Shrinking impact space is so simple.

    It’s so Joe Frazier.

    We already knew it mostly worked against one of the toughest non conference schedules in the country, even when we were green wood rubes learning to play it.

    We learned it could beat Hoiberg’s pro approach to long ball offence.

    We learned it could beat long teams once you learned to play it well.

    We learned it could win even when you went 0-fer from three.

    We learned it could win conference.

    But the litmus test of any strategy is does it work, when everything is going against you–when you get caught in a perfect storm?

    KU lost by a couple at the buzzer against a good OU team with a very sharp coach playing for its life in a meaningless game to KU!!

    The team was as besieged by adversity, as any team in Self’s KU tenure. Only seven scholarship athletes suited up. Four of those were reputedly playing injured. Two players were suspended, one just before the game. A road game. The team shot 24% the first half.

    It lost, but only at the buzzer, and only because of a defensive breakdown.

    Make no mistake.


    BAD BALL is the new good.


    NOT ONE!

    The team is for real.

    The scheme is for real.

    Call it what you like.

    The players are for real.

    The Merrill’s Marauders of college basketball are for real.

    A skirmish was lost in the village of Norman, but skirmishes are often lost in brutal campaigns. Frankly, the Marauders will be even bolder, even more cocksure after his game in which even the backups and walking rounded proved themselves up to the task of competing with another team at full strength. Every member of this bailing wire bound and chewing gum stuck together team belongs in the heroes hall of fame.

    It turns out a handful young American boys CAN be turned into hardened jungle fighters on hardwood.

    Tactics CAN become strategy.

    You can hear it in Brigadier General Frank “The Self” Merrill’s words and tone.


    He knows he has something waaaaay special here, if he can just hold it together a little longer–just get some guys healed up some–just get the suspended reinstated.

    He has a better mouse trap.

    He has the right guys with the hearts of lions.

    Everyone doubts it can be done.

    But he knows it can be.

    Will be.

    The slog to Myitkyina continues.

  • image.jpg

  • image.jpg

  • Time to welcome our boys home!

    The Jayhawk Division returns from their battle abroad in Normania.

    They have successfully neutralized the Sooner aggression in the Midwest!


  • @wrwlumpy Perfect illustration to complement the author’s prose. Bravo.

  • I do not disagree that the dog hunts.

    However, I believe this strategy is much more fitting for an under-talented team that by its very nature is fighting for its life each game.

    This is a highly talented team – and this strategy brings us back to our competition.

    In an NCAA tourney scenario, where one loss is the end of the season, I don’t like it.

    We have a wildly talented offensive team. It has been morphed into something ugly, and something much different.

    Yesterday was a great example of the positive of this approach. I can’t argue with that at all. In fact, the game yesterday was better than any of the prior five games, in my opinion. I suspect at AFH we might have won the game yesterday by two or three points.

    But I also think that even if Ellis and Selden were healthy and Greene wasn’t irresponsible, we were destined to play a one or two possession game. Does anyone think that this bad ball stuff would render any other result? That dog does not have a long NCAA tourney life.

    That is the unreliability and inherent risk of this approach. The late game volatility comes much more into play. It’s hard to see just kicking someone’s a**.

    Where I see hope is if we start really embracing the outside/perimeter game with this attack the basket mentality. That, I think, will be critical to NCAA tourney advancement. I’m encouraged that we’ve shot 15 threes in each of the last two games. That’s better than the 10.5 average of the four prior games. We just need to keep shooting them. Regain that stroke. But hope is just that, and I don’t expect it.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Agreed. Take it to the rack and score IF it’s there. If not, kick for wide open 3. Selden 18’ 2’s are turnovers.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    "But I also think that even if Ellis and Selden were healthy and Greene wasn’t irresponsible, we were destined to play a one or two possession game. "

    I feel 99% sure that if we had all these guys it still would have ended a one or two possession game. We fight JUST hard enough to contest these games. There is still room for improvement on toughness. Like bowing out on the last play of the game yesterday, similar to what we did at WVU. Fight that hard and then go soft for 5 seconds and lose… means there is room for improvement on toughness.

    I am addressing the one big weakness of this team. It is the fact that even when they play tough… they play JUST tough enough. This is why Self has turned away from the 3. Because the guys will hit a few shots and go soft.

    Until they can play tough after hitting several 3s, this is the only choice for a strategy. It is better than blazing the nets for a half and then coming out soft for the second half (aka OU game in AFH). If we do that in March we will be toast, and also become the laughing stock of the nation if we give away a 25-pt lead to a mid major for the upset loss.

    The identity of this team (moving forward) shouldn’t become “a perimeter shooting team”… it should be “a team that plays tough for 40-minutes.”

    They do that and then we reward them with bringing back the 3 ball by running perimeter sets.

    Playing tough through thick and thin is the key objective moving forward… and it needs to be for 40 minutes in a game… not 39 minutes and 55 seconds!

  • @drgnslayr I think w/a full healthy roster we beat these guys by at least 10. Jmo

  • Weve shown we can win or lose the 1 or 2 possesion game in the final seconds With the bad ball approach. That alone seems to make it scary for the ncaa tourney. You dont get another chance. Hopefully the toughness building is just a developmental process coach is putting them thru. And he will let the dogs loose in the dance. As we all know. You need to be able to win games several different ways to have a deep run. Im hoping the toughness will come thru when we need it. When the threes arent fallin and the post is clogged

  • @VailHawk Unfortunately, with Selden, the 3s are almost turnovers, as well - he’s 0 - the last 4 games and 2 - 19 over the last 6 games. I get that he may have a bum ankle or other physical ailments, but he’s killing us on the offensive end. Throw in TOs and non-rebounding, and he really should just be subbing in for a few minutes a game until he is healthy - not getting 30 minutes a game (and 18 yesterday). But, we know Self likes to ride certain horses, regardless of what the data and your eyes tell you.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I think we attacked the basket better yesterday than what I’ve seen this year. Our shooting % was horrid, so we need some shots to fall. I never thought I would say this, but I think it helps not having Cliff in there. Michelson, Landen, and Jamari played a hell of a game, with Landen looking the best I’ve seen him all year. Hope he continues to use Michelson more and more - he plays with an intensity that our team needs.

  • @DCHawker do you think coach trusts Selden more than he does Svi?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Apparently so, but we’ve seen this story played out many times with Self over the years - he stays with certain guys even if they aren’t producing. Not sure if it’s loyalty or the stubbornness trait coming through. There was a stretch over 4-5 games where Selden was a major contributor, but that isn’t the case over the past six. The way he has been playing lately, esp. if it is due to injury, personally I would much prefer to see his minutes go to Graham, Greene (if he gets out of the doghouse), and yes, Svi.

  • @DCHawker I think Dg has been getting more of seldens time. He was struggling too. This game would have been beneficial to BG and team if he could straighten up!

  • @DCHawker Yes sir, he is known far and wide for loyalty beyond reason. Sometimes, thats a good thing…sometimes it’s a bad thing. Currently with Selden, it’s a bad thing.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Agreed - huge missed opportunity for Brannen - would have been looking at 25-30 minutes. With regard to Devonte, he’s struggled a bit (including yesterday), but I give him a pass because he is still a freshman and hasn’t played the full season. In his last 3 games where he’s gotten more than 20 minutes, he’s scored 20, 10 and 8. More importantly, he contributes in other ways - unlike Selden, he can drive fairly effectively. And, the offense opens a bit more when he and Frank are in at the same time - allows more chances for him, Frank or Kelly to attack the rim. Whether it’s injury or not (and I’m not convinced that it Is), I think Devonte gives us a lot more than Selden right now.

  • @DCHawker i have thot that the whole year about Selden/Graham. It might be different if Wayne was 100% healthy, but I’m not so sure he hasn’t been hurt all year.

  • @KUSTEVE Health may be a part of it, but having watched him closely for the past two years, I think that maybe Selden is what he is - which is a solid, but limited ballplayer. I had really thought that based on his freshman year, he would be a consistent 15 ppg scorer, tough defender and someone you could post against smaller guards down low. Alas, it hasn’t played out that way.

    The reason I’m a bit skeptical that it is all injury related is that he’s shown a fair amount of hop on several occasions trying (and succeeding) in blocking breakaway layups. And, lack of hops or bad ankle doesn’t have that much to do with his ball-handling, which, putting it mildly, is not good. He is one-handed and cannot deal with pressure and he is simply clueless driving into traffic.

    I don’t mean to be down on the guy - he seems like a really solid citizen and I’m glad he is a Jayhawk. But, right now, he isn’t our best option on the wing.


    It grows increasingly apparent that Hunter could not be allowed to play, because anyone he might replace would be offending either the SHOECO-AGENCY COMPLEX, or the big recruiting markets. Neither of sources of recruits will supply further recruits if any of their guys sit for a player NOT from those two recruiting supply conduits. It seems increasingly apparent that Hunter was as good as Landen (Portland), Jamari (Chicago), or Cliff (Chicago and SHOECO-AGENCY COMPLEX for OADS). Self has to play the guys that will get the recruiting supply conduits to supply future players. Hunter sitting has apparentlya had zero to do with his ability. He rebounds better than Jamari and as well as Landen, guards as well as both, runs the floor better than Landen, guards the post as well as both, hedges as well as both, and blocks as well as both, and shoots better than both. But playing him does not contribute to recruiting, so he has to sit. Hunter would have to be sharply better. If Hunter had grown up in a recruiting hotbed, or gone to a basketball factory academy highschool, he would have played 20 mpg easy. But with his background, tie goes to those the enable future recruiting. End the naivety about this issue. Next.

    P.S. This has zero to do with skin color IMHO and everything to do with which recruiting context you come out of,

  • @DCHawker For all Selden is at times-the mid air catch & pass to Traylor for the highlight flush late vs WVU, or 0-fer an entire game like yeaterday, I think you gave an accurate perspective. He’s finished at the rack himself about 5% of his opportunities so much I think he needs glasses. Plus his defensive footwork is horrid at times. Guards pass him by fast as a goose passes crap & he’s as streaky as a foggy windshield in a blizzard. Some games I swear he can’t hit the ocean. It’s pretty obvious that he’s the starting 2 now, but if DG or Svi were sophomores it might have a much different smell.

  • @DCHawker I love Wayne, but his game has been the most inconsistent of any player not named Greene on the team. To me, he forces action way too much, resulting in ill advised shots, missed dunks, etc. It doesn’t help that he’s down to one good leg.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Oh, so you saw it too. I couldn’t believe the guy i was watching yesterday sky for blocks and rebounds. Where has he been?

  • @KUSTEVE At times he is also like clockwork, a TO machine…IMO the quick hook has been vacant from his doorstep.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I have a very intense feeling about the 3rd season coming up. The post season. Our guys might get dropped to a 3 seed at worst. Might. Either way, this KU team is the definition of tough. The definition of heart. The Madness is all about match ups. KU can match up with anyone now. They have proven that. They dont care if they get their shots blocked 14 times, they dont care if they miss every 3pta. They keep fighting. They keep charging forward with the tenacity of a pitbull, with the tenacity of an injured fighter ready to deliver the KO. They smell blood and it may be their own but it makes them stronger. They will not fold to a Stanford team this season. They will not fold to a UK team this season. Now, its win or go home and our boys will continue to fight and take punches until the very last 0.1 tick on the clock.

  • @HighEliteMajor I completely respect your opinion HEM. I do. Please keep saying our boys wont last long in the madness this year. They feed off of it. It makes them stronger.

  • @Lulufulu If they could just learn to defend a bit better until that very last tick - or 4 or 5 ticks anyway… 😉

  • @jaybate-1.0 Fascinating. Very interesting indeed. Inquiry, IF KU needs Hunter to come out and get some O boards and block some shots and knock some down in the next couple of weeks, do you think Bill puts him in?

  • @DCHawker I agree with you about Brannen missing valuable PT to show off his case. That said, I would NOT trust BG to get us far or FF. His lackadaisical attitude (his confidence in 3s has been both blessing & curse) has prevented him to grow as a defender & killer. He has not proven to be a Navy Seal. Self had to discipline him for being late or missing the work out. Well his body needs the most muscle (compared to other players) if he wants to create his own shots - that kid has a lanky body that is without discipline or muscle. Guys like Mason can push BG around. It’s my supposition that BG has been frustrated because his 3s aren’t dropping, so he did something stupid again. See this as more of a character issue with BG unlike that of Marines or Mason’s! Self should have left his sorry a-- home instead of taking him to OU. I’m critical of this kid because he can do so much more than being a 3pt princess - in defending, fighting, etc. Plus, he canNOT dribble! Traylor has a better shot at NBA than BG. Banking on his ability to hit 3s has prevented him from developing & growing to becoming one he-- of a player, but I remain dubious for now. I totally get why he didn’t get PT before.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Thank you for helping me understand the mystery! Hunter was impressive, and for the life of me couldn’t understand why Self wasn’t playing him. Unfortunately, Self has to play the game. Sad for Hunter. Life is not always fair or just. Now, I’m really hoping Hunter gets to shine in the tourney!

  • @HawksWin I’m certainly not going to defend Greene on the character front - he clearly has some growing up to do. Nor would I “trust” him to carry us. The question is, who can we count on at the 2 right now??? My point is that whether it’s due to injury or not, Selden has contributed nothing over the past several games - no scoring, no rebounding, not much defense and too many turnovers. Hate to say it, but right now, I don’t “trust” him, as well. If not Selden, then who? Greene certainly isn’t a complete answer - apart from being irresponsible or whatever (just inexcusable when we were already short-handed) - he hasn’t been hitting 3s. Improved, but still a net defensive liability. But, I would always take him shooting a 3 over Selden. And, he has been rebounding reasonably well - certainly better than Selden. And, he is our best FT shooter. Svi? We really don’t have enough to go on - probably too late in the season to put him in high leverage situations, but I think he can give us a few solid minutes. That leaves with with Graham - still learning, but at this point, I think he is our best option at the two - and gives us the most options on offense. I would be giving him 30 minutes a game now - 20 minutes+ at the 2 and subbing for Mason at point.

  • @Lulufulu This is 2012 again. I thought these guys reminded me some of 2008 at times earlier in the season, but I think they are 2012 all over again. I think Mickelson can do a poor man’s Withey …Perry can play TRob, Kelly can be a taller Travis, Selden has EJ down to a T, and Frank is Tyshawn. Only we have much more off the bench than 2012, imo.

  • So Hunter is not playing more because of shoes and it somehow affecting future recruiting? Really JB?

    @Lulufulu What about 3-3 in the last 6 games makes you think we’re really going to do well in the tourney? What about 3-3 makes you think we won’t fold to a UK team? I like your optimism but it might be a tad bit overly optimistic, don’t you think?

    @drgnslayr Watching yesterday I was trying to conjecture how we’d be doing against OU with a full squad. For some reason we just can’t say we lost by two with 3 1/2 guys missing so we’d probably win by 10 otherwise.

    @KUSteve I really like your enthusiasm! 2012 all over again? I’d take that. I hope you’re right. I have a feeling more like we could be repeating any of our 1st weekend losses.

  • Banned


    Not so sure what we saw Saturday was Bad ball. In fact I think I could make a case we seen glimpses of what KU was doing before they started down this whole bad ball trail that has left KU with 3 more loses in five games.

    KU guards though nervous at first at shooting three began to find their stroke again, as they could keep shooting with out fear of being benched.

    Believe or not he the High low seemed to work better without Ellis in there. Not really sure why? But it was working. KU actually had inside passing.

    KU guards weren’t just driving to get fouled. They were looking for the open man.

    My friend that’s not bad ball. That’s how the game should be played. Just my two cents.

  • @Lulufulu

    If he is not bumping any one that will offend the recruiting supply line, then he will always play quite a bit. But never when he is IMHO.

  • @KUSTEVE I’ve posted elsewhere that this team is taking on some of the characteristics of the '11-12 team - but that’s primarily from a toughness, grind-it-out mentality. That team really wasn’t that talented - at least in terms of NBA caliber talent - and which struggled offensively for long stretches.

    But, I don’t think the teams compare well on a person-to-person basis and on their core strengths. That team was really tough down low - a truly great rim protector in Withey and low post beast in Robinson. Really good perimeter defenders, as well, all with size. They were tough to score on. But, offense often ended up being Taylor driving as the clock shot was expiring.

    I would also note that team won 8 straight games or something like that headed into the B12 tourney (lost to a ranked Baylor team in the semis).

    The comparison with '11-12 is that I think we are indeed capable of grinding out 4 wins to make it to the FF (depending on match-ups, of course). Recall that team was ekeing out wins - only “easy” one was UNC. But, we also have very little margin for error and it wouldn’t be shocking if we fell to a 15 or 14 seed in the first round.

  • @Lulufulu Anything I can do.

    But I am open to learning here. Self is the master. If Kansas wins three in a row in the Big 12 tourney playing this way, that will say something. I just have tough time envisioning three in a row with this offensive style, combined with our roster. I get it if we’re big, mean, and muscular inside. But we’re not. Playing and beating three good Big 12 teams in a row will really tell me that this dog hunts. I’m usually not the gloom and doom guy on the NCAA tourney – I don’t like being that guy.

  • @DCHawker Good point … can we borrow a Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey somehow?

  • @HighEliteMajor Hah. Well, we weren’t supposed to have to borrow them. Coming in, Alexander was supposed to be the low post load and at least I thought Mickelson could be Withey-lite - certainly showed comparable shot-blocking skills even earlier in development. Hasn’t quite played out that way. Maybe Cliff gets back in time for the tournament (sure) and the light goes on for him and Self has simply been hiding Hunter and he breaks out our secret weapon.

  • @DCHawker et al,

    This team compares well with no previous team, because no previous team has ever been this weak in the front court, only one was this young on the perimeter, and no KU TEAM has ever played Bad Ball.

    This is a new frontier and that is why Self is so juiced, despite the frustrations. This really IS a new challenge!

    It might never happen again if a bumper crop of OADs signs. And if they don’t it is the blue print for next year.

  • @HighEliteMajor Withey is available as New Orleans isn’t using him.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 It’s like an allegiance HCBS has to his more experienced players. This has been cussed and discussed many times on this board and the other board. I think you said “because he was due” when someone commented about sitting Selden or giving Selden the final shot. It’s like HCBS will give someone like Selden forever to break out of a slump, but not let Svi have the same opportunity. Yesterday’s game was a throw away game that should’ve been the opportunity for Svi to put up some 3’s. Selden had his chance and it didn’t help. Would’ve been a good chance for “bonehead” too if he hadn’t screwed his teammates. And since I brought up “bonehead”, how many more chances does one get under HCBS to be a “bonehead” who apparently puts himself before his team? And I’m not talking about Cliff.

  • @wissoxfan83 No I really dont think its overly optimistic. Last years team went 3-3 the last 6 games too and they folded to Stanford. Nothing about this years team says fold to me. Nothing.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Only comparison I was making was the toughness of '15 compared to '12

  • @KUSTEVE I agree. This team can make a run as long as we are healthy. Perry and Mason will be the keys but other guys will step up.

    Our 3-3 record in the last 6 doesn’t bother me. How me play in the Big 12 tournament doesn’t really get me that excited. It just isn’t that relevant. How many times have we come into the NCAA on fire and then simply laid an egg? Quite a few. 2010 and 2011 come to mind.

    It is all about winning and advancing. UCONN last year is such a great example of this. They limped into the tournament. Got beat by Louisville by 35 late in the year. Barely beat St. Joe’s in the opening round of the tourney as a 7 seed! They scrapped. They won games they trailed in. They beat taller and more talented teams. They simply dug deep and played “tougher” than the competition. This is a tough KU team. Mason is tough. Selden is tough. Perry has been playing his most aggressive and inspired basketball of his KU career. I think we tough our way to a good run as we did in 2012.

  • @brooksmd I was kidding about Selden having that shot! Playing the odds. Seldens minutes have been dropping. Svi getting minutes, but not there. BG would have helped!

  • @Lulufulu

    “No I really dont think its overly optimistic. Last years team went 3-3 the last 6 games too and they folded to Stanford. Nothing about this years team says fold to me. Nothing.”

    I don’t follow that logic.

  • @DoubleDD

    "Believe or not he the High low seemed to work better without Ellis in there. Not really sure why? But it was working. KU actually had inside passing. "

    I think it worked better because it fit the skill set and roles of Landen and Hunter. Perry is a bit smaller and just doesn’t post up well with his back to the basket. Perry is more the interior slasher.

    I think this was a great game for Landen and Hunter to become more our 5 guys moving forward. Both are capable of making the interior passes needed in the hi/lo. And with Perry back, they can be feeding him to score! I’d use Jamari more as a back up for Perry because he can be a very effective scorer as long as he is slashing and not taking the midrange jumper.

    We all have to remember that the hi/lo is Self’s bread and butter. Who says he is really good at coaching anything else on offense? We know he is capable of coaching the hi/lo well.


    “Playing and beating three good Big 12 teams in a row will really tell me that this dog hunts”

    That would definitely prove “this dog hunts.” But even if we don’t… we at least should make quality games moving forward. Really… two of our recent losses came on last second give ups. If we can tighten up our last second defense, we will be a lot more effective in the win column. This BAD BALL always produces close games… meaning… close endings. This area seems to be the most-important area to work on moving forward.

    Examine most of our March losses and it points to last second possessions. This has always been our Achilles heel.

    From here on out… our guys really have to put in the extra reps in practice on the FT line, and work on good last possession defense. The OU loss was a hard fought game we deserved to win, but we collapsed and gave away the weak-side rebound. Every one of our guys should have been hustling back to get that rebound… we gifted it to Buddy instead.

    These open-court drives kill us. Our guys need to learn a bit more about hedge defense to take away the drive. It usually doesn’t totally prevent the drive, but it definitely helps slow it down. Svi did a good job hedging Buddy when he turned it over on the spin move. Svi hedged him and forced him into it. Buddy screwed up because he was used to Kansas players giving him his right-side drive.

    The reason it worked is because Svi realized where his position was in relation to the basket behind him and Buddy in front of him. He pinched off the direct drive.

    That is different than what Frank did at WVU, giving up the spin drive to the hole from Staten. Frank went out of position. He didn’t realize where he was in relation to the basket. He gave away the direct drive to the rim.

    This is all about learning hedge defense.

  • @drgnslayr and we need to pray that Ellis is strong!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    It has been a real thrill watching Perry’s recent aggressiveness! It’s like a light went on in his head. You can even see a bit of swagger with him! He’s on the right track! He keeps going like he is the NBA will become a real possibility in his future!

Log in to reply