So which one of the Morris twins is better, and expected to be a lottery pick?
We used to say that was Marcus. They're the same size but Marcus had apparently developed his game a little quicker, was picked by some as a preseason national player of the year candidate and seemed to get most of the attention. But these days Markieff is no slouch (not that he ever was).
Markieff has had an interesting three-game stretch that started with an all-time low and ended with an all-time high.
Last week, KU was blown out against Kansas State and Markieff's struggles were highlighted as he scored just three points, zero rebounds in 20 minutes. Markieff would later say, "I feel like I wasn't in the Kansas State game." There's not much else you can say about that game other than that one of the best players on the team simply can't disappear in a game like that. It was disappointing (as was that entire night).
That was on a Monday. By Saturday, Markieff responded with a career day against Colorado scoring 26 points on 8-of-10 shooting and 15 rebounds. I attended the game and, from the stands, he looked like a beast man among boys. It was almost to the point where it was unfair. Markieff didn't just have a good game -- he was pushing everyone else throughout the week to do the same, Marcus said.
"I could tell that he was going to play well based on the way that he was practicing. He was totally dominating in practice and was dunking everything around the rim. Like coach said, practice refers to the game and that's exactly how he played. He dominated in practice, and he dominated in the game."
Bill Self and other players said similar things regarding Markieff's practice following that Colorado game. Markieff followed that up with 15 points and four boards in 21 minutes of play against Oklahoma State on Monday night. Following the game, Marcus once again pointed to Markieff as the reason for much of their motivation.
"Honestly, you have to give a lot of credit to Markieff because I think that he is really starting to step up and becoming a leader of this team," Marcus said after the game. "He's been pushing everybody these past couple of weeks since the K-State loss. You can tell after that game that he's a different player, and I think that is motivating everybody to do extra."
The two game tally is 41 points and 19 rebounds in 50 minutes of play. When the twins are playing well together, Kansas is nearly unbeatable. They're bigger and stronger than everyone else and, surprisingly athletic, so they make KU that much tougher to beat. KU's best is better than anyone else in the country with these two, and that's even more magnified when Markieff is playing like this.
As we said, in the preseason it was Marcus who was getting most of the attention. These days? Well, here's what Oklahoma State's Marshall Moses said Monday night.
"They are really good defensively. They can guard. I didn't even know a lot of times which one was guarding me, whether it was Marcus or Markieff. Kansas as a whole is a really good defensive team. If you make a mistake offensively, they make you pay for it. The Morris twins were both really good offensively and defensively."