How About Going 39-1 and Winning an NC, But Never Winning By More Than 5--Would That Be Being Schooled?

  • Someone said KU was schooled by Harvard despite KU actually winning the game by 5 or so.

    This assessment got me to thinking about getting schooled in this way.

    What if KU were to win every remaining game by 5 and win a national championship title game by 5?

    Would anyone like to get schooled in this way?

    I always used think getting schooled was a bad thing.

    But getting schooled by winning by 5 makes me see getting schooled in a new light.

    Maybe getting schooled is good?

  • @jaybate-1.0 a wins a win!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 A win may be a win for UK, UNC, or Dook. It is not that simple at KU. At KU a lot of people consider it a win only if it is by 30 points playing the people who I know should play and running the scheme that I know should be run. Actually it is rather more complicated than that. Scoring fewer points than the opponent is also a win if it is achieved by playing my players and my scheme.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Yes, in half a heart beat I would take that scenario.

    That said, we all know not all wins are created equal. A 5 point win over a 2-5 Ivy League team in which a double digit lead was blown at home is not equal to a 5 point over a top 10 team in which neither team ever had more than a 7-8 point lead on a neutral court.

    KU did beat Harvard which is ultimately the most important thing, but I think everybody here can agree that KU didn’t play very well against Harvard either though with one of the biggest issues (lack of rebounding) of the past couple of years rearing its head again.

  • @sfbahawk


  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    The rebounding deficit was hard to understand.

    Composite 5 got a stellar 15 and Frank got his good for a point guard 4.

    It seemed the 2, 3 and 4 positions could not grab their share.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I guess in the truest sense, you’re right. But watch the polls this season. Sometimes a win like our last one will drop a team 3 spots, and a …3 or 4 point loss against a top 5 team could actually result in a team moving up in the polls.

    I’m glad we won, but it was still kind of embarrassing to me, considering we blew a 16 point lead at home, which is widely considered one of the 2 or 3 hardest places for teams to play in all of college basketball.

  • How you win is a very important indicator of your future success.

    And, of course, the discussion since Saturday has really been about how we play, for anyone paying attention. Do we muddle around and play a tight, lower possession game because Self thinks that’s the best way to play? Do we give up our identity to suit our opponent? Do we compromise what is our strength because 1-5 Harvard says so?

    Bill Self actually said he would have rather beaten Chaminade 60-50 than to give up 72 points. We won 123-72 and Bill Self would rather win 60-50. He completely ignores points per possession and how we crushed our opponent in that category. And how points per possession is the one stat that ultimately determines a basketball game. This simple statement by coach Self is quite demonstrative.

    It is short sighted tunnel vision to simply rubber stamp “a win is a win.” I mean, you can. But if you want to look further, if you care to analyze the why and how, it goes deeper. How you win is incredibly important. This all rears its head in March when we blame losses on “bunnies” or “incorrect seeding” or what have you. But we can ignore that if we choose to.

    And for anyone paying attention, Bill Self said this last night:

    “My assistants … we talk about this all the time … just because somebody is projected to be something doesn’t mean they can’t get it, but they also have to earn it,” Self said. “There’s other kids who have busted their butt for two or three years who are trying hard, too. I’m a big believer that the best players play. Over time, though, usually freshmen will prevail if they are talented enough.

    The highlighted portion is exactly what I said this weekend.

    However, coach Self, as noted in the prior portion of the quote, said exactly what I suggested this weekend as well – that he is giving deference to guys in large measure because they have “busted their butt for two or three years”. Veteran guys don’t earn it by being the best players. They are given preferential treatment in the face of better players.

    And if you’re paying attention, Self is admitting that Diallo and Bragg are the best players, right?

    It must pain some to see this.

  • @HighEliteMajor doesn’t pain me to see Self’s quotes at all.

    In all actuality it shows that he knows what he’s doing by getting his freshman ready to play with in the team aspect of the game and play his system and not just running very basic offense sets to fit them.

    When the best players play in system good things happen. When the best players play out of system it shows they aren’t ready so you have to play the best available for that system until the mental part matches the physical part for younger players.

    The season is very very young. A lot of time left to get these younguns ready to play for conference ball and adjust to Self’s system.

  • Style points don’t matter to Self. Never have.

    He would prefer to make the team execute his game plan and win by 5 than a free for all display of athleticism that wins by 30. AAU style doesn’t appeal to him.

    Forcing them to execute the lesson plan for the day - and when necessary breaking the stallions to lead - does.matter to him.

    Do it until you get it right and can retain it …and then we’ll move to the next page of the playbook.

    And if that approach creates adversity and tough in game situations , all the better. It keeps the team humble and gives them experience in contested games that undoubtedly will pay benefits later.

    But at the end of the day once he is in that tough in game situation he is going to shorten his bench and go with the people he thinks will give him the best chance to win.

    In those situations the youngsters who have yet to earn his trust or who have shown a propensity to turn it over, take ill advised shots or play bad defense aren’t going to be on the court…he is playing to win.

    If you are after style points, Coach Self will never be your guy.

    He prefers teaching moments and keeping their feet in the fire. Right or wrong, that’s just him.

    I am not a big X and O guy, but on Saturday it appeared to me as though Hunter’s and Cheick’s tendency to contest every shot - even when on help defense - left their men open for entry passes and back side rebounds. Bragg tends to play matador defense anyway and is slow to react on help side D.

    And none of them are especially good at being able to guard when they are drawn to the perimeter and have to switch on ball screens.

    Harvard was eating us up on those weaknesses.

    Like Jamari or not, is our best big at defending the perimeter and on switching ball screens.

    Like Landen or not on Saturday is was our best option to defend in the paint and to get rebounds.

    So they were on the floor.

    To me, the biggest problem we had on Saturday was Wayne’s foul trouble.

    When he was on the bench it caused Frank and D’tae to carry more of the perimeter load (which apparently tired then) and allowed Harvard to have one fewer true scoring threat to deal with. I thought we were just out of sorts with Wayne out of the game.

    Of all games for BG to have missed, I think Harvard was a big one. They weren’t especially good at guarding the perimeter without dedicating additional resources to doing so and they lacked the athletes to guard both the perimeter and the post.

    Had they elected to guard BG, we would have feasted in the post and had they sagged off of BG, he would have had great looks.

  • @JRyman Fair enough. And while it’s painful to watch Landen “mud walker” Lucas play over half the game, Self’s comments about defensive effort are what I find the most alarming because they demonstrate that he may not understand a very crucial, and very simple fact about a specific facet of the game, the very foundation that his program is built upon: defense.

    As HEM and one other poster pointed out, when opponents are scoring around 0.8 points per possession, THAT IS A GOOD DEFENSIVE GAME. When you give up over a point per possession, as we did against Harvard, you’re playing poor defense. Harvard was playing efficiently, and we let them dictate the pace of the game. The pace and the style THEY wanted to play because it suited their strengths. If they play fast and increase possessions, they turn the ball over a lot, don’t play efficiently and get ran out of the gym.

    It’s frustrating to say the least because these things matter. They determine how Self will manage the course and flow of the game. In the case against Harvard he assumed we were playing well in the second half because the overall point total was low. We weren’t. We were playing poorly. Sadly, it was 2 three pointers that bailed us out and extended the lead enough to win the game. Our strength, even in the “in case of emergency” context bailed us out. Make no mistake we would’ve lost that game to a decent team. That’s why this “a win is a win” mentality is alarming. Because it’s a reflection of what Self thinks, and it’s wrong. When the season is on the line in March, that mentality leads to a loss.

    And lastly, this idea that Bill Self’s job is to win games? No, that’s the job of coaches at Ohio State, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, Miami, etc… This is Kansas. Make no mistake, Bill Self’s job is to win national championships. To put us in the best position to win a national championship. I have not seen that in 2014, 2015, and those same tendencies are rearing their ugly heads again in the 2016 season. They are becoming a trend, and trends of these kind are scary. I think too many posters are tiptoeing around what we all know to be true. These kinds of problems far too often lead to our downfall in March. You can sit here and tell yourself “a win is a win,” and “it’s not a tournament game. It’s only December.” But we know that to be false. Of course this team will get better. And when we peak, look out. But this happens too often to overlook. These kinds of shortcomings come back to haunt us in March and when we get down 10 to a hot shooting Iona (or somebody) in the second half, puckering up and going with “bad ball” (the most horrendous strategy ever devised) again, leads to a disappointing loss and an early exit from the tournament.

    But I cannot emphasize enough, while I’m frustrated about playing time, I’m significantly more frustrated about what Self considers a good game because it appears he simply doesn’t know. And after what I saw last year, ya know, when Self discounted our achievements and discounted how well we were playing because he didn’t like it, I do not want to see Bill Self, again, try to sledgehammer a square peg in a round hole.

    This team is national championship-caliber. These kinds of teams don’t come along every year at KU. That is why, I think, the fanbase as a whole is becoming very frustrated with seeing Self pucker up and go against our strengths. Our 2 worst games of this young season were largely influenced by decisions from Self. We couldn’t score against MSU, yet Self stuck with a big in Lucas that has no offensive game because he’s a good 3/4 sealer? Unreal. That made our offense basically play 4 on 5. We let instant offense sit on the bench in Greene, and didn’t even try to utilize our strengths in playing fast and shooting the ball., Yet our best games of the season Self discounts and acts pouty because they are not the quintessential style he likes to play. I’m done with that. That stubborn mentality infuriates me. If it’s not ok for a player, it’s not ok from the coach.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    It did pain me to see those comments but I get it, he’s giving his seniors every chance to hold onto their spots for now and that’s just the way he is. We just have to accept this is how our coach is and hope that the players we want to see play will prove to their coach that they deserve to play over seniors.Somewhere in there he’s either a genius for doing this - the thinking that not entitling these freshman right away will make them hungry for the spot - and once they get it won’t give it up. OR he’s just a stubborn coach who values his trusted players more than he trusts his more talented one’s regardless of whether the product on the court is impacted by those decisions.

    As you’ve said the next 5 games will be important to see. Saturday against Oregon St is a quality foe where will we get to see the dynamics of using Greene again and how the big man minutes get distributed. We also have an upcoming road game in a hostile environment against San Diego St which will be the first true road game of the season.

    I liked your line “How you win is a very important indicator of your future success”.

    How we lose is important as well- case in the point the Michigan St game. That correlated to last years or prior years pattern of letting off the gas pedal and not finishing. How we’ve won this year- in Maui was the high point so far, showing the championship potential against UCLA & Vanderbilt. How we’ve won against Loyola & Harvard brought this team back down to earth quickly, shows the pattern of inconsistency in everything from coaching, team play to individual players not performing to standard.

    As I pointed out earlier in this post I’ll be looking at how we win or…lose to Oregon St & San Diego St. Hopefully losing isn’t an option but we don’t know. Both games away from Allen Fieldhouse. Both possible NCAA tourney teams. Especially the SDSU game will be a indicator of how this team might perform going on the road in conference play. Last year we got demolished by Temple right before X-Mas- this year we go to California right before X-Mas. How we react to that situation will be critical. I’m looking at that outcome as a big indicator of what to expect going forward…

  • @SoftballDad2011 Harvard was eating us up? Respectfully, I don’t know what you were watching, quite frankly. Why is it that we ignore what occurred from 13:00 to 9:22 of the first half when we were eating them up. Why do we ignore our style of play and what was successful?

    Self made the switch to Lucas after one play, which I documented. That’s it.

    Please explain how Harvard was “eating us up” before Superman came to our rescue? We were up 30-16 when Diallo exited in the first half.

    And by the way, I take because no one has ponied up a response from my prior post, does anyone … ANYONE … think we would have lost to 1-5 Harvard IF Landon Lucas simply didn’t play? Anyone?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    No we wouldn’t have lost. I pointed out that other than rebounding #4 was a non-factor from an offensive standpoint. But Lucas did a good job guarding him so was it Lucas’s “great defense” against their leading scorer or just coincidence. But all Self was worried about was the fact of not having to double him in the post. Ok, great, wooopty doo. That didn’t stop Perez from having a career night or McCarthy from draining 3’s.

    We all saw the pace we played against Loyola without Lucas & the effect that had over the course of the game. With Lucas, your waiting for him to catch up to the play to run offense and that is counter productive to what this team is built to do…

  • If we win every game by five the rest of the season a lot of us will be a lot grayer, a lot more nerve wracked and there might be fewer of us by the end of the season because we would be having heart attacks!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I stand by my comments. Saw too many times even during the stretch you reference in which Diallo and Bragg did not do their job. Harvard just didn’t capitalize. And we were making shots so we made a run while they were turning it over and missing shots.

    I am sorry we see things through different eyes.

    In regard to Lucas . Had he been unable to play at all, sure we would have never missed him. The game flow would have taken a different path and adjustments would have been made.

    But I FIRMLY believe, based on what did happen in the game that had Bragg or Diallo been on the court instead of Lucas during crunch time that we would have lost.

    Their defensive lapses that would have given up points and the lost offensive possessions because of miscues that naturally come from developing freshman would have resulted in more than we could have overcome.

    I suppose the one benefit that may have resulted is that had they been on the court Harvard might have been scoring 2s while exploiting them…instead of spending 20-25 seconds trying to get it in the paint to no avail before having to launch long range threes late in the shot clock…many of which scored.

    I felt that way before the final horn sounded, before I heard Self’s comments and even after my third viewing of the game.

    Lucas, no matter how low the bar he set, provided just enough defense, rebounding and deterance to hold the tide until we made some shots to extend the lead enough to hold on.

    Again, sorry I don’t see things the same way you did.

    But I disagree with you on this subject.

  • @SoftballDad2011 I’m completely cool with disagreement. And I don’t have any quibble with the concept that Diallo and Bragg aren’t perfect, and that they made generic mistakes. I don’t see either as a panacea. They are just the better players. I have never advocated playing either ahead of Ellis or Mickelson, for example. And just so it’s clear, I just think the 20-25 minute ranges makes sense for both.

    And I think that you are ignoring how we played when we stretched our lead. How we play is a most critical element, as we saw last seasons, right?

    You miss my point. You said:

    "But I FIRMLY believe, based on what did happen in the game that had Bragg or Diallo been on the court instead of Lucas during crunch time that we would have lost.

    Do you see that word “crunch” – as in crunch time? That’s different than what I asked. And it goes to the point I have made on net production. The scope of the entire game.

    Do you think if Lucas had not suited up for the game, would we have lost – to 1-5 Harvard? @BeddieKU23 gave his response. Anyone else?

    I do see you’ve drank the “making shots” Kool-Aid. That’s blue pill stuff. Just be mindful.

  • A win is a win, true enough. And if we win every game by 5 en route to a title, sure, sign me up.

    But the thing is, we won’t win every remaining game if we play like we did against Harvard because we will face better teams than that.

    We can’t get outrebounded by 8. We can’t have zero interior scoring punch. We can’t play slow against a team that is begging us to play slow so they don’t get run off the floor. There are other teams out there that can (and will) beat us playing that type of game if we are content to play that pace.

    And that’s why I complain. I don’t care about beating Harvard. A win is nice, but we can’t count on winning that way when we face Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kentucky and others. Does anyone here believe we can beat Michigan State the way we played Harvard?

    We can beat Harvard that way because Landen Lucas, even though he isn’t a superstar, is still better than the guys Harvard can put out there against him. His low mistake, low production game does well against Harvard and the like because we have enough surplus talent to beat Harvard anyway.

    That won’t work against the better teams in the country, which means that come March, we will need Diallo and Bragg and Ellis and a touch of Mickelson because we will need the talent even if there are mistakes because we won’t have the surplus talent at every other position to cover for Lucas and Traylor.

    We had this same argument when Morningstar was here and everyone ranted about how well he defended (even though Self rarely put him on an elite scorer) and how well he fed the post (even though he never had more than 126 assists in a single season, less than 3.5 a game). Morningstar didn’t make mistakes, but against good teams, he was a clear liability because teams virtually ignored him on offense (he was only a dangerous shooter when he was wide open) and he was often guarding their least dangerous perimeter scorer. I remember well the night the Brady Morningstar is a top defender argument died. It was the night Jacob Pullen dropped 30 something on KU in a KU loss. Morningstar never guarded Pullen that night. That exposed the truth.

    We will see something similar this year with Lucas and Traylor. Self may say that they do all of these different things, but if Lucas is such a great rebounder (our best, allegedly) then why on earth did we get outrebounded by 8 when our best rebounder was on the floor for 24 minutes? If Traylor brings so much energy to the team, then why is it that his hustle stats (blocks, steals, offensive rebounds) are so pedestrian - in 125 minutes on the season, Traylor has 5 blocks, 3 steals and 10 offensive rebounds. Hunter Mickelson, a guy not noted for his “energy” has 9 blocks, 3 steals and 4 offensive rebounds in just 59 minutes.

    I’m okay with winning every game by 5, but if you can show me how this team can win that way against the better teams, then I will be happy to eat as much crow as you can possibly serve.

  • Bragg and Diallo aren’t even close to being the best players 2-8 games into their careers. They may be the most talented players, but today they are no the best.

    You play today to both develop players and win to get a good seed. (Unfortunately the freshman arent good enough on defense to leave in the game as the other team was gaining confidense. )That way those now developed platers have the best shot at a national championship.

    Hopefully the freshmen develop into the players we expect by years end! If so another final four is a certainty. A NC a strong possibility.

  • Wow. Currently rewatching the game against Harvard. I dare anyone who thinks Diallo and Bragg are not our best options to go back and watch that game. We got stops, got blocks, tore apart the zone, etc. Diallo and Bragg can hit a jumper and teams have to acknowledge that ability. If you are going to make any argument either way, I implore you to go back and watch this game. I mean, seriously, it’s comical how much better we are with Diallo and Bragg on the floor.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I am cool with disagreement on philosophy or conceptual items too.

    We all have different perspectives and pre-existing beliefs that cause us to perceive things differently.

    I completely understood your question about Lucas and I responded by saying we wouldn’t have missed him at all if he hadn’t been available.

    But the context in which your question was rendered moot as soon as Lucss stepped on the court.

    My response was simply my belief that by the time we had arrived in a dogfight late in the game, I thought Lucas body of work to that point of the game seemed to provide the best option to win.

    I wish our youngsters had more of a chance to play, because there is no doubt that Diallo, Cliff, Bragg,…are all better long term choices and that they need repetition to get there.

    But in Self’s system where he is not afraid of building character through earned playing time they just don’t get the minutes they should.

    And this is compounded because Self doesn’t mind close games that cause him to shorten the bench and that limits their minutes even further.

    At the end of the day, that is the player’s penance for not sticking around long enough to figure things out and earn the time.

    And Self’s penance is having to go through it every time he lands a top recruit who leaves early.

    But in his defense he is going to sign any top recruit who he thinks can help, regardless of how long he is projected to stay. He has to.

    Side bar - my preference would be to go back to the old days when we built around having a core group of Ellises, Mason’s, Lucases every season, with a pipeline of replacements learning the system while they wait their turn.

    but I don’t think he can do that without having two or year below ordinary years while he gets the pipeline full of three or four year guys.

    And I don’t think coach Self or the fan base would tolerate even one ordinary year…so we are stuck with making the most of the status quo

  • @justanotherfan “I remember well the night the Brady Morningstar is a top defender argument died. It was the night Jacob Pullen dropped 30 something on KU in a KU loss. Morningstar never guarded Pullen that night. That exposed the truth.”

    This is some beautiful stuff. It’s sometimes harder to slay mythical dragons than the real thing.

    And I remember when Morningstar guarded Lacedarius Dunn at AFH. I was at the game. Brady couldn’t hang with him. Dunn scorched us, scored higher than his average, and Self still said Morningstar did a good job. Something about Dunn “just making shots” or something like that. I’m a little hazy there.

    @dylans - question, would you rather go to battle right now (like tomorrow) with Lucas and “_____” on your team, or Diallo and Bragg. Both teams would get Ellis and Mick, too.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    My heart couldn’t take that many close games. I would have a heart attack before the season made it to that would be championship.

    Hey it would be one way of getting rid of me though. :mask:

  • @justanotherfan

    But we also won’t play every game as we did against UCLA.

    This is why Self talks about 1/3 good, 1/3 average, 1/3 bad and about trying raise up the bad with things like going hard on defense, which he feels can be done even on a bad night.

    Regarding your pithy set of why on earth questions, which I enjoyed.

    The answer is: rotating a bunch of mediocre players and talented but sushi freshmen really does keep the opposing post men out of their comfort zones.

    Composite 5 had a double double against Harvard. Composite 5 was largely why we beat Harvard, and it turns out, largely why we have beaten all of the good and bad teams we have played.

    Composite 5 has had way more solid games than anyone but Frank and Perry, and even rock solid Perry finally lost his mojo for a game against Harvard.

    Composite 5 is our ace in the whole.

    And he will be even when we run into that OAD Number 1 draft choice center, if there were one this season.


    You know why.

    We are going to run his legs off, and bump him and bang him, and keep him constantly changing the way he guards and offends, based on a constantly changing offender and defender on him.

    The opponent’s superstar OAD 5 will win the battle with Composite 5, of course, because ONLY another superstar OAD 5 could have a good night and beat him. But Composite 5 will play the opponent’s superstar OAD 5 closer than any other single mediocre, or single above average 5 could.

    The reason we got out rebounded against Harvard is so obvious that I cannot believe I am the only one that has posted about it and reiterated about it and chastised the players responsible for it.

    To re-reiterate, Composite 5 and Frank Mason got their allotted rebounds needed for us to be successful and outbound Harvard. It was the players that staffed the 2, 3 and 4 positions that completely let their teammates down as rebounders. Graham, Selden and Perry, plus Svi in relief, decided they didn’t like to have to establish position and rebound against Harvard’s unpleasant motion offense, especially. Those three starters came wanting an off-night, where everything came easy, but instead they got that terrible Bob Knight/Coach K motion offense with all those awful picks and all that staying on spots and shoving others off theirs, and all that contact that Knight and K have always required of their less athletic player. And Svi, who wanted to bang a little, then got distracted by shooting 1-6 from trey and he began to pout. Devonte, Wayne, Perry and Svi couldn’t fill a thimble with the defensive rebounds they collected, and EVERYONE, including them, has known from the start of the season that for this team to rebound competitively, their three positions were going to have to be productive, because we know sooner or later Composite 5 is going to have an off night. But they didn’t wait for Composite 5 to have an off night. They just went ahead and dogged it against Harvard.

    Now to be fair, it is probable that Devonte, Wayne, Perry, and Svi were fretting some about finals coming. They are students and Self does make them go to class. But this fretting about finals did not distract them from hoisting a bunch of misses inside and outside, did it?

    So: this is why the buck stops with these four guys. They let the team down, because they came out without enough want to for rebounding, just shooting and some defense. But of course there defense was also a big part of the problem, too. Wayne getting fouled up early because he lacked enough focus even to get out of offenders way, proved once again just how hard it is to get a stop from the bench. Its a bitch!!! Man, you sit on your butt on that bench, and no matter who much you chop your feet on the bench, your man just keeps running on the court and scoring and grabbing rebounds, and stopping other guys. Wayne, baby, listen to you coach. You have to come focused and properly prepared to play. You are a pretty good defender on the floor. But on the bench, man you are totally exposed as a lousy defender that never gets a single stop from outside the black lines.

    Now I could rake Devonte over the coals for what he did on the floor, but,. well, Devonte has the baby face, and he is a sophomore teetering on the verge of succumbing to the sophomore jinx, and board rats love him and feel protective of him because he was a stand up frosh last season, and put on some pounds for Andrea, and moves like a player, so, like I cannot talk about his inefficiency without seeming like an ogre. And I’ve already pounded Perry into the cracks in the floor for what he did out there. He looked like a guy that that just broke up with his sweet heart and he just might have for all I know. So I have to lay off Perry. And well, the Ukraine Kid, he is another guy you have to be careful about calling on the carpet for failing to wear out the nets, because, well, because his whole world back in the Ukraine is in danger of being swallowed up in World War III, and he’s packing a bunch of unnecessary bulk for Bill’s and Andrea’s excellent adventure into bulk weight acquisition. Gotta cut the Ukraine Kid some slack, right?

    So: in the end, all we can really do is say the 2, 3, 4 and reserve 3 had off nights and have to come back raring to go, because sooner or later Composite 5 and Frank are going to have an off-game and we need those other guys firing on all cylinders when that happen to squeak out another 5 point win. The other nights, when everyone is playing well, and we are hitting 50-60% from trey, well, then we’ll blow anyone in the country out of the gym.:-)

    Rock Chalk!

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