What the architect of sustained excellence against the odds looks like

  • What the architect of sustained excellence against the odds looks like:


    What Self is doing is the stuff of legends.

    Think about all the coaches with medium and long stacks that either can’t keep up with him, or only exceed him for a season or two?

    It is absolutely insane what he is doing with players like Mason, Devonte, Hunter, Landen, and Jamari that the other elite majors probably didn’t even recruit. What Self is doing is already verging on the greatest coaching job he has ever done.

    If Self wins a ring with the talent on this team in the height of the age of medium and long stacks, it should probably go down as the greatest coaching job in college basketball history.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I second that!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Yep. Absolute legendary status if he wins #12 with KU this year and makes it to, at the very least, another final four. I just mentioned in another post that the biggest threats to KU in the post season this year are not Kentucky or Duke or UNC or AZ with their Nike stacked programs. They are teams like Michigan St and Nova ( I still hate Jay Wright ) Virginia and OU.

    KU can handle each of those teams come March, especially KU improves over the season.

  • @Lulufulu I actually think North Carolina is the biggest challenger and might be better than Oklahoma.

  • As much as I would like to agree in total – I would offer a few points:

    1. I agree with sustained excellence, but not with “against the odds.”

    2. Self said just last week that while he had won 11 straight Big 12 titles, he usually had the most talent. I can’t think of one season where we did not have the most talent. Maybe Durant’s season at Texas.

    3. Of course, having the most talent is because Self recruited and got the most talent. That’s a big deal.

    4. I would venture to say, nationally, that when you look at rosters and player rankings, we have always had top 10 talent, and most of the times top 5 talent on the roster.

    5. Self came to Kansas and received a “turn-key” operation. Roy left the program in great shape and Self walked into an elite program. Self has made the program his own, taken it to different heights (conference dominance and a national title). His is one of sustained excellence, as mentioned. This, to me, is his greatest legacy and what puts him on the cusp – literally one national title away – from being thought of as the second best coach in the country. Right now, I think coach K hold that mantle. The battle is between Self, Izzo, Roy and Pitino for #2.

    6. Our roster this season has Perry Ellis #24, Frank Mason #76, Devonte Graham #36, Wayne Selden #12, Brannen Greene #26, Cheick Diallo #5, Carlton Bragg #21, Hunter Mickelson #100, Jamari Traylor #141, Svi Mykhailuk (unranked because he was from overseas), Legerald Vick (#51 - ESPN; didn’t qualify to be ranked by rivals because he switched classes after final rankings), and Landen Lucas (unranked).

    7. My perspective is to ask a) “what coach wouldn’t have a national title contender with this roster?”; b ) “what rosters in CBB right now are better than Kansas’ roster?”; and c) “would you trade our roster for any other CBB roster right now?”

    8. My answers are a) Well, not the UC Irvine coach, probably not Scott Drew or Travis Ford, and I’m sure some others, but I think at least half of D-1 coaches would have this team at zero, one or two losses right now; b ) None; c) No.

    9. Our roster, in my opinion, is far superior than UConn’s in 2014; better than Louisville’s in 2013; better than UConn in 2011; and I would love to see this perimeter attack/style of play against UK’s 2012 team.

    Actually, we should expect a national title this season. This is much different than the last two seasons. And not to be too contrarian here, but I don’t really see how winning with the highly rated roster above, with multiple upper classmen, could approach the greatest coaching job in college basketball history. I just go back to our roster this season that is laden with top players.

    When we start talking “stacks”, we have five guys in the top 30 on our roster, another (Svi) would have been easily ranked in the top 30 if he would have been ranked. Three of those are upperclassmen. That seems like a “stack” to me, but I must admit, I perhaps don’t understand “stacks.”

    Sustained excellence, no doubt. Against the odds? I don’t think I agree there.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Good points. We certainly have a nice roster and really good talent.

    I believe @jaybate-1.0 “stacks” is referring to the silly recruiting classes of UK and Dook in particular. Classes that feature four or five kids in the top 10 in the same class.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    "My perspective is to ask a) “what coach wouldn’t have a national title contender with this roster?”

    You beat me to the punch. I was going to say Scott Drew. He has blown it big time with teams that had every bit the talent we had.

    Currently, we do have a stack… but it is a stack built over 5 years. The stacks at UK and Duke are restocked annually.

    Something we don’t talk much about… it seems like Self does a pretty good job at limiting players transferring away. We have lost a few, but the trend today in D1 is growing big time.

  • Banned

    I don’t want to be that guy?

    Yet I guess I must. In some ways I think Coach is the very reason we don’t get the stacks that Duke and UK get. Coach K and Duke are kind of new to the stacks if you ask me. Up until last year and this year I really didn’t see the uptick about Duke. Good recruiting classes but not the stacks that K is getting now. Kind of makes me wonder if Coach K has sold his soul to the Devil? We already know Cal has. Excuse me if I don’t call him or reference him as a coach. Just don’t feel he is one.

    Coach seems to be at ease with his recruiting classes. Never upset about losing this kid or that kid. A gentleman’s coach if you will. Is it a master plan? I don’t know but for some reason I think Coach scares off just as much talent as he gets to commit. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Especially with this season as he his reinventing the concept of coaching in the college game. And he is.

    Something tells me Coach is about to embark on a national dominance that hasn’t been seen since the Wizard. Don’t ask my why, because I don’t know. It’s a gut feeling I have. That MSU loss really woke up Coach. I guess sometimes in life even coaches a key loss can break lose the stagnate of ones career and unleash a whole new approach to ones craft. It seems these days Coach is in a whole another realm of coaching that all but a rare few ever really get to taste.

  • @DoubleDD I had a feeling the MSU woke him up and got him thinking outside the box. “Freeing his mind” as @HighEliteMajor would say.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Since John Calipari failed to win a national championship with 10 projected future draft choices (OADs and 2 ADs), I would add him to the list of coaches that likely would not be a contender with a rotation that included Jamari Traylor, Hunter Mickelson, Landen Lucas, Frank Mason, and Devonte Graham. I doubt that John Calipari would have recruited most, if any, of these players to Kentucky. If Cal didn’t even know enough to recruit and sign them, I fail to see the logic that he would have been able to be a contender with them had he taken over KU and coached them. I doubt Coach K would have recruited most, if any, of these players to Duke. I doubt that Stumpy Miller would have recruited most, if any, of these players to Arizona. I also doubt that Billy Donovan would have at Florida, either.

    And here is the real clincher. Among the KU guys that these other coaches did recruit, more than likely: a.) they wouldn’t have bumped one of their guys to get one of these KU players; or b.) if they had been willing to sign the KU guy it would have been pre-emptive recruiting, something we have seen these stack teams try from time to time.

    It at least appears that the recruiting asymmetry between KU and other elite majors contracted with Nike is rather acute the last few years.

    Of all the players you mention as highly ranked KU players, probably only Perry Ellis would have been a player that Calipari, Coach K, Stumpy, and Donovan would have signed instead of the players they did in fact sign.

    Look at UK and Duke and Arizona for the last three recruiting years prior to this past year. The reputed rank of their high profile players has been pretty staggeringly high.

    I just don’t see how these coaches mentioned above could likely compete nearly as well as Self has with this current KU roster, given what they have had to compete with and what they have accomplished the last several years.

    Remember, Bill Self took a team to the National Finals that didn’t even have a Mickey D on it and even made a game of it against Kentucky down the stretch, when UK started and rotated 6 OADs.

    Self is such an incredibly resourceful coach that he had a team with Naadir Tharpe playing point guard on track to make a deep run in the NCAA, had Embiid stayed healthy. Naadir Tharpe!!! Cal, Coach K, and Stumpy, have never had to start a point guard for a season remotely as weak as Tharpe.

    My point in all of this is NOT to say that Self has NO talent to work with. He obviously has some good players, usually 2-3 that other elite teams would want on their rosters.

    But my point IS to say that he has operated with substantially less talent than Cal, Coach K and Stumpy the last few seasons, and that most of his highly ranked players are not as highly ranked as Cal’s, Coach K’s, and Stumpy’s highly ranked players.

    Further, every time Cal, Coach K, and say, Tom Izzo, run into some lean talent seasons in their careers at their elite programs, they fall much farther in winning percentage than Self.

    It appears Self just is significantly better at operating at a high winning percentage with less talent and less highly ranked talent than these other coaches.

    These other coaches don’t have to sign all of the OADs they sign. They could sign the same amount of OADs as Self. They could also have signed several of the guys that Self has in fact signed in lieu of being unable to sign OAD PGs and 5s most of the time. But they don’t. They know they need the big edge in talent to compete and win, just like Self knows you need that talent. But the difference is that Self appears way more successful with lean talent than these other guys on their infrequent years of lean talent.

  • @drgnslayr

    I would bet Cal would not trade rosters with Self even up even this season.

    I doubt Cuonzo would either.

    I doubt Coach K would.

    I doubt Coach Izzo would.

    I haven’t followed Arizona closely as I did last season. But last season Stumpy wouldn’t have traded rosters even up in a millennium of Sundays.

    Self has coached against one really terrific coach so far, Izzo, and Izzo figured out one way to beat this KU team.

    I see a way to beat this KU team very easily, but I am not taking it public because I don’t want to be part of any discourse that contributes even a whit to this KU team losing a game it may need to get the next conference title. The only thing I will say is that if you look at the line score of the MSU and Baylor games, it shows up without any fancy stats. Baylor was on the right track. They just ran into a buzz saw that day and Drew isn’t skillful enough to capitalize on certain things the way Izzo was.

    We are not out of the woods.

    This team is very vulnerable.

    Self is fooling the sheiss out of everyone with masking as usual.

    But Self isn’t fooling himself.

    Coach K, though I despise him, would see through Self’s game in a second. But I don’t know if he has the right players to capitalize. I haven’t watched Duke closely this season.

    But several teams do. Baylor did. Drew just got finessed by Self as usual, and on a day KU was playing a perfect game.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Coach Cal did have a lot of success at UMass with teams that had nowhere near the talent any of Self’s KU teams or Cal’s UK teams. In 1992, Cal took UMass to the Sweet 16 with a 2 guard that made one 3 pointer all year, a 6-3 PF, and a 6-7 C. UMass also only had 1 really good player in 1996. I’m pretty sure Cal could take this group on a deep run because he’s won big with much less talent in the past.

  • @DoubleDD said:

    Something tells me Coach is about to embark on a national dominance that hasn’t been seen since the Wizard.

    He is sitting in a career position that is vaguely analogous, only Self has been winning conference titles for 11 years, whereas Wooden was finishing second most of the time. And those second place finishes meant that he could not win Self’s one ring, until he figured out how to win his conference.

    Both guys were widely considered one tier below the very top of the guys in their profession. Neither guy had won as many rings as the top guys in their profession at the time, and neither guy was getting as much talent as the top guys in their professions at similar career stages, but most everyone in their professions recognized them as incredibly bright and keen basketball minds and furiously competitive. Both had great pedigrees, but Self clearly coached at the more elite basketball school at KU, than Wooden at UCLA during the 1950s. Wooden had to build UCLA into a power. Self took over KU as a power.

    So: there are significant similarities and significant differences.

    The point of all this is to say that both men found themselves at the final third of their careers needing to break the strangle hold on talent of their elite competitors to go on a tear the last third of their careers.

    Wooden broke the strangle hold by adopting the same recruiting and sugar daddy practices as other elite programs.

    For Self to repeat Wooden’s tear, or even win half as many rings, he will have to find a way to break the strangle hold other elite teams have on the OAD point guards and OAD centers that are actually ready to start and play 30 mpg that he has so far never been able to sign.

    If Self can break into the open field on recruiting and stay there for ten seasons, he could do it. But as of right now, I do not see the daylight to run to.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Without all due respect JB, I doubt our thoughts on this team are new to any Division 1 coach who has watched Kansas, so I and others would love to hear what your thoughts are regarding this, knowing that you are not giving away secrets.

  • @DinarHawk

    Nope. 🙂

    Never give the enemy an even break.

    Not even a chance of one.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Does it have to do with Baylor’s post men driving from the foul line and short wing areas to draw fouls?

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    OMG, you must not have watched the UMass team with Camby. Camby was the first or second best center. Period. UMass had as good of a roster their big season, as most of the elite teams.

    Cal never wins big without a marquis player and a ton of depth and some guys that do something or other that stimulate investigations that Cal is later found to know nothing about. Its an apparent pattern.

    UMass. Camby and lots of bodies.

    Memphis. Derek Rose, CDR, Dozier, and probably better depth than this year’s KU team.

    UK. Why master the obvious.

    Same formula.

    Common thread: same Big Shoe-Agency Complex.

    I just don’t recall Cal taking a team with no Mickey D’s to the Finals, do you?

    Self did.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Or the short wing /free throw area ball screens that they struggled with in the first half?

  • Banned


    You forget one key ingredient? The era that you play in. The Wizard coached in a time when kids played 4 years of basketball. Coach does not.

    Whether we like it or not the College game is in the OAD era. Until the NBA players union decides to change the rules of the game.

    Meaning as we have already seen the UK’s and Dukes and other schools with stacks are starting over every year. Maybe this is why Coach is taking a different approach? Think about it?

    If KU wins it all this year they will indeed be setup for another great run for next year. As Coach isn’t just recruiting for this year but next…

    The key is Coach is changing how he coaches. He is indeed stepping outside the box.

    Something to think about.

  • @DoubleDD exactly. There is a possibility of back to back final fours.

  • @DoubleDD

    Naw, I never forget that. It just isn’t necessary to talk about, because its obvious, like the difference between Chucks and modern shoes, and difference exerted on asymmetric recruiting by the contemporary petroshoeco-agency complex of today, versus its absence then.

    But if you want to talk about it, well, what it distills to is this: if neither Self, nor Wooden team has recruits ready to start as first year players (e.g., Wooden’s first two ring teams with Hazard and Goodrich), it was much tougher to get W’s in the old days because almost every game you were going up against mature, well drilled 22-24 year olds back then, and now most of your games against highly ranked opponents are 17-18 year old, low foundationed, high ceilinged Sushi that has to play like an AAU team till about February.

    On the flip side, if you’ve cornered the top players, like the Jabbar lead, or the Walton lead, first year UCLA teams, or like Cal’s 2012 UK team with monobrow, then you are playing guys with such great talent that you are in the driver’s seat in either era.

  • @DoubleDD said:

    The key is Coach is changing how he coaches. He is indeed stepping outside the box.

    I am not as sure Self is changing how he coaches as:

    a.) Self is putting the finishing touches on Multiple Offense 2.0 that he has been working on pieces of the last two years; and

    b.) fans are catching up to how Self has always coached.

    Regardless, we agree that what he is doing is very effective right now.

  • Banned


    Yet UK’s OAD era greatness is that 2012 team. Yet put another 5 mins on the clock and UK’s best OAD team loses.


    No what Coach is doing this year is far from what he’s ever done. Coach has never allowed free rein from the 3 line. I’ve seen this year were there are no bigs in the paint. Never happened before.

    No sir Coach is reinventing himself, and no he’s not playing bad ball. Not even close.

  • @DoubleDD

    I go back and forth on that KU-UK Finals game in 2012.

    I love those guys with all my heart and I really do believe they were fighting back with their usual never say die attitudes and their competitive greatness that they possessed in spades. This part of me thinks they were closing in for the kill and just ran out of time.

    But there is the other side of it; the strategic side of it that I recall @drgnslayr being the first to call board rats’ attentions to a day or two after the game. He said UK could have beaten us by a hundred points with that team, but they let the air out of the ball to slow the game down and not humiliate us.

    I think there was something to what he said, though I hate to admit it.

    But the truth I have settled on is some combination of the following.

    UK blew us out in the first half. The second half Cal did what all Larry Brown disciples like Cal and Self do with a big lead. They stop playing balls to the walls and they start defending the lead. The lead necessarily shrinks. If it shrinks below a certain amount, they then goose the tempo back up and try to separate again, then slow down and defend the lead again. Last season I called it spending the lead, while playing Bad Ball. But you can defend/spend the lead with many offenses played at a tempo geared to reduce the remaining possessions and so greatly reduce the statistical possibility of coming back for a W.

    I think UK was a team of overwhelming talent that season and had that rarest of all combinations a few huge talents that were also furious competitors. Monobrow was a great, great competitor on top of being a great talent. So was that goddamned guard of theirs. And Kidd-Gilchrist was an every game MUA.

    KU on the other hand was a great, great team that was massively overachieving, because of character and the pieces fitting together just so.

    Both coaches bring a Larry Brown point of view to game strategy, despite running different offenses, and know each other do.

    I think there is no getting around that UK beat the shit out of KU that first half.

    It was quite like KU beating the shit out of UNC that first half in 2008.

    The reason one team can beat the hell out of another team the first half has to do with that team being better than the other team, and having a really peak performance.

    The reason the lesser team comes back is that it has a great coach and players with great character that play very well as a team, and they are doing it against another team defending a lead.

    Remember Roy’s Boys took KU to the buzzer that second half of the UNC game.

    Recall Bill’s Boys pushed UK down the stretch also.

    This is what happens when a talented team plays a great team with lesser players, and the more talented team has a peak performance the first half. The great team with lesser talent can and does fight back relentlessly as the talented team in the lead defends that lead.

    Once in a great while teams come from behind and win. Most often they come from behind and just don’t quite get it done. But to have a chance win, you HAVE to come from behind and coming from behind against a super talented team is a huge accomplishment even if you finally can’t get it done.

    But, still, the fact remains, the team in the lead is purposely playing defend the lead and spending that lead.

    So its complicated and the answer is its some of both.

  • @DoubleDD

    He ran two possessions of Bad Ball in the first half of the Baylor game. I always make a mental note of it because I often hear persons saying he isn’t playing any Bad Ball. He ran the EXACT drive action that was quintessential Bad Ball. But then went on to other stuff. He ran a ton of High Low the second half of the Baylor game when he was defending the lead. But when the lead closed some he went back to the Quick Trigger Trey game. Some possessions of Quick Trigger were run out of four out 1 in, but most were run out of the high low.

    Multiple Offense 2.0 usually tries some of everything Self has done in the past the first half, then scopes down to the one or two things that worked best the first half, given which players the opponent is playing the second half and what point spread is at that time of the game.

    And as far as giving players a green light at the trey stripe, well, by the stretch run of the 2008 season, Chalmers, Rush and Sherron ALL had the green light from the trey and they got their trey looks with essentially the same approaches, as I recall it.

    The one thing Self has more of this season than any season I can recall is guys that can ding the trey: Frank, Wayne, Perry, and Brannen are all reliable. Devonte is so busy doing other things that he does not seem quite as accurate lately. Svi is believed to be, but he has never showed it except for one or two games in isolation. Still even without Svi, that is more than Self has had on other teams. So that means that more guys have the green light from trey land. BUT and this is an important but, KU is still taking about the same number of treys it has most season, except for last one down the stretch when everyone was injured and Self invented Bad Ball to back into the title.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    “I would bet Cal would not trade rosters with Self even up even this season.”

    Think this is an interesting question.

    At first I thought… of course Cal would swap. But on second thought… our big producers have lots of experience with “Self ball” and Cal doesn’t have the same strategy Self has. If he suddenly took this team over it would melt down quickly.

    First… have you ever watched Cal coach? He talks to his players like they are 3 years old. That works with 18 year olds. But with highly-trained 22 year old adults? I think not. If he spoke to me that way, even when I was 18, I would walk away from him.

  • @DoubleDD @DinarHawk Its been interesting to hear Self describe Lon Kruger as a guy who excels at “getting his players to play with free minds offensively.” Reveals this is a topic he’s been thinking about…and apparently embracing!

  • @ajvan funny to me because I was watching OU quickly getting behind ISU by jacking up really quick shots. Once they settled in and ran some O they caught up and finally won.

  • @ajvan Great quote. “Free minds offensively” – incredibly important; it was a topic that was greatly discussed last season, to be sure. But if coach Self isn’t going to pound the “fool’s gold” stuff anymore and limit shooters, we can all move forward quite contently, I would think. I know I am very content.

  • Here’s what worries me about this team and the NCAA tourney. Over the long haul of the season we will be very good…I have no doubts about that. But I am troubled by our lack of big men’s ability to get points inside…without our guards penetrating (Perry can unless he is defended by a much taller player). What happens if we run into someone with the back court to keep us out of the lane and we have an off night behind the arc? I know I’m sounding the fools gold alarm, but… Can someone give me some comfort here?

  • @Hawk8086

    The BIA can neither confirm nor deny vulnerabilities in the team scheme, but I would keep that under your hat too. 😄

  • @Hawk8086 depth! Someone’s off? there’s a guy on the bench, or a few on the bench. A lot of weapons sitting there.

  • @Hawk8086

    KU scored 40 points in the paint against Baylor…looks pretty good to me…

  • @jaybate-1.0 1992 UMass, a 2 that couldn’t make 3’s, and a front line that was 6-3 and 6-7 and he made the Sweet 16 with that group.

    And who did Cal have besides Camby on that FF team? Camby was that team and his supporting cast was average at best that year. And Marcus Camby was not a McDonald’s All American.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Some years a Camby is all it takes. Like some years having an Anthony Davis is decisive. UK had 6 OADs, but without Monobrow UK just wasn’t a contenduh!!!

    This year, a team with Camby, or Monobrow, would probably clean up in D1. Capice?

    If this year’s KU team had Camby, or Monobrow? I would bet the farm on KU running the table from here on and winning the ring, wouldn’t you?

    The UMass roster was comparable in quality to any D1 Elite team that season. Cal and WWW reputedly saw to that. That was really the team that started the legend of WWW, as I recall. What more need be said?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Let’s hope they jack up quick shots tonight! At least for the all important, momentum-controlling opening minutes. Would be nice to have a big lead after 5 minutes ala Baylor.

  • @HighEliteMajor I’m really curious what Self has done to free up mental space for this team’s offense, trey shooting being the case in point. His hangups with threes in the past are well documented. Quick hooks for quick triggers. Whatever he’s done to make his perimeter guys less gun-shy is paying off in spades. I love it!

  • @ajvan

    ISU controlled the game early and well into the second half…how did it work out for them? The key is controlling the game late., when it really counts…lead or not…just sayin’

  • @ajvan

    I’m really curious what Self has done to free up mental space for this team’s offense, trey shooting being the case in point. His hangups with threes in the past are well documented. Quick hooks for quick triggers. Whatever he’s done to make his perimeter guys less gun-shy is paying off in spades. I love it!

    Most would call it coaching?

  • @Hawk8086

    " What happens if we run into someone with the back court to keep us out of the lane and we have an off night behind the arc? I know I’m sounding the fools gold alarm, but… Can someone give me some comfort here?"

    There is no way anyone can guarantee we win out in March.

    But… to answer your question and give you a bit of comfort… If we can’t score inside and our outside shot isn’t falling (this will surely happen, probably more than once), then we still have an excellent chance of winning a “GRIND GAME.” Let’s not forget, these are actually the games Self likes.

    Remember the end of last year? We did win quite a few of those games but we pretty much were in grind games often at the end of the year, while Self had to be convinced that pounding the ball inside was never going to improve.

    Now it looks like all those grind games may pay us back with some really great karma because it gave us the experience to grind it out to victory! I’m sure we will have several of these games in B12 play this year, especially on the road.

    Consider a few of our advantages…

    First… depth. That should help us in many ways. One… is we can play a deeper rotation so key players still have energy at the end of the game, giving us a slight advantage to win close games down the stretch.

    Second… our depth is DIVERSE depth. We have players with their own unique skill sets. So maybe our starting lineup is ice cold from trey. Maybe BG comes in and shoots 6-6 from trey?

    Third… we have EXPERIENCED depth. We also have some newbies, too, but we have plenty of experienced players, both starting and riding the pine that can produce, especially in the clutch on close games. This is big!

    Fourth… we have SOLID defense. We aren’t a “fool’s gold” team because we can win games where we shoot poorly from trey.

    Look… we are capable of losing to any D1 team on any given night. Same can be said of the rest of D1.

    As good as we are, and as good as we may become… a bit of luck will do us wonders in March.

    Having good luck means… not losing key players to injury, especially during March Madness when it is hard to make adjustments quickly.

    Having good luck means… we stay hot enough with our shooting over our opponents.

    Having good luck means… our opponents never are hotter on FG% than us.

    Of course, skill plays a big part in this. But sometimes it is just luck. Give me a basketball, blindfold me and set me at half court. Eventually I will make the shot. Sometimes shots just drop for players/teams, sometimes they don’t. An inch here or there can mean the difference of blowing out another team, or having them blow out us.

    I think we have some margin for error this year. That should help us, but no guarantees.

    Compare us to other teams. Compare us to OU. They lose Buddy to injury and they are a .500 team. They lose any of their other starters and they are not a Top 10 team. Also consider foul trouble. Also consider having to win the final moments of a tough-fought game when everyone is exhausted.

    OU has NO margin for error. I don’t care what the stats say, their defense will have to buckle down big time to beat top teams. I like our chances mostly because defense is our calling card.

  • @ajvan I know that some still don’t agree with me. But when a coach gets in the head of a shooter, puts limits on the when/where/why/how, makes the shooter think before triggering, that is going to negatively impact the player. It’s called a “free mind” as you aptly quoted. If a free mind helps an offensive player as Self suggests, then we can logically infer the opposite is also true – and anyone who has been around the game knows this to be true. We saw what happened last season when minds were free. We saw what happened when our offensive focus changed mid-game. And we saw what happened when the hammer came down.

    What Self has done more than anything is simply supported their strengths. He’s embraced it. He’s opened his mind and been flexible. We can tell he’s not doing what he did last season – complain constantly about not being able to score inside, forcing us mid-game to pound it inside, etc. That doesn’t mean we won’t miss shots. It’s just that we have a culture and approach that supports a free mind. I think it’s really quite simple.

    @JayHawkFanToo You said, “Most would call it coaching” – You say that as if this season exists in a vacuum. Do we simply forget last season? Just once, you might consider the possibility that Self handled things incorrectly with the team last season, and now he’s adjusted. It is called coaching. Good coaches “learn a lot” from experiences, as Self said after the WUGs. And all good coaches learn from their mistakes. The change in Self’s approach is amazing. I do think posters here can learn from their mistakes, as well.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Are you suggesting that Self is not doing a great coaching job THIS season, which was the one the original post addressed?..never mind, silly question…

  • @JayHawkFanToo No, I think Self is doing a tremendous job this season. While there may be little disagreements with post personnel that create a lot of discussion, that in no way overshadows the excellent job we’ve seen so far.

    This is really a big deal for Self. He’s a guy that has done it one way for years – with unabridged focus and really, with little flexibility. I’ve said this may times before, leaders get to the top by being inflexible, by doing it their way. Hard to deviate from the tried and true formula. But he’s deviating. He’s pairing scheme with the team’s strengths. A complete credit to the man himself.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    You realize that even what you call poor seasons, most teams would kill for, right? Try being a UK fan losing in the first round of the NIT to Bobby Mo…now THAT is a bad season…and with a boat load of top players to boot You often mention UConn as an example of what you want KU to achieve…how many times have they missed the dance lately? Would you be happy watching other teams at the dance while yours sits at home?

    If Coach Self continues coaching like he has since he has been to KU, I would be delighted, and if I ever start to think otherwise, I will cleanse my mind by reading how MU passed on him and watching a video of the UK-Robert Morris NIT game…that will set me straight in a hurry.

    No need to answer. We both see it differently and I am not. saying that my view is better or worse…just different. Fair enough?

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “You often mention UConn as an example of what you want KU to achieve…how many times have they missed the dance lately? Would you be happy watching other teams at the dance while yours sits at home?”

    I totally get your point… but most of the people in here would trade 11 conference titles for 1 national championship. So… I’m pretty sure people will trade a year or two of sitting out March for another National Championship.

    I, on the other hand, really enjoy our conference titles and NCAA March streak of participation, as those two things show we are a consistent powerhouse. Of course, I want more NCs, too…

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “I’ve said this may times before, leaders get to the top by being inflexible, by doing it their way.”

    Let me add to that…

    Leaders get to the top by being inflexible, by doing it their way. Leaders STAY at the top by being flexible, and adapting to the times.

    I think Self is starting to realize this.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Ya think? Teams that close out strong typically win but a fast start is fun to watch and can create an insurmountable lead. Just sayin…

  • @JayHawkFanToo Thanks, great insight there! sarcasm font

  • @JayHawkFanToo I don’t even understand how you get from my post to your post. It did give me a chuckle, though. Thanks.

  • Banned


    If you can’t see the big change in how Coach is game planning this year then I don’t know what to tell you? Last year had so much promise as the team and fans got a taste of what things could be. Sadly Coach went back to his tried and true and the season ended in a disaster. No a conference championship though nice didn’t not save the season. As we all know KU and coach win it every year.

    The fact is coach is embracing a new style of playing the game. Take a minute and give him some props. This team last year was barely a top 20 team. This year they are quickly becoming the team to beat. Even media types are saying the MSU lose was indeed a fluke. This isn’t happening because Coach is playing his tried and true High/low scheme. No he is embracing the trey and the midrange jumper fully knowing at some point the ball will go inside.

    Give Coach some props. It’s not easy to change what you’ve always done.

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