Tag Archives: Marcus Morris

Scouting Report: Big 12 Tourney

10 Mar

Looking at the stat sheet from KU’s narrow victory over Oklahoma State, there are several numbers that stand out and seem to indicate how the Cowboys stayed close and how other opponents (read: Kansas State or Colorado) could do likewise.

The Jayhawks outrebounded the Cowboys 42-36, but the bigger distinction came on the offensive boards, where KU grabbed 18 and OSU only came away with 8. That translated directly to the second chance points scored for each team: 13 for the Jayhawks, and only 4 for the Cowboys.

Moral of the story? Keep the Jayhawks as far from the glass as possible, especially Marcus Morris and Thomas Robinson, who had 10 and 8 rebounds, respectively, against OSU.

Defense also played a huge role in the Cowboys’ near upset, as they held KU to 35.9 percent shooting from the floor. That low number came largely via the team’s 5-of-25 effort from beyond the arc. Guard Elijah Wood in particular had trouble with that range on Thursday; he was 1-of-8 from the floor, and every single one of those shots came from behind the three-point line.

And the lesson here, again: keep the Jayhawks off the boards. One-foot and two-foot shots are much easier to make consistently than ones 25 feet from the hoop. If a team can deny KU the ball in the paint, it has a better chance of limiting its scoring.

This last little word of advice could be helpful or not on any given day because of the nature of the shot. As K-State head coach Frank Martin always says, free throw shooting is all mental, so the Jayhawks could very well come out and shoot 22-28 in the third round, but here’s the observation from this particular game. KU shot just 57.1 percent from the free throw line against the Cowboys. This type of struggling lends itself to the old adage that instead of giving up an easy layup, go ahead and foul the player hard enough that he has to earn those points at the line.

Lastly, the obvious key to success is this: don’t be intimidated. Sure, KU is the No. 2 team in the country, and it has only lost twice this season, but it’s had plenty of close games that could have gone either way. Now that it’s tournament time, who’s to say that one of those close ones won’t fall the other way?

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What Goes Around Comes Around

6 Mar

A week before the NCAA tournament’s Selection Sunday, the Big 12 league office announced this season’s award winners. Among those were Kansas State guards Jacob Pullen and Rodney McGruder. While the news about Pullen is far from shocking, it was a bit more surprising to see McGruder on the list, even though it really shouldn’t be.

Pullen is the first player to be recruited to the Wildcats by head coach Frank Martin and stay at K-State all four years. Certainly, it has been a mutually beneficial relationship. The senior is only the second player in Wildcat history to eclipse the 2,000-point mark, and he was the only first-team repeat selection from last season to this season. Oh, and his selection was unanimous.

McGruder, selected to the third team, has earned every bit of that recognition. While some of the older guys get most of the attention and talk more in press conferences and such, this sophomore has quietly made a huge impact on this team, for much of the season leading the squad in both rebounds and three-pointers. McGruder has been Mr. Consistent this season, the only player to start all 31 games. He scored in double figures in 21 of those.

Player of the Year went to KU’s Marcus Morris, and Coach of the Year went to his coach Bill Self. Texas’ Tristan Thompson earned Freshman of the Year, while his teammate Dogus Balbay won Defensive Player of the Year. Newcomer of the Year went to MU’s Ricardo Ratliffe, while Baylor’s Quincy Acy and Colorado’s Levi Knutson shared the Sixth Man Award.

Looking at the honors across the board, it’s interesting to see that the Wildcats are in the company of KU and Texas as far as award-winning players. In just a few days, we’ll get to see just how much all those awards are worth.