How Kansas Knocked Off Duke

Some observations from watching Kansas’ win over Duke to earn a berth to the Final 4:

-Really interesting stuff on how Kansas attacked Duke’s “4-1 Zone” adjustment

-Some of the set plays Kansas ran against Duke’s 2-3

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-Many teams’ zone attack versus Duke focused on throwing the ball to the free throw line and attacking Wendell Carter. Rather than put their 4-man in this area like many teams had, Kansas instead chose the springy 6-5 Legerald Vick. Rather than positioning himself at the free throw line, Vick instead set up a hash or 2 below. Vick’s lower positioning and explosive athleticism gave Carter problems as Vick was closer to the rim than Carter was used to when playing high-post catches. I call this kind of concept “being ralf-pregnant” meaning you’re somewhere in the middle of 2 areas (or even actions/concepts – think about a dribble handoff that’s somewhere between being a DHO and a pick & roll).

-Going into the game, Kansas made it a priority to look for 3’s in transition. Through the game’s first 39 minutes, they were able to find 9 three-pointers before Duke’s defense was able to set up. However, they were able to connect on only 1 of them. Cue the game’s most important possession with Kansas forcing a Duke miss down 72-69 with just over 30 seconds remaining.

-One thing that I thought interesting from a defensive standpoint: Duke had such a decided size advantage at the 4 spot (6’11” Marvin Bagley vs. 6’8″ Svi Mykhailiuk) that they weren’t afraid to switch their guards onto Bagley knowing that they were going to bring a double-team on any Bagley post touch. Interesting logic here by Self: Duke has enough of a size advantage if Mykhailiuk guards him that KU would need to double, so why not try to discourage the ball from getting in there by switching all screens, knowing that KU’s 5-man is coming over for a double-team.

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