Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 

Some Good Hoops Last Night......

Especially if you enjoy watching Kansas lose.....which I do. Kansas has fallen to 2-4...like the NCAA, I don't count Division II wins....for the first time in forever. Saturday against Cal becomes almost must win if they want any chance at an NCAA bid. Even if the split Cal and Kentucky, that would be 5 OOC losses.....and I see no indication that they are going to pile up an impressive conference record.....especially the way Bucknell gets his kids ready to play on the road. Should he lose both Cal and Kentucky......he may struggle to get that NIT bid.

Depending on how you look at it, it was either a disgraceful day for the Big 10, or more evidence that the MVC (and other mid-majors) plays pretty good basketball. While I would like to chuckle at Iowa and Indiana (for losing to Northern Iowa and Indiana St. respectively), I have to remember that we were a basket at the buzzer from losing to Wichita St. So, I will choose to view things positively, and say that Wichita St. win was a good one......I suppose that Davis and Alford would think so anyway.

Michigan St. has talent...but they are not as good as hyped at the beginning of the season. They don't want to rebound and play D. How do you shoot near 80% for the 2nd half and still allow the other team to hang around. When pressured at the end of games....they turn the ball over.

A few things that I saw last night.....

1) Chet Stachitis is another example of why shooters are premium at the college level. You can have all the athletes you want (Kansas/Arizona), but if you don't have a couple of kids that can shoot....you are doomed. Without Salim Stoudamire, Arizona has nobody to shoot the ball...big problem for them. Kansas has Chalmers and Downs....but they haven't made enough shots or gotten enough minutes to make a difference. Until that happens, look for them to coninue to struggle. Contrary to my counterpart here, I will take the kid with the basketball skills over the pure athlete anytime. Find a combination of the 2, and you are in great shape.

2) Bill Self's team has no identity. Are they a defensive team....no. Do they pound it inside to their big men...not really. Do they have a great shooting team....hardly. If Bill doesn't get them to play defense soon, this season will be over before it gets started. On a positive note, Kansas' loss to Arkansas looks a little better.....as Arkansas was able to sneak by an 0-6 Texas St. team on their home court.

3) Marco Killingsworth......7 turnovers for the 2nd game in a row. Do you think we might double him hard when we play them? Or will we apply the duke defense....and stop all the other players? Only Bruce knows.

4) As bad as it is for the Big 10, I find it hard to not root against Alford.....he's just very easy to dislike. Iowa can't score any points.

5) Billy Donovan may actually have a good team this year. Without Roberson and Walsh around to throw up shots, they may actually play like a team this year.

6) Wichita St. (7-1), Rutgers, UNC and Xavier look like pretty good wins right now. Kyle wilson with 24 points last night.

7) Jared Dudley (BC) is one of the most underrated players in the country. Barely recruited, he plays inside/out and rebounds like a man possessed. Randle needs to play like him on a consistent basis without the fouls.

8) I believe recruiting is going very well right now......will be interesting to see when more news comes out.

Comments:
I have long wondered about the "athlete vs. basketball player" recruiting. Julian Wright has long been considered an elite prospect, yet he couldn't shoot the ball through a hula hoop. What good is he on the court??? I love Brian Randle, but he too hurts the team when forced to play over 4' from the rim. Is the thought that a kid can pick up a jump shot but cannot markedly improve his quickness, leaping ability, or height?

Even before this season, Jamar Smith was widely regarded as one of the best shooters out there. That alone doesn't get him in the Top 100? Hell, unless the kid couldn't bounce the ball three times without bouncing it off his foot, I would think an ability to shoot would get him in the top 50.
 
Bob72 - as others, far more knowledgeable than me have pontificated, recruiting services base rankings on AAU performance. Therefore, a kid like Smith or Roth may fly under the radar if they don't start or play AAU ball. Also, recruiting services tend value athleticism more in those events because most AAU teams don't play a lot of structured offenses or defenses. Therefore, it is difficult to truly tell how a player may fit in a system based solely on AAU ball.
 
KU will lose to Cal on Saturday. Cal has a backcourt anchored by 2 capable veterans and a KU transfer with a chip on his shoulder. Just the thing to give KU's young backcourt trouble. Also, Leon Powe is an absolute beast inside.
 
I also think it's easier for a freakishly good athlete to differentiate themselves at a HS AAU tourny then it is for a great shooter.

Those games are generally about as competitive as an all star game where the guys who can jump over people and dunk get huge props from the gurus.

Guys who are great off-pick shooters don't get any love there because, well.... their team mates are too busy tring to take someone off the dribble or dunk to set a pick.
 
Somebody's got to get the good shooters open looks...that's where the stud athletes come in. I agree that shooters are at a premium but I think many great shooters can be stopped if they don't have good people setting them up. Dee had 10 assists two nights while being the focus of the UALR defense...and made some great dishes to get Jamar open shots.

Kansas could be an outstanding defensive team with its quickness, length and depth. Self should figure out a way to use those strengths to generate turnovers and fast break points, where his guys excel offensively. If this KU team gets in a halfcourt game, it is very beatable. They don't execute well on offense and they aren't patient enough to play good defense for 35 seconds...
 
I disagree. Stud athletes don't always mean good passers or getting people the rock.

Best assist guy ever in NBA history was a short white guy who couldn't jusmp and wasn't considered high major talent by anyone, and certainly not a stud athlete.

Being a stud athlete has little to do wiht being a good basket ball player - BUT - if you can be a good basketball player who also happens to be a stud athlete then you got something special. That just doesn't happen often.

To recruit a good class you need to be willing to give up on some top ranked guys to make sure you're getting the right overall skill set for a great team.

Self hasn't done that at KU from the early returns
 
That's a great idea Ryan, but unfortunately for KU, there's no way that Self will actually have his teams try and get into a transition game. He prefers the halfcourt style.
 
As much as I dislike Bucknell Bill and the obnoxious Kansas fans, too early to count them out. The Big 12 is WEAAAAAAK. Even Big 12 homer Doug Gottleib said the Big 12 is down. Iowa State, Nebraska, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State all lost non conference games at home this past week!
 
yeah - Oklahoma and Texas are the only truly good teams in the big 12 this year
 
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