Extending the Huskies' 2-3 zone defense to contain the Jayhawks from long range, Hopkins surmised, could give them a puncher's chance.
That is changing under seventh-year head coach head coach Porter Moser, as the Ramblers went on the road to Gainesville, Florida Wednesday night and bumped off the fifth-ranked Florida Gators by a 65-59 score and improved to 9-1 for the season. Azubuike played just 11 games in 2016-17 before a wrist injury ended his freshman season.
"We've got a good little win streak and that builds up everybody's confidence", junior point guard David Crisp said.
Idaho 91, Washington State 64: Brayon Blake scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Victor Sanders added 19 points and the Vandals blew out the Cougars.
In case anyone thinks their inefficiency on offense was totally to blame, Self clarified that "our defense was horrendous and our hustle plays weren't good either".
The Huskies turned the ball over fewer times than the Jayhawks, having led the entire second half after taking a 36-34 lead into the break.
At 7-foot-2, Azubuike should have a fine time against Washington. The Huskies were never again threatened. OR claimed an Elite Eight win over Kansas in last year's NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center, where the Jayhawks have lost three of their last four.
"You can't hope that they miss", Hopkins said.
"For us, it was, here's the answers to the test", Hopkins said of his conversations with two Syracuse assistants.
Primarily, Hopkins stretched the zone to take away the three-pointer. Graham also scored three points in last year's NCAA defeat to Oregon. "So we've had to adapt and adjust and figure that out, and the experience of those other games allowed these guys (to have some success against Kansas)". "We can't count on the crowd to bring our energy and get stops". Alongside a pair of freshmen in guard Jaylen Nowell and forward Hameir Wright, Washington suddenly possesses a dominant group of lengthy defenders.
"From the beginning of the season it was on us, we knew it was going to be on us to believe in us and we weren't going to have a lot of help on our side", Thybulle said.
The Huskies are officially ahead of schedule now after being picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 in the preseason.
The Kansas basketball live stream versus the Washington Huskies can be seen on WatchESPN if your cable subscription includes ESPN.
- Last season the Jayhawks finished 31-5 and ended the season with a defeat to OR in the NCAA tournament Elite Eight.
In spite of a defensive effort that held Kansas to 45.2 percent shooting, well below the 53.5 percent clip the Jayhawks had coming in, Hopkins credited his offense. Kansas' 0.591 effective field goal percentage was their biggest strength over Syracuse, who had a rate of 0.375. The Jayhawks (7-0) are, obviously, a very different challenge. He didn't get into the game.
The 2-3 zone the Huskies used was the second such look KU explored in as many games, but tweaked considerably by Hopkins, who spent 22 seasons alongside Jim Boeheim. The two losses thus far for the Huskies this season came to Providence and Virginia Tech.
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