1-3-1 breakdown: Three under-the-radar moments from KU-OU II


Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) celebrates a three during the first half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) celebrates a three during the first half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Kansas shot 16 for 29 from 3 against Oklahoma. Crazy thing is, the Jayhawks probably should've made even more. Today’s 1-3-1 blog takes you through the Sooners’ defensive lapses, several of which were caused by freshman sensation Trae Young. If you have any plays or sequences you’d like to see GIFed please tweet @ChasenScott or comment below.

Previous breakdowns can also be found at the bottom of this story.

Play of the game: The first one, no less —

It’s hard to find a singular play of the game in a 30-point blowout. Yet no play proved more indicative of the final result than the first one.

Literally, the first one.


On KU’s first offensive possession — and for the entire game — the OU guards were switching on defense, not unlike what KU does. As Devonte’ Graham came around a screen from Svi Mykhailiuk, Christian James switched off with Kristian Doolittle.

Mykhailiuk popped around a Udoka Azubuike screen and James was slow reacting. He faded all the way to the right side of the free throw line before trying to sprint out to contest the shot, with no clear path to do so.

The shot itself rolled in and out, but it was promising for the Jayhawks to get such a wide-open look on their very first play.

Sixteen 3-pointers later, the performance was less promising and more of a bloodbath.

A trend: Why so many? —

OU’s defense wasn’t limited to a single or even a single group of gaffes.

So it almost feels crazy to say, but, in a game the Jayhawks shot a blistering 16 for 29 from 3, I’d tell you they should’ve made more — a lot more.

Let’s go to the film.


The first play I’ve tagged, coming just over four minutes into the game, actually showed a pretty heady play by Graham.

On the first part of the play you can see Graham, on the wing, looking at the ball. He saw the OU defense react to Malik Newman’s drive. Kameron McGusty was guarding Newman and James came off Mykhailiuk by a few steps to help.

Now it was Graham's turn to step into Mykhailiuk's shoes.

Knowing how the OU defense would play the drive, this time from Mykhailiuk, Graham positioned himself back a few feet of the 3-point line. It's a very valid strategy, and one employed by one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the NBA: the Houston Rockets.

Here's the synopsis: Want an open 3-point look? Take a step back.

So when Mykhaliliuk took his turn driving — and James went to help — Graham was wide open from about 24 feet.

Nothing but net.

The second play was a lot simpler. It was a breakdown the Sooners were guilty of all night, yet for whatever reason didn’t work to correct.


Halfway through the shot clock Lagerald Vick dribbled to his left and came off a screen by Azubuike. It was a fairly broken play, evident by the visible confusion of Azubuike at the beginning of the play, who gestured as if to ask, “What’s going on?”

Vick went past the screen, yet for some reason Rashard Odomes decided to go under it.

That would have been the correct way to defend it had the ball handler been someone like Marcus Garrett (26.5 percent on 3s), but it certainly wasn’t for Vick, a 37.5 percent 3-point shooter entering the day.

Vick, of course, knocked down the jumper in rhythm.

The final play had a similar element, but really it was just one of laziness.

The Jayhawks targeted Trae Young’s defense in Norman and for good reason. With the load he carries on offense, it would be impossible for him to compete at an extremely high level consistently on the other end.

Mykhailiuk took Young off the dribble early, getting to the basket for an easy layup in the opening minutes of the game. But Young, who was responsible for KU baskets on several possessions, did no worse job defending than on a possession midway through the first half.


Graham caught a pass from Mykhailiuk and took a dribble to his right. Mitch Lightfoot came out to set a screen, meaning Young should’ve attempted to try to go over it to keep the guard from getting a wide-open shot — similar to the Vick play.

The funny thing is, it doesn’t even look like Lightfoot thought he’d have a chance to screen Young.

Before Young even tried to get around Lightfoot, the KU big man had broken from his screen and was rolling toward the hoop. The action, which can be referred to as a slip screen, ended up entirely removing Young from the play. Young inexplicably went under where the screen would have been and got caught up on Lightfoot's body.

Graham picked up his dribble, paused for a full second and put up the shot. He missed the shot — KU did miss 13 3s on the day — but the Jayhawks got the rebound back.

Would it shock you if I told you they hit a 3 on the ensuing possession?

One that stood out: Gotta get back —

Everyone knows a college basketball court is 94 feet long. A quick Google search reveals it’s also about 50 feet wide.

Case in point, it’s easier to get across one way than it is the other, especially when the other guy isn't running very hard.


Less than four minutes into the game, Young had a fast-break layup attempt contested by Mykhailiuk and missed. Azubuike got the rebound and threw the ball ahead to Newman.

Young fell down under the hoop and was slow getting back down the court. That left KU with a five-on-four advantage. The play was pretty simple.

With Young jogging back behind Azubuike and stopping at the top of the key, he essentially put himself on Mykhailiuk, who James was already guarding. He pointed back toward the hoop to signal for someone to pick up Vick, but it was already too late.

On the play, each of the Sooners had to make a decision:

  • McGusty had to choose between Graham and Vick. He chose Graham, probably the right call.
  • James had to guard Mykhailiuk.
  • Jamuni McNeace, OU’s lone big, waited for Azubuike, who would've otherwise had an uncontested dunk.
  • Doolittle stopped the ball, picking up Newman.

That meant Vick could traverse a majority of the 50 feet on the baseline and still catch the ball, turn around and have a wide-open path to the hoop.

Oh, and the basket capped off a 10-0 start for the Jayhawks, who would still outscore the Sooners by 20 more from that point on.

1-3-1 breakdown: KU 77, WVU 69

1-3-1 breakdown: KU 83, ISU 77

1-3-1 breakdown: Baylor 80, KU 64

1-3-1 breakdown: KU 71, TCU 64

1-3-1 breakdown: OSU 84, KU 79

1-3-1 breakdown: KU 70, K-State 56

1-3-1 breakdown: KU 79, TAMU 68

1-3-1 breakdown: OU 85, KU 80

1-3-1 breakdown: KU 70, Baylor 67


Jonathan Allison 4 years, 7 months ago

It looks to me like on play that led to the missed wide open three by Graham that Young was wanting to switch with 4. My guess is that young was probably gassed and didn't want to fight over the screen. I highly doubt that Lon Kruger wanted Young switching onto KU's big man and didn't want OU's big switching onto Graham.

Whether young was trying to go under the screen and recover to Graham, or looking for a switch either way it was blown defense by Young likely because of fatigue.

Scott Chasen 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey Jonathan! Great point!

In this instance and based off how OU played this game (switching 1-4), you're definitely right that Lon Kruger wouldn't have wanted him to switch onto Lightfoot (the 5). Fatigue may have had something to do with it, and they actually took him out of the game a couple minutes later, but seems pretty wild all these gaffes actually came in the first half!

RJ King 4 years, 7 months ago

Wow - great stuff Scott. Thanks for the breakdowns.

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