Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jayhawks’ top priority: ‘make the right plays’

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson looks to push the ball up the court as he is defended by Long Beach State forward James Ennis during the first half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson looks to push the ball up the court as he is defended by Long Beach State forward James Ennis during the first half on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The statistics support Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self when he refers to the 2011-12 Jayhawks as the “worst passing team” he’s ever seen.

Through eight games, the (6-2) No. 13-ranked Jayhawks have totaled more turnovers (119) than assists (117).

Obviously it’s early, but for reference ... the last time a KU team finished a season with more turnovers than assists was 1982-83, when Ted Owens’ squad had 457 assists/492 turnovers en route to a 13-16 record.

“We’ve got to keep working at it. We’ve got to cut down these turnovers,” said KU junior forward Travis Releford. He has 15 assists against 18 turnovers. “The last four or five games ... turnovers are why we haven’t been extending leads on teams or the reason we’re keeping games close. We really need to work on that.”

KU has more assists than turnovers in three of eight games. Overall, Tyshawn Taylor has 29 assists/32 turnovers, Jeff Withey eight assists/14 turnovers, Thomas Robinson 14 assists/17 turnovers. Elijah Johnson has 30 assists to 19 turnovers; Conner Teahan nine assists/six turnovers; Kevin Young three assists/four turnovers; Justin Wesley one assist/four turnovers and Naadir Tharpe eight assists/five turnovers.

KU had turnover troubles late in Tuesday’s 88-80 victory over Long Beach State when the 49ers applied some full-court pressure.

“We don’t pass it real well. We don’t catch it real well, and we don’t see real well. Those are three problems teams will have against pressure,” Self said. “It’d be nice if Johnson was in the game (he fouled out at 5:37) so we could have another guard in the game. There’s absolutely no excuse. It wasn’t even high pressure, and we turned it over to them.”

Of course, in looking at seasonal statistics, it should be noted KU’s opponents have just 69 assists to 123 turnovers.

Also, the Jayhawks have outrebounded foes 307 to 234. KU has been outrebounded in just one game — the opener against Towson, a 100-54 victory.

“Coach hasn’t really said much about us rebounding. It’s just the turnovers. We need to cut those down,” Releford said. “It’s about keeping the ball and controlling it.”

The Jayhawks aren’t necessarily a young team this season, but the squad definitely is inexperienced.

“I know there’s times I’m out there I’ve done some things that have stalled our offense, things I’ve done in practice and coach has got on me for,” said senior guard Teahan, who has not been a rotation player until this season. “You get in the moment. It’s something we need to get better at ... focusing in and making sure we make the right plays, the easy plays. Sometimes people get in the mode we are trying to make extraordinary plays where it’s a combination of easy plays that make great plays.”

Junior center Withey had four turnovers against one assist against Long Beach State.

“Toward the end, we definitely showed how young we are and made some bonehead plays — me giving it off to Tyshawn when they were trapping,” Withey said. “I have to hold onto that (ball). We are young. We are going to make stupid plays. We definitely are going to get better through being out there and learning. It was my first time out there late-clock in a close game. We are learning a lot and coach knows that, but he’s not going to let up. He will keep riding us until we are a great team.”

Some other stats of interest through eight games: The Jayhawks average 75 points off 47.5 percent shooting (45 of 129 threes for 34.9 percent); opponents 61.5 ppg off 38.5 percent shooting (52-140 threes for 37.1 percent). KU has 52 blocks and 58 steals; opponents 37 blocks, 63 steals.

“We’re working every day to get better,” Releford noted.

Next up: KU will meet No. 2-ranked (8-0) Ohio State at 2:15 p.m., Saturday, in Allen Fieldhouse. Sophomore center Jared Sullinger, who sat out last Saturday’s win over Texas-Pan American because of back spasms, is expected to play, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported recently. Sullinger experienced back spasms in the Buckeyes’ 85-63 home win over Duke on Nov. 29. Coach Thad Matta said an MRI revealed an aggravated disc. “The big thing is, with therapy and stretching, you can really strengthen that area and make it a non-issue,” Matta told the Plain-Dealer.


Michael Luby 10 years, 10 months ago

KU is gonna get their hiney's beat on saturday...

fansincewilt 10 years, 10 months ago

You may be correct but I don't think so. I think they were too focused on this game against LBS. This is a big game when the Jayhawks really have not much to lose. They are not expected to win and really should play loose. On the other hand, the Buckeyes are expected to win. That may be a challenge in the home of the Phog. I think the Jayhawks are going to find some strength they didn't know they had. It looks to me to be a great game.

NoteToSelf 10 years, 10 months ago

Human nature is to remember the last game they played and make a prediction based on what happened. KU threw the ball away the second half against The Beach and looked awful. OSU destroyed The Dukies on team that beat KU on a neutral court. However, OSU has played 8 games at home w/o a road game this year. I'm counting on AFH to be rockin on Saturday and KU to keep the turnovers down. The crowd hasn't sounded very loud this year on TV so I hope the students are juiced about the game on Saturday. KU isn't an underdog very often...especially at home. Go Hawks.

lurkerhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I've also noticed AFH being more quiet than usual. That definitely needs to change

Michael Luby 10 years, 10 months ago

Im always gonna be a Jayhawk. I suppose I dont think our guys have it in them to beat the spread on a game like this. If KU can keep the TO's down, it might be a close game though.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Well, you may be right.

But, for the life of me, if you're a KU fan (and I'm guessing you're not) WHY would you say that?

By the way - we might get hit by an asteroid today.

Michael Luby 10 years, 10 months ago

I am a KU fan. Im just saying what noone else wants to say. Believe me, I want them to win. But seriously, if Ohio state beat Duke by 20 points. They have an excellent chance to match or exceed that number on us. However, this will be Ohio State's first away game. The guys will be juiced, the fans will be juiced and AFH will be louder than a jet engine. They might be able to pull out a W. Again, the chances are they wont win. I just hope its a close game either way. Im sorry if I offended you with my honesty.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Ok, might have been a little harsh with questioning your KU fan-manship (?). But it just seems strange to lead with a line like that.

We've lost - what? - 7 home games under Bill Self. It's possible that we will get beat, but I personally look forward to this game. We've all talked lately about "playing down" to the level of the competition and I think on Saturday the team will be ready to play. I KNOW the fans will be rockin.

I used to know a loudmouth Ohio St fan (sorry- but he was) and I took him to the last KU-OSU game in Allen Field house (which we won) and he admitted to me that Ohio State's home games were nothing like this. He had never seen a crowd so "into" a game and he knew it had an effect on the players.

I just think we ought to be more positive. We are KANSAS man - nobody's gonna whip us. In basketball. In December. At home...... lol

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago


It could go either way.

The reason you could be right is that KU will probably have an off trey night after shooting the lights out against LBSU.

But KU will also not have another TO night like they had for awhile.

And KU just keeps learning more and more how to play through Tyshawn and two bigs.

What is really happening is that they started out thinking they were going to be a running team, and they are discovering that they are much better playing through the bigs as they did last season, with Conner gunning treys.

What we need next is for Travis to start banging treys. He can do this. He only needs to take 4-5 treys, just as Conner does and he will make the offense work, when he is in there, as well as it does when Conner is in and on. This team seems even more sensitive to the trey shooting of the 3 position than last year's team. I suspect the reason is because Withey relies on movement and height to be effective, and lacks the weight and strength to muscle the way Kieff could, when things went cold outside.

This is why losing both Kieff to the show, and Jamari Traylor to transcriptitis was so bad. When our trey shooters are hot, then it stretches things, and Jeff is just fabulously effective as a complement to TRob. But when KU's trey shooting is not there for a game, then the paint defense begins to sag and muscle and Jeff cannot be very effective in that kind of play.

If Travis and EJ can finally shoot well against Ohio State, then with our big three and home court advantage, I expect us to take Ohio State by ten or so.

Ohio State is good and KU ought to lose to them, because KU is relatively less experienced.

But KU has shown very well against good talent many times now on neutral courts.

So I am optimistic on a good shooting night, but worried about a bad shooting night, but then that is how I feel all the time in the XTReme Muscle/XTReme Fouling era, when opponents can deny athleticism with muscle and fouling, and everything reduces to whether you can shoot the trey, or muscle inside on the cold nights.

dylans 10 years, 10 months ago

Teahan is the only player who shot lights out for 3.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

C'mon, we shot 40%+ from trey and 50% plug from the field for the game. Whattya want?

ancient_hawk 10 years, 10 months ago

For us to not shoot 2-8 from trey (not counting Teahan)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

It doesn't matter who makes the treys as longs you get to 40%.

Michael Luby 10 years, 10 months ago

+1. Thanks Jaybate for the validation of my concerns. I believe you could also be correct.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

We played great against Long Beach for 15 minutes. We played average for about another 15 minutes or so.. And we played really bad for about 10 minutes. That won't work against OSU.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

copy an paste.

But we probably will play much better and for longer periods, injuries and hot hand permitting.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

Agree..I look for us to play more like the game w/Duke than the last two.

Bion Ostrander 10 years, 10 months ago

The Bucknuts may be ripe for an upset. They have played their first 9 games at home, and I doubt they have seen anything like Allen in a long while, and it should be rockn' on Saturday - - the crowd is due to have its best game of the year!

OSU has not played in a week (that may be good or bad), on the good side it gave Sullinger time to rest his ailing back, on the bad side, maybe they will go cold or be lethargic.

There is a good chance that Sullinger gets Withey in foul trouble, neither KU nor OSU will risk playing Sullinger against TRob unless necessary, to avoid having the two best offensive players in possible foul trouble.

KU is due for a break-out game at Allen, where it is both motivated and excited.

KU will need much better and consistent guard play from TT, EJ, CT and TR. And it would be nice if TT and EJ could drive to the bucket and force a few fouls on Sullinger or at least require Sullinger to work and challenge his ailing back.

Rock chalk....

Michael Luby 10 years, 10 months ago

I did not know that Ohio State has played their first 9 games at home. That is very interesting. A KU win / Ohio state upset is more likely now. Those guys just need to take care of the ball and come out strong and play their A game for 40 min.

KansasComet 10 years, 10 months ago

This should be a good game. Kansas is capable of playing with any team in the country. Now, should Kansas win, just remember that this is just one game and it does not mean all of our issues are immediately fixed.

addlime 10 years, 10 months ago

Only if he's forbidden from shooting! Awful shot selection so far.

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Saturday's game is winnable. We just need to keep turnovers under ten, shoot in high 40%, ft over 70%, keep Sullinger under 25 pts, and OSU around 38% from the field. Maybe a tall order, but if we do that, we can win!

ironhead80 10 years, 10 months ago

It is just like in football. The quarterback is the most important position on the team and the point gaurd is the most important part on the basketball team. So, for the KU basketball team to be successful this year, they'll need a leader who's game has matured every year without the drama queen and diva attitude. Yes! I'am calling out Tyshawn, He thinks he's a legend maybe in his own mind. We will live and die with him this year like we did with the Morris twins. For a senior, he doesn't take care of the ball with his one hand weak passes, the other teams know this and there anticipating his passes which are becoming turnovers.The bad thing about this is Elijah is like a puppy and behaving the same way the big dog does. I noticed the other nite Releford passed poorly as well. It all starts at the point and we don't have the studs this year to make up for our mistakes. Tyshawn would make a great black top player with his moves to the basket, he's just not disciplined enough to get us to the final four much less the elite 8. I believed during his years at KU his game would have gotten polished (between his ears) . Like Flip Wilson said, "What you see is what you get".

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

I think you are wrong on Taylor. If you watch our games, even last year, when Taylor goes to the bench, whatever lead we have dwindles. Believe me, he made the Morris twins millionaires with all the assists he dished to them in our hi-lo offense. This year is taking some time for all these new starters to gel with each other. I'm not saying Taylor and ALL of the others need to dont need to control turnovers more cause they ALL do. I just don't think its fair to throw Taylor under the bus. The xavier henry "experiment" was not good for Taylor after he had a great freshman year.

Martin Shupert 10 years, 10 months ago

Uhhhmmmm... TT didn't start the last game. We totally rocked them. He came in. We started playing sporadic. But don't let facts get in the way. Yes, we need him. His contributions, however, are diminished by a lack of leadership qualities. He's like democracy to this team. He's a very poor point guard, but all the others (until Tharpe grows into the role, at least) are so much worse.

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

well i suppose you know more than NBA scouts. He is still projected as a second round pick this year...yea as you say..."a very poor point guard"....

Michael Luby 10 years, 10 months ago

LoL, I hope you are right man. I hope you are right. Id love to see Withey pull down double figs in boards and blocks. The photo of him with his bloody mouth the other day. It reminded me of Godzilla.

JayDocMD 10 years, 10 months ago

On the recruiting front:

Julius Randle is one of the gems of the 2013 class with a long list of possible schools. Duke is probably the front-runner since signing Matt Jones, his friend and teammate since 5th grade. Randle did, however, have high praise for KU on his ESPN blog:

"Also, I visited Kansas a little over a month ago and that was one of, if not the best visit that I’ve been on so far. The fans there are just crazy and they’ve got a lot of energy so that was just great."

tical523 10 years, 10 months ago

He is also teammates with Zach Peters.....what friendship does he value more? Lol I hope Zach can put a good sales pitch down!!!

Joe Baker 10 years, 10 months ago

DMan = NBA

Any questions?

Simple, really.

tis4tim 10 years, 10 months ago

The difference in Saturday's game might just be Coach Self. His ability to wring more effort out of his players than a sub-par strategist like Thad Motta might be worth 5-10 points. OSU may have better talent, but throw in a home court advantage and a potentially loose KU team that's expected to lose and there could be lots of smiles to go around Saturday night.

Some facts:

The Buckeyes are 36-8 all-time as the second-ranked team in the AP poll (which is their current ranking), but are just 34-29 when both they and their opponent are ranked in the Top 15.

Versus KU, OSU is 3-4 all-time. They last played Kansas in '99 in Lawrence, a game that KU won 80-67. KU was ranked #8 at the time. OSU was ranked #12. OSU is also just 18-20 all-time versus teams currently in the Big 12.

Ben Simonett 10 years, 10 months ago

Against Kentucky he was "nervous"

Against Duke he was "tired"

Any guesses on what the excuse will be this time when Tyshawn goes out and lays another egg on Saturday?

I'm going to go with illness, Self has already played that card to excuse one poor performance by his team, i could see him try to squeeze one more game out of it.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

Sometimes you just gotta take bennybob w/a grain of salt. Unfortunately, I agree with him on Tyshawn. I've been waiting 3+ seasons for him to get it all together.

tical523 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't hate this comment , there is some substance to chew on there. Hopefully no need for excuses Saturday tho.

Kye Clark 10 years, 10 months ago

How about "hurting"? He already laid the foundation for this one by not starting him against LBS. I could see it.

Gregor Southard 10 years, 10 months ago

Thanks, Gary, for pointing out that we're killing teams (opp. Ass. to To ratio and rebounding). Not perfect but the sky isn't falling either

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 10 months ago

Our screen passing is very predictable with on one on the team (besides TT) seems to know how to pass it inside or drive it to the basket. The last opponent LBS simply hung around the 3 point line area for easy picking. They seem to know what we were going to do and where the ball is going to be, so they can be opportunistic in the perimeter area.

Be more aggressive with the penetration to the basket, run more set plays. Go Hawks!!!

JayDocMD 10 years, 10 months ago

Agreed - Coaches Self and Manning need to lock this kid down.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

Wow!..Add him to the mix of an experienced 2012 class and incoming Frankamp..

rockchalkchalkin23 10 years, 10 months ago

Johnson proved last year and against South Florida as to why he should be running the point.

Steve Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

TT hoping to be SCollins when he grows up, rather he try to be Hinrick, Valentine, JoJo, Mario even RussRob... Watched 7 minutes of MU Tigers the other day, oh my, they passed the ball excessively to find the open man, crap what a very bad year for 'dem cats to get really good. Hate it.

Question: which do you want to happen least?

KY Coach Cal get another Kentucky championship or MU Tigers finally get a final four banner?

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 10 months ago

Hands down MU FF would be much worse, though I'd rather see that than an MU Big12 title this year, either would be horrific UK is far and away better than anybody else in the country from a pure talent perspective, Cal has tried to keep expectations low about the inexperience, but he's got a bunch of guys with FF experience and a whole lot of NBA talent. So wouldn't upset me to see a talented team win this year, as opposed to that horrible, horrible, I'll say it again horrible champ game last year

mikehawk 10 years, 10 months ago

This team's baselines are almost complete. After Saturday, they will be. What we now know is the backcourt, while fast and athletic, doesn't handle the ball well, are not good passers, and their judgment is often questionable. Other than Mr. Teahan, no one has a natural three stroke, and are we are streaky from three, at best. Travis likes to hang around the perimeter, but may be at his best against bigger guys and when he slashes if he can learn to enjoy contact. Withey is upper body weak, foul prone, gets winded easily, but seems to be getting better every day. TRob is a man (he has to be via life cirumstance) and is getting more and more confident every day and may not even be close to his ceiling. This team can get 5 to 10 points more from the line per game than the team of the last two years, and may just as easily lose this advantage through their own tendency to foul. They can play defense, rebound, and alter shots around the basket. Despite their capacity to play defense, they have individuals who become liabilities on defense by letting their guys go right around them to the basket. They don't have much depth, and the guys they are bringing in to give the bigs a blow are often a major liability. No one seems to know how to make an entry pass on a consistent basis (see Brady last year). It doesn't appear coach has yet to to take the wraps off of the high/low (or they can't do it). We have very little quality depth. They seem to have a lot of pride individually and as a group, as they are finally getting their chance, and will probably be willing to listen to coach carefully throughout the year. They could be scary to play by year's end if they truly develop as a team. Or not. They will need the Fieldhouse rocking Saturday and all the help they can get from everyone.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

'What Follows Is a Transcript of jaybate's First Football Confession"

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned and I am soon going to again. I am going to post a transcript of this football confession on under a basketball thread, because the football thread announcing Charlie Weis' hiring is not accepting posts, and I don't know anyone over on the football threads any way.

Please, father, forgive me for I have sinned and I am not Catholic and this is my first confession, but please, Father, tell me they are not hiring Charley Weis!!!!!

Please, father, please tell me god will not permit this.

This is the worst of all possible worlds, father, worse even than Mitt Romney becoming President of anything!

Father, Charlie Weis could not recruit at Notre Dame!!!!!

Father, Mt. Oread is not Golgotha for KU football. KU has done nothing to deserve this hire, father, you've got to believe me.

Yes, yes, yes, I have lusted after women other than my wife, but was too afraid to actually cheat.

Yes, yes, yes, I have gone fly fishing and skiing on business trips, but I never billed for the time on the slopes.

Yes, yes, yes, I have used hateful language about the University of Missouri and I have thought of tying a chain to the axle of my SUV and pulling down one of the columns in Columbia.

Yes, yes, yes, I have annoyed many people with posts vastly too long for mortals to read.

Yes, yes, yes, I regularly check the adult video previews in my hotel room, but am too cheap to go ahead and buy them.

Yes, yes, I once thought about driving to Chapel Hill and sneaking an exploding cigar into Dean's collection of Cuban stogies.

Yes, yes, yes, I have occasionally had lustful thoughts about cheerleaders.

Is that enough, father? Will you and god please not let Zenger hire Charlie Weis now?

The only people that can really cheer this hire, father, are, god forgive me, a few Catholic folks that would like a Bridge partner for a dime a point, right, father? Like Tom and Sheahon? Right?

Charlie Weis is just about the worst hire Zenger could have made and it is now clear that Zenger needs to be fired.

Forgive me father, for I have sinned about saying Zenger should be fired.

Did I, jaybate, the voice of crimson and blue reason,who doesn't care a whit about KU football, just say the AD should be fired?

Did I say an AD ought to be fired for his first fire and first hire?

Yes, father, I did. Please forgive me, but I did.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Charlie Weis?

Someone has to be evacuating their colons on this one, father.

Father, tell me Sheahon is pulling our legs.

Holy mother of all that is great and good in his name, tell us this is one of those jokes that some journalist mistook for the truth.

Not Charlie Weis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd rather have Fizzou's specialty team's coach than Charlie Weis.

Help me, help me, help me, I think I'm going insane, father.

Zenger didn't hire Charlie Weis in the same universe that KU plays football in, did he?

This is a DHS/CIA/DIA/ONI/G2/FBI/NSA/CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN/MSNBC/Fox mind control experiment that will quickly be retracted, won't it father?

Tell me, tell me, tell me, please, tell me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Father I cannot help recalling the old Star Kist tuna ad.

Sorry Charlie, we don't want failed Notre Dame coaches with good Catholic connections.

We want successful D1 coordinators with good recruiting connections in Texas, or Florida, or Namibia, fergoshsakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ooops, excuse me, father. I really am not myself today.

This is like having a nightmare where Zenger alienates Self, Self leaves for North Carolina, and Zenger hires Ben Howland.

Oooooooooooooooooh, noooooooooooooooooo!

First Zenger fires a guy he shouldn't fire, because Zenger apparently lost his nerve. Surely that was a sin he will have to confess, father.

Next he hires perhaps the worst available candidate for the job.

What can the S-Man do to top this?

Betray Jesus himself?

Announce he is painting the Campanile purple?

Sheahon Zenger is obviously Mossad, or MI-5, or Chinese intelligence, or IRA sent to try to destabilize the heartland.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Zenger has become the Manchurian Athletic Director, father.

Quick, where is Angela Lansbury? Who is Angela Lansbury? Is BGL Sheahon's Angela Lansbury?

Oh, my deity in the Kansas sky!!!!

Charlie Weis?

Just convert Memorial Stadium to offices and rent it out to some oligarch that wants to start yet another money grubbing institute, father, one of those institutes for the tax exempt advancement of an oligarch's own agenda. Let him rename Memorial Stadium anything he wants. Let him cover it with crass commercial murals, if he must, but...

Don't hire Charlie Weis.

Announce that KU is giving up football, because scientific research validates that even minor impacts in football generate accumulating brain trauma that predispose football players to manifest early onset Alhemiers and dementia.

Please wake me up and tell me Sheahon did not really hire Charlie Weis, father.

I will convert to Roman Catholicism if Sheahon Zenger and Tom Keegan coordinates some Talking Points indicating that after some reconsideration, they have decided to go in another direction!!!!

Like they have decided to hire the Lawrence High football coach, or even just the top Mary Kay saleswoman.

I don't care.

Hire Conner Teahan for god's sakes. Forgive me, father. He's Catholic. I'm not against a Catholic coach. I'm not even against a Notre Dame coach. But hire us a good Notre Dame coach would you? Hire us one who has had good success recruiting players to Notre Dame at least. Give us some kind of hope!!!

Father, I will promise Tom and Cheapen I will convert.

Heck, I will convert to Eastern Orthodox Catholicism, if it will help.

I will go to the Hagia Sophia and start Lent right now, if that's what it takes.

I know I'm not supposed to bargain with god, father, I know I have sinned bargaining with god, but let him take it out on me, not on KU!!!!

Please, please, please, not Charlie Weis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone call Riggo.

Someone call Nolan Cromwell.

Someone call Alf Landon's ghost.

Hire the quarterback off the recent Orange Bowl team.

Hire the Kardashians.

But please tell me hasn't hired Charlie Weis!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Transcription truncated...)

(Note; All fiction. No malice.)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

OSU vs. KU Analysis:

Upfront, I've seen OSU for only just a snippet, but I feel like I know them, because Matta has emulated Self Ball so much the last few years.

They are winning much the way a Self Ball team wins when Self has more depth than this year. But they are doing it with only one bonafide big, not two, they have a 260 pound Ravenel for part time duty.

The stats tell the tale.

OSU has 50% FG efficiency and holds opponents to a Selfian 38%. (Note; as Self used to do, they've scheduled only one good club early.)

OSU also has mastered the magic key to Self Ball: the disruption statistic (strips to TOs). OSU's disruption stat is 72/87, which equals Self Ball at its best and is vastly superior to this year's KU team's appalling number (58/119). To refresh, anything approaching 1:1 is good. Anything near 1:2 is starting too many other mediocre teams.

OSU also has Selfian diversification in shooting attempts and scoring, though Sullinger is so efficient he's averaging sharply more than other starters.

4 spots are fixed and one is staffed by committee, another typical Selfian trick.

But there are some exceptions to the Selfian rule. OSU often only has one high percentage trey dinger in the game at a time, where as Self is more partial to two, or three, or 5 if he can get them. :-)

The biggest news is this:

OSU vs KU is a match up nightmare for both coaches, because an offensive MUA (match-up advantage) on one end means an MUD (a match-up disadvantage) on defense, especially in the paint.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The keys will be to see who Matta puts on Withey and TRob, and if Travis can guard Buford.

If Matta guards TRob with Sullinger, then 7' Withey is going to post up 6'7" Deshaun Thomas all game. Matta's alternative is to defend Withey with a 6'11" freshman who hasn't played much.

But on the other end, Self has a huge problem, too. Withey on Sullinger might work for quick change looks, but most of the time Self will need TRob on Sullinger to combat Sullinger's weight; that means Withey is going to have a big height advantage on Thomas, but he's going to have to chase a guy who is way too quick for him.

Did I say this game promises one of the weirdest set of match-ups I've seen in quite awhile?

Whoever gets Buford is going to have their hands full, but Travis is the right size for the defensive job, and Buford is their only big minute trey shooter. Conner's going to have problems with Buford, though if they decide to keep Buford outside, Conner should be able to get a hand in his face.

So: to the match-ups, shall we?

Sullinger vs. TRob--TRob will have trouble on the blocks defensively and offensively with his weight, and Sully will have trouble defensively and offensively with TRob's range. Subbing Justin on Sully will be asking the impossible. Edge: slight to OSU.

Thomas vs. Withey--off the charts weird match up. If Thomas come up cold from 15-20, then Withey is going to eat him alive when he comes inside. But if Thomas can ding it from 15-20 and Jeff has to come out, then Thomas could have his way with Jeff. Fortunately, Self can go to either Justin, or KY, and both could guard Thomas, though either would pick up a ton of fouls doing it. Edge: Jeff, because he will still be 7' at the end of the game, if he doesn't foul out in a hurry. Edge: KU

Buford vs. Travis-- Buford is a 46% trey gunner, so Trav probably cannot keep him off the scoreboard, but I think Trav is the right kind of guy to make Buford work for his points and score under his average. Edge: KU

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Smith vs. EJ--Smith is a tough guy to break out of a slump against. He's a lock down defender type, if I recall correctly. On the other hand Smith doesn't score much and EJ hasn't score much for KU. Edge: Wash.

Craft vs. TT--Lots don't think so, but I think Craft is the kind of guy TT can guard and take to the rim. But only if he were healthy. With a gimp knee, TT will have problems. Edge: OSU.

Bench: Edge--big for OSU. Matta rotates 8 a lot, but also plays another three 5-10 mpg.

Coaching: Edge--KU

Home Court Advantage: Edge--KU.

Hot/Cold Hand Factor: KU is definitely due for an off night. Edge: OSU.

Injury Factor--Sullinger is being hyped as a maybe, but he's apt to play and treatments should allow him to be productive at least 20mpg and maybe more. TRob is a walking injury right now. One arm is hyper extended. One knee has little, or no no-step bounce. Tyshawn went from being the healthiest I recall since his freshman season to being a gimp with a bum knee. Dragonslyr says EJ has never recovered from his shoulder separation last season. Edge: OSU if Sullinger can give 25 good minutes, KU if not.

Conclusion: This game reduces to weird match ups in the paint, Travis vs. Buford, and injuries to star players (Sullinger for OSU; TRob and TT for KU). The weird match-ups kind of cancel. I think Travis can hang with Buford. And I think TRob and TT are more apt to play well injured than Sullinger. So: if KU shoots 40% from trey, KU wins no matter what. Anything less would seem to favor OSU. Don't know why but I think Conner's got one more hot game in him, and EJ may finally find the range; that would be sufficient for KU to win on its home floor.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Post Script: I forgot about that split lip of Jeff's. Ouch! Those things hurt. I had a tooth driven through my lower lip and a good bit of split. At first it was fun. I could go to the drinking fountain, gulp water and blow a stream out with my mouth closed! But man did it blacken and swell up later, and man was I protective of it for the next two weeks. Strange. You can crack a bone and sometimes play with it by blocking out the pain. But I could never block out the idea that some one was going to pop me in the mouth and really split my mouth open where the tooth puncture was. 100 percent psychological, but it was a big thing on my mind for awhile. Hope Jeff is tougher and more able to exclude it from his thoughts than I was. But he seems to have gotten a much nastier injury that I had. Don't envy him playing with it even a little. I might be inclined to wear a plastic mask just for the psychological placebo.

Ian Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

Well, Jaybate, I hope you didn't scare off all the bloggers that are still interested in basketball in the midst of the KU coaching madness.

Anyhow, I wanted to give an update that I recently saw on our future PF/C Landen Lucas. Now I know he's only a 3-star recruit (as of now) and not ranked by high school hype-machines and ESPNU, so I know there are plenty of you who couldn't care less about what he actually does on the court (ratings are all that matters), but it sure does appear that he's off to a pretty damn good start to his senior season:

"Lucas had 27 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots in about 25 minutes as the Wildcats opened their season with a 79-51 win over visiting Oregon City."

He went on to say he actually came up short for his goal, which was 30 points and 20 rebounds... so he was a few points off.

Oh yeah, he went for 30 points and 16 rebounds in Tuesday nights game... This kid is a baller.

Rock Chalk Lucas Hawk

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Final individual recruit rankings for the 2012 class won't be in till the high school season ends. We'll see then where KU's recruits are rated by the so called rating boards. I think there may be some surprises in store and that our present #12 or #14 team rankings by two of those boards will be considered to low.

Two of KU's recruits, Adams and Peters (both 3 stars), were less visible over the past summer because they didn't compete on the AAU circuit, but they were rated higher on previous occasions. And, the recruiting "experts" have admitted that White (4 stars) has improved dramatically in recent months. Lucas (3 stars) is now showing promise (see ibrown3's stats above), while Ellis (4 or 5 stars) has already proven himself over his high school career: Kansas "Gatorade Player of the Year" for three years running.

The recruiting experts largely gauge recruits from the summer circuit of AAU competition, which promotes less "teamplay" and more "look at me, I'm a superstar" players. A combination of the two: athletic recruits who are coachable would seem, IMHO, to be the best combination.

Again, final recruit rankings won't be in till next spring.

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

ibrown3, thanks for the Landen Lucas stats. Just the kind of kid who should thrive under tutelage of Self/Manning. jb, my biggest concern for Sat. is the defensive play of Aaron Craft. If we don't tighten up our passing game, that kid is bound to make huge headlines. Perhaps I am just a merry optimist, but I think we will eke out a win vs. the Buckeyes. RCJH!

machinegun 10 years, 10 months ago

To all of the critics: Tyshawn Taylor is going to play his @$$ off Saturday afternoon! So what if you don't like the guy! All of the pressure will be on TT's back to distribute the ball and help others get their shots. TT is the one who is responsible for leading our team to victory against Ohio State. TT will need to make the right plays or we lose the game. Sounds simple enough.

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