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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

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 7 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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studio 1 year, 7 months ago

"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." That is the fog of which these kids need to be most aware!

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manunitedjayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Couldn't agree more, all takes is a couple of ball fakes and those wing entry passes aren't nearly as contested as they were last night.

2

Phoggy_Notion 1 year, 7 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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actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

You make a lot of good points Phoggy, especially about McLemore not taking enough mid-range jumpers.

One quibble, though: it's Kevin Young, not Kevin Love.

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Phoggy_Notion 1 year, 7 months ago

Thanks actor, I should just refer to Kev Young as KY from now on.

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Displayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Good point Phoggy! I have screamed at my television for the last few years "Jump-Stop"! Tyshawn Taylor would have had half the charging fouls he had if he had learned to use the jump-stop shot instead of bull-rushing in to the basket. McLemore needs to learn this as well.

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Suzi Marshall 1 year, 7 months ago

Phoggy, I thought Tharpe played terrible last night. His defense was off the chart terrible with his man driving past him at will. He had Releford wide open for a dunkon that play you refer to when he was called for the charge.

Sadly, I am loosing confidence this this team. Bad guard play, no PG, sloppy play with way too many turnovers, missed FTs, and too many weak links on defense when we substitute.

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Phoggy_Notion 1 year, 7 months ago

Jayhawk Marshall, I agree with you that Tharpe played poorly last night, in addition to the rest of our guards (excluding Releford), but he has shown on more than one occasion this season that he can play with poise. Personally I feel much more comfortable having Naadir handle the ball late in the game, whereas EJ seems to really struggle with ball pressure. Moreover, I think the biggest problem with EJ's ball security can be attributed to his inability to just 'lower his head' and go for the basket. He is so intent on driving and passing out, rather than putting pressure on defender trying to anticipate his passive routine. Our guard play is weak, no question, but its something that I trust Self will improve before the 1-and done tourney begins.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

"Plus, Kevin Love is dying for these types of shots; feed the Fro'."


Obviously, you mean Young, but really I wanted to chime in that I don't want passes going to Young in the paint. He has proven that he can't finish in traffic at the rim. There was one play last night where Tharpe made a beautiful drive and dish to Young for a point blank layup, and instead of going up with it strong right away, he hesitated, then got fouled. I don't remember if he made his freethrows, but he gave up an easy layup, likely because he was tentative, which is probably because he hasn't been able to throw it in the ocean from a transatlantic flight.

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Phoggy_Notion 1 year, 7 months ago

My mistake, I did not mean Kevin Love. Also, I'm not saying we should be passing the ball to KY, but having our guards put up the type of shots that would allow KY to do what he does best; offensive rebound='feed the Fro'

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Phil Leister 1 year, 7 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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actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't mind the commas nearly as much as the lack of the word "one" (as in "this is not ONE of his better ones ...").

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

I think it's the fast-paced, low budget world of online communications. You're not going to sell a bunch of papers when all the content is online, so you sell ad space and reduce headcount to generate revenue. Electronic editing (spell-check, grammar-check software) does a lot of the work, but isn't perfect. I applaud the editors and writers for all the material that comes out. They produce a large quantity of high quality content, and do it with very few stakeholders and moving parts. I'm glad that Bedore, Keegan, Newell, and Tait have given us some real consistency since the days of the revolving door of journalists which is not that far in the past (Wood, Greene, Arnett, Sorrentino, etc...)

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yates33333 1 year, 7 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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actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm with you, yates. I'm very concerned about the dumb passes that EJ seems to be making several times every game. It's one thing for someone to make passes like that once in a while, but for a senior he is committing turnovers with alarming frequency. If he hasn't learned by now not to make so many sloppy passes, it's hard to imagine that he's going to change much by the end of the year.

My biggest fear in the tournament is going to be what happens when they play against a team that's tremendous at pressure defense and also has great 3-point shooting. If they run into that combo, that could be their downfall.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

Also, in the situations where he did play point where Taylor was out for whatever reason, his role was to be a side-to-side, ball-protection, slow the pace, don't push it in transition point guard. He wasn't even supposed to feed the post, he just had to get the ball to Brady or Tyrel or someone else who was "designated" post-feeder. This year, coach has asked him to penetrate, dish, feed the post, push the pace, race in transition, and generally do everthing that he wasn't supposed to do when he was just back-up PG.

But there's really something lacking in his game this year. Even last year he had much better springs than this year. He's dunked it maybe a few times all season (only in transition), and we used to run set plays for him on back-door cuts for lob passes. He plays defense this year with straight legs and a bent back. He used to play with bent knees and a straight back. He's not quite the same athlete that he was before this year.

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think I agree with that. I saw dramatic improvements from years 1-3 and he appeared to be peaking in the tournament last year.

But I WILL agree that he's regressed. Now, it may have something to do with the offseason surgery / rehab, but it may not. He doesn't APPEAR to have anything hindering at the moment other than his decision-making.

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

What?!?!?! Sorry, but since the end of that Texas game Naadir's looked EVEN WORSE!!!! Talk about boneheaded TO's. That would be Naadir.

I think what we're suffering the most from is not getting A.Adams developed quicker. I think if we could've gotten him out of the some of the "freshmanitis" sloppy ball-handling & taking bad shots with more extended minutes, he'd've proven very valuable by now. :(

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addlime 1 year, 7 months ago

How about none of the above? Obviously somebody has to play, but none are worthy right now. I think you have to stick with the current order because Tharpe is a much greater liability on defense. Adams isn't even in the conversation based on what I've seen (every game).

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Suzi Marshall 1 year, 7 months ago

Lifelong, I think you are barking up the wrong tree citing Tharpe's play as anywhere close to being good. EJ has had his share of problems with TOs but he has shown the ability to get the job done. Tharpe is not the answer. His defense is awful. I suspect Self will work AWIII at the 2,leaving EJ at the point longer.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

That isn't why we lost to UNI.

We lost to UNI because of a combination of factors, like Collins/Taylor having their worst shooting night of the season, UNI having guys like their center, Eglseder, go 2-3 from three in spite of being 1-9 from long-range on the season, and of course, because that little sh** Ali Farokhmanesh took a completely idiotic three-pointer that he had no business taking, going in and killing our chance to steal the win.

I will always see that final three-pointer as akin to some idiot poker player going all in with a long-shot draw before the River, only to win because he capitalized on a 10% chance of drawing the one card he needs to make a flush. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

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addlime 1 year, 7 months ago

We lost to UNI because we didn't exploit their weakness, which was primarily athletic ability and conditioning. We were content to play half court defense and walk it up the court into half court sets against a team that played guys with beer guts.

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Phoggy_Notion 1 year, 7 months ago

Though I don't disagree with your suggestion of sitting EJ in favor of more Tharpe mins, I do however realize that Self is not going to jeopardize the confidence of his Sr point guard.

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cabmando 1 year, 7 months ago

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

1

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Weird though because I think for most of the year we've actually been a very good FT-shooting team. I think one of the top 2 or 3 in the conference.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

Our team FT% is third in the conference behind Oklahoma and Okie State.

We are 81st nationally at 71.2%, and that ranks ahead of EVERY other title contender except Arizona (21st) and Indiana (67th). For some historical perspective, the 2008 Memphis team shot FTs at a percentage in the low 60s, which ranked them at 329th nationally. That is what a team at risk of losing because of FT shooting looks like.

Free throw shooting is absolutely not this team's problem. There are so many things that need work before free throws.

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KUsmitty4 1 year, 7 months ago

definitely agree, Also, the fact that we do not have a power forward that can just go score is killing us. Ellis is improving, which gives me hope i guess.

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KatnissHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Hey! They shot over 50% from the line! Hot damn!

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hotrodm 1 year, 7 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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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

I wouldn't say they were flat. I mean geez, they started the game out of the gates 14-2!!!!

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jhox 1 year, 7 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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hawkhoops 1 year, 7 months ago

Exactly what we were saying all night. Burn them a couple of times on a back door cut for a layup and they wouldn't be hanging out in the passing lanes picking off all those passes.

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VaJay 1 year, 7 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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akgjenkintown 1 year, 7 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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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah, my favorite offensive possession was the one where Mc penetrated, passed out to Elijah who had the REALLY quick pass to Travis at the wing for the 3. I want to say that pushed the lead from 4 to 7 pretty late and really helped provide more of a cushion.

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TexasRockChalk 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes, it pushed a 6 point lead to 9 (55-46) and it was at that point I thought we had wrapped it up. However, little did I know we would clunk and chunk our way to making it a close game! :(

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Kevin Crook 1 year, 7 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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TexasRockChalk 1 year, 7 months ago

The Prophet may need to pray for a "double blessing" portion to rain down from the heavens! ;)

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FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 7 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.

1

Brian Zachary 1 year, 7 months ago

Blah, Uniforms, blah. No they didn't help KU at all. They NEVER DO! Never heard of such crying over pieces of fabric. No, I personally didn't like them, but I am certainly not going to blame them for how well or badly they may have played.

0

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 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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thmdmph 1 year, 7 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...

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Kent Noble 1 year, 7 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!!!

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actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

You do realize that the first round will be against a 16 seed, right? Now if you said the SECOND round, I might be there with you -- although even then KU might be able to squeak by because of its defense.

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 7 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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yates33333 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree. Not so much with the lazy, but certainly with the stupid. As a whole I agree with everything you say.

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

yates - well now I know you're not my wife - she never agrees with anything I say! lol. I semi-apologize to Jayhawk nation for the lazy/stupid thing - but man it just ticks me off so bad when we commit those really lame turnovers. It's one thing when somebody slaps the ball out of your hands from behind or something like that, but we're just HANDING the ball to them.

1

HawkKlaw 1 year, 7 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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bear67 1 year, 7 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!!

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Justin Lindsley 1 year, 7 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

Joe Ross 1 year, 7 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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jaybate 1 year, 7 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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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think you're being entirely fair to AWIII. He shot the ball awfully bad, but he did rip down 4 rebounds in only 6 minutes of play.

I can't help but chalk up his shooting woes to nerves (back home and gets to go into the game fairly early) from playing in front of family.

He did have one turnover, but I don't remember it, so it can't have been that bad. Especially when you've got seasoned veterans like EJ and Releford giving the ball away three times apiece.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Well, march, you saw what you saw. I saw KU jump on a weak team early, and before they could put them away, Self went to AW3, a guy he doesn't go to much in tight situations, AW3 looked lost offensively, both shooting and running the floor, and then was not used when things got tight.

If Self keeps using AW3 this way everytime we jump out to a lead, even against a good team, then I guess you will be proven right. And you're right. 4 reebs are nothing to sneeze at.

Right now, though, we agree to disagree.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

I saw those things as well, except the part about AW3 looking lost. He missed shots, including a layup at the rim. But at the time I remember thinking that they were shots he should be taking. I don't agree that qualifies as looking lost.

I'm not really sure how you "saw" Self inserting AW3 as a means of sending the message to his father that he shouldn't be thinking about a transfer because his son has work to do. I find it odd to write an analysis that so thoroughly depends on peering into Self's mind, then suggesting that the only way my analysis could be correct is if Self continues to do the exact same thing with AW3 "everytime" in the future. I'd argue that the reason AW3 didn't come back in is because his primary value as such a young player has ALWAYS been on offense, so if he's that off with his shot, there is really no reason to risk his suspect defense.

There is no realistic way to prove either of our analyses correct, so agree to disagree is probably where this will remain for the foreseeable future.

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BPSkelly 1 year, 7 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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HawkKlaw 1 year, 7 months ago

Don't forget about Wayne Selden next season. From all accounts (and from what I was able to see on youtube), he's got the ability to play any position from PG to PF, and he wouldn't be out of position playing any of those spots. I think we'll be okay at PG next season.

And as for the starting PG next season (Tharpe), I imagine that he'll be far better at protecting the ball than EJ is this season.

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dylans 1 year, 7 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.

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Colby Hebert 1 year, 7 months ago

Travis could do it I believe, he can dribble some in traffic and is great at using his body to shield the ball from defenders when finishing. I could live with the ball in Ben's hands more too even with some turnovers. EJ is turning it over anyway, why not.

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ParisHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Travis has recently had problems losing control of the ball in the half court offense, even if he gets it back more often than not. Doesn't make him look like a primary ball handler to me.

If bringing the ball up bothers EJ, why wouldn't it bother someone else at least as much?

Travis is too important to be a spare tire PG.

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Colby Hebert 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes Travis is already asked to do more than anyone really.

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ParisHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

This is the kind of post that makes me keep coming back for more.

I would just add my mental picture of Marcus Morris who one play set three screens in quick succession and wound up wide open for a close-in shot.

Set screens and ye shall be free!

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TexasRockChalk 1 year, 7 months ago

Screen at last....screen at last...Thank God Almighty....oh whoops.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

"Its All About Creating Room for Skinny Guys to Work"

Part 1

slayr,

I don't see this offense as much of a mystery.

This is just widely spaced, judo offense they've been running since game 7-8, when they junked last year's inside-out, fight for the spot, high-low offense.

If the defense shoves, we slide.

If the defense holds, we push.

The only think new last night against WVU, and it started against Kruger and OU, is the ad hoc reintroduction of pieces of the play book from prior years.

First the weave was retrofitted. It had been used some from the beginning of the season, as a means of tiring defenders quads by forcing the defender into long slides, while our guys ran with less effort straight forward and tried to weave closer and closer to find a drive alley down the center. The retrofit became apparent to me a half dozen games ago, when I started remarking how interesting it was that the weave was no longer being run to get closer to the basket, but instead to get farther from the basket. The retrofitted weave is still designed to tire quads with a lot of long slides in pursuit of our guys running effortlessly forward. But the difference is that each layer of weave spreads defenders farther apart and farther from the basket, not closer. This is one means Self and staff have used "loosen" up thinks inside, both for curl and flare screens run for Ben and Trav on the wings and for Jeff and Kevin to have more room to run inside with out so much tripling and doubling.

Starting with the OU game, maybe the game before, I forget exactly, the pick and roll was retrofitted. The pick and roll used to be run to actually create a shot off the pick. But now it is set up waaaaaay out their on the wing to streeeeeetch the defense outward, and then it suddenly disolves into a spread out situation, which then triggers the curl and flair screens set up for Ben and Travis off from wide spacing and stretched defensive spacing.

Last night, and against OU, the ball screen was definitely retrofitted. Same deal as the retrofitted pick and roll. No intent to score off it at all. Its just a technique for streeeeeeetching the defense outward, then once the wide spacing is achieved, then a play is run for either Ben, or Travis, that exploits the wide spacing.

If you just remember the basic coaching assumption is that KU is too skinny to fight for spots and muscle with people in what has been the conventional style of D1 play for many years now, and if you remember that the counter to being too skinny to fight for position is to spread defenses and use mobility to attack, then EVERYTHING they are doing is making sense.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Part 2

Every game or two, they just keep reintroducing parts of the play book retrofitted to use these familiar old parts to increase defensive spacing, and then follow them up with plays for Ben and Travis, and occassionally for Jeff, or Kevin. This is why Travis and Ben are increasingly tending to be our first and second leading scorers with Jeff's total points tucking in just behind them with a combination of stick backs and a few feeds for running jump hooks.

I think we will continue to see pieces of the play book being retrofitted and inserted every game or two both to show the opponents something they haven't seen used in previousl games, plus increase the load of what the next opponent will have to prepare for.

But the key is that all of these additional retrofitted plays aren't really being used to score points directly.

The point is to use them as misdirections to get defenses stretched out and then run pretty much the same small handful of plays to shake Ben and Travis loose to score.

EJ is a joker in all of this. We can't know for sure how much Self is sand bagging with EJ's apparent injuries. A lot of the time, EJ looks like Mickey Mantle trying to shag flies when he was in his 30s, or Joe Namath trying to stay up long enough to find a receiver his last few years. EJ just looks practically immobile on any 45 degree angle cutting, as I believe you pointed out awhile back.

But then like a lightening bolt out of no where, EJ will make a play that looks incredibly like some of the plays he used to make.

Its my bet that he really is injured and as gimpy as he appears, but that he is such a great athlete two or three times a game he can abuse his knees and make a play, and then go back to playing as conservatively as possible.

But it is very conspicuous to me that he is wearing not one, but two knee wraps.

As I mentioned yesterday, he supposedly only had one knee "cleaned up."

Now, I know one bad knee can lead to traumatizing the other, and I recall that he supposedly tweaked his other knee sometime or other, but...

He is now wearing identical hardware on both knees.

Something seems fishy about this.

And something seems fishy about these very infrequent flashes of the old stunning athleticism.

I wouldn't put it entirely past Self and staff to sand bag with EJ until a big game conference game, and then uncork him.

Now, there is no doubt that he is in a REAL shooting slump, but all players have these each season. In recent years, Brady had one. Tyshawn had one. EJ had one. And so on.

So: this shooting slump could just be a slump, or it could be a by product of bad knees.

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yates33333 1 year, 7 months ago

If Johnson's wheels are as bad as you imply he will stay in a shooting slump. I know you understand basketball so I think you would agree with this. Also, I can't imagine his jumping the way he does with his knees hurting that much. I tried to watch his facial expression when he came down from a pretty good jump, and he didn't seem to wince. You do make an excellent point about his cutting and also about wearing two knee wraps. I must say I never noticed the latter.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

No way is the double knee wrap a ruse to convince defenses that EJ is hurting only to unleash the full EJ at a later date.

EJ's draft stock has plummeted this year from almost certain first round pick after last season to soon to be off of everyone's draft boards.

Bill Self nor EJ would ever allow his stock to drop that way simply as a gimmick to win one or two extra games in February/March.

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texashawk10 1 year, 7 months ago

EJ was never projected as a first rounder by credible sites. The best I saw for EJ was a mid to late 2nd rounder. A streaky shooter with average at best PG skills is not something scouts are drooling over.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

XCLNT Point there, plastic.

Nix the sand bagging possibility.

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Part 3

Okie State seems a big challenge for this team. Maybe the biggest challenge for this team, at least in the first half of round robbin in conference.

I think we will learn in the Okie State game this weekend if there has been any sand bagging going on.

I wouldn't bet Self has been sand bagging with EJ, but Self is just too wily to rule it out entirely yet.

Regardless, as you watch each game and this offense unfold, remember the rule. We're too skinny to muscle and fight for spots, so everything, screens, picks, old offensive sets, new ones, all are being used simply to find ways to stretch out defenses, so that Ben and Travis and Jeff can then have some room to operate off curl screens and flair screens and god knows what else.

Self has to attack through Ben and Travis and save most of Jeff's energy budget for defense. Jeff is just to be used at key moments. Its all about getting skinny guys room to work in two steps: spread the defense, then attack it.

Rock Chalk!

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

P.S.: Much screening is now about stretching defenses before actually going into attack mode. These screens are intentionally soft, because it would be pointless for these skinny minnies to try to set great big manly man screens. The idea of most of the screens--all of the screens during the stretch the defense phase--is just to encourage the defenders into wider arcs, not to actually get a guy open. But once the defense is stretched, then occasionally you see a solid one set. But most often even then they are soft and just intended to create a little more streeeetch so great athletes like Ben and Travis can impact based on what is available.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

I suspect the hi-lo will return when Young loses his starting spot to Ellis. Young just doesn't seem to work with the hi-lo that well. Sure, he was great when hi-lo meant get the ball at the top of the key and pass inside to Withey for a slam or and-1, but once teams realized that was all he was doing, they took away the pass and the hi-lo fizzles out.

On the flip side, Young just isn't good enough around the basket to be the "lo" part of the hi-lo, so while Withey has shown that he can hit that top of the key jumper AND has a better passing angle to get the ball down low from the top of the circle, Young just doesn't finish with enough consistency to make that worthwhile.

I think the hi-lo will be better once we have a more traditional 4 (even a face-up, ballhandling 4 like Ellis has shown he can be) playing the hi part of the hi-lo. Hell, he would even be a better option as the low man, since he has shown an ability to score around the rim with fair consistency.

1

yates33333 1 year, 7 months ago

The only way to make the high/low set work is if the high center can hit between the free throw line and the top of the key. Otherwise, they just sag off and dare him to hit. I suspect this is why Self has somewhat abandoned it. I wish Ellis would hurry up and get his shooting touch from that position. What a combination of Withey and Ellis that would be. The problem would be losing Young's energy and nose for the ball. In any case KU doesn't have a problem with inside play. It's the perimeter passing that sucks. I have always hated the weave, since Hank Iba perfected it in the 1940s to slow down the game.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

Ellis has proven he can hit that shot. He just needs the opportunity to get the nerves worked out.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree with plastic. Ellis already has that ability (given the fact that he apparently has permission to shoot three pointers from Self??), it's everything else that's keeping him from getting that spot.

Re: Young's energy, I think we're starting to see that raw energy without focus can be a famine or feast proposition. Young seems like he's always making a great, super-hustle play, or his making some kind of mistake of the type you only see from a player who is playing a little TOO loose.

I too hate the weave. I hate it so much that now my wife hates hearing me mutter: "gd it, I hate the [expletive] weave!" every time we launch into it in a game (which seems to be getting more and more frequent).

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

PHOF about you and your wife. :-)

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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Now wait a minute guys. We're 19-1. It IS working. :-)

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milehighhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

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

4

TexasRockChalk 1 year, 7 months ago

That and the whole "KU has wrapped up its 9th straight conference title" before the Iowa State game, and we all know what happened in that game and since!

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naturalist 1 year, 7 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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jhawkrulz 1 year, 7 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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Carolyn Hunzicker 1 year, 7 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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Jennifer Nikkila Pressgrove 1 year, 7 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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Scott Smetana 1 year, 7 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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Woody Cragg 1 year, 7 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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KULA 1 year, 7 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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Brian Conrad 1 year, 7 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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jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

cooonrod,

You are probably right, but I also really like the visual pattern you have created here. Maybe we could show it to Addidas and they could work it into the next trial uniform. :-)

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 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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Sam Constance 1 year, 7 months ago

Pretty sure Kilicli was the inspiration for Zangief.

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ABeesus 1 year, 7 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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JayhawkRock78 1 year, 7 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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jgkojak 1 year, 7 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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Eric TheCapn 1 year, 7 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.

0

Michael Luby 1 year, 7 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.

0

KEITHMILES05 1 year, 7 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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Woody Cragg 1 year, 7 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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davehawkSWK 1 year, 7 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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Ben Kane 1 year, 7 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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jaybate 1 year, 7 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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archercc 1 year, 7 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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Mike Barnhart 1 year, 7 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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jhawki 1 year, 7 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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FLJHK 1 year, 7 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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jcourt 1 year, 7 months ago

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

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