Ok, that was super fun. The Maui Final was like, seven games within one. It was played on a court with lines befitting shuffleboard, not college basketball. Marcus Garrett got forced off the court because of foul trouble, only to come back and save the day, I will argue. The officiating… Good God. The officiating, throughout the week, made regular college basketball officiating look downright surgical by comparison. My guy Spence Dinwiddie said it’s harder to score in college than it is in the pros, and it’s as if these dudes were hellbent on proving him right. However, some jello-level rims on the baskets kept the buckets rolling. For instance, this flex marathon of an Obi Toppin three, complete with a pre-cognitive bench staredown that would make even Steph Curry blush.
I love it, honestly. (And I admit that it *didn’t* hit the rim which makes it kind of irrelevant to my previous point but I had to include it!)
The groupchat was absolutely pounding Udoka Azubuike early, and for good reason—he looked creaky, hesitant, and constantly out of position on defense. Force-feeding Doke early in the game was patently Not It. But, KU found a rhythm running off of ball-screens. Dayton, incapable of staying in front of Devon Dotson—for all intents and purposes Devon Dotson was Ja Morant in this game—switched everything, which gave KU a platter of mismatch options. In the second half and especially in overtime, KU ate up smaller forwards forced to try and stop Doke’s bullrush to the rim. It did not work.
Dayton is good—this is not the last we’ve heard of Dayton. But it was a great test for the Jayhawks and a great result. While it’d be nice to have a few more go-to actions late in the game, riding Dotson off of ball-screens is an extremely sustainable concept. I’d love to see Agbaji and Garrett do a little more with their drives—Agbaji can look indecisive, even though his first step looks unstoppable—but he appeared a few times for big buckets.
HOT DAMN! That was fun. The road to December begins in November. Marcus Garrett for Wooden.