KU Basketball Spoils Homecoming for Haase, Defeats Stanford


KU basketball spoiled former Jayhawk Jerod Haase’s homecoming, beating the Cardinal 89-74. Here are my takeaways.

The front line showed progress.

The stat lines won’t wow you, but KU basketball’s frontcourt tandem Landen Lucas and Carlton Bragg looked about as good as they have all season. Lucas finished with eight points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. He looked much more active and explosive than he has most of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he reclaims the starting job soon.

Bragg was active as well, and showed the nice shooting touch we’ve come to expect from the sophomore. He was active on the boards as well, pulling down six rebounds to go along with seven points. Udoka Azubuike looked lost for the most part. The seven footer only played 11 minutes, and picked up four fouls.

Defensively, the frontline struggled mightily. All four bigs who played double-digit minutes had at least three fouls, and allowed Stanford’s star big man, Reid Travis, to go wild. Travis lived at the line, making 19-22 and scoring 29 overall. The 22 attempts are the most any player has ever taken against the Jayhawks. KU’s consistent inability to defend scoring big men is my biggest concern moving forward.

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This is the best passing team Self has ever had.

At any one time, Kansas has four players on the court who are good passers. Josh Jackson is the best of the bunch, but Devonte Graham is very capable in his own right. The two assisted on several highlight reel plays, including a thunderous jam from Udoka Azubuike with Jackson assisting. The best play of the game came from Graham, whose brilliant headfake set up the lob to Jackson. Get used to seeing these from the Jayhawks.

We also saw the return of Bill Self’s legendary high-low sets. Landen Lucas, for all his faults, still is very adept at sealing on the block and receiving the entry pass. Bragg is an excellent passer out of the high post as well. Lucas had a couple nice plays on the block, set up by solid entry passes from Bragg and Jackson.

It may also be one of the deepest (in the backcourt, anyway).

The Jayhawks have five guards who could start for anyone in the country. Mason hit his season average with 20, and Graham shot the lights out, hitting 5-8 three’s in the first half. In the second half, Svi Mykhailiuk took over for a stretch, scoring 10 straight points for the Jayhawks, including two three’s. Lagerald Vick was quiet, only scoring eight points, but defended really well and made 2-3 from beyond the arc.

The small lineup, with four guards, allows KU to run as fast as anyone in the country and get great spacing on offense. Jackson and Vick’s versatility allows the Jayhawks to defend at a high level for a small team as well. That lineup will be a matchup problem for anyone in the country. All four are at least good shooters, and can defend multiple positions as well.

Bottom line

This was a solid, if unspectacular win for the Jayhawks. Stanford is a solid team, and 89 points is a lot. The frontline was better, but still has a long way to go, since Travis outscored all of KU’s frontcourt combined. If the backcourt continues to play at this level, the sky is the limit.