50 in 50 is a feature here at RCT counting down until the Jayhawks kick off the 2011 basketball season on November first. Got an idea for something you'd like to see featured here? tweet @rockchalktalk or @fetch9 or email me at fetch9 at gmail dot com.
The loss of Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson for the two exhibition games highlights what could be KU's biggest problem this year: a lack of depth. Bill Self has traditionally favored a rotation of eight guys or so, but in the past two years an injury would simply have meant the plugging in of another guy. This year an injury would mean that someone who probably isn't good enough to be playing in a BCS conference, much less at a program like Kansas, could be seeing major minutes.
One way to counteract this lack of depth (not in terms of preventing injury, but in staying competitive in games), is playing at a slower pace. Intuitively this makes sense: The more possessions there are, the less impact luck has on a game and the better team has more of an opportunity to impose its will. Also, the more they have the chance to wear down the team with the shallower bench.
However, regardless of depth, Bill Self has played at generally the same pace. From Self's KenPom page:
Regardless of talent level or depth, Self's teams have played roughly at the same pace. Oddly enough, the 2009 team played faster than the 2008 title team, and almost exactly the same pace as the 2010 team with tons of depth.
While I would probably play a bit more of a slowdown game this year, I'm also not maybe the best coach in America, so while I'll publicly first guess him here, I'll also not be surprised when his way works.