Self Fullfilling Prophecy

  • We are now on the door steps of the NCAA tournament. Once 21-4 and sitting at 10-2 in the league, Kansas finished the league campaign 3-3 and stand 5-4 in its last 9 games. This should cause even the biggest Bill Self fans great pause. Our change in fortunes on the court were directly tied to the change in offensive strategy directed by coach Self. The NCAA tourney awaits. How did this happen, and why?

    1. Self Fulfilling Prophecy defined: “Any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a person’s behavior toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled.”

    2. Texas Tech “Fool’s Gold” Commentary: Following the Texas Tech game in Lubbock on February 10, coach Self said the following: “It’s fool’s gold. You can’t bank on making 55 percent or 50 percent of your threes.” Of course, that is true. But at the time, Kansas was shooting over 40% from three point range as a team, through 24 games – an impressive number through a stretch of games accounting for over two-thirds of the season. It was actually our most reliable offensive weapon. Self used the fool’s gold comment at half time of the Utah game, remember? Self chided Ellis after Ellis’ spectacular first half performance because Ellis had the actual temerity to score from the outside – citing Ellis’ performance as “fool’s gold.”

    3. The Point of Fool’s Gold: Self’s point was that fool’s gold is fake, it’s something you can’t rely upon. It’s not the real deal. Most importantly, as we know, ‘Fool’s Gold’ is of no value – that was the message to the team. You have to score inside. Self of course wanted to improve his inside game. A worthy goal. But in the process, he insulted, discredited, and devalued the guys that had carried his team to a 20-4 record at the time. This is where, in my opinion, the disconnect began with this team. And this disconnect led to our 5-4 finish.

    4. My Comments Post TT: Here’s what I said immediately after the Texas Tech “Fool’s Gold” comments: “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 (hearing that from coach Self). Now 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? 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.”

    5. Psychological Impact: This gets subjective, of course. But does anyone doubt that coaches can inspire players to greatness? Does anyone doubt the value of coaches, behind the scenes, in creating an atmosphere of success? Does anyone doubt that a coach can play mind games with players? Does anyone doubt that some of these guys might have fragile psyches, or be a bit insecure about their role and their value to the team? I believe that Self’s public and private disdain for the three point shot psychologically destroyed this team’s greatest strength. It led directly to the horrible performances we have seen from behind the arc.

    6. Self’s Fulfilled Prophecy: The shooting slump – the travesty that has been our three point shooting since Texas Tech – was Self created. I have zero doubt about that. This was not a reversion to the mean. It was a coach tearing the offensive heart out of his team. Now, I know, some will immediately react and believe this not to be true. But let’s think about this for a moment. A coach is the ever present source of inspiration and confidence in a team. And though I am not one to cite Sam Mellinger too often, he made the following statement in the KC Star Saturday morning that is nearly an undeniable truth – “Shooting is best done with clear minds.” This is gospel. Self has rarely given his players that clear mind. Again, we have seen him show great disdain for the three pointer over the years. Three point shooters have been the biggest recipients, this side of an Anrio Adams three second pick, of the coach Self’s quick hook. Self has made comments in prior years about not settling for threes. It’s a common refrain. Threes are second class. We know where he stands on the topic. We heard him say on Hawk Talk that we need “reliable offense.” We know what he meant. Self wanted us to have less reliance on three point shooting. Now he has that. I wonder if this is what he envisioned?

    7. Post Texas Tech: I believe that what happened after the TT game was that coach Self had reached his breaking point. In his mind, he truly believed that this team could not, and would not, be in a position to compete for a national championship relying on outside shooting. So everything changed. He would not stand for the reliance on outside shooting any longer. He demanded that his players change their approach to the game. He demanded that we get the ball to the hoop. He demanded a style of play that was, in his opinion, more reliable. He demanded not settling for three pointers. It was a thought process borne in a long term approach to the season. Bill Self felt that we could not reach the Final Four playing the way we played through the Texas Tech game. It was an illusion to Self. It would not work in the NCAAs when things get down and dirty. We were too reliant on outside shooting. We heard Brannen Greene comment that threes needed to be taken in the flow of the normal offense. We saw players routinely pass on three point looks in favor driving to the hoop. Frank Mason, who was gunning at over 40%, completely changed his approach. Selden, Greene, and Oubre all hesitated. It is subtle, folks. But that’s all it takes. All it takes is a slight hesitation. A slight second thought. The look is gone. Or, don’t shoot unless we’re under 10 on the shot clock, don’t shoot the three if you are guarded, don’t shoot a three if we still have the opportunity to drive the basketball. Restrictions. Interestingly, Self just said Friday that his guys could shoot open threes against Baylor, but that he “hoped to hell they wouldn’t.”

    8. Numbers Do Not Lie: In the games since the Fool’s Gold comments at TT, Kansas has shot just 26.2% from three point range. This from a team shooting over 40% at the time. Worse, our three point attempts dropped dramatically from 16.9 per game, to 11.5 per game in our 9 games of “bad ball.” There is more to the drastic change in numbers than merely a slump. This was a wholesale change in what was acceptable, and what was not acceptable. The drastic drop in three point attempts tells that story unequivocally. Further, very importantly, before “bad ball” – we were averaging a +9.33 average ppg margin in conference play. After “bad ball” – we were averaging just a +2.55 average ppg margin in conference play (including the conference tourney).

    9. Brannen Greene: Greene, I believe, was the biggest psych job. Why do I believe that? Because his game, much more than any Jayhawk, is premised upon his outside shooting. He was our three point gunner. He was the guy that commentators were regularly calling the best shooter in America. He was the guy that Self was calling the best shooter during his tenure at Kansas. Then, the Fool’s Gold rant. Through the Texas Tech game, Greene was shooting 53.2% from three. Since the Texas Tech game, Greene has shot 14.2%. Some may say coincidence, I’m sure. I would suggest that Self largely contributed to the decline, if not flat out caused it. Greene, who is an NBA prospect solely because of his shooting, essentially saw his main contribution to the team devalued, and called fake and worthless. Don’t for one minute underestimate the power of coach Self’s opinion on these young men. And the change in strategy – the second thought in this shooter’s mind – surely led to uncertainty when Greene began to pull the trigger. The rhythm was lost and the spiral began.

    10. Conference Myth: Remember, Self’s change in offensive focus did not win us the Big 12 conference. We won in spite of it. We were 9-2 in conference, and finished 13-5. Through the Texas Tech game in Lubbock, we were 20-4. We come home vs. a zone defense team (Baylor) and won, 21-4 (the bridge to the change in strategy). At many times during those first 25 games we looked dynamic on offense. We demonstrated that we could overcome large deficits (Florida) and we showed that we could blow the doors off teams with incredible halves of basketball (Utah). We we shooting over 40% from three point range. We were at 8th in the nation in three point percentage.

    11. Bad Ball: @jaybate-1.0 gave us the term “bad ball.” Self said we play ugly. This began, really, when Self finally accepted that we have a very limited ability to score on the post feed. On January 31, 2015, Self proclaimed that we were not an inside-out team. This thought process led to a different way to get the ball to the hoop, as Self alluded to directly after the Texas Tech game – talking about getting the ball to the hoop off the bounce, and other ways beyond the post feed. Whatever the term, we changed significantly after the Texas Tech game. Bad ball was born. We then embarked on a wholesale change in the manner in which we approached offensive basketball. Our three point attempts dwindled. Our offense was now 100% committed to getting the ball inside, with the strategy of driving the basketball, creating off the dribble, drawing fouls, mucking it up, and “finding a way to win”, as Self said just the other day.

    12. Futility of Bad Ball: The day that this was plainly evident was February 15, 2015, at home, against TCU. The day the season died. We had lost to WVU in our first true “bad ball” game, and then was locked in a tight game with TCU, at home, at the three minute mark. The writing on the wall was evident. In the 9 true “bad ball” games, we have gone 5-4 under the rule of “bad ball.” Numbers do not lie. Against ISU, a main premise of bad ball failed. We could not keep a lead. We build a 17 point lead, only to see it lost in a flash. This was reminiscent of the Utah game where we built a 20 point lead on the backs of our outside shooters, only to see it lost when Self directed a return to the pound it inside philosophy he is so fond of. Bad ball failed. Bad ball has led this team to 5-4 – that is futility. As @Jesse-Newell has noted, our offensive efficiency has tanked since this new strategy was put into practice. The dynamic outbursts of the first 25 games were replaced by the drudgery on the offensive end. An attack in large part premised upon drawing fouls, and getting to the line. Further, Self conveniently ignores that his preferred approach has significant pitfalls. Ironically, the inability to make “bunnies” impacted both the Stanford game last tourney, and was a key factor in our loss to KSU (as Self reflected upon after that game). Again, our most reliable offense had been our outside shooting through the Texas Tech games. We could not score reliably near the rim. The bad ball strategy further relies upon the whistle our referee friends – a fickle thing that can wax and wane like the tides of the ocean. And not something one should bank on to lead them to the promised land. A distinct element that is out of one’s control.

    13. The Answer – Why Self Switched To Bad Ball: It was yesterday, following the Baylor game, when Self gave the answer. Self commented that our 2012 Final Four team played this way. He noted that Tyshawn Taylor didn’t make a three the entire tournament, until the title game, and that we didn’t score a basket outside of three feet in beating NC State in the tourney run. Self reminisced in his comparisons, referring to the fact that this version of the Kansas Jayhawks’ identity was “finding a way to win.”

    14. Could Self Be Right?: Absolutely. Self could be dead on correct. The greatest stage awaits. The ultimate judge and jury. If Self’s gamble that “bad ball” can carry us to the Final Four is right, he wins this great debate by knock-out. Of course, he could change course and revert to a different style of play, and also reach the Final Four. Self would win, once again, by knock-out. And that’s the reality of coaching at Kansas. Fairly or unfairly, Self will be judged by his team’s performance in March. Fairly or unfairly, every big time coach is judged in this manner, and compared to other coaches. But Self has made a big gamble, risking this team’s future on a bet that turns it’s back on what used to be this team’s greatest strength. Self consciously chose not to embrace this team’s strength and chose not to scheme to take advantage of it – he chose a strategy that minimized that strength. Self gets paid to make these sorts of decisions. It’s his team, it’s his call. We will soon see if this decision will lead the Jayhawks to the promised land. Kansas will, once again, be in a terrific position as a #2 or #3 seed to make a run to the Final Four. Self could be right. Every KU fan hopes this gamble was the right one. We shall soon see.

  • @HighEliteMajor I don’t even have to read the post and I know it’s probably right.

  • I’m reminded of Brad Stevens saying that he didn’t want his demeanor to affect his kids on the court–much deeper wisdom from a much younger coach.

    If you dig deeper into this ‘find a way’ philosophy, you have to ask–Why should this team have to play ‘bad ball’? Why can’t this team play good ball? Why can’t this team ‘find a way’ to score with 3 (or 4 if you count Cliff) McD’s All Americans and 4 (or 5) future NBA draft picks on the floor?

    Could it be… th-6.png COACHING???

  • @HighEliteMajor you would feel better if KU lost so you could be right?

  • @KUinLA so you prefer Stevens? Since you don’t like Coach Selfs strategies maybe you should go find someone that you agree w/?

  • Interestingly I don’t think yesterdays first half was bad ball. We actually made some 3’s and if memory serves correctly we were 3-7 near the end of the half which were numbers close to what we were making before the slump. Of course everything just fell apart and, we enter the tourney 5-4 in our last nine games.

  • @wissoxfan83 i agree. First half was not quite like the badball weve been seeing. As far as the 2nd? No question. But honestly, if badball Is gonna have us allowing 47 pts in a half. Im really not interested. And im surprised that Self would be. He eats up defense and we didnt see much of that for the first 13 minutes of half 2 last evening

  • I believe that 3 point shots are not fool’s gold - most of the time they are about 35% real gold.

    OAD’s = Fool’s Gold.

  • @nuleafjhawk for whatever reason. They dont seem to work for Self and KU the way they do for other teams. Thats Very fair

  • @cragarhawk My guess is that if our OAD’s were all 6’11 - 7’1, they all turn out GREAT.

  • @HighEliteMajor , YOUR POST is a Great, great post. It clearly describes what has occurred over the season. It is also sad. in a way. that it RIPS some of our players confidence out when it comes to that point in a game that we have to score with a 3 !! We absolutely lost some of our players (i.e. Greene) when Self took THAT TOOL out of the players TOOL BAGS. This (as you so well described) will determine how we end the season … Self’s way VS. the Fools Gold way with the 3.

    It is also clearly evident that when we need 3’s at the end of the game, we lack the confidence to make them. And i hope that this fact will NOT write the “KU’s FINAL CHAPTER”!!

  • @wissoxfan83 ya I vented about his last night in the bad ball strikes again thread I think it was called. We played solid ball movement offense and then tanked the game trying to just drive head down and stupid passes in the paint with the whole cryiowa state team waiting. The fools gold comment was so unnecessary and killed at the least greenes confidence. It will be hard to bring that offense back because now we have this new an terribly boring foul fest because of the percentages. He could have just emphasized the importance of a low post game and left the guys that we’re sizzling beyond the arc alone. Oh well too bad maybe it will make a comeback just in time. I miss that 2012 Taylor/Robinson/young/whithey/relaford team. OAD are killing basketball as a TEAM game.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    You definitely understand the game of basketball very well. I never miss one of your postings. They are always filled with intelligent perspective and analysis.

    I believe, sometime next fall, Self will finally let the cat out of the bag… and admit he screwed up big time by chastising our guys for being proficient at 3s. He will apologize for his “fool’s gold” comment, because the fan base is never going to live that down. I know none of us in here will ever let that phrase go. It has been added to Self’s “legacy.” And it should. Everyone in this game has to be held accountable… especially coaches.

    I was one of the original fans in your corner on this issue. I do still believe it has validity. I turned away from it because I sometimes have high blood pressure and keeping thoughts on something like this, where you can do nothing to change it, can only spike your blood pressure. So I’ve flipped camps, trying to support Self’s goal to scrap potent offense for defensive toughness.

    I don’t think any of us can question that to some degree, Self’s strategy worked. We have been playing a tougher brand of basketball. Nix out the second half from last night and we were starting to roll on defense. We humiliated a tough Baylor team that is bound to be taken serious in March Madness.

    So here we are today. What do we do moving forward? Can we click our fingers and have a lethal perimeter shooting team again? I’m not certain of that. But I see other glaring problems with this team, that need to be addressed regardless of our offensive strategy.

    If I could take control of this team today as a coach, this is what I would do. These are the issues I think stand out most:

    1. Play with a chip. These kids need something to play for. They need something to motivate them. This is always the Achilles heel for Jayhawk basketball. Self doesn’t know how to motivate Jayhawk teams. He might have been great at motivating teams in his early days… but it takes something that he doesn’t have to motivate Kansas players. For one… we live in the illusion that just playing for Kansas should be motivation enough. Well how did that work for us yesterday? Which team was pumped up? This is the real reason we lost this game, and it will be the reason we lose in March. We are every opponent’s Super Bowl. I suggest firing one of our assistant coaches and bring in a Southern Baptist minister. Someone who knows how to reach players’ souls.

    2. Know how to close. All of our recent losses have been close games that we could have won had we stepped up on closing them out the right way. Our energy level should automatically increase in the final moments of a game. I’m not seeing that. I’m seeing that with our opponents, but not us.

    3. Better game coaching. Self was out-coached in this game. Even Holly gave him the warning at halftime. Everyone and their dog knew that ISU was going to bring it in the second half, but we had no strategy to battle them. Not until the very end when we finally went to the zone, too late to make the difference. Why wouldn’t Self try the zone after say… a 10-pt ISU run? Why did we have to wait until the very end to try something else? We could have thwarted their run had we made a reaction. Calling timeout and then not imposing some kind of twist is just a waste of a timeout, and actually helps the other team because they are building more momentum because we are forced into a timeout.

    4. Start bringing back the 3s by running some perimeter offense. This would not only help bring back the 3s, it would help open up the middle for Perry and Kelly. We have issues with our spacing, with our motion, and with our sets. Nothing is setup properly to take advantage of 3s. Are we really going to go into March neglecting this?

    Even in the first half of yesterday’s game, I felt pessimistic. We had plenty of times when we could have taken it to the rack and either scored, get fouled, or both, and we didn’t. Our guys backed the ball out. Why? That made it obvious for the second half. If the Mayor squeezed his guys in just a bit more, it would completely squeeze us out of taking the ball to the rim. It worked. Why? Not because they packed the paint… because our guys were not aggressive enough to drive through. We only did it a few times then gave up. And then we didn’t have the proper sets to drive and feed for the 3 because our spacing and angles were all wrong. On any drive in the paint, there should be someone open on the perimeter.

    It is a pity we will never use Brannen Greene properly. He isn’t in a slump. He just isn’t having his shot supported any longer. Do you want to talk about “fool’s gold?” Fool’s gold is driving the paint and not having an outlet for an open 3. Sorry… that’s not fool’s gold… just foolish!

  • The Xs and Os of our game is way beyond my ken. But I do know this: Bill’s “Fools Gold” statement will hang like an albatross around his neck until his teams eventually run to a series of Final Fours, probably on a level with his current string of conference titles. And somewhere along the way this season, Brannen’s game got snuffed. I imagine that he will have to follow the path of Frankamp if he is ever to stand a chance to flourish on the collegiate level. There is little doubt now that the 3 pt. game is not an essential ingredient in the current Jayhawk offensive strategy. Not likely to change in the tactical makeup of a Hall of Fame bound coach with an 11 game league championship run and an overall 83% win record at KU.

  • @HighEliteMajor @KUinLA A few of your points I have to respectfully question. Sure it could effect these kids, but it’s simply nothing but pure speculation that some sort of “Self Rant” is the root of all these evil shooting %‘s. It’s quite possible, & IMO even likely that we’ are not as savvy as we wish to make others believe about the psych approach Bill takes with his guys. Public embarrassment is not a personnel issue that any leader takes lightly, yet peer pressure or internal competition can work great advantages for you. IMO Bill is very careful to not discuss ANY in-house procedures in depth via the media. Snacks, Cliff, Greene? He says just a few things to address/sidestep the issue & nuts right up to refocus the inquiries on a different element.

    Also, think about it. Injuries to Greene’s shooting hand (jammed), Selden’s wheels, & Mason’s entire being could very well be as much a contributor as anything in our late season struggles. Remember the blatant hip-check that Houge put on Frank with abt 3-4 min remaining in AFH? He plain ass decked Mason & all 3 refs missed it… Seldon hasn’t had enough leg hops to rim finish all year, plus his shot motion was changed going into the season. Its a no brainer that a shooter has to have his legs under him for even a FT, let alone a 22-25 footer. And BG has had some disciplinary issues that none of us are privy to know how were dealt with. He may have been running steps all damn week-we simply don’t know. These guys are beat up as all hell whether we admit it or not. Lucas fell dead flat on his back like being body slammed about 2 weeks ago. And KO, well, he’s a OAD & with that, you get what you get when you get em- look at Cliff too. Nothing but inconsistencies all year & obviously playing with reserve, IMO to protect the goods for the long haul (draft). Where the hell was KO yesterday? Some of these factors, & I say if they are real factors, just can’t be placed in HCBS’s lap IMO. And also take account that Bill is an ultimately skilled professional who is not going to lament excuses to smooth over his own shortcomings. At times none of us agree with the tactics but face it men, he gets it. Is he the best game coach every time out? Hell no, no one is. But he damn sure knows his own team-their strengths & weaknesses-a whole lot better than any of us out here in the parking lot. As always, JMO.

  • @HighEliteMajor I see things just the opposite. I know people like to pout and cry when KU looses, since it happens more than once a year. Did you stop to think that maybe Bill was right? How many “excellent” Duke teams have been bounced in the first or second round because they depend upon the three?

    The three ball is great to depend upon to create an upset. If KU was at as huge of a talent deficit as when they played UK then I say bomb away. You are going to loose 9 out of 10 playing them straight up. SO why not shoot threees and see what happens. It’s like playing one armed bandits, you will cash in eventually.

    So KU has hit an inevitible cold streak shooting the three ball, let’s bash on Self and say he got into their heads and screwed up a team that was shooting lights out for 3/4 of the season. He clearly changed philosophies over the last 9 games and has killed the three himself. It has nothing to do with the three ball being the least reliable shot and worst way to a repeatable victory. Cold shooting nights happen and an inside game/slashing game would sure be nice to depend on and fall back on the three; not the other way around.

  • One thing I will point out is that we are talking about this team, and this year.

    What I do not understand is why with a team that is your best perimeter shooting team in the Self era – Self said that – why you go so firmly in the other direction? If you are a bad shooting team, I get it. If your just average, the perhaps it’s arguable.

    I guess what I’d say further is that we many times look at this with tunnel vision. We just see our team. There is a who world of offensive basketball out there. Much like a football coach may be more a defensive guy than an offensive guy, that is coach Self. He has a very limited view of offensive basketball. And just because coach Self says it, doesn’t make it right.

    He has force fed an offensive strategy on a group of players that had a very different skill set and strength. With a team that has a TRob and Withey, it would be a very different conversation.

    @drgnslayr to your point, no, we don’t click our heels and change back right now. I think we are what Self has made us to be. And look, that could very well get us to the Final Four. I’ve said all along that the NCAA tourney is what matters most. I will not care one bit that we went 5-4 in the last 9 if we win our next 4 games. And if we win our next 4, we can argue and debate all we want, but Self would have gotten us to a Final Four. That’s all that counts right now. Self’s best coaching job was 2012 – getting us to the Final Four. All that matters now is how he coaches the next 4 games.

    I also wondered like you why Self would go zone very late, but not try it earlier. But then again, what’s new? Why wait until the 2:00 minute mark to press vs. UNI? He’s the same guy he’s always been.

    @RedRooster I agree, it is sad. It’s sad that something that had such promise was not permitted to grow and reach its peak. But, alas, there is a new day. And that is the NCAA tourney, If we win four games, and get to the Final Four, we won’t care.

    @Crimsonorblue22 There are times I do not understand your comments, other than realizing you took the blue pill a long, long time ago. It isn’t too late. There is a big basketball world out there that doesn’t operate under Bill Self’s offensive script. Lots of teams that have won national titles doing it a different way.

  • @REHawk

    “But I do know this: Bill’s “Fools Gold” statement will hang like an albatross around his neck until his teams eventually run to a series of Final Fours”

    Well said. And I hope you are right!


    Not because I don’t support Self. I just think coaches need to be pushed just like players. Maybe our team can start developing a chip if our coach has one!

    All of us will use the “fool’s gold” statement as a tool from here on out!

    I’m in!

  • @dylans Here’s the thing … you can have both. You can have a slashing game, you can have an inside game, and you actually can shoot threes. They work together. Have you watched Gonzaga play? Duke? Wichita St.? You obviously saw ISU. And you’ve seen OU. Just examples. Not perfect teams. Just examples.

    This entire change was because we could not score on the post feed. Something we recognized in early December, which Self finally relented on in early February. But along the way, we were shooting threes. We tried to feed the post. We tried to score inside. But in the alternative, we shot the three ball.

    You can have both. You can drive and slash to get your inside looks, and you can also shoot threes.

    Ask yourself this … how many times have you seen a Kansas guard drive into the lane, draw the defense, and pass to the three point line for the open shot?

    You make the mistake of thinking that shooting the three at a high rate is living and dying by the three (your one armed bandit reference). But it absolutely is not. And I’m sure you know that I have never suggested … ever … being a one dimensional, three point gunning team.

    There is this myth you perpetuate, as well, that we would hit an inevitable cold streak shooting the three ball. We weren’t shooting a crazy percentage, though. We were just over 40%. Heck, the 2011 team shot over 40%. And they clearly played inside-out, feed the post, basketball.

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    I also wondered like you why Self would go zone very late, but not try it earlier. But then again, what’s new? Why wait until the 2:00 minute mark to press vs. UNI? He’s the same guy he’s always been.

    This is maybe my biggest gripe about Self. The in game adjustments coming too late. Well that and not using mismatches like we should.

  • I agree with most of HEM’s points. I also think the second half fizzle was due to playing through Perry Ellis when he was clearly injured and ineffective. I think we would have been better off with Mickelson and Lucas.

  • Adding to the discussion, it is common for folks to reference too much reliance on the outside shot as a reason to support Self one track approach. But did you see Self’s quote from after the ISU game?

    “We had no inside game at all. They just packed it in and dared us to make plays and we couldn’t make them.”

    Then look at ISU’s offense. Folks claim they rely on three pointers. But look at the box score. ISU went 2-16 from three. How does a team that relies so much on threes actually win when they’re not hitting threes?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “How does a team that relies so much on threes actually win when they’re not hitting threes?”

    They won because they wanted it more than us.

  • @drgnslayr absolutely correct

  • @HighEliteMajor Umm KU did hit a cold steak. It’s no myth its the past several games.

    I like to see KU shooting threes it keeps the D honest. I just think a strong inside game is a way to win more consistently. Unfortunately this team is weak inside, Kelly plays like a freshman and can’t slash consistently, Perry is a 3/4 and needs a true 5 to play next to. Selden is not a dead eye 2, nor is he a great ball-handler. Frank has been a pleasant surprise, but not mistake free. Graham will be good, but is inconsistent. Svi plays like a really talented 17 year old.

    So since KU does nothing great, it must do everyhing well. They must not just rely on one dimention of the game. They have been coached that when the three isn’t falling to do something different. They have been coached to look for a higher percentage shot than a quick three early in the offense. The three will be open more often than any other shot, because it’s the easiest to miss (fools gold-sure looks good).

    I wish ISU would have kept jacking quick threes in the second half like they did in the first.

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    @dylans Here’s the thing … you can have both. Have you watched Gonzaga play? Duke? Wichita St.? You obviously saw ISU. And you’ve seen OU. Just examples. Not perfect teams. Just examples.

    No, I have a job, kids, wife and in general a life. I don’t know what your schedule is like, but I’m busy. I watch KU basketball and sports center. When I was younger and had more free time on my hands I watched plenty of NCAA basketball. I may watch a handful of tourney games that KU’s not in, but that’s it.

    I am a KU fan period. I don’t give a … about any other team.

  • @dylans That’s fine, and I respect that. Seeing other teams play can just affect one’s perspective when assessing the propriety of Self’s offensive approach. Threes are much, much more than just keeping the “D honest.”

    You say that three point shots are the easiest to miss - would it surprise you to know that our three point percentage, even with the 9 game downturn, is still higher than our two point jump shot percentage?

  • @HighEliteMajor With respect to Brannen Greene being psyched out. What a crock! You must think that BG is the dumbest player on the face of the earth. Unless he is the dumbest player he knows that he is on the floor for one reason only and that is to shoot threes. He sees the film and must know that his defense needs a lot of work. He cannot dribble the ball more than 5 times with a defender within 5 feet without coughing it up. His passing leaves as much to be desired as that of anyone else on the team. Let’s give him a little credit for improving the rebounding.

    And yet after all of this he was on the floor yesterday during the most critical part of the game. Why was he there? Obviously to shoot threes and he did. Making one that counted for something. Who put him on the floor? Since neither you nor KUinLA are the coaches I guess it was probably Bill Self. Obviously he must have felt terrible, being as stupid as you assume that he is, thinking that the coach has no confidence in his abilities.

    Self could have had KO or Svi shooting to try and come back but he did not. As offensively challenged as a bag a hammers he played someone that he had no confidence in and who he had insulted and damaged his confidence with his “fools gold” comment. Leave the dime store psychology to Dr. Phil.

  • Banned

    I think you all know where I stand on this issue. I just don’t see how you don’t play to your strength. I could and would agree with a HC saying hey we got the three thing down lets work on our inside game. Yet that’s not how it went down. HCBS basically came out and showed his disdain for the three point shot. He termed it Fools Gold.

    Which I’m fine with HCBS’s lets pound the ball inside at all costs. Hey he’s won a lot of games doing it. However if that’s the approach on offense, then don’t recruit a Conner, or Greene type of kid. One you’re wasting that kids ability and two your driving the fans nuts.

    I think HCBS is a fine coach one of the best, but I don’t think he’s adapting to the OAD very well. Think of this years team and last years team. Really KU’s experience with the OAD era. Last year when Embiid went down. HCBS had no answer. Even in his own words he said I made his biggest mistake of my coaching career last year. He was waiting for Embiid to come back. Now look at this year. Some of you may disagree with me but every time I a see Lucas on the floor I think gosh that is a prototypical HCBS big man. Why this kid had to wait this long to start is beyond me.

    HCBS is a system coach and his system works best when he has 3 to 4 year players. He is old school in his thinking has he has one way of doing things. He doesn’t vary from the system much, and he never just completely abandons it. So I say a lot of KU problems are HCBS recruiting OAD’s,

    HCBS should focus on his system. He should focus on kids that fit the system he runs. Forget recruiting these OAD kids for a system that takes a good 2 to 3 years to run. I mean think about it, if your system works best with kids that have played it for a couple years then why recruit OAD’s that are going to leave after one year?

    That my friends is Fools Gold.

  • @HighEliteMajor Good post again HEM. One question. Could another reason for our precipitous drop in 3pt efficiency be attributed to injury? We have Oubre, Selden, Mason, Perry,Greene and Devonte, all of them dinged up. Some more, some less but all of them injured or recovering from injuries.

  • Three point Facts: By the numbers. I have broken down three point shooting into different ‘seasons’ to go along with the ‘fools gold’ remarks.

    @HighEliteMajor @KUinLA Please put this in a line chart and insert the “fool’s gold” comments and see if we can draw correlation between the data reference points and the “fools gold comments”.

    PRE UTAH 49/135 36.29%

    POST UTAH 150/401 37.40%

    NON-CON 83/217 38.24%

    BIG 12 SEASON 108/287 37.63%

    BIG 12 TOURNEY 8/32 25.00%

    PRE TECH ONLY 99/256 38.67%

    POST TECH ONLY 92/248 37.09%

    POST TECH & B12 TOURNEY ONLY 100/280 35.71%

    WITH LEGS 136/353 38.5%

    NO LEGS 63/183 34.42%

    *The no legs period began January 31, when it became apparent to me that the team was gassed.


    2014-2015 199/536 37.12%

    2013-2014 198/528 37.50%

    2012-2013 216/594 36.36%

    2011-2012 222/643 34.50%

    2010-2011 271/710 38.20%

    2009-2010 262/648 40.40%

    2008-2009 217/585 37.10%

    2008-2009 271/683 39.70%

    Quick inference: the fewer interior post scorers, the lower the 3pt%

  • Here’s the thing about Bill Self’s offense. It takes time to learn. It doesn’t look pretty if even one player is out of place. Subtle shifts in player placement make a huge difference. A large reason why you don’t see many kick-out threes is Greene and Oubre don’t know how to move without the ball. McLemore was awesome about finding the open space.

    About player management: I’ve seen it throughout Bill’s tenure at KU; he gives the quick hook and fans howl about it. Withey sat, TRob sat, Cole sat, BUT when they played they looked pretty darn good. With unreal stats when blown up to 40 minutes per game. However Bill was using them to the teams utmost advantage and getting the absolute most out of their minutes. Given more minutes the defenses adjust and flaws are exploited (i.e. Cliff Alexander as a starter). I say Bill is masterfully using the players he has and is getting the most wins out of them possible.

    Unfortuneately this year I am not overly optimistic about the tourney and would consider the sweet 16 a decent ending. I don’t see this team as being able to play lock down defense for 6 games straight or being able to play 40 minutes of good ball.

    I hope to be proven wrong and get to watch KU play in 6 more games.

  • Bill Self March 13, 2012

    After losing prior to the NCAA Tourney

    “I kind of like it, I hate saying that. I don’t like losing, but I kind of like the fact it’s not fool’s gold with us anymore. When you make shots an don’t guard and get away with it…our guys saw first-hand what will happen in a one-and-done situation.”

    I’ve always thought Bill’s reference to ‘fool’s gold’ was a reference to depending on shots to win games, and not defense.

  • @HighEliteMajor No it would not surprise me as most threes in Bill’s system are set shots by design. You aren’t going to have nearly as many set shots from 2. Too many broken plays this year have ended in rushed two point jump shots.

  • Cogent, all too plausible analysis from HEM. Is ‘bad ball’ an honest-to-god strategy? Has there ever been a NCAA champion who played in such fashion? On a side note, is “the weave” of any use other than hair extensions?

  • @Lulufulu seriously can you not figure that out? I think you can!

  • Other things to consider…

    You are more likely to be fouled on a 2pt shot vs a 3pt shot.

    This team excels at the free throw line.

    Fouls stop the game and help rest the already tired legs of this exhausted team.

  • @Blown Not sure what stats you’re looking at -

    Post Texas Tech, we have gone 32/122 from three, or 26.2%. Your numbers suggest that in 10 games we shot nearly as many three pointers as we did in the prior 24.

    In the first 24 games, including Texas Tech, we were 166/406, or 40.8%. You need to double check your numbers.

    We are now 198/528.

    You cite “Big 12”, but this is irrelevant as the delineation is the Fool’s Gold comments and change in offensive strategy.

    You cite Utah as a before and after on percentages, and I’m not sure why.

    And so your premise is that our team was so tired, so gassed, that they just couldn’t shoot three pointers effectively anymore – while the rest of the college world kept draining them?

    I wish I could even give a shred of credibility to that argument. I can’t.

    And I guess I’m not seeing your claimed inverted relationship between post scoring and three point percentages. I know we scored at the rim at nearly 65% in 2012 and at 67% last season. But to your point, I in no way dispute the power of inside-out basketball. In fact, I’m a big fan of it when you have personnel to match.

    Remember, regardless, other teams find ways to shoot threes and make them at high rates. And that’s not premised many times on post scoring. Many times, the threes and outside game create inside opportunities – ISU and WSU are good examples.

    One question: So the first 25 games, we had appreciably different inside scoring than the last 9 games?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I was referencing the first tech game, which could be a mistake/misunderstanding on my part.

    Self’s first fools gold comment was the UTAH game. Our percentage before that game, is the same as it was after. Actually slightly increased. So the fact that you think “fools gold” statements hurt their play is not credible.

    They were 167/214 (I did double check and changed) up to and including the second Techgame, which was 2/3 into the season But my contention is that the decline is due to their losing their legs…

    Shake it down any way you want to. This team is a 37-38% three point shooting team. I’ve demonstrated that above.

    Are you of the opinion that Self has stated on multiple occasions that this team is tired and needs rest and that leg’s don’t affect jumpshots?

    Could it be possible that after the second tech game Big 12 players were now seeing the hawks for a second time and scouted the 3pt shot defense better?

  • @drgnslayr that’s BS!! They drove the ball w/5 healthy athletes on the floor and our d stunk! Perry tried, but couldn’t produce. You really think Perry didn’t want the win as much? He did everything he could w/a bum leg. ISU is a great team. Did you listen to post game?

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    One question: So the first 25 games, we had appreciably different inside scoring than the last 9 games?

    HEM why aren’t you giving credence to the fact that round robin scheduling and seeing a team twice can, and most likely does impact the scouting report defense?

    The third time we played the teams–as I referenced in the “BIG 12 TOURNEY ONLY” data set above our 3pt % dropped all the way down to 25%. Bruce Webber showed the rest of the league how to guard the three successfully. In our second game against them we were 2/13. And the decline was on from there. Texas 1/8. WVU 015…and so on.

  • @HighEliteMajor I’m very proud to wear crimson and blue glasses, and I don’t care if you understand me. I don’t usually respond 'cause you are always right! Waste of time. Another reason I ignore you is because I avoid negative people. They tend to zap all the joy out of life. Notice that? Last week you said you had fun watching a game, I wanted to hug you! ❤💙💃💃 As far as the “fools gold” comment, and you won’t care what I think, I believe that comment has zero to do w/our struggling long distance shooting. Zero!

  • @Blown I would tell you that I give zero credence to the balanced schedule thing. Seriously, every team has video on other teams, and many play others twice. So no, I don’t see that as a reason. Teams game plan, teams do lots of things. Coaches adjust. As I’ve said in other posts … including the Myth of Three Point Defense … coaches scheme get their looks. Other teams have been doing it all season long, and are still doing it. Again, I think we look at our little KU vacuum and think that this is the only possible way.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 My perspective on the comments and mentality of the fool’s gold deal is combined with our complete shift in offensive strategy. We all have our perspectives based on our experiences. My experiences come from, first hand, seeing how athletes are both positively and negatively affected by coaches. Folks sometimes forget that the players are still kids … they may be 18, but they are kids with all of the same insecurities as normal kids. If you’ve never experienced it, I would understand your skepticism. And, of course, it’s just my opinion.

    I also understand how it is easier to go through a basketball season without critical thinking. Life is the same way. It’s much easier to accept what is given to you with a smile on your face. And it’s much easier not to challenge anything.

    It’s not that I don’t understand that you are proud to wear your crimson and blue glasses. Blue pill, is blue pill. It’s a choice not to think critically.

    I guess I just don’t understand the point of making snide little remarks about posters and topics, without coming to the table with any substance to challenge the thought process.

    So you know, as a general rule, I typically choose to avoid folks without substance.

  • @HighEliteMajor I know you do! I have experienced it. You would be surprised.

  • @HighEliteMajor are you saying familiarity with an opponent has no bearing on performance?

  • @Blown Absolutely it does. Thats why the Big 12 is so hard to win. Each team has to play each other twice, scout each other and watch tape on each other many times. Whats that phrase about repetition?

  • @HighEliteMajor Though I do not agree with everything you are saying, especially the fact that you do not believe that familiarity (balanced scheduling) has “zero to do with it”, I did take some time and looked at your point objectively. Although it could be coincidence (I doubt it), after each fool’s gold comment, there was a steady decline. I think there are so many things going on with this team: fatigue, scouting, among other things, I have to agree with you that your point is of note.

    3 Point Shot Photos.png

  • March Madness voids all this complex thinking. Just take your theories and wad them up and throw them in the fireplace. They simply don’t matter. We should all know this by now. How many times has KU’s numbers been completely dominating? How many times have those numbers been proven wrong? In how many years?

    I can recall at least two tourneys where KU’s numbers were exactly what some are wanting on this board, only to lose at some point in the tourney. No, the numbers don’t lie @HighEliteMajor, but those numbers only give you a picture. Then, when the teams get on the floor, it’s not the same team and we should know this at KU.

    It’s simple: Who wants it more? Green is sparking, Selden is looking good, Ellis gets better (per his interview), and we can get some bench; We might just surprise a few people.

    I think this tourney may provide some shocking surprises. This may be the year the numbers don’t quite support what will actually happen? Just some thoughts.

    I know one thing: KU is not favored at all and frankly we are dubbed the weakest. In fact, Borzello and Eamon says the Midwest is “O.K.” apart from UK. Many have UK winning this thing and if @HighEliteMajor is correct, then let’s forgo the hassle of having a tourney this year and just give the NC to UK. They meet all @HighEliteMajor criteria.

  • @truehawk93 Excellent point truehawk.

    While I agree with a lot of what you are saying HEM, I think what Self is trying to do is develop some sort of an inside game to complement the already existing perimeter game, though he could have said it in a much better way.

    To what you said truehawk, you are absolutely right about pointing to our past losses in the tournament. In the past, we always seemed to finish the conference year strong, then fizzle out in the tourney. Personally, I like being overlooked and not having any expectations. As some have said here, if KU plays it right, they are probably the best equipped team to beat UK because they can spread the floor and have a stretch four.

    Of course, in the end, it really is a crap shoot and is so hard to make a deep run every single year.

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