Wasting Another Good Trey Balling Game on a Cupcake...Random or Indicative of Something Significant

  • Cupcakes are meant to be slaughtered.

    So when you slaughter a cupcake, how you do it reveals far more than that you do it.

    KU slaughtered Chaminade 123-72.

    It did it with 50% trey balling on 29 attempts and it did it going +24 on rebounds.

    Were these tools of slaughter something KU can count on maintaining against a good team?


    KU has now shot a scintillating 3pta percentage against two cup cakes this regular season and shot an ice cold 20% against a ranked MSU. Dare we infer anything from an “n” of 3? No. Do we even hazard any hypothesis this early? Yes.

    Hypothesis: KU is one of those good three point shooting teams that tends to shoot a good trey ball percentage only against sharply inferior teams that can’t guard them worth a damn outside.


    Rebounding–KU did to an incredibly mismatched Silverthorn front court something akin to what Kentucky did to KU in the first nightmarish game of last season. They got every rebound they wanted and a few they didn’t even try for, because they were longer and stronger, quicker and better jumpers. They so outmatched Chaminade in the paint that Carlton Bragg could stay on a spot and actually body Silverthorns off theirs. Now, don’t get me wrong. Hunter Mickelson defied the laws of mismatches and did not grab a single rebound in 12 minutes. Zero. Against Chaminade. That is like a diamond thief walking out of a jewelry store empty handed after the night watchman died of a heart attack. That is like a hungry shark passing up a meal of baby seals dipped in blood. That is like a hungry cat passing up free mice next to a dead cat. That is almost statistically impossible. But Hunter aside, KU went up +24 on reebs, and couldn’t go up +24 on a ranked team, even if Self promised them James Harden money for doing so.

    The only two things to be gleaned for sure from this basketball time waster in Maui are:

    1.) its handwringing time about KU shooting waaaaaay back to average against the next opponent; and

    2.) the first five minutes of the game KU came out inexplicably not guarding the trey line and got burned for awhile, and they better not do that against their next good opponent, or they are dead meat.

    There endeth the post.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Yikes. I’m afraid you’re right JB. Is this a repeat of last year?

  • Banned


    I disagree. KU is a great 3 point shooting team as long as HCBS lets them play. In the MSU game KU wasn’t doing to bad from 3 land until HCBS decided everything had to go inside. Hence KU blew the lead and lost the game.

    As fans we can’t take much from this game. Yet there is one thing I took from it. HCBS let the Jayhawks play. When was the last time you seen that?

  • @jaybate-1.0 Just one thing b4 I head to work. #FreeDiallo!!!

  • @jaybate-1.0 so what you are saying is I really didn’t miss much in the grand scheme of things? That it was OK to pass out at 630 cst due to being me?

    What you are saying is I probably shouldn’t watch tonight’s game as I will be completely and utterly angry by how they play?

    What you are saying is Hunter isn’t our best rebounder?

    What you are saying is there was freedom or a looseness to the flow of the game?

    What you are saying is the Chieck Diallo needs to be freed!

    What you are saying is that Chaminade doesn’t have a big enough shoe contract?

    What you are saying is that there were no representatives from the NCAA in Hawaii this week?

    What you are saying is Rock Chalk Jayhawk

  • @DoubleDD

    Against Northern Colorado?

  • @JRyman

    What u r saying is one way to put it. 😄

  • @DoubleDD said:


    I disagree. KU is a great 3 point shooting team as long as HCBS lets them play. In the MSU game KU wasn’t doing to bad from 3 land until HCBS decided everything had to go inside. Hence KU blew the lead and lost the game.

    As fans we can’t take much from this game. Yet there is one thing I took from it. HCBS let the Jayhawks play. When was the last time you seen that

    “Our whole goal was to try to help our inside guys as much as possible,” Coach Bovaird said after the loss. “We knew they were going to try to high-low us to death, and you just kind of hope that they don’t knock down outside shots. (But) they did.”

    "you’ve got to pick your poison when you’re playing a team like Kansas,” Bovaird said. “They’re good at every position, don’t get me wrong. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to make a lay-up than it is to make a three-point shot. So our goal was to try to take away scoring from two, three feet from the basket and hope that they get cold outside and start panicking a little bit.”

    “My teammates, Frank and Devonté were driving the ball well. I was getting open looks and making shots. If it’s an open look it’s a pretty easy shot. I just need to make it,” Mykhailiuk said.

    I think KU has a number of snipers on the perimeter, provided they have their feet set, are squared to the basket, receive a good pass that doesn’t force them to adjust their position much and have some seperation from the defender when the start their shot… We have a number of excellent shooters under ideal situations.

    Games against teams like Notthern Colorado or Chaminade - teams that lack the horses and have to take an either or approach on defense - prove that.

    But in my opinion, if our snipers - especially BG and Svi - don’t catch the ball with their feet set or are being closely defended we become average shots from the perimeter.

    And if we have to move to receive the ball or to create seperation from the defender we become below average with our marksmanship.

    Unfortunately there won’t be many (any) conference or tournament games that cause our opponent to choose between defending the perimeter or packing the paint.

    We started the game 2-10 from three vs MSU…think we were 3 of 12 before we missed three on the last possession.

    Just my opinion. Take it for what it is worth.

  • I don’t think we have enough data right now to reach this conclusion – that we will shoot the three well vs. poor teams, but not against good teams. But it makes sense that there might be a disparity, of course. At least a small one. I would hardly count Chaminade. They aren’t even a bad team. They’re horrible.

    However, I think the possible cause is worth reviewing.

    How did coach Self approach offense vs. MSU? How much did the butt pucker?

    The one thing that I will hold to as much as anything else regarding Self’s offensive approach is that he does not work hard to put his team in a position to get open three point looks. It’s more a flow of the offense thing. Which makes it quite easy for teams that have that defensive mindset or approach, to disrupt our three point output a little easier. Not a lot, mind you, but enough so that there may be a disparity.

    Further, it is clear in the years upon years of watching coach Self, that the offensive mindset is to pound the ball inside. Self becomes more focused on that against better opponents of course, or when playing with a lead, or in irrational moments like his retrenching in the second half vs. Utah (which of foretold in the halftime interview).

    This is all coach driven. Every bit of it.

  • Also worth noting that -aside from BG - we got some decent looks against MSU after Perry’s hot start because they overplayed on Perry until late in the game when we had to hit threes to make a comeback.

    They had a guy glued to BG anytime he was on the perimeter.

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    The one thing that I will hold to as much as anything else regarding Self’s offensive approach is that he does not work hard to put his team in a position to get open three point looks. It’s more a flow of the offense thing

    This coming from a man who played guard, not a post player, but a guard.

    Is he worried abut assist numbers?

  • @JRyman Interesting. Actually, it’s coming from a guy who was not a good shooter. But was a defense first player. Self even referred to that on Sunday at an event in Maui.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Yes, I agree, he does not scheme to set up the three as a part of his offense. Unless it is an inbounds play or late game situation like the chop.

    The three usually becomes effective in Self’s offense after we have established succes in the paint and our opponent has reacted to that…thus allowing a kick out pass to the perimeter after help defense has left the wing unguarded…facing the basket with his feet set.

  • @SoftballDad2011

    Clearly stated. Add that good defensive coaches also scheme to deny spots to shooters, because most shooters are sharply better shooters from some spots than others. Add also that the best defenders CAN guard inside AND out, and CAN help inside AND out; then the issue is specified.

  • @SoftballDad2011 said:

    They had a guy glued to BG anytime he was on the perimeter.

    This is exactly what I was talking about the other day. The opponents BEST 3pt defender will have to guard BG every time he enters the game. That opens up other options. BG should take his defender as far out as possible to open things up under the basket. Coach Self is not exploiting this at all. If BG takes his defender out to the 3 line throw inside to Ellis and wait for the double team it opens up the floor BIG time for an Ellis assist. Only problem is Ellis starts dribbling and shoots over a double team every time instead of passing to the open guy. He should get pulled out of the game every time that happens just like our sharp shooters get pulled when they brick a 3.

  • @Statmachine Absolutely!

    But BG’s best spot on the floor is near the baseline to the free throw line extended…if he gets too far away a defender will likely collapse some.

    Plus Jimmy Chipwood didn’t like being a decoy and I bet BG wouldn’t accept that role willingly either!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Shooting percentage is driven by:

    1.) shooter comfort level (I.e., openness, distance, preferred angle, which distill to spot, and leg energy; and

    2.) random variance around the shooter’s average.

    Versus MSU, KU was battling a good defensive team and coach capable of using physical MUA at each perimeter position, especially height, to sharply reduce KU’s comfort level in most ways.

    Further, KU’s prior sky high Trey percentage meant KU was likely to be shooting back to its average.

    The two factors compounded to drive KU’s 3pt % down to 20%.

    Against Chaminade, something nearly the reverse occurred–two factors compounded to drive it upward 50%.

    Will the two factors always drive the same direction? No. Team development, oponent variations, and Complexity dynamics will combine to increasingly reduce frequency of this simultaneous driver direction. But the two drivers will always be at work.

    Can Self anticipate their movement directions before games? Yes, with some probability.

    Can he test his assumptions early in a game and achieve greater confidence in the two factors anticipated directions, once he knows what the other team will give him? Yes, with greater probability.

    Could this process explain more Trey attempts against a bad team like Chaminade giving them the line? Yes.

    Could it explain fewer Trey attempts against a good team like MSU able to guard the line and the paint? Yes.

    It could also explain Self’s actions when he might have more mixed anticipations regarding these factors.

    It does not mean it is the best process to follow.

    Note: I found your analysis paralysis post incisive and wanted to take awhile digesting it before responding.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “I don’t think we have enough data right now to reach this conclusion – that we will shoot the three well vs. poor teams, but not against good teams.”

    I’m still waiting for proof that we can shoot a high percentage from trey against a quality team that also plays decent defense.

    Spot shooters disappear when they are guarded.

    Same for rebounding.

  • I don’t remember a time that a Self team had 100+ points in 2 out of his first 3 games. I think we have the potential for a great offense, provided we don’t have a regulator on the engine.

  • @KUSTEVE KU is second in scoring and 3rd in 3pt % at this point of the season. I cant see it remaining like this but I am hopeful it will.

  • KU is getting major help from our bench. One of our starters is 9th in scoring? I bet know one knows who that might be?

  • I heard our guys are having fun over there.

  • KU is a team that happens to have a lot of average to above average three point shooters. I don’t know that this team has a great shooter other than the currently suspended BG, but not a single rotation perimeter guy is a flat out poor shooter. Left alone, any one of these guys could hit 3 or 4 threes in a game. In fact, other than Vick, every single KU perimeter player has, at some point in his career, hit at least 3 triples in a game. The shooters are very capable.

    Chaminade and Northern Colorado were/are both overmatched in the interior. That means that when KU throws the ball inside, as they insist they must do, those teams were forced to double every single time. What happens when you double the post? Well, against a Bill Self team, the ball starts moving and, when you combine that with a group of average and up shooters, the ball is going to end up in the hands of someone who is:

    1. Wide Open
    2. Capable of knocking down a three

    That’s a recipe for hitting a ton of threes. However, against a better team, they don’t have to double the post on every entry because they have capable interior defenders. As a result, when the ball is kicked back out, the quality of looks degrades considerably. Remember, this is a team of good shooters, not great ones. Good shooters with good looks are highly efficient. But if you don’t have to double and the defense isn’t scrambling, those good shooters aren’t wide open, so they aren’t hitting 50% of those shots because they have a hand in their face.

    This could be remedied if KU starts attacking the basket off the dribble. This will allow them to collapse the defense and create the same scrambling effect that happens when team’s double the post. In all honesty, this KU team would benefit from running a variation of the dribble drive motion. We lack a post player that can dominate every night, but we have lots of decent ballhandlers and good shooters. Drive, kick, rinse, repeat. Eventually the defense gets bent the wrong way and somebody gets all the way to the rim or a shooter is left alone. The parts are there for an efficient offense. Just not an efficient high low offense.

  • @drgnslayr

    Brannen Greene is perhaps the best spot shooter in college basketball and will hit an ubber high percentage when wide open. The problem is that he cannot shoot with someone guarding him closely and he just cannot create his own shot/get himself open. The Conference teams know this and have some one play him close and he is render ineffective.

  • @justanotherfan said:

    This could be remedied if KU starts attacking the basket off the dribble.

    Touching paint. This is exactly what this team needs. Whether it be Frank, Perry, Wayne or Graham (all capable), we need someone driving and dishing. Duke and UK are excellent at this and are very successful as a result. The last time we had such a player so capable AND so willing was Tyshawn Taylor. Nowadays, everytime someone drives, they think they need to put up a contested shot or try to draw a foul. When will they figure out that dishing out to the open man is a near unstoppable play? You are playing on the other team’s natural instinct to collapse and help when an opposing player has broken down the defense. This doesn’t guarantee the shot will be made, but I’d rather take a chance with an open 3 with our crop of shooter, then to see Perry try to muscle (yeah right) it up against 2 or 3 defenders. Or to see Wayne flail in trying to draw a foul.

  • @SoftballDad2011 Chitwood.

  • Bovaird said ‘our goal was to try to take away scoring from two, three feet from the basket and hope that they get cold outside’

    Izzo, on the other hand, defended the 3pt line close enough to man up when the ball went out. Brannen didn’t get a shot off.

    I expect UCLA to defend the 3 better today, especially against Svi. If you have to ‘pick your poison’ against Kansas, well, 50% of a 2pt shot (which is about what Perry shoots under the best of circumstances) is still only one point. 50% of a 3pt shot is, uh lemme see…

  • Svi has shown he can be just as good of a shooter as Greene. The issue is neither does anything else on either end of the floor, it’s their single attribute

  • @ZIG

    And as you said too often we bail them out with an out of control drive, bad shot, bad pass…

  • @wrwlumpy thanks…my ears went bad before closed captioning came along…or it could be my memory, which went bad too, …I think

  • Banned

    I feel it’s more than just the three. You see last year especially towards the end HCBS pulled in the reins on his outside shooters and decided everything was going in side. Well the results were horrendous as we all know.

    It’s more about an old Legend realizing what once worked isn’t working as well anymore. The days for just forcing your will on somebody are few and far between. With the rule changes and at which the pace of the game is played. Everything is geared to score and score quickly. Okie ball/muscle ball has become in so many ways an ancient relic.

    I could be wrong but feel that HCBS is having a hard time making the adjustment. Yet I see glimpses that he’s about to turn this thing upside down. In the MSU game HCBS regressed to muscle ball and it sent not only his team but Jayhawk nation into rage. Yet against Chaminade coach reverted back the WUG’s form and let his kids play.

    Will there be nights when the shots aren’t falling? Sure. Will KU shoot worse against better teams.? Sure It only stands to reason when you play a better team that your numbers will go down. But in the end KU want be passing up a great 3 point shot to pass the ball inside to get a highly contested two pointer.

    The bottom line is this team strengths is shooting the ball. Why would you want to take that part of the game from them? Why would you want to take away what they do best? It doesn’t make sense to me.

  • @DoubleDD a lot of folks here talk about Selfs love for Traylor. But after reading your post I wonder what his love affair with Ellis is?

    Is he good? Yes Is he reliable? Until he gets knocked around. Can he change a game? No Can he take over a game? No.

    And yet Self hangs his hat on Ellis to win games. He’s good don’t get me wrong and I have nothing against Perry just saying he’s not the power forward that Self sets him up to be.

  • @justanotherfan

    You hit that one on the sweet spot.

  • @DoubleDD

    “KU is a great 3 point shooting team as long as HCBS lets them play”

    So far I would amend that to “…as long as Opposing Defense lets them play.”

  • @jaybate-1.0 I think that the defense thing is overstated. Now, you can attempt to take away three pointers by positioning five guys on the three point line. But no one does that over course.

    The concept that a defense really can take it away defies the realities of the game given that you also have to defend the two point area, lobs, post feeds, give and goes, etc.

    How many times to teams drain threes in the last second when the only thing that can tie the game is a three, when the opposition is hell bent to stop the three.

    I can tell you this with confidence. If a coach is going to protect the basket, with roughly equal talent, I can scheme to get three point looks. Period. Obviously your fine D-1 coaches can do the same.

    One thing Self will never say is, “I can’t scheme to get three point looks.” I have never heard him say that.

    The idea that with KU’s talent, we are going to be dictated to — to the extent of believing we simply can’t get good three point looks and make three point shots— I would suggest, is very flawed.

    If a team is going to make that vast of a commitment, then we should have a score-fest at the rim.

    Here’s a link to Ken Pom wherein he demonstrates that the coaching impact on three pointers is not as significant as some might think, particularly on three point accuracy. Not definitive, of course, just some interesting info.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    You are spot on!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Coaches can only take away parts of the court that their players have the skills and athleticism to take away. Izzo’s defensive players were recruited specifically to make it unlikely for opponents to get open, unchallenged looks. This forces them inside and take fewer outside shots than they otherwise would. The reality of the game is that parts of the court are taken away all the time. The reality of the game is that the opposing coach adjusts. The reality is that the original coach then counter adjusts. Over the course of the game, sooner, or later most times one coach find something to take away the other coach cannot counter adjust too very effectively without creating much greater vulnerability. So he is stuck in equilibrium strategy even though it may I very much doubt That KP’s statistics are yet tuned to track this interplay. One coach has only to find the weakness of another coach briefly to win the game. Self wins 82% of his games in large part because he has had good players sit in a ski conducive to adjustment and counter adjustment, and he is much better at playing this back-and-forth contest between coaches. Game theory has long exposed the critical dynamics of back and forth interplay in two player games, which basketball is on a team level. Each move has impacts that alter the opportunity set of the other player. Over time, equilibrium strategy sets in. The object of a player in a game is to use moves to bias. which equilibrium strategy emerges, so that it is more favorable to one player than another. Statisticians that are not game theorists rarely measure and so take into account dynamics of interplay.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I’ll find the quote, but Brannen Greene just a few months ago commented that he could create his own shot, or something like that … I’ll have to look. I don’t think I’m dreaming it. I agree, he’s not a “create your own look” guy. However, he has hit shots with guys in his face. All he needs is a system built to exploit him. And I think this system could exploit him, inside/out, step in and shoot. Just need the focus on that element. But if he’s going to run his mouth at the coach, it’s moot.

    @jaybate-1.0 No argument from me there – mainly because you talk over my head. But as my small brain processes, I would agree that a large part of the game is scheming and adjustments.

  • @DoubleDD I find myself in disbelief that Self has let the guys gun treys like this in back to back games, even against inferior opponents. Can it be that change is a’comin…?

  • @ajvan It’s a strange trend indeed. Shoot a lot of treys, beat the crap out of your opponent. Hmmmmm.

    It’ll all change when they start conference play. Automatic bench time for anybody shooting anything but a dunk or bunny.

  • @nuleafjhawk said Automatic bench time for anybody shooting anything but a dunk or bunny.

    What’s this “dunk” thing you speak of?

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