Can Anybody Stop These Guys?

By Jerry Palm - April 06, 2008

SAN ANTONIO -- Undoubtedly, that's the question being asked in the Kansas locker room as they look at tapes of the Memphis back court of Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Antonio Anderson. Those three combined for all but 12 of the Tiger points in last night's win over UCLA.

The Bruins have really good defensive guards, but they looked hopeless trying to keep those guys at bay.

Kansas coach Bill Self knows what he's up against. He recruited both CDR and Rose, but obviously with no success.

"Derrick has a gear that very few have, if any," Self said, "and to be that big and that powerful at a young age..."

You can almost imagine him lamenting what he missed out on.

"Chris is shooting the ball much better from the perimeter this year, (but) When you crowd him, he's very good at getting his shoulders past you."

Self obviously isn't going to tell us what his plans are entirely, but he sort of dismissed playing much zone.

"We play two or three possessions of it this year, so I love zone," he said with a chuckle. "But our best defense, though, is playing man-to-man."

He exaggerates slightly. They showed a lot of box-and-one against Davidson star Stephen Curry, and that worked pretty well, but I don't really think a line-and-three defense is a good idea.

He also knows that the key is stopping penetration. "Their whole team is great at getting to the paint. We have to eliminate them getting to the paint because when they get to the paint, then that's how they play and good things generally happen."

Self does have some weapons. Kansas guards are very good defenders, like UCLA's, only bigger. They don't have a guy as big as Rose, but Brandon Rush will be pretty much eye-to-eye with CDR. Self feels that Robinson is the best on-ball defender, Chalmers the best off-ball and anticipating plays, but that Rush is the most solid overall, "because he doesn't gamble every possession like the other two."

Russell Robinson didn't think the size difference is such a big deal. "You can make up for size with toughness,' he said.

Robinson also didn't think only having one day to prepare is a big disadvantage. "They don't run a lot of plays, so we just need to worry about keeping them in front of us."

Brandon Rush seemed more at a loss when it comes to stopping CDR, but he has the same plan. 'I don't know how to guard him," he said, "but I just need to contain him and keep the ball in front of me."

This is one of those things that is a lot easier said than done. Otherwise, Memphis wouldn't be 38-1.

Tiger coach John Calipari expects to be ready for whatever Kansas throws at them. "We've seen 1-3-1, 2-3, 3-2, two-man zone, one-man zone, we've seen box-and-one, triangle-and-two, what else?"

Another key will be making sure that if Kansas does force a missed shot against Memphis, that they get the rebound.

Joey Dorsey had a huge game against UCLA without scoring a point. He had 15 rebounds, six offensive, and while he didn't get any put backs, he gave his team another chance to score. The Jayhawk post players did a good job on Hansbrough, and that kind of effort will be needed again on Monday night.

A great coach once said that "every defensive stop ends with a rebound." If they can get enough of those, they have a chance to walk out of here with the big trophy.

Posted by Jerry Palm at 04:42 PM on April 06, 2008

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