While we’re here, let me clear a few things up. I don’t think this is a Final Four team — in fact, I’ve never thought that. I believe in this squad though, I think it can get to the Sweet 16.
I think Markel has developed into an All-Big 12 player and I think Smart is one of the best 10 guys in the country. That doesn’t mean I think Ford is the second coming, but man, I feel like y’all will find anything and everything to get pissed about when we don’t roll over teams by 40 points.
Iowa State is a good team.
Kansas State, Baylor, and OU are all good teams. All four will probably make the tournament. There’s no shame in winning a tight one at home or losing on the road to those squads.
This isn’t Lexington, it never was, never will be. We’re trying to build something here. I’ve been plenty critical of Ford in the past but as OKC Dave noted in the comments this morning, this team goes hard for him — it’s tough for me to be overly critical when they go as hard as they did last night.
Back on track here. I want to look at the Forte four-point play with some screenshots.
Let’s set the stage. You have Forte in the corner with Gardner handling the ball up top and Nash walking over to screen Gardner.
After Nash sets the screen the guy I’ve circled has a choice, he can either pick up Gardner (who is now beating his guy) or stay on Nash. As you’ll see in the next shot, he heads towards Gardner.
Look at the space between Nash and his guy (the arrows) — he plays way off of him and even cheats over a little bit to pick up Gardner who is now driving down the middle of the lane.
Now Gardner is essentially being double teamed from in front and behind. Nash heads to the corner to screen for Forte.
Here’s the beauty of this play. Forte’s guy (circled below) has to choose between going over the top of Nash to guard Forte on the three or staying with Nash so Gardner doesn’t hit him back door for the easy lay up. Good on Nash for heading to the hoop.
He chooses to stay home and Forte gets an open look. Gardner actually released the pass probably a little too soon (watch the video below) but it worked out. I can’t wait until people start overplaying Forte’ on the three point line so Nash can slip in the back door for an easy bucket.
Here’s the full play.