Category Archives: Uncategorized

_FANframes: Arkansas Drop Back Passing Schemes (with video)

The Razorback offense does a lot of things well, but the most dangerous part of their scheme is the drop back passing game. Arkansas does a great job attacking different areas of the field, and this post will be broken down into 2 parts; how they attack inside the hashes and how they attack outside the hashes. Each video was cut from various highlights from the season, taken from 6 different SEC contests. The breakdown is then simplified with labels to each of the basic schemes being used in each video. The video is also slowed down to hopefully allow the viewer to easier follow the action of the clips.

Arkansas Drop Back Passing Game – Inside the Hashes

The first set of clips looks at multiple ways Arkansas will get the ball to many of their talented receivers in the middle of the field, but especially their very talented tight end. Of course these plays also have routes outside the hashes, but the focus is on where the ball was completed on each play.

TE Crossing Routes

The first set of clips will focus on how Arkansas gets the ball to their tight in the middle of the field. Often Arkansas uses crossing route combinations of various depths, usually focusing short (0-5 yards) or intermediate (10-15). Here you see the tight end working the middle of the field at multiple depths.

TE Curl Routes

The next set of clips is similar, but here the tight end will find the hole in the zone and sit at depths of 5-15 yards.

WR Cross Routes

This set of clips often take a lot of time and protection by Arkansas offensive front, but the Razorbacks also like to take their talented receivers on shorter (5-10 yard) routes completely across the formation. Often they are looking to pick off defenders with crossing routes coming from the opposite direction or with officials.

WR Curl Routes

Like with the tight end, when Arkansas catches you in zone coverages they will find holes in the interior parts of the zone and curl receivers into the gaps for solid gains.

WR Post Routes

This clip differs slightly because here the route is deeper than the short crossers and attempts to get the ball over the linebackers and underneath the safeties.

Verticals

The final clip attacks the deep middle of the field by running an inside receiver between the hashes. Vertical routes outside the hashes pull the safeties outside opening up the middle of the field.

 

Arkansas Drop Back Passing Game – Outside the Hashes

Arkansas does a great job with their route combinations on both outside thirds of the field. Here they put a lot of pressure on both man and zone defenses by getting 2 to 3 receivers at various depths giving Wilson fairly simple reads.

RB Flat and Swing Routes

The first set of clips show the great job Arkansas does getting the ball to backs out of the backfield in their drop back passing game. They will run their back through the formation and then out into the flat or swing him out of the backfield. This puts a ton of pressure on linebackers to be sound in their coverages and gives the Razorbacks coverage mismatches.

Vertical – Flat/Out/Swing

These combinations show the outside receiver in the formation running vertical routes (or in some cases the outside 2 receivers in trips formations) or fades while the inside receiver runs a quick flat/out route or send a running back to the play side on a swing. These combinations put extreme pressure on cover 2 zones and put the corner in a bind. The also put pressure on man coverage, especially to cover the inside receiver on a quick route. As you can see Wilson will hit the flat/out route, then come back and hit the verticals of the fade underneath the cover 2 safety.

Verticals

In this clip there is no underneath route. The deep safety attempts to take the inside receiver man and has no chance. Granted, both receivers make the mistake of running their routes to essentially the same location, but it still ends up a big play for Arkansas.

Slant – Flat/Swing

In these clips the outside receiver runs a slant route and the inside receiver runs a flat route or swing route from a back. In both the receiver finds the hole in the zone while the flat or the swing holds the cover 2 corner who has to cover the short outside route.

Slant – Corner

A similar combination, the outside receiver runs the same slant route, but the inside receiver runs a deeper corner route 10-15 yards down the field. This works as a pick play against man defenders, but is also a good route to attack the gap against cover 2 zones.

Slant – Vertical

Again the outside receiver runs the slant, but here the inside receiver runs a vertical. Often defenses get caught with a linebacker or safety caught covering the inside receiver which is a huge mismatch in the Razorback’s favor.

 

Discuss this on the message board: http://goemaw.com/forum/index.php?topic=17882.0

Trip to the U.

Bill Snyder hitting the road in the OOC schedule is something K-State fans haven’t seen a lot, especially trips to play BCS opponents. Granted, Snyder’s first year back in 09 the Cats played an unprecedented 2 road OOC games (losses to UCLA and LA-Lafeyette), but those were leftovers from the Prince era. In Snyder’s final 8 years (before his 3 year hiatus from K-State football) the Cats only played 2 OOC road games, wins against USC in 01 and Marshall in 05. In his first 9 seasons there was an annual OOC road game, but most were trips to non-BCS programs. Snyder has played BCS opponents 5 times on the road, with wins against USC 01 and Minnesota 93 and losses to UCLA 09, Washington 91, and Arizona State 89. His overall OOC road record is 7-6.

Miami features a team in a similar mode as our last 2 BCS road trips; traditionally strong programs with new coaches trying to rebuild. Al Golden led Miami to a very nice home win over Ohio State last week, a nice rebound after a loss at Maryland to open the season. When I think of Miami football I think of speed, and this year’s Miami team is more of the same. This game looks to be one where the Cats can compete and have a chance to win, but they’ll have to avoid some of the mistakes and issues that plagued Ohio State.

Miami Offense

Offensively Miami mainly uses 2 back formations with a tight end and 2 receivers. Most of their big plays last week came from the running game off of inside zone and outside toss with #6 Lamar Miller, a 5-11, 212 lb tailback. Miller’s biggest asset is his speed, once he gets to the second level he is very tough to stop, and he will look to bounce inside runs to the outside to use it. Against Ohio State Miami didn’t do anything fancy, and when successful they simply created opportunities for Miller to get one on one in space against a linebacker or defensive back, and OSU often took very poor pursuit angles leading to big runs. Though not utilized nearly as much, Miami also features a nice change of pace power tailback in 5-11, 222 lb #5 Mike James.

In the passing game Miami features a trio of talented receivers; 6-3 185 lb #1 Allen Hurns, 5-10, 175 lb #3 Travis Benjamin, and 6-5, 215 lb #8 Tommy Streeter. 6-4, 195 lb #12 Jacory Harris is back at quarterback, and Miami will keep the passing game pretty safe because he is prone to throw interceptions. Hurns is Harris’ favorite target, and Miami will especially look for him in 3rd down situations and around the goal-line. Streeter is a huge target and Miami will look to get him in mismatches against smaller corners, or Harris will just throw the ball up to him hoping his big receiver makes a play. Benjamin is a smaller speed guy, and probably most dangerous as a returner.  

They key for K-State’s defense will be staying gap sound against the run, taking good angles, and making sure tackles (often in one on one situations) when Miller gets into the 2nd level. Golden’s offense right now is fairly simple and he’s going to try to keep Harris from making the mistakes he made against Ohio State. They will take a few chances with play action because of the threat Miller brings, and K-State will have to avoid giving up those, buy the big key will be stopping the run. Miami will get some plays here and there, but if K-State can hold Miller to around 4.0 YPC and force Harris into throwing situations  the defense can likely hold Miami to around 20 points or less, good enough to have an opportunity to win this one. This game will be a great indicator whether the defensive improvement from the first two games is reality, or just the result of playing terrible opponents.

Miami Defense

The biggest feature of the Miami defense is speed in their 4-3 scheme, though in some ways Ohio State (and even Maryland) is a tough indicator of how they will match up against K-State. Miami has a decent front 4, but their strength is at linebacker and safety with players like LBs #45 Ramon Buchanan and #31 Sean Spence and safety #7 Vaughn Telemarque. Miami’s defense has not been particularly good against the run, both Maryland and Ohio State gained more than 4.4 YPC against them this year and last year’s team struggled against the best power/QB running games they faced with both Ga Tech and Va Tech averaged over 5.2 YPC. I believe the Cats will be able to find some success running the ball and I think our QB run game and power will give them trouble, but that alone likely won’t be enough to win the game. Klein has to hit some throws and his receivers have got to be much more sure handed. We will get opportunities, likely off of play action, and we need to complete at least 2-3 balls over the top of Miami’s defense. If K-State’s passing game can get to around 8 YPA on 20 attempts, that should be enough to provide balance and keep Miami from always stacking 8-9 guys in the box. Of course we need rushing production from more than just Klein, hopefully Brown is completely healthy and can bring a threat from the running back position, though I’m sure both Pease and Hubert will see some time there as well. I honestly don’t care who shakes out there this week as long as we can get 4+ YPC on 20 attempts from at least one of those guys.

Miami Special Teams

With their speed you would expect Miami to have threats in the return game, and with Benjamin returning punts and Miller returning kicks they certainly have some. Last year their return units weren’t particularly strong, with only 2 TDs on the year from returns, but Golden may have a different emphasis in that area. Miami also has a first year punter and kicker. So far K-State has not been strong dominant on special teams and at minimum will have to match Miami in this area.  Thompson showed that he can be a threat in the punt return game and Garrett is averaging over 30 per return on kickoffs. With the block vs EKU Doer is only averaging 33 yards per punt and Cantele is 4/5 of FGs. If either team can get a big play here with a block or a 30+ yard return they could gain a big advantage as this could turn into a field position game.

Outlook

I think this game will come down to the fourth quarter and be a fairly low scoring game. Both teams have limitations offensively and I think mistakes on that side of the ball could decide the game. I’m sure a big part of the game-plan for K-State’s defense will be forcing Harris to beat them with his arm and even with some talented receivers I’m not sure if he can do that. I also think the Wildcat offense will find some success on the ground leading to opportunities off play action. I see the Cats taking advantage of that, along with at least one big special teams play, to bring a victory back to Manhattan.

Cats 23 – Canes 20

EPAW v EMAW


By BETH MENDENHALL

Despite our obvious differences, there is one thing the people at goEMAW.com have absolutely right: K-State is a state of mind. The 5 years I spent at our university has made an indelible impression on my soul, and reinforces a Mendenhall family history steeped in purple pride. I love Kansas State, and as a new graduate student at a totally different university in a big city, I miss the Manhattan campus and students every single day.

Recently, the resurgence of the EMAW/EPAW controversy has drawn my attention back to Manhattan. I write here today to clear up some misconceptions about the EPAW movement, and especially my own involvement in it. I speak to you honestly, and with the best of intentions.

First, the argument. It’s really pretty simple. Terms like “man” and “mankind,” while ostensibly representing the entirety of humankind, do not. Absence of malicious intention is irrelevant. A significant amount of social science research indicates that language shapes the way we perceive and create our reality. The assumption that a term like “mankind” is universal is rooted in our cultural belief that men are the norm and women are derivative. There is an alternative term, “humankind,” which has the same denotation without the men-define-us connotations of “mankind.” There is a reason that women are still paid less than men for the same job, despite formal legal equality. That reason is the cultural and social biases in favor of men, and against women. Those cultural themes are not explicit. They operate below the level of public consciousness, and are both reflected and reinforced by our language choices. As such, the way you “feel” about what EMAW means, and what it reinforces, is not relevant. The effect gendered language has on us operates at a lower level of consciousness, but that makes it no less insidious.

 

EPAW does not alter a tradition. As eloquently described by goEMAW.com, “EMAW” represents a continuity of feeling between K-State students and alumni. The “M” is not the tradition, the “we are all wildcats” message is. “EPAW” maintains that tradition, but acknowledges progress in the culture of K-State students. The EMAW/EPAW debate is an opportunity for students to act on the progress in cultural gender equality achieved since the “traditional” slogan was coined. The reality of gender relations has come a long way since EMAW came to K-State, but it still has a long way to go. Those who believe that men and women have equal opportunity in our society are willfully ignorant. Because language both reflects and reinforces our reality, altering our slogan is a key step between formal equality, achieved since EMAW, and social equality, which has yet to actualize.

Now, the counter-arguments. To be honest, my responses to the #saveEMAW folks have gotten more and more aggressive and ad hominem-y because I really feel that they stem from closed-minded ignorance. For example, the fact that many K-State women are ok with EMAW is irrelevant. An unknowing victim of cultural male bias can be complicit in reinforcing the stereotypes that disempower her. Just because some women claim not to “feel” oppressed does not mean that they don’t live in a society that rewards them less for equal contributions. Additionally, “tradition” is not a strong argument for anything. It is “traditional” for women to be homemakers, racial minorities to occupy lower classes, and applying leeches to alleviate illness. “Tradition” is a description, not a value-claim.

The most ridiculous claim made by the #saveEMAW folks is that, following my argument to its logical conclusion, we would need to change our town’s name to “Personhattan” and I ought to adopt the moniker “Peopledenhall.” I know some of you are tweeting such things to be annoying, but others seem to honestly believe there is a connection here. This reveals a fundamental ignorance about gendered language that pervades much of the #saveEMAW contingent. There is a difference between words with the letters “m-a-n” or “m-e-n” and gendered language. Enough said.

Now, to clear up some misconceptions about my role in all this. In the last few days, I’ve received a deluge of commentary on facebook, twitter, and via email. Many believe I am “wasting my time.” In reality, writing this piece is the most time I’ve spent advocating for EPAW since I wrote the original article. I’ve moved on, to Baltimore, graduate school, and building a career for myself. The sign in front of the union, the new band formations, and the EPAW cookies at Hy-Vee are simply signs that the movement is picking up steam.

I did, however, recently fly home to attend the Kent State football game with my parents and friends from the debate team. While tailgating, I heard Tim Fitzgerald, of gopowercat.com and Powercat illustrated, make a series of ignorant and inaccurate statements about the EMAW/EPAW debate on the radio. Some friends and I went to find his tent at the game, and I approached him to explain the pro-EPAW arguments, as I felt he was building and attacking a straw-person. Initially, Mr. Fitzgerald refused to talk to me, saying after roughly 30 seconds “this conversation is over” and walking back to the free BBQ. After asking another radio station employee if this was how they generally treated their listeners, and K-State fans and alums, Mr. Fitzgerald was compelled to continue the conversation. Throughout the entire exchange Mr. Fitzgerald was rude and dismissive, and repeatedly called me and my opinion “silly.” I knew the best approach was a non-aggressive and reasonable one, and my goal was not to convince him to support EPAW, but rather to show him that he had misconceived the motivation behind the EPAW movement. Mr. Fitzgerald would listen to a few sentences, then re-state my argument hyperbolically, and dismiss it as silly. The account of the conversation posted on his website is, in my opinion, inaccurate. I left the 101.5 tent frustrated and upset, and in desperate need of a beer.

Since then, Mr. Fitzgerald has posted on his site that the conversation ended with him saying “nice talk, babe” and slapping me on the butt. This is inaccurate, and also highly offensive. To me, it reveals his attitude towards me during the conversation. I was simply a sex-object being cute by trying to express an unreasonable opinion, and when defeated by the big man with the BBQ, I needed to be reassured of my value as a woman with a butt-slap. I am not your “babe,” Mr. Fitzgerald, and your form of “humor” might have been acceptable in 1950’s America, but today simply reflects your commitment to a misogynistic mindset. It’s easy for men, who largely do not have to fear sexual assault or harassment, and don’t get discriminated against because of their gender, to think that this joke is funny. For me, it shows that some leaders of the K-State fan base simply don’t take women seriously.

Unfortunately, inappropriate and vitriolic comments like Mr. Fitzgerald’s have plagued the #saveEMAW movement. After writing the initial argument, one commenter expressed a desire to hit me in the face with a shovel. Others on gopowercat.com have demanded that I “know my role,” and one commenter even alluded to engaging me sexually against my will. After I was honored on the field along with the debate team at the football game, a fan yelled “eat shit, Mendenhall!” as we climbed the stairs to return to our tailgate. These few examples represent literally hundreds of ridiculous online comments. I have a tough skin, and I can handle the hate generated by the #saveEMAW movement. My concern is the way these people are representing our university, and what they say about our student body.

So, where do I hope we go from here? Well, for one, I would encourage anyone who is offended by Mr. Fitzgerald’s verbal sexual harassment to contact him, or President Schulz, about his representation of our university. Members of gopowercat.com could post on the forums populated by the underbelly of the #saveEMAW movement. In terms of EPAW, I have no involvement in the official distancing of the university from EMAW. I never called for banning the slogan- what I want is an organic movement by the students to change their slogan. If the students don’t want to adopt EPAW, that’s a shame. If they continue to publicly say violent and hateful things about EPAW supporters, that’s a bigger shame.

Finally, I want to address goEMAW.com directly. After some initial creepiness involving close analysis of pictures of me, the folks that populate the goEMAW.com forums have been open-minded and welcoming. Much of the support for EMAW expressed on this site is based on the idea that EMAW is not an acronym, but a distinct feeling of pride in K-State. They describe this feeling eloquently on their website. I believe, however, that their supposition that EMAW is not an acronym is incorrect. The pictures of Ahearn field house supporting EMAW as a tradition say “Every Man a Wildcat.” Furthermore, if EMAW is merely a reflection of a distinct and independent feeling one gets from being a K-Stater, then why do we need the “M”? A more accurate reflection of that feeling would be a gender-neutral one.

 
I believe that most of the people involved in the EMAW/EPAW debate, on both sides, have good intentions. We are all speaking from a place of pride in our university. Those who are exasperated by the fact that a semantic debate is taking up so much of our attention make a good point, however. I believe that what has made this conflict newsworthy is not the relative success of the EPAW movement, but the hateful backlash to it. What we need now is a productive campus dialog; we must strive to eschew hyperbolic claims in favor of well-reasoned arguments. I’ll be watching from a safe distance.

 

I would like to thank goEMAW.com for inviting me to write something for their website.

 

link to her original post:

http://goemaw.com/forum/index.php?topic=12170.msg350434#msg350434

_FANalysis – Can stats measure the Junkyard in the Cats?

There has been a lot of talk about toughness lately with this year’s JYCs, especially when talking about our post players.  Its nice to talk about impressions and what it “looks like” to most fans for a team to be JYC, or non-JYC.  As a fan that likes stats, I started wondering what stats (if any) can give us an indication to back up the thoughts of fans on this team.  I think there are a couple we can look at to give us a decent indication.  That said, I’m not saying this is a fool-proof way to look at toughness of any team b/c I’m sure there are plenty of faults in my analysis, but I do believe the numbers do show up in a few things.

When I look at this (kenpom stats) two things in particular stuck out: Block% (blocked shots/2 PT attempts) for us and our opponents, and FT rate (FTA/FGA) for us and our opponents.  When you look at these four components for this season K-State has a 13.2 Block% (#45 kenpom) compared to a 10.5 Block% (#237)  for our opponents.  Our FT Rate is 42.3 (#109) compared to allowing 40.2 (211).  IMHO this would indicate a trend that many have pointed out; our bigs still seem to play pretty tough defensively, but offensively we are allowing our opponents to block a lot of shots and we aren’t drawing as many fouls.  This is even more apparent when you compare to last year; our Block% was 13.4 (#19), our opponent’s Block% was 8.2 ($101), and our FT Rate was 50.2 (#4) compared to 47.4 (#314) for our opponents.  Defensively with Block% we’ve stayed about the same, but we are allowing opponents to block over 2% more shots per game. We are also getting to the the FT line less and allowing our opponents to get to the FT line less.  This would indicate that our bigs’ ability to attack, finish, and draw fouls is down quite a bit, and to me this is a good indicator of toughness, at least when you look at post play.  By fouling less it could mean we are playing better defensively, and overall our defensive efficiency is better, but I think its also an indicator of being less agressive.  Only Beasley’s season for a Martin team had a lower FT Rate for opponents (38.3).  Again, these stats have some flaws b/c there are games where your guards draw more fouls and shoot more midrange jumpshots, but I think overall its a pretty good indicator.

This shows up in individual games as well.  For example I think most would agree that we showed a lack of toughness against Florida, particularly the last 30 minutes of so of the game.  We had a Block% of 4.7, UF had a Block% of 12.7, and our FT Rate was only 34.5.  All numbers much worse than our season average and when you throw in the difference in 2 PT % (60% to 33%) you can see that the much tougher team, especially when finishing around the basket, won the game.  Then you throw in 3 PT% and you can see why we not only lost, but lost badly.  You can point to other games where we’ve had a Block% well below our average as well; Presby was only 2% and Duke was only 5.6%.  Against Presby our FT Rate was only 28.  And against Loyola while we had decent Block% and FT Rate #s, we allowed a mid-major team we should dominate to have a Block% of 10.

When you look at individual numbers, you see some of this showing up, but mainly with the player you’d expect.  When you look at OR% and DR%, Block%, and FT Rate, Kelly has regressed in every area so far this season.  Samuels is actually playing better this year in every area accept FT Rate, and of course his eFG% is way down, nearly 19% worse in fact.  So I’d say it shows he is struggling a bit with the offensive area and finishing around the rim.  JHR is better in nearly every area.  Asprilla brings better #s in every area over Colon as well.  So there are signs that our bigs could be better, but I think we’re seeing if you have a player you are counting on being an all-league level player and he doesn’t do that, its going to have ripple effects over your whole team. 

I will also say, some of this is due to not having Clemente so teams can play us differently on defense in the half court.  Teams are much more able to help on our bigs, and I think this has gotten in their heads a bit.  McGruder has been able to feed off this with open shots and rebounds, but again, we’ve seen that when he struggles offensively (Duke and Florida) it really hurts our offense.  I don’t think its any coincidence that McGruder’s two worst offensive games have been our two losses.  Of course, Pullen isn’t nearly as efficient offensively so far, but besides the Duke game I think he’s played well enough to win.

It will be interesting to see how this team progresses in these areas, particularly in our FT Rate and our opponents Block%.  I think defensively we’ll be okay (again, I’m not so sure I wouldn’t like to see us fouling more, particularly hard fouls in the paint), but if we can’t get our FT Rate in the mid to upper 40s consistently and keep our opponents Block% at 8% or less, its going to be a bad sign for this team.  If that’s the case, we’re going to have to rely on 35% shooting (or better) from the perimeter, and I’m not sure we can count on that consistently.  So if you’re watching for JYC-ness, watch for Block% and FT Rate; hopefully we can see a little more Junkyard in this group of Cats.

_FANalysis – UNLV pregame

Phase one of the 2nd tough OOC stretch went really well for about 10 minutes, then the wheels fell off. One of the worst offensive showings of the Martin/Huggins era of K-State basketball led to bad defense in the 2nd half and the Cats left Florida with a 13 point loss.  Plenty has been hashed and rehashed for that game and now it is time to move on to the Cats’ 3rd game in the Sprint Center of the year in a match-up with a solid UNLV team.  UNLV should present a much better match-up for K-State in several areas.  IMHO, pace is always a factor but the Rebels like to play at a similar pace.  The Cats should be able to exploit FT rate and OR%, but will have to watch the pressure UNLV brings forcing TOs.

OR% and FT Rate

Both of these areas are big weaknesses for UNLV; they don’t appear to be a team with much size and they definitely won’t bring the same type of physical play that we saw from the Gators.  The Rebels allow an OR% of 34.1 and a FT rate of nearly 41, both areas the Cats will need to exploit to beat UNLV.  While the numbers for both were solid in Florida, neither gained a large advantage, and that can’t be the case Tuesday night.  However, the Cats failed to take advantage of a decent OR% game, only scoring 3 second chance points, compared to 12 for Florida.  UNLV is not bad at either OR% or FT rate themselves, but comparitively both are spots the Cats should be able to gain an advantage, especially if they play with the JYC energy they showed early in Florida.

TO%

Against a variety of defensive pressures, the Cats did a nice job against Florida with their 2nd lowest TO% of the year.  UNLV’s pressure will be different, but it is the strength of their defense, forcing teams into an average TO% of 26.1, good for 15th in the country.  Only 1 team has managed to keep their TO% under 23 all year; that was UNLV’s loss to Louisville.  However, their best TO% of the year was against UCSB (34.9%), UNLV’s other loss of the season.  One key will be limiting fast break points off of turnovers; K-State only allowed 8 against Florida, but most of those came while Florida was putting the game away in the 2nd half.  Plus, the Cats failed to score a single point themselves off transition.

2 PT Defense

One similarity UNLV has with Florida is that they are counting on scoring the bulk of their points inside the arc.  We saw that in last year’s game with lots of penetrate and shoot offense (ton’s of runners, looked like an offense built for Clemente).  UNLV is top 10 in the country in 2PT% (56.2) and only 23% of their scoring comes from outside the arc.  Our defense here has been solid this year, but had some serious breakdowns Saturday allowing Florida to shoot an impressive 60.6% overall and 65% in the 2nd half, plus we recorded only two blocked shots.  Now this doesn’t mean you can sleep on UNLV’s 3 PT shooters; Bellfield is at 51%, Jasper at 37%, Stanback at 38%, and Willis at 33%.

eFG%

Of course none of this matters if the Cats come out with another shooting performance as historically bad as they showed in Florida.  The eFG% of 30 is one of the lowest marks in the last 9 years for K-State, but you wouldn’t expect to see something that bad again.  If missing the last 14 attempts from 3 wasn’t enough (and all 10 in the 2nd half), the Cats also managed to shoot only 33% on 2 PT shots.  Even their 58% from the FT line looked good compared to everywhere else.  Hopefully the Cats can knock down some shots early, they will need anything they can to get some confidence and avoid a carryover effect like we’ve seen from the FT line this season.

Outlook

The biggest thing I hope to see in this game is getting back to tough JYC basketball, something that slipped dramatically in the last 30 minutes with every clank. I questioned the mental toughness of this team after the game and I hope they prove me wrong.  I’m hopeful the issues we saw against Duke, letting teams like Presby, WSU, and Loyola hang around when we had chances to put them away, and the terrible play we saw the final 30 minutes in Florida are only a sign of this team growing up and developing leadership with a breakout coming eventually.  We have seen very few games that would even come close to complete for the Cats this year, by far the best performance being against Gonzaga in KC.  Hopefully getting back there can bring some of that back; certainly the team (and fans) need something positive going into the weakest part of our OOC schedule.  After Tuesday, we won’t really be able to see much (other than hopefully a lot of minutes for reserves) until we travel to Stillwater on January 8th. I think the Cats will be hungry after the showing in Florida and will come ready to play; being in a friendlier environment with a large number of K-State fans won’t hurt.

Cats 76 – Rebels 67

_FANalysis – November JYC

Nearly half way through the OOC schedule, and over 1/5 through the regular season, and the Cats sit at 6-1, the most wins in November ever for K-State basketball. As expected, the team has evolved into a bit of a different animal from the Junkyard Cats we saw last year, especially without Denis Clemente, but for the most part the Frank Martin footprint has remained.

Offense

Through 7 games the profile for this team still has plenty of Martin’s stamp, but this is the area where the Cats probably need to improve the most.  Compared to last year’s Elite 8 team, this team is playing at about the same pace (73 possessions to 72 last year), shooting the ball slightly better (53 eFG% to 51), hitting the offensive glass at about the same clip (41 OR%  to 40), hitting 36% from 3 (same as last year), and getting assists at a similar rate (54 AS% to 55).  The key deficiencies right now are at the FT line and with turnovers.  Not only is this group of JYCs getting to the FT line much less (38 FTR to 50), when they get there they are shooting 14 % worse (52.5 to 66.8).  In addition the Cats are slightly worse turning over the ball (22 TO% to 20); this was particularly costly in the loss to Duke.  Granted, Frank has pointed out over and over that he does not look at either FT% or # of TOs too much, based on making FTs when it counts and TOs often being the result of being aggressive offensively.  However, its hard not to see how both of these could continue to be problems for this team if not corrected.

Individually, as expected Pullen has been the center piece of the offense.  The Cats have shown they can play well with him in foul trouble (VT), but also that when he is very off (Duke) things are difficult offensively for this team.  That said, this wasn’t a complete surprise b/c he is a streaky shooter and tends to have a very off night every so often, the big difference versus Duke was he wasn’t able to get inside their defense for lay-ups and FTs.  Still, for the most part we know we’re going to get 15-20 from Pullen, the key to me for this team to be a league title contender will be additional scoring on the perimeter, namely from Rodney McGruder.  Thus far you can see that McGruder will have a key role for this team; leading the team in minutes (30 MPG) and second currently in scoring (11.2 PPG).  He also leads in 3PT attempts (43), total rebounds (6.6), and is second on the offensive glass (2.3).  The biggest improvement will be 3PT%; it may be unreasonable to expect him to match last year’s 42%, but he’s got to improve from his current 30%.  Outside of McGruder on the perimeter, it looks as the the key contributors will be Spradling, Irving, and Russell.  These guys don’t need to be big scorers, but they need to be solid, hopefully getting some minutes at PG in stretches to allow Pullen time at SG.  Pullen has done a solid job with 4.1 APG compared to 2.4 TOPG, with Irving (2.2 to .8), McGruder (2.3 to 1.4), and Spradling (1.7 to 1) giving solid numbers to help.  However, it is clear that at times Pullen struggles with trying to force things that aren’t there offensively, especially in transition.  The key will be finding the balance to continue to push the ball and play at a low 70s pace, but find a way to handle the ball a bit better and bring down the TO numbers.

In the paint, its a bit hard to tell with Samuels and Kelly both taking turns in Frank’s doghouse, but overall it seems post play is coming around.  Like the perimeter where I believe we need two consistent performers, we need a pair to step up here.  So far Samuels has been the most consistent when he plays (8.8 PPG), though he is shooting  a lot worse (40% to 54% and 0-7 from 3) while continuing to be 2nd (behind Pullen) in FTA and shooting an improved 59% from the FT line.  Kelly is the best post scorer (10.3 PPG) as he showed in the Duke game, but continues to struggle getting in and out of Frank’s doghouse.  Asprilla seems to be wildcard #1, seeming to get more comfortable as the season goes along.  His 60% shooting is only behind Kelly’s 63%, but he must improve on his 39% from the FT line.  Then you have wildcard #2, Wally Judge; most would’ve expected him to be at more than his 5 PPG.  He is still limited in his ability to score in the paint and still struggles with consistency and confidence.  Its possible he may still break out, but more likely he’ll just be a contributor.  Finally, JHR adds depth, and when he plays with a lot of energy he can make an impact, but he’s also still going to struggle with physical play.  On the offensive boards, Asprilla and Samuels have been most consistent (2.6 and 1.8), JHR has been solid (1.7), and Kelly and Judge have been disappointing (1.5 and 1), especially considering Kelly was our leading offensive rebounder (with Sutton) last year. 

Defense

While the game with Duke wasn’t the greatest (Duke had 1.11 PPP), overall the defense has been solid; very similar to last year’s team.  Opponents have been less efficient (.88 PPP  to .97 last year), gotten less offensive boards (27 OR% to 34), gotten to the FT line less (39.1 FTR to 46.9), all while the Cats force more TOs (25 TO% to 23).  The biggest deficiency is giving up nearly 38% from 3 compared to 34% last year, but overall our eFG% has been comparable (around 47).

Individually, Pullen leads in steals (2.4) and McGruder and Samuels have been solid (1.0 and .8).  JHR and Asprilla both are at 1.4 BPG, but again Kelly has been disappointing (from 2 BPG last year to .5).  McGruder leads on the defensive boards (4.3) followed by Samuels, JHR, Asprilla, and Kelly (4, 3, 2.6, and 2.5).  While you’d like to see the bigs with more, their rebounding rates are probably on par with McGruder, especially considering he has played 10 more MPG than most of them.

I think its safe to say that the team is probably about where you’d expect, especially considering Pullen’s transition to more PG play and Kelly and Samuels each spending time in Frank’s doghouse.  The Duke game exposed some weaknesses;  especially perimeter defense against teams that like to spread with quick guards and consistency in the post.  To be a Big 12 title contender, we need Pullen and McGruder to be consistent scorers on the perimeter (can’t have many nights when both are off like Duke) and 2 posts to step up, most likely Kelly and Samuels on a consistent basis.  Then guys like Irving, Spradling, Russell, Asprilla,  Judge, and JHR need to take turns contributing, stepping up when the “big 4″ are off, etc.  Offensively we’ve got to be more attack oriented and find a way to get to the FT line more (and make them) and take better care of the basketball.  At times our entries have been decent, and it seems we have some post options to catch and score, but we still have too many poor angles and bad passes.  Transition is still a work in progress without Clemente’s speed, but we seem to be finding ways to push the pace with less transition scoring.  There seem to be several options outside Pullen and McGruder on the perimeter, we’ll see how those hold up during the season.

November provided a good month with 2 solid wins and a slightly disappointing loss, but overall the Cats proved to be a Top 5/10 team for the first month.  December will provide more tests, including on the road and neutral sites, that will tells us even more.  Come through without a loss, and we can feel pretty good about this team.  1 loss, maybe 2 to teams like Florida or UNLV will mean we aren’t progressing quite as quickly as hoped, but we’ll still have a chance to contend in the league.  3 losses or more, and it will be time for concern.  I’m expecting 8-0 for the remainder of the OOC, but won’t be surprised with 7-1.

An open letter to goEMAW.com

An open letter to goEMAW.com,

While my husband, and Staff Writer, Scotch McAngus takes great care in constructing an in-depth analysis for each and every KU sporting event, he felt the poetry of goEMAW’s editorial required a more feminine response. With great respect and thanks to Earnest Thayer, please enjoy.

Carson at the Pass

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Wildcat fans that day;
The score stood 7 to 0, with but mere minutes more to play,
And when Jordan Webb fumbled, and James Sims did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only Carson could but get off just a pass—
We’d put up even money now, with Carson on the grass.”

But Jake Laptad blitzed Carson, as did also Justin Springer,
And the former was a hulk, while the latter was a ringer;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy hung;
For there seemed but little chance of Carson getting the ball flung.

But then Kendall threw a cut block, to the wonderment of all,
And Thomas, the magnificent, managed to hang on to the ball;
And when the pile had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
The Wildcats had gained a yard, and the down was only third.

Then from five or ten Wildcat faithful there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the hill,
For Carson, mighty Carson, had another opportunity still.

There was ease in Carson’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Carson’s bearing and a smile lit Carson’s face.
And when he took his position, left hand on his center’s nuts,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt, man that kid had guts.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he as he barked out another play.
Five thousand tongues applauded drowning out what he had to say.
Then while the defensive line was biting at the bit,
Defiance flashed in Carsons eye, a sneer curled Carson’s lip.

And now the pig-skin ball came hurtling through the air,
And Carson stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy receiver the ball unheeded sped —
“Mother fu-,” uttered Carson. “Incomplete pass!” the field judge said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Fourth down! Fourth Down!” shouted someone in the crowd;
And the Jayhawk fans all celebrated, they need only hold for one more down.

With a smile of Christian charity great Carson’s visage shone;
He called another play; he bade the game go on;
He barked out the cadence, a lineman jumped off-side;
Yellow flags filled the air, and Carson beamed with pride.

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!”
But one scornful look from Turner and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that his team wouldn’t jump off-sides again.

The sneer has fled from Carson’s lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
He steps up under center, ready to seal the Jayhawks fate.
And now the young man holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Springer’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Manhattan — mighty Carson’s been knocked out.
– Ginger L. McAngus
October 13, 2010

goEMAW.com Editorial Comment (09/22/2010)

If there is anything that irks a goEMAW man it is poor sanitation, and poor sanitation was in store for those who attended Farmageddon. This unfortunate experience was thanks to the feeble minded and filthy Iowa State supporters. On more than one occaision I witness mothers nursing their young from bins of refuse! The joy! Scurrying through the rubbish as though it were a squirrel, or some other pest, on Christmas morning! By and by the family found the half-eaten filet or pannini thrown away by a Kansas State fan on their way to the game or another tailgate. It was truly a sight to behold! Such foul beasts from the North, with a Skunk River stench to boot! I truly hope that in keeping with the brilliant 21st Century modernity of the Estadio Arrowhead that in the future the Roma of the Plains will be shooed away by security like so many Starlings or Pigeons. I will say that this incident bothered me for several minutes in the first quarter when reflecting upon the filth of the Iowans. That was several minutes too much.

Is he pulling it out to eat it?

goEMAW.com Editorial Comment (09/15/2010)

O’ FALL!  goEMAW reflects and reminisces as it is the time of year.  The winds run be’tween  stalks of the prairie like sand through long, narrow fingers.  These whispers of crinkling, dry and howls of the last, wet-clouded-fu’ry bring home the time of plenty.  Hood’ies-denim-leaves, the last glimpses of tender bosoms; the trumpeting wafts of bratwurst and beef and beer.  It is yet again among us.
goEMAW is so often a place for cynics and empty souls.  On this day, we remember not those who would poke at each dainty freckle of Carson with their angry, sharpened keyboards.  Today we rejoice in our youth and the steady hand of our masterful King.  Oft it is said: “the old make way for the young” and that is the way of the world.  goEMAW sees this as providence, not folly.  So on this day, we ask for the old to provide for the benefit of our youthful purple alliance of hearty souls so that they may feast upon the ranken meats of swamp’d mud of South-by-Southwestr’n Missouri.

The family feast of re-union was unsteady and ner’vy.  Yet on this day, we forgive those trespasses and follow the well worn path that leads to a new pasture, awaiting the flame of the trailblazer; young Daniel.  Let us give thankings, for it is never out of season and the hour eternal, ne’er early or late for such humility and gratitude.

WE DRINK!  EMAW!  WE FEAST!  EMAW!  VICTORY!  EMAW!