Posts tagged with Ku
Louisville lost Sunday to North Carolina in the biggest game of the weekend in college basketball, which changed how the top of my ballot looked, but not how the final Associated Press poll shaped up. Michigan State remains first, Kansas University second.
The AP top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 24, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Michigan St. (56) — 6-0— 1,616— 1
- Kansas (8)— 4-0— 1,559— 2
- Kentucky— 4-1— 1,445— 4
- Arizona— 5-0— 1,425— 5
- Oklahoma St. (1)— 4-0— 1,347— 7
- Duke— 5-1— 1,285— 6
- Ohio St.— 4-0— 1,206— 8
- Syracuse— 4-0— 1,161— 9
- Louisville— 5-1— 1,103— 3
- Wisconsin— 6-0— 960— 12
- Gonzaga— 4-0— 830— 13
- Wichita St.— 5-0— 809— 14
- UConn— 6-0— 798— 18
- Oregon — 4-0— 731— 17
- Florida— 4-1— 729— 16
- North Carolina— 4-1— 712— 24
- Iowa St.— 4-0— 521— 21
- Baylor— 4-0— 437— 20
- UCLA— 5-0— 416— 22
- Creighton— 4-0— 373— 23
- Memphis— 2-1— 354— 11
- Michigan— 4-2— 238— 14
- Iowa— 5-0— 197— NR
- UMass— 6-0— 188—NR
- Marquette— 3-1— 126— 25
Others receiving votes: New Mexico 82, VCU 71, Florida St. 63, Virginia 61, Indiana 47, Boise St. 35, Charlotte 35, Belmont 31, Arizona St. 23, Harvard 22, Colorado 19, Villanova 16, Xavier 11, Pittsburgh 10, Missouri 8, Cincinnati 7, Tennessee 7, Minnesota 6, Illinois 2, George Washington 1, Georgetown 1, Texas A&M 1.
My AP ballot:
1. Kansas: When I started typing this sentence, Joel Embiid was a good basketball player. Now he’s really good. By the time you read this, he will be really, really good.
2. Michigan State: Strong, quick, tough, skilled, experienced. Weird stat: Only four blocked shots six games into season.
3. Kentucky: Freshmen scoring 84 percent of points, compared to 59 percent for Kansas.
4. Oklahoma State: With impressed Kevin Durant watching, Marcus Smart scored 39 in 101-80 blowout of Memphis.
5. Arizona: Nick Johnson — not the sweet-swinging left-handed hitter whose career could have been better had he been more dedicated to injury rehabilitation assignments, the junior guard — improves steadily. Shooting percentages: .372, .448, .588.
6. Duke: Vermont (1-5) shot .648 and stormed back from 15-point deficit only to lose, 91-90. Afterward, Duke’s Rodney Hood summed up Blue Devils’ shortcomings, saying, “We’re not connected on the defensive end.”
7. North Carolina: Lefty point guard Marcus Paige was pretty doggone good, scoring 32 points to lead Heels to nine-point victory against defending national champions.
8. Louisville: Don’t blame Russ Smith (36 points) for 21-game winning streak ending in loss to UNC.
9. Syracuse: St. Francis (NY), scoreless the last 4:10, led by four until Orange finished on 10-0 run to win 56-50.
10. Oregon: More than just the football team scores a lot of points. Ducks averaging 89.5 and unlike the football team, they don’t mind settling for three-point field goals.
11. Ohio State: More than just Crafty guard play has Buckeyes battling to stay undefeated. Junior shot-blocker Amir Williams emerging. He has worked hard to improve his free throw-shooting from year to year: .357, .557, .824.
12. Wichita State: Soph Ron Baker from Scott City shooting 50 percent from three and has a 3.7 assists-to-turnovers ratio.
13. Wisconsin: College basketball players do improve during their careers so be careful of labeling a freshman project as a stiff not worth developing. Frank Kaminsky, a junior 7-footer, scored a school-record 43 points, made 16 of 19 shots, all six three-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws in a 103-85 victory against North Dakota.
14. Florida: At some point in the Dec. 10 game vs. Kansas in Gainesville, Fla., look for Andrew Wiggins to lobby Bill Self to guard Casey Prather (17.2 ppg), unless that is, Wiggins checks him the whole game, in which case that will make for an interesting matchup.
15. UConn: German swing man Niels Giffey, a junior, shooting beleuchtungen out for Huskies. Has made 14 of 20 three-pointers. But it was Shabazz Napier who scored 47 percent of team’s points in one-point victory vs. Indiana.
16. UCLA: Nation’s most underrated player? Small forward Jordan Adams (22.2 points, 3.4 steals a game, .462 three-point shooter). He loves it though, based on his Twitter (@jordanadams 1231) motto: “I’m like a pillow I love when they sleep on me!”
17. Iowa State: I’m old enough to remember when Canada was a hockey country. Do-it-all senior Melvin Ejim of Toronto metro area scored 22 vs. Michigan, 21 in Provo against BYU.
18. Florida State: Boris Bojanovsky, 7-foot-3, 235-pound soph from Slovak Republic, spotted walking, chewing gum at same time and pitching in with 10 points and three blocked shots in OT loss to Michigan. Backup Michael Ojo, 7-1, 292, of Nigeria added eight points on night 7-footers combined for 8 of 11 from field.
19. Gonzaga: Ex-KU half-freshman Micah Downs, playing for Budivelnyk Kyiv of the Ukrainian Super League, never averaged more than 10 points for Zags, but did develop into defensive stopper. Was West Coast Conference tournament MVP as senior in 2009. I’d still like to know how he snuck out of Lawrence. Was it in the middle of the night, the way Bear Bryant’s Junction City Boys escaped? Did he do it in broad daylight? Did he hitch-hike to the airport? Micah, if you’re reading this, contact me via Twitter @TomKeeganLJW.
20. Iowa: Roy Devyn Marble won’t eclipse his father’s school record (2,116 points), has scored 1,207 points and leads team in scoring for second year in a row.
21. Creighton: Doug McDermott is the greatest walk-on ever. Father was out of scholarships when NCAA granted Grant Gibbs a sixth year of eligibility. That’s worked out well for both McDermotts. Gibbs averaging 5.8 assists.
22. UMass: Stirring memories of Marcus Camby, emerging star Cady Lalanne, a 6-10 junior, averaging 17.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and shooting .643 from field, .727 from line.
23. Baylor: Slender 7-1 soph Isaiah Austin blocking 4.8 shots a game but still hasn’t figured out how to get easy buckets at other end.
24. Xavier: Tough Battle 4 Atlantis game against Iowa on Thanksgiving could reveal plenty about both teams.
25. Pittsburgh: If Talib Zanna (15.3 points, 9 rebounds) ever makes it to the NBA and TV goes to NFL-style introductions, look for Talib to stare at the camera and proudly state, “Pittsburgh,” showing love for his school.
It certainly doesn’t rank in the top five of reasons the Kansas basketball program is the No. 1 choice of so many elite athletes, but the lob play might just be the most subtle factor that never is discussed.
Basketball prospects watch SportsCenter highlights. So often they feature a player on the run tossing a pass to a teammate who soars above the rim and flushes it. Typically, that is followed by a crowd shot of students going wild. What better way to market a basketball team and its wild atmosphere? Fun games in which to play and attend.
Most of the highlights from Tuesday night’s victory against Iona College came from players in the 5-foot-something/7-foot category.
The best in the former category involved Naadir Tharpe setting up Frank Mason, the two shortest players on the team playing so fast.
The highlight of Mason throwing down Tharpe’s lob might have taken the television audience by surprise, but nobody in the program was shocked.
“We watch him in practice,” coach Bill Self said of Mason. “That would have surprised us if he didn’t dunk.”
Kansas had seven dunks against Iona, which did not have any. KU leads opponents, 14-4, in dunks three games into the season. The totals: Andrew Wiggins (7), Joel Embiid (4), Perry Ellis (1), Mason (1), Jamari Traylor (1).
I asked Kansas sophomore Buck (hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker) Ben Goodman during summer camp if he had ever listened to big band leader/clarinet player Benny Goodman, to whom my father used to tap his foot and snap his fingers while wearing the sort of grin Ben wore after starring in Saturday’s 31-19 victory against West Virginia. He said he had not and named Jay-Z as favorite recording artist.
After Goodman’s big day at the office — a great catch to start a 54-yard interception return, six tackles, two for a loss, one sack and a blocked field with his right hand while showing a strong vertical leap — I again asked him if he had had a chance to check out Benny Goodman.
“I haven’t listened to him, but every time I try to look up an article on me, he’s the first person to pop up,” Goodman said. “I always said if I scored a touchdown, I was going to take a personal foul and go to the band and lead it.”
Goodman was having a great time talking after the death of KU's 27-game Big 12 losing streak, the start, he hopes, of a Big 12 winning streak.
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had playing football,” he said. “I love my teammates. I love my coaches and I love the atmosphere and our fans.”
And he would love Benny Goodman’s music if he just would give it a listen. Now that Ben has gone from the bad-hands club — he said he repeatedly dropped the football in a pre-game catch with Andrew Turzilli — to the good-hands club, he really does need to check out the ultra-quick hands of drummer Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton on vibraphone, Teddy Wilson on piano, all in their primes playing in Benny Goodman’s big band.
Listen to this call and see if it doesn’t rekindle your anger over the Royals turning Bob Davis into a mop-up relief pitcher. Such passion, such a distinct voice and style. And nice work by David Lawrence pointing out that right guard Damon Martin took out the linebacker, one of the keys to James Sims scoring on a 68-yard run with 28 seconds left in the half. Whereas most of us tend to watch the ball, Lawrence sees the whole field every play.
Fifth-year senior center Gavin Howard supplies background on the play call.
“All of us had been telling the coaches that they’re trying to stop the inside stuff because we’d been gashing up the middle,” Howard said. “I was like, ‘We’ve got to start running some outside stuff.’ And honestly, I mean, it was just a play to kind of end the half. We weren’t thinking we were going to get 75 yards on the play because you don’t ever think that on a run play. But I reached my guy, Aslam (Sterling) reached his guy, Damon (Martin) got up on the linebacker, Ngalu Fusimalohi off the back side and James’ got some speed on him that I didn’t know he had.”
Coach Charlie Weis said he was hoping the play could get 30 yards, at best, setting up a pass into the end zone.
“When he came through the hole, I couldn’t believe how big the hole ended up being,” Weis said.
It was only the second time on the day that KU used the unbalanced-line formation and the first time was near the goal line. Left tackle Riley Spencer moved to the right side of the line, lining up outside Sterling, the right tackle.
“I’m pretty sure if you watch it on the film, Riley pushes his guy out and we kind of cut it at Aslam,” Howard said. “So all of us back-blocked and the safeties didn’t make the play.”
Check out Sims' 68-yard TD run:
Kansas leaped from fifth to second in the Associated Press college basketball poll released Tuesday, ranking behind only Michigan State.
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 17, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv<br>
- Michigan St. (51) — 3-0 — 1,608 — 2
- Kansas (7) — 2-0 — 1,523 — 5
- Louisville (7) — 3-0 — 1,511 — 3
- Kentucky — 3-1 — 1,410 — 1
- Arizona — 3-0 — 1,339 — 6
- Duke — 2-1 — 1,320 — 4
- Oklahoma St. — 3-0 — 1,198 — 8
- Ohio St. — 3-0 — 1,172 — 10
- Syracuse — 3-0 — 1,135 — 9
- VCU — 3-0 — 928 — 14
- Memphis — 1-0 — 871 — 13
- Wisconsin — 3-0 — 763— 20
- Gonzaga — 3-0 — 710 — 15
- Michigan — 2-1 — 705— 7
- Wichita St. — 4-0— 705— 16
- Florida — 2-1 — 619 — 11
- Oregon — 2-0 — 613— 18
- UConn — 4-0— 600 — 19
- New Mexico — 2-0— 353— 22
- Baylor — 3-0 — 342— 23
- Iowa St. — 3-0 — 296 _
- UCLA — 2-0 — 291 — 24
- Creighton — 3-0 — 246 _
- North Carolina — 2-1 — 213 — 12
- Marquette — 2-1 — 144 — 17
Others receiving votes: Iowa 122, Indiana 109, Virginia 77, Harvard 72, Boise St. 28, Belmont 18, Arizona St. 13, Villanova 11, Xavier 10, Tennessee 9, Pittsburgh 7, Colorado 6, Missouri 5, Florida St. 4, Minnesota 4, Saint Louis 4, Cincinnati 3, BYU 2, Indiana St. 2, UMass 2, George Washington 1, Notre Dame 1.
Here's how I filled out my ballot:
1. Louisville: Chane Behanan reinstated after one-game benching. No word yet on when suspension will be lifted on his free-throw touch (1 for 7).
2. Kansas: Next time commitment comes from low-ranked recruit, remember two words: Frank Mason. Ranked 131st by Rivals the day he committed; shot up to 76 later.
3. Michigan State: With Magic Johnson sending triple-double karmic waves from United Center seat, senior PG Keith Appling nearly scored one with 22, eight and eight vs. Kentucky.
4. Duke: Chicago has been very kind to the Blue Devils, sending Coach K, Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor to Tobacco Road.
5. Kentucky: So little experience, so much talent, Wildcats looked very good in United Center comeback that fell short.
6. Syracuse: Jim Boeheim has been head coach at his alma mater during the administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama. The vice presidents: Rockefeller, Mondale, Bush I, Quayle, Gore, Cheney, Biden.
7. Arizona: Frosh sensation Aaron Gordon needed one more rule change: Allow free throws to be shot behind top of key. He’s hit 80 percent from three, 30 percent from line.
8. Oklahoma State: Phil Forte averaging 22 minutes, 21 points and shooting .636 from three.
9. Oregon: Joseph Young, granted immediate eligibility after transfer from Houston, averaging 30 points and has made 27 of 28 free throws.
10. Ohio State: Shot .167 from three, .333 from line in 52-35 rout of Marquette in game that took basketball back to peach-basket days.
11. VCU: Virginia dictated slow pace and still Rams won thriller. Good sign.
12. Memphis: Be it Missouri or Memphis, K.C., Mo., native Michael Dixon same Tiger of a point guard. Had 15 points, four rebounds, four steals and made 5 of 7 shots in debut with new school.
13. Wichita State: Too bad Andrew Wiggins didn’t make a condition of his coming to KU scheduling a game against Shockers so he could face his brother, Nick. Not his style, but I wonder if he could have pulled it off?
14. Wisconsin: Bo Ryan’s swing offense results in open threes and Badgers hitting them at .410 rate.
15. UConn: Headline in New Haven Register: “UConn’s Omar Calhoun getting his confidence back.” First sentence of story that appeared under that headline: “One thing Omar Calhoun has never lacked is confidence.” I hope to get back my putting touch, which is the only thing I’ve never lost.
16. UCLA: “Steve Alford All-American Inn” still in business, just off I-70 in New Castle, Ind. If he wins a national title with the Bruins, look for him to expand the chain.
17. Florida: Consider this back-to-back-to-back schedule buzz saw: Dec. 2, UConn; Dec. 10, Kansas; Dec. 17, Memphis.
18. Gonzaga: His unproductive professional playing days over, Adam Morrison, 29, is a student assistant for Mark Few and is taking classes.
19. Iowa State: Mayor of Ames more popular, fitter, better dressed and better behaved than Toronto mayor.
20. Michigan: Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim (22 points, nine rebounds, three steals) and Michigan’s Mitch McGary (nine points, six boards, four steals) returned from injuries in same game, won by host ISU.
21. Iowa: Coach Fran McCaffery’s wife, Margaret, former Notre Dame hoops player, became notorious for loudly urging reporters at post-game press conference to ask about officiating. That was when he coached at Siena. She has behaved at Iowa and his players also listen to him.
22. Creighton: POY candidate Doug McDermott averaging 25.7, shooting .533 from three.
23. Virginia: Coach Tony Bennett holds NCAA career three-point percentage (.497), scoring 2,285 points for for Wisconsin-Green Bay, then of Mid-Continent Conference. Father, Dick, was his coach.
24. Baylor: Coach Scott Drew’s brother, Bryce, shot .435 from three and scored 2,142 points for Valparaiso, then of Mid-Continent Conference. Father, Homer, was Bryce’s coach.
25. Xavier: Soph guard Semaj Christon averaging 17.3 despite shooting 11 of 27 from line.
Weather forecasts call for south winds of 27 mph at kickoff and staying close to that throughout the game.
Not that Kansas football coach Charlie Weis needed another reason to hand the football to true freshman quarterback Montell Cozart and let him win it or lose it without feeling as if he’ll be replaced by Jake Heaps at the first sign of trouble, Mother Nature drove home the point.
At least half the time, passing the ball will be extremely difficult. Defenses geared to stop the run have a tougher time doing that with fast, elusive Cozart at QB than with the immobile Heaps.
Look for Weis to not only give Cozart his first start for today’s 11 a.m. kickoff against West Virginia. Look for Charlie to let the young talent finish what he starts. I’ll be surprised if the coach does otherwise.
West Virginia is better against the run than the pass, but Kansas runs better than it passes, so that’s a push. The weather breaks the tie.
When handing out the kudos to those responsible for influencing power forward Cliff Alexander’s decision to come to Kansas, head coach Bill Self, a terrific closer, will be at the top of most lists.
KU’s tradition, the Allen Fieldhouse atmosphere, and the fact that Alexander’s girlfriend, Caelynn Manning-Allen, plays basketball for the KU women’s team, also will get many mentions.
But don’t forget a hidden hero in this big recruiting score.
Jerrance Howard, hired to join Kurtis Townsend and Norm Roberts as full-time assistants on Self’s staff after Joe Dooley left to take the head-coaching job at Florida Gulf Coast, can’t be overlooked in the role he played in landing the backboard-shattering power player.
As is the case with so many strong recruiters, Howard has a knack for making someone he met 20 minutes ago feels as if they have been friends since grade school.
Howard played for Self at Illinois, worked for former Self assistant Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M and Kentucky and then was hired by Bruce Weber at Illinois.
Illinois, which finished second to KU for Alexander, has had an on-again, off-again, relationship with Chicago recruits. Weber struggled recruiting top talent from Chicago and Howard’s hometown of Peoria until bringing Howard on board in 2008. After Weber, now Kansas State's coach, was canned by Illinois, Howard spent last season working on Larry Brown’s SMU staff.
Alexander counts as Howard’s first big Chicago score for Kansas, first of many.
Most ranked schools opened the season abusing sparring partners, so there wasn’t much movement in the Top 25. From the Big 12, Kansas remained fifth, Oklahoma State eighth. Baylor moved from 25th to 23rd.
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 10, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote:
School Record Pts
- Kentucky (28) 2-0 1,552
- Michigan St. (22) 1-0 1,549
- Louisville (12) 2-0 1,494
- Duke (3) 1-0 1,454
- Kansas 1-0 1,358
- Arizona 1-0 1,291
- Michigan 1-0 1,154
- Oklahoma St. 1-0 1,124
- Syracuse 1-0 1,087
- Ohio St. 1-0 1,033
- Florida 1-0 995
- North Carolina 1-0 950
- Memphis 0-0 743
- VCU 1-0 708
- Gonzaga 1-0 561
- Wichita St. 1-0 555
- Marquette 1-0 491
- Oregon 1-0 484
- UConn 1-0 441
- Wisconsin 1-0 357
- Notre Dame 2-0 328
- New Mexico 1-0 240
- Baylor 1-0 235
- UCLA 1-0 196
- Virginia 1-0 170
Others receiving votes: Creighton 148, Tennessee 138, Indiana 78, Iowa 54, Harvard 46, Boise St. 24, Colorado 18, Villanova 14, Arizona St. 11, LSU 8, Washington 8, Pittsburgh 6, UNLV 6, Georgetown 4, Missouri 3, Saint Louis 3, Stanford 3, Cincinnati 2, Towson 1.
The ballot I turned into the AP on Sunday night:
1. Louisville: Many key parts back, but voters enamored of newcomers underrate reigning national champion.
2. Michigan State: Gary Harris goes for 20 and 10 in sparring session vs. McNeese State. Kentucky on deck.
3. Duke: Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, nation’s top one-two combination of newcomers, combined for 44 points, 17 of 20 field goals and 5 of 8 three-pointers in Davidson rout.
4. Kentucky: Freshman Julius Randle, 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, averaging 22.5 points, 14.5 boards and shooting .846 from line.
5. Syracuse: Sophomore Trevor Cooney, a .267 three-point shooter a year ago, made 7 of 8 threes and scored 27 in opener.
6. Arizona: Yet another freshman, Aaron Gordon, leads way with double-double (13,10).
7. North Carolina: Lefty point guards, like left-handed hitters, just look smoother. Case in point, 'Heels soph Marcus Paige.
8. Michigan: Utah Jazz (0-7) can’t wait for Trey Burke to return from broken finger because Big 12 vets John Lucas III and Jamaal Tinsley not producing at point.
9. Kansas: Quietly, as he does everything, Perry Ellis has become a great deal better.
10. Oklahoma State: It’s been three years since Le’Bryan Nash supplied us with one of the greatest moments in TV history. Asked why he decided to put on an orange, gigantic foam OSU cowboy hat to announce his school destination, Nash answered, “I just thought the hat would make me a tremendous person.”
11. Ohio State: Buckeyes consistently show it’s possible to win big in football and basketball.
12. Florida: See Ohio State.
13. Memphis: Biggest U.S. city I’ve never visited. Five things on the itinerary when I do: 1. Watch the ducks in formation at the Peabody Hotel; 2. Graceland; 3. Rock 'N Soul Museum; 4. Tigers basketball game; 5. Listen to blues on Beale Street.
14. Oregon: Houston transfer guard went for 24 in Ducks debut.
15. VCU: M@ T8 look-alike Shaka Smart’s 40-minutes-of-havoc defense works.
16. Notre Dame: Senior stars — how is that for a phrase from a bygone college basketball era? — dominate this team. Four seniors and one junior start.
17. Tennessee: Sidelined by knee injury a year ago, rebounding machine Jeronne Maymon is back.
18. Marquette: Point-guard woes compounded when freshman Duane Wilson went down in preseason with stress fracture.
19. Wichita State: Nick Wiggins, a senior and Andrew’s big brother, had nine points in 13 minutes in season-opening thrashing of Emporia State.
20. Gonzaga: Why is it you never hear anyone mispronounce "Zags" as “Zogs,” but those same people pronounce Gonzaga as “GonzOga,” which is wrong? Also, Nevada is a flat-a sound, not NevOda.
21. Wisconsin: Josh Gasser missed last year with knee injury and celebrated his return by dropping 19 points in 11-point victory against St. John’s.
22. Creighton: Doug McDermott’s father needs to call the coach to let him know that playing 20 minutes in the opener is no way to help his son become national player of the year. Normally, I’m against such parental interference, but in this case I think it’s warranted. McDermott scored 20 points, so at that rate he would have gone for 35 if the coach sat him just five minutes instead of 20.
23. UCLA: Held off Drexel, 72-67, in coach Steve Alford’s Bruins debut.
24. Baylor: It feels as if senior Cory Jefferson has been jumping to the rafters for the Bears for a good decade or so.
25. Virginia: Who can Tony Bennett turn to in an effort to prevent his team from again traveling the boulevard of broken dreams? NCAA Tournament bubble burst on Cavaliers when they lost three of final four games.
Through the years, college basketball grew increasingly too physical, making it more difficult for gifted offensive players to make crowd-pleasing plays.
So the NCAA moved in the offseason to change the way the game is called by restricting the defensive players’ use of hands and arms.
If players were able to make the necessary adjustments immediately, the game would instantly become prettier, more telegenic, which would lead to higher TV ratings and more money generated.
Unfortunately, old habits are extremely difficult to break. In the short term, more fouls will be called, leading to an uglier game because all the stops will keep players from getting into a rhythm. More whistles will mean longer games, which could cause problems for networks as games bleed into other programs, backing everything up. Few things irk a passionate fan base more than missing the start of a game because teams they don't care about haven't finished their games yet.
So the basic question is this: Will TV networks have the stomach and patience to withstand the short-term pain of excessive whistles resulting in uglier, longer games in hopes that once the players adjust the result will be a more graceful game than we’ve seen in years? Or will network power brokers get antsy and try to lobby for a return to the old way of calling basketball games, enabling them to revert to low-scoring bloodbaths?
Last season was college basketball’s lowest-scoring one in 61 years, 1952 to be exact, which was 61 years after Dr. James Naismith invented the game.
More freedom of movement for offensive players makes for a more enjoyable game to watch, but the transition period is not going to be an easy one for the players.
“It’s had a huge effect for me, I can say, I’m pretty sure for the other guys too,” Kansas University freshman point guard Frank Mason said. “On the perimeter you can’t use your hands at all. You just have to get your hands wide and slide your feet. That’s a big adjustment."
KU has far more quickness than most teams, so the rules changes will help the Jayhawks more than most teams on offense and hurt them more than most on defense because they always have played a physical brand of ball.
“I think there will be a lot of fouls called (on opponents) if we’re aggressive and attack more because eventually, they’ll forget, not forget, but maybe just put their hands on you and some guys will be in foul trouble,” Mason said. “I don’t know. It’s going to be crazy to watch this year. I don’t know what to say about it. New rule. Just trying to kind of adjust to it. Even sometimes you just forget and even if you just touch the offensive player, they’ll call a foul. We’re just trying to adjust to that. It’s different.”
Below is the content of an e-mail from spokesman David Worlock of the NCAA office in Indianapolis, explaining the changes in how certain calls will be made this season:
*NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL RULES AND OFFICIATING
2013-14 Season Communication Points
The leadership of the NCAA Men’s Basketball rules and officiating functions are providing this document to clarify the major changes and intended outcomes as final 2013-14 preparations are underway. The two major topics are Defending the Player with the Ball and the Block/Charge play. The rules that the committee adjusted in May have been part of basketball in some form for many years. The interpretation and application, through time, loosened and a more physical style of play resulted. The committee decided a correction was needed in these two areas to improve the game and ensure a balance between offense and defense.
DEFENDING THE PLAYER WITH THE BALL
What Changed: Several officiating guidelines were voted in as rules, which raised the expectation and importance in this area. Four types of illegal tactics were cited:
1) Placing and keeping a hand/forearm on opponent.
2) Putting two hands on opponent.
3) Continually jabbing by placing hand or forearm on opponent.
4) Using an arm bar to impede the progress of the dribbler.
Please note that simply touching the player with the ball is NOT an automatic foul.
- Defenders will need to move their feet as opposed to using their arms/hands to negate an offensive opportunity.
- Increased emphasis will create a less physical game.
- Enhancement of freedom of movement principles and a smoother game flow.
What Changed: In a review of recent seasons, two types of plays were identified as the most difficult to call correctly: Defenders moving forward at the time of contact (even though the contact may occur in the defender’s torso) and the time frame when the defender must be in legal guarding position during airborne shooter situations. Now, when a player begins his upward motion to pass or shoot, the defender must be in legal guarding position.
Intended Outcomes: The expectation is that by providing a longer time frame for the officials to see the actions of both the offense and the defense, the accuracy of officiating these plays will improve. It is important to note that there is no default call in this rule; officials are to call the play as it develops.
Kurtis Townsend, assistant coach to Bill Self since 2004, is such a nice guy it’s difficult for recruits to tell him no, which makes him very good at that part of his job.
The former Western Kentucky point guard, whose brother Ray played for John Wooden’s final national-championship team at UCLA in 1975, brings plenty to the staff as a coach as well.
Credit Townsend with finding a nice fit for third-year sophomore Jamari Traylor to study. Townsend had video coordinator Jeff Forbes prepare clips of Kenneth Faried for Traylor to watch. Faried set the NCAA career rebounding record at Morehead State and is in his third season with the Denver Nuggets.
“He has the amazing motor,” Traylor said of Faried, a first-round pick in the 2011 NBA draft. “Body type similar to mine. I think I can be a player like that if I just want it. Coach Townsend tells me all the time, ‘Watch that guy. Play like that guy.’ We’re about the same size, undersized power forwards.”
Faried is listed at 6-foot-8, 228 pounds, Traylor 6-8, 220.
“I watch videos of Thomas (Robinson), all the bigs, even the Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff),” Traylor said. “I watch Kevin Young, hustle plays. That’s what I’m going to look forward to doing this year, be like Kevin, bring some energy plays. I think I’m a little more athletic than Kevin, so I think I can definitely help the team.”
He certainly did in the two-game exhibition season against in-state D-2 opponents. In a combined 30 minutes, Traylor made 7 of 7 field goals and has seven offensive rebounds (12 overall), 17 points, three assists, a steal and a block without turning the ball over.