Posts Tagged TCU

Why won’t the damn ball just go in the basket?

Posted on: February 7th, 2013 by jayhawktalk 2 Comments

LJ World

“A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket.” – Rule 8, Naismith’s Rules of Basketball

Sounds easy enough, right?

Just put the ball in the basket. Almost like Happy Gilmore’s “tap it in.” How difficult can it be? You have world-class athletes that can run and jump and shoot and pass and dribble. You have tall guys and short guys. They have practiced putting the ball in the basket nearly every day of their lives. You have a coach that is one of the best ever at teaching guys to play.

So just put the ball in the basket. It shouldn’t be this hard.

But over the last month it has been hard. Extremely hard. Like “2nd grade kids that aren’t strong enough to throw it up a 10 foot goal” hard. So what’s the deal? Is it coaching and scheme? Is it confidence or personal make-up? Is it pressure?

It has to be, right? Because it isn’t a lack of talent. We know that because we’ve seen it. How hard is it to believe this same bunch of guys went on the road to Ohio State and dominated the game? It’s in there somewhere. We know it is.

If it’s confidence, I think we’ll be ok. If it’s coaching, I think we’ll be ok. If it’s dealing with pressure and the general mental make-up of the team then we could be in trouble. Because that’s a lot harder to teach, especially in the middle of a season.

Young guys look to seniors when the going gets tough. Good news is we got a whole bunch of seniors on this team. Hardened seniors that have played in the biggest and toughest of games. Seniors that say all the right things in interviews. Things like:

“Everything on the court falls back on me. I never rallied our team at the end of the game. I blame that loss on me 100 percent because no matter what was going on in timeouts on the court, regardless, a senior guard always rallies the team.”


That was Elijah Johnson’s quote following the Oklahoma State game. He followed it up with a 1 assist game. With 5 fouls. And 3 turnovers. And 3-12 from the field. What’s more is he didn’t have the answers when the going got tough. Neither did Travis, who played one of his worst games as a Jayhawk. Jeff played fine, but he’s not a leader either.

You hear everybody say KU is lacking a point guard. I’m not sure that’s true. I mean, it’s great to have a true point guard because most of the time that guy is a leader by default. Guys like Jacque Vaughn, Aaron Miles, Russell Robinson. I agree that we don’t have one of those. But you can get by without a point guard if you have guys that can create for themselves.

Anybody can dribble the ball up the court and initiate the half court offense. But when the shit hits the fan and nothing is working, you need a guy that can take matters into his own hands. Think about that Kentucky game early last year. Tyshawn Taylor had a similar stat line to Elijah’s tonight: 3-13 from the field and just 2 assists. Pretty bad, right? Except he got to the free throw line 17 freakin times. When nothing was working that second half he took it upon himself to get in the lane and do something about it. And he did. He personally kept us in that game.

This team doesn’t have a creator. And as long as KU fans try to mold Elijah into that guy, they’re going to be disappointed. Ben isn’t that guy either. He’s a phenomenal talent with incredible athleticism and a beautiful jump shot. But he is not a creator.

When this team is slumping it really only has two options: (1) shoot itself out of the slump or (2) defend itself out of the slump. Shooting has been difficult of late, but I think that it’s somewhat cyclical. It should improve because, frankly, it can’t really get worse. When it comes to defense, though, these guys get it. And that’s how we gotta win games.

Back to the big picture. Is this KU team doomed offensively? I don’t think so. Run through your mind the missed shots KU had tonight against TCU. Tharpe missed layups, Kevin missed put-backs, Elijah missed floaters, Ben missed 6 wide open 3-pointers, Travis shot the ball a total of 1 time. Normally most of those will go in. Tonight none of them went in.

Self always says in the course of the season you play 10 poor games, 10 average games, and 10 great games. I appreciate that we’re just about through our 10 poor game quota and good things are still to come.

Hang in there, KU fans. The ball will go into the ol’ peach basket eventually.


KU, TCU by the numbers

Posted on: September 17th, 2012 by jayhawktalk No Comments

It was better than many expected. After such a devastating loss last weekend to Rice, Kansas looked much improved in many facets of the game. Unfortunately, the offense could not capitalize on the opportunities the defense gave them throughout the game.

It was one of those games that Kansas certainly could have won had the offense been able to finish drives. It could also have been a 30 point loss had TCU taken better care of the football. I’m not sure how much we learned about the team other than it was sure nice to see the players compete their butts off for 60 minutes. This was not always the case last season.

Sticking with the weekly feature, here are some numbers and stats that jumped out to me about the game and the season thus far:

6 – Number of receptions Tony Pierson caught. I have argued for the first two weeks that Weis was crazy to not try to get him involved in the passing game. It was so good to see him succeed in this role, and I am hopeful it is only the beginning. With James Sims returning next week, I’d like to see both of them on the field at the same time, with Pierson lined up in the slot.

12 – Number of KU turnovers forced in 2012. For some comparison, KU only forced 18 turnovers all of last year. Now if we could just get the offense to score some points off those turnovers.

37 – Doherty’s new range. He made one over 30 yards! I should note he also kicked a field goal from 37 yards last year too, so he matched his career long. His range is established, Charlie. Don’t test it.

13.0 - Average yards per kick return in 2012. Good for 4th worst in all of FBS football. We have got to get better in this department.

12 – Tackles by McDougald on the game. He had 9 solo tackles and two forced fumbles as well. Unfortunately he was a little lost in coverage a few times, but overall had a solid game.

3:58 – Amount of time KU had the ball in the 4th Q. Tough to mount a comeback when the other team has the ball the entire quarter. One KU 4th Quarter drive lasted 23 seconds (3 straight passes and out).

25% – KU 3rd Down conversion percentage in 2012. Bottom 5 in all of FBS football in this department. For a team that has a good offensive line and running game, this number should be much higher. Perhaps the development of Pierson on a quick toss will help raise this percentage.

20.3 – KU average points per game in 2012. For some comparison, Oklahoma State is averaging 62.3 points per game, West Virginia 55.5, Baylor 55.3. The second worst in the Big 12 is Iowa State at 28.7. Seven of the ten Big 12 teams average 46 points or more per game.

100 – Receiving yards for Turzilli on 3 receptions. Loved seeing Turzilli get involved in the passing game. Provides a big target for Crist. Could have had many more yards had he pulled in a couple catchable balls.

2 – KU running backs in the top 5 of the Big 12 in rushing yards. Impressive that both Pierson and Cox are among top 5 backs in the Big 12. The addition of Sims may cut into Cox’s carries, but he has proven to be a great all-around back when called upon. Best stiff-arm since Jon Cornish.

48.7 – Crist completion percentage against TCU – He went downfield much more in this game, which contributed to this percentage. His receivers also dropped a few very catchable passes. However, it still isn’t pretty. He had quite a few opportunities to check down after going through his progression and he failed to do so. Hopefully he’ll start to rely on the underneath route a little more, which should help open some things up.

Rock Chalk!

Note: We’re very excited to be going forward on the Jayhawk Talk podcast. Follow me at @JayhawkTalk on Twitter for more information. The first episode should be up on the website and iTunes this week!

KU, Rice by the numbers

Posted on: September 11th, 2012 by jayhawktalk No Comments

Yikes. I argued that we didn’t learn a whole lot about this Kansas team the South Dakota State game. The competition was not very fierce, and it was easy to chalk up a few defensive gaffes and some juiced throws to nerves and rust that accompany many openers. We learned much more about KU on Saturday.

And it wasn’t pretty.

Crist was the easiest target for blame on a day where there was a lot of it to go around. He lacked focus and precision. He seemed flustered and rushed at times when he did not need to be. He looked capable in the first half, connecting on a few nice out patterns and a post or two in the middle of the field. But it did not take long for the Rice coaching staff to discover that KU has absolutely ZERO downfield threats. And with that, came the blitzes.

The running game, which literally carried us to a victory in the first game, became strained once it was apparent that the receivers were irrelevant. And the two-score lead which KU built on a nice drive to start the second half dissipated with every missed opportunity (read: field goal).

The blitzes will continue. So will the 8 (or 9) men in the box. Weis will need to show a little more creativity than he showed on Saturday to be anywhere near competitive against TCU.

Despite the poor tackling in some circumstances, I was not overly disappointed with the defense. Rice scored 24 points against UCLA in the first game. If you told me before the game that we would give up 25, I would have taken it. There’s no excuse for missing open-field tackles, but I get the feeling last year’s defense would have given up 40 to Rice. You might recall that defense. You know, the 120th ranked defense in the nation.

Oh, and if you’re curious, Rice was the 111th ranked defense last year…

Now, for some more numbers.

12 – Rice’s road game losing streak. Rice snapped its long road losing streak, which dated back to a September 11, 2010 32-31 victory at North Texas. If you’re curious, Kansas will look to break its own 13-game road losing streak this season, which dates back to a 34-7 win at UTEP on September 12, 2009.

8 – The number of Rice defenders in the box on nearly every 2nd half play. Crist, Weis, and the wide receiver corps (sans the injured Kale Pick) made defense very simple in the second half. Rice had the option of either (a) blitzing the hell out of KU off the edge, or (b) stuffing the box with 8 defenders. KU was forced into a one-dimensional offense that could no longer rely on the run and play-action. It worked.

2 – The number of 100+ yard rushing games for Tony Pierson in 2012. TP rushed the ball 19 times for 120 yards, good for a 6.3 yard average. His partner in crime, Taylor Cox, also pitched in 15 carries for 79 yards (and a TD), good for a 5.3 yard average. Hopefully these two can continue their success against TCU. It will likely depend on Weis and Crist’s ability to make the ‘Frogs defense at least halfway respect our passing game. (Note: I’m still waiting to see Pierson in the slot to get him some action in the passing game).

29 yards or less – The distance KU should attempt field goals the rest of the season. Ron Doherty is now 2 for 5 on the season, with makes from 22 and 29 yards. For every kick beyond 30 yards, it has not been pretty. On a more cheerful note, he is a phenomenal punter (8 punts on the season for an average of 46.9 yards).

93, 94 – The yards KU gave up on two Rice drives. Thanks in large part to…

10 – The amount of yards our defensive backs were playing off Rice receivers all game. This is one aspect of the game that was so infuriating to watch from the stands. Rice knew it. Kansas knew it. We all knew it. The underneath routes and hitch routes were open the entire game. And Rice was smart enough to take advantage of it. It isn’t all a lack of horses at corner. Campo clearly doesn’t have much faith in our linebacking corps in pass coverage either.

0 – The amount of games KU will be favored the rest of the season. I hope Weis has been practicing his “underdog” speech. Because we will literally be the underdog in every game for the rest of the season. Which leads me to…

1.5 – The Over-Under on the amount of wins KU will have this season. I’m taking the over, but barely. I think we’ll sneak a win somewhere we don’t deserve, similar to a Georgia Tech in 2010. You might remember that win came directly after a devastating 6-3 loss at home to North Dakota State. Not terribly unlike a devastating 25-24 loss to Rice. Perhaps TCU is in trouble?

I know the picture painted above is somewhat bleak, but hang in there, KU fans. We knew his was a rebuilding season. It’s not going to change overnight. I just hope we see a little more creativity out of our coaching staff going forward. After all, we don’t ask for much as KU fans. One thing we do ask is to not be embarrassed. Let’s start Saturday.

Rock Chalk.