UK TO FINISH SECOND IN SEC, third if Barnes gets some players?


    What if Barnes takes what Cuonzo left and adds some from his usual pipeline? Could UK finish third in the SEC even with a haul here at the end?

    Remember Barnes could beat Self occasionally and Self is a lot better at winning without a stacked deck than Cal appears likely to be.

    And remember Pearl at Auburn should now have enough guys for joy riding. Could Cal and UK finish 2, 3, or 4 in the SEC even with signining most of what remains unsigned?

  • Hey, Im secretly (now “openly” ) pulling for Rick Barnes at Tenn. And LSU came within a whisker of beating KY’s greatest assemblage of basketball talent in the history of modern warfare (on the hardwood). So did NDame. And Wisc pulled it off. So even showing up to battle with 2 top10 teams on your roster (2 platoons), you can still get beat.

    We will see what Rick Barnes can do now.

    I’m also itching, jumping for joy…at the opportunity to beat the schitt out of Shaka Smart at Texas at least 10-15 times over the next 5 seasons (counting possible BigXII tourney mtgs) until they decide to fire him. That’s about how long he will last.

    My thought to the Univ. of TX with their “Texas: Smart and Strong” (both coaches names) t-shirts: Are ya stupid? Made a BIG mistake in hiring Smart off the strength of exactly 1 Cinderella run 4 years ago…cant even win the A10 conf. But I guess even mistakes are bigger in Texas…

  • @jaybate-1.0

    …and MU will continue to finish at the bottom…

  • @jaybate-1.0 Let’s get serious. UK has the same situation that KU has. They win every game at home. It makes life for them a lot easier in the conference that 50% of their games are essentially a done deal.

    UK has a number of high prospects coming back…Lee is back, Ullis is back. I highly doubt they take anything other than 1st in the awful SEC.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Ah, thanks for making my Friday just a little sweeter!!

    MU finishing last.

    There is some baseline justice in the universe! 🙂

  • @ralster UT is having pushback from others who have trademarks/copyrights of the Smart and Strong logo. 🙂

  • @joeloveshawks

    You know, I don’t want to be disputatious on a Friday, okay.

    But I really do think KU and UK are quite different kettles of elite program fish.

    And I think history backs me up on this, if you will bear with me a moment.

    UK has a history of awesome, often long runs of great success. But most of these runs have ended in disgrace, or been interrupted by disgrace. Historically speaking, violations are as much a part of Kentucky basketball, as the fast break. I don’t know why. I have never understood why. But look at every long stretch of great success by UK and most have ended in revelations of systemic corruption.

    Its like they have never really learned to win any other way.

    The Pitino-Tubby regime seems to be the historical exception. But I have always wondered about that Ron Mercer team. I have always wondered if Pitino maybe went to the pros to get away from the alumni base that perhaps he doubted he could ever control. And then they basically made Tubby so uncomfortable that he finally left.

    And they replaced Tubby with a guy that had left two straight programs with vacated seasons, the most recent program, Memphis, in near total disgrace, even though it was reputedly proven that Cal did not know for the second straight time about the season-vacating actions of those around his program.

    UK falls on incredibly bad times between these incredible runs of success that end in disgrace; that seems the broad pattern, though it has not yet repeated under Cal…so far.

    KU on the other hand has sustained long success that has never attained the astronomical height of success that UK’s documented egregious cheating has apparently enabled. KU doesn’t win as many rings. It never seems to totally dominate college basketball the way UK does for stretches. Even our remarkable 11 year run of conference titles has not equalled domination of college basketball beyond our conference. But KU never falls as far as UK falls either. And KU’s infractions in basketball seem always to be minor, at least in comparison with what happens at UK.

    So: in my mind there really is a difference in the cultures and the coaches and teams between KU and UK, even though both have dominated their conferences over the last century and both have held great home court advantages.

    Where I am heading here is this: Cal has shown signs that he is not really that great of a coach; that he relies much more heavily on large advantages in talent to achieve what he does over most seasons, than does someone like Bob Knight, Bo Ryan, or Bill Self. Self, for example, just appears to adapt to the problems and get more out of less time time and again than does Cal. I don’t think Cal is a bad coach at all. And like all coaches I think he has had a few high points. That 2012 UK team with 6 draft choices, but not depth, was an exceptional job of coaching by him–maybe the best he will ever do. But I think the exception proves the rule with Cal. And it is important to recall that Cal was very lucky that that 2012 team did not have to play any teams with comparable talent, and that it met a KU team in the finals that also had no depth, and had not one player that would have started for UK, and that was playing not one, but two starters with acute injuries (EJ and Travis). Hence, I suspect that if UK had come up against a healthy team with similar talent to UK, Cal would only have had a 50/50 chance to win at best. Cal is just not the coach you want for the winning edge in games between teams of equivalent talent and a top notch opposing coach.

    If the dump trucks stop coming to UK in 9-10 draft choice range, if Cal has to go out and try to beat LSU with the same, or fewer draft choice players, or really depleted by injuries, as KU became the last two seasons, then I am pretty confident that Cal and UK will not be good enough to keep winning the SEC.

    Even Self found that when your talent is depleted by injury, and you advantage in talent is not huge, you suddenly cannot keep winning on the road. And winning at home, even winning most every game as KU did this past season, is NOT enough to get it done in a tough conference. You have to go out and steal some on the road, or you cannot win your conference. Self gambles everything on stealing enough road wins on the front nine to put some distance between him and the rest of the teams, and then hopes that injuries and fatigue wear down the opposing team’s relying heavily on offense, and trey balling, more than they wear down his teams relying on defense, low possession games, and driving. Cal’s reliance on offense will make him vulnerable to any downturns in talent at UK and spikes in talent at places like LSU, Auburn and UTenn.

    And because Cal is just an above average coach and not a great one, he is unlikely to be able to keep winning all his home games as the talent gap narrows.

    Of course my assessment of Cal could be wrong in the following way. Cal made a commitment to always having more talent than everyone else for sure by Memphis and he has stuck with it through his UK tenure. As a result, we have never really gotten to see what he might do as a coach holding fewer aces from the beginning of any season. Maybe he could adapt. But the way that team fell apart when Nerlen Noels got injured, and Cal’s failures to capitalize on his stacks the last two season, makes me lean toward Cal just not being a great coach–an above average coach, yes, but not a great one. And I think these three experiences vindicate his decision to always opt for recruiting strategies aimed a him having greater quantities of talented players than other coaches. I suspect Cal knows his limitations and has pursued recruiting consistent with them, the same way certain other coaches, like say, Bob Knight, have known their limitations as recruiters, and have opted to rely on their great strengths as teachers and bench coaches and strategists instead of on recruiting at any cost, to pursue their winning ways.

  • @RockChalkinTexas Do you by chance live in the Austin area? I met a Jayhawk at the billselfexperience who lives in Austin…

  • @jaybate-1.0 What would Calipari do as a coach if he wasn’t holding a stacked deck? See what happened when he lost Nerlens Noel. KY got a 1st round bounce out of the N.I.T. Now, you’d think that even after losing a future NBAer, almost any Div 1 coach could come up with enough to win their 1st round NIT game??

  • @ralster

    Yes, yes, yes, hammer, nail head, hit. This is the point I have been trying to make in all of these posts today.

    Cal is kind of Rick Barnes with a ten stack. He will win a lot of games, maybe all of them, if he doesn’t come up against in top notch coaches with some exceptional players fused into an experienced team. But when that happens, Cal is destined for trouble.

  • @RockChalkinTexas

    Maybe UT should try copy writing some of these:

    Smart Ass

    Schlocka Smart

    A Maxwell Smart, Not a Bond

    Pet Smart

    Neutron Coach-Destroys the Program, Leaves the Arena Standing

    Smart Bomb

  • @ralster That’s not fair - Robert Morris was STACKED that year.

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

  • @jaybate-1.0 Shaka Kahn’t

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Tubby did not leave as much as he was let go…to put it mildly, even when he officially “resigned;” nobody resigns from Kentucky to take the HC position at Minnesota. Also, Calipari did not replace Tubby, Billy Gillespie did.

  • @jaybate-1.0 smart ass works for me or smart ass----

  • @nuleafjhawk I like that!

  • @ralster Yes - work in downtown Austin and live 45 miles West. Have for 35 yrs. May know them.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    OMG, right you are, I forgot about Billy’s hitch between Tubby and Cal.

    Regarding Tubby leaving UK, I agree that he had been being pressured to leave by many elements of UK that were ungrateful for his accomplishments and recurrent early outs, and over time his persistent to recruit increasingly talented teams that could get back to the level of talent that Pitino had won with and that Tubby had won with early.

    Tubby was forced to look for another job, because they made his experience there so unpleasant with constant doubting of his bench decisions and criticism of his style of play, and dissatisfaction with the amount of talent that he recruited. It was a classic case of an employer making and employee so miserable that they want to leave. I have talked to UK alums that said Tubby could easily have lasted a couple more years at UK, because of the school’s desire not to fire its first African American head coach, especially one that had won a ring. I have talked to other UK alums that said Tubby simply had made it a point to know too much about the skeletons at UK, without violating any rules himself, to make him easily “fire-able.” So the story I have heard a few times is: they wore him down and when he found a decent job he took it. Barnes went through pretty much the same thing at Texas, only Barnes was not living in the shadow of a Pitino. It was just the ten year fatigue thing that coaches widely talk about in the profession. After ten years at most schools, most coaches lose the constituency to attrition that got them hired in the first place, and a critical mass forms among powerful sub groups over time that want “their” guy in. Barnes understood his situation and probably lined up half a dozen ADs the last few years that would talk to him if he decided it were time to bail and pull the rip cord on his parachute at Texas. Tubby understood this at UK, also.

    A lot of board rats wonder why I both criticise Self and am such a strong advocate for him here. I criticize him, because I come here to think and talk basketball and there is no one on this earth that I every agree with on everything all the time. I have my own mind and my own way of thinking and problem solving, so I hardly think it surprising that I sometimes come to different conclusions than even a great coach like Bill Self.

    But the reason that I try to strongly advocate for Bill Self is precisely because I understand that he has been for the last three years or so entering into that ten year window of vulnerability that coaches enter into and I don’t want people to take this incredible human being and coach that we have for granted, simply because of this stupid little ten year institutional dynamic that victimizes so many coaches. I hear it in creeping into posts here and into comments among family and friends that are Jayhawk fans. There is this creeping sense that, well, any coach that KU would hire now to replace Self, could at least equal what Self is doing. There is an a creeping under recognition that Self is doing what he is doing the right way and that KU would have to get very lucky again in hiring the right coach to find one that can do what Self has been doing for 11 seasons. The probability is that KU would find one that did not do it as well. There are just a handful of exceptional coaches at any given time and most of the ones that are easy to recognize are already fully settled in to where they are coaching. The young ones are all a gamble. Roy was a gamble. Had he not been wired deeply into Dean and Nike, and made the deal he made with Dean, it is highly likely that despite having been a very good practice and game coach, and a driven manager and organization builder, that he would not have been able to recruit competitively at all in a midwestern school in parts of the country he had never recruited before. People that talk about the deal Dean and he cut to divide the country up forget always that it was not just Dean and Roy dividing up the country. IMHO, it was Dean and Roy dividing up the player conveyor belt Nike had to offer. Again, IMHO, there was no way in heck Roy could have waltzed into SoCal and beat UCLA and Duke and North Carolina out for all the players from SoCal Roy signed without Nike behind him and without Dean staying out.

    My point is that there is a tremendous amount of complexity to hiring a great coach, or someone capable of becoming a great coach. Lots of them can sign the players. Lots of them can game coach. Lots of them can practice coach. Lots of them can handle the media. Lots of them can unite the alumni and faculty and get along with the AD and football coach. But there are very, very, very, very, VERY few that can do it ALL, and then beat the best in a single elimination tournament, and then sustain that kind of excellence and drive year in and year out. There are usually only 4-5 in any coaching generation.

    Hence, when we have one of them, and we most certainly do have one in Self, we owe it to the legacy to be vigilant about not letting stuff like ten year dynamics–the seven year itches of marriage transposed to the marriage of universities and their college basketball coaches–screw the stew.

    I don’t want Bill Self to get the Tubby treatment.

    I don’t care what anybody says. An 82% winning percentage, 11 straight titles, and one NCAA ring in 11 years are the stuff of Hall of Famers. And the guy is caught up in, and trying to adapt to, the biggest transformation of the recruiting process and the foul calling landscape in all my 50 years of watching the game and he has just been through two injury plagued seasons (one where he lost the best center prospect in the last 10-20 years to a back injury and last season where practically the entire team went down at one time or another), and somehow he is still winning big. This guy won a conference title with a committee of Landen Lucas, Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson at the center, and Traylor was injured half the season! There isn’t another coach in a America, hell, in the world, that could have won a Power Five Conference Title with a committee of Lucas, Traylor and Mikelson at the 5, NOT ONE!!

    I totally understand @HighEliteMajor’s alternative point of view to Self’s on any number of issues. Focus on recruiting OADs. De-emphasis of three point baskets. Too quick of a whistle. And so on. And I understand many others honest differences with Coach Self of how to go about playing to win as times are changing. I like these differences. Some of them are why I come here to learn about the game still after all these years.

    But all of these board rats that I allude to above, especially those that have played, coached and/or officiated, would probably tell those members of the board that just read along, or that are in the midst of struggling to learn just the basics of the game, that if they were to start following another great coach of the game today, the way they follow Self, that they would invariably come to have some other set of differences with those other great coaches. It is the nature of being a student of the game and of a team and of a team’s coach to see the weaknesses and strengths of that coach and team of players. It is impossible not to see other ways to skin the cat than the way the great coach elects to do it. And if one is truly passionate about one’s team, and about the course of its legacy, then one invariably comes out with ideas, and angles, and different ways of doing things.

    But you don’t look a gift horse in the flipping mouth.

    Sometimes, when I read some of the criticisms of Self that suggest that Self is overrated, or just another coach that isn’t smart enough to figure something out, or that Self just isn’t creative enough, or just isn’t innovative enough, I actually get @stupidmichael scared for some board rats.

    I actually wonder how they feed and cloth themselves, and keep roofs over their heads. How do they balance their check books? How do they keep from burning the house down when they build fires in their fire places?

    I want to reach out to them and say, "Bill Self is 52 years old. He is the son of a principle and a school teacher in an Oklahoma suburb. He wasn’t born rich. His family was probably grateful for the scholarship he got to play ball for Oklahoma State to ease their budget pressures. He never made it to the pros. He blew a knee. He went apparently asked Larry Brown for a chance to wash jocks for Larry for a year. His first real coaching job was not at KU. It was at then down on its luck Okie State. He assisted an African American head coach, who to this day is NOT considered one of the top coaches in his profession. He finally lucked out and got to spend some quality assistant time with Eddie Sutton, but Eddie was a guy who had just completely crashed and burned on a near death penalty at UK and was fighting the bottle. Its not like Eddie was the superstar of coaching when Self assisted him. His first head job was ORU, a school every coach wants to be from, not at. He nearly went 0-fer his first season. Its a miracle he ever survived ORU.

    My point here is that Bill Self didn’t get to where he is the easy way. He was never Roy Williams working his way up in the top basketball program in the country under the most famous head coach of his era that paved the way for him to go from being an assistant straight to a head coach of a storied program. This guy turned ORU around. This guy sharply improved Tulsa. This guy kicked Illinois to a whole higher level. And when he came to KU to replace a legend, he didn’t just replace him, he took the KU program, already operating at a high level to a HIGHER level.

    This guy has overcome penalties committed by Roy.

    This guy has overcome Scalpinggate, LewGate, two Realignmentgates, and signing on with the WRONG shoe brand–the brand that makes recruiting harder, not easier.

    This guy has come back from eight down with minutes to go against a team full of ringers including Derek Rose to win a national title.

    This guy has overcome in-state AAU coaches running talent out of state and a footer to UK.

    Board rats that talk about Self not being good enough to compete and beat Coach K, Izzo, Cal, or whomever else forget that he has already competed against all of them and beaten all of them at least once or twice, and sometimes for high stakes.

    This guy is rare.

    When the seven year itch hits, don’t be suckers and leave your wives.

    And when the ten year coaching itch hits, don’t be suckers and lose your coach.

    Rock Chalk!!!

  • @jaybate-1.0 While I like @KUinLA and @HighEliteMajor pushing the envelope and asking all the tough questions (kudos to them for their guts to do so), my take is simply coming from another place: one of system analysis.

    Look, you could have Self’s plane go down on a desert island for 20yrs of solitude, and replace him with someone of the caliber of Roy or Izzo or Stevens, or any of the guys that @KUinLA listed–and they would do fine at KU.

    My feeling on the system of ball at both ends, requiring intensity, physicality, and mental toughness, as well as highly-efficient execution (think Bill Snyder football) on both ends of the floor…it really is complete ball on both ends of the floor. Again, not saying its the end-all, be-all. KY does it pretty well. Wisc does it pretty well. Heck, WSU, within the talent of their roster, does it pretty well on both ends of the floor. But my whole point is that the system is proven, very much like Bill Walsh proved his West-coast offense–> he was able to unplug Montana, and plug in Steve Young, etc. When you can reproduce your own results, man! You are on to something then…So then our analytical discussion of losses becomes one of what went wrong, and what wasn’t done correctly. Not one of “chuck the whole system”. And I don’t agree that he’s as inflexible as he is accused of being. And this last point really is about semantics: I mean he’s still Bill Self, he’s gonna run what he wants to run, that’s just him. But I’ve seen (we’ve all seen) him use different guards and different bigs differently. Perry had to play more traditional in the post because nobody else on the roster has as polished post moves as him. Perry’s problem in that deal is he’s only 6’8, and his personality limited him x 2.5yrs also. If Self still had Embiid or even another year of Tarik Black, Perry would shine because he’d be a more agile version of Georges Niang, and KU would be an insane matchup nightmare.

    Let’s see how Self fits in Bragg into the mix.

    Before there was Shaka or Marshall or Few…there was late-30’s Bill Self showing up with his Tulsa squad 32-5 in the E8 in '99. So he goes to Illinois after Mizzou snubbed him (which evidently he took personally…), and proceeds to duplicate his system and his success. Then he comes to KU, Roy says “you got a good man”, and Roy Williams was proven correct, as Self again duplicated his system and his success, except to a higher level. Illini fans still hate KU. Still hate us. Now, finally, he’s got a whole team of returnees, and the icing on the cake is if MickeyD level Bragg can outplay Cliff–> that would be a plus. If you consider Self nothing more than a fundamentals-style midmajor coach, who happens to be able to recruit a bit, then the system is primed, as now it has a bunch of returnees, 3 of whom are MickeyDs, and every single aspect of play should show improvement. Now add the WUG/Korea “practice/play for pride”, and we could have a special season. This may be as close as we will see to Self having a non-OAD-yet experienced team. Those have, by far, been his most dangerous teams, our system analysis tells us…RCJH

  • @RockChalkinTexas 45 miles west? You have to be pretty close to where my dad lives in Horseshoe Bay…

  • @nuleafjhawk Not quite there. Just 12 miles past Lago Vista on the west side of the lake. Horseshoe Bay is still 30+ miles away. It is 43.5 miles from my door to work. All the attorneys in our firm are at a retreat in Horseshoe Bay this weekend. Lots of nice lake houses there and golf courses. Does he play? Has the reputation of having to be “RICH” to live there.

  • @ralster

    The last upper classmen laden team Coach Self had (2012) made it to the finals and came within a couple of missed dunk beating UK and the Unibrow, the last player to almost single-handedly carry a team through a season, although it was the upper classmen in that team that really won that game for UK. Hopefully this KU team can duplicate and improve on what the 2012 accomplished.

  • @jaybate-1.0 about a week ago I was working on a post on that very topic and ended up scrapping it because I just didn’t feel as if I was expressing exactly what I wanted to. You just said everything I was trying to and more. Great post.

  • @ralster

    “What would Calipari do as a coach if he wasn’t holding a stacked deck? See what happened when he lost Nerlens Noel. KY got a 1st round bounce out of the N.I.T. Now, you’d think that even after losing a future NBAer, almost any Div 1 coach could come up with enough to win their 1st round NIT game??”

    And how many McDs AAs remained on that team after they lost Noel? Seems like they still had 4 or 5 AAs. Didn’t they drop their NIT game to Philip Morris (I mean Robert Morris)?

    I guess what I want to know is can Rick Barnes still recruit in Texas, now that he is with a non-Texas school? I tell you, it isn’t easy pulling players out of Texas.

  • @RockChalkinTexas Lol - he does OK, but definitely not what you would call "RICH*. More like found a really nice place on a golf course that an elderly lady lived in for maybe 40 years and it needed a lot of TLC. He bought it right and has fixed it up (mostly by himself) nicely!

    He used to play, now he saves his arm for the slot machines in OK and La.

Log in to reply