What Success Looks Like...

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    (Courtesy of KUSports.com)

    We can examine shot forms, offensive sets and defensive toughness. But this is the engine that drives the train.

    I’ve never seen Perry Ellis’ back molars before… until now.

    As of Monday, Kansas will be uplifted in the National polls to #1. Usually, that is a curse. Players get over-confident, media chaos infects the focus of our team like a flu virus.

    But this team is different. It has worked hard, including battling abroad in Korea, to find a true team identity.

    What will carry this team forward has yet to be covered by sports media. Their focus is the allure of our perimeter shooting.

    The secret sauce for Kansas in 2015-2016 is their “team focus” and to find “team happiness.”

    Now that is something substantial, sustainable, and a REAL FORMULA for a destiny taking us all the way into April! (hint)

  • @drgnslayr said:


    I’ve never seen Perry Ellis’ back molars before… until now.

    Made me go back and look. I think you are right!

    Sweet observation.

  • @Bwag

    And Perry didn’t have one of his better games. Just shows how his focus is on team, not personal accolades.

    I’m starting to feel like this is the best team chemistry we’ve had during the Bill Self era. 2012 was big, and our guys got there through the struggles faced by Thomas Robinson (which the team, coaches and fans struggled through, too).

    This is different. The struggle these guys have faced over their KU years is substantial… but nothing compares to 2012. This is something different. We are seeing these guys really mature into men before our eyes. It was mentioned in the article on KUSports about Wayne growing up and also taking on the responsibility and accountability of this team.

    I do believe Wayne reaching manhood has also helped bring along the rest of the team, even impacting Perry. When Wayne makes a big play you can see the whites of all our guys’ eyes. They all become motivated. I believe they are thinking… “if Wayne can step up, I can step up.” This is Wayne’s team. And I think Perry is starting to embrace his ownership, too… as well as Frank, Devonte, and the rest of the crew… and a very special “shout out” to Brannen Greene.

    The light has come on in Brannen. He is starting to show even more intensity on defense than he has on offense. He is starting to make defensive plays that gain us possessions. Notice his reactions… becoming even more animated on a great defensive play than when he knocks down a 3.

    These guys are truly unselfish as a team. These guys are all starting to realize that they succeed and fail as a team. These guys are starting to take individual accountability for team success.

  • @drgnslayr Going to need that same focus for tomorrow. What seems to happen a lot is there is one really good, focused game followed by a casual one. Hopefully there will be focus tomorrow. Oklahoma won’t win if there is.

  • @DinarHawk

    If Oklahoma comes in here and burns the nets… we could be in for a real fight.

    Any other situation, and Oklahoma gets exposed. They resemble their football team. Big time offense, and forget the stats on their defense. Mediocre at best. Doesn’t mean they won’t get it together this year. There is a lot of basketball to be played and OU has some great players/athletes.

    What they really lack, and what we have, is team chemistry.

    I look at OU and I see “fool’s gold.”

    They barely held on at home against ISU. From what I’ve seen this year, ISU looks like more of a threat. For several years now they have been able to develop good team chemistry. From top to bottom in their roster, they may not quite have the athletes we have, but that hasn’t stopped them from beating us several times the past few years.

  • @drgnslayr I was thinking the same thing about Iowa State. Watching Oklahoma this year, they do rely on jump shots to a greater degree than we do.

    Like you said, the only way Oklahoma could win tomorrow is they shoot 50 or 60% from three or we play bad defense.

  • @drgnslayr

    OU and ISU have extremely shallow benches. ISU 5 starters played 177 minutes and when you add the 6th player, they played 197 out of 200 minutes; this is what I call a 6 man team. OU is almost as bad, the starters played 171 out of 200 minutes and only 8 players saw the court for a combined total of 29 minutes .

    In comparison, KU 5 starters played a combined 136 minutes and the bench 66 minutes. ISU and OU are going to have very tired teams at the end of the season, considering that the conference will be brutal with currently 5 teams (50%) in the top 25 and 8 teams (80%) in the top 50; no other confrere comes even close in top to bottom quality.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “ISU and OU are going to have very tired teams at the end of the season”

    I totally agree.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Credit to Bill Self for keeping the I.B. , Inglourious Basterds, the C5 going. Its working. He has to know its working. It is a balancing act though. I mean, we cant give the other team 25 fouls down low. He is using our secret weapon in a masterful way so far.

  • @drgnslayr

    On the other hand, it does not bide well for the conference to go to the dance with a bunch of beat up teams…

  • @JayHawkFanToo I think this is part of the reason the big 12 folds in the tourney.

  • @JayHawkFanToo @Crimsonorblue22

    Both true.

    And I think it is worse when the Big 12 is built up so high by media (and then proceeds to collapse). You can only scream “fire” a few times before people stop believing.

    Gosh… maybe the Big 12 should drop football. For the most part, we were skinned alive in bowls. I recall hearing one sports barker say, “the Big 12 may not be known for football, but their basketball is really coming on!”

  • Why do you suppose they build up the B12 each year only to see it fold?

    Hypothesis: Betting.

  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    Why do you suppose they build up the B12 each year only to see it fold?

    Hypothesis: Betting.

    Cha-ching! Vegas odds baby.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I would respectfully disagree. Betting, and by this I mean Vegas or Vegas-like betting, does not care who wins or loses, the system is designed to balance betting and make money on the vig. Vegas betting is arguably the best run business around and, as strangely as it sounds, it does not take chances and it concentrates in guaranteed money…and it does this extremely well.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    First, I always think you know what you are talking about on this subject; i.e., that you have looked into it and are accurate, as far as you take it.

    Second, I do not gamble and so I am not an authority on Big Gaming. I am late to the study of the gaming industry. I wouldn’t have looked into it at all, but for the fact that it is necessary to understand, if one wants to understand the business of sports, which is necessary to understand, if one wishes to advocate informatively for KU Basketball.

    Third, it appears that Big Gaming is the core business, Big Media appears to be a possible means Big Gaming uses to re-shape bettor expectations and stimulating betting volume, and sports are largely content used as marketing tools for promoting media watching and sports betting.

    Fourth, If Big Gaming operated in a perfectly evenly distributed spatial universe of bettors, and spatial universe of teams/games, you would probably be exactly right and we would probably not only not be having this discussion, but we would probably also likely not be witnessing the recurring phenomenon of the Big 12 being over-hyped and then not living up to expectations most seasons.

    Fourth, in USA, the spatial universe of bettors is highly unevenly distributed, because the population is highly unevenly distributed. Here is a percentage of US population broken down by time zone.

    Eastern: 47% Central: 32.9% Mountain: 5.4% Pacific: 14.1% Alaska and Hawaii: .6%

    In trying to balance betting on basketball games, there is always a problem of overcoming the imbalanced spatial distribution of bettors; i.e, overcoming the tendency of EST betters betting more on EST teams and EST games than on CST teams and CST games and vice versa. One spread may achieve balanced bets in the EST, but not in CST, and vice versa.

    There is also the imbalance triggered by bettors forming rational expectations over time; i.e., bettors seeing EST teams tending to win more games in the NCAA tournament and tending to win more NCAA championships.

    In essence, spatial distribution imbalances and rational expectations imbalances have to be corrected for in order for any given spread on a game to satisfactorily balance betting at its highest reasonable volume.

    Re-shaping bettor expectations of outcomes appears one of several feasible ways the problem can be addressed. I highpothesze that reshaping bettor expectation of which conferences are best over the course helps increase betting on CST teams by CST bettor and EST bettors in a way that enables a spread to overcome the intrinsic imbalances of spatial distribution of bettors and rational expectations of bettors.

    Because reshaping bettor expectations appears feasible to do with mass media, same as mass media can reshape consumer presences in advertised products, it makes sense that such reshaping would be done to enable the balance betting that you refer to as the objective of Big Gaming in setting and iterating spreads to achieve betting balance.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    You are missing the main component of Vegas betting. the line is not static, it changes all the time to balance betting.

    For example, the line for this evening game opened with KU by 5. Apparently more people were taking the line thinking that KU would indeed win by at least 5 and now the line has moved to 7.5 and many people that thought that KU could win by 5 but not by 7.5 are now taking Oklahoma…see? this is how Vegas is continuously tweaking the line so at the end the money is bet equally on both sides and the house always makes money on the “vig” which is the fee they charge you for handling the bet. Keep in mind that once you place your bet you are locked on that line even if the line changes. If more people start taking Oklahoma and the money bet becomes unbalanced, the line would drop to maybe 6 and then more people would switch back to KU and balance the money…the basic simplicity of the system is a thing of beauty…of course, the implementation requires very savvy statisticians and a lot of computer power to track the betting instantaneously

  • @JayHawkFanToo @jaybate-1.0, I can see the points you both make. Mass media could be used to help set those initial expectations. Of course, as people put their money on a game, it clarifies the mind.

    Would be interesting to know what some of the largest line moves have been in sport betting history and what the relevant factors were to that move. Especially ones that didn’t have fundamental change developments in the actual matchup (like key player injured and removed from the game).

    Seems the initial line should most closely resemble the tipping point based on actual matchup. Line moves based on the money, (which could be influenced by the regional bias) and additional developments.

  • @JayHawkFanToo said:

    You are missing the main component of Vegas betting. the line is not static, it changes all the time to balance betting.

    I am seeing that clearly and it is in fact a crucial premise of my hypothesis. Were it not for the imbalances of spatial distribution and rational expectations, that are, or easily would be, empirically verifiable, a single, dynamic betting line could bet balance without risk of spreads being busted intolerably by game outcomes.

    But no matter how much you move the line, because of the spatial imbalances of bettors and the rational expectations of betters driven by experience of those imbalances, moving a single betting line, probably either cannot, or can only with gross inefficiency, off set the imbalances.

    Where the gross inefficiencies occur comes once the game is played. The bet balancing that plays out based on the spatially imbalanced betting population that is simultaneously imbalanced in its betting by its rational expectations of prior outcome tendencies, inevitably creates a balanced bet prone to being busted by the game itself, without significant “adjustment” of either the game outcome (using refs to keep the final score within the spread), or the better expectations (reshaping bettor expectations for spatial imbalances and rational expectations imbalances.

    Its actually appears pretty simple.

    I mean, if they don’t intervene some how, the game outcomes would tend to break spreads, because the spreads are set to exploit the biases of the bettors, and so those biases would then be contradicted by the reality of the games. There is no escaping the the gross imbalances in population distribution, regional biases of betters, information asymmetries of regional betting, and the relentless effect of rational expectations on bettor expectations, shaping betting that is based on a dynamic that is fundamentally different than the dynamics of the two teams that determine whether or not the teams make the spreads, or bust them.

    In turn, because betting is so enormously heightened for the March Madness, it would be logical to see considerable effort directed at countering the spatial imbalance of bettors with a long pre conference and conference season of hyping the Big 12, occurring and being fine tuned by “adjustments” via refereeing to manage spread busting to tolerable levels.

    And of course a long the way, one would expect various kinds of exploits of the grand scheme by both insiders and outsiders seeking to profit maximize of the contrivance of the system.

    While it doesn’t matter to Big Gaming who wins, it matters very much to them that their spreads are not busted at too high of a frequency.

    This seems to be the nub of it.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Again. there is a common misconception that the line is the actual predicted margin on the scoreboard…while most of the time it seems to resemble that, it is not. It is actually a number very carefully crafted by the best statistician in the land that takes into consideration all the regional factors and biases and that will result in balanced betting…again, in basic betting Vegas does not care who wins or loses or the margin of victory, it only cares that he money is bet evenly. The money wagered is monitored in real time and the lines carefully tweaked also in real time to maintain the balance. If you ever go to Vegas, go to one of the betting locations and you will see how fluid the numbers are.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    First it makes sense that the actual spread would be somewhat different than the published spread for security reasons.

    Second, regardless, game outcomes bust spreads from time to time. Every gambling history or article I have read indicates it. It is reputedly a significant risk to bet balancing; this is commented on by those inside and outside the business.

    Third, whether the spread is the same as the game spread/published line, or not, the spatial imbalance and rational expectations imbalance remain structural impediments to effectively managing risk.

    The reason for using state of the art stats is to minimize the risk. But it doesn’t end the risk. It would just manage it. And I don’t see how it could manage spatial and rational expectation risk without some reshaping of better expectations.

    But since I am still learning about this process, I am most grateful for your continued input.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Very well stated about how odds are determined.

    Gambling establishments use the line to leverage the demand for wagering on either team. Lines move when the betting is lopsided and the establishment wants more bets on the other side to reduce their risk.

    If they are able to have equal betting on both sides, they make their 10% service fee on all the lost bets.

    It sounds like they just make a few pennies on games. But that 10% is a colossal amount of $ when you consider the total activity these establishments run. And in most situations, the establishments are paid in advance. So they profit on all the “early money” by possessing this money without paying interest.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    There is zero risk to balanced betting,. The only times that the balance is busted is when someone will come just before the deadline and place a huge, long shot bet (multi million) and there is no time to change the line to balance the money. This has has happened in the past but mostly in the fight business, i.e. boxing, and most of the time it broke in favor of the house.

    Read up on Vegas betting, it is quite interesting and very secretive as the algorithms they use are proprietary and heavily protected; if you think Coke, Pepsi and KFC protect their formulas, Vegas makes them look like the proverbial pikers. When you talk about gambling, the only people gambling are the people placing the bets, the house hardly gambles at all and it is a well run and very profitable business. Most professional gamblers hedge and balance their bets and don’t go for the long shots which are for the occasional/casual/spur-of-the-moment bettor and hardly ever pay off…there is a reason why they are called sucker bets… :)

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