Hello Utah State fans... I'm here from the Kansas board at Phog.net and am here for some discussion before the game.
If you want to formulate a plan to beat us, you should probably know how we operate. So here ya go, to the best of my knowledge:
Kansas offense lives off of its transition game. We'll always get out and run the floor... off of a defensive rebound, a turnover, or even a made basket. KU is on the other end of the floor extremely quick. Most teams don't realize just how fast KU is until they see the Jayhawks play in person. Our lineup is especially fit for this offense as we have two capable point guards on the floor at the same time in Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Miles and a big man who runs the floor extremely well in Nick Collison. Bottom line, the opponent needs to get down on the defensive end as soon as possible or KU will have scored already. If the opponent manages to stop the primary break, they have no time to rest as KU also brings an extremely potent secondary break as a trailing big man will wreck havoc on the defense. Nick Collison can pull up and hit a three pointer or will find an open man down low as the defense adjusts to the primary break.
If the opponent gets back on defense fast enough, then KU will shift into it's half-court game... which isn't nearly as efficient. KU is a very poor shooting team. Outside of Kirk Hinrich, our guards will almost always pass open looks on the perimeter. There are basically two facets to the Jayhawks halfcourt game. The number one option will always be down low. Nick Collison is very effective at sealing off his man and receiving the entry pass. If Collison finds himself one on one within 10 feet of the basket, he'll score nearly 60 percent of the time. If teams double team him, he's very good at finding the open man, who is normally his frontcourt partner Jeff Graves. If Collison is on the bench for any reason, KU will look for dribble pentration or a pull up midrange jump shot. We utilize high screens to open up a lane to the basket. KU small forward Keith Langford excels in this aspect of the game. A few times again a top side screen is uitilized to get Kirk Hinrich an open look from the top of the key.
HOW DO YOU NEUTRALIZE KU'S OFFENSE?
1) Zone defense. Pack the lane and force KU to shoot to win. Arizona earlier this year defeated Kansas by running a 1-3-1 and match-up zones. Same thing happened in the semi-finals of the Big XII tournament against Missouri. KU is very good at scoring on man to man defenses. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to rebound out of a zone... which brings me to point number two:
2) Crash the boards. KU's offense is VERY efficient. Usually we shoot between 50 and 60 percent from the floor, hence the last thing you want is to give up offensive rebounds to the Jayhawks. And unforuately for Utah State, KU is a very good rebounding team, outrebounding teams by an average of 8.5 boards per game.
Bottom line: KU will try to kill you in transition and in the paint. Force KU to beat you with shooting.
If given a choice, KU will always run man to man defense. Almost religiously. The only time you'll ever see us run zone is if our big men get into foul trouble. So expect to see lots of man to man against the Jayhawks. We are very good at fighting through screens. KU will attempt to force turnovers at every opportunity... we play the passing lanes extremely well and will gamble for steals to fuel our transition game. Our guards are exceptional on-ball defenders, Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Miles in particular. Miles is usually good for 3 or 4 steals a game and Hinrich is a shut-down defender. The weakness in KU's defense is down low. Due to injury to starting forward Wayne Simien, Collison cannot afford to be aggressive down low at the risk of picking up too many fouls. You must attempt high percentage shots as KU does not allow many second looks.
HOW DO YOU BEAT KU'S DEFENSE?
1) Spread the floor. Watch a tape of the KU-North Carolina game from the pre-season NIT to get a clinic on this. KU will overplay on the baseline, usually conceding it at the chance of trapping the ball handler down low with help-side defense. By spreading the floor, you make it harder to help on defense and you'll find yourself one on one within 15 feet of the basket quite often.
2) Pound it down low and get our big guys in foul trouble. Our bench is extraordinarily thin. Particularly in the frontcourt. You'll have a much easier time against Bryant Nash and Moulaye Niang than you will against Jeff Graves and Nick Collison...
whew! There you have it! I'll be lurking up to our game for discussion! See you on Thursday!
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