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Old 01-22-2024, 06:41 AM   #1
Queens_NYC
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Kansas

Monday, January 22nd, 2024
9:00 PM EST
Allen Fieldhouse
ESPN

The Bearcats (13-5, 2-3 Big 12, NET #36, KenPom #33) hit the road on one night's rest and travel to Kansas (15-3, 3-2 Big 12, NET #14, KenPom #18) to take on their 6th straight ranked opponent of the conference slate.

Head Coach Bill Self is in his 21st season in Lawrence where he has amassed nearly 600 wins on top of two national championships (2008 & 2022).

The expectations are no less for this year's team which features one of the conference's most deadly three-headed monsters in 5th year 6'6 guard Kevin McCullar (20 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.7 apg), 4th year 7'1 center Hunter Dickinson (19.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 42.1% 3FG), and 3rd year 6'7 forward KJ Adams (12.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.2 apg).

After getting off to a sizzling 13-1 start, the Jayhawks have lost 2 of their last 3 road games. The first loss came @UCF 65-60 where Kansas committed 17 turnovers, and the most recent loss came @West Virginia on Saturday where Kansas lost the rebounding battle 31-22 and allowed the Mountaineers to make 57% of their 3s in a 91-85 upset.

Kansas is a very strong team inside the arch on both ends of the floor where they make nearly 58% of their 2-point shots while only allowing their opponents to make 45% of their own 2-pointers.

They also distribute the ball extremely well as they currently lead the nation in assists with 21/game as a team.

The Bearcats are 8.5-point underdogs.
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Old 01-22-2024, 03:07 PM   #2
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Kansas is a very balanced team, coming in at exactly #26 in both offense and defense. Offensively they are extremely efficient around the rim, where they convert 68%. Their shot selection is old school, as they take just as many midrange shots as three pointers. That's unusual in today's game. Their main offensive weakness is offensive rebounding. Dickinson and McCullar will be tough covers - they both score from all three levels at high usage rates. Dickinson makes over 50% from midrange. Harris and Furphy are more one dimensional shooters, and Adams doesn't shoot from outside.

Defensively they are good all around, though they are best at defending the paint and generally don't force turnovers. They play a short rotation, with four guys averaging over 32 minutes. In the last two games all five starters played 30+ minutes, which isn't a problem since they all commit fewer than 3 fouls per 40 minutes.

As Queens_NYC pointed out, their losses have come on various outliers. UCF and Marquette (and TCU) forced turnovers on more than a quarter of possessions. West Virginia made 12 threes at a 57% clip. Our team isn't built to repeat either of those. And given that Kansas has multiple guys who can dominate in iso, I don't have a good feeling about this one.

Perhaps a better example to follow is Indiana, who built a 13 point second half lead by winning the rebounding battle and forcing Kansas to go 9 for 26 from midrange. If we can do that and hit some shots, we'll have a chance. This might be a game to try the two big lineup. One big will have to be on Dickinson, and it could help to have another on Adams since he does almost all his damage in the paint.
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Old 01-22-2024, 09:58 PM   #3
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After the initial shell shock wore off we played pretty well, constant turnovers aside.

Love to see a confident Skillings firing on all cylinders.
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Old 01-22-2024, 10:10 PM   #4
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Crazy half. We gave up 15 points in the first 5 minutes but only 20 over the next 15 minutes. A big part of that was the length of Skillings and Reed getting in passing lanes. We're simply a better team with them at the 4 even in a game like this that calls for two bigs.

A couple plays showed why, one on each end. Early, McCullar beat Newman and attacked Vik and Aziz. Both of our bigs jumped right in front of the rim, and no one stepped up to stop penetration. When you have two guys in the same spot doing the same thing, you might as well be playing 4 on 5. Then on offense, Vik had the ball on the block and tried to pass to Aziz on the other block. High-low post passing is effective, not block to block. We've got two bigs trying to be a 5 rather than one playing the 4. Maybe if we had a full roster all season we would have worked out those issues, but as it stands now we're lost more often than not.

Still, we're dominating the boards, showing a lot of hustle and determination. I don't even mind our turnovers since they've mostly been the result of attacking rather than laziness. And we've forced Kansas to cough it up 7 times.
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Old 01-22-2024, 10:24 PM   #5
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It's frustrating to think how good we could be if we could shoot threes. We've had wide open looks for Simas and Day Day, but they're 0 for 7. Only so much you can do on offense if you can't convert open shots.
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Old 01-22-2024, 11:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedziobs View Post
It's frustrating to think how good we could be if we could shoot threes. We've had wide open looks for Simas and Day Day, but they're 0 for 7. Only so much you can do on offense if you can't convert open shots.
Day Day's now 1/13 (7.7%) in Big 12 play. Simas is 8/36 (22.2%).

Really missing CJ.
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Old 01-23-2024, 04:36 AM   #7
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This is not a great t eam, but I was still proud of them for how hard they fought. You have to somewhat respect that they kept the game close and really took a lot of what Kansas does off the board.

These guys have the right drive to score, but just poor execution in the feel department. And I wish someone would teach Reynolds to hold up his hands more. Opponents are shooting around the basket and he has his arms at his side.
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Old 01-23-2024, 09:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirthought View Post
This is not a great t eam, but I was still proud of them for how hard they fought. You have to somewhat respect that they kept the game close and really took a lot of what Kansas does off the board.

These guys have the right drive to score, but just poor execution in the feel department. And I wish someone would teach Reynolds to hold up his hands more. Opponents are shooting around the basket and he has his arms at his side.
This sums up last night's problem pretty well. We got a lot of good looks that we just point blank missed.

With the exception of BYU (which is appearing more and more to be a unicorn performance), we're shooting the 3 ball awful away from Fifth Third (22.3% across our 6 non-home games).
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Old 01-23-2024, 10:07 AM   #9
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This kind of game must be so frustrating for the coaching staff. Our team did most of the things that the gameplan called for. We outrebounded them by 11. We forced them into 20 midrange shots - more than the rim or from three. We held Dickinson to 10 points and turned their point guard over 5 times. We held McCullar to just 12 points from the field on 17 shots. We got a lot of open looks and even got to the free throw line 23 times. The difference is their shooter went 3 of 4 from deep and ours went 0 for 6.
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Old 01-23-2024, 12:31 PM   #10
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A good sign: last season with these losses Miller wasn't coaching effectively mid game. Was this level of hoops too high for him? Was the team not prepared for using different approaches? Adjustments often were too late, or just the wrong move.

Adjustments in this game worked and the team responded to his calls. I wondered if we could get to 25 points in the half. They were about to be buried when down 9-19, and then the defense suddenly changed. Better scoring opportunities started to present themselves.

We simply need better shooters. It's frustrating that Kansas has so many strong scorers. That freshman Furphy was doing anything he wanted and he's like their fifth option.
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