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Kansas State Basketball: Bruce Going With the K.I.S.S. Approach Pays Off

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Sometimes your guy is better than their guy and you should let him score.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

I wanted to get this out earlier in the week, but alas, your boy has been stricken with not Covid (according to whatever cells they scraped off my brain stem) but something that made me lay in bed for five days pondering my own mortality. I’m riding high on cold meds and coffee today and thought this would be fun. Hope you enjoy reading (and looking at) this as much as enjoyed making it.

Watching Mark Smith terrorize Texas is a nice warm up for the Kansas game, and could shed some light on what to expect today. I was skeptical when Bruce started talking about changing up the offense against Texas, but he did this just that. Kansas State picked out advantageous match-ups and attacked off the bounce more than I’ve ever seen. It helps to have a grown man like Mark Smith on your roster, because you need someone who can finish at the rim for this to work, and Mark Smith is a grown ass man.

Clear Out In-Bounds

Key

Kansas State

Purple Circle: Mark Smith

Yellow Circle: Markquis Nowell

Blue Circle: Davion Bradford

Texas

Orange Square: Brock Cunningham

Red Square: Tre Mitchell

Green Square: Marcus Carr

Set Up

Kanas State clears out the left side of the court for Mark Smith (purple circle) because he’s grown man strong. He’s got 6’6” Brock Cunningham (orange circle) trying to guard him, and that’s a mismatch all day.

Nowell (yellow circle) is in charge of getting the ball in to Smith. This is tricky because 6’9” center Tre Mitchell is guarding the inbounds pass.

Bradford (blue circle) is clearing all the way out, but he’s being guarded by 6’2” Marcus Carr (green square). I assume this allows Mitchell (the Texas center) to make the inbound pass more difficult, but this must be some big brained defensive guru stuff because I personally would not let my best offensive player guard the other team’s 7’0” center in the post. Then again, I’m sitting in my pajamas writing this, so I’ll defer to Chris Beard.

Clear Out

Bruce had this thing scouted because he runs Nowell (yellow circle) straight out of the play, taking Mitchell (orange square), the Longhorn rim protector with him. That leaves Bradford (blue circle) on an island with their point guard (green square).

Now it’s up to Smith (purple circle) to beat his man. This is simple, effective basketball. Find the matchup you want, clear out a side, and let your man cook.

Longhorn...Well Done Please.

Cunningham (orange square) and I have similar chances of staying in front of Mark Smith (purple circle). In fact, I would have simply grabbed Smith, admitted defeat and moved on with the game, but Cunningham decides to try and block the shot from behind (because he’s already been cooked).

Smith has a choice to make. He can either dump the ball off to Bradford (blue circle) for the dunk and risk Carr (green square) getting his hand in the way, or he can finish strong like the 12-year college basketball veteran he is.

Carr (green circle) is inside the restricted area, so he can’t take the charge. I like the choice Smith makes on the play, because as I’ve mentioned....he’s a grown ass man.

Two the Easy Way

Smith pulls the sexy lefty finish out of the bag.

And takes two....leaving a Longhorn crumpled on the floor.

Bradford in position to dunk home a miss, but my man Mark isn’t missing this opportunity.