Kentucky and Duke took steps towards another National Title birth on Tuesday with wins over Michigan State and Kansas. Time to overreact!
I’m imploring you to do so because it’s been so long since we’ve had college basketball in our lives again. Michigan State is CLEARLY done for the year. Kansas is totally shot. Duke has a great defensive team. And Tyrese Maxey is headed to the NBA as a lottery pick.
Obviously I am clearly kidding. However, you can infer a couple of things about these early games.
Duke already has an identity. Sophomore Tre Jones is a tenacious perimeter defender and it seems like everyone is falling in line. Jones has work to do as a shooter, really the whole team does. But it’s good to see that Duke is already locked in on the defensive end.
Meanwhile, Kansas need some work offensively. The floor spacing on that end of the floor doesn’t look quite right at this moment.
I’m working on something on the KU two-big lineup, but I had to share this. Devon Dotson has McCormack for a lob, Doke is open rolling to the and he throws a pass as if a 7-foot center is going to fade to the corner?
Put another way, KU’s issue isn’t just the four spot … pic.twitter.com/5EVVSPnn9F
— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) November 7, 2019
(Rob Dauster joined Jeff Goodman on Good ‘N plenty this week to break down the two games and more.)
The are benefits to playing two-big lineups. You dominate the glass on both ends and can control tempo, you get more/better looks at the rim, and you deter other teams from going inside. The problem is you also lend yourself to lots of clutter early on in the year. This seems to be an issue for Kansas.
Fast-forward to the second game and we saw a breakout performance from freshman Tyrese Maxey. Maxey attacked off the dribbled, showed his touch, and knocked down some outside shots to propel his team to a 69-62. We all know that Kentucky is November is different than Kentucky in February. It takes a while for this team to gel because of how many freshman they have. Maxey coming out and giving them a spark off the bench is HUGE for the Wildcats going forward.
You could make a similar statement about Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team. They ALWAYS front-load their schedule to get the team battle tested before conference play. However, playing a team like Kentucky early on might show that Cassius Winston needs significant help for Sparty to make a deep run into March-April.
Jeff Goodman and Rob Dauster go through all the early games and give you the big storylines from Day One. Make sure you subscribe to the show on iTunes and Stitcher! And make sure you follow Jeff on Twitter here!
2:27 Dodson is the only guy that can make plays for Kansas
10:08 Duke’s team already has great chemistry
15:27 Tyrese Maxey was the best player on the floor that night
27:00 Is there a dominant team this year?
30:31 Three biggest takeaways from opening night