Kansas Jayhawks Basketball: 2 Plays That Won It for Kansas vs. Missouri
It’s not every day a coach wins a game for his team, but Bill Self deserves a ton of credit for his team picking up a key win on Saturday against Missouri.
Bill Self is one of the best coaches in the game of college basketball. Self has been an assistant coach since 1985, working under other greats such as Larry Brown, Leonard Hamilton and Eddie Sutton. All of his experience and the amount of victories he has really showed up in key games, like the one on Saturday against Missouri.
Self’s Kansas Jayhawks edged out the Missouri Tigers in overtime, 87-86. When the Jayhawks were trailing by three with the game coming towards the end in regulation, Thomas Robinson picked up a key bucket. Robinson was also fouled on the play and drained the game-tying free throw to send it to overtime.
In overtime, Tyshawn Taylor was the man who gave the Jayhawks the lead with the clock ticking down. While both were solid buckets that required proper execution by all the players involved, it was a brilliant design by Bill Self.
The worst part for Missouri was that both scores came off the same look.
The Set-Up: Regulation
Purple Square—Ball Switch
Kansas is down by three but has plenty of time left on the clock with 22.8 seconds remaining. The beginning of the set-up shows that the Jayhawks were looking for and willing to shoot the three.
Guard Elijah Johnson ball switches with guard Tyshawn Taylor at the top of the right wing. Forward Thomas Robinson is set-up at the top to set a screen for Taylor as he cycles around, ideally opening up a shot for the Jayhawks' best three-point shooter.
Missouri guard Matt Pressey does a great job of getting around Thomas Robinson and sticking right with Taylor. Luckily for Kansas though, they have not pigeonholed themselves on this play and have more options.
The Second Look for Three
With Matt Pressey draped all over Tyshawn Taylor, they need to go somewhere else.
Thomas Robinson moves into the high post area to set an off-ball screen for Elijah Johnson, who is going to stop and receive the ball right around the “J” on the court.
They are still trying to pick up a three-point shot here. With Robinson setting the off-ball screen, the design is to get Johnson open at the top of the wing for the trey.
Again though, Missouri does a great job getting around Robinson’s screen, as guard Michael Dixon is able to stays right on Johnson. The play is not over yet though.
Elijah Johnson does an excellent job of realizing the three isn’t there, that time is running down—19 seconds to go—and that they need to simply get a basket. This is all part of the plan under Bill Self though.
Johnson puts his head down and makes a move towards the basket.
After Thomas Robinson’s off-ball screen on Dixon, T-Rob rolled slightly but basically stayed in the same position he was in so that he could be well positioned for what is about to come.
Elijah Johnson forces the issue on Missouri center Steve Moore, causing Moore to step up on Johnson, leaving Robinson open for the bucket. Robinson was also fouled on the play, which is what led to the game being tied.
This was a brilliant concept by Bill Self as well as a flawless execution on the part of the Kansas players. The play is set up to give two looks for a three, but with neither being open, there is a still a design to get points.
While the Jayhawks did get lucky Robinson was fouled, imagine if they had heaved up a contested three and picked up no points in the possession. Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson both displayed incredible basketball IQ by not forcing a shot.
Even if there had not been a foul, they still would have managed to get two points, which would put more pressure on Missouri to make their free throws at the other end.
The best part is that this isn’t the last time we would see this set-up.
The Set-Up: Overtime
Kansas is setting up in the exact same manner as they did with the play at the end of regulation. They are down 84-83 in overtime with only 31.8 seconds to go. In other words, they need to score.
The same three players from the play at the end of regulation—Elijah Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson—are going to be the keys to this one and have an “X” on them in the picture. The only key difference in personnel is on the Missouri side, where you see Phil Pressey on Taylor this time instead of brother Matt.
Johnson brings the ball up the court. Robinson is set up on the right wing, getting ready to set a screen. Tyshawn Taylor is in right on the sideline, the same spot he was in previously.
Johnson and Taylor are going to head in the same exact directions, toward a ball switch at the top right wing, just like at the end of regulation. Robinson will be there yet again to set a screen as well.
However, this play isn’t going to go the same way as it last time.
Here is where the Bill Self genius comes in. This play is the counter to the one at the end of regulation.
Everything is going the same way it did at the end of regulation. Thomas Robinson is ready to set the screen and Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor are heading for the ball switch.
All of sudden, Taylor cuts to the basket. Taylor does an excellent job of selling the play with a nice false step towards Johnson and then explodes the other way.
Tyshawn Taylor is simply wide open after the cut. The Missouri defense was following the flow of the play at the end of regulation. The set-up was the same, the players were the same and everything looked identical.
Bill Self had an ace up his sleeve here though. The original play design was brilliant. The counter to it was simple yet beautiful and a great call to make when they needed to score in overtime.
Jayhawks Are a Contender
This entire game really showed that this Kansas Jayhawks team is capable of winning it all.
They were down big at one point, but never gave up. They showed unbelievable resilience to battle back. Not enough can be said about how big of a win this was for the Jayhawks.
Plays like these show it’s not just about players, but also about the coaches. Bill Self is a master of his craft and it was as evident in this game as it has ever been.
With Bill Self calling the shots and big man—arguably National Player of the Year—Thomas Robinson leading the way, the Jayhawks are a legitimate contender with ambitions of adding another national title to the Kansas program's storied tradition.
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