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Sunday, January 31, 2016

‘Freebie’ against Kentucky gave KU brief respite, boost

Kansas coach Bill Self gives a congratulatory slap to Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) as Selden leaves the game with little time remaining, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas coach Bill Self gives a congratulatory slap to Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) as Selden leaves the game with little time remaining, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Playing Kentucky on Jan. 30 — eight games into the Big 12 Conference season — made for a rather unique experience for Kansas University’s basketball players and coaches Saturday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

“It was almost a freebie. It was almost like you’re playing an exhibition game in the middle, because it didn’t mean anything in the big picture except for momentum and seeding and intangible things,” KU coach Bill Self said after the Jayhawks’ 90-84 overtime victory over the Wildcats — a win that helped give the Big 12 a 7-3 head-to-head advantage in the one-day Big 12/SEC Challenge.

“Cal (Kentucky coach John Calipari) is going to be on his guys, ‘Now we’ve got to get back to what we’re doing, got to get back to the grind.’ We’ll do the same with our guys,” Self added.

KU-Kentucky didn’t affect conference records any — KU takes a 5-3 league mark into Wednesday’s 8 p.m. resumption of league play against Kansas State (13-8, 2-6) in Allen — but it wasn’t exactly meaningless, either.

“(It) could be a résumé game and help us on the seed line,” Self said of the NCAA Tournament. “Hopefully it’ll give us momentum going back into league.”

Other than that, “I think this means more to our fans than us, although getting hammered by them like we did last year, we needed to come back and get a quality win against a team that hammered us by 30 (72-40 in 2014 Champions Classic),” Self said. “I think there was a lot of respect on the floor with the players. It was a fun game, a game in which our guys looked forward to playing.”

The fans were up for it, cheering so loud that Kentucky senior Alex Poythress said it was the loudest arena he’d played in his career.

“It wasn’t as good (loud) as the OU game, though,” Self said of KU’s 109-106 3OT win over the Sooners on Jan. 4 in Allen. “We didn’t do anything from a playing standpoint, to make athletic plays or have a short run or mini-run. We never did that.

“It’s fabulous,” Self added of the fieldhouse. “There’s other places that are great. I doubt there’s any one better.”

KU’s Wayne Selden Jr., who scored a career-high 33 points, said the crowd inspired the Jayhawks to claim their 17th win against four losses. UK fell to 16-5.

“I don’t think I’ll ever play in an atmosphere like I played in tonight,” Selden said. “I feel like, ‘How does it get any better?’ I don’t know how it gets any better than this atmosphere it was tonight.”

It remains to be seen if KU can build on the victory and improve on its 5-3 league start, which includes a 1-3 mark in road games.

“In the big picture, it didn’t really mean much,” Selden said. “It meant a lot for pride, for tradition. It was a great time to get our momentum going and juices flowing. Our biggest thing now it taking our show on the road.”

Selden, in the final analysis, was a bit better than Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis, who scored 26 points with eight assists and three steals in 45 minutes.

Selden’s hustle play to begin overtime set the tone for a session in which KU outscored Kentucky, 14-8 (which included a meaningless three by Ulis at the buzzer). Selden flew into the stands chasing a loose ball in the backcourt on the opening possession. He flung the basketball high in the air, KU gaining possession on offense thanks to the save.

“That just gets the place going, plays like that,” Selden said. “Usually you don’t want to save the ball on the opponent’s side (of court), but I knew my guys. Throw it up in the air, and I know somebody’s going to get it. Throw a 50/50 ball up in the air, and Perry (Ellis) got it.”

Selden hit two free throws to open the scoring in overtime, then after Skal Labissiere hit a jumper to tie it, put KU ahead to stay with a drive and resounding dunk with 3:10 left in the extra session.

“Wayne was extreme tonight,” KU guard Frank Mason III said. “He did what I know he can do. He drove the ball downhill, found guys when they were open, did what we wanted him to do.”

Selden, a 6-5 junior from Roxbury, Mass., said, “It was a great experience. The place was rocking. I had a lot of family in town (including grandfather who’d not yet seen him play in college). It was really a blessing.”

Of busting loose for his career high (previous high was 25 against both Iowa State and Vanderbilt), he said: “I felt it was something that had to be done. Think about the past, how we’ve been playing recently. We’ve been kind of stale. I was just coming out trying to be enthusiastic and have energy.”

KU-UK again?: Self was asked if he’d like to play Kentucky every year, considering the programs are the top two programs in all-time victories (UK has 2,194, KU 2,170).

“The Big 12/SEC Challenge ... I don’t know what they’ll do, but I would assume Cal will definitely say, ‘They’re coming back to our place next year.’ I don’t think he’ll pass on that one,” Self said.

No announcement has yet been made, but it’s assumed KU will return the trip to Rupp Arena in Lexington next season.

“To have us play home and home in a year we don’t play the Champions or Big 12/SEC? I’d be good with that. Cal will play anybody. You look at our schedule. We’ll play about anybody. Our league is so good. When you are playing a top 25 RPI game every (league) game also, those games (KU-UK) sound all great. I’d love to do it. If we did, I’d definitely not do some other things we’re trying to do now (regarding playing difficult teams on slate).”

Comments

Brett McCabe 2 years, 11 months ago

As we resume league play, the margin for error is razor-thin if the guys want to make it 12 straight. Right now, it's hard for me to imagine OU losing more than three games. They've already played in the two toughest venues in conference. Maybe WVU gets them, but I think that WVU's press will be less of a factor as they take a second trip through the league. In 2012, we went 16-2. OU is looking a lot like that team right now.

That leaves it up to us to win out and beat the Sooners in Norman for a tie. The OSU loss will haunt us, I'm afraid. Plus, we've got to win on the road, which we haven't proven that we can do. The next three games could give us a lift and shiny-up the record, and possibly bolster the self-confidence. It'd be nice to start with a hot-blooded beatdown of the pussycats.

Joe Ross 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm glad for the win against Kentucky. Kind of gets the monkey off our back about the 2012 championship game loss and the beat down last year.

But...

I remember the last time Kansas came off an emotional overtime victory in Allen (OU). Kind of seemed like the victory took a little wind out of our sails. Like we collectively exhaled when the competition was only more stoked. I'll be looking to see how Kansas responds over the next several games (ones we "should" win).

Every game from here on we should be trying a hang a meat necklace on the competition.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 11 months ago

Likewise, I am really happy to get the win vs UK, which is a unique series and should be played every year.

I also agree with Brett to get a piece of the Big 12, we are going to need to win out, including a win in Norman. After watching the game again, actually twice, Selden's spectacular performance masked some serious recurant KU problems that need to be addressed for us to win on the road. Specifically, those things that let another opposing guard posted a career scoring night need to stop.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 11 months ago

Très bon pour l'observation. Peut-être une touche d'anglo-normand pour faire bonne mesure.

Mick Allen 2 years, 11 months ago

Suzi, Eulis is arguably the best point guard in the country. He has performed comparably to the way he performed Saturday all year. He is as quick as anyone in the country off the bounce. Coach realized we couldn't keep him in front of us on defense and that is why he played the "junk" triangle and 2 which limited his effectiveness in the second half. Nobody Kentucky has played has been able to keep Eulis out of the paint off dribble penetration. Give him credit. He is damn good.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 11 months ago

I do give him credit. He is darn good. Like so many other guards we have faced, set a personal career best scoring record. Don't you see a patter with so many guards recording personal best scoring records when playing against KU guards?

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

One of our guards set a personal best against Kentucky. Are their guards awful?

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 11 months ago

Really? I'd take Melo Trimble or Isaiah Taylor over Ulis but you did say arguably.

Mick Allen 2 years, 11 months ago

I apologize Mr. Ulis for misspelling your name.

Joe Joseph 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm still sticking with the number 4. As in four losses will win the conference. Oklahoma is the best team in the conference, but has proven beatable on the road. Norman is a joke of a home court advantage also. OU will drop at least one more road game and I think there's a good chance it will lose one at home as well.

Five losses may even be good enough to split the conference, which I think is KU's best, most reasonable hope.

Rae Bricil 2 years, 11 months ago

Suzi, I agree with your point. Due to Self’s substitution choices this season will come down to our guard play. I typically don’t agree with Doug Gotlieb (sp) but as he tweeted Saturday Graham and Mason are mid-major guards. Graham lacks the ability to defend and it appears Mason is incapable of evolving past a guard who drives the lane attempts to draw contact and ends up on the floor after missing the layup or having his shot blocked.

Mick, Ulis is arguably a top five guard but he is also arguably not—with players like Dunn, Jackson, Trimble, and Baldwin just to name a few that are just as good if not better and that doesn’t even include any guards from our conference.

What is not arguable is KUs ability to turn the opposing guard into looking like they are a top 5 guard. In every game KU has lost and a few they have won (Texas and OU) the opposition’s guards have torched KU guards to the point where it is questionable if they are capable of stopping dribble penetration at all. That said, and as seen in the UK game, it can be hard to stop guards if they do not fear a shot blocker in the middle and the forwards who get the most playing time are not shot blockers.

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

Graham has an almost 4-1 assist to turnover ratio. Mason is 2.5-1. Ulis is 3-1. Graham is Shooting 43% from 3, Mason is shooting 40%. Ulis is less than 30%. Mason averages 1.6 steals, Ulis 1.4 Graham 1.3

Kansas guards outscored Kentucky's by 10, out rebounded them by 5 and had the same assists and turnovers.

Gottlieb is an idiot.

Did you watch the ISU game? At halftime the discussion was that KU guards were driving the lane at will. Here's a news flash. Most any decent point guard has the ability to get by most any other guard one on one most of the time.

Rae Bricil 2 years, 11 months ago

I did not comment on Graham’s offense only his defense. And per your last statement about a point guard’s getting where they want I admitted that fact in my last sentence.

The fact that KU outscored UK’s guards collectively is obviously due to Selden’s monster game but it does bring back my earlier point. That since we do not have much of an inside presence—Ellis when the match up works out—all the weight is put on the guards and I would be surprised if Selden can carry a load like Heild does.

My point is not a negative but just that Graham and Mason are average guards at best. I think it was Bilas that called Mason a “poor man’s Iverson” I see him a “poor man’s Dee Brown” or I guess Collins to a lesser extent. You can throw all the turnover/ ratio stats (though i would be curious to see Mason's in the B12) to try to justify that they are above average which statically over all of college basketball they may be. I look at their head to head performance and in the Big 12 the opposing guards typically outplay them.

OU KU: Woodard and Heild combined for 73 pts 14 assists and 7 TO’s. Graham and Mason 37 points 9 assists and 8 TO’s.

KU West Virginia: Paige and Carter 36 pts, 1 assist, 2 TO’s. Graham and Mason 19 points 5 assists and 8 Turnovers.

OKSt KU—Newberry and Evans 35 pts 10A 7 TO’s. Graham and Mason 24 points 5 assists (all from Graham) and 3 TO’s.
KU v Texas Taylor and Feliz 25 points 11 assists and 2 TO’s. Graham and Mason 27 points 9 assists and 3 TO’s.

Iowa State KU Monte Morris 21 points 9 assists 0 TO’s. Mason and Graham 23 points 7 assists and 9 TO’s. I didn’t add a second guard to ISU bc they were negligible and Niang on their perimeter facilitating as much as any other guard they have besides Morris.

I did watch this game, well until late in the second half when KU stopped playing basketball and starting playing something else that I could not recognize.

My point is that the KU guards which Self relies on are average at best. They are not elite and without someone who can control the center like Withey, Embiid KU will continue to be exposed in an man to man defense within the B12 (and tournament type competition).

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

KU v Texas Taylor and Feliz 25 points 11 assists and 2 TO’s. Graham and Mason 27 points 9 assists and 3 TO’s.

Did you really use that as some way to make a point?

Rae Bricil 2 years, 11 months ago

The rest of the examples illustrate the point well enough but looking deeper into this one it does add to the point. KU’s guards played even with middle of the pack B12 guards at home-not elite, not horrible—average. A Texas team that lost to Tech and TCU--which is 136 in the KenPom rankings.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 11 months ago

Rae, thanks for breaking this down so thoroughly. Texas is actually the perfect example of the problem that the team faces up top (and in the paint). Graham and Mason aren't terrible but, so far, they've just been average.

The only fix that I see on the bench is Cheick as a shot-blocking threat. Perhaps he makes a big leap in the next couple of weeks and can get himself on the court for more minutes, though that seems unlikely. Look at Kentucky's scoring inside the arc against us and you'll wonder why they ever took a 3pt shot.

The only other solution is what Suzi pointed out, and what we had earlier in the season: more scoring. If Wayne can become: I'm the Man! Wayne, then we might be able to progress by out-scoring people.

The other problem that I see, and posted already, is that we don't have a solution for next year at the guard spot. However, Cheick should bring a shot-blocking presence, Carlton is bound to improve, Coleby could possibly contribute and Azubuike might be able to add some depth, so we might be better defensively inside.

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

Kansas has an excellent solution next year. Graham, (only a soph) has an almost 4-1 assist to turnover ratio. Mason, this years Big12 preseason second teamer will be back and is averaging 2.5-1. . Graham is Shooting 43% from 3, Mason is shooting 40%. Mason averages 1.6 steals, Graham 1.3 They average 10.5 and 13.3 PPG.

Every team in the NCAA would take them both tomorrow for 2016-2017. The reason no PG recruit seriously considered Kansas? There's no playing time to be had. Their coaches knew it. Only the Chicken Littles don't.

Speaking of guarding. Brett, guard your dignity and don't break out that infantile EMAW insult. The notion that someone who argues the absurd marginalizing of Jayhawk players and coaches is a Wildcat is even truly idiotic and makes you look foolish. .

Brett McCabe 2 years, 11 months ago

Quick edit to my comment - didn't mean to sit on Lagerald. I suggested last week that we might see more of him, and got blasted here.

Just listened to Self's press conference and he said that Vick is making strides and might become first-off to sub. His length could be a huge help next year defensively and he's shown some flashes shooting. I haven't seen enough of him to really know what he can bring, but I think that he might be a candidate to take up some of Devonte's minutes if Devonte doesn't improve defensively. This might give us the guard presence we need next year to improve.

If Vick is, indeed, on the rise. It'll be interesting to see if Devonte responds and upgrades his performance.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 11 months ago

I was also saying last week, with you, it would be nice to see what Vick could do...besides taking an immediate 3. Devonte's D, with regards to lateral movement is horrible. Where Devante did some good earlier in there year was playing the passing lanes to pick off passes. Apparently he has decided not to do that anymore.

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 11 months ago

Not disagreeing Suzi but I haven't seen Vick play enough to evaluate his defense. Usually after missing the 3 - he is back on the bench.

Harlan Hobbs 2 years, 11 months ago

Excellent opening analysis, Brett, and insightful follow ups by the group. So much more enjoyable to read reasoned debate. KU definitely has its hands full going forward, as I'm afraid that OU is the best overall team this year.

Even if Coach Self could find a "junk" defense to stop Buddy Hield, the other parts are so good that there will be holes left somewhere. I just hope that OU has a horrible shooting game when we play them in Norman. That's probably our only chance.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 11 months ago

Harlan, as we've learned in the past, the conference season can be a grind, and can take some twists and turns but OU just looks so talented right now.

Coming back to win against LSU and defeating the greatest player in history, or at least since last year's recruiting window, will likely just give them more confidence. And, they've got a skilled coach who probably won't let them give away any freebies.

In Self's news conference, he lays it out that our guards are getting whipped, and we aren't active enough defensively in the paint (pretty much as laid out by Rae, above). For us to catch OU, I think that one of three things has to change, and this is the order of likelihood that I think they might:

  1. Wayne starts scoring in the 18-22pt range. 2. Cheick makes a leap. 3. The guards start guarding.

In reality, I think that number one is more likely than numbers 2 and 3 put together. Can we go 10-0 with that? No. Can we go 9-1? No. 8-2? Maybe. That's 13-5 and probably a tie for second and a likely 3-seed unless we do something special in the tournament - which would not surprise me. However, if we continue playing as we are, we are looking at an 11-7 conference record. We would then need a really good performance in KC.

My hope is that 1, 2 and 3 all happen. Then we could be talking about another special season.

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

The new rankings are out. The Jayhawks are 6 in one poll and 7 in the other.

Considering that the Chicken Littles believe that KU 1 & 2 guards who each play 30+ mins are "mid major" and that the bigs who get the second and third most minutes should be permanently benched because no other team would play them, and that Ellis can never be an effective PF, this must be the greatest coaching job Bill Self has ever done........

Joe Ross 2 years, 11 months ago

If the egg laid at OSwho?, the no-show at snowy West Virginia, and the second-half beat-down/letdown/meltdown at ISU are within the character of a veteran team who some projected to win the national Championship, then I say "yes". Greatest coaching job ever.

If not, we still got a lot of wood to chop.

So says Self by the way.

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

But those who made such predictions don't know anything. The Chicken Littles say so right in this discussion. If only all the basketball coaches and sportswriters were anywhere near as smart some of our regular CLs.........

Joe Ross 2 years, 11 months ago

Neither end of the spectrum has it right. The sky is not falling, but everything is not optimistic either. I wonder, for example, if I took a survey of your posts, say, during the losing stretch, what percentage of your own comments conveyed appropriate concern with regard to the level of play. I recall one particular comment, for example, where players cited lack of effort in the West Virginia post game presser where you seemed to suggest there was no real problem and the comments amounted to "player- and coach-speak". It was not the case.

Point being, all is not bad. But it is also NOT TRUE that all is not as well as the proportion of your comments would seem to suggest.

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

None of us know how hard anyone else is trying. What we all know if we watch sports, is that effort is almost always the first thing teams point to after a loss. It's never "our matchup strategies and offensive schemes weren't effective. Next time we'll make these adjustments..."

Joe Ross 2 years, 11 months ago

Firstly, I disagree with you that lack of effort is imperceptible. Viewing hundreds upon hundreds of games, one gains an intuition that may be verbally inexplicable but nevertheless very real. More to the point, the coach and players themselves admit to the lack of effort so there is no point in trying to adjudicate whether or not we can perceive the lack of effort, especially when there is no evidence to doubt their word and every reason to believe it. And coaches often point to the lack of effectiveness of the offense (for various reasons, Johns post game presser for example). It's not just schemes and strategies they point to. Often times they cite players poor execution. But you would not be wise to suggest that lack of effort is not a reason for poor performance simply on the basis that you often hear it. That logic does not follow.

Mick Allen 2 years, 11 months ago

Jay, I agree most point guards can beat their defender off the dribble and as we both know it is what they do with the ball after beating their man off the dribble that is important. Rae , I respectfully disagree with your contention that Graham and Mason, at best are mediocre guards. You take away the WVU and ISU games and Mason has had a good year. You don't make 2nd team all Big 12 as a sophomore if you are at best, a mediocre guard. He has struggled somewhat recently in conference games,. Both Mason and Graham are handicapped by KU's lack of having an interior offensive presence. As we all know, Perry is much better facing up than playing with his back to the basket. Both Jamari and Landon are non factors offensively which allows their defenders to help on the ball on dribble penetration. They do not have the option to dump the ball to a big who can score, so their option to distribute the ball is limited to kick outs on the perimeter for the long 2 pointer or the 3.Rae, all point guards are going to look better as defenders if they have a shot blocker discouraging forays to the cup as you alluded to. As stated before this is a banner year for point guards in the Big 12 and nationally, all of whom can beat their respective defender off the bounce. If they didn't have this ability they wouldn't be playing the point

Rae Bricil 2 years, 11 months ago

I respect your disagreement and I hope that I am wrong but (except for the UK game and that was close) when KU plays upper level teams in conference the guard that has the best game typically plays for the opponent. It is not me just saying this as Jesse Newell’s commented Saturday night: “Opposing point guard manhandling KU. Stop me if you have heard this before.” Our guards can’t stop the ball.

Yes KU is still ranked 6th in opinion polls but looking at KenPom they are now 15th behind Wichita State which I think is much closer to where they belong. The Adjusted Defense has slipped to 38th.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 11 months ago

Without really looking at the polls, I'd probably put us in the 15-20 range - for right now Things can change, and I hope that they do, but a team that's gone 6-3 isn't generally regarded as a top-10 team

Still, we are in play for a 4-seed or better. Now, we have 9 games to try and upgrade that seed, plus the conference tourney - which might be important to us this year, for the first time in a long, long time.

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

All the bracketologists have put out their new projections. Kansas is a 2 seed in all.

Amazing coaching job by Bill Self to guide a team with horrible bigs getting minutes, mid major guards and a PF who can't play that position to this kind of success.......

Rae Bricil 2 years, 11 months ago

Well I am not hoping they stay a 2 seed. The last 2 years when they have been a 2 seed they have lost the 2nd weekend. Too many 2’s for me but who knows maybe the third year we can make it to the third weekend.

Also, is getting a 2 seed in a projected bracket an accomplishment? With 4 McD’s AAs on the team and two of them upperclassmen I would think that anything lower than 3 seed would be a disappointment given all the talent he has on the bench.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 11 months ago

That's a great observation...to many 2s for me as well.

With all our faults, all the other teams have their flaws as well. We can finish up 8-1, with only a loss in Norman. Assuming we lose again in the Big 12 tournament to OU, we can end up something like 27-6, we might get a 1 seed along with OU.

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 11 months ago

Nope - we lost in the 1st weekend the last 2 years. We haven't made it to the 2nd weekend since 2012-13 when Eli choked against Michigan.

Jared Reeves 2 years, 11 months ago

Rae, I don't necessarily agree with all of your opinions, but I love the fact you back up your opinions with facts and arguments, rather than personal insults. I definitely agree that Mason and Graham need to do a better job stopping dribble penetration.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 11 months ago

The thing that has driven me crazy about Mason was his sudden drop off after the OU game. Mason was showing himself to be an elite PG up to and including the OU game. He's always busted his tail, regardless of the results. I'm convinced we will hear after the season about some kind of injury he suffered. Against UK, he looked much better and almost like the Mason of old.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 11 months ago

Yep. Loved that he stepped up to take Hield and live with the results. That's Big Man stuff! And, I agree, we may well hear of a physical problem later. If so, then next year definitely looks better at the guard position.

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

You feel deeply insulted every time the term Chicken Little is used, don't you Jared? You should. You respond in some fashion without fail. It's hysterically funny.

Joe Ross 2 years, 11 months ago

I wouldnt say "insulted" but I freely admit to "annoyed".

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

You're no CL Joe. You have no reason to feel insulted. You make rational and valid observations. Mostly ;). The CL's believe that they should be about to post their thoughts in public without them being scrutinized while taking the liberty of pecking away at the comments of others. Life isn't like that, is it?

Matt Dimeo 2 years, 11 months ago

Jay can you define your term "chicken little'?

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

Alleged fans who believe the sky is falling after every game, win or lose.

Stuart Corder 2 years, 11 months ago

I think Bill Self has developed a game style that has proven incredibly effective over time. However, Self's Achilles Heel is his apparent inability to control a game. I believe it's because he's like a good king that's grown fat and lazy; he's too comfortable in his system, and is therefore unwilling to adjust to the variables within a game.

For instance: - Greene plays like a stoner (lackadaisical, unaware, effortless), yet Self refuses to allow Svi (the #2 rated NBA prospect on our team) to help break presses or bring in defense - both of which as I has consistently shown in his playing time earlier this season.

  • Lucas plays passive and consistently makes poor basketball decisions, yet Mickelson has shown a defensive presence, a mid-range shooting ability, and plays with energy in the game time he's had earlier in the season before Self's iced him out.

  • Frank Mason is being played at 2 guard and continues to throw the ball away in his desperate attempts to play backyard basketball over trees. STOP IT!

  • Ellis is an excellent, undersized D-1 big. Emphasis on the undersized. He excels when he face-ups taller foes and backs down mismatches. Maybe penetrate and draw fouls.

Self should know that winning isn't about forcing talent into a system (underachieving Wiggins/McLemore), but adjusting the system to embrace the talent he has. Please, for the love of basketball, stop allowing Mason to penetrate recklessly into the lane during crunch time, sit Greene unless you need a shooter (and when he's out there, LET him shoot it), give Mickelson some minutes over Lucas and give Ellis his confidence back by playing to his strengths rather than forcing him to post up "post up" bigs.

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 11 months ago

Svi is the #2 rated NBA prospect on our team? Source?

Jay Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm sure "Steve" likes the shout out. No Steve commented on or in this story.

Linda Peschka 2 years, 11 months ago

TO ALL, ESP Jay. I played point guard @ grade school, high school, college, and AAU level. We were City of Tulsa Champs in my 8th grade and played for the State Championship but lost by 3 points. In my Junior year my team won the State BB Championship. I was the starting point guard on both teams as well as the top defensive player. On our man-to-man defense, I always guarded the best guard/forward. The tallest I guarded was 6'4" and I was 5'11" but had great jumping ability so much that I was one of 4 players on the team that could dunk the ball. However, in those days(even in College) dunking was not allowed. I played 3 yrs in College before I damaged my knees and after 3 surgeries I resumed playing on AAU teams composed of ex College and a few ex Pro players. I played for Coke, House of Lights, and American Airlines. The year I played for House of Lights we won the National AAU Championship. I later was a referee for Grade School, High School, Junior College, NAIA, and NCAA Wheelchair BBall. I also coached on the side. However, my profession was Registered Nurses. What did I learn all those years and games? A good defensive player can stop a good offensive player if, and the big IF, the movements of the offensive player was extensively studied. Knowledge and experience lead me to the statement that the starting KU guards(Mason, Graham,and Selden) are just average defenders. They do not move with QUICK feet, but they maybe FAST but not QUICK, and there is such a difference. I have been calling for Self to change defenses frequently from a 1-3-1 Match-up Zone to a Box and One to a Triangle and Two and finally to a "Hurly Gurly", which is a form of TEAM, TEAM Man-Man defense which is where every player knows where the movement of the ball is going. Therefore I was delighted to see Self switch to the defense he finally ran against Kentucky to slow Ulis down. It would behoove him to use different defenses in the forth coming games. When you drive to the basket, you do so with intend in mind and always under control, thus you will not find yourself in"NO_MAN"S LAND with little or no chance of a positive outcome. Mason and Graham do this repeatedly esp in the last 4 games, BEFORE the Kent. game. They do not pass the ball with force. It is not what you have done for the year but ESP. NOW while in the Conference schedule, what have you done lately. As one noted Statistician told me while I was studying for my PHD, " you may askew statistics to whatever you want your perspective to be". I change does not happen NOW with the above mentioned situations, KU will not win the Big 12 Championship and even if they get a # 2 or #3 seed in the NCAA tourney, they will have great difficulty advancing to the Sweet Sixteen against any team with a quick, sure footed shooting guard(s). That is not Chicken Little but a mere fact.

Linda Peschka 2 years, 11 months ago

To note, the previous comment was not by Linda Peschka, my beloved wife, but instead by me, Duane Peschka. She is the one that started the account. It was obvious that I needed to make this point of clarification. She was and still is a good swimmer and tennis player, but she could never jump that high to guard people. Thank you

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