When Coach Pastner calls for our pregame chat, this is what I'll advise him:
1. Work the Clock.
It’s wisdom as old as Dr. Naismith’s peach baskets. When facing a superior opponent, limit the opponent’s possessions. Well, the shot clock killed Dean Smith’s four-corners for good, but it doesn’t mean this strategy can’t hold, at least to some degree. Seldom in their opener last Friday did the Tigers see 10 seconds left on the shot clock. Playing with a shortened — by two standards — roster that requires “small ball,” the U of M pushed their offense against Jackson State, with everyone from Willie Kemp to Wesley Witherspoon applying pedal to metal.
Won’t work against Kansas. In fact, it will backfire. Holding on to the ball 20 seconds instead of 10, over the course of 40 minutes of play can mean 20 to 30 fewer shots for the Jayhawks. The Tigers would do well tonight to make an extra pass. No way will they enjoy a 48-13 advantage in free-throw attempts as they did against JSU.
2. Keep the two-headed monster on the floor.
This particular key will grow redundant as the season unfolds. Pierre Henderson-Niles and Will Coleman are this team’s size and strength. When they get in foul trouble, opposing teams will attack the rim with impunity, and extend their defense to harass the Tigers’ perimeter threats. The two Tiger big men each had only one foul in the opener. Kansas center Cole Aldrich will be the duo’s first real challenge of the season.
3. The Sallie-Mack Attack.
If the Tigers’ two most potent three-point threats can both find their range, a three-party might break out that can close the gap between Goliath and David. Both Roburt Sallie and Doneal Mack have been inconsistent from downtown. Tonight would be a good night to get hot.