It may be Fool's Gold, Coach, but it's awfully pretty

  • I have never started a thread before–only replied, but I was awake last night thinking about this. I watched Coach Self in the post game interviews, and my jaw was dropping. The man has the best three-point shooting team in the conference, and he is positively glum about it. He also has the team with the second worst two-point percentage in the conference, but he thinks we need to play inside-out because some day “just making shots” is going to let us down. It seems like simple math to me, but I always thought that the team who scored the most points won.

    HEM and several others have developed this topic far batter than I , so I won’t belabor the point, but I think that it is common sense to play to your strengths. No one is saying to stop getting easy twos, but they have been slow in coming this year. I believe Coach is forcing square pegs into round holes, and that is what is foolish. Also, the team seems to be happier when the game is more open.

    Greene took THREE three-point shots last night. In the course of a game how many does Forte take? If Greene were playing for Coach K or for Hoiberg, how many would he take?

    There is not much point in hitching a race horse to a plow. I have the greatest respect for those that pull plows, they made this country bloom. This year we have race horses: let them run. They might not go far enough, or they might win the Derby.

  • From on this very subject:

    ##Memo to Bill Self: With this KU roster, it ain’t fool’s gold when it works

    Sean Keeler

    FOX Sports Kansas City

    FEB 11, 2015 1:06a ET

    So is it winning if your coach absolutely despises how you’re doing it?

    “It’s fool’s gold,” Kansas patriach Bill Self told reporters late Tuesday night after his No. 8 Jayhawks rolled Texas Tech in Lubbock, 73-51. “You can’t bank on making 55 percent or 50 percent of your threes.”

    He’s right.

    You can bank on 52.2 percent.

    Over its past three league road games – all wins – KU (20-4, 9-2 Big 12) is 24-for-46 from beyond the arc.

    In that same span, the Jayhawks are 47-106 inside the arc … a rate of 44.3 percent.

    Fool’s gold works.

    Self doesn’t want to hear it.

    “No matter what, you can score inside off the bounce, you can score off the pass, you can score it in transition or whatever,” the coach continued. “But you’ve got to be able to score close to the basket. That’s the name of the game, in my opinion, is getting easy baskets, and eliminating easy baskets. And we’re not doing near a good enough job of doing that inside.”

    Self has 10 more Big 12 titles than the rest of us, and the man is quickly closing in on No. 11. He prefers method to madness, and if you don’t like it, well, he’ll just point to the banners hanging at Allen Fieldhouse. (Similar to calling “scoreboard,” in any disagreement with coaches, pointing at the banners generally ends the debate.)

    But here’s the thing: His team – which drained 11 of 18 treys in Lubbock and is 21-for-38 in its past two tilts from beyond the arc – has him in a philosophical pickle. The Jayhawk Way – proven, tested, true – is to work from paint to perimeter, inside to out. The run sets up the pass.

    Which is fine except, if we could stretch the football analogy a bit, this KU team can’t run the ball for squat.

    Coming in to Tuesday, the Jayhawks ranked 259th nationally in 2-point shooting percentage (45.5), 137th in effective field-goal percentage (49.eight), 249th in 3-point attempts per game (16.eight) … and 14th in 3-point percentage (40.2).

    Self has seven players among the top nine in his rotation who are completely comfortable with the 3-point shot, and six of those seven went to Texas Tech having made more than 34 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc, and six with at least a dozen makes through the season’s first 23 games.

    These Jayhawks defend as a unit, scrap as a unit, better than each of Self’s past two KU teams. He likes that. But they’re also the worst finishing squad under the rim that he’s had in ages, maybe the worst over a venerated 12 seasons in Lawrence, a red-headed stepchild that he loves but can’t quite tame.

    Imagine Whitey Herzog content to sit on his backside, just waiting to be bailed out by the 3-run homer. Or another football analogy, if you like: KU is the anti-Chiefs. Imagine handing Andy Reid a roster with Andrew Luck in his prime under center, four or five stud wideouts and a solid, but unspectacular, tailback. Even if Big Red wanted to run 33 times a game, if he did, he’d be out of work by Week 11.

    That’s the Jayhawks. Self is Vince Lombardi, and the idea of using slants and jailbreak screens and dinks and dunks to set up the run game gives him a 10-ton migraine.

    He is what he is. And they are what they are.

    Of the Jayhawks’ first four field goals of the contest Tuesday, three were treys. 13-4, KU.

    Of the Jayhawks’ first four field goals in the second half, three were treys. 40-27, KU.

    Fool’s good works.

    “Forty-one percent of our attempts (were) threes,” Self continued. “Which is too many.”

    He’s right, and in a perfect world, there’s a balance, multiple dimensions, multiple threats from multiple corners of the floor.

    But this isn’t a perfect world. And this is far from a perfect roster. We already know the internal debate, the one eating at hole in his gut, the one question no coach wants to have to answer for in the postgame news conference. What happens when we come out and whiff on our first six from beyond the arc?

    ##That’s easy: Keep shooting.

  • @RockChalkinTexas And the people say, Amen. Didn’t see that article. Thanks for posting.

  • Sometimes when I golf (which I do poorly) I hit a driver off of the tee. If my first couple of drives are in the fairway I don’t put the driver away. Why would I? Stick with what is working until it isn’t and then reassess. I have faith in Bill. Especially in March where 3’s tend to be a huge part of who moves on and also where Bill has the chance to gameplan for each team. For now, please just keep letting these guys hit 3’s. We are hitting more 3’s than layups!!

  • @joeloveshawks We should have a golf open and we all can hit drivers poorly!

  • @joeloveshawks we all know the saying, live by the 3, die by the 3. See ISU. Coach is not going to Not shoot the 3, he knows we have to develop Cliff, Perry etc, to get in the paint. If he didn’t want to shoot the 3, BG wouldn’t be playing much! He also said we have to play better D, in the paint, Cliff did a pretty bad job on that last night. What happened to oubre driving? We have to have both to be successful! They both set up each other. Take what the d gives you. Wayne needs to be driving and pitching or finishing. Jmo

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I totally agree. If we are a 1 dimensional team obviously we won’t go as far as we want in March. I just hope that he keeps the green light on for Selden and Greene and Mason who can’t miss at the moment. No doubt we will need Perry and Cliff and Jamari to step up the post game if we are going to make noise in March. I expect us to get better in the post and I expect KU to go deep into the tourney.

  • Is it possible that these are the types of threes being taken that he ‘allows’, in other words, he says shoot them, but only if…?

    Threes can go dry at the wrong time of course. I try not to remember such things, but I believe it was the Virginia Commonwealth game that we kept jacking them up and nothing was dropping. Game, set, match, see you next fall. Of course VCU kept jacking them up and they were going in and wrote their names into the history books as the mid major FF team.

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of three point shots lead to offensive rebounds as compared to 2 point shots. It seems that 3’s that are missed lead to long rebounds which are easier to grab offensively than a well defended two point shot. This of course leads to more possessions.

    I’ll say this, let’s hope they keep shooting them because it’s what’s working right now. Halfway through the second half last night I looked at the box score and we had made 8 threes and 6 twos. Only 6 made shots inside the arc halfway through the 2nd half, amazing! By games end as TT wore down that number came into balance, 15 2’s and 11 3’s, plus 10 FT’s most of which came on shots in the lane.

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  • When Coach says, “Fool’s Gold” I think he means that we cannot win consistently ONLY by making threes. However, since the three point line was introduced, it is a higher percentage to shoot a three than a long two.

    Yes, we should shoot more threes.

    Yes, this is a very good shooting team w/ Green as the crowned prince of the three.

    Yes, Coach is right that the three will not get it done all by itself but…

    No, we are not the typical KU team (inside-out, dominate in the post, power ball…).

    No, making threes is not a bad thing and shooting them is not a bad strategy.

    No, Coach, threes point shooting is ALSO good playing. Making shots is part of the game!

  • So, if there is a poor shooting night, will blaming the coach still be allowed?

  • If the shots are open and we are gunning away, no worries, even if they do not go in.

    If the shots are not falling on a given night, Coach want great D and hustle and rebounding and driving to get the foul to shoot FTs, and then we have a chance to win even on an off night.

    Coach seems to think that when we shoot lots of threes, we “settle” and refuse to be tough and mix it up in the paint and play tough D, etc.

    Three point shooting can be a percentage play of you have great shooters and take open shots. How many times has Coach said, “we made shots but did not play well?”

    The point here is that is ALSO but not ONLY what “playing well” means…

  • Here is a question for the analysts: how does shooting more or less threes equate to the other aspects of the game (rebounds, turnovers, points in the paint, fouls, FG % allowed, etc?

    Is a three point shooting team “softer” than a grind it our near the basket shooting team? Maybe on O but not on D? This i the fear I think Coach has in jacking up a boatload of threes / game: we would become gradually softer inside and the whole dynamic would change.

    Is this true? Does anyone have stats or arguments to prove or disprove?:

  • I don’t have the time today, but an analysis of National Champions in the three point era would be interesting. What was the best three point shooting team and what was their inside game like?

  • I will like to add that KU is ranked 8 nationally in 3 pt %. The best trey % among the current Top 25. And only one other AP Top 25 team, Utah is ranked in the Top 10 3 pt %. I think I like our gold, fool’s or not. RCJH!

  • About two months ago, I believe after the Utah game, coach Self sat and watched his team play a beautiful perimeter game in the first half. Forgive me if my numbers aren’t precise, but of our appx. 39 first half points, only 4 were scored near the basket. Something like that. Built a 20+ point lead. Then, in the second half, it was pound it inside. Our offense stagnated. And we almost lost the game.

    After the game, Self pulled out the “fool’s gold” comment, and directed it to Ellis. Saying his scoring away from the basket was “fool’s gold.”

    I said at the time that Bill Self was delusional. That he was in need of psychotropic medication. That his team was not an inside-out team. That it was a perimeter team. He could wish for it to be otherwise, but that won’t make it true.

    Albert Einstein defined insanity as follows: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    Albert Einstein was smarter than Bill Self, for those that put Self in the genius category.

    Of course, Bill Self – the man himself – admitted that this is not an inside-out team.

    @Jesse-Newell said it best last night: “Self asks what happens if an NCAA tourney team takes away 3s. I would ask, ‘What happens if a team takes away 2s (Stanford)’.”


    Self laments a fiction. That team can’t rely upon threes because teams could take that away, or you could have a bad shooting night, as if that can’t happen underneath.

    But whether you believe we lost to Stanford because of their interior defense and contesting of shots (taking it away), or because we missed “bunnies” (bad shooting night), the fact is it can happen with interior shots as well.

    It is a flat fiction. And Self says this stuff as if those that are listening are stupid. No one in the media challenges him. No one in the media asks the obvious questions.

    Read Rustin Dodd’s article this morning. Read what others write. Heck, listen to the game announcers last night.

    Read what we wrote at in the first month of the season – glad to see the rest of the basketball world is seeing what we have seen for quite some time.

    Self said, speaking of three pointers, “It’s fool’s gold. You can’t bank on making 55% of your threes.” If you rely on threes, “you end up going home sad.”

    But here’s even what’s worse - Bill Self’s comments last night cheapen and devalue what the team has accomplished. Imagine if you’re a player?

    Imagine if you’re a father. Your kid is great a soccer and is just so-so at basketball. But you hate soccer. And you tell your kid, “Hey, that’s great, but try playing a real sport like basketball, and I’ll be impressed.” Horrible, right?

    The lynch-pin that exposes the flaw in his thinking is thaw are just not capable of being the type of team that coach Self wants inside. That’s all. On another team, in another year, it wouldn’t be that way. Ellis scored at like 64 % at the rim last season. Embiid at 76%. That’s what makes Self’s ramblings absurd. We aren’t going to magically start scoring at a high rate with our back to the basket. To think otherwise is delusional. If it’s not delusional, show me any shred of evidence.

    Instead of providing inspiration and positivity, he cheapens and devalues their efforts and team strengths. Imagine Brannen Greene. “Hey, buddy, you’re fool’s gold.” Comes across that way to me.

    But guess what, coach – we don’t believe you. Just because you say it, doesn’t mean that it is true. Just because you aren’t either smart enough, or secure enough (which could really be the underlying issue), to be flexible and adapt, doesn’t mean that Jayhawk nation has to buy what you’re selling.

    Again, back to what @Jesse-Newell said – how ironic is it that Self talks about the NCAA tourney and the risk of three pointers when our most recent early exit was because of missed two pointers?

    The man only sees what he wants to see.

    He point blank says that shooting 41% of your shots as threes is too much, and we should be around 30% like usual. Totally disregarding the strengths and weaknesses of his team.

    That is delusional.

  • Sometimes it’s actually gold. Shoot the trey. That’s what this team is built to do.

  • Stubborn, yes. It is not good to change a super winning formula on a lark, or too quickly.

    Delusional, no. Our coach is sane and smart and can and will adjust in the best way to give us a chance to win. Change is hard for everyone.

    We have a GREAT Coach, but he is being challenged in ways that go to the core of his philosophy and this core coaching philosophy has made him so very, very successful over the years. And we are about to win our 11th straight conf title!.

    I actually see movement and flexibility more than delusion and rigidity. But as players need time to evolve, coaches do too. New ground, new team, new ways of winning…

    As “expert advisers and astute observers” of our beloved Jayhawks, we need to keep challenging on playing time, rotations and offensive game-planning.

    The question is: does more long range shooting make us softer on both ends?

  • Self is correct that we’re not going to make 50+% of our 3s every game (last few games notwithstanding). But, if we make only 33%, we still have a better effective FG % than we do from 2 pt range - arguably, even at the rim with this team. The key is that with 3 pt shots built into the offense, the opponent has to defend them, which in turn opens up the interior. We actually scored several times at the rim in the second half against TT because the floor was spread, the ball move quickly, and there were better angles for entry passes to the post.

  • @jayhawk-007 you get it!

  • Our coach believes in the hi/low and its worked for so many years no matter the talent he had on the team that having a deadly 3 point team is hard for him to accept. His bigs aren’t skilled enough for the bang em inside approach all game so he’s still thinking that at some point an overemphasis on 3’s will come back to haunt us.

    The key to a lot of our made 3’s last night was dribble penetration, great passing and kickouts. Mason had 8 assists last night and I counted at least 3-4 were on made 3 balls. That shot Selden makes at the end of the half was a designed play that gave us a 5 point lead and momentum. I have a hard time believing a made 2 point basket would have had the same profound effect on the team going into the locker room. 3 point shots are an equalizer and Self just needs to embrace this team relying on the equalizer.

  • @HighEliteMajor Good points as always. But I don’t think it is as bad as you say. I agree that we need to keep shooting 3’s. 100% agree as I posted above and have posted all year. But Bill saying “fools gold” is not as much of a concern as what we see on the floor. He may say that shooting 55% from 3 is “fools gold” but he let it happen. He let the guys bomb 3’s last night. He is obviously playing Greene far more minutes than he was early in the year and he is doing it because Greene is a great offensive player and predominantly a 3 point threat.

    I honestly think we just have to let Self’s comments go in one ear and out the other. Don’t worry too much about it. The guy wants to win games far more than any of us do. He is not going to go into March and say “hey, I know we are shooting the ball 80% for 3 this half, but let’s get Landen Lucas the ball inside during the 2nd half”. It simply won’t happen. Utah is a great example of him trying to get the ball inside too much but it was also an early season game. A game where we had a huge lead and he wanted to try and get the post game going for the greater good of the entire season.

    Does Self screw up on coaching in March? Yes, sure. I would say he flat out got out coached last year against Stanford. But what other March losses can you say he was just out coached in? VCU was crazy. If the Morris twins don’t talk incredible sh*t to the entire team before the game to get them fired up and if we shoot over 10% from 3 we probably win that game. Michigan is tough. I honestly don’t blame Self. I blame EJ if there is anyone to blame. The punching in the balls is a karma thing in my opinion.

    Obviously did not get out coached against UK in 2012. Simply a far better team than us. The UNI, Bradley, Bucknell games. Is that getting out coached? I think it is just far superior teams not showing up to play. Highly doubt Coach K was out coached last year in the first round. It just happened.

    Sorry for the long reply but what I am trying to say is that I don’t believe for one second that Coach Self is not going to let the 3’s fly in March. He is a fabulous March coach. Almost 50% of the years at KU he has been to the Elite 8. Coach will say stupid things like “We could play Wayne at the 4…we could play Svi at the 1…shooting 3’s is fools gold…” but I trust that he will allow this team to play to its strengths in the NCAA tournament and honestly I think we go deep into the tourney by shooting our way there.

  • @HighEliteMajor How many times did BOTH Miles Simon and Dave Flemming talk about Coach not liking the way the team was playing but that it was the way the team needed to play because that was a winning %? They repeatedly talked about this being a team that didn’t have a rim protector and mentioned all the ones in the past. I must have heard that 3 times if not more. Miles even talked about Gundy and Jackson speaking of Brannen’s shot being so pure and his game translating to the NBA when Dave Flemming admitted to have a “bromance” on Brannen because his shot was so pure.

  • I gotta think that Bill Self KNOWS that he is shooting some blanks in such post-game comments. Granted, the strengths and weaknesses of his current squad probably gives him ulcers. But I’m not buying his wolf tickets. Fools Gold? Ha! He’s going to compete against a team like Kentucky with a game plan welded to “inside-out” offense? Ha! The Guy is almost sinister in his donning of masks. This team is not going far with his customary inside-out insistence…esp. not if the likes of Wayne Selden continues to drive to shoot rather than drive to pass. Cliff ALexander can score effectively off rebounds, but how in whatever hell can he (or Perry) receive an inside pass and score from beneath the limbs of Kentucky’s swaying trees? If this current Jayhawk squad advances past the Sweet 16 it will do so because Bill Self slithers into a determination to free his “other-worldly” troops to perform in the manner they do best. Down deep, HE KNOWS IT. Will be a rude comedy of errors if he does not ADJUST. Lull, then unleash! Surely, that is the scheming, conscious or unconscious, fermenting in Bill Self’s coaching genius.

  • @REHawk Very well said. He’s got to know that his post players can’t score in the post and that it hasn’t worked all year. This is a final four team if Self completely let’s them loose from the perimeter.

  • @DCHawker said as follows: “Self is correct that we’re not going to make 50+% of our 3s every game (last few games notwithstanding). But, if we make only 33%, we still have a better effective FG % than we do from 2 pt range - arguably, even at the rim with this team.”

    This is a great point. Of course we’re not going to make 50% as a team from three. That’s a straw man argument.Those happen here and there. But we are a 40%+ shooting team from three. That is fact.

    Could we go 4/20 from three on a bad night? Absolutely. Three point shooting is not a panacea.

    But with this team, the only real takeaway here is that the better roll of the dice offensively is to embrace the perimeter game. Don’t put on the shackles, focusing on 30% of total shots being from three. Embrace it. And most of all, scheme to get those looks. Not just within the offense. Work to ensure your team gets those looks.

    That can come from throwing it inside, to be sure. There was a beautiful sequence in the 2nd half where the ball went in to Lucas on the near block, he threw it to the opposite wing, and the ball rotated back to the near wing, and Greene (or maybe Selden – sorry, notes not with me) hit a three. Perfect.

    Here’s the thing … I generally agree with coach Self. It’s back to the “this team” thing. I cannot imagine this team winning a national title unless it is shooting the three ball real well, and at a high rate. Can anyone? I’ll take feed the post with 65% at the rim. If we’re shooting 32% as a team from three, and don’t have the best shooter in America, I’d be happy to complain about something else.

    The delusional thing, guys, is solely about Self thinking this team can somehow magically start to score, back to the basket, and treating this team as he does prior teams on his three point attempt desires. And worse, expending precious energy beating our head against the wall trying to figure out how to score back to the basket. As I’ve said, the only way that happens is if Cliff makes a leap. That might help Perry, like Embiid helped Perry.

    There will be nights when we can throw it inside and score. But so far, those games – really, those moments – have been few and far between.

    And I admit, I get very irritated when coaches do what he did last night in post game comments. It’s one thing to grump around, and never be satisfied. That happens all the time. It’s another thing to clearly devalue and minimize the strengths of many of these players right after a very impressive performance.

    It is also important to remember, just for context, that teams win national titles doing things all sorts of different ways. Self’s way is one way. He won one his way. Self’s way is not the only way, though.

    Teams have won national titles shooting over 34% of their shots from three – UConn last year, Florida in their back to back titles. Others, below 30 %. Some right at 30% (Louisville).

    Jayhawk 007 - How do you see flexibility offensively? I’m curious. The only flexibility I’ve seen is the sporadic use of the four out/one out here and there. Haven’t seen it in two games.

  • @HighEliteMajor “…haven’t seen it in 2 games.” THIS is where I see Self donning the mask, both in his game planning and in his public commentary. He dumped that 4-out offense at Stillwater and lost the gamble. At Lubbock, he figured he could get by without it. Then he blathers about Fools Gold. I think the guy hopes to slip up on everyone, like a big cat in the dark.

  • The sequence you talked about, started w/inside out, side to side. Is your inside out, different than Coach Self’s? I don’t think Self is talking just back to basket. Read taits article today. Selden said post game that they were an inside out team, he also said coach wants them to shoot when they’re open. I don’t think Self is belittling BG by saying fools gold, BG would be sitting if he didn’t want him to shoot the 3. Most of the benching comes from his very poor D, he has to hold him accountable or BG will never improve, and we can all see, he needs to. Jmo

  • @REHawk I don’t know where you get the evidence for this theory. You sound like this is some kind of ruse Bill is pulling to trick teams into not guarding the three in the tournament. Other coaches aren’t that dumb. That’s what scouting if for. They determine what you do well, and no matter what you say, and they work to stop you from what you do well.

    A perfect example is the play for Brannen in the OK and OSU games. Set him on the low block and run him thru traffic across the lane. In the OK game, his guy got caught up in traffic and he was open for a 3. At the end of the OSU game they tried the same play. OSU obviously scouted and knew what was coming when Brannen set up on the low block. Forte stuck with him thru the lane and he never got open for a 3. Game over.

    Opposing coaches aren’t dumb and aren’t going to be duped. And I don’t think Bill is dumb enough to think they will be. He’s never proved to be ‘tricky’ or ‘sneaky’ in his game plan–it’s always been the same. Even in the Stanford game. He’d rather stick with his game plan with his second stringer than change his philosophy and run his offense thru his wing. Even with ANDREW WIGGINS as that wing. The only way Bill resembles a big cat is that he can’t change his spots.

  • @HighEliteMajor Yeah, I hope Bill doesn’t spend too much more time implying that his 3pt shooters have just been ‘lucky’ so far. He may need them to have the confidence to take a big shot at the end of a game in the tournament. Like EJ.

  • @KUinLA I don’t think he meant lucky, just we need to develop the rest of our game. Do the rest of you think that?

  • @HighEliteMajor Capture.PNG

    He’s “Delusional”

    “He cheapens and devalues what the team has accomplished.”

    “The man only see’s what he wants to see.”

    Exactly what is wrong with the above statement by coach Self?

  • @wrwlumpy Uh, nothing. My comments were related to the “fool’s gold” garbage. Or was that not clear? It has nothing to do with other areas of improvement, or with defense, or with rebounding, or ball-moving, or what have you. It is related Self thinking this team can somehow magically start to score, back to the basket.

    I chose the word “delusional” very carefully as I’d used it a couple of months ago.

    I ask you then, is there any evidence now, on February 10, with seven regular season games left, to suggest that this team can get effective, reliable scoring the back to the basket way that Self prefers?

    If the answer is “no” – which I assume that it is – is it not delusional to believe that something is suddenly going to change in that regard?

  • I think what he was talking about with the term “Fools gold” is in this explanation of relying strictly on shots and ignoring the other facet’s of the game. Back to the Basket terminology was not mentioned. His explanation is in the paragraph above. No “Green lights” have been taken away, all he wants is a more well rounded team. Texas Tech is not Kentucky and playing poorly, and rebounding and defending and moving the ball is something we have to work on. By the way, the assist in the second half to Perry who had sealed off his man was as pretty to me as Selden hitting a three.

  • @wrwlumpy it was nice! The lid came off for Ellis. Hopefully he gets past his 1000 pts this sat, w/the win of course!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Suppose there will be lots of former Jayhawks there to see Perry get his 1000 points? I saw were BMac and Nick Collison were going to be there vs. Baylor.

  • @RockChalkinTexas I did hear, a rumor, that Embiid was coming “home” too. Who knows?

  • @HighEliteMajor from Taits article. No mention of back to basket!

    But as Self pointed out in his postgame comments, there are plenty of ways to score outside of the post and inside of the three-point line. Transition buckets, 15-footers, drives to the basket that produce layups, dunks or free throws. All are viable options that well-rounded offensive teams routinely employ. This team has not consistently shown it understands that and until it does, it looks like it’ll be a live-by-the-three-die-by-the-three scenario for the Jayhawks.

  • Picking up on @HighEliteMajor 's reply to my earlier comment and @wrwlumpy 's Self quote, while I, along with most everyone else, have been concerned with his seemingly stubborn insistence on trying to score in the post with guys that just aren’t very good at it and slow embrace of a more outside-in approach, I actually think the comments cited by @wrwlumpy are right on the mark.

    He is scared to death of being too reliant on 3 pt shots, because there will be days when they aren’t falling (although with this group, we should be able to avoid performances like Arizona and Syracuse in years past). He doesn’t want the guys getting too comfortable launching from beyond the arc and not looking to penetrate and dish or look for openings down low when the other team is overplaying the 3. We saw some success down low in the 2nd half - Perry had a good seal, as did Landon (alas, he couldn’t finish).

    What I really took away from his comments however was the classic Self view, with which I agree, that there will be days when you aren’t making shots and can you still find a way to win. That means defending and rebounding - getting stops. This team hasn’t yet demonstrated it can consistently get stops in crunch time. True of last year’s team, as well. Check Kenpom’s defensive efficiency ratings over the past 10 years. KU has consistently been in the top 10 in DER - just not that past two years. That’s a function of youth as much as anything else, but also energy/desire/hustle.

    The energy lapses are one thing (probably why he’s given Mari so much rope), but the consistent failure to box out and give up offensive rebounds, or get beat off the dribble and then not have anyone slide quickly to provide help, is probably what galls him most.

    He takes pride in winning the ugly games, which is what we’ve been able to do pretty darn effectively during the Self years. While I think he is coming around a bit in opening it up on the offensive side to play to our strengths there, he is probably correct that the chances of a deep tourney run are diminished if we can consistent stop the other team. If not, you are really counting on staying hot for 4 to 6 games, i.e., 40%+ every game from deep against defenses designed to stop that. Possible - sure? Likely?

  • He is allowing the offense to open up by allowing Greene on the court. Even the announcer mentioned that is was a good thing that Brannen could shoot, because apparently he has no taste for playing defense. He didn’t yank Cliff after trying to kill 4th row fans twice in the first minute. Selden is allowed to only shoot outside since he can’t get to the basket any more. He is a defense first guy and always will be. Doesn’t anyone on this site agree that we can work on these things. Damn, we put Tyler in the game with a 25 point lead, can’t coach have the right to keep coaching the things we aren’t doing well. Self knows that our Bigs aren’t Withey and Aldridge. He simply wants a semblance of balance.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Spot on.

    Any one that thinks that KU should also KU should just shoot 3 points is an even bigger fool than what they accuse Coach Self.

    What would you say if Rafael Nadal announces that he is a base line player and will not come to the net and will stay back and volley the opponent?

    How about if Floyd Mayweather announces he will only jab but will not fight inside?

    Or the Chiefs announce they will no longer pass and will only run the ball?

    Or Cain Velasques indicates that he will only box and not grapple?

    We would all agree that they went insane; being one dimensional in sports is a recipe for failure…you have to have a complete game in order to be successful; it is no different for basketball.

    You cannot have one dimensional game; even when you have a great long range shooting team, you still need to have the inside game to open the outside game.

    Look what happened at OSU. KU was shooting great from the outside (7 of 9) in the first half and then OSU adjusted the defense and got on the grill of the outside shooters and they could no longer score like they did in the first half (3 of 11). Its is clear that Greene is the best 3-point shooter KU has had in a long time but he is also a spot shooter that cannot create his own shot and cannot shoot when closely guarded. Perry and Oubre also will take shots only when wide open.

    I see posters indicating that KU should run more plays for the outside shooters…hello, it does, but you have to consider that it is not playing the Sisters of the Poor team and the other conference teams are also capable and well coached and will have a say in how the game develops.

    What Coach Self is saying is that in order to have an effective outside game, KU needs to have a credible inside threat to open the outside game. If you have the capability to score inside, the opponent cannot just concentrate on the outside and by extent it opens up the outside game. Remember Greene’s comments after the OSU game?

    “When they started pressuring us, we started our offense farther out than we wanted to. It just threw off everything. When you are able to start the offense around the three-point line, you are in scoring position. We weren’t in scoring position with our offense. They got after us and some of us got rattled.”

    Having an credible inside game forces the defense stay closer to the basket and abates the problem Greene mentioned.

    Interesting how the announcer are quoted saying that KU should use the outside game more but they conveniently are not quoted when they said they understood what coach Self was doing and that KU needed to develop an inside game as well.

    Last night, in the first half KU was getting good looks inside and outside but were just not converting (5 of 14- 2pt and 5 of 13-3 pt) and once they started converting inside in the second half, the outside game became more open and both the inside (10 of 15) and the outside (6 of 7) benefited.

    When you get a big bonus at work do you spend it all at once? Many people do, but the more fiscally prudent people will set aside some for a rainy day, This is what Coach Self is basically doing. I am sure he remembers the VCU game in 2011 when a good 3-point shooting KU team went 2-21 from 3 and lost a game it should have won. Let’s face it, KU’s inside game right now is not good and needs to improve and become credible threat to open up the game for the outside shooters. Abandoning the inside game makes KU a one dimensional, predictable team that becomes easier to plan for. KU needs to improve its inside game to complement and open up the outside game and it will not improve unless it is used at game time. Interesting that most are calling for more playing time for Alexander, the ultimate inside player who does the bulk of his work within 5 feet of the basket; if you want a purely outside team, then Alexander is not the answer.

    Coach Self makes a lot of money doing what he does and he does it better than just about anyone else. Always get a chuckle when I see a post that says that coach Self does not know what he is doing and he is doing it all wrong bu then…they would not change him for anyone else; to me it is a lame ass excuse to try to hide a bias and dislike. If you think Coach Self does not know what he is doing or he is doing it all wrong…why, do pray tell why would you want to keep him? Wouldn’t it be better to get a coach that “knows” what he is doing and does the right way? Isn’t that position the ultimate oxymoron? Of course there is that pesky thing called…WINNING…that critics cannot explain.

    I visit regularly on the subject of college basketball with a dozen or so people on a regular basis, about half of them KU fans and the other fans of different programs…including MU; if you live in the KC metro area, chance are that some of your friend/colleagues will be MU fans. Without exception, they all agree that most every ADs in College BBall would give his right nut…scratch that…both nuts, first born and the wife too…to have Bill Self coach his program, and they don’t understand the hate and criticism he seems to get in certain circles, particularly in view of the consistent success he has had and what he has achieved not only at KU but throughout his career.

    The comments above are not directed to any member in particular and there is no malice intended; they simple reflect my opinion (and frustration and that of many other people on the subject) and as such, it could be wrong. Apologies in advance to anyone that is offended by them.

  • @RockChalkinTexas It’s a shame you’re already married, you’d make the perfect basketball wife to watch a game with.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    BTW… loved your posts in this thread!

    "Self laments a fiction. That team can’t rely upon threes because teams could take that away, or you could have a bad shooting night, as if that can’t happen underneath. "

    Precisely… and guess what… if your guys have any kind of motion in the offense it is harder for teams to take away the 3 than it is the post. Look at how much territory they have to cover versus the tiny confines of the post! We’ve experienced years of this in post season… where suddenly our post play dries up because of double and triple teams. And then that would open up our outside but we’ve had a year of hi/lo offense and our guys didn’t know where the scoring seams were or have the confidence to hit the 3s, especially in March. And seriously… being a good perimeter shooting team is a lot more than just hitting a few shots… it is all about the structure of the offense.

    Self is really fighting all of basketball. Most everyone else has realized how valuable it is to be good from 3. The NBA (which has a 3pt line further out) is completely geared towards the 3… even bigs need to be capable at that distance.

    This team continues to smoke from the 3pt line in spite of what Self is running on offense. Last night… heck… we were still hitting 3s and running God knows what on offense. Many of our shots were contested, many even blocked. But we still pursued the natural identity of who we are and we prevailed.

    This really has become a battle for identity, between Self and his players.

    None of us want Self’s head on a stick. We just want him to step all the way out of his comfort zone and take advantage of this very talented team!

  • @drgnslayr Do you think this team went off script in the second half? There was clearly a point where there was a more concerted effort to get the ball inside but then it seemed like they just decided, “forget this! Let’s bomb from deep!”

    Are the players finally taken ownership of this team and playing to their own strengths? Self thought we took too many threes. Is that because he told them to work it inside and work the clock (T-Axis)?

    We won big but Self seemed perturbed. Jesse mentioned Selden walking off the court without looking at Self.

    Has Self been forcing his team to go through adversity so that they come out the other side stronger?

  • This is a false argument, Self will allow every open three point shot that 7 green-lighted guys can put up. Is it wrong to want defense, rebounds and fast breaks? No one is being shut down from shooting jump shots except all Big’s not named Ellis. Fools gold refers to just shooting 3’s and not doing the other things. The only fiction we’re talking about is some fear that Self will have everyone quit shooting threes.

  • @wrwlumpy

    I really think it is more than that. I agree with @HighEliteMajor and it isn’t right calling 3s “fools gold” because it sends negative energy around shooting 3s. Brannen Greene is the “keeper of fools gold.”

    Self is usually pretty careful how he parses his words. That has always been something we all appreciate, especially since he came after Roy, who was famous for ticking off people with his comments.

    Self does allow the 3-ball from most of his team. This is a major step from where he used to be. And guys are given more leeway… less quick hooks, etc. And by doing that we are suddenly a remarkable 3-pt shooting team.

    But “allowing” and “supporting” are not the same thing. Self needs to embrace the identity of this team, which is a “perimeter shooting team.” In that area, he is slow to come around. He still is focused primarily “inwards out”…

    What difference does it make if we shoot 20 or 40 3pt shots per game? We should take what the defense gives. If that is 100, we take 100!

    I am optimistic he is changing some. As much as he has forced his philosophy on his team, his team has forced their own identity back on him. Everyone is getting a lesson in this, including Self.

    I bet after the year is over, Self will mention this. I just hope it isn’t one of those speeches like “I should have listened more to my guys” after a painful end-of-season loss.


    “Are the players finally taken ownership of this team and playing to their own strengths?”

    To some degree, yes! I believe these guys really believe in the 3. And I think they want to prove it is more than “fools gold” to Self.

    Maybe this is all just Self playing another poker hand. He is the master at controlling his information. The guy doesn’t speak with loose lips. Maybe he just wants his guys to prove it. So he has put the carrot in front of them, to prove the 3! That wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

    All of us in here sometimes take him too literal. Sometimes we just need to sit back and watch the drama take place in front of us. It’s not like we are dealing with a coach that loses many games! We should be able to cut him a little bit of slack and trust his judgment now and then!

    Watch out everyone… I’m as capable of flipping opinions every bit as much as the political clowns we elect in DC! Maybe I missed my calling!!!

  • My guys, meaning KU Buckets?


  • @wrwlumpy: You had part of the quote. Self said “We had no low post game.” He mentioned, too, “scoring off the pass.” I have listened to coach Self very closely, and even in the past few weeks he’s talked about throwing it inside to get easy baskets.

    I will correct one item, my cut and pasted was partial – I referred to delusional both regarding back to the basket and shooting 30% of attempts from three.

    May I ask, you did not answer my questions – could you indulge me?

    I ask you then, is there any evidence now, on February 10, with seven regular season games left, to suggest that this team can get effective, reliable scoring the back to the basket way that Self prefers?

    If the answer is “no” – which I assume that it is – is it not delusional to believe that something is suddenly going to change in that regard?

    Again, this is limited to back to the basket stuff.

    He is allowing the offense to open up by allowing Greene on the court.

  • I think we are too polarized by Self’s “for the media” comments. I like HEM’s posts, but I liked wrwlumpy’s equally valid concern. But what if this is ALL coach-speak designed for commentators, and anybody in public who may be listening? Self may simply be trying to throw listening opposing coaches off. So he doesn’t tell the announcers the truth. He lets us fans percolate like this off on a tangent, debating something he’s already told the team to do. Maybe he is just being a crafty wolf with his public comments, all by design???

    What if Self is OK with the 3 bombing, but still wants this squad to continue to improve its 2pt %. I don’t like the sound of the debate when it sounds like an either/or proposition. Why cant we continue bombing treys, but get tougher on the inside too? Sheesh, what a concept: a royalty program that wants it all, except a 7ft rim protector which we just wont have this season.

    In summary, I like everybody’s thoughts on this, and there is no point in arguing the nuances of what-%-3pt-atts is “too many”, as Self or the team itself will determine that.

    One thing that is damn fun, is when that 3pt shooting bug becomes “infectious” and multiple guys start connecting from 3. It is an equalizer. My sane thought for Self is that he simply tells the kids to mix up the penetrations-for-dunk-assist with the penetrations-for-kickout-3. But then maybe he doesn’t have to as Frank and Wayne are already doing that, as is Perry. If he is allowing them to read-the-D and make decisions during their penetration dribble-drives, all the better, as that decision-making will get us far in the Dance.

    The only way dogged determination of pounding inside will get us far, is if our personnel for doing that playstyle are simply overpowering (which they are not). But you cannot become 1-dimensional either, because you become easier to scout and prep for. I think Self wants balance above all, simply to keep the opponent guessing.

    And finally, there could be 2 equally true statements: 1) Historically speaking, it may well be fools gold to place too much reliance on the 3ball., and 2) This team is better at 3% than any past Self team. Ever.

  • @HighEliteMajor When I get home from work and get the DVR cooking. I’ll make some visuals to indulge. Do you want coach to apologize to the players for saying “Fool’s Gold?” After last night are you convinced he’s washed up? Is Self Anti three point shooting? Has he really cheapened anyone? Are there no easy baskets inside?

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