taking it all the way in for a buzzer-beating layup as KU

coach Bill Self put his hands to the sides of his head and counted to 10.

And so it goes for a Kansas basketball team ranked second in the nation, behind only Michigan in the Associated Press poll. The Jayhawks (19-1) pushed their national-best winning streak to 18 games with a 61-56 victory Monday night at West Virginia. But it’s a streak fraught with moments such as Johnson’s blunder to end the half. The Jayhawks keep winning, but make it so much more stressful than it would be if they didn’t make so many sloppy plays on the perimeter.

Hearing later that freshman Andrew White III wasn’t exactly where he was supposed to be didn’t make Johnson’s turnover any easier to stomach. It looked as if Johnson didn’t believe he could get around his man. He didn’t look like the confident player who made so many big shots in big games last March.

What happened on the play that prevented Kansas from taking a double-digit lead into halftime?

“Elijah just made a bad play,” Self said. “The whole play was for him to drive it. The lane was open. Andrew didn’t relocate right, and we just threw it to them for a layup. That happened two or three times in the first half. We’ve got to do better with that. You can’t close halves out like that. The worse you can be is be up by 10, the worst, when you’re playing for one shot and to do that is ridiculous. We’ve got to get better in that area.”

Any team coached by Bob Huggins, and make no mistake, this is not of his better ones, is going to apply pressure on ballhandlers, and Kansas didn’t do a very good job of handling it, and that, more than anything, was responsible for a 15-point lead shrinking to two points. Kansas committed 16 turnovers.

“Our guard play’s got to get better,” Self said. “Teams that pressure us and get after us, we’ve turned it over here of late. I thought we actually did some good things, but we made some bone-head plays, unbelievable plays. And didn’t take care of the ball. We’re better than that.”

But how much better offensively? Is this a scoring slump in which Kansas is mired or is this a team that must demoralize opponents into offensive futility and score just enough to win?

Of late, Kansas has played well enough to win, but not because it’s putting together those quick-strike scoring spurts for which Self’s teams have become famous in recent years. Forcing teams to go into long droughts — West Virginia’s first field goal came at the 12:36 mark of the first half — has paved the road to victory.

In the past six games, Kansas has averaged just 62 points and has not once scored as many as 70. That has sufficed for surviving and advancing through Big 12 play, but more points will be needed as the competition stiffens, and more points will be difficult to come by without better point-guard play.

Comments

jcourt 1 year, 2 months ago

Lets hope Johnson gets off the POT before the tournament, like Tyshawn did.

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FLJHK 1 year, 2 months ago

Travis Releford is Pierre Russell, 40 years later. Both are studs and among my all-time favorite Jayhawk hoopsters.

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jhawki 1 year, 2 months ago

Everybody here has made good points. I believe it would be to Selfs advantage to use TCU games and Tech game to get White or Adams in the flow. I just don't have confidence in Johnson and Tharpe. Also when Mclemore and Releford are out it is total chaos.

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Mike Barnhart 1 year, 2 months ago

At 16-4 I thought West Virginia looked like the worst team I've ever seen in the Big 12! Worse than the 0-16 A&M squad, worse than Pat Knight's bunch last year and worse than TCU. Then, KU got careless and West Virginia got just enough confidence to turn a blowout into a nail-biter.

This team simply refuses to bury inferior opponents. It's frustrating but it's been that way for two years now!

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archercc 1 year, 2 months ago

EJ has been frustrating me for the past few games. He makes some freshman mistakes, and he is making them more often than freshman. While its annoying I can deal with Rio or White making a mistake but a senior, they should know better.

Speaking of White, I thought he was a shooter. How do you air ball a practice 3 and barely get rim on a free throw?

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jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

During the WVU game I got swept up in the moment and thought this was a real contest. I went back and looked at my comments on the Newell Post Live and while I was cracking lots of jokes and not taking the threat of WVU in a very big way most of the game it did not occur to me that Self was letting them labor yet again.

But as I have written elsewhere today, looking back a day later I just don't see how this game can be read any other way.

I mean down the stretch, Withey had a good 6 inches on the guy that was guarding him and we almost never lobbed it, or even just fed it into Jeff. And Self didn't call any TOs to set up any plays for Jeff. Jeff could have scored on this guy all night long with even a little bit of a screen by Kevin, or one of our wings. Heck, he could have scored on this guy with out any help at all.

Travis could pretty much eat his man alive all game, but Self rarely played through him.

This game was about working on something or other and not about putting out a maximum amped effort to crush WVU.

I mean stop an think about this.

Whatever your position is on EJ's knees, EJ went through his man like crap through a goose one time and then never even tried to again.

The only guy that was struggling last night was really not EJ. It was Ben. Huggs and his players got into Ben's head somehow. It looked to me like Huggs was talking to Ben a time or two, so that likely meant that he was doing it more and it just wasn't being captured by the TV cameras.

I take Self at his word that his guard play wasn't too good and needs to be better.

But its just not credible that this was KU prepped by its coach for a peak performance either emotionally, or strategically.

I still say this was build for Okie State.

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Ben Kane 1 year, 2 months ago

a lot of nitpicking for a team that looks like it will win its 9th straight big12 title pretty easily. I know we are looking ahead to the tournament and worrying we'll run in to a juggernaut that exposes our flaws, but we are much more lilkely to be able to handle that gaining experience grinding it out every night.

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davehawkSWK 1 year, 2 months ago

I certainly agree with the views of the current posts concerning the guard play. I feel that Coach should take the tapes of the last games and sit each guard in a separate room to critcally analyze their own play. Let them pick out their mistakes and where they should have been on the floor. Then they need to look at tapes of the J-Hawks from past years to see how they may be able to emulate the play of past champions. However, that being said, I can remember watching Jo Jo White, Paul Pierce, and other great ball handlers also make bone-head plays. Even Mario made some bad passes. We have never had a perfect player at any position and we still don't. We can support these young men and the coaching staff and pray that they will look deep into their inner selves and come up with a solution. I have been watching the Hawks for right at 60 years so I have seen some wonderful plays and players. I want these Hawks to start believing in themselves and get the smiles back on their faces and to enjoy the GAME. There has been too much dwelling on the negatives and not enough on the positives. We won! How can overlook that fact? How can there be so many comments on the upcoming games and the post season? Each game is on a game day only, not tied in to a future setting.

We have a wonderful coaching staff and in my opinion the best in the ranks. Let's be more forgiving and be thankful for what we have, a wonderful, enjoyable, sometimes heart stopping, group of young men who have represented JayHawk Nation in the highest standards! Go JayHawks and come on March!

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Woody Cragg 1 year, 2 months ago

Weekend games we'll go out to Buf WW or another game friendly establishment so the wife doesn't hammer me about yelling so much. I guess you might call that comparative shopping. Come on down! She also gets to drive the hack home that way. Hard to pass a breat test with even too much mouthwash these days.

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Milton Bland 1 year, 2 months ago

Folks who have watched KU basketball for generations know the route to the final four demands solid point guard play. Last year Taylor looked really pathetic until about mid year when he turned into a great point, and we made it to the championship game. My wife hopes EJ will do the same, as she is really tired of me screaming "take care of the ball!"

1

KEITHMILES05 1 year, 2 months ago

All the guards are doing stupid plays. These frickin' one handed passes are obscene. Self needs to run each player who does those 100 laps. To have EJ and Releford be seniors at times they make junior high mistakes. It's inexcusable.

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Michael Luby 1 year, 2 months ago

Well, I think its obvious that KU is in some trouble offensively. The #1,2 poll rankings are justified from a win/loss standpoint but, imo they should be ranked a couple spots lower. According to Kenpom their offensive rating is 19. One spot down from last week. We just dont have a solid PG that can take care of the ball and distribute within the confines of Coach's offensive schemes effectively. It doesnt bode well for the post season. I like this team alot! Havent had this much balance since they won it all. But, they need to figure out a way to quit turning the ball over so much and remove the lid from the basket.

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Eric TheCapn 1 year, 2 months ago

It's simple:
- Naadir at point, but only allow him to take up to 3 shots per game and none can be taken with more than 10 seconds on the shot clock.
- Elijah, Travis and Ben can rotate as the other guards, or even play all three when "K-Y Yours + Mine Intimate Sensations" and Perry aren't in.
- Don't worry about White and Traylor, unless Withey is in foul trouble.
- EJ would be the back-up point guard.

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jgkojak 1 year, 2 months ago

I think these guys almost remind me of the 06-07 Florida team that came back to repeat for a N.C.

They had some sloppy losses (including early season to KS in OT). It felt like they had been to the mountain, and the road to get there wasn't all the exciting.

After last year's journey, I kind of sense that from EJ, he knows how to pump himself up for the real deal and he just can't force himself to buy into these ho-hum reg season games?

I wonder if Tharpe getting a start would wake him up.

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JayhawkRock78 1 year, 2 months ago

@ Oak,

I was making fun of Deniz last night. He could use some grooming tips.

@ crod I saw some of those lazy passes at the UT game in Austin. I expect better from these blue chip players.

I AM thankful for the wining streak and these great athletes. I just want them to blow the game wide open when there is blood in the water. It wears me down to see so many mistakes, TO's and terribe shooting at the line this game. Perhaps the quick turn around and travel took it out of them.

I just enjoy seeing them build a big lead and playing the bench. I especially enjoy watching the starters cheering on our scout squad.

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ABeesus 1 year, 2 months ago

Remember how fast and agile Sherron was when he was a freshman? Remember how rarely he showed his speed, and especially cutting ability as a senior?

Remember Elijah his first two years, was all over the place, w/ no knee braces? Take a close look at how his knees are padded now.

When a guy's knees start to go, the lateral movement is first to go away. It's too painful.

Self gets his guys into great shape. Every season, however, it seems there's someone w/ a broken foot at the beginning of the season. At the end of many seasons, we learn how someone was actually hurt, but played thru the pain.

At IL, Self also had many players injured from practice, not games.

There's a price to be paid for such hard practices. Elijah looks like he's paying it now.

Just look at those poor knees.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 2 months ago

STATS UPDATE:

1] Historic victory totals: Prior to tonight, Kansas has gained 6 W's on UK to be only 14 wins behind them while also gaining 6 W's on NC to be 11 wins ahead of them.

2] Kansas leads the nation with an 18 game victory straight.

3] Kansas also leads the nation with a 6 game incredibly ugly victory streak.

4] Andrew White III's name matched his number of missed free throws. At least his Dad and Grandpa got to see it.

5] BenMac, Elijah and Travis tied for the lead in turnovers with 3 each with Jeff and KY in hot pursuit with 2 apiece.

6] Mountaineer center Deniz Kilicli was named captain of the All Big 12 Scary Team.

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Brian Conrad 1 year, 2 months ago

LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES did I mention all KU guards are lazy passers LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES great guards just LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES Elijah stop the LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES LAZY PASSES

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KULA 1 year, 2 months ago

The offense is too predictable and opposing coaches are exploiting it. Temple and Iowa St. were in our passing lanes all night and almost stole victories on our home court. When you make the same pass to the wing every time you start the offense out top, it's easy for the opposition to figure it out and get into the passing lane.

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Woody Cragg 1 year, 2 months ago

Seems as if court vision is more like tunnel vision at times, also many TO's last night were not all on the passer but failure of the recipient to meet the passer. That is generally due to unfamiliarity of team mates. Certainly this is not the case at this stage of the season. Past few games opposing defenses have played tighter at top of the key & sagged at the wings to be easier for them to get in passing lanes. If you can knock down outside shots, they have to come out, which opens the back door.Really don't have an answer for this other than poor anticipation or just using the head for a hat rack. I venture to say this will be a point of emphasis going forward. Without a consistent aggressive scorer at the 4 spot that can move without the ball, defenses will continue to pack it in the paint. I tend to agree with the observation that there is far too little screening to free up shooters. But make no mistake, you have to knock them down. Perry could be the real wild card going forward. Personally I think it's time to get him more minutes earlier in the game, maybe even starting him. KY brings alot to the table with energy, rebounds etc., but Perry's upside is sooooooo much higher, it's time to give him the opportunity to take that next step. FT shooting was atricious last night. When you leave those on the floor, it ends up biting you in the rear sooner or later. JMO.

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Scott Smetana 1 year, 2 months ago

Another problem we have is feeding Withey when he's being fronted. We either throw it out of bounds or he gets stuffed anyways. He can't finish strong. That's why we need Ellis badly.

Self is the man, but it seems he's letting this team go down the drain with EJ. His offense is horrible. I don't think it's going to change, though, as Self seems to stick with his older guards regardless of how many times they turn it over. Tharpe is faster, better with the ball, and creates more shots.

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Jennifer Nikkila Pressgrove 1 year, 2 months ago

I didn't read all of the posts, so forgive me if I'm repeating somebody, but I can't but help think about how fortunate we are to be Jayhawk fans. We are sitting at 19-1 yet the sky is falling. I agree that KU has dodged some bullets as of late. I agree that the guard play has been rough. Not to mention that the league appears to be down. But can we take some solace that we aren't 13-6 (UK) and (NC)? I think that KU's defense will take them to the Sweet 16, the team's guard play will have to improve and the No. 4 depth needs to grow (it appears as if that might be the case) to make it into the final weekend.

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Carolyn Hunzicker 1 year, 2 months ago

E>J> definately needs to start driving to the basket PERIOD w WE NEED HIS POINTS, HIS KICK BACKS AMND HIS FREE THROWS -

ALL IS LACKING
Is EJ the team leader giving direction or is he just jiving with the guys ?????

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jhawkrulz 1 year, 2 months ago

Naadir does great driving in and kicking out to an open McLemore or Releford, that is when he was getting all of his assists. He also gets an inside handoff to Withey occasionally.

McLemore doesn't do very good dribbling down the lane, he turns it over quite often. He does better taking it along the wing to baseline and with the quick step he makes nice layups. It'd be nice to fake the 3 pointer occasionally and do this.

EJ can go to the hoop, but doesn't always finish. If he would do this more often, he would score. He also should know where his out is, if he did this, he wouldn't have the unique turnovers.

Of course, at the perimeter I think they all threw at least one directly out of bounds or directly to the opponent for a dunk/layup yesterday, which really is uncharacteristic of them.

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naturalist 1 year, 2 months ago

I think we have more injuries going on than meets the average eye or than anyone wants to acknowledge. I hope everyone can get stronger through the next couple of weeks.

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milehighhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

KU has regressed offensively ever since Keegan jinxed us with the "KU will never see another scoring drought" article.

4

William Blake 1 year, 2 months ago

I didn't think our guards played that bad. Obviously, they performed pretty well on defense.

On the offensive end... What are we playing these days? Dribble-drive? The famous CS "high-low" looks to be dismantled.

The ball is sticking too much. Every once in a while you see a quick-pass possession which usually ends in spectacular scoring fashion.

If we are adapting to a dribble-drive, then we could at least run more sets that free up BMACulate and let the master find more ways to score. It looks like we can't make up our mind on what offense we are running. It's a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Very uncharacteristic of a CS team.

My guess is we are running a dribble-drive, without the drive!

Maybe we need more plays or play variations... I don't see these guys creating enough for each other. I've seen games where two players dismantle defenses by working so well together. We've got 5 guys out there and I don't see anyone creating for anyone. Where are all the on-ball screens? How about off-ball screens? How about pushing a guard into mid-range with our two bigs and then have BMAC run circles around and through the clog?

I'm going to give this current offense a name: "Dribble high, drive low." It's a hybrid of the dribble-drive and the high-low. Three perimeter players spread on the arc and take a glance into the post for a feed for high-low... while also considering the drive from the arc. When nothing is there, they pass sideways on the perimeter.

Theoretically, it sounds nice... but in practice, we don't have enough "team offense" where players are setting screens... mixing up contact with the defense to create confusion and opportunities. Someone has to do the dirty work. Jamari doesn't get a great deal of PT, and he's not exactly filling up a stat sheet. He's a guy that should do nothing but disrupt defenses while on the floor. He's got the body size to set proper screens at all 5 positions. Perry is strong enough to set hard screens. Elijah has consistently shot the ball poorly... he's strong enough to set a hard screen. Jeff is playing stronger... he should be setting pick and rolls.

The benefactors of the screens need to be BMac, Travis, Naadir and Kevin. These guys all have superior quickness. Travis is easily the best finisher at the rim in college basketball today. With BMac's potential fouling issue and superior trey shooting, he needs to be opened up to take more treys and drive less (until he figures out how to do it without charging). Without doubt, his trey scoring will be a big part of our offense in March. Kevin needs to run mostly low because his best shot is under the basket (and he needs to make a higher % of those bunnies).

It's like we are playing some kind of "contact free" offense. We need to play more physical ball. More with the hips and butt. More body contact, less with the hands. We used to call it "move and plant."

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dylans 1 year, 2 months ago

It looks like being the only ball handler is hard on EJ. I thought he would handle the transition better, but no one is willing to help him, but Tharp who only gets 15-20 minutes per game. So when the line up is JW KY Ben TR and EJ no one else can handle the ball and this puts lots of pressure on EJ. I'm not sure why Travis or Ben won't bring the ball up the court even when unguarded unless leading a fast break. EJ was best off the ball to begin with so to have him be the primary ball handler is a huge transition for him.

1

BPSkelly 1 year, 2 months ago

We may have more talent on the floor when we go with the 4 seniors and Big Ben. But im not sure how much better we are without a point guard out there.

Self has brought in some great PGs... even shoot first point guards... Chalmers, Collins, Taylor. But his whiffing on high end ones recently is starting to show here. And the kid we've got coming in next year sounds like he's not a whole lot different than Tharpe.

Im glad these guys have a grind it out mentality. Because they have no choice at this point. EJ's lack of production is starting to become more glaring though. Playing out of position -- and trying to do what Self is asking him to do -- takes him away from what he does best... sticking 3s and going to the rack. And while he has his 'moments' when he seems determined to do that, because 80% of the time hes NOT trying to do that, he cant always reach back for the fastball and find it. To me thats the biggest detriment to the whole "let EJ play point" plan.

As great defensively as we are, we're vulnerable to small, quick PGs. Unless we dont play any teams in the tournament with one its tough to see us really doing damage there. Which isnt likely.

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jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

"Tuesday Morning Short Shorts"

• 19-1 tastes good to me.

• I counted only 3, maybe 4, wrinkle plays the whole game; that means Self was letting them labor.

• Self sent them out flat, as usual, against a weak team.

• Still jumped out to a big lead.

• Let AW3 stink up the floor for an incredible six minutes probably to make a point with AW2 that AW3 is not really ready yet, so fugggedabout transferring.

• Tried not to kick Huggs, when Huggs is down.

• Huggs understood and except for the persistent tripping didn't get down and dirty, even after KU put a few WVU guys down.

• Self didn't anticipate the horrible foul shooting, so KU lost separation.

• Huggs still knows a few things about defense that Self doesn't and he showed Self some in a quid pro quo for Self not running Huggs no shoot team out of the gym early.

• Self and staff and team can learn from the wrinkles.

• Huggs was shown respect and deference due a coach that has won 600-700 plus games.

• KU's players, the older ones anyway, understood what was happening and lost focus.

• KU coaches lost focus cause they were taking notes on what Huggs was showing them to help Self prepare for a stretch run with his superior team.

• Huggs lousy shooters got hot late. KU kept missing FTs.

• Both coaches took off the gloves the last 5-6 minutes.

• EJ made a dumb play.

• KU Never pressed.

• This was about Huggs being a good host and Self being a good guest in order to get this series off on a good collegial start, not a blood feud.

• Huggs obviously appreciated the way Self had treated Frank Martin since Huggs had left.

• Huggs insistence on tripping KU players was the old coach sticking the needle into the young coach, as a bit of marking territory, even as the tried to show respect.

• It infuriated Self, and he almost lost it in the second half, but "coached through."

• The titannic show down between these two giants was deferred until Huggs is back on his feet.

• At some future date, there be a no holds barred, fight to the death game between these two.

• This was about helping Self get his overranked team in a proper frame of mind for Okie State, and giving Huggs boys a little confidence builder.

• Next.

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Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

I think Elijah sees his role improperly. Ive heard him say his job is to set up McLemore. Setting up McLemore is a good thing, but it should come within the flow of the game. If you see that as your purpose, however, you take yourself out of your game and both you and McLemore suffer. If Elijah becomes a scorer, now teams have two problems instead of one (ignoring the rest of KUs perimeter for the purpose of this point). Two threats are harder to defend than one. McLemore will get his touches, no doubt.

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Justin Lindsley 1 year, 2 months ago

EJ is not a point guard. He is a two. Self has to play him at the point, because he doesn't have anyone else at this point in time. I don't like Tharpe, but when he and EJ are in at the same time with EJ playing the "2" they look more fluid. Only if Tharpe doesn't pull some bone headed drive, shot, or pass.

If we had a point, we would be rolling right now. Keep fighting EJ!! We will go as far as you can take us!

1

bear67 1 year, 2 months ago

Lately EJ has been passing the ball like he's afraid it might bruise somebody hands. Pass the damned thing, don't float it, and Withey is 7 ft tall . . up not down! He also picks up his dribble and then looks for an outlet . . . BBall 101 . . . . Do not pick up your dribble unless you are going to shoot or pass. But it's not just EJ. McLemore needs to move more without the ball. He is a great catch and release shooter, but he needs to curl and come off of screens more! He's got shooting skills similar to Ray Allen. But at this point that 40 year old man could run rings around McLemore, and would!!

0

HawkKlaw 1 year, 2 months ago

The turnovers need to stop. Elijah is playing with two bad knees, but that's no excuse to give the ball away. He's only averaging 9.4 pts/game, 4.8 assists/game and 3.2 turnovers/game. The 9.4 pts/game is fine, considering he's been injured all year, but the assist to turnover ratio is very weak for a starting PG at KU. He's really got to start protecting the ball more. It would be understandable if most of his turnovers were due to aggressive plays, but they aren't. He's just been making bad decisions with the ball this season.

However, despite the poor play by Elijah, this team has figured out how to win ugly games consistently by shooting a high FG%, holding their opponents to a low FG%, winning the rebounding battle (most of the time), and relying on the incredible play of Jeff Withey & Travis Releford to bail them out. It's really an art form to win close games the way KU has this season.

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't mind the fact that we're winning close games (I really do, but I'm trying to be diplomatic here).

What gets under my skin is the fact that, as a team, we're getting worse - not better. We're not playing to win, we're playing not to lose. There is a difference.

I've harped on free throws for years, so I'll leave that alone for now. But, we're being lazy and stupid. Harsh? Maybe, but that's the only way to describe 16 turnovers against a team like WV. We threw the ball straight into their hands about 10 times and you can't say any about that other than it's lazy and stupid.

I understand all the crimson colored glasses wearers will say that we're 19-1 and ranked 2 (or 1, depending on which poll you worship), but the reality is - right now - we're not that good and we can't get by with the laziness we've displayed on offense lately when we play the better teams.

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Kent Noble 1 year, 2 months ago

These turnovers are youthball turnovers. Have the time it seems like there not paying any kind of attention to where the defense is on the court. This will not fly during March Madness! If it continues KU will exit early from the big dance. We start 4 seniors & 1 Freshman and we average 12 turnovers a game not good for the Hawks! It will come back to bite them. Even though we have 18 consecutive wins, KU is sliding by the skin of there teeth. They better figure out these turnovers & free throws or we won't get by the first round, I gaurantee it!!!

1

thmdmph 1 year, 2 months ago

We've been fortunate for more than a decade of good points. We've always had a driver controlling the rhythm of the game. This year, this is the limiting factor for this team. This is the sole reason for this team not truly a #1 team, regardless of what other teams are doing, even when we are #1, we're not really a great and complete team. This team always looks ugly and lacks rhythm and consistency because of the lack of a driver. Poor free throw shooting is concerning, turnovers and carelessness is frustrating, still developing bench is cautiously optimistic, lack of aggressiveness we can overlook. However, by far, this team's achievements will be limited by the point guard's play. I'm very happy with the control we have in the middle under the net. Can't complain about the shooting guards plays and defense. I can't even be down on the power forwards' roles on this team. But...

2

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 2 months ago

Kansas shot 54% from the field. That's really an impressive floor shooting number. This game was only close because of 16 turnovers and 16 missed free throws.

ratchet that up and it's a coaches sons kind of game.

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FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Before you play one more game, would somebody please burn those uniforms. They are ugly, ugly, ugly. They obviously didn't help KU at all. If KU would have played a half-way descent team, we would have lost. It was such an ugly, boring game, I almost went to bed. Fortunately, the Okie State game isn't going to be on ESPN so I won't have the option whether to watch or not.

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Kevin Crook 1 year, 2 months ago

The Prophet is playing out of position. He's best suited for the two spot. He and Tharp together has worked out well for us at times this year. It's great that we keep winning, but we are getting out-played at the guard spot. It feels like this team keeps dodging bullets and hasn't faced a team that has hit three-point shots yet. Hopefully we will peak at tourney time, because we are not playing our best right now.

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akgjenkintown 1 year, 2 months ago

“Our guard play’s got to get better,” Self said. “Teams that pressure us and get after us, we’ve turned it over here of late. I thought we actually did some good things, but we made some bone-head plays, unbelievable plays. And didn’t take care of the ball. We’re better than that.”

Our we really better than that or has the competition figured out how to attack KU and make them look average? Seven games into the conference and KU's poor guard play has been fully exposed. This team dribbles more than most of the past teams in their half court sets without much productivity. What happened to the crisp ball movement we have become accustom to seeing year in and year out and the effective high/ low sets? And again turnovers are leading to transition points for the opposing team- the most frustrating thing to watch. This game last night should not have even been a competitive game. WVU is not very good and KU made it competitive by poor play on the offense side, something we have seen again, and again, and again, and again... In most basketball circles, it would be difficult to complain about a team 19-1, but there are too many weakness handling the ball to be considered a great team and a candidate to win a national championship. If Self can fix these glaring issues after 20 games into the season, then he is truly a miracle worker.

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VaJay 1 year, 2 months ago

The only good news out of this (besides squeaking out a win on the road) is that this almost feels like a loss & will hopefully startle them out of their slumber. They will now maybe realize they can't sleepwalk & win games.

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jhox 1 year, 2 months ago

We have to make teams pay for overplaying the passing lanes. Whatever happened to back door cuts? That would be my coaching focus over the next few days.

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hotrodm 1 year, 2 months ago

The quick turn around from Saturday to Monday, the long flight and drive to Morgantown had a lot to do with the team being flat. I still couldn't believe all of the turnovers last night. Why don't these guys look at who they are passing to? In the old days we used two hand bounce passes and they seemed to work pretty well. Those uniforms probably look great from 5 feet away, but they are not very appealing when viewing from a TV set. Get ready for Oklahoma State, they always play KU tough.

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cabmando 1 year, 2 months ago

Two words sum it up for scoring more: FREE THROWS 50% is not going to cut it for long

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Lifelong_Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

I just feel like Elijah is trying to do too much at the expense of the team, just like Sherron Collins. And we all know what happened as a result - upset by Northern Iowa.

Please, Coach Self, bench Elijah for awhile in favor of Naadir. He's playing with much more control and confidence than Elijah is.

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yates33333 1 year, 2 months ago

Perhaps others do, but I don't see much improvement in Johnson in four years. Unfortunately, Tharp isn't ready to take over the team, nor is anyone else. Given the accolades various posters have placed on Johnson during the previous three years it is time for him to improve his decision making by developing more self-confidence. He may have the great athletic ability many note. Well, now is the time to use it. Otherwise, forget the final four. No team ever makes the final four without a very good set of guards. McLemore alone isn't enough.

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Phil Leister 1 year, 2 months ago

'Any team coached by Bob Huggins, and make no mistake, this is not of his better ones, is going to apply pressure on ballhandlers, and Kansas didn’t do a very good job of handling it, and that, more than anything, was responsible for a 15-point lead shrinking to two points.'

Tom, you're not allowed to have 7 commas in one sentence,as it makes it difficult to read, something few professional writers would ever do, because as you can see, as evidenced by this ridiculous sentence, and all of its commas, periods can be your friend.

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Phoggy_Notion 1 year, 2 months ago

Guards have to start trying to score when they attack the paint, rather than trying to complete a low % pass in traffic. I understand the desire to connect on a lob pass for an energizing alley-oop, but more often than not you are better off trying to score from a place on the floor where help defense leaves our Bigs, and provides the opportunity to rebound/follow shots in. Don't get me wrong, I love a great pass in the lane, but I would much rather have atleast a shot attempt, rather than a turnover. This aggressive approach was what made Tyshawn so difficult for teams to defend, and what gave Withey and T-Rob a boost of offense, last season. Plus, Kevin Love is dying for these types of shots; feed the Fro'.

-Mclemore.....please commit to a one bounce pull-up jumper. With the lift, and stroke that BMc possesses, you have to take advantage of that 15 ft jumper. Since the beginning, every great scoring guard, whether on collegiate and NBA level, has had that mid-range jumper that comes from the one--or two--bounce pull up. Its obvious that Ben's ball handling isn't ideal for the 'drive and create' type of play, yet, but he most definitely could make defenders pay by attempting that jumper more often. ~If Mclemore is shooting it, I just don't think anyone can defend it.

-Near the end of the 1st half Tharpe made one of the best crossover moves i've ever seen a guy make in transition, although he was unfairly called for a charge after he finished the play with a layup. Love his development and confidence. His play will be huge come tournament time.

RCJ

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phogphan2000 1 year, 2 months ago

My hope is that EJ has a great tourney after a rough time shooting the ball in conference this year, opposite of TT's senior season where he scorched the nets in B12 play and cooled off for the dance.

Was driving today and didn't get to see the game or the OU game, but the few before that featured some pretty physical defense by the opposing teams. May not be scoring it at the pace needed for a title run, but it's getting the offense ready. Sometimes you just have to make mistakes to improve. Self's teams have a tendency to pass mechanically at times from all the repetition and it gets guys in trouble. Just a few ball fakes here and there would seem to make a difference to me.

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Ferd Magellan 1 year, 2 months ago

Turnovers are a part of the system. They're frustrating as hell, but when you rely on several combo guards instead of a real point you take a risk. The good thing is that having all of these scorers on the floor usually makes up for the ball-handling concerns. 16 TO were excessive though. McLemore and Johnson have to be smarter when passing the ball around the perimeter. It's better to take chances throwing it inside than being sloppy on the outside when no one can defend a run-out.

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