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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kansas, nation struggle to score

Ben McLemore leaps for  basket in the Jayhawks 61-56 win against the Mountaineers Monday night at West Virginia University.

Ben McLemore leaps for basket in the Jayhawks 61-56 win against the Mountaineers Monday night at West Virginia University.

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Kansas University’s basketball team has labored a bit offensively the past six games, scoring in the 50s once and in the 60s five times en route to a 62-point scoring average.

But the No. 2-ranked Jayhawks (19-1 overall, 7-0 Big 12 Conference) — who won all six of the low-scoring games — aren’t alone nationally failing to light up the scoreboard. Kenpom.com recently pointed out that college basketball is headed toward its lowest-scoring season since 1951-52.

Scores such as Wisconsin 45, Minnesota 44; Georgetown 37, Tennessee 36; and Arkansas 56, Vanderbilt 33 are just three examples of some games played at an excessively slow pace.

“I know we are not scoring quite as much as the past. A lot could be us not executing,” KU coach Bill Self said. Overall, the Jayhawks average 73.9 points a game while allowing 58.7. In Big 12 play, KU averages 67.0 points and allows 57.6.

“I do think defenses are getting better all the time. I do think offenses are getting more sophisticated all the time. I don’t know what the reasons are,” he added of a national trend toward lower scores.

“It may come back to officiating,” Self stated. “Not that the games are being called wrong, but games are maybe being called in a manner in which there is more physical play. My personal opinion ... I think there are less free throws being shot.

“I think there is a little bit of reason for concern. I don’t think it’s like baseball where you juice the ball to get fans interested. I don’t think we’re to that point yet. I’d have to say it’s more how the physical play has kept teams getting free throws, but as long as it’s called the same on both ends, it’s still fair,” Self added.

Self conceded that, “I do think as a coach, it’s much easier to get a team great defensively than great offensively. Maybe there’s a little more emphasis on that. I don’t know. I don’t think we’ll have any problem maintaining the interest level even though fans definitely want to see high-flying scoring plays. I think this is more a phase that can be addressed without any major (rules) changes. Regardless of how you call it and regardless of the rules, it’s still a fabulous game.”

Facing a series of questions with negative overtones following another all-important road victory, Self defended his team after Monday’s 61-56 victory over West Virginia — one in which KU saw a 15-lead dip to two in the second half.

“If you look across America, there’s a lot of teams that would give anything to be 5-0 on the road. Hardly anybody in America has done that with the schedule we’ve played. We shouldn’t make any excuses for winning games away from home,” Self said. “Sure, I want to do better. They (Jayhawks) want to do better, and we will do better. It’s frustrating because I know we have to play better to play for high stakes. Still yet, I look across America, there are a lot of teams learning lessons through tough losses. We’ve been fortunate we haven’t done that. We’ve played well enough not to lose.”

Self’s Jayhawks have played well enough to ascend to the top spot in the USA Today coaches’ poll and No. 2 in the Associated Press poll.

“We need to understand it doesn’t mean much in January,” Self said. “But I am proud of our guys how well they’ve done so far.”

Block party update: KU senior center Jeff Withey needs seven blocks in Saturday’s 3 p.m. home game against Oklahoma State to tie Greg Ostertag for No. 1 on KU’s all-time blocked shot list. Withey has 251 blocks, Cole Aldrich 253 and Ostertag 258. Chris Mihm of Texas is the Big 12 record holder at 264.

“It doesn’t matter to me at all,” Withey said, asked if he would like to set the record at home. “As long as I get it, I’m happy.”

Strong start for KU: The Jayhawks, who have won eight straight Big 12 titles, hold a two-game lead over three teams after seven games of the 2012-13 Big 12 Conference season. KU is 7-0, followed by Kansas State (5-2), Oklahoma (5-2) and Baylor (5-2). Oklahoma State and Iowa State are three back at 4-3.

Ticket talk: A limited number of tickets for the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship, scheduled for March 13-16 at Sprint Center, will be available to the public, the league office has announced. Fans may participate in an online drawing process for the opportunity to purchase up to four all-session tickets. To fill out a form, go to sprintcenter.com. The registration period begins at 5 p.m, Friday and ends at 4:59 p.m. on Feb. 6.

Comments

robertson4ku 1 year, 2 months ago

The biggest reason for our scoring droughts this year can be attributed to not having a go-to man when we need a basket. Although McLemore looks like he could eventually be that guy he isn't at that level yet because of his unselfish demeanor he tends to defer to the upperclassmen. In years past we have always had the low post presence that could get us a basket when we have really needed one. Guys like LaFrentz, Collison, Simien, Morris, and Robinson were always capable of taking games over when needed. Not taking anything away from Withey, because I think his improvement has been remarkable, but he is not your prototypical back to the basket low post scorer you can throw the ball to on the block and expect to get a basket like the players I just mentioned. If you don't have the dominant low post scorer you have to have a point guard you can isolate that can beat his man off the dribble and get to the paint to lead to some easy baskets. Johnson and Tharpe have done that occasionally but not nearly enough to put pressure on defenses. Theyt have not shown that they can consistently do this. Possible solutions to this scoring problem is as follows:

1) Perry Ellis must get more minutes! He is averaging around 10 but needs to play 20. I know he may not be the high energy guy Kevin Young is but he is our only legitimate low post scoring threat. The more he plays the more confiedent he will get thus the more success KU will have in it's half court offense. 2) Must get Ben McLemore to be more aggressive offensively. He is averaging just over 10 shots a game. He needs to shoot atleast 15 for KU to make a deep run. 3) Play a more up-tempo game. We have the best finishers in college basketball. McLemore, Relaford, and Johnson are as good as it gets in the open court. We need to apply more full court pressure to speed up the game and force our oppostion to take quicker shots! We need to push the ball more on made or missed baskets! We have better athletes so don't make it a half court grind it out game, instead play to your strength!! That's all I got! Roch Chalk Jayhawk!!!!!!

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Andy Tweedy 1 year, 2 months ago

Keeping McLemore out of foul trouble would help put a few more points on the board. The way EJ is shooting, McLemore's presence surely will open up the offense considerably...so QUIT FOULING, BMac!!!

0

PSM 1 year, 2 months ago

um. who wrote this piece?

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Jackster 1 year, 2 months ago

This is way off subject but for the game opening jump ball, I think they should drop it from the scoreboard versus letting the ref's toss it up. I've noticed recently that more and more players are tipping it on the rise which means a 6 foot guy could get to it faster than a 7 foot guy. Plus it would be fun to watch!!!

2

Dickless Head 1 year, 2 months ago

"The sins of the many outweigh the sins of the few....or the one."---Jesus Christ.

Our team's offensive struggles are the direct result of actions not of the Lord.

Multiple tattoos on nearly every player of color.

Taking the Lord's name in vain when baskets aren't falling, after losses or other unfortunate events.

Extremely sinful movements of the body that are being publicly displayed (McLemore's dance in the Ohio State locker room, Adams' bow-dance on the bench last weekend).

Our offensive struggles will cease when our players start to put their faith in the Lord, not in earthly things. Lord God, help our young men to see the Truth, the God and the Light.

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dallashawk05 1 year, 2 months ago

I think the players now are bigger, more muscular, more athletic, not as much space on the court to operate as in the past. Shooting is not as much a premium as athleticism. As Bill Self said, it is easier to build a better defensive team than offensive team, especially with so many early departures of the top players for the pros. Look at a great coach like Rick Pitino, who used to be known for up tempo, high scoring basketball, but he knows nowadays it is easier to build a team like he has at Louisville who is physical and relies on only a couple of players to score. Kansas is very lucky to have Bill Self, because his style of coaching and types of players he recruits are tailor made for success in todays NCAA and the defensive nature of it. It will be much more difficult for a Roy Williams style of trying to reach 90 points to be as successful as it was 15 years ago.

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YuCoJayHawk 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't have the stats, but it seems to me that this KU team shoots free throws much better as a team than in the last 4 to 5 years. When was the last time KU had 2 of the top 3 FT shooters in the big 12? (Mclemore and Releford) ever? Jacque Vaughn? Jeff Withey seems to have regressed at the line this year and Ellis/Traylor are massively struggling. But the rest of the team seems good at the line. I think the WV game was the aberration of the season, and will probably end up being the worst FT game of the season. Better now than in the tment (2003 Syracuse), right?. And if Ben Mclemore is shooting the best FT % in the Big 12, he needs to be driving more, imho.

2

stm62 1 year, 2 months ago

As Roy use to say, basketball is a FINESSE game. I agree. Save the physical play for football and the NBA. The students of the game appreciate the artistry of a proper screen, great defensive position, excellent ball movement, verticality, etc..

0

Steve Gantz 1 year, 2 months ago

If you watch pro basketball and compare it to the college product you'd wonder why anyone watches college ball. The shooting in college has gotten horrendous. By comparison the shooting in the NBA is spectacular. If college players made shots like what pros make routinely Dicky V would fall all over himself with excitement.

In other words scoring is down because college players suck at shooting. And when a sure fire NBA player comes along like BMac, he stands out because he can shoot the ball.

There's very little interesting to watch in a college game, if it's not your team playing, than an in the 40's or 50's score.

Now if two teams I don't particularly cheer for are up in the 80's and 90's, then yes, I'm watching.

And as a fan of one of the guilty parties, Wisconsin, I plead the 5th because I love the Badgers nearly as much as the Jayhawks. In Madison it's great defense that makes it watchable!

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AzHawk97 1 year, 2 months ago

How about a point of emphasis on the jump ball call? KY gets his shot blocked right back to him, and before he can go back up with the shot they call a jump ball. That's a block, not a jump ball. How can one hand on the ball for a split second be mutual possession? And this is just one instance, but it seems to be the norm. When did this happen, and why?

1

jayhawkinnc 1 year, 2 months ago

not sure if we would have made it to the NCAA tourney in '89 had we not been banned that year. Granted, K-State went into the tourney at 19-10 as a 6 seed, but we were 19-12 after losing in the Big 8 Tourney and at one point we had lost 8 straight games in the middle of the season. NCAA selection committee might not have been very kind to us in that regard.

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Woody Cragg 1 year, 2 months ago

Bob Knight is big on the shot fake, which IMO is virtually non existant anymore. A guy got me in the air once, then came up as I went down on top of his head only to knock my front teeth all the way through my bottom lip. When I took a drink of water it ran straight down my chest with all the blood! Couldn't eat for about a week. Wish I could figure out how to get that result from something far less invasive!

1

Tony Bandle 1 year, 2 months ago

When I was at Kansas, I struggled to score also!!

7

Phoghorn 1 year, 2 months ago

It has been a pleasure to see these low scoring games as of late. I just wish that it was purely about defense, and not about poor shot selection and bad no-calls. (As opposed to good no-calls, which do exist, sometimes in the form of a makeup call).

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Woody Cragg 1 year, 2 months ago

I swear this game gets tougher & more physical each season as refs continue to deep throat the whistles. What drives me to drink is that the announcers will go along with the non-calls by saying, "the contact did not effect the shooter, or it just was incidental, " or some insane rationalization that makes pushing off or moving screens legitimate, then turn around & call a BS hand check. Yeah defenses are better & easier to coach blah, blah, but by allowing the game to to reach this level of physicality it has allowed lesser talented athletes & coaches to compete on the same stage with others far more skilled, and it's created parity solely for tv money, or as I call it, job insurance. Of course I will refrain from naming names, although one quickly comes to mind (LOL), but how many mid majors or never relevant before programs are getting upsets in the dance like, for instance, last years 1st round? Heh, heh, damn the luck! It's not the same game as even 10 yrs ago, let alone when we were young. Palming the ball is so wildly blatant now virtually all guards do it & get away with it. KY could get called for moving screens about 50% of the time, and Pierre Jackson pushes off defenders with his left hand everytime he drives with the ball. Had we a mediocre product here, would be difficult for me to watch as many boring games as there are anymore. Excuse me for venting, but it just ain't the same anymore "Roosevelt", not even close to the skill & finess we grew up watching with guys like Jo Jo & Oscar & Cousey.

1

William Blake 1 year, 2 months ago

The game is getting more physical because the refs are letting it go. That maybe favored some of our past teams... when we had TRob and the Morris twins. But this team doesn't play as physical. I've been saying, for a while, we need to play more physical because we are being pushed around and defenses are able to play us tighter because we don't run blind screens or hard screens. And we don't fight hard enough for rebounds. When was the last time we had one of our guys foul fighting for a rebound? That should happen every game, once or twice. You test the waters and you push it to the limits, until refs make the call.

We do stand a chance games will be called tighter in March... I can't believe they'll be called looser, but who knows. We need to play to the physicality of the game.

One thing is for sure... refs are being suckered by all the flops on defense. All a defender has to do is get directly under a driving player and flop, even if it's one-billionth of a second before the contact and the defender gets the call. BMac has been a victim of these calls and he's pulled back on making many drives in fear of getting in foul trouble. This is hugely impacting the game and eliminating drives... which should be a big part of the game. Games are getting boring because the flop is ruining the game. You'd think refs would learn by replaying the games and seeing how dumb they are calling these games!

They need to penalize the flop because it is ruining the game. Give the offensive team 2 FTs automatically when they see a flop. That will help immediately.

Maybe refs are looking too closely at the ring below baskets and not watching where the real call is; at the point of contact body-to-body instead of just looking to see if the defender is outside the circle.

CS should make a big public statement about this, just to set the tone, then remind refs before every game to watch for the flops. Something to bring attention to the problem because players like BMac are losing out on driving opportunities because of the flop.

Anyone else sick of the flops?

2

Beate Williams 1 year, 2 months ago

It is incredible that ESPN could publish/telecast something so wrong. And to make matters worse they didn't even have Kansas on the list. And the truth be known, if it had not been for the NCAA penalizing Kansas after the '88 win because Brown gave a kid money to go to his grandmother's funeral, noone would be close to as many appearances in the tournament.

I guess ESPN assumes that since the team name starts with "K" it had to be Kensucky who has the streak. They hate to have to admit that Kansas is the home of basketball as it is known today and is the mecca for all who appreciate basketball. When we surpass Kensucky next year in total wins they will find some way to try and say it is not justified, but we know and we will always be supreme. I might be getting a bit too boisterous, but facts are facts.

1

Foster Coburn 1 year, 2 months ago

So KU is 5-0 on the road this season and Mizzou is STILL looking for their first road win. They can leave the conference, but they can't leave mediocrity.

11

jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

"Getting theTravis Ford Short Jokes Out of the Way Early So a Good Coach Doesn't Upset Us"

• Travis Ford is so short he was turned down for a job at a flea circus.

• Travis Ford is so short he can walk under a closed door.

• Travis Ford is so short he wears shrunken hand-me-downs from a Ken Doll.

• Travis Ford is so short his feet won't reach the ground on a skateboard.

• Travis Ford is so short he jumps to flush the toilette in a doll house.

• Travis Ford is so short he wears elevator shoes on a date with a pygmie.

• Travis Ford is so short a little truth goes forever.

• Travis Ford is a heckuva coach no matter what height he is.

0

HAWKTOPIA 1 year, 2 months ago

28 second shot clock, or 26 in a year or two.

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FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe if they took away the shot clock and go back the way the game was meant to be played, there would be more scoring. The game was originally meant to be a game of finesse. If they called fouls like they used to, everyone would be gone by half-time. Now it is all about slamma-jamma brute strength dunkarama. Players are simply not as good at shooting as they used to be. Can you imagine if Pete Marravich was playing today? He would score a hundred points on a regular basis.

0

jhox 1 year, 2 months ago

The game gets more physical every year. It is not nearly as pretty to watch as it once was but, fortunately, it plays into KU's hands. We have a coach who is happy to embrace physical basketball, and one who loves recruiting and building tough players.

The game is getting much more difficult to officiate. An official can't possibly call every true foul anymore, as there are way too many of them. It is also part of the officials job to help move the game along. If every "by the rule" foul was called games would take 3 hours and teams would be lucky to have enough guys left on the floor to finish games. Consequently, it becomes a game of individual judgement (relative to other fouls, how bad was that one?)

When I was in college a slap down on the ball was an automatic foul, even if it was a clean contact with the ball. Now a defender can rip the ball handlers arm away from the ball and, half the time it isn't called. Now just about anything seems to go in the pant.

Personally, I'd like to see officials tighten things up a bit. Basketball is much more artistic when the game is officiated as it was originally intended. But I don't blame officials as that's just the way the game has evolved. I've been an official, and it is a very difficult job. The more loosely you officiate, the tougher that job gets. I really believe that it was once possible for an official to call a perfect game, but those days are long gone. Now it is more about managing the chaos.

1

KansasComet 1 year, 2 months ago

These are the type of games that get you to the Final Four. We must win ugly games. I do not care about turnovers and missed shots more than I care about winning!

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Gene Jackson 1 year, 2 months ago

"Scores such as Wisconsin 45, Minnesota 44; Georgetown 37, Tennessee 36; and Arkansas 56, Vanderbilt 33 are just three examples of some games played at an excessively slow pace." Interesting how 1+1+1+1+1+1=3.

0

Eybea Opiner 1 year, 2 months ago

There's less scoring because it's become a wrestling match out there. Pushing, shoving, grabbing, bumping. All no calls. Yet a silly touch in the back court will result in a foul, or a "brush-by" on a drive to the basket will result in a block or a charge. I'd like to see basketball return to a more finesse game rather than brute force.

3

machinegun 1 year, 2 months ago

We are going to lose a game or two because of our poor shooting. Not surprising for any team. But 19-1, 7-0, is amazing to me. Credit the coaches and players on their defensive toughness. No helmets or pads out there. Our guys get beat up every game.

Ben McLemore is the most consistent shooter on the team. Focus on him during the next game. He gets pushed and pulled, bumped and hip checked, as he tries to get away from the defense. He deserves a lot of credit.

So does the rest of the team, especially Elijah Johnson. His leadership is evident and the encouragement that he provides the other guys during the game should not be overlooked.

Rest assured, Coach Self and the rest of the coaches are working hard to figure it out. Hit the bunnies. Improve the free throw shooting. Get the feet set and square up on 3s. Take your pick.

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jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

Yo, Keetie, we make 72% this year. Its not the best, but it's good for 19-1. LOL

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KEITHMILES05 1 year, 2 months ago

Bill thinks less free throws shot? My goodness! Look at our HORRID FT shooting against WVa of 18-32. That isn't less free throws but the team not MAKING those free throws. LOL

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J.T. Even 1 year, 2 months ago

Withey isn't getting as many blocks any more because opposing teams are afraid to come into the paint, with his extraordinary success as a shot blocker, or changing their shots just enough to make him miss. The impact is still the same as if he were getting 10 blocks/game. He will still get his, and will go down as the leading shot blocker in KU history.

3

Michael Sillman 1 year, 2 months ago

The recent close games don't worry me much at all. This is not gymnastics or diving. There are no style points for scoring margin.

I also don't really believe that there is much momentum that carries over from game to game either. Each game stands mostly by itself. Every game comes down to matchups.

I will honestly be more worried about the next game if we blow somebody out.

Just keep winning, Jayhawks.

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Priest Fontaine 1 year, 2 months ago

Nerds Noel got 12 the other night. Time to get Withey with it.

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