In his second game with significant minutes, this time against Texas Southern, MJ had a performance to give Jayhawk fans hope there may be another scorer on this team in addition to Jalen Wilson and Gradey Dick. After playing 13 minutes on Friday in the loss to Tenessee, MJ played 21 minutes and scored 19 points including 2 of 4 from 3-point range and more importantly 5 of 6 from the free throw line. Got hit the shots from the charity stripe.
Bobby Pettiford, Jr.
Bobby played 19 minutes against Wisconsin with 2 assists and 2 turnovers. Not great a great stat line. He is one of many you could say that about after the game, but the 2 points he scored were the highlight of an otherwise rough Thanksgiving Day performance by the Jayhawks.
Man, was it on full display over the long holiday weekend? If there were a way to short the stock on the current crop of announcers on American television, I would buy all I can. Between the aging corpse of Tim Brando and his contemporaries spread throughout broadcasts, to the up-and-comers that show no signs of being even mediocre good, sprinkle in the former players providing no insight into what is happening on the field, and it was a brutally long holiday weekend watching sports broadcasts and listening to the drivel coming out of the speakers. Who do I think is good? Robert Griffin and Tony Romo. That is it. That is the list. They are good color analysts. No other current traditional play-by-play or color analysts are worth the aggravation they cause by listening to them. Outside of Griffin and Romo, give me a Manningcast-style broadcast for every game. A small number of people watching the game mainly as fans dropping a little knowledge now and then. Why do we need a play-by-play person? We can see what is happening. We don’t have them in the stadium, why do we need them on TV?
Free Throw Shooting
A game by game break down of this season’s free throw shooting: Last night 14-23 (60.9%), Tennessee 11-17 (64.7%), Wisconsin 12-21 (57.1%), North Carolina St 22-29 (75.9%), Southern Utah 10-16 (62.5%), Duke 4-7 (57.1%), North Dakota State 5-10 (50%), and Omaha 8-15 (53.3%). Add those numbers up and KU is 72-115 (62.6%). Opponents in those same games are 87-115 (75.7%). KU is currently ranked 331st in free throw percentage. I didn’t even know there were that many teams. Yikes. To make it worse, remove Jalen Wilson and his 38-50 (76%) from the picture and the rest of the team is 34-65 (52.3%). I know it is early but if this does not turn around, we will see some games the Jayhawks should otherwise win turn into losses.
Punt Return Philosophy
This is my lone entry that is wholly football related. Originally I was going to put OJ Burroughs’s name on it but decided that would be unfair. Yes, he should have caught the ball. But I decided he should never have been in a position to muff the catch. In addition, this does not seem to be just a KU coaching staff error, but a change in punt return, or more appropriately punt catch, philosophy. When did it become the smart play to catch punts that are going over a returner’s head when they are standing on the 10-yard line? The philosophy use to be if you line up as a returner with your feet on the 10-yard line you never backup. Just let the ball go. This seemed like the smart play back in the day and it seems like the smart play today. Odds are if the ball goes over the returner’s head in this situation, it will go into the endzone and the offense gets the ball at the 20-yard line. If the opposing team is lucky and downs the ball inside the 10, good on them and what have you lost? The returner in this situation almost always signals a fair catch. I do not understand the value proposition of having him try to catch the ball. Only negative things can happen by having him try. In the case of Saturday night, after 3 plays KU was looking good. They stopped the Wildcats, 3 and out. After 4 plays, KU has lost all momentum after the turnover. After 5 plays, KU is down 7-0, staggered, and never really felt like they were in the game again. If you know why teams, all teams not just KU, have changed their approach to catching punts inside the 10, I would love to know what the reason is.