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Two Kansas Post-Game Thoughts

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 25:  The Missouri Tigers huddle as the game against the Kansas Jayhawks goes into overtime on February 25, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 25: The Missouri Tigers huddle as the game against the Kansas Jayhawks goes into overtime on February 25, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Tough loss, but not a devastating one. Congrats to Kansas. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Respect too.

As far as seeding is concerned there is MUCH basketball remaining, so no need to really worry about it. First, anything can happen still in the regular season. (I'm looking at you Keiton Page and J'Covan Brown... ahem.) Second, I'm pretty indifferent about a "high" seed unless it's #1 overall seed. It's about the matchups, not the number.

Onto the game. What a game! We got it at our place. They got it at their's.

1. Running Clock and Running Plays. I have no problem with Haith running clock with a big lead (sometimes not even a big lead). It's common for a team that lacks functional depth is to trade points for time with a big lead. Given how good Mizzou is at the FT line and at game-end situations the rationale makes perfect sense. Take your breaks on offense.

How-e-vah, if you spread the floor and start your offense with 10 or 12 seconds on the clock it can't just be to get jump shots. It's gotta be first good shot, then free throw line--in that order. Open looks are great, but against good defenses you won't have time for four and five passes to find a fantastic shot. You have to be willing to play ugly, jump into defenders' shoulders and get yourself to the line. Regardless of what we think of the zebras, if you run the clock down to 10 seconds and you are not initiating contact you'll go through droughts.

2. Pick and Roll (PnR) with Steve. One (of several) reasons the offense bogged down midway through the second half in my opinion is that with Moore on the floor Kansas could overplay the PnR and trap with abandon. The guards don't pass to Steve off the PnR. In the first half, Moore fumbled a pass on a screen roll out of bounds on a beautifully executed play. The defender may have deflected the pass off Moore. (By the way, thanks for the fantastic camera work CBS. Good gracious. I felt like I was watching a bootleg copy of the game.) By my (often faulty) memory it was the last time they passed to Moore on the PnR. Kansas could push our guards further and further out on the floor. Long term it's as simple as this; Moore has to be able to make a play or two on the PnR or we can't run it so much with him on the floor. As I noted in point #1, if we run the clock down to 10 seconds then the passes have to stay on schedule.

Many PnR teams do two things with bigs that have questionable hands: (1) set the offense lower (closer to the basket), and (2) throw some passes over the top. Setting the offense lower puts Ratliffe or Moore in the lane when they get the pass. It also allows the guard who recovers from the trap not have so far to dribble. That makes it harder for the help to get back to the dribbler. I recognize that we have below-the-rim bigs, but you don't have to dunk alley oop passes for them to be effective. We just need a wrinkle to discourage teams from trapping our guards and making them pick up the dribble. (I'm looking at you Mike Dixon, Jr. As much as I love you, your indecision cost us on at least 3 possessions in the second half.)

Bonus: I don't cry about officials in print. (Only in private.) I don't think Kansas got any calls that were incorrect until Phlip's foul on Taylor. That was phantom, but it happens. The foul disparity wasn't bothersome. Again, you don't deserve to go to the line shooting jump shots. But, Kansas was allowed to handcheck, bump and ride drivers the entire game. Yet they were also going to the line on touch fouls on the other end. That's not right. You expect the home team to get calls but damn. That's just an officiating crew not working well together (not a conspiracy). The zebras didn't match the level of play on the court and that's a shame. (I thought Clark Kellogg was clear about this during the broadcast without being unprofessional.)