Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holy Cross could give Jayhawks tough test

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets on his defense during the second half, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 at Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets on his defense during the second half, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 at Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Hawaii.


Simple logic — in the form of comparative scores — suggests tonight’s Kansas University-Holy Cross basketball game may be a bit closer than the records and the polls would indicate.

“They beat Harvard. I personally thought Harvard was a good team that played great against us,” KU coach Bill Self said in previewing today’s 7 p.m., home battle between the No. 2-ranked Jayhawks (6-1) and unranked Holy Cross Crusaders (3-5).

KU nudged Harvard, 75-69, on Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.

Holy Cross tripped the same Crimson team, 50-49, on Nov. 29 in Holy Cross’ gym in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“This is a team that’s a little bit unique. If you are not alert, they can certainly give you a lot of problems,” Self stated of the Crusaders, who are coached by former Princeton assistant and Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody.

Carmody is a believer in a precision offense which includes a bunch of cutting that sometimes results in easy baskets.

“Anytime you play that Princeton style, there are some automatics you’ve got to be able to defend,” Self said. “You’ve got to eliminate layups and eliminate threes. That’s easier said than done. Holy Cross does their backdoors very very well (in averaging 63.2 ppg off 39.4 percent shooting; KU averages 90.9 ppg off 50.7 percent marksmanship. KU has hit 65 of 143 threes; Princeton 63 of 194).

“I would be shocked if they don’t get some (layups) just because you’ve got to kind of go away from your principles how you defended for the first two months of the season. You may defend the first four well and the fifth time they may get an uncontested layup. You’ve got to be really disciplined to defend the entire clock,” Self added.

The Jayhawks enjoy scheduling teams that run varied styles of offense and defense.

“It’s a style you could run into later in the season,” Self said of the NCAAs. “When you think of the Princeton style you think of Pete Carril obviously but Bill Carmody was assistant (at Princeton). Bill knows this better than anybody,” Self added, noting KU went against the style when Colorado and coach Jeff Bzdelik played in the Big 12, also against Georgetown last year and Michigan in the 2013 NCAAs.

“They do a lot of backcuts. I think it will be a little bit hard to guard them,” KU sophomore guard Svi Mykhailiuk said.

The Princeton offense could prevent a challenge for KU’s freshman bigs — Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo — who are still learning the college game.

“Could be,” said KU junior forward Landen Lucas, “but the thing is our young big guys are so athletic and gifted if they play hard it shouldn’t matter. At the end of the day they can make up for it with other things. If they go out there and want to hustle and use their athletic ability they’ll find a way to defend just fine.”

KU lost the rebounding battle against Harvard on Saturday, 39-31.

“It’s very disappointing to me we’re not a great rebounding team yet,” Self said. “I thought we’d be a better rebounding team, but if Jamari (Traylor) is starting, he’s not a big guy (6-8). Perry (Ellis) is not a ‘go out and get you 10 boards a game’ guy. Some of our better rebounders are on the bench. We’ve got to do a better job of doing that.”

Self did note it was hard to get rebounds against Harvard the first half because KU forced 15 turnovers, decreasing the number of shots.

KU has, however, been working on rebounding this week.

“Two-on-two rebounding (drills). You have a manager throw it up and miss a shot and we go head-to-head, two-on-two,” Lucas said. “It’s good for ’em (young bigs). It’s physical and that’s how it should be because that’s how it is in games. They just have to get used to that.”

More on minutes: Self said he may tinker with the starting lineup tonight. He’s had a regular five of Traylor, Ellis, Frank Mason III, Devonté Graham and Wayne Selden Jr.

“Jamari tweaked his ankle yesterday. Landen is nursing a toe (injury). There’s no reason to think they can’t play,” Self said, reiterating he wants to get Hunter Mickelson, Diallo and Bragg more minutes.

“Why would we want to go into conference play without seeing what he can do, because he hasn’t really had a chance to show it?” Self said of the 6-10 Mickelson. “You could say the same thing for Carlton. You could say the same thing for Cheick. Landen to me has had a chance. Perry has had a chance obviously. Jamari has had chances. I’m not saying those guys aren’t going to play. They are going to play, don’t get me wrong. I’m not demoting. None of that stuff.

“I do think we need to make a conscious effort to try to get those other guys as many minutes so that way we have a true understanding of what our team is,” Self said. “I don’t want to go into February saying, ‘You know ... I think ... maybe,’ because that’s not the best way to do it. Anybody who thinks it’s easy to squeeze six guys (bigs) into 80 minutes, doesn’t really understand. It’s kind of hard to do when one of them is a preseason All-American.”

He added: “We don’t want to lose games at the expense of guys’ playing time. I don’t care what anybody says. The guys we played the other night (vs. Harvard) gave us the best chance to win the game.”

About Holy Cross: Patriot League member Holy Cross is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, with an enrollment of 2,904 ... The Crusaders are coached by Bill Carmody who is in his first season at Holy Cross with a 3-5 record and his 18th season overall with a 287-250 mark. ... Junior forward Malachi Alexander leads Holy Cross with an 11.1 scoring average and 6.0 rebounds per game. He is also the team leader with 24 assists through eight games and is second with 11 three-pointers made. Senior G Cullen Hamilton averages 10.0 ppg. ... KU leads the all-time series, 2-1. ... Holy Cross won the first meeting, 57-53, on Dec. 20, 1949, with basketball legend Bob Cousy on the Holy Cross roster. ... Holy Cross is the second member of the Patriot League Kansas will play this season. The Jayhawks defeated Loyola Maryland, 94-61, on Dec. 1 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU is 8-2 all-time against current membership of the Patriot League.

Probable Starters


F — Karl Charles (6-6, Fr.)

F — Malachi Alexander (6-7, Jr.)

G — Matt Husek (6-11, Jr.)

G — Anthony Thompson (5-10, Jr.)

G — Cullen Hamilton (6-2, Sr.)

KANSAS (6-1)

F — Perry Ellis (6-8, Sr.)

F — Jamari Traylor (6-8, Sr.)

G — Frank Mason III (5-11, Jr.)

G — Wayne Selden Jr. (6-5, Jr.)

G — Devonté Graham (6-2, Soph.)

Tipoff: 7 p.m. today, Allen Fieldhouse.

TV: Jayhawk (WOW! channels 37, 226).


Rodney Crain 6 years, 5 months ago

Should be interesting to see if the rebounding practice will help. Looking forward to the game!

Kent Richardson 6 years, 5 months ago

Do you still project us to be 11-1 when we play Baylor on January 2nd?

Rodney Crain 6 years, 5 months ago

Hi Kent, its possible. I think the SDST game could be a loss if we don't play more physical. That is a late game after a long flight. We could be sluggish. It starts at 9pm our time.

It would be nice to enter conference play with our only loss to MSU.

Dale Rogers 6 years, 5 months ago

It's not really that long a flight. I live in the San Diego area and have family in KC and Topeka so make that flight now and then. Plus, the team will likely fly in the night before. The game is 7pm PST and if the team flies in the night before they should not have a problem with it being late by their body clocks. I don't expect SD State to really be that tough a win for Kansas. Not from what I've seen of SDSU so far, anyhow. Plus, we'll have a revenge factor since they broke our home win streak last year. We have enough guys returning who will remember.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 5 months ago

I think you might just be used to it :). I fly out to San Fran too much and it feels like a long flight.... I never sleep well that first night and the day just drags on.

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 5 months ago

That's just because you're old, Rodney... ;)

Dale Rogers 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't know how old Rodney is but I'd bet I'm right there with him!

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

SDSU sucks this year. 6-4 with one decent win of a now unranked Cal team, a blow out loss to West Virginia and two really bad losses to San Diego and UA-Little Rick. This is not a good SDSU team. I would say Oregon St. and Montana are better teams than SDSU right now.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 5 months ago

Bill Self's teams have lost to teams with worse records than San Diego State.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

What does that have to do with SDSU being a bad team this year and OSU and Montana being better than SDSU at the moment?

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago have John Wooden's, Mike Krzyzewski's, Bob Knight's, Phog Allen's etc etc....

Rodney Crain 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe, you seen the data on CT teams who play a late game on the west coast? Its not very good. Plus I never trust Fisher ! Org. State would worry more if it was there. But I agree those two teams you list are tough too.

I think we have one more loss if we don't correct some of our issues, rebounding, FT %

Jerry Walker 6 years, 5 months ago

While Self is tinkering I'd like to see a little more of this...Perry at the 3 -- Selden at the 2.

It would free up some minutes for the front line...improve rebounding...and take a little of the wear and tear off of Mason/Graham.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

You think Perry has the quickness to come off screens and get his waist high set shot/jumper away against opposing threes? You would bench Svi? (and Greene when his suspension ends) You're sure Perry can guard a guard/wing? Perry's 15 PPG, 6 RPG and .521 shooting at the 4 isn't working? Hmmm....

Jerry Walker 6 years, 5 months ago

What part of "tinkering" and "a little more" don't you understand. Apparently none of it.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

Is it easier to insult someone than to discuss Perry's ability to perform the functions of a position you'd like to see him play?

RJ King 6 years, 5 months ago

Definitely agree with the wear-and-tear on the Mason/Graham combo. But if we want to improve rebounding, Mason should actually play 40 (tongue-in-cheek).

I'm not sold on more minutes for Perry at the 3. Would rather give more wing minutes to the Svi / Greene combo. And also rest Selden (wear and tear) and give 3-5 more minutes to Vick. All depending on score, of course.

I do think the Mason-Graham combo should be used a little more sparingly and situationally - like going smaller / quicker, better ball handlers at end of close game, etc.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 5 months ago

Saint Mary's Sisters of the Blind could give KU a tough test if they continue to play down to the level of the competition.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 5 months ago

Especially if we shot sub 50% at the rim and on the line.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 5 months ago

Surely we can't keep that up. Makes me want to scream.

Barry Weiss 6 years, 5 months ago

I keep thinking we are going to start dunking at the rim like the old days. Watching Cheick do that in game one had me psyched! It is so frustrating watching those shots at the basket role off and that FT shooting last game.

Kit Duncan 6 years, 5 months ago

KU played well, not great, against Harvard. They just didn't make free throws. HCBS will have gotten their attention back on track.

Remember, Kansas plays with a target on their backs. Every team they play probably has KU circled on the calendar as game of the year. Opposing teams play UP to KU's level more often than KU plays down to theirs.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 5 months ago

Are you also implying the Holy Cross Crusaders reviewed of the Kansas-Harvard game film might be a source of inspiration for them?

Kent Richardson 6 years, 5 months ago

If Harvard would have fouled Perry twice more and DeVonte and Frank once more each........?

We get everyone's best shot, every time, in or out of conference. This makes for closer games and potential losses from mentally weak efforts.

Keith Gellar 6 years, 5 months ago

I think this was more the case before for now. what you said can be said for UK, Duke, MSU. IMO- KU brand has suffered over the years- hence the recruiting drop.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

Haven't you heard? It's part of the overall total decline and decay of Kansas basketball under Bill Self. Not only has he failed to recruit any top talent but the players he's recruited haven't developed and haven't been drafted. The sky is totally falling.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Scared me to see a 6-11 Hopefully we don't play a smaller guy on Husek. Agree with Jerry in that I would like us to play bigger and sit Graham. Cmon BS let's tinker.

Jared Reeves 6 years, 5 months ago

James, I think tinkering is a great idea, and now is the best time to do it. We have more bigs per position than guards, so playing big makes sense.

However, I think in conference play, having Mason and Graham on the floor at the same time is what this team needs. I was skeptical at first, because Graham isn't great offensively, but he has shown improvement; we play faster as a team, and he is a very good defender. But I also wouldn't hesitate to take him out if he is struggling.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Agree some but still don't see the defense that you are talking about. Graham does have some steals but lazy play gives up open shots. Many times he has had opportunities to jump the passing lane and steal the ball but continues to just sit back passively. Sorry I am just not a fan of the small lineup and puts Ellis in a poor position.

Jared Reeves 6 years, 5 months ago

James, I haven't noticed the defensive lapses. But, I will look for that tonight. Ellis might be better offensively as a 3 rather than a 4, so a bigger line-up may be the best answer; but I loved seeing us score 90+ points a game so far, and play fast (according to kenpom). Hopefully HCBS uses this time to keep tinkering.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

Does Mason get enough steals? Does Selden? I'll let you check the stats.... Are facts like that "bullying" Jimmy?

RJ King 6 years, 5 months ago

I also saw the second coming of Magic Johnson with a growth spurt. I assume that is supposed to be a "C"?

Kent Richardson 6 years, 5 months ago

Keep tinkering and maybe find something. We need to be patient and discern if players are not developing or playing tentative due to lack of experience.

Our three guards have been stalwarts so far. Perry has been similar to how he was at the end of last year. Perry has sat some for not being effective.

If Bill is sold on his top four then we require a post player. If we need Landon for defensive purposes then we need another big at the same time and look to them on the offensive end. This would require sitting someone.

I am okay with this as we develop Hunter, Cheick and Carlton. Our schedule is not that strong until January.

What I am saying is not any different than what Bill has indicated and he may have to do one of his best coaching jobs to pull this off by February.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Kent sorry but Graham has not been stalwart at all. Against Harvard he did have a couple of great plays but 12 shots to get 12 points and he is still lazy on defense giving up open shots. Against MSU 9 shots to get 4 points. Again people bring up his defense and sorry I just don't see it. His play in these two games does not warrant 33 plus minutes. Not a consistent player. Agree that Mason and Selden are good.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

Bryce Alford season average. 16.2 PPG 5.4 APG Bryce Alford vs Devonte Graham 1/6 6 points 2 assists only 6 shots attempted Not a good defender? Are facts like that "bullying"?

Kent Richardson 6 years, 5 months ago

Nobody's perfect. I just post because I like to.

Robert Brock 6 years, 5 months ago

This should be a fun game against the Princeton Offense. HC will get some easy scores but I think the Hawks will figure things out and win by 15-20 points.

I tend to be cautious to pessimistic - but not tonight. Look for Bragg and Diallo to play and have success.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

If Zenger takes action today and fires Self and his whole staff, replacing them with the Chicken Little Coalition then maybe the Jayhawks have a chance against Holy Cross...maybe...

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Bring on Crazy Jay!!! Had a feeling that he would stop by with his typical bullying.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm begging you not reply to Jay today. Once was more than enough for all of us.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

Great idea. When people's theories of how Self is incompetent are exposed as silly, they should just go away.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 5 months ago

Memo to Adam Gerval, if you are out there. What do you know, Bill Self agrees with me that the team he had on the floor at the end of the Harvard game gave KU the best chance to win. Guess your opinion that they were better when Bragg and Diallo were in just goes up in smoke, unless of course you are so much smarter than Coach Self.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Hmmm Harlan sounds like Jay and even likes his own comments like Jay.

Clarence Haynes 6 years, 5 months ago

Hunter's shot blocking ability has to be a plus on the defensive side.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 5 months ago

Holy Cross could indeed be a problem for Kansas. Anyone who remembers the 2002 NCAA Round of 64 should know that.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

They're both using the 2001-2002 rosters? Wow. I hadn't heard that. That's awesome. I really miss watching Jeff Boschee. I guess we can expect another 11 point win?

Jared Reeves 6 years, 5 months ago

Bryce, I too vividly remember that game. I think you make a great point--you shouldn't underestimate your opponent.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 5 months ago

Good Point Bryce. I remember that game.

Brian Skelly 6 years, 5 months ago

That game (particularly the first half) was awful. I was there, shock and awe @#$% was the mood. However, I think most those guys have moved on. Of course, Aaron Miles was there, and hes here now. Cue the play-by-play guy's blurb now...

Mick Allen 6 years, 5 months ago

Great game by an injured Heinrich as I recall. Watched it in St. Louis.

Mick Allen 6 years, 5 months ago

Lost next game to Georgia Tech. Awful charging call on Langford in overtime cost us big time. J.R. Giddens hit a big three to get it to overtime.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Agree Mick. I was there too and enjoyed the weekend. Stanford win was good also and a great run to the Final Four. Tough loss to Maryland that year.

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 5 months ago

Yep, and then there was the great revenge game against them the next year, where Langford hit the jumper to win it...

Rae Bricil 6 years, 5 months ago

I philosophically disagree with Self on this comment and think it is a major issue in regards to recruiting and tournament performance: “we don’t want to lose games at the expense of guys’ playing time. I don’t care what anybody says. The guys we played the other night (vs. Harvard) gave us the best chance to win the game.”

In my opinion, what occurs is Self plays his tested and trusted in December to win games and therefore, a lot of times, does not let the younger plays gain the experience or learn through their mistakes (see the Marcus Morris article as well—in regards to his growth and development as a player with additional PT). Then when tournament time comes around the players with the higher ceilings, typically the younger one and done type players, have not developed so he is further inclined to really on, what should be, more roll type players.

The problem here is these players are just not at a level to compete with the other teams. It always seemed like MSU was good at going through this process. They would have eight nor nine losses going into the tournament get a 4 or 5 seed and then get to the final four. I would much rather lose in December and have the players with the most potential actually develop that potential than be relying on less skilled players when the games matter in March.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

Most recent MSU national title - 2000 Most recent Kansas National title - 2008

Most recent MSU Final Four - 2010 Most recent Kansas Final Four - 2012

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

MSU final 4 last year.

Only 11 Big 12 Championships

BS is not in the HOF.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Rae your point Final Four last year with 11 loses and 7 seed.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

Jimmy....If Bill Self drops dead today, he's going to the Hall of Fame. Only a Chicken Little Club kook doesn't know this. Do you have more theories on what an awful defender Graham is? Those were entertaining.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

After you justify your other two statements..

By the way good point on UCLA game. Graham only played 25 minutes and we won. My point he does not deserve the minutes plus he did not guard Alford for the 25 minutes that he was in there. Do remember the MSU game where he was guarding the Freshman McQuaid who averages 3.5 PPG hit 3 big threes against us.

Thanks for making my point again. Keep it up.

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

Jimmy...Graham was the primary defender on Alford until the game was a blowout. And BTW he was 4/8 from the field with three assists, one turnover and three of those steals you swear he never gets.... He was the primary reason Kansas won.(other than maybe Perry who you Chicken Little Kooks swear is useless at the 4 against bigs) Are you that disconnected from reality or that dishonest? Seriously. Which is it?

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

PYSCHO!!! He sat because of foul trouble. Did you watch the game? I also said that I gave him credit for steals. You are one messed up dude!

Jay Scott 6 years, 5 months ago

So you're going with dishonest? Don't know if that's going to work if you can't start a reply without a childish outburst..

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Good night Crazy Jay! Remember the 12 Championships and not knowing that MSU was in the Final Four just last year and BS in HOF. You know everything!

Mick Allen 6 years, 5 months ago

Thanks James you are correct on all accounts. The loss to GT was in 2004.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

NP Mick I was there for both weekends. I remember the long ride home after the GT loss. We got Jack-ed. It was a great game but a tough one to lose.

Mick Allen 6 years, 5 months ago

James, as I recall, and my recollection is without question subject to scrutiny, we beat Stanford handily when they had Josh Childress.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

Believe so. I remember sneaking out early to beat the traffic home.

James Smith 6 years, 5 months ago

The KU Pep Rally area before the games in St. Louis are always fun. I enjoyed Indianapolis and Detroit also.

Thad Daugherty 6 years, 5 months ago

All I know is when I turned the game on Traylor and Ellis were on the bench and Bragg and Diello were in the game and we built our biggest lead. I know Greene went about it wrong but he had a point.

Lori CrawfordEigenman 6 years, 5 months ago

All I really want to know is what's up with the awful TV contract. I truly never remember not getting a game this far into the season and now that we have Dish, we are missing a lot. Is this game on anywhere in KS or is it just Dish?

W Keith Swinehart II 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm in the same situation except with Directv. I understand it's on ESPN3. It would be helpful if the editors made a note for us unfortunates, but that takes space.

Steve Kubler 6 years, 5 months ago

ESPN3 is blacked out over most of Kansas so no luck there. Unless you have access to the "approved" cable provider you are out of luck as a Kansas resident. I guess we are supposed to only watch out of state schools!

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 5 months ago

Just stating the facts, James! Actually, you sound like you have a little ego problem, there. I only commented about Adam because of a post on another article. Didn't involve you, but you had to butt in anyway.

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