C5 at 9/16 was not the problem

  • C5 at 9/16 was not the problem

    Perry at 21/7 was not the problem.

    50% Trey balling on 20 3ptas was not the problem.

    Rebounding at -2 was not the problem.

    The scheme for attacking the press seems like the problem, but it’s really wasn’t. Why? Look at the TOs for KU’s three ball handlers: Frank, 7; Wayne, 6; and Devonte, 1. If the scheme were the problem, then Devonte would have had a bunch of TO’s, because he handled the ball so much. Almost every pressed possession, Huggins defensive scheme forced the ball into Devonte’s hands, thinking Devonte would crack. But as rattled as Devonte got at times, he only had 1 TO.

    The problem this game was Frank and Wayne baking a baker’s dozen pop tarts–13 TOs!!!

    13 TOs are 26 to 39 lost possible points. Let’s say KU only converted 40% or so; that’s still 10 to 16 probable points.

    Imagine also how many more fouls KU might have drawn on 13 more possessions? And rebounds?

    KU only made 60 percent of its FTs, but it only shot 20 FTs, so shooting well might only have added 2-4 points. Not a big deal.

    That leaves the +12 on Fouls. But let’s put that in perspective. If Frank and Wayne had protected and KU had had 13 more shooting attempts, KU might have 5-8 more fouls; that would have made fouls +4 to +7; that would have been in the range of a normal home whistle.

    Svi’s and BG’s PT and lesser TOs also tell us scheme was not the problem. Both players shot poorly and played without excelling, yet their TOs did not sky rocket.

    There was something going on with Frank and Wayne.

    And it wasn’t good.

    Perry handled the ball a lot and played big minutes without big TOs.

    Jamari didn’t spike TOs.

    This loss was on Frank and Wayne.

    Something happened.

    Each has seen this WVU press 4 games previously the last two years.

    Frankly, for 3/4 of the game, the ball was getting down the floor rather rapidly. The problem was what was happening in the half court offense once it got there.

    Here, Devonte’s frequent poor shot selection hurt some, but he only took 7 fgas.

    One give away was the FGAs of Frank and Wayne again: 6 and 7 respectively. Why were our our two perimeter studs shooting so little? Answer: TOs.

    Another give away: Wayne’s minutes. He played only 25 with only 3 fouls. Fouled up? I don’t think so. Devonte played way more with 5 fouls. Tired legs? Nope. He was 3-6 from Trey.

    Bottom line, Wayne showed up for a big game against a bunch of thuggers and punks speeding the game up and he could not focus. And his lack of focus came when he was having matchup problems. Huggs was careful to either match Wayne with length and strength he could not handle, or with greater speed. Huggs was out to stop Wayne and he did.

    Self appeared to recognize Wayne’s lack of focus and Hugg’s match up exploits of Wayne’s weak ball handling.

    Self answered with Svi and Brannen and both players combined for lousy shooting (0-6), 6 fouls, 3 TOs, and complete absence of poise as glue men.

    So: what did wily old tub of lard Bob Huggins and his usual cast of lousy shooting, stiff screening, eye stubbing, skin scratching, Blue Meanie playground throwbacks figure out?

    It was actually pretty subtle and Huggs deserved some serious credit.

    Huggs figured out that if you force the ball with the press into Devonte’s hands and speed the game up, then Frank and Wayne would be forced into Devonte’s usual glue role. As glue men, forced to make the second pass to get the ball where it needed to be for a score, neither Frank, nor Wayne could make the pass. And Huggs had perimeter defenders that could disrupt their drives and a big in Williams that could alter both. That left the second pass and neither guy could make it once sped up and trapped and pressured. Frank and Wayne baked pop tarts like Mr. Baker the Fine Pastry Maker. This forced Self to try size at the wings with Svi and BG. Same problem, only worse. No one could pass, or score, or defend.

    For persons that say Self did not adjust, they are right. He had no checkmate move on offense to make and knew it. If an opponent can stuff all four of your wings, and Devonte was not mature enough to hang 20-25 to make’em pay in half court, then it defaulted to Perry and the C5 to win it inside. Perry did his duty. But Self had no wings that could, or would feed the C5.

    Self’s fault was not the response to the press in full court. Presses increase TOS, and speed games up. That is a given. Failure to get easy baskets was also not a death blow… It’s whether you regain your poise in half court; that is critical

    Thus, Self’s faults were three fold IMHO.

    He needed to get the ball back in Frank’s hands at the point each possession to run the stuff with Devonte on the wing gluing the second pass as usual. The wing post feed and the wing drive are not Frank’s.

    He stayed with Svi too long. Bad Wayne was better than bad Svi.

    He didn’t commit to low block scoring through the C5 at the start of the second half, which meant starting and feeding Hunter, or Diallo. I would have gone with Diallo, even though Diallo would have turned it over. We needed to get them out of their comfort zone inside to change this from a game where they were dominating our wings. Perry needed another threat inside to free him more.

    To have won the game the way Huggs was scheming it, we needed 5-7 more points from Perry and 6 more points from C5. Diallo is always good for 6 points, despite his other short comings. Get them early the first half, then follow with Hunter and Lucas and Jam. Then get Devonte On the wing and let Frank drive where is comfortable from, and things might have gone differently.

    But the main takeaways are:

    WVU is good and matches up great with us;

    KU has to find its poise in half court against a pressing team.

    It does no good to break a press as consistently as KU did and the turn it over in half court.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Frank was out of it. This could be due to side distraction, he was expecting 25-30 family members to travel to see him play but they were stuck in snow storm and could not make it until late in first half. This should not be an excuse for the junior leader though.

    Self must take some responsibility as this is a loss 3 years in a row, it appears that he is not doing a solid job in getting the team ready to play at WV.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Well jb, at least we know it wasn’t a dive-it was just, phonetically speaking, a case of the 3 PPP’s rearing it’s ugly head again…or maybe they both got a dose of the…

  • @AsadZ as usual, no in game adjustments. Are his players that inept or overmatched by the opponent that they couldn’t do what he wanted them to do? Unlikely to me

  • @jaybate-1.0 yeah something strange was going on. Really strange to see that from mason

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I would respectfully disagree and say that C5 was the problem last night, specifically Lucas and Traylor.

    Yes, KU’s turnovers spiked, but they spiked for schematic reasons. West Virginia, like Oklahoma last week, decided they would not guard Landen Lucas when he was on the floor. They decided they would guard Traylor with a smaller, quicker guy for portions of the game. This meant that KU was basically breaking a five man press with only four guys.

    I think the play that sums this up best came at the 17:07 mark in the second half. Perry came up to set a high screen. West Virginia opted to trap the high screen, doubling Frank with Perry’s man and his own man. Now typically in this situation, Perry will be wide open at the top of the key, which is where Frank threw the basketball.

    Unfortunately, Perry was not wide open at the top of the key. Instead, Landen Lucas was wide open halfway down the lane, because Devin Williams was not covering him at all. Williams steal. Williams dunk. KU down 11. Two possessions later, same thing. Williams steal leading to a fastbreak and a layup for WVU. Frank had seven turnovers last night. I just explained two of them right there. On the night, Williams had 12 rebounds, those two steals, a block and I don’t know how many challenged shots and disrupted possessions while “guarding” Landen Lucas.

    Bob Huggins took Lon Kruger’s challenge and one upped him. They actively ignored Lucas when Williams was in the game. Lucas was unguarded and in 15 minutes he punished WVU to the tune of 2 points on 1 of 1 shooting with one offensive rebound (a tip in for his only score of the night). Wait, what? Yeah, I read that right. Lucas was unguarded for most of his 15 minutes on the floor and he burned WVU for a single tip in. That is not going to get it done.

    I said yesterday that teams were going to start ignoring Lucas when he was on the floor, and lo and behold, WVU did exactly that. As a result, their pressure forced KU into a four on five situation. Lucas was a complete non-factor.

    And then there was Traylor, who WVU started playing with a guard.

    Let there be no doubt. Self was outcoached last night by Huggins. It’s not like WVU played that well. Other than turnovers, KU wasn’t really that bad. But strategically, KU had a very thin margin last night. As I said after the OU game, if we insist on playing Lucas and Traylor as much as we have been, our other four guys have to play extremely well for us to win because Lucas and Traylor have been overexposed. Teams now know that they are non-entities on offense, so they aren’t guarding them. Lucas and Traylor can’t punish teams for not guarding them, so KU is reduced to 4 on 5 offense. When the 4 are all clicking (see Oklahoma game) we can survive. When they aren’t (see last night) we can’t.

    Not only that, but WVU exposed a dirty secret. Lucas isn’t a good shot blocker if you go right at him. Traylor is solid from the weak side, but not when attacked head on because he isn’t tall, so he needs to be able to jump. WVU carved us up last night attacking the lane, either getting layups or drawing fouls.

    C5 needs to go (or the minutes inverted) because the secret is out. The plans have been revealed. Now we must adjust.

  • @justanotherfan you would think after four years Lucas would have at least one offensive move. I personally don’t think it has anything to do with talent. Any ideas?

  • @justanotherfan

    With all due respect, what you are saying only has meaning in a metaphysical realm of basketball.

    In the real world, where Self operates, he has a roster full of bigs that cannot stay on the floor more than 3-5 minutes at a time with a guy like Williams, and I believe you and everyone else knows this, after the pain of a loss passes for a few days.

    But I will go through the motions with you on this in hopes that others are reading this.

    What single player on KU’s current roster are you going to find that can produce 15-16 rebounds per game over 40 minutes?

    Answer: NO ONE. And NO TWO. Any single, or pair, of players would foul out for sure. Period. Or they would have to cut back to 6-9 rpgs, which would mean a ton of stick backs for the opponents. Playing any two of our centers would have guarantied at least 2-3 more losses so far and anyone that realistically evaluates counter factual outcomes of Self going with any two guys cannot help but come to the same conclusion. And here is the kicker. Having played, say, Bragg and Diallo, would not appreciably make them weigh more, be stronger, foul less, turn it over less, or shoot better in the last half season, or the next half season. Frankly, it has kept them from being injured and demoralized, and in position to contribute more and more as we go along. OMG! Look at Perry’s face. And then recall how demoralized Perry was as a freshman. And recall that Perry actually knew how to play some his first season and was not a stick. Imagine what Huggins’ Blue Meanies would have done to Diallo and Bragg for 40 minutes last night. One of them would be in the hospital and the other would have a scratched cornea and his nuts pushed up behind his eyes from stiff screens. And Diallo, anyway, would have learned nothing but how to be abused.

    Next, what single player on the KU roster are you going to find that could have scored even 9 points against Williams? Shit, Williams is a long, strong and experienced post man that would have eaten any single guy we have alive. The only way to contain him even remotely for our players is to be able to inflict 10 to 12 fouls. Its that simple. I don’t see why board rats are having such a hard time understanding this? If Diallo starts, he would have had 4 fouls 4-5 minutes in, and one of his eyes would have been swollen shut from an eye thumbing. Surely everyone gets this, don’t they? This is how Huggins teams have always played, when ever they have had even a little edge in muscle. Huggs is the original thugger. Huggs wears black for a reason. Huggs is like all street fighters. When he doesn’t have the numbers, he schmoozes nice, until he does. He paid Self respect, when he lacked the muscle to take KU down. Now, he’s got it, and he kicked KU when it was down. Huggs loves this sort of stuff. Huggs would have loved to see Bragg and Diallo in the game. Williams would have knocked them down just to kick them in the heads. You know that! We don’t have anyone at the five, including Hunter, that can play rough without fouling out. NO ONE. Hell, the only one of our bigs that can play some without fouling is Traylor, but Traylor doesn’t do enough other things to go 40 mpg with him.

    Really, Self is doing a fabulous job of milking what we have.

    And board rats are going to have to wake up and smell the coffee about this team being a super talented team. Its not. It just has a little more experience than some of the other elite teams have that have more talent on the roster.

    When KU comes up against OU and WVU, it is clear that KU has many, many weaknesses, as I have been trying to call board rats’ attentions to for awhile now.

    All of WVU’s guards were faster than Mason and Graham. Period.

    And they appeared as long or longer. And they outweighed our guys. They were better at everything than our guards, except for outside shooting. They were much better ball handlers and much better defenders and much more physical on ball defenders.

    Go inside and Perry was the only guy on our team that belonged on the same floor with their guys, even if WVU had not pressed.

    Wayne is the interesting case. Wayne is like a lot of big guys. He needs to be bigger to play well. Bigness has become a crutch for him, not just an advantage. When he meets someone his own size, or bigger, or longer, he dries up and wants to run outside and take open looks. Wayne needs to look in the mirror again and take the next step in his career. He needs to become a warrior, which he isn’t. Wayne Selden is actually an extremely soft guy. This was what Huggins showed him. Guys like Huggins make their careers out of identifying the softies that look like studs but aren’t.

    Huggins did the same with Frank Mason, actually.

    Here is how it is done to persons. You create a tough situation for them. Then so encumbered, you dare them to beat you. Huggs knew Devonte is soft; that’s obvious. He’s a sweet kid. But Huggs was gambling that Frank and Wayne, the outward tough guys, were soft inside. He forced the ball into Devonte’s hands for the transition and then started abusing Frank and Wayne on the way down the floor and then knocking them off spots when they got into half court. If there has been a microphone on, we would have heard the WVU guys talking up a storm at Frank and Wayne, telling them what pussies they were. My favorite play of the entire game was when Wayne started in the corner, drove into the paint, over extended and as he was spread eagle and falling down toward the WVU player the WVU player stiff armed a fist straight up into Wayne’s family jewels and stiff screened him. THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL, MEAN, CRUEL, PLAY GROUND BASKETBALL. FROM THAT MOMENT WAYNE SELDEN WAS NEUTERED–HUMILIATED–AND COMPLETELY BEATEN AS AN OPPONENT, unless he did even worse back.

    Last night’s game was not about a press.

    It was not about talent, or skill, or even match ups.

    It was about one of the last few play ground teams and low-down dirty coaches in college basketball sticking it to a team of Clean Genes coached by Bill Self, who got his own coaching nuts caught in a the palm of Bob Huggins merciless hand.

    This was about an ordinary home whistle being magnified into a real big edge by some play ground ballers.

    The game was actually decided early in the first half.

    I believe @drgnslayr would agree had he seen the whole game.

    Self apparently had KU come out doing a bit of cheap shot eye-stubbing, because he knew Huggs coaches that sort of thing. It was a classic case of preemptive warfare on Self’s part. One of our guards, Frank, or Devonte, gave one of their guys a little finger under the eye lid. The guy left the floor and then went into the locker room briefly. The camera then showed Devin Williams, with his anti-eye stubbing goggles, and Williams talked to two Mountaineers and it appeared he was advising that that was not going unanswered. Shortly, Frank was holding his eye. Shortly Devonte was tripped. Shortly Frank was playing scared. Shortly a scratch showed up on the side of Perry’s forehead.

    Now, there is nothing unusual about that, but here is the difference between KU and WVU–between Self and Huggins.

    KU and Self don’t like to play that way, and as soon as it starts they want to go back to a fair fight.

    Huggins and WVU?


    That’s they way they like to play. And once it starts and no fouls are called, Hugg’s guys get all dark alley on guys. The eye stubbing and the stiff screening are not ends in themselves, they are means to then floor guys and kick them in the head and nuts.

    Honestly, sometimes I wonder if anyone on KU grew up on the play grounds at all.

    I have always figured Wayne was soft inside.

    I misread Frank. I didn’t think he was. But Huggs read him right. Frank was/is, too.

    Self and his players are what my mentor used to call suffers. He was not being disrespectful. It was just a useful category. Some persons in this world defeat an opponent by out enduring suffering. They tend to be counter punchers and even when they punch preemptively, they are doing it to channel the action back into non-punching. Their vulnerability is that they will suffer all the way into the morgue, when the only rational move may be to take an opponent out immediately and completely.

    The other kind of person, according to my mentor, is the kind that likes to hurt others; that enjoys it and looks forward not just to hurting them, but to beating them into submission with hurting them. Neither of these types are actual warriors.

    An actual warrior is a self made thing.

    An actual warrior comes from one of the two categories, but he has remade himself to be capable of both, and to be neutral about both. An actual warrior becomes whatever is necessary to achieve the objective and recognizes that either, or both, ARE inevitably necessary, when everything is on the line.

    Most talk of warriors is pussy talk. Either or stuff. Its both.

    The above that I have outlined is the hard truth.

    Self gets the better of most non warriors and some warriors.

    Self struggles with Huggs, Ratso, and Coach K. Not surprisingly either. They are great coaches and great warriors with lots of talented players. Each encounter with a great warrior threatens one’s survival, but also hardens one a bit more, if one survives it.

    Self has trouble with the real warriors, like all warriors do.

    No one is ever done growing regarding being a warrior; that is the wisdom of the aging gunslinger myth from the old westerns and the Samurai legends and so on. No matter how good you get, you can and will run into someone better, harder, either because they have been hardened even deeper than you, or because you have aged and they are harder and faster because of age

    Bob Huggins did not win 700 plus games fighting fair; that has never been his reputation; that will never be his reputation. Fairness probably is a word Huggins never thinks about, except as an edge in working a referee.

    Self ran into another older, and wiser warrior last night. One of the black hat types. Kruger ran into Self. Self ran into Huggins. It happens.

    Huggins is a black hat warrior. Black hat warriors believe the balance of good and evil leans a bit to evil, maybe even a lot in this world, and that there is an edge in being associated with that lean. White hat warriors believe the balance of good and evil leans a little to good and believe there is a slight edge in being associated with the lean.

    Buddhists believe the lean is an illusion. Its all 50/50. Its all both.

    Christians believe its good or evil in an evil world descended from original sin and we prepare for salvation in heaven by trying to do some good in the midst of the shit storm.

    Warriors may or may not pay lip service to the major meta-narratives if religion, but out in the battle space, they think its all strategic and only differ in how far they are willing take the amorality of strategy, before drawing a moral line they will not cross.

    So: in effect, both the white hat and black hat types are camouflage out in the battle space, regardless of their virtues and merits outside the lines of competition. Under the hats are warriors that have learned to access both sides.

    Self learned the hard way last night that Huggins is willing to go deeper into the dark than Self is; that Huggins is nothing to be messed with; that he will kick you when you are down, and do most anything to get you there. Self learned that Huggins thinks that guys that talk about putting their boot heel down on the neck of someone, as Self does, are pussies dealing in metaphors. Huggs believes in kicking them as hard as he can and as often as he can, when they are down, for real. Screw the boot heel metaphor.

    In this regard, Bob is more seasoned than Bill. Bob is more REAL than Bill. Bob is operating without a layer of metaphor that Bill is.

    Bill Self will go home and reflect on the experience of standing with his nuts being crushed in Bob Huggins grip and he will most likely decided that that will never happen again. He will emerge harder after his experience and his reflections.

    The question is: will his players?

    I believe so.

    I believe a team meeting WITH coaches will occur shortly in which all parties are going to concede they have some hardening to do, if they wish to take this quest for a special season to the next level.

    But beauty and salvation and titles and rings walk a razor’s edge…

  • @jaybate-1.0 others might think so, but I don’t believe everything hinges on the refs. Also, fouling Williams did nothing, as he made most of his free throws. There was more that could have been done in game that wasnt.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Hmmm … Did you hear what Self said was his scheme was for attacking the press? One thing he said was “throw over it” … but that “throw over it” amounted to purely guard oriented, back court/sideline tosses. Low on the denominator scale.

  • @jaybate-1.0 at one point in the first half Williams sealed of Lucas and basically used one arm to call for the ball while he used one yes one to push Landon in half.

    If Landon is our biggest and strongest big not sure what any of the other 4 were going to do to stop him on the low block.

    @DinarHawk control the ball. That’s what needed to be done. Better passes. Or heck passes to a teammate and not a fan.

    Hard for any big to be productive on the low block when the guards can’t get the ball to the three point line let alone to an angle to make a pass to the block. Perry got most of his points from getting the ball away from the block and taking his man inside.

    KU needs all 5 guys to play down low to win. Even minutes, spastic minutes. This guy or the other. They all need to play to make Kansas a winner.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Yes, and “throwing it over” clearly surprised Huggins, who never adjusted. KU got the ball down the floor again and again and again in a great hurry.

    KU’s problem was that once down the floor, KU could not play with poise. The WVU pressure defense in half court was what seemed decisive to me. KU seemed prepared for the press with a counter intuitive approach that worked. But KU did not seem prepared for WVU’s half court pressure defense with the play initiated by Devonte out front so much.

    Really, this is not a mystery IMHO. Nor does it reduce to scheme.

    It reduces to their perimeter players were stronger, faster and tougher than our perimeter players and denied us our preferred game–shooting treys on unfatigued legs, or driving the lane.

    And when we went inside, they were men and we were either boys, or modest talents, except for Perry.

    Diallo and Bragg were thin boys compared to their guys.

    Hunter was not strong enough to muscle with Williams.

    Jamari was not tall enough or talented enough to score on their inside players.

    Landen rebounded okay, but needs to learn not to surrender the initiative. He and Self had no plays to work Landen for garbage as occurred the last two games.

    Bottom line, we got in a little over our heads with the forces of darkness with our perimeter advantage denied us, and we buckled.

    You must play to your advantage against good opponents.

    They were sharply better than us outside.

    The clear advantage we had was inside with Perry, and inside with our C5 with fouls to give. But we only exploited Perry, not C5 on the offense. I argued last night that Diallo should have been started the second half and been fed repeatedly to get what points he could give us early, when we could afford his mistakes some. Feeding him would have taken some focus off Perry for a while, then come with Landen and stay with Perry. The same could have been tried with Bragg, but I felt Diallo might have been able to use his turn around jump down low to great advantage. And that sort of attack might have let our guards crash the boards some for some stick backs.

    We had to get off our heels to start the second half with more than just Perry. We had to get our guys going inside to create some room outside for kick outs. Our perimeter guys just weren’t good enough to take over the game. But Perry showed some ability had he been paired some with early with Diallo, or Bragg. We needed a one-two punch inside the first six minutes to get back into it, then shoot some treys once close, build a little lead, and come with Lucas and Traylor and Hunter.

    Our perimeter players are usually, but not always our advantage. Last night they were NOT our advantage. We wasted far too much time playing through them both halves.

    You can’t come from behind, or build leads, playing through unfavorable match ups, unless you have a favorable whistle.

    KU lost the referees early by initiating the eye stubbing.

    Perry needed someone to lob too across the lane, when he went to work, and that player was Diallo, or Bragg. Either one probably would have had to leave the game with an eye injury shortly, but that would have been a productive loss.

    I am with Self on this.

    KU should have played inside much, much more than it did.

    Now, why they did not, I do not know.

    Self may be trying to skate on responsibility for that.

    I am pretty confident that after all of this sitting, all Self would have to tell Diallo, or Bragg, is: you can stay in the game as long as you can stand it if you will stay within 10 feet of the rim. And he would have guys ready for lobs from Perry, whenever he got stuck.

    We didn’t need 20 minutes out of either Diallo, or Bragg, but we did need 6-7 more points early in the first half; that could have made a big difference in how the game went.

  • @JRyman

    WVU is a good team and a tough matchup for KU.

    Their perimeter is faster and stronger than ours.

    Williams is better than any one of our C5 bigs.

    We need better cardio to play against the press.

    Still, we played a pretty bad game and did not get blown out.

    We can find a way to beat them.

    But I fear it will involve a blood bath.

  • @AsadZ Although, recall last year we win with 2.3 sec left as Perry Ellis went on a fast break, uncontested layup, but missed it. He caught serious flak for that, but that game was ours.

    Perry makes that layup, then there simply is no “trend of 3 losses” to discuss. Just hard-fought games on the road, much like at IowaSt.

    Of course there is no excuse for experienced multiple ballhandlers to have 20 t.o.'s.

    Story of the game, exactly as @jaybate-1.0 said: Way too many turnovers for experienced Jr guards Mason and Selden. (and that is painful to watch and say, as our 3 starting guards are BY far my fave guys on this team.)

  • @jaybate-1.0 @HighEliteMajor So, let’s stipulate that none of our “bigs” can handle Williams, at least one-one-one. That is why scheming and team defense is critical. Don’t know if anyone else watched it, but the only other quality team that WVU played before last night was UVA. They got beat 70-54 on a neutral court. It was 7-1 UVA in the last 3 minutes of the first half and 40-18 UVA in the second half. Whatever else UVA has, it’s not highly skilled bigs - Gill at 6-7 or 6/8 and maybe 230 is it. He went for 20-12. Williams went for 10-3. UVA played 4 guards more than 20 minutes each - and two forwards (the other 6-7) more than 20 minutes each. The other UVA bigs played fewer than 10 minutes each and were non-factors.

    Why was UVA successful and we weren’t.? UVA had trouble with the pressure - ended up with 19 or so - although most were in the 1st half. The difference was recognizing what WVU was doing or wanted to do and adjusting. UVA pack line defense is always difficult to score against, but in the 2d half particularly they really packed it in. Every time Williams touched the ball he was doubled. There were no open lanes to the basket. Basically, they forced WVU to make jumpers and they couldn’t do it (couldn’t really against us either).

    Offensively, UVA make a few 3s in the second half, which brought the WVU guards out further, and then Perrantes or Brogdon would penetrate, but typically dish to Gill (9-11 from the field) for a lay-up or short J.

    A case of a veteran and skilled, but not uber-talented team taking the initial punch, collecting themselves, adjusting and making the other team do what it isn’t particularly good at.

    Not rocket science as noted in one of the other threads. Why our bigs were guarding Williams or Holton outside the lane is beyond me. Why they would chase after them to the top of the key when they were hedging/screening is beyond me. As poorly as we executed on the offensive end, the most vexing thing is how badly positioned we were defensively throughout the game. The reason we got so many fouls called was not (just) because of bad refs, its because we repeatedly let their guards get past our and have relatively unobstructed paths to the rims, with the result that we were constantly reaching and slapping.

  • Banned

    When you have an unmovable object then you go around it. Yes Williams is a big bad boy but Diallo and Bragg seemed to do ok in there with Williams. In fact I remember one play where Williams went flying when Diallo was guarding him. Diallo and Bragg have something neither Lucas and Traylor have. Talent.

    A lot of posts declaring that Diallo and Bragg couldn’t and wouldn’t hang with Williams. Yet we never really got to see that except in a few minutes of play, and in those few minutes Diallo and Bragg held their own.

    It’s time to take off the training wheels and give Bragg and Diallo some more minutes. We’re never going to really know until they get some serious playing time.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I appreciate the response. What we did not do is get the ball in quickly to kill the press and beat WVU down the floor – e.g., closest man to the ball finds guard quickly, much like we do off a rebound. Meaning attack. Critical.

    You know what I did a few times against fast, pressing teams that matched up, then trapped. If we had two players above the midpoint of the lane, I had one seek out and screen the opposing offensive player when a shot went up, to free our player to receive the ball off the make or miss from the rebounder, so we could attack quickly. The opposing offensive player was caught off guard. Maybe not so practical with Frank is one of our best rebounders – but our screener, interestingly, still got a few boards. It didn’t work every time, but it was pretty cool how we got some big run-outs off of made baskets. It’s also interesting that we got a way with some major moving screens doing it.

    Screening against a press is huge too … how much did we do that, particularly ball screens, that can result in an open floor pick and roll, as well?

    Call me underwhelmed with our timidity.

  • Cliff Notes Synopsis: Bad D, conceptually as @DCHawker nicely points out, and in m2m situations coupled with way too many turnovers --> is no recipe for success against any top20 foe.

    I agree with @jaybate that we simply got out-toughed, out-muscled. Too many inside buckets. Did not make Williams use a big repertoire to score. Most of his FT att were on rebounds and 2nd chance buckets. Our defensive rebounding was HORRIBLE.

  • @jaybate-1.0 There’s one other area that to me played just as big role and it was WVU’s offensive rebounding. KU might have ended up -2 for the game in total rebounds, but it only ended up that way because of the final couple of minutes when WVU finally backed off. WVU was +7 or 8 for the majority of the 2nd half and they were +10 in offensive rebounding until they called off the hounds. I don’t remember the exact number, but WVU got about 15 second chance points and that’s not including whatever they got at the FT line from getting fouled after an offensive board.

    At the end of the day, this is a finesse KU team that doesn’t handle physical play well (3 years of evidence back that up) and Huggy has WVU playing Big East basketball in terms of the physicality of the team. I think most, if not all of KU’s struggles against WVU recently can be traced back to physical team bullying a fonesse team.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I found your synopsis on HuggoMuggoBall to be very illustrative. You correctly link Self suffering against such a foe, just as he struggles against Izzo. This is Big10type butcher-ball, or bruiser-ball. One would think that Self being a Sutton-disciple (translate: 55pt grinder games) would have some element of this in him, just as being a Big10 coach himself at Illinois (translate: schooled by Izzo). But maybe Self himself is a bit of a balance. A split of styles. The timing stuff we run are finesse-type stuff (the Larry Brown influence), although executed by bigs (usually), thus giving KU frontlines seeming credibility. But if facing actual hug-thuggery, we find out who our warriors are and who isn’t. Some guys simply arrive with it. Others have to struggle mightily within themselves to cultivate aggression/physicality (like Ellis successfully has finally).

    Self’s bidding may be hampered by his own personnel’s personalities: This has happened famously and infamously in the past: RussRob (hard warrior), Sherron (same), Tyshawn (warrior), EJ (soft), TRob (Master Warrior), Twins (came soft, departed warriors), Cole (warrior), Shady (warrior). Having enough warriors, can counterbalance the finesse guys that are also on the roster. Izzo routinely gets enough such guys. His recruiting likely is actively seeking warrior-grunts.

    I’m sure Self and his Boyz are doing some soul-searching right about now…as they should. Or, do they just take their lump & move on, recognizing that WVU style is a rare one nowadays? Problem is somebody with nothing to lose may try to emulate it against KU in the Dance? Most teams don’t have too many actual warriors. Rico Gathers for Baylor is one, but the rest of that team is soft as baby’s bottom, and their coach has added more softness by the concessionary zone they play. WVU may not have many finesse scorers or prettyboy types, but they have enough warrior-grunts to do Huggo’s dirty work, fabulously even.

    Other posters have said this team needs an “identity”, and I would agree wholeheartedly. But one thing you cannot do is pussyfoot around physicality. There is no middle ground. That would be an oxymoron. We were shown to be the pretender when it comes to physicality. Find an identity! Then be consistent with it.

  • @DinarHawk

    It’s not about moves for Lucas. It’s about the time it takes for him to catch/gather and execute an offensive move. If you are unguarded at the college level, you have less than a second to catch a pass and start making a move before the defense recovers to you. Landen cannot do this. He has to catch and gather before he can make a move. By the time this happens, the defense has recovered, unless Landen is dunking on a lob.


    This team is not built to get into a street fight with West Virginia, or Cincinnati, or Providence, or Michigan State or anybody else. This is not a street fight team. The 2011 team could do that. 2012 could. This team doesn’t have the interior bulk to do so.

    What this team does have is speed and talent. This team should have eaten WVU’s press alive with speed and shooting. Get those guys scrambling, then hit open shooters to bomb away. But instead, Self tried to play WVU’s game. He tried to street fight them.

    Why get into a tug of war if you’re a sprinter?

    Self wants to play a blunt force type game, but his team is built to slash you to death, not bludgeon you over the head. He turns to power guys (Lucas, Traylor), when he should be going to speed (Bragg, Mickelson, Diallo).

  • But all this soul-searching leads to a conundrum: Do we embrace the physical-style our Coach really wants? Or do we embrace what our strengths actually are? It varies with each season’s personnel.

    Personally, having Diallo and Bragg (2 frosh) out there vs WVU would have me concerned for their safety. They aren’t Thomas Robinson or Cole, who I’d have NO worries about against thug ball.

    Maybe 6’5, 230lb Wayne Selden needed to be a bit more Marcus Smart and Damien James in this game. But I think he is a nice-guy from Boston persona. EJ had a NBA PG body and hops, but a nice-guy mentality. Look at Russell Westbrooks mentality and aggression–> it’s full-on all the time.

  • @justanotherfan Great post.

  • This might be a controversial take but I actually do think the refs shoulder some of the blame for this game. I have stated elsewhere the entire team and coaches are to blame for this loss but since the refs have been mentioned, let’s talk about that. First I want to make it clear that I’m not entirely positive the the reffing was UNFAIR with in this game. But compare this game to the Texas Tech game and it isn’t even the same game. How can they both be called basketball? The rules were completely different! This team has been built to play within the rules as they have been called for a majority of the season and last night was something different. WVU players shoved, held, hand checked (that’s a euphemism!), tripped, bumped, and everything else to prevent the “freedom of movement” we have been hearing about all year. Blame the Tech refs for calling the game so close, or the WVU refs for “letting them play” but the comparison between the two is absolutely ridiculous. This “home whistle” stuff has to stop. And this is coming from a KU fan and we get our share at home. Again, NOT AN EXCUSE, but certainly a problem.

  • Banned


    I think you’ve nailed this issue. The only real way to beat a team that wants to dog fight is to out talent them, or play their game. Like you said KU doesn’t have the kind of muscle to play this type of game. So KU has to out talent them. A lot of posters want to blame KU players for this poor showing, and maybe there is some truth in this point of view. Yet the Coach deserves the loin share of the blame.

    Huggy brought the X’s and O’s and Coach did not. It’s the story/issue that has divided the sight. Some believe Coach can do no wrong, and the others question what the Coach is doing. Whether Coach intended to or not he has built a team that can run and shoot, yet his true desire is to pound the ball inside. I’m beginning to wonder if KU has an identity crisis? Coach demanding a ground and pound game, and the players better suited to a Coach Williams style of play?

  • @justanotherfan “It’s not about moves for Lucas. It’s about the time it takes for him to catch/gather and execute an offensive move. If you are unguarded at the college level, you have less than a second to catch a pass and start making a move before the defense recovers to you. Landen cannot do this. He has to catch and gather before he can make a move. By the time this happens, the defense has recovered, unless Landen is dunking on a lob.”

    Great post. On Lucas, last night Fran hit on exactly what we’ve been chirping about. Lucas has the ball just inside the top of the key, and his defender is standing in the middle of the lane, “playing centerfield” as Fran said. Is this helpful to Ellis? Heck, near the basket, they he presents zero threat. Lucas, in that game last night, made no sense.

  • @DCHawker another tactical coaching error. Did coach even watch the WVU-UVA game?

  • @DinarHawk One certainly hopes that someone on the staff watched the game in which WVU not only suffered its only loss, but got beat (down) 47 - 19 over the last 23 minutes of that game. Particularly as UVA is very similar to KU in terms of personnel - veteran team, not really big, strong guard play, and one fairly skilled forward - big difference being that KU ostensibly has a lot more quality depth. By the way, while our perimeter players are our strength and I like FM and DG a lot (putting aside last night’s performance), those who have said we have the best guard tandem are perhaps being a bit hyperbolic - certainly don’t have anything on Brogdan and Perrantes.

  • @justanotherfan

    Huggins team out scored KU every time the tempo picked up. Huggins has designed his team to muscle in transition. WVU wanted to play KU in transition. Transition basketball is where being the most physical pays most Dividends to a muscle ball team geared to run.

    KU has to learn to play this way or else.

  • I’m confused. Many people on this site thought that this was going to be a very tough game and that KU could lose. Some people stated that they had penciled this in as a loss before the season started. We then proceeded to play a bad game and got beat. How does anyone here think that you get beat? THE OTHER TEAM PLAYS BETTER for whatever reason. Teams that are beaten usually get out hustled, out rebounded, and out played.

    Except for a couple of people who all of a sudden think that the winner of the league will have 1 or at most 2 losses, the general consensus has been that the winner will probably lose 3 to 4 games and most of these will be on the road. Well guess what, we lost a game on the road. Who in the hell thought that that would never happen this year.

    This is what I love about this site. People go on and on about how only tournament losses count, who cares about winning the Big XII, yada, yada, yada. The sky is falling. Bill Self is washed up. The season has now taken a different direction. We will never win again except against KSU (no one here ever thinks it is possible to lose to KSU). Now if we lose to TCU on Saturday and OSU next week I will become nervous about this team. Until then I will be disappointed that we didn’t win in Morgantown and will be waiting to see what comes next.


  • @sfbahawk You miss the point - it is how we lost. None of us on here expect KU to go undefeated in the Big 12. That is unrealistic, especially against so many good teams.

    The fact that they were outtoughed, outcoached, and had no in game adjustments from Self is why many, including myself, are displeased. Everyones best effort was not on display last night, including Self.

    Really, in regards to getting to the final four, winning the conference is not important, Recent teams that made it to the final four have proved that. But it sure leaves a sour taste in my mouth when guys are getting punked and beaten badly all game and nothing is done by anyone. Inexcusable.

  • @DinarHawk Well winning the conference might be important…it can help you get a #1 seed…which makes an easier path (in theory) to the FF.

  • @Hawk8086 I hear you, but a one seed has helped us a grand total of 1 time. Maybe it would do these guys good to get a 3 or 4 seed.

  • @DinarHawk Yeah, maybe.

  • @DinarHawk My point is that when teams lose their best effort is generally not on display. That includes players and coaches. You and I are both displeased by the loss. What do you think Cyclone fans feel right now? There is a poll on one of their websites questioning whether they should forfeit the rest of the season. Fred Hoiberg who sits at the father for the past few years is being crucified for not leaving enough good players. Jameel McKay is going from defensive player of the year to “What has happened to Jameel?”.

    Fans are fans. This is the best of all possible worlds when the team wins and the season is going into the toilet when it loses. Frank Mason didn’t all of a sudden become a wuss. Brannen Greene didn’t suddenly become a bad shooter. Bill Self did not suddenly become stupid (although there are some who always think that is the case). They played a bad game.

    I must have forgotten that the 2008 team never played a bad game. How was it that we were not undefeated that year?

  • @sfbahawk I get your point, but do you not think that this loss is eerily similar to the WSU game last year? WSU did not play an exceptionally excuted game. As dragonslyr has noted, they were the aggressor and played with a chip. WSU wanted to win more. They applied defensive pressure, and we crumbled, just like yesterday. Is that not concerning to you? I am not trying to be negative, but seeing how nothing has really changed in that department says a lot about development and coaching. What is preventing a team in the tournament from doing the same thing? Oh well, I guess, if the other team beats us again in March. They played better right? Just happens. Self never got outcoached. You know what, the players were tired! That’s got to be it! (sigh)

  • @DinarHawk do you happen to remember what happened to Perry during the first half of the wv game at AFH last year? do you have any idea how bad his knee was? And Cliff who was just starting to get it, was sidelined? Did you see us play OU w/out those 2 and BG was home due to discipline problems. Pretty darn close game. Did Perry play in the big 12 tourney? I could go on about Embiids injury, but we’ve beat that dead horse for 2 years. I’d really like to fill your cup up.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Ridiculous excuses. Again, what some still insist on doing here – the simplistic explanation.

    You seriously bring up Embiid? Yet coach Self’s game plan, without Embiid vs. Stanford, knowing he didn’t have Embiid, was to stick with the pound the ball inside dogma. Against a team with tall post players. And then to blame missing bunnies. Further, as even the game announcers noted, he just left Wiggins standing on the wing. Perhaps you saw Wiggins’ quotes after the game.

    A coach’s job is to put his players in the best position to win. Not just to put them on the floor, as is the implication of your (and others comments) – where it is in every instance to blame the players.

    Against WSU, Self got to play his favorites – Lucas and Traylor, right? Even with the 5th and 22nd player in the country on the roster right now, he makes that choice. Further, KU was obviously not ready to play. Self made the choice to switch to “bad ball.” And, of course, we have the acknowledgment by Self that he tried to make last season’s team into something it wasn’t.

    All of that does not mean that the players don’t share some of the blame. Of course they do. But Self shares some of the blame (a fact which you and some others never acknowledge). In certain games, though, it is clear that a loss is the result of getting out coached, and most times in varying degrees.

    For example, vs. Michigan in 2013, was Self “out coached”? No. There were some decisions Self made that were questionable – not fouling before the game tying three, poor last possession management. But not out coached. Stanford, though, was a schematic failing, and complete failure to adjust during the game. Out coached by a superior game plan. But if you don’t want to look for it, you won’t see it.

    In the game just before the Michigan game, vs. UNC, Self’s strategy was excellent in not getting sucked into UNC’s small ball. Our approach to start the second half was perfection. And you point out the OU game last season. Clearly one of Self’s best coached games. And when we discuss Self’s failures in situations, those failures get most of the discussion. A large, large majority of the time, that’s not the discussion as we don’t have a lot of Self failures to discuss.

    I have this vision of the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys when it comes to some and their defenses of coach Self. If the guy decided to start Tyler Self over Devonte Graham, some here would cite Self’s coaching record and defend his decision.

    The difference is that you, and others, will never acknowledge that Self can fail, or that he fails at times in his prep, or that he fails at time in his game plan. And you mistake the discussion of when there are failures as an attack on the man, his character, and his accomplishments. Just like @sfbahawk did above – referring to Self “not suddenly becoming stupid” and just saying we played a bad game. This is perhaps the best example of this inability to comprehend the nature of a discussion. No one said he has become stupid. We’re just saying the guy isn’t perfect, and can make mistakes, and there are times when his decisions negatively impact the team. A great majority of the time, it’s a positive impact – what we all see in great product that Self puts on the floor.

    Self is having an outstanding season from a coaching perspective. We get focused on a few main topics, but what else are we criticizing? Not much. Some here can’t stand any criticism.

    You can go through life just saying “Uh, they played a bad game.” Others might look at the most important question in life, which is “why?” But that requires independent thought. I admit, though, it is much easier to say “they played a bad game” and move on. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine spending the time to post if all I was going to say is “Bill Self is never wrong” and “They played a bad game.”

    It’s interesting - @sfbahawk says, “Frank Mason didn’t all of a sudden become a wuss.” Right. The question is “why” did he and Selden have such great difficulty vs. WVU. The next easy step is to look at what WVU did with its press and defensively. Then the next step is to look at what we did to deal with it. What we do to deal with it is directed and orchestrated by one man. He makes the decisions.

    And no one says the players don’t have a role in this. Of course they do. That’s part of the analysis that I freely acknowledge. Guys can just play bad and there are no schematic or game planning issues. No doubt. It’s just that a certain group of folks say that Self has no role in it. That’s a big difference.

    When someone can’t acknowledge that a human being can make mistakes in judgment, that someone completely lacks credibility. If you acknowledge that Self can make mistakes, then you acknowledge that positions different than Self’s position may be correct. Again, what those in the Self is God group ignore is their lord and savior’s admission about his errors last season, and the fact that posters here were right when Self was wrong.

    It’s certainly fine to have 100% faith in someone’s judgment. I have no issue with that. But when you have the 100% faith, you can’t objectively analyze the person’s decision. 100% faith is akin to blind faith. And when you’re blind, you can’t see your hand in front of your face. But then again, you don’t need to.

  • We play TCU on Saturday.

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    It’s interesting - @sfbahawk says, “Frank Mason didn’t all of a sudden become a wuss.” Right. The question is “why” did he and Selden have such great difficulty vs. WVU.

    I am not buying the family in a snow storm hypothesis. Easterners are all used to blizzards. They grow up with them. I have lived there. I never worried about anyone being late, because of a storm. I knew they were going to be late.

    I am not buying the scheme hypothesis. If it were the scheme, then Frank and Wayne would not have been the only ones baking pop tarts. Devonte would have had his baker’s hat on, too.

    I am not buying the Stanford analogy. Embiid was absent. Self was trying to maintain a team model hoping Embiid might somehow be persuaded to return. This team had no such injury to a starter impeding it.

    I am not buying the “didn’t just suddenly become a wuss” reasoning either. Why? All competition over the course of a game, a season, or a life intermittently exposes legacy softness that has to be hardened, or one has to concede one’s ceiling has been reached. This team has been a team that suffered through hardship to prevail, but suffering is not the same as hardening. But to get to the top, you have to be hard to the core, or as nearly as one can be. This team found it has legacy softness in at least Frank, Wayne. The softness may be in Svi and BG, too. And in others that were not exposed. Suffering is NOT the same as hardening.

    Frank Mason and Wayne Selden ran into a buzz saw fueled and run by a very tough Mountaineer logger–Bob Huggins, running what may be thought of as a thug-saw.

    KU had this season been the experienced team dishing out the hurts to less experienced and/or less physical teams.

    KU had gotten the idea that it was tougher than other teams, because it had met all such challenges of toughness.

    It was an honest mistake.

    Competition by its very nature exposes what we did not know we did not know.

    The thug-saw cut Frank and Wayne to the quick and found soft marrow, not hard bone.

    Now the bone must be healed and the bone callous thickened, so that the marrow cannot be reached so easily by a thug-saw.

    Self has apparently hidden from he media.

    Self has sent his assistant, Kurtis Townsend, to speak of not competing.

    Self has apparently decided to get a thug-saw, but wisely not to become associated with it.

    Pity the next opponent.

    Pity WVU in its visit to AFH.

    KU basketball players may all be issued Devin Williams model goggles for the return engagement just to send a clear message.

    This isn’t the end.

    This is the beginning.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I agree with your theory. To paraphrase, Self said post game “We were full of ourselves”. I agree. I think these guys were too confident that they didn’t compete hard enough. And it showed.

  • @DinarHawk Self said after the game the Jayhawks (14-2, 3-1) may have been “a little full of ourselves” after winning 13 in a row and vaulting to the top of the national polls.

  • @benshawks08 Like this when Wayne was called for charging? 11.jpg

  • The identity of this KU team (and the previous two years as well) is that they are a finesse team. WVU, WSU, Stanford, Temple are all physical teams and these are the teams that have made KU look their absolute worst in the past 2.5 seasons. This team doesn’t have the enforcers that they’ve had with T-Rob, the twins, Cole, D-Jax, Simien. Nobody on KU is going to make opponents pay for going to the rim and nobody is scared of KU right now because there’s no reason to be afraid of KU.

    KU needs an enforcer in the middle of the defense that can make teams think twice about driving the lane.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 still someone is going to have to step up and decide that they aren’t going to get punked and bullied. It is a mindset that they must have in order to make a deep run. Any of them have the potential to be that, they just don’t know how to or that they can.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 Mr.Withey!!!

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 I know everyone thinks Perry is soft, but he’s been tougher than anyone else on the team, in my opinion. Well, Frank’s tough too, but you know what I mean.

  • @nuleafjhawk Perry played tough against WVU, but the team overall is still a finesse team and didn’t fight back against WVU’s bullying.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 IMO, “finesse” may not quite be the right word. Ironically P erry is the only one not playing like…what @drgnslayr 's wife always says!

  • @nuleafjhawk are you throwing his wife under the bus?

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