The first of two exhibition games for Kansas/Team USA against Team Canada took place Tuesday night at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, MO. The Jayhawks battled past a scrappy and offensively talented Canadian team, 91-83.
Thanks to Frank Mason’s 28 points–22 coming in the second half–Kansas, representing the United States at the World University Games next month, took out Team Canada in front of a nice crowd in attendance for an extraordinarily early KU basketball game.
Perry Ellis added 17 points and 8 rebounds for KU, who is playing without four players expected to get major minutes this season–Devonte Graham (injury), Brannen Greene (injury), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (non-American), and freshman Chieck Diallo (non-American).
In their place, Bill Self and his staff are borrowing SMU’s Nic Moore, and Florida Gulf Coast’s Julian DuBose, who will play with KU through the end of the World games, which close on July 13th.
A change for not only the players and coaches, but fans as well are FIBA rules, which change the complexion of the game fairly significantly.
The 24-second shot clock and four 10-minute quarters are the two more glaring changes. Players allowed to tip in shots still on the rim without offensive goaltending is another important change the Kansas coaching staff has focused on.
Offensively, the Jayhawks are looking to get up court much quicker and have to initiate offensive sets much earlier in the shot clock in order to give themselves time to rotate the ball from side to side and run plays.
With a guard like Mason, who is great at taking his defender one-on-one, the shorter shot-clock works in his favor when pressing the ball up.
Defensively, the Jayhawks must get back down court and get set as the opposing team will look to attack just as quickly on the offensive end.
As a whole, the FIBA rules should help Kansas transition to the new 30-second shot clock for the upcoming season and get the offense accustomed to getting into its sets much faster, which means players will look to get out and run, something fans will certainly enjoy.
Friday, KU will once again take the court against Team Canada in front of what should be a much bigger crowd to kick off the weekend. Kansas will likely play a much better game now that it has one under its belt for the first time since last season ended with an upset loss to Wichita State.
Haven’t purchased tickets for Friday’s game yet? Visit www.ticketsforless.com for the best deals on the best seats at the Sprint Center to cheer on the Jayhawks and Team USA.