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It was fairly obvious that Coach Self got his message across after the lackluster performance against Chattanooga last week. Kansas started well and played well for the duration of the game against Washington State. A few thoughts:
* I was less than impressed by the game plan put together by Washington State head coach Ken Bone. The weaknesses I see out of the Kansas offense are the lack of a true offensive threat in the low post and the lack of creators off the bounce. By starting out in a zone defense, Coach Bone let the Kansas shooters get easy, open looks and made it difficult to block the Jayhawks out as they missed only 9 shots during the entire first half but rebounded five of those misses. After they went to a man defense they trapped the post, which isn't a bad idea against Withey as I believe he isn't an adept post passer, but they also trapped Perry Ellis which opened some things up for Kansas. For these reasons, Kansas was able to get off to a great start, gain confidence, and maintain that momentum throughout the game.
* It was good to see the Jayhawks show a killer instinct tonight for the entire 40 minutes. They got out quick and didn't let their foot off the gas pedal.
* It was really good to see both Releford and Ellis have solid performances tonight. Releford is always good defensively but he just needed to see the ball go in the hoop in the half court tonight...mission accomplished. The same can be said for Ellis. This was a good match-up for him as the Cougars are more of a skilled, finesse team that lacks great size and strength. Having these two playing with confidence is big for Kansas going forward.
* Motum showed some skills at times but overall the Jayhawks have to be pleased to hold him to a 6-18 performance from the floor. Overall the Kansas defense was solid throughout the game, holding the Cougars to a 17-54 performance from the floor (31.5%). It was especially encouraging to see the Jayhawk defense defend the 3pt line more effectively as they had struggled in that area early this season.
* As expected, the Jayhawks dominated the glass, out-rebounding Washington State 34-23. They also held the Cougars to just 6 offensive rebounds on 37 missed shots (16.2%) while grabbing 9 offensive rebounds of their own.
* The Jayhawks were just 3-14 from beyond the arc during the 2nd half, which is nitpicking a little bit as they were 5-10 during the first 20 minutes. They must be more effective throughout the course of the game. In addition, 8 of Elijah's 9 field goal attempts were from beyond the arc, which is too high of a ratio for him regardless of what defense the opposition is in.
* Anytime you can knock down 20-22 from the line you've had a great night. It was also important for the Jayhawks to keep the Cougars off of the line, holding them to 3 free throw attempts.
It will be a very interesting game against St. Louis tomorrow night as their deliberate attack on offense will force the Jayhawks to defend until late in the shot clock. They will also be tested by the ability of the St. Louis post players to knock down the perimeter shot. How they defend pick and pop situations tomorrow could be critical.
This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by Matt Cumro 17 months ago
As usual, great stuff Matt.
Some thoughts of my own:
- I'm beginning to think we won't see an actual "set" starting 5 for a while. Tonight was a good matchup for Kevin Young, as he is very effective against a zone with his passing and cuts through the lane. It wouldn't be a shock if he decides to play the second post player based on matchups each game.
- While I'm disappointed in the amount of 3s we took in the 2nd half, it was also a bit understandable. The Wazzu defense just quit closing out and played a really lazy zone. The 3s were open and typically within the offensive scheme. Would be nice if we could shoot it better, though.
- I hope the people calling for Ben to "be aggressive" noticed how he still isn't a great "attack off the dribble" guy. He struggles a bit with how to separate himself from the wing in order to get into the lane, especially so when going against a lazy packed zone like last night's. It's also easy to see just how incredibly talented the kid is - everything he does is purely natural and effortless. He's just a natural at basketball with boatloads of potential as he continues to actually learn the structured game.
- Not too much else needs to be hashed over, I think. Wazzu just rolled over early and put in a pretty pathetic 2nd half effort.
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