Perspective On Recruiting....

  • It is that time of year… when college basketball recruiting earns the spotlight ahead of the game itself.

    Kansas… formerly known as “Big Man U” (when Danny Manning was an assistant), is in need of 3 or so new post replacements. At least two of those replacements should be of elite status for Kansas to maintain their current elite status in college basketball.

    Early signing period is quickly approaching. And for being such an elite program, with a history of helping put bigs in the league, an offense designed to run through the post and accentuate the importance of their post players, and a history going beyond the college game and to the invention of the game, Kansas finds itself experiencing the recruitment process from the outside, instead of inside. It seems that most elite big men put Kansas on their list of possible schools, if for no other reason than window dressing and to steal any possible tiny bump from adding one more elite school to their list. But few seem to take their own list seriously.

    Why would an elite program like Kansas, have trouble signing elite players? In the past, many have pointed to a lack of media attention from the East Coast as being a big factor. Arizona seems to prove there isn’t much truth in that assumption.

    What does appear to be related, at least when looking at Kentucky recruiting from John Calipari, is the “relational” web of Calipari’s “recruiting family.” This is a family. It has all the “family-iar” characteristics of an organized crime syndicate. New members are sworn to secrecy and threatened to lose their power and money-making status if they talk too much. Maybe even threatened beyond that… The example of Sonny Vaccaro is often referenced to those who may threaten to loosen their lips. Even Vaccaro wasn’t “too big to fail.”

    The revenue streams are from two sources, both every bit as crooked as any drug trafficking syndicate. Those sources are sports shoes and sports agency. Both are rooted deeply into John Calipari’s “recruiting family.” And what we are learning from Nike is they maintain black market currency (non-taxed) in large slush funds that are used to grease the entire industry to keep Nike #1. If you look at how much money they “slush around” it doesn’t equate to anything proportionate to their actual reported revenues. Not even close.

    There is no way Kansas can compete with this. McCarthy Hall could be built from gold and diamonds. The legacy of Wilt, Dr. Naismith, all the greats… mean ZERO compared to the protection and benefits offered by “the family.”

    So when you are scratching your head, not understanding why a young recruit picks Kentucky over Kansas, don’t get too stressed thinking the recruit thinks Kentucky is a better choice over Kansas. That isn’t where Kansas loses the recruiting wars. Chances are, that kid has already established a long relationship of being in the pocket of Nike and Creative Artists Agency. You might even come to the conclusion that these kids already have a “debt” that needs to be paid back to the “family.”

    This is the difference for Kentucky and Calipari. This is why he can go out there and sweep up a huge chunk of all the elite talent. “Great salesman?” My ass. That is the front protecting the real structure behind Calipari and his recruiting.

    And what about other schools? Does Duke and Coach K have a similar “family?” Perhaps, or perhaps not. There are several pathways that attract young players. Players’ parents have a lot to do with how they are brought up and what paths they take. The story above (and link below) addresses Calipari because his recruiting is off the charts, so many people out there have been keeping their eyes open and “spilling the beans” on what they see.

    Louisville’s recent recruiting scandal (where prostitutes were brought in to treat recruits) is another creative tool used to get players to sign.

    Check out the following link, and you can qualify the story (somewhat) by reading the referenced links.

    Are Kentucky’s John Calipari and William “WorldWide Wes” Wesley Cheating the System?

  • Man, great read, drgn…it really makes one think–> and we absolutely have to think beyond the “history and lore” of Naismith and AFH.

    Where I think KU stays relevant, at least under Bill Self, is that he has proven to be very adept at the “family” angle, and that KU’s program looks out for the kids. To involved parents to whom that matters, great! We have a shot at getting such a kid.

    And before we pass too much remorse over missing out on some recruits, let’s also remember that Self has done a decent job in getting integrity-type kids to KU. I’d rather miss on a top10 recruit who comes with drama, or has issues, and there also should be some judgement on a kid’s character. You saw Self jettison McDAA & fellow Oklahoman JR Giddens, and former top30 recruit CJGile after his hit-a-girl incident. Yet after Self had built up credibility, he was more understanding-father in his dealing with Mario Little, who overreacted a bit when walking in on his girl with another guy…

    I think KU can remain supremely competitive as there will be top30 guys that aren’t already in bed with under-table deals with BigShoeCo, or sleazy recruiting-network. There are such kids whose parents are involved. (Ellis, Wiggins)

    So my point is KU may still be able to have straight-forward recruiting reflecting traditional values. There’s a good % of kids out there that remain “untainted” to pick from.

    Plus, Self’s system works better with experienced returnees, so I wish KU fans would quit lamenting when we lose another OAD to some other school. Drgn’s post is a great thought about what might be behind SOME of the kids’ decisions to go elsewhere. Or, they just don’t want to work so hard and sweat both ends of the court under Bill Self?

  • Great post @drgnslayr

    I will defend Calipari a little because its easy for any of us to discount the guy for what he’s done in the College game. Love him or hate him, he’s made himself an empire there. Why is he so good at recruiting besides all the obvious answers.

    It’s because of the success of the NBA guys. When you have John Wall, Cousins, Davis, many more performing in the NBA on an all-star level you reep the benefits regardless of whatever else. College hoops is just the holding pattern, the grooming station. Nobody goes to College anymore to be a College icon, you get whatever you can from a school and move on to try and gain your stardom in the league. Kansas needs Wiggins to become an all-star. We are a proven stop for NBA players, but Wiggins can be the future for young kids to follow. KU’s reputation for getting guys in the league is rock solid, we just need 1 to breakthrough to bigger things like a Wiggins. Self’s reputation changes it becomes enhanced if he’s associated with the development of Andrew…

  • There is hope for the college game played by college kids when a team like Wisc can beat KY.

    Another clash very important for our own thoughts about our own system (with its strengths and weaknesses) is when Self’s finally-experienced roster to go with it’s on paper talent, gets to take on KY this January with their re-loaded top 10 talent roster. Calipari lost his top 7 or 8 guys. But in support of what @BeddieKU23 said, Calipari has proven his system and team can “come together” by some point in Feb or March. But it remains to be seen if 5 highschoolers can handle Self’s loaded and experienced roster in January…in AFH?

    Self is at his most dangerous when his top30 talent stays for 2-3 years, and the blended in role-players are contributing like they have been developed and expected to. I think KU beats KY in AFH. Which then has its own recruiting ramifications…

  • @drgnslayr said:

    And for being such an elite program, with a history of helping put bigs in the league,

    I think we need to move past just putting bigs in the league. once the bigs get to the NBA, they aren’t doing sh!t…just riding the pine. So why would a big come to KU unless there’s no room at UK or Duke?

    IMO, when Danny left, it hurt us big time. Embiid was supposed to be the answer, but don’t think thats a feasible option any more. even Cliff experiment is over.

    all these scenarios definitely don’t help us

    There is hope for the college game played by college kids when a team like Wisc can beat KY.

    Agreed, but guess what- no big time recruits are running for Wisc and its clearly, self isn’t taking that path.

  • @ralster

    KU should handle UK in January because the game is at the Fieldhouse. If the game were at Rupp, I would expect Kentucky to win because both teams are very good at their place.

    On a neutral floor, it comes down to who has the better squad. Last year that was UK by quite a bit. This year, I think KU is better.

    In March, Calipari has proven that he can get it done with whatever he has just about every season. Self has shown that he needs a certain type of team. He has that type of team this year, so the pressure is on to get it done because there is no excuse for an early flame out this time.

  • @justanotherfan said:


    Self has shown that he needs a certain type of team. He has that type of team this year, so the pressure is on to get it done because there is no excuse for an early flame out this time.

    I wish this were true, but guess what- the moment Self wins #12…no one @ KU is going to care how we finish the tournament. Even if we flame out in the 2nd round again, KU fans and admins will look at it as a success because we beat big bad big 12 and how even an ncaa championship doesn’t compare to 12 straight.

    I’ve said this over and over again- as long as we care more about the streak and not the NCAA championship, don’t expect much to change.

    It sickens me!

  • @elpoyo

    I don’t think many fans will take another early exit this year. 2012 was the last banner year we had where expectations were relatively low given the roster issues, yet we overachieved in the tourney. 2013 had that chance but we blew it. The last 2 years are the reason there are any grumblings to begin with.

    We do have the roster to compete for a championship with Diallo. Without him. I don’t believe the ceiling is as high. on paper. But some good luck & momentum can always change that. A sweet 16 season is the minimum this year. Even that might not be good enough with the depth & experience we bring back.


    We should handle UK at home, its going to be a crazy atmosphere with a revenge feeling to it. Will we have the roster advantage? You have think the eligibility of Skal weighs a lot on their success this year. How will he compliment 3 point guards as well.

  • @elpoyo You are exactly right about no big time recruits going to Wisc, but I bet Bo Ryan leaving has a significant amount to do with that. Also Self isn’t taking that path, sort of, because KY proved they can get to the Final Four how many times with underclassmen rosters…but Self still does have his ‘developmental track’ guys, the Yr 3-5 guys that can execute the System (we hope…)

    Agree with @justanotherfan : with this year’s loaded and experienced KU roster, there aren’t many excuses. And despite the lip-service the talking heads will give “12 straight”, we have to actually go out and do it…and there is that little matter of early Tourney exits, (compared to KY’s reaching the final 4 almost at-will)… Supposedly we are in hot competition with KY and Calipari, and that all started about 2008…

  • Well, it seems all the recruiting talk has been hi-jacked by CalipariEffect. Nobody is talking about UNC, Duke, and LSU for this upcoming season. Coach K and Uncle Roy not dead yet…

  • @ralster

    Good post!

    The objective of my post was to let KU fans know that there is more to recruiting than we see everyday. Self and Co. are probably not competing “apples-to-apples” with schools like Kentucky and Calipari. Many of us (for years now) have questioned Calipari’s methods for snagging top talent. The public reason for his success usually pointed to his personality as being “magnetic” with recruits. I never bought that as any kind of reason why recruits follow Calipari. And since (in the past) Calipari did not have the reputation for being a great coach, he had even a higher hurdle to clear on recruiting. Something attracted recruits.

    I think the link I provided offers up the most comprehensive and straightforward explanation of how Calipari recruits successfully. Whether or not the information is purely factual… I’m not going to make that claim. But I am not so gullible as to believe his charm is the reason for his success.

    What really sickens me is the damage brought by these Calipari teams. Throwing together an all-star team that goes out in March and takes down legitimate contenders that had to fight for every inch is disheartening and downright damaging to society. It sends a message to kids that it really isn’t about working hard over years to find success… it is about quickly throwing together talent and overcoming teams that have less talent. It’s all about simply clustering talent. You could say “rigging the system.”

  • @elpoyo

    “I’ve said this over and over again- as long as we care more about the streak and not the NCAA championship, don’t expect much to change.”

    First… I appreciate your posts. I don’t always agree with you, but I appreciate that you have the guts to challenge people. That is a good thing for all of us because the challenge pushes people to step up and post their best.

    I definitely feel the frustration in your posts about our shortcoming in March. Your post above pushes me to think about all of this harder. Could it be, that our streak is getting in the way of good March results? I’ll try to be open about that, and continue to think of it as possible. So far, I do see one scenario where I think it could help us to lose the streak before March.

    I do see the possibility, once, for losing the conference streak in order to perform better in March. Let’s say this year’s team blows the streak. Won’t that create an immediate chip on their shoulders to prove themselves in March? I know it has worked that way before with UCONN, having a bad year in their conference without a streak. I can see that scenario play out… once. After that, our streak is zero, so it is out of the discussion for the immediate years to follow.

    I do think the streak has helped elevate our reputation as a basketball school. And if we can keep it going and Self passes Wooden’s conference streak, I think it will elevate Self and Kansas further. Question is… how does this “elevation” help Kansas basketball? Does it help us recruit? I think it can play a minor role in helping us recruit. It could help if we are recruiting a kid who is also considering another Big 12 school. Why go to a school that can’t even win its conference? Is it the deciding factor? Probably not. The streak has helped give us more national credibility. I’m certain of that. Does that help us recruit? It certainly doesn’t hurt. We do now appear on just about every top recruit’s list. It wasn’t that way a decade ago (or even less). Granted… I don’t think most of those recruits are considering Kansas, but they do see us as an elite program, worthy of their list and helpful in adding to the perception they are of elite caliber.

    I do think winning National Championships should help recruiting. But does it? I’m not certain. I think it helps to some degree, but not sure how much. It can’t hurt. And it is the measuring stick for determining national prominence.

    I want to see us win both, conference and March. For me, I put both in unique perspectives and don’t really fuse the two. I take our conference personal. I’ve grown to like and dislike every team in our conference. I really hate losing to any team in our conference, more so than losing to non-conference opponents, with an exception for losing to another elite school… especially UK and Duke.

    Will I be satisfied if we continue the streak and also beat UK in AFH? Will that be enough to satisfy my year and have me accept an early exit in March? No. Because this team is solid and should be at least an Elite 8 team… at least. Injuries and other events can change this perception I have. Most years, I don’t see us as the best team in the country. If things happen right this year, I can see me thinking we are the best team this year!

  • @drgnslayr

    Thanks for posting the link to the story reputedly from Pasadena.

    It adds a lot of data points.

    The plot, as they say, thickens.

  • @drgnslayr

    I may have mentioned this before.

    But I have always found it a conspicuous anomaly that Tommy Lasorda visited Allen Field House.

  • I have never understood the logic of the argument trying to connect Self’s string of conference titles to Self’s “only” winning one national title. There has never seemed any correlation to me at all. There have always seemed to be many drivers that have converged to keep Self a one ring winning coach. But those drivers are not what this post is about. This post is a response to this discussion about Self incredible string of conference titles possibly preventing him from winning rings.

    I have undertaken this analysis, which seems a mastery of the obvious to me, the only way that makes sense to me. I looked at coaches that have won rings and noted where in conference their national champions finished?

    I am not intending these findings to be decisive to anyone, though they are to me. I am just trying to bring this front and center. I even vaguely recall someone else doing something similar in the past. Memory fails me in recalling who else might have done it. If someone did do this analysis, I am not trying to steal their thunder, but echo it.

    Since Self has already joined the one-ring club, little conclusive can be learned from comparing him to other one ring coaches. Their approaches work and so does his and that’s that.

    So: I decided to compare Self to multi-ring winning coaches, who have accomplished what he and we hope he will accomplish: win multiple rings.

    John Wooden won a conference title each year that he won his ten national titles.

    Adolph Rupp won conference titles each year he won his five national titles.

    Mike Krzyzewski won or tied for four conference titles, when he won four of his national titles, and he finished second in conference the year that he won a fifth national title.

    Phog Allen won or tied for conference titles the years he won his two Helms National Titles and his NCAA national title.

    Bob Knight won or tied for a conference title each year that he won his three national titles.

    Henry Iba won a conference title each of the years that he won his two national titles.

    Dean Smith won or tied for a conference title each year that he won his two national titles.

    Roy Williams won a conference title each season that he won one of his two national titles.

    Denny Crum won a conference title each time he won a national title and he won two.

    Rick Pitino finished first or tied for first in conference, when he won his two national titles.

    Thus, there is evidence of a strong correlation between coaches winning multiple national titles and winning, or tying for, conference titles the same seasons. There are a lot of drivers that yield this correlation.

    Sme of these coaches coached during periods when the only way to win a ring was to win a conference title first.

    But some others at times when you could finish lower in conference and still compete and win a national title.

    But, regardless, a correlation winning a title and winning a national championship is strong for both groups.

    Jim Calhoun is the only multi-ring anomaly that I could recall that formed an exception to the rule. He finished 1st, 2rd, and 9th in conference the seasons that he won his three rings. Ironically, the season his team finished 9th in the Big East, the team’s overall record was still 32-9.

    Jim Calhoun proves that it is possible to win multiple rings only finishing first in conference 1/3 of the seasons you win the ring.

    But proving it a possibility does not prove it is the most likely way to win a national title.

    Nor does correlation. Correlation is not causation. And I am not claiming it is causation. I am claiming only that what ever makes coaches win national titles, winning conference titles far more often than not is a pre condition for winning a title than not winning a conference title. The institutions, conditions, mechanisms and networks that make this so are apparently what Self and others need to focus on to win more rings.

    But correlation certainly betrays the existence of these institutions, conditions, mechanisms, and networks driving the phenomenon of the multi-ring coach and suggests that conference titles should either be part of the agenda of a coach and a fan base seeking a multi-ring, or at the very least the agenda should produce the correlated phenomenon of titles and rings the same season.

    So: IMHO the best thing for Self to do help his probability of winning more rings is to keep doing the things that are winning him conference titles, plus find that extra wrinkle that both continues the title winning AND gets him over the hump into more title winning.

    Jim Caloun’s approach offers the only other forensic prospect for examination of how to win multiple rings most of the time without winning titles the same season. But I have to say Calhoun’s ring-winning was reputedly biased by a good deal of shenanigans that we might not want Bill Self to engage in.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Here’s the thing when you get into looking at guys like Wooden, Rupp and those who coached pre-1975, only conference champs made the NCAA tournament in those years. Any pre-1975 numbers should be ignored in relation to this trend you’re looking at simply because of how the NCAA tournament was formatted prior to 1975.

  • I think winning the conference is important. The only downside I see is possibly playing key players too many minutes per game, Frank for instance, so they are not fresh for the March run and/or playing injured players (Perry, Joel) so they are not able to heal properly by March. These are judgment calls that Self has to make and I don’t think his decisions are necessarily incorrect, but we do look like a tired team often in March.

    Now about Conference titles, I think Roy once said “if you are going to play you may as well win the ‘daggum’ thing”!

  • @Barney

    The question that Self has to answer is “which is more important?”

    Is it more important to rest guys a little bit in January and February so that we can make a deep run in March, or is it more important to win one or two more conference games, even if that compromises our ability to win one or two more games in March.

    I said last year as early as January that Frank was going to wear down with his minutes load. It was no surprise that Frank’s productivity and efficiency took a hit as the season wound down.

    Self’s goal should be to make sure no one on this team averages more than 28 minutes per game. This squad is deep enough that there are alternatives to playing anyone more than that. Selden doesn’t need to play that many minutes because Svi, Greene and Vick are available on the wings. Mason shouldn’t, because you have that wing group, plus Graham can handle the point when Mason sits. Ellis shouldn’t, because you need minutes for Bragg and both Mickelson and Traylor are capable of picking up some minutes. Diallo should not, because you have 4.5 guys to rotate in the post.

    There is enough depth that everyone should be fresh when March rolls around as long as Self doesn’t ride anyone too hard during conference season. But that comes down to minutes management and trusting guys like Bragg, Vick, Greene, Svi to play 12-18 minutes each so that Mason, Selden and Ellis all get their rest.

  • @justanotherfan a question? Do you think other coaches “rest” their players, throw out the platooning?

  • @Barney I agree w/Roy! I think most teams are worn down by march, no? Embiids and Perry’s injuries weren’t the result of fatigue, probably never would have happened w/out another player being responsible. They sure were season ending killers!

  • Banned


    I’m not sure why everybody thinks Cal is this great coach? Especially when more times than not he plays with a stacked deck. I’ve watched a many of his coaching jobs and the thought he puts kids in the NBA just baffles me.

    He doesn’t coach or even prepare any of his kids for the NBA. Most of the kids he’s getting are so talented they’re going to the NBA even if they played at a lesser school.

    To me Cal falls way short of being a great coach. Hell I’m not even sure I put him the good category. After all he’s always played with a stacked deck.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I think other coaches try to manage their player’s minutes, particularly trying to avoid playing one or two players 35+ minutes in back to back games when possible. In the tournament, obviously, you want to go with your best six or seven players because at that point, talent is more important than depth.

    You use depth in the regular season to keep your best guys fresh. You can really do this in blowouts. I know some coaches like to keep their main guys in to stay sharp, but with the intensity that Self likes to practice with, you have to manage the wear and tear.

  • @justanotherfan do you think other coaches manage minutes in close games? I think devonte can take over this year and help w/franks minutes, unless the dreaded injury happens.

  • I think the combination of Self and Mason make it very difficult to manage Mason’s minutes. Both guys are as competitive as they come. Neither wants to lose and they know their best shot at winning is to have Frank in the game, especially at the end.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    In close games, not really. But that’s why you make sure to blow out the TCU’s, Texas Tech’s and K-State’s of the world, so you can play Frank Mason 24 minutes in those games, then play him 34 on the road at Oklahoma, or in AFH against Kentucky.

    A quick glance at KU’s schedule reveals some games that KU should be looking to rest guys:

    Nov 23 vs. Chaminade

    Dec 1 vs. Loyola

    Dec 9 vs. Holy Cross

    Jan 9 at Texas Tech

    Jan 16 vs. TCU

    Feb 3 vs K-State

    Feb 20 at K-State

    Feb 27 vs. Texas Tech

    That’s 8 games where the main guys should play less than 25 minutes if KU executes the way they should. You may even be able to keep their minutes down around 20. Those are excellent chances to get Vick, Greene, Traylor, Mickelson, etc. some significant minutes.

    The key is that Self has to trust those guys and let them play 15-20 minutes in those games so that Mason, Selden, Ellis, etc. are not worn down at the end of the year.

    The other benefit, as we saw in the national title game, is that maybe one of those guys gets some confidence from having a good game during the regular season and comes in during the tournament and has a big game or big half, like Grayson Allen did for Duke last year.

  • @justanotherfan

    Exactly!! Last year we had a terrible problem of keeping opponents in games. We never really had the killer instinct to put games away and our players played too many minutes which in turn left us a beat down tired team. This years schedule does look like we will have some blowouts to get guys rest. And if guys are improved just maybe that will help even more in game management.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Not only give guys rest, but keep our deep bench from rusting away!

  • @justanotherfan

    ON SELECTION SUNDAY WE’LL BE SAYING … : The Big 12 regular season was exciting, but did these teams beat each other up too much for big tournament runs?

    What do you think?

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    (Note: I rarely go into any nuts and bolts discussion of QA methods, because it bores those not interested in QA and creates cognitive dissonance for the many that think they understand QA, but have only a superficial working knowledge. But when a board rat advises me on QA, as you just did, I reckon you want to know, or should want to know about it. It is an odd thing in our “information driven, high tech age” that QA would continue to be one of the most poorly taught and so most poorly understood subjects in our culture. Our current circumstance is kind of frightening on some levels. Students are increasingly either not taking QA, or taking it and being taught it poorly. Thus, we have large numbers of QA illiterates combined with an increasing class of persons that believe they are QA literate but that have been taught so poorly that they really cannot think at all well with the concepts and algorithms they think they understand, but don’t. I am increasingly a freak simply because I was once required know the connection between the underlying logic of, say parametric and non parametric statistical inference, and the models used. It is one of my most enduringly grotesque memories to recall meeting a college professor of statistics recently and learning that he could talk with impressive fluency about the manifold routines a particular statistical software package possessed and pontificate about what each was intended to be best used for, but then grow glassy eyed and inarticulate when asked to talk about the logics of deduction and induction underpinning statistics. He could not see that induction was based on certain deductive principles. He really could not see the logical disconnections in algorithms combining deduction and induction. He was a technician of QA, not a thinker. He was little different than an auto mechanic trained to run digital diagnostics on a car in order to fix it without really being able to think through problems of how the care operated and why design and materials science underlied phenomena he was plugging into to diagnose. It is okay that auto mechanics are trained this way. It is pointless in many circumstances to train auto mechanics to understand much more than what the digital diagnostics tell them, because the cars themselves are designed to be fixed that way in the first place today. But undesigned phenomena, or haphazardly designed phenomena subject to emerging complexity outside a design program, requires some dexterity of QA thinking. One has to define what one is even asking before one can organize a means to even a rudimentary answer. In short, one has to think a little. Not surprisingly, one can benefit from having some common sense about a subject before one tries to use QA to see through the biases in that common sense. One has to be logical, or want to try to be logical about how one thinks about phenomena. Even an esoteric realm of QA (I consider everything talking about quantities, or potentialities of quantities, in terms of probabilities as QA), as counter intuitive as quantum mechanical description and explanation of certain phenomena really is, requires common sense about the counter intuitive to be done well. Contrary to cliche, common sense is never the enemy. All good thinking evidences common sense. But stubborn adherence to common assumptions underpinning common sense often is an enemy to good thinking.)

    Exactly, that’s why I noted that distinction.

    Try to characterize the distribution and topology of data to what extent is feasible given time and resources.

    The mistake you are making is to want to be unnecessarily reductive and ignore the old data.

    This is a mistake many make.

    The mistake is made for many reasons, but most often it is an innocent one. Often analysts just overlook the worth of knowing something that can be wrung from old and new data, because they are so focused on getting to the most reliable point estimate about a specific phenomenon. The quest for reliability in inferences is a virtue, but it is a vice when it blinds us to other important insights, especially when we can have both, simply by being awake to looking for both.

    I have few steadfast rules in QA; this is as close as I come: never, never, never, never, never, never, EVER want to ignore data old, or new, related to the questions one seeks answers to.

    I want to INCLUDE the data, all the data that might be relevant to the question, and then wring insight from it.

    The only kind of data you absolutely want to exclude is corrupted data–data that is a false indicator of the evidentiary event it represents. Root out the data that is made up. Root out the data that has huge measurement error. And so on. But ridding data sets of corrupt data is quite different than ridding data sets of old information, because times have changed. Times are always changing. All data is obsolete for inferences about the present when viewed as naively as you are apparently viewing the issue.

    Too many analysts play god with data. They parse it from their own assumptions, rather than their won logic, when the whole point of working with data is to find out what the available data can logically tell us, not what the available data can be made to tell us.

    Data exclusion often betrays an analyst struggling for relief from complexity, or some times seeking expediently to rationalize their pre-established POV by intervening to alter the distribution of the data and so the potential inferences from it.

    Let me clarify what I mean by pre-established POV. It comes in two flavors: hypothesis and ideological assertion.

    A hypothesis is a pre-established POV for sure, but it is one posited precisely to find out what is true, not as an end in itself.

    An ideological assertion is one based on assumptions that the individual has already decided are necessary and so must be adhered to no matter what.

    Ideological assertions are most often associated with political and moral issues these days, but they crop up like crab grass in everything human beings think about. Your flat assertion that we should exclude multi-ring winners before a certain year is really an ideological assertion masquerading as data parsing in pursuit of comparing apples with apples, not a logical one. You incorrectly assume there is nothing to be learned from including the old coaches in the data set, because you incorrectly assume they can shed no light on the topic. I have shown above that they can reveal something very useful to know in our search to understand the issue and I will shortly call attention to it.

    For now, let me just say: iinclude all the available data at hand that resources and time permit the collection of regarding the question one wants to answer. Spend your time and effort figuring out how the data relates to your problem rather than assuming it doesn’t matter.

    In this case, some are asking if pursuing conference titles impedes Self from winning multiple rings? Thus we want to look at the data set of multiple ring winners in relation to conference titles, at least initially, to learn what we can about the correlation of multiple ring winners and conference titles. Start with correlation, then proceed to causation if ever possible. And if you’re a real stickler, forget causation and just try to get to probabilities with confidence levels, which is also frequently not feasible. Fortunately, often, correlation is all we need, or, less fortunately, all that is feasible. In any case, starting with correlation allows us to include all the data. In the increasingly baroque, bordering on tyrannical age of the algorithm, in which many analysts lose site of the common sense logic that underlies all QA. Rough cut before fine cut. Broad before narrow. Include before exclude. And never criticize inclusion for its vagaries, because the vagaries are simply the price in accuracy we pay for getting the blinders off in order to get to the right answer to then hopefully parse the data insightfully so as to enable greater accuracy. I have read huge books about QA, but it all distills to what I just wrote. And without what I just wrote, all the huge books are worthless.

    Given the question being asked by fans here, the reason to exclude the one ring winners from analysis in a non-ideological way is (to reiterate) that Self has already won one ring and so we know that either way works. Of course, if fans wanted to know which was the most likely way to win one ring, then I would probably include both the one ring winners and the multi ring winners because multi ring winners had to win one ring first before they won multiple rings; i.e., their inclusion in the data set would offer information to be wrung from them about winning one ring, even though it may be some what obscured by being bundled in multiple ring wins.

    The reason to include the pre-75 guys AND distinguish between the conditions that prevailed under them and the differing conditions that prevailed afterwards is to establish a legacy context to wring insight about the actual impact of liberalization of access to the NCAA tourney. We need to gain this insight, because if we want to understand what enables multiple ring winners, we want to establish to some extent what, if any, effect the current liberalization of tournament access has on the tendency of multi-ring winners to win more without being conference champions. Our logic and knowledge of probabilities tell us that liberalizing tournament access at least creates a possibility of winning a ring without winning a conference title. But one of the things we want to learn from the data is whether that possibility is a major factor, or a minor factor, in winning multiple rings. And one imperfect way (and all inferences are imperfect) to gain that inference is from before liberalization and after liberalization comparison. Again, we would like to know if the probability of winning rings without winning titles is so much greater after liberalization that one would rationally expect coaches pursuing multiple rings to restructure their seasonal objectives on the way to winning rings and so de-emphasize the pursuit of conference titles.

    And what the data shows is that even after liberalizing to 64 teams and allowing lots of teams with crappy overall records and less than first place conference finishes into the tournament, teams that finish first in their conferences STILL predominate as the winners of the tournament. Thus I infer that coaches still try to win conference titles in their pursuit of national titles for a variety of reasons, even after liberalization, and that when they don’t win a conference title, they keep trying to win a ring but rarely do so.

    This is so obvious that I have never understood why others have gone on this counter intuitive expedition into the possibility that coaches are trying not to win conference titles in order to increase their probabilities of winning rings.

    And knowing what I know about the varying conditions of tournament access based on the entire data set of multiple ring winners, and knowing that liberalization has so far had a small impact on the correlation of conference titles being pre conditions for rings, I can then zero in on the portion of the data set that is post liberalization and look for further trends there, knowing that there is really only one anomalous data point–Jim Calhoun–indicating even the possibility of liberalization having a longer term effect than what we have so far observed.

    All that being clarified, what could be most interesting to track in coming years is the potential effect of rising asymmetry in talent distributions hypothetically triggered by the PetroShoeCo-Agent Complex on how coaches become multiple ring winners.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    That’s been the narative before, especially before the league went to round robin. But these days its the definition of a guantlet playing every team in a home & home setting. The ACC might have 254 teams but other than the Duke/UNC rivalry Duke can play Virginia once and on and on…

    I don’t think the conference slate anymore is what is leads to tournament success. We’ve seen ours dashed the last 2 years by just knocking out our best post man on a system dependent on inside scoring. Whatever the case may be, its all about how teams react in the moment in those live or go home games.

  • @justanotherfan

    “The key is that Self has to trust those guys and let them play…”

    I think that is huge. Also… Self has to EXPECT those guys to play at a high level. This is why players often step up to a higher level when moving from a reserve role to a starting role. They know that EXPECTATIONS come with the starting position.

  • @DoubleDD I am in the camp that thinks he is at least a good coach. The one thing he does well is take talented guys and gets them to play hard…and play good defense. He also manages to keep the team focused and winning while managing the minutes of guys all expecting to play 35 minutes. That is not easy to manage. There are a lot of aspects to being a good coach. You can’t just “roll the ball out and let them play”. If nothing else you have to give him credit for managing a business model that utilizes the OAD…and has been very successful… all but the one year. Mind you…I’m no fan of his…and I wouldn’t want that model at KU…but I have to give him credit for what he does well.

  • @BeddieKU23 I meant and whoever wrote that statement that we are so beat up from playing a tough conference, not many easy games. I do think the last 2 years Embiid and Perry’s injuries, along w/cliffs problems hurt us. I don’t like the conference tournament. We get the #1 seed and draw osu, 2 years ago. Was it Baylor last year? What do you think?

  • Banned


    Managing a business and being a coach are two separate things. Lets be honest here. The motivation for players to play especially at UK isn’t hard. After all Espn covers them like they are the Yankees. Motivating those kids isn’t hard at all.

    See the problem with lots of people they look at what Cal has done and say wow. Yet if you really break it down and think about it. Cal has way under achieved. He has everything he needs to win not just a championship but multiple championships. He has the most talented teams. He has the most talent. He has a pipe line of talent being pumped into his program. Hell He doesn’t even have to leave his house to recruit. As I said before UK and Cal are ESPN’s golden goose. They have the east coast basis thing going on. They are always ranked number one no matter what.

    Think about it? If the Wizard had the talent that Cal has he’d win another 10 championships in a row. I would even venture to say if Coach K had the talent that Cal has had he too would rattle off several championships in a row.

    Look at Cal’s team last year? That was a team for the ages. Yet Cal got out coached, and got beat by a system coach with not even a spec of the talent Cal had.

    No Cal is just a thug that knows how to play the system, and he’s playing it well. He’s doing nothing for the kids he coaches.

  • @DoubleDD

    An important insight. Thanks for weighing in.

  • @drgnslayr I just read that Calipari and WWW article. Man, fornicate both those guys with a red hot poker, right up their anal sphincters. True or not, some of those connections there are down right outrageous and should be investigated by the NCAA. Immediately!

  • @DoubleDD You make some good points. I would say that one issue he has had is trying to win championships with freshmen. Usually, not always, experience wins championships. Yes…Duke had several freshmen. But I would never try to compare Cal to K. Points taken, though.

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