Why we lost in Ames and how bad it hurt us

  • I’ve liked our chances of winning Big 12 #11 since our first game. I’ve liked our chances because as I put it: “Kansas knows how to win it.”

    I still have my doubts that any other team in this conference knows how to win enough games to secure the crown outright.

    But we really missed an opportunity in Ames yesterday. I was expecting a Kansas victory.

    ISU is nothing near the team they were one year ago. They are very much over-hyped.

    The really sad part of our loss yesterday is that all we had to do is play reasonably well to win it. We were beat by a completely inferior team and we (once again) came unprepared to play.

    Before tip-off, Jay Bilas said the key for an ISU victory was to get out and run and score in the open court. Boy was he right! And if Jay knew it, why didn’t our coaching staff know it? Why weren’t we prepared to run?

    Why weren’t we prepared to face the screaming fans of an away game?

    Perry was ready. He still made mistakes, but when was the last time Perry lead the team with energy? Right…

    This is a coaching flaw. There are many things coaches should do to prepare a young team to go into enemy territory for a game, and we clearly did not do the basics. This is very basic coaching.

    Here is what coaches are supposed to do to prepare their team for key away games:

    1. Scout and prepare. You know what they are going to run, and you go over it and over it. With every repetition your players get it engrained in their skulls to come second-nature, while picking up plenty of confidence through the repetition.

    2. Pregame focus. I always prefer teams to come in on a bus. It’s a longer trip and their can be a fatigue factor, but it is an opportunity for “team time” and the players and coaches to gel. This is time to focus on each other. To increase communication skills and focus. This is vital. This is supposed to roll the focus right through the game. It is vital that you have team focus before entering the arena. This is not a time for players to role up with their headphones and zone out!

    3. Game focus. All of our guys should be in a focus bubble before the game, and they should be taught to focus on each other during the game, and not the hostile environment. It takes some effort and discipline, but this is how you win in a hostile environment.

    4. Players and coaches talk during the game. This, once again, is vital. You have to have your guys talking to each other, and keeping the focus on the game, their strategy and each other. Players will focus on something, and the last thing you want is for every player to be left on their own because the focus will turn to the crowd. Players should be talking to each other a lot more during these games than their home games. Lots of communication is vital to winning on the road.

    5. Good body language. We had bad body language. And for the good aspects of Perry’s game yesterday, he countered it with bad body language. I often saw his head down. You can’t do that! Other players had bad body language, too.

    I know this is a young team. But they weren’t prepared with the basics. They didn’t even run offense. Self said it. They abandoned trying to do what the coaches told them to do… because they were already lost in the sea of ISU fandom.

    This is very frustrating to watch, because I see the great bond these players have with each other, and the awesome skills. The pieces are there for #11, but I have more doubts after this game than I had before.

    So… it remains, that other teams in this league don’t know how to win it… but do we?

  • @drgnslayr

    You said it all at the bottom, I know this is a young team.

    This is how young teams play on the road. This is how young teams play in the tournament.

    Hoiberg does a great job of exploiting advantages, and it doesn’t hurt when in any given lineup he had at least 4 shooters on the floor. Niang is a hard matchup, Jones is a grizzled big guard. Hogue bangs inside but also has good touch outside. Long shoots from halfcourt. The list goes on and on. Did we react well to the pace of the game, no we were sped up and pushed around a good bit. Their best game was barely better than our worst game at home. Roles reversed in 4 games I say we win easy because we will have our own home court magic on our side.

    We got outcoached last night, we played like crap for big chunks and lost because of it.

    All we can do is regroup and get ready to hold serve against an equally good team tomm. If we can’t hold our own court, we have serious issues. Which Jayhawks show up??

  • I am on the record saying that 14-4 will likely win the conference (maybe even 12-6) and holding home court advantage is critical. I thought that Texas. ISU, OU, Baylor and West Virginia were all not just potential but likely loses. I wish KU would have won yesterday but at this point I am not too concerned.

  • @drgnslayr It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that some guys just don’t care about playing defense enough to walk the walk. HS & AAU prima donnas like to score & that is by & large the emphasis at those levels. Score more pts than the other guys?-OK then we win. It’s becoming more & more prevalent every season that the game is evolving in this manner, & IMO, sadly & quite unfortunately. Bus rides for team time? What? This is twitter, facebook, & intagram time slayr, bus ride BS is like me & you-old as the hills & twice as dusty.

  • I was wrong. I had KU by 5, but as I typed it I knew it was going to be a tough environment to get out of there with a win. Nothing wrong with wanting your team to win and having faith in them. Got to get the next one on our court. Rock Chalk.

  • @globaljaybird great pts, but don’t forget our best 2 defenders last year, were OAD guys. By far the best! Wigs is having a terrific year, and players that don’t think you have to play D to make the NBA, the wolves are putting Wigs on the best offensive guy. When Self recruits players, they know, to play for KU, you have to play D and you have to play hard! We may think we were hustling back on D, but when they see film, they will see, that was not hustle.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yeah true, but Wigs & Joel were OADs with athletic skills unequaled by 98 pct of all CBB. KO may be in the 90pct range but no one else on this team is that close.

  • @drgnslayr Man…Perry is one of the very few bright spots and you still can’t help getting in a few digs at the guy. It’s starting to feel like a mob mentality on this site with everyone’s criticisms of the guy. Not saying the guy is above criticism, but he’s the only player to be mentioned in your post by name, once in a negative light (body language), and the other a backhanded compliment (being ready, made mistakes/energy). And I don’t mean for this to come off as a personal attack on you. I’ve seen other posters bash him after last night too. Someone said something to the effect of “yeah he had a good game, but he’ll disappear in the next one…”. Sorry, that’s not verbatim and I’m not gonna track it down, but you get my point. Just think we should hope he keeps that momentum going rather than nitpicking a good performance.

    And I don’t know that quoting Bilas from last night proves anything, as he repeated said we needed to get the ball inside even though that isn’t one of our strengths. Someone else mentioned ESPN referencing our dominant front court. It’s like they’re using the same old talking points, or just looking down and seeing Perry leading our team in scoring (or being second to Mason, as is now the case) and deciding it must be because we’ve been so good with our post play. Generally I like Bilas; he calls it like he sees it, especially with the refs when so many of his colleagues parse their words on the subject. But the last couple of years he’s become arrogant (or more arrogant) and I think sometimes he acts a bit too much like an ESPN celebrity and perhaps isn’t doing his homework as much as he did in the past. Still take him over Vitale!

    To your question, I think we know how to win it. Last night didn’t shake that too much for me. Not sure why you think ISU is overhyped. It’s basically the same team as last year, minus Kane but plus a new crop of transfers. Ames is the second toughest venue in the league, after AFH. In my book Hoiberg is the second best coach in the league. It took 50% shooting at home to beat us by 5. Because it was so close it feels and qualifies as a missed opportunity, but hey…at least they weren’t blown out by 30 and don’t have to transfer far away 🙂

  • I was expecting a win yesterday too. I kept waiting for Cliff to check in during the second half and that never happened. So, I don’t know what’s up with the chemistry of the team (including Self) but it sure stunk in that game, and we still had a shot to win it at the end. I guess we’ll see tomorrow if Self’s head games are working, but the process is not fun to watch in the OAD era.

  • @icthawkfan316

    You are absolutely spot on. Perry seems to be a favorite target and so are Selden and Traylor and of course, Coach Self. A few days ago I posted my version of the “whack-a-hawk” game that seems to be the favorite game of some posters.

    I know that we don’t need to be homers all the time, but posting only about the negatives does not make a poster objective or unbiased; posting both sides does. I tend to concentrate on the positive aspects since I know there are plenty of comments on the other side to more than offset my “crimson and blue” colored opinions.

    I agree on the commentators, and I posted before that the only one that seems to have current information on KU is Fran Frascilla; I believe he is ESPN"s Big 12 analyst. The others just point out dated information. I understand that they cannot keep up with every little detail of every team, but their research team with all the ESPN resources should be able to provide up to date information…on the other hand, they seemed to have every little detail on Hoiberg going back to his days as a ball boy at ISU and they also kept pumping out information on Kentucky all day long.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Yeah I loved your whack-a-hawk picture you made. Good stuff.

    As to Perry, I get that maybe he hasn’t lived up to everyone’s expectations. Part of it is that so many of us followed his pre-KU career for a long time, and just want him to succeed so much that when he stumbles we are overly critical. Kind of like coaching your own kid in little league - we feel we have more of an emotional investment in the guy. So like the parent/coach, we are harder on him than other players. Part of it is the guys who have came before him set the bar very high, particularly the guy who immediately preceded him - TRob. And Perry doesn’t fit the same mold as TRob or either of the Morris twins. He’s probably the most finesse 4 we’ve had under Self. Doesn’t make him a bad player, but because he doesn’t fit our stereotype of the Self 4 man, he routinely gets labeled as soft.

    So while Perry is definitely more finesse than other 4s, I’ll offer this in his defense - has there ever been a post player paired with a more inadequate front court partner as Ellis has been, or front court teammates even? The only times that compare are Withey being paired with Kevin Young, and Simien his senior year with Christian Moody. TRob had Withey, the Morris twins had each other with TRob off the bench, and prior to that had Cole. Shady and Jackson had each other with Kaun & Cole backing them up. Etc. Perry has an even more so undersized Jamari Traylor, an under-skilled Landon Lucas, afterthought Hunter Mickelson, and another smaller 4 freshman in Cliff that has yet to truly click. He probably hasn’t been able to develop good chemistry with any of them.

    My hope is that Cliff does finally “get it”, and soon. He’s the only guy that can help make Perry a better player. He’s the only one who can help shoulder some of the load down low that will allow Perry to play more within himself and not trying to carry the torch for our entire post scoring and rebounding.

  • @icthawkfan316

    Again, you have it right; unfortunately both Perry and Alexander are playing out of position. Perry should be playing the 3 and Alexander the 4, but now because of need, they have been shifted to PF and Center where they are undersized and not performing as well as they could, Having said that, Perry had very good game in my opinion, particularly since he played on 7 minutes in the first half when he was playing great and had 7 of KU"s first 10 points.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I don’t think I’d go so far as to call Perry a 3, or say that he should be playing the 3. He’s a stretch 4, and should be used as such. I definitely don’t think he is playing the 4 out of need. If he was a 3 and we had a stacked front line, Perry wouldn’t be playing at all I don’t think. He’s not a better 3 than Oubre; he’s not a better 3 than Wiggins was. And he’s not as good as Releford was. Would he play over Brannen, or Svi? I don’t know, maybe, but I just don’t see him as a 3. Maybe had he been coached and groomed as a 3 in high school and then to begin his college career it would be so.

    I think Perry & Alexander could succeed, but they need more height/defense backing them up. Like Shady and Darnell had with Kaun & Cole. And Shady & Darnell were a year further into their college careers than Cliff & Perry (sophomore/senior vs. freshman/junior).

  • @icthawkfan316

    You are right… and I still had my dig in for Perry.

    I am part of the mob that gets down on Perry.

    No one was more thrilled than I when he signed with KU. I saw the potential with him in his first year at Wichita Heights.

    I stay on Perry for Perry. We haven’t seen anything he is capable of doing. He is capable of leading this team to a NC… but not from the Perry we’ve experienced. Not even glimpses of his game.

    There is so much more in him and how is he ever going to bring it out? How? By everyone patting him on the back and “encouraging” him?

    Self has it exactly right. Perry is too nice. He should finish that sentence… Perry is too nice to ever be a top tier talent. He’s too nice for the NBA.

    I feel for Perry. I don’t even see him lasting long in Europe. He’s just too nice and will want to be around with his loved ones.

    Perry is a great person! But it takes a certain level of selfishness to be a good basketball player. You have to want your own success to eclipse others. That’s taking, not giving.

    If I could do it, I’d kick his butt. I’d do it for him. Something to make the fire come out. Something to get to him to find that part where he can let the reserved mannerisms out. Something to pull the animal out of him. It would be an awesome sight, and Perry would be able to write his own basketball future. Suddenly, Perry wouldn’t be a “tweener” any longer!

    Wayne has his own issues. He’s in a little different boat, but sometimes it looks to be sinking, too.

    I care deeply about all the guys on this team. I wouldn’t waste my time commenting either way if I didn’t feel that.

    We should think back to EJ. He received lots of heat in these discussions. I can’t recall a soul that didn’t care very deeply for EJ. I think everyone in here still cares deeply for EJ. I know I do. It will be the same when Perry and Wayne and BamBam and all these guys leave Kansas.

    We all hope to read about all of these guys making good on their game somewhere.

    The bad part is when they leave and we don’t continue to read about them. They may be fine, but I think most of us worry about these guys. We feel more like parents. And sometimes parents need to come down hard on their kids. I sure received a bunch of that and am still very grateful for getting yelled at and swatted… because it all helped me find the right path.

    I still think a lot about Sherron… the guy is in my thoughts and prayers constantly!

  • @drgnslayr said:

    There is so much more in him and how is he ever going to bring it out? How? By everyone patting him on the back and “encouraging” him?

    Maybe. Not everyone is the same. Some respond well to positive encouragement and reinforcement. Others respond better to a kick in the butt. There’s probably some good behavioral study data out there that would tell which is generally better (@jaybate-1.0 this seems like something you’d probably know); about which is more likely to be learned behavior: if a guy does good and you give him praise or if a guy screws up and you berate him, which method does the brain learn from better? Part of the problem is that positive encouragement is viewed with such stigma by many in the sports world. Like somehow focusing on the positives equals coddling.

    You mention how we feel like parents. I for one wouldn’t dream of only coming down hard on my kid. Sure I do it when he deserves it. But I won’t taint every positive accomplishment he has by knocking him down a peg; by always attaching a negative to it.

    Sometimes a guy just needs to be told “good game”, instead of “well, you scored 19 points and grabbed a game high 11 rebounds, but…”. Especially if you’re ignoring other players who totally crapped the bed just so you can go out of your way to slam the guy. If coach did that after the ISU game, got in the locker room and started in on Perry rather than any of the real problems last night, how do you think that would make Perry feel? Maybe that sounds “soft”, having to worry about how a player feels (Naadir Tharpe’s “I wondered if coach liked me” comment rings of that), but it doesn’t have to be. Guys find ways to tell other guys good job, or that they appreciate them, or respect them, or are impressed by them, in a variety of ways all the time. Guy politics if you will. I mean, if I kicked ass at my job (like Perry did last night by and large) and my boss never did nothing but nitpick me, I’d find another job working for someone who was appreciative of my efforts, and was capable of showing that. Especially if I was the only one treated like that, which seems to be the case often on these boards with Perry (again, the only player mentioned in your post).

    So while you may care deeply about all of players, where is your kick in the butt for everyone else? Particularly those that deserved one after last night? That’s what makes it feel less like criticism and a kick in the butt for his own good and more like a witch hunt. I guess that’s what I take issue with as much as anything.

  • @icthawkfan316 you are exactly right! Perry beats himself up worse then coach could ever do! A great coach or teacher can tell what the kid responds too. Perry wants to please. He needs built up not tore down. My own 2 sons responded totally different to discipline.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yeah, Perry definitely needs the occasional confidence boost. And I think that is what Self was doing in the days prior to the ISU game, talking to Perry through the press. Saying he was just a fraction away from a breakout. That when he’s aggressive he’s the best player on the court. Etc. And look what happened! It wasn’t Self sugar-coating things, but he was very positive about Perry and he goes out and plays well against ISU.

  • Hope Jaybate didn’t have a stroke over the game last pm! We haven’t heard from him, have we?

  • @icthawkfan316

    He did respond very well, he’s actually had some of his better games against Iowa St. I think the announcers said he had 30 and 23 in the previous games. I thought we should have let him play through his 2 fouls in the first half because without him on the court probably was the single reason why we struggled for big parts of that half. We were lucky to be down just 3 with the way our offense was playing. That shows you his importance to this team when things aren’t going so well, he has had his struggles but we all know what he’s capable of.

    Will he bring the same aggressiveness tonight against Spangler & Thomas. We should know early because usually we like to play right to him early from the top of the key. I’ve been waiting for KU to use ball screens for Perry from there, maybe free him up more than just letting him drive which a lot of the time brings that help defender over to try and block the shot.

  • The local sports stations hate it when the Jayhawks lose because no one wants to listen in or call. I’m a lot like that with this site. I didn’t want to read what I knew was going to be written. There almost seems to be hatred towards the team because they and the Coach let YOU down and ruined the morning breakfast. Are we looking forward to playing Oklahoma tonight on Big Monday with a National audience like ISU received Saturday? Kentucky and Temple hurt, this was a close game on the road where we fought back against a team which for the last four years has been the superior trey team in the Big 12. When we were 3-0 every pundit in America acted like they didn’t pick Texas or OU to win the League. I’ll take a one point victory in overtime tonight which has happened many times in the last ten years.

  • @drgnslayr The really sad part of our loss yesterday is that all we had to do is play reasonably well to win it. We were beat by a completely inferior team and we (once again) came unprepared to play.

    Amen. It’s not fatal - we simply allowed the Clones to get numerous runouts, and lost to a team we will beat by double digits in Lawrence. Hopefully, we will get no fouls called on us for the first 30 minutes of the game, like the Clones got in Ames.

  • @icthawkfan316 @Crimsonorblue22

    I think we are all right. I think it takes both, hard criticism and positive reinforcement to help most players. Too much of either side can make it difficult for a guy to stay motivated. You can’t let any mistakes slide. They all have to be addressed by whatever technique works. In that regard, I’ve never heard of it working to politely tell guys to stop or start doing something. The entire basketball college game is a teaching lesson for young players.

    College basketball is a one-shot proposition. For all of us amateurs, it was just a fun game… but I bet all of these scholarship players at Kansas are there thinking they have some kind of career in basketball. This is their one shining moment. Proving grounds. Sink or swim.

    I was never near the level of player these guys are at, but I had lots of bros who were. We are all in our 50s now. Every one of those guys says the same thing, “I wish I knew then what I know now!” The same goes for me. I wouldn’t have been in the NBA if I knew then what I know now… I wasn’t on that level of play. But life could have gone so much smoother. Number one on that list is to do a better job of listening and execute off of that.

    When I see guys not listening and executing off of it I see the same mistake I made (and my bros). That’s why I get so critical in here. I see these guys that I care about slipping on their one shot!

    I’m still glad Perry is a Jayhawk! He has been a plus for Kansas!

    My only real complaint on Perry from ISU was his body language. That has to stop… now! He can’t be dipping his head down while walking back to the huddle. That does two things: it tears him and his team mates down, while it boasts other teams that they are “finishing the kill.”

    Body language is very important in all sports.

    As a team… we decided not to hustle and get back on defense. Everyone on this team needs to realize that mistake and how we gifted a victory to ISU.

    Why didn’t they listen to Self? He was screaming at them to get back on his first time-out, and they never did do it. Why did they refuse to run their offense?


    I agree… I thought Self should have taken Perry out after his 2nd foul, had a brief word with him that he was so very much needed in the game (meaning… watch the fouls) then put back in. That might have even given Perry a bit more motivation to execute. Sometimes players really step it up a notch when a coach gives them that trust. When a coach automatically pulls a player the subliminal message is that he doesn’t trust the player to play right.

  • @drgnslayr

    Can you imagine how frustrated coaches get when they have a good game plan and the players choose to go a different way? I remember Calipari going into the court and physically pushing one of the twins into position…probably should have been a “T.”


  • @JayHawkFanToo

    It must drive them nuts! It drives me nuts and I don’t have a millionth of what they have at stake.

    I’m not sure I have the control to be a good coach. There is a reason why I’ve always loved Bobby Knight. I see a lot of me in him.

    Back in the late 70s /early 80s I recall when “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson hit a homer that sunk our Royals again. I reached out and launched a sidekick that required sheet rock repair on two walls… the one I kicked and the one on the other side!

    I’m too old to kick anything now. I’d hate to tweak a muscle or something worse!

    When I get out of hand my wife tells me to “cool it” and I do because I don’t want to piss off the boss! 🙂

  • @drgnslayr - I agree. We did get beat by an inferior team. We got beat by an inferior team in the NCAA tournament, too. But you know my perspective. I blame scheme more than anything else. For a number of our failures, just like I credit scheme for much of our success. I just want a wee bit of flexibility and adapting to the talent on hand. Or, if he can’t be flexible, recruit strictly to his preferred scheme. Easy.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    You nailed it… either have flexibility or only recruit specific players.

    My real beef is preparedness. I never feel like we come ready to play. I know everyone in here must be sick of me rambling on and on about this.

    There is a reason why my focus is here. I played ball in much smaller venues, but places that we often faced even harsher crowd treatments. Small gyms means proximity of players to fans is nuts! We would rarely even have a buffer between our bench and opposing team fans. Most of those years I had a Volga-German coach who was a king-sized man, and he even had to help physically protect us more than once! And talk about home-cooking refs! I recall one of our guys getting T’d for just looking at a ref wrong!

    We realized how important it was to be ready for a game… and I can honestly state that we always came ready!

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